Monday, 9 July 2018

Do you know the Sugar Baker?

In today's research I came across an occupation that was new to me. Just what is a sugar baker? As it turns out, a sugar baker was really an importer/trader of sugar; more along the lines of a merchant. They would import sugar from the Caribbean, refine it and then sell it on to their customers in England.

I don't actually know very much about George Leech. In February 1624 he married my 10 x great-aunt Margaret Bridges in the parish church of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney in London. After their marriage they settled in the parish of St Helen Bishopsgate. Here they had at least two children. Katherine and George. Katherine was baptised at St Helen Bishopsgate on 23 August 1629 two days after her brother George was buried. According to the parish register young George was drowned in a sink in his father's house. Maybe poor Margaret, still recovering from the birth of her daughter, had been unable to supervise her young family as she would like.

Certainly George the Sugar Baker was dead by 1639 because at this point Margaret remarried a gentleman named Bevill Prideaux . She died in 1663 leaving her daughter Katherine, who had married a gent called Henry Gould of Pinner, executrix of her will. I am guessing that as Margaret's will states her place of abode as Harrow on the Hill that she might have been living with her daughter and son in law as Pinner and Harrow on the Hill are very close.

The church of St Helen's, Bishopsgate, London with "The Gherkin".
 By Roger Vander Steen [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

A couple of other unrelated but interesting facts I picked up are that St Helens Bishopsgate was the parish church of William Shakespeare in the 1590s, so about 40 years before the Leech family were worshipping there. Also, it is one of the only City of London churches to have survived both the Great Fire and the the Blitz.

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