18th Century

Benjamin Willetts

The Willetts family lived in and around Oldbury. It is one of the most repeated names in the Parish Register of St Giles’ Rowley Regis in the 1700’s. One branch, the descendants of Joseph Willetts, butcher,  seems to have accumulated wealth, attested to by a number of wills. Significantly Joseph was married to Amphillis Russell a member of the Russell family of Portway Hall in Rowley Regis. Continue reading →

Last updated on November 22, 2017 by JJ Morgan

John Bagnall

John Bagnall, the elder, was baptized in St Leonard’s Broseley on 4 Nov 1730. In his will of 1800 he describes himself as a yeoman of Darlaston, some 40 miles to the east. This description though, is a little misleading as it might imply that he earned his living largely through agriculture. We can be pretty sure that the reason he moved to the area was because of the Coal mines that existed or were even opened by him on his land in Darlaston (probably behind Pinfold Street). His sons and grandsons helped build a number of significant Iron Works, first at Gold’s Hill, just west of Walsall, that became a major force across West Bromwich, Walsall and Tipton best known and named after the second generation, John Bagnall the younger, as “John Bagnall and Sons”. Continue reading →

Last updated on September 25, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Samuel Hellier

Samuel Hellier, grandfather to Sir Samuel Hellier, lived from 1672 to 1727. He was the son of Samuel Hellier, a London Merchant and his wife Lydia. There were to be four generations of Samuel Helliers in a row, and each of the first three had a single surviving son, called Samuel to continue the family name. This is significant because when the fourth and last, Sir Samuel Hellier came to write his will in 1784 he was a bachelor and had no first or even second Hellier cousins to whom to leave his vast accumulated estate and also considerable debts.  Continue reading →

Last updated on October 3, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Sir Samuel Hellier

Samuel Hellier was baptized in St Clement Danes, London on 18 Nov 1736, the son of Samuel Hellier, a Staffordshire landowner, barrister and antiquary. He was knighted in 1762, after serving as High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1760 and making a well received speech on the birth of the Prince of Wales, the future George IV. His father, who died in 1751, had accumulated estates across Staffordshire and Worcestershire, including the new family seat of the Wodehouse, Wombourne. Sir Samuel was also the heir, through his mother, of the Huntbach’s family estates at Featherstone, but did not inherit until his dowager grandmother died in 1782. He himself died two years later bequeathing everything to Rev Thomas Shaw. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 18, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Daniel Shaw

Daniel Shaw was baptized on 28 Feb 1681 on St Thomas, Dudley the eldest son of Oliver Shaw and Alice Jellians. He left a will dated 11 Oct 1739 that describes him as a Mercer of Dudley and names his surviving children as Daniel (bap Nov 1708), James (bap 27 Aug 1710), Frances (bap 15 Jul 1712) and Read (b c1717). This allows us to identify him as the father of James Shaw, attorney and early mine entrepreneur, of Dudley and determine the ancestral lineage of Mary Shaw, wife of Rev Thomas Shaw-Hellier. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 3, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Jane Walford

Jane Walford married Jeremiah Thomings on 7 Oct 1759 at St Laurence, Northfield to the South West of Birmingham. Jane is almost certainly closely related to the Walford family of ironmongers from Birmingham but it is difficult to place exactly how. Continue reading →

Last updated on September 24, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Ann Toovey

Ann Toovey married William Rolles in All Hallows Church in the City of London in 1686. Both their families were from the Turville area on the edge of the Chilterns. Continue reading →

Last updated on September 24, 2017 by JJ Morgan

William Payne

William Payne was probably born around 1670 not far from Thame in Oxfordshire. We know a fair bit about him from various records most notably his will of 1747. He was a glover and clearly ran a successful business as a master glover and breeches maker in the small Oxfordshire market town of Thame where he lived for over fifty years. The glove trade was closely related to the tanning business that was to be a theme repeated in the subsequent generations notably with John Warmington. He was part of the class of literate tradesmen with a progressive and perhaps non-conformist outlook that was typical in a small market town like Thame. Other related trades are currier (curing leather) and fellmongerer (stripping and dealing sheep hides) Continue reading →

