Lucraft and Luckraft One-name Study

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Radnall and Houston family connection

Members of the 1931 RAF High Speed Flight with Lady Houston, onboard her yacht The Liberty; Mitchell is standing on the right

Finding an Estate

Margaret Lucraft, (nee Roberts) aged over 80, wrote to me recently with a wonderful story to tell. Margaret and her husband Hedley George Lucraft are on the G:George tree on the website, because Hedley’s great great grandfather was George Lucraft (born 1830 in Taunton, Somerset), the son of Benjamin Lucraft and his wife Mary. George was the youngest of their sons, and so the youngest brother of the famous Benjamin Lucraft, radical 19th century workman’s leader and politician. Margaret is a feisty and active campaigner on behalf of her own village and here is a tale in her own words that makes great reading.

“On 3rd March 1993 there was an announcement in the Daily Telegraph telling of the death of Doris Sullivan, nee Lucraft. [Doris was Hedley’s older half-sister who had married Henry Sullivan. Doris and Hedley shared the same father, George William Lucraft. IGL] About 10 days later Hedley received a phone call from Frazer and Frazer genealogists and probate researchers. Hedley had had a stroke, and so I dealt with them. I asked them what they wanted and they told me it was about an inheritance and that the Treasury Solicitor was looking for any surviving relatives of Doris Sullivan.

“Hedley told them that he was certain he wasn’t the person they were looking for. But they said they had the Lucraft family on micro-fiche and it was a very small amount of people. [I suspect they were reading the Lucraft Family History material. IGL] He told us that Doris was the daughter of Elizabeth Mary Pearce and George William Lucraft. As this was Hedley’s father’s name I asked him the date of this marriage. He made his mistake and told me the date. And I knew with that scrap of information I could research it myself.

“The Telegraph announcement said the estate was worth about £35,000. I asked him who asked him to search, and he said they always checked the newspaper adverts. I asked who was paying them and he said the estate would eventually pay them 25% of the estate plus VAT. He said there was property, cash, and investments

“So it was time for ‘Goodbye Mr Melchett’ of Frazer and Frazer from these Lucrafts. Little did I know how complicated it all was, and how many secrets would creep out of the cupboards. But with two fingers, an old typewriter, and the help and support of The Probate Service and various Register Offices, not forgetting my daughter Suzanne, who diligently searched Registries, we were finally able to wind up the estate and pay all the remaining surviving relatives the proceeds of the estate.”

Poppy Houston

Margaret told me also about the Radnall connection. I had known of it, but not where it led. Hedley’s grandfather, George Thomas Lucraft, (born 1856 Shoreditch) married a young woman called Louisa Radnall in 1877. Louisa had grown up in a London family and her family had cared for her cousin, Fanny Lucy Radnall, at their own home.

Fanny Radnall was also born in London, in 1858 in Lambeth, we think. Her father and Louisa’s father were brothers. Fanny’s parents, if the research is right, were Thomas and Maria Radnall. They were working people at first, but Maria was living a comfortable life at the end of her life, probably supported by her daughter. Thomas was a warehouseman in 1841 in the City. In 1861 he was a woollen draper in Newgate. In 1871 he was a picture frame maker employing two people. He dies in 1876 in Lambeth. Maria is on the 1891 census in Putney and in 1901 in Isleworth, ‘living on her own means’.

Fanny became a dancer in her teens and later one of the most famous women of the first 30 years of the 20th century. She married a succession of very rich and titled men and became eventually Lady Houston and the richest woman in England. It was she who paid £100,000 to enable Supermarine to run the race which the Supermarine flying plane, designed by Mitchell, won, before it was re-designed as the Spitfire.

She was famously eccentric, owning the Spectator and haranguing the government. She ran her yacht, formerly owned by Pulitzer, at full steam around the Solent and elsewhere. She was rabidly right-wing, a supporter of Mussolini and Hitler. She left no will and there are various stories about what happened to the money.

There are several links on the internet to material about her; the Wikepedia entry summarises it all very well.

Joseph and Sylvie Lucraft of Iowa

We have reported in previous newsletters (especially no. 10) about Joseph, a “cordwainer”, or shoemaker from Heavitree, Devon, a descendant of the Broadclyst families, and his wife, Sylvie Elphick from Hooe in Sussex. They moved to Iowa in the 1850’s or 60’s we think, and settled there with the children born in England and other children who followed later in America. The Heavitree tree on the website is a very old version, but it shows the people at an early stage of the research. We actually printed a copy of a very faint old photo that the family descendants think is of Sylvie.

