Chapter 2

Marriage and the In-Laws

(1791–1845)

Something that almost always comes along with a marriage are the in-laws. For William George Nixey, this was to be the Pitt family. His wife to be, Charlotte Pitt, was born at Slough on 14th February 1820, the second of four children of John Pitt, a carpenter and the landlord of the Pied Horse public house at Slough, and his wife Elizabeth née Goodman. John was baptised at St Lawrence’s, Upton-cum-Chalvey on 1st April 1793, and was the son of William and Mary Pitt. It’s quite likely that Elizabeth was the daughter of Francis and Mary Goodman who was born on 2nd June 1791, and baptised on 14th June of the same year at St Anne’s, Westminster, London. All of John and Elizabeth’s children were baptised at Upton-cum-Chalvey, Elizabeth on 29th April 1818, Charlotte on 19th March 1820, Augusta on 21st October 1821, and William Francis on 29th June 1823.

In the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 17th July 1824, a large reward was offered for the return of a horse belonging to John Pitt that had been stolen:

Fifteen Guineas reward. Stolen early this morning, from a field in Upton Lane, near Slough, Bucks, a Black Horse, with bald face, and white off-hind leg: the property of Mr john Pitt, of Slough aforesaid:– whoever will give such information as shall lead to the conviction of the offender or offenders shall receive the above reward – that is to say, Five Guineas of Mr Pitt, and Ten Guineas of E Williams, Eton, Treasurer to the Society.

The Society referred to was the Salt-Hill Society, which was instituted in 1783 for the protection of persons and property from felons & thieves. The fifteen Guineas reward was the equivalent of around £710 in 2005. Interestingly, one of the original members of the Society was John Pitt (1723-1786), a wealthy London merchant, whose widow Mary née Baldwin married the renowned astronomer William Herschel in 1788. Salt Hill was a village situated adjacent to the Western-most extremity of Slough, being shared between the parishes of Farnham Royal and Stoke Poges.

John Pitt appeared in the Pigots Directory for 1830, his address being given as the Pied Horse. Very sadly, their daughter Augusta died early the same year, and was buried at St Lawrence’s on 17th March. Before the year was out, John wrote his last will and testament on 27th December. It reads:

