Parkes & Lister Families.
Issue date: 20/03/2020
Parkes & Lister Families. 1
Parkes Family 1
Background Information 2
The Lister Family 4
Letter Collection: 5
My maternal grandparents were Arthur Parkes (“AJ”) & Ethel Lister.
This is an introduction to their families in the West Midlands. They were
typical of many manufacturing families of the era, rising up the scale during
the latter part of the 19thC and the first half of the 20thC.
They all came in from the outlying country towns and villages as the
employment appeared in the bigger conurbations. The Parkes’s founded a
manufacturing business out of an ironmongery business and drew in other
families by marriage. The Listers originated in Shropshire around Broseley as
miners in the early iron industry and moved into Wolverhampton and Willenhall
as the pits in those towns developed.
Parkes is an uncommon name except in the English West Midlands, where it
abounds. The Parkes were a family associated with early industry in the
Midlands. This branch was, in the middle of the 19th Century, the founding
family of Josiah Parkes and Sons, manufacturers of the Union brand of door
furniture and locks in Willenhall (England) the centre of lock manufacturing
The known line starts with Richard Parkes (abt 1742-1808), a baker
from Dudley; before him the options become somewhat speculative. There was
another Parkes in Dudley about 20 years before, also a baker: it is difficult
not to assume they were the same family, but I have been unable to establish
any connection. He married, as his 3rd wife, Jane Dunton (1752-1779), who
came from a Dudley family of shoemakers stretching back to the early 17thC.
This line descends from their 3rd child and 2nd son, Josiah.
Josiah Parkes (1778-1845), a sometime schoolmaster in Bobbington and
dyer in Bilston, married as his 2nd wife, Beatrice Turner (1799-1864). Most
of his 6 sons went into the metalworking industry in the Bilston &
Willenhall areas. This line descends from his son Josiah, by his 2nd
wife. I have not been able to find anything of Josiah's first family
Josiah Parkes (1823-1899) was the founder of the family lock business,
Josiah Parkes & Sons (Union locks): he married Catherine Cope
(1822-1903), daughter of William & Sarah Cope, from a Polesworth, Warwickshire,
family. They had 9 known children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. All the sons
except the youngest, Thomas Ebeneezer, went into the lock and related
businesses. The eldest, William Edmund, built up the lock business further.
William Edmund (1855-1920) married Elizabeth Fryer (1853-1927), from a
Warwickshire family. His two sons, William Cyril and Arthur Josiah (my
grandfather) continued to built the business. Arthur married Ethel Lister and had 2 daughters.
The other families came mostly from Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The family is split into 4 parts:
AJ Parkes family
Turners from Bobbington,
Staffordshire and Willenhall.
Copes who were from a family in Polesworth, in northeast Warwickshire,
some of whom were Canal boatmen.
Fryers who were latterly
painters and decorators in Willenhall, Birmingham and the midlands, but
originated from around Evesham and Stratford.
Staits from Temple Grafton in Warwickshire and owned a small farm
there. A branch of this family went to Otago in New Zealand in the mid 19thC.
Wilkes, (stonemasons) & Hemmings from Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire,
Duntons of Dudley.
In addition I have included a
separate chapter on the Power family, who married into the Parkes family.
Wills, both Parkes & Lister
Parkes Appendix: contains miscellaneous parish
information etc (about 200 pages)
Josiah Parkes & Sons – Union – History
Ethel, the wife of Arthur Parkes, grandfather of Antony Maitland, was a
Lister from Willenhall. Some of her family still live in the Willenhall area
This family is probably typical of many in the Midlands, originating in
the agricultural areas and migrating to the expanding industrial urban areas.
Our Lister family descend from Thomas and Ann (Bradley) Lister who came from
Broseley, (Shropshire) to Wolverhampton and then Willenhall (Staffordshire,
England) in the 1830's.
Thomas was a miner, as were his sons. Broseley was the original centre of
the English Industrial Revolution: it was foremost in iron and steel
production, using locally found iron ore and coal. The mines in the Midlands
were developed later: the Listers probably moved to new fields as expert
miners. Thomas & Ann had 10 recorded children, our line descending from
William. Another line descends to Lesters and Hobsons in Idaho and Utah.
Thomas' son, William (b. 1827) married Martha Roper (b 1822), also from
Broseley, and had 5 recorded children.
William's son Samuel (1856-1923) married Sarah Palmer (1856-1938) whose
father David, also a migrant from the countryside, was from Enville in
Staffordshire and was in the lock trade in Willenhall; her mother came from a
farming family near Wellington, Shropshire. They had 3 children, Howard,
Gladys and Ethel Ann (my grandmother, the only child to marry). Samuel became
a commission agent and owned a furniture business in Willenhall. Ethel Lister
married Arthur Parkes in 1915.
As with the Parkes, the Lister family history is divided into a number of
Full Lister Details
Includes lines back to mid 17th
Century in Shropshire.
Contains some parish
information and mining & other industrial history.
A large collection of letters and cards had been kept by my mother, Rosemary
(Parkes) Maitland (RJLM). Most of these have been transcribed:
Lister Early letters & cards
Letters from RJLM from School
Letters from Ethel to RJLP & EUP
from Africa 1933 & ‘48
Letters by RJLM to her mother from
Egypt 1943-46 (and a few earlier ones)
Letters from AJ
& Ethel Parkes to RJLM in Egypt
23/7/2002: minor editing
2/7/2004: revised file layout - Fryers separate.
21/1/2013: combined with Lister file.