Lyndon in Rutland c.1682 – 1843

CHAPTER II

Lyndon – The Second Generation

The Children of Richard & Elizabeth – the Firstborn – 1682
What is known as fact is this couple had at least six children born between the years 1682 and 1689. The earliest record of a member of the ‘Shellaker’ family in Lyndon is a baptism of a girl named MARY in the year 1682. This baptism, which took place on Monday 8th June of that year, shows that Mary was the ‘daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Shelacres’. This record is below and is the middle of the three entries shown below.

Mary the daughter of Richard Shelacres (Shellaker) & Elizabeth was baptised Lyndon June 8th 16821682 – “Mary ye Daughter of Richard Shelacres & Elizabeth baptised June 8th 1682”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

The Year 1682
King Charles IIMary Shelacres was born during the reign of Charles II (pictured on the right) who had been the king of England, Scotland, and Ireland since the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

Charles II, was the son of Charles I, who was executed in January 1649 after the end of the English Civil War. Charles II ruled for a further three years after Mary Shelacres’ birth until he died from a stroke in February 1685. His reign is famous for the 1665 Great Plague that primarily affected London and the 1666 Great Fire of London.

Also in 1682, around two months after Mary Shelacres was baptised, the last hangings in England for the crime of witchcraft took place ; following the Bideford witch trial, three women – Temperance Clifford, Mary Holding and Susannah Martin were executed.

Please note – In England those found guilty of witchcraft were hung and not burnt at the stake – burning at the stake for the crime of witchcraft occurred in Scotland and Continental Europe but not in England.

1683 – A son born in a harsh winter
Around 18 months after the birth of their daughter Mary, another child was born – a boy who was named THOMAS. A record of his baptism is below and is the middle of the three entries shown. The baptism took place on Monday 1st November 1683.

Thomas the Son of Richard Shelacres (Shellaker) & Elizabeth was baptised Lyndon November 1st 1683

  1683 – “Thomas ye Son of Richard Shelacres & Elizabeth baptised November 1st 1683”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

1683-84 Frost Fair on the River Thames Thomas Shelacres was born just before what became known as ‘Great Frost of 1683–84’, the worst frost ever recorded in England when the River Thames became completely frozen for two months to a thickness of around 11 inches and solid ice was reported as extending for miles off the coast of some parts of the North Sea.

In London a frost fair was held on the River Thames which included skating, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and plentiful eating and drinking.

However, in contrast to the jollity of the Frost Fair, animals and birds died in the fields and the price of fuel became so expensive the poor had great difficulty staying alive. In rural Rutland this incredibly harsh winter would undoubtedly have made the first few months of Thomas’ early life extremely hazardous.

1684 – A year passes – a second daughter for Richard & Elizabeth
Just over a year after the birth of their first son Thomas, Elizabeth Shelacres give birth to their second daughter. She was baptised on Friday 29th December 1684 and was named ELIZABETH after her mother. Having said that, the selection of Christian names at that time in English history was very narrow – half the women in England were named ‘Mary’, ‘Elizabeth’, ‘Agnes’, ‘Joan’ or ‘Margaret’. The entry for Elizabeth’s baptism is the fourth entry (second last) in the section below from the Lyndon parish records.

Elizabeth the daughter of Richard Shelacres (Shellaker) & Elizabeth was baptised in Lyndon December 29th 1684

1684 – “Elizabeth ye Daughter of Richard Shelacres & Elizabeth baptised December 29th 1684”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

1685 – A death in the family
Ten months on in our story and we see that the young boy THOMAS, who was born in the extremely harsh winter of 1683-84, did not survive to see his second birthday and we can speculate it was the months of cold weather which he endured at the time of his birth which resulted in his early death. Thomas was around twenty-three months when he died and he was buried by his parents Richard and Elizabeth Shelacres in the graveyard of Lyndon church on Monday October 22nd 1685. The entry for Thomas’ burial is the last entry below on the 1685 page of the Lyndon Parish records.

Thomas Shelacres (Shellaker) was buried in Lyndon churchyard October 22nd 1685

1685 – “Thomas Shelacres buried October 22”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

As mentioned above Charles II  died in February of this same year, 1685 and was succeeded by James II until he himself was deposed in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688. He was the last Roman Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Following the death of their son, Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres now had two young daughters, Mary who was approaching three and a half years old and 10 month old Elizabeth but no son to carry on the Shellaker name.

