On Tuesday 1 September 1829, Mr. Thomas Simons died, aged 85. Both the Leicester Herald and Leicester Chronicle newspapers called him ‘deservedly respected’ and noted that he had been the clerk of the Shearsby parish for 60 years or more.
Thomas was born on 5 November 1744 and christened in the village church on 2 December that year. His parents were Thomas and Ann Simons. With his wife Elizabeth they brought up their family including:
- Elizabeth, 1771-, who married William Burbidge on 26 September 1797.
- Thomas, 1772-, who moved to Oadby and worked as a grocer.
- Ann, 1774-, who married Thomas Ward on 02 Feb 1818. In 1841 both lived in Mill Street with 22 year old daughter Elizabeth.
- Mary, 1775-
- Susannah, 1777-, also moved to Oadby and lived with her older brother Thomas.
- Richard, 1778-, who married Alice Burdett on the 25 March 1807
- William, 1781-1863, who later became the schoolmaster to the village children.
- John, 1784. Christened and buried in March 1784.
As clerk to the parish, Thomas Simons would have been involved in the regular support for the poorest members of the parish. In his over 60 years he would have helped the village through the changes brought on by the Enclosure Act in 1773; assisted in rebuilding the Church tower in 1789; and lived through the years of war against the French and the subsequent calls to reform the county’s voting system. He would have had a close view of the consequences of the arrest and trial of Hannah Read. By the time of his death, though, the role of villages and their clerks looking after the poorest of their own communities was coming to an end.
The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, September 12, 1829;
“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J3CH-84C : 11 February 2018, Thomas Simons, 05 Nov 1744); citing SHEARSBY,LEICESTER,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 585,287.
“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV28-2RMG : 13 December 2015), Thomas Simons, 1829; Burial, Shearsby, Harborough District, Leicestershire, England, St. Mary Magdalene; citing record ID 67613106, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.