Chapter 8.

THOMAS WILLIAM I (1801-1849)

      Thomas William Daggett was born in the village of Scorton in the parish of Bolton-on-Swale near Catterick on 10th March 1801. He was baptised ten days later. It was unusual for anybody to be given two Christian names in those days and we can only surmise that he was named after his father, William, and his mother's father, Thomas. We have already mentioned how the parish register wrongly quoted his father's name as Thomas! We have also noted some details of Thomas William's brother and sisters.

      T.W. is, perhaps, the best-documented member of the Daggetts we have studied. He was born at a time of enmity with France and when the young industrial revolution was ruthlessly exploiting those looking for employment. A 15-18 hour day was common in mills; children, particularly those of paupers, were employed in these establishments. By 1819 it had become necessary to forbid the employment of children under the age of nine in cotton factories and to limit the hours of work of those between 9 and 16 years old to 13½hours per day! Even as late as 1842 children aged five were still working alone in coalmines. During T.W.'s life a Bill was introduced in 1847 to restrict the working day for women and children to 10 hours, but this was slow in being enforced.

      Before he was two, the Daggett family had moved to York, living in the insalubrious quarters of the Bedern. In 1813,at the age of 12, William apprenticed his son to a tailor. "Thomas William Daggett son of William Daggett of Beddern in York bound Apprentice to William Earle of the said City Merchant Taylor for the Term of 7 Years commencing Novr.8th 1813." This is recorded in a parchment-bound book in the Archives of the Merchant Taylors Company of York now in the Borthwick Institute. There is also the information that "William Earle was admitted to his Freedom of the Merchant Taylors Company" on 20th June 1808, having paid £15 plus £1 duty. The Merchant Taylors Company now has an office in St.'Saviourgate, while the ancient Hall still stands in Aldwark. Although the latter was not open to the public during our 1984 stay in York we were privileged to be shown round by the curator. The building is partly Tudor and partly late 17th century and is noted for its two coloured windows of 1662 and 1702.The adjacent almshouses have been very tastefully converted into living accommodation for the curator and his family. Although there was nothing of personal interest here, Thomas William must have been a frequent visitor. His apprenticeship would have finished in 1820 but the Company has no account of those who finished their training at that time. However, it appears that he stayed the course, for Baines' Directory of 1823 lists Thomas William Daggett as a tailor in College Street.This source is re-quoted in "The Merchant Taylors of York", a book published in 1948. T.W.Daggett is referred to in the index and on page 160.

      College Street is next to the east end of the Minster and it contains the famous College of St.William.This William was Treasurer of the Minster in the middle of the twelfth century before he was canonised. The office had been instituted by Thomas, Archbishop of York, in 1070. So the names Thomas and William both have very early connections with the City.The College is a large building with a jettied timbered upper storey, built in 1453 and restored in 1900. Behind is a spacious courtyard. On the opposite- side of College Street is a pleasant green open space, a sort of miniature village green. on which stands an interesting tall column carrying a vertical sundial on each of its four faces. College Street was formerly called Vicar's Lane and in 1741 was known as "Little Alice Lane within the Close of the Cathedral".

Page 1

Page 1a

      St.William's College is flanked on each side by a few small cottages or shops, one of which must have been occupied by Thomas William.This was more than just a business address because when his mother Jane died in 1834 her abode was still quoted as College Street.

      The Oath, which every "Freeman of the Society and Company of Merchant-Taylors, of the City of York" had to swear, included allegiance to the King as well as to the Company. Obedience "to the Master and Wardens thereof for the time being, in all honest and faithful things touching the affairs and business of that Society" was followed by a condition that he should attend whenever commanded and particularly on quarter days. He should take part in the government of the Company and should preserve lawful trade secrets, and he should not take part in any conspiracy against the king, the Government or the Company. No doubt Thomas William took this oath because he remained a tailor for some years. In 1828 and 1829 he was listed as a tailor still, but with an address in Fossgate, a little more than a quarter of a mile south-east of the Minster and adjacent to the bridge over the River Foss.

