During the lockdown months of 2020 a number of new queries came through to the Hickling Local History Group which have led the group to look in more detail at families from Hickling who have moved (for whatever reason) to the other side of the world. One of these is the difficult story of Jane Morrison who died suddenly in February 1843 leaving a widower and 8 children.
Sadly, the family’s difficulties ended with the deportation of Jane’s widower, James Morrison, to Australia in 1851 having been convicted of the theft of a lamb. The family dispersed, with four of their daughters moving to London to live with their maternal aunt where they settled and married and seem to have done well. Sadly, the future of those remaining in the Vale of Belvoir seems to have been less settled and by the time of the 1851 census two of the children seem to be listed in the Melton Workhouse.
The enquiry which has helped to fill out this family story came from a member of the Huckerby family (James Morrison’s sister married into the Huckerby family in Hose) and her information is referenced by her initials (LH). Jane’s burial in Hickling churchyard hadn’t fitted with the family research to date and it is unclear why she was buried in Hickling; if the family lived in Hickling it was probably only for a short amount of time (there are no records specifically locating the family in Hickling apart from Jane’s burial here). We were able to direct LH towards the O’Shaughnessy family in London amongst other details (see below) and LH was able to direct us towards the link to the Huckerby family in Hose as well as further detail (below).
Jane Morrison’s gravestone is also a bit of mystery; her death certificate gives the reason for her death as ‘flooding’ and Huckerby family lore recounts that she died in an accident. The inscription on the gravestone tends to support this: “a sudden change in a moment fell, I had no time to bid my friends farewell”. However, LH believes that it is more likely that ‘flooding’ may refer to a medical problem, perhaps a miscarriage.
James Morrison’s brother, Samuel, was also deported and there are many questions remaining: the family was part of the Irish community – did they suffer prejudice because of this? What impact did the deportation of the brothers have on their family and was there a stigma attached?
James and Jane Morrison – background.
Jane (nee Gibson) Morrison was the daughter of Richard and Martha Gibson; she was born in Hedon, Yorkshire but was taken to London as an infant where she was baptised on 2nd June 1805 at St Matthews Church, Bethnall Green. She married James Morrison (a plumber and glazier* of Hose) on 5th January 1829 at St John the Evangelist Church in Lambeth by banns. Both could sign their name. Witnesses to the marriage were George Gibson and Maria Morrison.
(*the two professions often went together at this time, as windows required leading.)
James Morrison was the son of Hugh Morrison (born in Ireland 1768) and Mary** (born in Colston Bassett). Hugh Morrison is listed in poll books as a ‘farmer with houses’ in the 1830s but the various birth records for his children describe him as a weaver (1799 and 1805) and as a huckster (1815, 1817, 1818). Both are listed as having died in the Melton area; Hugh in February 1852 and Mary in July 1851.
**There is some debate over James’s mother’s background; the family record in the 1841 census shows Mary as ‘born in County’ and the 1851 census for Hose states that Mary was born in Colston Bassett. There are two possibilities:
- Mary Burrows; baptised on 4th Feb 1775 at Colston Bassett (her parents were married in Colston Bassett in August 1774).
- Mary Steans; married Hugh Morrison on 5th July 1796 in Manchester. There are two online records for this marriage, both with the same date but with different spellings of Mary’s surname; Heans and Heynes. There is no explanation for Hugh and Mary being in Manchester for their marriage.
- Family descendent (LH) has corroborated this marriage record with the Hose family by cross—referencing Hugh’s signature on the marriage certificate with his signature on deeds held at Nottingham Archives for land in Hose (members of the Steans family also appear on some of these Deeds).
- There is a record of baptism for a Mary Steans in Colston Bassett (September 1779) which ties in with the birth dates on the later census records.
Burial Registers show that both Hugh and Mary Morrison were buried in Hose churchyard but the location of their graves has been lost; there are a number of reasons this may have happened including the possibility of them being buried in unnamed/unmarked graves because of the stigma/shame of their sons’ deportation. However, it is more likely that they could have been buried in the same plots as other family members but not named on the gravestones; the stone/s could have been removed at some point (for additional names to be added) but never replaced; or simply they have been lost in the normal course of time.
James and Jane Morrison – London, Long Clawson, Hickling
James Morrison was born in Hose on the 29th June 1806 and baptised there on the 19th July 1806.