Recently I came across a collection of photos, posted by the Brekke family in the Ancestry website for genealogists, which showed many of the family members. I’m sure this new family will have some interesting stories to tell. In the meantime, and before the tree is updated, here are some of the photos. The first shows Joseph Eastman Lucraft, born 1821, sitting in the back of a car in Scranton Iowa about 1904, with George Henry Millington, born 1850.

The five daughters in the picture above are (l to r):

· Sarah Jane Lucraft, born 1859 Hooe, (m Rust),

· Lydia Alice Lucraft, born 1857 Whitewater Wisconsin, (m Millington),

· Florence Belle Lucraft, born 1866 Oregon, Illinois, (m Pringle),

· Elsie May Lucraft, born 1868 Illinois , (m Cressler),

· Kathryn Leora (Kate) Lucraft, born 1871 Illinois (m Hall).

There were other children, some of whom died in childhood, and some of the children may have been from a previous marriage of Joseph’s which may explain some inconsistencies in the dates.

I have now heard from the Brekke Family and there will be work to do on bringing the details together.

Ted Brekke who has replied, says that the photos came from albums owned by Florence, in the middle of the phot below, but there is a degree of uncertainty about who is who in some of the photos. Maybe we can help with the records.

Llanelli Public Library (Athenaeum)

By chance a second library article appears in this issue.

In 1850 the Public Libraries Act of Parliament was passed that allowed the people of a parish, however small to levy a rate of one penny in the pound to provide a library building. Not all local authorities took advantage of the new legislation and Llanelli was one of them. This lack of interest was probably because the new Board of Health had enough problems to cope with including, lack of proper sanitation, bad roads, inadequate markets, a poor water supply, the need to light the town, to mention just a few.

During 1854 plans were submitted for a new building to house the proposed new library and three sites were considered by the committee set up to oversee the project. A site adjoining the South Wales Pottery, on land belonging to William Chambers was one of the three sites considered by the committee and the rates were reported to be £20 per acre. The committee reported that plans and drawings had been received from the architect and there was every possibility that the matter would proceed immediately. Funds were raised by public subscription to build a literary, scientific institution, which became known as ‘The Athenaeum’. The original Llanelly Athenaeum Trustees included: Richard Thomas Howell; James Buckley; John Pasley Luckraft; William Thomas and William Henry Nevill.

John Pasley Luckraft was the uncle of Charles Moore Luckraft who is honoured in the oyster shell reported in another article in this newsletter. You can see them both in the Naval Tree in the Luckraft trees on the website.

You can read the full article on the Llanelli website at : _athenaeum.htm

Okinawa 1946: Forgotten Underside of Victory

by David Cates

This is an extract from David’s website. David was 19 when he was at Okinawa and when he wrote this for his website he is in his 80’s.

My introduction to the Chinese underworld came when I ran out of money and had to sell ten cartons of cigarettes before I could eat, much less buy silk. This is dangerous, because you don't want to get caught.

Lucraft said he'd go with me, and we went to the city with a bag of poorly disguised cigarette cartons, which fooled no one. We were followed by a crowd of small boys and cigarette agents. We impatiently told them we were carrying toothbrushes. Finally a man sidled up and offered us $3 a carton, the going price. By this time I'd noticed an old man with suspicious eyes, a long, thin beard and a mustache which drooped Chinese fashion. He stood quietly by, followed us everywhere, occasionally coming close to peer at the figuring we were doing. We were coming to the agent's house where behind locked doors I sold the cigarettes. There was an anxious moment when through the window I perceived the suspicious old man.

By this time we thought he might be Shanghai secret police and that we would be apprehended and taken to jail for "questioning." Lucraft went out and shooed him away. When the deal was concluded and we had climbed over little boys and old ladies with bound feet eating rice with lightning chopsticks and had entered the dark alley once more, there in the shadows stood The Evil-Eyed One. We demanded to know what he wanted. He babbled a little and seemed quite frightened. Looking stealthily from side to side, he moved closer.

Them, just as we expected a police cordon to in around us, he took a little envelope from a fold in his robe. Looking quickly around once more, he pulled from the envelope a collection of "feelthy pictures!" That was too much. We laughed all evening.

