Note: 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.
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.
In the Spring of 1788 a bill was submitted by John Major, estate tailor, "upon Countess Spencer's account for Capel". George Capell's wife and his steadily growing family were clearly in need of clothing. The label on the back of the small folded voucher said:
John Major to Lady Day 1788 �2-19-10
John Major was one of the Spencers� tailors; it does not say whether he actually made all the clothes or whether he merely provided material to be made up by Elizabeth. The four boys who got new hats must have been Thomas, John, William and Howard. Maybe the tammy frock and handkerchief were for Elizabeth herself? Tammy was a high quality worsted material and the handkerchief would have been a shoulder shawl. When unfolded, the receipt read:
The Right Honble Earl Spencer Bo t of John Major for George Capell� s d 1788 Jan y 114 � yd of Irish at 15 d0-5-7 � 2 yds of Stripe Lincey 16 d0-2-8 2 � yds of Baiz at 14 d0-2-11 4 Boys Hatts0-4-11 A Tamey frock0-3-6 Making 2 Coats0-3-6 Thread Canvas & Tape0-0-6 22 yds of Cloth at 13 d1-3-10 Thread and Buttens0-0-10 Handcerchiff0-1-7 ------- �2-9-10 � 10 �2-19-10 � In the same abstract there were more gifts given to others totalling �10-6-8, all paid on 30th July 1791. A bill dated Christmas Day 1791 from Mary Ireland to Countess Spencer was to buy clothing for 11 poor girls, at a cost of �15-2-8 and she bought Elizabeth Capell 30 yds of sheeting, at 1/2 per yd, for �1-15-0. We do not know whether any of the 11 girls were Elizabeth's daughters � there may have been 5 or 6 of them still at home. On the same bill was 8d (3p) "for making 1 pr of Sheets for the poor's Childbed Linnen". The sheeting for Elizabeth may have been for her lying in as she would have been heavily pregnant with the twins by the end of 1791.
Elizabeth Capell and her mother (Elizabeth Taylor � "widow" Taylor) had both received parish relief for many years. In early 1800 the Overseer began to pay their weekly allowance together, instead of to each of them separately. I had assumed that widow Taylor had become old and infirm (she died in 1800) and that she had moved in with her daughter Elizabeth. However the entry in the "Small Rents" of 1823 to 1826 (SEE PAGE 5) has led me to revise that hypothesis for it tells us that Elizabeth Capell was living in the late widow Taylor's cottage ! She had therefore probably moved in with her mother. That would make sense as most of her children would have left home by 1800. It was a particularly sad year for her because she became ill and then she lost her mother and two daughters within weeks of one another. Widow Taylor died with arrears of rent of �7 which were entered every year as "Arrears Irrecoverable" at the foot of the accounts. Elizabeth never seemed to pay off her arrears either � they appeared every year as 2/6d (12p).
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
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.
There is evidence in the many estate vouchers that Countess Spencer (the new one after 1783) continued to help the family for several years. Mrs Webster was the housekeeper at Althorp in 1786 when she was authorised by the Countess to give help to Elizabeth Capell. Her sixteenth child, Mary, was born at about this exact time. The money was paid by Earl Spencer's steward, Thos Townsend, to Robert Hawdon, clerk of the kitchen.
1786Nov ye 18th Pd Mrs Webster for Capel Wife0-5-0 Dec 13th To Micheaux for silver for her Ladyship1-1-0(the confectioner) To do fordo2-2-0To W Dessoulary for do10-10-0(the butler)
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