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The early Belcher Family

The Belcher family were important figures in the village and their roots in Gnosall go back a long way, at least as far as the 16th century. The name Belcher is said to derive from the Old French Bel + Cher: beautiful or fine + expression of the face, something like “good cheer” (and not from the more obvious derivation!) A gravestone in the churchyard commemorates Thomas Belcher “the elder”, 1731-1802 (c-30), baptised in Gnosall 11 Aug. 1731, son of Robert Belcher and Sarah Belcher whose other children were Mary (1729) and Robert (1735). (18 different Belcher inscriptions in the churchyard have been listed.) Thomas Belcher “the elder” married Ann Ashton in Gnosall in 1750 and they had children baptised in Gnosall between 1751 and 1775: William, 1751-1772, grave c-28 Thomas, 1753-1799 Sarah, 1755-1756 Michael Belcher “the elder”, 1757-1807, grave c-29 Ann, 1759-1775 Sarah, 1762-1766 Mary, 1764- (married Peter Lees) John, 1766-1767 Frances, 1769-1793 (married John Eldershaw) Elizabeth, 1771-1791 Jane 1775- (married John Johnson) Michael Belcher “the elder” married Mary Belcher at Leigh in 1790: they had children: Mary Ann, bapt. 19.10.1791, died 1862 (married Edward Machin) Michael, bapt. 17.2.1793, died 1846, grave c-31 Thomas, bapt. 7.2.1794, died 1852, grave i-06 William, bapt. 8.8.1796 Elizabeth, born 15.12.1797, bapt 13.5.1798, died 1889, grave 1-04 James, bapt. 19.5.1800, died 1881 Their sons Michael, Thomas and James were all important figures in the life of the village. In 1805 Mr Belcher advertised to let “A New-built BRICK HOUSE, situate near the Church, at Gnosall, in the county of Stafford, containing a parlour, kitchen, brewhouse or back-kitchen, three good lodging rooms, closets, &c, cellar, excellent garden, and the tenant may be accomodated with the keep of either a horse or a cow; good water near the premises.” The house was advertised again in February of 1807 - to sell or let a “newly-erected dwelling house” in the centre of Gnosall with “kitchen and parlour fronting the street”, brewhouse, back kitchen, cellar, 3 bedrooms, spacious garden well planted behind. “Within a small distance of the parish church”. Two tenements adjoining could be used for warehouses or shops. Since the same properties were advertised again by Thomas Belcher in 1835, these could be 1227-1229 on the Tithes map – i.e. somewhere near the Grosvenor Centre. Michael Belcher the elder died on 30th June 1807. His grave, no c-29 has the words: “Beneath In hopes of a sure and glorious Resurrection are deposited the Remains of Michael Belcher the Elder of Gnosall who departed this life June 30th 1807 aged 50 years. Also Mary his wife who departed this life January 30th 1827 aged 67 years.” Felicity Potter
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