Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from the workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD


Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; front view

This chair turned up in a south Lincolnshire auction in October 2020: even were it not stamped 'MARSH', there are several features which point to Thomas Marsh and his son James. That linked post, which has more biographical details about Thomas (1777 or 1779-1844) and James (1803 - 1870) shows a stamped side chair with the 6 bobbin stretcher. Marsh is the only workshop stamp that has been found with such a stretcher.

Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; 3/4 view

Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; side view

The small chamfer at the end of the terminals of the arm bow is another characteristic Marsh workshop feature. The circular scribe line just visible on the side stretchers to mark the junction point with the cross stretchers is another Marsh workshop habit.


Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; rear view

Another Marsh workshop practice was to pin some of the long sticks with small square wooden pins from the rear of the bows: this chair has two such pins to secure 2nd and 7th long sticks to the back bow, 3 sets of holes for two more, missing the pins, on the 3rd and 6th long sticks (1st at the top in the back bow, 2nd in the arm bow and 3rd in the seat), two more, still with pins, to secure the back bow to the arm bow, and finally 4 more holes, two in the back bow and two in the seat, which appear to have been drilled in the wrong place as they do not align with any of the long sticks, unlike their companions. A momentary lapse of concentration on a Friday afternoon, perhaps.


Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; view from above

Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; detail of arm turning

Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; view from below with detail of leg turnings and stretchers

 
Lincolnshire bow back stick back Windsor armchair, 8 long sticks, 6 short, turned underarm supports, straight seat sides, ring and cove turned front legs with lower ring, H stretcher with 6 round bobbins, stamped MARSH, from workshop of MARSH SLEAFORD; detail of stamp.

The top part of each letter of 'MARSH' is just visible at the back of the seat. There does not appear to be any sign of the 'SLEAFORD' stamp that appears on some Marsh chairs. A pair of side chairs, one of which was exhibited at the exhibition in Alford in 2019 has 'MARSH' stamped on one seat and 'SLEAFORD' on the other. All parts of this chair are of ash.

© Julian Parker 2021

Friday, 16 April 2021

Lincolnshire bow back spindle back armchair stamped WILSON GRANTHAM, with 8 long spindles, 6 short, turned underarms, straight seat sides, ring and cove front leg turnings, plain back legs, H stretcher with darts


Lincolnshire bow back spindle back armchair stamped Wilson Grantham, with 8 long spindles, 6 short, turned underarms, straight seat sides, ring and cove front leg turnings, plain back legs, H stretcher with darts, 3/4 view


Lincolnshire bow back spindle back armchair stamped Wilson Grantham, with 8 long spindles, 6 short, turned underarms, straight seat sides, ring and cove front leg turnings, plain back legs, H stretcher with darts, view from above
Lincolnshire bow back spindle back armchair stamped Wilson Grantham, with 8 long spindles, 6 short, turned underarms, straight seat sides, ring and cove front leg turnings, plain back legs, H stretcher with darts, detail of arm turning 

Lincolnshire bow back spindle back armchair stamped Wilson Grantham, with 8 long spindles, 6 short, turned underarms, straight seat sides, ring and cove front leg turnings, plain back legs, H stretcher with darts, side view

Lincolnshire bow back spindle back armchair stamped Wilson Grantham, with 8 long spindles, 6 short, turned underarms, straight seat sides, ring and cove front leg turnings, plain back legs, H stretcher with darts, rear view

Lincolnshire bow back spindle back armchair stamped Wilson Grantham, with 8 long spindles, 6 short, turned underarms, straight seat sides, ring and cove front leg turnings, plain back legs, H stretcher with darts, stamp


For a short piece about John Wilson (1779 - 1837) see this post.

© Julian Parker 2021

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Antonio Debertolis: an Austrian Chairmaker in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia: Terence Lane

Antonio Debertolis Memorial, Drouin Cemetery, Gippsland, Victoria


This article, which appeared in the Gippsland Heritage Journal No. 24 (2000) is reproduced with the kind permission of the author, Terence Lane, together with Linda Barraclough & Meredith Fletcher of the Gippsland Heritage Journal.

M. R. M. Smith, in his 1968 reminiscences of old Drouin, gives a tantalizing firsthand account of the Austrian chairmaker, Antonio Debertolis, who lived and worked in Drouin at the turn of the century:

One of our neighbours in these days was an elderly Italian, though he might have been a Greek, named Antonio Derbertolis (sic) (generally known as ‘Old Antoney’) who was a positive genius at manufacturing chairs and other household furniture out of blackwood (for the frames) and rushes for the seats, etc. The principal tool which I recall his using was a spokeshave with which he used to shape the wood, and I spent very many happy hours in his workshop watching him. He was a small man, somewhat stooped and bent, with curly hair going grey and with ear-rings in his ears - the ears were pierced, of course. My wife and I still have two of his chairs and a foot-stool which he made for my mother many years ago. In his work Antoney did not use screws, nails or glue and in their place wonderfully shaped wooded dowels held the frames together. The chairs which we have are very light in weight but very strong and never, in all the years we have had them, have the chairs or the foot­ stool required any attention by way of repairs, even though they have suffered some very hard use over the years from three generations of small children.1

Time has not been kind to Antonio Debertolis. His name was better remembered in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, and in more recent years he has posthumously suffered the indignity of having his chairs misattributed to a number of other makers. The tide appears to have turned, though, and in 1998 two of his chairs, together with a biographical outline, were correctly published in Kevin Fahy and Andrew Simpson’s definitive Australian Furniture: Pictorial History and Dictionary, 1788-19382

