Nat Gould

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Barbara Wheeldon 1755-1840

Barbara Wheeldon
Born: 1755 Hartington, Derbyshire
Died: 1840
John Wheeldon 1709-1780
Margaret Goodwin 1712-1788
John Wheeldon 1738-1769
Elizabeth Wheeldon 1740-1816
Richard Wheeldon 1742-1798
Isaac Wheeldon 1744-1823
Edmund Wheeldon 1746-1796
Joseph Wheeldon 1748-1748
Mary Wheeldon 1749-1751
Margaret Wheeldon 1751-1783
John Ford 1759-1788
Mary Ford 1786-1871

Barbara Wheeldon was born in 1755, the daughter of John Wheeldon 1709-1780 and his wife nee Margaret Goodwin 1712-1788. She was baptised on 13 January 1755 at Hartington in Derbyshire.

On 28 April 1785 she was married to John Ford at Earl Sterndale in Derbyshire. He came from a family of tenant farmers at Little Park, on the Okeover estate in Staffordshire near Ashbourne in Derbyshire.

They had a daughter Mary Ford, who was baptised on 21 April 1786 at Ashbourne. She was married there on 31 October 1809 to Robert Hardy, a wine merchant, and died on 9 April 1871 at Bakewell in Derbyshire. They had a daughter Margaret Goodwin Hardy, who was baptised on 11 June 1813 at Ashbourne and died on 19 August 1895 at Bakewell in Derbyshire.

In 1784 John Ford bought newly built Prospect House, in Back Lane (now Union Street) off Ashbourne market place, and near the malthouse where he converted barley into malt for the brewing industry (1). Unfortunately he died only four years later, leaving Barbara Ford nee Wheeldon a 33 year old widow with an infant daughter. She took over the malthouse, and ran it successfully (2).

She was a benefactor of the town. In 1800 Barbara Ford with other residents formed a society to prosecute people cheating customers in the market (3). She was a founder and patron of the Ashbourne Female Friendly Society in 1806, into which working women paid weekly sums to provide money in times of need such as childbirth, illness and death.

Barbara Ford nee Wheeldon died in 1840, and her daughter inherited her property.

(1) Ashbourne was a local centre of malt production in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: Early Victorian Country Town - A Portrait Of Ashbourne in the Mid 19th Century (1978) Adrian Henstock (editor) Chapter 5.

(2) Scholarly and very readable accounts of her life and career as a successful maltster are given by Peter Collinge in "A Genteel Hand in the Malt Business: Barbara Ford (1755-1840) of Ashbourne" Midland History volume 39 number1 (2014) pages 110-132; and "Memory Lane: Georgian Ashbourne wasn't entirely a man's world" P.Collinge Ashbourne News Telegraph 7 May 2014.

(3) Derby Mercury 11 September 1800.