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Woolliscroft Families in Leek, Staffordshire 1700’s
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Woolliscroft Families in Leek, Staffordshire 1700’s

Leek is a market town 8 miles north west of Cauldon in Staffordshire. It is situated on the River Churnet within the Staffordshire Moorlands. It was known for it’s silk workings. By the end of the 18th century the silk industry employed c. 2,000 people in the town and 1,000 in the neighbourhood.(29)

The Market Square, Leek, Staffordshire

The Market Square, Leek, Staffordshire

The first reference I have to members of the Woolliscroft family in Leek was in 1650 when Mary Woolliscroft married Robert Anson at the Parish Church.(21) It was another 77 years later before the surname again appeared. During the 18th century there are several references to the surname.  

Mary Woolliscroft (1642-1728)

On the 4 April 1693 William Woollascroft married Maria Heath at Dilhorne in Staffordshire. William was from Calden (sic.), Staffordshire and Maria was from Leek, Staffordshire.(30)  Maria is most likely the Mary Woolliscroft who died in Leek in 1728 aged 80.(21) Maria would have been born about 1642. William her husband was most likely about the same age and suggests it was William the son of Bonaventure Wolvercroft. William died in 1706 and Administration of his estate was granted to his son John.(31) However, there is a reference to a ‘W Wooliscroft’ who was buried in Leek in 1735. More

John Woolliscroft  (1690-?)

On the 25 June 1730 John Woolliscroft married Mary Gardiner at Leek, Staffordshire. The couple had three children christened at the parish church between 1732 and 1740: Mary b.1732, William b.1737 and Elizabeth b.1740.(21)

Mary Gardiner most likely died in 1742/3 and was buried at Leek on the 2 January. I have not found a burial record for John although other Family Trees on the internet give the year of 1755. The general consensus amongst Woolliscroft researchers is that John was the son of John and Elizabeth Woolliscroft of Cauldon, Staffordshire who was christened at Cauldon on the 10 May 1690.(32) However, I have not found any evidence to support this theory other that this is the only known John who is not accounted for.  

John and Mary’s son William was christened at Leek on the 6 April 1737. He is most likely the William Woolliscroft who married Martha Wood at Alstonefield, Staffordshire in 1765.(33) William farmed at Hayes Gate (Hees Gate), Staffordshire. The couple known to have had four children christened at Alstonefield between 1764 and 1785. They later moved to Warslow where William died in 1816 and Martha in 1822.(34)

William’s sister Mary is most likely the Mary Woolliscroft who married Thomas Kidd at Alstonefield, Staffordshire in 1759. Their sister Elizabeth born in 1740 is most likely the mother of Peter Wooliscroft who was christened at Alstonefield in 1760. More

Thomas Woolliscroft (1732-1812)

Thomas Woolliscroft was the landlord of the the ‘Swan with Two Necks’ Inn in Leek between 1770 and 1812. For more information on Thomas and his sons Robert and William please follow the links provided. Thomas was from Prestbury in Cheshire. More

John Wolliscroft (1723-1799)

In 1799 John Woolliscroft was buried at Grindon, Staffordshire on the 16 April.(35) John was a surgeon & apothecary. He was practicing in Leek in 1789 when he paid the stamp duty for his apprentice Eli Cope.(36) His death was mentioned in the Staffordshire Advertiser newspaper.(37) He was aged 76 at the time of his death which suggests he was born about 1723. There was a John Woolliscroft living in Grindon in the early 18C, the son of William and Isabella Woolliscroft christened at Cauldon, Staffordshire in 1723. However, this John died in 1767 and his family connections are well documented. I think it might be just coincidence that the John Woolliscroft who died in 1799 was living in the same village. He must have moved there after 1787. More

Towards the end of the 18C there are other references to the Woolliscroft family in the Leek parish records. William Woolliscroft and his wife Mary (nee Bloor) had taken over the tenancy of Harracles Hall Farm and the references are to members of their family. 

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