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Samuel Hawes 1801 - 1859

Tailor Samuel Hawes and our other tailoring gardener, John Eayrs, seem to have had almost opposite personalities. Whereas John stayed in Stamford all his life, building 

up a steady business aimed at the lower middle classes and eventually buying his premises outright, Ipswich-born Samuel flaunted his experience in a London cutting-house and was keen to entice the gentry with his Cambridge capes, silk waistcoats and beaver hats. Alas, heavily-mortgaged Samuel seems to have aimed too high ...

Ipswich 1780s
Ipswich in the 1780s

Born in Wherpstead, near Ipswich in 1801 to father Samuel, a brewer, and mother, Elizabeth, Samuel junior is baptised at the Stoke Green Baptist Church. 

In 1823 we find Samuel still in Ipswich marrying his first wife, Caroline Hill, at St Mary Elms. The initial mention of Samuel in Stamford comes in November 1841 when Caroline's obituary appears in the Mercury:


'Monday last, St Martin's, of dropsy, aged 43, the wife of Mr Samuel Hawes, foreman tailor with Messrs Brown, Barrow & Co, of Stamford.' 

They do not appear to have had children and how long they had been living in Stamford is difficult to say, as they have not been traced in the April 1841 census. Caroline's funeral is held in her home town of Ipswich, where she is buried.

We know from later records that Samuel spends a period of time working as a tailor's cutter in London and in 1845 he remarries in St Pancras Old Church, evidently having moved away from his Baptist roots. Although originally from Staffordshire, his new bride, Mary Maddocks, had been lodging in High Street, St Martin's with the Rev Thomas Brown at the time of the 1841 census and that is presumably where she and Samuel met. The couple move to Wroxhall in Warwickshire, where daughter Elizabeth arrives that same year, followed by son Samuel Henry in 1847. 

Beaver Hats and Caped Waistcoats

Samuel seems to have moved to Stamford ahead of the rest of the family some time in 1846, as before his son's birth he takes over the High Street business of his former employer, Messrs Laxton & Clapton, tailors and gentlemens' outfitters. The Laxton and Clapton in question were Thomas Laxton's father and brother-in-law's father. 

Dropsy was the old term for oedema, an accumulation of fluid in the tissues, particularly those of the heart or kidneys. It was sometimes a fatal complication of pregnancy.

Samuel is clearly setting his sights on the high end of the market and the following advertisement from October 1848 is typical of those he periodically places in the Mercury:

'FASHIONABLE TAILORING and WOOLLEN DRAPERY ESTABLISHMENT, High-street, STAMFORD. SAMUEL HAWES (late Laxton & Co) begs to return his best thanks for the very liberal support with which he has been favoured since his entrance upon the above old-established business; and, in soliciting continuance of their patronage, begs respectfully to announce to the nobility, clergy, gentry, and inhabitants of Stamford and its Vicinity, that he has just returned from London, where he has been selecting a variety of fashionable Goods in Waistcoatings and Trouserings, with choice assortment of Wool-dyed West-of-England Broad Cloths and Fancy Coatings.—S. H. has also availed himself of this opportunity to make himself acquainted with all the newest improvements in the style and fashion of Gentlemen's Garments as at present worn; and as it is his determination to keep pace with the times in the moderation of his charges, and at the same time to make only such goods he can confidently recommend, he has no doubt he shall be able to give the utmost satisfaction to all who may favour him with their commands. Stamford, October 12th, 1848. STAMFORD, Lincolnshire.'(1)

Ironmonger Street, Stamford
Ironmonger Street © Gary Curtis

In the 1851 census the family has been joined in its High Street home by nephew and junior tailor, Arthur Brown, and by a live-in servant. In 1852 little John Hawes dies in infancy, as sadly does his younger brother and namesake who is born the following year.


Later in 1853 Samuel is trying to move further up the social ladder, taking out a substantial mortgage on premises formerly occupied by Messrs Roden & Son in Ironmonger Street and seeking an apprentice to join his team:



'TAILORING, WOOLLEN DRAPERY and HAT ESTABLISHMENT. REMOVAL OF BUSINESS. SAMUEL HAWES, in returning his sincere thanks to the Nobility, Clergy, Gentry, and Inhabitants of Stamford and Neighbourhood, begs to acquaint them he has Removed to the more convenient business premises late in the occupation of Messrs Roden and Son, in Ironmonger-street, where he will be happy to receive a continuance of the kind favours he has so liberally received since his commencement. The STOCK, to which attention is respectfully invited, consists only of such Goods as he can with confidence recommend, and comprises Wool-dyed West of England Broad Cloths, Beavers, Witneys, and Fancy Coatings, Trouserings, and Vestings, in great variety and style. Having recently returned from London, where he has made himself acquainted with the newest styles, he is enabled to execute every class of orders in the most fashionable manner; and as he is determined that his rate of charges shall be only fairly remunerative, he has no doubt of his ability to give perfect satisfaction to all parties who may favour him with their commands. Livery and Mourning orders executed with promptitude. A variety of Reversible Overcoats. A superior Stock of Superfine Paris and Beaver Hats. An Apprentice Wanted. October 27th, 1853.'(1)

