Family History
A short History of the Evans family of Much Wenlock

A short History of the Evans family of Much Wenlock Shropshire



         William Evans born c.1794 married Susanna Richards at Shifnall 4 July 1821.  The Richards family appear as early as 1763 in the Much Wenlock parish registers when John Richards married Joyce Clivley.  Their son Jasper was  baptised there 18 October 1771 and he married Martha Bould at Brossley 11 July 1796.  Susannah Richards their daughter was baptised at Much Wenlock 12 April 1801.

         William Evans is shown as a schoolmaster in the Much Wenlock parish registers when their children George (10.10.1821), Elizabeth (16/2/1823),  Eliza, (1/1/1825) and Thomas William (27/7/1827) were baptised. Although others are named he does not appear in the 1824 or 1828 local directory as a schoolmaster,  nor in the Vestry Books, except as a signatory to a petition of inhabitants on the 25 July 1822, also no William Evans qualified to cast a vote in the Borough Election during the period.  However, under the section ‘Wenlock Tythes Occupiers’ in the Wynnstay estate archives,  a William Evans is listed for the years 1821 to 1824 but not between 1825 and 1830. To date no further information has been found about  where he and his family originated and as he died and was buried at Much Wenlock on the  1st April 1829 aged 35 it is not possible to find him on any census returns.

         His widow Susanna Evans remarried Thomas Bayliss,  a painter and glazier,  at Madeley on the 23/9/1832 and they had three more children all baptised at Much Wenlock.   Anne (7/11/1832), Edward (20/12/1834 - died aged 12 buried 23/3/1847), and Ellin (31/7/1837 died aged 14 months buried 11/10/1838). Thomas Bayliss died aged 72 on the 12 November 1841

         In the 1841 census Eliza Evans was living with her mother, stepfather and stepbrother and sister, at Barrow Street, Much Wenlock. George Evans, now a shoemaker and Elizabeth Evans, female servant, were living with their uncle Francis Richards,  an Innkeeper in Wilmore Street, Much Wenlock.  No further reference has been found to George. Thomas Evans is living with William Yates, blacksmith, [to  whom he had been  apprenticed c.1840] in  Spittle Street, Much Wenlock.   .

Eliza Evans married James Wrigley a Currier at the Beandlee Methodist  Chapel, Madeley on 13 August 1846. Their first son Frank was baptised at Much Wenlock 1/2/1847. Another son William was baptised 25/6/1847 and died 3 March 1851. Eliza and James produced several children who were all baptised in the Church at Much Wenlock including two sons, Frank 1/1/1847 and William baptised 25 June the same year and was buried 3 March 1851.  The family lived at 48 Barrow Street.   James was buried  6 March 1877 and Eliza 24 September 1887 at Much Wenlock Parish Church.

         On 3rd December 1848 Elizabeth Evans gave birth at Barrow Street to a son Edwin (there was no father’s name on the birth certificate). In the 1851 census, she and Edwin were living at the same address with her step sister Ann and mother Susannah, who was shown as a dressmaker employing two hands – presumably her daughters as they are both shown as such.  They also had a lodger,   James Leeds aged 23, born in Canterbury in Kent, who was a currier, and on the 11 May 1851 Elizabeth Evans aged 28, spinster, dressmaker of Much Wenlock, daughter of William Evans, school master, married him at the Baptist Chapel Madeley.  James was the son of Thomas a farmer. Their first son Alfred Leeds was born in  1852 and he and Edwin Evans were baptised on Christmas Day 1853 at Much Wenlock. Elizabeth and James also had two daughters, Elizabeth born Easthope c.1857 and Susannah born in Wellington c1860. The Leeds family are shown at St. John Street, Wellington in the 1861 census where Edwin is called Edwin Leeds so possibly James was his father.  In 1871 they had moved to  Jarratts Lane, Wellington.

         In 1871 Susanna Baylis (70) a monthly nurse with her daughter Ann Baylis (38) dressmaker were listed at 1 Oldgate House, Much Wenlock living with her other daughter Eliza Wrigley and family. On the 23 May 1878 Susanna Baylis aged  77 [3 years bed sore - chronic paralysis]  widow of Thomas Baylis a painter, died at Constitution Hill, Wellington, in the presence of  (the mark of ) Hannah Harnold (Arnold on census) King Street, Wellington. She was buried in grave number 1182 on 25 May 1878 in Wellington Cemetery - its a single grave - and was purchased by Alfred Leeds, Clerk, Wellington Solicitors 29/5/1878. [The grave still appears on the Cemetery Plan but sadly no longer exists]. 

         To return now to our great great grandfather Thomas Evans blacksmith [who later called himself William Thomas]. 

         He married at Hughley 5 March 1850 Sarah, daughter of Edward Corfield, miller and their first child Emily was baptised there 23 June 1850.  The family are listed there in the 1851 census and Thomas is shown as a blacksmith’s journeyman, probably working for Richard Bullock, blacksmith, who is shown in the census as employing one man.

         Thomas and Sarah  had moved to Hill Top, Easthope by 1853 when their son William was baptised in Easthope Church, Jane was baptised there  21/5/1854 and  George 11/1/1857. They  remained in Easthope until 1857/8 but had  moved to The Bank, Much Wenlock by 13 March 1858  when another son Edward was baptised at Much Wenlock Parish Church.  Thomas (grandpa’s father) was born l June 1859 and baptised 25 December 1860 in Much Wenlock.

         In the 1861 Census Thomas (34) born Much Wenlock, blacksmith master; Sarah (34) born Hughley; Emily (10), scholar; Wm (8), scholar; Jane (7), scholar; George (5)  Thomas (2) and Ann Baylis (28) unmarried dressmaker born Wenlock  are listed living at The Bank, Much Wenlock.  

         In early September 1862 Sarah Anne, another daughter, was born, sadly on the 9 September, Sarah,  wife of William Thomas Evans Blacksmith, died at Bank, Wenlock of consumption 6 months. Susanna Bayliss was present at the death which  was registered 11 September.  The registrar was  Susanna’s brother Francis Richards. Sarah was buried at Hughley on the 12 September and the cause of death was, according to an annotation in the margin of the Parish Register, ‘consumption after childbirth’. Sarah Anne, daughter of  William Thomas blacksmith and Sarah Evans of Wenlock was baptised at Much Wenlock on the 22 October 1862 and strangely her mother was not shown as deceased in the register.

         On the 14 May 1868 Thomas Evans (41) widower, blacksmith,  son of William Evans school master,  remarried Sarah German (35) spinster,  daughter of John German labourer.  The witnesses were William Lawley and Eliza Halford. As there are no relevant baptisms at Much Wenlock between 1868 and 1879 it appears there were no children of his second marriage.  In the 1871 census George, Thomas and Sarah were living with their father and step-mother at The Bank. Emily was a nurse with a family in Paddington,  and Jane was a housemaid with a family in Shrewsbury. Circa 1873 Thomas was apprenticed to William Dudley, a carpenter, in Wenlock and in July 1879 he and his future wife Louisa Cartwright were witnesses at the wedding of his sister Jane, to John Rogers, blacksmith of Bayston Hill at Christ Church, Bayston Hill.

         On finishing his apprenticeship Thomas moved to London where in the 1881 census he was a boarder at 71 Eland Road Batterse,  the home of Joseph Rice and his wife Mary.   Louisa Cartwright was a visitor (24) born Frankton staying with her sister and husband John Henry Thickens (33) Station Master born York, Harriet wife (26) born Frankton, John Henry son (5) Ellesmere, Frank Edgar son (2) living at Railway Station, Bow Street, Clarach in the parish of Aberystwyth.

         It seems likely that Thomas was probably working either with, or for, William Fake a bricklayer aged 35 who was born in Stockwell,  listed at 25 Kingsley Street, Battersea in the 1881 census, the address given by Thomas when he married Louisa Cartwright of the parish of Ellesmere, on 29 September 1881 at Battersea Parish Church.

         Thomas and Louisa had two sons.  Frank Dudley Evans (my grandfather) who was born 16 May 1883 at Abbey Cottage, Much Wenlock, the home of William Dudley.   Thomas gave his address as 102 Eversleigh Road, Lavender Hill, London in June when the baby was registered.  Frank was baptised at Much Wenlock on the 27 May 1883.  The second son Tom was born 9 February 1885 in London.

         In the 1891 census Thomas is shown as a carpenter and the family are listed living at 102 Eversleigh Road, Battersea.  Nearby at 123 Sugden Road, Battersea  Frank’s future wife Rhoda E Ashton, aged five born Westminster, was living with her aunt Mary Ann Lower aged 41, born at Slaugham, and her husband Joseph Lower aged 43, a  builder born Brighton.   Rhoda’s mother had died when she was three and her father then returned to live in Leicestershire,  and her mother’s sister Mary brought her up.  The children all attended Gideon Road School which is where granny and grandpa met - Frank being admitted 27 October 1890 and Tom entering in 1892, both boys having attended the infants department.  Sadly the admittance registers for the girls no longer survive at this date.

         In 1901 Frank was still living with his parents and was an apprentice builder. However this was not his chosen profession, and he went to night school and became a qualified engineer,  after which he joined the Colonial service going out to Penang Malaysia c1909.  Rhoda Eliza was a pupil teacher in 1901 and having qualified had to work for a year and it was not until 1909 she was able to join Frank in Malayia and they were married there on 13 February.

         Although Thomas junior moved down to London he and the family obviously still visited Much Wenlock as I remember Granny telling me that Frank sang in the choir and the local church and also competed in the Wenlock Games.

         However our families connection with Shropshire ended when William Thomas Evans died.  He was buried in Much Wenlock Cemetery in October 1894.   The grave is to the right of the path leading to the chapel. (The headstone is very indistinct due to weathering of the stone).





October 2010












Copyright Sarah Tanner 2014