The Craxford Family Magazine Red Pages

{$text['mgr_olive1']} Gretton 1.2

From Gretton to Barrowden 1: The Skin trade

by Alan D. Craxford, Jeremy Craxford and Andrew Wainwright


The substance of this and subsequent articles follows the lives of four brothers and examines a specific occupation in two Victorian villages just a few miles apart. This area of the East Midlands centres around the triangular junction between Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland and various official functions in these areas can cause confusion for the unwary researcher. Although they are in different counties, Gretton in Northamptonshire shares a census and registration district with Barrowden based on Uppingham, Rutland but has a Northampton postal code. This is distinct from its near neighbour, the village of Cottingham, which has administrative functions based on Kettering and although in Northamptonshire has a Leicestershire postal code.

Members of the Craxford family have been found in the records of Gretton going back to 1620. The starting point for this story is Robert Craxford who was a fifth generation villager. He was baptised at the Church of St James the Great on May 3rd 1767. In common with many of his fellow inhabitants he spent his adult life on the land. He married local girl, Sarah Briggs on October 25th 1792 and in the following 16 years she bore him seven children. Most of their main ceremonial events are recorded in the parish records of that church.

Robert Craxford died in Gretton on April 1st 1816 and was buried in the graveyard of St James the Great two days later. Sarah, his widow, lived on in the village for nearly six more years. She died in February 1822.

St James the Great

St James the Great, Gretton

Of their other offspring, first born daughter Edith arrived in 1793 but died in her early teens in 1806. Oldest son John was baptised on June 21st 1795. He too spent his working life as an agricultural labourer. His wife Jane, came from Horninghold over the border in Leicestershire. They had four children. John became a respiratory invalid, suffering from that condition for many years. They both died in the early years of the 1850s. Their offspring will be considered in a future article. A daughter named Lucy was born in May 1806. Nothing further is known of the little girl and it is assumed that she died in infancy. Last born was daughter Mary. She was baptised on April 1808 but died in her eleventh year on June 24th 1819.

Two of their younger sons, William and Thomas, spent their working lives in Gretton; the other, Robert, moved out of the village and then out of the county. He became a fellmonger. This article will concentrate on their life and times.

Of fellmongers, skinners and glovers

From time immemorial man has used the hide and fleece of animals to clothe himself and to make domestic materials. Furs have been used for adornment or to show the rank or importance of the wearer. In Roman times leather was used for sandals and parts of armour. In the Middle Ages, groups of workers in similar occupations banded together to form Trade or Craft Guilds. The main functions of these Guilds was to regulate the activity and quality of their output, dictate who could carry out which defined activity, protect themselves from encroachment of other traders from outside their district and to oversee the training of apprentices. Over the years, these Guilds became increasingly influential, effectively operating monopolies over their activities, maintaining restrictive practices and wielding power over the local administration. For example, one of the thirteen Craft Guilds in Richmond in North Yorkshire was known as the Company of Fellmongers and consisted of skinners and glovers which produced 'light leather' ultimately used in the making of vellum, parchment and chamois for gloves. Another Guild catered for the tanners whose 'heavy leather' was destined for the shoe makers, saddlers and harness makers. An apprenticeship with the fellmongers lasted for seven years at the end of which the candidate was inducted as a Freeman of the town. The Freemen elected the Mayor and Aldermen of the Borough.[Further Reading A.]

Craft Guilds held sway until the passage of the Municipal Reform Act by Parliament in 1835. This led to many changes in the way boroughs and towns were governed locally. It removed the ability of the Guilds to maintain exclusive control over apprentices and also lifted the restrictive practices they enjoyed over local trading. It does seem likely that in some communities the concepts of the Guild may have persisted for years afterwards if only for traditional, historical or sentimental reasons.


Fellmonger's knife (Further Reading A)

There is no evidence that there was a Guild or other organisation which oversaw the activities of skin trade workers in Gretton in the nineteenth century. The nearest was probably based in Northampton with its large involvement in the shoe making industry. Similarly no organisation has been identified in Leicestershire or Rutland which would have held sway in Barrowden. However, the extent of the control exercised on masters, members and apprentices in earlier years within the Borough of Leicester can be seen in the nineteen articles of the glovers' and fellmongers' ordinances confirmed in July 1688. [Further Reading B.]