James and Jane (Gibson) Morrison spent their early married years in London where their eldest children were born. Around 1836 the family made their home in the Vale of Belvoir and in 1841 the Morrison family were living in Long Clawson, and Jane’s mother Martha Gibson is buried there (she is shown as lodging with the family in the 1841 census). Two of Jane and James’s daughters, Emily Jane and Martha Caroline are buried in Hose churchyard, close to their aunt and James’s sister Maria Huckerby (baptised Mary Maria Morrison in 1809).
In the 1841 census the family are living in West End, Long Clawson, Leics:
- James Morrison 35yrs glazier born in County
- Jane 35yrs not born in County
- Richard 11yrs “
- Mary 9yrs “
- John 7yrs born in County
- Martha 5yrs “
- Ann 4yrs “
- William 3yrs “
- Emily 2yrs “
- Martha Gibson 70yrs lodger not born in County
(Although the census only shows the two eldest children as being born outside Leicestershire, baptism details show that the next two children were also born elsewhere)
In the UK Poll Book 1841 – Long Clawson; James Morrison has a freehold house and land for his own occupation.
Also in 1841, both James & Jane Morrison are reported (in the Leics Mercury (12th June 1841) & Leics Journal 25th June 1841)) as bringing a case in the Petty Sessions against their servant for being repeatedly absent which resulted in the girl being sentenced to 14 days hard labour.
Shortly after the 1841 census the family appear to have moved to live in Hickling and Jane Morrison died here on 22nd February 1843 aged 39 years old. She was buried in Hickling Churchyard and on her headstone it mentions that she had left 8 children motherless.
To the memory of Jane, wife of James Morrison, who died Feby 22nd 1843, aged 39yrs
a sudden change in a moment fell
I had no time to bid my friends farewell
left 8 children to lament the loss of a mother[Q1 1843 Bingham vol 15 page 337]
LH reports that it was Jane’s eldest son, Richard (age 13) who is recorded as the informant of the death on her death certificate. Jane (Gibson) Morrison is recorded on her death certificate as having died of ‘flooding’; family lore says that she died in an accident but LH believes that it is more likely that ‘flooding’ refers to miscarriage and death in childbirth (although there is no record of a child born/stillborn in 1843).
James was consistently described first as a plumber and then as a glazier, but in the report of Jane’s death in the Nottingham Review of 10 March 1843 he was described as a glazier and innkeeper (unfortunately, we have no trace which inn is referred to although his sister Mary Maria Huckerby is linked to the Rose & Crown in Hose in the 1871 census record, so the inn may not have been in Hickling).
Jane (Gibson) Morrison’s family struggled after her death (see below) and James Morrison was deported to Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in February 1851 following his conviction for stealing sheep. James died on the 26th April 1867 and was buried on 28th April 1867 in the Tenterden area near Sydney (Blue Mountains area, Bolivia, New England, New South Wales).
After James’s deportation the children seem to have been cared for by two of their aunts; Jane’s sister, Ann O’Shaughnessy who lived in the Mile End area of London (4 of the girls are listed with her in the 1851 census) and James’s sister, Mary Maria Huckerby who lived in Hose (she was baptized and buried Mary Maria but marriage and census records give her name as Maria).
The Children of James and Jane Morrison:
10 children have been traced for James and Jane, but we only have firm details of the death of one of them before Jane died. Of all the others, bar two, we have information of them being alive after her death, leaving just Thomas Gibson Morrison and William Gibson Morrison who may have died before her, leaving the eight living children referred to on her headstone.
NB. Some of the children weren’t baptised as children when the family were in London but were baptised later in this area.
1 – Richard William Gibson baptised Stepney, London, 10 January 1830, father James plumber, mother Jane, residence Mile End Old Town.
When Jane (Gibson) Morrison died in 1843 it is Richard (aged 13) who is recorded as the informant on her death certificate.
In 1861 he is a distiller’s clerk living back in Mile End Old Town with his wife Emily, three daughters and their house servant. Emily died in 1870 and in 1871 he is still in Mile End Old town with four daughters, a domestic servant and a visitor Henrietta Courtney. Richard married Henrietta on 5 December 1872.
