Friday, 27 February 2009

Josiah Stringer

From the Audley and District Family History Newsletter

"A Seventeenth Century Mystery: Josiah Stringer of Talke and the Wedgwood family in Burslem.

On Friday 5 January, Andrew Dobraszczyc gave a talk on Josiah Stringer of Talke illustrating his talk with slides and gave a detailed handout to most of his audience. The size of the audience surprised Andrew and there were not quite enough handouts to go round.

Josiah Stringer had probably moved to Staffordshire from Cheshire by the end of 1692 when he was a beneficiary under the will of Robert Lawton of Newcastle. In about 1693 he bought the Hollens House estate in Talke, in the parish of Audley. He died in 1698 and was buried in the churchyard of St James's church, Audley.

He had a son Dr Samuel Stringer (d 1759) who lived in Lower Street, Newcastle, and practised medicine. Josiah also had a daughter Mary who married Thomas Wedgwood, potter, and whose youngest son was the famous Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795). When Josiah Wedgwood became seriously ill with smallpox in 1742, Dr Samuel Stringer was most likely to have been called in to treat him. Some time in the 1750's Dr Samuel Stringer moved to London where he died in about 1759.

Samuel's daughter, Jane Stringer, set herself up as a milliner and linen draper in Newcastle at Steps House, Newcastle, which is now the site of the NatWest Bank. She married Robert Rhodes, grocer of Newcastle in 1763 at Whitmore Parish church where she is described as a milliner. It was very unusual for entries of women to include an occupation and this clearly indicates that she was an independent businesswoman. They were both Dissenters. Her husband supplied goods to Josiah Wedgwood at Burslem and Etruria.

Robert Rhodes and Josiah Wedgwood attempted to persuade a Mr Yates of Warrington to take over as Unitarian minister in Newcastle in 1777. Robert Rhodes also appointed Josiah Wedgwood as one of his executors.

In conclusion Mr Dobrasczyc throws light on Josiah Stringer and Josiah Wedgwood and their family's connection with the Unitarian church in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

(The Editor would like to thank Wendy Wood for this review)"

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