"Ambrose Pearson and Louise Bache née Matthews" by Iain Wells



Iain Wells has sent us a fascinating account of some family life in Cradley in the 1850/60s. Anyone familiar with the BBC's "everyday story of country folk" (the Archers) will know to expect more than meets the eye, and perhaps a little more still, Cradley-style.


Samuel Pearson (1862-1938): in 1930.

Recently Iain purchased from us the two volumes of the Vicar's Notebooks of Cradley's Reverend James Hesselgrave Thompson, A Mirror to the Flock.

You can read a review of these notebooks to better understand what the Vicar was doing and how he went about recording the lives of his flock, like a personal census.

Iain found Ambrose PEARSON, who was the son of James PEARSON, in Entry 172 in the 1857 Notebook and most interestingly as Entry 205 in the 1863 Notebook. Ambrose was his wife's Great x 2 Grandfather and the father of Samuel PEARSON, who travelled to New Zealand in 1879.

He kept details of his voyage in a family-owned diary now published online as the Diary of Samuel Pearson's Voyage to New Zealand On the Hereford in 1879.


Samuel Pearson's home 'Dunkirk': (1938) in Charles Street, West Bromwich, with their glass works behind.

After returning to the Black Country Samuel went on to found Samuel Pearson Ltd., a well known manufacturer of glass bottles based in West Bromwich.

Iain tells us there is some scandal hinted at by Entry 205 of 1863 and this is his story:




An Every Day Story of Cradley Folk


In the 1841 census Louisa Matthews is described as a female servant to Noah Bache. After Noah Bache's wife, Sarah, died in 1848 he married Louisa Matthews later that year. At the time of their marriage Noah was ~71 and Louisa ~17. From 1859 all Louisa's children were christened with the middle name of Pearson. It is significant that at this time Ambrose Pearson was living next door to the Bache's (Entry 170 of 1857) and that Noah Bache by this time was into his 80's.

According to Samuel Pearson's birth certificate his father was Noah Bache, although his name on the certificate is given as Samuel Pearson Bache. Samuel was born the day after Noah Bache died.

Louisa, the widow of Noah Bache, re-married to Ambrose Pearson three months later in September, 1862. Samuel was christened Samuel Bache the following year. In 1871 Samuel is entered on the census as Samuel B. Pearson, the B presumably standing for Bache, and described as step-son to Ambrose Pearson. At the time of his marriage Samuel gives Ambrose Pearson as his father.


A Mirror to the Flock: Volume Two of the Notebooks of Rev. James Hesselgrave Thompson in which he describes Louisa as 'πσρ'.

In the Cradley Parish Register there is a record of the christening on 20 November 1858 of a Benjamin with parents Ambrose Pearson and Louisa of Two Gates with Ambrose described as a Clerk. In 1859 Sarah Jane Pearson Bache was born in Two Gates with the parents recorded as Noah Bache and Louisa.

Although it is matter of conjecture it is highly probable from the evidence that Ambrose Pearson was the father of Samuel.

Clearly Rev. Thompson was aware of the illicit relationship between Ambrose and Noah's wife, hence the annotation in the 1863 entry in his notebook (he describes Louisa in his Greek character code as 'πσρ' for her "immoral sexual behaviour"), which helps to confirm my suppositions.


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Click into the box below and enter one or more keywords to search the site for. Enclosing more than one word in double quotes (e.g. "Black Country") will search for the exact phrase.


WWW Cradley Links

Now click the Google Search button.

Enlarging a Picture

Hover the mouse pointer over any picture on this site and if a magnifying glass appears, a single left click will bring forward an enlarged image, usually with a caption below; another click will close it. If there is an option to "Play", clicking on this will start a slideshow.