WICKE, Johann George
- a very generous and considerate man -

+ the "Englischen Erbschaft" (English Inheritance)

 

 

Known generally as George Wicke, Johann Georg Wicke was baptised in Berge, near Homberg, Hessen, on 22 October 1752, to Johann Georg Wicke of Unshausen and his wife Katharina Elisabeth Wicke, née Pfeiffer. They had married in 1741 and had at least 6 children.

I've not found details of when Georg came to London, however the earliest evidence I have for him, in both land tax records and trade directories, is 1790, but these are both as a partner in a sugarhouse in Church Lane, Whitechapel, with John Walton. We have to assume he had been here for sometime in order to become established and trusted before being made a partner.

George became a naturalised British Subject in 1799, though the surviving records only give Unshausen as the place of his birth and the names of his parents - unfortunately no memorials from trusted Englishmen.

John Walton died in 1804, and stated in his will that he was to be taken by sea back to his native Yorkshire. He left his partner £200, and generous small amounts to each of his sugarhouse workers. There's no mention of the sugarhouse, so we can probably assume that George Wicke bought his partner's share in the property, utensils and stock, as he continued to run the business through to his death in 1829.

George had a second sugarhouse in Wellclose Sq leased by Messrs Schlencker. In his will he left this property and his dwelling house in Stratford to the children of his late nephew, also George Wicke. This George had died in 1824 having worked his own sugarhouse in Gowers Walk, close to his uncle's premises.

*

The 1829 will of Johann George Wicke can be found at The National Archives.

# He appreciated that when he died a considerable number of people, many with dependants, would be out of work and he made provision for their immediate future ...

* To the person who shall hold the situation of Boiler in his sugarhouse at the time of his death £100, and if he works more than one sugarhouse a like sum to each Boiler.
* To his clerk John Francis Puest £150 in addition to the legacy as an executor, and to his other clerks £100 each.
* To all his other servants employed in his sugarhouse(s) for two years or more £12 each, and for those employed for less £6 each.
* To his manservant living with him at Stratford 19 guineas.
* To his female servant who will be living with him in town at the time of his death £15, and to his female servant in the country £15.
* To his housekeeper Charlotte Elizabeth Saint George a further £20, and to Mary Dennent now living servant with Mr Valensien Noeth £15 and a further £10 for mourning.
* To Charlotte Elizabeth Saint George all his household linen and plate in and about his house in Stratford, his foreign-made looking glasses with his initials on them and the furniture in her own room there.

# He left money to assist and promote churches, institutions and charities in London ...

* To the German Chapel Hooper Square where he is a member £300.
* To the Minister and servants of the German Chapel Hooper Square £70 to be divided amongst them.
* To the German Chapel Hooper Square a further sum of £111 to be invested, the interest & dividends to be divided yearly at Christmas amongst the poor of the society.
* To the German School in Alie St under the direction of the Reverend Schwabe £100.
* To the Lying in Charity for the delivery of poor married women £100.
* To the charity called the Eastern Dispensary for the relief of the poor £100.
* To the Middlesex Society for the education of poor children in the Protestant Religion whose school house is in Cannon Street Row St Geo East £100.
* To the Protestant Dissenting Charity School in Wood Street Spitalfields £100.
* To the London Hospital in Whitechapel Road £100.
* To the Deaf & Dumb Charity in Kent Road £100.
* To the Charitable Institution for the Relief of Distressed Foreigners of which he is a member £100.
* To the British & Foreign Bible Society £100.
* To the Charity School in St Mary Street Whitechapel Road for the education of 1000 poor children £100.
* To the Charity School in the churchyard of the parish of West Ham in Essex £100.
* To the Female Charity School near the chapel in the Brickfield in West Ham £50.
* To the Benefit Club of which he is a member £50.
* To the Charity called the Philanthropic Society at the Blind Beggar Mile End £50.
* To the Tower Hamlets School of which he is a member £50.

# He left money to be invested in order to provide education for children in his 'home' parishes in German ...

* To the Minister Trustees or Elders of the the parish of Unshaussen in Germany "his native place" £400 to be invested for the purchase of freehold lands or other permanent security, the rents etc from which to pay for the education of deserving children.
* To the Minister Trustees or Elders of the the parish of Muhlhausen by Homberg in Hessen £200 to be invested for the purchase of freehold lands or other permanent security, the rents etc from which to pay for the education of deserving children.
* To the Minister Trustees or Elders of the the parish of Berge near Homberg in Hessen £200 to be invested for the purchase of freehold lands or other permanent security, the rents etc from which to pay for the education of deserving children.

- although his executors had difficulty with these legacies, and further negotiations were required to circumvent the Act of Mortmain, a 13th century English law aimed at preserving the kingdom's revenues by preventing land from passing into the possession of the Church.

# And as well as leaving legacies to friends and family in London, he instructed that family members in German should also receive large sums, much of which was used to build new family houses ...

* To his nephew George Meyfarth of Unshausen £5000 ...

©Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg ©Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg

* To his nephew Johann Christopher Wicke of Berge £5000 ...

©Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg

* To his nephew Conrad Wittich of Lendorf £5000 ...

©Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg

* To his niece Mrs Metz widow of the late Mr Metz of Zennern £5000 ...

©Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg ©Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg

[However, London refiner Johann Herman (Harman) Harbusch, in his will of 1824, left £3000 to each of a nephew and 2 nieces who had been baptised in Zennern, and his brother Werner Harbusch, in his will of 1834, left a total of £3000 to family members in Zennern, so this house may be connected to that family instead.]

 

The Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg has photographed more of the local houses built with inheritances from England ... it's now a matter of trying to find just which inheritance each was built with !

 
Morshausen Hebel Singlis Holzhausen Wehren Mue
All 6 images ©Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg
 

In July 2016 a small exhibition explained the origins of these houses to the local community ...

All 3 images ©Eva Busch 2016
 

 

I'm very grateful to Eva Busch for getting in touch regarding this unexpected aspect of sugar research,
and I look forward to helping in her project to identify from whom more of the money came.

My thanks also to Mr. Preushof and Mr. Mänken of the Heimatkundliches Archiv Homberg for permission to use their images of the houses.

 

 

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