Henry Atcherley’s school days

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eBay may not seem an obvious website for genealogists to use, but lurking within the multitude of items it has to offer there are some fabulous family history finds to be made. And while the fabulousness of old receipts might not be immediately apparent, the two I acquired through eBay in 2013 date back to the 1860s – and help to provide a fascinating insight into the school days of Henry Oliver Atcherley.

Henry was born in 1850 at Shaldon, Devon, the third and last child of Dr Rowland Atcherley and his wife Ann. Henry never knew his father, who died in 1851, and it is difficult to know the extent to which he knew his mother. I have yet to find him on the 1851 census, at which time his mother and sister (Anne Isabella) were living with his maternal grandparents Andrew and Eliza Du Moulin in Bath. His brother Rowland Hill Atcherley was enumerated with the brothers’ aunts Caroline and Charlotte Atcherley and paternal grandmother Eliza, at Highweek, Newton Abbot. I think it likely that he and Rowland were brought up by one or both of those aunts.

To compensate for the Henry’s absence on the 1851 census, we have the two receipts. The first, dated 2 October 1863, has the pre-printed city name “Bath” crossed out and replaced with “Exeter”. It reads: “Received of Mr Hill the Sum of Eighteen Pounds 18/6 due to me for board &c. of H. O. Atcherley the [crossed out: half year] quarter ending the 29th Septr. last as per account indorsed”. It is signed “C Atcherley”. The second receipt, dated 23 December 1863 (see photo of detail below), is very similar but for the lower amount of £18 13s. 0d.

C Atcherley would have been either Caroline or Charlotte  – but which one? On the one hand, both Henry and his brother Rowland were living with Caroline (at 2 Lower Mount Road Terrace in Exeter) at the time of the 1861 census. On the other hand, Charlotte, along with Bath solicitor Granville Diggle Hill (doubtless the Mr Hill to whom the receipt was made out), was an executor of her uncle Henry Oliver’s will. That will, which was proved in December 1857, included generous bequests (made subject to certain conditions) to Henry Oliver Atcherley (who was Henry Oliver’s Godson) and Rowland. It also included recommendations to Henry Oliver’s executors that they should “place my two great nephews Henry Oliver Atcherley and Roland Atcherley at some good public school Shrewsbury Grammer School for instance with which school their fathers family have been long connected”.

The receipts were evidently for money paid to Caroline or Charlotte in respect of their nephew Henry’s schooling: on the reverse of each a breakdown of the sums of money involved was given, as shown below.

The receipts show that it cost £10 per term for Henry’s board, with £5 per term allowed for the cost of his clothes, and 12 shillings a term for wine (Henry was aged 16 at this time). He was also given an allowance, of 6s. 6d for Michaelmas term but 12 shillings for Christmas term; in the latter term he also received 5 shillings for the festivities of the fifth of  November. Some expenses were charged (or accounted for) at half-yearly rather than quarterly intervals, namely fees for lectures (8 shillings) and postage, presumably for letters sent by Henry to family members. The other item of expenditure was travel by train, at a cost of £1 10s per term, plus an additional £1 10s for the change to Newton (Newton Abbot) in Michaelmas term, enabling Henry to visit either or both of his aunts Caroline and Charlotte.

But at which school was Henry Oliver Atcherley educated? Despite the Atcherley connections with Shrewsbury School, he was certainly not a pupil there as his name does not appear in its registers. Fortunately, a report on “Cambridge University Local Examinations” in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette of 10 Feb 1865 gives some vital clues. The article noted that 61 candidates had been examined at the Exeter centre for the 1864 examination and among the Junior candidates listed were “H. O. Atcherley, Nismes”, under schoolmasters C. R. Roper and J. Ingle.

The Reverends Charles Rodwell Roper and John Ingle, it turns out, were masters of Mount Radford School, situated a little to the south-east of Exeter (pictured below). The school (or college as it is also referred to) was established in 1826 and Charles Roper was enumerated there in the censuses of 1841, ’51 and ’61. Newspaper advertisements show that Roper entered into a formal partnership with John Ingle in the mid-1860s (with Roper as Principal and Ingle as Head Master), and that their school offered “special advantages to boys between the age of Seven and Fourteen; and also to boys of delicate health.” The school’s half-year sessions began, after the Christmas and Summer vacations, at the end of January and the end of July each year.

It is unlikely that Mount Radford was chosen as the place of Henry Atcherley’s education because of “delicate health” given that he was a competitor, in 1865, in the Exeter Swimming Matches. These matches, arranged by Exeter’s Bathing Committee, took place at the city’s Head Weir bathing ground off the River Exe. It was reported that: “Owing to the late heavy rain there was a strong current; but the competitors were remarkably ‘plucky.’” Henry was not among the winners of the Youths of Exeter (under 16) competition and so missed out on the prizes: £1 10s for first place, a telescope (second), a silver Albert chain (third) and a concertina (fourth place).

