William Parchment  1831 – 1881


1831. Christened 29/07/1831. in Braintree., image 79. Parents Samuel Parchment,~ 1788, and Brigett McGann, c1793, from Ballinafad, Sligo. Samuel is given as a silkweaver, abode Braintree

He had at least 6 siblings, 3 of whom [Mary, Sarah & James] died in childhood, born ~ 1818 - 1835, the 1st 3, Mary, Caroline & Samuel, being baptised in Bocking. The only other Braintree baptism I found was that of James, 25/3/1829, to Sanuel & Bridget , silkweaver, image 68: he died a year later. Did not find any other baptisms in Braintree, Black Notley, Witham & Bocking records 1824-1840. And IGI has no record of them either.

I also found Braintree burials for Sarah Sparchment, 3 days 1826, Mary Sparchment 10yrs 1828 & James Sparchment 2yrs 1830: Sarah was not baptised, died before she could be, but almost certainly was theirs. Thus the family would seem to have moved from Bocking to Braintree- as regards churches anyway - between 1823 and 1826. Then by 1841 they have moved another mile or so further south to Black Notley , but could indeed have been here since 1823-1826, as the nearest church might still be Braintree , although there was also a church in Black Notley .

1841 Census. Aged 10, living near Bucks Wood Farm, Black Notley, Witham, Braintree. All born Essex except for Elizabeth b.Ireland. Have found a Buck Farm Black Notley on present day part of Old Maps

Samuel Parchment 50 Silk weaver
Elizabeth  45
Caroline    20  Silk worker
Samuel   15    Silk weaver
William 10  
James  5  

Ages are likely rounded down to the nearest 5 here; Brigett{here written as Elizabeth for unknown reasons] probably 46-48, Caroline 20 [or even still 19, baptised in 1822] , & Samuel 17, & James 6?.


Description of Braintree weaving in 1847. A woollen trade has given place to the manufacture of silk, which has been introduced into the neighbourhood within the last 40 years, and in its various branches now affords general employment to a rapidly increasing population. The manufacture of silk crape has more recently been established; in this branch about 1400 people are employed by the Messers Courtauld in the towns of Braintree and Bocking and Halstead, in machine making, spinning, weaving, dyeing and crape finishing.The total number of persons employed in the silk trade in these towns, in a recent year was 2210, of which 660 were crape weavers in hand and power looms, 450 silk weavers in other branches, and 1100 factory hands. Straw platting has also been introduced and affords occupation to a considerable number of females.

1851 Census. Parents, father, 62, by now has abandoned weaving, described as a hawker, and James,18, in Rayne Rd.,Bocking whilst he, aged 20, hand loom weaver silk, is a visitor at his elder brother’s, Samuel's, house in Manor Rd., Braintree.


Samuel  Parchment 27 Hand loom weaver/silk   b.Bocking
Charlotte 26  b.Reading
Scholar  b.Braintree
Caroline 2 b.Braintree
William 20  visitor  Hand loom weaver silk . b.Braintree


1852. 2/07/1852 he, 21, marries Charlotte Bennett, 20, in Braintree Parish Church, by banns. Both are given as Silkweavers, and fathers are Samuel Parchment & Joseph Bennett, both given as labourers & they are maybe the witnesses too, although the Samuel Parchment witness could equally well be his brother. Both Parchments sign, both Bennetts put their mark. The service is performed by the vicar of Black Notley - why? - because William had lived in Black Notley for a considerable time ? I have m.c.MP3.


1852. First son, George Parchment, is born 17/12/1852 in Braintree. He is baptised 25/3/1853, to William & Charlotte, he silk weaver, D/P 264/1/24 image 76. This is a quick birth!

1855. Louisa Parchment is baptised on 12/9/1855 in Braintree, no birth date given, to William & Charlotte, he weaver - D/P 264/1/24, image 87.

