Fearon Jenkinson in the courtsIn 1827 Rev. Jenkinson’s teenage son Sheppard Fearon Jenkinson (born Eccleshall, 1811) was apprenticedto Stafford ironmonger and grocer Mr Sillitoe. This ended unhappily in the courts.1In 1828 young Jenkinson refused to clean the grates for sale in the shop, saying it was not his business. His father and attorney Mr C Flint became involved and the argument went to court in March 1829. The lad said Mr Sillitoe “had set him to sort filthy rags, received of tinkers and nasty people” and he got fleas as a result. When he complained, Mr Sillitoe told him to clean the grate and he refused. (It seems there may have been a misunderstanding, that he thought he was being ordered to clean the 30 or 40 house grates, which was the servant boy’s job.) He also complained that he had once been knocked down by his master, and once nearly suffocated (the judge didn’t allowthis, it not having been mentioned before) and the master ate better cheese at table than he did. Counsel for the defence said the Rev. Fearon Jenkinson had “a small income and a large family” and had had trouble raising the 40/- apprenticeship premium. It would have been better for Mr Sillitoe to have sorted it privately.Unsurprisingly Justice Park found against the Jenkinsons, and said the boy should have been given a good flogging. He commented rather irrelevantly that “it was not very pleasant” to “walk down the streets of Stafford” “for it hurt one’s feet very much”.Mr Sillitoe then brought a claim against Rev. Fearon Jenkinson to recover the sum of £23 2s 10d, due for the apprenticeship premium and some goods delivered to him. Jenkinson took the unusual step of invoking an ancient procedure called a “wager of law”, and “pleaded a set off as to part of the money claimed and had waged his law as to the residue”.This involved each party bringing six compurgators or neighbours and swearing in open court, having been “called by the crier thrice”. If the compurgators then swore in support of their party, the plaintiff lost. In the event, the Rev. Jenkinson and his compurgators did not appear on the due date.Shepherd Fearon Jenkinson went to live in Middleton, Lancashire, but died aged 25 at his father’s house in 1840.Sources: Staffordshire Advertiser, 21 March 1829; Chester Chronicle, 5thJune 1829Felicity Potter
Rev. Jenkinson’s PropertyOn the Tithe Map he is shown as occupying the following, nos 1042-1110 being near the church (he lived at 1046, demolished by his successor John Till) and 698-802 north of the village near Hollies Common. The remoter properties were owned by the Bishop of Lichfield; Jenkinson owned all the property near the church except for the narrow “Barn and Garden” at 1052, directly on the road. This was owned by the Church. Croft; 702, 781, 1047 – Garden; 783 - Cottage & Garden; 784-792 – Field;802 - Ketley Meadow; 803-804 – Dunstan; 805 - Gravel Pit; 1042 - Clover Field; 1046 - House & Barn etc; 1049 - The Croft; 1050 - Malt Leasow; 1052 - Barn & Garden; 1053, 1109, 1110 - Hen & Chickens.
Rev. Fearon Jenkinson, Incumbent at St Lawrence, 1817-1845
The Rev. Fearon Jenkinson, 1774-1845, served the parish actively for the 28 years before John Till. His parsonage, now demolished, stood opposite the churchyard, within what are now the grounds of Parkside. An unusual claim to fame is that he was probably the last person to use an ancient Saxon legal practice, “wager of law” or compurgation, in contesting a Stafford ironmonger’s bill in 1829. Fearon Jenkinson was baptised on 1st Feb. 1774, at Ennerdale in Cumberland; his parents were William and Jane Jenkinson. He married Frances Shepard 15 November 1802 at Egremont in Cumberland He was Perpetual Curate at Chapel Chorlton (south of Newcastle-under-Lyme), 25/1/1806 till 7/4/1817 and Stipendiary Curate at Chebsey near Eccleshall from 1814. Staffordshire Archives have a copy from 1815 of the “Objections of the parishioners to the Dean’s choice of Fearon Jenkinson as curate of Adbaston, signed by 45 parishioners of whom 15 were illiterate.” There’s no reason given. From 14/04/1817 till 1845 Fearon Jenkinson was Perpetual Curate of Gnosall Parish. By May 1818 he headed the published list of members of the Gnosall Association for the Prosecution of Felons; he remained a member almost until his death. Fearon and Frances had 11 children all born in Staffordshire, the first 5 born at Eccleshall, 3 born at Chebsey and the last three born at Gnosall – Ann, bapt. 28/8/1817, Mary Fearon, 6/8/1819, and Martha, 18/5/1822 Fearon Jenkinson was one of the Gnosall representatives on the Newport Union Board of Guardians overseeing the workhouses and attended most of the meetings, as he had done with the Gnosall Workhouse meetings prior to the Union. In 1837 he lobbied enthusiastically for the return of the Hon. Col. Anson (connected to the Shugborough family) to Parliament for South Staffordshire, as a reforming Whig. He was on the 1841 Census for Gnosall District 1 at the Vicarage (subsequently demolished 1046 on Tithe Map), with daughter Elizabeth aged 23 and a servant called Martha Crutchley. In Feb. 1844 he and farmer Joseph Parton were trustees for bankrupt butcher Michael Belcher.i 1 Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette, 24/2/1844. He died 30 June 1845 and the Gentleman’s Magazine reported: “June 30. at Gnosall, Staffordshire, aged 72, the Rev. Fearon Jenkinson, Perpetual Curate of that parish, to which he was collated in 1817 by the Bishop of Lichfield.” He is buried in grave J-09 at St Lawrence church. According to Gnosall Womens Institute survey of churchyard headstones, the inscription reads “He was a man of strict honor and universal benevolence towards his fellow creatures. During a period of nearly thirty years he gave the proof of his ardent zeal and affection.” On 30th July 1845, the contents of Gnosall Parsonage, household, dairy and brewing utensils, etc. plus livestock, implements of husbandry, ricks of hay and wheat and growing crops were offered for auction.