Lucraft and Luckraft One-name Study

Monday, October 31, 2005

Edmund Luckcraft : Woolcomber of Devon

by June Harwood of Dean Prior

The South Hams of Devon seemed a far cry from our family's research in deepest Birmingham! Looking at the census for 1861, however, Christiana Aston, nee Luckcraft, describes herself as born in Devon. The enumerator, getting part of the village name right wrote down ‘Ang Prior’, which had us baffled. Dean Prior, however, just five miles or so away from where we now live in Totnes, was, in the nineteenth century, a small village community of woolcombers. Buckfast Abbey, along the road, had been a local centre for the wool-trade from the thirteenth century on, and where, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a large wool and serge mill gave employment.

The Search for Edmund

Dean Prior lies beside the Exeter to Plymouth road, just a mile or so south of Buckfastleigh and five miles from Totnes. There we found Edmund to have been born in 1779 to Richard Luckcraft and Elizabeth, nee Maddick. The Maddicks are a large local family who farmed at Velwell, on the hill outside Dean, from the sixteenth century until this. Richard, Edmund’s father, however, was not born in the parish, so far as we could tell, but came, again as far as records show, from Blackawton, born there in 1745.

“Blackawton is a large village in the unknown country that lies in the hills west of Dartmouth. The parish was formerly more extensive, running down to the shore of start Bay, but the parish of Strete was carved out if it in 1881.

Richard’s father, again as far as we can tell, came from the neighbouring parish of Dittisham, lying beside the River Dart, and married a Mary Edmund there in 1744, and hence the use of the name which came down so many generations. An Edmund Luckcraft still farms at Blackawton.

Edmund's Childhood : a changing world

Edmund was born into a world changing rapidly and his life reflected these social changes. The war with France was in its sixth year, food prices were rising steadily and rural life was increasingly difficult for the labouring poor. The little Luckcraft family at Dean Prior struggled along with the rest, their lot made worse by illness and mortality. Elizabeth, Edmund’s mother died when he was two, six months after his brother Richard’s birth. His father was left with three children, all under six.

We do not know how he managed or who helped him; his wife’s family lived in the village and probably helped, but when Edmund was ten, his father, too, died.

My Father died when I was about ten years of age. I went to work for Messrs William and John Hoare when I was about 13 years old and when I was about 16 I was bound apprentice to Messrs William & John Hoare. I served until I was 21 years old.

Apprenticeship and after

Edmund had learned his trade as a woolcomber. But the manufacturing industries which had sustained the rural economy for centuries was moving to the large, northern towns. Edmund obviously felt he needed to follow.

Since I left my master’s service I have been at different places upon the tramp.

We can trace Edmund’s movements from his settlement statement, written in 1821, as he, in dire need, applied for the iniquitous ‘parish relief’ despite the fact he was in full employment. There are also other documents, letters and census records, found in Devon, Warwick and Worcester Record Offices.

Marriage in the Midlands

He left Dean Prior on finishing his apprenticeship at twenty one in 1800 and went ‘upon the tramp’ in search of work. He must have reached Warwick in or before 1805, for he married Christiana Broadbent at St Mary’s Church there on the fifteenth of January. The name Christiana is handed down from now on, to both his own daughter and also further grandchildren, in different parts of the country. In 1806, he tells us, (or the overseers of the poor, to whom the statement was directed), he took a house of Mr Clemens in Cocksparrow Hall and stayed there until 1809. Cocksparrow Street is marked, to the west of the city centre, in an area which would then have been Saltisford. He then moved to Mr Brookhouse’s house

I gave Mr Clemens notice at Michaelmas 1808 that I should leave at Christmas having the promise of a house of Mr Brookhouse’s house when it was finished.

It is obvious that the Overseers gave Edmund a hard time over this period in 1809 when he was renting two properties one of which he sub-let for three weeks. All this is documented in the records at Warwick Record Office.

We have a letter written from Kidderminster to his wife Christiana to the address No. 4, New Building, Warwick. We can assume this was Mr Brookhouse’s new house and that the family were still there when the 1811 census was taken. This records that Edmund Luckcraft lives in the district of Saltisford and that the family numbers five in all, three males and two females.

Edmund takes his wife back to Devon

What is clear from Edmund’s statement is that sometime following this census in or around 1812 Edmund moved with his family back to his birth place in Dean Prior. He then tells us that

I was at work for Messrs Parkers at Warwick and about eight or nine years ago last September I went with my family to Dean Prior. After being two or three days at Dean Prior my wife’s mother sent for us to, and put us in a house at Totnes.

It isn’t clear from this statement whether Mrs Broadbent, Christiana’s mother, lived in Totnes or whether she paid for them to rent a house. Whilst at Dean Prior, it is likely that the family were staying with Edmund’s brother, Richard, whom we know was still living in the village. We can find no evidence of Broadbent’s in Totnes at this time although there are several in the area around Warwick, especially in Coventry. It is likely therefore that she gave them money for rent, ‘and put us in a house in Totnes’.

The sort of indignity referred to in the accompanying notes about rural workers and parish relief is now Edmund’s lot:

I worked there (Totnes) some time but not having full employ I sent my wife for relief to the Overseer at Dean Prior, Mr John Broadridge. He refused to give her relief but ordered her to send me to Dartington to Mr Trude, a magistrate and he would meet me there. I went to Dartington and was examined to my settlement.

Return to Warwick

It seems his stay in Totnes was only from September until the following April, when he returned to Warwick:

I stayed at Totnes ‘till the beginning of April and then returned to Warwick and had relief at Warwick from the parish of Dean Prior for two years or more at 4d a week. It was agreed between my wife and the officer of Dean Prior that they would pay the relief into my brother’s hands and he should send it to me which he did at Warwick.

It is not clear whether Christiana (and presumably the children) stayed in Devon whilst Edmund returned to Warwick. What is clear is that, according to the Rent Books, the family were back living in Saltisford, Warwick, from 1814 and that Edmund moved to work in Kidderminster sometime around 1815. A letter dated 1832 relating to Edmund’s son Richard states:

....he further states about 17 years ago his mother was living at the outskirts of the town and he has fetched weekly relief for his mother and family when Edmund was absent.

Working in Kidderminster

Edmund and his sons, Richard and Edmund were then working in Kidderminster at the time of the Settlement documents (1819 -1821) whilst Christiana his wife remained in Warwick with the other children.

“He afterwards went to work in Kidderminster and left his family at Warwick”.

A letter from Edmund to his wife from around this time shows the conditions he was working under. It also shows he had two of the boys living with him in Kidderminster:

It is with the most painful sensation I acquaint you with my situation here. I have got work for myself only but only from seven in the morning until eight at night. Therefore I cannot render you any assistance until things take a more favourable turn or at best very little. Mr and Mrs Taylor send their respects to you and tell you Richard goes on very well, is well and Edmund behaves very well. We lodge at their house.

There is a further pitiful statement dated 1819:

I, Edmund Luckcraft will if possible send my wife and family 4 shillings per week after paying for a new pair shoes then I shall send 4s per week the first payment I shall send on the 10th April next which will be one pound for 5 weeks. After this I shall continue sending 1 for every 5 weeks and more if possible to do so.
Edmund Luckcraft, Warwick February 27, 1819.

That Edmund was the victim of the pernicious social conditions is borne out by the testimony of his boss:

Having the management of the combers at Messrs Hooman & Co. where Luckcraft is employed, I can vouch for the truth of what is stated above and think it a pity such a steady, industrious man should be obliged to take his family to their parish and hope and trust the overseers of Warwick will write to Dean Prior, near Ashburton, Devon, in order that they may be assisted either here or at Warwick. P. Gibson.

What prompted the renewed request for parish relief we do not know except that there is a possibility Christiana had another child at this time. The 1841 census for Kidderminster Workhouse shows an Edmund Luckcraft, 35, and a John Luckcraft, 20. If these are Edmund and Christiana’s sons, (their parents now both being dead), John would have been born in 1820.

Edmund & Christiana's Children

Because the Luckcraft family appear to have been non-conformists, tracing their children’s baptisms is proving difficult. The only one we have traced so far is Richard’s on 23.3.1808 at Brook Street Congregational Chapel, Warwick, which still exists. Searches continue for Christiana’s baptismal record in Devon.

Robert Luckcraft

Robert, about whom we know very little but we have assumed was the eldest, married Mary Cockram in Kidderminster in 1827.

Richard Luckcraft

Richard followed the path of many weavers and went north where he married Ellen Hoskinson in Preston in 1831, two months after the birth of their first son, Robert. The papers relating to his settlement in Denton, Manchester in 1832 are in Warwick Record Office. Despite the fact he was born in Warwick, it was still considered that he was the responsibility of his father’s parish in Devon, such was the iniquity of the parish relief system. After two daughters, both names Christiana after Richard’s mother, the first of whom died, Richard and his little family returned to Kidderminster where his fourth child, also Richard was born in 1837. Richard’s widow and family returned to Preston after Richard’s death in 1850.

His line prospers and his descendant, Jack Sanderson has the family Bible with its page of the births & deaths recording these descendants. Well-known family names, Edmund, Christiana, Richard continue to appear there, together with, showing their dissenting fervour, one son christened John Fergus O’Connor Luckcraft in 1842.

Christiana and the Aston's of Birmingham

Christiana married William Aston at St Phillips Church Birmingham on 26th March 1838. How they came to meet, and move to Birmingham, as yet remains a mystery. The Aston’s are my Father’s maternal line, and the name appears in the records of St Martin’s in the Bull-ring, Birmingham’s oldest and most central church, (along with the Hunt’s, into whom Grandmother married in 1898), back to when records first begin.

My father’s mother was baptised Lily Ada Aston at St Phillip’s church (now the cathedral), Birmingham in 1874. Her father was William Aston, who gives his occupation at the time of his marriage in 1868 as a wood carver. His father, also a William Aston, married a Christiana Luckcraft in 1838. On their marriage certificate her father, Edmund’s occupation is given as ‘woolcomber’.

That the Aston lines leads back to the Luckcraft’s and thence to Devon has been unexpected and fascinating. My father and his brother and sister all spent a life-time of family holidays in or near the South Hams, all the time unaware that their mother’s father’s mother had been born there and preceding generations before her.

Edmund and other possible children

By 1841 it is obvious that both Edmund and Christiana are dead. Three of their children had married and two of them at least moved elsewhere. The 1841 census for Kidderminster Workhouse records an Edmund, 35, and a John, 20. These might both belong to the family and, being seen as not belonging to the parish, expected to live within the Poor House, following the Reform Act of 1834. Research continues on these two. There is a further area of mystery concerning an Elizabeth Luckcraft in Somerset.

Father Edmund re-marries in Somerset

Edmund’s sons followed their father’s ancient profession of woolcomber and turned it to related industry; the carpet weaving trade of Kidderminster. Richard followed the move from wool to cotton and moved to the cotton producing area of Lancashire. Edmund, however, from the earlier generation and perhaps conscious he represented the last of a thousand years of hand combing, (mechanisation having now largely taken over), was less likely to make the transition, preferring to continue his ancient trade.

The Earl of Warwick had extensive lands in the Clutton and Harptree area of Somerset. They opened coal mines in the Radstock area, and at Temple Cloud, Cameley, Clutton, there was a collection of wool combers and wool sorters. On 7th May 1837 at Cameley, an Edmund Luckcroft, with an identical signature to that of his wedding to Christiana, married a Mary Sperring, widow. He died the following year on 27th January 1838 at Temple Cloud, Cameley, of heart failure, ‘the dropsy’. The age given is 57, which is a year or so short of what we know him to be. Ages, however in those days of few records were often approximate and if his wife was younger than him, could we blame him for a little vanity if she thought him two years younger than he truly was? We have yet to discover when Christiana died, which seems likely to have been in Warwick. For that we have to await the next chapter.

One mystery referred to above also remains. There is a document in Somerset Record Office which is a list of expenses in a settlement case dated 1844. It related to the removal of an Elizabeth Luckcraft from Kidderminster to Chew Magna, the same area as Edmund lived and died. It also referred to the removal of an Edward Luckcraft from Kidderminster, (which may, of course, be a clerk’s error for Edmund). Is Elizabeth a further daughter of Edmund and Christiana who was seeking to join her father and his second wife?

A final note : a tribute to Edmund

It is unlikely, of course, that this is the final note and that research will continue to uncover the story of this family who lived in one of the most difficult economic periods of recent centuries. But in the meantime, the church of Dean Prior struggles to survive. A handful of dedicated folk continue to assure there is a weekly service and that the church continues in good repair. A flower festival there last month raised money towards repairing the east wall. As I sit in morning service there I think of Richard and Elizabeth and their little brood. Elizabeth died when Edmund was three; she didn’t see her children grow up, but I’d like to think she knows that, nearly two hundred years later, her line continues to thrive and that we have returned to tend the place where she and so many of her family lie. This record, when complete, will be lodged in the church library with the rest of the parish records which have so far resisted transportation to Exeter Record Office.

