Henry LEECE and Family – Bakers and Confectioners

Wrexham Cemetery 07/03/2018

HENRY LEECE AND HIS FAMILY. BAKERS & CONFECTIONERS

Henry Leece was baptised on 11 August 1811 at Kirk German, Isle of Man, he was the son of John Leece and Elizabeth Quay.  He made his way to Liverpool where he married Ellen Kirkham, a widow in March 1834. The marriage took place at St Phillips. By 1841 they were living in West Kirby, Henry was a baker, and they had a daughter Elizabeth aged 3. Ellen died in 1849 leaving Henry with a family of 3 to look after. Elizabeth 11, Joseph 5 and Robert who was only 2.

On 19 June 1852 Henry remarried to Mary Huddleston a spinster at St Paul, Liverpool, her father was John Huddleston a farmer. Mary was born in Penrith, Cumberland, and in 1851 she had been working as a servant in West Derby, her employer was a retired accountant.

By 1861 they had moved to Wrexham and were living in 6 Alma Terrace, Henry was still a baker, and they had 3 more sons all born in Wrexham. James Huddleston 8, John Harrison 6 and Frederick aged 3. They moved to Lampbit Street by 1871 and had two daughters, Alexandra 7 and Mary aged 4. By this time John Harrison was a baker’s assistant for his father.

Henry died on 21 April 1875 aged 63 and was buried in the Ruthin Road Cemetery, this was the year before the Ruabon Road cemetery opened.  

Eventually all three of his sons became bakers and confectioners with shops on Yorke Street and High Street, James Huddleston married Clara Williams in 1876.

By 1874 Frederick joined the First Volunteer Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and over the years either won or did very well in many rifle shooting matches that were held at the Erddig range.

NEIGHBOURS AT LOGGERHEADS. Ernest Rogers and Henry Rogers, his father, summoned Frederick Leece. Ernest Rogers, a boy 16 years of age, said he was by his door breaking up a box when Fred came out and said he would smash his face if he swept the dirt on to his place, then then struck him with a brush. Proceedings had also been made against Ernest’s mother for assaulting Mr Leece.

Wrexham Advertiser April 1884 (edited)

It was all very messy with the Roger`s admitting that they had called Fred`s mother “like an old hen, always pushing on mischief.” Young Rogers often swept up a lot of rubbish, old salmon tins and other stinking refuse, under the step into Mr Leece’s yard to cause him annoyance. After a lot of statements from both sides Fred was fined 1 shilling for the dispute over rights of way, and all other summons were dismissed.

Just a couple of months later in June 1884, Fred was involved in a terrible incident and there was an inquest.

FATAL ACCIDENT TO A CHILD. Annie Jones, aged eleven was killed by a trap running over her. Frederick Leece, baker said he was driving along Salisbury Park, when Annie and some other children ran across the road from behind the miller’s cart right under his horse’s feet.  Mr Leece said he drew up as soon as possible, pulling the horse on its haunches. He was only going at the rate of five miles an hour. Felt no jolt whatever, and had done his best to pull up. It was all done in a minute, and he thought he must have escaped the child, which he did not see in the first instance. Witnesses said Mr Leece was driving and was perfectly sober. A juror stated that “people say that he does drive fast” and others thought he had been driving too fast as his horse had gone past a distance of ten yards before the driver’s attention was called to the accident. They were of opinion that the death was purely accidental, but they thought if the Coroner were to caution Mr Leece about his driving it might have a good effect. Mr Leece was then called in, the Coroner told him the jury were of opinion that the death was purely accidental but had got hold of it that Mr Leece was in the habit of driving fast, and they therefore wished the Coroner to say a word.  Mr Leece interrupted with “I think I ought to be allowed to say a word” The Coroner:” You can go, sir It’s not my suggestion”. Mr Leece “Well. I’ve driven the horse about four years and have never had an accident” The Coroner “Go, sir I want no explanation at all!”  Mr Leece then retired, and the inquiry closed. 

In April 1898 it was announced that Frederick had been awarded a medal. He had now been with the RWF for over 20 years.

MEDALS FOR WELSH VOLUNTEERS. Yesterday it was announced that the Volunteer medal had been awarded as follows: 1st V.B. Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Sergeant Ralph Brown, Privates John Harvey and John Hughes, and Lance-Sergt. F. Leece.

In 1887 Mary married Frederick William Mason he was a clothier, but he died in 1893 leaving Mary with daughter Lilian aged 6.

By 1891 Mary Leece moved to 5 Holt Street terrace, only John Harrison, Frederick and Alexandra were still at home.

In 1892 an announcement was published “Mr Simon Jones, who has been conducting a well- known confectionary business at 5, Hope-street, for the past 31 years, has now retired. He is succeeded by Mr J. H. Leece, (James Huddleston) who has been his fore man for the past 20 years.”

In October 1895 an incident was reported in the newspapers.

SLEEPING OUT. Margaret Hart was charged with the above offence. P.C. Thomas Pierce said that at one o’clock that morning he found the prisoner sleeping on the back premises of Mr Leece, confectioner, Hope-street. Prisoner had a pint of beer by her side. She was fined 2s 6d and costs and allowed a week to pay.

Mary and her family moved again to 9 York Street where she died on 27 February 1898,

On 19 October 1899 Frederick took his own life in a terrible way.

Wrexham Advertiser.

SUICIDE AT WREXHAM. Great sensation was caused in Wrexham on Thursday when it became known that Mr Frederick Leece, a baker and confectioner living in Yorke Street, had committed suicide. The deceased was well known in the town and was formerly a member of the 1st V.B. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The deed was a most determined one, as deceased first cut his throat with a bread knife and then hanged himself.

The verdict at the inquest was “Suicide while temporarily insane” The Coroner said it was like a good many inquests he had held, traceable to drink.  

John Harrison carried on with the business and over the years many articles mentioning him appeared in the news.

At the St Davids Day celebrations in 1887 Mr John Leece, baker, Yorke street and High-street, had the contract for the supply of confectionery. During the day the soldiers were observed wearing in their cap the national emblem, the leek.

Click on any of the above images to enlarge.

In 1901 John Harrison, his sisters Alexandra and Mary Mason a widow, and her daughter Lilian aged 13 were still living together.

John Harrison Leece died in November 1908 at Hillbury Road.

Mary Mason, her daughter Lilian and Alexandra were still there in 1911.

James Huddleston Leece died in 5 Hope Street in November 1921, he was 67.

Lilian died on 27 November 1927 aged 36.

Mary Mason and Alexandra were still together in Hillbury Road in 1939.

Mary died in December 1947 aged 76.

Alexandra died on 13 July 1953 aged 86.

They were all buried together.

Researched by Annette Edwards. February 2019. Gravestone photographs Graham Lloyd.

Wrexham Cemetery 07/03/2018
Wrexham Cemetery 07/03/2018

Grave ref: J-02755 & 02755A