Friday, 20 November 2015

Bell story background


I’ve done a bit of fresh work on the names related to the 1833 bell at St George’s, Bradley.

I’m glad because it made me find a 1799 land tax record for the parish which I’m sure I hadn’t seen before.  This record shows, as expected, that Sir John Nelthorpe owned most of the land, although small portions were owner by Mrs Spendlove, --- Heneage Esq and Mrs Scott.  It is their tenants who are taxed, almost all of the tax falling on two of them who must, I assume, have been the largest farmers.  John Nicholson paid £35 and Jas. Phillipson £24 but the five others paid less than £5 between them.

In passing, I notice the Heneage tenant was Nathaniel Kirk (who paid a few shillings).  I assume he was the one whose gravestone (from 1831) was posted here and who has descendants still in farmhouses in the parish today.  I also notice how the surnames largely overlap with those I already knew were the five farmers in the parish in 1841 when the earliest surviving census was taken - then William Phillipson had most land, Samuel Gooseman lived at the Manor, and there was Robert Richardson and both a John Kirk and a Thomas Kirk.

But it is the Nicholson name which stands out in 1799 as the likely father of the man at whose wedding the church bell was damaged.  I suppose it is possible that it was he who lived at the Manor at the time.  There is a gravestone of a Jane Nicholson also from 1831; she was 33 and married to John’s son George, so it might even have been their wedding that the bell was damaged (although I discover George had a number of brothers).

I’ve also easily tracked down the Samuel White of Waltham who recast the bell in 1833 and put his initials on it.  A Waltham man of that name lived 1790-1876.  He is listed as a blacksmith there in a directory entry in 1826.  He is a blacksmith in Kirkgate consistently through the census returns from 1841 to 1871.

Meanwhile, the picture illustrates something quite different, and was taken in St Michael’s on Thursday when the firm which installed the heating system nearly fifteen years ago tracked down to this point and repaired for us the underground leak which had led to system malfunctioning a couple of weeks ago. 

It is the only unpaved bit of the floor; the concrete covers a gap revealed when the 'return stalls' next to the chancel screen were removed ten years ago and was never an aesthetically good idea nor, if it damaged or has put pressure on the pipe, a good idea in any other way.  The repaving of this whole area (where other paved sections of the floor have been damaged by water ingress when the roof leaked) was already on our list of priorities. 

1 comment:

Joy Davis said...

Thank you Peter...fascinating history as always