Caped gentleman's coat
Caped Gentleman's Coat


It is in the Lincolnshire Chronicle of 13 July 1855 we learn Samuel has one of the Waterfurlong gardens, when the theft of honey and honeycomb from his walled garden is reported under the headline 'An Impudent Robbery'(1).


The following spring Samuel places the last of his buoyant newspaper advertisements, this season focusing on patent cork hats 'so requisite for their extreme lightness'.(1) 



Pride Comes Before A Fall

How long his financial difficulties have been mounting we do not know, but on 10 September 1859 Samuel files for bankruptcy, with local solicitor and fellow Waterfurlong gardener Thomas Laxton attesting to the indenture.

On 28 October The Mercury reports Samuel's home and business premises are being put up

for sale:


'TAILORS, LINEN and WOOLLEN DRAPERS, and Others. STAMFORD. Eligible TRADE PREMISES, with convenient Residence. To be SOLD by AUCTION, By Messrs Richardson, At the George Hotel, Stamford, on Wednesday at Six for Seven o'clock in the Evening, by order of the Mortgagee, and with the concurrence of the Assignees (under Deed of Assignment for the benefit of Creditors) of Mr Samuel Hawes, and subject to such conditions of sale as will be then and there produced, ALL that substantial and well-built Freehold capital MESSUAGE or TENEMENT, containing an excellent double-fronted shop, six bed rooms, dining, drawing, and breakfast rooms, water closet, kitchen, and good cellar, with Yard, good Brewhouse, and Workshop over, attached, situated and being in the Ironmonger-street, in Stamford aforesaid, and having Frontage to the said street of 33 Feet, the same are now in the tenure of Mr Samuel Hawes, and for many years past have been occupied by the trade of Woollen Draper.


The above Premises are conveniently situated in one of the best trade and market streets of the important Borough and Market Town of Stamford, which stands in a highly cultivated and thriving neighbourhood, and are well calculated for the carrying on of first-class Woollen or Linen Drapery or other business. The Property is in excellent repair, has a Private Entrance, is fitted up with Gas and other requisites, and is well supplied with Water. Immediate possession will be given, and two-thirds of the purchase money may (if required) remain on mortgage of the Estate. The premises may be seen on application, and further particulars may be obtained from the Auctioneers or the Offices of Messrs Mason and Sturt, solicitors, 7, Gresham-street, London, E C; from Mr Hopkinson, solicitor, Stamford; or by applying to THOMAS LAXTON, Solicitor, Stamford.'(1)

A month later Samuel is dead. Did illness cause his business to collapse or did the stress of over-reaching himself financially at just the time Stamford was being hit by the loss of the stage-coach trade kill him? Despite leaving a widow and children, Samuel's short obituary is placed in the Lincolnshire and Suffolk papers by his sister, suggesting his relationship with his wife had become strained:

'Died 27 November 1859 at Ironmonger St, Stamford, Lincolnshire, Samuel Hawes aged 59 years, draper and tailor, only brother of Mrs Jeffery, St Mary Stoke, Ipswich. Much respected and deeply lamented.(1)

Two years later, Samuel's widow Mary is living with her children in High Street, St Martin's. Fifteen year old Elizabeth is employed as a school teacher, Samuel junior remains at Stamford School, and surprisingly given the bankruptcy, Mary is able to afford a live-in servant; perhaps she inherited money of her own?

In 1864 Samuel Henry joins the 64th regiment of foot, eventually moving to Cornwall and working first as an attendant in a lunatic asylum, then as a night watchman. Meanwhile, widow Mary returns to Tamworth in her home county of Staffordshire, where she dies in 1868 and daughter Elizabeth moves to Samuel's home town of Ipswich, where she dies unmarried in 1903.



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

We catch a glimpse of the lavishness of the Hawes's lifestyle from reportage of Stamford's May 1856 celebrations to mark the end of the Crimean war, when all 64 large plum puddings are presented to the assembled diners on Mary Hawes's dinner service(1). Son Samuel Henry is enrolled at fee-paying Stamford School and the family is living high on the hog.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018

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