The fact that Mount Radford was local to Caroline or Charlotte Atcherley appears a more likely explanation for its choice – yet many of the school’s pupils were not local. The 1861 census shows that the birth places of some of Mount Radford’s 28 boys (aged from 9 to 18) ranged from Nottingham, London, Hampshire and Scotland to Barbados, Canada and India. And as I noted above, the newspaper report which listed Henry Atcherley as a pupil of Roper and Ingle in 1865, referred to him as “H. O. Atcherley, Nismes”.

Nîmes is a town in the south of France, not a place I would have expected a Devonian boy like Henry Atcherley to give as his place of residence. Possibly it was where his mother lived, and where he went to stay during his school vacations. Alternatively, it may have been the abode, for a while at least, of his aunt Charlotte, who I have yet to find on either the 1861 or 1871 census of England and Wales. As a lady of independent means, with a passport issued to her in 1856, she may well have spent a good deal of time abroad, and Henry might have stayed with her for some of that time.

In the end, my quest for information about Henry Oliver Atcherley’s education has generated at least as many questions as it has answers. If there’s one lesson I have learned, it is that this is often the way of things where family history is concerned!

Images: Photos of receipts — by the author. Photograph of Mount Radford House — from Culture Grid and used under a Creative Commons licence.


[1] Birth of Henry Oliver Atcherley registered at Newton Abbot, June quarter 1850; volume 10, page 162.
[2] Death of Rowland Atcherley registered at Chipping Sodbury, March quarter 1851; volume 11, page 195.
[3] 1851 census of England and Wales. Piece 1940, folio 420, page 19. 104 New Sydney Place, Bath, Somerset, England.
[4] 1851 census of England and Wales. Piece 1871, folio 627, page 21. Mile End Cottage, Highweek, Devon, England.
[5] 1861 census of England and Wales. Piece 1388, folio 14, page 21. 2 Lower Mount Road Terrace, Exeter, Devon, England.
[6] TNA item ref PROB 11/2262/42: Will of Henry Oliver of Doctors Commons London. Proved 3 Dec 1857. Copy viewed at Ancestry. Also available from The National Archives website.
[7] London Gazette, issue 23724, 7 Apr 1871, page 1822: “HENRY OLIVER, Deceased … Henry Oliver, late of Doctors’ Commons, London, and of the city of Bath, Esq., deceased (who died on the 22nd day of October, 1857, and whose will was proved by G. D. Hill and Charlotte Atcherley, the executors therein named …”. Copy viewed at London Gazette website.
[8] John Ernest Auden (ed.) (1909), Shrewsbury School Register. 1734-1908. Copy viewed at Internet Archive.
[9] Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 10 Feb 1865, page 5: “Cambridge University Local Examinations. …”
[10] John Britton and Edward Wedlake Brayley (1832), Devonshire & Cornwall Illustrated, page 67: “Mount Radford College. …” Copy viewed at Google Books.
[11] Author unknown (2007): Charles Rodwell Roper (web page, accessed 1 Mar 2014).
[12] Exeter Flying Post, 24 Jul 1861, page 4: “MOUNT RADFORD SCHOOL, EXETER. THE Rev. C. R. ROPER and the Rev. JOHN INGLE having entered into partnership in the above school, desire to inform their friends that the duties of the next Half-year will commence on Tuesday, July 30th. …”
[13] Western Times, 13 Jul 1866, page 8: “MOUNT RADFORD SCHOOL, EXETER, will RE-OPEN on the 31st July. It offers special advantages to boys between the age of Seven and Fourteen ; and also to boys of delicate health. Principal, Rev. C. R. ROPER, M.A. Head-Master, Rev. JOHN INGLE, M.A.”
[14] Western Times, 25 Jan 1867, page 1: “Mount Radford School, Exeter, Specially Adapted for Little Boys, Will re-open on Thursday, the 31st January. C. R. Roper, M.A., Principal. John Ingle, M.A., Head Master.”
[15] Western Times, 29 Aug 1865, page 2: “Exeter Swimming Matches. …”
[16] Exeter Memories: Blackaller and Head Weirs (web page, accessed 1 Mar 2014).
[17] 1861 census of England and Wales. Piece 1388, folio 4, page 1. Mount Radford House, Exeter St Leonard, Devon.
[18] Wikipedia: Nîmes (web page, accessed 1 Mar 2014).
[19] The National Archives’ indexes of Names of Passport Applicants from the Chief Clerk’s Department and Passport Office of the Foreign Office (FO 611) shows that passport number 41177 was issued to Miss Charlotte Atcherley on 3 September 1856. Copy viewed at Find My Past – Register of Passport Applications.

