Continuing with my exploration of the lives of the Seager family in early nineteenth-century London, I’ve found my 3rd great grandfather Samuel Hurst Seager in the London tax records for the years 1821, 1827, 1828, 1829 and 1830, when he and his family were living in Crown Court, one of the narrow streets to the north of the Strand in the parish of St Clement Danes.

In 1821, Samuel was one of six tax-paying heads of household in Crown Court. His rent of £16 was the second highest in the court, after Ann Howard who paid £45. The other tax payers were William Leatherbarrow and three members of the Bulgin family: Thomas, Thomas junior and James. Crown Place is listed after Crown Court and treated as a separate address, also with six tax-payers, of whom one curiously (and probably coincidentally) was a certain William Monteith. (My 3rd great grandmother, the wife of my 3rd great grandfather Charles Edward Stuart Robb, was born Margaret Ricketts Monteith, and her son, who would marry Fanny Sarah Seager, daughter of Samuel, occasionally styled himself William Monteith Robb.) 

In this record, Crown Court is preceded by Temple Bar and part of Picket Street, which formed a section of what we know as the Strand, and then by Ship Place. Crown Court and Crown Place are followed by Star Court, Newcastle Court, Robin Hood Court, Clements Lane and Boswell Court, as well as further sections of Picket Street.

Land tax records for Crown Court in 1821 (via ancestry.co.uk)

In 1827 Crown Court and Crown Place appear to be listed as a single location, preceded by Picket Street and Ship Place as before, and followed by Star Court. Ann Howard is still the first-named resident, followed by the three Bulgins, while Samuel Seager is somewhat further down the list, with Richard Jones, Richard Owen and John Jerome before him, and Thomas Jones, Henry Roberts and William Loftin following. The amounts paid in rent are much the same as six years previously.

In the tax records for the following three years, 1828, 1829 and 1830, Crown Court and Crown Place again appear to be merged. There are a few new names, and Samuel Seager’s rent has risen to £24.

It’s interesting to compare these records with the situation as revealed in the census records for 1841. These also give us a sense both of the numbers of people in each of the houses in Crown Court, and the diversity of their occupations and social situations. By this time, Samuel Hurst Seager had been dead for four years and his family dispersed to other addresses in the area (see the previous post). The census record lists the households in Crown Court out of numerical order, beginning with No. 7, where the Seagers had been living at the time of Samuel’s death, but which is now headed by William Gray, a police constable, who occupies it with his young family. Other residents include a bricklayer and a law writer and their families.

No. 8 is home to M A Sangster, a laundress and probably a widow, with her two children, as well as William Bulgin, a coffin maker, together with his wife and daughter. Next door at No. 9 is another member of the Bulgin family – Thomas, a ‘Gt’ (gent?), with his wife and son. Their neighbours at No. 10 include two carmen, a plumber, a porter, and assorted relatives. No. 11 Crown Court appears to be occupied by two women, while No. 12 is the residence of John Allen, a labourer, with his wife and son.

Boswell Court, one of the streets close to Crown Court, and presumably similar to it in appearance and design (via british-history.ac.uk)

The census record then moves to No.1 Crown Court, another multi-occupancy house, which includes the family of John De Knight, a labourer; Richard Loftin, a compositor (a familiar surname from the tax records); Charles Thomas Spikin, another ‘Gt’, though his wife is described as a laundress and one of his sons works as a printer; and R H Matty, a young card maker.

No. 2 Crown Court is home to the families of George Griffiths, a bricklayer; John Mackbeth, a porter; James Lewis, a bookseller; as well as James Bence and William Ellis, two young tailors. At No.3 are Agnes Granger, a woman with an independent income, and her daughter; David Phillips, a tailor, and his wife; Mary Heston and Sarah Ganet, also independent ladies; as well as the families of Thomas Hilyard, a printer; Charles Bennett, a bootmaker; John Evans, a porter; and John Davis, a tailor.

The residents of No. 4 are Elizabeth Curd, a needlewoman and probably a widow, and her two daughters; and the families of John Aston, a porter; Richard Drew, a brushmaker; and James Martin, a coachman. At No. 5 is George Sharp, a ‘Gt’ and his wife, with their son Francis Sharp, a butcher; James Alford, a groom, and his family; Jane Stratton, a laundress; and Samuel Leonard, a shoemaker, and his wife.

The final house listed in the census for Crown Court is No. 6, whose residents include John Roberts, a carpenter, and his young son; Jane Furse, a lady of independent means; William Blatchley, a letter press printer, and his wife, a laundress, together with their three children; two young members of the Loftin family; Thomas Preston, another letter press printer; Richard Allworth, a bricklayer; and the families of coachman Thomas Hill and coal porter Thomas Cook.

At some point I plan to take a closer look at the Bulgins – one of the families who were neighbours of the Seagers, and residents in Crown Court over a long period – as a way of understanding life in that corner of London in the early decades of the nineteenth century.

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