Last updated on September 25, 2017 by JJ Morgan

William Styles

William Styles was baptized in Grafton Flyford, Worcestershire on 29 Aug 1771. He was the third eldest surviving son of Thomas Styles, latterly the inn keeper of the Crown Inn in Stone Staffordshire. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 7, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Jeremiah Thomings

Jeremiah Thomings was baptised in Kingswinford on 10 Mar 1733, the son of David and Sarah Thomings. We know a little about him because of the wills of two of his brothers as well as a host of details from various parish registers. Continue reading →

Last updated on September 25, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Joseph Showell

Joseph Showell was baptized on 18 Aug 1769 in St Edburgha’s in Yardley to the East of the then small town of Birmingham. His father was Thomas Rhodes Showell, a victualler and his mother Mary Bissell, from nearby Bickenhill. The Showells came from a stock of middling yeoman farmers based around Sheldon, Coventry and Monks Kirby. Joseph’s grandparents – Joseph Showell and Elizabeth Rhodes were married in St Edburghas in 1729. His grandson Walter Showell, the brewer clearly felt a strong affinity to his heritage in Birmingham and its past, when he famously published the Dictionary of Birmingham in 1885. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 9, 2017 by JJ Morgan

John Hartill

John Hartill was a relatively wealthy merchant and tradesman in Dudley (c1735-1812). It is not clear when and where he was born, but there is good reason to believe he is descended from one of the many Hartill families of nearby Willenhall. Continue reading →

Last updated on September 25, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Edward Bagnall

Edward Bagnall was baptized at St Leonard’s, Broseley in Shropshire on 22 Mar 1761. He was the third of four sons of John Bagnall and Margaret Dixon. John Bagnall is described as a mining engineer , significant because Broseley was at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution, just a mile or so from Coalbrookdale and the famous Ironbridge, built in 1779. The Bagnall family were to embrace the new technology of the revolution and by the time Edward and his older brother John had reached adulthood their father had established important coal and iron interests in the West Midlands, notably the Golds Hill Iron works and in and around  Darlaston and Wednesbury where the pace of industrialization was ever increasing. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 2, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Samuel Chiswick

Samuel Chiswick was baptized on 27 May 1740 at St Dunstan’s Stepney, the eldest son of Samuel Chiswick, a miller from Poplar. The parish records give a fair amount of details of his life. He was the first of a long line of the Chiswick family who became coopers in the East End of London. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 17, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Alice Harford

Alice Harford was the youngest daughter of Thomas Harford, a Quaker, and was born in about 1708. Thomas Harford had married Martha Butler, Alice’s mother, on !8 Mar 1688 in the Society of Friends meeting house in Bristol. The Harford family owned estates in Marshfield in Gloucestershire and either for economic reasons or religious reasons a number of the branches of the family moved to Bristol and took a prominent role in the city’s affairs and in particular with the trade to Virginia and Pennsylvania. Alice had at least five elder siblings. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 1, 2017 by JJ Morgan

Robert Amberson Marten

Robert Amberson Marten was born in Glastonbury in 1699. His father was William Martin, probably a soap boiler in Bristol. The origin of the Martin (sic) family was almost certainly from the Glastonbury area – but William appears to have married Elizabeth the niece of a Bristol trader and adventurer Robert Amberson some time in the early 1680’s. Robert Amberson Marten was the youngest of at least four children. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 1, 2017 by JJ Morgan

James Shaw

James Shaw was born approximately in 1710 in Dudley Worcestershire. He was to become a well respected attorney working for a succession of the Dudley and Ward families of Dudley Castle.  He also worked for and had a strong friendship with Samuel Hellier, a prominent member of the Staffordshire gentry. Samuel Hellier was a renowned collector especially of Musical Instruments. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 2, 2017 by JJ Morgan

John Evans

John Evans was born about 1740, possibly in Shifnal in Shropshire. Most of what we know about him comes from his will of 1784 obtained from Lichfield Record Office, where he is described as an Innkeeper. He made his will “being sick and weak in body” at the age of about 44. He died a short time later, but his signature is relatively firm. He had married Mary Owen on 28 Jun 1767 and had six children. At his death, his eldest son Richard was 15, his youngest son John was only 3. Continue reading →

Last updated on October 18, 2017 by JJ Morgan