William Clarke - 1834 to 1886
William Clarke, born 04 Apr 1834 in Lissington, Lincolnshire, to John Clarke abt 1810 and Ann Sewell abt 1814.
In 1851, aged 17 William was living at the Spital Arms House, Hemswell, Lincolnshire, his occupation was a servant.
On the 18 Aug 1856 he married Charlotte Ward (born in Harspwell abt 1838) at the Parish Church of Hemswell, Lincolnshire.
In 1859 they had a son Frederick and in 1860 a daughter Martha.
By 1861 he was living in Chapel Yard, Little Corringham, Lincolnshire, occupation Agricultural Labourer.
In between 1861 and 1871 they had a further seven children:
George William abt 1862
Mary Clarke abt 1862
Sarah Ann Clarke abt 1864
Mura Clarke abt 1868
John Clarke abt 1869
Ann Elizabeth abt 1870
By 1871 William and Charlotte, and their ever increasing family where still living in Corringham, Lincolnshire.
In 1871 they had another daughter Ada, in 1873 another son Percy Sewell, in 1875 another daughter Clara Elizabeth and finally in 1877 another son Herbert, bring the number of children to 13, was this an unlucky number?
After 1881 William has become a Thrashing Machine Owner, and his son Frederick a Portable Engine Driver. This must have been a very lucrative business for William and his family, as owing to the sheer size of threshing machinery few farmers could afford to purchase their own gear. Such a situation gave rise to the professional contractor - essentially businessmen who acquired and then hired out threshing tackle to farms. These threshing contractors ranged from small scale outfits such as an engine driver with one man running a single set of tackle, up to large contractors who owned an array of machinery for hire.
It was usual for the contractor to provide the steam engine (with driver) and threshing machine (with drum feeder). For his side of the bargain, the farmer would provide the coal and water to drive the engine, perhaps even stretching to food for the workers throughout the day. Equipment such as elevators, self-feeders and balers were charged as extra.
Williams death, on 1st January 1886 was recorded as Committing Suicide by Hanging Himself location, Lunatic Hospital Lincoln. An inquest was held on the 2nd of January 1886 by Sept. Lowe, Coroner for Lincoln. Williams occupation was recorded as formerly a Thrashing Machine Owner (Corringham).
There is a record of a William Clarke being, removed to Bracebridge lunatic asylum on 4th August 1866, was there a history of metal illness or was there something else?
In 1891 his widow Charlotte has taken over the ownership of the Thrashing Machine, and by 1901 her son John has joined Frederick (Thrashing Machine Driver), as a Thrashing Machine Feeder.
Charlotte passed away in 1905. What happen to the Thrashing Machine business will need further investigation.
There follows a little on the history of Bracebridge Asylum:
Bracbridge Asylum was also called "Bracebridge Heath Asylum," but its formal name was the long and cumbersome: "Lindsey and Holland Counties and Lincoln and Grimsby District Lunatic Asylum."
The Asylum has also operated under the name: "Lincolnshire County Pauper Lunatic Asylum."
The Asylum was built in 1852 on a slight rise in Bracebridge parish, on the high road to Sleaford. Originally built to house 250 inmates, it was enlarged in 1859, 1866, 1881 and 1902. The asylum grounds covered 120 acres, and were cultivated by the inmates to provide vegetables.
The Asylum's sewage was disposed of by irrigation over 10 acres of land about a half mile from the asylum.
The Asylum had a cemetery of one and half acres on the grounds, with its own mortuary chapel.