My grandmother was Doreen Wright, who was born and raised in Acomb in the Ainsty of York. I had traced her Wright ancestry back three further generations - her father Harold Wright (1900-1972, a painter & decorator), her grandfather Henry Wright (1868-1956, railway wagon builder & market gardener) and great-grandfather James Wright (1836-1908, market gardener, brick manufacturer, pub landlord & private care home for mentally handicapped children proprietor!) - all of whom also lived in Acomb. James Wright was not born in Acomb though, coming to the village in about 1868 just prior to Henry's birth. James had actually been born in the neighboring parish of Bishophill Senior. This parish is one of the four along the Western route into York from Acomb. The other three are Holy Trinity Micklegate, Dringhouses and Bishophill Junior. This map is a useful guide to the unusual jigsaw nature of these parishes. In this previous post, I showed how in the 1841-1861 censuses, James Wright is living with his parents John (a gardener) and Ann Wright along with some siblings. I'm not sure of the exact address in each of these as it doesn't appear to be given. To find out about the Wright family of Dringhouses, I had to search through the church registers of each parish as well as using the IGI.
John and Ann Wright
From the censuses I had found the names of 8 children of John and Ann. Looking through the St. Mary Bishophill Senior baptismal register, I found the records for five of the children. The ones I could not find were George (b.1827), Mary (b.1839) and Henry (b.1844). The five entries I did find were quite good giving both the date of baptism as well as the actual date of birth. All of them, which occurred between 1830-1841, listed John Wright as a gardener. From the marriage records of the same parish, I found the following marriage entry:
"John Wright, husbandman, of the parish of the parish of Holy Trinity, Micklegate, bachelor, and Ann Calvert, of this parish, spinster. Married in Church, by banns, 12 Oct 1829, witnesses, Robert Bellerby & Richard Douglas."
Additionally, this marriage notice appears in the York Reference Library Newspaper Index, though I have not viewed it. This gives a lot of background information about John and Ann (especially her maiden name which is another common local surname). The other notable fact is that this marriage took place well after the eldest child George (according to the census) was born. Using the IGI, I found a George Calvert the bastard child of Ann Calvert baptised in St. Mary's Bishophill Senior on 30th July 1826. I still haven't found the baptism entries for Mary or Henry.
Tying up the loose ends
In the next posts, I shall discuss the childhoods and parents of John Wright and Ann Calvert. However, it is worth taking some time to figure out what we still need to know about their adult lives. We have found out that they married in 1829 and had 7 children together until 1844 plus Ann's illegitimate son George changed his surname to Wright and was named as John's son in the census. During this period John was working as a husbandman & gardener, suggesting that he leased the land he worked upon. The 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses confirm that John was a gardener, on 15 acres in 1851. To see if John and Ann were still alive in 1871, I checked that census - I found that they were both living in Dringhouses with John (aged 66) working as a brickmaker and gardener (see image above). These occupations were common to the Wright family, and the Dringhouses & Acomb areas was well known for its brickmaking ponds - [good link to article on 19thC brickmaking in York]. Also living with them is John Wright a grandson (b. 1858) and a servant John Spencer. This grandson appears to be the same one that was living with John and Ann in 1861 ten years earlier. I cannot find either John or Ann Wright in subsequent censuses, suggesting that they died before 1881. A search of the free index of births, marriages and deaths finds that a John Wright b.1804 had a death registered in York in 1880 and an Ann Wright b.1804 had a death registered in York in 1879. Both of these are likely candidates. I'm still not sure whose child the grandson, John Wright, is - he could be an illegitimate child of one of the daughters, a child of an unknown son, or the child of George Wright (Calvert). I don't think it's a son of John & Ann's son James as I think I know all of his children, and it is unlikely to be the son of their other son Henry as he is too young. A look at my notes for the parish records and a search of the IGI doesn't find a good match, so I am left wondering for a bit longer.