1856-1857. William moved his family to Bethnal Green, probably following his brother, Samuel, whose 5th/6th child, Henry, was born in B.G. in Dec 1856. His younger brother James Parchment was also there by the end of 1857. Bethnal Green was also full of silkweavers, most of whom worked at home and all the family helped. This might have been a reason for moving, as weaving in Braintree became more concentrated in factories. But in Bethnal Green: conditions in the houses were atrocious. Main drainage had not yet been introduced and the water supply was contaminated with sewage leading to periodic epidemics of cholera and Typhus. "The long working days of typically 12-14 hours were coupled with humid conditions in the workshops. The large windows of these workshops were deliberately sealed to keep the rooms humid and prevent the delicate silk thread from breaking: however this made chest problems common with weavers" - extract from a book in Bethnal Green Archives, Boundary Road.


A row of Weavers houses with their typically large first floor windows, Menotti - or Manchester up to 1864 - Street 1927. Most of the street was cleared in 1954 to make way for Weavers Fields, but a tiny part of it still stands

1857. William John Parchment born Bethnal Green (ref Sep . 1c (27) 61). No baptism in any of 12 C of E B.G.churches. Why did William & Charlotte not baptise any children in B.G., whereas they had baptised their first 2 in Braintree? : a more anonymous community or they could well have become Nonconformists? - see 1857 death of Louisa ? And why did they not name a son Samuel?

1857. Daughter Louisa Parchment died Bethnal Green, ' Dec' 1857, at 28 South Conduit Street, which later became 55 Viaduct Street. Buried 3/1/1858, aged 2yrs 2mths, in Victoria Park Cemetery, Bethnal Green. Also given on IGI Nonconformist Register, buried same date, Hackney. This address was where his brother Samuel Parchment lived, so William & Charlotte must have moved in with them, or taken rooms in the same household, on first arriving in Bethnal Green, 1856-1857.

1860 Louisa Parchment born. (no indexed BMD birth record found: but  entry on BMD does exist:  a  search on  E. London and just Louisa  gives you Parchment Louisa E.London 1c.32 Jun 1860. Also found on Ancestry]                                                              

1861 Census  Willie Parchman [ as mistranscribed on Findmypast] , 29, silk weaver, is living at 10 & 1/2 Pleasant Place, Bethnal Green - 2 other families living in number 10. . Ecclesiastical Parish - St.James the Less. Pleasant Place is off Bonner St, slightly to the north of East St/Moss St. where the family move to by 1871. See Bethnal Green Streets.


Willie Parchment
Silk weaver. b.Braintree.
Charlotte 27  Silk weaver. b.Braintree.
George  b.Braintree.
William      3   b.Bethnal Green.
Louisa        11mths. b.Barbican

1862.Elizabeth Parchment born Whitechapel "Sep ref 1c. 314"

Likely a miscarriage, a stillborn birth, or another child dying within a year of birth 1863-1866. Possibilities for the last scenario are Joseph b.Sep 1864 BG ,dying, aged 1, April 1866 BG, buried VPC 26/5/1866 from 10 Thorrold St.- but this address indicates James 1833 as being the more likely father

1867. Albert Parchment born Bethnal Green "Dec ref 1c.329". Crossland Place his birthplace - from GL.

1869. 23/07/1869 Charlotte Caroline Parchment born at 5 Crossland Place, Bethnal Green. Have b.c. Father is given as Silk weaver. Mother, Charlotte, is the Informant, with her mark. Crossland Place was off Sale Street - to south of VPC. . . . . . . . . . . . . Photo of Crossland Square, Bethnal Green, 1954 . . . . . . . Sale Street

crossland square .sale street

This picture, of Crossland Square, shows some typical weavers cottages which at one time were very prevalent in Bethnal Green. They are typified by the larger-than-normal windows on the first floor to illuminate the room where the weaving took place. Crossland Square was just south of Derbyshire Street. The houses had just, 1954, been compulsorily purchased by the London County Council as part of the process of creating the appropriately named open space – Weavers Fields.
In 1871C, 5 Crossland Place is inhabited by another weaver.

1870. B.G. very hard hit by smallpox, 11000 deaths in London. By 1871, free inoculation of children was compulsory

1871 Census Living at 7, East St., Bethnal Green, aged 39, broad silk weaver. Ecclesiastical parish St. Simon Zelotes.. East St. just north of VPC.

