William, 1761

1761 (London) – 1813 (London)

Our 2nd cousin 6 times removed William Pittman was the son of Thomas Pittman and Hannah Blewett, both originally from Longhope, who married in London, at St Martin in the Fields in 1757. William was baptised at St Anne, Soho, on 5th February 1761 and was the only one of their five children to live to adulthood (several half-siblings from his father’s second and third marriages also survived).

Although William’s father was a farrier, and his grandfather and great grandfather Pitman were blacksmiths, William followed a completely different path and became a lawyer. In 1776 he was articled (apprenticed) to Richard Edmunds of Chancery Lane, and from 1781 to 1799 he was master to seven articled clerks of his own. These included John Elkins, who later married William’s half-sister Susannah, and Richard Pittman, his half-brother. William’s office was at 59 Newman Street, and John Elkins took over there after William’s death. In documents relating to these articled clerks William is described as “an attorney in His Majesty’s Court of Kings Bench at Westminster”

A trial at the Court of King’s Bench, 1808 – © British Library Board, shelfmark 190.e.1, 205

William married Ann Hill at St Pancras Parish Chapel in August 1782, but it seems they had no children: we have been unable to identify any baptisms, and William did not mention children in his will. The will was written in November 1812, just over a year before his death on 30th November “at his house in Baker-street, Portman-square, after a few days illness”, according to the notice in the newspaper, which also described him as “of Hatfield Hall”. William’s will referred to “all my estates”, but identified none, so the information we have gleaned is derived from newspaper advertisements in the months following his death. Hatfield Hall was more commonly known as Harpsfield Hall, and William’s executors advertised the house, its contents, farmland, livestock, and so on, for sale by auction over the six days beginning Monday 11th April 1814. Other property of William’s was advertised for sale by auction over the next year, including seventeen leasehold houses and offices in London!

Ann Hill     13 August 1782   London (St Pancras Parish Chapel)