In just under two years after the death of Elizabeth, William remarried. His new bride was Ann Jackson, who was to prove to be far more robust than stuff than her predecessor. Ann's family had originally come from Ackworth, which is just south of Pontefract. Both her father and grandfather were tanners. Her parents were Richard Jackson, described as Yeoman, and Mary Cole (who had been born in Grantham, Lincolnshire) who had married in Ackworth on 29 June 1813. They had seven children, of whom Ann was the third, and second daughter. At some point the family moved to Selby, and from the family notes, this would have been after Ann was born in 1816. The notes do not give the birth place of her younger siblings - three sisters and another brother. As they grew up the children of Richard and Mary dispersed. John, the oldest, went to America and died there at Uttica in 1785 at the age of 44. Ann's elder sister Elizabeth married Leeds manufacturer George Davison and they went to live in Edinburgh. Mary, born just over two years after Ann, died a widow in 1906 in Grantham, and the next born, Richard, emigrated to Australia. Sarah, who was born in 1822 lived to age 71. She married Robert Manners Mann, a surgeon of St. John's Manchester. The youngest child, Emma, was the only one to remain in the immediate Selby area. She married Thomas Standering who was a ship-owner at Selby. She died six months before sister Sarah, at Cawood near Selby at the age of 69. Not only do we know the date of Ann's birth, we also know, from her meticulous notes the precise time she came into the world. She was born at Ackworth at 'quarter past two at night' on 21 July 1816, and baptised in the same year on 8th September. But Richard Jackson would not have given his daughter's hand in marriage as he had died on 3rd August 1833. However her mother was alive to celebrate the day, and in fact lived for a further 33 years, dying on 9th December 1869.
At the respective ages of just short of 35, and 20, William Fretwell and Ann Jackson were married, by Licence, at the Abbey Church, Selby, on 21 April 1836, before the Reverend John L Watson, and witnessed by Jno Wilson and Ann's sister, Elizabeth Jackson. As noted in Ann's diary
From the time of her wedding in 1836, Ann, as with so many wives of the time, was constantly in a 'delicate' state - not necessarily so, but perhaps a testament to her robust constitution. Here is Ann's account, in her somewhat dispassionate and ever precise style, of the births (and miscarriages).
Whether from choice, or from duty, William, as the eldest son, was destined to work in the family business, which as soon as he was able after the death of his father in 1809, he joined with his mother in partnership with his Uncle John, until the latter's retirement. Thus for the first years of their married life William and Ann were in Leeds, living at Upperhead Row in relative comfort and in the security of a flourishing family business, and within the accepted terms of standards of middle class living.
However, it would seem the time in which William and Anne would have been able to maintain their level of comforts was short-lived. The business, which by 1839 was operating from Colonial Wharf, Knostrop, is not listed in the White’s 1854 Directory. Reading between the lines it is clear that some major set-back must have befallen the business that had been built up over two generations before being handed over to William. There is no mention in his Uncle John’s Will of any bequest to his nephew William, such as the assets of the family business. Was he out of favour? Perhaps so, but no-one else was to receive anything from the business either. The answer, I believe, is to be found in the Will. John, in bequeathing to his great nephew, John, his watch and seal and two silver spoons, refers to John’s father as :
Further hints of a catastrophe can be discerned from some notes in Anne’s diary. Interspersed with accounts of family comings and goings is a reference to William’s business troubles.
The June 1841 census shows that when Anne made the above diary entries, the business had not yet collapsed entirely. William is listed as a grocer, and the rest of the family - wife Anne, her step-daughter Elizabeth, and daughter Mary, together with domestic servant, Ellen Sharp, were living at Knostrop. But by September 1841, as recorded in the London Gazette, William was declared a bankrupt.
It was not until almost three years later when, as again recorded in the London Gazette, that the matter was finalised, with William Fretwell's creditors receiving 4s 3d in the pound.
What were the causes of this disaster? Was it due to the severe economic downturn when, in 1836 the good harvests and trade boom came to an end and, from 1837, following the previous boom years the country was plunged into a prolonged depression which lasted until 1842? Another possibility is that William speculated away the fortunes. Did the ‘failure’ mentioned by Anne in her diary refer to a commercial failing of her husband which, in turn, had brought about the failure of his business? Was he in financial difficulties earlier than 1841, and was his parlous financial situation the reason why he was disqualified from voting in the 1835 election? WEF confided to one family member that one of his antecedents, a William, had been a gambler, and brought his family to ruin. Whatever the cause, the effect on William must have been devastating. He would have been 42 in 1841, and no doubt planning for and contemplating a comfortable retirement. Instead, he now had to find some other way of supporting his family and, furthermore, providing for their futures. At this stage he had two sons to educate and one daughter. In time, and despite the straitened circumstances, he was to have four more daughters to marry off.
