A Mathematical Family, Joseph Saul

By Richard Saul

This article was published in the April 2020 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

Over the years I have built up an extensive family tree going back to the late 1500s and I believe that one of my ancestor’s nephews was the author of the two books on mathematics pictured overleaf.
I became aware of the two books from an article in the Cheshire Family History Magazine and another article which introduced a diary of a Tyrall Hollcroft, Greenrow Academy pupil from Cheshire who was taken there by a Jane Saul.
The parish records from Tunstall, Lancashire show that Joseph Saul, Mathematician, was buried at there on 16th July 1798.
I think it likely that Joseph (1, on the tree below) was born in 1754 in Wolsty, Cumberland and, after the death of his parents, was brought up by my 5 x great grand parents Joseph Saul (2 on chart below) and Anne nee Drape. The Drape and the Saul family intermarried several times at this period. John Draper ran a Mathematical school in Whitehaven until he died. His son John Drape inherited his equipment etc. and founded Greenrow Academy at Silloth some miles north. He married Jane Saul (bottom left of chart on previous page) and when he died Joseph Saul (2) took over.

My 5 x great grand parents raised another nephew, also Joseph, (3 on chart), who became headmaster of Greenrow Academy after the death of its founder John Drape.
Teaching was obviously in the family’s blood as grandson of Joseph (2), Draper Saul, became headmaster of Eaglesfield (Paddle) school near Cockermouth.
Joseph Saul (1) had the two mathematics books published himself and they were printed by
W. Lyon who, along with the Royal Exchange, London. sold them on his behalf. Joseph was recorded as teaching at the Reverend Thomas Littlewood’s Academy in Rochdale but lived in Wigan when the books were published.
Later versions of the books printed after Joseph’s death were edited by John Huthersal who was a schoolmaster friend who founded a school in Altrincham. There is a John Huthersal baptised in Tatham Fells, Lancashire, which might explain why Joseph was buried at Tunstall. Both families were Quakers at the time and I believe that this might have led to their friendship.
Another interesting link is that Tyrall Holcroft’s son also went to Greenrow Academy but when its teaching standards dropped he was sent to be taught by John Huthersal!