1686 – The arrival of twins
However when Elizabeth buried her infant son Thomas in October 1685 she was around five months pregnant with twins, who were born in February of the following year 1686. The baby boy was named RICHARD after his father and paternal grandfather and the baby girl was named HELEN. The two children were baptised at the Lyndon parish church on Saturday February 27th 1886. 

On a histrionically note it was not uncommon for several brothers and sisters of differing ages to be baptised on the same day. Although this normally occurred when a family moved to a new parish or as a result of a zealous parish priest ‘encouraging‘  the parents of children who had not been baptised to have all of their children baptised together. But I do not think this is the case with young Richard & Helen for two reasons; firstly records indicate Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres appeared to habitually baptize their children, they had done so for Mary, Thomas and Elizabeth but secondly the timing of the birth of their previous child Elizabeth in December 1684 was only 13 months prior to the baptism of these two children – and that is only time for one pregnancy. Therefore I conclude Richard & Helen were twins, and one other fact – this baby boy named Richard is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

“Richard & Helen the son & daughter of Richard Shelacres (Shellaker) & Elizabeth were baptised in Lyndon Feb 27th 1686

1686 – “Richard & Helen ye Son & Daughter of Richard Shelacres & Elizabeth baptised Feb 27th”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

At this point Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres have four children and parish records indicate they were to have one more child.

1689 – Another boy is born
Below is an section of the Lyndon parish records showing the baptism of another son (second last in the record below), baptised on Sunday January 16th 1689 who was named FRANCIS. He was born just under three years after the birth of the twins, Richard & Helen.

Francis the son of Richard Shelacres (Shellaker) & Elizabeth baptised in Lyndon January 16th 1689

1689 – “Francis ye Son of Richard Shelacres & Elizabeth baptised January 16th”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

I was initially concerned with a break of three years between the birth of Elizabeth’s fifth and sixth child as previously there were relatively small gaps between her other children leading me to think I may have missed a record of a birth of another child around 1687.

  • 1st child (Mary) conceived around October 1681 – 9 months pass – Mary is born in June 1682.
  • 7 months pass before 2nd child (Thomas) conceived around February 1683 – 9 months pass – Thomas is born in November 1683.
  • 4 months pass before 3rd child (Elizabeth) conceived around March 1684 – 9 months pass Elizabeth is born in December 1684.
  • 6 months pass before 4th & 5th children (Thomas & Helen) conceived around July 1685 – 9 months pass Thomas & Helen are born in February 1686.
  • But over two years pass before 6th child (Francis) is conceived around April 1688 – 9 months pass – Francis is born in January 1689.

 

But on reflection the fact the couple had twins in 1686 was possibly the reason for this larger gap with the parents Richard & Elizabeth (but more likely just Elizabeth!) making a decision to slow down their production of offspring.

The Family of Richard Shelacres (Shellaker) & Elizabeth in 1689 at the time of the birth of their son Francis”

1689 – “The Family of Richard Shelacres & Elizabeth at the time of the birth of their son Francis”

 [Direct male ancestors are shown in Blue, the female direct ancestor is in Pink]

As  can be seen above, when Francis was born his sister Mary was six and a half, Elizabeth was four and the twins Richard & Helen a month away from their third birthday. Their mother Elizabeth, who now had five children all under seven years of  age, was herself around thirty-four years old and her husband Richard around thirty-eight years old.

1693 – The death of the father
But Richard never lived to see his family young family grow up as he died at the age of 42 years on 9th January 1693 in the same month, possibly in the same week, as his son Francis had his fourth birthday. Although at that time the average life expectancy was approximately only 40-45 years, Richard’s death was probably ‘untimely‘, as the average figure of 40-45 years was greatly distorted by the incredibly high level of infant mortality, which often resulted in one in three children dying before their fifth birthday.

The record of Richard’s burial is the first entry for 1693 in the section below from the Lyndon parish records. At the time of his death his widow Elizabeth was 38 years old and would now have to raise her five children by herself. Her oldest daughter Mary was 10 years old, Elizabeth was 8 years old and the twins, Richard & Helen were approaching the age of seven and Francis was around four years old.

