Discussion in 'Oxfordshire' started by Donald Straughan, Jul 30, 2015.
Thank you all so much for your help. Janet & Euryalus were absolutely spot-on - Winfield & Bunting are the original surnames & by 1888 in Scotland they were recalled as Wingfield & Bunten. Thank you also Sarah for the 1801 baptism info. on Sarah W. Have now ordered GRO Death Cert for Matthew W.
Also want to thank Molly May for 1841 Census info, etc..
It is a pleasure Donald, so glad we all were able to help you.
I think you meant to thank Huncamunca
Yep, so much information from Huncamunca" I do hope some of my few Oxfordshire rellies turn up in Witney at some point !
UPDATE - GRO Death Cert for Matthew WINFIELD shows he died on 28th February 1843 "at Witney", age 76, pauper, of debility. Elizabeth Holland was in attendance [she made her mark, & presumably was not a close relative].
Thank you for the update, Donald.
The description of 'pauper' may well indicate that Matthew was in receipt of poor relief. I hope he and his wife were given 'outdoor relief' and spared the trauma of having to go into the workhouse in their last years.
The only known surviving register of inmates of the Witney Union Workhouse is at Witney & District Museum; it only covers 1839-1841, unfortunately. I've checked my transcript of names of those listed. The only Winfield is an Esther Winfield of Crawley (born 1772) who was in the workhouse in 1840. So during that period at least, Matthew and Elizabeth stayed out of the workhouse.
As for Matthew's occupation earlier in life, my searches have all been negative I'm afraid. I have not found any reference to him in an index of names mentioned in the court books of the Company of Blanket Weavers (from 1711 to the 1840s), but I would not expect to see many fullers mentioned there. They may have had a separate guild: there is a tantalising reference in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 16 April 1763 to 'the Fuller's Company on Foot with their Duffil Jerkins' taking part in a procession in Witney.
Read with interest as ever - many thanks. Interesting suggestion of a separate Fuller's Company in Oxford, though they may have been non-functional by the 1840s, as with some other trade guilds. I hope to have more information on the Winfields & Buntings soon from the Oxford FHS databases.
I would guess that the fullers in the procession were from the Witney area, as the 'Master of the Incorporated Company of Blanket Makers, attended by the Court of Assistants, Wardens and Commonalty' also took part.
It's possible that the 'Fullers' Company' was just a way of saying that the fullers had gathered together for the procession, for elsewhere in the line-up were 'The Independent Companies, consisting of Tradesmen bearing Arms.' Whether or not the fullers had a guild, I love the detail about their 'duffil jerkins' (duffels/duffields were made in Witney).
If the fullers did have a trade guild, I'm sure it would have become obsolete by the early nineteenth century, as the Company of Blanket Weavers did (though it wasn't wound up until the 1840s).
The 1763 procession was part of Witney's celebrations of the proclamation of peace. Now that I have re-read the report, I note that it was issued to contradict an earlier account:
The Whole was conducted with a Decorum suitable to the Importance of the Occasion, very different from the unjust and unfriendly Light in which it has already been represented in a Letter from this Place.
There is indeed a letter in the previous week's paper, which does suggest more of a party atmosphere. In this account the fullers are called tuckers: 'the Master, and Blanketer's Company appeared on Horseback, who were preceded by the Tuckers on foot'.
This raises questions on the extent to which Trade Guilds were more than trade cartels & jolly social/festive organisations. Did they ever have significant educational & technical roles (by improving training & skills and sharing their advances with others)? If so, presumably it might vary between Guilds & between geographical areas? As a University city, was Oxford in the vanguard?
It would be misleading to think of 19th century "trade guilds" in the Medieval sense. Insofar as they still existed, they would have been more like employers associations. As far as I am aware, there is no evidence to suggest that the Witney fullers (or "tuckers" to use West of England term) ever had a guild.
I have not seen any such evidence either (apart from the ambiguous newspaper reference already mentioned), but absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.
The more I look in unpublished archives and the more I browse through old newspapers, the more things I discover about Witney that aren't mentioned in any of the history books.
However long I spend at this task, I will still only know a tiny fraction of the town's real history. So many people, buildings and organisations must have vanished without leaving a trace in the archives. But there are still new discoveries to be made! Expect the unexpected, is my motto.
I can really only speak of Witney's Company of Blanket Weavers, which did not receive its Royal charter until 1711. Weavers had petitioned for a charter because of concerns that
several Masters of the said Trade for their Private Lucre have Confounded the sizes [of blankets] formerly made, and not made the Antient Lengths Breadths or Weights But have so Deceitfully and Slightly worked the same that the Value is only in shew.They devised many rules about who could make blankets, how big the blankets should be, and so on, and then tried to enforce them. Whether that helped with standardisation and quality control, I don't know: the court books have many records of those who broke the rules.
Of the vast numbers of bills and receipts which survive among the Company's records, some are for bona fide expenses of running the Blanket Hall in Witney and the company warehouse(s) in London - but a great many of them are for food and drink, mostly at feast time. It's a fascinating resource for local history, with so many bills from local tradesmen and women.
I'm afraid I don't know! My local history research has been very much focused on Witney. Though Witney is so near Oxford geographically speaking, the big city's culture didn't (and still doesn't!) seem to percolate this far. There's a great quotation in John Wesley's journal for October 1771:
I went on to Witney. I am surprised at the plainness and artlessness of this people. Who would imagine that they lived within ten, yea, or fifty miles of Oxford.
Separate names with a comma.