The well-to-do Hickins family had local roots, and for two generations lived at Audmore House, employing local people as servants and tradesmen. At least one of the Hickin clergymen helped out at St Lawrence’s. As local gentry, the family enjoyed shooting and hunting. Tragedy struck the family in 1881 when the eldest daughter was thrown from a carriage and died of her injuries. Rev. William Hickin (1) (1752?-1833)The first Rev. William Hickin was the son of an Audmore farmer, John Hickin.1 He went to Repton School, Derbyshire, then Magdalen, Cambridge University, and in 1775 was ordained deacon at Eccleshall, and assistant curate at Betley.2In April 1784 at All Saints, Derby, he married up the social scale, to Catherine Whitby, the eldest daughter of Richard Whitby, a Derby lawyer, who purchased the manor of Osbaston, Leic., and Catherine (nee Dolphin), granddaughter of a Stafford MP. Catherine was born about 1757 and died 4th January 1838, age 80; she is buried at Gnosall, in grave B-22. The Whitby family were classed as landed gentry with high status ancestors going back to Tudor times.3William and Catherine had three daughters and a son: •Mary Ann, baptised Gnosall 16 Sept. 1785. She died aged 5 in 1790. •Catherine, baptised Gnosall 29 Oct. 1787 •Elizabeth, baptised Gnosall 27 August 1788 •William, baptised Gnosall 7 June 1790 (see below) William was ordained priest, at Eccleshall in 1790 and was Vicar at Audley 1790-1833. From 1791-3 he was a member of the Audley Association for Prosecution of Felons.4The records are contradictory as to whether it was this William Hickin or his son who was appointed Perpetual Curate at Ellenhall 1817-1830.5In May William Hickin 1824 baptized two children at Gnosall as Curate of Ellenhall – and one in March 1825. William Hickin Sr died at Audley on 8 Jan 1833. The Chester Chronicle referred to “the valuable Vicarage of Audley.” His son Rev. William Hickin (2)(1790-1861) William Hickin Jr was baptised in Gnosall in 1790, studied at St John’s, Cambridge, was ordained in 1815 and appointed Curate at Ranton in 1816.6On 3rd October 1816 he married Caroline Susannah Crouch, daughter of Thomas Crouch, Esq.7 at St James, Audley.8 She was born c.17969 and was from Hallowood.10Also in 1816 the Rev. W Hickin, as curate of Ranton, shared the baptizing of children and burials at Gnosall during William Lowe’s last year in office and then took it over entirely until Fearon Jenkinson arrived in mid-1817. A useful newspaper advertisement in 182511 shows that the Hickins already lived comfortably at Audmore: the house was let while they were in the Isle of Man.
TO BE LETA Comfortable and Genteel RESIDENCE, situate at Audmore, near Gnosall, in the county of Stafford, in the occupation of the Rev. William Hickin, consisting of a good sized Kitchen, two Parlours, Brewhouse, Tub house, Pantry, with extensive Cellaring and Bins for Wine, five Bed Rooms, five Attics, with stabling for two horses, and granary above, a gig house, large garden and orchard, well stocked with young fruit trees, together with two pieces of excellent pasture and meadow land: the latter may be irrigated at will, containing about five acres, together with two Pews in Gnosall Church, within five minutes walk.For particulars enquire at the premises; possession may be had at Lady Day next.N.B. - The whole of the premises are in good repair, and the rooms were last year painted and new papered.
William Hickin Jr & Caroline Susannah had a number of children baptised at Gnosall: •1818, 12 Sept. daughter Caroline Eliza •1820, 20 Jan. daughter Sarah Caroline •1821, 21 May, daughter Susanna •1823, 9 July, daughter Jane Whitby •1825, 21 June, their son William was baptized at Mona Crescent, Douglas, Isle of Man, by the Rev. Edward Craine) •1826, born 2 Dec., daughter Anne Yeamans, who was baptized at Gnosall 17 June 1829. (She had already been baptised on 9 Dec. 1826 at Onchan, IoM.12) Caroline Susannah died following this birth and was buried at St George’s, Douglas, IoM, on 12 Dec. 1826.13On 17 Mar 1828 William married Jane Mary Ann Oldacres at Onchan, Isle of Man.14 She had been born c. 1811 at Little Orton, Leic.15 In 1828 or 1829, their daughter Mary Ann was born on the Isle of Man.16In 1833 William took over as Perpetual Curate at Ellenhall from his father.17The Poll Books for the period confirm the family’s residence at Audmore; Rev. Hickin also owned freehold house and land at Cowley. In 1838 William Hickin Jr signed a joint letter objecting to a new railway from Stone to Rugby (“it is an unjustifiable interference with and invasion of private property, being wholly uncalled for and unnecessary for the accommodation of the public”).18 It got a sarcastic response. In 1839 he had a game certificate, as did most of the wealthier men locally.19The 1841 census showed him living at Audmore House with his second wife Jane, and daughters Sarah, Susannah and Mary. No live-in servants were listed. After Rev. Fearon Jenkinson’s death in June 1845, he performed the Gnosall baptisms