Richard died in 1875. “An Englishman died suddenly at the Hotel de L’Univers, at Lyons, last week. The body has since been recognised as Mr Richard William Gibson Morrison, a confidential clerk in the service of Mr C Curtis, a distiller in Mile-end-road. The money found in his possession (about 400l) has been handed over to the British Consul.” Reading Mercury 7 August 1875.
It would seem that he was not repatriated for burial.
2 – Mary Jane baptised Stepney 16 October 1831, father James plumber, mother Jane, residence Mile End Old Town. In 1951 (her mother having died and her father having been deported), she is living, along with her sisters Ann, Emily and Maria, with her mother’s sister Ann O’Shaughnessy and her surveyor husband Mark back in Mile End Old Town and working as a milliner.
LH reports that Mary Jane married Alexander Andrews and that they had several children before she died on 11th Feb 1863 and was buried in the same grave as her uncle, Mark O’Shaughnessy in Tower Hamlets cemetery. After her death, Alexander Andrews went on to marry Mary’s sister, Emily Jane (see below) 31st July 1872.
LH reports that Alexander was a merchant, and the son of a merchant. He wrote for the Gentleman’s Magazine, exported pale ale to Australia and has books held at the British Library.
3 – John Frederick baptised Stepney 27 October 1833, father James plumber, mother Jane, residence Mile End Old Town. In 1851 he was working as a groom in Long Clawson.
4 – Martha Caroline baptised St Dunstan’s and All Saints, Stepney 13 March 1835, father James plumber, mother Jane, residence Mile End Old Town. She is the only one of the daughters not to have moved to London to live with their maternal aunt, Ann O’Shaughnassy; instead she is likely to have stayed under the care of her paternal aunt, Maria Huckerby in Hose after her father’s deportation (when she was 11 years old).
In the 1851 census she is listed in the Melton Workhouse as a pauper and her occupation is given as servant (in the same record there is a William Gibson (pauper & scholar aged 11) which may mean that her brother was in the workhouse with her).
The next available record is that she was buried in Hose, age 19, on 29 May 1854 (in 1876 her sister Emily Jane (Morrison) Andrews was buried in the same grave having died of TB).
5 – Ann Cecelia was born in Long Clawson in around 1837 but no baptism for her has been found.
In 1851 she was living with her mother’s sister Ann O’Shaughnessy. Ann, Emily and Maria appear in the 1861 census living in a household together (plus a maidservant), still in the Mile End area of Stepney; Ann is head of household and ‘fundholder’, no occupations given for Emily and Maria.
Ann Cecilia and her sister Maria married brothers named King who LH reports were publicans; “Ann Cecilia Morrison of 43 Beaumont Square, married Basil Edmund King. Banns 3rd Nov 1870 at St. Peters, London Docks. Youngest sister Maria (Baptised Clawson) was a witness at their wedding” (LH).
The 1871 census shows Basil (aged 25 & born Stepney) as a merchant’s clerk and Ann (aged 34 & born Long Clawson, Leics) as a schoolmistress.
In 1880 there is a record from the right area and with Basil and Annie as parents that may indicate they had a child (Edward Basil) who was born, baptised and died in the same year. It is also possible that Ann died in childbirth although there are no records of her death; Basil is next recorded in the 1881 census as a visitor in the Descours household in Lewisham.
6 – Thomas Gibson baptised Long Clawson 20 October 1838 son of James glazier and Jane.
He has not been found in the 1841 census, so he could have been the second of Jane’s children who died before her. The baptism date is interesting because William (see below) had also been born at the time of the baptism but not baptised until two years later. It may be that William and Thomas were twins and Thomas had an “emergency” baptism because he was ill. No parish burial nor death registration has been found for him.
7 – William Gibson born 1 August 1838, baptised Long Clawson 21 October 1840 son of James glazier and Jane. He has not been found in 1951, nor his death before that time.
However, there is a possible record in the 1851 census which could place him with his sister, Martha Caroline, in the Melton Workhouse; the listing states that he is aged 11, a pauper and ‘in school’ (if this can be confirmed, this places his birth to the time of his baptism rather than the earlier date of 1838).
8 – Emily Jane born 28 December 1839, baptised Long Clawson 21 October 1840 daughter of James glazier and Jane.
