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Revision: The text on this page was last revised in January 2014.
SOME SMITHS OF NORTH WARWICKSHIREnotes by P John Partington
THE SMITHS OF MANCETTER & ATHERSTONE
Mancetter is a small village in the north of Warwickshire, next to the larger town of Atherstone. In the eighteenth century the latter’s prosperity, and population, increased, mainly on account of its hatting industry; Mancetter, however, remained the parish church for both settlements. It was there that on 27 July 1798 John Smith married Elizabeth Hall. They had three children – Elizabeth born in 1798, Sarah in 1802 and Edward in 1804.
THE CHILDREN OF JOHN (bef. 1782 - aft. 1802)
John’s first child, Elizabeth, was born in Atherstone on 26 December 1798. She was still living there in 1820/1 when she had an illegitimate son, William (who at his wedding, however, was recorded as son of “Francis Smith, a grocer”). Two years later, on 27 August 1822, she married John Kimberlin at St John the Baptist Church in Coventry. They had three children, Thomas born in about 1823, Charles in 1825 and Elizabeth in about 1827. She died on 7 July 1840.
John’s second child, Sarah, was born in Atherstone in 1802. In 1818 she married John Webb at St John the Baptist, Coventry. Four years later the couple were witnesses at her sister’s wedding in the same church, but nothing further is yet known of them.
John’s third child, Edward, was born in Atherstone in 1804. A hat maker, He married Ann (surname unknown) and in 1841 the couple were recorded at Hinks Yard, Mancetter – Ann was a ribbon weaver. Ten years later they were at Cross Keys yard in Atherstone, with the same occupations (Edward being a “journeyman hatter”), and with them was their nineteen year old unmarried daughter Jane, a “handloom weaver”. In 1861 Edward & Ann were at the same address, now with nine-year old granddaughter Elizabeth A, and ten years later the couple were still there. Edward died, aged seventy-three, on 7 August 1877 at the Union Workhouse in Atherstone, and was buried three days later.
CHILDREN OF ELIZABETH (1798 - 1840)
Elizabeth’s son William was born in 1820/1 in Atherstone. He was apprenticed in Birmingham as a tailor, and on 11 September 1842 at St Philips he married Mary Ann Clarkson. The couple had a son, another William, in 1846 (see below), but not long afterwards the couple separated. So in 1851 the census records William without her, married and living in Common Row, Nether Whitacre, with his “brother-in-law” (ie half-brother) Charles Kimberlin: he was a “tailor, master employing one man” – presumably Charles. In 1861 he is still there, married but wifeless, and now with his fifteen year old son William, a twenty-year old apprentice Frederick Smith, and twelve-year old servant Emma Bird. In 1871, the year that he inherited a fairly large sum of money from John Kimberlin (his late mother’s husband), William is recorded as married, living on the Coventry Road with forty-three year old unmarried housekeeper Charlotte Morwood and her two children, whose father he seems to have been – John Smith Morwood and Henry Smith Morwood; Frederick Smith is still with them. In 1878 William bought a hat manufacturing and selling business in Tamworth, which he ran with his son John. Later that same year a sadly eloquent notice appeared in the Tamworth Herald: “I, William Smith, of Bolebridge Street will not be responsible for any debts my wife Mary Ann Smith, may contract in future”. In 1881 the census found him still in Common Row, Atherstone, with Charlotte and their son “Henry Smith Morewood”, and still with Frederick Smith, now described as a ‘servant’. Ten years later he was living at 8 George Street in Tamworth, a “hatter and tailor”; with him were sons John and Henry, now using the surname ‘Smith’ rather than ‘Morwood’. In 1891 he was living at 8 George Street in Tamworth with sons John & Henry. William died on 27 December 1900 at 36 Bolebridge Street, Tamworth, and was buried in Glascote cemetery three days later; his estate was valued at £651/15/4.
