< Back to Part 2.
The 1870s brought huge changes for the family of Edward Ryley and his wife Mary Ellen, née Atcherley. The family increased in size as more children were added. After a decade or so as a horse hair manufacturer, Edward abandoned this business and, having previously had a partnership with his brother Thomas Heath Ryley, entered into a new one with a man named Thomas Heath! Finally, the family faced the challenge of emigration – and the death of two of its members.
Families, for the most part, do not exist in isolation. Connections are important, and discovering even simple connections within and between family units is, for me, one of the joys of family history research. Take for example a cricket match which took place at Waters Upton in Shropshire on Tuesday 3 October 1871 and which was reported on by the following Saturday’s edition of the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser.
The local team played that of Peatswood, near Market Drayton, a team which included E Ryley – almost certainly Edward. One of the Waters Upton team members, named in the match report as W E Atcherley, could only have been William Henry Atcherley of Moortown in the neighbouring parish of Ercall Magna – Edward Ryley’s brother-in-law. “The weather was hardly what could be desired, but allowed one innings being played on either side.” It was not a high-scoring match, and Waters Upton won by five runs, but for me the story here is not the score but the ongoing connection between the Ryley and Atcherley families which began with the union of Edward and Mary Ellen.
As we have seen, by April 1871 (when that year’s census was taken) Edward and Mary Ellen had six children, two of whom, Robert Atcherley and William Henry, were named for Mary’s father and brother respectively. At the time of the cricket match which pitched (pun intended) Edward Ryley against William Henry Atcherley, Mary Ellen was expecting the couple’s seventh child. Percy Ryley made his appearance on 25 December, which I hope made Christmas Day doubly delightful. He was baptised at Little Drayton on 12 March 1872.
More children followed: Florence in 1873, Norah Eveline in 1875, and Lilian Gertrude in 1877. There would be an eleventh child too, but by that time the Ryleys would be a long way from Market Drayton. More on that later.
Florence Ryley, like Percy, was baptised at Little Drayton, on 11 August 1873. The record of this ceremony showed that her father Edward was a “Hair Manufacturer”; the corresponding entry in the register for Percy’s baptism simply said “Manufacturer” (I can find no baptism records for Norah or Lilian). The manufacture of horse hair seating was a business which I believe Edward had pursued alone since his partnership with his brother ended in 1869. I reached this conclusion only after a good deal of confusion, which I cleared up by gathering and carefully weighing up several pieces of evidence!
Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Worcestershire for 1870 stated that there then four firms manufacturing horsehair seating in Market Drayton, as did Edward Cassey & Co.’s History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Shropshire published in 1871. This was an increase of one firm since the directories of the early 1860s were published, and no doubt reflected the Ryley brothers’ split.
Both of these directories also included “Ryley Thomas H. The Mount” as one of the private residents (or, in Cassey’s directory, gentry) of Market Drayton, while in the same listings for Little Drayton there was “Ryley Mr. Edward, Victoria mills” and “Ryley Mr. Edward, jun. [plain “Ryley Mr. Edward” in Cassey’s] Shropshire street”. Then, in the commercial listings for Little Drayton, both directories included “Ryley Edward & Sons, horsehair manufacturers, Shropshire street” and “Ryley Edward, jun. [again, plain Ryley Edward in Cassey’s] horsehair manufacturer, Victoria mills”. My confusion arose from these directories’ misunderstanding regarding the company trading as “Edward Ryley and Sons” – by 1870 it was being run by Thomas Heath Ryley alone, but retained the old name!
Map showing locations of (1) Victoria Mills, (2) The Mount, (3) Shropshire Street, and (4) St Mary’s Chucrh, Market Drayton.
