Joseph Beckett, stonemason

Joseph Beckett (son of John), was Ari’s 5x great-grandfather. He was born in 1773 in Chilmark, Wiltshire. His mother was Ann Sopp.

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Here is the record of his baptism on 23 May 1773:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

Joseph married Sarah Foyle on 13 April 1809 in the nearby village of Teffont Evias.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916
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The Ley family, who were lords of the manor in Teffont Evias from 1545 to 1692, left their mark on the parish church with their splendid tombs and a selection of coloured glass window panels like this one.

 

Joseph and Sarah had five children between 1810 and 1823, and it is from their baptisms that we know he was a stonemason.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1916

We know from British History Online that “Portland stone outcropping in the valley marking the boundary between Chilmark and Teffont Evias has long been quarried. Some of the Chilmark stone which was used in the Middle Ages for many buildings in the county may have come from Teffont Evias.” (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol13/pp185-195).

“Teffont Evias manor in 1860 included a freestone quarry near the boundary with Chilmark and a quarry on Butts Hill west of the village street. T. T. Gething & Co., later the Chilmark Quarry Co. Ltd., occupied that near Chilmark, with others in Chilmark, from 1908 or earlier until 1937. The firm supplied stone c. 1909 for the restoration of paving in Westminster Abbey. The quarries, which extended underground for 18 a., in 1937 became part of R.A.F. Chilmark’s storage depot for bombs and high explosives. They were so used in 1984. In 1977 their surface area was part of 35 a. in Teffont Evias and Chilmark which were classified as of special geological and biological interest. The Butts Hill quarry remained within the Teffont estate and stone was taken from it occasionally during the Second World War. It closed in 1947.”

Joseph died at the age of 66, on 4 May 1839. The cause of death was consumption.

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I wonder if this was possibly a disease called “stone-masons’ phtisis”, caused by inhaling fine particles of grit. A book called Mortality from Respiratory Diseases in Dusty Trades by Frederick Ludwig Hoffman says that “The stonecutters’ trade is one which requires both skill and arduous physical labor. The men as a rule work in the open air, and in very warm or wet weather under shelter; but all are liable to inhale the dust and small particles from the material upon which they operate.”

A Bulletin of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that “The health of stone and marble cutters has, from earliest times, been notoriously bad.” It quotes a 1705 work by Ramazzini on diseases of tradesmen which says: “In hewing marble or stones out of the rock, in polishing and cutting them, [workers] oftentimes suck in, by inspiration, the sharp, rough, and cornered small splinters and particles that fly off; so that they are usually troubled with a cough, and some of them turn asthmatic and consumptive.”

Joseph’s burial took place on 10 May at the church at Chilmark.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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Itka

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandmothers was called Itka. She was born in 1804 in Lithuania, probably in Svencionys (also known as Švenčionys, Sventzion, Święciany, Shventsian, Śvianciany, Schwintzen, Švenčoņi, Svencionyz, Shvintzion, Shvyentsiani, Shvyetsiani, Sventsian, Sventsiany, Swenziany, and Svintzian!).

I don’t have any photos of Itka, but here are some of her descendants and their families in South Africa.

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Itka is a derivative of the name Judith, according to Alexander Beider’s Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names, mentioned before.

We know that her father’s name was Leiba, and that she was 30 in 1834. Thanks to the Svencionys District Research Group of LitvakSIG (a group of people who have contributed to making data about Svencionys available), we have a list of people who lived in Svencionys in 1834 when there was a Revision List, which was a census used to collect poll taxes. Itka is listed as the wife of Movsha Gurvich (Hurwitz), and her father’s first name is also provided.

Also in the household on 30 April 1834 were her son Leib (aged 11) and daughter Sheina (aged 5).

To find out her surname, I checked the 1811 Revision List for a man called Leiba (or Leyba or Leib) with a daughter aged 7 called Itka. The closest was a Leyba Muchan, with a daughter Ita, aged 12, so I’m not convinced.

The 1850 Revision List shows our family again in October of that year, with Itka now aged 46. Also in the household is her son Kopel Leib (27), his wife Tema, and their daughter Buska, aged 8.

I have found no other records for Itka, and she does not appear in the 1858 Revision List.

Contributions to LitvakSIG are very much welcomed, to enable further records to be transcribed and made available. See https://www.litvaksig.org/research/

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Ari, this is how you are related to Itka:

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Harry Spencer of Wirksworth

Harry (christened Henry) Spencer was born on 15 August 1901 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, and was Ari’s great-great-grandfather.

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His parents were David Spencer and Elizabeth Pearson, and their address when he was born was No. 6 Bowling Green Lane, Wirksworth.

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Bowling Green Lane
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Baptism record, Wirksworth St Mary’s (Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916)

Harry attended Wirksworth New Bridge School from 1912 until 1914.