The tanner

Der Lohgerber (the tanner) (1).
Note the curved knives and the soaking pits

The skin trade demanded a range of specific processes many of which were highly specialised. The fellmonger (from an Old English root meaning skin dealer) obtained the hides and skins, particularly from sheep, from farms and abattoirs. The animal was then skinned, an occupation shared with the skinner, and unwanted pieces such as the legs and head were removed as soon as possible after slaughter. After washing to remove the heaviest soiling the skin was soaked in a bath containing chemicals to help loosen the wool. The skin was then placed on an angled bench and the fellmonger set about separating the wool from the outer surface of the hide using a curved two handled knife and the fat and other materials from the inner surface. The job was heavy, foul, smelly and potentially hazardous from the contact with blood, tissue and other noxious materials. The removed fell wool (as distinct from fleece wool which was harvested from the sheep whilst still alive) was bundled up and sold on to wool traders (sometimes called wool-staplers).

The skin was then passed on to the leather dressers and whittawyers (someone who produces white or undyed leather) for the next stage of the process. Depending on its ultimate use, the skin was soaked in water for 24 hours to remove residual blood and dirt. It was then transferred to vats of water to which various materials such as bark, lime or alum were added. These processes removed the remaining hair, fat and debris. Once this was completed, the skin was then suspended and stretched on a wooden frame and left to dry. The hide may then be split through its thickness. Some sheets may be sent to the parchment maker for processing into parchment or vellum. Others may be sent to the chamois leather dresser and then on to the glover to be turned into gloves.

Village skin trade compared: 1. Gretton

The village of Gretton lies in the Welland Valley some three miles to the east of Rockingham Castle. The name is Saxon for Great Settlement although traces of earlier Iron-Age and Roman excavations have been found. It was a royal manor during the 11th century, the same period in which St James the Great Church was built. It became an important settlement within Rockingham Forest during the Middle Ages, and its development and economy were founded on the twin occupations of agriculture and ironstone quarrying [Further Reading C.]. There was the usual complement of shoe makers in the village but it is perhaps unexpected to find another trade based on animal skins to be flourishing in the Victorian era. The preponderance of these activities was in the production of parchment and it has been noted that this was of a high enough quality to be used for the production of Hansard (2), the Official Report of the Houses of Parliamant. An initial glance at the census returns of the nineteenth century shows these activities to be dominated by two Myers families. An easy assumption is that Thomas and William Myers were brothers but a genealogical link has yet to be established. As far as is known, Thomas hailed from Yorkshire whilst William was born in Yardley Hastings, a village south east of Northampton and close to the border with Bedfordshire. Thomas followed the Baptist tradition, whilst William attended St James the Great Church in Gretton.

William Myers married Sarah Hall from Laxton in the early 1830s. They had six known children between 1834 and 1849. William's trade was described as journeyman parchment maker; in other words he worked for someone else. His four sons all followed him into parchment making. Tragedy was never far from the family. His 14 year old daughter Caroline was found drowned having fallen into a well in 1851, probably the one on the firm's premises. His second son James died of 'chronic brain disease with water on the brain for one week' in 1863 at the age of 22. Interestingly he was described as 'a member of the Guild' in the Parish Register (although which Guild is unclear) and nephew to Thomas Myers. William's youngest son, Joseph, died in 1878 aged 29 years. He had lost his wife, Sarah, in 1870 and died himself ten years later.

A brief history of Thomas Myers

Thomas Myers was born in 1797 in Horsforth, which at the time was an agricultural community a few miles to the north of Leeds. Nothing is known of his childhood or schooling. By 1820, he had made the move south to the East Midlands, initially settling in Daventry. There he met Rebecca Curtis who had been born in Harringworth, Northamptonshire in 1802. They were married at the Baptist Chapel, Barrowden on April 15th 1823. Their first child, a daughter they named Anna was born on March 21st 1824 and baptised in the same chapel. He also established a business in the village.


