William & Sarah Shellaker

CHAPTER II

‘Missing years’ and a move to a new village

 

CHILDREN ARRIVE – A MOVE TO THE VILLAGE OF TUGBY
On their wedding day in 1815 in the village of Exton William was 27 years old – his wife Sarah was 21. At this point in the story I have an unusual and unexplained gap of over a decade between their marriage and a record of a birth of a child. If anyone can thrown light upon this gap I would be very interested.

On Saturday 27th May 1826 a baptism took place at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Oakham in the County of Rutland of a girl born on Saturday 13th May 1826. The girl was named MARY SHELLAKER and she is recorded as being the daughter of William & Sarah (née Hester) Shellaker. On this record William is recorded as a ‘Shoemaker and his wife Sarah as being ‘the daughter of Robert and Ann Hester’. The Minister conducting the baptism was Richard Eland. At this time William was 37 years old – his wife Sarah was 31 years.

Mary Baptism - 1826Mary the Daughter of William Shillaker of [Tugby crossed out] Lyndon in the Parish of Lyndon in the County of Rutland, Shoemaker, and of Sarah his wife, who was the daughter or Robert and Ann Hester was born on the Thirteenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Twenty-Six. And solemnly baptized with water, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, on the Twenty Seventh day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Twenty-Six. By me [Unknown]. 

LRO – R46 Not MF46 Record No. 123

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

In the mid-nineteenth century there were Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist Churches in Oakham. The Wesleyan Church, which was probably built in 1811, was in Dean Street behind the site of the present church – it has long since been demolished.

Incidentally this baptism in 1826 in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is the very first evidence of religious non-conformity within the Shellaker family which continues to this day.

 A Nonconformist in England is one who does not belong to the Established Church – The Church of England. These include Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, Unitarians and Plymouth Brethren all of whom are considered Nonconformists.

On this record of Mary Shellaker’s birth and baptism is, what I believe,  an interesting clue as to the date the Shellaker family moved from Lyndon to Tugby. The entry starts ‘Mary, the daughter of William Shellaker of…‘ at this point the village name is required – the first entry was ‘Tugby’ but name was crossed out and replaced with the word ‘Lyndon’ and continues with ‘….in the Parish of Lyndon in the County of Rutland’. I speculate that in May 1826 the family may have been in the process of moving from Lyndon to Tugby but had not yet completed the move, so possibly they thought Lyndon should be the village to appear on this official document.

However by the spring of following year their firstborn baby daughter had died. Mary Shellaker, the daughter of William & Sarah (née Esther) Shellaker died on Saturday April 28th 1827 aged 11 ½ Months and around two weeks short of her first birthday. Mary was buried in the graveyard of Tugby church. At this time William was now 38 – his wife Sarah 32 years.

A SECOND DAUGHTER
A few months after the death of her baby daughter Sarah became pregnant again as a second baptism took place on Tuesday 29th April 1828 also at the same Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Oakham and as before, another daughter. This second daughter was born on Tuesday 1st April 1828 and was named MARY JANE SHELLAKER. The document shows she was daughter of William Shellaker a ‘Shoemaker’ and Sarah Shellaker ‘the daughter of Robert and Ann Hester’. At this time William was 39 years old – his wife Sarah was approaching 31 years of age.

Mary Jane Shellaker - Baptism - 1828Mary Jane the Daughter of William Shillaker of Tugby in the Parish of Tugby in the County of Leicester Shoe Maker and of Sarah his wife, who was the daughter of Robert  and Ann Hester was born on the First day of April  in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Twenty Eight. And was solemnly baptized with water, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, on the Twenty Ninth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and Twenty Eight. By me Daniel Kirby Shufflebotham

[LRO – R46 Not MF46 Record No. 148]

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

A SON FOR WILLIAM & SARAH
Two year pass and a third child is born and this occasion, a first son. He was born on Sunday 25th April 1830 and was baptised around 5 weeks later on Tuesday 8th June 1830 again at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Oakham.  As before, the  father William is recorded as a ‘Shoemaker’ – he is now 41 years of age and his wife Sarah is recorded as ‘the daughter of Robert and Ann Hester’. She is approaching the age of 36 years. The boy bore the same name as his paternal Grandfather – RICHARD SHELLAKER and he was my Great-Grandfather.

