John Morgan, surgeon and apothecary of Waters Upton – Part 1

John Morgan was not a native of Waters Upton (nor even of Shropshire), but he lived in the parish for almost three decades prior to his death in 1878. During that time, while conducting business as a surgeon and apothecary, he also took on two public roles. What’s more, he and his wife have descendants living in Waters Upton today.

Westcountry origins

Bath - Walcot St Swithin

I have not found a baptism record which can be attributed with certainty to John, but census records show that he was born at Bath in the county of Somerset, probably in 1807 or in the early part of 1808. He may have been the John Morgan, born April 30th, who was baptised at Walcot St Swithin (pictured above). The register gives the father, also named John, the prefix “Mr.”, indicating that he was a gentleman, but names the mother as Mary. It is the mother’s name (which may of course have been recorded incorrectly) that doesn’t fit the known facts regarding John junior’s parentage: John Flower Morgan, “of the Parish of Walcotes in the City of Bath, a batchelor”, married Rebecca Worrall of Kineton in Warwickshire on 24 Apr 1806 in the bride’s parish.

There seems to be no record of John Flower Morgan’s baptism either, but he is said (by a source that is not altogether accurate about other aspects of his life) to have been a son of Philip Morgan and Mary Flowers, a couple who were married at Bristol St Philip & St Jacob on 12 January 1785. “John Flower Morgan, Gent.” was appointed as an Ensign in the ‘Kington’ (Kineton) Volunteer Infantry in 1804. As John Flowers Morgan he then received a Commission as Lieutenant in the Royal Cheshire Militia on 17 June 1808 (Gazetted 25 June 1808). He later accepted an Ensigncy in the 2nd Battalion of the Lancashire Militia to which he was appointed on 21 Oct 1813 (Gazetted 22 January 1814). One source states that John served in that Regiment as a Surgeon’s Mate (Assistant Surgeon), but in a draft release dated 25 March 1814 (at which time he was stationed at Plymouth) he was described as “John Flower Morgan, surgeon”. (His position as Assistant Surgeon – as we will soon see – is confirmed by later records.)

Family life continued alongside John Flower Morgan’s service in these various militia units. A second child, “Mariah, dr of John & Rebecca Morgan” was baptised at Kineton on 6 March 1809. Sadly, this happy event was evidently followed not long afterwards by the untimely death of Rebecca Morgan née Worrall. John took a second wife in a wedding held on 12 September 1812 at Wells in Somerset, the marriage register of which recorded the bride’s name as Mary Goldesbrough. This lady was “Mary Daughter of Mr. Edward Goldesborough and Rebekah his Wife born 4th. July” in 1786, who was privately baptised at Wells on 10 July that year and “received into the Church 18th. January 1787”. A family tree published in Memorials of the Goldesborough family shows that Edward was a Postmaster, and that he had as elder brothers two clergymen, a Rear-Admiral – and two surgeons.

In addition to taking on John’s children by his former wife, Mary added three children of her own to the Morgan family. Charles Henry Morgan was baptised at Wells on 8 May 1816; tragically, he drowned at the Cleveland Pleasure Baths in Bath on 5 August 1840 aged just 23. He did at least live a lot longer than his sister Emma Charlotte Morgan: baptised at Wells on 23 July 1818, she was buried there on 8 October that same year, having died at the age of three months.

By the time Frederick Williams Morgan was baptised on 28 September 1822, the Morgans had moved to Walcot, at Bath. Frederick survived into adulthood, married, settled in Leamington, Warwickshire and pursued a career as a dentist, according to information I have extracted (pun intended) from the censuses. John Flower Morgan meanwhile remained in his favourite part of Bath for the rest of his life, as was shown by his entry in successive editions of The London and Provincial Medical Directory – which always followed the entry for his son, John Morgan, M.R.C.S., L.S.A. The snippet below is from the 1857 edition of that publication.

