thomas & hart buck – spirit merchants – 1822

Following my last post hart buck – spirit merchant – 1833  I was contacted by Laura in England who owns a very interesting piece of BUCK family history.

Laura is a collector of old bottles. She has an impressive old spirit flagon in her collection which is hand inscribed with the letters “T & H B G”.

T&HB Grantham_1_HR

Two gallon tapered waisted type spirit flagon hand-inscribed with the letters “T & H B G”

Laura has done some research and believes the initials link the flagon to the business of Thomas and Hart Buck, Spirit Merchants of Grantham, Lincolnshire. She provided me will the following information:

Hi Susan

After doing some research at The British Library in London I have found the earliest reference to Thomas and Hart Buck at Market Place in Grantham in 1822-23. See my photos below taken from Pigot & Co’s Commercial Directory.

The flagon itself is a two gallon tapered waisted type spirit flagon. And is manufactured in a ‘Sgraffito’ style i.e. the lettering is hand-scribed by a skilled artisan with a sharp instrument. This, as well as it’s age, makes it a highly desirable item amongst bottle collectors.

We don’t know if the flagon was produced during the period at the business was at Market Place or from when they moved to the High Street in 1833? But would be able to date somewhere between 1822 (as the directory) to 1842 at Thomas Buck’s death.

Hope my photographs are of interest to you and your family.

Kind Regards,

T&HB Grantham_2_MR

‘Sgraffito’ style – lettering is hand-scribed by a skilled artisan with a sharp instrument.

Thank you Laura for sharing your treasure with me. It’s wonderful to see this piece of family history in such good condition at over 195 years old.

Pigot and Co’s Commercial Directory of 1822-23 lists Thomas and Hart Buck of Market Place, Grantham trading as Spirit Merchants. Also listed is William Smith, the publican of the White Hart Hotel in High Street, Grantham.

T&HB Grantham_Pigots 1822-23

Thomas Buck and his son Hart are listed as Wine and Spirit Merchants in Grantham, Lincolnshire. [Pigot and Co’s Commercial Directory of 1822-23]

Hart BUCK (1787-1858) had a draper’s business in Market Place, Grantham when his first wife Jane SMITH died in February 1824.

The Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury – Friday 13 February 1824
DEATH: At Grantham on Thursday the 5th inst. Mrs Buck, wife of Mr Hart Buck, of that place, aged 33, leaving seven small children, with a disconsolate husband, to lament the loss of a most valuable wife and tender mother. Her remains were interred at Grantham on Sunday and six of her children were christened at the same time.

Thomas BUCK (1763-1842) was Hart BUCK’s  father. I believe Thomas had a business of some sort in Epperstone, Nottinghamshire in the 1780s before moving to Grantham. Thomas was a witness on the church register when Hart married his second wife Mary SMITH (nee HALL) in Grantham on 7th November 1824.

The Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury – Friday 12 November 1824
MARRIAGE: On Sunday last, at Grantham, Mr Hart Buck, draper of that place to Mrs Smith, daughter of Mr Hall grazier of Pointon, near Folkingham.

It baffled me for a long while how Hart BUCK, a draper of Grantham, took on a spirit and wine business. Then I found some newspaper articles relating to his wife Mary’s first marriage:

The Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury – 20th October 1815
MARRIAGE: At Brussels on the 4th instant Mr William SMITH, army saddler to Miss Mary HALL, third daughter of Mr William HALL, grazier of Pointon in this County. The ceremony was performed in the Chapel Royal by the Rev Mr TUNNEY, Chaplain to the Forces.

William SMITH was Mary HALL’s first husband. He served with the Duke of Wellington’s forces at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Or, he arrived as part of the occupying forces based in Brussels soon after the victory over Napoleon’s forces. Mary may have been living in Brussels as a governess or a ladies companion, she was 28 years at time of her marriage to William who was 26-27 years.


English artillery officers at the battle of Waterloo [Original drawing after George Jones.]

William and Mary SMITH settled in Grantham after the war and William was the publican of the White Hart Hotel in the High Street, as listed in Pigot & Co’s Directory of 1922-23.

I have found a curious legal notice in the The Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury dated 9th April 1824. William SMITH, innkeeper of Grantham assigns over all his estate to Hart BUCK and two other executors Lawrence WYLES and Edward JACKSON.


1824-04-09_Stamford Mercury_Buck_William Smith

The Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury – 9th April 1824.

It is curious because it is not worded as a formal bankrupt notice and William SMITH does not appear in the list of bankrupts published in the newspaper of that time.

