Thursday, 12 March 2015

More Mashford musings

Photo: Elizabeth Mashford Lewis Atkins, circa 1870.

I have a few bits and pieces to add to our slowly growing story of the Mashfords. This from a Mashford family connection in the UK, Peter Selley:

I have had a few more thoughts about the Mashfords of Coldridge, 5 miles from where I live.

For various reasons I doubt they originated in or had any connection with Lincolnshire.

I haven’t been able to confirm that that Elizabeth Mashford’s grandfather, John (1771-1834), was Parish Clerk at Coldridge; but his younger son Josiah Mashford (1798-1871) certainly was (1861 census and Will).

NB: I have a copy of the Will and just have to work out how to post it.

I suspect that George May Mashford b 1825 was named after George May who was a cordwainer (shoe maker) in Coldridge where he died aged 43 in December 1823. It seems that although married, he had no children. (In 1802 George May married Agnes Passmore in Bondleigh: a Stephen Cann was a witness, and George’s apprentice was Peter Cann Passmore, so they may be related to Mary (Cann) Mashford.)

NB: I came across this information regarding Peter Cann sometime ago and think he is related.
In 1841, Widow Mary Mashford, a publican, was living in Coldridge with three daughters Elizabeth (21), Mary Ann (10) and Jane (8). Her sons were out to work – John Cann (18) was an apprentice to William Clotworthy a tailor in Zeal Monachorum, George May (16) was apprenticed to John Harris, publican of the Taw Bridge Inn, West of Coldridge. Josiah Labbett (13) was a servant at Birch Farm near East Leigh, South of Coldridge.
In 1841 Josiah Mashford (Mary’s brother in law) was also a publican (and shoe maker) in Coldridge, probably at the “Ring of Bells”.

Photo: Elizabeth circa 1870 with her son, James Haynes Atkins.

A mystery is how or why Mary should take her family to South Australia without either having a contact there, or emigrating with another man. A possible explanation for Elizabeth’s illegitimacy story would be if her mother arrived with or associated with a man who was not Elizabeth’s father?

All things are possible when it comes to sifting through the past but it seems difficult to believe that Mary arrived with another man and even if she did, that it would impact Elizabeth who was then 27 years old. 

I am not convinced Elizabeth was illegitimate, although that is the family story. From my understanding illegitimacy was shameful for the times and did impact class. Elizabeth may have been a poor relation; a poor illegitimate relation - both of which would make her a lower class than the others, or she may not.

But we have since gone on to establish that both George May and John Cann Mashford, her brothers, were upper working or even lower middle class, which leaves our Elizabeth where? Again, there is always the possibility of poor relations but at this point, there seems no reason to believe that Elizabeth was not the daughter of John Mashford and Mary Cann.

There was a controversy surrounding Elizabeth when she arrive in South Australia over the fact that, supposedly, she had agreed en route to take a job with the Montefiore's, a prominent family.

The South Australian Tuesday 30th March 1847 p 5Elizabeth Mashford, aged 25, Was charged, under the Masters' end Servants' Act, with having broken her agreement to eater the service of J. B. Montefiore, Esq. The young woman had been engaged on board the Princess Royal, as housemaid, for one month, and was to have come to her place in two or three days after the agreement, but did not do so. Her wages were to have been £16 per year. The mother of the defendant stated that she had sought an engagement for herself also at Mr Montefiore's, and not succeeding in her application, induced her daughter not to go. His Worship, after some comments on the law between master and servant, told the defendant that, in consequence of the intercession of Mr Montefiore, he should award to her a much lighter punishment than it was within his discretion to do, viz., two days imprisonment.

The Montefiore's were Jewish and perhaps that was why Elizabeth changed her mind, but what it says is that the Mashford's were not amongst the lowest of the low and the poorest of the poor, even if Elizabeth was thinking of working as a servant, which, in fact, she ultimately did.

I do begin to wonder though what was different about Elizabeth given that both of her brothers were seemingly possessed of some wealth and considered respectable and one sister went on to marry someone from the upper echelons of society.

Jane Mashford married George O'Brien in St James's Church, Melbourne on February 23, 1853. George O'Brien was the fifth son of Admiral Robert O'Brien, born at Dromoland Castle, County Clare in 1822. He was thus the grandson of a baronet, and through him a direct descendant of a dynasty of Irish kings. Moreover he was first cousin to the thirteenth Lord Inchiquin who succeeded to that title in 1855.

We have here, Elizabeth facing life as a servant, and marrying one, and her sisters not! Why? She was the eldest and generally in a family of the times, that confers even more rank, but her destiny was servitude.