Stoneleigh House, Gretton (6)

Sometime in the course of the next two years, Thomas moved his new family over the border to Gretton. Their second daughter was born in the village on January 27th 1827. He bought an 18th century property on the main street which had constant water supply from its own well and several outbuildings on site. There he set up as a parchment maker. His business appears to have thrived as he continued to expand, employing local villagers and taking on apprentices, including members of the Barwell and Warren families. His enterprise was not without incident when one employee was killed in a works accident in the early 1830s. Theft and misappropriation of materials and stock was not uncommon and Thomas required to seek redress through the courts from time to time (3, 4). In 1864 Edward Warren hanged himself in the village. The inquest decided that he had been depressed following the death of his father who had worked for many years as a parchment maker. (5)

By the time of the 1841 census Thomas and Rebecca had seven children and could afford to employ a domestic servant. At the same time, he undertook a major restructuring of the main building which became known as Stoneleigh House. Over the years his census declarations gave his occupation as parchment maker although in a trade directory dated 1854 he is listed as fellmonger and farmer (7) . Throughout his life, Thomas acquired land holdings in both Northamptonshire and Rutland. By 1873, this amounted to over 200 acres (8)

Thomas' eldest daughter Anna married farmer William Colwell from Lyddington, Rutland in a ceremony in Brighton in 1861. They set up home in the small village of Thorpe by Water where William farmed 316 acres and employed seven labourers and four boys. Anna gave birth to a son they named Thomas Curtis William Colwell in 1862. Anna was left a widow when William died aged 45 years in the spring of 1875. She suffered a double loss when her mother Rebecca died about the same time. Anna's father, Thomas Myers, followed four years later leaving the Gretton business to her as she was his last living next of kin. The census of 1881 shows her to be at Stoneleigh House describing herself as a Parchment Yard proprietor. Anna's son married Sarah Ann Ward from Stoke Dry, Rutland in 1885. It was during this time too that the well on the premises was the subject of another tragic case. Anna's brother in law John Colwell discovered the body of a baby in the well when he went to fetch some water. A single woman from the village was charged with concealment of a birth. In his evidence he reported that the well was by then very rarely used and was generally closed with a heavy stone lid.(9)

The demise of the Gretton skin trade

Skin trade chart

Skin trade employment Gretton 1841-1891

To Let advert

The business to let (10)

From its height of activity in the middle of the century, parchment making in the village had virtually disappeared by the time of the 1881 census. Several suggestions have been made to explain this loss including a drying up of the well on the property. It seems more likely that the business started to fail with the deaths of William Myers and his sons and finally succumbed with the death of Thomas Myers. It was clear that Thomas' one remaining daughter, Anna Colwell, did not wish to carry on the business herself as advertisements were placed in the regional press on several occasions offering the premises for immediate letting. It does not appear this was successful. There was also a catastrophic fall in the value of wool in the early 1880s by 50 per cent. Younger villagers had no interest pursuing these older occupations. In the 1870s work started on a railway line from Manton just south of Oakham to Kettering which would connect the Midland Main Line with the Birmingham to Peterborough line. In the short space of thirteen miles the line traversed cuttings, tunnels, embankment and the 82 arch Harringworth Viaduct which crossed the Welland Valley. One of its four stations was at Gretton [Further Reading D.]. Comparison of the 1881 and 1891 censuses shows the dramatic change wrought upon the village by the coming of the railway and the increasing demand for iron and steel. In 1891 48 villagers were employed as ironstone labourers whilst no less than 30 individuals were employed in some capacity on the railway. The village shoe making concerns did survive for a while longer but were disappearing by the turn of the century overtaken by larger factory based concerns.

After Thomas Myers' death his house passed through four changes of ownership within the next 25 years. Anna Colwell died in 1889 and the business and property went to her son, Thomas Curtis Colwell. It is perhaps surprising that neither Thomas Myers nor Anna Colwell left a will. Anna's brother in law John Colwell was clearly unhappy with this state of affairs. In 1890 he took Thomas Curtis Colwell to Court to sue for moneys outstanding for work he had done while his sister in law was still alive. In evidence he said that he had managed her farm and had looked after her books. He was awarded £ 20 in lieu of wages and £ 20 11s 8d for the accounts. (11) Anna's son died three years later with the house passing to his wife. When she too died in 1901, her brother John Thomas Ward took over. After that Stoneleigh House passed out of the extended family's control and into private hands.

