RG13 : Piece 1623 : Folio 102 : Page 4
4, Verulam Avenue, Walthamstow, Essex.
John PIGOTT : Head : Married : 43 yrs : Occupation,
Salvation Army Officer : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
Eliza M PIGOTT : Wife : Married : 39 yrs : Born, Newcastle,
Henrietta D PIGOTT : Daughter : 8 yrs : Born, Newcastle,
John W V PIGOTT : Son : 7 yrs : Born, Newcastle, Staffordshire.
Douglas R O PIGOTT : Son : 3 months : Walthamstow, Essex.
- Original family history written and mechanically typed
by Godfrey BRAMHALL.
My maternal grandfather, JOHN PIGOTT and his wife
ELIZA MATTHEWS LINDOP
John Pigott junior was born in Faringdon, Berkshire,
in 1856 and his brother Josiah two years later. Their
father, John Pigott senior, was a cordwainer with premises
in the Corn Market - right in the centre of the little
town. Their mother was Emma Jane Oldaker - a milliner
and straw bonnet maker whose father Charles, a saddler,
had come to Faringdon from Witney. For a short time
before her marriage Emma had her own millinery business
in the neighbouring town of Wantage.
Grandfather's schooldays were probably spent at the
local National School. Mother used to say that her father
"left school early" as he had shown high promise
and attainment. Although there is no evidence to show
the precise date when he left school there is plenty
to show that he was possessed of outstanding ability.
John's mother died in 1866 and great-grandfather took
as his second wife Sarah Day - the daughter of a Shrivenham
baker. Some time in 1871 the family moved to Filkins
- a village between Burford and Lechlade. Sarah's first
child, Elizabeth Hannah, was a year old. Living space
in the new home must have been very limited for "The
Evergreens" had to double as village grocery store
and Post Office as well. All this must have imposed
some pressure on John junior to leave leave home at
the earliest opportunity. But it would not be fair to
cast Sarah in the role of the archetypal, wicked stepmother
of cheap fiction. Far from it. All the evidence points
to the fact that relationships within the family were
warm and affectionate from beginning to end and it is
surely significant that when he had a daughter of his
own grandfather named her Henrietta Day.
It is interesting to find that one hundred years later
"The Evergreens" still serves Filkins as village
store and postoffice. In 1981 a postcard was issued
by the Gloucestershire postal authorities illustrating
some of the more picturesque post Offices in the Cotswolds.
One of them was "The Evergreens" at Filkins.
I have a letter written by grandfather which makes
it clear that by the middle of 1872 he was established
as an apprentice to a grocer named Porter at 10 Arundel
Place, Westbourne Road, Barnsbury, London. A few years
later Josiah followed a similar path and went to work
for a grocer in Thrapston in Northamptonshire. By May
1881 Josiah was assistant to a grocer named Edward Candler
at 42, South Street, Worthing. Where grandfather spent
the twelve years after 1872 will probably never be known
but by 1884 the brothers had joined forces in their
own grocery business at 117, Montague Street, Worthing.
All that I have learnt about the brothers indicates
clearly that John must have been the driving force in
The two boys were brought up in a Strict Baptist household
but at Worthing they joined the Salvation Army, which
had started its evangelical work in that repectable
seaside resort in about 1883.
In its avowed purpose of bringing the gospel message
out of the chapel and into the streets General Booth's
Army encountered noisy and often physical abuse from
the very people it was trying to reach. For reasons
which are impossible to identify this opposition reached
alarming proportions in the Worthing disturbances which
reached their climax in July and August 1884.
It seems possible that, in the first instance, the
troubles may have been little more than noisy - and
initially good-humoured - barracking of the "boys
in their red jerseys ornamented with texts . . . and
the girls in their coal-scuttle bonnets and draggle-tailed
dresses" (Sussex Coast Mercury Newspaper 1884)
especially when the idle by-standers recognized in the
Armys processions some of their own workmates
or neighbours engaged in a novel activity which was,
of course, intended to draw attention to itself. It
is hardly surprising that the out-door meetings with
uniforms and singing should have excited the noisy and
mindless derision of local rowdies but, left alone,
it seems highly probable that they would have tired
of their sport once the novelty had worn off. Unfortunately
there is evidence that certain publicans, seeing the
Army's denunciation of the "demon drink" as
a threat to their trade, orchestrated the hoodlum noisiness
to suit their own ends.
It came as no surprise to read in "The Sussex
Coast Mercury" of July 12th 1884 that, in order
to formulate the activities of the "Skeleton Army"
in opposition to the Salvation Army, a meeting was convened
by "Mr.Fletcher of the Victoria Arms." more
surprisingly the somewhat reluctant chairman of the
gathering was a certain Dr.Coxwell - a Worthing doctor.
There is further evidence to suggest that "dutch
courage" was freely available to members of the
"Skeleton Army" who felt they needed it. Small
wonder that the Worthing papers soon became full of
reports of verbal abuse, jostling, egg-throwing, disruption
of processions and indoor meetings and even overt, massed
and premeditated attacks on the persons of Salvationists
and their property.
One such account in July 1884 reads thus:
"Such a shocking desecration of the Sabbath we
have never witnessed at Worthing . . . The Salvation
Army did not attempt another procession after the morning's
disappointment but went quietly to and from the Montague
Hall . . . But the spirit of discord and riot was abroad
and as one of the "soldiers" - Mr.Pigott,
grocer, of Montague Street - was proceeding towards
his home after the afternoon meeting he was surrounded
by a number of the "Skeleton Army" . . . A
gentleman went to his assistance and the young man escaped
uninjured though his cap was torn."
Grandfather John got off lightly on this occasion. Although
this was the
only instance when he was named as having been the object
of physical attack there is no doubt that he was fully
involved in everything that happened both before and
What were the authorities doing in the face of these
It seems that they blew hot and cold. At times the police
gave protection to the Salvationists. At others they
did not. The local papers reported that Worthing magistrates
had, on one occasion, described the Army's activities
as "provocative and an incitement to rowdyism."
On more than one occasion William Booth wrote to the
Home Secretary demanding protection for his "soldiers"
- but there was no response. As a result Booth ordered
the Worthing Salvationists to refrain from openair activities.
For a time they obeyed but fearing that their enforced
inactivity would be construed as an admission of defeat
they decided to force the issue and recommenced their
By August 20th the situation had become so serious
that the police and magistrates were forced, at long
last, to clear their minds of prejudice and recognize
where their civic responsibilities lay. The Riot Act
was read from the Town Hall steps and a detachment of
the 4th Dragoon Guards was brought in to disperse the
mob and restore order. Notices were displayed warning
that further attempts to disturb the Army's lawful activities
would be treated as criminal offences punishable by
imprisonment without the option of a fine.
But peace was only gradually restored. Even after the
Riot Act had been invoked it became necessary for many
local residents to be sworn in as Special Constables
- among them being "Mr.Pigott, grocer" on
September 5th - which might, perhaps, be taken to mean
that grandfather was not wholly content to "turn
the other cheek"! A week later brother Josiah tried
to enrol but was turned down as being under age!
There had been breaches of the peace, many prosecutions
before the local magistrates and some before the Sussex
assizes. Among the latter was that of a certain Mr.
Head of 39, Montague Street - a Salvation Army sympathiser
- who had used a revolver to repulse rioters who had
broken into his paint and hardware store and were threatening
to set fire to it.
The local press - and to a lesser extent the
national press had a field-day. Apart from endless reports
of events, court cases and editorial comment the correspondence
columns reverberated with the thunderingsi of correspondants
who, for the most part, concealed their identities behind
such pseudonyms as "Disgusted" "Quietness",
"Reason", "Fair PP1ay", "Lover
of Justice" and "Disgusted Resident".
Strangely these pen-names seldom indicated which side
of the fence the writers were sitting on! Of course
there were braver spirits who did sign their names although
one of them could find nothing more significant to say
than that Salvationists were just -
. . a lot of boys and girls parading the town in grotesque
costumes and filling the air with a hideous bawling,
screeching and clanging."
"Worthing Intelligencer" 26th July 1884
It is, perhaps, not entirely fair to reproduce snippets
from letters without printing all that has gone before,
but space will not allow such an objective approach.
(After all this is merely a family history exercise!)
Grandfather was a Salvationist. It follows that anything
he wrote in reply to others must be biased. Nevertheless
we reproduce extracts from two of his letters because
they demonstrate that he was possessed of strong but
balanced convictions supported by admirable powers of
From the "Sussex Coast Mercury" August 30th
"Your correspondent's letter of the 24th conveys
an entirely wrong impression as to our motives in holding
our procession at Worthing on Sunday . . . The facts
of the case were that in consequence of strong representations.
. . the Worthing magistrates arrived at the wise determination
to protect the Salvation Army in the exercise of their
established rights against mob violence. It was, therefore,
in fulfillment of a prearranged plan that our procession
took place on Sunday morning from 10.15 to 10.45 a.m.
and in consequence of the admirable arrangements of
the Chief Constable there was no disturbance worth mentioning,
and this has been the invariable result when the authorities
have determined, at any cost, to put down rowdyism and
brutality with a strong hand. I should add that, although
in most of our six hundred and twelve stations in the
United Kingdom we are in the habit of marching with
a band, yet at Worthing this was not the case, and what
your correspondent terms the "fons et origo"
of so much hatred and bitterness has been forty or fifty
Christian men and women singing hymns (of which the
sentiments are those professed by all Christian denominations)
through the streets for about one hour a work between
the hours of divine service.
Mr.J.Pigott, Montague Street, Worthing"
In another long and closely reasoned letter to the
same paper on November 8th John had this to say about
the people who sought to disrupt the Army's work:
The people who have opposed us in the open air
have done it to please themselves, and they do not profess
to believe that they were under the painful necessity
of doing what they have done but have thoroughly enjoyed
it. The Salvation Army has annoyed no-one but is disliked
because those who persecute it enjoy what they do to
such an extent that their doings become scandalous.
The Salvation Army is persecuted because it is persecuted.
If our processions had never been molested by those,
remember, who enjoyed the chance of doing so, no one
would have complained about annoyance. Many have despised
the processionists, others pitied them, but neither
of these sentiments would have led to open persecuting
by force and violence, but would sooner or later have
been dispelled by the chance . . . of coming to acquaint
themselves with, and understand, the objects or their
pity and scorn.
As to respecting a place of worship by ceasing singing
whilst passing, I would only say that the truest, and
only real respect anyone can show to a church is that
we should love . . . There is no virtue in respecting
an empty place of worship. Let us enter its gates with
thanksgiving. That every house of prayer in the town
may be crowded with devout worshippers is the earnest
desire of my heart.
Yours respectfully, John Pigott."
(The underlining is grandfather's.)
Clearly the Worthing Salvationists had, in John Pigott,
an advocate of formidable eloquence!
There is no way of telling how long grandfather had
considered becoming a full-time member of the Army.
It is worth recalling that his father often preached
in the Strict Baptist chapels in Berkshire and Oxfordshire,
that his aunt Elizabeth had recently gone to India to
work in the Zenana Mission of the C.M.S. in Karachi,
and that his uncle Robert, pastor of the Providence
Baptist Chapel in Swindon, had a nationwide reputation
as a persuasive preacher.
Certain it is that the Worthing experience had in no
way changed his views on full-time committment. Early
in 1885 he left brother Josiah to run the grocery business
and entered the Army's Training Garrison at Clapton,
Josiah was a more easy-going character. My mother recalled
that on more than one occasion Josiah brought the business
to the verge of bankruptcy by extending too much credit
to the numerous "genteel" families who, after
renting rooms in Worthing for the summer season all
too frequently disappeared without settling their accounts.
Grandfather had to seek leave of absence from his duties
and use all his skill and influence to resolve his brother's
difficulties. When admonished for granting too much
easy credit Josiah would assert that if he had acted
differently he would have lost many customers. Grandfather's
reply to this shaky reasoning is not recorded but would,
no doubt, have contained some reference to the scriptural
authority which exhorts the businessman to combine the
gentleness of the dove with the wisdom of the serpent!
John's training as an officer lasted a bare three months.
On April 7th 1885 he was sent to do evangelical work
at Metheringham in Lincolnshire. Other similar appointments
of short duration followed at York, Yarmouth, Derby
and finally Ryhope near Sunderland in 1888. By this
time he was a Captain. By 1890 it is clear that grandfather's
ability in administration had been recognized for in
that year the Army's journal, "The War Cry",
recorded that he had been promoted to the rank of Staff-Captain
and appOinted "A.D.C. to Colonel Ridsdel of the
From this time grandfather's career in the Army is
clearly charted by at least twenty-two entries in "The
War Cry" and the Army's "Year Books",
right up to the time of his retirement as Lieutenant-Colonel
in 1919. The Army's use of quasi-military terminology
sometimes makes it difficult to appreciate the precise
nature of his many appointments e.g.:
"May 16th 1896. Staff. Capt. Pigott (Staff Secretary
at I.H.Q.) to the Foreign Office as Asst. Sec. for Foreign
Trade Affairs under Commissioner Howard." Or
"August 26th 1899. Major John Pigott (Central Staff
Sec.) to take charge of Food and Shelter Dept. of City
Colony under Commissioner Cadman."
But enough comes through to show that grandfather was
an able businessman and administrator who was to be
tested to the full when, in 1907, with the rank of Brigadier
he was appointed manager of the Uniform and Outfitting
Department of the Salvationist Publishing and Supplies
The Year Book for 1907 provides us with the Army's
own valuation of this post when it says that the Uniform
and Outfitting Section was -
". . . the most important division of the Trade
Headquarters . . the value of the business is considerable.
For instance the Uniform Section sent out last year
some forty thousand garments . . Under the control of
this department is a well-established Straw Goods Factory
at Luton. . ."
Subsequent Year Books record that grandfather's department
dealt with -
". . .straw hats and bonnets, tailoring, hosiery,
red guernseys, furnishings, drapery, boots and shoes,
dressmaking and also all the insignia and badges of
The workers in the workplaces under his supervision
". . . employed on a proper trade basis and paid
the prevailing rates of wages, while every care is taken
that work is done under the best conditions . . . The
well-known serges and other textile specialties sold
by this department are manufactured especially for it."
To obtain supplies of the right quality John had to
travel extensively in the United Kingdom and my sister
Olive has reminded me that to secure raw materials for
the Army's bonnet factory John had to go as far afield
It was interesting to read in the Year Book for 1920
- the year following grandfather's retirement - that
two men had been appointed to share the managerial responsibilities
he had shouldered alone for twelve years.
John did not get married until his work had enabled
him to settle in the London area. In 1891 he married
a petite and attractive young Army officer named Eliza
Matthews Lindop who came from Newcastle-under-Lyme.
She was the second daughter of a Methodist brush-maker,
William Lindop and his wife Elizabeth Wilbraham. William's
father was a potter named Joseph Lindop who lived at
Etruria - the village built by Josiah Wedgwood to house
his employees. Elizabeth Wilbraham was the third child
of a labourer named John Wilbraham (born in Crewe in
1788) and his wife Elizabeth Luntby.
John and Eliza Pigott made their home in Walthamstow
in about 189S - first at 4,Verulam Avenue and later
at 71, Greenleaf Road. They had three children:-
- My mother Henrietta Day who was born in 1892. She
(and her brothers) first went to Gamuel Road School
of which, by great coincidence, I later became the
Headmaster. Later mother went to the Technical School
in Hoe Street. On leaving school mother worked for
the Icilma company before marrying - in March 1917
- Lt. William Bramhall of the Manchester Regiment.
- My uncle John William Vincent (born 1894) who became
a Salvation Army officer and served in Scotland before
resigning due to ill-health. He later took a degree
in History and became a schoolmaster.
- My uncle Douglas Randolph Oldaker (born 1900) -
a bank official whose third name reminds us of his
grandmother - Emma Jane Oldaker.
My memories of my maternal grandparents are of two
loving and delightful people whose religious convictions
were profound but never bigoted. On Sundays it was grandfather's
custom to don his Colonel's uniform and walk from our
home in Greenleaf Road to the Army's Hall in High Street.
As the years advanced this walk proved more than he
could manage. Fortunately Greenleaf Road was well endowed
with places of worship and grandfather demonstrated
an ecumenical outlook far ahead of his time. Thus his
Sabbath pilgrimages took him first to the Baptist Chapel
at the far end of the road, then to St.Luke's Parish
Church a mere hundred yards from our home, and finally
to the Friends' Meeting House which was literally next
Grandmother Eliza died in 1924 and grandfather in 1931.
They rest in the Walthamstow Cemetery in Queens Road
- sharing the same grave as my infant brother Douglas
Family Bible of John Pigott senior
Letters of John Pigott junior to his grandmother and
to his father.
Census Returns for Faringdon, Worthing and Stoke-on-Trent
"The War Cry"
"The Salvation Army Year Books"
Kelly's Directories for Berks. and Bucks.
"Happy Heart of Youth" - by E.J.Allen (nee
"The General next to God"
General Registry - St.Catherine's House
1892 Birth in the Sub-district of Hackney in the County
When and where, Twenty Sixth June 1892, 24, Linscott
Henrietta Day PIGOTT : Girl
Name of father, John PIGOTT.
Name of mother, Eliza Matthews PIGOTT formerly LINDOP.
Occupation of father, Evangelist Salvation Army.
Description of informant, Jno PIGOTT, Father, 24, Linscott
Road, Lower Clapton.
When registered, Twenty second July 1892.
T COATES, Registrar.
1891Marriage solemnized at Matthews Church, in the
Parish of Hackney in the County of London.
July 22nd 1891
John PIGOTT : 33 yrs : Bachelor
Occupation, Salvation Army Officer
Residence at time of Marriage, Cornkiln Road
Father's Name, John PIGOTT.
Profession of Father, ?
Eliza Mattthews LINDOP : 30 yrs : Spinster
Residence at time of Marriage, Newcastle under Lyme
Father's Name, William LINDOP
Profession of Father, Brush Maunfacturer.
Married in the Church of St Matthews according to the
Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, by Licence
by me, H BUSDEN.
This Marriage was solemnized between us, John PIGOTT,
Eliza Mattthews LINDOP in the Presence of us, William
Drummond otom, Elizabeth Emma LINDOP.
RG12 : Piece 1991 : Folio 118 : Page 16
10, Brightons Place, Fishpond Road, Stapleton, Gloucestershire.
Samuel Chas GANATT : Head : Married : 32 yrs : Occupation,
Railway Signal Fitter : Born, Derby, Derbyshire.
Anne GANATT : Wife : Married : 38 yrs : Born,
Chas Wesley GANATT : Son : 6 yrs : Occupation, Scholar
: Born, Rotherham, Yorkshire.
Emma Eliza GANATT : Daughter : 5 yrs : Occupation, Scholar
: Born, Kimberworth, Yorkshire.
Annie GANATT : Daughter : 2 yrs : Born, Masbrough, Yorkshire.
Eva Raynes GANATT : Daughter 1 yr : Born, Fishponds,
Mary Jane RAYNES : Sister : Single : 22 yrs : Born,
John PIGOTT : Visitor : Single : 33 yrs : Occupation,
Salvation Army Officer : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
RG11 : Piece 1120 : Folio 72 : Page 18
New Road, Littlehampton, Sussex.
Benjamin J. CANDLER : Head : Married : 64 yrs : Occupation,
Master Grocer Employes 6 Men & 3 Boys : Born, Bawburgh,
Phillis CANDLER : Wife : Married : 60 yrs : Born, London,
Sarah CANDLER : Daughter : Unmarried : 23 yrs : Occupation,
Grocers Clerk : Born, Birkenhead, Cheshire.
Martha J. CLUNN : Visitor : Unmarried? : 57 yrs : Occupation,
Ministers Wife : Born, Crathorne, Yorkshire.
John PIGOTT : Assistant : Unmarried : 23 yrs : Occupation,
Assistant Grocer : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
John G. PAVEY : Assistant : Unmarried : 21 yrs : Occupation,
Assistant Grocer : Born, Goudhurst, Kent.
John GREGORY : Assistant : Unmarried : 19 yrs : Occupation,
Assistant Grocer : Born, Long Marston, Hertfordshire.
Frederick S. REED : Assistant : Unmarried : 15 yrs :
Occupation, Grocers Apprentice : Born, Billingshurst,
Kate WOOLVEN : Servant : Unmarried : 18 yrs : Occupation,
General Domestic Servant : Born, Littlehampton, Sussex.
- Original family history written and mechanically typed
by Godfrey BRAMHALL.
My great-grandfather JOHN PIGOTT senior and his
My great-grandfather was born in Faringdon in 1832.
He was the fourth child of Hugh Pigott and his wife
Miriam. The family home was in Gloucester Street where
Hugh carried on his bakery business.
There can be little doubt that John and his brothers
and sisters all attended the British School for the
children of non-conformist families. Like their parents
they were all literate. In his autobiography John's
elder brother Robert gives us two useful clues when
he says that he "can remember but little of schooldays"
but that at an early age he had read - in addition to
various periodicals - "Captain Cook's Voyages","The
Travels of Commodore Anson", "The Voyages
of Francis Drake", "Pilgrim's Progress",
"The Holy War", "The Annals of the Poor",
"The Young Cottager", "The Dairyman's
Daughter", "Harvey's Meditations" and
the Bible all through. Surely John and the others must
have been nourished on the same literary diet.
Music seems to have been a family interest. Robert
learned to play the trombone and to ring the church
bells but unfortunately he later took the rather jaundiced
view that these pursuits had become "a snare and
deadened all spiritual feelings and desires." On
the other hand John, who played the flute and was also
known to strum the occasional tune on the piano, took
pleasure in music-making and, later in life, encouraged
his son John to learn the violin and paid for his daughters
Elizabeth, Alice and Emma to have "extra"
music lessons at their "dame" school in Filkins.
John learned the cordwainer's trade. In 1855 he married
Emma Jane Oldaker whose father, Charles, had come from
Witney and established himself as a harness-maker in
London Street, Faringdon. Emma was a milliner and straw
bonnet maker and, for a time before her marriage, had
her own business in Mill Street, Wantage.
By the time of the 1861 Census John had his own shoe-making
business in the Corn Market - right in the centre of
Faringdon - and was the father of two sons - John who
was born in 1858, and Josiah who was born in 1860. The
presence of a house-servant, Mary Hedges, would seem
to suggest that the business was thriving.
In 1866 Emma Jane died. A year later John married Sarah
Day - the daughter of Daniel Day a grocer in Shrivenham.
Like the Pigotts the Days were leading members of the
Strict Baptist communities in their respective towns,
Sarah was a diminutive figure barely five feet in height
but according to her third daughter she made up in strength
of character what she lacked in inches. In 1870 Sarah
gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Hannah who was later
to be known as "Triss".
By this time the family had left the cramped accommodation
in the Corn Market and had moved to a house in London
Street. I believe that this house was formerly owned
by Charles Oldaker for in his will of 1861 he had given
his children the option of buying his premises.
In 1871 the family moved to Filkins - a village between
Burford and Lechlade. John had abandoned the cordwainer's
trade and was now the proprietor of the village store
and sub-postmaster as well. Had John financed this move
on the proceeds of his Faringdon business or did he
receive some assistance from his second father-in-law
Daniel Day? We shall never know but it is certain that
Daniel was a man of substance for it was he who had
purchased a burial ground for the Strict Baptist Chapel
John and Sarah had three more daughters all of whom
were born at Filkins - Alice Ruth in 1876, Emma Jane
in 1880 and Grace in 1882. Nurse Swinford, the village
midwife was present at all three births.
For this seemingly insignificant detail we have to
thank Emma Jane who, at the age of sixty, wrote a detailed
and fascinating account of her childhood in Filkins
and of the loving home Sarah and John had created there.
Emma Jane, an avid reader of guide books and county
histories,complained bitterly of the neglect suffered
by her home village.
"Topographical books wander all round its outskirts.
They take the reader to Burford, to Chipping Norton,
to Northleach and Bibury, down the Windrush valley to
Witney or through the Coln valley to Fairford, from
thence to Lechlade, back again to Eastleach Martin and
Eastleach Turville to make the circuit complete - leaving
an ignored little island in the centre unvisited, its
charms unsung, its beauties deemed unworthy of praise.
And so she set out to fill the gap and in the process
gives us a vivid picture of Filkins - still mercifully
unspoilt, her home "The Evergreens" with a
wealth of personalities, anecdotes and botanical observation.
Here is Emma Jane's description of the contents of her
father's shop - a veritable "William Whiteley's
in miniature" -
" . . . Wooden clogs were there for wet weather
- they made a queer clip,clop noise when worn up and
down stone paths. Pattens too, but these were for even
wetter weather when the irons, affixed to wooden soles,
kept one's feet quite four inches above the puddles
in the farmyards. The toe was slipped into an open toe-cap
and a strap secured the patten to the instep. They made
a loud metallic noise as they struck - tang, tang -
on the paved yard.
The characteristic smell of stacks of corduroy suits
can never be forgotten - nor the sickly, rank smell
of large bundles of tallow candles!
Cook sun bonnets used to fascinate me, stacked one
inside the other; they were made of pretty, patterned
prints tightly gathered round the face and piped to
make a firm bordering. At the back of the shaped head
was a loosely falling frill that protected the field-worker
from strong sunshine. All the field women workers wore
these in and around our Cotswold village.
Smock frocks, too, were alluring. The smocking was
beautifully worked in reds and blues that looked exceedingly
well against the buff-coloured material.
Benzoline hand-lamps used to be sold. They had round
wicks, had no glasses and smoked horribly at times.
Even a funeral pall could be hired. It was made of
black plush or velvet and had a deep frill of white
satin all round which the bearers had to hang on to
in windy weather! The coffin was borne on the shoulders
of bearers from the house to the church. The mourners
followed behind - all walking.
One could buy those little jet ornaments for bonnets
that were so favoured by old ladies at that time. They
were really amusing for, with every movement of the
head the ornaments would jingle and sparkle as the light
caught them. Crepe was largely used on mourning clothes.
I have seen skirts trimmed half-way up to the waist
with this detestable stuff, sleeves covered to the elbow
with it and "Widows' weeds" of it hanging
down the back from a hat or bonnet to below the waist.
Many yards of red flannel were sold in those days for
chest-protectors and petticoats - indeed everyone deemed
a red, flannel petticoat quite a necessity! White frilling,
very stiff upstanding stuff used to edge the necks of
dresses and a narrower one edged those dainty, black
laces , jet-spangled caps worn indoors by elderly ladies
of byegone days.
Twist tobacco was chewed by workmen of peculiar taste!
Snuff was indulged in by both men and women. Ipecacuanha
wine, Blue Vitriol, Red Ruddle, Mace (a fascinating
product both in colour and shape), Isinglass, soothing
syrups, turmeric, Sal-prunella for one's sore throat,
boots and shoes, brooms and besoms, postage stamps and
paraffin, tintacks and pins, the latest fashionable
hats trimmed and untrimmed or trimmed to order - and
the trimming needed in those days was enormous! White,
shining hay-rakes, bladders of lard, bright, clear,
many-sided lumps of sugar-candy - all thses things and
many more un-named - to say nothing of toys, books,
household linens and fireworks could all be bought at
the miniature William Whiteleys!
A limited stock of second-hand furniture was stored
in one of the lofts over the warehouse and included
some ofthose brown, wicker baby perambulators on three
wheels long age out of fashion and forgotten.
Toys that the present-day child would scorn were a
delight to us of an earlier generation. Wonderful were
those kaleidoscopes and those soft green and brown wadding-filled
jumping frogs! Penny Noah's Arks - yes! - and containing
half-a-dozen animals all made to stand up together with
a miniature tree or two! What one could buy with the
modest penny in those far-off days!"
Emma Jane illustrated her account with sketches she
made before she left home - never to return - on March
13th 1898, and with postcards sent to her by friends.
With these to help us, my wife and I had no difficulty
in identifying "The Evergreens" when we went
in search of it in 1980 and found, to our amazement,
that it still serves Filkins as store and post-office
The only school in Filkins was the National or Church
School. Being a Strict Baptist, John was unwilling to
send his daughters there so he paid for them to attend
a small, private school at "The Yews" - mornings
only, music and French in the afternoons and daily assignments
John was, all his life, a deeply religious man but
it seems that there were times when his faith must have
been severely tested. A century after the events which
must now be related it is hard to appreciate the depth
of feeling of the members of the sturdily independent
Strict Baptist chapels.
Perhaps the absence of any ordained ministry or any
coordinating organization made it inevitable that each
"cause" should develop its own distinctive
and even intolerant notions concerning acceptable standards
of membership, and that it would be all too easy for
strong-minded individuals to find themselves at variance
with the majority.
The Minute Book of the Faringdon Block Green Chapel
establishes that Hugh Pigott, his elder daughter Mary
Counsell, Robert and "warm-hearted, generous, impetuous"
John were all members. On November 6th 1870 - shortly
before John's move to Filkins - there appears the following
". . . Mr.Whiting then introduced Mr.John Pigott's
name and stated that he had spoken to him in reference
to his fall, his repentance and his desire to come back
amongst us. He also stated a few things that Mr.Pigott
had related to him. It followed that the church sympathized
. . but as yet could not fully receive him."
Nearly four years later brother Robert, who had frequently
preached at Block Green, had also "blotted his
copy-book" for the Minute Book says - on 26th April
"Mr.Robert Pigott of Swindon no longer considered
a satisfactory preacher and would not be asked to preach
It is a pity that Robert's memoirs make no mention
of this affair - or of his brother's fall from grace.
What had gone wrong? Was it a matter of doctrinal hair-splitting
or perhaps a clash of personalities?
In June 1874 - three years after John had moved to
Filkins - a special meeting was convened to enquire
into Mrs. Sarah Pigott's "long absence from chapel
gatherings." She had sent a note saying that "she
had lately been confined, that her child was not well
and that she was therefore unable to
attend in person." Her husband was also before
the meeting asking, once again, to be received back
into the church. In view of the treatment meted out
to brother Robert two months earlier surely John must
have known that he was "on a hiding to nothing."
Needless to say he was rejected but, once again, there
is no attempt to spell out his offence.
Having regard to the six miles which separated Filkins
and Faringdon and Sarah's family responsibilities one
can only marvel at the impertinence of this enquiry.
How could John have brought himself to grovel before
his wife's inquisitors and ask for reinstatement? How
did Hugh and Miriam react to the affair? With hindsight
we should perhaps content ourselves with the opinion
that in a matter involving the virtual "excommunication"
of three of its members the Chapel should have ensured
that its minutes were more specific and balanced. As
it is the elders of the Chapel - and John Pigott - are
shown in a very unfavourable light. But they were accountable
to nobody but themselves and there was no higher authority
to whom appeal could be made. It comes as no surprise
to find that John transferred his allegiance to Alvescot
Chapel - a mere two and a half miles from his home.
