Richard Oakley was my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather. He resided at The Moat, Stapleton, Salop, which was to be home to my Oakley family for many years.
Richard was baptised at Westbury, Salop, on May 11, 1705, the son of John Oakley and Margaret Farrington.He married Elizabeth Blakeway, the daughter of Roger Blakeway, in c. 1730. She was a widow, having been married to Richard's brother, Thomas Oakley. Richard and Elizabeth had the following children:
1. RICHARD OAKLEY.
Richard Oakley was the first child born to Richard Oakley and his wife Elizabeth Blakeway. He was baptised on July 26, 1731, at Pontesbury, Shropshire.
Sadly, Richard wasn’t destined for a long life…he died aged only 3 ½ years, and was buried in Pontesbury Church Yard on July 26, 1735.
2. TIMOTHY OAKLEY.
Timothy Oakley was the second son born to Richard and Elizabeth Oakley. He was baptised at St. George’s Church, Pontesbury, on January 11, 1733, several miles away from the family property ‘Moat Farm’, between Church Pulverbatch and Stapleton.
Timothy was about 25 years old when he married Martha Wood on November 17, 1758.
Timothy and Martha Oakley had a typically large family of five sons and three daughters:-
a) THOMAS OAKLEY: Baptised 1759, Condover. Buried March 10,1760, SS Andrew and Mary, Condover.
b) WILLIAM OAKLEY: Baptised September 8, 1760, Condover. Buried October 9, 1816, aged 56 years, at Condover. Noted in the burial records that he was of ‘The Grove’.
He may have married Mary Easthope, March 7,1791, at Condover. Children: twins Thomas and John , bpt April 29, 1798, Condover.
I’m not sure about this family, as William, son of Timothy and Martha, was not mentioned in the wills of any of his family- namely that of his father in 1820, his sister Elizabeth in 1837, brother Thomas in 1848 or brother in law Thomas Hiles. In fact, I’m 99% certain that this family does not belong to William Oakley. I’ll stick in the details in case I’m proven wrong( but I doubt it! )
John Oakley, son of William and Mary, married widow Elizabeth Berguin (nee Coxhall) on March 29, 1830, at Church Pulverbatch. Elizabeth had been born at Wentnor, Salop, in 1801. They had five children- William 1831; Thomas 1832; Martha 1835; Richard 1836 and Edward 1839.
Second son, Thomas, was baptised on August 27, 1832. At Pontesbury on May 17, 1852,he married Emma Hartshorn. They had three sons- John 1853, Edward 1856 and William 1860.
Thomas Oakley died in June 1860 and was buried at Longden.
c) ELIZABETH OAKLEY: Baptised May 20, 1762, at Condover. Remained a spinster all of her life, and died in 1837, aged 75. She was buried on October 12, 1837. Elizabeth left a wonderfully detailed will before she died, leaving generous bequests to many of her nieces and nephews.
d) THOMAS OAKLEY: Baptised on October 30, 1764, at Condover. He married Elizabeth Forster on September 5, 1795, aged almost thirty, at St. Chad, Shrewsbury. Thomas and Elizabeth had seven children: Charles Oakley b September 14, 1796, St. Chad; Diana Oakley b March 24, 1798; Jane b July 3, 1799; twins George and Henry b December 14, 1800; Martha bpt 1802 and Ann b June 27,1803.
All of Thomas’s children married except for Diana, Martha and Henry. Jane married William Reeves. Diana was a grocer.
e) MARTHA OAKLEY: Baptised August 14, 1766, at Condover, Martha was the fifth child born to her parents Timothy and Martha Oakley. At the age of 25, Martha married Edward Ditcher from Berrington. They were married in the Church of SS Andrew and Mary, Condover, on June 30, 1791. Ten children were born to the couple: Edward Ditcher 1792; Timothy Ditcher 1793 d 1794; Jane Ditcher 1795; Emma Ditcher 1796; Martha Ditcher 1797; Sarah Ditcher 1799;Elizabeth Ditcher 1800;Timothy Ditcher 1802;Anne 1804 and Eliza 1805( died February 1824, Berrington, aged 19).
Martha Oakley Ditcher died in June of 1822, aged 56. She was buried at All Saints, Berrington, on June 26, 1822. Her husband Edward survived her by 15 years. He was buried at Berrington on February 22, 1837, aged 77 years.
Daughter Emma Ditcher married a surgeon named Edward Weston. Namesake Martha Ditcher remained a spinster and died in November of 1833, aged 36 years. Her will leaves most of her property to her sisters, Emma Weston (who was named as her executrix),Jane Hiles, Sarah Ditcher, Elizabeth Ditcher and Hannah (Ann) Ditcher.
