Compiled by Dorothy Warren
THE MASOM FAMILY
John Masom and Hannah Atkins were married in Potterspury Church on the 3rd April 1848, both aged 19. He was described as bachelor, labourer, son of Richard Masom, labourer, and she as spinster, no occupation shown, daughter of James Atkins, labourer, both parties were of Yardley Gobion. witnessed by John Swain and Mary Ann Horner. The following children were recorded as baptised.
|1852||Jan 18||Ann Lane|
|1854||Jan 3||Andrew John|
|1856||Jun 8||Joseph Atkins|
|1858||Nov 7||Elizabeth Ann|
|1861||May 26||Mary Ann|
|1863||Oct 25||George William|
|1868||Nov 29||William Henry|
|1874||no date||Louisa lane|
Also Susan J. aged 9 months appeared in the 1871 Census Return. They seem to have been a very healthy family as no burials were recorded, and apart from the two eldest who did not appear, the rest were living in 1871.
In the first baptismal entry John Masom was shown as labourer, in the second, third and fourth as butcher, in the 5th as baker (also in 1861 Census), in the 6th as butcher again, and in the last three as Carrier. It is as well to keep an open mind about descriptions in parish registers as they were sometimes incorrect because the entry was not made at the time of the ceremony (except marriages when a copy was given to the bride, – her “marriage lines”)
John Masom appears to have gone to America some time between 1854 and 1856 but evidently did not stay very long. According to the register he was in America when his son Joseph Atkins was baptised. In September 1868 he was involved in an altercation with John Cooke Brafield of Grafton Regis. Masom’s cows were straying on the road, and were impounded. Masom assaulted Brafield, and broke into the pound and took out his cows. He was fined 5/-,for the assault, and months gaol for the pound breach. (See Northampton Mercury 19th September 1868).
In 1869 he went bankrupt. When examined in January1870 he was described as Carrier and Dairyman, out of business, living in lodgings. He stated that since returning from America he had lodged with his father who had 2 sitting-rooms and two bedrooms. He received from his sons Richard and Andrew 9/- a week for their board and lodging; his father Richard Masom aged 76 paid his (John’s) wife 8/- a week for board; his father paid the rent; his father had four cows and a horse and trap which were once his but passed to his father under a Bill of Sale; he owed his father £200. When he was in America his father kept his wife and two children and charged £50. He was owed £20 by Potterspury Board of Guardians for milk and butter, and Mr.Sanders also owed him money. He was refused a discharge. (See N.M. 15th January and 12th February.)
John Masom. was shown as Carrier to Northampton on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Kellys Directories of 1864, 1869 and 1877. He died in 1884 and was buried in Yardley churchyard on the left aide of path leading to chancel door. The memorial stone reads:-I.H.S. In affectionate remembrance of John the beloved husband of Hannah Masom who died Feb.13th 1884 aged 54 years. Gracious is the Lord yea our God is merciful. In the midst of life we are in death. The last phrase might indicate sudden death. There are no other memorials to Masons in Yardley churchyard and none in Potterspury churchyard or cemetery. Those in Potterspury Chapel Burial Ground to another branch will be mentioned later.
I have no information about the careers of John’s children except that Andrew who wag described as Railway labourer in 1871 and as Farm Manager in Wright’s 1884 Directory, emigrated either to Australia or New Zealand. I remember the then Vicar (Rev. R. G. Richards 1950-63) telling me he had received an inquiry about Andrew’s family from a descendant. As regards where John lived. He may have had a separate home when he first married but I see no hope of tracing that. In the 1851,61 and 71 Census he was living with his father who was shown in a Grafton estate Rent Book of 1871 as living in a cottage at a rent of £3.5.Od. per year. As the majority of cottages were £2.12.0d. per year it is obvious that Richard’s was superior in some way. I am inclined to think that John always lived with his father. The 1851 and 1861 Census Returns were not, taken methodically from house to house in strict order, the Enumerator apparently dodged about, but the 1871 Return was properly conducted and it is possible to trace the order in which the Enumerator proceeded round the village. Richard Masom was living in Moor End Road, north side, nine dwellings from Gray’s Lane (then called Lawrence’s Lane). Correct identification would seem to depend on whether the nine dwellings are still there. In 1846 there was a cottage on the plot of land on which Highcroft was later built, said then to be very dilapidated; I do not know whether it was then repaired or when it was eventually demolished. The three brick cottages known as New Cottages belonged to the Duke, the cottage on the Highcroft site did not, nor did a cottage standing in the entry between Highcroft and the next red brick cottages, which was demolished when the bungalow farther up the entry was built., nor did the three brick cottages, these all belonged to the ancestor of the Westons, to whom they descended. The two thatched cottages next to the three brick cottages, and the house now called The Homestead did belong to the Duke, and I think that the Masoms lived in part of the Homestead. When this property was offered for sale on the break-up of the Grafton estate in 1920, it was two cottages, one of 4 rooms the other of five, and there was an old cottage used as a store room, and various outbuildings, the smaller cottage was let at £2. 12. 0d. and the larger at £6. 10. 0d. so presumably included most if not all of the outbuildings, some of which may have been built since 1871. Except for some garden ground no land was attached, so the ten acres rented by Richard Masom (described as a farmer of ten acres in the Census Returns) must have been elsewhere.
