18th Century

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 4 October 2019 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 25 September 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 12 October 2018 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 17 October 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 1 October 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 1 October 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 2 October 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 5 February 2019 by JJ Morgan

Thomas Styles

Thomas Styles was probably born in the small Worcestershire village of Kington in 1739. Importantly his will of 1811 identifies his surviving children. These include Sarah Evans, wife of Richard Evans, to whom he left £1000 and who was in fact to die in the year following her father. Thomas Styles was a wealthy inn holder and his family formed a very natural alliance with the Evans’s of the Red Lion in Wolverhampton. The picture below shows the “Crown Inn” in Stone Staffordshire that he appears to have acquired later in his life. It is more than likely, in fact, that he had it built as the image would appear to be advertising a new inn and its strategic position as an interchange of coach routes between Chester, Liverpool, London, Bath and Bristol Continue reading →
Last updated on 2 October 2017 by JJ Morgan

Mary Owen

Mary Evans was born Mary Owen, probably in about 1743 and must have come from a wealthy family, receiving a good education. She was a key figure in establishing the Evans family in the coaching business in Wolverhampton. Because a Daniel Banton was guardian to her children and executor of her husband’s will, it has long been speculated that her maiden name was Banton. Continue reading →
Last updated on 31 March 2018 by JJ Morgan