      On Christmas Eve 1827 he was married to Ruth Nowell at St.Michael-le-Belfry, immediately opposite the Minster. This church was erected in ancient times and rebuilt in 1535-36.The western end is of Victorian origin and so would not have been known to Thomas and Ruth. A number of Daggetts had been baptised in St.Michael-le-Belfry in the 17th century, and the registers record the fact that John Daggett was "buryed in ye high Quire" in 1620. There is nothing in the building now to indicate this spot. Ruth's parents were named Thomas and Charlotte. The name Nowell occurs in the records of York Methodists in 1822 and 1824 as well as subsequently. Ruth became the mother of five children, all of whom died before reaching the age of two. They were

       William Thomas   1828-29   Baptised and buried at St.Crux


       Charlotte   1830-31   Her baptism has not been found, but she was buried aged  

       one at St.Saviour's


       Thomas Nowell   1833-35   Baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and buried  

       at St.Saviour's


       David   1835-36   Baptised in the Chapel and buried at St.Saviour's


       Jane   1838-39   Her baptism has not been found but she was certified as having  

       died aged "18 mo's" at Garden Place in the parish of St.Saviour's

      Ruth herself died on 15th April 1839 at Wesley Place. Her age was 37 and the cause of death "decline". Her early death and the short lives of all her children may have been due to some constitutional defect. She was buried in York Cemetery six days later. The death certificate spells Ruth's name as Daggett but gives her husband's as Dagget ! He was described as infant schoolmaster.

      During his adult life Thomas William had become very interested in the Wesleyan Methodist movement. In 1824 the list of Preachers on the York Circuit has a note "On Trial 2nd Plan No.34 Dagget". This shows that he was being assessed by a committee of Methodist preachers preparatory to becoming a peripatetic preacher on his own. In January 1822 a new Sunday school building had been opened at Wesley Place, between Fossgate and Hungate. The site is now occupied by a massive British Telecom headquarters.

Page 2

Page 2a

      By 1823 "Daggett's" name appears as a local preacher and there are records for the following six years of his expenses incurred in the necessary hiring of horses. These amounted to something under a pound a quarter. We wonder whether T.W. ever saw the first steam railway for carrying coal opened in 1825 between Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington, only ten miles from Scorton where he had been born. Later, a Minute dated 1847 tells us that "Resolved that, as Mrs.Snowball gave notice to stop the supply of Preachers' horses, a committee was set up to make suitable other arrangements". The preachers were expected to attend quarterly meeting in York, and from June 1824 until 1847 Thomas William was present at rather irregular intervals, sometimes missing two or three consecutively. In1847 he reported to the Methodist Committee that he had moved to Leeds.

      A little more than a year after Ruth's death,T.W.(now described as schoolmaster) remarried in the Church of All Saints, Pavement. The bride was Alice Potter, Spinster of Parliament Street. She was "in service" and her father was John Potter of Stockton-on-the-Forest. She was born in 1806.

      T.W. and Alice had three children. John (1841-1919) was my great-grandfather, Thomas William II (1843-46) had a very short life and Jason (1846-1914) later moved to Manchester and will be referred to below. The younger Thomas William was born at Wesley Place on 9th February 1843 and was baptised on 5th March in the Methodist Chapel. He died of measles on lst February 1846, the year that saw the start of the York to London railway line.

      From 1831 until 1846 Thomas William's address was given variously as Wesley Place or Garden Place. His occupation as schoolmaster suggests that he "lived on the job", as the master in charge of the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School and Day School. The school opened in 1822 and was later expanded to include a day school for girls.There are varied accounts of the number of pupils in the Sunday school, varying from 200 to 600, The girls' school came into being some time after 1827. The chief subjects were religious instruction, reading, sewing, grammar and arithmetic. By 1848 it had declined to a complement of only 65 girls, with 100 pupils in the infants' school. These schools were maintained by private subscriptions and by collections in the chapels. There were also charges of about a penny a week per pupil.

