The Quaker Connection


Of the five daughters born to Daniel and Mary only Esther, so far as is known, married. Baptised the 8th of May 1778 in Aslacton, she married Charles ATKINSON, a shopkeeper, the 13th of June 1799 at the Chatteris Meeting House Cambridgeshire. Esther ATKINSON died the 28th of December 1840 at Littleport, Cambs., and she is buried at Sutton Meeting House Cambs. Whether she had children is beyond the scope of this account and has not been researched; family historians interested in the name ATKINSON might be able to provide additional detail.

What seems likely, even certain, is that these five ALDIS women, born to Quaker parents, retained their Quaker affiliation. Sarah, eldest of the five sisters, was born the 19th of September 1767 at Tivetshall, where she remained for her relatively short life. She was buried the 6th of May 1803, unmarried. Hannah, youngest of the sisters and last born of Daniel and Mary, was baptised the 16th of September 1783 at Aslacton; nothing further is known about her.

The remaining two sisters, Rachel and Margaret, both moved to London where they lived, worked and died. Rachel, baptised the 24th of February 1770 at Tivetshall, lived at Craven Street, Shoreditch, and at Tottenham. What she did for a living is not known, though she might have worked with her sister, as will be seen shortly. She died the 11th of September 1836 (65) and was buried the 15th of September at Bunhill Fields Quaker Burial Ground.Whatever she did for a living, Rachel died comfortably off, leaving 19 guineas to niece Mary Bradley of Hoxne, 10 guineas each to John Allcars and John Drewett, and £10 to each of the children of her niece Mary Ann Goode.

Many of her brothers and sisters were also beneficiaries, as was the Tivetshall Monthly Meeting of Friends. It might be useful to note that £1 in 1836 was roughly equivalent to £45 today. Rachel was sole executrix of her sister Margaret’s Will proved the 6th of May 1831, and her own Will was proved in September 1836. Among a number of bequests in Rachel’s Will is one to “the widow and children of my late Brother Francis Aldis.” Further information concerning Francis ALDIS, his family and descendants, can be found in my on-line account How Horatio became Horace. Margaret, baptised the 27th of April 1772, was a “shopkeeper in his Majesty’s Gaol of Newgate London”, and it would seem possible that sister Rachel worked with her in that enterprise. Margaret died the 22nd of April 1831 at 23 Lombard Street, London, and was buried the 1st of May at Bunhill Fields. Her Will, written the 4th of February 1822, suggests that Margaret might have been in poor health in her latter years. Proved the 6th of May 1831, Margaret’s Will makes a number of family bequests, including one of “ten pounds to my Brother Francis Aldis of Norwich in the County of Norfolk.” Margaret had regularly attended Gracechurch Street Quaker Meeting House. Like her sister Rachel, Margaret was comfortably off, able to leave not inconsiderable sums of £10 to many of her siblings and £5 to the Instructive Institute of Silver Street Chapel for charitable use. Interestingly, Margaret’s brother Charles wanted to buy Newgate Prison when it was dismantled and turn it into a specialist hospital, his Glandular Institution for the Cure of Cancer. He was refused permission. Not long after Margaret’s death, Anne Lefroy Austen went to London to be treated by Charles. Anne was the niece of Jane Austen and daughter of the Revd. James Austen, Jane’s eldest brother, by his first wife. Charles James Berridge ALDIS and his wife Emily Arabella named their second daughter Laura Lefroy Brome ALDIS.

Daniel and Mary had eleven sons of whom only one, so far as is known, died young. Stephen ALDIS, born at Aslacton and baptised the 21st of April 1773 at Tivetshall, died in March/April 1777 at Aslacton; a second Stephen was born the 6th of April 1777 at Aslacton. Nothing further is known about him, nor about Richard, baptised the 20th of December 1779 at Aslacton, and Edmund, baptised the 20th of October 1782 also at Aslacton. Of the other sons, Francis, born the 15th of September 1766 at Aslacton, who married Elizabeth TRIPP at Norwich St. Giles in 1792, is the subject in part of the on-line narrative How Horatio became Horace. A fascinating speculation is whether the sons of Daniel and Mary remained Quakers, as did all of their daughters. Francis probably did not remain a Quaker since he married and was buried in the Anglican church of Norwich St. Giles. David ALDIS, born at Aslacton and baptised the 8th of March 1771 at Tivetshall, died relatively young since his Will was proved in September 1803. David married Martha LITCHFIELD, who was the daughter of John LITCHFIELD and Hester (RUTTY) BENNETT of Melksham, Wiltshire, and died, possibly in Bristol, in 1803 since his Will was proved in September of that year.