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Robert Woolliscroft 1771-1852 of Leek, Staffordshire | Williscroft, Woolliscroft, Wolliscroft & Variant's Worldwide Onename Study | Jill Dixon
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Robert Woolliscroft 1771-1852 

of Leek, Staffordshire

 Leek Families         Thomas 1732-1812          Robert 1770-1852       William 1771-1841      Sources      Family Tree

When you read history books about 18C life in England they tend to suggest that the ‘ordinary‘ people did not move far from where they were born. Travel was difficult and you had to walk, go by horseback, carriage or use the stage coach. Robert Wooliscroft travelled from Leek in Staffordshire to Yorkshire, Dumfries in Scotland back to Leek, Staffordshire and then to Manchester in Lancashire in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. No mean feat even by present day standards and his wife and children also traveled with him.  I had wondered if there were two Robert Wooliscrofts but I am certain the references I have found are to the same person. Robert was the son of Thomas and Eleanor Woolliscroft of Leek, Staffordshire. The 1851 census gives Robert's place of birth as Leek, Staffordshire in 1770. I haven't found a baptism record for Robert as such. However, I think he is the 'Edward' Woolliscroft baptised at St Edward's Church, Leek, Staffordshire in 1770. Other records place him as the brother of William Woolliscroft

Woolliscroft 1799

Robert was living in Rotherham, Yorkshire in the late 1700's where he was in partnership with Robert Hampson as a mercer and draper. The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on the 9 April 1799 and was reported in the London Gazette.(20) The Land Tax returns for Rotherham dated 5 Apr 1799 lists Robert as a tenant of Robert Wilson.(3) His brother William had also moved to Rotherham by 1791 where he was a draper.(2)

Annan Bridge

Robert married Mary Bell Caruthers in January 1802. She was the eldest daughter of the Laird of Braes, Annandale, Dumfries at Annan. Mary the daughter of John Carruthers and Grizel Bell.(20In a newspaper announcement of his marriage in 1802 he was described as "a merchant, of Leek, Staffordshire",(19)

After their marriage the couple were living in Leek, Staffordshire. Their first known child Grace was christened at Leek on 15 April 1803. Her sister Ellen (Helen) arrived three years later and was christened on the 18 June 1806.(21)

The family must have travelled to Scotland after the birth of the children. In an index to the Annan Parish Records a “Mr & Mrs Wooliscroft, Grace, Helen and their "maid” are mentioned. However,  a precise date is not given in the index. ( Mary’s father died in 1806 and she inherited £200 in his will. She was also mentioned in the will of her brother William in 1829.(20

Woolliscroft 1806

In 1805 Robert was in businesses as a calico printer with his brother William under the name "R & W Woolliscroft" in Manchester, Lancashire.(18) The business was not successful and both Robert and William were declared bankrupts towards the end 1806.(22) I’m unsure what happened after this but in 1814 a notice appeared in the London Gazette to announce a meeting at the Star Inn, Manchester to discuss the disposal of Robert and Williams assets by the assignees.(6) Robert and William were still paying dividends to their creditors in Oct 1817.(9)

Robert and Mary's daughter Grace married Thomas Pearson at St Edward's, Leek, Staffordshire in 1823.(20)  Grace gave her place of residence as Manchester. By 1825 Robert was a salesman living at 23 Richmond Street, Manchester.(23) His daughter Ellen died in 1837 and was buried at St James’, Manchester on the 13 July.(24)  In 1841 Robert and Mary were living in Bridge Street, Little Bolton, Lancashire where Robert was a book keeper. Francis Caruthers aged 55, most likely Mary’s brother, and a traveller from Scotland, was staying on census night. Thomas Pearson the couple's grandson aged 11 was also in the household.(25)

Ten years later the couple had moved to Walter Street, Manchester. Robert was still a book keeper.(26) He died in 1852 and Mary the following year.

Updated 15 Apr 2015

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