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Brentford Families - Perrott

Christine Russell wrote about her family which had an unusual surname (Perrott) and occupation (chairmaker). Her research had traced a couple, THOMAS & Sarah PERROTT, in Sunderland, who she thought were possibly the parents of her ancestor NATHAN PERROTT who is shown on census returns as being born in Sunderland. Could it be the same THOMAS PERROTT who was living in Brentford in 1826, a chairmaker in Old Brentford High Street. Christine linked Thomas and Sarah to births of four children between 1799 and 1807 in:

  • Sunderland (not yet proved)
  • Bexhill, Sussex
  • Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Harwich, Essex
Travelling this much around the country, Christine thought “was this the typical life of a chairmaker?” It seemed unlikely. However, with further research, Christine was able to prove that this was indeed her family, and she also found out why they moved around so frequently.

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Perrott’s the chair makers from Bristol to Brentford in the 1700, 1800 and 1900s. Chairs to chancery and a fortune found in tin box. (see Nathan’s legacy)

The search for my Perrott family has taken me to many towns in Britain from the mid 1700s to the mid 1900s and has led me to look in London, Sunderland, Bristol and many other towns including of course Brentford. For it was here I find my 4 x Great Grandfather THOMAS PERROTT in a 1826 trade directory working as a Windsor Chair maker living at 70 Old Brentford High Street as I discovered when looking at the Old Brentford High Street Project web site. This led me to research Brentford and why the family were there.

THOMAS PERROTT was chairmaker by trade but his story is also a military one and that is why the family moved around, and why each son was born in different town - where the regiment was stationed.

THOMAS PERROTT was a Quartermaster Sergeant in the Middlesex Militia and stationed eventually at the barracks at the Regimental HQ in Brentford with his wife Sarah (I am assuming she was there) and his 4 sons - NATHAN, THOMAS jnr, RICHARD and DAVID. His sons, who also became chair makers, were in the same regiment as their father when they were young men. Two sons married and moved to the East End of London and the other two married and settled in South London – all four working as chair/cabinet makers. Between them they had 33 children.

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French connection

I have traced back to my 4 x Great Grandfather Thomas Perrott using census returns, trade directories, birth and marriage certificates, from my Mother’s to her grandfather’s who was a chair maker living in various addresses in South London.

My Mother is descended from the son NATHAN (Sunderland). My Mother had told me our ancestors were chair makers and had originated from Le Havre France. This was handed down to her by her father Frederick Perrott.

The name Perrott (spoken as Perrow - as in the wine Merlot) has been spelt many different ways in documents where I have traced the family and probably been pronounced as Perrot or Parrot, I suppose. Looking up the name in Wikipedia it shows the ancient family of Perrott are said to have derived their surname from Castle Perrott in Britanny, built in 957AD by William de Perrott. My French connection is still a missing piece of the puzzle I have yet to find.

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Bristol Somersetshire

In the 1841 census it shows THOMAS PERROTT was a chair maker living at 70 Brentford High Street with Elizabeth (age 59), who may be his second wife. I have not found a death entry of his wife Sarah. The two columns showing 'Where Born', in theory should show 'Y' (born Middlesex), 'N' (not born Middlesex) or the country if born outside England. It has been completed with a place beginning with 'S' which may be Somersetshire or Scotland but is not clear. I have traced a Baptism in Plymouth showing a child Thomas and the parents being Nathan and Mary Perrot this would be around the right age for it to be him, but Plymouth is in Devon. On Thomas’s discharge papers in 1829 from the regiment he is described as being aged 59, he was 5 feet 10 inches high, Fresh complexion, Grey hair, Hazel eyes, Broad visage and born in the Parish of Bristol in the county of Somerset. He had served 30 years in the regiment as a Quarter master Sergeant.

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Brentford Barracks

I have researched the Regiment at Kew Archives, and found in 1796 THOMAS PERROTT became a Corporal when the regiment was stationed in Sunderland for a couple of years, where there was a lot of unrest and rioting at this time and the country was under threat of a French invasion so the port needed protection.

In 1798 he is promoted to Sergeant. I have found many entries at Kew for THOMAS and his sons under the command of Colonel James Clitherow of Boston House, Brentford. In a Post office directory for Middlesex and Surrey in 1847 Boston Lane, Old Brentford Middlesex is showing a trader THOMAS PERROTT, chair maker. I believe this to be my 4 x Great Grandfather, he died in December of Pneumonia 1847 in Brentford the same year.

