#52 Ancestors Week 23 - "Going to the Chapel"

St. Pancras' Church Wroot, UK  📷-E. Asterion
The teeny tiny town of Wroot, Lincolnshire, UK is the homeland of my some of my maternal ancestors since the 1700's. Prior to that they lived in Epworth, Lincolnshire, UK, about 5 miles away. I know this because there are so many parish records for both towns. The St. Pancras Church documented almost every birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial. I haven't come across such solid proof in any other searches. There are 54 sources for my 5th great grandfather Thomas Maw  (1725-1796).  At the St. Andrews Parish Church in Epworth there are records dating back to the christening of 10th great grandfather Thomas Mawe in 1568.

Edward Maw, High Priest, Shoemaker & Farmer

I always knew I wanted to dig deeper in my Wroot roots and the Maw family. From what I remembered at first glance, Wroot was a very religious place. I recalled some Maw relatives immigrating to Provo, Utah about 15 years after Brigham Young settled there. There are copious amounts of information on this branch of the family tree because they were part of the Church of Latter Day Saints. After his 3rd wife passed away, Edward Maw, Jr (1st cousin 5x removed) began making his way to Utah. He was one of 650 individuals in the Horton D. Haight  Company when it began its journey on August 10th,1862, from the outfitting post at Florence, Nebraska (now Omaha). They arrived at the Great Salt Lake on October 19, 1862. There were 8 other Maw family members in the church's wagon train. Thanks to the LDS website, there are many first hand accounts of the journey linked here. Not all of the Maw children survived the journey according this account from Alice Maw Poulter. Edward Maw, Jr. was married for a fourth time at age 55 to Keziah Miles Goodman from Ogden, Utah. Two of his sons (2nd cousins 4x removed) are listed on the LDS website as Early Mormon Missionaries. 

The founders of the Methodist religion, John Wesley and Charles Wesley were born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, UK. You can still visit the Epworth Rectory where they grew up, along with 17 other siblings (more info here). In 1726, their father Samuel Wesley became the Rector at St. Pancras' in Wroot, and occasionally had to live there. The primitive thatched accommodations there were dismal and described as "little better than a swamp". Like a true angsty teenager of her time, Samuel's daughter Mehetabel was none too thrilled. She wrote the following letter to sister Emilia describing the citizens of Wroot:

Fortune has fixed thee in a place
Debarred of wisdom, wit, and grace 
High births and virtue equally they scorn,
As asses dull, on dunghills born ;
Impervious as the stones their heads are found ;
Their rage and hatred steadfast as the ground.
With these unpolished wights, thy youthful days
Glide slow and dull, and Nature's lamp decays :
Oh what a lamp is hid 'midst such a sordid race !'

She would go on to write more profoundly unhappy prose including a poem called "Wedlock:A Satire". Her father encouraged her to marry the man this poem is about. Their relationship never recovered, and her brother, poet Samuel Wesley, chastised her claiming that "cursing wedlock is blaspheming".

 There sure were a lot of religious doctrines being born in sleepy 18th century Lincolnshire! I never knew anything about the Maw family tree until I located my great grandmother Sarah Maw, who I wrote about here . She was one several maternal matriarchs that died relatively young. I'm sure my mother never heard of her. I think I'd like to visit Wroot and Epworth despite the bad reviews from Miss Mehetabel. With all of the history there it can't be that boring.


  1. Such an incredible wealth of resources you have! Truly blessed. And even first-hand history from another era. I'm so envious!

    1. Thanks Teresa, I was so happy to find that story. I wish my mom was here to learn about this branch of her tree. I'm sure she knew nothing about them. We should all be grateful to the Church of LDS for all the records they keep for everybody, too!

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