Richard Shelacres (Shellaker) was buried in Lyndon on the 9th of January 1693

  1693 – “Richard Shelacres was buried ye 9th of January 1693

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

In August 1997 I visited Lyndon with my wife, daughter and my mother, and after a picnic in the churchyard, I found the gravestone of Richard Shelacres located next to that of his baby son Thomas who died, as previously mentioned, at the age of 23 months around seven years earlier in October 1685. Incredibly more than 300 years after their deaths, I was able to read the inscriptions on both gravestones. Below left is a photograph of those two gravestones taken in 1997 and on the right the same photograph onto which I’ve placed the inscriptions as they appeared on those two gravestones.

Shellaker Gravestones in Lyndon - Thomas 1685 - Richard 1693

Incidentally the gravestones of Richard and Thomas may not be situated on their actual graves as I think they may have been moved a few feet to their current position which is against the one of the walls of the churchyard, as have apparently many of the gravestones within Lyndon churchyard, probably to assist the mowing of the grass. Interestingly the surname is spelt ‘Shelacres‘ in the parish records as written by the rector but is carved as ‘Shellaker‘ by the stonemason on their graves. Also the stonemason has just carved ‘Octob’ instead of ‘October’ – it is not missing from the edge of the stone, the word just stops.

One other point to mention  – Thomas was buried the day after he died (died 21st October – buried 22nd Oct). Whereas Richard, from the date in the parish records and on the gravestone, apparently died and was buried on the same day – 9th January. The prompt burial of Richard is unusual, as in those days burials would normally take place 2 or 3 days after the death. Historical sources do reveal several mentions of people being buried on the same day as they died, for example, ‘died in the morning – buried in the afternoon’ but normally this occurred when the person died from an infectious disease such as smallpox and typhus.

NB – Richard’s age at death, as written on his gravestone, is given as 42 years, therefore this is the source that enables me to place the year of his birth as 1650 or 1651 and to be precise – Richard was born between 10th January 1650 and 9th January 1651.

Elizabeth raises her children alone
Elizabeth remained a widow for the rest of her life, which was to be for a further 36 years but during this time she saw her children grow up, was able to witness the marriage of some of them which subsequently gave her grandchildren.

1706 The Oldest Daughter – Mary Shelacres is married
Mary, who was baptised on the 8th June 1682, married WILLIAM WALTER in the parish church at Lyndon on Thursday 13th May 1706. Mary was 23 years old on her wedding day in May, which was the month prior to her 24th birthday. Her husband William was, like Mary, from a local village family.

1706 - Marriage Mary Shelacres (Shellaker) and William Walter at Lyndon

 1706 – “William Walter and Mary Shelacres both of this parish were married ye 13th of May.”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

Records show William & Mary (née Shelacres) continued to live in Lyndon as baptisms of children from this marriage can be found in the parish records, the first of which was in September 1708, two years after their marriage. On 26th Sept 1708,  two daughters Mary & Elizabeth were baptised, possibly twins. Around five years later, on 13th Aug 1713 the baptism of a son named William is recorded

So we know that Mary Walter (née Shelacres) produced at least three children; two girls, Mary and Elizabeth and one son William, who were all grandchildren of the widowed Elizabeth Shelacres.

Mary Shelacres’ Daughters – Elizabeth & Helen
Although I have methodically searched the stained and often barely legible records numerous times, I can find no further mentions of Elizabeth or Helen, the probable twin sister of Richard, since their baptism in December 1684 and February 1686 respectively. Recently (August 2013), and as previously mentioned  I found, within the Leicestershire & Rutland Records Office,  a neatly written copy of the Lyndon parish registers for 1580-1811 which had been transcribed by the Reverend Thomas Nevinson, Rector of Lyndon from 1889 to 1909 [ref DE 5163/3].  After viewing this book, although I was able to confirm four dates that were previously ambiguous, I did not find any new records which I had missed during my searches of the original records.

So it is apparent that nether Elizabeth or Helen had died, (certainly not in that village), as there is no records of their burial within the Lyndon parish records but neither are there any records of a marriage of either of these girls. A possible conclusion – whilst still unmarried they both moved  away from the village to become residents in another parish and possibly, either or both, married within their new ‘adopted’ parish instead of the parish of their birth. One scenario which would make this conclusion very plausible is if Elizabeth or Helen entered ‘Domestic Service’ – that they became resident, probably not together, within a household as servants.

