This month’s blog is designed to whet your appetites, and although it starts in Hexham the main focus of the post are the descendants of Joseph Hubback, Hatter of Berwick upon Tweed.
Hatters in Hexham
Hubbuck Hatters in Berwick upon Tweed
“The names of the persons who for their free or copyhold tenements in Hexham Township received allotments in the East and West Commons….”
The list is dated 1752 and details occupations as well as the acreage each was awarded. It includes:-
“George Hubbuck, mason 1; Jane and Elizabeth Hubbuck, spinsters 3; Thomas Hubbuck the elder, hatter, 6; Thomas Hubbuck the younger, hatter 2; ….”
A death notice appearing in the Newcastle Courant 16th February 1765 for a Thomas Hubbuck, hatter of Hexham aged 80 years potentially takes the association of the Hubbuck family and hat making back to the late 17th century. Burial records including the Abbey Churchyard potentially take the family’s link to the town of Hexham itself back even further.
Okay, so these Hubbucks are Hatters in Hexham, what have they to do with Berwick upon Tweed?
“Thomas Hubbuck of the Town of Berwick upon Tweed, Hatter, James Mills of the Town of Berwick upon Tweed aforesaid Carpenter, and Joseph Hubbuck of Berwick upon Tweed aforesaid Hatter….the above bounden Thomas Hubbuck the natural and lawful Father of Robert Hubbuck late of the parish of Berwick upon Tweed….”
The burials at Holy Trinity Church, Berwick contain a record for:-
“Robert Hubback, Hatter, died 5th April 1799 age 37 years. Drowned”.
We know from the 1841 census that Joseph Hubback was not a native of Berwick, however from his subsequent death record in July 1848 where his age is given as 74 we can establish an approximate birth date of 1773/74.
Joseph Hubback, Hatter of Berwick-upon-Tweed
His will is a rather morose affair, in which he leaves an annuity to his wife’s sister Janet in recognition of her help keeping house and the nursing of his wife during her protracted illness.
The remainder of his estate he left in its entirety to his youngest brother Joseph.
John, the second son of Joseph and Sarah Hubback was born in Berwick on 6th January 1811, an intelligent chap who was articled to solicitor John Trotter Brockett on the 2nd February 1827. By 1839 he is a fully fledged barrister in chambers at Lincolns Inn.
He married on 25th August 1842 Catherine Anne Austen, daughter of Vice Admiral Sir Frances William Austen, brother to novelist Jane Austen. The couple had four children one daughter Mary born 1843 (died in infancy) and three sons John Henry b. 1844, Edward Thomas b. 1846 and Charles Austen b. 1847.
Finding herself no longer able to cope with her ailing husband, John was admitted to Brislington Lunatic Asylum in Somerset, an institution pioneering new humane techniques of treatment under the governance of Dr Edward Long Fox. It is widely reported that he was admitted in May 1850 but according to the official admission records the date is given as 13th August 1852. Catherine returned to the Austen family home at Portsdown Lodge, Hampshire where she is living with her three sons in 1851.
John duly joined his Uncle and can be found residing with him in 1861. Under his Uncle Joseph’s tutelage he went on to forge a successful career as a grain merchant.
Catherine remained in England until the pleadings of her second son Edward in 1871 saw her make the journey to America to help set up and run his household in California, where she once again turned her hand to writing. In due course her youngest son Charles also crossed the Atlantic and settled in Virginia and it was whilst visiting him in 1877 that she died. Her husband John survived her by eleven years and died at the Brislington Asylum on 24th February 1885. He never recovered his sanity.
Joseph Hubback jnr
Joseph however, was a political animal and a staunch conservative and wrote a pro “Corn Law” pamphlet in 1843. In 1865 he stood for election as conservative candidate for Berwick-upon-Tweed.
“….17th November 1853 he wrote to the Trustees suggesting that they should allow him to finance a Marine Class at the School; he hoped that, if the Trustees agreed, the schoolmaster would select suitable boys each year, with their parents' consent, who would receive special tuition from a boatswain in addition to their ordinary lessons with Mr. Lister, and, after three years in the marine class, would be indentured to Mr. Hubback for the normal five-year marine apprenticeship ; he felt that his scheme would provide an interesting career for poor boys and furnish his ships with suitably trained apprentices, and, in order to achieve these benefits, he offered to be responsible e for the boatswain's salary and the provision of all the equipment necessary …..
Once the trustees had agreed the full extent of his generosity became apparent:-
(Excerpts from Cowe, Janet Denise (1969) “The development of education in Berwick upon Tweed to 1902”, Durham these, Durham University.
Of the remainder Joseph Guy Hubback was a Civil Engineer and sometime Rubber Broker, he married Ina Agnes Mainwairing Pitt in Singapore in 1909 he died in Maidstone Kent in August 1951. His sister Mabel Josephine married in July 1910 Hugh Bowring Mulleneux and died at Battle, Sussex in 1969. Allen Charlotte married the Rev. Earnest Clapham Bayliss in March 1892 and died at Totnes Devon the 24th September 1920.
I hope, dear reader, that if you have ancestors from the town you will now feel inspired to write their story and share it with the “Berwick 900, Families Project”. Until next time.
Letters from America written by Catherine Hubbard between 1872 - 1876