Ann Parker 1791 -1865

Ann Parker was born in Bow and baptized in Bow Church in 1791.The baptism register describes Ann as a “base child”. Her unmarried mother, a pauper, aged about 30 and also called Ann Parker, had herself been born in Bow. Two years later her mother married Edward Wilcox, a widower from North Tawton, again in Bow Church.



[Edward Wilcox was a thatcher. He and his first wife Ann Skinner had seven children in North Tawton. In 1783 there was a warrant for his arrest for having "deserted his wife an family and left them chargeable to the said parish" - North Tawton. She and their youngest daughter died and were buried together on 28 March 1792.]

Bow Church

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Little is known of Ann’s early life; after her mother's marriage to Edward Wilcox, they lived for a while in North Tawton where Edward and her mother had three more daughters. It seems that she was generally known as "Ann Parker alias Wilcox"

 

By 1806, aged 16 she was still living with her mother and stepfather who had moved to Plymouth. In March that year she started work as a live-in servant for William Hull, a nurseryman who lived in Milford House, Tamerton Foliott.

Hull suspected her of dishonesty, so on Saturday 3rd May that year he sacked her and sent a message to her parents asking them to take her home. The next evening he noticed that a ten and a five pound note were missing from a locked box in his room. The following day, on the basis of what his 11 year old daughter Susannah had told him, he and one of his workmen went to the Wilcox’s house in Plymouth. Ann Parker was there and he took her with her parents to the house of John Hawker, Plymouth’s Mayor and a Justice of the Peace.

From there they all went to the town prison in the Guildhall. George Pardon, the Serjeant-at-Mace then searched her in front of Mr Hull. Hull noticed what seemed to be a piece of paper in one of Ann’s shoes. Pardon took it out and it was found to be a ten pound note.

Hull was sure that it was one of the bank notes that was missing from his box – he remembered that, like this one, it was endorsed in the name of Robert Henderson and had a small tear on the top edge.

Ann Parker could not explain how the ten pound note came to be in her shoe.

The above account is taken from Mayor John Hawker’s contemporaneous notes of William Hull’s deposition (i.e. statement) made on oath in front of Ann, and signed on 5 May 1806 (the day after her arrest) concerning  Ann Parker “otherwise Ann Wilcocks”.


Susannah, William Hull’s 11 year old daughter then made her statement. She stated that about a month earlier, on Easter Monday, Ann Parker left Milford House at 8 a.m., and returned  at about 6 in the evening. Ann came up to her bedroom and told her that she had been to her mother’s house in Plymouth, where an old woman had told her fortune. The fortune teller had told her that Mr Hull kept his money in a little box and that she (Parker) was to take from it “two shillings and a crown piece and a twenty shilling note to give to the old woman; otherwise the house would be burnt down”.