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PIGGOTT family

I was pleased to find Alfred ARNOLD in your record. He was a Trustee of the Piggott Trust, was described as 'Of Woodroyde, Halifax' and had received his knighthood on 18 July 1903.

Another Trustee was Sir John Francis ROTTON QC. He received his knighthood on 30 June 1899 for having been legal officer to the Local Government Board. I haven't yet worked out where he fitted in to the family. Jane ROTTON had only one brother as far as the High Wycombe baptismal records go. John F ROTTON, born 19 November 1772, baptized 1 January 73. Sir John F ROTTON could be a son or a grandson of his. All the other children of Samuel ROTTON and Sarah were girls: Sarah baptized 31 December 1771, Jane born 21 July 1778 - who eventually married Revd Solomon PIGGOTT, Mary born 1 March 1780 and Elizabeth born 14 September 1775. In a letter of 6 January 1917 to my grandmother Agnes Helen (Royston Pigott) Tulloch, Henry Edgeworth Bicknell Arnold relates some amusing anecdotes. 'I hope that the information which has come to me from an unknown source does not malign too severely the conduct of Mr Soloman Piggott: and I trust that you will not be vexed at my sending it on. If I have been misinformed, you will correct me.' He attaches a sheet with the following text:

Rotton Family: Jane Rotton was one of four daughters. The family lived a secluded life at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire UK, and were rather exclusive in their relations with their neighbours.

Consequently all four daughters made, at different times, runaway marriages.

The worst girl of the lot was Jane! She was the eldest and the ringleader of all the mischief.

Her mother locked her up for a week in her room, because she would visit at the Vicarage and attend daily service at the Church. It was in the days of the early Tractarian movement and the Vicar was rather High.

One day Jane got up early in the morning as if going to early service. On her quiet and demure return, her mother casually remarked that she heard the church bells ringing as if for a wedding. "For my marriage", said her daughter, by this time Mrs Samuel Pigott. "Then you may leave my house at once", retorted her mother, "I completely wash my hands of so ungrateful and deceitful a daughter." Ultimately mother and daughter were reconciled. Old Mrs Rotton became great friends with her grandson-inlaw, Frederick Arnold, whom she invited to share her grave with her. "I like you, Mr Arnold", she said "and you shall be buried in my grave." Another of the daughters ran away and married a wealthy brewer.

She felt the degradation of 'trade' very keenly: and, on a friend endeavouring to console her by saying that there were 'brewers and brewers' she replied with long-drawn emphasis, "I do not understand the g-r-a-d-e-s of trade!" Her portrait is extant.

Unfortunately, this last story seems inherently unlikely as the parish register seems to show there was only one family of Rottons in the parish and The Universal British Directory for High Wycombe (1794) shows Jane's father Samuel as a 'Laceman and Wedgemaker to Government'. A laceman was an entrepreneur who employed home workers to make lace from materials the laceman provided. What a wedgemaker did - and how it fitted in with lace manufacture - is a mystery to me. The only wedges I can think of that the government might have needed are those used to control the elevation of naval (and presumably other) guns.

Jane R's parents were Samuel and Sarah Rotton. There is a marriage at St Paul's, Covent Garden on 18 April 1770 between a Samuel Rotton and Sarah Swain. It's the only possibility I've found so far. A Samuel Rotton, son of John and Joan R was baptized at Bushbury Staffs on 26 June 1737. A possibility?

The entry in the High Wycombe parish register for Jane R's marriage to Solomon Piggott shows them as both of the parish.

The Minister was W P? Williams BA and the witnesses are Jane's sister Mary, Elizabeth Williams (presumably his wife) and Henry Alnutt (according to the Directory one of the local landowning gentry). Perhaps Williams was a curate or a relation of one of the parties as the vicar at the time was James Price. It doesn't look particularly like a clandestine marriage. It was by licence instead of banns - but that was quite common. On the other hand old Mrs Rotton (who was called Sarah) didn't sign as a witness.

By the way, there's a family tree, mainly of Arnolds, with the letter. It shows Charles Comber Arnold as dying in 1913 and having three children: Ruth A born 1891, Alfred Huntriss A born 1892 and Catherine Comber A born 1896. Perhaps you do want to know that the parents of Frederick Arnold, Rector of Brimington, who died 1873, were Charles Arnold (died 1812) and Mary Bicknell.

I haven't yet worked out who were the Rev T Piggott AM minister of St Helen's, Lancashire UK, Richard Rotton of Hammersmith, London UK and Mr Rotton of Dorrington Street, Clerkenwell, London UK. These three are among the subscribers listed in The Reflector, or Christian Advocate published in 1824 by the Rev Solomon Piggott. I presume they were family.

The descendants of Violet (Royston Pigott) Haughton James and Monty Haughton James will have to wait until I feel stronger.

Roddy Tulloch 12 April 2001.

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