Richard Baptism - 1830Richard the Son of William Shillaker of Tugby in the Parish of Tugby in the County of Leicester Shoemaker and of Sarah his wife, who was the daughter or Robert and Ann Hester was born on the Twenty fifth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Thirty. And solemnly baptized with water, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, on the Eight day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Thirty. By me William Mourat 

[LRO – R46 Not MF46 Record No. 192]

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

1830 – TUGBY POLL BOOK
During the year his son Richard was born another early record can be found showing William Shellaker living in the east Leicestershire village of Tugby. This is the Poll Book of 1830, a section of which can be seen below. The Poll Books contained a list of electors (confined to men over the age of 21) who voted at elections and for whom they voted.

Poll Book Tugby 1830 - William ShellakerPoll books were originally introduced in 1696 by Act of Parliament as an attempt to reduce disputes over election results and electoral fraud. The local sheriffs to make a list of voters and the candidate they voted for in county elections. These could then be published as poll books. Recording electoral information in this manner continued until 1872 when the secret ballot was introduced.

Incidentally the term ‘sheriff’ is a shortening of the term ‘shire reeve’ an Old English word for a royal official responsible for keeping the peace (a “reeve”) throughout a shire.

The poll book records the name of the voter, in this case ‘William Shillaker’ (don’t be concerned regarding the different spelling of his surname – it is common in historical records to see such variations) and also confirms his abode as ‘Tugby’. William’s occupation is also recorded as ‘Cordwainer’.

A cordwainer is a shoemaker or a cobbler. Traditionally a Cordwainer, a term used in England since the year 1100, was given to someone who made high quality shoes and boots out of the finest leathers, as distinct from a cobbler, who repaired shoes and boots.

However this distinction between a Cordwainer and Shoemaker weakened over the centuries so we cannot know if William Shellaker made shoes and boots (Cordwainer) or repaired them (Shoemaker). In all probability, in small village such as Tugby he possibly did both. William’s address is not given but the book indicates he has a ‘House and Garden’ and the final piece of information records he cast his vote, like most of his neighbours, for the candidates ‘K’ and ‘M’ but not ‘P’. (I do not know the names of the people represented by these initials as I have not seen the opening section of this Poll Book). In 1830 William Shellaker was aged around 41 years old.

A SECOND SON
We move forward three years from the birth of their son Richard and William & Sarah have a fourth child –  a second son. This boy was born on Wednesday 25th December 1833 – Christmas Day. He was named WILLIAM after his father and like his siblings, William was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Oakham. The date of his baptism was Tuesday 11th February 1834 and as before, the father William was recorded as a ‘Shoemaker’ and the child mother Sarah as ‘the daughter of Robert and Ann Hester’.

William Baptism - 1833William the Son of William Shillaker of Tugby in the Parish of Tugby in the County of Leicester Shoemaker and of Sarah his wife, who was the daughter or Robert and Ann Hester was born on the Twenty Fifth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Thirty Three. And solemnly baptized with water, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, on the Eleventh day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Twenty-Six. By me Richard Pattison

[LRO – R46 Not MF46 Record No. 162]

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

And so seven years after the death in 1827 of the first child Mary, William & Sarah Shellaker in the spring of 1834, now have three children; their new born son William, Mary Jane who had now reached the age of 6 years and Richard aged 4 years. For 18 months all seems well but on 1st October 1835 their youngest child William dies at the age of 20 months and was buried in the churchyard at Tugby. At this time William is around 45 years old and wife Sarah is approximately 39 years old.

Queen Victoria Coronation1837 – THE START OF THE VICTORIAN AGE
Around eighteen months later on 20th June 1837 King William IV died and the throne was inherited by his niece, Princess Victoria, who became Queen at the age of 18 and so began her long reign which lasted for the next 63 years. Her coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on 28th June 1838 and was a huge occasion with over 400,000 visitors went to London to witness Victoria being crowned. A picture of Queen Victoria’s official coronation portrait is shown on the right.

In February 1840 Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and between November 1840 and 1857, they produced nine children, all of whom survived in adulthood.

