In November 2014 in the Monthly Update on the Web page I mentioned a painting we had received of a Simon PALMER and at the same time I put a request for help on the Research Forum but disappointedly received no answers to my questions. Some information had been forthcoming about the same family in 2011, but the portrait needed more research. I believe that this painting may be a previously unknown part of the collection of Weston Worthies in Weston Museum (But at the moment stored at Taunton). It is similar in size and style to the others and as Simon PALMER had lived in Weston and played a part in the life of the town during the 19th century he fits the bill as a candidate to become one of the Weston Worthies.
I have been able to establish that Simon PALMER, who certainly looks compassionate and caring from his portrait, was born in Lympsham on the 15th Jan 1807 and was baptised in St Christopher’s Church there on the 21st February. His parents were Samuel PALMER and Jane GILLING who were married in Bridgwater in June 1805, and settled in West Lane, Lympsham. Samuel PALMER was a shoemaker from Bleadon and Simon followed in his footsteps.
According to our transcriptions of baptisms in St John the Baptist Weston-super-Mare - a Joseph PALMER was christened 31st March 1830 son of Simon PALMER shoemaker and Sarah. Sadly, Joseph died as a baby and was buried at the same Church on May 14th 1830. There is a marriage of a Simon PALMER to a Sarah BADMAN on the 14th April 1829 in Lympsham but there is a burial of a Sarah Cooper(?) PALMER, aged 25 at St John's Church in Weston on 7th April 1830 - is this Joseph's mother?
On the 29th Sept 1831 another Joseph PALMER was christened but this time he was the son of Simon PALMER, shoemaker and Anne. I have found a marriage in St Paul's, Portland Square, Bristol of a Simon PALMER with an Ann PARKER on the 23rd Nov 1830 which seems to fit. Although later censuses state that Ann was born in Kewstoke there isn’t a christening there for her but there is a christening of an Ann PARKER at St Martin’s Worle on the 2nd July 1809, the daughter of a George & Betty PARKER.
By the 1841 census Simon PALMER, shoemaker, his wife Ann, 6 children, an apprentice and a young female servant were living in Weston. By 1851 they had settled in Regent Street and he was employing 3 men.
From 1846 he starts to appear as a witness to marriages which took place at St John’s Church probably in his capacity as the Parish Clerk. The last time his name occurs as a witness is in 1885 showing that he fulfilled that task for about 40 years.
He was obviously a keen gardener, as can be seen from the following newspaper item. The Sherborne Mercury reported a series of robberies in Weston in May 1855
WESTON-SUPER-MARE — Garden Robberies and other depredations continue to take place in this town. Scarcely a night but some new case occurs, and on that of Saturday week the plunder was on a wholesale system; even the cottagers' allotments were stripped of their produce. Among other cases this week the garden of Mr. Simon Palmer, parish clerk, was robbed of a valuable bed of broccoli, and several depredations have been committed of a like nature in Locking-road. More than one gentleman in that neighbourhood are now prepared with the means of giving powder and shot reception to persons found upon their premises for an unlawful purpose; and are informed that a society for the protection of property will be at once established.
I love the idea of a posse of Weston “gentlemen” lying in wait for the vegetable rustlers. However, in the Weston-super-Mare Horticultural Exhibition in July 1855, Simon PALMER won 2nd prize (of two and sixpence) for autumn sown onions in the Cottagers’ Section, some recompense for his loss of broccoli!
Simon and Ann had 12 children, Mary Ann died as a baby in 1844, Margaret died aged 2 in 1852 and in 1860 came the death of 8 year-old Emily, their youngest child, who was buried in Weston Cemetery in Grave Plot No Tc 755
Her memorial reads
Emily PALMER, daughter of Simon & Ann PALMER
born January 10th 1852 - August 13th 1860
I know that my redeemer liveth.
Ann PALMER, Simon’s wife, died in 1869, aged 60 and was buried in the same grave alongside her daughter.
Sacred to the memory of Ann PALMER, wife of Simon PALMER
born June 2nd 1809
died March 23rd 1869
On the 25th May 1874 at St John’s Church, Weston, Simon married again, this time to a widow, Elizabeth Keene HAMPTON, nee PEDDLES. In 1871 Elizabeth had been employed as a cook by a Banker living in the West of England Bank (later Nat West) in the High Street.
When Simon PALMER died in 1886 he was also buried in Weston Cemetery in the same grave as his wife Ann and daughter.
Also Simon PALMER,
born January 15th 1807
died April 8th 1886
He left an estate of £209 8s 6d and his executors were his eldest son the Rev Joseph PALMER, the Vicar of Priddy and his 2nd son Thomas PALMER who was a Post Office Clerk in Weston. Another son, Benjamin had emigrated to Australia and died after an accident in Sydney Ice Works in 1887 see http://trove.nla.gov.au
PALMER - November 6, accidentally killed at the Sydney Ice Works, Benjamin Palmer, manager, aged 51 years, third son of the late Simon Palmer, of Weston Super Mare, England, leaving a loving wife and daughter, and a large circle of friends to mourn their loss
There is a great deal more which can be discovered about Simon PALMER and his family. But there are a lot of other PALMERS in Weston.
Just to confuse the issue, Simon had a brother, James PALMER, who was the Parish Clerk to Emmanuel Church for fifty years! A son of James, and of course nephew of Simon, William Rufus PALMER, wrote “A Century of Weston-super-Mare History” which he published in 1925.
Father-in-law of James PALMER was Samuel NORVILLE 1777-1855, another of the Weston Worthies. More about him next time!