It has become apparent that the petition of J.P.s to try to secure John Shelton’s early release from prison was headed by none other than the celebrated playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was a J.P. for Surrey at the time. Sheridan wrote the following letter to the Home Secretary Richard Ryder on August 31st 1810:
I am sure you will excuse the liberty I take in currently requesting your attention to the accompanying petition independently of the signatures of the respectable magistrates who attest the case, the poor mans situation is represented to me by a person who I am confident would not deceive me and who has stated many additional circumstances which convince me that John Shelton is a proper object for His Majesty’s clemency and that the further continuance of his imprisonment will be his absolute ruin I have only to add that your early interference should you deem it right will greatly oblige your very obedient servant
R. B. Sheridan
Two certificates have shed light on the lives of two individuals:
Henry George Newbon
A reference on ancestry.co.uk alerted me to the fact that I had guessed incorrectly at the marriage of Henry George Newbon, son of James Shelton Newbon. He did not in fact marry Alice Wade until December 24th 1879. The marriage took place at St Peter’s Church, Brighton. This may have been because of Henry’s maritime links?
Jane Maria Richardson
Susannah Shelton’s will, written in 1856, mentions her niece Jane Maria Richardson, who may well have been a relative of John Shelton, her husband. The marriage certificate (of 1839) of Joseph Richardson and Jane Maria Stone revealed very little, however, since the age of both was simply given as ‘of full age’ and their fathers listed as ‘not living’! The marriage took place at Lee in Kent, and a subsequent Internet searched did then reveal that Jane Maria Cooper had previously married George Stone and had thereafter lived at neighbouring Charlton. See below for full details of the Cooper family of Charlton, who had a number of links with the family of James Newbon.
The Cooper family of Charlton, Kent
The known link between the Cooper family and the Newbon/Shelton family is Jane Maria Richardson (formerly Jane Maria Stone), daughter of Joseph Cooper, who Susannah Shelton referred to as her niece. Memorial inscriptions of Charlton, along with PCC wills, reveal the Cooper family tree to be as follows:
1 James Cooper
1 Mary Cooper
= ? Ponston
1 Joseph Cooper (c1752–1839)
= Ann ? (c1757–1812)
........2 Charles James Cooper (c1785–1801)
........2 Mary Ann Cooper (c1787–1821)
= ? Freeman
................3 James Freeman
................3 Ann Freeman
........2 Catherine Sophia Cooper (c1789–1858)
= Thomas Peckham (c1784–1856)
................3 Joseph Peckham
................3 Jane Stone Peckham (bc1825–1829)
................3 Catherine Maria Peckham (bc1827–1842)
........2 Joseph Henry Cooper (c1791–1856)
= Emma Sutton
................3 Joseph Henry Cooper
................3 Harry Sydney Emmanuel Cooper
........2 Jane Maria Cooper (c1793–1878)
= 1. George Stone (bc1794–1833)
= 2. Joseph Richardson (bc1801–60)
........2 William Cooper (c1795–1859)
The death of Mrs Ann Newbon
A notice in the London Standard on Monday 23rd March 1829 has revealed that the date of Mrs Ann Newbon’s death was Saturday 21st March 1829.
A search of City of London freedom records via www.ancestry.co.uk showed that Walter Newbon’s master Benjamin Prior took on a second apprentice a few months after Walter in 1766: John Law was the son of Giles Law, like Walter of King’s Cliffe, so it seems likely that the two apprenticeships would have known each other as children in Northamptonshire. Interestingly, Walter Newbon’s father-in-law John Dixon had been apprenticed to Giles Law in King’s Cliffe on 24 April 1730.
A further Internet search has revealed that Benjamin Prior (of St Ann, Blackfriars) married Ann Sankey (of St Andrew’s, Westminster) at Gray’s inn, Chapel on March 12 1754.
John Shelton at the Bank of England
A search of the records of the Bank of England revealed that, as suspected, John Shelton did indeed hold Bank of England stock (3% consolidated annuities). This stock (to the value of £1055 12s 7d) was purchased with 2 other men (Richard Hindson of Kennington Common and John Freeman of Millbank Street, Westminster) on 1st April 1846. The following Bank of England ledger (for 1855) states that both John Shelton and Richard Hindson were dead by that date).
Most interesting is that John Shelton is listed as ‘of Bath, esquire’ in 1846.
It is certain that this John Shelton is indeed the husband of Susannah Newbon since in 1839 all three men were the executors of Joseph Cooper’s will, on which document he is listed as ‘of Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, contractor’.
It is likely that John Freeman was the husband of Mary Ann Cooper, Joseph’s daughter, who had died in 1821.
John Shelton, the coal merchant
A search of marriage allegations via www.ancestry.co.uk revealed a bond from February 18th 1800 prior to the marriage of John Shelton and Susannah Newbon in which John is listed as a coal merchant. By 1809 he was a ‘dust contractor’, but it would probably have been a smooth transition from one profession to the other, both involving work the streets with horses and carts.
John Shelton of Charlton, Kent
Several City of London freedom records exist for individuals with the name John Shelton. On the reverse of one from the Company of Tylers & Bricklayers dating from 1804 is written ‘John Shelton son of Samuel Shelton of the parish of Charlton in the county of Kent farmer deceased [????] thirty day of July 1804 admitted to the freedom of the company by redemption’. Because of John Shelton’s links to Charlton through the family of Joseph Cooper this John Shelton is almost certainly the husband of Susannah Newbon.
Samuel and Mary Shelton of Charlton, Kent
An Internet search reveals a memorial inscription from the graveyard of the parish church at Charlton which runs as follows:
In memory of Samuel Shelton, who died the 12 Dec, 1803, aged 75 years. Also Mary Shelton, who died 21 August, 1806, aged 73 years.
This would seem to be John’s father and most likely his mother also. Samuel would have been born around 1733 and would probably have been in his late 30s when his son John was born. If John was Joseph Cooper’s brother-in-law this would tie in with Ann Cooper being a much older sister born around 1757 (as the Cooper memorial at Charlton mentioned above shows) when Samuel Shelton would have been in his mid-20s.