31 January 2010

Two pubs & a windmill

Today's anniversary takes place in 1831.

That's the year James Clerk Maxwell (physicist) was born, as was Mr Studebaker (he of the American car); Charles Darwin started his voyage on HMS Beagle and the French Foreign Legion was founded; Coal miners rioted in Merthyr Tydfil and Victor Hugo published The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

So, now we're deep in context, let me introduce you to great-great-great-great Uncle Thomas Lowton who married Ann Craft in the small Cambs village of Boxworth today. 180 years ago. The couple settled in Dry Drayton (just down the road) and proceeded to produce four children in the next twelve years. In 1841 James was an ag lab and was similarly listed in 1861; however, he is an invalid in 1851 . . . seems he recovered, so that's good! Mind you, I think he was living in the Black Horse pub in 1861 so maybe that helped!

Moving on, the other significant moment today (in my family history) is an 1811 advertisement in the local paper and reproduced in the Stretham Chronicle, telling us that "Francis Langford, Red Lion, wanted to put a youth as apprentice carpenter, joiner or coachman."

The aforementioned Francis Langford was, like Thomas Lowton, my 4xgt uncle and he was married to Ann Riddle. They had had eleven children by 1811 and managed one more in 1813. I didn't discover whether Francis got his apprentice but there was another advert in 1820: "Windmillers could contact Francis Langford for details of four good mill sails carrying upwards of 9 yards of cloth, five and a half feet wide with the leading board to the left."

Ten years later, and another advert: "Francis Langford, Red Lion, advertised for journeyman miller to take charge of a post windmill."

And the final one: 1839 - "Red Lion: Sale of a well-situated and old-established Red Lion pub in extensive trade for 100 years, containing dining and sitting rooms, tap room, bar, kitchen, airy bedroom, arched ale cellar holding 20 barrels, liquer cellar, good dairy, backhouse and cottage, large stables, blacksmiths shop, barn and outbuildings, yard and bowling green. Has good frontage next to the street through which the Lynn to London mails and coaches pass and repass daily, a good water supply with springs ten feet from the surface; proprietor for the last 70 years was Francis Langford."

I have to say that the last bit about Francis being the proprietor for the last 70 years is a bit misleading. That would be quite clever since he was only 75 when he died two years later. It is, though, a clever piece of phraseology as, you've guessed it, Francis succeeded his father . . . whose name was also Francis.

More soon.

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