Antonio Debertolis was neither Italian nor Greek, as M.R.M. Smith suggested. He was in fact an Austrian, born in 1849 or 1850 in Tonadico, a village in the Dolomites, at that time in the southern region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but now part of Italy. It is not known when or why he left Austria, but he arrived in the Colony of Victoria from Wellington, New Zealand, in March 1877. He was naturalised in 1893, his application stating that he was a labourer and that he had been living in Drouin for fifteen of his sixteen years in the Colony.3 In the years 1883-84, 1884-85 and 1885-86 he was registered as a ratepayer and occupier of 43 acres of Crown Land in the Parish of Drouin West,4 and in 1884-85 the Gippsland directory listed him as a farmer.5 Towards the end of his life he was living in Drouin, and the Warragul and District Historical Society has located his house, now demolished, in Young Street, on the outskirts of the town.6 When he died in February 1913 at the age of 63, his occupation was again given as ‘labourer’.7 He was a Roman Catholic and, apparently, a bachelor, and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Catholic section of Drouin Cemetery.8

The bare contemporary details of Debertolis’ life make no reference to his principal claim to fame, the craft of chairmaking that he must have practised on quite a scale during his years in Gippsland. His chairs belong firmly to what has been called ‘the Latin slat-back chair’9 tradition, the ‘open frame’ cottage chair idiom of the Mediterranean and other European countries, extending through colonization across the globe. The completeness with which Debertolis transferred the Austro/North Italian tradition to Gippsland is demonstrated by a comparison of one of his baluster-splat chairs (plate 1) with a chair of the same type and about the same date (plate 2) from the Treviso region of Italy, just a short distance from his birthplace. 

Plate 1: Debertolis chair, blackwood, c.1900.
Private collection, Melbourne.

Plate 2: Chair from Treviso region, c.1900.
Private collection, Treviso.

The similarities are striking, even down to the smallest details, such as the outswept top rail and the taper of the feet. This was the ancient craft of the rural or village chairmaker, before the production line and the division of labour - a craft that was completely transportable and, therefore, ideally suited to the itinerant or emigrant craftsman. Debertolis’ tools would have been of the simplest kind - an axe and saw for cutting timber in the bush, wedges and a mallet for cleaving it into manageable lengths, a drawknife or spokeshave for shaping the members, a drill and brace and bit for making rail and stretcher ends and sockets, and a knife for cutting rushes in the local creeks and swamps. There is no evidence that he owned anything as sophisticated as a lathe.

Debertolis chairs are always of blackwood, presumably ‘found’or cut green in the bush. Often he used the sapwood, which was lighter in density than commercial dressed timber and sometimes had a colourful striped appearance. The legs and uprights are generally square-in-section, and tapered, with chamfered edges. The stretchers and rails are usually round in section, either spokeshaved or made from saplings or thin branches, with natural bends and kinks, which would only have to be scraped of their bark. As M.R.M. Smith noted, Debertolis used no screws, nails and glue: slats were secured between rails or uprights with traditional mortise and tenon joints; arm posts, seat rails and stretchers were firmly held in sockets drilled right through the arm rests, legs and uprights rather than concealed; and wooden pegs reinforced the uppermost joints of those chairs with outswept top rails. Although seagrass seats are often found on Debertolis chairs, it seems that all his chairs were originally rush-seated. Excavated original seats have been found to be stuffed with blackwood chips and shavings.10

Five designs of Debertolis chairs, distinguished by the treatments oftheir backs, have been recorded. They are listed in order of rarity, from the most to the least common:

• Twin, opposing, triangular-shaped horizontal splats, pointing inwards, with the slats secured between the uprights. Types: chair, child’s chair and child’s high chair, (plate 3)

Plate 3: Debertolis chair, blackwood, c.1900.
Private collection, Melbourne.
• Thin, vertical slats, secured between the top rail and cross rail. Types: chair (three slats), child’s chair (three slats), armchair (four, five or six slats) and settle (seventeen slats), (plate 4)

Plate 4: Debertolis chair, blackwood, c.1900.
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.
• Twin, opposing, serpentine, vertical slats, secured between the top rail and the cross rail. Types: chair and armchair, (plate 5)

Plate 5: Debertolis chair, blackwood, c.1900.
Private collection, Melbourne.

• Pierced baluster-shaped splat, secured between the top upright and cross rail. Types: chair (one splat) and settle (five splats).(plate 1)

• Ladderback, with horizontal slats secured between the uprights. Types: chair (three slats) and armchair (four slats).

One of Debartolis’ printed paper labels has survived (ANTONIO DEBERTOLIS/ Maker, Drouin/ Every Chair is Guaranteed for Rough Ware), and a rectangular white enamel label, with black lettering, has been sighted.11

The number of surviving chairs testifies to the strength of their construction and to a wide production. Debertolis apparently catered to both the Gippsland (local and tourist) and Melbourne markets - the latter supplied by the Malvern furniture dealer, E. J. Smith.12 Debertolis chairs no doubt found their way into many a Gippsland farmhouse, but also had a following in the towns, amongst the local gentry and in the metropolis. Without postulating a brilliant career for Debertolis - quite the opposite - he was in some ways the right man in the right place at the right time, in that rush-seated chairs of honest construction had been promoted internationally since the 1860s, when William Morris, the father of the Arts and Crafts Movement, launched his open­ framed, rush-seated ‘Sussex’ chairs as an alternative to the carved, veneered, French-polished and heavily upholstered contortions of ‘the Trade’. In the late 1880s Morris’follower, Ernest Gimson, revived another rustic classic, the rush-seated ladderback chair, which went on to become a staple of the turn of the century Arts and Crafts interior. The ’90s were the time of ‘the great cleanout’ of the cluttered, heavily upholstered and accessoried interiors of the late Victorian period. This decade also saw the awakening of interest in folk art, and the growing appreciation of traditional furniture forms. These European developments soon reached the design­ conscious elite in the Colonies, and by 1887 we find the author, Ada Cambridge, furnishing the St Kilda home of her Aesthetic heroine with rush-seated chairs, in her story, ‘Human Perversity’.13 The cabinet maker and art furnisher must have been pleased to know that they only had to run down to Mr Smith’s in Malvern Road, or send the buggy down to Drouin, to get a near equivalent (plate 4) of the oak and rush-seated armchair shown by Walter Cave at the 1896 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in London.14 (plate 6) 

Plate 6: Armchair by Walter Cave exhibited at the 1896 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, London. Reproduced in The Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher, November 1896, p. 119.


