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

Saturday, 23 January 2021

From Coal Mining to Pulling Pints

The Shortlands Tavern, Station Road, Shortlands, Bromley
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mike Quinn -

Two more pubs on the now seemingly endless (that's not a complaint) family pub crawl ... My 2nd great-grandfather, Dan Tompson, married the daughter of the landlord of The King & Queen in Shadwell; his eldest sister, Sarah had married her cousin, Daniel Botterill and they ran at least four pubs; there's another publican brother to come, but his time, we have the story of Sarah and Dan's sisterLouisa Tompson, younger daughter of Daniel Thompson and Mary Adcock who had been the Botterill's barmaid, who married John Soppit, who became landlord of The Shortlands Tavern in Bromley.

Princess Royal Public House, Croydon
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Peter Trimming -

But John Soppit's origins are very surprisingly far and away from the pubs of South London: His father, Joseph Soppit (son of Joseph Soppit and Bridget b. 1781), baptised 19 Oct 1806 in Ovingham, Northumberland had married Catherine Winship, baptised 9 Sep 1804 (daughter of John Winship and Mary Daggett, who had married on 22 Oct 1796) on 1 Apr 1838 at All Saints' Church, Newcastle upon Tyne. Joseph and Catherine had three children, all baptised at St Bartholomew's Church, Longbenton, Northumberland; 
  1. Bridget Soppit baptised 3 Mar 1839
  2. Winship Soppit baptised 27 Mar 1842
  3. John Soppit baptised 6 Oct 1844
Longbenton has had some notable residents, among them English physician and scientist, Thomas Addison, footballer Peter Beardsley and actor Jimmy Nail. The late wife and infant child of engineer, George Stephenson (1781 - 1848), are buried at St Bartholomew's ChurchLongbenton. George having worked as a brakesman and later appointed as engine-wright in 1812, in 1814, Stephenson constructed his first locomotive, 'Blucher', for hauling coal at Killingworth Colliery. (See Killingworth locomotives). This may even have been an influence, as later, John Soppit became an Engine Fitter. 

St Bartholomew's Church, Longbenton
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Bill Henderson -

In 1839, the Soppit family were living in Killingworth, with Joseph's occupation listed as Waggonman. In 1841, Joseph Sopwith (sic), Banksman, wife Catherine, daughter Bridget and Bridget Elias (with the change of name, I assume she had remarried, but found no record) are living at Killingworth, Longbenton, Tynemouth. Longbenton has a long history of coal mining. By 1851, Joseph Soppit (44), a Colliery Labourer, wife Catherine (45), daughter Bridget (12), sons Winship (9) and John (6), as well as Joseph's mother, Bridget (70), are all living at Hazbrigg, Longbenton, Tynemouth. 
(Banksman: In Irish and British civil engineering, a banksman is the person who directs the operation of a crane or larger vehicle from the point near where loads are attached and detached.)
Then the family clearly move south to Durham, as John's grandmother, Bridget Elias, died in Houghton Le Spring in 1855. And in 1861, Joseph Soppit (55), Labourer, wife Catherine (56) and sons Winship (19), Blacksmith at Colliery, and John (14), Joiner at Colliery are living at Four Lane Ends, Hetton Le Hole. Coal has been mined in the surrounding area since Roman times.

Coal Miner's Daughter: Mary Smith, daughter of Emma Smith, was born in the 1st quarter of 1866 in Houghton Le Spring and baptised on 11 Mar 1866 in West Rainton, Durham. 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 she was his daughter or not, John Soppit must have brought up Mary Smith 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.
St Nicholas Church, Hetton-le-Hole, Graveyard
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Alexander P Kapp -

John's mother, Catherine Soppit had died, aged 66, and was buried on 9 Jan 1871 at St Nicholas, Hetton Le Hole. On the 1871 census, Joseph Soppitt (64), Labourer, and son Winship (29), Blacksmith, along with Isabella Hepple, Servant, are living at Lyons, Hetton-Le-Hole, Houghton Le Spring, Durham. While, John Soppitt (sic), now an Engine Fitter, is 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.

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 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. Then 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

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. 1877 in Greenwich
  3. John Benjamin Soppit, b. 1880 in Greenwich (died in the same quarter as he was born).
  4. John Winship Soppit b. 1882 in Greenwich
  5. Benjamin Tompson Soppit bap. 1 Mar 1885
  6. Louisa Adcock Soppit b. 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, while his wife Louisa was a visitor at the pub with her brother-in-law, Daniel Bottrill, while her sister was away in Devon. With Louisa are Emma's daughter, Mary,  daughter Catherine and son Joseph. (John's father, Joseph Soppit (74), a Retired Coal Miner, was living in Caroline Street, Hetton-Le-Hole.) 

Joseph Soppit died, aged 76, in 1882, in Houghton Le Spring.

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 are living at The Shortlands TavernStation Road, Beckenham, Bromley. Living with John Soppett (sic) are 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 in the 3rd quarter of 1903, John Soppit married for the 3rd time to Marian Johnson in the district of St Olave, Southwark. And in 1911, John Soppit (66), now a Retired Licenced Victualler, is 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. 

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