I don’t know which “Lucraft” he means, I’m trying to contact him to find out, but you can read the whole memoir at

The struggle for libraries in Islington

This is an extract from a paper about the history of Islington Public Libraries, published at the 2007 centenary.

In 1855, ratepayers of St. Mary’s, Islington met at the Parochial School Room, Church Street and in a stormy session voted down a motion in support of the Public Libraries Act. In 1870, another meeting adopted the motion by 76 votes to 66, but this was below the two thirds majority needed to pass. A year later the political activist Benjamin Lucraft took a petition with 43 signatures, from St Mary’s ratepayers, to the Vestry.

The petition said that free Public Libraries and Museums would help to improve people, leading to a“higher pitch of morality and industry” and “a more wholesome and pure source of recreation.” Lucraft lost. In 1874, Lucraft (below,) and Professor Leoni Levi organised a further campaign to adopt libraries. Levi published a pamphlet called “A plea for a public library at Islington” in which he argued libraries would help adults develop their knowledge. The Islington Gazette agreed, saying that libraries could help reduce popular ignorance, crime and poverty. Over 2,000 people attended the noisy meeting at the Agricultural Hall in November of that year, but only 338 voted for the motion and 1,435 against. “Howling roughs” and the “disordered pipe-smoking clique” reportedly shouted down the supporters!

A further request in 1887 was rejected by a two to one majority. The following year, Dr Levi and Major Robert Holborn were reduced to offering money and at least £300 worth of books to try to encourage people to vote for libraries. The strategy did not work, with a massive vote against in 1891. Unlike Islington, however, Clerkenwell did adopt the Acts, so Holborn gave part of his personal library to Clerkenwell.

In 1896, Mr. John Passmore Edwards (right, in a caricature from ‘Vanity Fair’) offered £10,000 if the Parish adopted the Acts, with £5,000 for a Central Library and £2,500 each for two branches. However, the Islington Public Libraries Rejection Association said that ratepayers did not want to adopt the Act, while the annual maintenance would soon outweigh Mr Passmore Edwards’ “bribe”, which was only to build libraries. They felt that public libraries were unlikely to succeed when evening education classes at Board Schools were poorly attended.

One ratepayer wrote:

“I read that one of our ‘new philanthropists’ had offered to give the people of ‘Merry Islington’ a building for a library on condition that they maintain it as a going concern for all time… Personally I have a strong objection to have even a penny rate taken out of my pocket by force in order to provide Mary Jane with novels, or her friends with newspapers.”

Another person wrote:

“It is a place where you can arrange to meet your young lady instead of waiting about in the street and catching cold… let us have literature of the best kind. In my humble opinion the reading of novels and ‘bitty’ papers is a delusion and a snare and they have much to answer for in the present style of living”!

Uniformed policemen delivered voting papers to ratepayers for the January 1897 poll, where 14,416 voted against adoption and 11,341 for. Local Government was reformed in 1899, with metropolitan boroughs replacing the old vestries. On July 29th 1904, Thomas Lough and the Islington Libraries Promotion Committee presented a petition that was signed by 796 ratepayers supporting the Public Libraries Act. Alderman George Elliott (who felt libraries were a “curse”) said it was unconstitutional, as it was not in the Council’s Election manifesto and Islington ratepayers had always rejected adoption.

Nevertheless the Mayor, Andrew Torrance, a friend of Andrew Carnegie, moved to adopt the Public Library Acts and to limit the rate charge to 2d. The vote was carried by a show of hands and, in a division, was carried 36 to 19 and Islington finally became a Public Library authority - 50 years after the original Parliamentary bill was passed!

The full article can be found at :


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lucraft and Westcott

I had an enquiry last year from Robert Gardner who is writing a book about the companies who made aircraft propellers in World War 1. He runs a company that find and sells old aircraft parts for collectors; they cost a lot, and are mainly propellers and clocks and compasses, including the old RAF station clocks.

This picture shows a Handley-Page 0/400 bomber with the four-bladed propellers. The picture was provided to the website, by Ian Hawkins of Leicester, whose grandfather is “dead centre” in the picture, which was taken about 1918, probably at Hendon.

He had found that one of the companies listed was Lucraft and Westcott, about which we have reported before. It was the company originally founded by George Seeley Lucraft, son of Benjamin Lucraft, and in later years Westcott had become one of the directors and owners.

The company is listed in War ministry procurement records as having supplied propellers for the Handley Page 0/400, one of the largest long-range bombers of the first World War. The four-bladed propellers were numbered AD 575, and were fitted to the Rolls Royce 5 and 6 engines supplied for the Handley Page.

