Thomas Newman - 1793-1838
The detective work to find Thomas Newman was not very difficult as there was a copy of a Partnership Indenture between him and a William Wilkins and a will which gave the name of Marshfield, Gloucestershire as his place of residence. I have copies of both these documents. From there I could find out more about him.
Although Thomas Newman was only 45 years when he died he lived through the reigns of four kings - George III, George IV and William IV and was alive for just one year of the long reign of Queen Victoria. He lived through a time of great changes for at the beginning of his life England was still rural but by the end of his life it had become industrial, people were moving away from the country-side to the fast growing cities.
Thomas Newman was born on the 26th August 1793. He was the fourth child of Elver Newman and Sarah Coleman who according to the family bible were married on 17 November 1788. There were thirteen children born to this family although several died young.
On 15 April 1819 Thomas married Mary Ann Putt, at Bath Abbey, with Eliza Newman, Arthur Ford, Fanny Newman and William Putt as witnesses. Eliza and Fanny were probably his sisters Elizabeth and Frances. Mary Ann was a minor at the time and had to have the permission of her father to marry. Mary Ann was born in Ridgeway, Devon, which is part of Plymouth. Her father's name was William Putt and he was a builder.
Pigot's Gloucestershire Directory of 1830 lists Thomas Newman as a surgeon and apothecary practising in Marshfield, Gloucestershire, England.
Strangely on the same page there is information about a nearby town called Bitton and listed there is a Thomas Newman as a publican of `The Crown'. In view of his family's connection with inns and his wife's future occupation - could he have been a publican in Bitton at the same time as he was a surgeon in Marshfield? Neither the Royal College of Surgeons nor the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries have any record of him training with them and, I quote from the letter I had from the Royal College of Surgeons,
I have also not been able to find that he served an apprenticeship anywhere. I think it highly possible that he had no qualification at all although we do know that he practised his calling of Surgeon, Apothecary and Accoucheur (deliverer of babies) in Marshfield, Gloucestershire, England. His brother William Beard Newman was also a surgeon with a practice in Cosham. Thomas was in Marshfield in 1833 for on the 9th June 1833 his son Edward Ford (then aged 5 years 10 months) was baptised in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Marshfield. In fact a recent finding (Dec. 2002) shows that the Newman family were in Marshfield in 1831 as there is a record of the burial of Arthur Newman, aged 4 days in 1831. I am fairly certain that this was a child of Thomas and Mary Ann.
On the 20th February 1837 Thomas took a partner into his practice. The partner's name was William Wilkins. I have a copy of the official agreement indenture. (William Wilkins was still practising there in 1851 as is shown in the 1851 census.)
In the will of Elver Newman, the father of Thomas Newman, it says that Elver had advanced œ100 to Thomas at some time and that would be deducted from his share of inheritance from his father. His brother William Beard Newman had been advanced œ450 and his brother, Henry, œ40.
Thomas died on 3rd December 1838, aged 45. The cause of death given is Dysentery although at that time the word dysentery was the name given to any diarrhoea which produced blood and mucus, the cause of which could have been anything from food poisoning to cancer. He was attended by his partner William Wilkins. He was buried in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Marshfield on 7th December 1838. This is recorded in the parish register.
Age 45 years. George Sherer, Vicar"
I have been unable to find a tombstone for him in the churchyard.
In spite of the fact that, as a member of the profession which he practised he should have had some standing in the community in which he lived, I have been unable to trace any obituary in local papers for him.
The last will and testament of Thomas Newman which was made on the 1st December 1838 was only 2 days before he died. He left all his property "of any description as well as personal....." to his wife Mary Ann Newman and also made her his sole executrix. At this time (up until 1858) wills were dealt with by church courts. This probably arose because the lawyer-clerics of the old church were quasi-independent of King and barons, so their dealings were more likely to be unbiased, or at least held upright by equal pressure from all directions. This will of Thomas was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Probate was granted on 22nd May 1839.
After her husband's death Mary Ann remained living in Marshfield with her young son, Edward Ford, aged eleven, for at least until after the 1841 census when their address is given as the High Street. From that census I have now information that identifies the house where they were living as Cotswold House, 14 The High Street. It seems that the mother and son were boarders with the Huffs family who were butchers. The High Street is a mile long and has many houses of different eras in it from Queen Anne to Queen Victoria.
Mary Ann Newman, né Putt
Sometime between 1841 and 10th August 1852 Mary Ann moved with her son to Bristol where it seems that she lived in and ran the Wheatsheaf Tavern. The evidence for this is a business card.
The Bristol Library have now supplied me with the information that the Wheatsheaf Tavern in Christmas Street, Bristol was run by M. A. Newman from 1847 to 1850. The evidence that the M. A. NEWMAN is in fact Mary Ann is that there is also a Prayer Book (in the possession of Dorothy Pentland, né Newman) with the hand written inscription in the front saying:-
Mary Ann Newman,
Today Christmas Street is a very short link street between Rupert Street and Nelson street but at the time of the 1851 Census, (judging from the fact that there were 26 houses in the street) it seems that the street must have been longer. There has been a great deal of development and re-development in that area. The Wheatsheaf Inn which replaced the Wheatsheaf Tavern after it was demolished in the 2nd World War is around the corner in Nelson Street.
The 1851 census shows Mary Ann and her son Edward Ford as the proprietors of an ironmongers shop at 9 Castle Mill Street, Bristol. Perhaps they were unable to make a go of it for the next thing we hear about them is that on 10th August 1852 Mary Ann (aged 51) and her son Edward Ford Newman (aged 25) left Bristol on the ship Velore for Port Philip & Sydney, Australia (Evidence, copy of the ticket).
Mary Ann did not long survive
in Australia as she died of 'effusion of serum into the sac
of the Pleura' (Death Certificate) on 24th March 1854 aged only
53 (or 55 according to her death certificate). I wonder if that
long uncomfortable journey out to Australia undermined her
health, for they travelled steerage and the journey took over 19
weeks. (See biography of
The facts that her husband made her his sole executrix and that she ran a tavern indicates to me that she was a capable and resourceful woman and the fact that at the age of 51 years she was willing to undertake the long voyage to Australia indicates that she was also courageous.