And in 1908 the Melbourne architect, Robert Haddon, could almost have been talking of ‘Old Antoney’s’ chairs when he recommended, in his Australian Architecture, rush-seated chairs of medium weight for breakfast rooms.15

From our vantage point at the beginning of the 21st century, it is possible to make quite an impressive list of original Debertolis chair owners. Theatrical entrepreneur, George Coppin, owned pattern 1 chairs, as did artist Frederick McCubbin, who showed his daughter Sheila sitting on one of them in the kitchen at Fontainebleau, Mount Macedon, in his picture, Shelling Peas (c. 1913).16 Artist and National Gallery of Victoria Director (Director 1892-1935), Bernard Hall, owned chairs of patterns 1 and 5 and featured them in his still lives and interiors. Architect Rodney Alsop had a set of chairs of pattern 2. Both Hall and Alsop, like Robert Haddon, were involved with the Arts and Crafts Movement in Melbourne in the years around 1900. Hall was a contributor to the three issues of Arts and Crafts, published in Melbourne in 1895, 1896 and 1898, and Haddon and Alsop were foundation committee members of the Arts and Crafts Society of Victoria in 1908, Haddon as Vice-President and Alsop as a Council Member. Their patronage supports claims of a wider market for Debertolis chairs in Arts and Crafts circles in Victoria, and might explain the timely parallels between Debertolis’ patterns 2 and 5 and the latest overseas Arts and Crafts designs emerging from Great Britain, for example, Gimson’s and Cave’s designs, and America, for example, Gustav Stickley’s.

Debertolis chairs were still prized after his death, and in 1920, when Helen Pearson of Kilmany Park, near Sale, married William Borthwick, of Raeshaw, Fulham, her mother presented her with a large set of pattern 1 Debertolis chairs. When the Melbourne bookseller, Margareta Webber, opened her Little Collins Street shop in 1931, she furnished with Debertolis chairs. The chairs were still there when she retired in 1971. Other second and third generation admirers and owners of Debertolis chairs include the collector, Dr Helen Sexton, the Austrian sculptor, Karl Duldig, the zoologist and writer, Jock Marshall, the jeweller, Matcham Skipper, and the architect, Roy Grounds.

Using the time-honoured designs and methods of his homeland and the native timber and rushes of his adopted land, Antonio Debertolis bridged continents and cultures and created several classic Australian chairs. Those who have the good fortune of living with his chairs never tire of their lively, forthright designs and beautiful, faceted surfaces. In time their maker will be recognised as one of the most interesting craftsmen to have worked in Gippsland.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Graham Nichols, Ruth Dwyer, Ross Newton Smith.

NOTES

1. M. R. M. Smith, ‘Reminiscences of Drouin’ (typescript), 1968. I am indebted to Denise Nest, Warragul and District Historical Society, and Patrick Morgan, Monash University College Gippsland, for this reference.

2. K.Fahy and A. Simpson, Australian Furniture: Pictorial History and Dictionary, 1788-1938, Sydney, 1998, p. 43; pis. 122, 185.

3. Naturalisation papers of Antonio Debertolis, Series A712/1, item 93/V806, National Archives of Australia.

4. Information from Carlo Moscato, Drouin, 23 September 1988.

5. Middleton & Maning, Gippsland Directory, 1884-85, Melbourne, J. J. Miller, 1886, p. 102.

6. Denise Nest, Warragul and District Historical Society, to Patrick Morgan, Monash University College Gippsland, 25 October 1991. Patrick Morgan to author 6 December 1991.

7. ‘Deaths in the District of Warragul’, no. 991/ 3892, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Melbourne.

8. Denise Nest to Patrick Morgan.

9. Mobilia, no. 315-16, 1983, pp. 51-62.

10. Information from Graham Nicholls, 22 June 1995.

11. Ibid.

12. The firm, established in 1892 by Edward J Smith, was renamed E. H. Smith & Son in c.1955.

13. Illustrated Australian News, 21 December 1887. 

14. The Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher, November 1896, p. 119.

15. R.J. Haddon, Australian Architecture, Melbourne, 1908, p.191.

16. Private collection, courtesy of Lauraine Diggins Fine Art. Reproduced in Jane Clark, ‘A Happy Life: Frederick McCubbin’s Small Paintings and Oil Sketches, National Gallery of Victoria and Ballarat Fine Art Gallery exhibition catalogue, 1991, no. 37, and Graham Cornall, Memories, Perth, 1990, p.171.

Terence Lane is a senior curator of Australian Art to 1900 at the National Gallery of Victoria. He would welcome hearing from anyone with more information on Antonio Debertolis or of his surviving chairs.

