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Thomas Prentice: Palgrave Prentices

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Thomas Prentice of the Palgrave Prentices
Fall 2000 and Revised 13 Jul 2001

Update of 13 Jul 2001:   This article is now replaced and superceded by the Prentices of Palsgrave in our Fall 2000 issue.


We have been working with Ian Prentice and John Sanders whose wife's line is connected with the Prentices of Ipswich (see our Winter 1998 article, "Prentices of Ipswich") through #4, below, Thomas Prentice who m. Mary Lungley.

1.  Thomas Prentice was b. c. 1680-94 and m. Elizabeth Manning of Woodbridge in 1714.  Son:
	i.  Thomas Prentice b. c. 1730-34.	[2]

2.  Thomas Prentice, b. c. 1730-34, m. Elizabeth Moore in 1754.  Son:

	i.  Manning Prentice, b. 1759.		[3]
3. Manning Prentice, 1759-1863. On 5 Dec 1782 at Wrentham, Suffolk, he m. Katherine Oliver, 1755-1832. The following narrative is from an internet website discussing the early prominent citizens of Stowmarket:

    It was Thomas`s grandson, Manning Prentice, who first came to this town. This Manning who we should call Manning the first, because the name occured in every generation from then on, married Catherine Oliver of Wrentham the daughter of the Rev. James Oliver. On his Memorial in the Congregational Church in Stowmarket dated 1836 it was stated that Manning had been "upwards of 50 years in this place" so he probably arrived in the mid 1780`s, He was certainly here in 1790 when he witnessed the will of John Ball a miller of this town, and Manning is described then as a Grocer.

    Manning had premises in the Market place where Superdrug and Dewhursts the butchers is now. Manning had been a member of Bungay Independent Church and in Stowmarket he set about building up the church Here which was at that time at a low ebb with a series of pastors who did not remain long. He was one of the first two deacons and for the rest of his life was a pillar of the church.

    In about 1800 he founded the Sunday school which by 1805 had 130 children, this would have been the only school that many of the children would have known.

    Manning must have made himself useful in other areas of the towns life as well, he is mentioned in the Ipswich Journal in 1816 as being Clerk to the trustees of the Gipping Navigation & in 1818 as a treasurer to the Stow Association for Prosecuting Felons. The church he would have known was still the original building founded early in the 18th century. This was to be replaced by a new building in the middle of the 19th century, this building was unfortunately completely demolished by a bomb in the last war along with the the memorials to Manning and his family, and was replaced by the present building on the same site.

    Manning`s children married into the families of fellow church members including the Fison`s, Harwoods and Tailers, forming a tight social unit based on the church and on trade. He had 3 daughters and 3 sons, 1 son another Manning died in his twenties. Leaving Thomas and William to carry on and expand the families trading activities in the town.

Children: i. Manning Prentice, chr. 8 Apr 1787, Ipswich Street Independent, Stowmarket, Suffolk, England. He died in his twenties. ii. Thomas Prentice, 1794-1852, [4] iii. William Prentice of Stowmarket, b. c. 1780-1800. He m., on 1 Sept 1819 in Halesworth, Eliza Tailer who was b. 14 Aug 1791 and d. 1877. William formed a partnership with a Mr. Hewitt & they were described in directories as Ironmongers, Braziers and timber, slate and bar iron merchants, coal and corn merchants & maltsters in Stowupland street. iv. Deborah Prentice, 1791 - 1834, who married William Lorimer FISON of Stowmarket (1788 - 1833). v. Daughter vi. Daughter

4. Thomas Prentice, 1794-1852, m. Mary Lungley, b. 23 Apr 1794 in Lavenham and d. 1865. The Prentices were in the corn trade, and both they and the Isaacs, into which their daughter, Sarah, married, were Congregationalists. Thomas formed the firm of Prentice and Co. at navigation Wharf, as well as running the towns gasworks they were corn and coal merchants, maltsters and dealt in chemical manure. From this last aspect of the business developed Messrs Prentice Brothers run by Thomas`s sons Manning III and Eustace. This company employed about 40 people in 1874 and were described as "manufacturers of dissolved bones, superphosphates & special manures". This was an industry that had been developed in the county by amongst others the Fisons and in fact the Prentice company was eventually taken over by Fisons who as we have seen the Prentices were related to by marriage. In the 1840`s Thomas left the church & joined the Plymouth Brethren.

A second company formed by the sons of Thomas Prentice was The Patent Gun Cotton Co. established about 1863 on the site that is now part of the I.C.I. factory. It was here on 11th August 1871 that an explosion occurred at 2 pm that shook the town, blowing out windows in the town and Haughley station some three miles away and being heard as far away as Diss

Many people were killed and injured including Edward Prentice (son of Thomas) and his nephew William who were helping to haul boxes of cartridges away from the resulting fire when a second explosion occurred killing them both. No trace of the remains of Edward were found other than a battered gold watch found later, it`s hands stopped at 5 minutes past three the time of the second explosion.

Miss Susan Prentice, Edward`s sister, wrote in her diary "this is the most terrible day of our lives ... Papa saw William blown to pieces & Edward too. William had only just arrived from Heidelburg University & had called to see Papa before coming home. All laughter has left our house. Will Papa ever smile again I wonder. His sadness enfolds us all." In fact her father, Manning III. died a few years later in 1875, of a broken heart it is said.

Children of Thomas and Mary:

  • Sarah Prentice, 1825-1896, m. Thomas Isaac on 19 Dec 1850. . . . . . . . .[5]
  • Deborah Prentice, b. c. ????, m. George Washington Isaac, brother of Thomas Isaac,above, on 4 Apr 1856. Children, included:
    • Arthur Gerald Isaac, 5th child, b. 1864, m. Agnes Mary Prentice, dau. of Eustace Carey Prentice, below. She was b. c. 1865-75, in 1895.
  • Eustace Carey Prentice. Children included:
    • Agnes Mary Prentice. She m. her cousin, Arthur Gerald Isaac, above.
    • (another dau.) Prentice.
  • Manning Prentice III. Died 1875. Children:
    • Edward Prentice. Killed in explosion (see above).
    • Susan Prentice
    • Napier Prentice. He became chairman of the now rebuilt Gun Cotton factory, but made his name in the development of electric power. He founded Bull Motors in 1898 in Milton Road they later moved to Ipswich. He was largely responsible for the formation the Suffolk Electricity Supply Co. which provided Stowmarket with electricity in 1896. Napier`s son Courtney founded Sun Petroleum & Prentice Aircraft and Cars Ltd. which at one time leased Ipswich airport. Napier was murdered in Menton in the south of France in 1975. At the present time the name is probably known best in the town from the firm of Gudgeon & Prentice.

5. Sarah Prentice, 1825-1896. She was born at Stowmarket, Suffolk. She m. Thomas Isaac 19 Dec 1850, was the "boy next door" in Stowmarket. He was baptised at Halesworth the son of a schoolmaster who later moved to Stowmarket. One of his ancestors married a descendant of Oliver Cromwell. John Sanders' wife, Brigit, who passed away in Nov 1999, was a great-granddaughter.

If you have any information about the folks mentioned in this article, please contact us at dewald@prenticenet.com.


This page is maintained by Joe Dewald.
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