Thomas Evans

Thomas Evans was born on 21 March 1801, the second surviving son of Richard Evans of the Red Lion Inn in Wolverhampton. His mother Sarah’s family, the Styles’s, were also involved in Inn keeping.

Thomas’s childhood and adolescence was centred around the Red Lion Inn and the coaching business. But whilst his brother Richard became heavily involved in the running of the New Inn in Woverhampton, Thomas seems to have specialized in keeping the stable. It is recorded that both brothers were prominent members of the Albrighton Hunt. “Mr Evans of Gunstone was one of the most frequent in the field on his white horse” says Auden.

Thomas never married and a number of artefacts of his have come down to us. Most remarkable is his Stud Book that dates from 1833 and lists pages of horses, bought and sold. It also contains some farm accounts 1840-1857 and details of the contents of his wine cellar. He spent £21 on a single cask of Madeira.

Thomas Evans Stud Book 9 Aug 1833

We also have a separate bill from 1839 concerning ‘a trial’ and travel to Warwick. Finally there is an invitation to a dinner at the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London.

In his father’s will, originally drawn up in 1838, Thomas is notably initially not an executor, being passed over in favour of his elder brother, Richard, and two brothers-in-law – John Philip Smith and George Edwardes, the surgeon. By the will he is left a sixth of the residual estate. Importantly the will shows that he owed his father £1000 in a promissory note, that is duly forgiven by the very first clause of the bequests. It would all suggest that he was not particularly conservative financially to the point that his father does not show the greatest of trust in him. (In a codicil to the will made just before his death Richard Evans does finally instate Thomas as an executor 11 Jan 1841)

By the 1840’s the railways were dramatically changing the coaching business and by the 1861 census Thomas describes himself as a farmer. He was also a local magistrate. His address is given as Gunstone House about a mile from Pendeford Hall that his father first started renting in about 1820. It cannot be a coincidence that Gunstone Hall is to this day an equestrian centre, the direct successor of Thomas’s activity.

In the public archives there are a number of documents from the 1850’s where Thomas Evans of Pendeford is involved in leases setting up the Market near North Street, close to the Red Lion Inn in the centre of Wolverhampton. On balance this could equally be his nephew Thomas Evans, son of his elder brother Richard.

He died on 27 Jan 1872 aged 71. There is a memorial in Codsall parish Church (unviewed).

He should not be confused with his uncle General Thomas Evans and his nephew Thomas Evans, father of the Agard Evans family.




Last updated on 4 September 2020 by JJ Morgan