The Pritchard Family and Businesses
The Pritchard family of Broseley and later Bridgnorth formed a closely knit professional and business circle for 80 or more years and exercised considerable influence locally.
The grandfather, John Pritchard, [SRO 1681 Box XV] was a victualler by trade and wealthy enough to leave over £4,300 out at interest at his death in 1799. His wife, Ann, kept (a/the) brewhouse, the Bird in the Hand, at Sutton Maddock after his death.
The present collection's documents mostly concern his son John Pritchard (elder) and his (J.P. el) children. John (elder) had a moderate education land was placed as clerk to Mr. Brown, a Shifnal solicitor, in 1779. After 2 years he joined Congreve & Lewis, Bridgnorth, and 3 years later became articled to Mr. Lewis and 5 years later he was admitted as attorney and started to practise at Ironbridge. After his marriage in 1791 he lived in Broseley and in 1794 became law agent for Geo Forester of Willey (a man of much local influence to whose business John attributed his success).
In 1799 he joined with V. Vickers & Son (land agents and surveyors) as bankers in Bridgnorth and Broseley. Whilst continuing to live at Broseley he built up a very successful law firm, articling his sons G.P. & J.P. jun. and later making them partners. He also took on as clerks, amongst others, his nephews William Nock (who subsequently practised at Wellington), Richard Boycott, William Nicholas and George Potts, all of whom afterwards became partners of the bank, with Potts succeeding to the solicitor's practice.
Meanwhile the banking side also flourished. The elder Vickers died in 1814, J.P.'s son George became a partner in 1818 and in 1824 the younger Vickers retired from banking and J.P. junior became a partner, joining J.P. elder and G.P. By the time J.P. el. retired from active work in 1836 (dying in 1837) he had become a substantial figure in Broseley, leaving property in Worcs., Staffs, & Montgomery as well as throughout Shropshire.
In 1836 J.P. junior also retired from the solicitor's practice after ill health. In 1846/8 William Pierson Gordon qualified as solicitor and joined G.P., George Potts and George Gordon (W.P.G.'s) elder brother) as solicitor, this being shortly after J.P. junior had married Jane Gordon W.P.G.'s younger sister). In 1846 G.P. gave up active law work and became controlling principal partner of the Broseley & Bridgnorth Bank until his death in 1861, the solicitor's practice becoming Potts & Gordon in both Broseley and Bridgnorth. From now on until his death G.P. was a very prominent local figure: county magistrate & Borough J.P., Chairman of the Madeley Poor Law Union, trustee of many charities, societies and institutions and treasurer of several savings banks, a prominent churchman and, with J.P. jun. very involved in the building of the new Broseley church in the 1840's. At his death he was High Sheriff of the County and apparently much respected for his quiet philanthropy.
In 1856 Potts and Gordon were solicitors in Broseley and Bridgnorth, but by 1871 the firm had become Potts & Son in Broseley (eventually to become E.B. Potts & F.H. Potts - half brother sons, still later becoming Cooper & Co., Broseley, whose records are in S.R.O.*) and Gordon & Nicholls in Bridgnorth (Nicholls had also been a clerk with the Pritchard practice eventually becoming Pitt & Cooksey, i.e. the present Mason collection S.R.O.+). After 1856 until taken over by Lloyds Bank in 1888, Boycott, Nicholas, Gordon, Potts and Shorting (Nicholas's son-in-law) became partners in the bank. It is also noticeable that the bank branches were often managed by men who had initially been clerks to the Pritchards (Boycott, Oare, Westover, Langford).
Geo P. died childless in 1861 leaving his estates and interests to his brother John, who had become M.P. for Bridgnorth Borough in 1857 (until 1868). John continued to acquire lands and properties, and also built up the Stanmore estate in the Hoccom/Roughton area of Worfield, Bridgnorth and finally moved to Stanmore Grove, first acquired by G.P. in 1839 on the bankruptcy of Thos Gitton but which had previously been rented from the Pritchards by Richard Boycott, his cousin and banking partner. He had Stanmore extensively altered and refurbished, with advice from his friend Ruskin. He died in 1891 having been a county magistrate and borough J.P. and like his brother George influential in local affairs. He rebuilt the south aisle of St. Leonards, Bridgnorth in memory of his brother George, whilst Mrs Pritchard gave the carved oak pulpit.