Robert was enquiring because he had seen from the Lucraft website that Nicholas Lucraft had married Margaret Westcott in 1691, and wondered if the connection between the Lucrafts and Westcotts went back all that way. (I suspect that would have given the company the world record for two families collaborating in business!) I had to tell him that there was no evidence of anything other than a coincidence, though it is not impossible that the two families knew each other in Devon and members later knew each other in London.

The company became known as one of the leading art furnishers of the turn of the century, making furniture for the major stores and for the trade. Copies of their designs were published in the trade press and Benjamin himself was introduced to Queen Victoria with one of his chairs at the London Exhibition.

By the turn of the century the company was in the hands of George Seeley Lucraft’s son, George Edmonds Lucraft who then went into business with Frederick William Westcott, who was a furniture designer like George Edmonds. In 1911 G E Lucraft and Westcott, Furniture Designers and Manufacturers who were carrying on their business at 101 Worship Street, sold their business to a new company named Lucraft and Westcott, who set up business at 17 Rushden Street, where they remained through the first World War, moving to Albert Works, Albert Road, Wood Green, between 1917 and 1919.

In 1915 the company minute book of Lucraft and Westcott showed that they had approached the company’s bank, the Capital and Counties Bank, for a loan of £350 as an overdraft in order to “carry out the War Office’s contract for 100 air screws.” All that skill in chair carving would be valuable in carving of the complex counter-curves of the four-bladed propellers for the Handley-Page’s Rolls Royce engines.

A survivor of those days, Jack E Lucraft, a young boy in the family then, can remember going to the factory in Bounds Green, and seeing the propellers being made. He believes that somewhere in the family there is a model of one of them, and says he will ask around about it.

Eileen Lucraft 1922-2008

Many of you will remember meeting my mother at some time, mainly at the Exeter weekend, and will want to know that she died on 25 January 2008, after a long struggle with dementia and a failing body. She was wonderfully cared for her by her daughter Janet and her grand-daughter Sarah, and other members of the family. We shared an unforgettable funeral service where we remembered all her wonderful attributes and the work and contribution she had made for a better world.

Great Western Railway Shareholders 1835-1910

The Find My Past website now has the listings of the shareholders of the GWR. There is one name of interest to us; Zelie Virginie Anne Luckraft is listed as a shareholder. The records show that her father, Alfred Luckraft (see Naval tree on our website) was her executor, and there was a change of ownership of the shares as a result of her death on 4 August 1871 in Southsea, Hampshire.

William Luckraft of Preston

Every year I get a lovely friendly update from Art and Louise in Mashpee, Massachusetts, with details of all the family events in the previous year. And often the letter comes with a photo.

Here is one of the most recent, and it shows William Luckraft, born 1869 in Preston, England, who married Julia Thompson and moved to Massachusetts.

William served in Army during the Boer War, and this picture shows him with a letter in his hand and thinking of the woman superimposed on the photo. I assume she is his wife, Julia.

He is about 45 in this picture, though like people of that time he looks about 60.

It could be that the woman is his mother who died in England in 1911.

Boer War Roll of Honour

The Devon Heritage website has this record of a soldier of the Boer War:

Private James Lucraft of the 2nd Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. Son of William and Elizabeth Lucraft. Born in Bridgewater, Somerset in the March Quarter of 1866. Enlisted in 1886. In Ladysmith during the siege. Wrote a letter published when he was 34.

James can be seen on the Michael Lucraft tree on the website, where it records the family group memory that he died of flu in 1919.

If you go to this website you can read his letter.

Captain Charles Moore Luckraft RN

Gordon Wise emailed me out of the blue, having found the Luc(k)raft study on the web. His son-in-law’s father has come into possession of a very large oyster shell which was apparently found on a beach on the Scilly Islands.

The man had actually received the shell in a swap for some comics, and unfortunately he is quite attached to it and doesn’t want to sell it to me!

On the shell is a very careful carving of a funeral procession which shows sailors and marines in dress that indicates the late 1800’s. The ornate hearse portrays a very elaborate funeral. Around the bottom of the shell is this inscription:

In memory of C M Luckraft Lieutenant


age 32 Spirito Santa Island 16 Mar 1882

Charles Moore Luckraft has featured before, and if I get a photo of the shell I will insert it into the newsletter. I knew about his death from this report of Charles Moore’s Luckraft’s death on Santa Spirito Island. It is an article from the Wanganui Herald of 1882.