Historical Note – Domestic Service
In many cases entering domestic service was the only option open to unskilled girls and it became the second biggest opportunity for employment in England – the first being agricultural work. Girls would often go into domestic service at around the age of ten or twelve but on occasions even younger. Although the first employment within domestic service would often occur in one of the ‘big houses’ local to the girl’s home parish, it was very common and acceptable for servants to eventually move all over the country in order to gain better positions as they advanced within the rigid hierarchy of service life.

If Elizabeth and Helen had entered Domestic Service, which I reiterate is only pure speculation, this would help explain for the absence of their deaths or marriages in the Lyndon Parish Records as those who worked as servants became residents of the parish in which they lived. That said Elizabeth and Helen could still have attended the weddings of their siblings travelling back to Lyndon if permission was given by the housekeeper or owner of the household.

Mary Shelacres’ youngest son – Francis
There are no records of a marriage, within the Lyndon Parish Records of Francis Shelacres. Although if he married a girl from another parish the record of his marriage would be contained elsewhere within those records. However I have found a record of his death within the Lyndon parish records many decades after his baptism in 1689  and subsequently found his gravestone and also his Last Will & Testament, of which both possibly confirm he never married but remained single for all of his long life. I will come back to his gravestone and his Last Will & Testament later as I wish to keep this narrative relatively chronological.

1715 – Mary Shelacres’ son Richard marries
Richard Shelacres, who I believe was the twin brother of Helen, was baptised on 27th February 1686 and as previously mentioned, is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, and as such will now become the main focus of this section of the narrative.

1715 - Richard Shellakers (Shellaker) of Linden (Lyndon) marries Elizabeth Walton of Burton Lazarus in Melton Mowbray ChurchRichard married on Wednesday 11th December 1715 at the age of 28 years old but unlike his sister Mary, Richard’s wedding did take place in Lyndon church but at the impressively large church of St Mary’s in Melton Mowbray (pictured right and reproduced by permission of LeicesterPhoto). On that day Richard Shelacres married ELIZABETH WALTON of Burton Lazarus, a small village two miles south-east  of Melton Mowbray.

Little is known about Elizabeth Walton as the parish records of baptisms in Burton Lazarus (since known as Burton Lazars) are only available from 1813 so it is not possible to find details of her baptism which possibly occurred c.1690. However I did find a ‘John Walton’ recorded on 21st May 1719 as a signature on one page of the accounts book of the ‘Churchwardens, Constables and Overseers’ for that village. As this village has a population of less than 200 souls John Walton may have been related to Elizabeth and possibly was, as he has a level of status at that time, her father. But back to the wedding …….

It is highly likely Richard’s widowed mother Elizabeth, who was still alive at that time and aged around 61 years, would have attended her son’s wedding to Elizabeth Walton.

It is also probable Richard’s married sister Mary Walter, was present with her husband William and their children; Mary & Elizabeth, (maybe twins) aged 7 years and their two year old son William. Although, as I have said earlier I have no further information since their baptisms, of Richard’s sisters Elizabeth and Helen, they may also have attended. At that time Elizabeth would be approaching her 31st birthday and Helen if, as I believe was Richard’s twin sister, was also 28 years old. Richard’s brother Francis would have been 25 years old and so could also have been in this church on that day.

It is plausible other members of family from the nearby village of Loddington were present to witness Richard’s wedding, including his Aunt Elleanor. (Her married name was Newby and she was baptised in Loddington around 1646 and ould have been around 70 years old at this time). She had married Charles Newby in 1673 who himself may also have attended Richard’s wedding with his wife. Also present could have been Richard’s cousin Elizabeth Shellakers, who was baptized in Loddington in 1674 and consequently was around 41 years old, and her mother, Elizabeth Shillakars (née Dawson) who was another of Richard’s aunts – now in her seventies and the widow of Thomas Shellakers who died around forty years before in 1675.

The entry for the marriage in 1715 of Richard Shelacres and Elizabeth Walton can be seen below on the third and fourth rows of this section of the parish records for Melton Mowbray.

