Gerrard Oldroyd subscribed to Kirby’s Historical Account in 1748. As far as I know, that is the only book he subscribed to. A “Mr. Oldroyd” subscribed to Canning’s Ipswich Legacies, but that may not be the same person. John and Thomas Oldroyd voted in the 1741 Ipswich election and John voted for Ipswich Bailiffs in 1754. Oldroyd is an elusive figure, and what little I know about him is gleaned from newspaper advertisements. Herewith is his sad story. He first appears in 1740 as a fishmonger in Ipswich, running an ad in the Ipswich Journal for several weeks.
In the Thorough-Fare, Ipswich.
SELLS RED HERRINGS of all Sorts, as Fatt Herrings, Herrings of the Night, Tanters, Plucks, &c by the Barrel, as cheap as any Person in London.
The next year he ran another series of ads: “Sells red herrings of all sorts, by wholesale, at the very lowest price”. Perhaps the red herrings were a distraction, because by 1742, they are reduced to a sideline, and his advertisement runs:
To be SOLD,
By GERRARD OLDROYD, in the Thorough-Fare, Ipswich,
PLOUGH BREASTS, and other Irons of Malleable cast Iron, so soft as not easily to be broke, and yet hard enough to last twice the Time of any wrought Breast; the Price less than the worst ever cast. If any Breast break in Six Months from the Time of Sale, it shall be exchanged without any Expence. The Maker has obtained the King’s Patent for making several Sorts of Wares of this Mettle, which exceed any Thing of the Kind in England. Proper Allowance will be given to any Person that takes a Quantity to sell again.
N.B. He Likewise sells all Sortt of Red Herrings, viz. Meat Herrings, Fat Herrings, Herrings of the Night, Pluck and Tanters, and Fine Pickled Herrings in Firkins, at 14s. per Firkin.
In May of 1743, he has a new line: “Just Imported, by Mr. Gerrard Oldroyd in Ipswich, German Spaw Water, in Large Flasks, at Ten Shillings per Dozen”. In December 1743, he is declared bankrupt, described as a “Tin-plate worker and chapman”. There are a couple of announcements in the London Gazette about his proceedings for his bankruptcy hearings, but things seem to move along slowly. In 1748, he is forced to sell his house, describing himself as a Brazier: It appears to be a substantial building. The ad ran for several weeks before Lady Day (March 25), but it did not find a taker. In April came the following ad:
To be LETT and Entered upon immediately, A Messuage or Dwelling-House and Shop, both very neatly fitted up and well situated, with the Yards, Garden, and Appurtenances thereunto belonging, in the Town of Ipswich, near the Corn-Hill there, as the same now are in the Occupation of Mr. Gerrard Oldroyd, Brasier, who has left off Trade.
For further Particulars enquire of the said Mr. Oldroyd; or of Mr. John Preston, Attorney at Law, in Ipswich.
N.B. As Advertisements have been continued in this paper so long a Time, for the Out-standing Debtors of the said Mr. Oldroyd to come in and pay their respective Debts to him, and very few have taken any Notice thereof:—All the Outstanding Debtors are therefore hereby required to take Notice, That no personal Application will be made to any of them, but that Mr. Oldroyd has left his Books and Accomp’s in the Hands of the said Mr. Preston, who has positive Orders to bring Actions against all such as shall neglect or refuse to pay such their respective Debts to the said Mr. Oldroyd, or Mr. Preston, on or before Wednesday next; that being the longest Time Mr. Oldroyd proposes staying in the Country.
The sad note of the “left off trade”. In passing, I note that John Preston was himself a Kirby subscriber. In June 1748, there was an announcement of an auction of his household goods, listing some and noting, “Catalogs will be delivered gratis”. Finally, in September 1748, came this announcement:
To be LETT and Entered upon immediately, A Good House and Shop, late in the Occupation of Mr. Gerrard Oldroyd, Brazier, near the Cornhill in Ipswich, consisting of four Rooms on a Floor, in good Repair, well fitted up for a Tradesman. For particulars enquire of Mr. Thomas Folkard, Ironmonger, in Ipswich aforesaid.
With that final notice, Gerrard Oldroyd fades from view.