In the 1841 census for Watlington, William STRANGE was apprenticed to my great-great-great grandfather, Thomas SLATTER, as a plumber and he was then living with the family:
High Street, Watlington:
HO107; Piece 884; Book: 6; Enumeration District: 2; Folio: 15; Page: 23
(all born Oxfordshire)
Thomas Slatter 35 Plumber
Jane Slatter 35 Wife
Thomas Slatter 7 Son
George Slatter 6 Son
John Slatter 5 Son
Christopher Slatter 3 Son
Jane Slatter 1 Daughter
William Strange 15 Apprentice Plumber
Ann Germaine 15 Family Servant
The ages of Jane and Thomas have not been recorded properly, as they should have been rounded down to the nearest five, but have in fact been rounded up instead. I imagine that this is a mistake on the part of the person doing the paperwork at the time. Thomas would have been 33 and Jane 31.
By the 1851 census the family had moved to Bell Street, Henley on Thames. Jane had died in childbirth in 1845 and John had also died. A William Strange of the correct age was living nearby and was listed as a plumber. I assumed that he had moved with the family to complete his apprenticeship and was then working as a plumber in his own right.
When Thomas Slatter Snr died in 1845 an inquest was held as his death was very sudden whilst painting a room in the Town Hall. The Coroner's accounts show that William Henry Strange was paid one shilling as he was a witness. The lad must have been helping Thomas senior do the painting when he suddenly died.
The Coroner, James Henry Cooke, covered a large area of the county but as it happened was a Watlington solicitor so presumably was at home at the time of the death and was therefore to hand. I found two things. The first was the account of the death in Jackson's Oxford Journal for 15th November 1845 (ORO now has the newspapers that used to be at the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies on microfilm - they have now merged). This read:
We regret to have to inform the sudden death of an old tradesman of this town, Mr Thomas Slatter, sen, Glazier and Painter. He was sitting down taking some refreshment, about one o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, in a room which he was colouring, when he suddenly fell; and though a medical gentleman was in a few minutes present, who bled him freely, he survived in a state of unconsciousness only a quarter of an hour. The corner held an inquest the same afternoon on the body, the verdict of which was "died of apoplexy".
The Coroner's Accounts said:
November 10th 1845 Inquisition at Watlington on Thomas Slatter
who died awfully sudden while at dinner that day.
Verdict Apoplexy £1.6s.0d
Paid the Jury 8s.0d
Paid the Constable 9s.0d
Paid for the use of the room 2s.6d
Wm Hy Strange - a witness 1s.0d
Mr J E Boyton Surgeon attended £1.1s.0d
The poor lad must have been distraught. I can just see the pair of them sitting down for a break from their painting and eating their lunch when suddenly Thomas collapsed. Presumably William raised the alarm and ran for the doctor. He then had to be a witness at the inquest in the afternoon. Not one of his better days!!