History of Hopkinson Wootton Lovatt funeral directors
Wootton’s Funeral Directors of Wolstanton was believed to have been founded in 1820 by Cornelius Wootton. Indeed, A Cornelius Wootton appears on a photograph of a horse drawn hearse taken outside St. Margaret’s Church, where the war memorial stands today.
In 1881 Cornelius Wootton was living in Morris square working as a joiner, but that is not to say that he didn’t also work as an undertaker.
1881 Census for Morris Square, Wolstanton, Staffordshire PRO RefRGl 1 2704/55
Cornelius Wooten Head M Age 26 Occupation: Joiner Birthplace: Staffordshire, Wolstanton
Jane Wooten Wife M Age 25 Occupation: Tailoress Birthplace:Cheshire, Crewe
Lenard Wooten Son Age 11 m Birthplace: Staffordshire, Wolstanton
Alice Maude Wooten Daur, Age 2 Birthplace: Staffordshire, Wolstanton
In the nineteenth century many people carried out more than one job with many skilled craftsmen also working in more modest jobs such as keeping beer houses. In 1871 Cornelius then aged 16 was already working as a joiner, as was his father James who had been born about 1817; clearly if Woottons undertaking business had been founded in 1820 neither Cornelius nor his father could have been responsible for starting it. It was wondered whether perhaps James’s father had also been called Cornelius?
1881 Census for Wedgwood Street, Wolstanton, Staffordshire PRO RefRGl 1 2704/57
James Wooton Head Married Age 64 Carpenter Birthplace: Staffordshire, Wolstanton
Selina Wooton Wife Married Age 62 Birthplace: Staffordshire, Newcastle
Samuel Wooton Son Un-married Age 26 Potters Cup Maker. Birthplace: Staffordshire, Wolstanton
Sarah J. Wooton Daur Un-married Age 21. Potters Burnisher Birthplace: Staffordshire, Wolstanton
James had been born in Wolstanton but it should be remembered that Wolstanton at that time was not just a village but a large parish with a population bigger than that of Newcastle, and extending as far as the side of Mow Cop. In 1871 the family was living in Chapel lane although it is not known at present where that was. The Woottons family tree is reproduced overleaf. It is interesting that only Cornelius followed in his father’s trade of joinery, so perhaps the business was not large enough to absorb more than one of James’ sons, unless James was already working alongside other members of his family.
James married Selina Pattison at Keele on 18th January 1836 and they had at least four children: Mary Ann the eldest, Cornelius b1854, Samuel John b1858 and Sarah J. b1860.
Some further research was carried out on the internet and it was discovered that James Wootton had almost certainly been Christened in Wolstanton on 5th May 1816, the year after the Battle of Waterloo. He was not however the son of another Cornelius but of Joseph and Susannah Wootton. His parents had most probably been married on 19th November 1814 at Norton-in-the-Moors.
Joseph’s bride was Susannah Tipper who probably did not come from Norton but more likely Wolstanton or Newcastle. At that time Norton was a very popular place for couples from the Newcastle area to marry because in those days people could not afford to take honeymoons (such a thing had probably not yet been thought of). Instead couples would marry at a picturesque church in a nice location, which Norton was, where they might spend one night away before returning home to work. Whitmore was another such church and also possibly Keele, where James was later to be married.
Joseph and Susannah’s first child was Mary Ann b1815, followed by James B1816 and Joseph Jun. B 1822. There may well have been other children who did not survive or who were not christened. As Joseph was certain to be 21 or more when he married, and would therefore have been born cl 793, he is by far the most likely candidate for the founder of the business which Cornelius his grandson went on to head.
In the 1901 Census Cornelius Wootton then aged 46 was described as a coffin maker.
In the 1907 Staffordshire Sentinel’s Potteries, Newcastle and District Directory the occupants of Wedgwood Street included Samuel Wootton, Potters Packer. This occupation would almost certainly have involved fabricating wooden packing crates in which to transport pottery from Stoke-on-Trent to other cities/countries. Also in Wedgwood Street was Joseph Wootton a grocer and beer retailer although it is not known whether he was a relative. In High Street, May Bank was Leonard Wootton, a butcher. This was possibly Leonard the son of Cornelius Wootton. Mrs C. Wootton was the farmer of Red House Farm although it is not known at present whether this might have been the widow of Cornelius.
In the Staffordshire Sentinel’s Potteries, Newcastle and District Directory of 1912, Samuel Wootton Joiner & Builder was listed at No 47 Wedgwood Street, Wolstanton. Samuel John Wootton, at the time working as a cup-maker had been living with his father James in Wedgwood Street in 1881. If this was the sc1me Samuel, he would by now have been 57 years of age.
After Cornelious passed away, the business was taken on by his nephew Sidney Hopkinson and he traded as Hopkinson Wootton Bros. When Sidney passed away, the business was then taken on by Bill and Iris Lovatt and their Sons and in 1981 the business became known as Hopkinson Wootton Lovatt. We still serve our local community using the same principles as Cornelious did all those years ago and endeavour to accommodate our clients every need with dignity and professionalism.