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Parenting in England 1760-1830Emotion, Identity, and Generation$

Joanne Bailey

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565191

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565191.001.0001

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(p.253) Appendix Biographies of Family Correspondence Collections

(p.253) Appendix Biographies of Family Correspondence Collections

Parenting in England 1760-1830
Oxford University Press

Courtauld family

George Courtauld (1761–1823) was apprenticed as a silk throwster, though was never particularly successful in business, unlike his eldest son Samuel, the famous silk manufacturer.1 George possessed radical political views, perhaps explaining his fascination with America which he visited four times from 1785 till his death there in 1823.2 He met his wife Ruth (née Minton), originally from Cork, Ireland, in America and married her in 1789. The couple's two eldest children, Louisa and Samuel (1793–1881), were born in America. They returned to England in 1793 and George set up a silk-mill in Braintree, Essex, in 1809. They had five more children: Eliza, Catherine, Sophia, George (1802–61), and John. George's and Ruth's marriage was not successful and they spent several years apart during the children's youth when Ruth visited her natal home. Eventually they separated and Ruth moved to Edinburgh with her eldest daughter. George returned to America in 1818, to begin an English settlement in Ohio, and five of his children followed. They returned to England when he died in 1823. George was a Unitarian and some of his children followed suit.

Gray family

There are letters from three generations of the Gray family of York. William Gray (1751–1845), Attorney-at-Law, was from a humble background: his father was a weaver until he took a place in the Customs House in Hull. Gray senior had ambitions for his son and obtained a place as a clerk in a solicitor's office for William at the age of 12, and apprenticed him to a solicitor at 15. William was immensely hard-working and by 1788 was able to move in to the Treasurer's House, York Minster, in what came to be known as Gray's Court. He married Faith Hopwood (1751–1826) in 1777. William was an acquaintance of William Wilberforce, MP for York, and Faith was a friend of Catharine Cappe. They had seven children: Jonathan, Margaret, William, Lucy, Edmund, Robert, and Frances. Frances died before she was one and Robert at four. Lucy and Margaret both pre-deceased their parents, dying in 1813 and 1826 respectively. The eldest son was Jonathan Gray (1779–1837) who was articled to his father at 16 in 1795 and became a partner in 1801. He married Mary Horner in 1804 and they came to live at Gray's Court in 1821. They had a son, William Gray (b.1806), who married Lucy Lumley in 1830; and a daughter, Margaret (b.1809). Mary Gray lived with her father-in-law, William, after she was widowed and cared for him and her grandchildren following the death of her son's wife Lucy in 1838. This was a committed Evangelical family.3

(p.254) Munby family

This correspondence centres on Joseph Munby (1804–1875), a solicitor of Clifton Holme, York, who came to head his own law firm in the early nineteenth century. He was the eldest of five siblings of Joseph Munby senior, a solicitor, and Jane née Pearson. The children were orphaned by the time Joseph was 15. There are some letters from the parents, but the majority are from Joseph, his sister Jane, and their maternal grandmother Jane Pontey, who was heavily involved in the children's care following their mother's death. Joseph married Caroline née Forth and had seven children. Their eldest son was Arthur Munby, notorious for his obsession with working women and his secret marriage to his servant Hannah Cullwick.

Shaw family

There is correspondence between two generations of the Shaw/Wilkinson families: between the hardware factor John Shaw (1782–1858) and his wife Elizabeth née Wilkinson (from Colne, Lancashire, d.1869), who married in 1813, and between them and their parents.4 John was born in Penn and by his teens had embarked on a life as a commercial traveller which would see him heading a wholesale hardware business by the early nineteenth century, based in Wolverhampton, and purchasing a mansion on Stafford Road by the 1830s.5 Both spouses were committed Christians: Elizabeth was a Methodist; John became a member of the Congregationalist Church. They had six children: John (b.1816), Betsy (b.1819), Thomas (b.1820), Edward (b.1822), Richard (b.1826), and Mary (b.1830).6


(1) For the Courtauld silk business see Coleman, Courtaulds: an economic and social history.

(2) For George's final trip and the settlement he tried to establish in Ohio, see William Van Vugt, British Buckeyes, 64–70.

(3) For a family biography see Gray, Papers and Diaries of a York Family 1764–1839.

(4) There are occasional letters from the Shaws’ children too. For a brief family biography see 〈http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/Museum/metalware/general/shaw.htm〉.

(5) For his early years as a commercial traveller see Popp, ‘Building the market: John Shaw of Wolverhampton’.

(6) These dates are not absolutely certain as the correspondence simply covers the years of pregnancy and does not announce birth dates.