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2nd Edition of "The Hamiltons 1762-1862" NOW AVAILABLE



The content of these web pages is based on the 1st edition of my book "The Hamiltons 1762-1862" originally published in 1997

The 2nd Edition was published in 2009 . A 2012 Revised 2nd Edition is now available to coincide with the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Hamiltons in South Australia in 1837.


Preview and order the book by opening the viewer at the right.

3rd Edition

A 3rd completely revised edition is in preparation and contains corrections and additions to the section on William Holmes Hamilton and the Duke of York, as well as further discussion about the speculated origins of the Hamilton family. Details on the Historia Incognita web page.


3. Richard Hamilton the 1st

John Hamilton’s younger brother, Richard, was baptised on 7 June 1767[354] at the church of St Mary the Virgin, Dover.

In March 1779, at the age of about 13, and having completed his schooling, Richard was indentured as an apprentice tailor with William Brewer of Dover. The indenture agreement reads:

Richard Hamilton son in law of Robert Lowther of the Town and Port of Dover in the County of Kent of his own Free Will and Accord and by and with the Consent and Approbation of his said Father in Law testified by his being made a party to and his Exercising the Indenture - by Indenture bearing the Date the 17th day of March 1779 Hath put himself Apprentice to William Brewer of said Town and Port of Dover, Taylor, to Learn his Art and with him after the manner of an Apprentice to serve from the date of the Indenture until the full and Term of Eight Years from thence...The Master in Consideration of such true and Faithful service to be performed by the said Apprentice thereby Covenants and Promises that he the said William Brewer the said Apprentice - in the Art of a Taylor which he useth by the best means that he can will teach and Instruct or Cause to be Taught and Instructed, Finding unto the said Apprentice Sufficient Meat, Drink, Outward Apparel and Mending thereof and Lodging during the said Term and the said Robert Lowther thereby Covenants and Promises that he will find provide and allow to and for the said Apprentice good and sufficient Inner Apparel and Washing and Mending thereof during the said Term


Richard Hamilton was placed on the Roll of Indentures on 9 April 1779. The term of the Apprenticeship was for a year longer than the usual seven years, and there was no mention of payment. Apprenticeship agreements could be made individually between Master and Apprentice and varied considerably.

The description of Richard Hamilton as the “son in law” of Robert Lowther clearly does not have the later meaning that Richard had married Robert Lowther’s daughter. It means that Richard’s father, James Hamilton died and his mother, Jane, remarried to Robert Lowther, so that Robert Lowther was technically acting as his “father in law”.

James Hamilton died at Dover in July 1773 and was buried at St Mary the Virgin, Dover, on 20 July[355]. His widow, Jane, married Robert Lowther on 4 November 1776 at St Mary the Virgin in Dover[356]. The Banns had been posted at the church over the previous three Sundays[357]. A second marriage was listed, perhaps in error, for 4 February 1777 however the Vicar noted in the Parish Register that "the parties did not appear"[358]. Robert was accepted as a member of that church on 15 August 1783, having come from St Bees in Cumberland[359].

For an unknown reason, by June 1781, William Brewer could not continue with the apprenticeship agreement and consigned the teaching of Richard Hamilton to Hammond Goldfinch, another Tailor of Dover. This required a new agreement to be drawn up in which the legal grammar is almost impossible to follow.

Indenture Richard Hamilton son in law of Robert Lowther of the Town and Port of Dover in the County of Kent Taylor to William Brewer of the said Town and Port Taylor bearing date the 17th day of March 1779 is by a certain writing Indented bearing the date the Seventh day of June 1781 made or mentioned to be made between the said William Brewer, Richard Hamilton the Apprentice and the said Robert Lowther of the one part and Hammond Goldfinch of the same Town and Port Taylor of the other part Assigned by the said Brewer with the Consent of the said Apprentice and the said Robert Lowther unto said Hammond Goldfinch during the term of eight years mentioned in the said Indenture now to come and unexpired Subject Nevertheless to the Covenants and Agreements contained in the same Indenture (except as in the said writing Indented is excepted) which the said Hammond Goldfinch doth Covenant and Promise to execute and Perform[360].


And so Richard Hamilton was enrolled as an apprentice again on 22 June 1781 and his training as a Tailor continued.

