Peter Payne's Jug 1829

Peter Payne's Jug : 175th Anniversary
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand

Click on approrpiate image for a larger version

This family heirloom is, if the "1829" inscribed in gold is indeed the date of manufacture, one hundred and seventy-five years old this year.  Although it has been gingerly handed down through successive generations of the Payne family, nothing has survived in the way of accompanying tales of its origin.  While the rather fine jug has survived the waxing and waning of the family fortunes remarkably unscathed, there are no anecdotes to explain why it was made and for whom.

The only thing we can be fairly sure of - from the intitials "PP" in gold lettering below the spout - is that it was manufactured for one of two Peter Paynes who were descended from a long line of Paynes who had farmed in the parishes of Newton Solney and Church Gresley (in South Derbyshire) since the late 1600s.

Peter Payne the Elder (1778-1839)
The elder Peter Payne was the fourth in a line of Peters;  he was born in Newton Solney, but had moved to nearby Church Gresley in order to farm land belonging to his father, at around the time of his marriage to Ann Harris (1773-1839) in 1799.  He inherited this 78 acres of land in 1813 when his father died, although in terms of the will he was required to pay substantial sums of money to his two sisters, Mary Smedley (1779-1833) and Harriet Hallam (1781-), and a half-brother Thomas Payne (1803-).  In order to do this, he found it necessary to mortgage the entire estate the following year.  He probably continued farming, as well as extracting coal from some of the old shafts on the property.  It is likely that he also built and was the proprietor of the New Inn at nearby Ashby Woulds.  Then, in the mid-1820s Peter Payne leased the mineral rights under his land to William Gregory, the head writing master at the Free Grammar School in Repton, who sank a coal shaft near the top of Cappy Hill.  In 1828, most of the Payne land was sold, presumably to pay off the mortgage.  After a series of rapid expansions, Gregory got into financial difficulties in about 1831 and went bankrupt in about 1834.  The Payne family then seem to have fallen on hard times.  Peter & Ann's eldest daughter Harriott Bagnall (1803-1850) was in receipt of parish relief in 1836 after her husband died.  Then in 1839 both Peter & Ann died, after which the remaining property was sold to recover sums owed on the mortgages in default.

Peter Payne the Younger (1801-1845)
Peter Payne the younger was the eldest of seven children of the elder Peter and his wife Ann.  He did not follow the family tradition, but became a carpenter.  In 1821 and 1827, Peter was described as a wheelwright in a Church Gresley trade directory entries.  In 1832 he married Ann Tipper (1807-1857) in London.  Ann was the step-daughter of another wheelwright Henry Benfield (1790-1873), who had moved to Church Gresley between 1829 and 1829.  Peter and Ann moved around a bit over the next few years, presumably wherever there was work.  Between 1833 and 1841, Ann had two sons and a daughter, but they all died in their infancy.  By the time her fourth and only surviving child Henry Payne was born in May 1842, they were living in Burton Extra, a suburb of Burton-upon-Trent just across the county boundary in Staffordshire.  They were still on the move, however, because Peter Payne died on 11 February 1845 in Hulme, Manchester, of "asthma - 3 or 4 winters".  According to family legend, he was engaged on repairs to the roof of Manchester Cathedral at the time.

The Diaspora
By the time of the census in June 1841, only the widowed daughter Harriott was still living in Church Gresley with three of her four children.  All of the elder Peter Payne's remaining children had either died or moved away, except for the second son Frederick (1807-1849).  The daughters Mary and Sarah had married two sons of a Leicestershire farmer, and moved away, first to Loughbourough, and later to Doncaster (Yorkshire).  Third son Henry (1808-1834), who had trained as a veterinary surgeon, had died unmarried some years earlier.  The youngest son William Payne (1811-), also a veterinary surgeon, emigrated to Pennsylvania in the late 1830s or early 1840s.  Thus, when Ann Payne née Tipper was left a widow in 1845, with a three year-old son, she had few options available to her.  Her mother Sarah née Gough (1786-1844) had died at Church Gresley a year earlier, and her step-father had remarried and moved to Polesworth in Warwickshire.

The Hard Years - Gaol & The Workhouse
When Henry was enrolled in the St Stephen's Daily & Sunday School at Woodville in South Derbyshire at the beginning of March 1848, and baptised there a few days later, his Aunt Harriot stood as godmother.  Perhaps his uncle Frederick was contributing financially, but when he, too, died in January 1849, it is unlikely that Henry continued with his schooling.  On 25 April 1850, his mother Ann was arrested in Burton-upon-Trent by the town's first regular police officer, Richard Roe, and charged with stealing clothes and food in the High Street.  Despite her being presented to the Stafford court as having conducted the acts "while in a state of unconsciousness and absence of mind", due to her being an epileptic, she was sent to gaol and her son Henry was committed to the Ashby Workhouse.  Ann and Henry spent the next seven years in the workhouse, before Ann died in 1857, and Henry went to live and work with Ann's half brother Thomas Benfield (1823-1898) at Princes End near Birmingham.

Family in South Derbyshire
How did the jug - as well as several other documents and artefacts dating from before 1850 - survive Ann & Henry's seven year spell in the gaol and workhouse?  They didn't have many family members left in the area, although at the time of Ann's incarceration, Henry's aunt and godmother Harriott Bagnall was still alive.  It was possibly she who took Henry to the Ashby workhouse when she could no longer look after him herself.  Her own children were in their teens, and almost certainly already working.  In fact, her youngest son William Bagnall (1835-1847) had been killed in an accident at the Gresley Coal Pit, aged 11, only three years earlier.  It seems likely that the artefacts were entrusted to the care of Ann's half-sister Dorothy Lunn née Benfield (1814-1895) and her husband William Lunn (1814-1887), who were living in Swadlincote.  Henry's future wife, Henrietta Christina Benfield (1843-1917), was also living with the Lunns in the late 1850s and early 1860s, making this scenario even more likely.

Provenance of the Jug
If any reader of this story can provide information regarding the likely provenance of the jug, I would be very grateful.  Please email me with any further questions.

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