1715 - The marriage of Richard Shellakers (Shellaker) and Elizabeth Walton of Burton Lazarus

1715 – “Richard Shellakers of Linden in the County of Rutland and Elizabeth Walton of Burton Lazarus 11 Dec.”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

1716 – The Children of Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres – 1st daughter 
Around 11 months further on in our story Richard Shelacres and his wife Elizabeth are living in Lyndon and Elizabeth gave birth to their first child. The child, a daughter named ELEANOR SHELACRES, was baptised in Lyndon parish church on Wednesday 18th November 1716. Richard was 29 years old when he first became a father. The record of Eleanor’s baptism is the last entry on the except below from the Lyndon parish records.

 1716 - Eleanor the Daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres (Shellaker) was baptised

 1716 – ” Nov 18 – Eleanor ye Daughter of Richard & Eliz Shelacres Bapt’d.”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

1718 – Another daughter for Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres 
A few months after their daughter’s first birthday Elizabeth Shelacres became pregnant for a second time and gave birth to another daughter towards the end of 1718. This girl was named MARY SHELACRES and was baptised on December 7th 1718. The record of Mary’s baptism, which took place in Lyndon church, is the last entry on the except below of the records of that parish.

 1718 - Mary the Daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres (Shellaker) was baptised

 1718 – ” Dec 7 – Mary ye Daughter of Richard & Eliz Shelacres Bapt’d”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

1721- A third daughter for Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres
We do not know if any children of Elizabeth Shelacres were still-born as those incidents are not recorded within parish records but it appears Elizabeth became pregnant again in the second half of 1720. Around a year and a half after the birth of their second daughter, a record can be found of a baptism of a third daughter in April 1921. This baby girl was name ELIZABETH SHELACRES and was baptised on 17th April 1721. The entry in the Lyndon parish records can be seen below and is the first entry for that year.

1721 - Elizabeth the Daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Shelacres (Shellaker) was baptised

 1721 – ” Apr 16 – Elizabeth ye Daughter of Rich’d & Elizabeth Shelacres Bapt’d”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

Richard & Elizabeth’s family
Below is a section of Richard’s extended family tree,  as it would have appeared in the spring of 1725. This also shows the children of produced from the marriage of Richard’s sister Mary Shelacres  to William Walter. At this time Richard & Elizabeth have been married for over nine years and have three young daughters ranging from eight to four years old. Richard’s widowed mother is now in her seventies, still living in the village and possibly helping her daughter-in-law look after the children. All seems well for the family.

1725 Spring - The Family Tree of Richard Shellaker and Elizabeth Walton

1725 – “The Family of Richard Shelacres & Elizabeth Walton in the Spring of 1725”

 [Direct male ancestors are shown in Blue, the female ancestor in Pink. I am unsure of the whereabouts of those shown in Yellow]

A death, a wedding and another death
But before Richard Shelacres can celebrate ten year of marriage his wife Elizabeth dies and is buried in the churchyard of Lyndon church on Wednesday 5th September 1725. The record of her burial can be seen below, the last line of this section from the Lyndon parish records. Richard is now a widower and has the responsibility of raising his three young daughter alone.

1725 - The burial Elizabeth (Walton) Shelacres wife of Richard (Shellaker)

1725 – “Sept 5th – Elizabeth ye wife of Richard Shelacres was buried”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

There is no way of knowing the cause of Elizabeth death but I could speculate she may have died in childbirth as giving birth at that time in history was a very dangerous time for the woman.

Historical note
Childbirth in the 16th/17th CenturyIn the mid-1700’s childbirth can easily result in complications with two percent of all confinements end up with a dead mother – two women in every fifty pregnancies die. So if a woman, for example, give birth to five children this represents approximately a one-in-ten risk of death in childbirth. 

Even very poor women had some sort of birth attendant. This was partly due to a statute of 1647 which forbade the concealment of a birth so a midwife would have attended the woman in labour. If things go wrong, physicians and surgeons, if available in rural Rutland, may be called upon.  Any complications could have a fatal outcome. Labours were difficult and there were few painkillers. An obstructed delivery could led to the death of both mother and child as Caesarean sections were not successfully performed until the nineteenth century.

