John Panton-His Story

John Panton was born to James Panton (a grocer’s porter born around 1786) in about 1804. He was christened at Saint Mary Magdalane’s Church in Lincoln on March  4th, 1804. John ‘s mother was called Rebecca and she was born in Kealby Lincolnshire in 1775(according to the 1851 census). James Panton died August 16th, 1857 in Lincoln aged 73. (Lincolnshire Chronicle, Northampton, Rutland and Nottingham Advertiser, August 31st,1857). The notice actually describes him as a grocer’s porter, which matches census information

At the current time I believe John had a sister Mary Ann born around 1806. At the moment the date of John’s marriage is unsure, as I feel I have insufficient evidence to confirm his wife, Mary’s surname. Mary and John are described as having nine children at the time of John’s trial in 1846. I believe these children were Ann(1829-), John(1831-), Robert(1835-), Susan(1837-1894), Rebecca(1839-), William(1841-), Sarah(1842-), Charlotte(1842-) and Frederick(.1845-)

Mary faced court in March 1845.Mary had thrown stones at another tallow chandler, Griffits Osler, when she had been caught scavenging round the yard of Mr Turner, the grocer (which was something she had apparently done before, as she was considered to be the reason why it was kept locked). She was tried on March 19th 1845. Regardless it appears to have been a time of hardship for the family which had resulted in Mary being fined and John being jailed for three months for theft from his employer Edward Scrivener.

The 1861 census finds John and Mary, with their children Robert, Rebecca and Fred still living at 52 Bail Gate in Lincoln. By this time John Panton is working as a labourer. They have also acquired a lodger John Shaw.




What do I really know for sure?-An Update

Update number 2

Yesterday’s research turned my ideas on their head. There does indeed appear to have been two John and Mary Pantons who lived around the same time. Like all journeys there are twists and turns.

I have been able to confirm the death of John Panton’s father James Panton occured August 16th, 1857. He is still described as a grocer’s porter and is said to be aged 73 which also fits in with information I have already obtained. I am now fairly certain that the  John Panton, described as a farmer in the 1881 census is the correct one, as the details for his son Henry match, but suddenly John and Mary are both aged 74?(although to be fair it is very difficult to read.) What are the odds of another John and Mary Panton also having a son of the name Henry of exactly the right age and living in Lincolnshire. I have also now taken another look at the 1871 census, where John Panton is described as a farmer of forty acres

It intrigues me that John Panton is  now described as a retired farmer living at 87 Orby in previous census he lived at 75 Orby. My newspaper research has helped me understand that Orby, likely refers to Orby Lane in Burgh le Marsh, Lincolnshire.

My newspaper search appears to have delivered some truly shocking news. John Panton killed himself  8th May 8th 1885, aged eighty two.(Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, May 8th,1885) I now actually hope I have got it all wrong.  

I know John Panton was married to Mary and they had the following children:Ann Panton,John Panton, Robert Panton,Susan Panton,Rebecca Panton, Charlotte Panton, Frederick Panton and Henry Panton. I also know John Panton’s parents were James and Rebecca Panton. James Panton was a grocer’s porter in 1841(I wonder if he too worked for Edward Scrivener).Money

Unfortunately I have also been able to confirm he was almost certainly the same John Panton who was jailed for three months for stealing from Edward Scrivener. (court records match my John Panton’s details).

So being that this is one of the few certainties, I will concentrate on this incident. I already know most of the details from newspaper reports.

To be continued..


I watched Dunkirk yesterday. I felt like I was there.  I do have a strong connection with events at Dunkirk. My uncle was rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. He only just made it on to a boat. He  had been told  to wait by an officer but the officer  had never returned (who knows what may have happened to him).

My uncle had ended up having to swim for a boat. My grandmother who had never been able to swim, used to say how her brother’s ability to swim had saved him. His daughter has also very kindly filled me in on more details. My uncle had arrived back in England and had then walked many miles to my grandmother’s house.  She would  always vividly recall the sudden unexpected arrival of her brother, who was in an understandably bedraggled state.

I  also believe relatives of mine went out in those tiny boats to rescue the soldiers. I wanted to walk out of the cinema at one point  as it was so real for me. We were right at the back of the cinema, explosions booming in our ears. I kept thinking how loud the reality would have been for them. Events at Dunkirk have somehow  ingrained  themselves in my soul and I just knew that film was telling the truth.

Don’t just take my word for it.

An actual Dunkirk veteran reacts to the film Dunkirk

Veterans commemorate the 70th anniversary on the beaches of Dunkirk

My spirit soared when I saw the spitfires. (How much do I love those planes and their heroic pilots). and   again when the soldiers saw the armada of tiny boats appear on the horizon. I was surprised to learn that the soldiers may have been concerned about the reception they would receive in England. If my Grandmother was anything to go by, people were just relieved to have them home again. The film reminded me of the true courage and  heroism of these ordinary people., who were prepared to head off to a war zone in tiny little boats, to rescue their countrymen

Dunkirk veterans 70th anniversary reunion which took place in 2010.

This  Dunkirk veteran’s recounting of events and of having carried  a stretcher containing an injured man on board a boat, seems eerily similar to a scene in the film.

Dunkirk veteran talks about rescuing an injured soldier

Another Dunkirk veteran speaks movingly of events

A Sum too Small for a Clever Mechanic..

Newspapers describe the theft from Edward Scrivener in great detail. It would seem it was not John Panton’s first such attempt.

Mr Scrivener had encountered John Panton leaving with a sack. Upon being questioned Panton told his employer that the sack contained only tallow croak.(I presume tallow croak would be the remnants from making the tallow candles).

How to make tallow

Edward Scrivener suspicions by now had been aroused, so he had then set a trap by driving a wooden peg into a piece of soap. The following day he  had searched his (John Panton’s) pockets and  had sent for William Tuxford, policeman. John Panton had immediately admitted the theft, stating that not only had he taken the soap(the soap with the wooden peg was found on his person) but that he had half a pound of candles in his pocket too.

Panton is described as having a wife and nine children(Interestingly I currently have only eight on my tree-Ann,John, Robert,Susan,Rebecca, Charlotte, Frederic and Henry). His wage is also mentioned as being sixteen shillings a week which the  newspaper considers  to be  “too small for a clever mechanic”.

As we know already, he received a sentence of three months for his crime.


Details from The Lincolnshire Chronicle, 27th March, 1846