William & Louisa Newns

William Newns ca. 1910
William Newns - ca.1910

William Newns, the second son of George and Mary, was born in Crudgington, Shropshire on 15 December 1850 and was christened in High Ercall on 11 January 1851. He is said to have started work at the age of 4, when he was stood on a chair to brush a horse. It is believed that he had relatives who lived just outside Shrewsbury gaol. In 1861 he was living-in as a servant to the Hoopers on their farm in Kinnersley.

Louisa Newns, nee Duck, ca.1910
Louisa Duck - ca.1910

He joined the Primitive Methodists at a camp-meeting held by the Rev T Bramall on 31 July 1864 and became an active worker. In 1866 he began training for the ministry, and in 1868 he was at Preston Brockhurst. The 1871 census shows him as a blacksmith and local preacher, living in Preston Brockhurst with his uncle, John Evans, a blacksmith. In 1874 he was recommended as a minister by his home circuit, the Hadnall Circuit, and his first posting was to Chippenham.

Louisa Duck, daughter of a police Sergeant, Matthias, and his wife Ann, was born in Wootton Bassett on 2 August 1850 where she was baptised on 25 August. In 1861 she was with her parents at the 'Castle & Ball' in Wootton Bassett, where her father was by then the innkeeper and baker. In 1871 she was staying as housekeeper with her uncles, Nathan and Abraham Duck who were bakers in Stockley.

On 15 July 1879 William married Louisa at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Chippenham. They had three sons and two daughters:

William George

Q2 1880

Blaenavon, Monmouthshire

Henry Albert

born 8 Dec 1881

2 Bassett Street, Camborne, Cornwall

Mary Emma

Q1 1884

reg. Bedwelty - died Q4

Samuel John

born 1 May 1886

Calne, Wiltshire


born 22 Dec 1888

Tredegar, Monmouthshire

In 1881 William, Louisa, and their son William were living at 2 Bassett Street, Camborne, Cornwall, where Henry would later be born.

In 1891 the family were living at 3 Rawlinson Terrace, Tredegar, Monmouthshire.

In 1901 William was living at 22 Beech Lane, Macclesfield, Cheshire with Louisa and their children except for Henry, who was a grocer's assistant boarding at 26 Park Avenue, Oswestry, Shropshire.

The records of Primitive Methodist Ministers shows that over the years William and his family moved many times:

Chippenham, Wiltshire
Seend Cleeve, Wiltshire
Aberavon, Monmouth?
Redruth, Cornwall
Brynmawr, Brecon
Calne, Wiltshire
Tredegar, Monmouth
Bristol V, Gloucestershire
Rhos-y-medre, Ruabon
Macclesfield, Cheshire
Bolton, Lancashire
Douglas, Isle of Man
Halifax, Yorkshire
Platt Bridge, Wigan
Newark (Sup), Huntingdonshire

While at Rhos-y-medre William refused to pay the local rate as this included a contribution towards education in Church of England/Wales schools and he felt this discriminated against non-conformists. He was taken to court at Ruabon and convicted, but much against his will, his fine was paid by 'a well wisher' and so he could not make his point by being imprisoned in protest.

An interesting article about William appeared in the Aldersgate Magazine between 1910 and 1913, while he was at Halifax.

In the late 1920s William and Louisa lived with their married daughter, Louisa, and her husband Frank Jesse White. In 1928 they were at 373 Station Road, Yardley, Birmingham, which is where William died on the 11th of January 1929 aged 78. Shortly after this they moved to 43 Wheelwright Lane, Erdington, where Louisa died on 8th December 1930, aged 80, leaving a will.

Of their children:

  • William met his future wife Sarah Anne Pilkington - whose family were working people in the cotton industry - when his father was working in Bolton (1903 - 1907). He married Anne in Bolton in 1910 and in 1911 they were living at 16 Augusta Street, Pendleton, Salford. They had three children:


    Q1 1913

    reg. Bolton


    Q1 1920

    reg. Conway


    Q4 1926

    reg. Conway (died same qtr.)

    During the First World War William served as a teacher on board a ship and spent a lot of time in the Iceland / Greenland area. Later he taught at Colwyn Bay Grammar School, and was active in the local community, being the church organist and running the Colwyn Bay Operatic Society. He died in 1941.

    • Dilys married Alick Jones in 1938 and initially lived in Claygate, Surrey, and later in Colwyn Bay. They had two children, Nigel and Terence (Terry Jones of Monty Python fame).
  • Henry became a grocer and married Mary Ellen Scott.
  • Samuel became a teacher and is known to have played the organ. In January 1914 he emigrated to South Africa where, on 5th October 1916, he married Winifred Marsh in Rondebosch, Cape Town. He and his wife are believed to have studied for some time at the Guildhall School of Music in London. At the 1921 census they were at 66 Clarence Gate Gardens, Marylebone, and Samuel was a full-time student. He was apparently sponsored by the Cape Province Education Department for whom he had worked in King William’s Town, South Africa. In January 1923 they both sailed from London to Cape Town, having previously stayed in Colwyn Bay, presumably visiting his parents and his brother, William, who all lived there. Winifred died in the Salt River Railway accident in Cape Town on 9th June 1926 and was buried in Wynberg Cemetery. On 14th December 1927 Samuel married Gertrude Ross Blaine in King William’s Town and after his father died in 1929 he and Gertrude visited England, staying with his sister in Birmngham, before sailing back to Cape Town in January 1930. In 1955, Samuel, by then retired from his job as a school music inspector, and Gertrude again visited England and stayed in Wolverhampton before returning to South Africa in October 1955. Samuel does not appear to have had any children. He died at the Frere Hospital, East London, Cape Province, South Africa on 1st June 1966.
  • Louisa was admitted to Acrefair Board School, Cefn Mawr, Denbigshire on 7 September 1896. She was a music teacher living with her brother William in Bolton in 1911. She was said to be a good pianist and soprano. She met her future husband, (Frank) Jesse White, in Newark. He was purchasing officer for a firm manufacturing railway wagons and carriages and had a breakdown precipitated by the pressure of trying to keep supplies going during the General Strike of 1925. They married in 1926 (registered in Conway). He is believed to have been a President of the Institute of Purchasing and also to have worked for a glass manufacturer. It is believed that they lived in Nottingham for a while but they had certainly moved to Birmingham by 1928, when they were recorded living at 373 Station Road, Yardley, and had Louisa’s parents living with them. A couple of years later they moved to 43 Wheelwright Lane, Erdington. They then disappeared from Kelly’s directory for Birmingham for two years until reappearing in the 1934 edition living at 11 Southbourne Avenue, Ward End. They seem to have moved away from Birmingham in about 1935. In later life they lived at 3 Hall Road West, Blundell Sands, Crosby (1966 Kelly’s Directory). Jesse died in 1980 and Louisa died of a cerebral haemorhage at the Park House Nursing Home, Waterloo, Liverpool on 18 May 1983. No known children.