As I mentioned we do not know the cause of his wife’s death but we can speculate Richard is likely to have received help in caring for his young daughters from his married sister Mary and his widowed mother Elizabeth but if only for practical reasons, he need to find himself a new wife and to achieve that aim he was to return to the village of his father and grandfather, Loddington in East Leicestershire.

1726 – Richard Shelacres remarries
Within the parish records of the Leicestershire village of Loddington can be found the second marriage of the widower Richard Shelacres of Lyndon which took place on Sunday 29th December 1726. The bride was ANNE HILL. The record can be seen below and is second last.

DE1081_2_Richard_married1726

1726 – “Marriage – Richard Shelacres of Lyndon in the County of Rutland & Anne Hill of this parish maried with banns Dec’ber 29th”

from the Loddington Parish Records

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

Please note at the top of this section of the record is written ‘From Lady Day 1726 to Lady Day 1727’ – although the ‘1727’ part is very difficult to read – this will become significant.

Historical Note – Lady Day
In the year Richard Shelacres married Anne Hill, 1726, the Julian calendar was in use, as it would be until September 1752. Under the Julian calendar the New Year did not start on the 1st January but on 25th March – Lady Day. (Lady Day is the traditional name of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary which marks the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary, during which he told her she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God).

Consequently until the change to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, 25th March was the start of the New Year. So, in England, the day after 24th March 1726 was 25th March 1727. Once the calendar changed, the day after 31st December 1751 was 1st January 1752 as it has remained ever since. As a result, 1751 was a short year – it ran only from 25 March to 31 December.

Lady Day is one of the Quarter Days which are still used in the legal system. The Quarter Days divide the year in quarters and are Lady Day (25th March), Midsummers Day (24th June), Michaelmas Day (29th September) and Christmas Day (25th December). Lady Day was the traditional day on which yearly contracts between landowners and tenant farmers would begin and end.

The remnants of the change in the calendar are still with us which is why the tax year starts on the 6th April. In the year of the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar 1752 it was decreed that September 2nd, 1752 would be followed by September 14th to make the necessary adjustment. This causes rioting in the streets as people claimed they had been robbed of 11 days of their lives. Furthermore as the mood was hostile the Inland Revenue felt that they could not start the next tax year on 25th March as usual, as the already irate taxpayers would effectively be paying a full year’s tax for only 354 days and not 365. The solution was to move the start of the following tax year back to April 6th, where it has remained ever since.

The family of Richard Shelacres and Anne Hill
Richard married Anne Hill 15 months after the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Walton and I initially thought Anne Hill was very pregnant on her wedding day as the Lyndon parish records shows a baptism of their first child, HANNAH SHELACRES, on 11th February 1727. The record is below and is the near the bottom of this section.

1727 - Feb 11 - The Baptism of Hananah Shelacres

 1727 – “Feb  11- Hannah ye Daughter of Richard & Anne Shelacres Bapt’d”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

As Hannah was born in February 1727 it appears this baby was born a mere four or five weeks after the wedding of her parents in December 1726 – but strangely this was not the case – Anne Shelacres (née Hill) was NOT pregnant on her wedding day.

I will explain….

At that time the Julian calendar was being used so the ‘New Year’ started on Lady Day – 25th March. So this meant, as I mentioned above, the day after 24th March 1726 and 25th March 1727. If we look at the sequence of events in the birth of Hannah, the first child of Richard & Anne Shelacres, in the context of the Julian calendar all is revealed.

1726
The year is as follows – 25th March (New Years Day) > April > May > June > July > August > September > October > November > December (29th Richard & Anne marry) > January > February > March (24th – end of the year 1726).

1727
This year is as follows – 25th March (New Years Day) > April > May > June > July > August > September > October > November > December > January > February (11th February – their first child Hannah is baptised) > March (24th – end of the year).

So Hannah was actually baptised around 14 months after the wedding of her parents, consequently Anne was not pregnant on her wedding day.

This dates are supported by reviewing the sequence of all the events listed under 1727 with in the Lyndon parish records which are recorded in this chronological order; March 29th > May 16th > July 8th > November 14th > February 11th (Hannah) > March 5th.