She is living with her mother’s sister Ann O’Shaughnessy in 1951. Ann, Emily and Maria appear in the 1861 census living in a household together (plus a maidservant), still in the Mile End area of Stepney; Ann is head of household and ‘fundholder’, no occupations given for Emily and Maria.
Emily married her sister Mary Jane’s widow Alexander Andrews 31st July 1872. They had one daughter, Eleanor (registered Morrison, baptised Andrews – perhaps because their marriage would have been void under Church Law).
Emily Jane died of TB in 1876 at the age of 36 and was buried in Hose churchyard in the same grave as her sister Martha Caroline who had died (age 19) in 1854. Alexander Andrews also died of TB (3 years earlier in 1873) and was buried in Hornsey and it is possible that Emily returned to Hose after his death.
9 – Harriet baptised 1 July 1841 Long Clawson buried there 4 November 1841
10 – Maria baptised 1 July 1841 Long Clawson daughter of James glazier and Jane.
In 1851 she is living with her mother’s sister Ann O’Shaughnessy. Ann, Emily and Maria appear in the 1861 census living in a household together (plus a maidservant), still in the Mile End area of Stepney; Ann is head of household and ‘fundholder’, no occupations given for Emily and Maria.
Maria became a schoolteacher (1871 census; living alone, school mistress, born Leics, Clawson). She and her sister Ann married brothers named King who LH reports were publicans (1873 Maria to Henry William King & 1870 Ann Cecelia to Basil Edward King).
In the 1851 census (following James’s deportation) four of James and Jane’s daughters are found living in the care of Jane’s sister, Ann O’Shaughnessy, in Mile End, old Town, London:
- Mark O’Shaughnessy 64 Surveyor Born Ireland
- Ann “ 55 Born Hedon, Yorkshire
- Mary Jane Morrison Niece 19 Milliner Middlesex London
- Ann Cecelia “ Niece 14 Scholar Leicester Clawson
- Emily Jane “ Niece 11 Scholar “
- Maria “ Niece 9 Scholar “
- + a visitor
Ann O’ Shaughnessy died in Mile End in 1859 and Mark O’Shaughnessy died the following year, also in Mile End, 1860. LH reports that they are buried in Tower Hamlets cemetery and that Mary Jane (Morrison) Andrews is buried in the same grave.
James Morrison’s Deportation:
The family struggled after Jane (Gibson) Morrison’s death in 1843 and James Morrison was deported to Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in February 1851 following his conviction for stealing sheep. James died on the 26th April 1867 and was buried on 28th April 1867 in the Tenterden area near Sydney (Blue Mountains area, Bolivia, New England, New South Wales).
The Morrison family was part of the Irish community (although Protestant, not Roman Catholic) and their descendent (LH) believes that they may have suffered from the prejudices of the time because of this. James Morrison’s youngest brother, Samuel (born 1818), had previously been deported to Australia and both men had been arrested by the same local police constable (named as ‘Garton’ in news articles of the time).
There are a number of newspaper articles covering Samuel Morrison’s misdemeanors; he is frequently described as gentlemanly in appearance and his younger brother Hugh is also referred to on occasion. He is acquitted of stealing a saddle in 1844 but is convicted and transported for the burglary of a draper’s shop in Bingham; reports imply that he and his co-burglars were responsible for a number of burglaries (Headline: ‘Capture of Hose and Melton Burglars’ – the burglaries were so notorious that the story had made The Times) and he is reported as carrying a pistol during the burglary. (PC Garton is involved in both cases.)
Two years after Jane’s death James also found himself in trouble, as this summary of the 11 April 1845 Nottingham Review report shows:
James Morrison 37 pleaded guilty to stealing 19 March about 20lbs hay belonging to Rev William Henry Walker (the rector of Hickling), two months prison, one week in each month in solitary.Nottingham Review 11th April 1845
Further trouble followed in 1846.
“Petty Sessions, Tuesday, June 23. James Morrison, a native of Hose, and lately residing at Hickling, Nottinghamshire, was fully committed for trial at the ensuing sessions, charged with stealing a lamb, the property of Mr Robert Payne, of Nether Broughton.”Leicester Mercury 29 June 1846
“James Morrison, 37, was charged with stealing a lamb, on the 26th of March, at Nether Broughton, the property of Robert Payne; and John Morrison was charged with receiving the same, well knowing it to have been stolen.
