The 1841 Census of Long Ashton, Somerset, shows three families living next door to each other. John Oatway (son of Jeremiah) age 30, his wife Lavinia age 20, and children, Emily 2 and Solomon 1 month. Next door the Rossitor family, James 45, Maria 45, and children. Next, Jeremiah Oatway age 60, daughter Mary Radford age 30, children Charlotte 10, Elizabeth 9 months. Mary’s husband John is not listed, he worked as a railway labourer and was most probably working away at Census time. Also in this household were John Shorthouse (railway labourer) age 25, and wife Sarah Shorthouse (daughter of Jeremiah) age 20. Jeremiah’s wife’s maiden name was Elizabeth Rossitor, married in 1807.

The Oatway family proved difficult to trace, we know that Jeremiah was born in Somerset, a labourer who lived in Long Ashton; he died in 1863 aged 86. His wife Elizabeth died in 1832 aged 53. His parents were Robert Oatway and wife Ann Rich. There could be a connection to Oatway families in Yarborough and Somerton, but were unable to find a link.

Jeremiah worked as a farm labourer on the same farm for all of his working life, possibly 50 plus years. He was living with his daughter Mary Radford in Long Ashton when he died.

We found a number of newspaper articles on the family covering stories about Jeremiah, his mother, siblings, children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. These are in chronological order as follows:


Exeter and Plymouth Gazette- Saturday August 17, 1839.
At the “Jolly Sailor” public-house in Bedminster (so says a friend of ours who witnessed it a few days since) may be seen an old lady between nintey and a hundred years old, working her needle without the aid of spectacles, and she appears to be in excellent health. Her name is Anne Oatway.

The Bristol Mercury – Saturday June 13th 1840.
DIED. June 7, aged 93, Mrs. Ann Oatway, mother of Mrs. Whitnell, Jolly Sailor, Bedminster.

The Bristol Mercury – Saturday January 3rd 1841.
POLICE INTELLIGENCE. Wm. Hazell was charged with stealing a flannel shirt, the property of Elizabeth Oatway. The complainant stated that, having missed the shirt, she was induced to search the pawn-shops for it, and upon going into that of Mr. Tovey, in Redcliff-street, she there found the prisoner offering iy in pledge. Committed. 

Bristol Times and Mirror – Saturday 21 August 1841.
BRISTOL POLICE – WEDNESDAY SESSION. A middle aged, rather forbidding-looking man, named Lacy, was charged with a criminal assault upon Sarah Oatway, a child under 12 years of age. The parties live in the same house in Limekiln Lane, and from the evidence of Mr. King, the surgeon, and the girl herself, little doubt remained but that the prisoner had perpetrated the capital offence. He was remanded until to-morrow for the child’s mother to attend. 

Preston Times Saturday November 29th 1845.
AGRICULTURAL MEETINGS. – BLACKWELL AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION. – The next premium was one of £1to be given to the agricultural labourer who had lived the greatest number of years in the service of a subscriber (or family) of the Association.

The CHAIRMAN having come to this premium, produced a letter which he had received from Mr.. Smith of Lower Court, Ashton, recommending a servant named Jeremiah Oatway, who he stated, had lived with him since the year 1800. He (the Chairman) had made enquiries about him, and considered him a person fully entitled to the premium.

A  Mr. Sperrin said, he had recommended a person whose claim he should press.

The CHAIRMAN, in reply to this, stated, that before dinner he went down to Mr.. Sperrin and made enquiries of him on the subject, and he then told him there was no competitor for the premium, neither was that for the cheese. Of course the accounts were then closed. He, however, went down again, when Mr.. Sperrin told him that he had entered a servant, which, of course, he (the Chairman) considered quite out of the common order of things, and he said, that as long as he was connected with the association he would have had things plain and straightforward (hear). Since he had been sitting at that table, too, Mr.. Sperrin told him a cheese had been brought in; this kind of proceeding he disapproved of likewise, and if things were not carried on in a different kind of way, neither this or any other association of the kind would prosper.

A farmer, who was present, stated, that he brought the letter from Mr.. Smith, and it would have been delivered to the Committee long before only he got wet, and was obliged to return home and change his clothes.

Mr. Sperinn denied that he had intended anything underhand, and with respect to the cheese he did not know whose it was. After some further conversation, the matter was put to the vote, and Mr.. Smith’s man obtained the prize.


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