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Jane Pittard   A life

Samuel Pittard   Before marriage

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East Lambrook, Somerset and  London - Farringdon?

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It would also explain why Philip marries again in 1755 and then again in 1758.  

For now though I am going to assume that Samuel is indeed the child of Philip and Mary.  

Samuel's father was a tailor, and I am fairly sure that he lived in the small village of East Lambrook which is in the centre of the satellite map at right.  To the north east is Kingsbury Episcopi and to the south is South Petherton.  And little further to the north is Glastonbury.  So certainly he lived somewhere here.  It seems to be the Pittard heartland - a pleasant landscape of rolling fields and small villages.  

I have two christenings for Samuel.  And two possible reasons for why I have two.  The Samuel we knew of, was a Londoner, but I simply could not find a London birth or baptism and so I looked further afield, and Somerset was the answer.  Indeed it turns out that Somerset is the heartland of the Pittard's in England.  There was one other potential Samuel born in Southampton, but after a lot of investigation I decided that this was not my man.  Nor is he  the Samuel born in Curry Rivel in 1747, for that one died a couple of years later.

According to his 1794 burial record Samuel was 45 when he died and therefore was born in 1749, which brings me to my two christening records.

The first is the christening of Samuel in the rather imposing church at left in the village of Kingsbury Episcopi on November 21st 1745, which is four years too early.  The parents of the child are Philip and Mary.  The second is a christening in the Old Meeting House, (Presbyterian)South Petherton on December 21st 1749.  In this case there is no mother's name given, just the father's  Philip again.  There are two potential reasons for these two christenings, assuming that there is just one Philip - and I think this is the case.  The first is that there is an error in Samuel's age in the burial record, and he was christened twice - once in the established church and then again in a non-conformist venue.  Perhaps his father changed his allegiance.  The other is that the first baby died, and then a second child is given the same name.  Alas I cannot find a burial, for the first baby.  I can however find a burial for a Mary Pittard in 1747 although this is in Yeovil which is not a likely place.  If she had died, however, this would explain why there is no mother's name on the second baptism record.

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Try as I may I cannot find any other children of this marriage, and yet Philip and Mary were married in 1731 over ten years before Samuel's birth.  I now believe that any other children would have been baptised in the South Petherton Meeting House, whose baptismal records between 1725 and 1745 are unfortunately missing.  It is therefore impossible to tell whether Samuel had older brothers and sisters, for it now looks as if he was indeed the last.

It is possible that the Philip who married Elizabeth Fry in 1755 and Susannah Harley in 1758 was a different man, maybe even two different men, but I suspect that it is the same man and that he was unfortunate with two wives dying before him.  But this is Philip's story.

Because of the times one has to assume that Samuel grew up with a clutch of older brothers and sisters, helping his father in his shop perhaps, helping his mother and playing in the countryside and the village with his siblings.

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The next thing we know for sure is that in 1765, when Samuel would have been 16 years old, one Thomas Hartley, citizen and Merchant Taylor of London is paying apprenticeship dues for a Samuel Pittard.  Although a Merchant Taylor, Thomas Hartley was actually a carver and gilder with premises at 108 Newgate Street in Farringdon.  By these times the Merchant Taylor's Guild was no longer strictly linked to the trade of tailoring.  But it makes sense for Samuel in that his father was indeed a tailor.


The picture at left is of Thomas Hartley's trade card. In the dictionary of British and Irish Furniture Makers, Samuel is also listed briefly in 1775 as a carver working in Aldersgate Street, which confirms that this Samuel did indeed continue in his master's trade.  Presumably as a master himself.  And one who owned property for he had taken out an insurance on that house in Aldersgate Street.

But the really big question around this piece of information is how come Samuel becomes an apprentice in London?  I am fairly certain that his father did not move the family to London, so Samuel must have left home at a pretty early age.  After all apprenticeships mostly began at the age of 14 and how did one find a master so far away anyway?

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Generally speaking apprenticeships were taken up with family members or family friends.  But it is unlikely that Samuel's father would have know anyone in London.  Not impossible but unlikely.  I gather the other ways of achieving an apprenticeship elsewhere was to advertise - whether you were the master seeking an apprentice or a father seeking an apprenticeship for his child.  So I think one has to assume that this is what happened.  Mind you there is a remotely possible connection through his future wife - Jane Lovell.  There seem to be quite a few Lovells in Somerset is one thing, and the other is that in London in the 1770s there were two James Lovells who were both carvers and gilders.  And we know from Jane's will that she had a brother called James. Which came first?  Did Samuel get his apprenticeship through the Lovell connection, or did he meet Jane through his profession?  The article I read about apprentices said that many of them married into the families of their masters - or other similar connections.

And how did Samuel get from Somerset to London.  Did he go by coach or cart, or did he walk?  I read that there is a record of at least one young man - well child really -walking all the way from Devon to London to take up his apprenticeship.  Those were tough times.

I cannot find a record for Samuel completing his apprenticeship but I am going to assume that he did, and this would most likely have been in 1770, assuming that he began, like most apprentices, at the age of 14.

I imagine that he would either then have stayed on working for his master in a journeyman capacity, or found work elsewhere before finally managing to set up business on his own, as the records seem to imply.  They also imply that he specialised in carving rather than in making furniture or coffins - a related profession.  And what would he have carved?  Elaborate surrounds for fireplaces, chairs, sculptures?

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Somehow into Samuel's life comes Jane Lovell, whom he marries at the age of 25.  She was a year or so older.  I am now beginning to wonder whether he met her through her brother James.  I know that she had a brother James, and the Dictionary of British Furniture Makers has a couple of James Lovells working at about the same time as Samuel.  Maybe they both worked as apprentices for Thomas Hartley.  Maybe he just met him through his work.  Only a guess at this stage though.  

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They married on September 4th 1774 at the church of St Swithin London Stone, so called because of the London Stone - that curious stone thing at the front of the church.  Nobody knows where it came from but legend has it that if the London stone is lost then London will fall.  Legend also states that it dates back to the Roman establishment of London.  The stone itself has moved a few times, but i still in Cannon Street.

And so life changes. 


Before marriage

After marriage

The children


Samuel Pittard

Philip Pittard

Mary Bryant

Jane Lovell

Jane Pittard


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