On This Day: 9 October 1703

On this day in 1703, Samuel Leadbeater sent his bill to Thomas Bowrey.

Every so often, a document within Bowrey’s papers causes me to pause. Something surprises me. There can be many reasons. For example, the language used sounds so modern – like the fag end of the World phrase I mentioned previously. Today, I came to a halt because Mr Leadbeater had supplied lead to Bowrey. In his PCC Will, he describes himself as a merchant.

By Bowrey’s lifetime, everyone in England had a surname and their ancestors probably had for a few centuries but there was a time when no one had a surname. Surnames came from a number of sources: they may have evolved from a physical description or a location, for example. Another root of surnames is occupation.

Although Samuel Leadbeater’s father may have been a butcher or baker, it is tempting to visualise his paternal ancestors working with lead for centuries gradually progressing from beating lead to selling it.

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