Last updated on 20 September 2019
Tracing Tollerton born ancestors
Links between the Porter, Garton and Whittaker families
When Yvonne and Lewis Raven moved from Stapleford to Tollerton in 1978 they knew little about the village and certainly were not aware of any ancestors who had lived in Tollerton. It was only much later when doing some family research that Yvonne found ancestors related to her husband who had lived in Tollerton in the late 1700s and 1800s. So was their move to Tollerton sheer coincidence or fate?
It transpires one of their ancestors was Alice Porter who, prior to her marriage in 1845 to James Potter of Beeston, worked as a servant at Tollerton Hall with Pendock Barry Barry and Susannah Davies. Alice was the daughter of William and Ann Porter and was christened at Tollerton on 23 March, 1823. She and her husband, James, moved to Beeston after their marriage.
However, on looking further at Alice’s parents it came as a surprise to learn that Alice’s mother, Ann, was a Garton prior to her marriage in 1822 and had also been christened in Tollerton in 1800, the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Garton. Samuel Garton, Alice’s grandfather, died in Tollerton in 1831 when 73 years old and her grandmother, Elizabeth, died here too in 1838 at the age of 78 years. Samuel and Elizabeth Garton had at least seven children including Ann, Alice’s mother and, except for their first child who was born in 1785 in West Bridgford, all the other children from 1786 onwards were born in Tollerton. One can assume therefore that the Gartons moved to Tollerton around 1786, so the Raven’s ancestors and links with Tollerton stretch back even further.
In 1861 we find William Porter and Ann Porter (nee Garton) living at Lodge Gates in Tollerton with their youngest daughter, Ann born 1837, and her husband William Whittaker who originated from Bradmore. And here we find yet another well established Tollerton family, the Whittakers, who had strong agricultural links in the village. Meanwhile the 1861 Census also reveals that William Porter, Alice’s father, was a parish clerk in the village. When William Porter died in 1868 Ann, his wife and Alice’s mother, remained in Tollerton and in 1881 she was living with Ann and William Whittaker.
Alice’s mother, Ann Porter (nee Garton), died at Tollerton in 1886 at the age of 85 years – a significant age in those days. There are in fact six members of the Garton family whose deaths were registered at Tollerton and four Porters. Phoebe Blackwell Garton, Ann’s sister-in-law, died in Tollerton in 1871 when she was 75 years of age. Phoebe was married to Ann’s brother Henry Garton in 1830; in 1871 the couple were also at Lodge Gates in Tollerton and ten years prior to this in 1861 Henry was listed as agricultural labourer and lodge gate keeper. Interestingly Phoebe, his wife, is mentioned in the original will of Susannah Davies of Tollerton Hall that was written in 1864. It states that Phoebe, as well as two other elderly Tollerton residents, should receive “six pounds and ten shillings each payable weekly by two shillings and six pence a week. The said Phoebe Garton is also to live for the remainder of her life in the Lodge and to occupy the garden attached thereto as at present without paying any rent.” As it was, Phoebe Garton predeceased Susannah Davies so did not benefit from Susannah’s will.
Subsequent generations of the Garton family certainly remained in Tollerton beyond 1891 and one can find members of the Whittaker family still living in the village in 1911. Of course as daughters married and changed their name it could be that descendants of those original Porter, Garton and Whittaker families remained here for much longer.
Our thanks to Yvonne Raven for highlighting these former village links. I wonder if there are other Tollerton residents who have ancestors that lived in the village in the 1700s and 1800s? Please do contact us if you do, we would love to hear from you. Otherwise, might you too have Tollerton ancestors you don’t know about? Could be worth investigating!