It might be a case that the executors of William SMITH’s estate stepped in to manage the business before it was declared insolvent. Another possibility is that William, a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, was not well. Did he have physical wounds or did he suffer from battle shock?

There are no records of William’s death in or around Grantham in 1824, but I found a parish burial of William SMITH at St Paul in the Bail, Lincoln on 15 October 1824:


William Smith burial 1824 page22

Extract of burials in the Parish of St Paul in the Bail, Lincoln 1824. [Lincolnshire Archives]

William was most likely committed to the asylum in Lincoln in early April where I imagine he suffered greatly for six months until his death and burial on 15 October 1824 at the age of 35 years.

His widow Mary married Hart BUCK three weeks later in Grantham on 7th November 1824. The marriage was, no doubt, advantageous and a comfort to them both. Hart was widowed in February, lost his youngest son in July, and had six children under 10 years; and Mary lost her livelihood and her husband to the enduring impact of war. 1824 proved to be a very traumatic year for them all.

From information I have found in newspapers, directories and census returns it appears Hart and Mary and family lived a good life. Hart BUCK is listed as both a draper and wine and spirit merchant in Market Place, Grantham until 1833 when the family moved to High Street.

Buck_Hart_Spirit Merchant_Buck_18330628_Stamford Mercury

The Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury – 28th June 1833.

Hart BUCK’s father Thomas BUCK died in Grantham in 1842. Hart and Mary BUCK moved to Newark Upon Trent, Nottinghamshire sometime after the 1841 Census. They are in Newark in the 1851 Census and living back in Grantham and Little Gonerby by 1952.

In his last will and testament dated 1855, Hart BUCK also had the copy hold title to “The Wheatsheaf” in Long Bennington, Lincoln. Hart died in December 1858 in Little Gonerby.

The Grantham Journal – Saturday, 11th December 1858.

DEATH: At Grantham, on Sunday last, Mr Hart Buck senr; aged 71 yrs.

OBITUARYWe this week record the decease of the oldest tradesman in the town of Grantham – Mr Hart Buck – in the 72nd year of his age. For more than half a century in his business transactions he maintained the respect and esteem of the community amongst which he resided. His decease was somewhat unexpected, a circumstance which invariably adds to the grief of a bereaved family.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sources:The British Newspaper Archive website; Parish Records Lincolnshire Archives; photos of flagon and Pigot & Co’s directory by Laura Barton.


hart buck – spirit merchant – 1833

My last post on this blog was 11 months ago!

I am posting this newspaper snippet from 1833 which raises more questions than answers. 

Hart Buck Spirit Merchant advertisement [Stamford Mercury 28 June 1833]

Hart Buck Spirit Merchant advertisement [Stamford Mercury 28 June 1833]

HART BUCK, Spirit Merchant, Grantham, returns thanks to his friends and the public for the very liberal support, he has experienced for many years in the above business, and begs to announce to them that he has removed to a house in the High-street, opposite the Post-office, where he intends carrying on the same, and to serve his friends with an article of the best quality at moderate prices.

This advert, printed in the Stamford Mercury on 28 June 1833, popped up while I was searching The British Newspaper Archive website for great-great-grandfather Hart BUCK who was a draper and cloth merchant in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

It was a surprise to find he was also a spirit merchant. During the 19th century it was common for British wine and spirit merchants to buy their stock by the barrel and bottle it themselves.

Old rum bottles, Stage-coach and Tavern Days, by Alice Morse Earle,1900 [Project Gutenberg]

Old spirit and rum bottles of the nineteenth century came in many shapes and sizes.

Hart BUCK reports he has moved to “a house in the High-street“, not a shop, so I am wondering if his customers came to buy bottles to drink at home or maybe one of the front rooms in the house was set up as a tap room and folks stayed to enjoy a glass or two?

A Hart & Hound Tavern Jug which would not have been out of place in Hart Buck's establishment.

This stag & hound tavern jug would not have looked out-of-place in Hart Buck’s establishment.

This discovery definitely deserves further investigation.

POSTSCRIPT: Find further reading in my follow-up post thomas & hart buck – spirit merchants – 1822

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Sources:The British Newspaper Archive website; images Stage-coach and Tavern Days, by Alice Morse Earle, 1900 [Project Gutenberg Ebook #37272]

graveyard ramblings

I have a confession to make – I love wandering around in overgrown cemeteries.

You can rest in peace folks (both above and below), I have not gone all Buffy the Vampire Slayer or teamed up with the Scooby-Doo Gang. I love wandering in overgrown cemeteries in the day time.

Rookwood Cemetery 082

A brilliant summer’s day at Rookwood Cemetery, rambling through the marble, sandstone and wildflowers.