      "Rules of the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday Schools -York", published in 1833 and now in York City Library, includes two most interesting sketches showing the interior of the Girls' Sunday School, Wesley Place in 1832.They show the Superintendent and his assistant at one end of the hall, with the girls standing or sitting on forms. The rota contained six superintendents and three assistants.The very strict Rules wore first drawn up in 1810 and amended in 1832.They laid down the curriculum and specified the size of each class as 15-25 children. Registers were to be kept. Fines were listed for teachers who arrived late, punctuality being insisted upon. A library was provided for the children's use.

      Another book in York Library "Glimpses of Early Methodism in York" by John Lyth (1885) says that " ... a day-school for infants was established in Fossgate, which soon numbered 200 scholars, and was long and successfully conducted by Mr. and Mrs.Daggett." Various directories to York give us the following dates ~

      1822   Wesley Place Sunday School opened


      1834   Garden Place Infants' School - Thomas William Daggett, master - Ruth Daggett, mistress


      1843   Wesley Place, Wesleyan School - William Daggett, master - Miss Jacques, teacher.


      1846   Academics Thomas Daggett, Wesley Place - Jane Jacques, Wesley Place.


Page 3

Page 3a

Page 3b

      The exact site of the School is shown on a street map of York for 1852. Garden Place is a short turning off the present street named "Stonebow", which latter is a thoroughfare that was cut through St.Crux's burial ground since 1852 to join up with Peasholme Green. It bisected Hungate, from which Garden Place was a considerable street leading almost down to the River Foss.Wesley Place is shown in 1852 as two parallel roads off Garden Place, a short distance apart and between them enclosing the Wesleyan building. It is still possible to reach the Foss via Garden Place and to find a small riverside oasis frequented by the occasional angler. One can then continue to Fossgate by way of a tiny winding alley, threading its way behind some ancient small buildings.

      Reverting to Thomas William's role as a preacher on the York Circuit, a list of places visited in rotation in 1824 numbers about thirty, all within a radius of eight miles from the city centre. A similar number of preachers were arranged. The 1843 list includes " No.17 T.W.Daggett, Wesley Place." The Methodist archives in the Borthwick Institute contain a list of -" Names of Persons in the Wesleyan Methodist Society in ye York Circuit July 1827".

      Included in this list of about 1090 members in groups of 10-40 each are the following :-

         Ann Dodsworth           John Jaques

         Thos. Daggett            Mary A. Jaques

         Jane Daggett             Jane Jaques

         John Daggett             Ann Jaques

A similar list for July 1829 totals about 1084 names, including :-

         Ruth Dagget               Jane Jaques

         William Dagget            Mary Ann Jaques

         Jane Daggett             John. Jakes

                                        Ann Jakes

      The spelling was as shown, There was no John Daggett, and William was, of course, Thomas William. The name of Jaques goes back to 1801 in Methodist records, so it is not surprising to find it linked with T.W.Daggett at the Methodist School in the 1846 York Directory quoted above.

      Education for all children was not made compulsory until 1870, but there was a sudden increase in the demand for education at the beginning of the 19th century, Schools such as the Wesley Place one were run on a basis of private subscriptions from public-spirited people, supplemented by the small weekly charge from the parents of the pupils.This prevented the less well -off children from receiving any instruction, at least until State-run schemes were adopted.

      The career of Thomas William is pretty well accounted for up to 1846 when occurs his last known designation as Schoolmaster. At a United Meeting of Educational, Sunday and Infant School Committees on 9th June 1847 it was reported that Mr. Daggett had tendered his resignation as Master. It was resolved that the Infants School be continued and that " a suitable Female Teacher be obtained ". At the same time, the Treasurer of the Infants School resigned. It was later found that a "suitable teacher " was not to be obtained so easily and, when one was appointed, a Miss Campbell, she resigned in less than two years. She was followed by a Miss Nowell. The girls' school was closed soon after T.W. left, and the infants followed by 1850.


      Economic conditions in this country during the early 1840's were very bad. Unemployment was rife and wages were reduced. After the mass strikes that took place in the Northern counties in 1842, things began very slowly to improve.