Friday, 19 February 2021

1718 - 1729 The comparative value of an early 18th century Windsor chair

The Regional Furniture Society 2018 Journal included an article about the earliest known Windsor chair maker ever recorded, Joseph Newton of Fenton, Lincolnshire, who placed two advertisements in the Stamford Mercury during 1725 and 1729. In 1725 he stated that his chairs could be found for viewing at Newark and Grantham, along with the price of an individual chair, namely 7s 6d each, plus an extra 6d if transport by water to Lincoln was required. In the 1729 advertisement his chairs could be found for viewing at Newark, Grantham and Nottingham, the cost remaining 7s 6d, but the water transport to Nottingham, Gainsborough or Lincoln now being only 3d. He also stated that he had furnished a great many Gentlemen and Gardeners with his chairs: this implies that he was producing substantial Windsor chairs for use in the garden, often referred to as Forest chairs.

It can be difficult to exactly gauge the comparative value of an individual chair in the context of when it was produced. An inspection of the Lincoln archives catalogue by fellow researcher Julian Parker revealed the following entry:

Lincoln Cathedral Library: Account Book including: coroners' verdicts 1660; household accounts 1718-1729;  inventories of goods of Bishop Sanderson (1663) and Anne Sanderson (1669). Account book including: debts owed by and inventories of Robert Sanderson (bishop's son) 1663-1667; household accounts 1681-1709; rent accounts 1826-1866; tenancy agreements 1860. Loose papers 1674-1822. Date: 1660-1866 Repository: Lincolnshire Archives [057]Date: 1660-1866 D&C/LIB/21

This looked promising: handwritten notes and accounts from exactly the period came to hand. It had been written by various people over many years, recording prices paid for services, food and various objects. Within the folio are 38 pages of neatly written notes, recording the weekly household expenditure between Ladyday (26th March) 1718 until September 1722. An entry for the week ending 20th March 1719 gives a clue as to the writer, here it states " clothes and other things for Mr Caudwell " for a value of £7-5s-9d and the next line reveals " clothes and other things for myself " for £5-16s-9d. This would indicate that the ledger was being kept Mrs Caudwell as housekeeper for her husband. 

Records elsewhere reveal that a William Caudwell was vicar at Flitton, Bedfordshire from 1671 for 51 years and died on 20 September 1722. This fits exactly with the accounts as immediately after that date, the writer records moving to board at Pulloxhill which is adjacent to Flitton. Also, in the accounts there are references to Silso and Ampthill, which are close by as well. It would appear that Mr Caudwell had held a position of some considerable importance at Lincoln Cathedral towards the end of his life. At this period Flitton was, perhaps remarkably to the modern eye, part of the Diocese of Lincoln.

Within the 38 pages is a simple entry which unwittingly helps us hugely in judging the value of one of Newton's chairs. During the week of 25th July 1720, the author "paid the carpenter for a day's work" the amount of 1s-6d. We will probably never know the name of this tradesman but as he is denoted as a carpenter then it's fair to assume that he was someone who had completed an apprenticeship and was now working as a journeyman or even a master. This also directly implies that if he had been employed for 5 days then the earnings would have been exactly 7s-6d, the same price as one of Newton's chairs. Here then, we have the direct equivalent value of a locally-made Forest chair from a primary source. A similar entry is made on 2nd February 1718 where it is noted that Jack Pepper was paid one shilling for a day's work. It is telling that no trade or profession is associated with his name and it could be that he was paid for a day's labouring, which would equate to two thirds of a carpenter's day rate.

There is one more simple entry that will intrigue the furniture historian, namely that on 6th October 1718 two words are clearly written: " chair bottoming " followed by the sum of 3½d. Was this the sum paid to a local tradesman or a peripatetic artisan in return for renewing the rushing on a simple turnpin chair?

Update: William mentioned the carpenter's 1s 6d during the Zoom discussion after Julian Parker's RFS lecture on Early Lincolnshire Chairs in February 2021. A few days later, Jeremy Rycroft, a fellow RFS member kindly wrote the following observations:

"I inevitably started thinking about costs of manufacture and pricing of chairs.

The charge of 1/6d per day for a master craftsman working 'on site' should represent his earning power as a master and you might say it covers his labour costs plus an allowance for travel and maintaining tools. That could mean he might not earn quite as much in a workshop.

The prices quoted for chairs of 7/6d (was that delivered and the basic price 7/-.) has to cover a range of things:
- cost of wood - or cost of maintaining one's own coppice
- wages costs
- overheads of running a workshop
- a margin which hopefully would equate to significantly more than 7/6 per week for the owner  based on a weekly throughput of numbers of chairs.

The wages costs could be of apprentices and/or journeymen and so lower than 1/6 a day. However when you consider wood and a share of workshop overheads and management costs/profit, I suspect the owner would be trying to recover more than 1/6 per day, per employee. This suggests to me very strongly that he would need to be able to finish a chair with less than 5 days labour.

The other circumstantial evidence is that he promised to deliver within the week, I think. You have to create a stock level for deliveries and then replenish as orders come in. You may be able to call on outworkers to supplement manufacture when demand was high, and lay off some staff when it drops. However, even with the option of 'sub-contract labour', you will run up a backlog of orders if you cannot complete chairs in a little less than the promised week (to allow for delivery).

I think it would be sensible to think that a chair might take about four days' labour. 

I think the speed of a craftsman in his 20's or 30's regularly doing the same chair-making processes for maybe years would just be so much faster than someone doing a range of processes for bespoke orders in his later life. (Life expectancy is I think quoted as being not much over 40 in the early 18th century, although this includes the 1/8th of the population that died within 12 months of birth, so first year survivors on average lived till about 46, I calculate. But assuming a working life of 20-40 years for a craftsman seems reasonable.)