Mr Robert Payne, the prosecutor, of Nether Broughton, stated that he had 12 lambs in his field on the 26th of March last, and on the following morning he missed one of them On the 28th of March a police-officer showed him the skin of the lamb, which he identified as his property.
Thomas Garton, police-officer, stated that the prisoner’s father lived at Hose, and John Morrison lived with him. He went to old Morrison’s house on the 27th of March, and found the prisoner John in an outbuilding with the lamb skin in his hand. Told him he had suspicion that the skin had been stolen, when the prisoner’s mother informed him she was going to cut it up to put on a seat on a chair bottom. He asked the prisoner where he got the skin from, when he replied, “We bought it from Willoughby, of Mr Clarke, for 5s.” Witness then left the house, and returned again about eight o’clock, when he found both prisoners there with several women. Witness called James Morrison aside, and told him he wanted to speak to him. James got up and made a rush at the door to make his escape, but witness seized him by the collar. While he held the prisoner, he received a severe blow on the head from a stick or poker, which felled him to the ground. The prisoner John then kicked witness on the back, and injured him severely. Both prisoners afterwards made their escape. Witness saw a portion of the lamb cooked standing on the table in the house, and a piece of uncooked lamb in the parlour. Witness saw the prisoner James in London, walking up Whitechapel, and as soon as the prisoner saw witness, he ran away. He pursued the prisoner and secured him, and took him to the Station-house.
John Hourd, butcher, of Hose, deposed that the son of the prisoner James Morrison came to his house about 11 o’clock to fetch him to his father’s house, where he saw the prisoner James Morrison killing a lamb. Witness was asked to dress the lamb for them, and he complied with their request. While he was dressing the lamb, the son of the prisoner James asked his father where he had the lamb from, when he answered, from Mr Clarke’s, of Willoughby.
Mr Clarke, of Willoughby, was called, and proved that he never sold a lamb to the prisoner James Morrison: but he saw him at Willoughby on the 26th of March, about seven o’clock in the evening
The jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty against John Morrison: and James Morrison was transported for ten years.”Leicester Journal 3 July 1846
According to the Criminal Registers for the County of Leicestershire 1846 at the time of his conviction James was a widower and by trade a plumber and glazier.
According to records of Pardons and tickets of leave – for the years 1852-1853:
James Morrison, convicted at Leicester with a date of birth as 29th June 1806, had been convicted of 10 years. He had been in Tasmania. The vessel mentioned is ‘Cornwall’.
James served 6 years 9 months of his 10 year sentence.
Although James was convicted of sheep-stealing in 1846/7 he wasn’t deported until 1851. LH reports that he wrote a long letter to the Secretary of State appealing for leniency; saying that he had 8 children who would be left orphans by his deportation. His appeal was refused.
James died on the 26th April 1867 and was buried on 28th April 1867 in the Tenterden area near Sydney (Blue Mountains area, Bolivia, New England, New South Wales).
Records from Australia:
James Morrison served 6 years and 9 months of his 10 year sentence in Hobart, Tasmania. He died in the Sydney area of Australia in 1867.
Tasmanian Online Library is a comprehensive resource: Search – Tasmanian Names Index (sirsidynix.net.au)
- Samuel Morrison: Tasmania Convict Record; he was deported from Woolwich on the 29th August 1846 on the ship, The Mayda, arriving in Tasmania 8th January 1846. His place of origin is given as Hose and his profession is given as butcher. The record is difficult to read but includes updates, locations and a very thorough physical description.
- James Morrison: Tasmania Convict Record; he was deported from Portsmouth on the 25th Feb 1851 on the ship, The Cornwall. He is described as a widow, his place of origin is given as Stonesby, Leics and his profession as plumber and glazier. The record is difficult to read but includes updates, locations and a very thorough physical description.
- It would seem that the two brothers were deported to the same area and they are recorded in the same log book: Samuel is entry no. 18382 (CON33/1/79) and James is entry no. 24484 (CON33/1/103).
- 30th May 1853: James Morrison (b. 1816, age 37, plumber) marriage to Eliza Bevan (age 25, widow). This is unlikely to be the correct James Morrison because he is recorded as being 10 years younger but he is recorded as a plumber and it is a ‘round 10 years’ – perhaps he underestimated his age for his young wife …
Gallery and Attachments: