Sunday, 21 July 2013

On This Day: 21 July

21 July 1744 was the marriage date for my great great great great great great grandparents: Gideon MURCH and Elizabeth BASTIN.  And it was a Tuesday.

Gideon was born in Ottery St Mary, Devon, in 1721, in the last few years of George I's reign.  He lived through the reigns of two more Georges, but only a year after Gideon and Elizabeth's marriage came the attempt to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne.

In later records, Gideon is described as a weaver.  Throughout his lifetime, there were several improvements in looms and weaving in general: one of the first was the 'flying shuttle', which made its appearance in 1733.  John Kay, who invented it, placed a shuttle at each end of the loom, and one single weaver could knock the shuttle back and forth with amazing speed (previously it had been pushed backwards and forwards, and often needed two weavers).  Gideon would have been 12 when the 'flying shuttle' appeared, and was probably an apprentice.

Further innovations in weaving came throughout Gideon's life; he saw the beginnings of how everything had to go faster, be bigger.  The 'spinning jenny' came in 1764, the 'water frame' shortly afterwards (a powered textile machine). 

Gideon appears in numerous nonconformist records, baptising his children as Protestant Dissenters.  He was definitely looking for something.  I wonder what his wife thought?


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