By John Slaughter
In my report in the December 2021 journal I reported on the correspondence I had had with Susie Pape. Without repeating too much of the details here, we were looking for evidence of the origin of Thomas Henry Saul who had married Freda Wood in 1917 in Bradford, Yorkshire. Susie had linked him with a Thomas Henry Saull who had been born in Gayton, Northamptonshire in 1892.
I commented that a vital piece of evidence could be revealed by the 1921 census and this indeed proved to be the case. Thomas Henry was resident at 53 Lily Street Bradford in the household of his father in law Jacob Wood. Also resident were Thomas’s wife Freda and two of their sons George and Harry. Thomas’s age was given as 26 years and 10 months and I suspect that he had shaved a few years off to be more in line with his wife’s age. The crucial piece of evidence however, was that his birthplace was given as Northampton, Northamptonshire. I have therefore accepted the connection made by Susie and added the information she had provided on descendants to the chart for the Gayton Saulls. What is interesting is this is the first instance I have seen where a Saull became a Saul in such recent times. All my research to date indicates that the vast majority of the Saull variant originated in the Midlands area of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire.
Findmypast have recently issued some records for the Norfolk Workhouses Admission and Discharge Registers. I did a search on Saul and was surprised to find that of the 30 results the vast majority related to just one family, that of John Saul and Elizabeth Risborough of Cawston and their children. John and Elizabeth had a very large family of 13 children and although a few died as infants the vast majority made it through to adult hood. On the 1841 census at Cawston, John’s household includes his wife, 10 of their children and one grandchild. As an agricultural village the majority of the inhabitants would have been occupied as agricultural labourers and when there was a lack of work falling back on the provisions of the Poor Law was the only option. Three of John’s sons spent time in the Buxton Workhouse in the years 1844 and 1845 where the reason for admission was recorded as “out of work”. The three sons were Thomas (born 1821, 14 entries), John (born 1824, 5 entries) and Seaman (born 1829, 2 entries). What became of the three sons? Thomas was the most frequent inmate and he died in 1848 and was buried at Cawston on 4 August 1848. I have no further information about John. Seaman married Mary Ann Lawrence Brown at St Matthews, Thorpe near Norwich on 18 June 1854 and died in 1865, I am unable to find any evidence that the couple had any children.
An Elizabeth Saul was discharged from the St Andrews Workhouse, Norwich on 7 September 1872. Her parish is stated as being Yarmouth and her age as 68 years. She is probably the unmarried daughter of Robert Francis Saul and Elizabeth (nee Ward) and who on the 1871 census was in the household of her nephew John Jay Saul at Row 48, Great Yarmouth. The GRO death indexes record the death in 1874 of an Elizabeth Saul aged 70 years in the Norwich Registration District. This is likely to be her so it is possible that she went back into the workhouse for her final days.
The same workhouse saw the death on 28 December 1870 of a William Saul, aged 43 years. There is insufficient information about William to make a positive identification.
Aylsham workhouse saw the admission on 25 July 1888 of a Henry Saul, aged 30 years. The column for “where slept the previous night” records Beckham. I take this to mean the Beckham workhouse, the workhouse of the Erpingham Union. The records for this workhouse have not, so far, been included in the index, they may tell us more when they are. On the face of it Henry looks like an itinerant and his age looks a very round figure. I can’t find anyone in Norfolk that matches the profile so he could have come from anywhere.
John Saul, aged 36 years, was described as a tramp on his discharge from the St Andrews Workhouse on 6 April 1900. He is likely the same John Saul that appears in the Aylsham workhouse records as being admitted on 12 March 1899, aged 36 years and where the column for “where slept the previous night” records Norwich.
Finally we have the sad case of Sarah Saul of Buxton who entered the Aylsham workhouse on 25 May 1883 at the age of 83 years. She had been widowed in 1879 when her husband Thomas had died. Thomas had been born in Cawston so another one of the Cawston tribe. Sarah is recorded as being in the workhouse on the 1891 census and died there on 10 January 1898 at the ripe old age of 97 years. So it might be that Sarah had lived there for nearly 15 years.
Hopefully more Norfolk workhouse records will be released in due course.
[Ed: I do hope the conditions in the middle to late part of the 19th century were better than in the early part in the Norwich Workhouse; in 1804 there were 84 deaths – nearly one in five of the residents. See www.workhouses.org.uk/Norwich