If you watch a really good blacksmith or 'chair seat rusher', or wood carver, or straw dolly maker or even knitter (!) they are pretty fast and look it. Most of us probably type no faster than 20 words per minute, unless we have had training; in the companies where I have worked 40 words per minute got a basic proficiency award, but top secretaries could do over 60 wpm. The record is apparently around 300 wpm! Shorthand has a similar spread - with say 100 wpm being a basic standard but to do Hansard you needed to do 200 wpm!!)
In an age that doesn't really depend on large amounts of manual labour and manual dexterity, I think we have forgotten how fast and accurate skilled craftsmen were, and probably had to be to guarantee work for their families. When my grandfather visited the US, he was surprised to discover that to join the Bricklayers Union you had to achieve a particular rate of laying bricks - so even Unions were concerned about work rate!!"

© William Sergeant 2020 and Jeremy Rycroft 2021

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Will of Richard Stanier (d. 1751) of Pepperhill and Cosford Grange, Shropshire

The will of my great great great great great grandfather, Richard Stanier, of Pepperhill and Cosford Grange, Shropshire. The passage in blue is a magnificent mid-18th century piece of legal drafting.


In the Name of God Amen I Richard Stanier of Peperhill in the County of Salop Esquire being of sound and Perfect Memory do make my last Will and Testament in manner following Whereas I did by Indentures of Lease and Release bearing date respectively the ninth and tenth days of December in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven Hundred & thirty Six the Release being Quadrupartite and expressed to be made between me the said Richard Stanier of the one Part and Sarah Bach of Birmingham in the County of Warwick Widow and Sarah my Wife by her then Name and Description of Sarah Bach the Younger only child of the said Sarah Bach by John Bach of Birmingham aforesaid Ironmonger deceased of the second Part and Robert Aglionby Slaney of Walton in the County of Salop Esquire of the third Part and Richard Rann of Birmingham aforesaid Gentleman of the fourth Part in Consideration of a Marriage then intended and soon after had and solemnized between me the said Richard Stanier and the said Sarah Bach and her Portion and for other Considerations therein mentioned Grant and convey unto the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his Heirs all that Mannor or reputed Mannor of Cosford alias Gosford in the County of Salop with the Rights Members and Appurtenances thereof and all that Mansion House Capital Messuage or Tenement situate lying and being in the Parish of Albrighton in the said County of Salop called or known by the Name of Cosford alias Gosford Grainge heretofore in the Tenure or Occupation of Bartholomew Martin and Giles Martin and then of Edward Martin his Undertenants or Assigns and all those Lands Meadows Leasows Pastures Woods Underwoods and all other Lands and Hereditaments used occupied or enjoyed therewith or appertaining thereunto lying and being within the several Townships or Parishes of Cosford alias Gosford Albrihgton (sic) and Dunnington in the said County of Salop or in any of them
and all that other Messuage Mansion House or Tenement commonly known by the name of Hatton House or Hatton Hall within the Parish of Brewood in the County of Stafford then and now in the Possession of Thomas Plimley his Undertenants or Assigns and all Lands Meadows Leasows Pastures Woods Underwoods and other Lands and Hereditaments thereunto belonging and all other the Messuages Cottages Houses Edifices Orchards Gardens Dovehouses Lands Tenements Meadows Leasows Pastures ffeedings Woods Underwoods Commons Ways Waters Wasts Heaths ffirzes Watercourses ffishings Ponds Pools Moors Marshes Warrens Rents Services Royalties Priviledges Jurisdictions Liberties and Advantages Comodities Emoluments Hereditaments and Appurtenances whatsoever unto the said Mannor or reputed Mannor Messuages ...

Tenements ffarms Lands Hereditaments and Premises or to any of them belonging or in any wise appertaining and all other the ffreehold Messuages Tenements Lands and Hereditaments whatsoever I the said Richard Stanier or that any other person or persons in Trust for me were Seized or Possessed of interested in or intituled unto in ffee Simple or ffee Tail or any other Estate of Inheritance in Possession Reversion or Remainder or otherwise Situate lying and being in the Townships or Parish of Cosford alias Gosford Albringhton (sic) and Dunnington in the said County of Salop or of them or within the Hattons aforesaid or elsewhere with the said Parish of Brewood in the said County of Stafford and the Reversion and Reversions Remainder and Remainders of all and Singular the said Premises and all the Estate Right Title Interest Property Claim and demand whatsoever of me the said Richard Stanier of in and to all the therein meant or mentioned to be granted Premisses or any part thereof to the use of me the said Richard Stanier for Life without impeachment of wast ...
 