It is another reason to question whether or not Elizabeth was the natural born daughter of John and Mary even though every indication is that she probably was. Unless, perhaps, she was Mary's illegitimate daughter to said nobleman, as the family story recounts, and the money which helped the family in general and got them to Australia, had come, over the years, from Elizabeth's natural father.

In the way of the times, this money would not necessarily have gone to Elizabeth herself, but to her half-brothers, and given the closeness of her relationship with George, and perhaps his guilt, it would or could explain why she was looked after in his Will.

Illegitimacy, even with a noble father, still conferred lower rank and the fact that she married Peter Lewis, a servant, offers some insight into her position. It may not have been a ranking in the past, or it may well have bee, but when she got to Australia, it was.

There has also been a suggestion that Elizabeth was not literate, when clearly, her siblings were. Was it why she 'married down?'

As Kylie wrote previously:

I have never considered our Mashfords as poor, in fact I suspect that they were reasonably well off whilst John was alive.  He was a tailor and all of his sons ended up with trades, and all the children appear literate.  Naturally the death of the male in the family at an early age would have significantly reduced their ability to maintain their lifestyle.  We don’t know their condition before John’s death.  We do know that Mary had no servants in 1841, however she had a 20 year old daughter,  a 12 year old and 7 year old.  Josiah’s female servant was only 15.  His daughter was 10, his son was 15 and he may have been a student. 

Whilst I consider them reasonably well off I do not think that they were of a class that would have employed a servant to prevent a daughter having to get her hands dirty, they were upper working class, bordering on lower middle class.  So the fact that Josiah employed a female servant may have been necessity, not an indication of wealth.  Mary and Elizabeth running a public house would have been equivalent to Josiah’s wife and the female servant.

This is an idea of the makeup of Coldrige.  There are three public houses and all except Mary’s were a secondary occupation.    George Mashford lived in an another section of the parish and may not have been training with Josiah who already had two apprentices. 

From the 8 pages of the 1841 census of people in the section of Coldridge Parish that includes both Mary and Josiah Mashford.

Josiah Mashford publican and shoemaker – he had wife and two children plus a female servant and two apprentices.
Samuel Cann born 1797 – Shoemaker – he is a Cordwainer in 1851 who employs 7 men or women I am not sure.
Mary Mashford Publican

Another  3 shoemakers in separate houses
11  farmers
Minister of the Parish
5 carpenters
1 surgeon
10 weavers  in different houses
Blacksmith and Publican
1 independent person

Plus 10 male servants, 12 female servants, 11 apprentices and 39 ag labs and families.

I can’t tell if there was a weaver’s workshop there or if they were independent weavers.  There is no manager or anything listed in the village so I would guess they did piece work at home or they walked to another section of the parish I haven’t looked at.

From a random page on the internet I found this piece on public houses.  I did notice that there is no description of an inn or anything on any of these houses.  There is other places that are described as an Inn but not these so I suspect that they were not what we would consider a pub.

The publican in the past  In olden times the public house was literally that, a house that the public used. Most of our ancestors were poor, so the public house was used by the local community to gather and save lighting and heating their own homes.  Everything happened in the public house. The post was distributed from there, friendly societies set up, autopsy could be performed, courts held there by travelling judges and even hangings. The community could also show it’s allegiances by the signs they displayed outside their public houses.  Most public houses had a blacksmith attached and stables.

And Luke wrote:

That seems right to me about the birth date for Josiah Mashford. I have also never found any other children for John Mashford and Mary Labbett. I think Josiah Mashford married a Jane Shobrooke on the 1/10/1822. There seems to be a vast disarity in terms of wealth between John Mashford and his wife Mary Mashford nee Cann and his, may be, brother Josiah Mashford. In the 1841 census he seem to have other people living with him.

The 1841 census does not state the relationship to the head of the household as does the 1851 census does so it is hard to know who the other people were, but they might be servents because in the 1851 census Josiah Mashford does have servents living with him including a William Harris. I wonder if this Harriswas the same person who George Mashford lived with in the 1841 Census?

Josiah Mashford  son Joseph Mashford was the local schoolmaster in Coldridge as stated in the 1851 census. Furthermore in the 1851 census sample Josiah Mashford is listed as a farmer of 30 acres. This indicates to me wealth which does not seems to fit with our John Mashford and Mary Cann who's lifes comes across to me as somewhat poor or at least middle class. So this begs the question were John Mashford and Josiah Mashford brothers or unrelated people with the same last name.

