Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Millington family of Wellington in the early 1800s

The market town of Wellington had expanded rapidly with the addition of a railway link. The 1901 map above shows an area close to the town centre.

The Millington family lived in New Street, which runs from left to right in the bottom left corner of this map

Andrew Millington junior - the farmer

Andrew Millington was also probably the last of our truly rural ancestors on the Millington side of the family, living his entire life it seems in Shropshire but moving from the countryside into the expanding market town of Wellington following his marriage.

According to old parish records Andrew married Elizabeth Turner on 3rd July 1797 at Dawley Magna (now part of modern Telford) and the witnesses to their marriage were Nattian Bailey and Thomas Baugh.

Andrew and Elizabeth were to have at least five children, their oldest son William being our direct ancestor (4 x Great Grandfather). All five children were Christened in the town of Wellington, as opposed to the outlying villages, William on 19th January 1800, Mary on 6th January 1804, Sarah in 1805, Joseph on the 14th January 1807 and James on 13th May 1810.

Andrew and Elizabeth's family are recorded in the 1821 Census living at New Street in Wellington. By 1821 Andrew's age was recorded as 46, whilst Elizabeth was 48. Andrew gave his occupation as 'Labourer in Trade' and only three of their five children were still recorded as living in the family home; Mary was 18, Joseph (who was now known as John) was 13 and James was 10.

21 year old William had left home by 1821 and we know that he moved to Birmingham around this time and married a Brummie lass named Phoebe Jenkins at the end of that same year. Interestingly it was not the second eldest child Mary who had left home, but 17 year old Sarah, the third child, who was absent from the family address in Wellington in 1821.

The sins of our fathers - the Millingtons during the 1830s

It seems that the 1830s were turbulent times for the Millington family of Wellington with 3 court appearances for various members of the family between 1833 and 1837. On each occasion two members of the family were bound over to keep the Queen's peace, apparently for bad behaviour towards neighbours.

The first recorded judgement was in 1833 when the youngest member of the family, James Millington, then 23 years old, and his father Andrew, aged 61, were both bound over to be of good behaviour towards one Joshish Dale Bower, a Yeoman. Just over a year later James was in trouble again, this time his older brother William, aged 34, was the co-defendant and in 1837 William was before the magistrate himself for a second time, but this time with the middle brother (John / Joseph - aged 30) as the co-defendant.

The William referred to in these judgements was our direct ancestor. At the time of his 1834 court appearance he was the father of two small children, James and Emma with a third child, William, on the way.

The three court judgements outlined above are archived at the Shrewsbury Public Records office. The exact nature of the incidents which led to our three ancestors appearing before Shropshire magistrates are not described in the records and only a pencil copy could be made from the original records, the first of which is reproduced below. The hand written sections of the court records are underlined.

Document 1: Ref. QR 337 / 18:

‘ Salop. ) Be it remembered, that, on the 24th Day of June in the Year of our Lord, 1833 James Millington of Wellington in the County of Salop, Shoemaker and Andrew Millington of Wellington in the said County, Labourer came before me, one of the Justices of our Lady the Queen assigned to keep the Peace within the said County, and acknowledged themselves to owe our said Lady the Queen, the sum of Twenty pounds apiece of good and lawful money of Great Britain to be respectively made and levied their several Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements, to the use of our said Lady the Queen, her Heirs and successors if Default shall be made in performing the Condition under written.

The Condition of this Recognizance is such that if the above bounden James Millington keep the Peace, and be of good Behaviour towards the Queen and all her liege people and especially towards Joshish Dale Bower of Wellington in the said County, Yeoman for the term of 12 calendar months, now next ensuing, then the said Recognizance shall be void, or else remain in its force.

Taken and acknowledged at Wellington, the date and year first above written before me.

W.Charlton ’

The second and third court judgements were almost identical, word for word, except that the hand written sections obviously differed. In the 1834 judgement, which took place on 8th September, James and William were both described as Shoemakers and once again each was bound over to keep the peace under the sum of twenty pounds. This time the victim of their bad behaviour was named as John Edwards of Wellington, another shoemaker.

The third document appertains to a court appearance on 14th August 1837 when John (a labourer) and William were bound over for the lesser sum of ten pounds, this time to keep their peace with one Ann Wall of Wellington, the wife of John Wall. One can but speculate as to what these crimes entailed.

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