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Walter Swyer Spicer
Mary Talbot
James Frizell
(Abt 1750-1800)
Mary Tice
(Abt 1747-1835)
Robert Talbot Spicer
Sarah Rosanna Frizell
James Spicer


Family Links

1. Sarah Pitt

2. Ann Pitt
  • Edward Spicer
  • Matilda Spicer
  • Elizabeth Spicer
  • Alfred Spicer

James Spicer

  • Born: 1808, West Stafford, Dorset, England 166
  • Christened: 11 Dec 1808, West Stafford, Dorset, England 167,168,169
  • Marriage (1): Sarah Pitt 1 Jun 1837 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England 56,163
  • Marriage (2): Ann Pitt 1 Dec 1845 in Lambeth, Surrey, England 164,165
  • Died: 29 Oct 1855 at age 47 170,171
  • Buried: 5 Nov 1855, East Stoke, Dorset, England 172,173,174

bullet   FamilySearch ID: KZ9C-5FP.


bullet  General Notes:

That he was the son of Robert and Sarah is based primarily on the commonality of parents with George Spicer born in 1818 in West Stafford and the baptism record.
That he had a brother named George seems a pretty good conclusion given that George Spicer witnessed James' marriage and that his firstborn, Henry, was born at George's house in "south Tolpuddle." (1841 census). The only George found in the indexes that match parents with James is, however, Robert and Sarah.

Based on baptism records and the dates given for his age on the 1841 and 1851 censuses, and his burial record, he could have been born in 1808 (Burial record age 46), 1808 (1851 census age 42), or 1811 (1841 census age 30). The 1808 baptism record of West Stafford shows him the son of Robert and Sarah.

It's hard not to believe that in some degree James was in some way involved in the reform movement for agricultural laborers, although that is all speculation. One thing that stands out is that he was in Tolpuddle in 1838 when his eldest child, Henry, was born. As a seemingly itinerant agricultural laborer born near Dorchester in 1808, he was 28 years old when he married Sarah Pitt in Wimbourne Minster, some 20 miles east and the next year his son was born in Tolpuddle, four years after the Tolpuddle Martyrs were convicted and the pardoned. The area had been ripe with discontent for years; poverty conditions, the result of depression, the Poor Laws and the introduction of mechanical threshing machines had led to outright revolt in 1830 that lasted as laborers destroyed the new machines in protest. In Tolpuddle in 1834, six men had organized the first ever union by swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. Convicted in March of 1834 on trumped up charges and sentenced to transportation, they became martyrs to the cause of the laborers and a vast demonstration of up to 100,000 people ensued in April in London. The pressure from all over England resulted in their pardon, but poor conditions continued for farm laborers like James.

Whatever the case, James left the south of Dorset. By 1841 he and his little family, Sarah, Henry and Jane, had landed some 50 miles north in Corsley in Wiltshire where Eliza was born in 1842. His wife Sarah died the next year and two years later he married, in London, Sarah's sister Ann. It's likely they married in London because technically it was illegal for a widower to marry the sister of his deceased wife, a practice that was largely ignored. They returned to Corsley where he and Ann had three children before leaving Corsley for Heffleton Farm in East Stoke, Dorset where their fourth, and last child, Albert, was born in 1852. The 1851 census in Corsley has, under his occupation, that he is "leaving farm." James died three years later in East Stoke where he is buried. He left a will naming his wife, "Ann Pitt otherwise Spicer," his estate with provisions for her death or remarriage.

He is likely buried in the graveyard of the now redundant St. Mary's Parish Church of East Stoke with his wife Ann. See

Of the children of James, Henry would marry and have 5 children, Eliza would marry and have at least 4 children with Henry Longman, four children would die fairly young and one, Matilda, seems to have prospered and married but she is lost track of after the census of 1871.

He is mentioned in the newspaper on December 9, 1843 as being one of the victims of two men who where evidently on a bee stealing spree, including stealing "..two stocks of bees, the property of James Spicer, at Corsley..." (Salsibury and Winchester Journal page 4.)

bullet  Research Notes:

Bishop's transcripts, 1734-1879 Authors: Church of England. Parish Church of Aff-Puddle (Dorset) (Main Author) Notes: Microfilm of original records at Wiltshire County Record Office, Trowbridge. Contains bundles 1-3: baptisms and burials 1734-1879; marriages 1734-1849. High reduction film (42X); use high magnification reader. Subjects: England, Dorset, Aff-Puddle - Church records Format: Manuscript (On Film) Language: English Publication: Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1986 Physical: on 1 microfilm reel; 16 mm. FHL BRITISH Film 1279478 Items 5-7

"Life in an English Village; an economic and historical survey of the parish of Corsley in Wiltshire" - Davies, Maud Frances (1909) at

Emailed on 1/24/2017 and got an automated reply that they were on holiday until the 30th.