Edward Ryley (still referred to as ‘junior’ by some despite the death of his father in 1869) had his residence in Shropshire Street (as shown on the 1871 census), but his business was conducted at the former family home of the Ryleys, Victoria Mills. The latter point is confirmed by two newspaper reports, the first appearing in Eddowes’s Shrewsbury Journal of 10 August 1870: “Chimney Sweeping.—Mr. Edward Ryley was summoned at the instance of a chimney sweep, named Saunders, for allowing a youth under 21 years of age to cleanse a flue at the Victoria Mills. Fined 10s., to include costs.” The second was printed in The Staffordshire Sentinel on 1 October 1870:
(Before Egerton Harding, Esq., Colonel George Hill, Colonel Broughton, and John Tayleur, Esq.) […]
Breach of Contract.—Eliza Gilford, a factory hand, was charged by Edward Ryley, of Victoria Mills, with unlawfully absenting herself from service. From the evidence of complainant it appeared that the defendant was engaged to secure a piece hair-seating, but that when only part done she absented herself from work, and caused him annoyance and loss. He did not wish to press the case, but being offence of frequent occurrence he brought it forward that other hands might clearly understand what they were required to do. Defendant was ordered to fulfil her contract, and to pay costs.
The following notice, which appeared in the London Gazette of 22 August 1871, shows not only that Thomas Heath Ryley was trading under the name of Edward Ryley and Sons, but also that he was having financial difficulties:
The Bankruptcy Act, 1869.
In the County Court of Cheshire, holden at Nantwich and Crewe.
In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by Thomas Heath Ryley, of Market Drayton, in the county of Shropshire, Horse Hair Manufacturer, trading as Edward Ryley and Sons.
NOTICE is hereby given, that a First General Meeting of the creditors of the above-named person has been summoned to be held at the office of Mr. John Leigh, Solicitor, No. 30, Brown-street, Manchester, on the 11th day of September, 1871, at three o’clock in the afternoon precisely. […]
A further notice was published in the Gazette of 15 September 1871, announcing a second creditors’ meeting, but I have found no further information about this case (I can’t help wondering whether his brother Edward ‘bailed him out’). What I have found is that Thomas Heath Ryley continued to operate his horse hair manufacturing business, and kept his home at The Mount in Market Drayton, at least for a few years. Evidence for both of these things can be found in the baptism records for his children Kate Duckers Ryley (at Market Drayton on 27 July 1872) and Bertie Thomas Ryley (at Little Drayton on 7 March 1874).
There is also evidence which confirms that ‘Edward Ryley and Sons’ was (as indicated in the aforementioned directories of 1870 and ’71) operating from an address in Shropshire Street. Newspaper notices show that in August 1872, a “SHOP with DWELLING-HOUSE attached, Bakehouse, very extensive Warehouses […] situate in Shropshire-street, Market Drayton, and now in the occupation of Mr. Elijah Yeomans, baker and provision dealer, and Mr. T. H. Ryley, horse-hair seating manufacturer” was to take place. The same property was advertised as being for sale by auction in January 1875, this time described as a “DWELLING-HOUSE with Front Shop and Bakehouse, large WAREHOUSE, used as a hair-seating manufactory, GARDEN, &c., in Shropshire-street, occupied by Mr. Thomas Lutener and Mr. T. H Ryley.”
This sale may have dealt the final blow to Thomas’s business. When his next child, Mary Beatrice Ryley, was baptised on 26 April 1875 at Market Drayton St Mary (pictured left), Thomas Heath Ryley was described as a Commercial Traveller. He was still undertaking this work at the end of 1876, when his daughter Florence Julia Ryley was baptised (on 31 December) at Nechells St Clement in Birmingham. The last addition to Thomas’s family, Edward William Ryley, was born in West Ham on 29 September 1878. West Ham was where Thomas died in July 1879.
Coincidentally, 1875 was also the year when Edward Ryley lost (or gave up) his business premises at Victoria Mills. I wonder if the family had any inkling of things to come in the summer of that year, when they would I’m sure have celebrated the fact that the Edward junior, a pupil at Admaston College, received a prize for being first in the 4th Division of that institution? In November that year this notice appeared in the press: “TO BE LET, at Market Drayton, Shropshire, a FACTORY, with all the necessary steam power and machinery required in the horse hair seating manufactory. The premises are convenient, and the whole has been lately occupied by Edward Ryley.”
