Part 2 – John’s Early Years
There are no further parish records relating to Mary Brawnus or Bronas until that of her marriage to John Tipper in 1791 when John was 7 years old. Thus John was an ‘only child’. There was a village school set up by the Pleydell family but there is no record of John having attended it. Consequently he would remain illiterate for the whole of his life.
The Ampney Crucis parish church registers contain 10-yearly surveys of data relating to population numbers, housing and occupations, but no personal details of individuals. Although by 1811 John would be in the army, the survey for that year is shown below.
|Memorandum of an account of the Population of this Parish taken May the 27th 1811|
|Number of assessed houses||25|
|Number of not assessed houses||81|
|Number of families||124|
|Of which there were employed in husbandry or labor||88|
|In trade or handicraft||25|
|Other families not included||11|
|Number of uninhabited houses||5|
|No houses building|
The Population of this Parish in the year 1800 appeared to have been 514. There appears to have been a decrease in the last 10 years of 44.
Taken by us:
William Gray M.A. Curate
Jno Creed. Overseer
From this, unsurprisingly, the main occupation open to young uneducated men and women was labouring and most of this would have been in relation to agriculture (‘husbandry’). No doubt, as soon as he was strong enough, this is what the young John would have been doing for a living. In his army discharge certificate his Trade or Occupation is shown as ‘Labourer’.
As far as John’s mother Mary and her husband John Tipper are concerned, there are no burial records at Ampney Crucis for either of them indicating that it is likely that at some point they moved away from the village. Whether or not they took John with them is unknown but what we do know is that on 10th August 1799 he was in Cirencester. The 15 year old was ‘taking the King’s shilling’ by joining the 36th Herefordshire Regiment of Foot.