Richard’s “father in law”, Robert Lowther, died an invalid in 1784[361]. Three years later, in 1787, Richard’s younger brother, William, was also apprenticed to learn the trade of a Tailor. It was his mother, Jane Lowther, who gave her permission for the Indenture to be signed.

William Hamilton son of Jane Lowther of the Town and Port of Dover in the County of Kent widow of his own Free Will and Accord and the Consent and Approbation of his said Mother by Indenture bearing the date the Fifteenth day of February 1787 Hath put himself Apprentice to Thomas Hartnett the Younger of the Town and Port of Dover aforesaid Taylor to Learn his Art and with him after the Manner of an Apprentice...for seven years...[362]

William’s apprenticeship was enrolled on 30 March 1787.

On 19 May 1788, aged twenty-one and about to complete his apprenticeship, Richard Hamilton married Martha Cornelious[363] at the church of St Mary the Virgin, Dover[364]. Again, it was his mother, Jane Lowther, who witnessed the marriage register[365]. A few months later, in August, Richard applied to be admitted as a Freeman of the Corporation of Dover.

The following entry was made in the Dover Register of Electors:-

Richard Hammilton of Dover, Taylor, the First day of August 1788 came before the Mayor and Jurats of Dovor and claimed the Freedom of the said Corporation by Apprenticeship with Hammond Goldfinch, Taylor, a Freeman thereof and was Admitted and Sworn[366].


Richard and Martha had a daughter, Jane, baptised on 14 September 1788 at St Mary the Virgin. Unfortunately Martha died soon afterwards, in February 1789[367]. It is not known what happened to baby Jane, however we might ask what Richard would have done after the premature death of his young wife.

If baby Jane survived how was he to bring her up? We might imagine that his mother, Jane Lowther, would come to his assistance. The mystery is perhaps further compounded by the fact that in 1799 a Jane Hamilton was baptised at St Mary the Virgin on 10 September, with parents listed as James and Jane Hamilton. It seems that this Jane may have been seriously ill and the baptism was carried out only two weeks before the child died. Jane Hamilton, the child, was buried on 26 September[368]. Was this child Jane the daughter of Richard and Martha, perhaps brought up by his mother Jane? Or was it actually the daughter of James and Jane Hamilton, as the register suggests?

Two years after Martha Cornelous died Richard married again. On 2 May 1791 he married twenty-three year old Catherine Spice[369].

Catherine Spice was baptised on 23 October 1768 at St Mary the Virgin[370]. She was one of the children of Robert Spice and his wife Mary. Their other children were Thomas, John, Sarah, Mary and Ann[371].

Richard Hamilton the First is listed as practising his trade as a tailor in Dover during the 1820s and in 1830 with an address being given as 31 Strond Street[372].

The Tailor’s business seems to have done well for, between 1819 and 1827, Richard Hamilton the First took on no fewer than five apprentices.

The first was William Newland Williams, who had the permission of his father in law John Trevanion, a Baker of Dover. The Indenture, dated 7 June 1819 was for seven years and the agreement was in the usual terms - the master would teach the apprentice the trade and after three years would pay half the customary wages to the apprentice[373].

The second apprentice, taken on three years later, was Richard Leadbetter Knight, thirteen year old son of Henry Knight, a Bricklayer of Dover. This indenture, dated 11 March 1822, was an agreement with both Richard Hamilton and his wife Catherine and provided for the apprenticeship to last until Richard Knight turned twenty-one. The apprentice’s father paid £10 to Richard and Catherine Hamilton in return for his son being taught the trade[374].

Later in the same year a third apprentice was signed up. William Filmer, a Baker of Blucher Street, Dover, agreed for his son, also William Filmer, to start an apprenticeship on 12 August 1822. Again the agreement was with both Richard and Catherine Hamilton and was for a seven year period. The apprentice’s father was to provide all of the son’s requirements[375].

The fourth apprentice began on 4 April 1826. William Henry Worringham, a Dover Shipwright, on behalf of his son, who had the same name, agreed to pay £10 to cover the apprenticeship. But times must have been tough and the agreement had a provision that if William Worringham was unable to pay the £10 then Richard Hamilton (now referred to as being the Elder) was entitled to withold payment of wages until the debt was cleared[376].

