by an Indenture of 19 Oct 1876 Laura Proffit White lends Joseph £150 + interest on the surety of the Mission Hall - which he owns
 
by an Indenture of 19 Oct 1877 Laura lends Joseph another £50 + interest on the same surety
 
by an Indenture of 5 December 1878  Harry Kilby lends £50 + interest  to Joseph on the same surety 
 
by an Indenture of 14 May 1879   (*see note at foot) - to which the parties are:
 
    First:        Laura Proffit White Spinster of Shotteswelll in County of Warwick
    Second:   Harry Kilby Solicitor of Banbury                                                                   
    Third:       'Trustees for the time being of the Wesleyan Reform Chapel' (i.e. the chapel
                          that was established in 1851 in Chapel Square just round the corner)
                          John Whetton of Deddington, Postmaster                                                                   
                          James William Hopcraft of Deddington, Builder
                          Charles Bennett of Deddington, Carpenter 
                          Jonathan Woolgrave(s?) of Deddington, Bootmaker  
                          Edwin Castleof Deddington, Mason
                          Jesse French of North Aston Postmaster
                          John Baker  of Deddington, Slater and Plasterer
                          Leonard Baker of Deddington, Slater and Plasterer

The Indenture records that, as well as the capital sum of £200, Joseph owed one interest payment of £13 6s. 8d. to Laura White and that he had been paying her half yearly, in April, suggesting an interest rate of around 13.33%.  Harry Kilby was owed £2 18s. interest on £58 loaned for approximately 4 months, equating to an interest rate of around !5%.

The Indenture also shows that the Trustees of The Wesleyan Reform Chapel bought the Mission Hall for £147 10s. against Joseph’s borrowings (with unpaid interest) of £213 6s. 8d. from Laura White and £60 18s. from Harry Kilby.   Laura White received £147 from the sale so she lost £66 6s. 8d.  Harry Kilby only received 10s. so he had lost £60 8s.

It is interesting that in March of that year, as the auction was taking place, Joseph negotiated a loan of £100 from his sister–in-law, Miss Franklin of Wendlebury, pledging  all his household goods, stock in trade and crops as security.  Perhaps this was to repay Laura White and Harry Kilby for the shortfall in the sale price of the Mission Hall?

Note:  £258 in 1879 is circa £20,000 today!

The answer as to who Laura is and why she had this sort of money lies in the 1881 census of Shotteswell near Banbury from which one can see that Laura was 25 at the time of the census and a member of a wealthy farming family.

LauraPWhite1881census.mod 

Her father Thomas had died in 1866 leaving a considerable estate of circa £8000 (roughly £700,000 today) - her mother is listed as Head of Family. Her two young brothers - 23 & 20 years old - are farming some 460 acres of land and Laura is an Annuitant i.e. in receipt of an annuity/income from capital. From which one can presume that her father had left her with a sizeable inheritance. According to the register of births for Banbury, she was born between June and August 1855 so she would have just been 21 - the legal age to take control of her inheritance - in October 1876 when the first loan was made. The Malings were a farming family in Deddington so it is possible that they knew each other through the Methodist movement. Harry Kilby would have been Laura's solicitor and possibly her financial advisor and may have decided to join in on the investment. A poor decision/advice as it transpired!

A small footnote to all this is that Laura died in 1909 aged 53 and still a spinster. So her early inheritance had not brought a husband. She left £1928 to her brother Septimus. A postcard photograph exists of her at La Plaisance Private Hotel in Leamington.

In April 1880 it is no suprise to find that Jackson's Journal reports that Joseph is declared bankrupt. His liabilities are estimated at about £900, including £100 advanced on a Bill of Sale in March 1879 by a Miss Franklin of Wendlebury (a sister-in-law of the debtor), on security of the household goods, stock in trade and crops which were all estimated to have a total value of £140.  Charlotte A Malings, Joseph’s sister, was owed £48 9s..  Other principal debtors were Lawes’ Chemical Manure Company   £154 3s 9d., James W Hopcraft, Deddington  £90, John Coggins, Deddington £53 13s., Richard Edmunds, Banbury  £51 15s., P J Perry, Banbury  £11 0s. 6d. and 7 others in Deddington, Banbury Coventry and London.

Note* The Indenture Document:

The original Indenture has been lost. To see an A4 sized photocopy follow this link

To read a transcript follow this link. Quite a few of the words on the original are illegible but sufficient exist to make  sense but some interpretation has been made.