Lucraft and Luckraft One-name Study

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bankrupt Joiner

John and Di Luckraft from Plympton brought to the family weekend a wonderful bag full of old parchment indentures and papers relating to a John Luckraft, Carpenter and Joiner of Plymouth that they had obtained. (Today’s John is a descendant of the Kingswear family group and he and Di subsequently brought the papers up to Sheffield for me to transcribe, with Gwen’s patient help.)

I had pieced various parts of the tree together over the years, and here were actual documents signed by the earliest known member of this branch. John Luckraft and Ann Martin had been married at Plymouth St Charles on 28th July 1782. As yet I’ve not been able to tie them into any other part of the family trees. (Intriguingly, however, another man with a middle name, John Newton Lucraft, the cooper in Broadclyst, married another Ann Martin, in 1850. There were Martins all over the area, so this is probably just a coincidence 70 years apart.)

These indentures and deeds relate to money John Luckraft borrowed, to build houses with, and for which he was not able to meet his commitments. The documents show how John was unable to build and sell the houses in time for his creditors, who appear to have called in the loan after John was declared bankrupt in Westminster.

I know a little about some of John and Ann’s children.

• A son John married, I think, a woman with the surname Oldcat and they had a daughter possibly named Neno Luckraft. The documents are very unclear and further local work would be required.

• One son, Joseph Luckraft, mentioned in the deed copied here, was born about 1795 in Plymouth, and also became a Carpenter. He is listed as a “Carpenter of Maker” in 1820, and I believe that he married Ann Squire on 1March 1820 in Maker, which was presumably her parish. I believe Joseph may have been listed as an artist in 1851, of 1 Eldad Lane, Plymouth, though there is another candidate for this. In 1853 he is listed as a builder. Joseph and Ann had up to 10 children, I believe, including another Joseph, who was variously a seaman (1851) and a bird and animal preserver (1897) of 103 Union Street. Another son, Edwin, became a successful pawnbroker and lived at 4 Penrose Villas, and last at Compton Gifford. His son, Edwin 2nd, also was a pawnbroker, and lived at Egg Buckland and Colebrook. Edwin 2nd was rich enough to send his son, Edwin 3rd to Eton. As well as Edwin 3rd, Edwin 2nd ‘s only son, Edwin 2nd had 13 daughters, almost one per year between 1879 and 1899. One of these girls, Gwendoline, was moderately well-known as an artist and illustrator of children’s books, having studied at Newton Abbot School of Art. The family has shown several artistic members. I have recently made brief contact with Edwin 3rd’s descendants.

• The deed refers also to a daughter Elizabeth Ann Luckraft, but I know nothing more of her.

• Another son, John Martin Luckraft was born about 1792 in Plymouth, the and married Hannah Stephens, born in Weston Peverell about 1767, in about 1813. I believe Hannah’s parents, Peter and Ann Stephens, both lived until they were 77 and were buried at Pennycross.

After John Martin Luckraft’s marriage there are several references to him in poll-books, directories etc., including:

1846 Living at “Lodging House”, 21 Coburg Street
1851 “Late a Yeoman”
1857 “Gentleman”
1860 living at 27 James Street
1861 “Proprietor of houses”
1862 of 11 Hyde Park Terrace “and of Lutely, Pennycross, Weston Peverell”

John Martin clearly was trying to better himself. John Martin and Hannah had only one child of which I know, Ann, born about 1820, Weston Peverell and died 1851, buried at Penycross.

By an extraordinary coincidence, a few years back I was sent out of the blue by Mary Outhwaite, of Plymouth, a small red leather bound diary. It was the diary for 1834 of Hannah Luckraft (nee Stephens). She had not written a lot in it, but there were some rents listed for lodgers! The inscription in the front suggests it was given her by her daughter Ann.

The legal documents are very long, very repetitive, with repetition lawyers would now consider unnecessary. (The lawyers always knew how to add charges to the bill). I cannot possibly repeat all the documents, or even one, as some are five pages of full vellum sheets. So I have copied out a few paragraphs of the first document for interest’s sake. The extracts will not make sense as a whole, but give a few windows onto the events. Where there are dots ……. It means there are whole chunks missing.

This indenture of nine parts made the seventeenth day of August in the fifty first year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King Defender of the Faith and in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Eleven Between Joseph Pridham of the Borough of Plymouth in the County of Devon Gentleman of the first part John Harris Richard Rosdew and John Harris the younger all of the same place Bankers and Copartners lately carrying on Business under the Firm of “Bulteel Harris Rosdew & Harris” of the second part Henry Woollcombe of Plymouth aforesaid Gentleman of the third part William Hale Symons of Chaddlewood in the said County Esquire George Soltau of Plymouth aforesaid Esquire and Amaziah Empson of the same place Esquire Bankers and Copartners of the fourth part Richard Bayly of Plymouth aforesaid Merchant George Herbert the younger of Plymouth aforesaid Banker and the beforenamed George Soltau (Assignees duly Elected and Chosen under a Commission of Bankrupt lately awarded and Issued against John Luckraft of Plymouth aforesaid Carpenter and Joiner) of the fifth part the said John Luckraft the Bankrupt of the sixth part John Webber of Plymouth Dock in the said County Builder of the seventh part George Norrington of Plymouth aforesaid Hosier of the Eight part and Thomas Gendle of the same place Silversmith (a Trustee for the purposes hereinafter mentioned) of the ninth part ………