After Jane Pritchard's death, childless, in 1892 the estate including lands at Bridgnorth, Chetton, Chirbury, Church Pulverbatch, Church Stretton, Claverley, Coveley, Morville, Quatford, Worfield, Broseley, Madeley & Stonesby (Leics) with a rental income of over £1,900 p.a. passed to William Pritchard Gordon, Jane's nephew and the son of William Pierson Gordon, originally a solicitor in the family firm and latterly a director at the bank.
William Pritchard Gordon did not practise as a solicitor for many years before his long illness and death, but often sat as Magistrate at Bridgnorth. He had been County Councillor for Chelmarsh for 30 years and had also been Chairman of Commissioners for Taxes for Bridgnorth, trustee and chairman of Bridgnorth Savings Bank, President of the Cricket Club and Captain of the Rowing Club.
After the First World War, W.P.G. sold much of his estates and lands and on his death most of George Pritchard Gordon's inheritance consisted of Stanmore Hall Estate.
In 1925 G.P.G. sold Stanmore and moved to Berrington.
Sources: + S.R.O. MASON 1190
* S.R.O. COOPER 1681
The Bank at Bridgnorth and Broseley
In 1799, banks were opened at Broseley, where the headquarters always remained, and at Bridgnorth, which became the bigger branch, by V. Vickers, Son and J. Pritchard (probably Valentine Vickers I & II who were successful surveyors and land agents at Bridgnorth - c.f. SRO 514, 2889; John Pritchard (elder) was a successful solicitor and land agent in Broseley - (for example law agent for Lord Forester). In 1816, John Pritchard and Valentine Vickers, bankers and copartners, bought [the Bank House] in Bridgnorth from William Bates and William Jones - bankrupt bankers. In 1824, Valentine Vickers III retired from the bank but continued in business and as landlord partner of George Pritchard and John Pritchard (junior) became a partner. In 1837, John Pritchard (elder) died.
In 1852, William Nicholas, a nephew of John Pritchard (elder), is described as a banker of Broseley and in 1857, the title of the bank is Pritchards, Boycott & Nicholas.
In 1851, the bank is described as Pritchards, Boycott & Co., Richard Boycott being a nephew of John Pritchard (elder) who had been a clerk in the Pritchards' solicitors business.
In 1860 they are known as Pritchards & Nicholas and in 1863 as Pritchard, Nicholas, Potts & Gordon, (George Pritchard having died in 1861). This would be John Pritchard (junior), William Nicholas, George Potts and William Pierson Gordon, all of whom had been in the Pritchards' firm of solicitors (Nicholas and Potts originally as clerks). William Pierson Gordon was the brother of Jane, John Pritchard (junior)'s wife. By 1885 E.A. Shorting (Nicholas's son-in-law) had become a partner, but in 1888 both branches were taken over by Lloyds Bank.
John Pritchard (junior) was M.P. for Bridgnorth Borough 1857-1868 and may not have been particularly active during this period, although he lived until 1891, and there are bank business letters in his handwriting late in 1885. In 1881, it seems that the cashier in the Broseley branch was George Baker who later married William Pierson Gordon's daughter Agnes, but he seems to have left the bank to be agent for William Pritchard Gordon (William Pierson Gordon's son) who was the heir of his childless uncle and aunt, John and Jane Pritchard.
We have very little evidence of the business dealings of the bank but it is noticeable that in the early period, documents such as mortgages may refer to Valentine Vickers & John Pritchard, bankers and copartners of Broseley and Bridgnorth, or to Valentine Vickers of Cranmere (near Bridgnorth), banker (or esquire or gent) or John Pritchard of Broseley, banker (or gent). It is possible that Valentine Vickers ran the Bridgnorth and John Pritchard the Broseley branches semi-autonomously.
