Timothy Toft and Mary Finch

Timothy Toft senior was born around 1691 in Norwich, Norfolk, England to father Thomas Toft 1647-1719.

It is likely that he was baptised in St Clements (his parish given at marriage) or St George Tombland (his parents parish church) in Norwich, but I’ve been unable to find a record of the baptism of Timothy or his five siblings.

St George Tombland, Norfolk

At the age of 30 years Timothy married Mary Finch on 22 Aug 1721 at the parish church of St George Tombland, Norwich, Norfolk.

The marriage register states that Timothy was of the parish of St Clements, and that his wife Mary was from the parish of St Maris (St Marys Coslany, Norwich).

Mary Finch was born on 2 November 1698 to parents Rev Peter Finch 1662-1754 and Elizabeth Mackerell 1671-1719.  She was baptised at St George Tombland on 9 November 1698.

Mary’s father  Rev Peter Finch had married Elizabeth on 23 February 1692 at St Johns, Lakenham, Norfolk, England. She was one of seven children born to the couple. Peter Finch was the son of the Rev Henry Finch, vicar of Walton, Lancashire and was born in 1662, when his father was ejected from Walton. In 1662 Non conformist ministers were ejected from their parishes in England.

Timothy and Mary had eight children –

  1. Mary b 1724 d 1726
  2. Elizabeth b 1725 d 1727
  3. Mary b 1727 d 1780
  4. Timothy junior b 1729 d 1780
  5. Hannah b 1732 d 1810
  6. Elizabeth b 1733 d 1798
  7. Sarah b 1735
  8. Peter b 1738 d 1813

Timothy was a weaver by trade earning his craft after an apprenticeship. A seven-year term was usual and in the better trades, such as weavers, tailors, cabinet makers, saddlers and silversmiths, apprenticeship usually started at the age of fourteen. Those apprenticed in Norwich usually had to be over 14 and under 21 years of age.

By the age of 31 in 1722, Timothy had learned his craft and was operating as a master weaver  in Norwich. He took on an apprentice himself by the name of Robert Roberts for the sum of £10 .0s 0d.

From 1710 to 1811 masters paid stamp duty for taking on apprentices. Details of the stamp duty paid were recorded in apprenticeship books, such as this example below.

UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 1710-1811

Unfortunately by 1727 Timothy Toft was recorded in the London Gazette as a bankrupt – Timothy Toft, worsted weaver, Norwich. This happened again in 1728 and 1730.

By 1734 Timothy was living in the parish of St Georges, Colgate, Norwich and appears in the Electoral Register.

UK, Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-1893

In 1759 Mary Toft, wife of Timothy received a bequest in the will of her sister in law Ann Toft, and was named the executrix of her estate.

Timothy Toft died in October 1765 and was buried on 13 October 1765 at the Old Meeting House, Independent, Norwich. Unfortunately no will has been found for Timothy.

Old Meeting House Independent Norwich Norfolk England

Mary Toft died in March 1780 and was also buried at the Old Meeting House Independent graveyard in Norwich on 29 March.

Mary’s will proved on 2 December 1780 listed Peter Finch as her executor, and bequests to her old friend Ann Bird, her sister Hannah Finch, her three daughters Mary Wingfield, Hannah Toft, and Elizabeth Toft, her son Timothy of Chelmsford, and her two grandchildren James & Timothy (children of her son Peter).