It is Witnessed that in Consideration of the Sum of Eight hundred Pounds therein declared to have been lent and advanced by the said John Harris Richard Rosdew and John Harris the Younger to the said John Luckraft on the day of the date thereof and for the better securing the repayment thereof and its Interest and for other the Considerations therein mentioned He the said John Luckraft (by the Direction and Nomination of the said John Harris Richard Rosdew and John Harris the Younger testified as therein mentioned) Did grant bargain sell assign transfer and set over unto the said Joseph Pridham All and Singular the Messuage or Dwelling House Courtlage and Premises with the Appurtenances hereinafter particularly described and hereby surrendered and released or otherwise assured or intended so to be (with other Lands thereinbefore mentioned to be demised) To hold the same unto the said Joseph Pridham his Executors Administrators and Assigns thenceforth for the Residue and Remainder of a certain Term of Ninety-nine Years originally made and granted thereof to the said John Luckraft by Thomas Bewes Esquire by Indenture of Lease bearing date on or about the Fifth day of September One thousand Eight hundred and Eight and which was then determinable on the Deaths of Elizabeth Ann Luckraft John Martin Luckraft and Joseph Luckraft the Daughter and Sons of the said John Luckraft ………….

And Whereas His Majesty’s Commission under the Great Seal of Great Britain grounded upon the several Statutes made and now in Force concerning Bankrupts bearing date at Westminster the Tenth day of December last past hath been awarded and Issued against the said John Luckraft (by the Name and Description of “John Luckraft of Plymouth in the County of Devon Carpenter and Joiner”) and he was thereupon duly found and declared a Bankrupt within the Meaning of the said Statutes some or one of them And the said Richard Bayly George Herbert and George Soltau were on or about the twenty fourth day of January last past duly chosen Assigns of the said Bankrupts Estate and Effects ……And Whereas the Sum of One hundred and fifty Pounds part of the said principal Sum of Eight hundred Pounds only remains due and owing from the said John Luckraft and his Estate to the said John Harris Richard Rosdew …..

And Whereas the Sum of Six hundred and fifty three Pounds only remains due and owing from the said John Luckraft and his Estate to the said William Hale Simons ……

And Whereas at an Auction held at the Commercial Inn in Plymouth aforesaid on the first day of March last past (under the Direction of the said Assignees and with the Express Knowledge Approbation and Consent of the said Joseph Pridham John Harris Richard Rosdew and John Harris the Younger Henry Woollcombe William Hale Simons George Soltau and Amaziah Empson) For selling the Fee Simple of (among other Lands) the said Messuage or Dwelling House Courtlage and Premises the said George Norrington became and was the best or highest Bidder for the same and was thereupon declared the Purchaser thereof at or for the Price or Sum of Four hundred and Eighty Pounds being the most money that could possibly be obtained or gotten for the same of which the said John Harris Richard Rosdew and John Harris the Younger William Hale Simons George Soltau and Amaziah Empson do hereby respectively declare themselves to be well satisfied and assured and it hath been agreed by them and by all and every other the parties hereto –

…… All that Messuage or Dwelling House and Courtlage with the Appurtenances situate lying and being in Orchard place otherwise Orchard Street within the Borough of Plymouth aforesaid as the same are now in the possession of ______________ as Tenant thereof Bounded on the North by the Lands late of William Clarke Esquire deceased On the East by the Lands now or late of the said Thomas Bewes on which Richard Cleverton lately built a Dwelling House On the South by Orchard place otherwise Orchard Street aforesaid And on the West by the Lands of the said Thomas Bewes on which James Orchard has Erected a messuage or Dwelling House Together with one half of all the Walls dividing the said Messuage or Dwelling House Courtlage and Premises hereby surrendered and released or otherwise assured or intended so to be from the Houses and Courtlages which lie on the East and West sides thereof
Joseph Pridham, John Harris, Rich.Rosdew, John Harris Junr
Hen. Woollcombe, W H Simons, George Soltau, A Empson,
Robert Bayly, Geo Herbert Junr., G S., John Luckraft, John Webber, G Norrington, Thomas Gendle

The other documents are all relating to this same piece of land and are the agreements with the various parties to the mortgage. The houses were built in Orchard Place, on land being partly the “Garden on which Orchard Place hath lately been constructed.” On the south the land was bounded by “a Road now forming part of a Street intended to be called Park Street”, and also a plot, formerly part of the said garden was land “situate in Old Town Street.”


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