He had been born in 1850, and his father, Commander Charles Maxwell Luckraft, had probably named the young Charles after Captain Moore, who had been Charles Maxwell’s captain in 1845. Charles Moore Luckraft married in 1881 in Greenwich, shortly before he was killed.

The most complete record that we have easily available of these events is in John Bach’s famous book about the Royal Navy in the South West Pacific, from 1821 to 1913. The book is called “The Australia Station” which was the name the Admiralty in London gave to this part of its area of activities. I was able to get a second hand copy from a bookseller in Australia, and below is the extract from the book after a bit of context.

During the 1870s the Navy have been arguing about the powers to punish sailors, citizens and “natives” in the colonial areas where the Navy often had to act on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner who could be hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.

“This dilemma was highlighted in 1882 when a native held guilty of the murder of a European was brought to Fiji by [HMS] Cormorant. It was immediately evident that no-one knew what to do with him, it being suggested that a special ordinance was needed to allow him to be detained as a prisoner of war instead of being freed as had been his predecessor in 1880. [This was after a punitive action against natives by Captain Maxwell responding to events when six sailors had been massacred, that had caused a great deal of controversy.] On this occasion the idea of an ordinance was rejected on the grounds that it would both exalt the status of the prisoner and detract from his being recognised as a common murderer. It was nevertheless equally inexpedient to release him without any punishment.

“In the event the prisoner, ‘in a state of fear and apprehension’ died in Fiji, just at a time when another captain was producing evidence that would have exonerated him, as well as his original fellow prisoner who had been killed in a fight on the deck of Cormorant soon after his capture. Although Erskine [Commodore] disagreed with the claim that the Fijian was innocent, he nevertheless wrote to Gordon [Sir Arthur, Governor of Fiji] that the ‘unfortunate and lamentable occurrence’ emphasised the possibility of innocent individuals being wrongly punished, a fact which if true would only encourage the natives ‘to take vengeance on the first white man available’.

“This entire affair of the Isabella Massacre at Santo in the New Hebrides in November 1881 became a matter of great importance to the Navy since it revealed clearly the problems it was facing. After hearing of the murder Erskine had ordered Commander Maxwell in Cormorant to proceed against the natives, once identified, by an ‘act of war’, although there was to be no indiscriminate slaughter nor wanton destruction of fruit trees. During the subsequent landing Lieutenant Luckraft was killed by a native shot.

“Maxwell originally took on board two prisoners, but one was killed during a night-time scuffle on deck, the exact details of which never emerged, despite an enquiry. The commander decided to bring the survivor to Sydney against his orders, because he thought any punishment inflicted by him on the spot might appear to the natives to be no more than revenge for Luckraft’s death. Furthermore, being technically a prisoner of war, no significant punishment could have been inflicted on the culprit once in custody.

“The commodore lamented the death of his officer as:

‘.. another in the long list of those who have fallen in the performance of a duty which is constantly forced upon naval officers on this station, but which, however distasteful and hazardous, they would the more cheerfully undertake could they believe that this duty was necessary in the protection of a well regulated and important traffic, and that the sacrifice of their lives would tend in any way to improve the condition of the native races – or to help us to establish better relations between them and the white traders and others who visit their islands.’

“Cormorant’s people had already been involved in the punishment of Lieutenant Bower’s murderers at Florida Island in the Solomons, where they had executed three natives. When Luckraft was killed ashore, the officer assuming command of the party had great difficulty in restraining his men from taking vengeance on all at hand, understandable in the circumstances. The death therefore of one of the two prisoners on board Cormorant was thought perhaps to be a delayed revenge by seamen whose morale was severely damaged by experiences with natives over the past several weeks. It was doubly unfortunate that the possibility of both prisoners being innocent was discovered.

“It was partly because of the sense of guilt caused by this mistake that Erskine’s suggestion made in October 1883, that the chief who instigated the Isabella murders should be found and executed, was rejected by the First Lord who wrote privately to the commodore that given the lapse of time and the unfortunate incident on Cormorant, ‘it will hardly be wise to pursue the course you indicate’. It was a view that was not entirely shared by their lordships, one of whom argued that since the islands were lawless and their inhabitants barbarous, the normal scruples about confusing ‘justice’ with ‘might’ seemed ‘somewhat strained and misplaced’ and prevented justice from being done.”

