Author Topic: The Age coach in Berkshire?  (Read 335 times)

Offline jillruss

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The Age coach in Berkshire?
« on: Monday 11 December 17 17:17 GMT (UK) »
I've just read an old newspaper item in the Reading Mercury from 1841.

A John Russell was sentenced to 14 years transportation for stealing from the Age coach in Tilehurst. I don't think it was a typo for 'stage coach' because it appears in an earlier item when he was indicted.

Even though I don't think this John Russell is one of my ancestors, I'm curious to know what the Age coach was. I tried googling it but with no success.

Anyone got any ideas?
BRICKWALL - WILLIAM HORWOOD bn c.1779 in or near Berks. N.B. NOT s/o William & Joanna in Waltham St Lawrence.

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Offline ShaunJ

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 11 December 17 17:42 GMT (UK) »
As far as I can ascertain, Age was the name of one of the  commercial coach services, running scheduled passenger services between major towns. Very little has been written about these firms. Some of them appear to have operated national coach networks.
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Offline purlin

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 11 December 17 17:53 GMT (UK) »
Shaun is correct, there is a mention of 'The Age ' coach in this article....

The following detailed information relates to the year 1836:-

Of the many large and well-known companies, there were five who operated the Bath Road through Hungerford. There was enormous competition between them, each company priding itself, and advertising its claim, in offering greater comfort, greater punctuality, or above all, greater speed. The race was on- a journey from London to Bath was 108 miles, and to Bristol was 123 miles, and this was a very considerable test of anyone's stamina! At best it took about 13 hours, and at night nearer 18 hours.

The coaches were all named, and these names conjure up a little of the sense of adventure that accompanied travelling in those days: The Emerald, The Age and The Monarch. Some took their names from their destination
Crosbie, Crosby, Black, Woods, Johnstone, Kelly, Howatt, McMillan, Wauchope Scott, Smith, Gibbons, Roberts, Hildred, Jones, Hughes. Curran, Palmer. Hughes, Jones, Wilcox, wilbraham, owen
Liverpool, Dumfriesshire, Kirkudbrightshire, Cheshire, Flintshire, llanrwst, trefriw, Lincolnshire, America, Canada, New Zealand.

Offline jillruss

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 11 December 17 18:40 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for that, both. Very interesting.

I'm wondering how someone in 1841 would steal from it? presumably not with the famous 'stand and deliver'!!

Not sure I would fancy an 18 hour ride in a stagecoach, though I suppose their days were numbered with the arrival of the railway.
BRICKWALL - WILLIAM HORWOOD bn c.1779 in or near Berks. N.B. NOT s/o William & Joanna in Waltham St Lawrence.

Offline hanes teulu

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #4 on: Monday 11 December 17 19:22 GMT (UK) »
Try googling "books google the carriage journal vol 8 no 4 spring 1971"

search inside "stevenson" - something on page 178
S. Wales, Somerset, Devon - Oxenham

Aberavon - Hopkin/s, Jenkins, Thomas
St. Brides/Wick - Jenkins
Llanblethian -  Price
Abergwynfi -  Han(d)ford
Pontardawe -  Lewis.

Offline newburychap

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 17 December 17 17:32 GMT (UK) »
Shaun is correct, there is a mention of 'The Age ' coach in this article....

The following detailed information relates to the year 1836:-

Of the many large and well-known companies, there were five who operated the Bath Road through Hungerford. There was enormous competition between them, each company priding itself, and advertising its claim, in offering greater comfort, greater punctuality, or above all, greater speed. The race was on- a journey from London to Bath was 108 miles, and to Bristol was 123 miles, and this was a very considerable test of anyone's stamina! At best it took about 13 hours, and at night nearer 18 hours.

The coaches were all named, and these names conjure up a little of the sense of adventure that accompanied travelling in those days: The Emerald, The Age and The Monarch. Some took their names from their destination

There were more than five at the height of the coaching era - but 1841 was past that time. The opening of the GWR in 1837 all but killed the long distance coach route from Bristol/Bath and London. The Age was the only coach operating in 1844 (according to Pigot's Directory). Shorter distances were still viable - for instance from Marlborough to Reading - connecting towns along the Bath Road to the railway. Interestingly The Age was not one of the services running in 1839 (Robson's) or 1830  (Pigot's).

Theft from a coach would most likely happen when the coach stopped for a change of horses - highwaymen were more common east of Reading, but not as late as the 1840s.
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Offline artifis

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 18 December 17 09:21 GMT (UK) »
Did the newspaper item say whereabouts in Tilehurst the theft took place or just stated Tilehurst.

I'm interested because in the mid 1940s to early 1950s I lived in an old house which had been built in 1739 as an extension to an even older farm house, 'our' house had been built as a local coaching inn called logically Fox Inn as the farm was Fox Farm.  It was near to St Michael's church and served coaches climbing the hill from the Bath Road to the Tilehurst plateau from where roads led to Englefield, Sulham, Tidmash, on to the downs to Upper Basildon, Purley and Pangbourne.  It was quite a hub of local trade.  The inn seems to have ceased such trade by the 1841 census as nothing's listed for it in the census, only a beer house which I think was further away.

Offline ShaunJ

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #7 on: Monday 18 December 17 09:48 GMT (UK) »
Quote
I'm wondering how someone in 1841 would steal from it? presumably not with the famous 'stand and deliver'!!

There are detailed accounts in the contemporary newspapers. The modus operandi was to break open the boot at the rear of the coach while it was moving slowly, steal parcels from it and hide them nearby to be retrieved later. John Russell was arrested while attempting to retrieve items stolen from "the Company"s coach (in another account it is Mrs Fremont's coach) between the Reading Turnpike and the Worlds End  inn.  The stolen goods were cached in an archway under the road near the inn. There was a similar robbery the same night from the "Age" coach near Theale "undoubtedly by the same parties".
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline newburychap

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Re: The Age coach in Berkshire?
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 19 December 17 23:38 GMT (UK) »
There are detailed accounts in the contemporary newspapers. The modus operandi was to break open the boot at the rear of the coach while it was moving slowly, steal parcels from it and hide them nearby to be retrieved later. John Russell was arrested while attempting to retrieve items stolen from "the Company"s coach (in another account it is Mrs Fremont's coach) between the Reading Turnpike and the Worlds End  inn.  The stolen goods were cached in an archway under the road near the inn. There was a similar robbery the same night from the "Age" coach near Theale "undoubtedly by the same parties".
Interesting - presumably as the coach slowed as it went up the hill into Tilehurst.  Also interesting that the coach went that way and not straight into Reading along the turnpike.  By 1841 the railway had made coach proprietors switch from long distance passengers to shorter - like the local bus services of today. Which meant taking in as many centres of population as practicable.
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