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John Whittingham, horticulturalist

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Helen F
Warrington
1 of 31  Tue 13th Dec 2022 6:38pm  

An item of interest in the Coventry Archives is a journal by John Whittingham of Stoke Farm. Now available to see on Coventry Digital here. If you select newest first, you get the start of the transcribed version by Barbara Patch. Whittingham was a notable experimental horticulturist and supplied plants, bushes and trees to many substantial houses. For a time he was based at Charterhouse.
On 11th May 2022 9:37am, CovArchives said: … the diary of John Whittingham, a gardener at Stoke Farm between 1746 and 1781, who describes his visit to Charterhouse in 1753 which we have recently digitised.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Robthu
Coventry
2 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 6:14am  

A very under-rated man, he is responsible for clothing the gardens of most of the country's large estates of the time, his plant catalogue surpasses most modern-day nurseries. He was also a bit of a firebrand. Coventry should note him a lot more. Rob or Helen, do you think it is permissible for me to put a copy of his Plant Catalogue on the forum?
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Helen F
Warrington
Thread starter
3 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 8:36am  

Not really my call but I don't see why you couldn't post a sample and if anyone wants all of it then you/we can get them a copy. Double thumbs up He writes of planting seeds from America on multiple occasions and as time goes on he mentions more and more plant varieties. The diary is an intriguing read for anyone interested in horticulture and especially climate. There's a research project in there for someone. He carefully documents weather and although he doesn't record temperatures he lists frosts, snow, rain and even when hawthorn came into leaf and flower. The weather was often terrible and he writes of a lot of flooding, droughts and even a tornado in Coventry. It's worth noting that he stops writing before the last decade of the 1700s where temperatures were even colder. His time is overlapped by the Central England Temperature record that could give approximate figures to his reports. Increasingly he records World and political issues. He takes a pop at fashion, the king, wars, the cost of living, government and is very angry at Protestants in particular. He's even outraged at the Godiva festival, which he regarded as very sinful. Diseases dog both animals and people and he loses two children, his wife and a good friend (Cleophas Dullison).
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Robthu
Coventry
4 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 2:16pm  

Front page of John Whittingham's catalogue, a lot of these would take some finding today.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Helen F
Warrington
Thread starter
5 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 3:02pm  

It astonishes me that he got fruit off some of those trees given the climate.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Robthu
Coventry
6 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 4:26pm  

There are ways and means, Helen. Cow/horse muck mixed with straw to make hotbeds. The big houses were kept in all sorts of fancy fruit and veg 12 months of the year. Try YouTube ‘Victorian Kitchen Gardener’ for some insight. You could make up a hot box for outside now and it would cook a pie and if you put your hand in you would be severely burnt. The garden walls were left with a cavity in them and the boiler house piped heat down them and the wall was warm enough for some quite exotic things.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Midland Red

7 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 5:22pm  

I’m keen to add this man to our Famous Coventrians list, but I haven’t tracked down any personal details (birth year and place, date of death).
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Heathite
Coventry
8 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 7:51pm  

There may be a clue or lead in these images or the information shown, I am guessing but the best clue is that he is a nurseryman.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Annewiggy
Tamworth
9 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 9:29pm  

Derby Mercury, 30th October 1794. He died in Derby.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Annewiggy
Tamworth
10 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 9:38pm  

Birmingham Gazette, 7th Feb 1763.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Annewiggy
Tamworth
11 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 9:44pm  

Aris’s Birmingham Gazette.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Helen F
Warrington
Thread starter
12 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 9:46pm  

That interesting Heathite, thanks. His father was recorded as a gardener and also called John Whittingham 29 June 1696 to 1760s. Supposedly the nurseryman John was born about 1722 and died sometime after October 1781. His journal stops in January 1781 and he was potentially struck with 'madness' which could have been a stroke or dementia. He might have been moved to another place. Both he, his son Charles and Mr Collingridge were Catholics and while they had influential friends they were limited in their power. At that time I believe the Catholics were based in Little Park Street but in 1795 there is a record of a Whittingham, probably Charles, setting up a temporary church in his garden. Reported to be in either Much Park Street or Mitford Street. Mitford Street is assumed to be Smithford Street but it might be Midsford Street, another name for Much Park Street.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Helen F
Warrington
Thread starter
13 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 9:51pm  

Double thumbs up Thanks, Anne, you might have given me a clue to find whether Mr Wright lived in Much Park Street. Wheeler... But of course Coventry Collections search is down again Angry
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Annewiggy
Tamworth
14 of 31  Wed 14th Dec 2022 9:52pm  

Last one. Aris’s Birmingham Gazette, 22nd October 1753.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist
Robthu
Coventry
15 of 31  Thu 15th Dec 2022 6:55am  

Try this! Credit to Dr Ruth Barbour. John Whittingham (baker) d. Shifnal 1715
John Whittingham (gardener) = m. Mary Parker 1720 Woodcote Chapelry, Sheriffhales | |
John b. 1722 Shifnal d. after Oct 1781 = Catherine b. circa 1721 d. 1773 buried St. Michael’s Mary b. 1724 Elizabeth b. 1727 Rebecca b. 1732 signed her name in marriage register Lettice = William Oakes (of Bridgnorth) (1760) b. 1735 Charles (1) b. 1730 = Mary b. c1738
Catherine b. c1748 d. 1763 Charles (2) b. c1752 Rebecca b. c1754 Elizabeth b. c1756 Letitia b. 1758 bapt. Wappenbury John Baptist b. 1760 d. 1763 Samuel not in Return of Papists gardener Mitcham, Surrey | | Charles (4) (1795 – 1876) printer, Chiswick Press Elizabeth b. c1759 Rebecca b. c1761 Charles (3) 1767 - 1840 printer, Chiswick Press
All the children, except John junior) of John (sen) and Mary Parker were baptised at Woodcote Chapelry, in the Parish of Sherrifhales four miles from Newport, on the borders of Shropshire and Staffordshire Based on 1767 Return of Papists, information from Memorandum Book and DNB entries for Charles (3) and Charles (4) and Sheriffhales and Shifnal (Shropshire) parish registers at Shropshire Record Office, St Michael’s Coventry Parish Register and Wappenbury Catholic Registers, Warwick CRO M1165, M1190. Figure 1. The genealogy of the eighteenth- century Whittingham family of Shropshire and Coventry.
Local History and Heritage - John Whittingham, horticulturalist

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