Eldest daughter Jane Ditcher married twice. First was on July 15, 1816, to the wealthy Francis France, with whom she had two daughters and a son- Emma b October 17, 1817; Jane b November 18, 1821and son James France b January 6, 1820. Francis France died in 1821, aged 34,and was buried at Meole Brace on October 26, 1821.
Janes Ditcher France remarried five years later, this time to her first cousin, Timothy Oakley Hiles ( their mothers were sisters). Jane and Timothy were married on September 7, 1826, the bride being about eight years older than her groom. Jane was 31 and Timothy 23, and they went on to have a family of ten children. The census return of 1841 finds the family still at Brace Meole, where Timothy had taken over the mill from his father. The family was Timothy 35, Jane 40 (remembering that ages were rounded down to the nearest five), Ann 14, Elizabeth 12, Emma 10, Thomas 9, Lucy 7, Harriett 6, Timothy 4, Robert 3 and Mary 2.
A final daughter, Isabel Hiles, was born at Meole Brace the following year.
Directly next door in the ’41 were two of Jane’s children from her first marriage, son James, 20, and daughter Jane, 15. James was shown as being ‘Independent’, and he and his sisters had three servants living under their roof-Martha Tomlins, 20, Hannah James, 15, and Jane Wilcox, 15.
Several houses away lived their grand-uncle, batchelor Timothy Oakley, who was described as being 70 and also independent. Living with him was his great-niece, Sarah Ditcher, 30, and a housekeeper, Elizabeth Burgess (whom he left money in his will).
We next find the Hiles family in the census of 1851.
Timothy Oakley Hiles is still head of the family at the age of 48 years. Their address is given as Meole Mill, Meole Brace.Timothy is a 48 year old farmer, farming 100 acres and employing 3 men. Jane Hiles is a 55 year old farm wife, and eight of their ten children are living with them…..
Ann Hiles 23, Emma Hiles 20, Thomas 19, Harriet 16, Timothy 11, Robert 13, Mary Ann 12 and Isabel 9. Timothy and Robert are noted as being ‘scholars’ and the two youngest girls ‘scholars at home’. Two female house servants are also living with the family.
Missing are Elizabeth and Lucy Hiles…I can’t find Lucy on this census, although she returns in the next one ten years later. Elizabeth is working out of the county- she is in Hastings St. Clement in Sussex, staying with the family of head of the house, widow Elizabeth Wilson. Elizabeth Hiles was the governess for
Mrs. Wilson’s three granddaughters Arabella, Sarah and Helen North who were aged 14, 11 and 8 respectively
The 1861 census painted a more complete picture of the family. We find Timothy and Jane living at their Meole Brace farm with six of their ten children and two servants. Tim is a 58 year old farmer and miller employing 4 men. Wife Jane is 65 years old, and the daughter from her first marriage, Jane France, is living with them and is a 39 year old spinster. Unmarried daughters Emma, 30, Harriett 26, Isabel 19, Lucy 27 and Mary Ann 22 were also in the house, as was 23 year old son, Robert.
Missing from the family group were Ann, Elizabeth, Thomas and Timothy.
Thomas Hiles was soon located living in the same town, and with him was his sister Ann, aged 33, who was serving as his housekeeper. Twenty nine year old Thomas Hiles was the owner
of Pulley Farm in Meole Brace. Two servants, 25 year old Mary Ellis and 13 year old boy John Tomlins, also lived with the Hiles siblings at Pulley Farm.
Timothy Oakley Hiles died in 1872, aged about 70 years. Wife and cousin Jane Ditcher France Hiles died two years before, in 1870, aged about 75. Both were buried at Meole Brace.
f) ANNA OAKLEY: baptised November 8, 1768, Condover, the daughter of Timothy and Martha Oakley. Was in her early thirties when she married miller Thomas Hiles from Pulley near Meole Brace on May 28, 1801, at Condover. Their children were Harriet Hiles b March 23, 1802;Timothy Oakley Hiles b February 27, 1803;Emma Hiles b October 11, 1804 and Samuel Hiles born February 27, 1803. Harriet, Timothy and Emma were all baptised at Meole Brace on the same day, April 4, 1805. Samuel, being born after this date and missing out on the all-in christening, was baptised on June 1, 1806.
Emma Hiles died in October 1817, aged only 12. She was buried at Meole Brace on October 1, 1817.
Anna outlived her husband. Thomas Hiles made his will on January 29, 1829, and it was proved the following year. Mention was made of his ‘dear wife Anna’, brother Richard and sisters Martha, Arabella and Hannah, sons Timothy and Samuel and daughter Harriett. He also refers to his land “Mill Meadow” and the water corn mill, which was inherited by elder son Timothy who took over as the miller.