I have yet to discover how Edward sustained himself and his family for the following two and half years, but at the end of that period another business venture beckoned:
HEATH BROTHERS, Auctioneers, beg to return their thanks for the very liberal support that has been accorded to them, and to notify that the Firm has this day been DISSOLVED by mutual consent, Mr. E. R. Heath retiring. The Business will in future be carried on by Mr. THOMAS HEATH, in conjunction with Mr. EDWARD RYLEY, under the style of “Thomas Heath and Edward Ryley,” who hope by careful attention to business, combined with prompt settlements, to merit patronage and support.
Market Drayton, July 14, 1877.
The above was followed by the first of a series of notices placed in the press by Heath and Ryley, advertising livestock auctions in Market Drayton and later also in Crewe (examples are given in the references below). As I found more and more of these during my research, I began to wonder whether these business partners were also related by blood. Edward Ryley’s mother was, before marriage, Mary Ann Heath. Also, Edward had a brother named Thomas Heath Ryley, and I discovered that the former business partner of Thomas Heath was a brother named Edward Ryley Heath! It turns out that the parents of Edward Ryley were a brother and sister of the parents of Thomas Heath. The duo had the same four grandparents and were double first cousins. See, I told you I enjoy finding family connections!
The sale of “SALE of FAT and STORE STOCK” held by Thomas Heath and Edward Ryley on 26 December 1878 was their last. Their business partnership was dissolved on 31 December that year, with Thomas Heath carrying on the business by himself. On Monday 24 March 1879 Thomas was “favoured with instructions from Mr. Edward Ryley”, who was “leaving the neighbourhood”, to auction off Edward’s “HANDSOME and Valuable HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE and EFFECTS, comprising dining, drawing, and bed room furniture (in mahogany), fine-toned cottage pianoforte (full compass, in rosewood, by Hopkinson), Brussels carpets, mahogany, birch, and iron bedsteads; mattresses, large oak wardrobe, mahogany and painted chests of drawers, glass, china, and other household effects about 350 vols. of Books (in suitable lots).”
On 3 July 1879 Edward and Mary Ellen Ryley, with their seven youngest children (and one yet to be born), departed Southampton aboard the SS Teuton. They were intending to start a new life in Natal, but for two members of the family that life was to be cut short. The following appeared in Eddowes’s Shrewsbury Journal and Salopian Journal of 10 December 1879:
Melancholy Death in South Africa.—Many of our readers will be sorry to hear that Mrs. Edward Ryley, who, in company with her husband and family, left this town for Natal some months since, succumbed to an attack of [dysentery], and died at Durban, Natal, on the 16th October last. One of the children, Norah, aged five years, died from the same complaint seven days previous to the decease of her mother.
To be continued.
Picture credits. Playing cricket: Adapted from a public domain image at Wikimedia Commons. Market Drayton St Mary: Taken from the Shropshire & Telford TSB Flickr photostream; adapted and used under the terms of a Creative Commons licence. Map showing Victoria Mill, The Mount, Shropshire Street and St Mary’s, Market Drayton: Extract from Ordnance Survey six-inch map XVI.NW published 1902 (surveyed 1899-1900), Crown Copyright expired; reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under a Creative Commons licence. Heath and Ryley family connections: Diagram by the author.
 Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser, 7 Oct 1871, page 4. “WATERS UPTON.”. Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Birth of Percy Ryley registered at Market Drayton, March quarter 1872; volume 6a, page 802; mother’s maiden name Atcherley.
 Rider Fraser Olsen (1933), Who’s Who in Natal with which is incorporated Women of Natal. Page 215. List of biographies with dates of birth (including “Ryley, Percy – b. 25 Dec 1871 Shropshire, England.” Viewed at Genealogy World (website, no longer online – see Internet Archive version).