The tragedy of Thomas

Robert and Sarah's youngest son, Thomas Craxford, was baptised on January 17th 1803. Nothing is known of his childhood or schooling. On October 28th 1824 he married local girl Sarah, the daughter of Joseph Fielding and Mary Bussard. They were to have six children, many of whom were destined to leave the East Midlands.

He obtained employment as a wagon driver for Thomas Myers. On October 8th 1834 whilst driving to Market Harborough, he fell from the wagon under the wheels which crushed him. He died of multiple injuries the same day. An inquest was convened at the Peacock Inn, Market Harborough by Coroner John Gregory on October 11th 1834. After evidence was taken a report was prepared that stated Thomas had fallen 'from the waggon shaft on which he was incautiously riding when the wheels passed over his body'. A verdict of Accidental Death was issued. He was 31 years old. His widow, Sarah, survived him by just over four years. She died on January 8th 1839 of tuberculosis. She was aged 37 years. After her death, the youngest three children were sent to the Union Workhouse in Uppingham.

Mary Ann (1825-1848)

Thomas and Sarah's oldest daughter, Mary Ann, was baptised on August 7th 1825. In her late teens she made the journey south to London, first finding employment in domestic service in Lambeth. On May 17th 1846 she married James Serjeant, a music printer, at St Pancras Church. It is not clear what prompted her move from Northamptonshire. At the time of the marriage, Mary Ann was living at Francis Street, St Pancras, but her husband's address may hold a clue. He had premises in Chapel Street, Pentonville which was just around the corner from Suffolk Street where Nathaniel James Craxford ran his greengrocery business (See: Craxford and sons, Fruiterers of Pentonville.). Nathaniel and Mary Ann were fourth cousins. His father, William Craxford was born in Gretton in 1768.

Mary Ann became pregnant in 1847 and gave birth to a daughter they named Mary Serjeant in the early months the following year. Mary Ann became ill during childbirth and her condition deteriorated after Mary was born. A diagnosis of puerpural insanity (now called postpartum psychosis) and melancholia was made. She was admitted to University Hospital in Gower Street where she developed bronchopneumonia from which she did not recover. She died on April 20th 1848.

Her death certificate also shows that she was suffering hydatid disease of the liver. Hydatid disease is caused by infestation with tapeworms (12). The life cycle requires two hosts. The adult worm lives in the intestine of a carnivore and its eggs are excreted in its droppings. These are ingested by an intermediate host where the larvae develop in various organs causing cysts. The commonest primary host is the dog; the commonest secondary host is the grazing animal such as sheep or goat. Human infestation can occur from contact with this cycle: the larvae causing hydatid cycts found most commonly in the liver, but also in the lungs or brain. The condition in humans can persist for many years and individual cysts can grow slowly to a large size. Although it cannot be proved, on balance it seems likely that Mary Ann was exposed to the risk as a child as a result of her father's work. Hydatid disease was well recognised in the nineteenth century and a large hepatic cyct can either obstruct the uterus in the later stages of pregnancy or rupture spreading daughter cysts into the blood stream. These could cause acute lung and breathing symptoms. In retrospect it is possible that this condition underlay the diagnosis and death of James Myers too.

James Serjeant married again in the early 1850s and had three more children. He died in Hackney, London in 1870. Mary Sergeant was also living in a small apartment in Hackney at the time of the 1871 census making a living as a dressmaker.

Continued in column 2...

The family of William

William Craxford, the second of Robert and Sarah's sons, was born in 1798 and was baptised on February 4th that year. In his teens he became an agricultural labourer. He met village girl Sarah Smith who was nine years younger than he was. Prior to their union and the publishing of the Banns, they were required to swear an affidavit as to their true names. William declared that he had lived in his current cottage for three years. Sarah had been living and working as a servant at the same address for eleven months. Neither of them could write and so made their marks. They were married at St James the Great Church on October 22nd 1822. His brother Robert was one of the witnesses. In the next five years, Sarah bore three children. She became pregnant again in the summer of 1830. She was confined on February 14th 1831 but the labour was a very difficult one. Sarah died the following day and was buried on February 18th 1831.

