From the Northampton Mercury, June 28th, 1784.
WHEREAS the WORK-SHOP belonging to Benjamin Collis, cordwainer, in West Haddon was broke open on the night of the 25th or early morning of the 26th June and the following articles stolen thereout, viz. one Wax skin, two black Grain ditto, one dressed Neats leather Butt, and a piece of Neats leather ditto; and three pairs of men’s shoes, two pair of them almost new, and the other pair were new soled and heeled
Whosoever will apprehend the offender or offenders so that he or they may be brought to Justice, shall, on Conviction, receive from the said Benjamin Collis a Reward of 2 Guineas.
NB On the inside of one of the Lappets was wrote Mr Boddington.
Benjamin Collis was the son of Benjamin Collis sen. and his wife Prudence, nee Parnell. By 1784 he and his wife Joyce had a family of six surviving children (four more having died young.) and he was already training up young Benjamin, his 11-year old, to follow him into the shoemaking business.
In April of Enclosure year, just months before the Riot, Benjamin had sold a workshop, part of his own premises, to John Newton, the weaver. The precise location is unclear, but it seems to have been part of the ‘market infill’ triangle between High Street and Crown Lane. Might the Collis workshop have been behind the thatched cottage shown on this postcard from 1906?
Robert Boddington and his wife were new to the village. His occupation is yet to be discovered, but he paid tax as an owner occupier of a house somewhere in the village and served a term as Surveyor of the Highways. He sounds like a solid and upright citizen – not one to imagine, perhaps, that his shoe repair would leave a trail through history.