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Thomas Steatham's Will

I Thomas Steatham of 212 Walsall Road King's Hill Wednesbury in the County of Stafford House and Estate Agent hereby REVOKE all former Wills and Codicils made by me and DECLARE this is to be my last Will

I APPOINT William Vann of Rectory Avenue Darlaston Cashier and Geoffrey Noel Capner of Wednesbury Road Walsall Solicitor (hereinafter called "my trustees" and which expression shall include the Trustees or Trustee for the time being of this my Will whether original or substituted) to be EXECUTORS and TRUSTEES of this my Will

I GIVE DEVISE and BEQUEATH all my property not otherwise disposed of by any Codicil to this my will unto my Trustees UPON TRUST to sell call in and convert into money the same or such part thereof as shall not consist of money with power to postpone such sale and conversion during such period as my Trustees may think fit and out of the moneys to arise from such sale and conversion and out of my ready money to pay my testamentary expenses death duties and debts and to expend Fifty pounds upon the costs and expenses of my funeral and re-fixing of a Memorial Head Stone with a suitable inscription thereon over my grave in James Bridge Cemetery where it is my wish that I should be buried and to stand possessed of the residue UPON TRUST as to Twenty Five pounds for the said Geoffrey Noel Capner absolutely and as to the remainder of such moneys for the said William Vann absolutely if they shall act in the trust of this my Will and shall have carried out my wishes as to my funeral Memorial Head Stone.

IN WITNESS whereof shall hereto set my hand this eight day of May One Thousand nine hundred and twenty.

Thomas Steatham.

The above is what is held at Birmingham Library.


25 in 1920, in today's money would be the equal to 1,429 - Calculated using this Link. What an interesting fact this is.

William Vann was also one of the witnesses on the will of Sarah Steatham, stated as a clerk at Messrs Slater & Co Solicitors, Darlaston.


STEATHAM Thomas of 26 Mill Street King's Hill Wednesbury Staffordshire died 4th March 1936 Probate at Birmingham, 8th June [1936] to William Vann cashier and Geoffrey Noel Capner solicitor. Effects 7003 0s. 6d.

7003 in 1781, in today's money would be the equal to 633,225 - Calculated using this Link. What an astounding fact this is.

So Thomas Steatham left his fortune to a William Vann a clerk / cashier at Messrs Slater & Co Solicitors, Darlaston.

William Vann died on 23rd November 1971, aged eighty eight, at Callow End, Worcester, Probate at Birmingham on 15th March 1972, leaving the sum of 28,318.

28,318 in 1971, in today's money would be the equal to 512,113- Calculated using this Link. What an interesting fact this is.

What do we know about William Vann?

William Vann was born on Sunday the 22 April 1883 at Kempsey, Worcestershire, to a William (1832-1898) and Margaret [nee Whieldon?].

We see the whole family in the 1891 Census, at Kingston Terrace, Worcester. His father William, is down as a Bedsman at the Cathedral. William is aged seven and his two sisters, Margaret born Shrewsbury, aged thirteen (1878) and Louisa born Kempsey, aged eleven (1880).

William's sister Louisa Vann, aged twenty five, married on Saturday the 26th August 1905, at St John's, Farncombe, a William Pullen, aged twenty, cab driver. Her father is down as deceased.

William's father also called William, aged forty nine, born 1832 at Thornby Northamptonshire, can be see with his family...

Wife Margaret Vann aged thirty four,
Stepson George H Salt aged twelve,
Stepdaughter Ann E Salt aged seven,
Daughters Margaret aged three and Louisa aged one. the preceding 1881 Census at Norton Barracks, Norton by Kempsey, Pershore, Worcestershire. His occupation is down as Quarter Master Sergeant Worchester Militia Chelsea Pensioner.

This is a suprise! William's ancestory can be traced all the way back to a Thomas Vanne (1503).

Note the reference to step children named Salt. We can see a William Salt possibly marrying a Margaret Salt, at Wolstanton, Staffs in in 1876. Could this be William's father?

Moving on with our William's story.

In the 1901 Census the family are now at Reachwood, Woolhope Road, Worcester. His father William has died and William is now aged seventeen and a Solicitor's Clerk. His sisters are both down as Gloveress.

A Gloveress is a female glover, someone who makes gloves. Worcester was a center for glove making, with famous names such as Dents being located there.

Below are links to articles on glove making at Worcester.

Research Worcestershire - Gloves

Dent, Allcroft and Co. Glove Manufacturers

Worcester's glove-making history

Moving onto the 1911 Census William has now left his family and is as "separate occupiers" with a Henry John Morland, at 1 Derby Road Gloucester. They are both down as Law Clerks. William aged twenty seven and Henry aged twenty two.

In the 1921 Census [19 June 1921] William is in the household of a Mary Saunders, of independent means, at Rectory Avenue Darlaston. He is listed as being born 1883 at Kempsey, Worcestershire, aged thirty eight years two months, boarder, single, cashier With legal firm Messrs Slater & Co Solicitors, Darlaston.

Others in the house include Lillian Walton, aged nineteen, born 1901, servant, and one other which is listed as private due to age.

Our last remaining window into William Vann's life is in the 1939 Registrar.

William is now living at 389 Birmingham Road [the Broadway as it is now called], Walsall. William is single and now a Solicitor Cashier Accountant, and is living alone with his housekeeper, a Emily E Smith, widow, born 1896.

William aged forty four now married Ethel Mansell aged twenty eight [born 30th April 1912], in 1940 in Walsall, Staffs.

We have no further knowledge of William until we find his death, aged eighty four, on Tuesday the 23rd November 1971 in Worchester.

In his Will he left everything "... to my dear wife Ethel...". Ethel died in November 1993.

In later life William, possibly after he retired from work, he went to live at Callow End which is only just over a mile away from Kempsey if using the Prixham ferry over the river Seven. The roundabout route by road is still only about five miles. So basically he returned to his roots where he was born.

What an interesting person William Vann is. Born 1883 in the small village of Kempsey on the river Severn, by the age of seventeen he was already a Solicitor's clerk. Ten years later in 1911, now aged twenty seven, he is living in Gloucester with a fellow Law Clerk.

He now makes the move to Darlaston and in 1921, now aged thirty eight is working as a cashier with the local Legal firm Messrs Slater & Co Solicitors.

It is said that...

...on Sundays in the summer months steamers called at Pixham Ferry and unloaded hordes of day trippers, the men spending most of their time bowling in the fine bowling alley and drinking ale, while the women and children picknicked on the Old Hills. Mr. Edwards ran a small coal business from his riverside depot. The barges brought the coal up river from the Forest of Dean, or down from the Black Country, and it was sold with slack to the villages at 6d a cwt...

I wonder if these barges were the link for William to move to the Black Country.

A few years later on Sunday the 27th March 1927, he is a witness on the will of Sarah Steatham. On Tuesday the 4th March 1936 he is left monies from the will of Thomas Steatham. In 1939 he is living at Walsall. He then dies in 1971 aged eighty four.

William had one last link to his time with the Steathams. His probate for his Will was handled by his old firm of [now] Slater, Miller &co., Solicitors, Darlaston.

What a life he had! Journeying to the Black Country to make his fortune then returning to his roots. When he was born Queen Victoria was on the throne. He met and was equated with both Sarah and her sisters Elizabeth Steatham and Mary Farr [nee Steatham]. The sisters were granddaughters of Robert Steatham, I wonder if they mentioned Robert Steatham to William?

So even in my lifetime, here we have someone who could have possible remembered first hand, our early Steathams.    All Rights Reserved.