William SNAPE 1825–1890

by Annette Edwards.

WILLIAM SNAPE 1825 – 1890


William was born in Cumberland; he was the son of John Snape.

By 1861 he had moved to Wrexham and was a master bookseller, on 13 July 1866 he married Anne Eliza Potter in Bebington.

Ann Eliza Potter was baptised on 8 May 1845 in St Peter, Liverpool. She was the daughter of 

 William Potter and Margaret Ascroft.  Her father had been born in Cumberland.

In 1861 Annie was in a Private School, where there were two head mistresses and two teachers, so she was getting a good education. In 1871 her father was a tailor and draper and a partner in a company employing 50 men.  When William Potter died in September 1887, he left a personal estate £6602 16s 7d, so was a wealthy man.

The couple settled in Wrexham   where William was a wine and spirit merchant on High Street at the Lion House.  In 1878 their 3 year old son Arthur Edward died there.

In December 1880 he put an advert in the papers announcing a sale of his stock at the Lion House as he was retiring from the trade.

By 1881 he had moved to Grove Road, and was now an auctioneer and tailor. Also, there were Edith Ann 14, Isabel 12, Henry Ashcroft 11, Jessie 9, Margaret J 8, Frederick W 4 and Rupert aged 2. Another two children were born, Charles in 1883 and George in 1886.

William died in July 1890 aged 66 in Ruthin Road. His obituary in the Wrexham Advertiser has details of much of his life.

THE LATE MR W. SNAPE. – It is with very deep I regret that we have to record the death of Mr W. Snape, an old and well-known tradesman of the town, who died at his residence in Ruabon Road, on Sunday morning, at the age of 66. The late Mr Snape was a native of Aspatria, Cumberland, and served his apprenticeship in company with Mr George Routledge and the late Mr Railton Potter, with Mr Thurnam, of Carlisle. Mr Snape first went to London on leaving Carlisle, and was employed by the old firm of Messrs Routledge, Warne, and Routledge. From there, about thirty- one years ago, he came to Wrexham, and entered into partnership with Mr Railton Potter, as printer, bookseller, and stationer. He retired from that partnership about twenty-three years ago, and then took over the business of the Lion House Hotel in High-street. This he carried on most successfully for some years. He also did a large amount of work as an auctioneer, and retained his licence until his death. He was for some time in business as a clothier at the Old Bank Buildings, and more recently he represented the Wrexham Lager Beer and other brewery companies. He has had very bad health for the last two years or more, and on the 3rd inst. he was seized with an apoplectic attack, and, never recovering, he expired on Sunday. Mr Snape was for some years a member of the Town Council, and was a very prominent man in all public affairs, and an authority upon a majority of matters. His interment took place on Wednesday at the new cemetery, when some of the oldest friends of the deceased were present, the officiating clergyman being the Vicar (the Ven. Archdeacon Howell.)

Wrexham Advertiser
J-02335 Wrexham Cemetery 26/03/2018

Annie moved to Percy Road by 1891. Her son Henry Ashcroft died on 7 July 1895 aged just 25 at “Cordelio” Ruabon Road. His obituary is full of details.

THE LATE MR H. A. SNAPE. – We regret to announce the death of Mr H. A. Snape, eldest son of the late Mr William Snape, who was well known for many years as a prominent and respected townsman of Wrexham, which took place on Sunday at the residence of his mother, aged 25. Mr H, A. Snape, who had been for some time in failing health, but he had borne this with such fortitude and quietness that his death caused much surprise, and as well as sorrow among his many friends in various circles of the town. He was for nearly eleven years connected with the noted firm of Messrs F. W. Soames and Company, whose brewery he entered as a pupil. He soon evinced considerable aptitude, and his experience and ability being recognised by Mr Soames, he by degrees attained the position of head brewer, to which he was recently appointed. He was greatly liked by the officials and staff employed at the brewery, by whom his loss is deeply regretted. General sympathy is also expressed for the family. The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, the coffin being carried to the cemetery by eight of oldest workmen from the brewery. In addition to the representatives of the family there were present Mr F. W. Soames, the head of the firm, Messrs J. A. Robinson, Jeffery, Wright, R. H. Jones, and nearly all employees at the Brewery of Messrs F. W. Soames and Company.

