- Born: Between 1 Dec 1779 and 16 Aug 1780
- Baptised: 16 Aug 1780, St. Nicholas's Church, Church Lane, Tooting Graveney, Wandsworth, London, SW17 9PP, GB
- Marriage (1): Mary Bond  on 5 Aug 1798 in St. Mary's Church, 30 St. Mary's Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 7BP, GB
- Partnership (2): Mary Attridge
- Died: 1 Dec 1865, Windmill Inn, Old Shoreham Road, Southwick, Brighton, West Sussex, BN42, GB 1
- Buried: 7 Dec 1865, St. Michael & All Angels' Church, Church Lane, Southwick, Brighton, West Sussex, BN42 4GD, GB 2
Cause of his death was Senile Debility..1
Find a Grave ID: 148753489.
During the early years of the 19th Century, it seems that the mansion was a forbidding structure, standing alone and abandoned near the Priory's old burial grounds. Abandoned it may have been, but there were plenty of villagers who were terrified to walk past after dark because of the unearthly sounds that could be heard emanating from within.
In about 1820, a small band of brave souls elected to visit the creaky old building to discover the source of these sounds. Led by the silk printers Messrs Bradshaw and Wagland, the group armed themselves with sticks and candles and waited for darkness to descend.
That night, as they stood guard, the eerie noises began again and, listening carefully, the investigators determined that the disturbance was coming from the direction of the staircase. Rushing forward to illuminate that area with their candles, they found not ghosts but hordes of water rats swarming up and down the steps.
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.
Later, the house passed into the possession of Messrs. Liberty & Co. Ltd, who decided to have it pulled down. At some point in the building's past, the Norman arch had been plastered over, but now it was revealed again. Because of its historical value it was carefully preserved and in 1935 it was rebuilt in the church grounds of St Mary the Virgin in Merton Park where it can still be seen today.
[Chamberlain, W H (1925) Reminiscences of Old Merton]
Bradshaw and Wagland do not appear to have had the head lease on either of the two Merton Priory print works nor is there any record of a partnership in The Gazette. There are land tax records from 1822 to 1824 which indicate that Wagland was not living at Merton Abbey.
According to Peter McGow's research:
- The older print works (northern part of plot) were let to George and Joseph Ancell in 1821 or 1822; George left the partnership on 1 July 1824; Edmund Littler later acquired the head lease, possibly by 1835, when he began negotiations with Joseph Ancell for the purchase of the lease of his premises, which were then said to be in a dilapidated condition
- The later print works (southern part of plot) was leased by Thomas Bennett from 1813 until 1827; from this time it became known as Bennett's Mill; his son John Leach Bennett took over the lease and eventually sub-let it to Edmund Littler in 1833; Littler acquired the head lease in 1835 or 1836.
[Peter McGow (2005) Mills of the Wandle]
Was his partner Charles Bradshaw?:
- Baptised: 12 Dec 1790, St. Peter & St. Paul, Mitcham
- Occupation: Calico printer (1841 census)
- Died: 6 Sep 1862, South Road, Haydons Lane
- Buried: 10 Sep 1862, St Mary, Wimbledon
Noted events in his life were:
• Marriage, 22 Sep 1816, St. Mary's Church, 30 St. Mary's Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 7BP, GB.
• Marriage, 4 Mar 1827, St. Mary's Church (Newington), 57 Kennington Park Road, Camberwell, Southwark, London, SE11 4JH, GB.
• Residence, 6 Jun 1841, Nelson's Fields, Merton, London, SW20, GB. 3
• Occupation: Silk Printer, 6 Jun 1841. 3
• Occupation: Toll Collector, 30 Mar 1851, Toll Gate, Lewes Road, Preston, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 3QA, GB. 4
• Residence, 7 Apr 1861, Preston, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2, GB. 5
James married Mary Bond , daughter of John Bond and Elizabeth Craft, on 5 Aug 1798 in St. Mary's Church, 30 St. Mary's Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 7BP, GB. (Mary Bond  was born between 1 Mar 1774 and 19 Feb 1775, baptised on 19 Feb 1775 in St. Mary the Virgin's Church, Church Path, Merton Park, Merton, London, SW19 3HJ, GB, died on 28 Feb 1852 in Nelson's Fields, Merton, London, SW20, GB 1 and was buried on 9 Mar 1852 in St. Mary the Virgin's Church, Church Path, Merton Park, Merton, London, SW19 3HJ, GB.). The cause of her death was Disease of the Heart. Dropsy and old age..1
James had a relationship with Mary Attridge, daughter of John Attridge and Ann. (Mary Attridge was born about 1789, baptised on 17 May 1789 in St. Mary the Virgin's Church, Church Path, Merton Park, Merton, London, SW19 3HJ, GB, died before 15 Jun 1865 and was buried on 15 Jun 1865 in St. Mary's Church, 30 St. Mary's Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 7BP, GB.)