William did not remain alone for long. He married 28 year old Elizabeth Hull from Empingham on April 4th 1831 who, the records show, had given birth to two children in the previous decade. Sadly, William's new daughter did not survive long and the little girl died within two weeks of the wedding. Over the course of the next twelve years, Elizabeth presented William with another seven children although the first born, Julia, died at the age of 3 years in 1835. By the time of the first full census in 1841 William and Elizabeth shared their home with six children, including her own 13 year old younger daughter, Mary.

William continued working as a general labourer throughout his adult life. There was never much money to provide for the family and by the time of the 1871 census he was officially declared a pauper. Two of his children had some employment experience with Thomas Myers. Julia, his daughter with his second wife Elizabeth, worked in the Myers household at Stoneleigh House as a domestic servant in 1861. Thomas, his son with Sarah, worked for a time as a fellmonger in the early 1870s. William died in 1876 and was buried in St James the Great churchyard on April 8th that year. Elizabeth survived until the end of the decade. Her death on August 30th 1880 was attributed to 'senectus' (an old term for old age).

Village skin trade compared: 2. Barrowden

Barrowden lies some six miles to the north east of Gretton across the county boundary in Rutland. Although not part of the Rockingham Forest it lies on the northern bank of the River Welland and in Medieval times was densely wooded. In the Victorian era it also saw a thriving skin trade, the business largely under the aegis of Robert Gill and sons (described variously as Fellmongers and Woolstaplers (14) and Vellum, Glue, Parchment and Patent Rug Manufacturers). Although he had moved his residence some years previously Thomas Myers still had a presence in the village as a parchment maker in 1841 according to the same directory (15).

Perusal of the census returns confirm rather more individuals working in the occupations associated with the skin trade. The various trades are also more clearly defined (some described as skinners rather than fellmongers) compared with the Gretton returns. It is not clear whether this is a quirk of the way the enumerator tabulated his results or whether the differentiation of job descriptions is genuine. It is also apparent that whole families, including wives and relatively small children even under the age of ten years, were included in the household's given occupation.

Skin trade chart

Skin trade employment Barrowden 1841-1891
Key: G: Glover; LD: Leather Dresser; PM: Marchment maker;
Fm: Fellmonger; Sj: Skinner; ChLD: Chamois leather dresser; Sh: Sheepskin rug maker

Barrowden's skin trade persisted for perhaps a decade longer than that in Gretton. However the same social and economic pressures came to bear at the end of the century. Thomas Swift, a long time resident fellmonger in the village appeared before the Leicester Bankruptcy Court in 1884 with liabilities of £ 1286 which he attributed to the fall in the price of wool over three years from 1s 4d per pound to 8d. per pound. The price of skins had also dropped by fifty percent and demand for the products was poor (16).

Robert's generations

Robert Craxford and Sarah Briggs' third son, Robert, was baptised in Gretton on July 20th 1800. Nothing is known of his early years but the teenage Robert has left something of a mystery in the records, a mystery which was to shape the whole of his adult life. Whereas his other siblings remained in Gretton, Robert was the subject of a Removal Order under the terms of the Poor Law Acts. The document dated November 4th 1818 states that he 'hath come to inhabit in the said parish of Gretton not having gained legal settlement there ... and hath become chargeable to the said parish'. The document goes on to state that he was an inhabitant of the parish of Laxton and should be returned there forthwith. Laxton is a hamlet some four and a half miles to the east of Gretton. There are no other records which explain why this decision should have been made. One possible explanation is that Robert had previously been taken on as an apprentice or hired by an employer in Laxton for whom he had worked for over a year. He would have gained legal settlement in Laxton by this means. Family circumstances, including the death of his father in 1816, had brought him back to Gretton and he had outstayed his welcome. Under the terms of the law an individual's legal settlement was the last one conferred upon him which overrode any earlier settlements including those of birth.