 Little Drayton Christ Church, Shropshire, baptism register covering 1872. Entry dated 12 Mar 1872 for Percy Ryley. Copy viewed at Shropshire Archives.
 Birth of Florence Ryley registered at Market Drayton, September quarter 1873; volume 6a, page 749; mother’s maiden name Atcherley.
 Birth of Norah Eveline Ryley registered at Market Drayton, September quarter 1875; volume 6a, page 767; mother’s maiden name Atcherley.
 Birth of Lillian Gertrude Ryley registered at Market Drayton, June quarter 1877; volume 6a, page 788; mother’s maiden name Atcherley.
 Little Drayton Christ Church, Shropshire, baptism register covering 1873. Entry dated 11 Aug 1873 for Florence Ryley. Copy viewed at Shropshire Archives.
 E R Kelly (ed.) (1870), The Post Office Directory of Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Worcestershire. Pages 88 – 91. Copy viewed at Ancestry – U.K., City and County Directories, 1600s-1900s.
 Edward Cassey & Co. (1871): History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Shropshire. Pages 225, 226, 229, 230. Copy viewed at University of Leicester Special Collections Online.
 Eddowes’s Shrewsbury Journal, 10 Aug 1870, page 2. “Chimney Sweeping.” Copy viewed at Shropshire Archives.
 The Staffordshire Sentinel, 1 Oct 1870, page 6. “POLICE INTELLIGENCE.” Copy viewed at Shropshire Archives.
 London Gazette, 22 Aug 1871, issue 23769, page 3752.
 London Gazette, 15 Sep 1871, issue 23776, page 3983. Copy also viewed at Google Books.
 Market Drayton St Mary, Shropshire, baptism register covering 1872. Entry dated 27 Jul 1872 for Kate Duckers Ryley, daughter of Thomas Heath, a Hair Manufacturer, and Mary Ryley, of The Mount. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms.
 Little Drayton Christ Church, Shropshire, baptism register covering 1874. Entry dated 7 Mar 1874 for Bertie Thomas Ryley, son of Thomas Heath, a Hair Manufacturer, and Mary Ryley, of The Mount. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms.
 Staffordshire Advertiser, 3 Aug 1872, page 8. “SALE of FREEHOLD PROPERTY, MARKET DRAYTON.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive (search terms Rvlev and Drayton).
 Staffordshire Advertiser, 2 Jan 1875, page 2. “FREEHOLD PROPERTY, at MARKET DRAYTON.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive (search term “t h ryley”).
 Birmingham Nechells St Clement, Warwickshire, baptism register covering 1876. Entry dated 31 Dec 1876 for Florence Julia Ryley, daughter of Thomas Heath, a Commercial Traveller, and Mary Ryley, of 252 Nechells Park Road. Copy viewed at Ancestry – Birmingham, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912.
 Birth of Edward William Ryley registered at West Ham, December quarter 1878; volume 4a, page 73; mother’s maiden name Duckers.
 The National Archives, Kew, Series RG101: 1939 National Identity Register. Piece 6889C, Item 006, Line 29. River View, Exton, St Thomas Rural District. Edward W Ryley, born 29 Sep 1878, Married, Bank Manager (Retired), Air raid Warden. Copy viewed at Findmypast – 1939 Register.
 Death of Thomas Heath Ryley registered at West Ham, September quarter 1879; volume 4a, page 19; age given as 46.
 Deceased Online shows burial of Thomas Heath Ryley in Newham, London, England on 11 Jul 1879. Indexed at Ancestry – Web: UK, Burial and Cremation Index, 1576-2014.
 Eddowes’s Shrewsbury Journal and Salopian Journal, 23 Jun 1875, page 8, column 3. “THE COLLEGE, ADMASTON.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive (search terms Ryiey and Drayton).
 Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 6 Nov 1875, page 3. “FACTORY TO LET.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive (search terms Kyley and Drayton).
