After reading the article Hillmorton in the 1880s, I thought I’d share what I have found out by using the censuses – a real trip back in time ! I’ve just been looking at the 1841 Hillmorton census, the last one on which my ancestors appear.
The 1832 cholera outbreak
Ruth Morley was living in Upper Street (great to see a photo of it here) with her two youngest surviving children, George 15 and Fanny 10. Her husband Richard had died of cholera in 1832, and there is a letter from a doctor, published in the Coventry Herald, describing his visit to Hillmorton when the 1832 cholera outbreak had just reached it. He said that all the cases were in a row of houses “at the end of the village, surrounded by streams and pools of filthy water, and other nuisances”. Two people had died, one was recovering and he gives a graphic description of the appearance and symptoms of a man who was to die the next day.
Work in the 1840s
Richard Morley and his father, also Richard, were bricklayers so I was interested to hear there were a lot of them in 1881, but both Morleys had probably spent many years away in the army as well. Ruth’s immediate neighbours in 1841 were mostly agricultural labourers, farmers and a few tradespeople. There were already two Goodman families among the agricultural labourers too.
A few doors away Ruth’s other surviving child, Mary, was living with Thomas Cockerell, her carpenter husband (they later moved to Yorkshire). George Morley (my great great grandfather) might have followed the railway labourers that came to the village, because he had left by the mid 40s and spent much of his life moving all over the country as a navvy.