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National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914

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From various records, we know that he had several different jobs. In 1928, when he married, he was a service mill hand. In 1934 he was a glove trimmer at the British Celanese factory in Spondon.

 

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Derby Daily Telegraph 31 December 1932

Harry married Edith Winifred Morris on 7 April 1928 at the Salem Chapel in Belper.

They had three sons and three daughters.

Harry was listed on the 1939 Register as an unemployed glove puncher. In 1957, when his daughter Audrey married, he was a fitter’s mate at the locomotive works in Derby.

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1957

 

 

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Harry died on 2 April 1971 and is buried at Belper Cemetery.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Harry:

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Elizabeth Butt of Christchurch

Elizabeth Butt was born on 27 July 1846 in Christchurch, Dorset.

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Sundial Cottage, Christchurch (not where she lived, but very pretty, and for sale!)

She was the daughter of William Thomas Butt and Fanny Briant. We know that her mother died when she was just a baby. At the age of four, she was living with her grandmother Elizabeth (her father’s mother), in Mill Lane, Christchurch.

I’m not sure where she was in 1861, but by 1868 she had moved to Parkstone, Dorset. She married a shoemaker, Joseph Samuel Allen, in Canford Magna, Dorset, on 6 April 1868. This village is also known as Great Canford, and is on the River Stour.

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The 1871 census shows them living in Back Lane, Parkstone, with the first two of their ten children: Elizabeth Frances Mary (2) and William Joseph (1).

In 1881 they are at 4 Laurel Cottages in Sloop Lane. Elizabeth was listed as “boot maker’s wife” which was then crossed out (they were only supposed to list women by their own occupation, not their husband’s). By now, four more children had been born: Susan Emma (7); Ida (5), Reginald Woodford (4) and Emma Letta (1).

By the time of the 1891 census, Elizabeth was 44. Several of the chidren were now working (William as a gardener, Susan as a draper’s assistant, Ida as a domestic servant, and Reginald as a carpenter’s apprentice). The four youngest were Mary Maud, Floris, Margaret and seven-month-old Evelyn. They had moved to 4 Lilac Cottage in North Road.

They were still at this address in 1901, now with six children still at home, and also Ida’s newborn baby Ewart. Joseph and two of his sons were now working as gardeners.

Elizabeth lived until the age of 95, so we have a record of her in the 1939 Register, with her daughter Margaret, a dressmaker.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Elizabeth:

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A bit more on the Thickett story

Yesterday I discovered that Sarah Thickett, Ari’s 7x great-grandmother, was from Old Brampton, Chesterfield, and had relations called Matthew and Ellen or Helen Thickett.

I managed to reconstruct the family from their wills and baptisms, so we now know that Sarah (mother of Joseph Bunting Thickett) went on to marry a blacksmith called Joseph Stoppard in 1778 and died in 1816.

Matthew was indeed her father, and her mother was Alice Cundy. Matthew was a cordwainer (shoemaker). The name came from the finest goatskin leather that they originally used, from Cordoba in Spain.

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The Cordwainer statue on Watling Street

Matthew’s father (Ari’s 9x great-grandfather) was Thomas Thickett, who must have been born in the 1670s. Thomas had a seat reserved for him in Old Brampton church. This is listed in a roll of seatholders from 1707.

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Helen, whose grave was mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, turned out to be Ari’s 8x great-aunt (Sarah’s sister). She died in 1796, and her will ties everything together nicely, because she mentions Joseph Bunting Thickett by name.

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Staffordshire, Dioceses of Lichfield and Coventry wills and probate 1521-1860

The families lived in Old Brampton and Holymoorside, near Chesterfield, so we have some exploring to do!

Joseph Bunting Thickett

Joseph was Ari’s 6x great-grandfather, born in 1765 in Ashover, Derbyshire, the son of Sarah Thickett.

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The River Amber near Ashover

On 30 December 1793, Joseph married Jane Frost in Wirksworth.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932

The couple had nine children, and they were all given the last name Bunting, rather than Thickett. Maybe Bunting was Joseph’s father’s name?

The first child, Betty, died aged six, and the second, Joseph, died at eight months. I knew he had died before 1811, as there was another son given the name Joseph that year, but I have just discovered his burial, in something called a Burials Waste Book for the church at Old Brampton, Chesterfield. This book lists the position of each grave. For Joseph, buried on 7 May 1798, it says:

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

On the page 10 referred to, which records burials in April 1796, we see:

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

So now I think that these are possibly Sarah’s parents. To explore further!

We know that Joseph was a blacksmith from the marriage record of one of his sons, and they carried on the tradition. Sons William, John, Joseph and James were all blacksmiths, while Thomas became a wheelwright.

Joseph died in June 1823 and was buried at Wirksworth.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1991

Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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