Richard Masom was baptised in Potterspury Church 12th August 1798 son of John and Mary Mason. He married in Potterspury Church 7th October 1822 Ann Hillyer, he was bachelor she spinster, the witnesses were Mary Onan and George Hillyer. Their children both baptised at Potterspury were Richard l7th April 1825 and John 19th April 1829, the father described as labourer of Yardley Gobion; Richard the baby was buried 4th May 1825, and no more children were recorded. Richard’s wife Ann was buried 4th August 1853 in Potterspury Cemetery. She had been baptised 1st August 1802 daughter of William and Ann Hillyer; her sister Zane was baptised the same day but it was not stated that they were twins. Richard Mason’s career so far as it known has already been detailed. I have no note of his death. He does not appear to have left a will but no doubt John as the only son would have inherited anything he left. John and Mary Mason had the following children baptised at Potterspury:
13th April 1779 John
3rd October 1779 William
2nd Sept 1781 Elizabeth
7th Dec 1783 Mary; she was buried 31st December 1783
20 Nov 1785 Mary
13 Apl 1788 Thomas
5 Aug 1792 Ann
9 Aug 1795 Hannah
12 Aug 1798 Richard
Against the entries for Mary and Thomas, is the letter p which indicates Poor, Pauper or Parish Relief. This does not occur again and no doubt when Ann was baptised in 1792 the two eldest boys would be earning a little. From 1813 to 1832 when the then type of land Tax record ceases John Mason was shown as occupier of a cottage owned by Daniel Woodward who had previously been shown as owner and occupier, is Daniel had married John’s daughter vary they were probably all living together. This couple were still living in 1851. John Masom was buried at Potterspury 2nd April 1843 aged 87 and his wife followed 2nd august same year aged 98. Neither the baptism of John nor his marriage to Mary are recorded in Potterspury Register. I have no information about John the eldest son of John and Mary but William, Thomas, and Richard remained in Yardley and all three lifted themselves out of the labouring class. William baptised 1779 was described as a gardener in 1851. This probably means market gardener. From 1820 he rented land from the Duke of Grafton. In 1851 he and his wife, Elizabeth were living at Yardley and in the same house were his niece Charlotte Frost and her husband and children. William Mason appears to have had no children. The Frosts were congregationalists and when William died he was buried 20th May 1853 in Potterspury Chapel Yard. He left a will bequeathing all personal estate to Charlotte, rents of cottages to his wife for life, then to Charlotte for life, after which the property was to be sold and the proceeds equally divided between her children. Charlotte died in 1858 Aged 38. She was the daughter of William’s sister Elizabeth wife of William Lambert. The property was offered for sale in 1866 and was described as dwelling-house and bake-house and nine cottages adjoining, also 4 cottages in Main Street with adjoining orchard of 2 roods. This must be the Old bake-house now derelict and the nine cottages in The Alley under the arch which were still there in 1871 but have since been demolished. I cannot identify the 4 cottages and small orchard. Main Street included the present High Street, and Moor End Road as far as the cottages opposite the water tower. There was an orchard diagonally across from the bake-house known latterly as Quick’s orchard. There was a cottage in it divided in my time into two occupied by Joe Glenn and his brother-in-law Quick, but I think the orchard was nearer 4 roods than two. The famous Yardley plum grew there used for dying. Bungalows since built on the land.
Thomas the 3rd son of John and Mary, baptised 1783, married in 1809 at Potterspury Church Eleanor Dawkes whose family were Congregationalists. Their children all baptised in Pury Chapel were Joseph, Mary, John, Sophia and Job. Eleanor died Sept.1833 aged 47 and SSophia in 1835 aged 18, both buried in Pury Chapel Yard. Thomas was a farm labourer in 1851, widower, his son Job also farm labourer, and his wife Ann, were living with him. In 1861 Thomas was a farmer of 1C acres, Job and wife and family still living with him. Thomas died 1862 buried in Pury Chapel Yard.