Elizabeth may also have had an illegitimate daughter, Sarah: “16 January 1820 Mancetter Parish – baptism of a dau Sarah Smith illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Smith and John Sanders, labourer Atherstone”. And four years earlier, on 15 March 1816, we have the baptism of a Joseph, “illegitimate son of Richard Harris, servant, Mancetter, and Elizabeth Smith, servant, Atherstone”.
Following her marriage to John Kimberlin, Elizabeth had a further three children – Thomas born in about 1823, Charles in 1825 and Elizabeth in about 1827 (for details see my notes on the Kimberlin family).
THE CHILDREN OF WILLIAM (1820/1 - 1900)
William’s legitimate son, also William, was born in Nether Whitacre on 20 March 1846. By 1851 his parents had separated, and that year William was living with his mother in Hurley. Ten years later he was with his father in Nether Whitacre, while ten years after that he was with his mother again. On 28 July 1876 he married Sarah Spare, and in 1881 the couple were living at “Bunny’s House” in Kingsbury with their two young children, Elizabeth, born in 1877/8 and Sarah in 1879/80: William was working as a “journeyman tailor”. By 1891 at least five more children had been born – William in 1871/2, Louisa in 1874/5, Mary Ann in 1876/7, Henry in 1879 and Ernest in 1880 – and the family were living at Rookery Row in Hurley; William was still a “journeyman tailor”. Three further children were born in the next few years: Gertrude in 1892, Alice in 1895 and Wilfred in 1898/9. (Details of all the children are below.) In 1901 William & Sarah were still at the Rookery, recorded there by the census with their three youngest children. Ten years later William and his youngest child, Wilfred, were still there. William died on 18 February1914 at his daughter Gertrude’s house in Birmingham; he was buried in Hurley churchyard five days later.
William’s first child with Charlotte Morwood, his ‘housekeeper’, was JohnSmith Morwood, born in Whitacre in 1858/9. In 1861 he was living with his mother and her sister and family in Wolverhampton. In 1871 and 1881 he was with his parents William and Charlotte. He married at some point, but separated from his wife in about 1878/8. By 1891 John had dropped ‘Morwood’ and was using ‘Smith’ as his surname, now living with his father at 8 George Street in Tamworth, and recorded as a ‘traveller’. He died on 25 February 1895, falling on the ice (see Appendix, below).
William’s second child with Charlotte Morwood was Henry Smith Morwood, born in Whitacre in 1859/60. In 1871 he was living with parents William and Charlotte. By 1891 Henry, like his brother, had dropped ‘Murwood’ and was using ‘Smith’ as his surname – by then living with his father at 8 George Street in Tamworth and recorded as a‘hatter’. In 1891 Henry married Beatrice Alberta Annie Musson : the couple had at least three children – Sydney Henry born in 1891, Dorothy Gwendoline in 1896 and Dora Annie Kathleen in 1904. Henry took over the hatter’s business when his father died in 1900, but four years later became bankrupt. The 1911 census recorded him living in Glascote with his wife and three children, and working as a “Mineral Water Manufacturer”. He died on 26 April 1920, at 29 Victoria Road, Tamworth, being buried at Glascote cemetery three days later.
William’s second child, Sarah, was born in 1879/80 also in Hurley. In 1881 she was living with her family at “Bunny’s House” in Kingsbury and ten years later was with them in Hurley. Nothing further is yet known of her.
William’s third child, another William, was born in 1871/2, his fourth, Louisa, in 1874/5, his fifth, Mary Ann, in 1876/7, his sixth, Henry, in 1879 and his seventh, Ernest, in 1880 – all in Hurley. In 1881 they were living there with their parents.
William’s eighth child, Gertrude, was born in 1892, and his ninth, Alice, in 1895; they were baptized on 17 March 1895. In 1901 they were living with their parents at the Rookery in Hurley.
William’s tenth child, Wilfred, was born in 1898/9. In 1901 he was living with his parents at the Rookery in Hurley, and ten years later he was still there with his father, working as an errand boy for a butcher.
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