June Harwood July 1998
(References available on request)
June allowed me to print this piece as an edited version of her work in the 1998 Newsletter.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Benjamin Lucraft : Chaircarver and radical leader

The Early Days

The young ploughboy who taught himself to read, was born on 28th November 1809. His parents came from Broadclyst, a large village outside Exeter, where his father had been a cabinet maker. He was baptised at Exeter St Paul, the cathedral, about three weeks later on 16th December.

His indenture of apprenticeship, when he was 14, under the poor law in Broadclyst, was in husbandry, or farming, to William Luccraft, probably his grandfather, though in later life he is described as a ploughboy, and as a cabinet maker.

As a young man of 20, he joined Attwood’s Political Union, and the year after he’s with his parents in Taunton, where the family were cabinet makers at a house on North Street, and later on East Leach. Here he married Mary Pearce, whose family also lived on East Leach, in St Mary Magdalene, Taunton, on Christmas Eve 1830, when he was 21.

The following November their first child, George Seeley Lucraft was born. In later life George would found the furniture making company in London that employed his father Ben. George also followed his father’s interest in radical politics, and chaired the committee to promote the Labour candidate in 1890, in succession to his father.

Ben moves to London

About 1831-32 Ben and his young family come to London, bringing with them at least his mother, Mary. In the 1841 census Mary is listed as a chaircarver, employing a man and a boy. They lived in a little lane, Mill Row, off Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, in the heart of the furniture trade. There Ben began to make a name as a chair carver and draughtsman of furniture.

We know that there were other possible Lucraft relatives in London at the time, so perhaps they already knew people. Certainly, Shoreditch was the place for cabinet makers to settle down. Several children were born over the next years, and in 1846 Ben became a Total Abstainer, in response to the alcohol problems of the time.

The Chartist Years

Ben is thought to have joined the Chartists around 1848, and was present at the historic meeting of the Chartists on Kennington Common on 10th April 1848. There were many emerging political organisations, seeking change, and Ben joined some of them. He was active in Richard Cobden’s Parliamentary and Financial Reform Association, and became the Secretary, and most prominent member of the North London Political Union. He spoke around London for the Wheatsheaf Temperance Society. Ben shared the chair at the last Chartist Conference in London in 1858, out of which emerged the Reform League, with a programme of manhood suffrage, a ballot for elections to parliament, tri-ennial parliaments, equal electoral districts, and the abolition of property qualifications for people to vote.

Though we don’t yet know his trade union affiliations, he was one of those who helped impress on the craft unions the need not just for activity over wages and conditions, but, as he said in a letter he wrote to the Reynold’s Newspaper in 1861; “I should hope that the operative builders are by this time convinced that political power has something to do with the social conditions of the people.”

The First International

Ben was at the inaugural meeting of what became known as the First International of the International Working Men’s Association. The meeting was described by Karl Marx, who was there, in a famous letter to Freidrich Engels dated 4th November 1864. Ben was elected to the committee, and played an active part in its work, sometimes chairing its meetings.

The International worked to support fledgling working-class organisations round the world, and Ben is a signatory to many of its letters and declarations. He travelled to Geneva in 1866 for the London Trades Council, and to the Brussels Congress in 1868, and the Basle Conference in 1869 for the IWMA, where radical political groups from all round Europe were present.

Agitation for Reform

By the mid 1860’s sections of the working classes were fed up with the lack of constitutional change, and Ben, who had been leading weekly marches and demonstrations in Clerkenwell, and Shoreditch, escalated the action with marches into central London, to Trafalgar Square. They had a wagon for a platform, a band to lead the singing, and a banner for the men from Clerkenwell.

The Times thundered against these “unwashed” people who came to demonstrate in “our Square”. If they wanted to demonstrate they should do so in their own part of town, the Times Leader writer suggested.

On the evening of 27th June 1866, Ben led a thousand demonstrators to the West End, where an estimated 10,000 had already assembled. The pressure for reform became so great, that the more moderate Reform League had to take account of the strength of feeling, and took over the organisation of the next demonstration, when 80,000 people were estimated to have attended. So they decided to hold an even bigger rally in Hyde Park on 23rd July. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner banned the demonstration but most people ignored the prohibition.

The workers forced their way through the police cordons, to a noisy rally, where some of the park railings were pushed over. This became known in the press as “The Hyde Park Riot”. More demonstrations were banned, this time by Spencer Walpole, the Home Secretary, but then allowed to proceed, because of the very large numbers that gathered, in spite of the thousands of police and troops on duty.

The Home Secretary resigned, and Disraeli removed the last obstacles within the Bill, and the Bill became law, allowing a greatly increased number of working men the vote. The Illustrated London News said when the people had invaded Hyde Park, that some of it was being reserved “as a lounge for some fashionable people”.

The Ultra-radical Years

Ben was in the ultra-radical ranks in these years, he was involved in many of the great issues of the time. When he went to Basle he argued not only for land nationalisation, but for the large-scale cultivation of the land by the state on behalf of the people. Here were the early hints of collectivization. He explained that as he travelled by train through France, he saw the fragmentation of the land into tiny plots that had followed the French Revolution; a fragmentation which had made profitability for the people so difficult. These opinions were described as “scandalous” when reported in the British press.

He took part in the sensitive debates on Fenianism, Irish Home Rule, in 1867, arguing that the Irish “were fully justified in using physical force to redress their wrongs.” The press condemned Ben and others, for these views, and for letters about the war in France, in 1871, and Ben resigned from the IWMA.

He joined the Land and Labour League in 1869, as the most radical organisation in Britain, and served on its council. He was one of the founder members of John Stuart Mill’s Land Tenure Reform Association, urging state control of land in 1870.

Education Issues

Ben’s interest in education had sprung out of his passion for reform of the apprentice system. Perhaps he had seen its effects. He certainly saw its product when he went to Paris in 1871 for the Royal Society of Arts, to report for them on the state of continental furniture making.

In his report he proposed a new system of technical education, and these ideas eventually became part of the Technical School system years later. He was particularly concerned that draughtsmanship be included in the syllabus for craft training.

Ben had been one of the promoters of the First Working Men’s Exhibition in the Agricultural Hall in 1865, and he went on to promote the idea of a school or college for the furniture trade. Such a school was founded, and still flourishes in Shoreditch. He proposed a museum of East London craft work, skills and tools.

In 1870 he was selected to stand for election for the new London School Board, which set up the Board Schools after Forster’s Education Act. He was the only “working man” to be elected, and the election party was in the Hole in the Wall, in Hatton Garden.

London School Board

On the Board, Ben fought for many issues. He opposed the office of paid chairmen; he opposed the use of the cane; he always argued for free education; he was vigorous against military drill for children in the Board Schools; he was chair of the committee which investigated the mis-appropriation of historic charities by the wealthy public schools; he was early in demanding compulsory education for all, and the removal of fees.

He was re-elected every three years until he retired in 1890, aged 80, as the longest serving member.

A large painting of the whole School Board was done in 1873, and Ben is standing with his friend the radical journalist Thomas Bywater Smithies, another Board Member. The painting hung for many years behind the desk of the leader of the Inner London School Board, in County Hall, on the South Bank. Its present location is not known, but a photo of it exists.

Peace and other issues

Ben was active in a range of radical groups. These included Total Abstinence, the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union, the Workman’s Peace Association, of which he was for nine years the chairman, and for whom he went to Paris and other Conferences.

He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in Tower Hamlets, as one of the first Liberal-Labour candidates ever.

More controversial was his active support of Josephine Butler in the Working Men’s National League for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts. These Acts gave the authorities powers to discriminate against women with sexually transmitted diseases, and were causing great distress particularly among the poorer women of the urban areas. He described the Acts as “the very worst class of party legislation”, saying to working men, who were mostly too embarrassed to discuss such things, that “It is your sisters, your daughters, that these acts are to entrap – to make use of. Not only for the army, not only for the common soldiers, but for the officers and gentlemen.”

Woodwork and his last years

He kept at his trade of chair-carver into his 80’s contentedly working for his son, George, in the company that ran through into the 20th century. Only two chairs are known still to exist. One is in the possession of a descendant, and the other was the chair he was asked to make by the Liberal Party when it wanted to make a gift to William Gladstone. This chair was re-discovered 20 years ago by the author, and another great great grandson, Jack Edmonds Lucraft generously paid for it to be restored. It is in Gladstone’s home at Hawarden. The irony is that the chair was made by the man who in the 1860’s had been called ‘a cabinet breaker, rather than a cabinet maker’ in the House of Commons.

Ben died at his home, 18 Green Lanes, at Newington Green, London, which still stands, on 25th September 1997. The funeral oration was recorded in the local paper, in which the Rev J Ellis, of Barnsbury Chapel, spoke of a man “who while working for the generations through which he lived, had brought benefits that future generations would enjoy.” Ben was buried in Abney Park cemetery, and his grave can still be seen.

There was a large number of relatives, friends and former colleagues present, including a representative from way back in Broadclyst. Natural flowers were placed on the polished coffin, and Mr Ellis quoted Longfellow’s Psalm of Life:

The lives of all great men remind us,
We should make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time.

Lucraft’s Delight

John Lucraft, and his wife Elizabeth, lived on “a tract of land....known by the name of Lucraft’s Delight”, in Charles County, Maryland, USA. He was a planter, and his will was proved on the 18th December 1771. In 1742 he was a witness to the will of Allen Heuton, in the same town. He leaves the land to Elizabeth, and after her to his daughter Claire, or Claudia, and after her to his grandson, John Chilton, the son of another daughter, Priscilla.

The Broadclyst Cooper

The Lucraft spelling emerges out of the villages east of Exeter; Farringdon, Woodbury, and Broadclyst. Quite a few of these lines still exist in the families round the world today. One of these lines descends from John Newton Lucraft, whose great, great grandson, John Nicholas, who’s a College Lecturer in Cirencester, found his elderly mother, Edith Mallet, was a mine of information. These notes are taken from her recollections, with thanks.

John Newton Lucraft

John Newton Lucraft, born 1822, was the village cooper in Broadclyst, and financially comfortable. He married Elizabeth, (or Ann) Martin, on 30th January 1850, in Broadclyst. John was a first cousin of my forebear, Benjamin Lucraft; both John and Benjamin’s fathers were sons of William Lucraft of Woodbury, and his wife, Esther Newton. Esther Newton’s grave is the oldest monument in this part of the family, in Broadclyst churchyard, where she was buried in 1831.

John owned a row of cottages in the village, but the leasehold belonged to the Lord of the Manor, one of the Aclands of Killerton House. One stormy night, one cottage caught fire. It spread to all the other thatched cottages and they were all burned down. Under the terms of the lease, which had only a short term to run, John had to rebuild them all, before handing back the property and this took his life’s savings. The picture on page 1 is a contemporary drawing of the fire, from the probably from the London Illustrated News about 1870. The row of cottages still stands, opposite the churchyard in the centre of the village

Their granddaughter, Eveline Mallett, said the family had originally emigrated from France - into Exeter, when the French Protestants Huguenots were persecuted - around 1685 onwards. This is a common theory among Lucrafts for their origin, owing something to the unusual name; but the family is strongly rooted in the South Hams in Devon, even if we can’t fit everything together yet.

Little is known of John Newton’s wife but she survived him. She was a short lady with a sweet smile who wore a white lace cap. She was fond of her grandchildren - especially Eveline who passed on these snippets. The old lady had once been a dressmaker to the Acland ladies and kept their muslin patterns exactly to each lady’s measurements. Of course everything was made exquisitely by hand - very tiny stitches and she taught Eveline to be a good needlewoman. Eveline, at the age of 6, had to show her buttonhole as an example to the top girls in the village school.

John Newton Lucraft’s Children

Susie, the eldest daughter of John Newton Lucraft, born 1851, was very pretty and dainty, twice married and twice widowed with no children of her own, but very fond of her wider family. Mary, the youngest daughter, born 1861, married William Bradford, a schoolmaster in Oxfordshire and had 3 children. One of these, Grace, a very clever woman, owned her own Girls’ Exclusive Boarding School - Eden Hall in the Lake District.

John Newton’s second daughter , Annie Martin Lucraft, was born and brought up in Broadclyst. She went to Teacher Training College in Exeter, and at 21, became Headmistress of her own school. Most of her career she was Head of St Thomas’ Church of England School in Exeter. She always loved her family and kept in touch with her nieces and nephews and children, working tirelessly for the local church. When her niece Eveline was often ill, as a child, and she was sent to Broadclyst to recuperate, Anne was her mentor. When her great niece met her about 1926, she found Anne a delightful witty person, and great fun.