William Parchment  39  Broad silk weaver
Charlotte 38  
George     18 Broad silk weaver . all 3 b. Braintree
William J 14 Broad silk weaver
Louisa   10 Scholar
Elizabeth   8 Scholar
Albert   4  
Charlotte  2 All these five given as b. B. Green.

Census does not say whether family were working in their own home or not, but background reading suggests all weavers around were.

Research old maps to include. http://london1868.com/ section V.P., B.G & Mile End shows East [renamed Moss, but this too has now vanished] Street & Smart Street & Pleasant Place just to N. of VPC.

August 2009: I searched the records of 6 of the 12/13 churches then existent in B.G., looking for Parchment baptisms.These were the 6 nearest to East/Moss St.: St.Simon the Zelote[ should have found Emma 1872 here: perhaps I stopped the search in 1870, just concentrating on Charlotte?], St.James the Less[ this seemed to be where they were in 1861C], St.Mathew, St. John, St.Peter & St.Jude, but all I found was that of Jane,,b.16/02/1868, baptised St.Judes, 12/04/1868, to James & Jane, living 24 Minerva Street, he a weaver: this is right by St.Judes . These were at the eastern end of B.G., and, too late, I realised , that where they were living in 1869, Crossland Place, and in 1861, Pleasant Place was to the North and West and there was one of the other churches very close to there. So, next visit to the LMA, I thought I needed to search again - St.Thomas, St.Philip, St.Paul, St.James the Great, St.Mathias, St.Bartholomew & St.Andrew. But London Baptism records now available online, but none for William's children: so must conclude they were not baptised in a C of E church. Do any Methodist records exist? - seemingly not: Hackney Archives have Methodist Circuit only from 1940. Any other Nonconformist records?

1872. 30/3/1872 Son George Parchment marries Mary Stebbing, his address given as 28 Moss Street, father William a weaver. m.c.on his page.

1872. 31/07/1872 Mary Parchment born at 38 Moss Street, father William Parchment, a Silk Weaver, mother Charlotte, nee Bennett . Died as Mary Parchment Sep 1873. She was buried as Margaret Parchment, aged 1, 15/7/1873 at VPC, body from 38 Smart Street: this off Moss Street - maybe number 38 was on the corner of the 2 streets..


1872. Emma Elizabeth Parchment born to son George and wife Mary Ann at 12 Elmer Road, Old Ford, Mile End, 17/11/1872, baptised 22/12/1872 All Saints, Mile End.

1873. Emma Elizabeth Parchment dies at 38 Moss St [East Street renamed]., Bethnal Green. Buried at Victoria Park Cemetery, 15/07/1873. Aged 1 year. State BMD was registered Dec 1873, aged 0. Victoria Park Cemetery was opened in 1845. IGI gives/gave - cannot find in 2014! - a Hackney Nonconformist Burial on 13/10/1873!- maybe this the correct date as death not registered until October at the earliest.

INVESTIGATE what the LMA hold in the way of Nonconformist records - JULY 2014

1873. William Parchment, along with brothers Samuel & James, is left money by his uncle, James Parchment, 1792-1873, who had been a Turnkey at Chelmsford gaol. I have a copy of the Will, but that does not say how much money was left to each of them: probate gives an estate of 'under £3000', a veritable fortune in those days.

1874. Wife, Charlotte dies, 27/12/1874, aged 42 at 38 Moss St., Bethnal Green. Have d.c.DP3. A Hackney non conformist burial on 4/1/1875- where is this from? - IGI??


Buried at Victoria Park Cemetery, 4/01/1875. Cause of death is Phthisis Pulmonalis - consumption.[ the weavers' chest problems!]. Described as wife of William Parchment, weaver. Informant was an Ann Smith, 14 Collins Place, B.G. Collins Place was next to Moss Street [Booth Survey 1888 gives light - dark blue for both of them]. Google gives a birth to an Ann Smith - there??- in 1872!!

