John Mortlock (1807 - 1888)

Sale of the Property of John Mortlock on September 25th 1841 | Cambridgeshire Archives
Sale of the Property of John Mortlock on September 25th 1841
Cambridgeshire Archives
Detail of Sale of Property of John Mortlock on September 25th 1841 | Cambridgeshire Archives
Detail of Sale of Property of John Mortlock on September 25th 1841
Cambridgeshire Archives
The Mortlock Tomb in Meldreth Churchyard | Photo by Tim Gane
The Mortlock Tomb in Meldreth Churchyard
Photo by Tim Gane

The story of the Mortlock family here in Meldreth continues with William Mortlock’s son John who was born in Paddington on December 24th 1807.

In 1815 William and his family moved to Manting House in Meldreth.  John was 8 at this time and so spent much of his early life here in Meldreth.

By 1832 John, aged 25, was in partnership with his brother William in the family china business at 18 Regents Street.  This partnership was dissolved by mutual consent in 1835 and John teamed up with his cousin-in-law, Simon Sturges, to run the larger Oxford Street business of the Mortlock China Company.  This new partnership only lasted six years and was dissolved in 1841.  John continued in the Mortlock China Company until he handed over the business to his son John George.

Tragedy

Sometime around 1832 John married his first wife, Mary Hill and in 1841 John was living in (unknown location) in Meldreth with their children Elizabeth, John George, Charles and Mary plus two female servants Sarah Henry and Mary Harris.  Tragically though Mary was not with them as she died from ‘inflammation of the lung’ on January 19th 1841 at the age of just 44.  Their fifth child, Louisa Sturges, died from scarlet fever just two days later.  They were buried together in the Mortlock vault on January 26th .

19th Century Scandal?

The 1841 census shows that following Mary’s death John’s second wife-to-be, Elizabeth Cockman, 28, of Hillingdon, Middx was already living with John and his family in Meldreth working as a housekeeper.  They married in 1851 in St George Hanover Square, London.

(Elizabeth Cockman nee Clarke married John Cockman on December 26th 1836 at Hanover Square.  She was probably married when she moved in with JM and only married him when John Cockman died.)

Sale of Goods

In late 1841 John left Meldreth to live in The Moat House, Melbourn with Elizabeth and his daughters Elizabeth and Mary.  Before leaving he had a grand sale of many of the possessions from his first marriage (see images on the right).

Some of the items offered for sale when John Mortlock moved to Melbourn in 1841:

  • Item 119 Ten painted bedroom chairs
  • Item 138 onwards. Did John (or Mary) have a liking for beer?  Among the items for sale were a total of seventeen nine-gallon barrels of strong ale!!
  • Item 191 (not shown) What did Mrs Phillips want with 3 shotguns?

A land survey in 1873 showed John owned 367 acres worth £474 per annum.

The Death of Elizabeth and John

Elizabeth died in 1886 aged 72 followed two years later by John who died at the age of 81 leaving an estate of £40,747.  Both are buried in the Mortlock family vault in Meldreth Church.  There is an impressive tomb in the churchyard (see above photograph) dedicated to the family.

The Memorial Inscription reads: Sacred to the Memory of JOHN MORTLOCK ESQ of Melbourn died Nov 24th 1888 in his 81st year. Also of ELIZABETH MORTLOCK second wife of the above died Jan 16th 1886 aged 72 years. Sacred to the Memory of JOHN GEORGE MORTLOCK ESQ died Jany 7th 1917 aged 81 years. Sacred to the Memory of MARY JANE the much loved niece and adopted daughter of Mr JOHN MORTLOCK died Nov 4th 1863 aged 20 years. The grass withered and the flower thereof faded away. Sacred to the Memory of MARY wife of MR JOHN MORTLOCK died January 19th 1841 aged 33 years also of LOUISA STURGES daughter of the above died January 21 1841 aged 10 months.

Mary Jane Mortlock – the much loved niece and adopted daughter of Mr John Mortlock is also listed on the Mortlock tomb.  Mary Jane was the daughter of John’s brother Thomas Samuel Mortlock who was born in Meldreth in 1817.  It is not known why Mary was adopted by John Mortlock or how she died aged just 20.

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