The only surviving son of John Newton Lucraft was John Martin Lucraft, born 1856 in Broadclyst. He had 3 sisters, Anne, Susie and Mary, called Tit. He was a handsome man, full of charm. At about 15 years of age, his father paid £100 for him to be apprenticed to a Grocer, Mr Merryweather, in the City of London. There he learned his trade well, blending teas, weighing and stacking sugar and molasses, cutting bacon, cheeses - cleaning sticky cake fruit from the sacks - caring for coffee, and all the many skilled jobs performed by the practising grocer. He slept under the counter in the shop, but this may have only been on occasions. It would appear that there was no son left to carry on as the village cooper.

At the age of 21, his father bought John Martin his first grocer’s business, probably at Dartmouth, though he also lived at Kingsbridge for a while. In Dartmouth in 1878, he married Martha Harris, a seaman’s daughter, at Kingswear Wesleyan Chapel, on 17th November. The family story goes that Martha, as a girl of 15 had been seduced by the village organist, and Martha was sent to her older cousins, Jack and Urith Harris in Dartmouth, who brought up the baby, Maud. The dates don’t quite match up, so the story may not be quite right in its meagre detail. Later Maud came to live with the family, as an orphan cousin and kept in touch all her long life.

When John Martin and Martha were first married, they went to visit his parents at Broadclyst, and of course both were dressed very smartly. As they stood chatting outside the church after Sunday Service, Lady Acland approached, stopped and slowly looked at Martha from head to toe, and then said, very bitingly, “I presume you are young John Lucraft’s, the Cooper’s son’s wife. You are dressed above your station”. No wonder that incident was never forgotten by the family. And John and Martha’s daughter, Eveline, was dared not to curtsey like the village children when the gentry passed.

Eveline was born in Dartmouth but soon the family moved several times. John Martin was good business man with great charm. Unfortunately, after building up a good business, he would start drinking. Only a little drink would make him lose his wits. He used to treat everyone on sight and raid the shop till to pay for it. Before long he became bankrupt. His father rescued him several times. At one time they went to Tiverton and his last business was in Northam, Southampton, which went bankrupt in 1905, which accounts for their first granddaughter, Edith (Nicholas) being born there.

John Martin then worked on the liners in and out of Southampton but soon settled in New Zealand for several years. His wife refused to follow him. His granddaughter, Edith, remembers seeing him for the first time, as a child, towards the end of the First World War - a jaunty, gay man, wearing a white suit and a white Homburg hat and settled down with his wife - he was now a reformed character. He died about 1924.

Martha settled in Millbrook, after her husband left, with her daughter Winifred and her family and lived with them until she died in 1930’s. Martha was a handsome woman who dressed well and loved good jewellery. Her granddaughter, Edith, found her awesome, but did not see her often. Their eldest daughter, Eveline Susie, was born in 1890 in Dartmouth; she was a delicate child and was often sent to her grandparents in Broadclyst to recuperate, for long periods. There she met and loved her Bradford cousins. In 1905 Eveline married William Edwin Mallett in Northam, Southampton and had 2 children.

John Martin and Martha’s son, William Lucraft, was born in 1882 in Totnes. At 17 he joined the army and was sent out to Boer War. Luckily peace was declared before he went into action. Most of his youth was spent in Southampton and he trained as a baker. He married a widow, Beattie - who had 2 children and they had, we think, 4 sons, one of whom died as a child after they settled in Caerphilly. Jack was in touch with his cousin, Alan Baker of Totton until Alan’s recent death. During 2nd World War, he worked as a Baker on troop ships and died there. His name is engraved on big memorial to Merchant Seamen on Tower Hill, London, together with the name of one of his sons, Harold, who died in action in 1943. Beattie now dead, but their grand-daughter, Louise Beatrice Lucraft, married in 1977 and lives in Western Australia.

Death on the Titanic

John Martin and Martha’s younger daughter Winifred, born 1887, was a pretty, sympathetic, woman. She married very young and her husband Fred Simmonds went down on the Titanic in 1912 leaving her with Ted as a baby. She later married Robert Baker, and had a second family of three boys and one girl with him. I think her great grandson has been named after Benjamin Lucraft.

There are many other people on this particular tree, though generally only one or two details about each are known. Anyone interested in this tree, has only to write and ask for a copy of the complete tree. Especially if further data is offered !

Testaments from London Plague in 1660's ?

I've got copies of two wills of Thomae Luckcrofte, 10th October 1665, and Ellenae Luckcrofte, 13th October 1665. Ellen made her brother, Benjamin Winch, and her sister's daughter, Ann Gooker, her executors, leaving all her estate to Anne. They were both in Stepney.

Thomas, as his wife was still alive, left her as executor. I'm not very good at the indistinct old Latin, but I think they both then died. Were they suffering from the plague?

There was at least one extended family in and around the city at the time, with spellings from Luckcrofte to Luckraft and Lucraft.

Lucraft Origins in the South Hams

Reprinted here are the notes of part of one of the sessions at the One Name Day, where Ian Lucraft gave a brief introduction to some of the early records of the Luckraft and Lucraft families.

1332 Lay Subsidy

Queen Isabella, widow of Edward II ruling with her lover Mortimer, and peace had just been agreed with the Scots, under Robert the Bruce. England was more prosperous than ever, 5 million people, of whom 10% were in the towns. It would soon be followed by the Black Death and the Hundred Years War.

By the end of the 13th century, land was no longer the only way to measure a man's worth, and so new taxes were introduced based on moveable property and wages. After 1275 taxes were imposed through parliament, called lay subsidies, or tenths (reflecting the percentage of personal wealth due as payment, which was higher in towns than in rural areas where the rate was a fifteenth).

Essewater (Ashwater) Parish of Black Torrington, north of Okehampton,
Richard de Loccroft 18 pence (about average for non-landed men)

Is this a genuine early reference or an unconnected sound-alike?

1524 Lay Subsidy

Henry VIII had been on the throne since 1509. He's still married to his first wife, Catherine, who had her last still birth six years before in 1518. Henry is still on the side of the Pope, and Pope Clement awards Henry the title Defender of the Faith, (still on our coins today), in gratitude for the book Henry wrote three years before contradicting Martin Luther.

Loddiswell William Lovecrofte G5
John Lovecroft G4
John Lovecroft G3
Harberton William Lowcrofte W1
Richard Lowcrofte W1
Bridford William Lomecrofte G8
Exeter St Sidwell John Lowcroffthe G3

1569 Muster Roll

Now Elizabeth has been on the throne for a couple of decades, and relations with Spain are deteriorating. Phillip has ordered the seizure of English ships, though in June 1569 Spain indicated it would not go to war with England. In August 1569 the Queen stayed at Loseley Park, near Guildford, which is where we get nice yoghurt from today. In the Autumn of 1569 there was a serious conspiracy in the north of England because the queen had failed to settle the succession on Mary Queen of Scots. Men were alerted to the need to be ready to be put on the Muster Roll.

Revelstock Luke Luckrafte to present as a pikeman

Painton Martin Lowcrofte goods valued at £10-£20
to provide 1 bow, 1 sheaf of arrows, 1 steel cap, 1 bill

Harberton John Lowcrofte to present as a pikeman

Parish Events by 1599

Parish records began in 1538. By 1600 the war in the Netherlands had ended, and England and the Netherlands had defeated Spain. There was trouble in Ireland, where England ruled.

1552 Stoke Gabriel Alse, daughter of Nicholas Lucraft
1561 Painton Richard Luckraft **
1577 South Huish son to William Luccroufte and Agnes Woodmesson **
1590 Malborough Roger Luckcrofte marries Margaret Evens **
1596 Diptford Walter Lucraft having children **
1597 Halwell John Luckraft buried **

1600 - 1650

Over the next 50 years the records become more readily available to us. The new church in England had not settled its administrative affairs and there were no standard records kept. The number of people we find in the records is more closely related to the number that were actually present in the villages. During the Civil War (1640-1646) many records were lost or destroyed.

Not all the records survive, and not all the records have been made accessible to researchers, and I have note seen all the records that are available. But I think that I have a reasonable coverage. Perhaps 75% of the records ?

Luckrafts in Devon villages up to 1650

The following villages show Parish records of Luckrafts during this 50 year period:

Winckleigh 1607 Henricus Lukecraft married Priscilla Jeffrey
Buckfastleigh 1610 Richarda, son of Arthuri Luckroft born
East Portlemouth 1619 Ursula Luckcroft married William Lapthorne
Newton Ferrars 1626 John Luckcraft married Elizabeth Poste
Bovey Tracey 1628 Armanella Luckercraft married
Totnes 1637 Agnes Luckcraft married Geiles Exal
Staverton 1639 Agnes Luckraft married Thomas May
Kingsbridge 1640 Elizabeth Lecraft married Nathaniel Lovell
Dartmouth St Saviour 1644 William Laccraft married Thomasine Mortine
Loddiswell 1652 Agnes Luccroft, widow, lived there

1641 Protestation Returns

In 1641 all the adult males had to swear a public oath of allegiance sent out by Parliament, and read in all the churches, to defend the Protestant Religion against Charles I's perceived attempts to return the state to Catholicism; here we are at the start of the Civil War. The records for the villages exist and the lists for Devon, which contain Luckraft variants are as follows:

Shaugh Prior John Luckraft
Plympton St Mary John Luckcrofte
Rattery James Luccraft
Harberton David Luccraft
North Huish William Luckrafte
Diptford Henry, Thomas, Thomas and Peter Luckraft(e)
Moreleigh Robert Luccraft
Woodleigh Henry Luccraft
Loddiswell John, John, John and Nicholas Luccraft
Churstow Willliam Luccraft
Dodbrooke William Luccase and John Luccrast
Stockenham Robert Luccrast
South Milton John Luccraft
Malborough Thomas Luccraft

(There were also Lovecrafts, though no connection has ever been made with Lovecrafts. H.P. Lovecraft, the American cult writer tried but failed to make the connections.)

1700 in the Villages

By 1700 there has been a Luckraft event in most villages in the South Hams of Devon, and there is evidence of settled communities across the South Hams and into Exeter, Kings-bridge, Plymouth, and Dartmouth. The two volumes of village records in the One Name Study show the variety of villages, and the 30-40 trees in the records show the main family groups.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Richard Luccraft – born 1685 Surgeon

Ken Faig in Illinois is my regular correspondent, and is a key resource for Lovecraft. He works closely with the H P Lovecraft history group. As part of this, he sent me last year a page of workings derived from the work of Michael Barker of Stockport about Richard Luccraft, Surgeon.

From the start nearly 25 years ago this man has been in my records, but I have not been able to piece together a set of relationships for his, as he seemed to have moved around a bit. Michael’s paper, which I shall summarise here, suggests some linkages, though not all are yet proven.

We start with a William Lovecraft marrying Joanne Pytt in Loddiswell in 1593, and we think he lived at an as yet unidentified location called Court, and was buried from there at Loddiswell in 1641.

A probable son, John Luccraft, also of Court, baptised 1609, married Grace Stabbe in 1642 in Loddiswell. We think this John was buried in 1689, and his widow Grace was buried in 1695/6, both also at Loddiswell.

It looks as if this John and another John appeared in the Protestation returns of 1641 and the Hearth Tax returns of 1674 for Loddiswell.

In 1647, a Richard Luccraft, son of John Luccraft of Court, is baptised at Loddiswell, and this Richard, recorded as a butcher, married Ann Gruyte at Loddiswell in 1682. The records suggest Ann the wife of Richard died in 1687 at Loddiswell.

On 29th March 1685, at Loddiswell, a Richard Luccraft was baptised. About 56 years later, a Richard, son of Richard Luccraft was buried.

We cannot be sure that these are the same Richards, but it is very possible. In 1711, when he would have been about 26, we think he married Grace Woolcott, the daughter of John Woolcott and Mary Braddicke both of Exeter. At his marriage on 12th October 1711 at Exeter Cathedral, he is noted as a surgeon of Bideford.

Between 1717 and 1719 he moved to Chulmleigh, and in 1741 there is a bond for 100 pounds involving Richard Luccraft of Chulmleigh, surgeon, and Colebrook Parish, though we cannot be sure if this is for him or for a son. In 1742, the year of his death, there is a will proved for Richard Luccraft of Chulmleigh, but like most Devon wills they were destroyed in the blitz.

In the next generation we find a John Luckroft baptised 20th Jun 1722 at Chulmleigh. It appears he trained as a doctor, and went to St Kitts in the West Indies, where he was buried at St George and St Peter Basseterre, on 19th July 17??, and the record shows him as “Dr Jn Leycraft”. The records also show that “he lived with Elizabeth Westcott by the time her two daughters are buried in December 1751”.

For me the fascinating thing about this is that the Nicholas Luccroft that I have as the earliest part of the Lucraft lines, married a Margaret Westcott in Farringdon in 1691. Now Westcott is a fairly common name in Devon, but who knows where the jig-saw leads.

Another dismissal

In 1875, just seven years later, Edward Alfred’s second cousin, Lt John Sulivan Luckraft, descended from his dad’s half-brother, also was dismissed from his ship for being incapable of keeping the watch.

