Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Hannah's Tale..

Life for a mid eighteenth century girl was not always a happy one…this is the story of one such girl.

Hannah was born into a comparatively stable family, her father was a Stone Mason, so there was usually plenty of work for him to earn a living.
   I imagine her childhood was fairly uneventful, so she was in her mid teens before a young ‘Jack the lad’ named Robert called at the family home to ask for work and turned her life upside down
Whether she and Robert fell in love or whether it was just teenage hormones, but Hannah fell pregnant and gave birth to a baby son named John on September 20th 1747 - Just two weeks after she and Robert had been married on September 4th 1747
……I wonder if this marriage was forced upon a reluctant Robert by Hannah’s parents (??)…

By that Christmas Hannah had joined Robert on walking the roads to find work but sadly there is no further mention of baby John after his birth – perhaps he died shortly after birth, as early infant deaths were not unusual at this time.

In late 1750 Hannah found herself pregnant again and at the time of the birth of their second son Edward in April 1751 she and Robert had found accommodation in a small village.
Things were evidently not going well at this time between Hannah and Robert as he walked out one day, leaving his wife and son behind
….I think he must have been a feckless character, as there is no further record of him after this time, and I wonder if he may have changed his name after leaving so that he couldn’t be traced (?!?)

Shortly after his departure because Hannah had been left destitute, she and her son Edward were served with a Settlement Order to leave the parish they were living in. This meant they had to return to the parish Hannah was born in to ask for their help in sustaining them
            Settlement Orders were normal practice at this time

A few years after returning to settle in her birth parish, Hannah went on to have more children.
John born 1754 who lived for five months
John born 1756 – he died aged three months
William born 1758
Dorothy born 1762
There is no Father’s name on any of these children’s birth records, so it’s evident to me that Robert had decided to disappear for good.

Hannah continued to dwell in her birth parish near her family until her death on March 17th 1797… She was survived by her children, Edward, William and Dorothy

I hope the end of her life was as happy as her childhood years had been.

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