However there is one thing to remember and that is when Elizabeth Mashford, Lewis, Atkins died her daughter Mary Ross asked the english papers to copy the obituary. This shows to me that Mary Ross knew her mother had family back in England so who were those family members. Did Elizabeth sometimes write to family members in England and Mary Ross knew about them?

The family members may belong to the Cann side and not the Masford side. Yes you are right, Mary Mashford nee Cann's brothers Richard and Stephen Cann are listed in the Bellings Directory 1857 Devon Heritage Website as Farmers, Maltsters and Brewer. So there may be a connection between the Mashford family as publicans and the Cann family.

This could be a birth for Josiah.  I have never found any other children for John Mashford and Mary Labbett.

In the 1841 census George Mashford is staying with a Publican (and Farrier I think) by the name of Harris.  He is just listed as an apprentice.  So he was most likely not living with Josiah but whether he was apprenticed to him is another matter.  Publican could be different from what we think of as a person running a Pub.  At this time it could just mean a house that was open to the public and they would serve beer and keep the fire going so that you didn’t have to heat and light your own house. 

The brew was still often brewed on the premises, so was relatively cheap.  Also there were some Mashfords or Cann that were brewers or some such related occupation so they may have got the brew from them.  I wonder if Harris was married to a daughter?  

I am just looking at the relationship between our John Mashford’s family and Josiah Mashford family. Now I think we may have, in the past, talked about a possible connection, but I cannot remember what the connection may have been.

 Anyway I have been looking at Josiah Mashford and yes  a Cordwainer is a shoe maker and was not George May Mashford a shoe maker which is from his death certificate. Also in the 1841 English census Josiah Mashford has his occupation as (I think it reads) Publican and shoemaker. Was not Mary Mashford nee Cann listed as a publican also in the 1841 census? Could Mary Mashford nee Cann be working for him after her husband John Mashford died?

Also I have confused myself I have a record on my Family tree maker that another possible brother of John Mashford is Robert Mashford, but I no longer know where I got this information from. The date for his birth is 1788, but if Robert Mashford was a son of John Mashford and Mary Labbett then he was born before the possible marriage of John Mashford and Mary Labbett which was in 1796.

As for Josiah Mashford (Maxwell) yes it is a close one but still a possibility. It could be if he was a drunk which there is a TROVE story about and his family had left him and he changed his name to Maxwell he just may have tried to covered his whole identity god knows he would have reasons to do so with his record. He may have told people he was from the Isle of Man. However, on the other hand it may be the wrong Josiah Mashford, but I have always found it strange there is no record for his death under the name of Mashford, but then again there is no death record for Edward Atkins either. So it does not really help much at this stage.
  The class system was very strong in England and that social aspect was just transferred to South Australia in the early 1800s. Even if Elizabeth Mashford, Lewis, Atkins was a servant that would just mean that men had trades and not allways women as there was not the same scope for women as there was foe men. However, if we look at the story again of Elizabeth and J.B Montefiore there is a clue about the class system. J.B Montefiore was upper class and he would not have hired Elizabeth Mashford if he thought she was a, well let’s say, a foul mouth dirty lower class servant. Elizabeth Mashford must have had some education and class even to be considered to be hired. The fact that she decided not to full fill her contact is not the point. The point is J.B Montefiore would not have consider her if she was from the lower class.
  MaryAnn and Jane Mashford travelled a few time to Melbourne. As far as I know people had to pay their own way interstate therefore they would have had money.
 John Cann Mashford worked from a shop as a tailor. There is no evidence that he owned the shop, but he may have rented it. Therefore money. Also do you both remember this ad below:- 

 George May Mashford had his executor as George Aldridge. If you look him up on TROVE he was a man or class and property. I do not think that George May Mashford would have named him as executor if he did not know him. Therefore the classes stayed together. And also George May Mashford in his will had his own house so he must have had some money.
Jane Mashford married George O’Brien. I know he was a painter, but he was also from an aristocratic background so he may have been a man of some standing and I do not think he would have married lower to his class.

So yes I now think the Mashford family were reasonable well off for their time. Why John Mashford’s brother, and I are pretty sure they were brother, ended up with 30 acres I do not know. John Mashford was the oldest. My date of birth for him is 1797 and the date for Josiah is 1798.

Maybe their father, John Mashford was a man of wealth and had land. When he died the land was divided between the two sons. Josiah Mashford listed himself as a shoe maker and publican in the 1841 census, but by 1851 he had 30 acres why? Did John Mashford sell his land and shortly after he died and left everything to his wife Mary Mashford nee Cann. Did the Mashford family bring the money out with them to SA? Just a thought.

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