Thomas Hiles was buried at Meole Brace on April 19, 1830, aged 54 years. His wife, Anna Oakley Hiles, outlived him by only two years. She was buried at Meole Brace on June 1, 1832, aged 63.
g) TIMOTHY OAKLEY: Baptised May 17, 1770, at Condover, to Timothy Oakley and Martha Wood. Tim Oakley never married, and when he died in c. 1848 he left legacies to many of his nephews and nieces. In the 1841 census, Timothy Oakley was living at Meole Brace near the home of the family of Timothy Oakley Hiles, his nephew.
h) SAMUEL OAKLEY: Baptised on May 24, 1774, Condover, son of Timothy Oakley and Martha Wood. Samuel died at the young age of 2 years in 1776. He was buried on September 4, 1776, SS Andrew & Mary, Condover.
3. ROGER OAKLEY.
Roger Oakley was baptised on February 6, 1735, at Pontesbury, the third son born to Richard Oakley and Elizabeth Blakeway.
Very little has been discovered about this member of our Oakley clan. He is mentioned in the will of his father in 1763, and was about 28 years old when his father died.
Roger married Anne Green, the daughter of Richard Green of Minsterley.I can find three children born to this couple- a son Roger Oakley was baptised on July 25, 1762, at Westbury, followed by a daughter named Elizabeth who was baptised on March 13, 1764. Another son, Thomas Oakley, was baptised on November 3, 1765, also at Westbury.
The will of Roger’s mother, Elizabeth Oakley, in 1771 mentions “my grand daughter Elizabeth Oakley, the daughter of Roger Oakley”, but no other child of his marriage.
Roger Oakley died in February, 1789, and was buried in the churchyard of St. John the Baptist, Stapleton, on February 12, 1789, aged 54.
4. RICHARD OAKLEY: my ancestor, subject of the next blog.
5. EDWARD OAKLEY: baptised May 31, 1739, son of Richard Oakley and Elizabeth Blakeway. Edward died three years later, and was buried on May 17, 1742.
6. MARY OAKLEY: married to Thomas Hughes on April 28, 1752. Mary was in fact a child from Elizabeth Blakeway's first marriage to Thomas Oakley, so was Richard Oakley's niece as well as step-daughter.
7. ELIZABETH OAKLEY:Elizabeth Oakley was the last born child of Richard and Elizabeth Oakley. Her baptism has not been found, but she appears in her father’s will in 1763, and her death notice was published in The Gentleman’s magazine of March 1814, giving her father as ‘Mr. Oakeley of the Moat near Stapleton’.
Her death notice gives her year of birth as about 1743, but parish records show that Elizabeth Oakley married William Wood on September 2, 1756, at Stapleton. This would mean that Elizabeth was only 13 or 14 when she married, and so the age given by The Gentleman’s magazine must be treated with suspicion.
William was from Bayston near Shrewsbury, and he was a church warden at Stapleton in later life. Elizabeth and William had eight children, all born at Bayston.
Although Elizabeth and William were married in 1756, no children appear in the baptismal records until 1761. Perhaps Elizabeth was immature physically at the time of her marriage, and several years passed childless before she was able to fall pregnant. Whatever the case, once the first child arrived, others appeared frequently and continued until 1779. They were all baptised in the parish church at Condover.
Elizabeth Wood bpt November 26, 1761.
Mary Wood bpt June 11, 1764.
Samuel Wood bpt April 24, 1766.
William Wood bpt August 9, 1768.
Anna Maria bpt August 2, 1770.
Richard Wood bpt December 28, 1772.
Thomas W ood bpt December 29, 1774. Died July 28, 1787, aged 12.
John Wood bpt August 22, 1779.
William Wood the Elder died in May of 1805, aged 78 years. He was buried in the St. John the Baptist burial ground on May 22, 1805. His widow Elizabeth lived for another nine years. Her obituary in the March 1814 edition of ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ reads as follows:
“ January 19. At the house of her youngest son John, in London, aged 71, Mrs. Elizabeth Wood, widow of the late Mr. William Wood, of Bayston, near Shrewsbury, and daughter of Mr. Oakeley of the Moat near Stapleton.
If to have led an exemplary life in the humble and obscure, though most useful walks of life, be worthy of record among the passing events of time, no one ever had a more just claim to it; nor to that tribute of regret for the loss of her, and respect for her memory which hath been evinced by all who had the pleasure of knowing her, and particularly by her numerous and afflicted family. Her remains were deposited in St. Pauls, Covent Garden.”
WILL OF RICHARD OAKLEY, 1763.
