John Thorley

Discussion in 'Oxfordshire' started by David Greenley, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    Last year I visited Witney and Oxford to research one if my ancestors
    John Thorley.

    It seems he was a wealthy individual who owned quite a lot of properties and also found a sale notice after his death for auction of some cottages.

    Alas, the History Centre in Oxford had little record of him, other than in a trade directory around 1800 he was down as a stay maker. On a piece of paper we have from that period in the family, they wrote that he was a carpenter too.

    It appears that this staymaker business was in the High Street and I believe this had to do with the making of women's corsets?

    I did manage to find a copy of his will, leaving £1056, which was a huge amount of money in 1833,so I guess it proves he was quite successful.

    Strangely though I could find no trace of his own abode or exact business dealings.

    I am wondering if he was a prominent member of the community if you have any idea of where I may possibly look further on a future visit?

    I wonder if anyone may have any information on John Thorley in this business or otherwise being mentioned in Witney. I know he died in 1833 and assume he must have been born around 1759.

    We have a portrait painting of John Thorley, on which he does appear to an important figure.

    I wonder if anyone may have heard or him.
    I believe he married an Anne Mills and his son Jonathan who married Elizabeth Brooks, was born in 1792.

    Thanking you in advance for your interest
    Kind regards
    Dave Greenley



     
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  2. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    Hello John, and welcome to the site. The cottages that were sold by auction at the Crown Hotel in Witney on 3 May 1833 (?) appear to have been situated in the contiguous parish of Cogges, beside the Oxford Road in the part of Witney known as Newland. This suggests that the Thorleys were a Cogges family, and it would therefore be worth looking in the Cogges parish records.
     
  3. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    Thank you for your advice. I will see if I can find any references for cogges.
    Regards
    Dave
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2014
  4. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Hello Dave, and welcome to the forum :)

    I don't have most of my notes on Witney history with me, but I may be able to shed light on whereabouts in the High Street John Thorley was based.

    The Witney tithe apportionment (1839/40) shows that William Thorley owned the Jolly Waggoner public house on the east side of the High Street (plot no. 798 on the tithe map). He didn't live there: the occupier was one Thomas Lindsay.

    upload_2014-9-16_19-20-23.png

    Interestingly it is in just this part of the High Street where John Thorley is shown as occupying property on the 1798 Land tax redemption (at Kew, available via Ancestry). It doesn't give street addresses, but from close analysis I believe the properties are listed in geographical order.

    The following sequence of properties appears on the back of folio 101 (left-hand side of image 104 on Ancestry):

    Owner / occupier
    Blanket Hall / -
    John Fisher / Thos Wells
    John Kearse / himself
    Hy Bolton / himself
    Wm Webb /My Webb
    do / Wm Calcutt
    do / do
    Sl Hewer / himself
    Wo [i.e. Widow] Collier / John Thorley
    do / herself

    The Blanket Hall is plot no. 781 on the tithe map. It is known from licensing records that Thomas Wells/Wills was publican at the Ball in 1798; this pub later became the Plough (plot 782 on the tithe map). Next to these on the tithe map come blocks of properties still owned by the Kearse, Bolton, Webb and Hewer family in 1839/1840 (plot 783 owned by Mary Kearse; plots 784-788 owned by Ann Bolton; plots 789-791 owned by Jane Webb; plot 792 owned by Thomas Hewer).

    Plots 793-797 on the tithe map were all owned by William Green. There doesn't seem to be a matching entry in the 1798 land tax, which is a nuisance. Plot 797 is occupied by Budd & Co. who were I think waggoners. Perhaps that's where the Jolly Waggoner, next door at plot no. 798, got its name?

    Some of the later history of the Jolly Waggoner can be traced through quit-rent books at Witney & District Museum. In 1858 it was owned by William Thorley of Eynsham and occupied by William Brooks. (A William Brooks, boot/shoemaker is there on the 1861 census.)

    Will have a dig around and see if I can find anything else. Bye for now!

    Jane
     
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  5. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Loving your work Jane!():-)
     
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  6. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Now I'm wondering if this might be a case of a transcription error, for there is in Witney a job connected with the blanket industry called slaymaker. This unusual job title quite often gets misread as the more familiar staymaker.

    A slay or sley is another name for a reed, which is part of a loom (see Wikipedia article on 'Reed (weaving)' for some pictures).

    Of course we did have staymakers in Witney too, but slaymaking might fit better with the reference to him as a carpenter.
     
  7. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    Hello Jane,
    Thank you very much for your extensive reply to my query. In your second response you speak of a possible transcription error of slaymaker for stay maker. In fact the reference,showing this was handwritten and difficult to actually decipher whether the letter was an L Or a T, so this is quite possible The reference to stay maker does sound a little strange in some ways as I see no other references in any records I have to suggest that this was his actual profession. However, the term, slaymaker having to do with carpentry does seem a more likely profession.
    So far I have been unable to shed any light on exactly where John Thorley and Ann Mills resided.
    So far I have not come across any family trees which include these people in the Oxfordshire area.
    Anyway thank you so much for your help.

    Kind regards
    Dave
     
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  8. Sis

    Sis Rootles out resources!

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    Welcome JohnC|:-)
     
  9. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    There is a reference to the death of a Thomas Thorley of Witney, a carpenter, in Jacksons Oxford Journal, 1803. His executrix - presumably his wife - was Elizabeth Thorley.
     
  10. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    From more modern maps, it appears that plot 798 on the tithe map (the High Street property owned by William Thorley, and probably the same one previously occupied by John Thorley) corresponds to what is now 78 High Street, a bridal shop called Mae Bridal.