One of my favourite places to visit is Rookwood Necropolis (city of the dead) in Sydney, Australia. It’s the largest multicultural necropolis in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s estimated about one million people have been buried in the ‘suburb’ which covers an area of over 300 hectares.

In 1862 the government purchased a large piece of land for the new necropolis on the newly built railway line at what was then known as Haslam’s Creek, 17 kilometres from the Sydney CBD. It was planned out like a suburb with streets, avenues of trees, buildings for contemplation and divided into denominations according to their numbers in the 1861 census.

Rookwood was served by a rail spur from the main line from 1867 until 1948. The train carried mourners and the deceased in special ‘hearse’ carriages and left at 9.30am and 3pm from the small Mortuary Station (recently restored) at central Sydney. It stopped at pre-arranged stations on the journey in order to pick up mourners and coffins.
At the terminus inside the cemetery the coffins were unloaded by funeral directors and finally laid to rest with the appropriate rites and ceremonies.

Rookwood Cemetery 104

Great great grandfather William Henry SUTTON (1808-1879) is down there somewhere, along with his son, also called William Henry SUTTON (1844-1868). Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney
[C of E / Section A / Plot 175]

William Henry SUTTON and his son are in an unmarked grave in the very oldest section of the Anglican area of Rookwood. William Henry, Jr. died of tuberculosis aged 23 years. He was buried at Rookwood just four months after the cemetery was opened in 1868.
His mother, Jane Penelope WELLINGTON and sister Henrietta SUTTON are buried together in a plot with a small flat headstone a few sections away.

Rookwood_Cemetery 90

Jane Penelope SUTTON (nee WELLINGTON) (1818-1896) and her daughter Henrietta SUTTON (1858-1933) are buried at Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney [C of E / Section CCC / Plot 1697].

In the old Anglican section I also found the family memorial of Robert BUCK. This grave is overgrown and rather crowded – 1 headstone covers 3 plots containing 9 souls:
1 husband, 2 wives and 6 young children. The fading inscription reads:

To the memory of Ann Emma Buck
the beloved daughter of Robert & Sarah Anne Buck
who departed this life December 22nd 1872 aged 10 months

also Sarah Anne
the beloved wife of Robert Buck
died 24th Jan 1876 aged 32 Years

also George Frederick
died March 7th 1876 aged 1 month 11 days

also Charles William
died 28th October 1876 aged 2 years 11 months

Blanch Honor Buck
died Dec 1st 1883, aged 11 months

Walter Sutton Buck
died Oct 20th 1886, aged 13 months

George Harold Buck
died March 7th 1890, aged 7 months

also Robert Buck
beloved husband of Annie & Honor Buck
died 4th July 1895, aged 72 years

also Honor Stretton wife of the above
died 1st March 1926, aged 73 years

BUCK Rookwood CE Section C plots 147-149

Together in life and in death. The close-knit family of Robert BUCK (1822-1895), a draper and
hat merchant who emigrated from Grantham, Lincs. to Sydney, Australia. Robert’s first wife
was Sarah Anne COLLIER (1844-1876), his second wife was Honor SUTTON (1853-1926).
Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney [C of E / Section C / Plots 147, 148, 149]

In August 2004 I went on holiday to England and enjoyed a couple of weeks driving around the counties staying in B&Bs and researching the branches of our family. I spent a lot of time in libraries, county archives and wandering about in parish churchyards.

The Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury” Friday 13 February 1824
DEATH – At Grantham on Thursday the 5th inst. Mrs BUCK, wife of Mr Hart BUCK,
of that place, aged 33, leaving seven small children, with a disconsolate husband,
to lament the loss of a most valuable wife and tender mother. Her remains were interred
at Grantham on Sunday and six of her children were christened at the same time.

There is no record of an enbloc baptism of BUCKs. The BUCK children’s baptism records are recorded as and when they were born and baptised between 1814 and 1824. Christenings were a different event to a baptism at that time.

Buck Grantham 286

Jane SMITH (1791-1824) first wife of Hart BUCK of Grantham, Lincs, England. Detail of a large granite headstone laying flat in the churchyard of St Wulfram’s, Grantham.

Memorialised on the same headstone are two of Jane and Hart’s children. The complete transcript reads:

to the memory of

Jane, the wife of
Hart Buck
who died 5th Feb 1824
aged 33 Years.
also Thomas son of the above who
died 19th July 1824, aged 6 months
and Emma daughter of the above
died 16th March 1829, aged 8 years.