The Times of Thursday May 20th 1875 reported:

News from the Channel Squadron states that a court-martial was held on board the Triumph, Captain H D Grant, for the trial of Lieut. John S Luckraft on a charge of being incapable of keeping his watch. The prisoner pleaded guilty, and called upon Captain J D MaCrea, the senior officer at Gibraltar, to speak in his favour. He was sentenced to be dismissed from Her Majesty’s ship Triumph, to be severely reprimanded and to lose two years’ seniority.

John Sulivan Luckraft had been an outstanding junior officer at Dartmouth, and passed with the highest possible marks for navigation. After he left the Navy, he travelled to the Us to be a surveyor for the prospectors, using his navigational skills. He met sometime Jessie Allen the daughter of a minor county family in Somerset, and she travelled out to Colorado Springs in 1888 to marry John.

Drunk in charge of the cannons on H M ship Hawke

Lt Edward Alfred Luckraft’s career in the navy came to a spectacular end with him firing the ship’s guns while in port in Queenstown (Dublin) in 1858. The Times of London carried reports of the Court Martial which followed, and though the text is long, covering two sessions of hearings, on December 1st and 2nd, it is re-produced here in full, with slightly amended punctuation to ease our reading today.

Perhaps the nerves he suffered led to an early death. After leaving the Navy in 1859, he died on 15th October 1861, and was buried at Ford Park cemetery in Plymouth. The grave would soon hold his mother, Sophie, Admiral Alfred’s second wife, who died just three months later in January 1862. His older sister, Zelie Virginie was buried with them in August 1871, followed just two months later by the old Admiral himself, Alfred, who had been wounded at Trafalgar as a young man.

This was truly a sad family. Admiral Alfred’s first wife, Jane, had died aged about 20, weeks after giving birth to her only known child, Alfred’s first, called Alfred, and born about 1817. This first son too would suffer mental health problems, and was posted to the Coast Guard service after a spell at the Royal Navy’s Lunatic asylum at Haslar. He died in 1865, aged about 48. He had only been married about 5 years, to a woman called Louisa Elfrida Luckraft. That is her maiden name, and her father was George Luckraft, of Southwark in London. (We don’t know who she was, but possibly she was Alfred’s cousin, and daughter of Admiral Alfred’s brother George. This is only hypothesis, based on the fact that George’s wife lived and died as a widow in Deptford, not far from Southwark.)

By one of those strange co-incidences, some years ago a present day Luckraft was working at Haslar, which is now a naval hospital.


The Times Wednesday December 1st 1858

IRELAND, DUBLIN, Tuesday Morning

(From our own correspondent)

A court martial was held at Queenstown on Monday, on board Her Majesty's ship Nile, on Lieutenant Edward Alfred Luckraft, Second Lieutenant of her Majesty's Ship Hawke, on a charge of having acted in an improper and un-officer-like manner on the night of 31st October. The alarm caused to a large portion of the residents of Queenstown on the night of Sunday, 31st October, by loud and prolonged cannonading from the Hawke, must be still fresh in the minds of the public, and the proceedings today were an investigation of the charge against the officer who had ordered the cannonading, Lieutenant Luckraft. The officers composing the court were, Rear-Admiral Sir Henry Chap's KCB, Port Admiral, President; Captain
Forbes, Captain Ommanney, Captain Chads, Captain D’Eyncourt and Captain Wright. Captain Crispen was also nominated, but having been objected to by the prisoner his name was struck out.

Mr C E Pritchard, secretary to Rear Admiral Sir C Fremantle, acted as Judge- Advocate; Lieutenant Pickard, her Majesty's Ship Hawke, was the prosecuting officer and Mr Kenneth Sutherland, Paymaster of the Royal Albert, appeared on behalf of the prisoner.

The following charge was read to which the prisoner pleaded not guilty.
For that he Lieutenant Edward Henry Luckraft being in actual service and in full pay in Her Majesty's fleet and a Lieutenant belonging to Her Majesty's ship Hawke did on Sunday 31st October 1858 without orders from his superior officer, beat to general night quarters, and in an improper and un-officer-like manner did cause fire to be opened from the great guns of Her Majesty's ship Hawke, the said Lieutenant Luckraft being at the time drunk.

The charge refers to a cannonading which took place on the night in question from the Hawke while lying in Queenstown harbour, by the orders of Lieutenant Luckraft who happened to be the senior officer on board.

Lieutenant Pickard, First Lieutenant of the Hawke was sworn and deposed to having proceeded on board the Hawke on the night of 31st October, on hearing the firing in Queenstown and to having been informed by the gunner that it had taken place by the orders of Lieutenant Luckraft. The gunner also informed him that Lieutenant Luckraft was drunk and he then placed the latter officer under arrest.

Thomas Andrews, gunner of the Hawke, deposed that about 8 o'clock on the night to 31st October he was directed by one of the men to go down to Lieutenant Luckraft, and on going down he found him in the wardroom with a decanter and gin on the table, and a number of officers there. He asked witness would he take some gin and witness said he would rather not. He then told witness that he wished the men to beat to night quarters to which witness replied, “Very well sir.” Witness then asked him if Lieutenant Pickard knew of it as it, was usual when the men were beat to night quarters to know it some time before, and Lieutenant Luckraft said it was all right. He, the prisoner, added afterwards that he had got a letter directing him to do so. Witness then remarked that a number of the men were ashore and that it was impossible to man all the guns, and the prisoner told him to fire four rounds from both sides.

Witness went to execute the order and took out 48 rounds. Had no suspicion at this time that the prisoner was intoxicated. In a quarter of an hour after witness was sent for again and asked by the prisoner was everything going on, to which the witness replied in the affirmative. And the other then desired him to proceed and to report when all was ready, as he, the prisoner, wanted to have everything over by 10 o'clock.

Everything being ready at a quarter past nine the prisoner came on deck and gave orders to the men to fire three rounds on both sides. As soon as 48 rounds of powder were handed from the magazine, witness told the gunner’s mate not to let out any more until further orders. The prisoner then sent for him and asked what right he had to interfere, and told him he had better mind what he was about, or he, the prisoner, would order him down to his cabin. Witness apologised saying he was very sorry, and asked would he go back to the magazine and go on. The other replied, “You can go wherever you like, for I do not want you.” Witness then observed prisoner staggering while walking, and he desired a ship's corporal to observe him, and take notice of him as he was drunk.

Went on the main deck then and the prisoner ordered the men to fire four rounds quick, and turning round to give the order he staggered and fell against the after gun-tackle on the main deck. Witness asked the chaplain to speak to Lieutenant Luckcraft, and persuade him to cease firing, which the chaplain did, but he did not order the firing to cease until he, the witness, gave the orders himself. At this moment Lieutenant Pickard came on board in a boat, and the witness stated to him that the men had beat to quarters by Lieutenant Luckraft’s orders, and that he was drunk, and Lieutenant Pickard then ordered the prisoner to his cabin.

John Streeting, sailmaker’s mate, deposed to the facts of the firing similarly to the last witness, and said the prisoner appeared at the time to have been drinking. Was led to suppose so from his having given a wrong word of command. Observed that after the first three rounds did not consider that the prisoner was exactly drunk but he had been drinking to the best of witness’s belief. Saw him reel against the foremost side tackle of the after-gun, but he did not exactly fall. The wrong order he gave was “Inboard secured the guns,” instead of “Outboard secured the guns.” That was the only reason the witness had for supposing the prisoner to have been drinking.

“Are the main-deck guns of the Hawke ever secured inboard in the harbour after firing, for the purpose of been cleaned? - Not secured but run in.

“Examined by the prisoner - might not a sober man in turning round suddenly have staggered as you state me to have done? - He might.

“The President - Did you consider it was from drinking that he staggered and fell against the gun? - He might have done it from turning quickly. I have done the same thing myself. I do not think it was from drinking.

“Assistant Surgeon Conway of the Hawke deposed to a conversation which took place between him and Lieutenant Pickard after the firing, in which he, the witness, stated that he was satisfied that the prisoner was drunk. Saw him about three-quarters of an hour before the beating to quarters and he was not then drunk.

“The Reverend George G W Clemenger, Chaplain of the Hawke, stated that he saw the prisoner during the firing and he was staggering and apparently unable to take care of himself. That partly arose from drink, and partly from confusion and excitement. Believed that the working of the guns and the firing had excited him in addition to the drink he had taken. Saw him about 10 minutes before beating to quarters and considered him then to be sober.

“James Hyde, corporal of the Hawke, stated that he was desired by the gunner to observe Lieutenant Luckraft during the firing and notice if he was drunk, but witness did not observe him to be so.

This closed the case for the prosecution, and the prisoner having asked for time until next morning to prepare his defence, it was granted and the court adjourned to 10 o'clock.


Thursday 2nd December 1858

The court martial on board Her Majesty's ship Nile in the harbour of Queenstown on Lieutenant Luckraft of Her Majesty's ship Hawke on a charge of having while drunk beat the ship's company to general night quarters, and opened fire from the ship, on the night of 31st October, which had been adjourned from Monday, was resumed on Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock.

The prisoner's defence was read, which, after referring to the evidence of the different witnesses to show that he was perfectly sober when the drums beat to night quarters, and that it was improbable he could have got drunk after, when he could have tasted no liquor, proceeded to state that it was much more probable that the staggering and thickness of speech which had been deposed to were produced by a constitutional affection, called by medical men a congestion of the brain, which he would endeavour to prove had been produced in him by a long exposure in a tropical climate. The defence then stated that the best evidence would be produced to show that he was subject to such attacks, and that they might produce all the symptoms which he had exhibited on the night in question, and which had led to the suspicion that he was drunk.

Lieutenant Pickard, First Lieutenant of the Hawke, was then examined, and stated that he had never seen the prisoner under the influence of drink previous to 31st October, and that he had never hesitated to leave him as commanding officer of the Hawke when circumstances required it. The prisoner had also been frequently commander of the Hawke at Plymouth.

Believed the prisoner to be of a nervous temperament, and from his manner and the peculiar nervous twitching of his head and eyes, which were observed in him since he joined the ship. Witness’s opinion was that the prisoner's conduct, as an officer and gentleman, had always been perfectly correct while on board for Hawke, up to the 31st October.

Mr Thomas Heywood, Paymaster of the Hawke, also stated that he had observed prisoner to suffer occasionally from nervous attacks while on board the Hawke, particularly a few days after joining the Hawke at Plymouth, when the prisoner requested him to write an application for 42 days' leave, and when witness endeavoured to ascertain the reason, he seemed perfectly unaware of why he wished to get the leave.

Mr George Simmons additional paymaster of Hawke, also gave evidence as to the nervous temperament of the prisoner, and as to his uniformly correct conduct up to 31st October.

Mr John M’Kay chief engineer, Stephen Cuer, boatswain, and George Creed, carpenter, all deposed that the prisoner was sober up to 9 o'clock, and the two latter stated that about 10 minutes past nine he told them the ship's crew were going to quarters, and he then was quite sober.

Rear Admiral Alfred Luckraft, father to the prisoner, was next sworn, and deposed that while the prisoner was serving in China he wrote several letters to him, the witness, stating that he had on several occasions suffered from sun-strokes, one of which was a very severe one. And from his letters after that he appeared to be very depressed. He returned in November 1857 in a state of great weakness and ill-health and on several occasions showed symptoms that made him appear as if he had been drinking. The witness knew very well that he had not taken any drink and that it would have been impossible for him to have taken it without his knowledge. Witness did all he could to keep prisoner from being employed until he should be in a better state of health, but he got an appointment in the Hawke, and he wished himself to join. Witness, before allowing him to go, made enquiries about Hawke and her captain, and finding that she was a quiet harbour ship, he allowed the prisoner to go to sea in her.

A certificate was then read from Dr Magrath of Guernsey, which that gentleman had sworn to stating that he had been in attendance on the prisoner after his return from China, and considered him to be naturally nervous and excitable, and possessed of a naturally week mind, which would be likely to break down in after life. The certificate also deposed to the state of nervous excitement under which the prisoner laboured while under the doctor's care, which led him to impress on the prisoners' father that he should not go to sea for at least six or 12 months.

An affirmation from the sister of the prisoner, made before Mr Gallagher J P of Queenstown, was next to read in which she stated that the prisoner, after his return from China, had frequently laboured under fits of nervous excitement during which he appeared to suffer under delusions, and sometimes did not recollect afterwards what had occurred while labouring under one of those fits.

Dr Alexander Eugene M’ki, staff surgeon of the fleet, was then sworn, and stated that he had served in China, and was acquainted with the diseases peculiar to the climate. Believed that sun-stroke produced congestion of the brain, and that such a disease caused by sunstroke had a great tendency to relapse. Believed that staggering gait, temporary mental delusions, flushed face, and embarrassed speech were produced by such a disease and that frequent relapses had a decided tendency to produce mental disorder. The symptoms mentioned sometimes had the appearance of drunkenness. A person drinking spirits to a moderate extent under such circumstances would be much more liable to have his head affected than ordinary persons.