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The forgotten brother of David Francis Atcherley

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Long before I became interested in the family history of my Atcherley ancestors and kin, the genealogy of the branch of the family living at Marton in Shropshire was researched in some detail and published  in Burke’s “Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry.” I have found however that while the various versions of the genealogy published over the years were mostly accurate, they were not complete. As a result the Marton Atcherleys have managed to surprise me from time to time. Not least among those surprises was my discovery that David Francis Atcherley senior (1783–1845) was not the ‘only child’ he appeared to be.

Burke’s genealogy (supplemented by parish records and other sources) tell us that David Francis Atcherley began his life as David Francis Jones. He was named after his father, a Chester solicitor whose family seat was the Cymman (or Cymmau; nowadays Cymau), which lies within the parish of Hope, near Wrexham. This David Francis Jones had married Jane, the second daughter of Richard and Jane Atcherley of Marton, at Loppington, Shropshire in 1782. No other children resulted from the couple’s union, and Jane passed away in 1792 just two months before her 30th birthday leaving her husband to bring up their 8 year old son alone. In 1834, six years after the death of David Francis Jones the elder, the younger David Francis (along with his wife and ten children) took the surname Atcherley under the terms of his maternal uncle Richard Atcherley’s will. Thus the Atcherley name was perpetuated at Marton, as David inherited his uncle’s estates (and also, by Royal Licence, not just the surname but the arms of this branch of the Atcherley family – see On this day: 27 February 1834).

What Burke does not tell us is that the widowed David Francis Jones married again in 1795, when his son was aged 11. His bride was Anne Sandland of Whitchurch, Shropshire, daughter of Joseph Sandland and his wife Anne (Watkins). The couple married at Whitchurch, and most likely lived at Chester for some years before taking up residence at Cymmau, where David died in 1828. Anne then returned to Whitchurch, where she died the following year, aged 63. Newspaper reports of Anne’s death – the first evidence of David’s second marriage to come to my notice – referred to her as “relict of the late David Francis Jones Esq. of Cymmau”.

My initial searches for any offspring from this second marriage were fruitless. But then, while searching the British Newspaper Archive at Find My Past for articles mentioning David Francis Jones, I found a marriage notice from June 1826:

On the 1st inst. at St. Chad’s, Shrewsbury, the Rev. Thomas Henshaw Jones, B. A. Chaplain to H. R. H. The Duke of Cambridge, and second son of David Francis Jones, Esq. of Cymmow, to Elizabeth, only child of the late Rev. Joseph Langford, M. A. Rector of the first portion of Pontesbury, and one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the county of Salop.

(Further research using online parish records, and Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills at Ancestry, has shown that Thomas and Elizabeth were in fact first cousins. Elizabeth’s mother was Thomas’s aunt Beatrice Hannah Langford nee Sandland.)

Tree - Atcherley and Jones: CLick to view full tree in PDF format

This discovery was pleasing in two ways. Firstly, I had found a hitherto unknown brother of David Francis Jones / Atcherley. Secondly, this brother had a distinctive middle name, which would make it so much easier to find more records and newspaper articles relating to him!

Searching the main sources did indeed yield a number of results shedding light on the life of Thomas Henshaw Jones. Born in Chester on 9 Dec 1796, he was educated first in that city, under Mr Ireland, before being admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1813 at the age of 16. He migrated to Peterhouse in 1820, was ordinated as Deacon in 1821 and as Priest in 1822, attained his BA in 1823 and his MA in 1827. His marriage to Elizabeth Langford was blessed with the birth of a son, named Thomas Langford Jones, but sadly young Thomas died, at his father’s house in Cambridge, on 12 September 1827. He was six months old. Elizabeth must also have passed away around this time, as the registers of East Dereham in Norfolk shows the widowed Thomas Henshaw Jones marrying Alice, youngest daughter of the Rev William Deighton, in April 1829. Although he was Chaplain to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, Thomas was by this time living at Shandwick Place, Edinburgh. He resided there, with Alice, for the rest of his life. The 1851 census recorded the couple and their three servants at number 13, with Thomas shown as an Episcopalian Clergyman. He died in Edinburgh on 16 Sep 1860 and was buried in Warriston Cemetery.

