|Builder's Plate, St Peter's, Brampton, Suffolk|
One of the interesting aspects of genealogical research is the connection to social history. I've previously written about the Tanton family of St Giles in the Wood, Devon. While recently updating my records on this family, I discovered that I had missed three children of Elizabeth Tanton (1770-1846) and her husband Robert Squire (1768-1846). At first I was sceptical given the ten year gap between the baptism of their fourth child in 1799 and that of their fifth in 1809. What convinced me, however, was three things. First, there is no evidence of any other Robert and Elizabeth Tanton in North Devon. Second, their sixth child, John Squire, had a daughter named Frances Tanton Squire. Finally, in the 1851 Census, John Squire is recorded as visiting his oldest sister Fanny and her family.
What is most interesting about John Squire, however, is that in every census from 1841 to 1881 his occupation is recorded as organ builder. Further research uncovered photographs of one of his organs in St Peter's Church in Brampton, Suffolk.
|St Pancras Church, London|
At the time of the 1841 Census he was living on Seymour Crescent near Euston Square in the parish of St Pancras. He remained in the Euston Square area for at least the next twenty years, but by 1871 was living a mile further east in a terraced house on Pentonville Road.
|Organ, St. Peter's Church|
The leading organ builder of the Victorian era was Henry Willis (1821-1901). Among the organs he built or rebuilt were the instruments at St Paul's Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall. While John Squire could not compete with Henry Willis, smaller churches were more than willing to commission him. The National Pipe Organ Register has records of 19 instruments built or rebuilt, one of which was the organ at St Peter's in Brampton, Sussex.
Sometime before the death of his wife in 1879, John Squire moved to Wandsworth, Surrey where he remained until his death in 1890.