and a few marriages and burials through July and August until John Till’s arrival. The family had three live-in servants on the 1851 census, a cook, a housemaid and an elderly male general servant. By 1861 they had four live-in servants, a cook, a nurse, a housemaid and a groom – and in 1857 had advertised “a handsome and powerful chestnut mare, rising three years old, suitable for a Brougham: is good tempered and has been handled but not broken. Apply at Audmore House, one mile from the Gnosall Station, on the Shropshire Union Line.”20William Hickin died January 23rd, 1861, aged 70, in the Stafford area.21Of his daughters, I haven’t found out what became of Caroline Eliza and Ann Yeamans, but: •his third daughter Susannah married George Webb, gentleman, from Ashby-de-la-Zouch,22 at Gnosall in 1844; •his second daughter Sarah Katherine/Caroline married John Edward Baker, gentleman, of Barlastone at Gnosall on 6thOctober 1848, •his fourth daughter Jane Whitby married surgeon Robert Davies at St Asaph in 1870. •Mary Ann married Oliver George at Rhyl in 1866 and died in Rhyl in 1899. William Hickin JP (3) The third William Hickin had been born in 1825, Douglas Isle of Man. He didn’t enter the church but “went the Oxford circuit” and became a Barrister at Law, Middle Temple, 1848.23 and was a Staffordshire Magistrate. On 24 May 1849 he married Jane Whitby at Adbaston. She was the daughter of Edward Whitby of Osbaston Lodge, Leicestershire, and so a sort of cousin. She was born Bosworth, Leicestershire c. 1823 and died 9 Feb. 1882, grave B-21). From the children’s places of birth, it seems that they first lived in Leicestershire, and then at Acton Trussell near Stafford. In 1861 the census showed William and Jane living at Audmore House with four children, and four live-in servants. In 1871 there were five children and two servants, a cook and a housemaid and in 1881 four children and two servants but Jane Hickin was absent – she died the following year. The children were as follows: •William Whitby, 1850, Bosworth •Julia Maria(nne), 1852, Acton Trussell •Arthur Edward, 1853, Acton Trussell (studied law 1871; unemployed solicitor 1881) •Mary Whitby, baptised 12/3/1854, Gnosall. Married Alfred W Hickman, Ironmaster in Wolverhampton •Adela Ellen, baptised 24/8/1855, Gnosall, died Jan. 1858, buried Gnosall •Constance Elizabeth, baptised 23/4/1858, Gnosall; died at 7 months, buried Gnosall Aug 1858 •Vernon Whitby, baptised 4/10/1859, Gnosall. Bank clerk 1881 •Herbert John, baptised 21/9/1861, Gnosall •Henry Whitby, baptised 6/9/1863, Gnosall William was apparently not in good health by 1870. An advertisement offered four horses, a grey gelding (a hunter), a bay mare (huntress and splendid timber jumper), a chestnut cob mare (hack and carriage horse), and a boy’s hunting pony. It was explained that William Hickin Esq. was “giving up hunting through ill health”.24 Audmore House was again stated to be near Gnosall Station. A little later that year Mrs Hickin advertised:25
WANTED, a good PLAIN COOK, who understands the management of a cow; also, a HOUSEMAID: both must be able to wash and iron.
In early November 1881 the oldest daughter, Julia Hickin, aged 29, was thrown from a brougham and dragged in Wolverhampton when the horse panicked; her right arm was shattered and she died, having refused an amputation.26 She had been attending a concert with her brother-in-law A W Hickman’s three sisters. William Hickin moved to Budleigh Salterton, Devon and died there 4 March 1891, leaving £254 17s 9d. Probate to son Alfred in Edgbaston and son-in-law Alfred William Hickman. Felicity Potter 1 D B Robinson, Staffordshire clergy 1830, SAHS XXIV, 1982-3 and Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students ..., Vol. 2, online 2 Clergy Database 3 “A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain & Ireland for 1852” - Sir Bernard Burke. Online. 4 Chester Chronicle 5 Clergy Database online & Alumni Cantabrigienses online, but Manchester Mercury, 30 Sept. 1817 states it was WH Jun. The first two seem more reliable sources. 6 Clergy Database online. 7 “The County Families of the United Kingdom Or, Royal Manual of the Titled andUntitled Aristocracy of Great Britain and Ireland” - Edward Walford, 1869, online8 Familysearch9 Familysearch and Isle of Man Parish Registers.10 Monthly Magazine or British Register, 1816, online.11 Staffordshire Advertiser, 22 Jan. 1825.12 Familysearch and Isle of Man Parish Registers.13 Familysearch and Isle of Man Parish Registers.14 Familysearch and Isle of Man Parish Registers.15 1851 census.16 Census records17 Alumni Cantabrigienses online18 Staffordshire Advertiser, 22 Dec. 183819 Staffordshire Advertiser, 21 Sept 183920 Staffordshire Advertiser, 1 Aug. 185721 Alumni Cantabrigienses online and FreeBMD online.22 Marriage register.23 wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Men-at-the-Bar.djvu/25324 Staffordshire Advertiser, 8 Jan. 187025 Staffordshire Advertiser, 5 Mar. 187026 Birmingham Daily Post, 7 Nov. 1881 and 8 Nov. 1881.