Will of John Pitt, carpenter of Upton cum Chalvey, Buckinghamshire.
In the Name of God Amen I John Pitt of Slough in the parish of Upton Cum Chalvey in the County of Bucks Carpenter being in a weak state of health but of sound mind memory and understanding do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament as follows I give devise and bequeath to Mr Jacob William Blincoe of Langley Marish in the county of Bucks aforesaid farmer and Mr John Ashton of Colnbrook in the said County of Bucks Accomptant all my real estates freehold and copyhold messuages lands tenements hereditaments and premises whatsoever with their appurtenances to hold to the said Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton their heirs and assigns for ever to the uses and upon the trusts hereinafter mentioned that is to say Upon Trust that they the said Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton or the survivor of them or the heirs of such survivor do and shall make over the rents profits and advantages arising therefrom to my dear wife Elizabeth Pitt for and during the term of her natural life for her own use and the support education and care of my children she keeping the said real estates in good and sufficient repair during the said term I also give and bequeath to the said Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton all and singular my stock in trade bonds bills book debts and personal estate of whatever nature and description the same may be in trust after paying thereout all my just debts funeral and testamentary expences the expences in the execution of this my Will and also the legacies herein bequeathed to make over the then residue and remainder of my personal property to my said dear wife Elizabeth Pitt but in case there should not be sufficient personal property to meet my outstanding debts and legacies herein bequeathed I then give full power and hereby order and direct and make it lawful for the said Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton to sell and dispose of such part or parts of my said real estates as may be necessary to meet my said debts expences and legacies and their receipts to be full and sufficient discharge or discharges to the purchasers of the said real estates and from and immediately after the decease of my said wife Elizabeth Pitt upon further trust that they the said Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton or the survivor of them or the heirs of such survivor do and shall sell dispose of convey and surrender all and singular my said freehold and copyhold hereditaments and premises with the appurtenances and inheritance thereof in fee simple either together or in parcels by public auction or private contract to the greatest advantage and do and shall for that purpose make and execute all such deeds conveyances surrenders and assurances as they the said Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton or the survivor of them or the heirs of such survivors shall think fit and necessary and I do declare my will to be that upon payment of the money to arise by such sale or sales of the said hereditaments and premises hereby made saleable it shall and may be lawful to and for the said Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton or the survivor of them or the heirs of such survivor to give and sign any receipt or receipts for the money to arise by such sale or sales as aforesaid which receipt or receipts shall be good and sufficient discharge to any purchaser or purchasers his her and their respective heirs executors and assigns and my mind and will is and I do hereby direct that the moneys arising from such sale or sales after deducting all expences whatever shall be equally divided between my children by my said wife Elizabeth Pitt to be divided equally between them share and share alike and in case of the death of any or either of them at that time leaving lawful issue I then give the respective share or shares of such deceased parent or parents to their respective children I give and bequeath to my brother William Henry Pitt thirty pounds [£1,485] I give and bequeath to my Cousin James Silver son of my aunt Sarah Griffiths ten pounds [£495] I give and bequeath to Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton before mentioned ten pounds each Provided always and it is my Will and meaning that my said Trustees Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton and each of them their and each of their heirs executors and administrators shall be charged and chargeable with such money only as they or he shall respectively actually receive by virtue of the trust hereby in them reposed nor with or for any loss which may happen with the said trust money unless such loss shall happen through their or either of their wilful neglects or defaults and that my said trustees shall and may deduct retain and reimburse themselves and each himself all such losses costs charges damages and expences which they either of them may reasonably sustain expend or be put unto in the execution of this my Will or the trusts in them hereby reposed and lastly I nominate constitute and appoint the before mentioned Jacob William Blincoe and the before mentioned John Ashton joint Executors and Trustees to this my Will hereby revoking all former Will or Wills by me at any time heretofore made declaring this to be my last In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty seventh day of December one thousand eight hundred and thirty

John Pitt

Signed sealed published and declared by the said John Pitt the testator as and for his last Will and Testament (contained in two sheets of paper that is his name signed to the first sheet and his name signed and seal affixed to this last sheet) in the presence of us who at his request and in his presence have subscribed our names at witnesses thereto

Geo. Adams Surgeon Colnbrook

Henry Lovegrove Slough

Thomas Nixey Slough.


Proved at London on 14th April 1831 before the worshipful Jesse Addams, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the oaths of Jacob William Blincoe and John Ashton the executors to whom administration was granted having been first sworn duly to administer.

Several weeks after writing his will, John Pitt passed away and was buried at St Lawrence’s on 18th February 1831. The Reading Mercury of March 7th that year printed the following announcement:

Elizabeth Pitt: Impressed with gratitude for the favours so long a period conferred on her late husband, John Pitt, Carpenter, Joiner, and Undertaker, feels it her duty to return her sincere thanks to her numerous friends, and to inform them that assisted by the Foreman, who for more than 30 years has been with her family, it is her intention to continue the BUSINESS in all its branches, for the benefit of herself and family, and to assure them that every attention will be paid to their future orders.

The following announcement appeared in the Windsor & Eton Express in its issue dated Saturday 23rd April 1831:

NOTICE TO DEBTORS AND CREDITORS
All Persons having any Claim or Demand on the Estate of the late Mr. JOHN PITT of Slough, Builder, are requested to forward the same to his late Residence at Slough; and all Persons Indebted to the said Estate, are requested to pay the same within Six Weeks from the date hereof.
J. W. BLINCOE, JOHN ASHTON, Executors
Slough, April 23rd, 1831.


