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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James Penny of Fonthill Bishop

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandfathers was James Penny. He was born in 1772 in Chilmark, Wiltshire, and baptised on 26 July of that year.

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

(It looks like Parry, but there is another entry further down the page that convinced me that it says Penny.) James’s parents were Robert and Ann.

The second record we have for James is his marriage, which took place on 19 March 1795 at the church in Fonthill Bishop. His bride was Judith Strong,

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All Saints Church
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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916

James and Judith had six children. Fortunately, they were still alive in 1841 for the first national census, so we can find out his occupation, which is ‘agricultural labourer’. James and Judith are both listed as 65. They are living in Fonthill Bishop with daughter Mary (40). Mary didn’t marry, and after her parents’ death she went to live with her brother Robert, a timber sawyer.

In 1851 James was a widower, living with daughter Mary and a grandson, Henry. They are listed as paupers.

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(This Henry is Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, the son of Mary Anne Ballard and John Penny.)

James died on 30 July 1856, aged 84. Occupation was given as agricultural labourer, and the cause of death was chronic bronchitis. Charlotte Penny was present at his death. This is likely to be his granddaughter, the younger sister of Henry. His burial took place in Fonthill Bishop on 2 August. We visited the churchyard and found some possible relations, but not James.

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Ari, this is how you are related to James:

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Jane Goodfellow

Ari’s 7x great-grandmother Jane Goodfellow was probably born in Fovant, Wiltshire in 1704. Fovant is on the main Salisbury–Shaftesbury A30 road, and was once known for its watercress beds.

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The Fovant badges, cut out of the chalk escarpment by troops in 1916.

(For more information about the Fovant badges, see this story.)

Again, we know very little about this ancestor of Ari’s. I think she was baptised in Fovant on 2 June 1704, and if that is the right person, then her father’s name was John, but her mother’s name is not mentioned. I think she had a brother William, and sisters Mary, Anne and Lucy (twins), but William and Anne died as babies before she was born.

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Baptism entry from Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812, Ancestry.co.uk

Jane married John Beckett (father of John Beckett of Chilmark, Wiltshire) on 3 May 1725 at the church of St Mary of Antioch in Chilmark.

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Marriage entry from Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812, on Ancestry.co.uk

Jane and John’s first child was a daughter, Jenny, baptised at the church on 26 April 1726. Son John was next in 1729, and then two more sons, Benjamin and Philip, followed in 1731 and 1734.

There is a burial for a Jane Beckett in Chilmark on 7 Oct 1756.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Jane:

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John Beckett of Chilmark, Wiltshire

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandfathers was John Beckett. John was born in about 1729 in Chilmark, Wiltshire.

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Chilmark is known for its stone quarries, and stone from here was used to build Salisbury Cathedral.

From John’s marriage licence on Findmypast (in the collection of Sarum Marriage Licence Bonds), I discovered that his father was also John. (His first name is given as John Junr.) John’s occupation was given as ‘butcher’. He married Ann Sopp of Durnford, which is just north of Old Sarum, by licence, on 11 May 1761.

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Marriage record from Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812
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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1916

John and Ann had at least four children: John, Joseph, Thomas Salmon and Ann Sophia.

John died in 1805 and was buried on 22 March in the churchyard at St Mary of Antioch, which we visited yesterday.

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

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We didn’t find his grave, but there was a christening taking place which was a nice illustration of family history in the making!

Ari, this shows how you are related to John:

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