75 – Jervis, Wedgwood, and Darwin

What do Thomas Jervis, Wedgwood China, and Charles Darwin have in common? Read on.

Nibbles Note:

Bio info is excerpted from Celia Cotton’s Jarvis/Jervis family studies. See full studies on her website at bhsproject.co.uk/x_jarvis.shtml

Thomas Jervis and Anne Ward (3G)

Thomas Jervis (1769-1828)

Thomas Jervis was baptized October 27, 1769 at Maer, Staffordshire. His father was George Jervis of Maerway Lane.

Baptism – Thomas Jervis – Maer – 1769

Anne Ward (1777-1839)

Anne Ward was baptized September 28, 1777, in Stafford. Her parents were Thomas and Ann Ward.

Marriage and Children

Thomas Jervis and Anne Ward married November 16, 1795 at Lichfield, St. Michaels.

Marriage – Thomas Jervis and Anne Ward – Lichfield – 1795

Thomas and Anne had nine children:


Thomas spent his entire life around Maerway Lane and Maer parish, quite possibly in the same homestead. Over his working career, Thomas was a cordwainer (shoemaker), farmer, and laborer.


Maer is a small village, in a narrow romantic valley, with steep and lofty acclivities, on the Market Drayton road, seven miles SSW of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Its parish comprises about 2800 acres of land and 558 souls, of whom 272 are in the district called Maerway Lane, but the houses are generally scattered in small hamlets.

History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851
Jervis homes and farms – Maerway Lane – 1750s to 1840s

Later Life

Thomas Jervis, 59, died in 1828 and was buried September 17 at Maer.

Burial – Thomas Jervis – Maerway Lane – 1828

Anne Ward Jervis, 66, died in December 1839 and was buried Jan 1, 1840 at Maer.

Burial – Anne Ward Jervis – Maer – 1840

Nibbles Extra Credit


You noticed above that J.A. Wedgwood was the officiant in the burial registers for Thomas and Anne Jervis.

J.A. Wedgwood

J.A. is John Allen Wedgewood, a grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, the founder of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons pottery. J.A. was the rector at St. Peter’s Church in Maer from 1825 to 1863 – 38 years. He was the officiant for many life events for the Jervis family over those years.

Baptism register – St. Peter’s Church, Maer – rich and poor

Maer Church, dedicated to St Peter, stands near the hall, and is a neat stone edifice, which appears to have been rebuilt in 1610. 

History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851
St. Peter’s church, Maer

Josiah Wedgwood II

Josiah Wedgwood II

J.A. came to be the rector because his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood II, owned Maer Hall, the manor house of the parish. Josiah II was the son of Josiah Wedgwood the founder of the Wedgwood Pottery empire. Josiah II became head of the company after his father’s death.

Maer Hall

The manor house of Maer was originally built in the 1600’s. As was typical, succeeding owners added and rebuilt and landscaped the manor houses. In 1802, Josiah and Elizabeth Wedgwood purchased Maer Hall, and made it their family home for 40 years.

Josiah Wedgwood’s Family

Josiah and Elizabeth Wedgwood had four sons and five daughters.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin grew up twenty miles from Maer at The Mount, his father Robert’s estate. Robert Darwin had married Josiah Wedgwood’s daughter Susannah, so Charles Darwin was a grandson of Josiah Wedgwood I.

Charles Darwin was a frequent visitor at his uncle’s home, Maer Hall.

My visits to Maer during these two [1826 & 1827] and the three succeeding years were quite delightful…

Life there was perfectly free; the country was very pleasant for walking or riding; and in the evening there was much very agreeable conversation, together with music. In the summer the whole family used often to sit on the steps of the old portico, with the flower garden in front, and with the steep wooded bank, opposite the house, reflected in the lake, with here and there a fish rising or a water-bird paddling about.

Nothing has left a more vivid picture on my mind than these evenings at Maer.

Charles Darwin

At Maer, Darwin began to investigate the role of earthworms in formation of “vegetable mould.”

Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood

Emma Wedgwood and Charles Darwin

It was at Maer Hall that Charles Darwin proposed marriage to Emma Wedgwood, his cousin. She was the youngest daughter of Josiah and Elizabeth Wedgwood.

They were married January 29, 1839 at St. Peter’s Church, Maer, by Reverend J.A. Wedgwood, Curate.

Marriage – Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood – Maer – 1839

The Darwins, Wedgwoods, and, yes, the Jervises celebrated many life events at St. Peter’s Church.

Baptism register – Maer – Jervis and Darwin

Josiah and Elizabeth Wedgwood

Josiah Wedgwood II died in 1843 and his wife Elizabeth in 1846. They are buried on the hillside above the church and Maer Hall.

And several of our Jervis family are buried nearby.


  • Beetle and Wedgwood Collage – from Six beetle species, from James Francis Stephens, Illustrations of British Entomology, vol. 2, 1829.  Beetles 3 and 5 were two that Darwin observed, and for which he was cited by Stephens in the appendix.
  • Various citations – Celia Cotton – Jervis/Jarvis studies – bhsproject.co.uk/x_jarvis.shtml
  • Map of Jervis homes and farms – OS Ordnance Map – Stoke Upon Trent – Sheet 123 – 1898
  • Maer quotes – History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851
  • Image of Josiah Wedgwood II – by William Owen – https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41188058
  • Photo of St. Peter’s Church, Maer – WikiCommons
  • Postcard of Maer Hall – postcardsofstaffordshire.wordpress.org
  • Charles Darwin quote – The autobiography of Charles Darwin, with original omissions restored (edited by Nora Barlow). New York, W. W. Norton & Co., 253 pp.
  • Map of Maer – OS Ordnance Map – Maer – 1900
  • Baptism and marriage registers – St. Peters Church, Maer – FindMyPast.com
  • Photo of Josiah and Elizabeth Wedgwood gravestone – Maer, by John H. Wahlert – http://faculty.baruch.cuny.edu/naturalscience/biology/darwin/biography/maer/index.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s