1729 Elizabeth – widow of Richard Shelacres, dies.
On Saturday 12th April 1729 Elizabeth Shelacres, the widow of Richard Shelacres, died at the age of 74 year old and was buried two days later on Monday 14th April in the churchyard of Lyndon church. She was the mother of Mary, Thomas – who died in infancy, Elizabeth, twins Richard (who married Elizabeth Walton and then Anne Hill) and Helen, and Francis. She had been a widow for over 36 years since her husband died in January 1693 and was, together with her husband Richard, the first generation of the Shellaker family to live in the village of Lyndon.

1729 - April 14 Burial Elizabeth Shelacres

1729 – “Apr 14 Elizabeth Shelacres was buried.”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

Lyndon Gravestone - Elizabeth Shelacres 1729 - x2As with the gravestone of her husband Richard, I located and photographed her, gravestone during a visit to Lyndon in 1997. Her gravestone is pictured on the near right and although the inscription was difficult to read, with one word illegible, I was able to record it – the image far right is a mock-up showing that inscription.

And as with her husband, her name is spelt in the parish records as ‘Shelacres‘ but the stonemason has carved ‘Shellaker‘ – even through he has bizarrely split the surname over two lines.

The age on Elizabeth’s gravestone as is given as 74 years which places time of her birth between 13th April 1654 and 12th April 1655.

Richard & Anne (née Hill) Shelacres – the first son
The year following the death of his mother, Richard’s second wife Anne gives birth to their second child, a son who was named RICHARD after his father and his paternal grandfather. The entry for his baptism is on the bottom two rows of the excerpt below from the Lyndon parish records, although on this photocopy, the date of Nov 15 cannot be seen through the heavy staining on the left of the page.

1730 - 15 Nov - Baptism Richard Shelacres

  1730 – ” Nov 15 – Richard the Son of Richard & Anne Shelacres was Baptized”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

Richard & Anne (née Hill) Shelacres – a second son
Three years after the birth of Richard, Anne gives birth to their third child and second son. He was named FRANCIS and he was baptised in Lyndon parish church on Sunday December 16th 1733.  The section from the parish records is below with the the baptism of Francis being the second of the two records in that year.

At the time of the birth of Francis his sister, Hannah was around six years old and his brother Richard was three years old. Furthermore, and very significant to this narrative, this Francis Shelacres who was baptised in Lyndon the week prior to Christmas 1733, is my great-great-great-great grandfather.

1733 - 16 Dec - Baptism Francis Shelacres

1733 – ‘Francis the son of Richard Shel-
acres and Anne Shelacres his wife was bap-
tized Dec’r 16th 1733″

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

Richard & Anne (née Hill) Shelacres – a forth child
It is now Spring three and a half years after the birth of Francis, and on Sunday 22nd May 1737 the baptism of another son takes place in Lyndon. On this occasion the child is baptised with the name THOMAS. The excerpt of the Lyndon parish records below show the details of his baptism as the first entry for that year.

1737 - 22 Nov - Baptism Thomas Shelacres

1737 – ‘May 22nd , Thomas, the son of Rich. Shelacres & Anne
his wife was baptized.”

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

The family was now complete. Richard and his second wife Anne have four children, although it is possible or even probable, they experienced the pain of stillborn children as there are significant ‘gaps’ of three or four years between the birth of their children; Hannah baptised February 1727, Richard baptised November 1730 , Francis baptised December 1733 and Thomas baptised in May 1737.

1737-May---The-Family-of-Richard-&-Anne-Hill1737 – “The Family of Richard Shelacres & Anne Hill in 1737 after the birth of Thomas Shelacres”

 [Direct male ancestors are shown in Blue, the female ancestor in Pink.]

As can be seen above Richard’s children by his first wife Elizabeth; Eleanor, Mary & Elizabeth, have reached the ages of 21, 18 and 16 years respectively. I have no further information regarding these girls as they do not appear again in the Lyndon parish records. Richard’s mother Elizabeth is now absence from the family tree having died eight years before, in 1729.

I have also excluded, for reasons of space and clarity, the family of Richard’s sister Mary Walter. Although at this time she would have been around 55 years old and still living in the village. I have seen records of the marriage of her son William Walter ‘the Younger’, at the age of around 23 years to a local girl, Sarah Bull, in the parish church at Lyndon on April 2nd 1738. It is very likely Richard & Anne Shellaker would have attend the wedding of their nephew with their own four children.