A letter was then read from Admiral Richards, lately one of the Lords of the Admiralty, addressed to the prisoner, which referred in high terms of praise to his uniform good conduct, and certificates were read from the following ship's of Her Majesty's fleet in which he had served; Sybille, Encounter, Vengeance, Impregnable, Caledonia, and Victory.

Dr Robert Bernard, surgeon of the Hawke, was called by the court and examined, and he gave similar testimony to that given by Dr M’ki as to the effects of sunstroke and the symptoms produced by congestion of the brain.

This closed the evidence on both sides, and the court was cleared.

After an interval of about an hour-and-a-half the public were again admitted, when the Judge-Advocate read the decision of the court which declared their opinion that the charge was proved against Lieutenant Edward Alfred Luckraft, but in

consideration of the medical testimony which had been produced and his previous good conduct the sentence was that he should be dismissed from Her Majesty's ship Hawke and rendered incapable of serving in Her Majesty's employment again.

The court then broke up and the prisoner was released from custody. The sentence does not preclude Lieutenant Luckraft from receiving half pay.

Lucraft’s delight

Regular readers will remember Lucraft’s delight as a plot of land in Charles County Maryland, belonging to John Lucraft about 1770. Robert Chatham in America has kindly sent me some of his records, looking back at early records, for this man and his land.

The earliest citation found for John is 23rd December 1717 where he is a witness on an indenture from Juliana Price, to Thomas Hussey Luckett gent, for 1s and love for Elizabeth Luckett of a tract of land of about 200 acres on Port Tobacco Creek. In 1733 John is listed in the taxable people, and living in Port Tobacco East Side.

In a deposition of 1762 John states that his age is 83 years, which means he was born about 1679. I cannot identify yet a John in the records of that time. In 1770 we find his probate record, which includes mention of John Chittim, who is a forebear of Robert Chattam who has been doing this excavation of the old records.

A property Assessment for 1783 lists John Chatham as the owner of a parcel of land of 132 acres called Lucraft’s Delight in the 6th taxing district of Maryland.

Robert helpfully provides much more detail, but it is too soon to say where John Lucraft actually fits in.

Leacrafts of North Carolina

Sale of Wife – 1804

This original item was found in the North Carolina State Archives, and was put into the Carteret County website by Joel S Russell.

NB The bill of sale give below is a coppy of the original that is in the archives of the Court House here and is among other papers that was ordered by the Clerk of Court to be recorded in the Registers Office. The reason this one was not recorded in said office the Purcher of the woman refused to tag the register’s furs (??). I certify this is a true coppy
P.B. Loftin

This indenture this the 14 day of December Eighteen Hundred & four between Abner Willis of the State of No. Carolina & County of Carteret the one part and William W. Oliver of the other Part

That I Abner Willis have bargained Sold & delivered unto Wil. W. Oliver one sertain white woman by the name of Marce Which is or was formally my wife for the sum of Two Dollars the Receipt I hereby
Acknowledge My Self dully Satisfied. In witness where of I place my hand Seal the day & year first written.
Abner Willis (his mark)

Signed Sealed & Delivered in presence of us.
Benj. Lecraft State North Carolina
June Term 1822 Carteret County Cort of Pleas
& Quarter sessions

I certify the Execution of the above bill of sale was then proved in open court by the oath of Benj. LeCraft the subscribing witness thereto and ordered to be registered.
G. Rumley C.C

P.S. I am now living in the house that G Rumley occupied at the time this bil of sale was made. P B L

The Benjamin Lecraft who acted for the State in this record is Benjamin Leecraft, born 1795 in Beaufort North Carolina. He was a successful merchant, after his father had been a successful trader with ships plying between England and America, having come originally from Bermuda. This Benjamin built the two identical houses in Beaufort for his two daughters, at least one of which still stands in the conservation area, and is known as the “Leecraft House”.

But what was going on? Apart from its shock value, one asks why, if the dates are recorded correctly, was an indenture for the sale of a wife in 1804 recorded and signed before the State’s Officer in 1822? Was there a property rights issue, or a change of heart? The comments in the first paragraph by P B Loftin might be construed as implying that there was either embarrassment or disagreement on the part of William Oliver, the “Purcher” [purchaser] about the whole matter. We don’t know the dates of the transcription by Loftin.

By the way, two dollars in 1804 would be worth about 400 dollars now, or would buy what about 40 dollars would now buy. And it also shows how a name can be spelled two ways even in a court document.

Susan Verell Leecraft

Susan was the sister of Benjamin and we had a marriage for her in 1803 to Abraham Piggott. Pat Fleury in the States, whose family this is, has now found that Susan was married twice. She re-married James Johnson Verell in 1814, which explains why she is later known as Susan Verrell Leecraft. Pat keeps me up to date with much of her work, and adds details and corrects my mistakes.

My Darling Edwina

One item from Pat’s records is a wonderful letter written in 1907 by Daisy Leecraft, the grand-daughter of the above Benjamin Leecraft.

Daisy was born in 1876 at the “Cabin Home” on Iron Ore Creek near Denison in Texas, to Benjamin Leecraft III and Susan Elizabeth Stowe. Benjamin III had been a Captain in the Confederate Army, and was a widower previously married to Mary Arendell. [Benjamin and Mary had at least nine children at least five of whom died at birth or in infancy, and two boys who survived, one also called Benjamin] Susan’s father was Col Samuel Neal Stowe who served on General Lee’s staff during the war between the states.

Both Daisy’s parents had been born in North Carolina, and after losing everything in the aftermath of the defeat of the South in the war they moved to the Sherman/Denison area of Texas. These are adjoining areas on the Texas Oklahoma border just north of present-day Dallas.

Daisy first married Edwin Eugene Moody, who was about 10 years older than Daisy. He had graduated with honours from Cumberland University in Tennessee, and became a Presbyterian Minister, moving to Denison, Texas. In Dennison the Rev EE Moody was the pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Edwin and Daisy had at least one child, called Edwina, born in 1895.

After Edwin died in 1896 Daisy remained in Denison, with her mother, and later went to Meridian Mississippi with Edwina when Edwina was about one year old. Edwin Moody’s brother, Francis [Frank] Sims Moody had asked her to marry him. She would not accept his proposal until after her mother’s death in 1904. The wedding was originally planned to be done in the First Presbyterian Church in Denison. However, because of a major yellow fever epidemic in Louisiana, traffic west across the Mississippi River was halted, and Frank Moody was unable to come to Dennison. She packed and proceeded to Mississippi with her daughter, then 9 years old. The wedding took place in Meridian, Mississippi in 1905.

This is a letter written to her daughter Edwina on 17th July 1907, when Edwina was about 12 years old. It was written the day before Daisy’s second daughter Daisy Dean Moody was born.

My Darling Edwina,

I am not well this morning and some day it may happen as it does to some little girls, that you may have no mother. In this case, I should like you to have a letter which I want you to read frequently, whenever you are troubled or tempted to do wrong – also when you miss me and want me very much, that you may know how much I have loved you and still love you. I believe in guardian angels, and will ask God to let me be yours to be with you constantly night and day, to guard you and comfort you and keep you from harm.

Mother wants you to be a pure sweet girl and grow up to be a fine, sweet, true woman. To do this, you must avoid making friendships with any boy or girl who tries to lead you into doing wrong things. You are now old enough for your conscience to tell you what is wrong, and through your prayers God will help you to resist it. Learn to say “No” to any suggestion of wrong-doing. And remember that your mother and your papa who had to leave his baby years ago will be grieved if you are not brave enough to do right.

I feel so glad to leave you with the one who is now your papa as he is capable of instilling into your mind only the bravest and noblest of thoughts. Listen to his every word of advice and do not grieve him by disobedience, and comfort him on any sorrow he may have.

Study hard and do not neglect music, but remember to take good care of your health.

With love and kisses, I am
Devotedly - Your Mother (“Daisy”)

Recent research in England on portraits of melancholy pregnant women from the 17th to 19th century suggests that they may be the upper-class equivalent of the ”mother’s letter” so eloquently exampled here. My thanks to Pat Fleury for this poignant letter from her archives.

Benjamin Leecraft : Sailor and Trader born c 1753

Pat’s research has turned up a bit more about the Benjamin Leecraft at the head of this family. We knew he was born about 1753 and died about 1799. There are two versions of how and where he died. One says at sea, and another suggests at Gastonia, North Carolina. It is also possible that he was born at Gastonia, though there are no records of that yet found, and it had been assumed that he arrived in North Carolina from Bermuda.

Pat’s papers now show that he sailed out of Philadelphia during the Revolution against Britain, on the ship “Active”. He is recorded as a Mate on this ship, under Captain Biddle of Philadelphia. He was commissioned on September 29th 1781 after previously serving several years. He applied for a Certificate of Marque as Privateer to Continental Congress in that year. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown hair and skin. Pat’s papers also note that he died at sea near Bermuda.

In 1790 he owned land in Beaufort North Carolina. Pat quotes a source “Dandridge, in his history of the English prison ship ‘Jersey’, lists a Banjamin [sic] Leecraft as one of the prisoners of war,” and suggests he may have been the father of this Benjamin Leecraft, though I suspect that the prisoner may have been this man himself.

Benjamin Leecraft IV

Pat has also passed on an e-mail from descendants of Daisy’s half-brother, Benjamin IV. From this we think that Benjamin Leecraft IV married Adelia Jones, and had eight children, called, Odell, Paul, Phyllis, Odessa, William, Robert, Haskew, and Mary Alice. We’ll have to find more space on the tree for them!

Joseph and Sarah Lucraft of Illinois

For years I have been on the track of this family group in America, reporting in past newsletters on fragments of new information; now I have been contacted by Joe Bedell from Washington State in America, who is a descendant of this family, and found out about our Luc(k)raft family research from the web-site.

He and his father are sharing the work they have done on their family group, and we are the lucky beneficiaries. The Lucraft name died out in this family in the 19th century and so we have had to wait for someone to find us.

The Early Story in Lympstone

The family origins lie back in the same Devon roots as all the Lucraft groups descended from Nicholas Lucraft, who married Margaret Westcott in 1691 in the beautiful little church in the hamlet of Farringdon, near Woodbury.

Nicholas’ and Margaret’s grandson, John Lucraft, was baptised in 1760 in Woodbury, and married Ann Eastman (baptised Woodbury c 1754) in Lympstone in 1786. Lympstone is nearby, on the Exe estuary. (For many years now it has been the training home of the British Commandos.) We don’t know why they were married there; perhaps Ann and her parents had moved there.

John and Ann Lucraft had at least eight children, starting with a Joseph in 1787, through to a James in 1805. One of these children also carried the name Eastman as a middle name, Elizabeth Eastman Lucraft, baptised 1794 in Lympstone.

Ann died and John remarried in 1809 to Mary Arthur Newbury, a lacemaker of Lympstone. Lace-making was and still is a traditional Devon craft. John and Mary then had at least two children. Mary lived until 1852, when she died aged about 78.

John lived until 1832, aged about 72, but we don’t know anything more about him yet. There was much poverty in the Lucraft household in Lympstone, they were not alone at that time. The Poor Records show that the Widow Lucraft got 4 shillings in 1833. This could be John’s widow.

Joseph the Carpenter

Returning to John and his first wife Ann Eastman’s first child, Joseph, born 1787, we find Joseph apprenticed as a carpenter on 2nd May 1796 at the age of nine, which was quite common. At the censuses of 1841 and 1851 he is listed as a carpenter at one of the big houses in Heavitree near Exeter; No 7 Oakfield Place. Joseph may also have had a brother John living and working with his own family too at the same house.

Joseph and a woman named Mary (no marriage found as yet) then had at least six children, all baptised in Heavitree, starting with a John in 1816 who also became a carpenter, and ending with a Thomas Eastman Lucraft in 1832. This last son Thomas was working with his father at the same house in Heavitree at the 1851 census as a Gardener, and one of the daughters was working there too as a servant.

The second son, William, baptised 1816 may also have become a carpenter. He is a prime candidate for the William Lucraft who is recorded as being transported to Australia from Exeter Assizes, in 1841, but we cannot be sure as yet.

Joseph Eastman Lucraft

The third son, Joseph and his family got travelling feet. He was baptised in Heavitree Parish Church on 9th December 1821, and I believe he grew up to be a shoemaker. I have no more evidence of him in the Exeter area after his baptism record. (There is an unconnected record of a Joseph Lucraft working as a shoemaker in Halwell, the other side of Exeter in 1850.)