with a remainder to the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his heirs during my Life to Preserve contingent uses and after my decease to the use of the said Sarah Bach the Younger and her Assigns for the term of her Natural Life for her Jointure and from and immediately after the decease of me the said Richard Stanier Sarah Bach and the survivor of the use and behoof of the said Richard Rann his Executors Administrators and Assigns for and during the Term of one thousand years upon Trust to raise by such ways and means as are therein mentioned four thousand pounds for the Portion and Portions of the Younger Children of me the said Richard Stanier and Sarah Bach with the remainder after the determination of the Term to the use of the first and other Sons of me the said Richard Stanier on the Body of the said Sarah Bach lawfully begotten or to be begotten Successively  in Tail Male and for want of such Issue to the use of my own Right Heirs forever as in and by the said recited Indentures relation being thereunto had may more fully and at large Appear And Whereas I have by my said Wife Issue only two Daughters I do hereby give and devise  the Remainder Reversion and Inheritance and and all my Right Title Estate and Interest of in and to the aforesaid Mannor or reputed Mannor of Cosford alias Gosford and all and every the Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments lying and being in the aforesaid several Parishes of Albrington (sic) Dunnington and Brewood conveyed or intended to be conveyed in and by the aforesaid Indentures of Lease and Release to the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his Heirs to and for the several Uses Intents and Purposes following to the use and behoof of Daughter Elizabeth Stanier and Sarah Stanier and all and every other the Daughter and Daughters of me the said Richard Stanier lawfully begotten or to be begotten to take as Tenants in common and not as joint Tenants and of the several and respective Heirs of the several and respective Bodys of such Daughter and Daughters lawfully issuing and if any of my said Daughters shall happen to dye without heirs of their respective Body or Bodies issuing then the share and shares of such of them so dying without Heirs of her or their Body or Bodies shall from time to time as as often as the said Daughters shall dye without Heirs of her or their respective Body or Bodys issuing go and remain to the Survivors ad Survivor and others and other of every such Daughters and Daughter and the Heirs of their or her Bodys or Body by way of Cross Remainders till all and every such Daughters and Daughter shall dye without Heirs of their or any of their Bodies or Body issuing and in default of such Issue to the use and behoof of Robert Davison of Brand in the Parish of Norton in the County of Salop Esquire and ffrancis Stanier of the City of Chester their Executors Administrators and assigns for and during and unto the full end and Term of two hundred years from then to next ensuing and fully to be compleat and ended without Impeachment of Wast upon such Trusts and to and for such Intents and Purposes as are hereafter expressed and declared concerning the said Term and from and immediately after the end Expiration Surrender and other Determination of the said Term of two hundred years to the use and behoof of John Stanier of Uppington in the said County of Salop Gentleman son of my Uncle Charles Stanier for and during the Term of his natural Life and  from and after the Determination of that Estate to the use and behoof of the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his Heirs and Assigns for and during the natural Life of the said John Stanier upon Trust only for Preserving the contingent uses and Estates hereafter limitted and to make Entries for the same if it shall be needfull but to Permit the said John Stanier to receive the Rents Issues and Profits thereof to his own use and immediately from and after the death of the said John Stanier to the use and behoof of the first Son of the said John Stanier lawfully to be begotten and the Heirs Males of the Body of such Son lawfully to be begotten and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of the second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth tenth and all other the sons of the said John Stanier severally and Successively and respectively  one after another as they shall be in order and course of seniority of Age and Priority of Birth and the several Heirs Males of their several and respective Bodies lawfully to be begotten the Elder of the said Sons and the Heirs Males of his Body being always Preferred before the Younger and the Heirs Males of their Bodies and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of my Uncle Benjamin Stanier for and during the Term of his natural Life and from and after the determination of that Estate to the use and behoof of the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his Heirs and Assigns for and during the natural Life of the said Benjamin Stanier upon Trust only for Preserving the Contingent uses and Estates hereafter limitted and to make Entries for the same if it shall be needful but to Permit the said Benjamin to receive the Rents Issues and Profits thereof to his own use and immediately from and after the Death of the said Benjamin Stanier to the use and behoof of the first Son of the said Benjamin Stanier and the Heirs Males of the Body of such first Son lawfully to be begotten and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of the second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth tenth and all other the sons of the said Benjamin Stanier severally and Successively and respectively one after another in order and course as they shall be in seniority of Age and Priority of Birth and the Several Heirs Males of their several and respective Bodies lawfully to be begotten the Elder of the said Sons and the Heirs Males of his Body being always Preferred before the Younger and the Heirs Males of their Bodies and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of ffrancis Stanier of the City of Chester Gentleman son of my cousin ffrancis Stanier late of Birmingham in the County of Warwick Ironmonger deceased for and during the Term of his natural Life and from and after the Determination of that Estate to the use and behoof of the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his Heirs and Assigns for and during the natural Life of the said ffrancis Stanier upon Trust only for preserving the Contingent Uses and Estates hereafter limitted and to make Entries for the same if it shall be needful but to Permit the said ffrancis Stanier to receive the Rents and Profits thereof to his own use and immediately from and after the Death of the said ffrancis Stanier to the use and behoof of the first Son of the said ffrancis Stanier and the Heirs Males of the Body of such first Son lawfully to be begotten and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of the second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth tenth and all other the sons of the said ffrancis Stanier Severally and Successively and respectively one after another in order and Course as they shall be in seniority of Age and Priority of Birth and the Several Heirs Males of their several and respective Bodys lawfully to