“Wednesday night the hen house of Mrs. E. Pitt, of the Pied Horse, Slough, was entered, and eight fowls and a rabbit were stolen.”–Windsor Herald, Friday 1st June 1832


“On Thursday evening a clothes line and other articles, were stolen from the back premises of the Pied Horse, Slough, the property of the landlady, Mrs. Pitt.”–Reading Mercury, Monday 26th December 1836


“William Coldwell was convicted in the penalty of 2s. 6d. [£5.65] and costs for breaking a window at the Pied Horse, Slough.”–Bucks Herald, Saturday 2nd September 1837


“STEALING FOWLS. – On the night of Tuesday last, or early the following morning, some person or persons stole from the fowl-house of Mr. Henry Luff, of the Pied Horse Inn, at Slough, seven black hens and two cocks. A reward has been offered for the apprehension and conviction of the thieves.”–Windsor and Eton Express, Saturday 1st August 1840


At St Paul’s, Covent Garden, London, on 25th July 1837, Elizabeth married her second husband, a widower and wine merchant named Henry Luff. The witnesses to their marriage were William George Nixey’s brother and sister-in-law, Edward and Eliza née Silver. Henry Luff’s first wife was Eliza Berry who he married at St Andrew’s, Holborn, London on 30th July 1833. They had just one child, a son who they named Charles, who was baptised at St Lawrence’s on 7th February 1836. Very sadly, both Charles and Eliza died within months of each other. They were both buried at Stoke Poges, Charles on 31st March and Eliza on 24th May 1836.

In the 1839 edition of Robsons Directory, Henry Luff was recorded at the Pied Horse. Very sadly, their marriage was to be short-lived, as the next year, Elizabeth died on 27th September, aged forty-eight. She was buried on 5th October at St Lawrence’s.

When the 1841 census was taken on the night of 6th June, Henry Luff’s occupation was recorded as a carpenter, and he was still living at the Pied Horse. With him were his three step-children, as well as Edward and Eliza Nixey. Their immediate neighbours in Regent Place were more of the Nixey family, Thomas and Louisa née Hart with their children Thomas Hart, Elizabeth, George and Emily Emma, the newly weds Joseph and Martha née Blincoe, and their parents John and Elizabeth née Randell. In this census, John is recorded as an “Independent” rather than a Wheelwright, meaning that he did not have to work for a living. It most likely indicated that he was living off investments and/or rents from property that he owned. Their brother John was found away from his wife and family, and was working as a wheelwright at Datchet, while their sister Mary Deverill was at Slough with her husband John and their children William Baxter, Edward, and Fanny. Meanwhile, William George Nixey was working as an oil and colourman at the 22 Moor Street address in London, and with him were two servants, Arabella Brooksbank and J. Glover.

Later the same year, John Nixey was assaulted as he walked along a public footpath. This is how it was reported on in the Bucks Herald of Saturday 16th October:

Robert Tucker, porter to the Eton Union Workhouse, appeared to answer a charge of assault preferred against him by John Nixey.
John Nixey of Slough, who (being sworn) stated that on the 25th of September last, he was crossing the Union Field; he saw a person at work whom he thought he knew, and he made a stop, as he wished to speak to him; it was in the middle of the day; he had not left the footpath which is a thoroughfare. Defendant came up to him, gave him a shove, and said ‘Go on, you have no business here.’ Complainant not moving, the defendant collared him again, and said ‘D–n your eyes go on, or I’ll see which is the best man.’ Complainant had given him no provocation; had had no previous quarrel with him; did not know him before, and had not spoken to any person. The complainant stated that the defendant assaulted him a third time, when he (complainant) left the field he kept the footpath all the way.
The defendant being called upon, denied the charge of assault, and said he told the complainant, who was standing off the footpath on the potatoes, to move on, but that he never laid hands on him. To make out his defence, he called a witness named Thomas Hatch, a pauper in the Union House, who (being sworn) stated that he was at work in the field close to the footpath, when the complainant was passing, and he stopped to speak to some of the men. ‘My Master,’ so he called the defendant, told him to move on and gave him a bit of a shove; he did not see the complainant off the footpath, nor trampling on the potatoes.
J.B. Sharpe addressing the defendant, said – your witness has proved the case against you, and you appear to have exceeded your authority, but as it is the opinion of the bench that you have done so ignorantly, we fine you only 4s. [£9.], and hope that you will be more cautious in future. The costs it appeared, amounted to 18s. 6d. [£41.50], which with the fine were paid.

