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Peter Wooliscroft 1760-1823
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Peter Wooliscroft 1760-1823

of Alstonefield and Ipstones, Staffordshire

Peter Wooliscroft was christened at Alstonefield, Staffordshire on the 2 June 1760. He was the son of Elizabeth Woolliscroft and John Ford who were unmarried. After a process of elimination, I think Elizabeth is most likely the daughter of John Woolliscroft and Mary Gardiner, baptised at Leek, Staffordshire in 1740. I also think it possible that John Ford may have died soon after Peter’s christening. However, there is insufficient information contained within the parish records to say for certain.

St Peter’s Church, Alstonefield

St Peter’s Church, Alstonefield, Staffordshire in 2008

Peter was a stone mason. He married Mary Johnson in 1781 at Ipstones, Staffordshire. The couple are known to have had eight children all of whom were christened at Ipstones with the surname Wooliscroft: Nancy b.1783, Mary b.1784, Peter 1790-1823, Hannah c1790-1862, John 1791-1853, Paul 1793-1815, Sarah 1795-1796 and William 1797-1847. 

Wooliscroft 1812

London Gazette 
Issue 16637, 22 August 1812. Page 21


Peter appears to have got into financial difficulties in 1812 when he owed Robert Jones £13 2s 0d. As a result he was declared an insolvent debtor and spent time in Stafford Goal. His was released from prison on the 12 September 1812. Peter passed away in 1823 and buried on the 7 July at Ipstones, Staffordshire. Mary died at Ipstones in 1842. 

Their sons William, John and Peter lived in Alton, Staffordshire following their marriages.   Like their father they were stonemasons. At the time the Earl of Shrewsbury had grand plans for buildings at Alton and Farley, including Alton Lodge which is now known as ‘Alton Towers’. There were several quarries in Alton at the time. Later census returns (1841-1851) show that there were no quarrymen living in the vicinity. The stonemasons must have cut the stone and used the quarry as a masons yard. 

In 1863 a Peter Ford from Cheadle is mentioned in “the Builder”, Vol. 21, 1863 as responsible for carving the Chancel and exterior of St Barnabas Church in Penboyr, Cardiganshire (now  Carmarthenshire). I think this may be Peter's grandson, the son of John. On the 1861 census Peter was a Stone and wood carver. When his will was proved in 1882 he was described as a mason and builder.

Paul Ford 1863

Extract from “The Builder”, Vol. 21, 1863

St Barnabas Church, Penboy







St Barnabas Church, Penboyr, Carmarthenshire
© National Museum of Wales 2011 Reproduced 
by kind permission of National Museum of Wales 

Peter’s children used both the surname Woolliscroft or one of it’s variants and Ford as their surname. I thought they may have chosen to use ‘Ford” after their father’s stay in prison. However, from the baptismal records at Alton there doesn’t seem to be a pattern. My research into Peter's family history is summarised in the Family Tree provided.

Williscroft * Wool(l)iscroft * Wolliscroft  Worldwide Onename Study

Email: williscroft@one-name.org

Copyright © Jill Dixon 1993-2017