Page 4

Next Chapter 2

      It may be in this context that in 1845 the Wesleyan Day Schools were proposing to appoint a mistress " at not more than £10 " and the Albion Street Schoolmaster, Mr.Osborne, was getting £90 a year! There was disastrous competition from other newly opened schools and pupils were being lost by the Methodists. At the same time there seems to have been a financial crisis in the Methodist church as a whole, and so we can only guess at what led Thomas William to resign. Whatever it was, the quarterly Preachers' Meeting of June 1847 noted that T.W. (who appears to have been present) had moved to Leeds, 21 miles away.

      Whether his family accompanied him is not known. The next reference is in Slater's Directory of Leeds for 1849 which lists "William Daggett, agent, Dolly Lane". This vague entry suggests that Thomas William had been an agent, perhaps of a textile manufacturer. In his description of a tour of the country at the beginning of the 18th century, Daniel Defoe goes into a lot of detail about "the merchants and buyers" of Leeds. There were the factors and wholesalers who supplied the London trade with cloth, and those whom he called merchants who fulfilled orders from the Continent.The early morning street market in cloth was a highly organised affair, with all the deals completed by half-past-eight. It is strange that Thomas William's grandson, Thomas William III, should have spent most of his life as a "manufacturers, agent" in London, dealing with both British and Continental firms. There was no apparent connection between the similar occupations of the two Thomas Williams.

      On 13th October 1849 Thomas William I died from an attack of cholera, an epidemic which was rife in Leeds at that time, It seems somewhat ironical that there were cholera epidemics in York in 1821,1831 and 1832, all of which the Daggetts survived, only for T.W. to be struck down by a similar occurrence in Leeds in 1849. His occupation is given in his son John's marriage certificate of 1866 as "Schoolmaster and Book-keeper". He was buried on 14th October in a common grave (No.16242) in the Beckett Street Cemetery. The address on the death certificate is No.1 Upper Cherry Street, Leeds, adjacent to Dolly Lane. The Cemetery authorities have his occupation as bookkeeper, but the certificate says he was fire-brick maker! This peculiar discrepancy could be explained by suggesting that he had given up his short-lived "agency" and had taken a job as bookkeeper with a firm of fire-brick makers. Is there any reason for thinking this? Yes; there was a firm of fire-brick makers in Leeds in 1849. Indeed there were three such concerns, but one was actually in Dolly Lane.

This was a company called Meek, Spence and Wilson. Now an Alderman Meek was an earnest Methodist and Sunday school superintendent in York. He had been chief magistrate of the City in 1836 and became Mayor for the second time in 1849.As Thomas William must have known the Alderman, it is quite likely that he had some contact with Meek's relatives in Leeds who gave him a job.

      As a footnote to the troubles experienced by the Methodist Church, in Lyth's book mentioned above the author say " The disturbances of 1849 and 1850 were felt in the York Circuit with unusual severity… the congregations dwindled away…". Membership dropped from 3000 in 1849 to 2000 in 1852.

      So ended the short life, at the age of 48, of the last member of our line of Daggetts who spent his life in Yorkshire. But what became of his family? We can find no record of his wife Alice until the April 1871 Census. She was then living at 48 Townend Street; Clifton.This was outside the northern walls of the City of York in the parish of St.Giles. She lodged with a family of four Armstrong's, the head of which was a porter. She is described as a former nurse, age 63 and born at Stockton-on-the-Forest. (Her true age was 65.) The house in Townend Street has now been replaced by a modern block of flats. Alice died the following year. The death certificate gives her age as 68, while the Yorkshire Gazette preferred 66. The Cemetery Records tell us that she was buried on 9th October 1872 in the same grave as her son, Thomas William II and her husband's first wife Ruth. We have a plan of the Cemetery but have not visited it because the Company went bankrupt some years ago and there is no staff in attendance.

We subsequently visited York Cemetery and found the grave near the entrance. It has the following inscription on the headstone -

      The age of Alice as given on the Death Certificate is incorrect. It may have been given to the Registrar by a friend or neighbour. The Parish Register of Stockton-on-the-Forest records her birth ~ Alice daughter of John Potter lab. and Mary his wife daughter of John Pearson of Market Weighton lab.Born 13 August Baptised 15 August 1806. She was, therefore, 66 when she died as stated on the gravestone.