Joseph re-appears about 200 miles East of Exeter in 1848, when he marries a young woman named Sarah Elphick, on 9th October in the parish church in the tiny hamlet of Hooe, just outside Hastings in Sussex. Joseph is recorded as being a shoemaker, aged 26, which would put his birth at 1822, but he does say his father is Joseph Lucraft a Carpenter. Sarah Elphick is recorded as a spinster, without an occupation, and as a minor. This is unusual, and means she was under 21, and she would have needed her father’s formal permission to be married. Her father is listed as Stephen Elphick a labourer. The marriage was witnessed by Stephen Carey and Sarah Carey, who made her mark; we do not know who these people were.

[The name Elphick is usually spelled with a ‘k’, though there are a few uses without. This family in America have always used it without, though the English marriage certificate in 1848 has the ‘k’. Elphick researchers treat the two as the same, but it helps with different family groups.]

Over the first 4 years of their relationship I believe Joseph and Sarah had four children. Joseph, the first son, has dates that suggest a birth about 1847, before they were married, which would not have been uncommon. He was followed by Marjery Hannah in 1848, Mary Ann in 1849 and James in 1850, though only Joseph b c 1847 and one daughter would emigrate with them.

Go West, young man

The papers from Joe Bedell in America now pick up much of the story. The family know Joseph, born 1821, as Joseph Eastman Lucraft, and confirm that his birth was 19th November 1821, in Heavitree, just three weeks before his baptism.

Joseph and Sarah’s first son, called Joseph, is reported born 18th January 1847 in Heavitree, which is over a year before Joseph and Sarah were married, and a long way from Sarah’s home. The American family only know of one other child from England, a younger sister called May, who could be Marjorie, Mary Ann, or another child. We do not know which ones survived.

What we do know is that Joseph and his young wife Sarah (Elphic) travelled to America in 1852 with two children, Joseph and May. Tragically Sarah died shortly after the family’s arrival in America, at Whitewater, Wisconsin.

In 1856 Joseph re-married, this time to Sarah’s sister, Sylvia Elphic. Joseph and Sylvia moved to the remote village of Oregon in Illinois about 1860, where Sylvia bore eight children to Joseph. In the 1860 US Census the family is shown with “Sarah” being 23 years old, and with three children, Joseph, aged 13, Margery Hannah aged 12 (both born England) and Sarah aged 1 (born Illinois). This suggests Sylvia, for it must have been her, was born about 1837. She was 16 years younger than Joseph, her husband, and married him when she was about 19, perhaps almost the same age her sister had been when she married Joseph in Hooe. One wonders whether Sylvia had travelled out with them in the first place, when she would have been just 15, or went out to care for the children when her sister died. At what stage does such a practical arrangement become a relationship, leading to marriage and a new family? On a following page there is an example of a widow re-marrying her husband’s brother; again in the difficult times of 19th century American expansion. And through history there have been many examples of families supporting each other this way. Catherine of Aragon also did the same.

[We do not yet have all the details of these eight children with Joseph’s second wife, but I have been able to piece together some. Joe Bedell says there were at least 6 daughters and one son. The son was William H Lucraft, who moved to California and owned a beach hotel at Redondo beach in the 1920s-30s. I believe he died on 30th Jun 1950 in LA Co, Cal. He never married so there were no Lucraft descendants from Joseph and Sylvia’s union. I believe one daughter to be Sarah Jane, born about 1858, who married William Charles Rust in 1894 in Calhoun Iowa. Another was Florence, whom Joe reports lived to the age of 104.

Civil War Veteran

Re-focusing then again on Joseph and Sarah’s son Joseph, born 1847 in England, he enlisted in the Union Army on Feb 20th 1864, aged about 17, though the family thought it might be he was younger. He served as a private in Company “I”46th Regiment of Illinois Veteran volunteers. He was engaged through the Civil War in the battles of Jackson, Mississippi, and the assault of Fort Blakely, Alabama. He was discharged at Baton rouge, Louisiana, on January 20th 1866.

There is no known record of his whereabouts or activities immediately after the Civil War, though he may be the Joseph who got a job as a lighthouse keeper at several lighthouses along the coast, including Mississippi, in the months after the war. At some point he probably returned to Oregon Illinois and back to farming.

On July 8th 1870 he married Anna Crockett at Mount Morris, about six miles northwest of Oregon Ill.. Young Joseph and Mary had three children; George A (b 1871), Nell (b 1873, and Kate (b Christmas Day either 1874 or 1875).
The young family moved from Illinois to Iowa, and then to The Dakota Territory and finally to Fairbury Nebraska. Their son George graduated from Fairbury High School on May 29th 1891, and was then awarded a contract to teach grade school in Jefferson Country, Nebraska from the fall. Sadly, before fall came he had died from consumption and never took up the post. This last male on this side of the family meant that the Lucraft name would die out in this family. George’s two sisters married brothers. Nell married Homer Bedell in 1891 at Fairbury, and Kate married Melvin Bedell in 1902 at Fresno, California.

In 1908 Joseph applied for pension based on his civil war service. I have a copy of the declaration he signed, stating at the time he was living in Redondo Beach, aged 62. He was 5 feet five and a half inches tall, with blue eyes and brown hair, and he said he had been born on 18th January 1846.

Laid to rest

Old Joseph Eastman Lucraft, the young man who had left England in 1852, lived until 1913, when he died at the home of his daughter at Sac City Iowa. He is buried in Scranton Iowa. His second wife, Sylvia Elphic I believe had died by 1870 .

His son, Joseph, died on 4th November 1930, at Sebastopol, California, and he was buried back in Fairbury. This Joseph’s wife, Anna Crockett died just two months later on 7th January 1931 in Contra Costa Co Cal, and was also buried in Fairbury. Joseph and Anna were buried in the same grave (section C8) in the old part of the Fairbury cemetery, as their son George, who had died aged 20, forty years before.

My thanks to Joe Bedell for the photos and the later data. I’m sure we will be able to fill out and complete this tree in years to come.

[This item first appeared in the Luc(k)raft Newsletter vol 10.]

Stonemason's Index

One of the many indices now available is the Stonemasons’ Index, which provided me recently with this list. Three men are from the Aveton Gifford family, and two from Dean Prior. John of Plymouth is the builder whose wife let rooms and who himself went bankrupt with one of his building projects.

LUCKCRAFT, GEORGE & SON, Builders, address 1923: Aveton Gifford-Dev.
LUCKCRAFT, J, b/d NK, Builder, address 1814: Hampton Buildings, Plymouth-Dev.
LUCKCRAFT, John Thomas, b/d NK, Builder, address 1926: Aveton Gifford, Kingsbridge-Dev.
LUCKCRAFT, Joseph, b.1834 Aveton Gifford-Dev, Builder & Farmer, address 1881: Village, Aveton Gifford-Dev, 1890: Aveton Gifford, Kingsbridge-Dev.
LUCKCRAFT, Thomas, b.1797 Dean Prior-Dev, Mason, address 1851: Dean Town, Dean Prior-Dev.
LUCKCRAFT, William, b.1836 Dean Prior-Dev. Mason, address 1851: Dean Town, Dean Prior-Dev.

William Lucraft - convict

We’ve known for a while that a William Lucraft was transported from Exeter in the 1840,s as there was a newspaper clipping of the time giving very spare details of a William Lucraft transported from Exeter.

But now we know a bit more about him, thanks to the internet and access to Tasmanian Records. The Tasmanian Archives Office have been very helpful, and here’s the story.


William Lucraft was tried at Exeter on 30th January 1842. The writing in the Convict Record kept in Tasmania is not easy to read, but the offences include stealing a mackintosh, and two counts of drunkenness, (once perhaps at the White House; was that once a pub in Exeter?) and another unreadable offence. He got 14 days for one drunkenness count, 4 weeks for another and 2 months for the third. But for the mackintosh he was transported for seven years.

His records show that he was convict number 8515, aged 24 years, and 5 feet 3 and a quarter inches tall. He was a protestant, who could both read and write, and was single. He was a slater and plasterer, from Exeter, and the Serjeant’s (sic) report was that he was a good teacher. (What was he teaching?) The remarks column appears to read “m Elizabeth. 1d Mary”, which can be read as saying that his mother was called Elizabeth, and he had a daughter Mary, but the children column has no entry. It could equally be that he was married to Elizabeth and had one daughter Mary.

Who was he? I can’t be sure. The candidate I have had for many years is William Lucraft, baptised 22nd Nov 1818 at Heavitree, which was a small village on the outskirts of Exeter, now a suburb of the city. (Though this William born 1818 is also a candidate for the William Lucraft who went to America and founded the Locraft line there.) His family were carpenters, as he was, and I think his mother was Mary. This convict could well be married to an Elizabeth and have named a daughter after his mother. The children column I think relates to whether there were any children with the convict, and clearly here there were not as he sailed alone. So it is not certain, but after the 1841 census, when William is listed as a carpenter in Heavitree, we find no more about him in the English records I have seen so far. (There is another William of the same age in Bermondsey, with a family, and he too came from Heavitree, so it could be that the Heavitree William is not the one transported. We just don’t know.)

You can find this William on the Heavitree and Lympstone Tree if you have it. The next son, Joseph, emigrated to America and settled in Illinois marrying a woman from Hooe in Sussex before going, and her sister later after she died.

If this Heavitree family is William’s, they had spent the last 20 years on and off Poor support. The father’s generation had all been apprenticed when they were six, seven and eight years of age, and the family had Poor money from the village vestry to buy potatoes, packs of bran, for a daughter’s coffin etc.. They weren’t always in trouble. In 1853 John Lucraft a carpenter of Oakfield Street Heavitree, William’s brother, I believe, was a witness in a case against Elizabeth Stone, who stole a part of a side of bacon weighing 37 lbs from a shop in George’s Street, Exeter.


William embarked on 26th September 1842, and sailed from Plymouth on 5th October 1842, on board the ship Earl Grey, and arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, then called Van Diemens Land, on 14th January 1843; a sailing of 14 weeks. He’s recorded as being of fair complexion, with a small head and oval visage, brown eyebrows and eyes. On his left arm he had tattooed a man and a woman, the letters “V.R.” (for the new queen), and an anchor. On his right arm he had the letters “W.L.E.L.” and anchor and a sea anchor or a sun and anchor. Do the letters WLEL mean a William Lucraft and Elizabeth Lucraft. I suspect they do and that Elizabeth was his wife. Their marriage I have not yet found.

Life as a felon

He was put to work in the labour camps, including Buckland, and was soon in trouble. He got 10 days solitary for being drunk and being suspected of making a grindstone for a private individual. He got a four month extension for absenting himself and making a grindstone clandestinely, and having nails and mason’s tools in his bag without a record of permission. He was released from the first stage of his punishment in November 1844, and the next May went AWOL again and was drunk, getting four days solitary. In September he got six months hard labour for striking his master with his fist. Until May 1849 the records show further spells in solitary for drunkenness, resisting arrest, assaulting a landlord, and on one occasion stealing a watch. Tough life in the penal colonies.

Marriage to Sarah Briden

Then a month later, on 25th June 1849 he applies for permission to marry, as he had to do as a convict. It must have been granted because on 6th August 1849 he marries Sarah Briden, and there are no more records of bad behaviour! Sarah is herself a convict. On 3rd March 1845, Sarah, from Enfield in Middlesex, had been tried at the Central Criminal Court in London on the charge of attempting to drown her child; a charge to which she pleaded not guilty. The record notes that she states that Henry Hickson and James ?aw are the fathers of her children. A curious note is also that she is recorded as having an alias, Ann Wilson, and there is a later addition which says “proper name Sarah Briden”. Sarah is a “plain cook”, and she was sentenced to 15 years, which would take her to 1860. She’s single, can read and write, has two children and is a Protestant.

Sarah was transported from London on board the sailing ship Lloyds, sailing on 29th July 1845, and arriving at Hobart on 7th November. Her convict number was 753, and when she got there she was listed as 5 feet tall, 30 years of age, dark complexion, dark brown hair and an oval head. Her visage was narrow, her forehead low, eyebrows light, eyes hazel, with a long nose, wide mouth and round chin. Her face is slightly pockmarked, and she started a six month probation when she got there. The report, I think from the transport, was that she was well-behaved and industrious and had made 25 shirts.

There are very few entries on her record in Tasmania. The only offence she is recorded as committing is in 1848, for cruelty to an orphan child, for which she was reprimanded. In March 1853, eight years after her marriage, she is recommended for a conditional pardon, which is granted on 7th February 1854. In the margin of the record she is recorded as being at Campbelltown, one of the camps, until 1853.

I believe that her two children born in England, were transported with her, but have no further information about them. There is a number 2 in the children column of the transport ship record, whereas for William there was no entry.

And in the Tasman records, William and Sarah have four children together.

1. Mary Anne Lucroft, born 21 Jan 1850, Fingal, and died 15th May 1856 Campbelltown, aged 6.
2. Sarah Lucroft, born circa 1852, and died 23rd March 1852, Campbelltown a baby.
3. Elizabeth Lewcraft, born 3 April 1853, baptised at Campbelltown Methodist Church 24th April 1853.
4. Louisa Lucraft, born 23rd Jan 1855, Campbelltown.

