Her mother, Elizabeth, died in 1801, aged 58, and her father, John, died in 1811, aged 77; both were buried at Merton church.
James and Mary Wagland had eight children between 1800 and 1814, two of whom died during infancy. Their fifth child is the subject of this biography.
James also had an illegitimate daughter in 1815 with a Mary Attridge
; she was aged about 25 and 10 years his junior at the time. Presumably it was common knowledge in the parish as they had the baby baptised in the local parish church under his name. Mother and daughter continued to live in Merton until their deaths in 1865 and 1893 respectively. Mary Attridge never married and was recorded as a pauper in the 1861 Census.
From the various baptism, marriage and census records, it is clear that James was a silk printer in Merton. We don’t know for certain at which mill he worked but, given that he lived in Nelson’s Fields in 1841, it is highly likely that it was the Merton Abbey Silk Printing Works as it was only about quarter of a mile (400 m) away.
There is also an apocryphal story from “Reminiscences of Old Merton” by W. H. Chamberlain (1925) regarding a Mr. Wagland and Abbey House which belonged to the Merton Abbey Silk Printing Works:
“Opposite to the above gateway [to Gate House] is one of the gateways to the Priory. This still exists, and inside stood an old mansion recently demolished. At the beginning of the 19th century, it stood unoccupied for several years, and had the reputation of being haunted because of the weird noises heard there at night time, and the villagers were afraid to pass it after dark. About 1820 Messrs. Bradshaw and Wagland, the silk printers, together with several others, decided to visit it at nightfall armed with sticks and candles. In due course the ghostly noises commenced up and down the stairs, and making a sudden dash, they discovered that swarms of water rats were in possession.
With the mysterious sounds thus explained, Bradshaw and Wagland decided to follow the rats' example and they moved into the building. The creatures were dealt with and the printers obtained the house at a low rental, made repairs and kept the property for several years. They were succeeded by a Mr Littler who took over their silk printing business and moved into the building with his family.”
From this story it appears that Bradshaw (probably Charles, 1790-1862) and James Wagland rented Abbey House from about 1820 until 1833 or 1835 when Edward Littler took over the leases for the two print works on the site. We have not yet found any records of a business partnership existing between Bradshaw and Wagland.
By 1841 James’ daughter Emma and her husband, (Zachariah) James Batterbee, had moved to Preston (now a suburb of Brighton & Hove) in Sussex where James was working as a toll collector on the Lewes Road. By 1851 James and Mary Wagland had also moved to Preston and James had taken over the toll collection job from his son-in-law who was now an innkeeper (presumably of the Windmill Inn on Shoreham Road in Southwick, now a suburb of Brighton & Hove).
Mary Wagland died on 28th February 1852, aged 77, of “disease of the heart, dropsy and old age”. She had travelled back to Merton from Sussex because her address at the time of her death was recorded as Nelson’s Fields (where her eldest son was living) and she was buried at St. Mary the Virgin’s Church in Merton on 9th March. It is not clear whether the James Wagland who registered her death was her husband or son.
By 1861 James Wagland (senior) had retired and was living with James and Emma Batterbee. He died at the Windmill Inn, aged 86, on 1st December 1865 of “senile debility” and was buried on 7th December at the nearby St. Michael & All Angels' Church.