Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Saturday, 23 January 2021

John Soppit: From Coal Mining to Pulling Pints and Emma Smith, Louisa Tompson and Marian Johnson

The Shortlands Tavern, Station Road, Shortlands, Bromley
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mike Quinn - geograph.org.uk/p/2255969

Two more pubs on the endless (that's not a complaint) family pub crawl ... Louisa Tompson, younger daughter of Daniel Thompson and Mary Adcock, married John Soppit, son of Joseph Soppit and Catherine Winship, who later became landlord of The Shortlands Tavern in Bromley. John Soppit had also been the licensee of the Princess Royal in Croydon, where he employed his nephew, John Benjamin Botterill, as his manager, but that was not his first marriage and his origins are very surprisingly far and away from the pubs of South London: 

Mary Smith, daughter of Emma Smith, was born in Houghton Le Spring and baptised on 11 Mar 1866 in West Rainton, Durham. 

Then on 12 Dec 1869, John Soppit married Emma Smith (23) (bap. 5 Apr 1848) - daughter of Martin Smith, Coal Miner, and Mary Picken (m. 1827) - in East Rainton. Whether Mary was his natural daughter or not, John Soppit must have brought the child up as his own as she subsequently took his surname. 

John and Emma then had a further two children, who, given the early dates in the same year, must have been twins.
  1. Joseph William Soppit was born in the 1st quarter of 1871 in Guisborough, Yorkshire and baptised in Eston, Yorkshire on 17 Apr 1871. He died in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the same year.
  2. Catherine Emma Soppit, b. 1871, also baptised in Eston, Yorkshire on 17 Apr 1871, was buried on 30 April 1871, aged 2 weeks or months.
In 1871, John Soppitt (sic), now an Engine Fitter, was living with wife, Emma, and children; Mary (5), Joseph Wm (0) and Catherine (0), and Elizabeth Turner (15), Servant, in Princess Street, Normanby, Guisborough, Yorkshire.

But Emma Soppit (née Smith) died, aged 26, and was buried on 17 Apr 1871, in Eston, Yorkshire. It looks very likely that she had died after giving birth to the twins, who were both baptised on the same day as their mother's funeral. 

John Soppit, it would seem, must have immediately taken the babies back to the home of his father, as his residence was listed at that time as South Hetton, Durham. At just weeks old, son, Joseph William Soppit died and was buried, at St Nicholas Church, Hetton-le-Hole on 27 Apr 1871. And just three days later, on 30 Apr 1871, his presumably twin sister, Catherine Emma Soppit, was buried, also at St Nicholas Church, Hetton-le-Hole. Heartbreaking.

St Nicholas Church, Hetton-le-Hole, Graveyard
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Alexander P Kapp - geograph.org.uk/p/2443014

John Soppit then married Louisa Tompson at Christ Church, Watney Street, St George in the East, in the first quarter of 1875. They had another 6 children.
  1. Catherine Sarah Winship Soppit b. 4 Apr 1876 in Greenwich
  2. Joseph Daniel Soppit, b. 23 Sep 1877 in Greenwich
  3. John Benjamin Soppit, b. 1880 in Greenwich (died in the same quarter)
  4. John Winship Soppit b. 1 Mar 1882 in Greenwich, bap. 10 Jun 1883 at Christ Church, Watney Street [Source]
  5. Benjamin Tompson Soppit b. 13 Nov 1884, bap. 1 Mar 1885 at St Mary, Shortlands, Kent
  6. Louisa Adcock Soppit b. 26 Oct 1887 in Bromley, Kent
In 1881, John Soppet (sic), 36, Engine Fitter, was a boarder in the household of Jane Granger (58) at 29, Donald Street, Stockton upon Tees. Louisa was at the pub with her brother-in-law, Daniel Bottrill, with Emma's daughter, Mary; daughter Catherine and son Joseph, while her sister was away in Devon. 

Emma's daughter, Mary, died, aged 24, in the 1st quarter of 1891, in Bromley, Kent. Then confirmed in the Kent 1891 Public House Directory Listings, by the time of the 1891 Census on 5 Apr, the family were living at The Shortlands TavernStation Road, Beckenham, Bromley. Living with John Soppett (sic) were wife Louisa (46), sons John Winship (9), Benjamin Thompson (6), daughter Louisa Adcock (3) and John Thompson (25), nephew, barman. 

The following report of The Bromley Petty Sessions appeared in the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser of 6 July 1893:
REFUSING TO QUIT. George Herbert, builder, of 19, Plaistow Lane, Bromley, was summoned by John Soppit, landlord of the Shortlands Tavern, Shortlands, for being disorderly and quarrelsome on licenced premises and refusing to quit the same, on June 27. Mr Gregory appeared for the complainant, and Mr L. Lewis for the defendant, who pleaded guilty. Mr Gregory stated that the defendant used fearful language towards the complainant. Mr Lewis stated that the defendant had not the slightest idea of having used any bad language until he received the summons. He urged that as the defendant had made this apology the magistrates should inflict a mitigated penalty. The Chairman said he had never heard such bad language. The defendant would be fined 40s with 8s costs, or 21 days' hard labour. Mr Lewis asked for time, but this was refused. 
20, Honley Road, Catford, Lewisham

The London (South) 1896 Suburban Publicans directory still lists John Soppit at the Shortlands Tavern, but by 1901, the family were residing in a quite grand double-fronted house at 20, Honley Road, Catford, Lewisham. John Soppit (56), Licenced Victualler, is listed with wife Louisa (56), sons John (19) and Benjamin (16) - who have followed their father's original trade as Joiners - daughter Louisa (13) and they can afford a General Domestic Servant. 

Louisa Soppit (née Tompson) died, aged 57, in the 3rd quarter of 1902. 

Then on 27 Jul 1903, John Soppit married for the 3rd time to Marian Johnson in Bermondsey, in the district of St Olave, Southwark. And in 1911, John Soppit (66), Retired Licenced Victualler, was still living at 20, Honley Road, with new wife Marian (46), son Benjamin (26) and daughter, Louisa (23). 

John Soppit of 20, Honley Road, Catford, died on 24 Jan 1924 at 390, High Street, Lewisham (University Lewisham Hospital, the former Lewisham Workhouse). He left £3467 18s 1d (£212,166 in 2020) to his widow, Marian Soppit and a further £2208 to son, Benjamin Tompson Soppit, engineer. 

Marian Soppit died, in 1943, in Bournemouth, Dorset.

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