There are no further certain details of the last two girls. If they died we might have seen the record. If they survived they probably married and took another name.

A tantalising possibility arose from an e-mail a couple of years ago, from John Davey in Australia. His grandmother was Lucy Louise Lucraft, who married George William Bushby, and they had a daughter, Olive, in 1887. Olive is John Davey’s mother. If this Lucy Louise was the same as the Louise, born 1885 above, she would have been about 32 when Olive was born. I don’t know anything else about Lucy Louise, and can’t find her in the records, so it remains a possibility.

William died in 1865 aged 46, and Sarah in 1860, aged 46, both in Campbelltown.

There is still work to be done on Exeter and London court records and newspapers, so one day we may know more.

The first voyage of the Earl Grey

Paul A. Murnane, as part of his family history, which included some of his Irish family being transported on the first voyage of the Earl Grey, has written this in his much longer family history, which can be seen at where there is a great wealth of interesting material, including the log of the ship’s surgeon. I have extracted this section which tells the story of the voyage of those men.

“Finally, on Tuesday August 23rd, 1836, they were issued with transportee clothes, one blanket and utensils (marked with each brother's berth number to prevent theft) and rowed out to the convict ship "Earl Grey". Fortunately for the Murnanes, the weather was not cold, for their blue cloth (or jersey) jackets and waistcoats (two each), duck trousers (two), linen shirts (three), stockings, woollen cap and, possibly for the Murnanes, the novelty of a pair of shoes, were light weather clothing.

After nearly forty years experience of transporting convicts to New South Wales, the English Government had at last arrived at a fairly humane set of rules and regulations for delivering human cargoes in good order and condition. By 1836 when the Murnanes travelled, convict ships were no longer "floating hells, festering with disease, vice and cruelty", as described in the earlier voyages when ten percent or more of convicts died en route. Convict transport was now a Transport Board and Royal Navy matter, done in strict accordance with rules and regulations, and the Murnanes' ship was under the charge of a Royal Navy surgeon, William Evans, with over thirty years medical experience.

Both Evans, who had previous transportation experience, and the ship’s master Talbot, had serious responsibilities and the Murnane brothers’ survival largely depended on Evans’ supervision. A large bond was paid by the contractor and only repaid when the Governor of New South Wales certified that the ship’s cargo had been properly delivered. Careful daily logs of consumption of rations and water were kept throughout the voyage, and copies of the ship’s logbook, as well as the Surgeon Superintendent’s log, were deposited with the Governor and, on return to England, with the Transport Board. (What we know of the Murnane brothers’ voyage is derived from the surviving copy of Surgeon Superintendent Evans’ log. No trace of the captain’s log has been found).

The "Earl Grey" was a new (1835) ship, built in Newcastle (England) by a well-known shipping merchant Duncan Dunbar and chartered to the British Government as a convict ship. The Murnanes were to be "privileged" to travel on the "Earl Grey's" first of many convict transportation trips to New South Wales over the next decade.

The ship was a 571-ton wooden barque with three masts, square-rigged on all but the aftermost mast, which was fore/aft rigged. It had a crew of forty-five. Below decks there were two rows of sleeping berths or boxes, one above the other, down each side of the ship, around a long central table running the ship’s length. Four convicts in double bunks slept in each six-foot square berth, linked together by the ankle with a chain running through ringbolts on the berths. Two large swinging stoves with metal funnels, stood fore and aft to provide the only warmth in the cold southern Indian Ocean where the "Earl Grey" would soon be sailing.

Air and light came only from small barred scuttles (rectangular openings) cut into the ship's sides – these were usually only able to be opened in calm seas. Armed soldiers from the 41st, 50th and 4th Regiments travelling as onboard guards, guarded trapdoors over the hatchways twenty-four hours. Evans had every two berths of eight men elect a mess captain to draw and divide the daily rations. These rations were a marked improvement over the Murnanes' experiences in the holding hulk -3/4 pound ships biscuits, beef/pork/pudding dinner, pea soup (four times weekly), gruel or "burgoo" for breakfast, 1 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. sugar daily to prevent scurvy, vinegar weekly, 4 gills of Spanish red wine weekly and 3 quarts of water daily.

Certain convicts on the "Earl Grey", usually the older ones, were selected as spokesmen for the convicts’ complaints and acted as "internal police", enforcing cleanup chores, etc.. Various convicts were allocated tasks such as cooks, medical attendants and barbers. Usually the convict cooks were allowed on deck about five a.m. to start breakfast preparations and cooking, and weather permitting, convicts were allowed on deck at sunrise, washing in seawater and exercising under armed supervision. All convicts were required to clean up as best they could prior to a daily inspection by the Surgeon. Haircuts and shaves were given once or twice a week. The sleeping berths were cleaned and each convict’s bedding was usually stored on deck, often getting wet from the sea. The Murnanes participated in the daily prison deck cleaning parties, scrubbing down the decks with pumice stone and seawater. Breakfast was served below decks at the central table running the length of the ship. Religious service muster on the quarterdeck was a regular Sunday event, although it not known how the Irish Catholic convicts celebrated. A typical day ended about sunset when the convicts collected their bedding and were chained below for the night after dinner.”

The Ship’s surgeon listed the daily food ration:
“The allowance of oatmeal for each mans Breakfast is eight ounces this is made into thick Gruel and with it they get half an ounce of sugar. The Breakfast is served out at half past eight o'clock. The allowance of meat for each man is four ounces (Including bone). They get inferior cabbage of which they are allowed four ounces (Including Stalks and waste leaves). There is also a small portion of oatmeal added to thicken it. This is made into Broth or soup, of this each man is allowed a quart. It is served up at five o'clock and with it a pound of Biscuit and no more for the day. On Friday the dinner is nothing but this gruel.”

A beloved grandchild

For my family, the most significant character has been Benjamin Lucraft born 1809 in Broadclyst, Devon, who became a chairmaker and radical leader in London in the 1860s and 70s. I have stacks of papers about him, but every now and then something new emerges, after all this time. This edition I look back at a grandchild of Benjamin’s; Emily Lucraft, born in 1877, 20 years before he died, and who was laid in his grave when she died in 1911 aged 33, having died on pulmonary tuberculosis and exhaustion. It took many years until Gary Rutland found the website in 2004/5 and we pieced things together.

At first I had found Emily living at the home of Benjamin’s son, Henry Lucraft, and his wife Ann (nee Clarke). She was listed as their daughter in the 1881 census, and a niece, as yet unidentified, called Jane, was also there. But when Gary obtained the certificates for Emily’s birth and death, we found that Emily had been born to a Mary Lucraft, at 67 Canonbury Road. Benjamin is recorded as living at this address in his Election Address at this time, and we believe that Mary Bartell Lucraft, his last daughter, lived with him to his death. Mary Bartell Lucraft would have been about 30 when Emily was born. There is a reference to Mary being deaf, and we have no idea of any partner.

When Emily was a little older, she was living with Mary at the census, but she was still recorded as niece. We may never know if she knew that Mary was her mother. When Emily married Henry Goddard in 1907, when she was about 30, she was not able to name a father nor an occupation for a father. So presumably by this time she knew, if she ever had thought, that her father was not Henry Lucraft. A year later a daughter was born in 1908 to Emily and Henry. This was Gladys Mary May Goddard who later married and was the ancestor of Gary Rutland which led to the contact with our study.

But sadly, just three years after Gladys birth, Emily died, and was the second body buried in Benjamin’s Grave, where she is recorded as the beloved wife of Henry Goddard and grand-daughter of Benjamin. No mention of either of her parents. But the final burial in the grave, nearly 30 years later, is Mary Bartell Lucraft herself.

Mary was known in the family as “Auntie Pollie” and that’s how she is recorded on the gravestone, where she joins her daughter in death.

A Quebecois Family

There was a short note about the Quebec family of Loucraft in a previous newsletter. Here is the latest update, and fuller details.

In Massachusetts, and from there across America, there is a family spelled “Loucraft”, with its early American years in French-speaking Canada. That the first American in the family, though he came through Canada, and his name and his children’s names were sometimes spelt the French way, I am now fairly sure that he originated from England, every year a little bit more information comes along . I should make clear that many of the recorded events in the tree are not supported by documentary evidence, though a conservative approach has been taken with attributing relationships. (In particular we do not have a record of the parents of Nelson Loucraft, born 1842.)

I found this family through the efforts of Ruth Loucraft Freeland, Daniel Gendron, Juan Manzano, Brian Loucraft, Maria Loucraft-Manzano, and with help from Eileen Loucraft who been putting together their family history. There is a copy of the latest version of the family tree included with this newsletter.

The earliest records the family has is of Joseph Lucraft, whose death records in 1893 the family say state that he was born in New York. The family say he married a woman called Zoe Charron, (though there is a note that she was also called Elizabeth Shaw, or Eliza Sharr, which is a strange mix of names.)

We believe Joseph had two sons, Joseph-Michael Loucraft, born circa 1838 in New York, and Nelson Loucraft, born 1842 in St Venant de Hereford, in Quebec. There are several Canadian events in the family at this time. Joseph-Michael marries a woman called Pricille Thibault in St Valentin, Quebec, and Nelson is recorded as Narcisse Loucraft in Pacquetteville. (Narcisse is thought to be the French for Nelson, but I’m not sure about this.) Joseph-Michael’s son Alfred Lucraft, (sometimes surnamed “Marion” according to the family,) married a woman called Denise Dubois and they lived in Pacquetteville too for a while.

Nelson’s son, Nelson, went to Cuba in 1911, and there he had a family, most of whom were given Spanish forenames.

Readers can follow the family on the tree, together with some of the significant dates and locations. So let’s consider some of the interesting questions, rather than merely recount the tree details.

What are the origins for this family?

I have not been able to identify with clarity who the Joseph born New York is from any English records, and the family has no knowledge of English ancestors. In fact the family legends were more about Dutch or French origins.

Frank Loucraft, born 1871 in Massachusetts, is recorded as returning to Boston in 1901 on board the ship “Anglian” from London. What was he doing in England? The family at that time were working families, and there seems little likelihood of a business connection with England. The fact that the earliest family record shows Joseph as spelling his name “Lucraft” is telling, though by no means conclusive. The census extract on the next page, from the 1880 US census of East Bridgewater, shows that JM Loucraft, in the three right-hand columns, puts his own birth as New York, his father as England and his mother as Canada. Joseph, born c 1820, England and Zoe, or Elizabeth, also born c 1820, but in Canada.

The 1840 US Federal Census shows a Joseph Lucraft, born around 1810-20, (though the dates can be a few years either side of that,) living in Clinton County, Peru Township, New York. He’s in the 20-30 year old age range and married to a woman about the same age. They have two sons, one born about 1836 and one about 1838. An older woman, aged about 60-70 years, and so born around 1770-1780, is living with them, but we don’t know her name, or that of the wife and children.

Joseph Lucraft, in the family we are considering, was born around 1800-1820, if his marriage was around 1835, though the first son we know of was born around 1838, in New York. The Quebec Joseph has sons born circa 1838 (Joseph-Michael) and 1842 (Nelson). It couldn’t be Nelson on the 1840 census, but it could have been another child. It’s a very rare surname, and the only other Joseph known in the US is accounted for in another family.

There is an English candidate for this Canadian Joseph, and that is Joseph Richard Lucraft, christened in Exeter St Paul on 14th August 1808, and about whom I know nothing more. He doesn’t appear in any other records I have seen, and I have researched this section of the family fairly thoroughly, as he is the older brother of Benjamin, my great-great-grand-father. You can see this Joseph Richard on the Nicholas Tree on the website, down in the bottom left-hand corner.

There is another possible candidate, Joseph Lucraft, baptised 1817 in Broadclyst, though this might be a little too late. He can be seen in the Broadclyst Tree for Joseph and Mary his parents on the website. It is less likely to be him as another Joseph was born to these parents in 1828, and while it is not unknown for a family to name two sons with the same forename, and recent research has indicated it is more common than previously thought, it is still probable that the second son Joseph means that the first son Joseph in this family died.

Other Canadian events

There is an intriguing coincidence. The Leaycraft family in America , whose ancestry can be traced back through Benjamin Leecraft born about 1753, and who lived in Bermuda, and ran a fleet of merchant ships from there. His descendants set up outposts of their business in Halifax Nova Scotia, and New York in the 19th century. But there are no connections to this family.

There is also a Quebec record of a John Lucraft, who was a volunteer 1st class on board the Royal Navy ship HMS Penelope. The Penelope was wrecked on 1st May 1815 in the Lower St Lawrence seaway, with the loss of 37 hands; 20 seamen, 6 mariners and 11 boys. And on 24th May 1815, there is a muster roll of those that survived. John is not one of the seven men listed as “drunk”. We have no age record for John as yet, but there is an extract of the HMS Penelope’s fate overleaf.