be begotten the Elder of the said Sons and the Heirs Males of his Body being always Preferred before the Younger and the Heirs Males of their Bodies and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of John Stanier of Uppington aforesaid Gentleman Brother of ffrancis Stanier late of Birmingham aforesaid for and during the Term of his natural Life and from and after the Determination of that Estate To the use and behoof of the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his Heirs and Assigns for and during the natural Life of the said John Stanier upon Trust only for preserving the Contingent Uses and Estates hereafter limitted and to make Entries for the same if it shall be needful but to Permit the said John Stanier to receive the Rents issues and Profits thereof to his own use and immediately from and after the Death of the said John Stanier to the use and behoof of the first Son of the said John Stanier and his Heirs Males of the Body of such first Son lawfully to be begotten and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of the second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth Tenth and all other the Sons of the said John Stanier Severally and Successively and respectively one after another in order and Course as they shall be in Seniority of age and Priority of Birth and the Several Heirs Males of their Several and respective Bodys lawfully to be begotten the Elder of the said Sons and the Heirs Males of his Body being always Preferred before the Younger and the Heirs Males of their Bodies and for default of such Issue to the Right Heirs of me the said Richard Stanier and as far as and concerning the aforesaid Term of two hundred years limitted to the said Robert Davison and ffrancis Stanier their Executors Administrators and Assigns the same is on Trust and to the end and Intent that the said Robert Davison and ffrancis Stanier or the Survivors or the Executors Adminstrators or Assigns shall and do by with and out of the Annual Rents and Profits of the said Mannors Messuages Lands and Hereditaments raise and pay to Margaret Wife of my Uncle William Stanier during her and her said Husbands Life one Annuity or Yearly Rent Charge of one hundred and ffifty Pounds clear of all Taxes and Deductions to and for the sole and separate use of the said Margaret and in Case my said Uncle shall happen to survive his said Wife upon this further Trust that they the said Robert Davison and ffrancis Stanier or the Survivor and his Executors Administrators and Assigns of the Survivor shall and do raise as aforesaid and Pay to my said Uncle William Stanier one Annuity or Rent Charge of one hundred and ffifty pounds clear of all Taxes and Deductions yearly during his natural Life for his Support and Maintenance and in case my said Uncle William Stanier shall happen to dye in the Life time of the said Margaret his Wife that then the said Robert Davison and ffrancis Stanier their Executors Administrators and Assigns shall and do by the Ways and means aforesaid raise and pay to the said Margaret ome Annuity or Rent Charge of ffifty Pounds Yearly clear of all Taxes and Deductions during her natural Life and I do hereby direct all the aforesaid Annuities to be Paid upon the ffeast of Saint Michael the Archangel and Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary yearly by even and equal Portions the first payment to be made upon the first of the said Days that shall happen next after the Commencement of the said Term and upon this further Trust that they the said Robert Davison and ffrancis Stanier or the Survivor or his Executors Admors or Assigns shall by with and out of the Rents Issues and Profits of the said Mannor Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments limitted to them for the Term of Two Hundred Years as aforesaid or by Sale or demise of the said Term or any Part thereof or otherwise as to them shall seem meet levy and raise the sum of one thousand for the Portion or Portions of the Daughters or Daughter of my said Ucle Benjamin Stanier to be equally divided amongst and paid to such Daughters or Daughter within three Months after the Commencement of the said Term all my Messuages Tenements and Lands with their Appurtenances Purchased with my Wifes Portion lying in the Parish of Saint Leonards and Saint Leonards and Saint Marys in Bridgenorth in the County of Salop or one of them I give to the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and his Heirs to the use and behoof of the first Son of me the said Richard Stanier on the Body of Sarah my Wife begotten or to be begotten and the Heirs of the Body of such Son lawfully begotten or to be begotten and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of the second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth Tenth and all and every other the Son and Sons of me the said Richard Stanier on the Body of of the said Sarah my Wife lawfully to be begotten Severally and Successively one after another in order and Course as they shall be in seniority of Age and Priority of Birth and of the Several Heirs of their several and respective Bodys lawfully to be begotten the Elder of the said Sons and the Heirs of his Body being always Preferred before the Younger and the Heirs of their Bodies and for default of such Issue to the use and behoof of my Daughters Elizabeth Stanier and Sarah Stanier and all and every other the Daughter and Daughters of me the said Richard Stanier lawfully begotten or to be begotten to take as Tenants in Common and not as Joint Tenants and of the Several and respective Heirs of the Several and respective Bodies of such Daughter or Daughters lawfully issuing and if any of my said Daughters shall happen to dye without Heirs of their respective Body or Bodies issuing then the share and shares of such of them so dying without Heirs of her or their Body or Bodys shall from time to time as any of the said Daughters shall dye without Heirs of her or their respective Body or Bodies issuing go and remain to the Survivors or Survivor and others and other of every such Daughters and Daughter and the Heirs of her Bodys or Body by way of Cross Remainders till and and every such Daughters and Daughter shall die without Heirs of their or any of their Bodys or Body issuing and in default of such Issue to the use of my dear Wife Sarah and her Heirs forever all my Personal Estate I give to my said Wife and constitute and appoint her Executrix of this my Will and Guardian to my Children and in case my Wife shall happen to dye during the Infancy of any of my Children or Child I appoint the said Robert Aglionby Slaney and Richard Baynes of Uttoxeter in the County of Stafford Esquire Guardian to such my Children In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand  and Seal the eighth day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven Hundred and forty three. Richard Stanier – Signed Sealed Published and declared by the above named Richard Stanier the Words (first Son of the between the thirtieth and thirty first lines and the Words during her and her said Husbands Life) between the forty third and forty fourth lines being first interlined to be his last Will and Testament in the Presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our Names as Witnesses in the presence of the Testator Saml Jones Robt Talbott Esher Pool