From the Topographical Dictionary of England (Oxford, 1848): Corsley (St. Margaret)

CORSLEY (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union and hundred of Warminster, Warminster and S. divisions of Wilts, 3 miles (W. N. W.) from Warminster; and containing 1621 inhabitants. The parish comprises by measurement 2580 acres. Stone for building and road-making is quarried; and the weaving of cloth employs about thirty persons. Fairs are held on WhitTuesday and the first Monday in August, for cheese, pigs, and toys. The ancient manor-house, in which it is said Sir Walter Raleigh passed much of his time in concealment, is now occupied as a farmhouse. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at 11. 0. 10.; net income, 215, arising chiefly from 98 acres of land allotted under an act for inclosing the parish, in 1780; patron and impropriator, the Marquess of Bath. The present handsome church was erected on the site of a former structure, at an expense of 3500, and was opened for divine service on the 22nd of October, 1833. On the summit of Clea Hill are remains of a strong intrenchment, to which the Danes are said to have fled from Edindon, where they had been attacked by Alfred; numerous fossils are found imbedded in the chalk of which the hill consists.

Burial is likely in the graveyard behind the now redundant Parish Church of St. Mary, East Stoke:
5040'58.8"N 210'54.5"W
50.683000, -2.181806
see for description of Heffleton / Hethfelton and its history. Owned in 1844 per the Tithe maps by James Chamness Flyer but then passed to J.W.T.Flyer who was the owner after 1860. When it actually changed hands is not known. It was a well developed estate in the 1850s, the manor house having been enlarged built and the plantation greatly improved in the early part of the century by Dr. Andrew Bain, esq. to the pont tht it won a gold medal in 1808 from the Society for Planting.

Likely the James Spicer who appears with a great number of people in the 25 Jan 1844 Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette calling for a meeting: "We the Undersigned Owners and Occupiers of Land in Wilts, hereby request that the Agriculturalists and Others of the County who are OPPOSED TO THE ANTI-CORN-LAW LEAGUE, AND DESIRE TO MAINTAIN THE PRESENT LAW RELATING TO THE IMPORTATION OF CORN, will MEET at the Bear Hotel, Devizes, on Wednesday the seventh day of February, 1844, at 12 o'clock at noon, to take in consideration and adopt the measures best calculated to give effect to those views."


bullet  Events

Marriage, 25 Apr 1837, Tolpuddle, Dorset, England. 175

Census: UK, 1841, Warminster, Corsley, Wilshire, UK. 58 With his wife Sarah, son Henry (2) and daughter Jane(1).

Marriage, 9 Dec 1839, Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England. 176,177,178

Census, 1851, Corsley, Warminster, Wiltshire, England. 59 The line "Occupation" says "leaving farm" although I'm not sure that that is what it is or what it means.

Named in will: of his father-in-law William Pitt, 1854, Affpuddle, Dorset, England. 61

residence: Heffleton Farm, 1855, East Stoke, Dorset, England. 174

Will, 19 Sep 1855, Wool, Dorset, England. 171


James married Sarah Pitt, daughter of William Pitt and Jane Hellyar, 1 Jun 1837 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England 56.,163 (Sarah Pitt was born in 1813 179, christened 28 Mar 1813 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England,180,181,182 died 13 Apr 1843 in Corsley. Wilshire, England 183 and was buried 19 Apr 1843 in Corsley. Wilshire, England 184.)

bullet  Marriage Notes:

George Spicer witness at marriage, assumed to be younger brother.
Why they married in Wimborne Minster is somewhat of a mystery although there is a connection: William Pitt owned a house on Holt Green there in 1838 and there is the family of John (38) and Mary Jenkins Pitt (36) who lived on King Street in 1841 with a large family. Married in 1823 in Wimborne (Ancestry database)
Exactly who John was is not determined, but likely another son of William Pitt and thereby a brother of Sarah possibly. The Jenkins surname is curious since in the 1861 census of Charles Besant there is a William Jenkins, age 5, grandson, who remained with the family for several decades.
John Pitt was born in Ringwood, Hants, per the 1861 census. John and Mary are also on the 1851 census at the same place, but the children are slightly different.


James next married Ann Pitt, daughter of William Pitt and Jane Hellyar, 1 Dec 1845 in Lambeth, Surrey, England 164.,165 (Ann Pitt was born in 1816 in Oakley, Dorset, England, christened 20 Oct 1816 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England,185 died in 1864 in East Stoke, Dorset, England 56 and was buried 5 Nov 1864 in East Stoke, Dorset, England 186.)

bullet  Marriage Notes:

The marriage certificate states James was a widower and gentleman, whose father was Robert Spicer, yeoman. Ann was a spinster whose father was William Pitt, yeoman. Both were of full age, residences of Sutton Street and the witnesses were Thomas and Isabella Dowie. The marriage was by banns.
By law this was an illegal marriage between a widower and the sister of the deceased, although it was common to ignore this prohibited relationship, but might explain why they married in London rather than Dorset or Wiltshire. 183

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