In the name of God, Amen. I, Richard Oakley, of the parish of Stapleton and in the county of Salop, Farmer, being weak in body but of sound mind memory thanks be to God do make this, my last will and testament in manner and form following:
That is to say that I will that my body be decently buried at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named.
I will also that my debts and funeral expenses be all discharged.
I bequeath unto my well-beloved wife Elizabeth Oakley the sum of three hundred pounds in a years time after my decease and what household goods she shall think proper and for the said Elizabeth Oakley to _____ after her decease the sum of fifty pounds a piece to my three sons. That is to say Timothy Oakley, Roger Oakley and Richard Oakley and to Elizabeth the wife of William Wood of Bayston the sum of thirty pound, the money to be paid out of the stock.
I will and bequeath also to my son Richard Oakley all my goods, chattels, implements of husbandry, moneys, security for money of what kind or nature soever and I do constitute and appoint him sole executor of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I have set my hand this fifth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty three.
Page 2: Salop, 21st October, 1763. Probate of this will to be granted to Richard Oakley.
Page 3: Onesimus Haynes of Dorrington in the parish of Condover in the county of Salop, schoolmaster, made oath that he was well acquainted with Richard Oakley late of the parish of Stapleton, farmer, deceased, and hath frequently seen him write and was well acquainted with his character and manner of handwriting, and he said that he has carefully perused the original will hereunto annexed marked with the letter ‘A’ and that the whole ___ and contents of the said will and the name Richard Oakley, subscribed____and all of the character and handwriting of the said Richard Oakley the Testator, deceased.
Signed: Onesimus Haynes.
21 October 1763. The above named Onesimus Haynes has sworn to the truth of the foregoing affidavit before me Thomas White Senior.
WILL OF ELIZABETH OAKLEY, WIFE OF RICHARD OAKLEY.
In the name of God Amen. This is the will and last testament of me, Elizabeth Oakley, late of Condover in the county of Salop, widow. First I give and bequeath unto my son in law Thomas Hughes and Mary his wife the sum of fifty pounds. I also give and bequeath unto my son Timothy Oakley the sum of twenty one pounds and my silver tankard.
I also give and bequeath unto my son Roger Oakley the sum of one shilling. I also give and bequeath unto my granddaughter Elizabeth, the daughter of Roger Oakley the sum of two pounds.
I also give and bequeath unto my son-in-law William Wood of Bayston and Elizabeth his wife the sum of twenty pounds. I also give and bequeath unto my son Richard Oakley one shilling. I also give and bequeath unto my granddaughter Jane Hughes my bed, bedstead and all the clothing and furniture thereto belonging and as to all the rest residue and remainder of my personal effects of what nature or kind so ever I give and bequeath the same to my daughter Mary the wife of Thomas Hughes and lastly I do hereby appoint John Oakley of Stapleton, Yeoman, sole executor of this my last will and testament and do herby revoke all former wills made by me and do require that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid within six months after my decease. In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this first day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy one.
X The mark of Elizabeth Oakley
Signed sealed published and declared by the said Elizabeth Oakley for her last will and testament in the presence of us who have witnessed the former in her presence and at her request.
WILL OF THOMAS HUGHES, HUSBAND OF MARY.
Names mentioned: Me, Thomas Hughes of Shrewsbury, gentleman.
- My dear wife Mary Hughes all my estate both real and personal wheresoever situate and being for and during the term of her natural life with the power for her to dispose of my leasehold situate on the Castle Hill in or near the town of Shrewsbury and now held by John ___ ____ as she my said wife shall think proper.
And I give and devise all that my messuages or dwelling house shop ____ and premises with their app___ situate in the said town of Shrewsbury in or near a certain street or place called Pride Hill and lately in the occupation of Mr Timothy Oakley butcher but now or late of Richard Lewis butcher and also two rooms there in the holding of Mr Philip Beath unto the use of my grandson John Wilding the Younger.
I hereby desire my said wife to permit my son in law John Wilding to occupy the said dwelling house and two rooms during her natural life, he may said son in law paying yearly to her the sum of eleven pounds twicew a year in two equal namely payments on 29th September and 25th March.
I give unto my granddaughters Mary Wilding and Ann Wilding the sum of 100 pounds each.
Unto my grandson Charles Blair 100 pounds.( All three yet to reach 21)
Everything else divided between wife Mary, son in law John Wilding the elder, grandson John Wilding the younger( latter two named as executors.
Signed 12 September 1796.
Codicil: 6 October 1796.
After the decease of my wife, to John Wilding my son in law 250 pounds upon trust to lay out the same at interest upon Government or other good securities pay and apply the clear sum of ten pounds yearly and every year unto my daughter Mary, the wife of Robert Blair, during her natural life for her sole and separate use, not to be subject to the debts of her husband.
Proved August 1799