Author Topic: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?  (Read 468 times)

Offline fisherj

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Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« on: Tuesday 04 February 20 14:01 GMT (UK) »
I've noticed that some entries in parish records - and in newspapers - refer to men as "Mr" in the 1700s.  Does that mean they had more status?  And is the same true of Esquire (Esq)? 

For example, one notice in a newspaper referred to "John Palmer" and "Mr Fisher" - all in the same sentence. 

I'd be interested to know what you think!  ;)
Woodmancote:  Hobbs; Davison
Bisley:  Fisher
Eastcombe:  Winstone
Chalford:  Lambert
Newent:  Bowkett
Llangurig: Owen; Jones
Llangurig & Bedlinog: Rees
Llanonn: Williams
Charfield:  Fowler; Selman
Olveston:  Fisher
Batheaston: Fisher
Andover, Hurstbourne, Woodcutt, Shinfield: Farmer & Tanner
Alresford: Sprangle; Hack
Martletwy & Llangwig:  Davies

Offline stanmapstone

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 04 February 20 14:10 GMT (UK) »
From the OED
The early history of the application of Mr is identical with that of the use of its fuller form: see master n.1 20. Since the 17th cent. it has been the customary courteous prefix to the name of any man below the rank of knight. It is customary not to use the prefix when Esquire is appended to the name, and it is now omitted after ‘The Hon.’ and ‘The Rev.’ In less formal use, however, ‘Mr’ may often be substituted for these titles. It is customary in Britain (and South Africa, and predominantly in Australia and New Zealand) for surgeons to be styled ‘Mr’ rather than ‘Dr’.

Stan
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Offline Old Bristolian

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 04 February 20 14:25 GMT (UK) »
From my own experience regarding parish documents, Mr was used as a mark of status. Clergymen and local landowners (who had no other rank) were always addressed thus. So too were some yeomen who, perhaps held a place in the community which commanded respect. I have an ancestor who, though a copyholder of a small estate (under 20 acres) was called Mr in later life, although his father and son never were,

Steve
Bumstead - London, Suffolk
Plant, Woolnough, Wase, Suffolk
Flexney, Godfrey, Burson, Hobby -  Oxfordshire
Street, Mitchell - Gloucestershire
Horwood, Heale Drew - Bristol
Gibbs, Gait, Noyes, Peters, Padfield, Board, York, Rogers, Horler, Heale, Emery, Clavey, Mogg, - Somerset
Fook, Snell - Devon
M(a)cDonald, Yuell, Gollan, McKenzie - Rosshire
McLennan, Mackintosh - Inverness
Williams, Jones - Angelsey & Caernarvon


Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 04 February 20 19:23 GMT (UK) »
The prefix Mrs, abbreviation of Mistress, may also have denoted a woman of status. Godparents of a sibling of an ancestor of mine were Mr William Anderton and Mrs Catherine Anderton. They were the younger half-brother and half-sister of the lord of the manor and grandchildren of a viscount.  They were both unmarried at the time of the christening in 1760s. Miss Catherine Anderton married Robert Cansfield Gerard, Esquire who succeeded to a baronetcy 10 years after their marriage. Mrs Catherine/Kitty Anderton was also godmother to the first child of a relative of my ancestors and the baby girl was named Catherine in her honour. Wondering who Mrs Anderton was and why she repeatedly figured as sponsor at my family's baptisms, I initially tried to identify a Catherine with a husband called Anderton and pursued a wild goose-chase.
Catholic priests, like other clergymen had the prefix Mr. Some may have been pretending not to be priests to avoid attention from hostile quarters.   
Cowban

Offline fisherj

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 04 February 20 19:29 GMT (UK) »
Thanks all - that confirms what I was guessing.  Very helpful to (roots)chat!
Woodmancote:  Hobbs; Davison
Bisley:  Fisher
Eastcombe:  Winstone
Chalford:  Lambert
Newent:  Bowkett
Llangurig: Owen; Jones
Llangurig & Bedlinog: Rees
Llanonn: Williams
Charfield:  Fowler; Selman
Olveston:  Fisher
Batheaston: Fisher
Andover, Hurstbourne, Woodcutt, Shinfield: Farmer & Tanner
Alresford: Sprangle; Hack
Martletwy & Llangwig:  Davies

Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 05 February 20 09:24 GMT (UK) »
I am transcribing Liverpool parish records from the early 1700s.  They contain limited details, but the only indicators of status I have found are Mr, Esqre, Aldn. (alderman) and Gentleman.  None of them is common in a growing port full of sailors, carpenters and coopers - I would guess 1 in a 100 for each.
Tarr, Tydeman, Liversidge, Bartlett, Young

Offline fisherj

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 05 February 20 09:55 GMT (UK) »
Many thanks- that's interesting.

All the best with your transcribing Andrew.  What a task!

I hope your Parish Clerks kept their registers tidy!

(I have a few generations of 17 - 18th C Parish Clerks in my direct line ancestry - the Edward Reeses of Llangurig - and their neat, legible registers make me feel very proud.)
Woodmancote:  Hobbs; Davison
Bisley:  Fisher
Eastcombe:  Winstone
Chalford:  Lambert
Newent:  Bowkett
Llangurig: Owen; Jones
Llangurig & Bedlinog: Rees
Llanonn: Williams
Charfield:  Fowler; Selman
Olveston:  Fisher
Batheaston: Fisher
Andover, Hurstbourne, Woodcutt, Shinfield: Farmer & Tanner
Alresford: Sprangle; Hack
Martletwy & Llangwig:  Davies

Offline Andrew Tarr

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 05 February 20 14:43 GMT (UK) »
All the best with your transcribing Andrew.  What a task!  I hope your Parish Clerks kept their registers tidy!
Here is a sample of the burial register from 1708 showing one Esquire and a Saylor Drown'd.  I suppose it should be described as 'tidy'  - it's mostly legible except where page-turners have faded the images at the foot of the page.
Tarr, Tydeman, Liversidge, Bartlett, Young

Offline fisherj

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Re: Any significance to "Mr" in 18 Century?
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 05 February 20 17:15 GMT (UK) »
I have seen worse - but not at all an easy task. 

But all your hard work will be appreciated!
Woodmancote:  Hobbs; Davison
Bisley:  Fisher
Eastcombe:  Winstone
Chalford:  Lambert
Newent:  Bowkett
Llangurig: Owen; Jones
Llangurig & Bedlinog: Rees
Llanonn: Williams
Charfield:  Fowler; Selman
Olveston:  Fisher
Batheaston: Fisher
Andover, Hurstbourne, Woodcutt, Shinfield: Farmer & Tanner
Alresford: Sprangle; Hack
Martletwy & Llangwig:  Davies