Charles Jolly


Charles was the son of John Jolly, from Ringstead and Harriot Pack, a servant, from Higham Ferrers. The banns for the marriage of John and Harriot had been called in St Mary’s Church, Higham Ferrers, on 23 December 1828. Charles was baptised on 24 May 1829, and it is possible that Harriot, his mother, died on 29 September 1829.

Charles worked in the leather industry, initially as a leather cutter and clicker. In the 1871 census he is recorded as living at 22 Back Lane, which on the 1901 Ordnance Survey map is shown running parallel to College Street from Spring Gardens to the cemetery.

Back Lane may have derived its name from Back Side, seen on the 1827 map of Higham Ferrers, drawn A Bryant. This area is north west of Higham in the vicinity of what is now known as Vine Hill Drive.

He married Susan Thompson, who was born in 1833 in Geddington. From 1859 to 1878 Charles and Susan had nine children, not all of who survived infancy. Susan died on 17 July 1878, aged 45, the same year as her youngest son was born.

From the death of his wife until at least 1911, Charles employed Mary Machell as his housekeeper. She had been born in Hazelbeach, Northants, and was a widower.

1901 OS Map 2nd Edition

Picture from the Rushden Research Group showing Parker and Co. factory in the early twentieth century. The factory was adjacent to the present public library.

His later life

By the time he was 50 Charles had joined Parker and Co. Boot and Shoe Manufacturers, and had been promoted to foreman. He worked there till he was over 70, by which time he was the manager of Parker and Co. and living at 11 Market Square, now a listed building.

Charles was active in local politics. He was a councillor from 1885–1890, Mayor of Higham Ferrers in 1890 (succeeding the owner of Parker and Co., Charles Parker) and Alderman between 1905/6 and 1909/10. He died on 1 August 1 1912, aged 83.