Index  (i)  (ii)  (iii)  (iv)  (v)  Preface.  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)  (5)  (6)  (7)  (8)  (9)  (10)  (11)  (12)  (13)  (14)  (15)  (16)  (17)  (18)  (19)  (20)  (21) 


John Wright of Dudwick

The Wrights who were Quakers, had been Norfolk farmers for generations. John's father had been a progressive man, farming 800 acres at Felthorpe, which is over the heath from Buxton. We know that he had one of the first threshing machines in the district; unfortunately this machine was the cause of a fatal accident. There are also accounts of his plan to evacuate the women and children from Felthorpe, in the event of Napoleon's troops landing on the North Norfolk coast. That was during the state of alarm in 1805.. Some bad harvests and the difficulties of this war period caused father Wright to sell Felthorpe and op into shipping in Yarmouth where he moved with his large family.
While at Yarmouth John, who was the eldest son, married Anne Harford who had been a great friend of his sister Mary. They went to live at Dudwick House, Buxton; This lovely house with a good estate had been left to John by his father's cousin another John Wright of Norfolk, who had been a successful banker in the city of London. Back in Yarmouth one of father's ventures had been to purchase a captured French vessel and have engines fitted; then he and his younger brother Richard started Wright's packet service on the river between Yarmouth and Norwich. This was said to be the first steam Packet on the East Coast. Two more vessels were added to the enterprise and John took on a partner whose nephew's challenged it to a race, to take place on Good Friday. Alas the Wright's vessel had its safety valve lashed down and the boiler burst killing thirteen people. This river accident was at Foundry Bridge in Norwich. The elder Wright spent the rest of his life paying compensation to the families of the victims.
An account of this accident in Norwich can be found in the Norfolk Chronicle of Saturday 5th April 1817, with a notice about the relief fund in the issue of 19th.

The Wrights now had to sell their big house near Yarmouth and move to a small farm on their son John's estate at Buxton. Those daughters who were old enough went to work as governessses and before long Mary married Isaac Sewell. He as one of three sons of a Yarmouth Quaker family whose business could not then support another married son; so Isaac and Mary moved to London where Mary struggled to bring up their two children Philip and Anna in miserable surroundings with very little money. for their first two years they lived near what is now Liverpool Street station. Mary wrote "I was taking my first lesson in fog, dirt, noise and distraction. I loathed and hated the place. The depths I was taken to during these two years taught me more than any number of years of looking on at the plight of the poor"