One Year in the Life of the SAULS

By John Slaughter

This article was published in the December 2019 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

This is a continuation of the series of articles that I began in the previous journal detailing interesting events that occurred in the lives of our Saul ancestors in a particular year, as reported in the newspapers.
Ever heard of The Cricketer’s Vade Mecum? It was a pocket sized book containing cricketing data and other information. It was advertised in several publications in 1881 including Sporting Life and was available from John H Saul of the Cricket Warehouse, Spalding. Lincolnshire for 3d, post free. Clearly more convenient for carrying around that a copy of Wisdens. John H Saul claims in the advertisement that his price list of cricket materials was of first class quality and was the cheapest in the country, and all post free. On the 1881 census John Hives Saul was resident at 1 Market Place, Spalding, his occupation being shown as a haberdasher, so the business must have consisted of much more than cricketing paraphernalia. He was the head of the household that included his wife Sophia, five resident children and two servants. However by the time of the 1891 census John Hives Saul is in lodgings in Sheffield, together with his wife Sophia, and is now described as a commercial traveler. None of their children were resident with them but on that year’s census they were still at 1 Market Place, Spalding, described as grandchildren in the household of Stephen Saul, described as a haberdasher and hardware man. Earlier censuses clearly show that Stephen was the proprietor of the haberdasher business with his son John Hives as an assistant. However perhaps John did not make a success of the business so his father took over again. The 1892 Business Directory for Lincolnshire lists Stephen Saul as a haberdasher and cricketers outfitter. The earliest ancestor we have traced for this family is a Samuel Saul who married Sarah Chapman in 1752 in Cambridge.
The Leamington Spa Courier of 2nd July 1881 reports on the monthly committee meeting of the Free Library. The librarian Mr D Grant reported that the library had received 536 volumes from the executor of Alfred Lench Saul, late of 15 Dormer Place, bequeathed under the terms of his Will. This bequest received warm eulogies and it was decided to insert in the books a label bearing the words “The Saul collection, bequeathed by the late A Lench Saul”. The Committee, in accepting the 536 volumes, warmly acknowledged the generosity and public spirit of the donor. I have not seen a copy of the Will but the probate index states that he died on the 20th May 1881 and his estate was valued at £1,491-17s-4d. He appointed as his executor George Robinson who was a cashier at an insurance office at 32 New Bridge Street in the City of London. Earlier newspaper advertisements shows that Alfred Lench Saul was the secretary of the British Empire Mutual Life Assurance Company of 32 New Bridge Street, Blackfriars, London (i.e. the same address as his executer). This company had been established in 1847, with all profits being distributed to its members every 3 years. On the 1881 census Alfred Lench Saul was resident at 15 Dormer Place, Leamington, a widower aged 72 years. He is described as an annuitant and his household included three servants. He had married Elizabeth Johnston in 1839 in Runcorn, Lancashire and had one known child, also named Alfred Lench, who had been born in 1841. Despite his place of death Alfred Lench Saul had been born in Manchester, Lancashire about 1809. His parents were Thomas Saul and Appolonia, though their marriage has not been traced. We have recorded that Thomas and Appolonia had eight children and based on places of birth it appears that the family had moved from Bristol to Manchester some time between 1798 and 1802. Thomas got into financial difficulties and he appears in several newspaper entries as being a bankrupt. The parents were pretty lax in having their children baptised as four are recorded as being baptised at St Michael, Manchester on 4th September 1807 with the remaining four baptised at the same church on 26th January 1826 (including Alfred Lench Saul). On the 1851 census Thomas was 81 years of age and gave his place of birth as Bristol but despite this I have not been able to establish his origin.
Joseph Saul, described as a gentleman residing at the Queens Hotel, Silloth, Cumberland, was sued by James Geldard of the Shaws Hotel, Gilsland in July 1881 for non payment of his hotel bill totalling £22-4s-5d. He had first arrived at the hotel on 21st May 1878 and stayed until 24 June 1878, and had further stays between 6th August and 9th August 1878 and again for a few days in Christmas week of the same year. The total bill covered his board, use of sitting and bed rooms and numerous items of drink. At the time Joseph Saul said that he could not pay, he was not his own master at present and asked for leniency towards payment. Joseph Saul paid £12-11s into court but disputed the balance which appears to have related to the items of drink relying on the Tippling Act. [Ed: The Tippling Act 1751 regulated the distilling of ‘Spirituous Liquors’, specifically gin, in fact it became known as the Gin Act. The Act imposed a £5 annual licence that distillers would have to purchase, the equivalent of £430 today. An additional clause in the Act meant that distillers would not be able to sell their liquor directly to customers nor could any liquor be consumed on their premises.] However this Act did not apply to guests resident at an hotel and an order was made against Joseph Saul for the full amount. Joseph Saul had been represented in court by a Mr Rigg on behalf of the guardians of the defendant. Joseph Saul was however not a minor and it emerged during the proceedings that he would reach 25 years of age the following February at which time he would come into an inheritance. This information was important in establishing the identity of Joseph. His parents were Joseph Saul and Mary (nee Brown) who had married in 1856 at Aikton, Cumberland.

St Andrew’s Church, Aikten, where Joseph Saul’s parents, Joseph and Mary (nee Brown) had married in 1856. Photo by John Holmes, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

A further son George was born in 1858 but in 1866 the father Joseph died. He left a Will which I suspect, from what was said in the court case, left his estate in Trust for his sons to inherit once they reached the age of 25 years and in the meantime they received an annual allowance. I suspect that the reference in the court case to guardians probably means the trustees. On the 1881 census Joseph Saul was recorded as a visitor at the Queens Hotel, Silloth and described as a land owner. What happened to Joseph after that I have no information. Joseph was a descendant of a long line of Quaker ancestors but his conduct doesn’t suggest that he adhered to the religion.

The Queens Hotel today, where Joseph Saul was living when he was sued by James Geldard of the Shaws Hotel, Gilsland for non payment of hotel bill.