Friday, April 24, 2009

The Lewis family of Petton, Salop.

My involvement with the Lewis family of Petton comes through the marriage of Elinor/Ellen Lewis to John Bourne Oakley. This couple were my great-great-great grandparents, and they grew up in the neighbouring villages of English Frankton and Petton.

Petton is a small settlement just one mile due south from Cockshutt, and John and Helen Lewis lived in the village at 'Church Cottage', positioned right next to the village church. John Lewis was born in the early 1760s, and his wife Elinor ( Helen/Ellen) Williams was from Guilsfield in Wales (my one and only Welsh ancestor!) The marriage of John Lewis and Elinor Williams is shown above and was copied from the marriage register of Guildfield in Montgomeryshire.

In the Petton Church records, it is recorded that John and Elinor Lewis had two sons and four daughters, all baptised in the Petton Church between 1799 and 1812:

Ann Lewis baptised June 2, 1799, daughter of John and Helen Lewis.

Elizabeth Lewis baptised September 27, 1802, daughter of John and Elinor Lewis.

Jane Lewis baptised March 18, 1804, daughter of John and Elinor Lewis.

John Lewis baptised June 19, 1808, son of John and Helen Lewis.

Richard Lewis baptised June 24, 1810, son of John and Ellen Lewis

Elinor Lewis baptised June 28, 1812, daughter of John and Helen Lewis.

I can find no further records of sons John and Richard. There are however records of another daughter, Mary Lewis, born c. 1807 in Petton, so at the moment it looks as though John and Eleanor Lewis had five daughters survive to reach adulthood...Ann, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary and Ellen.
Only three daughters married- Ellen married John Bourne Oakley and had two daughters: eldest sister Ann married Samuel Thomas and had two daughters and a son; and their sister Jane married John Price and had three daughters and a son.
The very interesting book "Cockshutt & Petton Remembered", edited by the Cockshutt Parish History Group ( and which I purchased from the Shropshire Family History Group)had the following information about the Lewis family of Petton:

" 'Church House' or as it was called in 1928 'Church Cottage' has some of the best views in Petton, from its lofty position next to the church. It started out as a humble 'bothy' or worker cottage that has been added to and improved over the years. It is marked on maps of 1842, but may have been earlier as this was the area of some of the earliest settlement in Petton.
In the 1841 census John Lewis and his wife Helen were living there with their family. They had their children christened at Petton Church, the earliest recorded was Sarah in 1799. Mr Lewis died aged 87 in 1847 and his wife ten years later, so they lived in Petton for most of their lives.
In records, Mr. Lewis was responsible for the tithes on a garden which is now the site of 1 and 2 Copse Cottages." page 328.

The book states that the first Lewis child to be baptised in the Petton Church was Sarah in 1799- the LDS site has this child named as 'Ann', and she is called 'Ann' in all census returns pertaining to her.

The 1841 census finds members of the Lewis family in the following residences:

Petton: John Lewis/ 75/ Ag. Labourer/ born in county
Ellen Lewis/ 70/ born in county
Mary Lewis/ 30/ b in c
Elizabeth Lewis/30/ b in c

Loppington: John Price Jnr/ 29/ tailor/ born in county
Jane Price/ 35/ wife/ b in c ( maiden name Lewis)
Ellen Price/ 7/daughter/ b in c
Elizabeth Price/ 6/ daughter/b in c
John Price/ 4/ son/ b in c
Jane Price/ 1/ daughter/ b in c

English Frankton: John Oakley/ 30/ Yeoman/ b in c
Ellen Oakley/ 25/ b in c (maiden name Lewis)
Jane Oakley/3/ b in c.

Castle Foregate, St. Alkmond, Shrewsbury.
Samuel Thomas/ 40/ ___ clerk/ born in county
Ann Thomas/ 40/ b in c ( maiden name Lewis)
Ellen Thomas/9/ b in c
Jane Thomas/5/ b in c
John Thomas/ 2/ b in c

By the time the 1851 census rolled around, John Lewis had died, and his eighty year old widow Eleanor was still living in their cottage at Petton with her spinster daughter,44 year old Mary. Her daughter Jane Price was still living with her husband at Loppington, and daughter Elizabeth Lewis was living with the Oakley family at English Frankton. Eldest daughter Ann Lewis Thomas was living at Pride Hill, Saint Mary, Shrewsbury, with her husband Samuel, a letter carrier, and children Ellen, Jane and John.