The fifth, and apparently final, apprentice was John Popkiss. William Popkiss, a Dover Mariner, agreed to his son beginning the apprenticeship with Richard Hamilton the Elder on 28 July 1827[377].

There are no more apprentices registered for either Richard Hamilton the First or Richard Hamilton the Second at Dover. In fact, there are none at all for Richard the Second, nor is there a record of Richard the Second having ever entered an apprenticeship himself to learn the trade of Tailor[378].

Unlike his illustrious older brother, Sir John Hamilton, apart from these few facts nothing else is known about Richard the First. We might assume that he died, or at least retired, during the early 1830s aged in his early sixties as his name no longer appears on the Rolls or in the Directories after 1830. There is however, no record of his burial in the registers of either St Mary the Virgin or St James the Apostle at Dover.


Footnotes



[354] Parish Register of Baptisms, IGI Film355633

[355] Parish Register of Burials, St Mary the Virgin, Dover, IGI Film #1836142 , provided by Joan Maguire

[356] Parish Register of Marriages, St Mary the Virgin, Dover; IGI Film #355634. There is a second marriage entry dated 4 February 1777.

[357] Register of St Mary the Virgin, Dover. Transpript supplied by Vera Maddison4 October 1999

[358] Register of St Mary the Virgin, Dover. Transpript supplied by Vera Maddison4 October 1999

[359] Robert Lowther was accepted as a member of the church of St Mary the Virgin, Dover, on 15 August 1783. He was transferring from St Bees, Cumberland – Settlement Books, St Mary the Virgin, IGI Film # 1850515 Item 6.

[360] Dover Borough Records, Apprenticeship Enrolments, Indentures 1673-1788, IGI Film #1656692

[361] Parish Register of Burials, St Mary the Virgin, Dover, IGI Film #1836142 , provided by Joan Maguire

[362] Dover Borough Records, Apprenticeship Enrolments, Indentures 1673-1788, IGI Film #1656692

[363] Sometimes spelt Cornelous

[364] Parish Register of Marriages, IGI Film 355634

[365] Parish Register of Marriages, IGI Film 355634. The marriage was witnessed by Jane Lowther and Thomas Clement

[366] Register of Electors 1664-1865, Dover, Copy supplied by Dover Library via Shelagh Mason; Another copy obtained by John Hamilton Link 21 July 1975

[367] Parish Register of Burials, St Mary the Virgin, Dover, 8 February 1789, IGI Film 355634

[368] A Jane Hamilton died as an infant and was buried at St Mary the Virgin on 26 September 1799, but this girl was probably the daughter of James and Jane Hamilton, baptised on 10 September 1799. Also in 1789, on 18 May, Elizabeth Hamilton was buried at the church of St Paul in Canterbury - Canterbury Church Records, St Paul, Archdeacon’s Transcripts - IGI Film #1751627

[369] Banns 10, 17 ,24 April 1791; Married 2 May 1791 Parish Register St Mary the Virgin; Witnesses Thomas and Mary Spice, transcript supplied by Vera Maddison 4 October 1999; IGI 355634

[370] IGI Film 355633

[371] Thomas Spice ch.25 December 1764; John ch. 16 Nov 1766; Sarah, 8 September 1770; Mary, 8 September 1770; Ann, 9 May 1773 all at St Mary the Virgin, Dover, all listed in IGI C036561/355633

[372] Dover Poll Book 1822; Pigot’s Directory of Dover 1826-1827; Dover Poll Book 1830

[373] Dover Apprenticeship Indentures 1788-1892, p.257, IGI Film # 1656692

[374] Dover Apprenticeship Indentures 1788-1892, p.287, IGI Film # 1656692

[375] Dover Apprenticeship Indentures 1788-1892, p.293, IGI Film # 1656692

[376] Dover Apprenticeship Indentures 1788-1892, p.347, IGI Film # 1656692

[377] Dover Apprenticeship Indentures 1788-1892, p.369, IGI Film # 1656692

[378] Dover Apprenticeship Indentures 1788-1892, IGI Film # 1656692, searched from 1788-1840, no Richard Hamilton is listed.

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