Mr Thomas Maycock of Dunchurch

Blind hero

St. Peter's church, Dunchurch
Photo by Karen Gregory

White’s 1874 Trade Directory for Dunchurch records:

This parish has produced an ingenious and remarkable character in the person of the late Mr. Thomas Maycock, a farmer and native, who lost his sight upwards of 40 years ago by injuries received from the Rugby School boys. He was extremely ingenious, and since he lost his sight erected several buildings, invented and made improvements in agricultural implements. He attended the markets, and is said to have been one of the best judges of corn and cattle. He also taught reading, writing, and music. He died 24th December 1858, aged 57, and was interred in the churchyard here.

My Maycock’s Family

The 1841 census shows Mr Maycock, age around 35, living in Cawston with his wife Rebecca (age around 45) and their son John (age 11). They were living with James Watts (80 year old farmer, head of the household and possibly an uncle), William Watts, a farmer aged around 75, James Watts junior (age around 25) and two servants. By 1851, 47 year old Thomas Maycock was head of his own household; he had been born in Dunchurch and was recorded as a ‘former farmer’ and ‘blind’. The household also included his wife Rebeckah (aged 62, 15 years older than him) and their 22 year old son John, plus 34 year old cousin James Watts (a farmer) and a servant.  By 1861 Rebeckah appears as a widow, living with her son John, an agricultural labourer and farmer of eight acres1 plus his wife Maria, two children (aged four and two) and a lodger. Rebeckah died in February the following year aged 72.

Has anyone seen his tombstone in Dunchurch churchyard? And what about the incident involving Rugby schoolboys? Was he a scholar or teacher at the school? Any details would be welcome.

This inspiring extract is from White’s Trade Directory for Warwickshire, 1874, p. 862, held at the Warwickshire County Record Office.

1 A small-holding not enough to keep a family on.

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