1840 – TUGBY POLL BOOK
In the year of Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert, William Shellaker is again recorded in a Poll Book. The year is 1840 by which time William is approximately in his 53rd year. This Poll Book contains slightly more interesting detail than the one printed a decade previously.

Poll Book Tugby 1840 - William ShellakerThis time his name is recorded as ‘William Shilaker’ (again a variation on the ‘normal’ spelling and different from the 1830 book) and his place of abode remains Tugby.’   His ‘qualification’ to entitle him to vote is recorded as  ‘Freehold Houses’ – this means he was a ‘Freeholder’ owing his property as opposed to a leaseholder who live is in house that reverts back to the owner once the lease expires.

The interesting addition in this book is the location of his house which is recorded as ‘Rotton Rowe’. I do not have any information regarding the whereabouts of this road in the village of Tugby however is apparently a common street name in towns and villages throughout England and Scotland and describes a place where there was, or once was, a row of ramshackle cottages often infested with rats.

1841 CENSUS – WILLIAM & SARAH SHELLAKER IN TUGBY
This was the first national census to record details of individuals, previous Censuses had only counted numbers – in 1841 names and ages are recorded for the first time. In this Census William and Sarah and their two surviving children remain in Tugby. Also in their house are two other people, a boy aged 15 years old named Henry Sewell and a man, Isaac Sumpter who was aged 25 years who appear to be apprentices of William Shellaker.

The ages of William and Sarah are recorded as being 50 years and 45 years respectively. Their daughter Mary recorded as being 12 years old and son Richard 10 years. However this is not an accurate record of their ages at this time. William was actually 52; Sarah was 46. This is not an error, in this Census the ages of people up to 15 years old are listed exactly as reported but ages over 15 were rounded down to the nearest 5 years (i.e. William’s aged of 52 years would be listed on the census as age 50 years). However the children whose ages should have been recorded accurately are both apparently incorrect by one year. Mary, being born on the 1st April 1828, would have been 13 years old on the day of the Census- 6th June 1841. Likewise her brother Richard, who was born on 25th April 1830, would have been 11 years old at this time.

1841 Census William Shellaker
1841 Census – William & Sarah Shellaker in Tugby

Tugby RG number: HO107 Piece: 593 Book/Folio: 23/6 Page: 10

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

Although the information on this Census is relatively clear I have reprinted the details below:

Name Age Occupation Whether Born in same County
William Shellaker 50 Shoemaker Yes
Sarah Shellaker 45 No
Mary Shellaker 12 Yes
Richard Shellaker 10 Yes
Henry Sewell 15 Shoemaker App No
Isaac Sumpter 25             " No

FURTHER DEATHS IN THE FAMILY
Just over a year after this Census was taken, Mary Jane Shellaker, the daughter of William & Sarah, dies on Thursday 6th October 1842 at the age of 14 years old. Mary is buried in Tugby churchyard, sharing the same grave her infant brother William who died some seven years before. Of William & Sarah’s four children now only one child survives, their 12 year old son – Richard. When their daughter Mary Jane died, William was 53 years old, his wife Sarah was 47 years old.

Five years after the death of his daughter, William youngest sister Catherine Partridge (née Shellaker), dies in the spring of 1848 in the Rutland village of Manton at the age of 58 years old.

Williams BibleWithin a Bible which belonged to William Shellaker, I found a page, shown on the right, which details the baptism dates of three of the four children of William & Sarah Shellaker.

Mary Jane. The Daughter of William Shellaker and Sarah his wife was born on the 1st Day of April 1828.
Baptised the 29th April 1828
By Daniel Kirby Shufflebotham

Richard was born the 25th day of April 1830.
Baptised the 8th day of June
By William Mourat

William was born the 25th day of December 1833.
Baptised the 11th day of February 1834
By Richard Pattison

Mary Ann Shellaker. Died the 6th October 1842

There are two unexplained items to mention;

Their first child, named ‘Mary’ and was born in May 1826 but died in April 1827 is not listed and

Secondly the daughter born in 1828 is named ‘Mary Jane’ on this list and on the official record on her baptism but at the bottom of the list her death is written as ‘Mary Ann’ and not ‘Mary Jane’, which is puzzling.

 

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