 

A: Codicil made  and published by me Richard Stanier of Pepperhill in the County of Salop Esquire the thirty first day of January one thousand seven hundred and forty three and by me annexed to my last Will and Testament bearing the eighth day of June now last past and made Part thereof and Whereas I the said Richard Stanier have in my said Will omitted to charge my Estate therein comprised with the payment of my Debts now I do hereby charge the same with the payment of all my just Debts that my personal Estate shall fall short in Paying and subject thereto I do hereby ratify and Confirm my said Will and the Several and respective Devices therein Item and I do give and devise one full sixth Part the whole in Six Parts to be divided of all and every my Messuages Cottages Lands Tenements Hereditaments and Premises whatsoever situate lying and being in Garmstone in the said County of Salop subject to and chargeable with the payment of my said Debts unto Robert Aglionsby Slaney Esquire and his Heirs to the use and behoofe of the first Son of me the said Richard Stanier on the Body of Sarah my Wife begotten or to be begotten and the Heirs of the Body of such Son lawfully to be begotten and for Default of such Issue to the use and behoofe of the Second third fourth fifth Sixth Seventh eighth ninth Tenth and all and every other the Son and Sons of me the said Richard Stanier on the Body of  Sarah my said Wife lawfully to be begotten Severally and Successively one after another in order and Course as they shall be in Seniority of age and Priority of Birth and of the Several Heirs of their Several and respective Bodys lawfully to be begotten the Elder of the said Sons and the Heirs of his Body being always Preferred before the Younger and the Heirs of their Bodies and for Default of such Issue to the use of my Daughters Elizabeth Stanier and Sarah Stanier and all and every other the Daughter and Daughters of me the said Richard Stanier lawfully begotten or to be begotten to take as Tenants in common and not as joint Tenants and of the Several and respective Heirs of the Several and respective Bodys of such Daughter and Daughters lawfully issuing and if any of my said Daughters shall happen to die without Heirs of their respective Body or Bodies lawfully issuing then the shares of such of them so dying without Heirs of her or their Body or Bodies shall from time to time as any of the said Daughter shall happen to die without Heirs of her or their respective Body or Bodies issuing shall go and remain to the Survivors and Survivor and other and other of every such Daughters and Daughter and the Heirs of their or her Bodys or Body by way of Cross Remainders till all and every of such Daughters and Daughters shall die without Heirs of their or any of their Bodys or Body issuing and in default of such Issue to the use of the Right Heirs of me the said Richard Stanier forever In Witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and Seal and Published this Codicil as Part of my Will the day and year first above written, Richard Stanier Signed Sealed Published and declared by the said Richard Stanier in the presence of us who subscribed our Names as Witnesses hereunto in his presence Sarah Bach George Coley William Colley.

 

This Will was proved at London with the Codicil annexed before the Right Honourable Sir George Lee Knight Doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted the thirteenth day of May in the Year of our Lord  One thousand seven hundred and ffifty two by the Oath of Sarah Stanier Widow the Sole Executrix named in the said Will to whom Administration was granted of all and Singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the Deceased being first Sworn by Commission only to administer. 

 

England & Wales Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills 1384-1858 PROB 11: Will Registers 1750-1756 Piece 795 Bettesworth Quire Numbers 133 -179 (1752)





© Julian Parker 2021

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Yorkshire compound-bent bow back Windsor armchair, with 6 long sticks, 4 short, turned underarms, turned legs, and H stretcher WS 219

Most people who visit this chair blog will know that I live in Lincolnshire, which accounts for all the chairs from that county on this site. However, I am fortunate to live very close to the Nottinghamshire border as well as being very close to Newark, which in turn means that it is so easy for me to visit the huge antique fair at the Newark showground several times every year. It has been a spectacular hunting ground for me in my search for vernacular furniture. Some of the dealers have got to recognise me and occasionally ask for my thoughts and advice on various pieces that they have brought along with them. Dave is one such dealer and I always make his pitch my first stop every time I visit the fair. He is from over the Humber Bridge in South Yorkshire and he kindly keeps interesting chairs in his van so that I can have first pick, which I really appreciate. 

Yorkshire compound-bent bow back Windsor armchair, with 6 long sticks, 4 short, turned underarms, turned legs through-mortised and wedged, with H stretcher WS 219


A couple of years ago he produced this chair from the back of his van and because it had its legs reduced in length and had been totally painted white, he said it was mine for a few pounds. I knew it was a Yorkshire Windsor chair and told him so, pointing out that it was worth more than he was asking for it. The rather bizarre negotiation then took place where I was talking the price up while he was happy with the first price that had been mentioned. In the end we met in the middle and we were both more than happy. 


It has the unique feature of the compound steam bent back bow, that is a hallmark of these Yorkshire Windsor chairs. Every component appears to be made from Ash wood with everything being contempory with its making and no replacement parts. If you look closely at the image, you will see that the legs are of differing designs - I have no doubt that it started life like this.


Legs through-mortised and wedged from above WS 219

Long sticks through back bow and wedged from above WS 219



Shortly afterwards, I took it along to Tim Garland in Lincoln to discuss the best way to do some sort of restoration work on it. Using stripper to clean off all the white paint was not an option so it was done the hard way - a little bit of scrapping at a time, so as to remove the white and leave as much as possible of its original green paint. Many thanks to Tim and his wife Vicky for doing such a fine job.


Before the paint was removed WS 219

Before the paint was removed WS 219

Underside of seat WS 219

© William Sergeant 2021



Yorkshire compound-bent bow back Windsor armchair, with 6 long sticks, 2 short, crook underarms, round seat, turned legs and H stretcher, painted green WS 218

Yorkshire compound-bent bow back Windsor armchair, with 6 long sticks, 2 short, crook underarms, round seat, turned legs and H stretcher, painted green WS 218


The retired dealer mentioned in WS 217 allowed me to record this green painted Windsor chair and told me that he had purchased it many years ago from a Sheffield auction house. He had seen others with their distinctive circular seat and believed that they were produced in Yorkshire. 

Side view WS 218


As is obvious from this picture, the back bow also has the compound bend mentioned in Bowett's RF 2004 article, which he points out is unique among British Windsor chairs. He goes on to say " The top bow is round in section and has a two-dimensional or compound curve; it is not only arched, as are all Windsor top bows, but it is also curved backwards. This gives the chair a barrel-shaped back which is amazingly comfortable, and suggests a sophistication of design which belies their often crude appearance."

An identical chair, again made out of ash wood, passed through the sale room of Summersgills in Easingwold (which is a few miles to the Northwest of York) in September 2017 but was simply described as a "Windsor chair". A third identical chair is located in a Museum in the City of York with the title of a local Windsor chair.


Arm terminal WS 218

Round seat, painted green WS 218 


© William Sergeant 2021