Richard Shaw of Sedgley

Richard Shaw of Cinder Hill in Sedgley left a will dated 5 Jan 1753/4. This gives a number of strong indications that he is the grandfather of the Rev Thomas Shaw-HellierFrom the list of his sons, Richard (bap 1696), William (bap 1698), Benjamin (bap 1708) and John (bap 1710), we can be pretty certain that this is the Richard Shaw of Sedgley, who marries Elizabeth Baker on 9 Nov 1691 and whose children are baptized in the same order in the parish register of All Saints, Sedgley.

The exception to this order is his third son Thomas Shaw (bap 1702) who is singled out with the lion share of the bequest as it is he who is made sole executor and inherits the main dwelling house.  Whilst Richard is illiterate it is a bit of an enigma that his favoured son Thomas would be able to send his own son Thomas to Queen’s College Oxford in 1750. In the list of  Foster’s Oxford Alumni, it states that Thomas [Shaw-Hellier] is the son of Thomas Shaw, gent of Sedgley. Richard’s is the only full family of Shaws in the Sedgley Parish Register for these dates to fit.

The question arises as to how Thomas (bap 1702) contrived to achieve such social advancement as well as apparent paternal preference.  It looks as if the marriage to Ann Elwall in 1729 has something to do with it, as Thomas is the only one of his siblings to marry in nearby Dudley. Yet, it is very difficult to place Ann’s parents as there are three or four Ann Elwalls born in the right period in Sedgley and Dudley. A possible grandfather of Ann Elwall is discussed under the piece about Thomas Elwall of Ettingshall, who died and left a will in 1716.

Also there was the important factor that although Richard Shaw classes himself as a yeoman rather than a gentleman, his roots almost certainly go back to the Shaw line from Dudley that is discussed on the site. His grandson the  Rev Thomas Shaw-Hellier eventually married Mary Shaw in 1756 and her ancestry is fully traceable to these Shaws, who were significant burghers in 16th century Dudley. This would indicate that the various Shaw branches always knew their common ancestry and once Thomas Shaw obtained his degree and passport into the ranks of clerics of the Church of England, it was natural for him to marry a distant cousin of higher status.

Also fascinating about the will is the names of Richard’s two surviving daughters, Mary Fellow (bap 1695)  who married Thomas Fellow in Wombourne in 1718 and Ann Thompson (bap 1714) who married John Thompson in Sedgley on 17 Nov 1737.

It seems likely that this John Thompson is the father of Richard Thompson (bap 24 Oct 1742, Moor Street) and the great grandfather of Anne Thompson wife of Edward Bagnall Dimmack. The Thompsons of Sedgley were wealthy by trade and strongly non-conformist – something that contrasts with the known status and views of the worldly Rev Thomas Shaw-Hellier.

The will of Richard’s oldest son Richard of 1771 is also enlightening. Although the will is written in 1762 it shows that his brother Thomas still owes £80 of the £140 he was ordered to pay under his father’s will for the mortgage of Thomas’s property in Cinder Hill. The will probably indicates that Richard (Jnr) had inherited property in Ettingshall from his father prior to the will of 1753, most likely on his marriage in 1732.

Richard Shaw (Snr) is recorded as being buried on 27 Nov 1754 in All Saints, Sedgley. His son Thomas – records show was alive in 1772 and 1779 – is probably buried in 1782 but no will can be found for him.


  • Will of Richard Shaw, Yeoman of Sinderhill, Probate 8 Dec 1754, Lichfield Record Office
  • Will of Richard Shaw, Yeoman of Ettingshall, Probate 14 Feb 1771, PCC (Oldest Son)
  • Joseph Foster: Alumni Oxonienses, 1888