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Houghtons, Dowsons and Enfields.

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. [1730] , 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
Author: anonymous
Title:       The Octagon Chapel
Details:   Anonymous, 'The Octagon Chapel', p.9
Archive: UEA Library, Special Collections, YK31
Date:       1930
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.