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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

William Branson Strickson

William Branson Strickson was Ari’s 5x great-grandfather, and was quite unusual in that he made the decision to move away from his birthplace in Spalding, Lincolnshire, to seek his fortune in the City of London.

He was born on 23 June 1775, the son of John Strickson and Elizabeth Branson, and baptised at St Mary & St Nicholas in Spalding, with two younger brothers and a sister, on 29 October 1788.

On 24 March 1803, he married Sarah Kitchen at the church of St Thomas of Canterbury in Greatford, Lincolnshire.

They had two sons, William (Ari’s 4x great-grandfather) in 1803 and Charles in 1806 before going to London, where a third son, Henry John, was born in December of 1807. (Was William Jr left behind in Lincolnshire with relatives?)

They lived in the parish of St Dionis, Backchurch, just to the north of London Bridge, and this is where Henry John was baptised in February of 1808:

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P69/Dio/A/002/Ms017603

Just two years later, Sarah died, and we know a little bit of their story from some very detailed Poor Law records.

The first record is a settlement record dated 4 July 1812, when William was examined at the London Hospital in St Mary, Whitechapel, about his son Charles. This is what it says (punctuation added):

“The examination of William Strickson touching the settlement of his son Charles Strickson. Who saith that he is of the age of 38 years, that in the month of June 1803 he was married at the parish church of Greatford in the County of Lincoln to Sarah Kitchen who has been dead about two years, and by whom he has a son named Charles aged about seven years. And further saith that about five years ago he took a shop of Mr Ayres in Lime Street in the parish of St Dionis Back Church in the City of London at the rent of nine shillings per week and kept the same about two years. And during the last six months of such time, he likewise rented a room of Mr Burford at the Paul’s Head in Fenchurch Street in the said parish of St Dionis Back Church at the rent of four shillings per week, where he always slept. The furniture both of shop and room was his own. And continued to rent and reside in the said room upwards of six months after he gave up the shop and hath not done any act whereby to gain a subsequent legal settlement, and which said son Charles is now chargeable to the parish of Saint Leonard, Shoreditch.”

Morning Advertiser, 24 May 1808, p. 1.

A second page, written on the same date, notes that William Strickson was in the London Infirmary, “and is so ill that he cannot come from thence that his examination may be taken”, so John Wilson, the examiner, “hath taken from him an account”, which then repeated the details given above.

As a result of this examination, an Order of Removal was issued. This tells the Overseers of the Poor in the parishes of St Leonard Shoreditch, and St Dionis Backchurch, that a complaint has been made to two of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in the County of Middlesex, that:

“Charles Strickson aged about seven years, the lawful child of William Strickson (now in the London Infirmary) by Sarah his late wife, hath come to inhabit in the parish of St Leonard Shoreditch, not having gained any legal settlement there; and is become chargeable to the same: We, the said Justices, upon examination of the premises under oath, and other circumstances, do adjudge the same to eb true, and do also adjudge the place of last legal settlement of the said Charles Strickson is in the parish of Saint Dionis Back Church, Fenchurch Street London, aforesaid.

These are therefore, in His Majesty’s Name, to require you the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of the said Parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch, on sight hereof, to remove and convey the said Charles Strickson from and out of your parish of St Leonard Shoreditch unto the said parish of Saint Dionis Back Church and him deliver unto the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor there … who are hereby required to receive and provide for him according to Law.”

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Poor Law Registers

William died aged forty in the Workhouse Infirmary in February 1816, and was buried on 13 Feb at St Ann Blackfriars.

“Gravestones in the former churchyard of St Anne Blackfriars

The garden covers part of the original medieval Dominican Priory of Blackfriars, which stood on this site until it was dissolved in 1538. The priory was replaced by the parish church of St Anne Blackfriars until this in turn was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666 when the parish was united with St Andrew-by-the Wardrobe.

The area was used as a churchyard until 1849. The level has been raised by the enormous number of burials which took place here in the 18th and 19th centuries. A crumbling section of wall is a surviving fragment from the Priory of the Dominicans.”

In 1828, another document appeared in the Poor Law records, when William’s son Charles was examined. This one says:

“The examination of Charles Strickson and Susanna Davey, widow, touching his settlement. Middlesex to wit – This examinant the said Charles Strickson on his oath saith that he is of the age of 25 years or thereabouts, hath not been married, and hath not gained any settlement in his own right. That about 12 years and an half ago this examinant’s father William Strickson was admitted into the Poor House of Mr James Robertson in Hoxton Town in the parish of St Leonard Shoreditch from the parish of St Dionis Backchurch, Fenchurch Street in the City of London wherein he was maintained at the expence [sic] of the said parish about 6 months and died therein. That he, this examinant, hath visited his said father there on several occasions and this examinant the said Susanna Davey on her oath saith that she knew and was well acquainted with William Strickson, the father of the said Charles Strickson, and visited him frequently in the farm house [sic] of Mr James Robertson in Hoxton Town as before stated, and that he died therein, and about 16 years ago this examinant then and now residing in the said parish of St Leonard Shoreditch received an allowance of 4s per week from the officers of the said parish of St Dionis Backchurch towards the support of the said Charles Strickson, and which she continued to receive from them for 7 years and upwards when the said allowance was discontinued. And this examinant the said Charles Strickson further saith that being out of employ he hath become chargeable to the said parish of St Leonard Shoreditch.”

The London Lives website mentions “James Robertson's establishment at Hoxton, which by 1815 was thought to house up to 300 paupers from forty different City parishes”.

Presumably, when William died, and Charles was only six or seven years old, Susanna Davey took him in.

On 6 January 1831, a Charles Strickson was “indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of George Symonds, on the 13th of December , and stealing therein, 2 coats, value 4l.; 1 waistcoat, value 7s.; 1 pair of trousers, value 18d.; 1 watch, value 30s.; 1 pair of gloves, value 18s.; 1 crown-piece, and 4 shillings, his property” and found not guilty.

A month later, he was indicted for stealing a coat belonging to Thomas Wilson:

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 8.0, 05 July 2023), February 1831, trial of CHARLES STRIKSON (t18310217-155).

Morning Advertiser, 22 February 1831, p. 4.

Is this our Charles? A story for another time!

Ari, this is how you are related to William Strickson:

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