After the retirement of the Vickers family from the bank it became very much a Pritchard family affair with all the subsequent major figures being related by blood or marriage or being trained in the family solicitor's firm (or both). In Broseley the bank retained the Pritchard name in its title until becoming part of Lloyds Bank (Kelly's directories give for Broseley: 1856- Pritchards, Boycott & Nicholas; 1871- Pritchard, Nicholas & Co; 1885- Pritchard, Pritchard, Gordon, Potts & Shorting & Co). However in Bridgnorth where the Pritchard name was not so strong, by 1885 it was known as the Bridgnorth and Broseley Bank. In Broseley the bank premises were in High Street and remained so after the incorporation into Lloyds, but in Bridgnorth the long-standing premises at 2, Waterloo Terrace (in 1985 the Job Centre) were vacated for the High St/Whitburn St corner Lloyds Bank branch by 1891, although Lloyds Bank continued to pay rent for the Waterloo property until 1897.
John Pritchard I, grandfather: victualler (brewhouse The Bird in Hand, Sutton Maddock).
Anne Granger, wife of John Pritchard I: ran the brewhouse after his death.
John Pritchard (elder), son of John Pritchard I: founded solicitors practice and co-founded Broseley and Bridgnorth Bank with Valentine Vickers & Son.
John Pritchard, son of John Pritchard (elder), brother of George: barrister, banker (partner), M.P. for Bridgnorth Borough, J.P.; inherited estates from George Pritchard who died childless, refurbished Stanmore.
George Pritchard, son of John Pritchard (elder), brother of John Pritchard junior: solicitor, banker (partner), J.P.; very influential in Broseley, connected with many local institutions, bought Stanmore.
William Pritchard Gordon, gent, son of William Pierson Gordon: a barrister inherited Stanmore from his uncle John Pritchard Junior who died childless, sold other estates but kept Stanmore.
Herbert Pritchard Gordon, gent, son of William Pritchard Gordon: inherited Stanmore but sold it.
Thomas Pritchard (elder), brother of John Pritchard (elder): worked in a counting house in London, had an oil and hops business.
Thomas Pritchard (younger), son of John Pritchard (elder): worked for uncle Thomas Pritchard in London counting house, became his partner in oil and hop trade.
George Osborne Gordon, wine merchant, married Elizabeth Onions, father of Alexander John, Osborne, George, Jane, and William Pierson Gordon.
Alexander Gordon, farmer.
Osborne Gordon, Revd., Censor of Christchurch College, Oxford, Rector of Easthampstead, Berks.
George Gordon, solicitor with George Pritchard.
Jane Gordon, wife of John Pritchard, junior.
William Pierson Gordon, husband of Ann Baugh ( a cousin of George Pritchard) joined George Pritchard as a solicitor, became a partner in the bank.
George Herbert Baker, son-in-law to William Pierson Gordon: cashier in Broseley Bank, later estate agent and manager to William Pritchard Gordon.
Ann Cranage, 1st wife of John Pritchard (elder), mother of the Pritchard children, [?daughter of the Coalbrookdale Cranages].
Fanny Wilkinson, 2nd wife of John Pritchard (elder).
William Nock, nephew of and clerk to John Pritchard (elder): later practised as solicitor in Wellington.
William Nicholas, nephew of and clerk to John Pritchard (elder): became partner in the bank, J.P.
George Potts, nephew of and clerk to John Pritchard (elder): succeeded to the Pritchard solicitors' practice when George Pritchard retired from law along with Gordon [?George or ?William Pierson] in Bridgnorth and Broseley, became partner in bank.
Edward Bagnall Potts, and Frederick Hezekiah Potts, half brother sons of George Potts: succeeded him in the solicitors' practice in Broseley.
Richard Boycott, nephew of and clerk to John Pritchard (elder): became bank manager and partner in bank; rented Stanmore off George Pritchard
Ernest Walter Shorting, son-in-law of William Nicholas: became partner in bank.
S.T. Nicholls, clerk to John Pritchard (elder): became solicitor with William Pierson Gordon in Bridgnorth.
Enoch Leadbetter, clerk to John Pritchard (elder): became auctioneer in Broseley.
William Shaw Langford clerks to John Pritchard (elder): became managers at the banks.
Charles Oare Langford clerks to John Pritchard (elder): became managers at the banks.
George Langford clerks to John Pritchard (elder): became managers at the banks.
John Westover Langford clerks to John Pritchard (elder): became managers at the banks.
George Baugh, cousin to George Pritchard: articled to a solicitor.