Trial of Richard Nicholson

This Old Bailey court record on 29 May 1828, about a lad who stole some property from James Newton, is about the same John Newton that appears in the next blog story below.

RICHARD NICHOLSON was indicted for breaking and entering the warehouse of James Newton, on the 23d of May, and stealing 4 stone bottles, value 6s. and 2 wooden bound casks, value 2s., his property .

GEORGE STAKER. I am in the employ of James Newton, a wine and brandy merchant - his warehouse has no communication with the house, and does not join it - it is not a warehouse, but vaults; they are in Aldgate High-street. On the 23d of May, about half-past eight or nine o'clock in the morning, I went to the vaults, and was informed a lad had been taken with some bottles; I found the prisoner in custody with four stone bottles, with master's name on them - there was a space in the vault where four had been taken from - I had not noticed the vacancy the day before.

PATRICK GARVAY. I am a patrol. On the 23d of May, about half-past five o'clock in the morning, I saw the prisoner on Tower-hill, with four stone bottles; I asked if they were for sale - he said they were, and that he had got them from John Williams, of No. 17, Somerset-street; I took him to the watch-house, and went to Somerset-street; no such person lived there; seeing Mr. Newton's name on the bottles, I went there - his cellar is in the City. I know nothing about any casks.

THOMAS OBORNE. I asked the prisoner how he came by the bottles; he said a lad left them with him while he went to look for a shop to sell them, and he lived at No. 17, Somerset-street.

Prisoner's Defence. A lad asked me to mind them while he went down Rosemary-lane.

GUILTY . Aged 17. Whipped and Discharged .

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: t18280529-42

Doe, dem. Rew and Others v. Lucraft.

The story relating to the Hoop and Grapes, below, is a typical old legal wrangle about who has a right to property when a relative dies. The wills have already been proved, but Nicholas Lucraft feels that the outcome of the various inter-connected wills has not resulted in the bequest to him that he expected. He has challenged the result of the wills and the case is about who inherits if “the issue” of a person do not live until 21.

The story starts in Broadclyst where the Newton family and the Lucraft family have married each other over two generations that we know about. William Lucraft, born 1756 in Broadclyst was married in 1781 to Esther Newton. It is Esther’s gravestone that still stands in the churchyard there. Nearly all the known London Lucrafts were descended from this couple, who are my direct ancestors.

William and Esther had many children and you can see them all on the “Nicholas” tree on the website. One of them, Jane Lucraft, married a John Newton in 1822 at St Bride’s in Fleet Street. We hadn’t known that she had moved to London until we found this court record. It’s not yet clear how her husband was related to her mother, but it fairly sure that they were. The court proceedings are about John Newton’s will, and the wills of his brothers, Henry Newton and James Newton.

There are pages of argument, but the gist of it is as follows. Henry Newton was a wine merchant at 47 Aldgate High Street. The first London record we have of him is in Kent’s directory of London and Westminster for 1794, when Henry Newton is listed as a wine merchant at 47 Aldgate High Street. When Henry died in 1819, he left his property to his brother James Newton “for life”, and on James’ death the property was to pass to Henry’s nephew, Henry Newton, son of Henry’s older brother, John Newton. (continued overleaf.)

Henry died in 1819 without issue and left two brothers, James, old and also without issue, and John, whose son Henry was Henry’s nephew. When John died, his will left the property now in the occupation of his brother James Newton to Arthur Clarke and Mark Ashford who were leasing the premises at the time. (I haven’t yet found out who they were.) I think it was given in trust to them and then half was to go to Nicholas Lucraft and the other half to John’s daughter Jane.

We know that Nicholas Lucraft was working as a wine warehouseman around this time, and it is possible that he was working in the Aldgate warehouse.

However, all the legal argument arose because the owners of the lease that Arthur Clarke and Mark Ashford had, thought that they should have the property, because John had had issue, his daughter Jane, and because he had issue, and she had died aged four, the property came to them.

John, in his will had been very explicit about some of the conditions about descendants “attaining 21”, but not in the case of his own daughter, and because she had existed, the case for the property going to Nicholas failed.

Nicholas felt that because she had not attained 21 before she died, the will should be read as meaning “issue that survived to 21”, and therefore there was no issue to whom the property could go. Because there had been issue, the judges decided that the property could not go to Nicholas, and should go to the owners of the lease that Arthur and Mark had.