Moss Street, formerly East Street, where William lived 1871-1874 at least.
Entrance Arch, still standing, to Victoria Park Cemetery

Registers from Victoria Park Cemetery [held at the National Archives, Kew,- 1853-1876 = RG8/42-5 - and listed as Non Conformist registers on IGI - and not held locally or in the LMA] show that 10 Parchments are buried there, 9 of whom were infants, Charlotte being the only adult. Just one of the infants was William's & Charlotte's: Louisa 3/1/1858 2yrs 2mths. Emma 1873, was in fact a grandchild 1year. The other 7 infants would have been children of William's brothers, Samuel,1823 , & James, 1833. 4 were definitely the siblings of G.L.'s grandfather, Alfred.. The cemetery was closed in the 1890s and restored as a park, named Meath Gardens after the Earl of Meath whose idea it was. It's entrance is still dominated by the rather grim gothic arch of the original cemetery with the initials V.P.C, engraved on it. The 9 infants were: Louisa [3/1/1858 aged 2&1/2 -Braintree born daughter of William], Samuel [9/10/1861 aged 4mths], Mary Ann [31/12/1862 aged 3yr 7mth] and Alice [12/7/1865 aged 3mths] - the last 3 probably children of Samuel,1823, but all from 28 South Conduit Street [renamed 55 Viaduct Street between 1863 & 1865]: Ellen Eleanor[19/10/1865 aged 2yr] from 6 Montague Street :Joseph [26/5/1866 aged 1yr] from 10 Thorrold Street :Helena {17/7/1867 aged 6mths] from 16 Old Bethnal Green Road: Margaret [15/7/1873 aged 1 yr] from 38 Smart Street - Bmd birth & death as Mary : & Emma Elizabeth [ 13/10/1873 aged 10 mths] - daut. of William's son George - from 38 Moss Street. . See Bethnal Green Maps for all these streets.


Victoria Park Cemetery pre 1894

Thus, William & Charlotte Parchment had seemingly 7 children, one of whom died in infancy. But have now proved that - Dec 2012 - Margaret, born as Mary 31/07/1872, died 15/07/1873 in Smart Street adjacent to East Street, was also theirs, thus an eighth child

1877. 4/07/1877 William Parchment, 39 [actually 46!] , widower, remarries Elizabeth Austin, 26, in St. Bartholomews Church. He a weaver of 54 ?Green St., father Samuel , her father Joseph Austin, no occupation given for either [probably because both are dead]. Witnesses John Bellamy & Hanna Thiscoke?

Odd that William's address is given as 54 Green Street on this, whereas he is at 38 Moss Street both in 1874 & 1881. Probably where Elizabeth Austin was living. Cannot locate her in 1861/71C, nor find a London baptism of her with father Joseph.

1877. New wife Elizabeth Parchment dies, aged 27, 8/12/1877, 38 Moss Street, of Phthisis Pulmunalis, 1 year: the same cause of death as his first wife in 1874. So she was suffering from this when they married in the July. No burial on London Burials.Witness was the next door neighbour, Elizabeth Poleforce? So, his 2 youngest children only had a 'new' mum for just 5 mths !


1881 Census. Living at 38, Moss St., Bethnal Green.

William Parchment 49  wid.   Silk weaver
Albert     13  Silk weaver
Charlotte 11   Scholar

Elizabeth Parchment , 18, is working as a general servant in Hackney & Louisa, 20, is back in Braintree, as a visitor, in the Ellingford household. Why? Investigate this further one day.

1881. William Parchment dies, aged 50, 8/8/1881.No burial on London Burials 1813-1980. D.c. DP4. William Parchment ,50, Silk Weaver, of 38 Moss Street died 8/8/1881. Informant was G. Parchment, son, [George] present at the death, of 20 Moss Street on 9/8/1881. Cause of Death: Epilepsy Coma.


His 2 youngest children, Albert & Charlotte Parchment, were thus orphans at the ages of nearly 14 & 12: Albert Parchment seems to have stayed in Bethnal Green, working for Warners, but we do not know if Charlotte did; maybe she became a servant in the Braintree area. .

Weaving in Bethnal Green

"The Blackest Streets" by Sarah Wise gives a harrowing account of how grim life was in the Old Nichol slum area of B.G. ~1880-1900. I do not think my Parchments actually lived in that area, and indeed there were only 12 weaver households in it, but life was obviously really tough for these families of home weavers Also http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22752 gives a picture of the buildings in the area, 1876-1914.

Earlier Parchments

Parchment BMDs - also gives VPC burials 1858 - 1875


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