    Just to the north of this, the street scene has changed greatly since the nineteenth century. What would have been no. 80 had been demolished by 1971 and the Welcome Evangelical Church built on that site. Next to that a new road (Witan Way) was cut through in the 1980s and more old buildings were lost.

    It looks as if the High Street property stayed in the Thorley family until at least 1870. There's an advertisement in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 15 October 1870 for the sale of 'A DWELLING HOUSE and PREMISES, situate in the High-street, Witney, containing shop, sitting room, kitchen, 3 bed rooms, workshop, garden, and a pump of good water, in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Brooks, shoemaker' as well as a house, four cottages and 'two allotments of garden or building land' in the parish of Cogges. The sale is by order of the executors of Mr William Thorley, deceased.

    P.S. I think there are some early 19th century land tax records at the Oxfordshire History Centre. These may help in working out whether the property occupied by John Thorley in 1798 is indeed the same one owned by William Thorley in 1839/1840 and give some idea of when the Thorleys bought the property.
    It also may be worth investigating whether there are deeds for that property or either of the neighbouring ones (old deeds often name the owners/occupiers of adjacent properties).
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  11. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    In the Oxford Journal of the 27th April 1850, there is an advertisement for the sale of property and land "under the direction of the Trystees of Mr John Thorley, deceased, late of Witney." The sale comprised of 5 stone built and slated messuages or tenements "situated on the South side of the Oxford Turnpike Road in the parish of Coggs near to Witney, Oxon." One of the properties was "adjoining the one in Mr Thorley's occupation". Also for sale were 7 acres of land "adjoining Hailey Heath, called Broad Close".

    Ann
     
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  12. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    William Thorley, a 65 year old widower, born Witney, was living in Newland*, Cogges, in 1851. From his occupation, 'proprietor of houses', he evidently had enough income from property not to have to work (HO 107/1731, f.597, p.12).

    There's no tithe map for Cogges, unfortunately, which makes it hard to work out exactly where people lived. :( There are some Newland deeds at the museum: next time I'm there I'll check the catalogue of deeds to see if any Thorleys are mentioned.

    *which was part of the 'Oxford turnpike road' and is still a major route into/out of Witney.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
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  13. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    . . . though after looking at the 1851 census more closely I see there was a victualler, Thomas Stone, a couple of doors away. In the 1852 Gardner's directory of Oxfordshire, Thos Stone is shown as publican at the Griffin in Newland, so William Thorley presumably lived near that pub (which is still there).
     
  14. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    Thank you for your information. Unfortunately I think this must be some other person with the same name as the Thomas Thorley in my tree was born in 1796
    so I guess there must be another person of the same name. I still need to check if a marriage in 1840 to Anne Hokey is for the Thomas Thorley in my tree.
    Thanks for letting me know anyway.
    kind regards
    Dave
     
  15. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    Hello Ann,
    Thank you for the information. John Thorley's will took an eternity to resolve and although he died in 1833 it was only in 1851, a year after the sale of these cottages that it was all finally settled. I managed to find additional information about the will at the Oxford History Centre whilst there and a copy of his will which we have is fascinating reading covering all transactions for family expenses between 1833 and 1851.
    As I mentioned earlier he left over 1000 pounds which was an incredible amount of money for then, so as another pointed out, one is sons,William, was also a proprietor of houses so this property ownership seems to run in the family it seems.
    I have seen various estimations of valueing the amount of his estate, but it all depends on which criteria one uses.
    I did also manage to find the record of the sale in 1850, which is quite illuminating, although the addresses mean little to me, myself being non local.
    Thank you so much for your assistance.
    kind regards
    Dave
     
  16. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    Hello Jane,
    Thank you for all the details you sent me.
    What a wealth of information you are. Interesting too that the property in the High Street stayed in family for so long. I wonder if Thomas Brooks is of the same family as Elizabeth Brooks 1793-1870, wife of Jonathan, son of then John Thorley. I guess that is a possibility.
    I recall that one of the Thorley also had something to do with a pub, but I think it was Eynsham where he lived. I will dig out my paperwork and see if I can find it again. It is a beautiful little village there too and it was wonderful to see where they may have lived, or at least see those stone cottages there.
    Anyway, thank you so very much for your kind help, I hadn't expected how much everyone has been able to help and provide information.
    I very much appreciate it.
    kind regards
    Dave Greenley
     
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  17. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I did wonder if this was your John Thorley, knowing how long and involved some of these wills can take to resolve.

    By the bye - welcome to Top Dog :)

    Ann
     
  18. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    Hello Jane,
    Thank you for the suggestion of checking out the land tax records at the History Centre. Hopefully I can do that on my next visit to Oxford.
    Unfortunately my last visit was in freezing temperatures in February, hence also not being able to visit your museum in Witney, so maybe the Spring would be a nicer time to come.
    I just looked at the High Street address and recall walking by there, not knowing of course what it was at the time!
    Kind regards
    Dave Greenley
     
  19. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    The above-mentioned reference is actually a "Notice to Debtors and Creditors" dated 31 May 1803, which appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 4 June 1803. On 7 March 1807 the same journal reported that a woman called Mary Lamb had been charged with "stealing a silver watch, sheets and other articles out of the house of David Thorley of Witney".
     
  20. David Greenley

    David Greenley New Member

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    I have checked in my family tree members but am not showing either a David Thorley or Mary Lamb, so possibly from another Thorley family to mine.
    Thanks anyway for letting me know.
    kind regards
    Dave
     

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