      Meanwhile, Alice's two surviving sons, John and Jason had moved away from York and they will be referred to in more detail later.

      Thomas William's sister, Jane, who was two years his junior, had married Jason Clark at 'All Saints', North Street, York in May 1836. They were both "of this parish" and were both able to write their signatures, unlike many of the earlier generations. This church has a 120 ft.spire, which is a good landmark on the southwestern side of the River Ure. North Street seems something of a misnomer! The building contains some world-famous medieval glass. A Mary Daggit was married there in 1684. It is quite likely that Thomas William's second son, Jason, was named after his uncle, Jason Clark, as we have not previously met the name. In May 1871 we learn that Jane, the wife of Jason Clark, farmer, and "sister of the late Mr.John Daggett of this city" died at Stockton-on-the-Forest. This report in the Yorkshire Gazette for 3rd June gives Jane's age as 68, which was correct.

      It will be noticed that this reference to John Daggett raises the question "Who was he?" There are various other mentions of such a John, but we can find absolutely no account of his birth. It does appear from the information available that he might have been a brother of Thomas William. All that is certain is that a John Daggett died of consumption in Nottingham Barracks on 3rd February 1839, aged 30. He was a servant to Lord Rosslyn, colonel of the 9th Lancers.

      The monthly returns for Regiments at Nottingham which have been consulted in the Public Record Office at Kew show that the 9th Lancers were stationed at Nottingham from July 1836 to February 1839, and that at the latter date the establishment consisted of 200 personnel including eleven in hospital. This John was buried in Nottingham General Cemetery on 7th February 1839 but there is no record of any inscription on his grave which may have helped us to identify him. The 9th Lancers was the name from 1816 - 1830 of a regiment previously known as the Light Dragoons. From 1830 till 1921 it became The 9th (or Queen's Royal) Lancers.

      There are other records of a John, which are difficult to explain. In a York Directory for 1843 occur

       "Householders  Daggett, John - schoolmaster, 1 Garden Place, Hungate "


       "Academics  John Dagget, 1 Garden Place"


      Thomas William was variously called Thomas or William. Was he also known as John? But the Methodist list for 1827 quoted above on page 8/4 is in addition to Thomas, but he does not appear in the 1829 list. These several references to John (we do not know whether they all refer to the same person), and above all the two names together in 1827, do indicate that there was such a person whose provenance is unknown to us.

      The name of John Duckett occurs often as a contemporary of Thomas William. He had a position of some responsibility in the York Methodist church, being "Keeper of the Centenary Chapel " as he is described when his name appears as a surety for one of the boys admitted to the Blue Coat School in 1832. Other Ducketts are listed from time to time, together with various Hebdens and Jaques, in the membership lists of the Methodist movement and elsewhere.

      Thomas William Daggett (written as Doggett in the Bishop's Transcripts) and Ann Jacques were witnesses at the marriage of William Swales and Betty Jacques in the church of St.Mary Bishophill Junior, York in December 1836.These members of the Jacques family were obviously connected with those featuring in the lists of Methodist members and with the teachers assisting T.W. in his work. The name is commonly spelt Jaques at that time, and it can be found as far back as 1660 at Topcliffe. Frequent references can be found from that date onwards in Topcliffe and nearby parishes, at least up to 1800.There is an indistinct entry in the parish register of Masham, a village about eight miles west of Pickhill, which says that Anne Jaques married Thomas Daget in 1689. (This may be a Thomas who was born at Kirby Hill in 1666.)

      A number of Jacques are recorded in the registers of St.Olave's, York between 1813 and 1835.One of these was Jane, daughter of Robert & Hannah, born in 1813. She was, therefore, 30 years old in 1843 when she was a teacher under T.W…It is further interesting to note that, in the second quarter of 1855, she married Richard Nelson Daggett in York. She was probably his second wife and she died in Easingwold in 1866. It would appear from this that Thomas William and Richard Nelson, his second cousin, were well acquainted with one another.

Page 4a

Page 5

Modern map of York.

Page 6

Page 7

Page 7a
















Chapter 9

Home INDEX Contents Forward Volume 1 Volume 2 Tree chart Miscellaneous RAF Archive Pics