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Who were the Houghtons, Dowsons and Enfields?
The earliest letters are addressed to The Rev P Houghton who is:
Pendlebury Houghton, b. 1758 , in Gee Cross Parsonage, Hyde. He married Barbara (b about 1775 Norwich, daughter of John Brooks and widow of John Stewart Taylor, d 17th January 1802). They had one child, Mary Pendlebury. His details are: educated Warrington Academy, Sep 1773 -, where tutor, 1778 - 1779; minister. Failsworth, Dob Lane, 1779 - 1781; Shrewsbury, 1781 -- Aug 1787; Norwich, 1787 -- Nov 1808; Westminster, Prince's Street, Nov 1808 - 1811; Norwich (2nd time), Feb 1811 - 1812; Liverpool, Paradise Street, Nov 1812 - 1823; I know he left the Paradise Street chapel in 1822 but he was dead by 4th May 1824.
(source: Shropshire – Parish
registers, Nonconformist and Roman Catholic Registers Notes on Ministers)
Incidentally an obituary exists in Musgrave's Obituaries Prior to 1800, parts 3 & 4, for his mother.
Houghton, - (Mrs.), dau. of Rev. - Pendlebury, wife of Rev. Jno. H. 05 Apr 1790 , aet. 73.
'The Reverend Pendlebury Houghton' by John Sell Cotman (1782-1842), etching on paper, undated; in ink bottom left 'Mr Freemans'; in ink bottom right 'The Revd P. Houghton. a fine Preacher. / Unitarian Minister / drawn & Engr by John Sell Cotman' held in the Norwich Castle Study Centre Shirehall.
His father was a minister before him and his details are as follows:
John Houghton, 1782 - 1788 ; b.  , at Liverpool; educated Northampton Academy, by Dr. Doddridge, 1747 -, Glasgow; min. Platt Chapel, Manchester, 1755 (?)- 1758; Hyde Chapel, 1758 - 1761; Nantwich, 1761 - 1771; Elland, 1771 - 1782; Wem, 1782 - 1788; Norwich, without charge; m. (1) Mary Pendlebury (d. 29 Mar 1790 ), issue, Pendlebury; (2) ( 03 Aug 1790 ), Mrs. Elizabeth Reddy, at Yarmouth (d. 31 Jan 1857 , aet. 88).
In some of the later letters reference is made to Mrs Houghton I would hesitate to venture that this was Mrs Elizabeth Reddy, the second wife of John Houghton.
Mary Pendlebury Houghton christened 19 Jun 1800 at St Georges Norwich, Norfolk.
Mary Pendlebury (b. about 1800-2, died 1877 aged 77) married Henry Gibson Dowson of Geldeston (b. 1798 d. 1876) son of a brewing family. They went on to have a large number of children, this is the list from the 1851 census:
Frank W Dowson abt 1832 Son Geldeston Norfolk
Arther H Dowson abt 1835 Son Geldeston Norfolk
Henery P Dowson abt 1830 Son Geldeston Norfolk
Henry G Dowson abt 1798 Head Geldeston Norfolk
John W Dowson abt 1840 Son Geldeston Norfolk
Mary P Dowson abt 1801 Wife Geldeston Norfolk
Mary P Dowson abt 1828 Daughter Geldeston Norfolk
Philip S Dowson abt 1844 Son Geldeston Norfolk
Russel Dowson abt 1842 Son Geldeston Norfolk
The parents last appear living with the oldest child, Arthur in the 1871 census at Chapel Street, Stratford Upon Avon. By then Arthur is a GP.
John W Dowson went on to be a brewer, first in Stratford, and by the 1881 census, Cardiff where his mother was living at the time of her death. His brother Philip also appears in the 1880 Slaters Commercial directory for Cardiff. The Dowson Brothers are shown under Brewers & Maltsters section as proprietors of the Phoenix Brewery, Working st, Cardiff. (Trade Directory)
Interestingly the Dowsons appear to be strong Unitarians too and a Dowson appears in this document 1786-90 Committees for Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts.
The daughter Mary goes on to marry Richard Enfield and they live in Bramcote Nottinghamshire. Here is the family on the 1861 census, note the inheritance of the Pendlebury and Houghton monikers:
Anna Enfield abt 1860 Nottinghamshire, England Daughter
Frances Enfield abt 1857 Nottinghamshire, England Daughter
Henry Houghton Enfield abt 1855 Nottinghamshire, England Son
Mary Pendlebury Enfield abt 1860 Nottinghamshire, England Daughter
Mary Pendlebury Houghton Enfield abt 1828 Geldeston, Norfolk, England Wife
Richard Enfield abt 1817 Nottinghamshire, England Head
Susan P Houghton Enfield abt 1854 Bramcote, Nottinghamshire, England Daughter.
I think that these Enfields are related to William Enfield who was also a minister at the Octagon Chapel prior to Pendlebury.
This is reproduced from Virtual Norfolk
Document: List of preachers at the Octagon, 1690-1825
Title: The Octagon Chapel
Details: Anonymous, 'The Octagon Chapel', p.9
Archive: UEA Library, Special Collections, YK31
Publisher: AF Soman and Co. Ltd, Norwich
Contributor: Dr Andrew Hopper, 2001
Comments: The men listed were ministers to the congregation at the Octagon, the newly built meeting house, between 1690 and 1825.
John Collinges 1690
Josiah Chorley 1691-1718
Peter Finch 1691-1754
John Brooke 1718-1733
John Taylor 1733-1757
Edward Crane 1745-1749
Thomas Dixon 1750-1752
John Hoyle 1757-1775
Robert Alderson 1776-1786
George Cadogan Morgan 1776-1785
William Enfield 1785-1797
Pendlebury Houghton 1787-1808
Theophilus Browne 1809-1811
Pendlebury Houghton 1811-1812
Thomas Madge 1811-1825
There is a lot more, but I leave you, the reader, to do a bit of research.