 Staffordshire Advertiser, 28 July 1877, page 8. “HEATH BROTHERS, Auctioneers, […]” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser, 28 July 1877, page 1. “CATTLE MARKET, MARKET DRAYTON. Messrs. THOMAS HEATH AND EDWARD RYLEY WILL hold the usual SALE of Fat and Store Cattle, Calves, Sheep, Lambs, Pigs, &c., in the above Market, on Wednesday, August 8th, 1877; commencing with the Cattle at 11.30 punctually. Offices: Shropshire Street.” Followed by: “UNICORN INN YARD, MARKET DRAYTON. Messrs. THOMAS HEATH AND EDWARD RYLEY WILL hold a SALE of Waggon, Hack, and Harness HORSES, COBS, COLTS, &c., as above, early in September next. Entries solicited. Offices—Shropshire Street.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Staffordshire Sentinel, 29 Dec 1877, page 4. “CREWE CATTLE MARKET. THOS. HEATH and EDWARD RYLEY have made arrangements with the lessee to HOLD SALES BY AUCTION of FAT STORE STOCK, SHEEP, PIGS, &c., in the above Market, and intend holding their FIRST SALE on January 14th, 1878, being Crewe Fair Day. T. H. and E. R. feel confident from the position of Crewe, that it might become one the most important markets in the kingdom, and that through their extensive connections in Cheshire and the districts of the adjoining counties, that they shall be able to supply the Market with Stock worthy the attention of customers from the many populous districts to which Crewe is of such easy access. The Sales will be thoroughly advertised in Cheshire, Lancashire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire. The entries at present comprise a number of prime fat Beasts, and ripe Wether Sheep. Further entries respectfully solicited. Auction Offices, Shropshire street, Market Drayton.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Wellington Journal, 2 Mar 1878, page 1. “CATTLE MARKET, MARKET DRAYTON. THOMAS HEATH & EDWARD RYLEY WILL hold their usual SALE of Fat and Store CATTLE, CALVES, SHEEP, LAMBS, PIGS, &c., in the above Market, On Wednesday, March 5th, 1878, Commencing with the Calves, Sheep, &c., at Eleven o’clock punctually. Offices: SHROPSHIRE STREET.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Staffordshire Advertiser, 9 Nov 1878, page 8. “CATTLE MARKET, MARKET DRAYTON. THOMAS HEATH and EDWARD RYLEY will hold their usual SALE of FAT and STORE STOCK on Wednesday next, November 13, commencing with Calves, Sheep, &c., at Eleven o’clock. N.B.—The entries for this Sale include a special Lot of twenty superior well-bred SHROPSHIRE EWE and WETHER LAMBS, fit for butcher or store.” Followed by: “MARKET DRAYTON SALE ROOMS. THOMAS HEATH and EDWARD RYLEY will hold their next PERIODICAL SALE of POULTRY, &c., as above, on Wednesday, November 20, 1878. Numerous entries of high class birds have already been made, and further entries are solicited as early as possible to secure the benefit of being advertised and catalogued. The Auctioneers beg to say that their Rooms contain every facility for carrying out sales of this description to advantage. Sale at Two o’clock prompt. Offices, Cheshire street.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Staffordshire Advertiser, 7 Dec 1878, page 8. “CATTLE MARKET, MARKET DRAYTON. THOMAS HEATH and EDWARD RYLEY will hold their CHRISTMAS SALE on Wednesday, December 11, 1878, at which PRIZES will be awarded for—The Best COW, HEIFER, or OX. The Best BULL. the Best Pen of 5 SHEEP. The Best FAT PIG. All Entries for Prizes must be made not later than the day previous. Sale at Eleven o’clock, commencing with Calves, Sheep, &c.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Staffordshire Advertiser, 21 Dec 1878, page 8. “CATTLE MARKET, MARKET DRAYTON.—ALTERATION in usual DAY.—In consequence of the Cattle Market falling on Christmas Day, THOMAS HEATH and EDWARD RYLEY will hold their next SALE of FAT and STORE STOCK, as above, on Thursday, December 26, 1878, commencing with the Cattle at Eleven o’clock.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 England and Wales census of 1871. The Hermitage, Stafford Street, Market Drayton, Shropshire. Piece 2674, folio 68, page 13. Head: Thomas Heath, unmarried, 35, Estate Agent & Auctioneer, born Chapel Chorlton Staffordshire. Sister: Frances Heath, unmarried, 38, born Audlem, Cheshire. Sister: Ann Heath, unmarried, 31, born Chapel Chorlton Staffordshire. Plus a general servant.
