William Worland (1809 - 1887)

A Publican who fell on hard times

By Kathryn Betts

William Worland was born on 9th December 1809 and was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth on 8th July 1810.  He was one of seven children born to his parents, Abbis Worland and Elizabeth Worland (nee Cornish).  His siblings were Mary (born 1807), James (1811), Charles (1813), Elizabeth (1816), Thomas (1819) and Frederick (1823).  All of the children were baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth.

On 28th May 1831, William married Susan(nah) Chappell at Holy Trinity Church.  

The couple and their five children: Arthur (born 1831), William (1832), Abbis (1834), George Frederick (1836) and Eliza (1838) appear in the 1841 census for Meldreth.  George's occupation is given as publican.  The pub name is not given, but we believe it was The Bell Public House, in the High Street.

William and his family must have struggled to make ends meet for on 28th December 1841 there was a sale of William’s household furniture and effects at the Bell Public House under a “distress for rent”.

Photo:Some of the items for sale on 28th December 1841

Some of the items for sale on 28th December 1841

Cambridgeshire Archives

The sale consisted of 73 lots and included the following :

  • Lot 9: fourteen plates, 4 meat dishes, basin, 3 yellow baking dishes, 8 knives, 9 forks, a bread basket and 2 wood salts (sold to Mrs Brown for 5 shillings)
  • Lot 11: Beer stand, wood bottle, tilter, mallet, tap tub and inscription board over door (sold to Robert Wing for 2 shillings)
  • Lot 24: an 8-day clock in a wainscot case, by T Kefford, Royston (sold to Mr Warren for £1 17s 6d)
  • Lot 43: two sheets, two pillow cases and a blanket (sold to Mrs King for 5s 6d)
  • Lot 57: a quantity of apples, about 10 bushels (sold to Mrs Thurley for 5s 6d)
  • Lot 73: Cinder ashes, and dung in yard (sold to James Wing, Shoemaker, for 15 shillings)


By the time of the 1851 census, William was working as a cow leech and the family had taken in two lodgers.  The family remained in Meldreth, appearing in the census returns in 1861 and 1871.

Susannah died in 1879 and was buried on 21st March at Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth.

William appears as a widower in the 1881 census, when he was living with his granddaughter in the High Street.

William died at the age of 78 in March 1887 and was buried on 26th March 1887 at Holy Trinity Church.

This page was added by Kathryn Betts on 09/02/2011.

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