Services at Alvescot were held only once a fortnight.
Emma Jane tells us how she and her sisters would walk
there accompanied by her father and Mr. Cook, William
Hazel and John Lock who also lived in Filkins.
"There was a morning service and another in the
afternoon but no service in the evening as many members
of the congregation came from a distance and liked to
reach home before nightfall.
Each family took their own eatables for lunch, ours
being cold meat sandwiches, jam turnovers and apple
tarts. We partook of luncheon in the Chapel itself,
there being no other place for it, the members remaining
in their pews during the meal. Cups of tee could be
obtained at the lower end of the Chapel under the gallery,
brewed in a large urn. Mother always wrapped up the
provisions in linen serviettes, one for each of us,
which we spread over our Sunday frocks. The act of disposing
of our viands was very properly and quietly performed
- as befitted the sanctity of the building - after we
had sung the grace - "For mercies countless as
After luncheon we were released and all the young folk
rambled off into the meadows, passing the time between
lunch and the afternoon service. I remember the first
barberries I ever picked were taken from an overhanging
branch in a hedge that skirted one of the field-paths
near the old parish church.
It was a sight to see the numerous vehicles lined up
outside the Chapel, under the wall. The horses were
stabled, fed and watered at the Plough Inn opposite
and there was a busy scene when they were brought out
and re-harnessed when the congregation all left for
On alternate Sundays John conducted a simple service
in his sitting-room - the congregation consisting of
his family and the few Baptists who lived in Filkins.
"Triss and I played the hymn-tunes, in turn, on
the piano and mother's sweet soprano led the singing
while father's rich, deep bass gave balance to the old-time
melodies. . . Father usually read a sermon from the
"Gospel Standard" and sometimes one of Spurgeon's
sermons. It was an orderly and reverent service. When
very young Grace and I used to fall asleep during the
sermon sitting on our small, folding carpet-chairs -
Grace leaning on mother one side and I on the other
. . . After the service we would gather round the piano
to have a sing-song. We always enjoyed these times.
Mother led us in soprano, Triss singing alto, father
bass as always, Ruth, Grace and I following mother's
lead. Triss played as accompanist. So many of the old
melodies were known to mother and father - "Jerusalem",
"Hail smiling morn", "Oh had I Jubal's
lyre", "Vital Spark", and mother would
sing as solos "Happy be thy dreams", "He
wipes the tear from every eye", "Larboard
Watch", "Sylvia sleeps" and many other
songs. We loved to listen while she sang for she had
a sweet, true voice. She used to lead the singing, when
a girl, at a chapel near her home in the days when some
chapels disapproved of musical instruments and only
permitted a tuning-fork to pitch the note for them".
It was clearly a loving household. Emma Jane speaks
often of her adored mother and of her generous but impulsive
father. She recalls the high regard in which he was
held by his neighbours and by the ministers of local
churches. She remembers with delight the expeditions
he led into the beautiful Cotswold country which encircled
them, and of his love of wildlife - which must have
been the base on which Emma built up her own remarkable
There were numerous family pets - Tibby the cat, Trixy
the fox terrier, Birdie and Tottie the bantam hens,
silkworms numerous and predictably un-named, and even
Nanny the goat who could sometimes be persuaded to pull
a tiny, two-seater chaise just large enough for Emma
and Grace. This novel "equipage" had been
a present from John and Josiah - the half-brothers who,
by 1884, had their own thriving grocery business in
Worthing. Unfortunately outings in the chaise were seldom
a success for Nanny's browsing instincts proved too
strong for small hands to control. John was reluctantly
obliged to sell Nanny and the chaise to the local vicar
for the amusement of his two small sons. Emma Jane does
not record how the dissenting goat took to the established
Emma recalled that in the course of visits to friends
in and around the village they were frequently offered
home-made wine. Having been brought up by Sarah to be
strictly teetotal the girls would always decline while
their father would accept. Is it possible that this
trivial memory contains just a hint of liberal thinking
which, in other matters, had been so repugnant to the
elders of the Block Green Chapel?
John's second wife, Sarah, died in 1894. In accordance
with her expressed wish she was buried at Kingston Winslow,
near Ashbury "where so many of her own people already
rested." Having read about this, we went in search
of this Strict Baptist burial ground. After many enquiries
unintentional trespassing we eventually found it - tiny,
totally neglected and almost completely
overgrown by, saplings and bushes. It seems that the
"cause" at Ashbury must have been a small
one for all the visible headstones commemorate members
of the Day family of Shrivenham or the related Pounds
from the upper mill at Kingston Winslow. Alas, Sarah
Pigott's grave is unmarked - as no doubt are others.
John - a remarkably resilient man - did not remain
a widower for long. In 1895 he married Sarah Jane Reeves
of South Moreton, near Wallingford, and immediately
moved there with his youngest daughter Grace and took
up residence at "Rose Cottage" in the Main
Street. When we visited South Moreton in 1982 we identified
the house with the aid of photographs taken by Emma
Jane's husband, Percy Allen, and found it quite unchanged
- at least as far as external appearances are concerned.
Elizabeth Hannah took over the running of the village
store in Filkins but she did not retain the postal business.
She was assisted by Alice and Emma. But the wind of
change was blowing. Alice married a builder named Alex
Giles and moved to North London. In March 1898 Emma
herself left home to train as a telegraphist in the
Post Office and, in 1913, married Percy Franklin Allen.
In 1899 Elizabeth married Edwin Simkin - a minister
in the Primitive Methodist Church. By 1909 they had
emigrated to America and made their home in Philadelphia.
Grace did not marry and died in 1917.
Great-grandfather died in 1920. His grave in the immaculately-kept
burial ground of the South Moreton Strict Baptist Chapel
is marked with an inscribed headstone.
John Pigott's Family Bible
"Happy Heart of Youth" by Emma Jane Allen
"Memorials of Robert Pigott" 1903
Census Returns for Faringdon and Filkins
Kelly's Dirctories for Berks., Bucks. and Oxon.
Faringdon Block Green Chapel Book - by courtesy of the
Strict Baptist Historical Society
RG10 : Piece 1258 : Folio 101 : Page 14
68, London Street, Faringdon, Berkshire.
John PIGOTT : Head : Married : 39 yrs : Occupation,
Cordwainer : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
Sarah PIGOTT : Wife : Married : 24 yrs : Born, Shrivenham,
John PIGOTT : Son : 13 yrs : Occupation, Scholar : Born,
Josiah PIGOTT : 10 yrs : Born, : Occupation, Scholar
: Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
Elizabeth PIGOTT : 4 months : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
* Cordwainer - originally term used for one who worked
with Cordovan (a special leather from Spain) but later
term used for shoemaker.
1866 DEATH in the Sub-district of Faringdon in the
Counties of Berks, Oxford and Gloucester.
When and where died, First April 1866, London Street,
Emma Jane PIGOTT : Female : 37 years
Occupation, Wife of John PIGOTT, Cordwainer Master.
Cause of death, Phthisis, Certified
Description of informant, X The mark of Sarah KENT?
present at the death, London Street, Faringdon.
When registered, Third April 1866
James LONG, Registrar
RG9 : Piece 728 : Folio 70 : Page 38
Corn Market, Faringdon, Berkshire.
John PIGOTT : Head : Married : 29 yrs : Occupation,
Boot & Shoe Maker : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
Emma Jane PIGOTT : Wife : Married : 31 yrs : Occupation,
Straw Bonnet Maker : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
John PIGOTT : Son : 3 yrs : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
Josiah PIGOTT : Son : 6 Months : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
Mary Ann HODGES : Servant : 15 yrs : Occupation, House
Servant : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire.
1858 Birth in the Sub-district of Faringdon in the
Counties of Berks, Oxford and Gloucester.
Thirty First January 1858, London Street, Great Faringdon.
John : Boy
Name of father, John PIGOTT
Name of mother, Emma Jane PIGOTT formerly OLDAKER.
Occupation of father, Cordwainer.
Description of informant, John PIGOTT, Father, London
Street, Great Faringdon.
When registered, Eighteenth February 1858.
James LONG, Registrar
1855 Marriage solemnized at the Parish Church, in the
Parish of Faringdon in the County of Berks.
December 22nd 1855
John PIGOTT : 24 yrs : Bachelor
Residence at time of Marriage, Faringdon.
Father's Name, Hugh PIGOTT
Profession of Father, Baker.
Emma Jane OLDAKER : 26 yrs : Spinster
Residence at time of Marriage, Faringdon.
Father's Name, Charles OLDAKER
Profession of Father, Sadler.
Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites
and Ceremonies of the Established Church, by or after
Banns by me, Henry BARRIE? Vicar.
This Marriage was solemnized between us, John PIGOTT,
Emma Jane OLDAKER in the Presence of us, Charles OLDAKER,
HO107 : Piece 1687 : Folio 286 : Page 25
London Street, Faringdon, Berkshire.
Charles OLDAKER : Head : Married : 47 yrs : Occupation,
Harness Maker : Born, Witney, Oxfordshire.
Jane OLDAKER : Wife : Married : 52 yrs : Occupation,
Straw Bonnet Maker : Born, Finsbury, Middlesex.
Emma P OLDAKER : Daughter : 21 yrs : Occupation, Straw
Bonnet Maker : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire
Elic D OLDAKER : Daughter : 19 yrs : Occupation, Straw
Bonnet Maker : Born, Faringdon, Berkshire
Martha OLDAKER : Daughter : 10 yrs : Occupation, Scholar
: Born, Faringdon, Berkshire
- Original family history written and mechanically typed
by Godfrey BRAMHALL.
Great-great-grandfather HUGH PIGOTT and his wife
The indisputable facts concerning Hugh Pigott are best
set out as follows:-
23rd March 1797 - birth at Faringdon. Youngest child
of Leonard Pigott, a staymaker, and his second wife
1824 Hugh set up in business as a baker in Gloucester
19th May 1824 - marriage at Faringdon Parish Church
to Miriam Buxton of Alpheton, Suffolk.
1826 birth of first child, Mary, who later married Edwin
Counsell, a watch-maker from Ross-os-Wye who set up
in business in the Corn Market, Faringdon.
1827 Birth of Richard who became a solicitor's clerk,
married Mary Langshear Clare and finally settled in
1830 Birth of Robert who married Susannah Clare and
later Anna Maria Beak. He became a baker, corn-dealer
and (from 1871) Pastor of Providence Baptist Chapel,
1832 Birth of my great-grandfather - John.
1832 Hugh is named as having voted in a Parliamentary
1834 Birth of Sarah who married William Collett - a
miller and farmer from Bampton.
1835 Birth of Elizabeth. She did not marry. The only
Anglican member of Hugh's family. She was a school-teacher
at Corsham, Chippenham and Worcester. In 1883, after
caring for her widowed father, she trained as a missionary
and went, as an "honorary" worker to the Zenana
Mission of the C.M.S. at Karachi. She died at Amritsar
1847 In a Tithe Coversion Map Hugh is named as the owner
of an eight-acre plot of ground - with cottage - called
the "Old Cherry Orchard" at Great Coxwell.
1867 Hugh Gave up his business to Robert and lived in
retirement at Brooms Place and later in Marlborough
- both in Faringdon.
16th February 1875 - his wife Miriam died.
22nd February 1883 - Hugh died. Both he and Miriam were
buried in the Free Church Cemetery, Canada Lane, Faringdon.
Until 1982 their grave was marked by a very informative
headstone. This has now been removed - along with many
others - as part of a plan to tidy up the Cemetery.
The intention is to re-erect the headstones up against
the boundary walls.
Hugh's birth, like that of his wife in far-off Alpheton,
was recorded in the Parish Register. The births of their
children were not so recorded because of their parents'
allegiance to the Strict Baptist Church. The parents'
marriage took place at the Parish Church because, at
that time, there was no provision for marriages in non-conformist
premises other than the Quakers.
The facts relating to Hugh's wife Miriam are as follows:-
4th September 1794 - Miriam baptised at Alpheton, Suffolk.
She was the oldest of the three daughters of Robert
Buxton - a small farmer - and his wife Sarah Dyer. The
younger sisters were Harriet and Cozbi.
19th may 1824 - marriage to Hugh Pigott at Faringdon.
16th February 1875 - death at Faringdon.
The aspect of my grandfather's life-story which has
proved most absorbing is the discovery of his involvement
in the Worthing Riots of 1884. In the story of Johh
senior attention focussed itself on the unsolved puzzle
of his rejection by the Block Green Baptists. But in
this chapter of the family history the most absorbing
question is - 'How did Hugh Pigott of Faringdon come
to marry Miriam Buxton - the farmer's daughter from
a tiny village in Suffolk?'
The first clue was found in Robert Pigott's memoirs.
He said that his mother's parents - ". . . experienced
difficulty in keeping their heads above water. In consequence
their three children were obliged to turn out in the
world.* [Victims, no doubt, of the Enclosure Acts which
changed the face of rural England & drove thousands
of small farmers into the towns.]
While living in Norfolk Street in the Strand she (Miriam)
used to worship with the saints at Zoar Chapel, Great
Alie Street, White-chapel . . . To this place she used
to run after attending the young ladies on Sundays and
had to run back with all speed to attend them on their
return from church."
Whilst speaking volumes about Miriam's athletic prowess
- to say nothing of her spiritual zeal - this rather
naive statement does at least indicate that, after coming
to London, she had found employment as a ladies' maid
with a family - as yet anonymous - in Norfolk Street.
The next clue was in the form of a photograph we found
amongst family papers. On the back of it my mother had
written "Elizabeth Twining, lifelong friend of
Elizabeth Pigott." Being a Londoner I remembered
that Norfolk Street is very close to the premises opposite
the Law Courts in the Strand which were - and still
are - the London headquarters of the famous tea-importing
company. Samuel Twining - the present head of the family
- confirmed that the photograph was, indeed, one of
the daughters of Richard Twining who, early in the nineteenth
century, had lived at 34, Norfolk Street.
There seems no doubt, therefore, about the identity
of Miriam's employer but we had made no progress in
answering the question - 'How did Hugh and Miriam meet
?' But meet they did and they decided to marry.
Hugh's banns were called at Faringdon and Miriam's at
St.Clement Danes in the Strand. As nobody raised "just
cause or impediment" Miriam was duly issued with
the appropriate certificate, left her employment and
journeyed to Faringdon to be married in the groom's
parish - not in the bride's as was more usual. We could
not escape the thought that they must have met in London,
that Hugh had returned to his home-town with his savings,
set himself up as a baker and then asked Miriam to marry
him. The discovery
amongst our family papers of a photograph of Elizabeth
Twining as a very old lady suggests strongly that Miriam
never lost touch with at least one of her "young
ladies" - a notion entirely consistent with all
that we have learnt about the kindly Elizabeth Twining's
innumerable philanthropic activities.
But what had Hugh been doing in London? It seems fairly
certain that his father, Leonard, had died in 1801 in
Faringdon and had been taken back to his home village,
Letcombe Regis, for burial. The theory that Hugh had
left home to ease the burden of his widowed mother and
make his own way in the world seems reasonable enough.
(It will be remembered that his son
Robert and his grandson John did something similar in
their respective generations.)
A new and startling light was thrown on the problem
when we discovered - as a result of our research - two
very distant cousins - Mrs.Ethel Moss, Hugh's sprightly
octogenarian great-granddaughter from Cumnor in Oxfordshire,
and Maurice Hugh Pigott, his great-grandson from Devizes
When talking to new acquaintances we have set ourselves
two rules -1. not to probe too far too fast and 2. not
to put leading questions- knowing that some people will
give you the kind of answer that they think you want
to hear. Our meetings with these two delightful cousins
were separated by nearly three years but their response
to the same question - "Do you know what Hugh did
before his marriage?" was roughly as follows:-
Ethel Moss: "In my family there has always been
a tradition that Hugh was a seaman - probably a ship's
cook. My son still has a small wooden box which Hugh
made to hold his shaving things. He didn't like the
long voyages and couldn't wait to get back to see Miriam."
Maurice Hugh Pigott: " I think Hugh spent some
time at sea. I remember that, as children, my brother
and I used to play with an old seaman's chest that had
belonged to Hugh. Of course we haven't got it now."
Among the items which passed to me on the death of Emma
Jane Allen was a small compass in a plain mahogany case.
The degree markings are typically those of a nautical
style - as opposed to a surveyor's compass. Emma Jane
stated that it had once belonged to "father's grandfather"
and had been given to her husband by John Pigott senior
(Hugh's son) with the words:
"I am giving you this compass because, like you,
it has travelled thousands of miles across the sea."
The reference to "father's Grandfather" was,
I feel sure, an error and that she meant to say "father's
And so we have these three tenuous scraps of information
which individually or jointly would not convince a court
of law. Nevertheless it is surely significant that in
three families which, to my certain knowledge, have
had no contact for the best part of a century, traditions
should have persisted having about them a strong "whiff
of the sea."
All that we can do is to lay these traditions alongside
the few facts which seem beyond dispute - that Miriam
was a lady's maid in the household of Richard Twining,
tea-importer and major share-holder in the East India
Company and whose home was in Norfolk Street, and that
Miriam used to attend Zoar Chapel in Great Alie Street,
Whitechapel which was a mere stone's
throw from St. Katherine's Dock with its great tea and
spice warehouses. The rest must, I think, be left to
the reader's imagination for when evidence is exhausted
we are left only with speculation. With his total preoccupation
with spiritual matters Hugh's son Robert insisted that
it was religious zeal that spurred Miriam's hurrying
feet to "worship with the saints" in her off-duty
hours. But is it possible that Zoar Chapel held some
more worldly attraction for her - especially when a
certain ship was in port?
In spite of this last cynical thought it has to be admitted
that Miriam's very real Calvinism persisted throughout
her life. While her children were small one imagines
that she and Hugh attended the Faringdon Chapel. But
the Alivescot Chapel Book tells us that by 1841 (when
her children were aged between fifteen years and six)
"Mrs.Miriam Pigott of Faringdon" was a member
and remained so for twenty years. There is nothing to
show that Hugh had shifted his allegiance so one has
to imagine Miriam - accompanied by one or more of her
six children - driving the pony and trap twelve miles
each Sunday (or perhaps every other Sunday) to listen
to some favourite and eloquent preacher.
SOURCES: Parish Registers of Faringdon, Alpheton, Letcombe
Regis and St.Clements Danes, London
Census Returns for Faringdon, East Hanney, Bampton and
Cheltenham Faringdon Tithe Conversion Map of 1847
Records of the Church Missionary Society
Memoirs of Robert Pigott. Writings of Emma Jane Allen
Correspondence with Samuel Twining