 England and Wales census of 1851.
 Chapel Chorlton, Staffordshire, baptism register covering 1846. Entry dated 8 Mar 1846 for Thomas Heath, son of Thos, a farmer, and Ann Heath, of Swinchurch. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Staffordshire Baptisms.
 Chapel Chorlton, Staffordshire, baptism register covering 1848. Entry dated 12 Mar 1848 for Edward Ryley Heath, son of Thomas, a farmer, and Ann Heath, of Swinchurch. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Staffordshire Baptisms.
 Market Drayton St Mary, marriage register covering 1837. Entry dated 30 Nov 1837 for Thomas Heath, of full age, Bachelor, a Farmer of Sandbach, father Thomas Heath, a Farmer; and Ann Ryley, of full age, Spinster, place of residence not given, father Edward Ryley, a Miller. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Marriages. Note: Witnesses John Heath, Lydia Ryley.
 Market Drayton St Mary, parish register covering 1804. Entry dated 28 Nov 1804 for “Thomas Son of Thomas and Juliana Heath Betton”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms.
 Market Drayton St Mary, marriage register covering 1798. Entry dated 2 Jun 1798 for Thomas Heath and Juliana Beeston, both of the parish. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Marriages. Note: Witnesses John Heath, Lettis Heath.
 Market Drayton St Mary, parish register covering 1798. Entry dated 26 Sep 1798 for “Mary Ann Dr. of John & Juliana Heath Betton”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms. Note: ‘John’ believed to be in error for ‘Thomas’.
 Wistaston, Cheshire, parish register covering 1797. Entry dated 26 Mar 1797 for baptism of “Edward Son of Edward & Frances Ryley”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Diocese of Chester parish registers of baptisms c1538-1910.
 Norton in the Moors, Staffordshire, marriage register covering 1793. Entry dated 25 Dec 1793 for Edward Ryley of Stoke Parish and Frances Bourn of Stoke Parish. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Staffordshire Marriages (seemingly not indexed – found by manual search of register images).
 Nantwich Church Lane Congregational Chapel, Cheshire, baptism register covering 1812. Entry for “Ann Ryley the Daughter of Edward & Francis Ryley of Nantwich in the County of Cheshire was born Decr. 19 1811”. Copy viewed at Ancestry – England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970.
 Wellington Journal, 4 Jan 1879, page 1. “NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us, THOMAS HEATH and EDWARD RYLEY, carrying on business as Auctioneers and Appraisers, at Market Drayton, in the county of Salop, and also for some time at Crewe, in the county of Cheshire, under the style or firm of “Thomas Heath and Edward Ryley,” was this day DISSOLVED by mutual consent; and the said business will hereafter be carried by the said Thomas Heath alone, by whom all Debts due to or owing by the said firm will be received and paid. Dated this 31st day of December, 1878.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Wellington Journal, 15 Mar 1879, page 1. “CATTLE MARKET, MARKET DRAYTON.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.
 Genealogical Society of South Africa (eGGSA branch) South African Passenger Lists.
 Eddowes’s Shrewsbury Journal and Salopian Journal, 10 Dec 1879, page 5. “Melancholy Death in South Africa.” Copy viewed at British Newspaper Archive.