Joseph the eldest son of Thomas and Eleanor was married 4 times. By his first he had Job born and died 1832; by his 2nd Thomas who died in infancy; by his 3rd he had Eleanor who died infant, Eleanor, Jane, Elizabeth and Maryann. In 1833 he was living in a cottage at Potterspury near The Cock. In directories of 1847, 1849, 1854 and 1861 he was baker and carrier, in 1869 baker only. In 1871 he had a farm on the road between Alderton and Paulerspury. In 1876 he bought 32 High Street, Yardley, (Meadow View) where he lived with his unmarried daughters Eleanor and Jane. He died in 1884 leaving Meadow View to Eleanor and Jane also two cottages being built and another adjoining which I think must be Nos.9,11 and 13 Chestnut Road. Other cottages at Potterspury he left to his married daughters. Jane died in 1919 and Eleanor in 1925. Joseph and his 4 wives, Jane and Elizabeth Horn, were buried in Potterspury Chapel Yard, but not Eleanor. She may have died elsewhere perhaps in the home of her niece Eleanor Jerome to whom she left all her property.
John the second son of Thomas married Jemima and had William born about 1840, Thomas, Joseph, George and Martha all recorded in the 1851 Census. They were probably baptised at Potterspury or Yardley Chapel but the Register for that period has been lost. Jemima was buried in Potterspury Chapel Yard in 1851 and her son George in 1852. John must have quickly remarried as the 1861 Census shows Albert John born about 1852, Prudence E, and Agnes M. No more children appeared on the 1871 Census. This second wife appears to have been Agnes Truman Smith daughter of Thomas and Agnes Smith. Her sister Sarah married John Woodward and they had a little shop in a cottage on Church Bank.
John Masom was a butcher with a shop at the rear of his home now No.2 High Street, known as Churchfield House next to the church. For a time he was also landlord of The Packhorse (now NNo.1 High Street). At the time of Yardley Feast November 1863 he was fined for allowing drunkeness. At the same time Ann Blunt was sent to the House of Correction at Northampton for 7 days for drunken and indecent behaviour. She said she only had one pint and all the other women in Yardley were there. Mason said he turned her out at 3 o’clock and at 5 o’clock sent for the Police to clear the house. Three policemen gave evidence. She had several children and appeared in Court with a baby in her arms. By 1869 she had nine children and again appeared in court charged with assaulting Betsy Kirk who she said was trying to take her husband away from her. This Ann Blunt was Irish and had probably met her husband while he was in the army. She must not be confused with a respectable widow of the same name living at No.3 Chestnut. The Blunts lived at No.22 High Street (now part of No.24) and the siren Betsy Kirk in a cottage opposite Kerry Farm. Since demolished (new bungalow on site).
William the eldest son of John and Jemima Masom became a professional musician. His address in 1866 was Academy of Music Hanover Square London. His daughter Emily was living with or visiting her grandfather in 1871. Thomas the second sons was a talented musician and was organist at St.George’s Wolverton and later at Margate, where he died aged 33, and was brought back for burial in Potterspury Chapel Yard. Joseph the third son was also a fine musician. He was listed as farmer and grazier in 1877, perhaps of Manor Farm; when his name disappeared his half-brother Albert John appeared. Joseph went to New Zealand or Australia, came back and lived at No.15 High Sstreet then two cottages which he turned into one; went back to New Zealand or Australia and finally came back about 1907, according to my sister-in-law information about him is rather confused. In 1885 he was listed as owner of a freehold house and orchard at Yardley Gobion but was living in at St. Giles Street, Northampton. According to Miss Letitia Holloway who lived to be over a hundred, he was a butcher and lived at Churchfield House; at some period he paid for a teacher to come to Yardley regularly to teach girls singing. I have never heard whether he married. In 1866 he was at Wolverton.
Albert John Masom had a butcher’s shop at Wolverton in 1871, perhaps as successor to his half-brother Joseph. In 1884 Joseph was listed as a private resident presumably living at 1o.13 High Street, and Albert John was at Manor Farm. He married Amelia Jane known as Millie, and had Thomas, Hattie and Nellie. Thomas known as Tommie died fairly young I believe; he went away to school I seem to remember hearing but do not know anything further. Hattie married a pilot named Frank Chester, and Nellie married Dedman. During the last war a very old Mrs. Masom came to Yardley Gobion from Dover and lived for a time in a cottage since demolished (No.13 Moored Road built on land belonging to that and two others) and I believe she was Albert’s widow and had been living with Hattie.Albert died some time between 1914 and 1920. He was succeeded at the farm by his brother-in-law Thomas Knighton who had married Prudence, and had previously succeeded to Albert’s butcher’s shop at Wolverton. The two eldest sons of Thomas & Prudence were butchers at Margate and did not wish to farm so the farm was left to the third son John Masom Knighton known as Massey, for life, and then to nephews at Margate, or so I believe. Presumably Mr. Keeves bought it from them or him whichever it was. (see next paragraph)
Agnes the other daughter of John & Agnes never married. She lived with her mother at Churchfield House and taught the piano. She died in 1916.The are memorials in Potterspury Chapel Yard to John and Agnes, Thomas their son the organist, and his daughters Lucy, Emily and Nellie who died infants, and of Agnes Maria daughter of John and Agnes, also to Jemima erected years after her death by her children. Martha the daughter of Jemima married A Arkinson of Wolverton; their daughter Ethel H. died at Wolverton and was buried in Potterspury Chapel Yard. I forgot to say that John the butcher had a slaughter-house in Grafton Road which Mr.Knighton converted into two houses about 1935, now Nos. 4 and 8; also owned No.2, and Nos.10,12 and 14 which were made into one for David Keeves. Thomas and Pru Knighton had a daughter who married James Soper of Elmfieid Farm Potterspury, and had a daughter Prudence and a son James who succeeded to the farm, and would seem to be the only descendant of the Masome still living locally.
