was baptised in 1760 at Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, son of William and Mary
Gurney. He was the youngest of their
In 1801 he married Mary Smith at Bridgnorth,
Shropshire. They had no children. He and his wife moved to Droitwich and by
1802 he was renting 33 High Street from a Mr Richard Nash, the house having an
annual valuation of £7 10s. In 1806 he
was named in a poll book. Between 1810 and
1830 Job Gurney also rented 103 Friar Street from the Penrice family, during
which time he was still a baker in the High Street. Perhaps his business premises were in the High
Street and he resided in Friar Street. A
list of jurors in 1821 included Job Gurney as one of those recommending the magistrates
to put a stop to making salt on the Sabbath.
In 1824, Job was listed on a schedule of land owners alongside the
Turnpike Road, having part of an orchard.
there was an agreement (indenture) between Thomas Robins of Droitwich, innkeeper,
and William Robins of Droitwich, carrier, concerning a plot of land and the buildings
that had been partly standing on it for many years.They were used as stable and wood or
coalhouse, in the respective occupations of Job Gurney and William Robins. This
land was situated immediately between and bounded by, an alley or footway
leading from High Street to the New Rising Sun public house (formerly known as the
Cock and Dog) and a wagon road leading from High Street to the back of several
houses belonging to Thomas Robins and to a Methodist Chapel and certain
saltwork yards approaching the bank of the canal. This may be the property
labelled as 7 on the Salt Union plan.
Pigot’s Directory shows him as being a
baker and earthenware dealer. Also in 1828, there is a record of a William
Gurney trading as a baker in Old Street, Upton-on-Severn, which suggests that
this trade was connected to the family.
papers referring to a schedule of deeds (undated) delivered to Job Gurney on
his completion of the purchase of ‘the house and premises’ in the occupation
of Mr John Lees, a salt proprietor. The
deeds had been agreed by Job Gurney with John Lees, as proof of
the title of John Lees to a cottage in the occupation of Ann Smith, otherwise known
as Lowe. There was also an actual contract to produce the deeds in December
1830. This property may relate to the pink
property on the Salt Union plan labelled F.
Job continued trading as a baker in High
Street until 1839. On 25th
September of that year, in the ‘Worcester Chronicle’ it states: ‘Stock in trade shop and bakehouse fixtures…..upon
premises in High Street, Droitwich the property of Mr J Gurney who is declining
business’. It appears that the shop
was leased again and a year later Job appears in Bentley’s Directory as residing
the tithe awards of 1840, Job Gurney held several pieces of land at Witton,
probably including that which he already owned in 1824. There were two pieces which he rented from a
William Wilson, being an orchard of an acre and four acres of arable land
opposite to St Mary’s churchyard on the west side of the main Droitwich to
Worcester Road (A38) alongside Witton Hill. William Wilson owned a cottage and garden
fronting the main road. Job owned
another three pieces himself, comprising a garden and parts of two orchards,
both of which were classed as ‘pasture’. These parcels were sited approximately where
Corbett Avenue runs east from the main road (A38), opposite St Andrew’s Road. (Corbett Avenue was not in existence at the
time Job owned the land.) Perhaps he
sold his bakery business and undertook a smallholding at Witton. In 1843, when Job drew up his will, he stated
he was a baker.
his wife, was buried at St Andrew's Church, Droitwich on 24th December 1840 aged 80.
In the 1841
census Job is living at Witton with Ann Andrews aged about 25, a servant. Ann Andrews and her father both later appear
as beneficiaries in Job’s will.
In 1845 he
appears in a mortgage agreement with John Clarke from Upton-upon-Severn, as a
‘husbandman’ in Ladywood in Salwarpe; a person who works the land possibly owning
a smallholding. He probably could not
sign his name so left his mark (X).
was buried at Dodderhill aged 86 on 21st August 1846 and had been living
Lane is one of the old streets of Droitwich and it was formerly known as
‘Lechmoores Lane’ as seen on ‘A Draught Map of the Town of Droitwich’, dating from
the 17th century. In 1611 it
is named as ‘Leadsmiths Lane’ in a deed referring to 31-33 High Street. In 1868, a description of the property 31 to
35 High Street is given: ‘ all those
three messuages fronting the High Street, Droitwich with land and outbuildings……..and
seven freehold cottages in the rear fronting Gurney’s Lane’. The outbuildings at the rear may well have
provided premises for a bake house at the time of Job Gurney, which probably
explains how his name was given to the lane at that time, as it ran past the
bakery. The references to deeds
previously mentioned and the Land Tax return, help to locate Job Gurney’s
properties. The lane formerly gave
access to the High Street from the industrial area of Upwich just across the
River Salwarpe, which was located, before about 1770, where the canal now sits.
wished to rename this through path ‘Salt Lane’ but Nelly Copson, the local historian at that time, wrote a
letter to the town clerk pointing out it had been known as Gurney’s Lane since
the mid 1800s, so the name remains to this day.
Salt Union plan 1889 and deeds BA 261.4 box 4963 parcel 28ii
the Hive Archives and Archaeology, Worcester.
returns 1841, 1851
Directory, 1840 Bentley’s Directory
Jenny Walton for her help in this research.
Will of Job
of baker at work: ‘Baking oven and kneading trough’ from Charles Tomlinson, ‘Illustrations
of useful arts, manufactures, and trades’, Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge, London, .