By John Slaughter
This article was published in the August 2022 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society
Following my series of A year in the Life of Sauls – 1881, based on articles taken from newspapers, which appeared in past issues of Soul Search, Rosemary asked if I would do a similar exercise based on a different census year. So I decided to go back ten years to 1871.
The Clerkenwell News on 28th February 1871 carries a report about a William Saul, aged 18 years, a costermonger, of 7 Marson Street, Somers Town, London and Alfred Davey, aged 19 years, a riveter, who were charged with disorderly conduct, annoying females and assaulting the police. Evidence was given by a police constable that at about a quarter past 11 o’clock, a young woman run up to them and complained that Saul had assaulted her, preventing her from going inside her house. When the officer went to the property Saul was sitting on the doorstep and when asked to go away he refused. On the constable attempting to pick him up he commenced to kick violently. The defendants were found guilty and sentenced to two months hard labour.
It is probable that William was still doing hard labour at the time of the 1871 census but residing at the address shown in the newspaper report, 7 Marson Street, I found an Elizabeth Saull, a widow, aged 40 years, the house owner and only occupant. From this I was able to establish that William was the son of George Saull and Elizabeth (nee Collins). They had married in 1846 in the St Pancras Registration District and Elizabeth had borne six children between 1848 and 1855, though sadly only two children survived into adulthood. These were George (born 1851) and William (born 1853). George. Their father died in 1866 which is consistent with the 1871 census. What became of William subsequent to his jail term I have no information.
Another William Saul is the subject of a newspaper article in the Newcastle Courant of 14th July 1871. An inquest was held into his death at the age of 42 years. He was described as an ironworker, residing with his mother and two brothers at Seaton Carew. This was a joint inquest also for Henry Hammond, aged 19 years as both men had been killed by being run over by a tank shunting engine belonging to the North Eastern Railway Company, though seemingly not in the same incident as William Saul who was killed on a Saturday and Hammond the day after. A verdict of accidental death was recorded in both cases.
William was located on the 1871 census at Ashburn Street, Seaton Carew. His age is given as 40 years, an unmarried son of Mary Ann Saul, widow, aged 62 years. Also resident was another unmarried son Peter, aged 22 years and a granddaughter Elizabeth Barnard. William had been born in Brampton, Staffordshire and Peter in Witton Park, Durham. I was able to establish that William was the eldest child of Samuel Saul and Ann Riley who had married on 7 April 1828 at Wolverhampton. Samuel was the son of Peter Pratt Saul, about whom our journal editor, Rosemary Bailey, has written previously as he is one of her ancestors.
[Ed: As this was my family, I was interested to look further, especially as I wondered why William’s mother is given as Mary Ann Saul in the 1871 census but John thought his parents were Samuel Saul and Ann Riley – Ann had morphed into Mary Ann! I have gone back through the census records and found the family and I am reasonably happy it is the same William, son of Samuel and Ann Riley. The family of Samuel and Ann can be followed through the 1841-1861 census and by 1871 Ann has become Mary Ann, but the ages and places of birth of her and her sons William and Peter are consistent. It also made me think, as I flicked between 1841, 51, 61 census records how easy it is usually to follow a family during that period, and how much time you can waste! Why on earth did I want to see what became of brother Peter after William died? He was living on his own in Wednesbury, Staffordshire in 1881, but no trace after that, not even a possible death registration. And then when looking for him, I found an Eliza C P Saull, born in Cardiff where my son lives, and then onto an Eliza Marguerite Saull in Devon who had been born in Shanghai, living with her sister, nephew and niece born in India, the Philippines and Java! Then I just had to stop. If anyone has experience in research into people living in these countries who could help find the births of these people please Contact me, as my interest is piqued!]
It was obviously a bad year for Saul and the North Eastern Railway Company as the Kendal Mercury reported in its edition on 20 May 1871 that there had been an accident at Carlisle in which James Saul, aged 70 years, had been hit by an engine of that Company. James Saul lived at John Street, Botchergate and earned his living by making testers for beds, towel rails and other small wares of that kind. In pursuance of his trade James Saul had called at a timber yard of Mr Graham to purchase wood. On his way home, instead of taking the proper route through the streets, he took a short cut and got onto the Canal Branch of the railway. Unfortunately, two engines had gone up the line not long before and they returned just as James Saul got onto the railway. Both engines loudly whistled but this had no effect on James Saul who appeared either to be deaf or confused. He was knocked down and a wagon passed over his foot severing it. He was taken onto the engine and carried to an infirmary. It seems that the engine had nearly stopped by the time that it hit James Saul.
James Saul was located on the 1871 census as head of the household at 1 Harrington Court, Botchergate. He was aged 74 years, a joiner, and born in Maryport. Cumberland. Also resident was his wife Mary, daughter Sarah and a granddaughter Mary Ann Saul.
A subsequent newspaper report records that James Saul died in the infirmary on 13 July 1871, so presumably he had remained there since the accident.