Sometime before 1851 the family moved from Leeds as the census of that year finds Anne living in Gowthorpe Street, Selby, and described as Wife of a Commercial Traveller in the Seed Business. Son John was boarding at a Yeoman's School in York, but at home with their mother were children Vause, Mary, Alice, Edith and Fanny. We know from Anne’s diary that in December 1850 she had lost her infant son William, who had lived only 6 weeks, and that at the time of the census she was again pregnant. She would have been grateful for the assistance of Esther Greensdon, who was listed with the household as a House Servant, and her mother, Mary Jackson, was also living close by. For the same census William was recorded as being a Visitor at an Inn in Birdgate, Pickering, and listed as a Commercial Traveller for a Hops and Seed Merchant. From Principal of a flourishing grocery business to Travelling Salesman for a London Hop Merchant, to which he was reduced, was a humiliating come-down. Furthermore, he had made no provision for such an eventuality. Writing in his diary in 1859, son John, who was offered the opportunity of theological study, commented
Sometime after 1851 the family had relocated back to Leeds where they lived in Beech Grove. William’s income as a travelling salesmen was evidently insufficient to support his by now large family because, when at Beech Grove, Anne, with the encouragement and support of her son John, had started a small kindergarten which she ran with the assistance of her daughter Mary. In order to attract further custom, John organised for an exhibition in 1858 at the Leeds Town Hall to show off the talents of the children.
From a notice in the Leeds Times of 30 July 1859 the the school had it had expanded to cater for young ladies.
William Fretwell has not been located for the 1861 census but by the time this census was conducted Anne had moved to Manchester where she was residing at The Villas in York Terrace, Whalley Range, Moss Side. With her were her daughters Mary, Alice, Fanny and Florence. Mary was listed as being a Teacher, and the other girls were still Scholars. In fact, Anne had again opened a kindergarten which she had purchased from her son John’s mother-in-law Frau Ronge (formerly Traun). This was not a happy arrangement, and, as John noted in his diary, his mother would have been far better to remain in Beech Grove, where she and her daughters were well-known and honoured. It was at Moss Side that Anne and her daughters were found for the 1871 census - Mary as schoolmistress and Mary, Edith Marion, Fanny Emmeline and Florence as teachers. For the same census the 'itinerant' husband and father, William, was a lodger at the Temperance Hotel, Horse Market, Barnard Castle, Durham. His transient existence must have been both taxing and lonely. And it was 'on the job' the he suddenly died in a hotel in Lancaster, on 1 February 1872, in his 73rd year. The Lancaster Gazette of 3 February reported on the inquest into his death.
William's body was brought 'home' and he was laid to rest Woodhouse Cemetery. From WEF’s assessment of William (and backed up by William's son John) we see, if indeed he was a gambler or spendthrift, a very different side to the man, which leads to the conclusion that William may have been temperamentally just not suited to the cut and thrust of the competitive business world. Rather, he was a deeply religious, scholarly and contemplative man, more comfortable in his library and with his books.
By the time of the 1881 census Anne was back in Leeds, living at 7 Glebe Terrace, Headingley. With her in 1881 were her daughter Edith Marion Fretwell and Edith’s future husband Franklin Winser. It is comforting to note that Anne was recorded as living off income from property. She was still at Glebe Terrace for the 1891 census, living on her own means, but this time sharing the house with 50 year old spinster daughter Mary, who was by now a retired governess.
Despite the hardships of child bearing, the failure of her husband’s business, and her own work in the kindergarten movement, Anne lived to a ripe old age. She died just a few days after the census on 12 April 1891 at Headingley, Leeds, of old age and congestion of the lungs, and was buried at Woodhouse Cemetery. The death certificate records that daughter Mary Fretwell was the informant. Anne's passing was marked by a notice placed in the newspaper in April 1892 :
and also noted in a Unitarian publication:
The Memoriam, printed as a mark of respect for the widow of a staunch Unitarian, tends to confirm her son John’s view that while he and his siblings were brought up as Unitarians his mother never embraced their faith.
Frederick, third child and second son of William Fretwell and Mary Vause, is something of an enigma, and a person whom I suspect, if we knew more about him, would have had some interesting tales to recount. He was born on 7 April 1800 at Head Row, Leeds and baptised nearly 6 months later on 3 August at St John's Church. He was the last child of William and Mary to be baptised at an Anglican Church. Henceforth, the parents took their children to be baptised at the Mill Hill Chapel.