Early the next year, the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette of Saturday 29th January printed the following article, which could possibly explain the reason why Edward Nixey chose to move his family to Southampton:

Anti-Mildew and Anti-Dry Rot Composition
This effectual remedy for a scourge which it has been said would destroy the whole British Navy in ten years, unless continually repaired, and which inflicts the heaviest annual loss on the naval and military service, in the decay of sails, sandbags, tents, hammocks &c., is especially recommended to timber merchants, shopowners, ship sail-makers, government boards, and contractors for army and navy stores.
A Report of a Commission appointed by the Board of Ordnance, signed by twelve General Officers, and addressed to the Secretary of that Board, stating that the experiments made by the Commission with canvas prepared with the composition was perfectly successful, may be seen at the Office of the Proprietor
Mr. Clarkson, 11, Parliament-street
to whom orders are to be addressed, or to his Agents as follows:-
Mr. Benj. Shout, Soho-square, Liverpool – Agent for Liverpool.
Mr. E. Nixey, Drysalter, Moor-street – Agent for West London.
Messrs. Mangles and Co., High-street, Wapping – Agent for East London.
Mr. D. Aird, 30, Greek-street, Soho – Agent for Havre, Calais, and Leith.
Agents for Russia and the United States will be shortly appointed.
The Composition is sold in Carboys at 3s. per Gallon, or contracts for its application for timber by the square foot may be arranged.

The following month, John Nixey, William George’s father, passed away at the age of sixty-nine. There seems to be a slight discrepancy on the date that John died, his memorial inscription giving the date as 18th February (see chapter 3), while his entry in the Death Duty Register (below) gave the date as 19th February. He was buried on 27th February at St Lawrence’s.

As already mentioned, Edward had moved his family to Southampton, where he kept a warehouse and worked as an Oil and Colourman. But as reported on by the Hampshire Advertiser in its issue dated Saturday 25th February 1843, Edward found himself facing another of his properties being badly damaged by fire:

A fire broke out at near one o’clock on Thursday morning, in the warehouse of Mr Nixey, oil and colorman, Bridge-street, which excited considerable alarm in the neighbourhood for some time, lest the oils and turpentine, of which Mr Nixey had a large quantity in his premises, should become ignited. The town fire engines, under Mr. Garrett, the superintendent, were promptly on the spot; and an immediate supply of water being obtained, the firemen soon flooded the lower part of the premises, and were enabled to get the carboys out, and thus removed the principal danger. The fire was kept under, and only slightly penetrated the upper room, and was entirely out at half-past four in the morning. ... The manner in which the fire originated has not been discovered.

Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, in its issue of Sunday 26th November 1843 printed the following advertisement, which shows us just some of the items that could be bought from W. G. Nixey:

Naptha for Singeing Horses. – The best, 10s. per imperial gallon; genuine Sperm oil, 6s. 6d.; vegetable, 5s.; cocoa nut, 4s.; solar, 3s, 4d.; common, 3s.; cod, 3s.; linseed, 3s.; turpentine, 2s. 6d.; oil of tar, 4s.; Stockholm tar, 20s. per barrel; refined nitre, 6d. per lb; do. flower of sulphur, 5d.; every description of stable brushes, &c. – W. Nixey, 2, Moore-street, Soho. Post Orders attended to.

