top of page

Edward Winterton 1835 - 1890

Most of our gardeners left quite a footprint in the town's annals; not so carver and gilder Edward Winterton, who is scarcely mentioned, although the records do reveal one surprising aspect of his life ...

Edward is born on 12 February 1835, the only child (or only surviving child) of John and Mary Winterton. John is an agricultural labourer and the family lives in Protection Yard off Scotgate, described at the time as 'a notorious slum.'

There is no trace of the Wintertons in the 1851 census and in 1861 we surprisingly find Edward in Scarborough, lodging with a Robert and Jane Banks in a multi-occupancy house in Cambridge Street. Edward must have worked hard to better himself for he is employed as a carver and gilder, a skilled trade in which he presumably served an apprenticeship. This was possibly with the Hare family of Stamford, as Edward's contemporary, Haydon Hare, is also found in Scarborough in 1861, running an art gallery and working as a carver and gilder. Haydon was an uncle of the renowned Stamford Arts and crafts designer and enameller, Nelson Ethelred Dawson.


The following year Edward returns to Stamford to marry Mary Jane Sharp, his childhood neighbour from Protection Yard. They wed in St John's church on 10 February 1862 and set up home in Scarborough.




There is no further mention of the couple until the 1871 census when we find Edward and Mary Jane living in a new terraced house at 24 Victoria Road, Scarborough. After nine years of apparently childless marriage they have a nine week old daughter, Mary Elizabeth, and a lodger - 29 year old Henry Clark, a printer and compositor from back home in Stamford. 

Protection Yard, Stamford
Hare & Son, St Mary's Street, Stamford


Is all well in the Winterton household at this point, or has Edward and Mary Jane's marriage been unravelling for some time? The unhappiness only becomes apparent when we reach the 1881 census records. We find 46 year old Edward living back on his own in Stamford's Castle Buildings, still working as a journeyman gilder (possibly in the Hares' fine art dealership at 39 St Mary's Street).

Meanwhile, Mary Jane remains in Scarborough, where she has set up home with erstwhile lodger Henry Clark at 46 Eastborough Road, and has assumed his name both for herself and her daughter.


It leaves us with more questions than answers. Does Edward leave because Mary Jane and Henry Clark are having an affair under his roof, or does Mary Jane turn to Henry because Edward abandons her? Is Mary Elizabeth Edward's daughter or Henry's. As she grows up does Mary Elizabeth see Edward? Does she even know of his existence? As in the high-profile divorce case of Ann, daughter of another of our gardeners, William Mitton, there is no easy answer for the 19th century couple trapped in an unhappy marriage, be they rich or poor. 


By the time their only grandchild is born, Edward's parents have moved to 7 Hopkins' Hospital off St Peter's Street, where both die within a few years - Mary in 1873 and John in 1876. Hopkins Hospital had been built on the site of the old St Peter's Gate in 1773 as almshouses for poor married couples. The then mayor, John Hopkins, set up the charity which in 1856 was providing each resident with a weekly allowance of 2s 8d. Despite this subsidy, we know from the 1871 census that at the age of 70 Edward's father is still working as an agricultural labourer. 

With no parents, no siblings and an estranged wife and daughter, Edward seems to have been left on his own. He does have a number of cousins in Stamford and Annie Winterton, the 31 year-old wife of second cousin Thomas, and landlady of the Star and Garter, is evidently a character to be reckoned with:




Hopkins' Hospital
Hopkins' Hospital
Scarborough Sands from Fish Pier
Scarborough Sands from Fish Pier
Hare & Son, St Mary's Street, Stamford (2)

The entrance to Protection Yard, next door to the Star and Garter pub (see below). The housing, pub and fire-station (to the right of the pub), were all demolished in 1967 to create Scotgate car park.(2)

It is in July 1884 we discover Edward has one of the Waterfurlong gardens, when three small boys are cruelly punished for stealing one of his pigeons. Perhaps Edward's father had the garden before him and the Wintertons are following the tradition of passing it on through the generations that we still find on some plots today. 


We then hear no more of Edward until his death at the age of 55 on 11 April 1890 when he is residing in St Peter's Hill. He does not leave a will.


With Edward's death Mary Jane and Henry are finally free to marry, which they do in Scarborough that July, Mary Jane under her maiden name of Sharp. Two years later Henry too is dead.






The family seems to retain its connections with the Stamford area, as in 1906 Mary Elizabeth marries Peterborough-born widower Albert Wood, a mechanical engineer. The couple settles in Pendleton, Lancashire, where in 1911 we find them living with daughter Elsie and Albert's son, Bertram. Mary Jane has also joined them after losing both her husbands.  

Scarborough was an important Victorian holiday destination and the late 19th century saw continuing work on its elaborate promenade, concert halls, galleries and colonnades of shops. If Edward was not working for Hayden Hare, he was most probably carrying out gilding on these new buildings.

'Mrs Winterton, landlady of the Star and Garter public-house, Scotgate, and Mrs Rudkin, wife of a labourer, summoned each other for an assault on the 9th inst. Mrs Rudkin said she was walking down Scotgate, when Mrs Winterton ran after her, and asked when she was going to pay her what she owed. Witness replied, "When you send in the correct bill." Mrs Winterton said, "If you don't pay me, I'll pay you," and then struck her, knocked her down, and kicked her whilst she was on the ground. Two policemen pulled her off, and prevented her striking witness again. She (Mrs Rudkin) declared that she did not call Mrs Winterton either a whore or a bunter, or tell her she kept a fancy man: she did not say anything to provoke her, neither did she strike her.


A little girl named Ann Thrift corroborated Mrs Rudkin's statement; but on being questioned by Mrs Winterton, she admitted that Mrs Rudkin did say the former kept a fancy man. Mrs Winterton said when she asked Mrs Rudkin if she was going to pay what she owed her, the latter called her a bunter and whore, and said she kept a fancy man. She thereupon struck her and they fought. She knocked Mrs Rudkin down; she picked her up and put her fair on her legs, and then knocked her down again; and when she was in the gutter she slapped her face. She did not think she had done anything unfair: it was a fair stand-up fight. She (witness) said she had a witness who would corroborate what she said, but unfortunately she was ill in bed. The Magistrates adjourned the case to allow Mrs Winterton to produce her witness.' Stamford Mercury 19 May 1876(1)

'Bunter' definition: 'A low, dirty prostitute, half whore and half beggar' (Captain Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811)

Edward was a near contemporary of Stamfordian carver and gilder, Frederick Bartram, who moved to London after his apprenticeship, where he carried out work for painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais. 


(1) The British Newspaper Archive © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. All Rights Reserved.

(2) Kind courtesy of the Lincolnshire Museums Service.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018

bottom of page