Family History Notebook

Daniel Butler

Son of Richard Butler and Sarah Woodroofe of Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, born 1733 6, 7

Married Ann 3 Morss 8 on the 5th of September 1755 at St Sepulchre, Holburn, London


Mary, baptised on the 12th of October 1756 at St Sepulchre
Daniel, baptised on the 5th of April 1761 at St Sepulchre
William, baptised on the 1st of June 1763 at St Sepulchre

Married Mary Chatfield on the 7th of March 1774 at St Sepulchre, Holburn, London, (daughter of Charles Chatfield, apothecary of Cuckfield 1c, ?baptised on the 6th of December 1748 in Cuckfield, Sussex 2)


Elizabeth, born 24th December 1774, St Sepulchre
Daniel, born on the 30th of November 1776, St Sepulchre
Sarah, born on the 7th of October 1779 St Sepulchre
Mary Ann born on the 25th of November 1782, St Sepulchre
Rebecca born on the 12th of November 1784, St Sepulchre

Died between 28th April 1813 and 6th February 1815

Daniel was  apprenticed in 1748 as a joiner after his father died and went on to become a coffin maker. This developed into an undertaker's business in Fleet Market 5, London by the time his children were born. He moved (retired?) to Camberwell (south of the Thames) by the time he made his will.


"The trade of funeral undertaker developed in London towards the end of the 17th century. An undertaker initially seems to have one or other of the tradesmen who supplied services or furnishings for a funeral, and more especially for a middle-class or aristocratic funeral. The tradesman would operate as a contractor, undertaking to arrange the various components of a funeral around his own trade. Thus the first known undertaker, William Russell, was a coffin maker and painter who came to an arrangement with the College of Arms in 1689. The college agreed to attend funerals organized by Russell for a fee. So rapid was the development of this industry that the aristocratic and heraldic origins were rapidly usurped by the undertaker and his employees. By the middle of the 18th century undertaking was an established profession in the capital, encompassing not only the immediate needs of the bereaved in organizing a funeral, but appraising and selling the contents of houses, arranging the service with the church, and advising on the type of funeral which was seen to be appropriate for the social circumstances of the deceased."

At the sign of the First and Last
The sign of the First and Last
(Trade card 1838)

A Single Horse Hearse kept for removals in Town or Country
Joseph Turner
Coffin Maker & Furnishing Undertaker
The sign of the First & Last
No 1 Farringdon Street
One House from Ludgate Hill
where all orders in the above Branch will be thankfully received
performed with the greatest Punctuality in Town & Country on the
shortest notice
Undertakers & others served with these Article
in the Funeral Business as [chosen] as at our Shop in London

At the sign of the naked boy and coffin
The sign of the Naked Boy and Coffin
(Trade card 1745)

At ye lower Corner of Fleet Lane at ye Signe of ye Naked Boy & Coffin you may be Accommodated wth all things for a Funeral as well ye meanest as those of greater Ability upon Reasonable Terms more particularly Coffins Shrouds Palls Cloaks Sconces Stans Hangings for Rooms Heraldry Hearse & Coaches Gloves wth all other things not here mentioned by Wm.Grinly Coffin Maker.

Published 1993 by the Council for British Archaeology;
Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 2UA
ISBN 1 872414 07 9


1            Daniel Butler registered the birth of his children at Dr William's Library - this implies that he was a
               non-conformist in religious matters.

"However, many dissenters were not recorded at all in Anglican registers.  ..... Non-conformist ministers were often lax in keeping registers. Consequently, in 1742 a General Register of Births of Children of Protestant Dissenters was set up at Dr William's Library. ... Parent paid a small fee to have the date and place of birth of their child (and their own names) recorded." Ancestral Trails, Mark D. Herber 1997 p206

A partial index to the register entries is available on the IGI C146124,  C146138 and in the British Isles Vital Records Index 2nd edition (also from the LDS but available via

Electronic images of the certificates have been obtained from for Elizabeth, Daniel and Mary Ann, and an image of the register entries for Mary Ann and Rebekah. These confirm the father as Daniel Butler, undertaker of Fleet Market, and the mother as Mary, daughter of Charles Chatfield, apothecary of Cuckfield.

The certificates are witnessed by a Mary Needham - Daniel's daughter by his first marriage? She would only have been eighteen at the time.

2          Similar entries exist in the IGI for children of Daniel Butler, linking the births to Cuckfield but not
             identifying the mother as Mary, much less Mary daughter of Charles Chatfield

Elizabeth birth 24 September 1774 died 5 Sep 1808
Daniel birth 30th Nov 1776 - also film 452794
Sarah birth 7 Oct 1779
Mary Ann birth 25th Nov 1782

3          Daniel made a will in 1813 with a codicil on the 11th of August 1814. The will was proved on the 9th of
            February 1815.

In his will he describes a Robert Needham of Piccadilly as his son-in-law. Robert Needham married Mary Butler in 1773. If Robert is to have been Daniel's son-in-law it implies that Daniel married twice, with a daughter of marriageable age at the presumed time of his second marriage. 

Daniel's marriage to Ann Morss has subsequently been located, with children Mary, Daniel and William. Daniel and William presumable died young since Daniel and Mary named a later son Daniel and William is not mentioned in Daniel's will.

4          A Daniel Butler aged 82 was buried in the Bunhill Burial Grounds in 1814, implying a birth date of around
            1732. There is however no evidence to link this to this Daniel Butler other than the year of death and that
            the deaths of the next three generations of Daniel Butler match burials at Bunhill Burial Grounds.

5          Three generations of Daniel Butler were undertakers at 17 Fleet Market, latterly at 17 Farringdon Street,
             from at least 1774 to 1853.  This area developed as the centre of newspaper and general publishing offices.
             By 1868 the fourth generation Francis Butler had moved the business to Lewisham, south of the river. In
             1949 17 Farringdon Street was the home of Mayflower Publishing - which later became an agency to market
             American books which had not been issued in Great Britain.

1960 THE MAYFLOWER GROUP OF PUBLISHERS The Mayflower Publishing Co. Ltd. 41-45 Neal
Street, London, WC2 Telephone: Covent Garden 1416.

6          Ancestry described by Thelma Gillott in Q48 of the Butler Society 'Happy Families'. The details and sources
            have yet to be confirmed.

7        The sale of some land at Portfield in 1755 links this Daniel Butler to the Butlers of Berkhamsted and before
           that back to William Butler who purchased the land in 1673.

8        An Ann Morse, daughter of William and Ann Morse was baptised on the 18th of August 1734 at Farringdon, Berkshire - but she would have been over 21 at the time of the marriage to Daniel Butler, and hence not a minor. (IGI)

An Ann Morss, daughter of William and Sarah Morss, was baptised on the 29th of March 1735 at St Sepulchre, London. Almost certainly the wife of Daniel Butler.

9    A John Butler was an undertaker south of the river at Crucifix Lane