Edward, 1727

1727 (Stow) – 1817 (London)

Edward Pitman was the son of Joseph Pitman and his wife Elizabeth (née Dix), and was baptised at Stow on 22 September 1727. In his will written shortly before his death in 1817 Edward is described just as ‘esquire’, but all the evidence which we have gathered strongly suggests that he was a cordwainer or shoemaker (although these were distinct occupations, the terms seem to have been used as equivalent in many instances). If we are correct, it seems he had moved to London by 1744, as in that year Edward Pitman of St Giles Fields, Middlesex, was apprenticed to Mary (or Margaret) Nutt of Great Turnstile, Holborn who was a cordwainer. He would have been 16 or 17 years old at the time. Edward apparently spent his working life in the area of St Anne’s, Soho, as Old Bailey trials from early and late in his career show. In 1760 he appeared as a witness in the trial of his ‘clicker’ (the person who cut the uppers from the leather), who had stolen several pairs of shoes, and Edward described himself as a shoemaker from the parish of St Anne’s. In 1808 Joseph Hamlet said he was the shop manager for Edward Pitman, a shoemaker, the shop being in Cranbourn Street, and Mr Pitman living in Charlotte Street, Rathbone Place: Edward’s address when he wrote his will was Charlotte Street.

Edward’s name on a list of Benefactors inside St Edward’s church, Stow-on-the-Wold

Edward’s will (written and proved in 1817) definitely links him to Stow. One link is the £100 which he left for the poor of the Almshouses of Stow-on-the-Wold (this bequest is commemorated, along with other bequests to the parish, on a board inside the church). Legacies to the four daughters of Joseph Pitman of Stow-on-the-Wold (Joseph was Edward’s cousin) provide a second link. The final link to confirm Edward’s identity is that both his son and grandson bore the middle name Dix, the maiden name of Edward’s mother.

Edward and his wife Mary had three children, all baptised at St Anne, Soho, during the 1760s, but Mary and the children had apparently all died before Edward wrote his will in 1817. His wife had died in London on 24th March 1773, and was buried at St Laurence, Reading on 1st April; their son Thomas Dix, was also buried there, on 28th March 1817; and Edward himself was buried there on 24th July in the same year. We have not been able to discover the link with Reading, but surmise it may have been Mary’s home: as we cannot find the marriage we have no idea of her maiden name so have not been able to check this.

St Laurence, Reading, where Edward, his wife and son were buried
(c1805, original by Mary Russell Mitford)


Thomas Dix    1763 – 1817
Elisabeth         1764 –
Mary                1767 –