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Sunderland

My Mother’s Grandfather, David, (who I have also traced through census returns, trade directories, birth and marriage certificates), was a chair maker and the son of Elizabeth Jennings and NATHAN PERROTT (Sunderland).

Nathan became a Drum Major in the Middlesex regiment at Brentford. It is shown on the census for Southwark 1851 that Nathan age 52, was born in Sunderland (about 1799), though I have not yet proved this to be so. I found the marriage of his mother Sarah and his father Thomas in Sunderland 1797. The Middlesex regiment was stationed in Sunderland at that time, though I have not found any baptism for a Nathan there. Thomas’s regimental postings coincided with the places where his other sons were born, and I have found entries for their baptisms.

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Hanwell

Not very far from Brentford is Hanwell and it was here I find in the Parish records NATHAN PERROTT married to Elizabeth Jennings in 1821 and Thomas Perrott Jnr married to Emma White in 1822 both at St Marys Church, Church Road, Hanwell.

Co-incidentally Thomas Perrott Snr was a witness to the marriage of his son and also witnessed the marriage of a Thomas Vaughan and Elizabeth Ives on the same day. His signature on the marriage entries is the same as that on his discharge paper from the regiment. In the 1841 census for Old Brentford High Street, living next door to Thomas Perrott Snr is a Thomas Ives – could this be the father of the bride? – Thomas’s neighbour.

So my search going back so far has come to a halt at Bristol Somerset. Bristol is where it states on THOMAS PERROTT’s discharge papers from the regiment was where he was born (approx 1770). But the only parish/baptism I can find for a ‘Thomas Perrott’ is in 1773 to parents of Nathan and Mary Perrott in Plymouth Devon. This would be the wrong age, out by a couple of years. It could be he was born in Devon but raised in Somerset?

The only trace I can find about his parents is the record of their marriage in Launceston Cornwall in 1770 and the baptism of 3 of their children William (b.1771 baptised in Plymouth) THOMAS (b.1773) baptised in Plymouth and Sarah (b.1777) in Bristol. I have not found any birth/baptism of the ‘Nathan Perrott’ from Bristol who maybe my 5 x Great Grandfather. Could he be the chair maker from Le Havre? C’est magnifique!!

Huguenots

People did move around quite a bit then as the towns were developing and expanding and the need for tradesmen grew. Many skilled people came from Europe to Britain at this time. Many came and settled in Bristol, some were French Protestants fleeing from persecution for their belief. The Huguenot Society may have some answers for me and I intend to look there for my French Connection.

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Findings from TimesOnline: Nathan’s legacy

Christine adds: my 3x great grandfather NATHAN PERROTT (Sunderland) had a son –Nathan William Perrott (baptised 1822, St Mary Magdalene Bermondsey) who in 1881 and 1891 census was shown living at 26 Gresse Street, Marylebone. He working as a furniture broker. He was my grandfather’s Uncle.

Nathan William Perrott was still living at the same address in 1901. He died in 1912 and his wife Caroline in 1913. Neither he nor his wife ever made a will. They had always lived very frugually, the story as told by their daughter Elizabeth who lived alone on her own in the house for the next 26 years. She supported herself by sometimes selling flowers or office cleaning.

When Elizabeth who was now age 80 and too old to care for herself was about to go into a poor institution a curate asked if she had any family or relatives, papers, they could trace, she presented an old tin box belonging to her late father, which she had never opened as the key was “missing.". The Curate forced it open and inside were bank deposits and Government Bonds worth £20,000 (that’s half a million today). Found this on Digital Times on line - Discovery of a tin box. The case went to the High Court of Justice, Chancery in 1938 for a judgement to be made as to whom in the family the money should go to. If you get a chance to find it, it is like something you read in a Charles Dickens’ novel.

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Author - Christine Russell

Note: These are the last censuses I have found for the 4 sons of my 4 x great grandfather Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Perrott :-

  • Nathan Perrott (b.Sunderland ) age 63 living in James Place Southwark 1861 census
  • Richard Perrott (b.Ipswich) age 74 living at New Market Terrace St Georges 1881 census
  • Thomas Perrott (b. Bexhill) age 62 living in Redmans Row Mile End in 1861 census
  • David Perrott (b. Harwich) age 74 living at Mile End Old town 1881 census.

See also Christine's more recent research into the Perrott family, published in 2013.

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Published May 2009