Life story retold by Paul Beecroft
Charles POULTON was born on 14th November 1807 in Lushill, Castle Eaton, Wiltshire and baptised on 22nd December of that year in Castle Eaton. His parents were Charles POULTON and Elizabeth JENNER. His father was a Yeoman Farmer. His siblings are believed to be Marcy (b. 1816), George (b. 1825) and Maria (b. 1829).
On 16th May 1836 Charles married Elizabeth LING in the Parish of Highworth, Wiltshire. The marriage certificate shows that Charles was residing in Cricklade St. Sampson, Wiltshire. Elizabeth was the daughter of a farmer.
In 1838 his son, also named Charles was born and was baptised on 11th January 1839. The certificate of baptism shows Reading as the place of ‘abode’ and his father’s occupation as that of Salesman. There is no record of where in Reading the family was living and two years later, when the 1841 census was taken, there does not appear to be any reference to Charles and his son. However, the census does show an Elizabeth Poulton aged 27 at the home of Charles’s parents. The census does not confirm if this Elizabeth was a daughter or daughter in law but the year of birth, 1814, would coincide.
Although his occupation merely stated Salesman it was known that he was a dealer in livestock especially cattle and sheep. This is confirmed following an advert in the Reading Mercury on Monday 5th September 1836:
CHARLES POULTON begs to announce to his friends and the public in general that he has commenced the business of CATTLE and SHEEP SALESMAN. – The Drovers will attend at the different places as usual, as when employed by Mr. W. Poulton.
In May, 1846, the following appeared in the Reading Mercury:
STRAYED, on FRIDAY Morning, from a Meadow near Reading. A DARK BRINDLED HALF-ALDERNEY COW, heavy in Calf. Whoever has found the same, and will restore it to Mr. Charles Poulton, Oxford Road, Reading, will be Rewarded, and all reasonable expenses paid.
In 1848, Elizabeth died. Her death was reported in the Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette:
DIED.- June 19, after a very lingering illness, she bore with Christian fortitude, Elizabeth, wife of C. Poulton, Sydney Terrace, Reading.
In the 1840s there was no actual cattle market in Reading. During this period there was a market for fat cattle that was held every Monday at Loddon Bridge, on the outskirts of Reading and this was well attended by butchers from Reading and the vicinity. On Saturday 21st of April 1849 a meeting was held at the George Hotel, Reading for the purpose of taking into consideration the necessity of immediately establishing a good and convenient weekly cattle market in the borough. The meeting was very large and included the High Sheriff (R. Gibson), the Mayor of Reading (T. Harris), members of Reading Corporation and many tradesmen including Charles Poulton who was voted onto the committee. Further meetings did take place and in November 1850 the Reading Cattle Market in Great Knollys Street was opened. To begin with the market was open on Tuesdays but this would later be changed as Tuesdays were not popular with either farmers or butchers.
In July 1850 Charles is mentioned in the Reading Mercury as living at 7, Sydney-terrace, Reading and winning a prize of £15 in respect of a Roadster stallion.
Due to Charles’s occupation, he was able to meet many people from the farming community and consequently he most likely met Sarah LOWDEN. Sarah was a local girl having been born in Ruscombe, near Reading. Her father, Thomas COTTERELL passed away in 1830 and had been a farmer. In 1830 Sarah had married Robert LOWDEN at St. James the Great Church in Ruscombe on 13th July. Robert passed away in 1844 and it appears that there were no children. On 2nd October 1850, Charles and Sarah were married in the parish of St. James, Westminster. At the time they married, Sarah had been residing in London and hence the marriage took place in her residential district. Following their marriage the couple moved to the parish of Hinton and Whistley Green, Hurst near Twyford. The census for 1851 shows both Charles and Sarah are resident with one house servant, Emma Large. Visiting at the time was Mary Cotterell, Sarah’s sister and William Cotterell her brother.
