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William & Louisa Newns

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

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 25 August 1850. 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 a daughter:

William George Q2 1880 Blaenavon, Monmouthshire
Henry Albert born 8 Dec 1881 2 Bassett Street, Camborne, Cornwall
Samuel John Q2 1886 Calne, Wiltshire
Louisa 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:

1875 Chippenham, Wiltshire
1876 Seend Cleeve, Wiltshire
1878 Aberavon, Monmouth?
1880 Redruth, Cornwall
1882 Brynmawr, Brecon
1885 Calne, Wiltshire
1888 Tredegar, Monmouth
1891 Bristol V, Gloucestershire
1896 Rhos-y-medre, Ruabon
1899 Macclesfield, Cheshire
1903 Bolton, Lancashire
1907 Douglas, Isle of Man
1910 Halifax, Yorkshire
1913 Platt Bridge, Wigan
1917 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 school 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 8 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:
    Dilys Q1 1913 reg. Bolton
    William Q1 1920 reg. Conway
    Winifred Q4 1926 reg. Conway died same quarter
    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 Terrence.
  • Henry became a grocer and married Mary Ellen Scott.
  • Samuel became a teacher and organist and emigrated to South Africa where he married. He and his wife came to London for a period to study at the Guildhall School of Music. His wife was killed in a railway accident and he is thought to have re-married.
  • Louisa is believed to have worked for the League of Nations in its founding days just after the First World War (ca.1921).  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.

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