Although Thomas now takes his place in the Atcherley family tree as the brother of David Francis Atcherley senior, he was of course not an Atcherley himself either by blood or in name. However, his discovery is very relevant to the Atcherleys’ family history. For one thing, in his will (which he made in Whitchurch, Shropshire on 29 Dec 1849) he devised to Elizabeth Hope Atcherley, his niece, property or shares of property in the Shropshire parishes of Moreton Say (a cottage and farmland at Longford), Stoke Upon Tern (farmland known as the Bendles) and Child’s Ercall (farmland at Salters Hill). It appears that the lands at the Bendles and Salters Hill were bequeathed to Thomas by his Sandland and Langford relatives. Along with what became known as the Longford Hall estate, his interest in these lands were then bequeathed and inherited in turn by various representatives of his Atcherley kin. (Thomas was also named, and left £1,000, in the will of his father David Francis Jones, which I only viewed after learning of Thomas’s existence through the sources described above!)

There is something else that Thomas may be able to reveal, regarding the Atcherley family. I have never seen a photograph of David Francis Atcherley senior, and it is possible that his image was never captured on camera. Thomas Henshaw Jones on the other hand is well known to students of early British photography. In 1843 his picture was taken by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, photographers of Edinburgh’s clergymen, intellectuals, artists and celebrities, whose portraits were carefully composed in the style of the Scottish artist Henry Raeburn. Their portrait of the Reverend Jones has been hailed as an example of how quickly Hill and Adamson “were able to achieve outstanding results.”

In 1837, David Francis Atcherley was described by James Grant as follows: “He is still a good-looking man, though close upon his sixtieth year; if indeed he have not already reached it. His countenance partakes of elongation, but has a sufficiently pleasant expression. His complexion is sallow. He is of the middle size both in height and form.” I find myself unable to conjure up a detailed mental image of David’s physical appearance from this pen-picture. Instead I look at the photographs of Thomas Henshaw Jones, and cannot help but wonder whether David Francis Atcherley might have borne at least a passing resemblance to his long-forgotten brother.

Images: Top — Detail from family tree diagram showing Atcherley and Jones family members. Full tree available in PDF format.
Bottom — © National Portrait Gallery, London: Thomas Henshaw Jones by David Octavius Hill, and Robert Adamson, calotype, 1843-1848. 8 1/8 in. x 6 in. (207 mm x 153 mm). Given by an anonymous donor, 1973. Primary collection. NPG P6(73). Used under a Creative Commons licence.