Job the 3rd son of Thomas and Eleanor was baptised in Pury Chapel 13th August 1822. He married Sarah who was buried in the Chapel Yard 1849. He then married Ann and he and wife were living with father in 1851, both men described as farm labourers. Job and Ann had John, Ellen, Ann, Mary Ann, Frederick and George. In 1861 Job was described as Master Butcher. He does not appear in directories; perhaps he worked for his brother John. In 1871 he had gone from Yardley and it appears that he was then living at 38 Coupland Road, Somercotes, Alfreton, Derbyshire, employed as a colliery labourer. This came to light a few years ago when I was contacted by Mrs. Susan Washington of London who is his great-great-grand-daughter through his daughter Mary Ann. Mrs. Washington did not know of Job until she had researched her ancestry, and does not know what became of Job’s other children.
I cannot trace the origins of John and Mary Masom but I feel fairly certain they descended from Masons of Passenham or Deanshanger. her death by her children. Martha the daughter of Jemlma married Arkinson of WWolverton; their daughter EEthel H. died at Wolverton and was buried in Potterspury Chapel Yard. I forgot to say that John the butcher had a slaughter-house in Grafton Road which Mr.Knighton converted into two houses about 1935, now Nos. 4 and 8; also owned No.2, and Nos.lO,12 and 14 which were made into one for David Keeves. Thomas and Pru Knighton had a daughter who married James Soper of Elmfield Farm Potterspury, and had a daughter Prudence and a son James who succeeded to the farm, and would seem to be the only descendant of the Masoms still living locally. Job the 3rd son of Thomas and Eleanor was baptised in Pury Chapel 13th August 1822. He married Sarah who was buried in the Chapel Yard 1849. He then married Ann and he and wife were living with father in 1851, both men described as farm labourers. Job and Ann had John, Ellen Ann, Mary Ann, Frederick and George. In 1861 Job was described as Master Butcher. He does not appear in directories; perhaps he worked for his brother John. In 1871 he had gone from Yardley and it appears that he was then living at 38 Coupland Road, Somercotes, Alfreton, Derbyshire, employed as a colliery labourer. This came to light a few years ago when I was contacted by Mrs. Susan Washington of London who is his great-great-grand-daughter through his daughter Mary Ann. Mrs. Washington did not know of Job until she had researched her ancestry, and does not know what became of Job’s other children. I cannot trace the origins of John and Mary Masom but I feel fairly certain they descended from Masoms of Passenham or Deanshanger.
There were Masoms at Potterspury certainly derived from Passenham/Deanshanger, the earliest entry being 1754, but the register was so badly kept that it is difficult to construct their chart. John of Yardley might well be from Potterspury. As I cannot tell what relation these Masoms were to the Yardley lot I give no details except that George son of William a carpenter and Isabella his wife a Scottish woman, lived at Moor End in what is now known as Teal cottage for a time but moved to Grafton Regis where he kept the Post Office. He was originally a schoolmaster but gave it up and went in for bee-keeping. He also made violins. When in hospital in 1955 I met his niece(or perhaps she was his wife’s niece) and she said he was a very clever man and seemed to think he had thrown away a career by taking to beekeeping etc. He was friendly with Mr. Winkles of No.3 Chestnut and they used to visit each other.
In case the Yardley data is confusing I summarise briefly:� John and Mary both born about 1756 had John, William, Thomas and Richard. William left no issue, Thomas had Joseph, John and Job. Richard had John. John the eldest son of John and Mary no record.
Joseph had only daughters. John the butcher had William, Thomas and Joseph – not known if they left male issue, and Albert who left daughters, also Pru who married Knighton and whose grandson James Soper lives at Potterspury.
Job had John, Frederick and George of whom nothing is known, and Mary Ann whose great-great-grand-daughter is Susan Washington of London.
John son of Richard had Richard, Andrew who has descendants in New Zealand or Australia, Joseph, George, and William Henry who had descendants in U.S.A.
So, James Soper, Susan Washington, Masoms in New Zealand or Australia, and George W. of U.S.A. would be 4th Cousins.