I have also seen records of children produced by the wedding of William Walter ‘the Younger’ to Sarah Bull;  on January 11th 1742 a son William Walter was baptised but he died in infancy and was buried in Lyndon the next month on February 6th 1742 and again it is very likely Richard & Anne Shellaker would have attended this funeral. In December 25th. 1744  the couple had another son, again named William who was baptised on Christmas Day in 1744 and also Thomas baptised a week later on January 2nd 1745. Maybe William & Thomas were twins but these was an urgent need for William to be baptised urgently hence his baptism the week before that of Thomas. (These two boys were Grandsons of Mary Walter (née Shelacres).

William Walter senior, the husband of Mary Walter (née Shelacres) was buried on July 23rd 1741. They had been married for over 35 years. I have found no record of Mary Walter’s (née Shelacres) death.

Also ”missing’ from this tree, again for reasons of space are Richard’s sisters, Elizabeth and Helen, although as mentioned earlier, I do not know their respective whereabouts. I have also excluded Richard’s younger brother Francis who was still living in the village, and I believe unmarried, at the age of 48 years.

The Death of Richard Shelacres
It is now a day in February, around eight years further in our story, and another funeral takes place in the church in the village of Lyndon. Richard Shelacres the husband of Anne (née Hill), and the deceased Elizabeth (née Walton), has died. His funeral takes place on Tuesday 4th February 1745. He was around two weeks short of his 59th birthday at his death. At this time the children from his first marriage; Eleanor, Mary and Elizabeth, would have been  approximately 29, 26 and 24 years old respectively. Of the four children of Richard’s widow Anne, Hannah was a week away from her 17th birthday, Richard was 14 years old, Francis was 11 years old and Thomas would have been 7 years old.

1745 - 4 Feb - Burial Richard Shelacres

1745 – ‘Feb 4th.  Richard Shelacres was buried’.

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland


A Wedding takes place
The next ceremony to take place at the village church is a far happier occasion, the wedding of Hannah Shellaker, daughter of the late Richard Shellaker and Anne. The wedding takes place on Tuesday 25th January 1757 at which time Hannah is 29 years old but only a week or so from her 30th birthday. Hannah married JOSEPH BAKER of Oakham, the country town of Rutland.

 1757
1757 - Jan 25 Marriage Hannah Shelacres Joseph Baker‘The Banns of marriage between Joseph Baker of
the Parish of Oakham in the Country of Rutland and
Hannah Shelacres of this Parish were published on
three several Sundays, to wit, January  the 2nd, the 9th, &
the 16th, in the Parish Church of Lyndon, no one for-
-bidding them, by me C. Belgrave Rector.
Joseph Baker of the Parish of Oakham in the
Country of Rutland and Hannah Shelacres of this
ish were married in this Church by Banns this
twenty fifth day of January in the year 1757 by me.

C. Belgrave. Rector

This marriage was solemnized between us  

Joseph Baker his mark x
Hannah  X Shelacres her Mark

In the presence of
Francis Shelacres x his mark
Richard Shelacres’

 

 

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

The witnesses at Hannah’s wedding were two of her brothers Francis and Richard and of the four people who signed the record, only Richard Shelacres signed his name, the others made their mark with an ‘X’ as was the custom when signatories could not write.

The Death of Anne Shellaker 
After over fourteen years of widowhood which followed the death of her husband Richard, Anne Shelacres (née Hill) dies and is buried in the churchyard at Lyndon on Sunday 21st October 1759. Her age at death is unknown. I have not located  a gravestone for Anne nor one for her husband Richard within that churchyard.

1759 -21 Oct - Burial Anne Shelacres‘Oct’r 21.  Anne Shelacres Widow was buried. 1759’.

Reproduced by permission of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

She was survived by her four children, now all adults; Hannah, now married as Hannah Baker, was around 32 years old and her brothers; Richard, Francis and Thomas were around 28, 25 and 22 years old respectively.

And although the Francis Shelacres who was baptised on 16th Jan 1689 was still living and possibly his sister Mary Walter (née Shelacres), I will now move this narrative on to the Third Generation of the family who lived in the small Rutland village of Lyndon.

Next Page: Lyndon – The Third Generation