In 1901 Ann Eliza was still in Ruabon Road, her daughter Jessie was a school teacher, Charles Edgar was a chemist’s assistant and George G was not doing anything.

Anne Eliza died on 15 February 1910 aged 65. She left effects of £68 12s 10d

Also buried in the same grave is Isabel Snape, who died in Wallasey in November 1922, she was 54. After 1881 she hasn’t been found, but some of her siblings moved to Cheshire and Lancashire.

RUPERT SNAPE 1879 – 1903


In 1885 Rupert was named in the Wrexham Advertiser, when he appeared as a witness at the age of 6.

CHARGE OF ASSAULT AGAINST A SCHOOL TEACHER. – Miss Annie Grainger, infant mistress at the Tenter’s National School, was summoned by Thomas Ledsham, engine fitter, of the firm of Messrs Hockenhull and Ledsham, Yorke-street, for assaulting his little boy. Thomas Ledsham, five years of age, by caning him on the 22nd January. Rupert Snape, a sharp little fellow, who said he was thicketh years old, described, with naive simplicity, the caning administered to the boy Ledsham, and said, in reply to Mr Acton, that if he (witness) had received the same himself he wouldn’t have cried”—he’d “have done nothing” (Laughter.) Obviously, he was a tough little lad!

In 1891 Rupert was a pupil at St Oswald’s College in Ellesmere, so he was getting a very good education.

On 22 February 1896 he is on the passenger list of the Ionic and sailing from Plymouth to Wellington, Rupert`s destination was Cape Town.  His listed occupation was a miner, as were many others on the list which is quite odd considering his education.  It`s possible  a mining company was opening up a new area and attracting  workers with cheap passage, so regardless of what job they would do, all  were all  listed as miners if their ticket had been subsidised by the mining company.

Rupert joined the army, he enlisted 30 November 1899 at Pietermaritzburg into the Colonial Scouts, his rank was Trooper, and he was aged 22 and a storekeeper by trade.

His entry in the records show he was discharged 21 March 1900

 “In December 1899 another corps, known as the Colonial Scouts, was raised by the Natal Government; strength five squadrons, commanded by Colonel F. Addison, MLA. They were during part of 1900 chiefly employed in Zululand, and on the border of that country and the Transvaal. The corps did not see much fighting, but their presence in this district was very valuable. The Scouts provided a bodyguard of about 30 men to General Warren. The corps was disbanded in April, but the majority of the volunteers joined other irregular bodies “

Later he enlisted 22 March 1900 at Pietermaritzburg into the Imperial Light Horse when he was a Corporal.  Records show he was discharged 2 November 1900.

“The Imperial Light Horse was raised by the British in Johannesburg on 21 September 1899 for service in the Second Boer War. Its initial strength was 444 officers and men.

The Light Horse was engaged through much of the war and fought its first battle at Elandslaagte 21 October 1899, where its first colonel, John James Scott-Chisholme was killed leading from the front.  The Regiment was present at the Siege of Ladysmith, (battle of Wagon Hill), Colenso, the Battle of Spion Kop and the Relief of Ladysmith.

After the successful raising of the siege of Ladysmith the Light horse joined the Mafeking Relief Column and were the first to enter the town on the night of 16/17 May 1900.”

He received both the Kings and Queens South Africa War medals, his medal roll card shows he was at Mafeking, Transvaal and Ladysmith. His mother name and address are given on the document. 

Kings War Medal.

This second campaign medal for the South African or ‘Boer War’ was instituted in 1902, for award to all those who were in theatre on or after the 1st January 1902, and had completed 18 months service in the conflict prior to 1st June 1902.  Service did not have to be continuous, but even with continuous service the recipient would have had to serve from December 1900 to have 18 months service before the war ended in May 1902 (and commencing before the death of Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901). The medal was to recognise service in the difficult latter phases of the war and reward those who by their long service in field had brought the campaign to a successful conclusion.  The medal was never awarded singly and was always paired with the Queen’s South Africa Medal.

It’s not known if Rupert remained in the army, only that he died at Lourenco Marques on 15 July 1903. It was renamed Maputo and is now the capital of Mozambique.

Researched by Annette Edwards.  With the help of Max D and Judy Roberts of Chirk. January 2019.

Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery J-02335.

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