Ellen/Eleanor Lewis, my great-great-great-great grandmother, died in the June 1/4 of 1857 at her home in Petton. Her daughter Ann Lewis Thomas also lost her husband in the decade between 1851 and 1861

After Samuel Thomas died, Ann continued to live in their home at Pride Hill, Shrewsbury, with her daughter Jane. In the 1861 census, both were supporting themselves by dressmaking. The 1871 census shows Ann and Jane Thomas still living together, but they had moved house to School Court, Saint Marys, Shrewsbury.Ann's son, John Lewis Thomas, aged 27, was also living back at home, and was a hair dresser.
It was two of Ann Thomas's children who took in their aunt, Ellen Bourne Oakley, after she was widowed in the 1870s.
These two Thomas children, John Lewis Thomas and his sister Jane Thomas, both aged in a very interesting manner during the course of several census returns.Jane was the elder of the two, born on February 13, 1836, in Shrewsbury. Her brother John Lewis Thomas was born in the December 1/4 of 1838.In the census returns up to 1881, Jane was correctly stated as being the elder sibling by two years, but from 1891, however,wishful thinking on Jane's behalf seems to have taken over...she has not only suddenly became the younger sibling, but she has aged only one year in ten!!! In 1881 Jane Thomas was a 42 year old unmarried dressmaker, and in 1891 she was a 43 year old single dressmaker.Her hair dresser brother John wasn't quite so extreme- his age went from 39 in 1881 to 45 in 1891.
The 1901 census states that John Thomas is again the elder sibling at 52, which is about ten years under his actual age. His sister Jane has thrown truth to the four winds and stated her age as reality she was about 65 years old! She aged from 42 in 1881 to 45 in 1901- a mere three years in twenty!
The 1911 census shows that sanity has prevailed, and Jane Thomas has gone from 45 in 1901 back to her correct age of 74. She has also been reinstated as the elder of the two siblings, with John Lewis Thomas being 72.

Briefly, the Lewis family of Petton can be summarised as follows:
Issue of John Lewis ( c. 1760-1847) and wife Eleanor/Ellen/Helen( c. 1771-1857):

* ANN LEWIS: baptised March 18, 1804, Petton. Married Samuel Thomas,clerk and letter carrier.Lived in Shrewsbury.Family:
1.ELLEN THOMAS born December 16, 1831, Shrewsbury. Married whitesmith and gas fitter JAMES MANLEY, 1858, Shrewsbury.Their children Alice Jane b 1860 d 1870; Alfred Thomas b 1862, Church Stretton; Florence Annie b 1865, Church Stretton; Agnes Lizzy b 1867, Church Stretton; James Lewis b 1869, Church Stretton; Edith Jane b 1871, Church Stretton, and Nellie Franes b 1875, Church Stretton.

2. MARY ANN THOMAS born September 22, 1833, Shrewsbury. No other record:

3. JANE THOMAS born February 13, 1836, Shrewsbury.A dressmaker. Did not marry.

4. JOHN LEWIS Thomas born 1838, Shrewsbury.Hair dresser. Did not marry.

* ELIZABETH LEWIS: baptised September 27, 1802, Petton.Did not marry.In 1841 census was still living with her parents and sister Mary at Petton, aged 38. In 1851 was in English Frankton, visiting with her sister Ellen Bourne Oakley and Ellen's husband John Bourne Oakley.Remained in English Frankton for the rest of her life, accompanied by sister Mary Lewis. They set up a grocers' business in English Frankton, and both sisters were stated as being 'grocers' in the census returns of 1861 and 1871.In 1861 they had two nieces living with them- Ellen Price, 26, and her widowed sister Elizabeth Thwaite, 24. These were the daughters of Jane Lewis and John Price. Elizabeth had with her a year old son, John Thwaite. She had married his father, Solomon Thwaite, in 1858,and he died the following year.Baby John Thwaite fared little better than his father, dying in 1863.
Elizabeth Lewis died in English Frankton in 1874.

* JANE LEWIS: baptised March 18, 1804, Petton.She married John Price, tailor,on November 5, 1832, at Loppington, Salop. Their children were:
1. Ellen Price: baptised August 25, 1833, Loppington.
2. Elizabeth Price: baptised March 15, 1835, Loppington. Married Solomon Thwaite 1858. Widowed 1859. One son from this marriage, John Solomon Price Thwaite, born 1859, died 1863.
3. John Price: baptised November 27, 1836, Loppington.
4. Jane Price: baptised September 1, 1839, Loppington.

Jane Lewis Price died c. 1854-55, Loppington.

*MARY LEWIS: born c. 1807, Petton. Did not marry. Lived with her parents until their deaths, and then resided with her elder sister Elizabeth Lewis at English Frankton until her death in 1874. Mary worked as a grocer with her sister. She died in 1878.

* JOHN LEWIS: baptised June 19, 1808, Petton. No other information.

* RICHARD LEWIS:baptised June 24, 1810, Petton. No further information.

* ELINOR LEWIS: baptised June 28, 1812, Petton. Known as 'Ellen'. My great-great-great grandmother. Married John Bourne Oakley, and had two daughters, Jane Elizabeth Oakley and Margaret Ellen Oakley.
Elinor's story shall continue with her husband's in the next blog.

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