The following year, Henry Luff was one of the witnesses at the marriage of his step-daughter Charlotte Pitt to William George Nixey on Wednesday 21st February 1844, at Christ Church (Greyfriars), Newgate Street, London, the other witness being Charlotte’s sister, Elizabeth Pitt. As Charlotte’s parents John and Elizabeth had died some years previously, William didn’t literally have a father-in-law nor a mother-in-law, but it’s evident that the families had known each other very well, given that they had almost lived in each other’s pockets for quite a number of years. No one could have imagined what was to happen just a few months after William George and Charlotte’s special day, but no doubt it sent shock waves through the parish, and was particularly traumatic for the newly-weds. This is how it was reported on in the Reading Mercury dated 15th June 1844:

Fatal Accident.–On Saturday, a fatal accident occurred to Mr. Luff, carpenter, and landlord of the Pied Horse, Slough. He was dragging a gun from his counting house (it is supposed, unconscious of its being loaded), when the trigger caught and the gun exploded, the whole contents passing through his body, and killing him on the spot. The accident was witnessed by two of his workmen, and his death was so instantaneous that he never spoke after the accident occurred.

A week later, the following news item appeared in the Hampshire Advertiser of Saturday 22nd June, following the theft of some items belonging to Edward Nixey:

An Unfortunate Woman. – This term particularly applies to the case of Elizabeth Louis, who was charged with having unlawful possession of a glazier’s diamond. She was decently dressed, like the wife of a respectable mechanic, and her manner was humble and sorrowful. Mr Edward Nixey, oil and colourman, stated that his store in Orchard Lane was broken open on Tuesday week, and four glazier’s diamonds and a quantity of copper money stolen. Having communicated with the police, they had called on Mrs Spurrier, the pawnbroker. On Tuesday last, the prisoner, who had frequently pledged articles before, offered a glazier’s diamond, and a policeman was sent for, who apprehended her. The prisoner told the policeman that on the previous Tuesday night she was with a man named Yeoman, at the Spread Eagle, and he left the diamond there next morning as a deposit for a pot of beer. Being hard pressed for a little money, she on the day named (last Tuesday) paid the sixpence [£1.25] at the Spread Eagle for the diamond and then took it to pledge. The prisoner now said those were the circumstances of the case, and the magistrates remanded her till Monday next. The prisoner appealed to the magistrates to have her child, only three years old, taken care of while she was in jail. Mr Hulton asked if the child were present, and being answered in the negative, said they could say nothing to the application.

The Bucks Herald of Saturday 6th July 1844 printed the following announcement regarding the license of the Pied Horse public house:

The license of the Pied Horse, at Slough, lately kept by Mr. Henry Luff, who met with his death a short time ago in consequence of an accident with a gun, was transferred by indorsement to William Pitt, son-in-law of the deceased landlord.

Some more items you would have seen for sale in the premises of W. G. Nixey are found in the Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper of Sunday 28th July 1844:

To Builders, Painters, & Others
Genuine White Lead, 26s per cwt. – Seconds do., 24s. and 22s. – Linseed Oil, 2s 6d per gallon – Turpentine, 2s. 6d – Finest Copal Varnish, 20s. Carriage do. from 10s. to 16s. – Wainscot and paper do. from 6s to 14s – French Polish and Spirit Varnishes, 10s – Naptha, 10s. All colours used in house painting prepared by a new process to dry in six hours, best 6d per lb., seconds 4d – Improved Stucco Paint, invisible green, etc., for out-door work, 28s per cwt. – Fine Whiting, 1s 3d per cwt. – Double size, 2s 6d per firkin – Dry Brunswick Green, 3d, 4d, and 6d per lb. – Lampblack, 3d – Emerald Green, 1s and 1s 3d – Gilders’ materials: Patent Gold Paint – Lackers Bronze – Dutch Metal – Dyes and Dye Woods – Acids – Alkali – Gums and Salts of every kind and description – Best Town Glue, 40s. and 46s-Do., Scotch, 52s. and 56s. – Do., Salisbury, for white woods, etc., 60s per cwt. For cash at W. G. Nixey’s Old Established Warehouse, 22, Moor-street, Seven Dials. Orders by post solicited.

