Note: George Capell moved from Stow Nine Churches to Little Brington when he was apprenticed to Thomas Davis in 1760
George and Elizabeth Capell's family made an impact on the village of Brington. Their names appear in almost every document that I have studied. At first it was a very large pauper family and as such must have been well known. George suffered from ill health and the Spencer estate vouchers show that towards the end (early1790's) he had to eke out his living by picking haws and weeding the courts at Althorp House. When George died in 1793 his funeral expenses were paid by the parish; they also bought Elizabeth a spinning wheel. Two illegitimate grandchildren were raised in the village by Elizabeth and for their upkeep she received help from the overseers of the poor.
George and Elizabeth's children attended the Sunday School from its first day in 1790, they too were employed on the Althorp estate, they became local shoemakers and masons and eventually some of the grandchildren became village constables and teachers. In 1861 Richard Capell and his family were living next door to the Post Office and to the Parish Clerk. Very close by lived the adult children of the first Sunday School master. (They were by then the librarian at Althorp and the Infant schoolmistress.) Thus the Capells would have been in the heart of the village and presumably a significant part of it.
Evidence relating to the homes of George and Elizabeth Capell and their family in Little Brington is extremely sketchy. The modern village is a much sanitized, up-market commuter settlement in which it is impossible to imagine the charity cottages inhabited by the poor or the hovels of the paupers which existed in the 18th century. There were still charity cottages named as such on the 1901 census and they were located between the Saracen's Head Inn and the Baptist Chapel. The Saracen's Head would have been familiar to our Capells and maybe they lived nearby
It is certain that our Capell families were tenants of the Spencers. There are estate vouchers which show that the Capell cottage was repaired, along with other cottages, at the expense of Earl Spencer. For example:
In November 1811 William Worley and his son had carried out repairs to the stonework on about 20 cottages including the Capells'. They had used 4 bushells of hair costing 7shillings � presumably in the mortar. Further repairs were carried out to "Capell's building" in January the following year. There was an extensive programme of repairs in Brington until July 1812, costing Earl Spencer over �31 in total.
Other evidence found to date which sheds light on the Capells' homes are Richard Judge�s Bailiff Accounts Book and estate vouchers for 1784, 1789, 1791, 1808, 1814 - 1823, 1824,1825 and 1826 entitled, "Small Rents Brington and Nobottle".
Richard Judge wrote on 22nd January 1793: �Paid Alms People � Widow Taylor I years rent due to 10 Oct 17920-5-0 Note.There is now due from her 2 � years Rent for the Close at Lady Day 1792 at 2-5-0 a year from which time it has been in the occupation of Richard Judge.�
It seems that since the death of her husband, William, in 1780 Elizabeth Taylor had never been able to keep up the payments for her rent. In a document entitled �Small Rents adjusted to 5th April 1783� Widow Taylor owed �1-5-0 arrears up to 5th April 1780 and �2-10-0 to 5th April 1781. By October 1782 her arrears amounted to �3-15-0. She must have struggled to find the money for in �Rents stated to 10 October 1784� Widow Taylor�s yearly rent was �2-10-0 and she was still owing two years� rent worth �5-0-0. And so it continued until by her death in 1800 Widow Taylor owed �7. This was eventually written off. (see below)
As far as is known the only means of supporting herself available to Elizabeth Taylor was spinning. Her income would have been very low and she received help from the overseers of the poor. As a comparison of incomes at the time, Richard Judge, the bailiff, was paid �40 p.a, the schoolmaster earned �25 p.a and the gamekeeper �20 p.a. In July 1819 Mr Locock, the Northampton Hospital physician was paid �114-13-0 for his attendance on Lord Althorp.
The earliest reference to the home of Widow Taylor�s daughter Elizabeth Capell was found on a document entitled �List of Quit Rents�. Hers was one of 18 names who between them paid �0-19-5 �d a year and Widow Capell�s rent was 1shilling and 6d (8p in 2009) per an. The list noted that she owed 17 years� quit rent due to 1792, a total of �1-5-6. (20shillings to �1). A �quit rent� was a token rent due in lieu of service to the manor
A voucher from John Gent for a days' carpentry shows that William Capell's cottage had new "frames" fitted in May 1813 at a cost of 3 shillings.
The winter of 1799/1800 must have been a terrible time for the Capells, and indeed for all the poor. The walk to school in heavy snow must have been treacherous. The family would have been living in a cold, draughty hovel with little heat and with the icy wind whistling through every nook and cranny in the walls. Food would have been extremely limited, for the price of bread had rocketed since the war with France and almost all the milk and butter produced in the countryside was being sent to London. The better off ate quantities of meat but even that had increased in price dramatically and the Capells were unlikely to have had much meat anyway. With everything frozen it is difficult to imagine whether they had any vegetables either. Poor Elizabeth Capell had the extra worry of caring for her daughter, Winifred and her newborn bastard, Richard. (The "Oakley child"). They were receiving about 1s a week from the overseers for him in early 1799. Elizabeth Capell was ill for weeks too and in receipt of extra money as a result. There is little wonder that the poor were ill and that the mortality rate was high.
Job creation for the poor was not a new idea! A document dated January 1777 sets out the rules for a task which was carried out by George and then Elizabeth Capell from 1792 to at least the mid 1820�s.
Sixteen women are all paid one Guinea a year each under the title of Weeders their business is to keep all the pav�d court before the house, the stable yard, the path by the cart stable & Dairy & all other pitching free from Weeds��
Note this is an old establishment & should be given to the poorest and the oldest of the people single men or women.
It is significant that George Capell was employed at this task for the twelve months before his death despite not being single. His widow collected his final posthumous payment and then she took his place as a weeder of the courts until she was well into her seventies. The pay was �1-6-0 pa. paid twice yearly and it never increased in over thirty years. There are dozens of vouchers for this work amongst the Althorp estate papers, all bearing Elizabeth Capell�s mark
****NB; SEE NOTES FOR Winifired Capell (bn 1778) for details on this family's sunday school attendance.*****
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