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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

We have a swaler in the family!

Eliza Grace Potter was Ari’s 5x great-grandmother, born in 1815 in Longford, which is a village near Ashbourne, Derbyshire. She was baptised on the 10th of December that year at the church of St Chad.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916,

Eliza was given the same name as George and Ann Potter’s first baby, who had died two years earlier.

At the age of 25, she married Samuel Williams, who was a pig dealer. By the time of the 1851 census she had four children, and a niece, Eliza Potter, was also living with them as a servant. We have just worked out that Eliza’s occupation is “swaler”, which was a dealer in meal, corn, butter, and eggs, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Local and Family History.

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1851 census,

The Derby Daily Telegraph of 17 January 1925 explained:

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In the 1861 census Eliza doesn’t have an occupation, but did have eight children! And then by 1871 they had moved to the Royal Oak in Ashbourne, and Eliza was in the census as Publican’s Wife. Samuel had died by the time of the 1881 census, and the family were living at Middle Kale near the marketplace. This address gets an early mention (1780) in the Derby Mercury:

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In the 1881 census, Eliza was listed as a licensed victualler, aged 64, with her youngest son Frederick (23), a cattle dealer, and daughter Lucy (21), who was a waitress. She is listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1881:

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In 1887 Eliza transferred the pub to her son Frederick:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 30 March 1887,

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 23 August 1887,

The Crown Inn had closed by 1892.

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Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 31 August 1892,

By 1891 Eliza had moved to Tollgate House in Kniveton, next to a pub called Ketcham’s Inn (now The Ketch).


Eliza was “living on own means”, and Lucy was still with her, unemployed.

Eliza died on the first of October 1891 at Ketcham’s Inn. She was seventy-five and the cause of death was heart disease and general decay. Her son John was present at the death. She was buried at St Oswald’s in Ashbourne on the 6th of October 1891.

Ari, this is how you are related to Eliza Grace:

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