Shotteswell is a small parish of 1305 acres which is a tiny piece of Warwickshire jutting out into, and surrounded on three sides by, northern Oxfordshire. In the middle of the nineteenth century it was described as "a poor and very unimportant parish" but a description of the village from 1949 says that it was by then "a pleasant rural community, consisting of cottages and farms clustered around the church, and forming steep and narrow lanes. The buildings are mainly of the local dark-brown sandstone, and the majority are thatched....The Flying Fox Inn (this appears to be an error as the pub was actually called "The Flying Horse") is of the local stone, built around a courtyard. There are the remains of a village green. The soil is red clay over a stratum of rock, and the land is principally pastoral". The name of the village is from the old English meaning Scott's Well. Locals pronounce the village's name as "Satchell".
The village had not been mentioned in William The Conqueror's Domesday Book but may have been included with the neighbouring village of Warmington and later in 1386, it was described as a hamlet. The parish church of St. Laurence probably pre-dates some construction of the mid-tweflth century and additions to it continued to be made in later centuries. Nearby surrounding villages include Hanwell, Mollington, Fenny Compton and Cropredy.
Two Cousins, a Mother and a Daughter
John White II married Elizabeth Bradford on 17 July 1775 at St. Laurence Church. She was born in Shotteswell in 1754 and was the daughter of Sarah Bradford, born in 1733 as Sarah Kee, the widow of William Bradford. Sarah's parents, Job Kee and Mary Webb, had been married in Hook Norton, a village to the southwest of Banbury. Interestingly Sarah Bradford had married Thomas, John's cousin (the son of Thomas White and Anne Slow), earlier in the year on 26 January 1775 in Shotteswell. Hence in the space of a few short months the White cousinss married a mother and her daughter. The will of William Bradford had left most of his estate to Elizabeth, so presumably John found himself marrying a young woman with a sizeable fortune. It is interesting to note that we find in the signatures on John and Elizabeth's marriage banns that, while John had a fine signature (see below), Elizabeth merely made her mark on the document suggesting that despite her being the daughter of a well-off yeoman, she was actually illiterate. Thomas' sister, Mary, meanwhile married another inhabitant of Shotteswell, John Coleman (born 1733), on 20 January (? - month unclear) 1764.
The above signatures are written in a document in which John and Thomas were acting as executors of the will of Richard White who died in 1804 and who presumably was Thomas' older brother and John's cousin. The burial of Richard White, yeoman, is recorded in the Shotteswell parish records on 5 August 1804. Richard's wealth is illustrated by the fact that he was able to make a loan of £300 to a John Hopkins of Sibford Gower, a village to the west of Banbury, on which the security was a 31 acre property in that village, the deal being recorded in an indenture dated 13 November 1800
Even if the Whites had not been established to any great extent in Shotteswell prior to 1699 they were now an important family in the village particularly by marriages into local families and by the production of a large number of children. By the time he died on 18 September 1811 in Mollington at the age of 77, during the Napoleonic Wars, Thomas had been able to witness his children working on a large part of the land in the surrounding countryside. He had achieved such a status in that small society, and was of sufficient wealth, that he was buried in the chancel of St Laurence Church with his wife, Sarah, who died in 1812 at the age of 72 and was buried with him on 9 February 1812.
John, meanwhile, lived to the age of 79 having been recorded in the list of 6 Shotteswell freeholders who voted in the parliamentary election of 1820 - 21 which resulted in the electoral victory of Lord Liverpool (the other Shotteswell voters were Thomas White, 2 Thomas Colemans, Dix Thomas and James Hawtin). When John diesp, as mentionad above, he was buried in the section of the graveyard at the front of, and close to, the body of St. Laurence Church on 8 April 1823 with Elizabeth, his wife, who had died, aged 54, on 5 August 1814 and had been buried on 7 August 1814.