There was a lot of legal argument, and you can read it all on Google if you search for the three terms “Lucraft” and “Newton” and “Court of Common Pleas” together. The case itself was also used some years later to explain the precedents for handling the matter of issue who died before the age of 21. The papers do not say how William Pell Rew and Richard Baggullay came to be the owners of the lease, but given that there had been issue of John Newton, Nicholas didn’t get the property.

In 1824 Nicholas is described in his daughter’s baptism record at Shoreditch St Leonard’s as being a “gentleman of Haberdashers Street.” Nicholas had a son, William Lucraft, who was a wine cooper in 1850, and son William also had a son William in 1852, who was a wine cooper himself when he married in 1875.

The Hoop and Grapes

We have known for a long time that a Nicholas Lucraft was a wine merchant at some time in London, even on one record calling himself a “gent”. And we managed to track his descendants down to a family where the oldest members now live near Bournemouth.

But recent research has thrown up a wonderful court case in 1832 which has shed a lot of light on the man and his family connections. In particular it has identified where the wine merchant premises were; at 47 Aldgate High Street, and here is a picture and some of the history of the building from a pubs website. For some time it was also called the Mush Tun, which might suggest that it also brewed beer on the premises in the past.

“In 1666 the Great Fire of London swept through the City, destroying almost every building in its path. The fire blazed with such ferocity because the medieval and Tudor buildings were made of wood and tinder-dry; and so was the Hoop & Grapes, but miraculously the fire stopped just yards away. After the fire wooden buildings were forbidden in the City.

This pub is now the only surviving 17th-century timber-framed building in the City of London. At the time of the fire it was a private house and later became a wine shop. It was converted into a pub about 150 years ago. The front leans at a jaunty angle and would have fallen over had it not had extensive structural support carried out in the 1980's.

The front part is original and has some interesting features. The blocked up cellar entrance is said to lead to the Tower, probably more a tall story than a long one. The rear has been opened out into a large bar and dining area. There is a good selection of real ales and the food is reasonably priced”.

Luc(k)raft Newsletter 13 October 2008


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Lucraft and Luckraft Newsletter Edition 12

A new edition of the Lucraft and Luckraft Newsletter is available here (PDF, 2MB).

Monday, December 19, 2005

Preacher Lucraft

Arthur Lucraft was born in Hoxton, London, in 1867, and went to Australia where he married Annie Stephenson, ran a woodyard, and was a preacher at a number of churches. Here is a recent internet find from the Australian Jubilee History of the church in Australia, printed 1903. I'll transcribe it when I have a mo!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Admiral Alfred Luckraft's Sword

The National Maritime Museum carries this entry from its collection; url at the end of the article.

Stirrup hilted dress sword, which belonged to Admiral Alfred Luckraft (circa 1792-1871).

The hilt of the sword consists of a gilt stirrup guard; the langets are embossed with a crown and anchor motif. The sword has a lion's-head pommel and back-piece, the mane extending halfway down the back-piece. The sword has a blue and gold sword knot with a round tassel with a gold fringe and eighteen gold bullions. An anchor and cable motif is embroidered on each side and executed on a blue ground inside a small oval shield with a cable edge. This was the regulation sword knot for commissioned officers between 1805-1827.

The black fish-skin grip is bound with three gilt wires. The flat-back, straight steel blade has a single broad fuller running nearly to the point, which is double-edged 13mm from the end. Both sides of the blade are engraved with floral decoration and naval emblems, but the blade is not damascened. The black leather scabbard has two gilt lockets, with rings, and a chape. All are heavily chased with floral designs and leaves.

Admiral Alfred Luckraft's name was put down for service aboard HMS 'Monarch' in 1799 and he was present at the Battle of Copenhagen. As a midshipman aboard HMS 'Mars' at the Battle of Trafalgar he was wounded in the leg. As a Lieutenant he served in HMS 'Blonde' at the reduction of Morea Castle in 1828. He is mentioned in dispatches, and was created a Knight of the Legion of Honour and awarded the Order of the Redeemer of Greece. His flag rank appointments were all granted on the retired list. He also received a gratuity from Lloyds Patriotic Fund as a consequence of his wounding at Trafalgar. He died on the 11th December 1871.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Gladstone for the Million

Here is a picture of a small dish I have just acquired. It was made in 1869, to celebrate Gladstone’s victory. I bought it to go in the Lucraft One Name Collection archives, (which are very small!), as Gladstone figured so highly in Benjamin Lucraft’s life, and this dish commemorates the election of Gladstone in 1867.

