Father- John Bickerton, Mother Elizabeth.
Henry was born 4th March 1723 and baptised at St Giles, Cripplegate on 12th March 1723.
He was the brother of John Bickerton (born 26th March 1716) and Benjamin Bickerton (born 17th January 1734 ) John may well have been a silversmith although no marks are recorded for him, and Benjamin is well known to buckle and tong collectors !
Other siblings were George , Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph and Katherine.
(Parish Records of St. Giles and Peter Otton - a descendant of Benjamin)
He was apprenticed on 2nd May 1738 to John Alcock a smallworker. Alcock, free in 1724, was an apprentice of Daniel Skinner, who in turn had been an apprentice of Maurice Boheme, a noted early bucklemaker. Henry was turned over to William Wheate two days later, and subsequently turned to his father. (John Bickerton Snr or Mr Wheate Senior ? - Grimwade leaves this ambiguous ), on 7th June 1741.
Henry appears in the Land Tax assessments of the parish of St Michael, Wood Street by 1750, at the premises formerly occupied by William Wheate from at least 1735 . A John Bickerton, probably his elder brother briefly occupied the same premises after Wheate but before Henry . The Wheate connection continued as on 3rd September 1746 Henry took as apprentice Samuel Wheat, son of William Wheate (his old master ). The spelling of Wheat(e) varies .
On 7th June 1749 Henry took as apprentice his brother Benjamin Bickerton.
The marriage by licence on 4th July 1754 is on recorded in the register of St Alban ,Wood Street of Henry Bickerton, Batchelor of that parish, to Anne Grace, of the parish of St Botolph, Bishopsgate, Widow. . Although Henry was in the parish of St Michael , Wood Street in 1750/51 he may have moved by 1754 to St Alban.
The will of his father, John Bickerton of St Giles, Cripplegate , made 6th October 1747, was proved at PCC on 26 November 1754.
A really generous man, his father he leaves to Henry Â£1.05p !
" Item. Whereas I have already fully advanced my Son Henry in the World I do notwithstanding and to encourage his Industry give and bequeath unto him one guinea"
He also virtually disinherited his eldest son, John.
However Benjamin Bickerton was left half of the leasehold of a property in Nags Head Court, Southwark.
Henry took as apprentice William Roker, son of Phillip Roker II. on 6th April 1757
Some time around 1759 Henry moved ,taking over the premises of Richard Pargeter, at 37 Monkwell Street, next door to William Harrison at No 38. Richard Pargeter was probably the largeworker given in Grimwade on pages 614 and 761/2. Henry Bickerton’s first recorded mark ( 26th August 1762) is at this address, although as Grimwade suggests he almost certainly had marks in the lost Smallworkers Register previously .
(Poor Rate Books of St Olave, Silver Street)
The marriage seems fruitful as on 3rdJuly 1761 the birth of Richard, son of Henry and Ann Bickerton was recorded in Parish Register of St Olave, Silver Street. Baptism date slightly uncertain . A second child, Jane Ann was born June 27th 1764 and christened 18 July 1764
He is recorded on 3rd September 1765 in the Broken Plate Book of Goldsmiths Hall with a parcel of work weighing 5lbs. 10ozs. 5dwts which was ii dwts below standard. Typical of bucklemakers, who took in many scrap buckles in part exchange
(Broken Wares Notebook compiled 1763 -1769 by Francis Pages, Deputy Assayer.) .
But it was a shortlived marriage. On 7 0ctober 1765 the newspaper Public Ledger reports "Friday morning died ,of a violent fever Mr Henry Bickerton, Silversmith in Monkwell Street"
Death was presumably 4th October 1765 and other sources confirm 1765 and that he was aged only 41 or 42
The burial register of St Botolph, Bishopsgate records the burial on 11 October 1765 of a Henry Bickerton , aged 42. This is the same parish that his wife had come from and as he does not appear in the burial registers of St Olave, Silver Street in seems that Ann, his widow probably took the family to her people.
The Will of Henry Bickerton Monkwell Street London Goldsmith dated 20th February 1765 was proved at PCC on 14 October 1765
Joint executors and executrix were
My loving Wife Anne Bickerton
My Brother John Bickerton
My Friend William Grove ? of Bishopsgate Street, Coppersmith
He left the majority of his property Ann for life, then to his children (unnamed) equally when they reached twenty one years of age
Other legacies to
Brothers Thomas, Joseph, and Benjamin Bickerton
Sister Elizabeth Clarke, wife of Simon Clark .
His Widow , Ann Bickerton is known to have worked as silversmith after Henry’s death as she was fined for substandard buckle by Goldsmiths Hall on 18th Feb 1766 indicating that she was either using Henry’s old punches or new , unregistered , ones of her own. The existence of an unrecorded AB mark seen on several buckles and sugar nips of the correct period seems to indicate the latter.
An Anne Bickerton who describes herself as a Goldsmith in the trial of her maid for theft in 16 Jan 1766 was almost certainly the same lady although no address given in the Old Bailey trial report.( t17660116-25)
Whether she remained at Monkwell Street is at present unknown. I will be looking again at the Poor Rate / Land Tax Assessments at LMA and hopefully all will be revealed. Or as usual, made more confused.
Kent's Directory for the Year 1768 gives Thomas Wallis as silversmith at 37, Monkwell Street London - so she must have left or died by that date — unless she had married Wallis !