Parkes & Lister Families.



Issue date: 20/03/2020 a

Parkes & Lister Families. 1

Introduction 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 Family

    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 in England.
       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 (5/2002).
       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

Parkes families:

Turners from Bobbington, Staffordshire and Willenhall.
Copes who were from a family in Polesworth, in northeast Warwickshire, some of whom were Canal boatmen.

Fryer Family:

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.

Power family:

In addition I have included a separate chapter on the Power family, who married into the Parkes family.

Background Information

Wills, both Parkes & Lister

Parkes Appendix: contains miscellaneous parish information etc (about 200 pages)

Josiah Parkes & Sons – Union – History


The Lister Family

    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 (2007).

    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 parts:

Full Lister Details

Includes lines back to mid 17th Century in Shropshire.

Lister Appendix

Contains some parish information and mining & other industrial history.

Letter Collection:

A large collection of letters and cards had been kept by my mother, Rosemary (Parkes) Maitland (RJLM). Most of these have been transcribed:

Parkes & Lister Early letters & cards
Letters from RJLM from School & Cambridge
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.
17/3/2007: Reformatted
21/1/2013: combined with Lister file.

5/10/2015: reformatted.

25/3/2019: edited
20/3/2020: links