Book - London and Provincial Medical Directory (1857)

Getting out of Bath (or, One good Tern deserves another)

With immediate possession,
A Genteel RESIDENCE, situate in the pleasant Village of WATERS UPTON, the county of Salop, with two parlours in front, kitchen, back kitchen, cellar, pantry, and five good lodging rooms, with stable, cow-house, piggeries, and all other convenient out-offices, together with three acres of capital grass land. This is a very desirable situation for a small retired family, or a Medical Gentleman, as there is no one in the profession within six miles of the Village. The above premises have been recently built, and are in an excellent state of repair, and the situation is beautiful, having a commanding view of the Wrekin and surrounding country.—For further particulars, and to treat for the same, apply to Mr. Felton, Rowton, near Wellington, Shropshire; if by letter, post-paid.—This advertisement will not be continued.

Within two years of the above notice being published (on page 1 of the Shrewsbury Chronicle of 2 October 1835), there was a ‘Medical Gentleman’ within six miles of Waters Upton. Although I doubt that the former led to the latter, although exactly why and when John Morgan came to settle in Shropshire I do not know.

The earliest evidence I have found of John’s presence in the county are records of his marriage to Emma Woodfin at Stoke upon Tern in 1837 – the same year in which he became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries. The marriage register stated that he, like his bride, was “of Stoke”. A notice of the wedding in the Shrewsbury Chronicle of 9 June 1837 (page 3) read: “23d. ult. at Stoke-upon-Tern, by the Rev. S. H. Macauley, John, eldest son of Mr. Morgan, surgeon, Bath, to Emma, only daughter of Thomas Woodfin, Esq. of Petsey, in this county.”

Map - Stoke upon Tern and Eaton upon Tern

Emma had been baptised in the same church some 20 years earlier on 27 July 1817. Her marriage there was followed in due course by the birth of her first child with John, a son named after his father (and grandfather). John junior was also baptised at Stoke Upon Tern (on 12 April 1838), as was the next addition to the family, Sarah (baptised 20 October 1839), who was named for her maternal grandmother. Both of these children were born at Eaton upon Tern, situated about 3½ miles south of Stoke. This is where the members of the Morgan family – John Morgan, age 34, a Surgeon, with Emma (25), John (3) and Sarah (2), plus three servants – were enumerated on the 1841 census. As the maps above and below this paragraph (both to the same scale) show, Eaton is closer to Waters Upton (less than 3 miles away) than it is to the village after which the parish it lies in was named.

Map - Waters Upton and Eaton upon Tern

Downriver to Waters Upton

Ten years later in 1851, the Morgans were enumerated in Waters Upton itself, a different parish, but still adjacent to the River Tern. They had not been there for very long – perhaps about four years. Four of the five children added to the family since the previous census were born at Eaton upon Tern and three of those were baptised at Stoke upon Tern. They were: Thomas (age 9, baptised as Thomas Woodfin Morgan after his maternal grandfather on 26 September 1841), Rebecca (8, named after her paternal grandmother and baptised on 20 July 1843), and Robert (6, baptised as Robert Flower Morgan on 24 July 1845; his second forename presumably given in honour of his father’s paternal grandmother Mary Flowers).

Based on his age on the 1851 census (4), William Edward Morgan was born – at Eaton upon Tern – in 1846-47. He was not baptised there however, and neither, it seems, was his birth registered. Perhaps these matters were forgotten in the midst of a house move? This may be borne out by the fact that John Morgan’s name first appeared in the register of voters at Waters Upton in the 1847-48 edition of the register (for the Northern Division of Shropshire, prepared in the latter part of 1847). John was, incidentally, not an elector at that time but was named as the occupant of a freehold house and land which belonged to a Robert Blantern (and which entitled said Mr Blantern to vote there). John Morgan was listed as an elector himself in the electoral registers from 1850-51 onwards, but it was not until the register of 1860-61 that the location of the property he was renting from Robert Blantern became clear. “Herbert Bank”, otherwise known as Harbut or Harebutt Bank, was situated to the north-east of Waters Upton village on the road to Bolas.

William Edward Morgan was finally baptised at Waters Upton on 13 February 1848 – along with his older brother Robert Flower Morgan who had been baptised already at Stoke upon Tern!

The newest addition to the Morgan family recorded on the 1851 census was 11-month-old Emma, named after her mother. She was the first member of the family to be born in the parish of Waters Upton, and she was baptised there on 1 May 1850. One of the three servants in the household in 1851, Jane Wooley (actually Jessie Jane Wooley, or Woolley), was there specifically to look after baby Emma as she was employed as a nurse. (The other two servants in the household – Henry Cartwright, age 25, a groom and gardener, and Mary Cliff, 20, a house servant – went on to marry and raised their own family in Waters Upton – a story for another time.)

Distress and delight: the death and delivery of daughters

Sadly, little Emma was not only the first member of this Morgan family to be born at Waters Upton, she was also the first to die there – less than a week after the 1851 census was taken. On 11 April 1851 the death notices published on page 5 of the Shrewsbury Chronicle included the following: “5th inst. at Waters Upton, near Wellington, aged eleven months, Emma, daughter of Mr. Morgan, surgeon.” No hint there that nurse Woolley was in any way to blame thank goodness, but I wonder how the loss of the babe in her care affected her – not to mention the impact on the rest of the Morgan family. Infant mortality was commonplace at that time, but amongst other things I wonder how a surgeon and apothecary dealt with being unable to save the life of his own child?

The grief and the feelings of helplessness and loss that I imagine John and Emma Morgan experienced in 1851, were things they had to go through all over again the following year. This time it was their eldest daughter, Sarah, who was taken from them by death. “9th inst., aged 12 years, Sarah, eldest daughter of Mr. Morgan, surgeon, of Waters Upton, in this county”, reported the Shrewsbury Chronicle on 16 July 1852 (page 4).

At the time of her daughter Sarah’s death, Emma Morgan née Woodfin was pregnant with her next child. Mary Ann Morgan was baptised at Waters Upton on 24 January 1853 – with her mother named in the register as Hannah. And to add to the errors associated with the recording of Mary Ann, according to the General Register Office’s online index of births her mother’s maiden name was Woodvine!

It does not appear that the latter error described above occurred in respect of John and Emma’s next – and last – child, another Emma born, I suspect, in December 1857. I say this because I have not found a registration of her birth. She was however baptised, at Waters Upton, on New Year’s Day 1858 . . . although her mother was once again named as Hannah in the baptism register. John and Emma Morgan were most likely blissfully unaware of the above errors – and, even more importantly, delighted to have brought two healthy baby girls into the world after the sad loss of two of their other three daughters.

Book - The New Medical Act (1858)

Having begun with the baptism of the daughter who completed John Morgan’s family, 1858 continued with a development of significance to John from a professional point of view. After years of campaigning and sixteen unsuccessful attempts over the previous eighteen years to enact legislation on medical reform, the Medical Act was passed and the “legally qualified Medical Practitioner” was recognised by law. It is John Morgan’s life as a Medical Practitioner, Surgeon and Apothecary – to use the description he gave himself on the 1861 census – that I will look at in the next instalment of this article.

To be continued.

Picture credits. Walcot St Swithin, Bath: Photo © Copyright Derek Harper; taken from Geograph and modified, used and made available for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence. Extract from London and Provincial Medical Directory, 1857: Taken from digitised copy at Google Books (original publication out of copyright). Maps showing Stoke upon Tern, Eaton upon Tern and Waters Upton: Extracts from Ordnance Survey One Inch map Sheet 138 published 1899; reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence. Extract from the title page of The New Medical Act (published 1858): From a public domain work at Internet Archive.

Lucy Alice Wylde and her secret admirer

A puzzling postcard

“Has your #OnePlaceStudy been photographed?” As you might guess from the hashtag, this question was posed on Twitter. Pam Smith’s tweet prompted me to make another online search for old photos of Waters Upton, a search which turned out to be fairly fruitful. Not only did I find an old photo, I also happened upon an intriguing postcard sent to a young lady of Waters Upton, from someone who appears to have been a secret admirer.

Postcard to A Wylde, front

The postcard was one of many being offered for sale on the British Family Tree Research website, and naturally I soon snapped it up. As you can see, the front of the card has a black and white photo of a young man standing on one side of a garden fence, looking at a young woman standing on the other side. Below the photo the following verse is printed:

So you’re going away, because your heart has gone astray,
And you promised me that you would always faithful be;
Go to him you love, and be as true as stars above;
But your heart will yearn, and some day you will return,
Goodbye my lady love, farewell my turtle dove,
You are my idol and darling of my heart;
But some day you will come back to me and love me tenderly,
So goodbye my lady love, goodbye.

Powerful stuff, so let’s go over to the other side of the postcard for the all-important details of the sender and the recipient. The lamenter of lost love was, as I suspected, anonymous. Not only was no name given, the message is almost illegible in places! That message simply said:

Thanks for paper
hope allis [= all is] well
from Your’s

Postcard to A Wylde, back

OK, what about the postmark – a vital clue or a red herring? Well, it shows that the postcard was posted at Watford, in Hertfordshire, on 24 February 1906. Did the sender live in Watford but visit Waters Upton, or live in the latter and visit the former (through employment, or maybe because of family connections), or did the sender live in Waters Upton but know someone who lived in Watford, who agreed to post the card to make its origins more mysterious?

The one person whose identity I knew, from the details provided on the BFTR website, was of course the addressee: Miss A Wylde of the Lion Inn, Waters Upton. Without a doubt Lucy Alice Wylde, who was known as Alice – presumably to avoid confusion as her mother’s name was also Lucy.

The life of Lucy Alice Wylde: part 1

Lucy Alice Wylde was born at Waters Upton in 1889, most likely in the Lion Inn; her birth was registered at Wellington in the second quarter of that year. She was the third child and first daughter of John and Lucy (née Strefford) Wylde, and appears with them at the Lion on the 1891 census, along her elder brothers Frederick and Joseph (twins) and younger sister Sarah Ann (aged 7 months).

Sadly, Lucy Alice and her siblings lost their father on 2 April 1900 (a headstone in Waters Upton churchyard surviving to tell the tale). Their widowed mother took on the running of the Lion, and she was enumerated in that capacity on the 1901 census, with her children Frederick, Joseph, Alice (the forename Lucy dropped by that time), Harry and Albert (but not Sarah who, as we will see, was staying elsewhere).

The Wellington Journal of 27 July 1901 shows that Alice took part in the Bolas and Waters Upton Flower Show, held on the afternoon of Friday 6 July. In the Children’s Division of the show she was awarded fourth place for her collection of grasses; if she entered a wild flower bouquet she was not placed. There were also sporting events held in conjunction with the show (reported on in the following week’s edition of the Journal), including egg and spoon races for married ladies and spinsters; Alice competed in the latter and came second.

The next event in Alice’s life that I know of was the delivery of the postcard from her secret admirer, which quite possibly prompted giggles from Alice’s siblings, and maybe blushes from Alice herself? Alice, who at that time was nearly 17 years old, may well have known who the sender was – but we can only guess. Was it perhaps William James or his younger brother Thomas, sons of Alfred James the butcher and his wife Ann, whose household was enumerated immediately before the Lion on the censuses of 1901 and 1911? Even if I had samples of handwriting to compare (sadly I don’t) it would probably be difficult to prove one way or the other. One reader of the first incarnation of this story suggested “a teasing card from female friends or [an] elder brother.”

In an attempt to find out more, I endeavoured to piece together what happened to Alice after 1906. The first part of this project was easy. By 1911 Alice had indeed left home and she was not with her family at the Lion Inn on that year’s census. Like her elder twin brothers, Alice had found railway-related work – she was enumerated at Manchester’s Central Station on Lower Mosley Street (pictured below in the 1910s) where she was one of seven single ladies working as bar attendants.

Manchester Central Train Station, 1910s

The life of Lucy Alice Wylde: part 2

Alice’s life after 1911 was something which, at first, I was not 100% certain about. With the aid of Ancestry and then also Findmypast, I tentatively pulled together the following sequence of events. As all the records I have found use her full name, I too will from this point refer to Lucy by her original given name.

In the last quarter of 1919, the marriage of Lucy A Wylde and John Crompton was registered at Wellington, Shropshire. Judging by his surname, John was probably a Lancashire lad whom Lucy met while working in that part of England; I think it very likely that the couple wed at Waters Upton, which was not only the bride’s native parish but also where her mother still lived and worked.

Very soon after their nuptials, the newlyweds emigrated. The passenger list for the Saxon, departing Southampton on 19 December 1919, included a Mr and Mrs J Crompton who were contracted to land at Cape Town. I have to point out that there are a number of things in this record which suggest that it relates to another couple – Mrs Crompton’s age is given as 20 (30 would have been more accurate), and the “country of last permanent residence” was indicated as being “British Possessions” for both parties (I have found no evidence of any previous periods abroad for either of them). However, Mr Crompton’s occupation was given as “Clerk”, and his age as 35, both of which tie in with later records.

On 31 May 1926 Lucy A Crompton, a housewife aged 37, arrived at London from Cape Town aboard the P&O Steamship Balranald from Sydney, Australia. The country of her last permanent residence was recorded as “Africa” – which of course is not a country. (As one of my former geography teachers said many years ago when someone gave “Africa” as an answer to a question, “Damnit man, Africa’s a big place!”) Lucy’s proposed UK address was the Grapes Hotel in Liverpool, but her intended future permanent residence was “Other parts of the British Empire”. Sure enough, on 2 September 1926, 37-year-old housewife Mrs Lucy Alice Crompton, whose last UK address was the Glasgow Arms Hotel in Deansgate, Manchester, departed London for Cape Town aboard the P&O Steamship Borda. Her country of intended future permanent residence was “S. Africa”.

A further brief visit to the UK was made in 1935. This time, 46-year-old Lucy Alice Crompton was accompanied by her husband, John Crompton, a Secretary, aged 50. The couple, whose last and intended future residences were South Africa and “Other parts of the British Empire” respectively, arrived at Southampton on 29 July, aboard the Carnarvon Castle (pictured below). Their proposed UK address – and these details are worth remembering – was “c/o Mr Doughty, 12 Hayes Ave, Bournemouth”. The Cromptons left just over a fortnight later, on the Carnarvon Castle’s return trip to South Africa which began when it departed Southampton on 9 August 1935.

Ship - Carnarvon Castle

Lucy A Crompton, aged 64, returned to the UK for what appears to have been the last time in 1954. The passenger list for the Edinburgh Castle shows that she arrived at Southampton on 9 April. John Crompton was not with her (I have yet to establish his fate, not to mention who he worked for in South Africa, and whereabouts in that country he and Lucy lived). Lucy was once again heading for 12 Hayes Avenue in Bournemouth – and she intended to remain in England permanently.

According to the National Probate Calendar for 1966, Lucy Alice Crompton of 18 Lansdowne House, Christchurch Road in Bournemouth died on 12 May that year at Christchurch Hospital. Probate was granted to the Westminster Bank, and Lucy left effects valued at an impressive £12,766.

Not a bad life for a publican’s daughter – assuming all the above records actually relate to ‘our’ Lucy Alice Wylde! How to be certain, without purchasing Lucy’s marriage certificate, or her death certificate, or perhaps a copy of the aforementioned will? I decided to follow the fortunes of Sarah Ann Wylde, the younger sister of Lucy, and see what information that turned up.

Wylde at heart: sister Sarah Ann

Sarah, as we have seen, was not with her siblings and her widowed mother at the Lion Inn, Waters Upton, at the time of the 1911 census. Instead, she was staying with her cousin William Lawrence Wylde (a son of Sarah’s late uncle Lewis Wylde) at 52 Stafford Street in Hanley, Staffordshire. William, incidentally, was a Beerhouse Manager, so his (public) house was, aside from being in an urban rather than a rural environment, ‘home from home’ for 10-year-old Sarah.

In my initial searches I failed to find Sarah on the 1911 census, but I managed to catch up with her in 1922 – on her wedding day. The marriage register of Stanmore Church in Middlesex, described by Ancestry as Harrow St John, shows that on 29 June 1922 Sarah Ann Wylde of Stanmore, a spinster aged 31 and a daughter of John Wylde deceased, married Albert Ishmael Doughty of Harrow, son of John Doughty deceased. John, who had retired from business, was a bachelor aged – wait for it – 56 (perhaps there’s hope for me yet!).

Map - Bournemouth, Hayes Avenue highlighted

Does the surname Doughty ring any bells? If it doesn’t, how about the address where Sarah and Albert were living when the National Identity Register was compiled in 1939? Albert I Doughty, a retired pawnbroker born 26 August 1865, and Sarah A Doughty, born 19 August 1890, were – along with Albert’s unmarried sister Marion – residing at 12 Hayes Avenue, Bournemouth (Hayes Avenue lies within the purple circle on the map above). Boom! Clear evidence that Sarah’s sister Lucy Alice Wylde had indeed married clerk / secretary John Crompton and emigrated with him to South Africa.

Albert Ishmael Doughty of 12 Hayes Avenue Bournemouth died on 28 November 1942; the National Probate Calendar for 1943 shows that probate was granted to the National Westminster Bank and that Albert effects were valued at a whopping £30,883 4s. 3d. His widow Sarah Ann Doughty, née Wylde, remained at the couple’s home in Bournemouth but died at Strathallan Nursing Home in Owls Road on 12 August 1962. She had evidently been the primary beneficiary of her late husband’s will, as her effects (according the National Probate Calendar of 1962) were valued at £26,901 14s. 5d.

So far away, yet so close

Lucy Alice and Sarah Ann, two sisters from Waters Upton, led very different lives, and for a large part of those lives were half a world away from each other. But despite the distance they were clearly very close to each other. Not only did they keep in touch, they also spent their last years in the same seaside resort on the south coast of England.

What of Lucy Alice’s secret admirer? That postcard wasn’t thrown away, it was kept and it was presumably only after Lucy’s death that it found its way into the old postcard trade, so it must have meant something. Well over a century after it was posted, it came to my notice and has led to a little of Lucy Alice’s life, and that of her sister Sarah, being explored and remembered. But who sent the card?

Thanks to genealogy guru Dave Annal (Lifelines Research), I think we now have a pretty good idea. Dave did a more thorough job of searching for Sarah in 1911 than I did, and guess where he found her? Living (and working as a general domestic servant) in the household of Ellen Hester Boulter at 2 Loates Lane in Watford, that’s where!

Picture credits. Postcard sent to Miss A Wylde: Posted in 1906 and therefore believed to be out of copyright. Central Train Station, Manchester: From a 1910s postcard and therefore believed to be out of copyright. The Union-Castle Royal Mail Motor Vessel “Carnarvon Castle”: From an out-of-copyright image at State Library of Queensland (John Oxley Library), Australia. Map of Bournemouth showing the location of Hayes Avenue: Extract from Ordnance Survey One Inch map Sheet 179; reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence.