Fascinating Shropshire-Montgomeryshire Border Private Census

A tireless researcher of families from the Shropshire-Montgomeryshire border recently acquired a private census collated by an owner of land in Alberbury, Cardeston, Wollaston & Buttington, straddling the counties of Shropshire and Montgomeryshire.

Unlike the civil census, this private census does not give details that are particularly useful to genealogists. Instead it gives details that will be of interest to family historians, that is, details of people's character, employment, financial status and living conditions; details which on the whole are completely lost.

An annotated extract for one family is as follows:

Richard Blower, collier, of Wattlesborough; married with 8 children, 4 of which are at home
Wages are variable, but around 18/ week, plus coal, possess no land; rent is £3; he possess 1 pig
His wife is very untidy and not thrifty; his children are often ragged and dirty; he often looses time as a collier, but will not change, he sometimes walks 10 miles / day to work

The census records 67 families, primarily in the area of Wattlesborough. The document contains no dates or indication as to who commissioned it. Cross-reference with the census suggests that it was compiled in the 1860s. Sir Baldwin Leighton, Bart., a representative of a family that had lived in Alberbury since before the conquest, was one of the principal landowners in the area, and is likely the owner of the houses the families lived in.

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