The French were long gone as a governing nation, defeated at Quebec in 1759, by General Wolfe, though French-speakers were still the more populous then as now. The Royal Navy would have maintained a small fleet in Canada, even though the war against Napoleon required most of the fleet in Europe. Horatio Nelson had defeated the French fleet at Trafalgar in 1805, (with an Alfred Lucraft, half-brother of John Pasley Luckraft, the subject of the lead article in this newsletter, wounded in the battle.) But Napoleon was not completely defeated until Waterloo in 1815, and so a fleet would have been still needed to maintain the military threat in French-speaking Quebec where there would have been much sympathy for the French, and not a little dislike of the English.

Why the French names?

Which brings us back to the names in this Québécois family. In their first enquiries of me the family asked about the names, and the mixture of French and English names and versions of names. There are two historical and cultural factors I believe can be drawn from the names.

First, a family living, and marrying and having children, in French-speaking Canada at the time, would almost certainly have adopted some French-speaking elements in the names. One suspects that in the highly charged politics of the day, unless you were a card-carrying Englishman, with a position that could be protected by the English garrison, assimilation into the French-speaking world would have been the norm. Certainly a generation before that the assimilation of Englishmen into American ways and beliefs, at the time of the war of independence, was the norm except for those families that could be protected by the English garrison.

Second, however, by the time we get to around 1840, and Joseph Lucraft and Zoe Charron’s children are born, and we believe one of them to be “Nelson”, he is making a clear declaration of nationality. John and Zoe’s grand-children are named Mary, George, Annie, Israel and Alfred. With the exception of Israel, these names are redolent of English history. Nelson uses the same name for his son in 1869, by which time the English hero of Trafalgar has a column with his statue on top in the heart of London in Trafalgar Square.

In a final possible ironic coincidence, it was in 1865 and 1866 that Benjamin Lucraft led the marches of impoverished working men and women out of the slums of east London. He stood on a cart drawn by a horse, and then on the platform at the foot of Nelson’s column, to speak and demonstrate for the vote in Trafalgar Square. The leader article in The Times, the establishment newspaper of record wrote: “How dare these unwashed men demonstrate in our square?” If it is the case that the Joseph who founded this Quebec and Massachusetts family is the next brother of Benjamin, who demonstrated in Nelson’s square, then the story has an ending that brings together the major themes of 19th century global politics; the re-shaping of European and transatlantic power, and the struggle of the workers for a decent place in that world which depended on their labour for its growth and expansion.

The family now

Joseph and his son Joseph-Michael, ran a brick manufacturers in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. East Bridgewater is primarily a residential community centrally located in Plymouth County 14 miles northeast of Taunton, 22 miles northwest of Plymouth, 25 miles southeast of Boston, and 207 miles from New York City.
First settled in 1630 as an outgrowth of the Plimoth and Duxbury plantation, the Town of East Bridgewater was an early industrial inland town located on the northern portion of the Taunton River system. Its early economy was based on agriculture but the community did have both grist and sawmills, iron forges and tanneries. The late 19th and early 20th century saw residential development along the trolley lines in the community.

The Loucraft brickyard covered the area known in the 1600’s as the Devil’s Hop Yard, where early settlers had their homes. Joseph and his son razed about 10-12 feet of the area to extract clay for bricks. And they ran a boarding house, too, for lots of their Canadian labourers.

The family are now living in various parts of the US, but here is Eileen Loucraft and her family, with the stone marking the training ground in memory of her father-in-law, who was deeply committed to youth sport, as well as being a faithful member of the local Catholic Church, as are many other members of the family.

Captain John Pasley Luckraft

Naval Officer and Lighthouse designer

John Pasley Luckraft was born about 1820, and had a career as a sailor, a harbour master, a lighthouse designer and survived a brush with the Welsh radical movement known as “The Rebeccas”. He appears on the Naval Tree, printed in an earlier newsletter, and available on the website at

I was recently at a conference in Leeds, and in the hotel boardroom there was a fine print of Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley, after whom we believe John P. was named. Pasley’s picture is reproduced at the right. This edition of the newsletter draws together various elements of his life, though there is much we don’t know.

John Pasley Luckraft’s family

John P. was the third known child of John Luckraft and Martha Wilson. This father John was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, was present at the Spithead Mutiny and had served with great bravery against the Turks, having been also briefly imprisoned by them. This Lt John, was himself the son of another John Luckraft, the Master Cooper and Victualler at the Royal Dockyard in Plymouth. Grandfather John’s first wife was Julian Lobb, the daughter of the famous Cornish family of Lobbs, who can trace their roots back much further than we can. Grandfather John’s mother, Honor Edgecombe, was from another famous family of the Devon and Cornwall border, the Edgcumbes, who can trace their descent back to a John of Edgcumbe who died in 1285.

When father John, and his wife Martha had their first child, in about 1808, they named him Alfred. This is perhaps a naming after John’s half-brother, Alfred Luckraft, born 1790, who is one of the sailors recorded in the Times in October 1805 as having been wounded on board the HMS Mars at the battle of Trafalgar. Sadly this first known child died as an infant, and is buried at St John’s in the parish of Maker, very near Mount Edgecombe west of Plymouth Sound. Maker is now in Cornwall, but in earlier times the western side of the Sound was all in one county, Devon, to make a unified fortified harbour in Devon. In later years Anthony and St Johns parishes have become part of Cornwall, as they lie west of the Tamar.

Father John’s second known child did survive. She was named Julia Edgecombe Luckraft, after her great grand-mother, and in 1827, Julia married Lt William George Pearn, who by 1837 was serving in the Coastguard.

The next known child is Charles Maxwell Luckraft, born 1814. He too served in the Navy and became Commander
RN and served for a time as the governor of Lewes Prison,

at the time it was a naval prison. John Pasley Luckraft is “father John” and Martha’s fourth known child, born about 1820. It seems the children were born across at least 12 years. There were probably others I have not yet found records of that died in infancy or at birth. John P. would have joined the Navy about the age of 14, and though we don’t have all his records yet, we know that he rose to become a Staff Commander, and died on the 24th August 1887, at Burry Port, in Carmarthenshire. What follows are a few items from his life.

Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley:

We believe father John, the Lieutenant whom Pasley had commended, named his first living son after Pasley, who was a famous Admiral and who served on the enquiry into the Mutiny on the Bounty. Further work on service records might help identify if Father John and Pasley ever served together.

Through his life John P. was “a devoted friend and supporter of the [temperance] movement”, and earned an entry in Winskill’s Biography of Temperance Standard Bearers.

Lighthouse Designer

After retiring from active service in the Royal Navy, but still an officer in the reserve, John P was employed as the Harbour Master at Llanelli. By 1855 the Navy did not have the need for as many officers as during the Napoleonic years, and many officers were retired, on part pay. While he was there he designed the first lighthouse on Whitford Inlet at Burry Inlet.

The following is a history of the first light, designed by John P., taken from a local history publication.

The Whitford Lighthouse

This unique lighthouse is a prominent landmark at the mouth of the Burry Inlet. It is an impressive sight when it stands alone amidst vast sand banks at low tide, or when the empty tower is battered by heavy seas. Today, the Burry Inlet is used only by small craft, but the Whitford Lighthouse belongs to an era when Llanelli was a major Welsh port with an important coastal and foreign trade.
The present structure is the second to have been built on the Whitford sker. Its predecessor was erected about half-a-mile north of Whitford Point, in 1854. Its designer was Captain John Paisley [sic] Luckraft, who was the Harbour Master at Llanelli. The light was first lit on the night of 22nd January, 1855. The following year, events conspired to almost wreck the Whitford Lighthouse; wreckage became trapped amongst the piles, and broke one of the stays. More wreckage became entangled during a storm on 7th February, which led to the loss of the remaining stayrods. Later that day, Michael Leheane, one of two keepers, reported to Captain Luckraft that the tide had risen to an extraordinary height, and that the sea was the heaviest he had experienced. Fearing for their lives, both keepers abandoned the lighthouse at low water. On the following day, Captain Luckraft found that 13 of the 18 stayrods had been washed away. Michael Leheane and William Hughes, a Llanelli pilot, bravely agreed to stay the night there.
More damage occurred in 1857 when the "Stark", of Dublin, collided with the lighthouse, demolishing the north-east pile. By 1864, the lighthouse had become a major headache for the commissioners of the Burry who called for a report on the scientific construction of lighthouses.
Plans for a new lighthouse were drawn up by John Bowen, a local engineer. He was a blacksmith's son and was employed by Messrs. Nevill, Druce and Co. as an engineer at Llanelly Copperworks. He was responsible for the design and building of Llanelli's tallest chimney, the "Stac Fawr", at the Copperworks, which was completed in 1861. At the time, it was claimed to be the tallest chimney stack in Europe. A different siting was chosen for the new lighthouse, about 300 yards south of the old one. The successful tenderers were Messrs. Hennet & Co. and the lamp was lit in November, 1866.
Repairs were found to be necessary during the 1880's. The lighthouse continued to operate satisfactorily for over fifty years, and, in 1919, Llanelly Harbour Trust considered installing a more powerful automatic gas-light at Whitford, but came to the conclusion that the estuary would be better served if a new lighthouse were to be built on Burry Holms.
This was built during 1921, and the Whitford Light was finally extinguished.

(Based on the THE WHITFORD LIGHTHOUSE by Richard Davies . Maureen Thoms 14/15.6.2000 D)

The Rebeccas

In the 1840’s a Welsh up-rising of dissatisfied tenants and farmers made cause with the English establishment living and ordering affairs in Wales, whom they held responsible for the poverty and economic decline of the ordinary working people. Many working men had been compelled to move to the workhouse in destitution, and there was much ill-feeling.

Men dressed with petticoats and known locally as “the Rebeccas”, took action against individuals they felt were involved. They were not always immediately ruthless, and in their dealings with John Pasley Luckraft, we see an example of telling the target of their attention to get out of Wales, rather than killing the person forthwith, as they clearly could have done. Whether this is anything to do with any particular regard for John P. or not it is impossible to say.

The following extracts are from depositions taken at the time, from witnesses. John P was about 24 at the time. We believe he married at some point, but we do not know if he was married at this time.

A NOTE of the voluntary examination of David Davies made before Wm. Chambers, junior.

First appearance of John Pasley Luckraft:

With regard to Luckcraft the first arrangement was to cut his legs and afterwards it was proposed to break all his things. The fat young butcher was at the Stag and was sitting between the two pilots.

DEPOSITIONS taken before William Chambers and William Chambers, junior, 5 January, 1844. An unfinished draft.
(l) John Pasley Luckraft:

He was harbour master at Llanelly, residing at the Sea Side. About 1.30 on the morning of Wednesday, September 6, he was awakened by a knocking at the front door of his house. He supposed it to be one of the harbour men calling him and he tapped the window to show he was awake. A voice cried out " is it here the harbour master lives ? " He replied " yes." The same voice answered " come down here, we want to speak to you." Deponent [that is John Pasley Luckraft] dressed and prepared to go down, and several voices called out in a threatening manner that if he did not come directly they would fire the house about him. He went out and saw in front of his house from twelve to twenty men all disguised, one on horseback. One person stood on his right as he came out. He was disguised with a light garment like a petticoat on the lower part of his person and had a handkerchief or something tied on like a turban on his head. He was a tall man and appeared to take the most active part. The man on horseback spoke first --- " We have come respecting those poor people you are sending to our Workhouse and you must go away. Deponent said " Do you mean that I must leave this house," and the man on the right said " No, we mean that you must leave this place altogether. Before you came those men were getting forty pounds a year. Now they are obliged to go to the parish." He had a woodman's hatchet in his hand. Deponent replied that as he was in their power he must do as they desired. The man lifted the hatchet in a threatening manner and said " If you do not promise, by the Lord God, you will be a dead man." Deponent saw a man pointing a gun at him and he asked the man with the hatchet " What is that man about with the gun." The man with the hatchet ordered him to put the gun up, which he did and shrunk back. The man with hatchet said that he would stand between deponent and harm, and added " you must promise to leave this place in a week or by God Almighty you are a dead man, and don't you think the soldiers can protect you for they can't, and that they know, and they know that we are here now." Deponent said " Do no violence and I make you the promise." The man on horseback turned towards the new dock and all the rest turned to go away. The man on the horse said something and a man pointed a gun at the deponent and discharged it, but it hit the window three feet to his right. Three discharges were made towards the upper windows. Deponent did not recognise the prisoner William Jenkins as one of the men.

The Carmarthenshire Antiquary 1943/4, Vol i, Pts 3 & 4. A FILE OF " REBECCA " PAPERS. BY EVAN D. JONES, B.A.
This article has been extracted from an extract made by Gareth Hicks (July 2004) and published on the Genuki website.