In the Hampshire Advertiser of Saturday 28th June 1845, under the heading “Sale by Auction”, we find that the property Edward Nixey was occupying was one of numerous properties belonging to Richard Eldridge. But when Richard died, under the direction of the administrators, his “valuable and important freehold and leasehold properties” were to be auctioned by Messrs. Withers and Roberts on Friday 11th July 1845, at 2pm at the White Hart Inn. In total, there were sixteen lots being auctioned!

... Lot 2. All those three LEASEHOLD dwelling-houses, situate in Orchard Terrace, near the Southampton Water, and numbered respectively 1, 2, and 3, and at present in the respective occupations of Mr. Nixey, Mr. Simmonds, and Mr. May. These premises are of modern erection and are pleasantly situated, commanding views of the Southampton Water, and yield a good rental.

Although John Nixey had died in February 1842, it’s evident that he hadn’t written a will, because administration was granted to his widow, Elizabeth née Randell, on 31st October 1845, as can be seen from this entry in the Probate Books of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury:

John Nixey – Fifty Pounds
On the thirty-first day Admon of the Goods Chattels and Credits of John Nixey late of Slough in the County of Bucks deceased was granted to Elizabeth Nixey Widow the Relict of the said Deceased having first been sworn by Comisson duly to Administer.

The Death Duty Register of 1845 recorded the following:

John Nixey of Slough, Co. of Bucks, 31st October
died 19 Feb 1842
Sum sworn under – £50
Administrator – Elizabeth Nixey of Slough, widow, relict
Witnesses – William George Nixey of No. 22 Moor Street, St Giles, Middx, Oilman
William Strange of No. 21 Paternoster Row, London, Publisher & Bookseller.

The valuation up to £50 [£2,565] would relate to personal estate only, excluding any real estate. There was no duty to pay, since spouses were exempt. The two witnesses were guaranteeing the identity of Elizabeth as John’s widow. Her application for this grant of administration was three years after John’s death, so she may have applied only when she needed to avail herself of some of his assets, such as stocks, shares, or insurance.


References

1841 Census:
John Nixey and Elizabeth née Randell, Upton-cum-Chalvey: HO107 piece 61 book 11 folio 5 page 14.
John Nixey, Datchet: HO107 piece 60 book 2 folio 7 page 8.
Edward Nixey and Eliza née Silver, Upton-cum-Chalvey: HO107 piece 61 book 11 folio 4 page 13.
Thomas Nixey and Louisa Lucy née Hart, Upton-cum-Chalvey: HO107 piece 61 book 11 folio 5 page 14.
John Deverill and Mary Ann née Nixey, Upton-cum-Chalvey: HO107 piece 61 book 11 folio 5 page 14.
William George Nixey, St Giles in the Fields: HO107 piece 673 book 18 folio 86 page 9.
Joseph Nixey and Martha née Blincoe, Upton-Cum-Chalvey: HO107 piece 61 book 11 folio 7 page 18.
Henry Luff, Elizabeth Pitt, Charlotte Pitt, and William Francis Pitt, Upton-cum-Chalvey: HO107 piece 61 book 11 folio 4 page 13.

Probate, Wills, and Death Duty Registers:
John Pitt, 1830/1: National Archives, PROB 11/1784, folio 312.
John Nixey, 1845: National Archives, PROB 6/221, folio 357; National Archives, IR 26/262, p. 413.

Unless otherwise stated, all newspaper articles can be found at the British Newspaper Archive.


Credits

The pen and ink image of Christ Church (Greyfriars) Newgate, London appeared in the 22nd March 1845 issue of The Illustrated London News. It was found at Wikipedia, and was uploaded by Writer128.