I’m not sure yet to what the “for the million” refers. There are at least two theories:

One is that over a million emigrants had left Ireland after the Great Famine. The Great Famine had deeply impacted British politics. The 1 million deaths and the 1 million emigrants who left Ireland - some on so-called 'coffin ships' - had left their mark. In 1858, the Fenian Society was started in America. In Ireland, Fenians committed acts of violence to bring attention to their grievances. In 1868, Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time. He declared that it was his mission to "pacify Ireland". Gladstone was a man who held strong religious views but he was not a bigot. He was driven by what he considered to be right and wrong and he viewed that many things in Ireland were wrong. Therefore, he set himself the task of righting those things he considered to be wrong.

The second is the Reform Act of 1867 : Disraeli proposed a new Reform act. Despite resignations by some Tories such as Lord Cranborne, the conservatives were supported by Gladstone and his followers and the bill was passed. The "Reform Act" gave the vote to every male adult householder living in a borough constituency. Male lodgers paying over £10 for unfurnished rooms were also granted the vote. Altogether all this was over one and a half million men.

Henry Greener, was born into the glass making industry and became the owner of the Wear Flint Glass Works after being an apprentice at both Pipewellgate and with Sowerby. In 1858, he formed a partnership with James Angus trading under the name of Angus and Greener. When Angus died in 1869, Henry Greener continued under his own name until 1884. The first design to be registered under this was the Gladstone for the Million tea set designs on 31st July 1869 to commemorate Gladstone's appointment as Prime Minister.

The Million plate has a registration of Rd No. 231430 of 31st July 1869. Gladstone had won a landslide election the previous year and the Greener plate proved to be an immensely popular purchase.

Captain Leaycroft reports on the hurricane in Jamaica

In 1766 there was a severe hurricane in Jamaica and around the islands of the West Indies. Captain John Leaycroft, who was a member of the Leaycraft family of Beaufort North Carolina, was in Jamaica days afterwards and his report was published in the Virginia Gazette on 24th October 1766. I have more material on this family, who originated in Bermuda and after Beaufort went on to live in New York, Virginia and Quebec. I have been in touch with living descendants.

Sept 8 1766 ; The Virginia Gazette

Capt.John Leaycroft, who arrived here laft Saturday from Jamaica, and left Kingfton the 16th of Auguft, gives us the following information, viz.

‘That though the inhabitants of that ifland were very much alarmed with the fhocks of an earthquake felt there in the night of the 11th of June, and on the fea, quite acrofs to Cuba, yet flight fhocks had been fo frequent fince, at leaft twice or thrice every week, that they were now fcarcely regarded. That he heard frequent reports of an earthquake having done confiderable damage at St Jago do Cuba, but no particulars until three days before his departure, when he dined in company of the mafter of a Spanifh veffel, lately from Cuba, who informed the company that St Jago was totally deftroyed, not a brick or ftone houfe left ftanding, and the Moro caftle there levelled with the ground; that the fhock was fo violent and fudden that near 5000 perfons were buried in the ruins of fwallowed up, and the earth rolled like the fwell of a fea.

‘Capt. Leaycroft did not afk when this happened, but underftood it to be on or about the 11th of June. That when he came out of Kingfton harbour (Auguft 16th in the morning) he had the wind at W. to which a calm foon fucceeded; and about 100 o’clock a fevere ftorm, or hurricane came on, and continued without abating until 5 in the afternoon, blowing from the E.N.E. which he fuppofes to have done confiderable damage. That on the 30th he fpoke with a fnow from Jamaica for Liverpool, John Hawkins mafter, who left Kingfton the 20th, and informed him that though the hurricane which happened on the 16th had been very fevere, yet no very confiderable damage had been done thereby, except to a large fugar loaded fhip, which was drove afhore at Port Morant, and many fmall veffels wrecked in the ports, and on the coaft moft expofed to the wind. The 3rd inftant he faw a difmafted deep loaded ship in the gulf, but did not fpeak with her.’

The University of the West Indies refers to this event in its website report of the Seismology Department.

I have copied the text out with the ‘s’ as ‘f’ in all those cases where the ‘f’ was used from the font. It makes for hard reading in the modern Arial font, but somehow is more natural in the old seriffed font.

I have put up a picture of the whole page from the paper. If anyone really wants to read it for themselves, they can find it on the Colonial Williamsburg website, at