The 1841 census locates Frederick, aged 40, living with his elderly mother Mary at Knostrop. Under the occupation column Frederick is listed as a Shopkeeper, so it would be reasonable to suppose that he had joined the family business. But shopkeeping was not Frederick's chosen career. Evidence of a sea-faring career is provided by a battered and creased Mariner's Register Ticket Number 26,458 issued on 24 May 1845 in the name of Frederick Fretwell. The Ticket gives us the following description of Frederick. He was 5 foot 5 inches tall, with dark brown hair, fresh complexion, and hazel eyes. He carried no distinguishing marks. One intriguing matter is that the date of birth on the Ticket is 1802 - two years later than Frederick's actual date of birth. I wondered if, in fact, Frederick had been to sea before, and spent periods of leave assisting in the family business. On enquiring as to whether a sailor was issued with a new ticket each time he was engaged by a ship's master, I was informed that a number was issued to a seaman at the start of his career, and he kept the number until he left the sea. However, my supposition seem to have been proved correct because a separate record of Merchant Navy Seamen 1835-1836 lists Frederick Fretwell, aged 33 and of Leeds, as a steward on the ship Isabel of Liverpool.
There is nothing in the family papers to indicate that Frederick married, and no mention of him in his Uncle John’s Will, which might have made a reference to a wife and children. The only family member to mention Frederick was his nephew, John Fretwell, who, when he was getting ready for a trip to Hamburg in 1858, bemoaned the fact that he had "...no trunk but an old sea chest, the legacy of my sailor uncle Fred". But, unlike his elder brother Peter, Frederick seems to have maintained some contact with the family.
His niece Elizabeth Fretwell was with him when he died, on 8 May 1848 at the age of 48, of Hepatitis and Ansarca at 5 Back Pleasant Dairy Leeds. At the time of his death he was recorded as ‘Out of Business’. He was buried at the Woodhouse Cemetery, Leeds, where his name is commemorated on the family memorial stone, along with his mother, brother William, sister-in-law Anne, and nephew John.
The Two John Fretwells
The two Johns born to William and Mary - successively named for their great uncle - both lived for but a short time. They were born, respectively, on 1 July 1802 and 4 August 1807. The first John was baptised three months after his birth, on 12 September at the Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds. The parents did not wait so long to baptise their second named John, as this took place two months after his birth, on 6 September 1807. The first John died just short of his first birthday, on 3 June 1803 and was buried 2 days later in the Mill Hill Chapel Yard. He predeceased his father by some 6 years. His later namesake lived to just past his second birthday, with his death recorded as 20 August 1809, 'from decline', and he too was buried in the Mill Hill Chapel Yard. This child died two months after his father, a double tragedy for his mother and family. Both infants, and their father, were laid to rest together, commemorated by a stone slab in the Mill Hill Chapel.
Sabina, the fifth child, and only other daughter, was born to William Fretwell and Mary Vause on 16 October 1804, and baptised on the last day of that same year at the Mill Hill Chapel. She lived to celebrate her coming of age, but died, from causes unknown, in her 24th year, on 22 May 1828, as reported in the Leeds Intelligencer of Thursday 29 May.
The Reverend J.P. Malleson conducted the burial 4 days later at the Mill Hill Cemetery. Sabina was buried with her niece Rhoda, who had died only one month earlier. Her elder sister, Mary was to join them two years later.
A treasured heirloom is a sampler worked by Sabina, and signed Sabina Fretwell Leeds 1814. It is a beautiful piece of work for a nine year old. I have replicated the sampler, and signed it Leonie Fretwell Burra 1991. The two now hand side-by-side.
As noted under Generation 5, we are now able to follow through from Joshua, son of Peter Fretwell of Cawthorne, and likely twin brother of Matthew. The first Joshua had, at some time, moved to Hoylandswaine, and it was here that his descendents lived and brought up their families. The mainstay of this branch seems to have been the textile industry. Some account has been given of Joshua and his wife Elizabeth Heeley (see Fourth Generation) and what follows is a brief note on the families of their two children Ann and Joshua.
The progeny of Ann Fretwell and Jonas Walshaw were, according to Chris Bradley, Jonas, born about 1777 and Hannah, whose birth is estimated at 1779. Nothing further is given for Jonas, but Hannah married Joseph Silverwood on 17 April 1797, at Penistone. Joseph was born about 1774, and lived to 1858. Hannah's date of death is not known, but it would have been at least after the birth of her last child who was baptised on 1 June 1827.
In all, between the years 1798 and 1817, Hannah and Joseph produced a brood of ten children, four daughters and six sons. Isaac and Asa were possibly twins. Then, according to Chris Bradley's notes, a 'postscript' joined the family-another son Sidney, baptised on 25 September 1827. His mother and father would have been around 48 and 53 years of age when he made his appearance.
Ann Fretwell's brother Joshua was not so prolific. We do not have the name of his wife, who is only given the initial 'L' in Chris's notes. Only one son is recorded, and with him, seemingly, this particular Hoylandswaine Fretwell line came to an end. John was born around 1784 and is believed to have died around his 21st birthday, on 16th May 1805. 'L's' dates are not known. Father Joshua, who lived to 1842, outlived his son by some thirty-seven years.
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This page was last updated on 15 April, 2016