[1] John Burke, John Bernard Burke (1847), A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland; Volume I, pages 31-32, includes genealogy of “Atcherley of Marton”. Copy viewed at Google Books.
[2] Loppington marriage register shows: “Banns of Marriage between David Francis Jones and Jane Atcherley were published on the 16th and 23d and 30th of June 1782. The Sd. David Francis Jones of the Parish of Holy Trinity in the County and City of Chester and Jane Atcherley of this Parish Spinster were Married in this Church by Banns.” Both signed. Witnesses Elizath. Atcherley, John Jones. Copy viewed at Shropshire Archives.
[3] St Cynfarch, Hope, Flintshire burial register covering 1792 shows (date of death | date of burial | details): May 3rd | May 8th | Mrs Jones Wife of Mr David Francis Jones Atty at Law Chester. Copy viewed at Find My Past.
[4] Chester Chronicle, 12 Dec 1828, page 2 shows: “DEATHS. … Yesterday morning, at his mansion at Cymmau, Flintshire, at an advanced age, David Francis Jones, Esq. formerly and for many years a respectable solicitor, of this city. Upon this most deserving gentleman eulogy would be worse than useless; his uprightness and integrity of character can only be estimated by those who were personally acquainted with his sterling virtues. Mr. Jones was the father of Mr. Seargeant Jones, a barrister of pre-eminent distinction.”
[5] St Cynfarch, Hope, Flintshire burial register shows burial on 19 Dec 1828 of (name| abode | age): David Francis Jones Esqr | Cymme | 70. Copy viewed at Find My Past.
[6] London Gazette, issue 19138, 21 Mar 1834, page 510 reports the King’s grant of a royal licence to David Francis Jones “that he and his issue may, in compliance with the last will and testament of his late maternal uncle, Richard Atcherley, of Marton aforesaid, Esq. deceased, henceforth take and use the surname of Atcherley, in lieu of that of Jones, and also bear the arms of Atcherley only”. Copy viewed at London Gazette website.
[7] Shropshire Parish Register Society (1908), The Register of Wem, Part II. Baptism on 3 Apr 1767 transcribed as: “Anne, d. of Joseph Sandland, of this town, & Anne”. Copy of transcript available at Mel Lockie’s website.
[8] Same source shows marriage of Anne’s Sandland’s parents at Wem on 31 Dec 1762, entry transcribed as: “Joseph Sandland, yeoman, & Anne Watkins, sp., lic. Wit: Margaret Pidgeon & Timothy Parker.” Copy of transcript available at Mel Lockie’s website.
[9] Transcript of St Alkmund, Whitchurch, Shropshire marriage register shows, on 15 Jan 1795: “David Francis Jones of St John Baptist, Chester and Anne Sandland”. Viewed at Shropshire Archives.
[10] Chester Chronicle, 9 Jun 1826, page 2 includes marriage notice for the Rev. Thomas Henshaw Jones and Elizabeth Langford. Copy viewed at Find My Past.
[11] W W Rouse Ball, J A Venn (eds.) (1911), Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge; Volume IV, 1801 to 1850; page 99 includes entry for Thomas Henshaw Jones. Copy viewed at Google Books (via proxy server).
[12] Heinrich Schwarz (1931), David Octavius Hill: Master of Photography; page 56 includes notes on Thomas Henshaw Jones. Snippet and OCR text viewed at Google Books.
[13] Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, 14 Sep 1827, page 3 (copy viewed at Find My Past) includes death notice for Thomas Langford Jones.
[14] East Dereham marriage register shows, on 23 Apr 1829: “Thomas Henshaw Jones, Widower of Shandwick Place in the City of Edinburgh and Alice Deighton, Spinster of this Parish were married in this Church by Licence this twenty third Day of April in the Year One thousand eight hundred and twenty Nine By me John Nelson, Minister” Both signed. Witnesses W: Deighton, Jane Anne [Jones?], Emily Nelson, Olivia Mathias. Copy viewed at FamilySearch.
[15] Norfolk Chronicle, 25 Apr 1829, page 2 includes marriage notice for wedding of the Rev. T. Henshaw Jones and Alice, youngest daughter of the Rev. Wm. Deighton, rector of Whinburgh and Westfield, and vicar of Carbrooke. Copy viewed at Find My Past.
[16] 1851 census of Scotland. Parish Edinburgh St Cuthberts. Piece 685, folio 44, page 12. Transcript viewed at Find My Past.
[17] National Probate Calendar (1863) shows: JONES The Reverend Thomas Henshaw. 17 January. The Confirmation under Seal of the Commissariot of Edinburgh dated 9 August 1861 of John Lee of Whitechurch [= Whitchurch] Shropshire Solicitor as Executor Nominate of the late Reverend Thomas Henshaw Jones of 13 Shandwick-place Edinburgh who died at Edinburgh 16 September 1860 was sealed at the Principal Registry London. Copy viewed at Ancestry.
[18] The Photographic Journal, volume 104, 1964, page 64 includes notes on Rev. Thomas Henshaw-Jones. “In his later years he resided in Edinburgh and when he died he was buried in Warriston Cemetery.” Snippet viewed at Google Books.
[19] GROS ref 685/01 0825, will of Thomas Henshaw Jones, St George, Edinburgh City, Midlothian, 1860. Copy viewed at Scotland’s People.
[20] TNA items ref PROB 11/1505/196: Will of Reverend Joseph Langford, Clerk of Pontesbury , Shropshire. Copy viewed at Ancestry. Also available from The National Archives website.
[21] TNA item ref PROB 11/1705/134: Will of Mary Sandland, Spinster of Whitchurch , Shropshire. Proved 7 Nov 1825. Copy viewed at Ancestry. Also available from The National Archives website.
[22] TNA item ref PROB 11/1950/193: Will of Beatrice Hannah Langford, Widow of Shrewsbury , Shropshire. Proved 21 Aug 1841. Copy viewed at Ancestry. Also available from The National Archives website.
[23] Rhyl Journal, 6 May 1899, page 2 shows: “The personal estate under the will of Miss Lucy Catherine Atcherley, of 2, Crescent-terrace, Cheltenham, who died on February 27, has been valued at £8,923, and the gross value at £10,126. Miss Atcherley … devised her interest in the Longford Hall estate to her nephew, Llewellyn William Atcherley …” Copy viewed at Welsh Newspapers Online.
[24] TNA item ref PROB 11/1750/251: Will of David Francis Jones, Gentleman of Chester, Cheshire. Proved 27 Jan 1829. Copy viewed at Ancestry. Also available from The National Archives website.
[25] Roddy Simpson (2012), The Photography of Victorian Scotland, page number unknown. Preview copy viewed at Google Books.
[26] James Grant (1837), The Bench and the Bar; Volume II, pages 177-180: Mr. Serjeant Atcherley. Copy viewed at Google Books.

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