1735 (Longhope) – 1784 (London)
Our 1st cousin 7xremoved, Thomas Pittman, was the third child of Richard Pitman and his wife Martha (née Jones). He was presumably born in Longhope, where he was baptised on 16 September 1735, but spent his working life in London. We know that Thomas was in London in 1757, when he was 22 years old: he was said to be of the parish of St Martin in the Fields when he married Hannah Blewett there in December that year, and their first two children were baptised at St Giles in the Fields. In 1761, Thomas and Hannah were living in Dean Street in the parish of St Anne, Soho, which would remain Thomas’ home until his death over twenty years later.
Thomas did not follow his father and grandfather into the blacksmithing trade, but combined those skills with a knowledge of horses to become a farrier. He had at least five apprentices from 1761 to 1783, the third of whom, John Pittman, was his younger half-brother, who later went into partnership with Thomas and carried on the business for twenty years after Thomas’ death. As a farrier, it is, perhaps, no surprise that Thomas took a keen interest in horse racing. We have found that he was a subscriber to the “Racing Calendar”, and it seems likely that he was the farrier referred to in a short report which appeared in newspapers around the country in April 1775:
“A Farrier in Dean-Street, Soho, undertook to run his Horse 22 Miles in one Hour, for a considerable Wager; which was performed Yesterday in 59 Minutes and a Half, on the Rumford Road, with Ease. The Horse is upwards of 20 Years old.”
Thomas married three times. Hannah Blewett, his first wife, died after less than seven years of marriage, having borne Thomas five children, only one of whom lived beyond childhood. Thomas’ second marriage, to Mary Arscott, took place within four months of Hannah’s death, understandable as he had two young sons to look after. Twelve years and five children later, Mary died, in December 1777.
Ann Kirby was Thomas’ third wife, marrying in July 1778. Ann bore Thomas three children before his death in February 1784 at the age of just 48: he was buried at St Anne, Soho. He was survived by Ann and five children, ranging in age from 23 years to 9 months. It was twelve years before Ann married again, her husband being Stephen Geary, a ‘housekeeper’ at Westminster School. The birth of twins to the couple was widely reported, on account of the ages of both parents: Ann was said to be 49, and Stephen 84. One of the twins, Sophia, died when she was a baby. Her brother Stephen went on to become known as an architect and entrepreneur, being one of the founders of Highgate Cemetery.
Hannah Blewett 28 December 1757 Westminster (St Martin in the Fields)
Richard 1757 – 1761
Thomas 1759 – 1768
William 1761 – 1813
Elizabeth 1762 – 1764
George 1764 – 1764
Mary Arscott 12 January 1765 Westminster (St Marylebone)
James 1766 – 1770
Mary 1770 – 1770
Susannah 1771 – 1835
Elizabeth 1773 – 1773
Samuel 1775 – 1775
Ann Kirby 16 July 1778 Westminster (St James)
Ann 1780 –
Elizabeth 1781 –
Richard 1783 – 1871