The Act of Settlement and Removal (1662) (17)
The following gained the right of settlement in the parish:
  • Born where the parents had settlement
  • Lived there for more than 40 days
  • Hired continually by a settled resident for more than a year and a day
  • Held a parish office
  • Previoiusly received poor law relief in the parish
  • Rent property worth more than £ 10 per year or paid parish rates of more than £ 10 per year
  • Have married into the parish
  • Served a seven year apprenticeship with a settled resident
Barrowden Chapel

Barrowden Baptist Chapel

In the early 1820s Robert met Harriett, the youngest daughter of John and Mary Cotterill from Barrowden. It is clear that Robert had remained a resident in Laxton for he was described as a bachelor of that parish on the marriage record. The wedding took place on December 14th 1823. Harriett was heavily pregnant at the time of the ceremony and gave birth to a daughter in the early months of the following year. The couple were still living in Laxton but daughter Sarah was baptised in Barrowden on March 14th 1824. Robert was declared a labourer.

In the following year Robert and Harriett formally moved home to Barrowden, Rutland. Harriett became pregnant again and gave birth to a second daughter, Mary, who was baptised on August 13th 1826. A third daughter followed, baptised Lucy on January 18th 1829. In all, four more children (two sons: John and William; and two daughters: Rachel and Elizabeth) were to follow. They also provided a home for Harriett's elderly widowed mother, Mary.

The 1840s produced several causes for celebration and sadness. By 1841 second daughter Mary had moved away into domestic service in the household of Edward Jackson and family in the Market Place, Uppingham. At the beginning of 1842 she was admitted to the infirmary of St George's Workhouse, Stamford with typhus fever. She did not recover and died on February 9th 1842. The following year, Robert and Harriett were able to welcome a new member of the family when Elizabeth was born in September 1843. Then Harriett's mother Mary died in 1848. She was 88 years old.

It is not known when Robert became involved with the skin trade. By the time of the 1841 census he was described as a skinner. His house was surrounded by others working in the trade. His next door neighbour was leather dresser Richard Dodgson, and beyond him was fellmonger Thomas Swift. In April 1851 his designation at the census had become collector of sheep skins although on both the marriage certificates of his daughter Sarah to Charles Matkin in December 1851 and his son John to Sarah Stevenson in 1853 his occupation given as was fellmonger. Is it possible that Thomas Myers had an influence on the direction of Robert's career? It is certain that they knew one another. They were both in Barrowden at the same time for a short period in the 1820s and attended the same chapel. Thomas Myers asserted that he had been in the business for 30 years in evidence given in a court case in 1853 (3). It is noted from several newspaper reports that fellmongers and wool dealers from both villages attended the various Wool Fairs and markets held in Leicester. Thomas was also involved with members of the Craxford family close to Robert when he moved to Gretton.

By 1861, Robert had reverted to sheepskin buyer. Only Rachel of their children remained at home. In the middle years of the decade Robert suffered a cerebrovascular accident (stroke) which left him an invalid. He struggled on in ill health for two years but finally died on April 21st 1868. The cause of death was recorded as paralysis and exhaustion. He was buried at the Baptist Chapel in Chapel Lane Barrowden. At some time after her husband's death, Harriett spent some months as a housekeeper in Peterborough looking after her six year old granddaughter, Nellie. By 1881 she had moved back to Barrowden where she shared a house in Mill Lane with her now widowed daughter Lucy. Harriett died in Barrowden on January 23rd 1894. She is commemorated with her husband on a headstone in St Peter's Churchyard.

The story continues

The stories of these branches of the Craxford family tree will continue in the following articles:

The descendents of Robert and Harriett Craxford who lived in Rutland and moved on to Derbyshire are the subject of From Gretton to Barrowden - 2: From Craxford to Wainwright

The story of the line from John and Jane Craxford begins with Chronicles 1:The Tangled Trees

The descendents of William and Thomas Craxford who stayed in Gretton and who moved south to London will be explored in The Craxfords: Exodus

Further Reading

Fellmongers of Richmond
Leicester from Roman Times
Rockingham Revisited
Navvies Book

The covers

The following sources have provided much detailed information to the background on fellmongers and the skin trade in this study:

A. The Company of Fellmongers of Richmond Yorkshire. In the Middle Ages, many occupations were overseen by Craft Guilds which exercised a monopolistic control over their work, trade and training. Workers in the skin trade, including fellmongers, skinners and glovers were one such example. The associations disappeared with the Municipal Reform Act of 1832. Discovery of the minute book of the Richmond Compnay of Fellmongers in 1980 stimulated its refounding as a social and charitable organisation. This website provides a history of their activities.
B. The History of Leicester from the time of the Romans to the end of the Seventeenth Century by James Thompson Published: J S Crossley, Leicester 1849. Text at University of Leicester Special Collections Online. This is the first of two volumes detailing a chronological timeline history of Leicester. Of particular relevance here is the transcript in Appendix K (page 464-7) of the regulations of the Glovers' Company which were in force throughout the Borough of Leicester in the late 17th century. These include such statements as "4. That no fellmonger or glover shall be admitted to buy, sell or trade within the said borough, or precincts, or liberties thereof, except he first hath fully served out his apprenticeship, according to the statute, upon pain to forfeit five pounds."

For information about the Rockingham Forest and the environs of Gretton, we recommend

C. Rockingham Revisited by Dr Peter Hill, Orman Publishing, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire ISBN 095 1 8199 92. Peter is a director of Rockingham Forest Trust and has written many books of local and historical interest on Northamptonshire in general. In this 173 page volume he has produced a veritable encyclopaedia of facts and anecdotes about the history, people and places of the Rockingham Forest.
D. Life and Work Among the Navvies by D.W. Barrett, MA, Vicar of Nassington Published by Wells Gardnet, Darton & Co., London 1880. The author describes his volume as 'a little sketch' to record the building of the Manton to Kettering railway line and to take account of the manners and customs of the men carrying out the work. Barrett was also charged with a mission by the Bishop of Peterborough to service the pastoral needs of the navvies and their families along the line.

A Vote of Thanks

The authors would like to express their thanks for the help, comments and suggestions from the following in the construction of this article: Tim Clough, Honorary Editor Rutland Local History Society; Ann Craske and Andy Butterworth, Gretton; Peter Hill, Elisabeth Jordan, Gretton Local History Society; Andy North and Anjie Ingram, Archive and Heritage Services, Northamptonshire Record Office; Mike Wood, Fellmongers Company of Richmond


1. Der Lohgerber (The Tanner) Engraving by Anonymous artist (at Digitale Bibliothek Braunschweig) Winckelmann, Berlin Germany about 1880. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
2. Quality parchment for Hansard in Gretton History of Corby Corby Borough Council
3. Barwell v Myers Uppingham County Court Stamford Mercury Friday November 18th 1853 The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
4. Northamptonshire Quarter Sessions: Crown Court Gretton: Stealing Wool: Northampton Mercury January 6th 1877 The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
5. Gretton Suicide: Inquest before W Marshall, coroner: Northampton Mercury April 16th 1864. The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
6. Stoneleigh House, Gretton. Listed Buildings in Gretton, Northamptonshire, England British Listed Buildings Online
7. Gretton in Post Office Directory for Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire 1854 Kelly & Co., London Page 432
8. Northamptonshire in England, Return of Owners of Land, 1873 Subscription may be required to view.
9 Alleged Concelament of Birth at Gretton: Special Petty Sessions, Kettering. Northampton Mercury August 18th 1888. The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
10 'To Parchment Makers, Fellmongers etc' Business to let advertisement. Stamford Mercury September 10th 1880. The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
11. John Colwell v Thomas Curtis William Colwell: County Court Upping. Leicester Chronicle Saturday February 1st 1890. The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
12. Swanton S.D. and Wildsmith J.D., Prevalence of the Hydatid Disease-causing tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus amongst stray dogs in south east Wales, United Kingdom JEHR (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) Volume 7 Issue 2 2008
13. Lifecycle in The Echinococcus tapeworm Stanford University
14. Barrowden in Post Office Directory for Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland 1855: Kelly & Co., London page 135
15. Barrowden in Gazeteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. William White, London 1862 page 841
16. Thomas Swift fellmonger of Barrowden: Leicester Bankruptcy Court: Stamford Mercury Friday November 14th 1884 The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
17. The 1662 Settlement Act The Victorian Web

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Added: October 16th 2015

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