Buck Grantham 305

Under the lichen covered slab tomb on the far left are the remains of Hart BUCK (1787-1855), his second wife Mary HALL (1787-1861) as well as two of Hart’s granddaughters Caroline (1851) and Annie (1855) who died in their infancies. A neighbouring plot holds Hart’s eldest son William BUCK (1815-1882) and his two wives, Charlotte SHARPE (1827-1873) and Louisa DICKINS (1832-1897) in Grantham Cemetery, Lincolnshire [Plots 10 / 12x].

William BUCK was the eldest son of Hart BUCK and Jane SMITH and brother to Robert BUCK who emigrated to Sydney, Australia. William was a tailor in Grantham for much of the nineteenth century. We was a well-educated man and very keen on writing and performing comic songs and skits. He was an amateur thespian and put on concerts in the town. I will write more about this life in a few months, but here is a snippet – a poem full of puns he wrote down in his scrapbook about a graveyard and its contents.

A Graveyard and its Contents
Published in Frazer’s Magazine, July 1850
There lies levellers levelled, duns done up in themselves,
There are booksellers finally laid on their shelves;
Horizontally there lie upright politicians,
Dose-a-dose with their patients sleep faultless physicians;
There are slave drivers quietly whipped underground,
There bookbinders done up in boards, are fast bound;
There the babe that’s unborn, is supplied with a berth,
There men without legs get their six feet of earth;
There lawyers repose, each wrapped up in his case,
There seekers of office are sure of a place;
There defendant and plaintiff are equally cast,
There shoemakers quietly stick to their last;
There brokers at length become silent as stocks,
There stage drivers sleep without quitting their box.

Sometimes I actually need to search inside a church to find family memorials. I found our chemists, George WELLINGTON (1781-1847) and his son George Edwards WELLINGTON (1807-1843), inside Yeovil Parish Church of St John the Baptist in Somerset.

Wellington Memorial 01

The stonemason has wrongly carved “1849” into the marble memorial to George WELLINGTON (1781-1847) [Yeovil Parish Church of St John the Baptist / West Wall of South Aisle]. George was a chemist and druggist, assistant overseer of the poor and a former town portreeve in Yeovil, Somerset. He definitely died in November 1847, I have his death certificate and an account of the coronial enquiry into his death – he was “found drowned”. Watch this blog for the full story.

Wellington Memorial 02

George Edwards WELLINGTON (1807-1843) a chemist and druggist was only 36 years old when he died of a heart attack. [Yeovil Parish Church of St John the Baptist / West Wall of South Aisle] His brother William Edwards WELLINGTON (1813-1850) also died at the age of 36 years. William died of consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis).

South Petherton 177

George Frederick Noble WELLINGTON (1824-1887) has a memorial etched in one of the beautiful stained glass windows of South Petherton Church, Somerset. Frederick was a pioneering chemist and druggist along with his father, brothers and several of his brothers-in-law. The glass shows the marriage at Cana in Galilee; raising of Lazarus; and the miraculous gathering of the fishes. Along the bottom of the three lights are the words:
To the glory of God, and in memory of F.G.N. Wellington, for 40 years a resident in this Parish who entered into rest May 25 1887 aged 62 years.

Moving on to Leicestershire and the rain set in. Hard to keep your shoes dry rambling about in soggy churchyards, but wet headstones are much easier to read.

Buck Lutterworth 395

George BUCK and Priscilla are from the Lutterworth BUCKs. I have not yet found where this branch connects to our branch, but I am close. St Marys Parish Church, Lutterworth, Leicestershire.

While I was wandering around the slate headstones in Lutterworth churchyard, looking for the Leicestershire branch of the BUCK family tree, I came across a couple of monuments I found interesting enough to copy and photograph.
In loving memory of
Frederick RAINBOW 
who died April 21st 1884 aged 73 years,
also Sarah, wife of the above
who died November 2nd 1893 aged 76 years,
and of Edwin Thomas, second son of the above
who died December 9th 1906 aged 58 years.
– He hath done all things well. Mark 7:37 –
Wouldn’t it be great to have the colourful name of RAINBOW? I have since found someone researching the RAINBOW family history who was happy to include these souls in their family tree. I’m glad I took the time to transcribe the headstone.
Banbury Lutterworth 1676

In Memory of William BANBURY Killed by Robbers upon Over Heath, Nov 23, 1676. A very old headstone found in Lutterworth parish churchyard.

Another intriguing find was a small slate stone covered in orange and pink lichens. It is a memorial to William BANBURY who met his maker in 1676 when he was murdered and robbed for half a sovereign on Over Heath. 335 years later I came across an enquiry about William BANBURY on a family history forum and was able to email this photo to one of his descendants.
Another mystery solved, maybe I could join the Scooby-Doo Gang.