In July 1851, the Market Day at the cattle market was changed from Tuesdays to Mondays and it commences as of Monday 28th July. Following this decision, Charles placed a notice in the Reading Mercury:
READING CATTLE MARKET
CHARLES POULTON begs to announce to his numerous Friends, who for so many years have placed confidence in him as their SALESMAN, that (in consequence of the Reading Cattle Market being altered to Monday,) it is his intention to RELINQUISH LODDON BRIDGE, and ATTEND AT READING ON MONDAY, July 28th, and every following Monday; and all Stock entrusted to his care will, as heretofore, receive his most careful attention.
Twyford, July 22nd, 1851.
Outside his occupation Charles became involved in some of the local organisations one of which was known as the Hurst Association. It had been formed ‘For the protection of property and prosecution of felons.’ Annual meetings were held in The King’s Arms located in Twyford. Subscribers to the Hurst Association were many coming from Twyford, Wargrave, Wokingham, Sonning, Hurst, Waltham St. Lawrence to name but a few.
Each year on the lead up to Christmas the Cattle Market would hold what was known as the Christmas Market. Charles would often receive positive comments by the media such as: ‘Mr. Charles Poulton had on offer a number of good Devons, some fine Herefords ‘In Mr. Charles Poulton’s stand we noticed some fine Hereford oxen.’ (1853) and Devons belonging to Mr. Brown of Purton, and a fine lot of cross-bred oxon of T. Tuckey, Esq.’ (1856)
In December, 1854, Charles was involved in a County Court Case involving the sale of one of his horses which he had not been paid for. The case lasted several hours and following evidence from both parties the jury returned a verdict for Charles to be paid £10, the value of the horse.
The census for 1861 shows them still living in Hurst. The census show both Charles and Sarah, along with Charles (junior) who is now 22 years old, Mary Cotterell (sister of Sarah) and two servants Mary Little and Mary Hill. Although the occupation of young Charles was not shown, he was known to be a farmer. In 1869 he is living at North Heath Farm, Winterbourne as a farmer.
The 1870s did not start well for Charles as his son Charles died at North Heath. He was 31 years old and this must have been a shock to him. Probate was granted on 11th July. He was confirmed as a Farmer and a bachelor with effects under £4,000.
A few months later in November 1870 he made the decision to retire. He was just a few days away from reaching his 63rd birthday. He submitted a notice of retirement to the local newspapers which read:
CHARLES POULTON, of Twyford, Berks, CATTLE SALESMAN, having for many years attended Reading and Southall Markets, begs to thank his numerous Friends for the confidence they have had in consigning their stock to his for Sale; also that on and after this date, he will cease to attend the above Markets, for the purpose of Selling by Commission.
Twyford, November 3rd, 1870.
The 1871 census is not very clear but seems to indicate Charles and Sarah residing in the High Street in Twyford along with two servants.
Then, in 1873, on 1st September Sarah died. Probate was granted at Oxford by Charles under certain limitations. Her effects were under £7,000. She is thought to be buried in St. James the Great Churchyard in Ruscombe.
Following Sarah’s death Charles later moved back to Reading and resided at Kensington Villa located somewhere in London Road. His sister, Maria, who was unmarried moved in with him.
Charles died on 21st May 1880 at Kensington Villa and was consequently buried in Reading Old Cemetery. His will was proved at Oxford by his sister Maria on 30th June and he left a personal estate under £4,000.
Nothing is known about Maria POULTON at the moment other than the fact she was his sister. Maria died seven years later and was then living in Kent Lodge, Twyford. She was 59 years old In respect of Jane POULTON it has not been possible to find any confirmed record of her. She died at the age of 66.
The grave of Charles Poulton located in Reading Old Cemetery has the following inscription:
In memory of CHARLES POULTON of Kensington Villa, Reading
eldest son of CHARLES and ELIZABETH of Lushill, Wilts
born November 14th 1807 died May 21st 1880.
In affectionate remembrance of MARIA POULTON
who died Oct 3rd 1887 aged 59 years
JANE POULTON who died June 24th 1898 aged 66 years.
Section 39, Row 9, Plot 7