The Children of John and Elizabeth White
John and Elizabeth White had a number of children - the first to be recorded in the Shotteswell parish records is John who was baptised on 27 December 1778 but sadly died at the age of five, being buried on 7 September 1785. Their next child was Elizabeth, baptised on 24 December 1780 and there then followed Richard (19 May 1782), Sara (10 December 1783), Thomas (26 January 1785), Mary (18 April 1790, buried 5 December 1795) and William (baptised 6 May 1792).
Meanwhile John's cousin, Thomas, and his wife, Sarah, had had the following children born in Mollington:- Thomas, born 1775, John, born 1779, Richard, born 1780, William, born 1781, Edward, born 1784, and Elizabeth, born in 1786.
The years of the Napoleonic Wars were good times for farmers and agricultural workers because of the need to meet England's food requirements during the time of war. Corn prices were high so we can believe that John, Elizabeth and their burgeoning family were living well at Shotteswell. However, with the end of the war in 1815, disaster loomed for the countryside as a severe recession hit England. The number of agricultural workers was greatly increased by the men demobilised from the armed forces and cheap cereal from abroad brought down the price of corn. Lord Liverpool's Tory government passed the 1815 Corn Law in order to protect prices against the competition of these less expensive imports thus driving up the price of bread but thereby causing widespread opposition to the law not just in the towns and cities but also among the very poorly paid agricultural workers. A wide gulf had now opened up between farmers and their impoverished labourers. Dark times lay ahead.
Richard White and Elizabeth Hawtin
John's sons, Richard, William and Thomas all married and began their own families. Richard married Elizabeth Hawtin, born in Shotteswell in 1796, on 13 October 1814. The surname Hawtin is interesting since it also occurs in the Bloxham parish records. William married Elizabeth Terrill, whose family came from Shotteswell, on 1 June 1815. Thomas married Mary Coleman. also from Shotteswell, on 14 September 1815. It had been a busy 12 months for John's family when it came to arranging weddings. Later, after Mary's death at the age of 31 (buried 4 April 1823) Thomas married Mary Treadwell who had been born in Westbury in Buckinghamshire.
Richard and Elizabeth (Hawtin) lived in Shotteswell and had eight children:- John, baptised 18 December 1814 (the parish record gives his father's occupation as "farmer") and buried, having died at the age of 25 weeks on 12 June 1815, Elizabeth (baptised 31 March 1815 and died at the age of 10 on 2 January 1827), Sarah (baptised in 23 January 1820), a second John, baptised 15 January 1822, Martha, (17 March 1824), James Hawtin (baptised 20 August 1826 and buried 9 December 1826), Thomas (28 December 1827), a second Elizabeth (14 June 1829), a second James Hawtin (8 April 1833), Mary Anne (4 March 1836 and buried 3 February 1843) and Julia (baptised 13 November 1840 and buried on 3 February 1843, aged 2 years). Of Richard and Elizabeth's eleven children, four had died in infancy or childhood and as we shall see later, further tragedy awaited them with another of their children.
William White and Elizabeth Terrill
Meanwhile, Richard's brother, William, my direct ancestor and his wife, Elizabeth (Terrill) were to rival and surpass Richard and Elizabeth in the number of children that they produced. Their first child was Elizabeth, baptised at St. Laurence Church by the curate, W. M. Pearce on the 31 March 1815. In the parish records, William was described as a "farmer". There then followed John Cox, baptised on 26 May 1817, Mary (26 July 1818), William (30 June 1820), Anne (6 November 1821), Sarah (2 June 1823), Joice (baptised 22 August 1824 and buried 18 December 1830, aged 6), Thomas (baptised 28 October 1825), Richard who was baptised on 6 October 1826 by the Curate, the Reverend Aiden Bayley, Eleanor Terrill, (7 May 1830), a second Joice (21 September 1831), George Henry (1 January 1834), Emma (22 November 1835) and Charlotte (17 November 1837). In all, Elizabeth had provided William with fourteen children in the space of 21 years, a formidable achievement by that remarkable woman. The two White brothers who lived in the village of Shotteswell had populated it with 22 new inhabitants between them although of course their offspring did not all live beyond childhood.