Barking and District Historical Society

Go to content

Main menu

J.P. Shawcross

Articles > People > S-Z

I recently bought a first edition  of J.P. Shawcross's History of Dagenham. This had Basil T. Fanshawe's bookplate pasted onto the front inside board. Tipped into the book was a letter, presumably to Basil T. Fanshawe, from Shawcross requesting his ancient family to buy copies of the book. This sparked my curiosity and I spent an hour on the internet, from the comfort of my armchair and compiled the notes below. Scans and photographs of the book, letter and book plate are appended. This book is now housed in Valence House Local Studies Centre.

John Peter Shawcross 1863-1929

John Peter Shawcross was baptised on 9th August 1863 at Northwood in the potteries, Staffordshire, the second son of William Shawcross (1834-1900), a clergyman schoolmaster who came from Wittingham, Lancashire and Hannah (born 1831) who came from Castleton, Derbyshire.

He married Henrietta Maria Sale (1858-1948), who had been born in Ramsgate, Kent in 1856, in Paddington in the autumn of 1893. She died, a 90 year old widow, at Wood End House, Wood End Hayes on 6th January 1948 leaving an estate of almost £25,000. They had a son, Leonard (1898-1977) who was born in 1898 and educated at Twyford School, near Winchester. Another child died before 1911.  John Peter Shawcross of 18 Portland Place, Brighton died on 2nd June 1929 leaving an estate of £10,195.

On the 1871 census Shawcross is listed as a seven year old scholar, living with his parents William, aged 37 – a schoolmaster, and mother Hannah, aged 40 and his elder brother William, aged 12, and a two month old sister Louisa in Shelton, Staffordshire. John matriculated at Oxford University, non-collegiate, on 13th October 1883 aged 20. He achieved 1st class honours in his B.A. degree in 1886 and achieved his M.A. in 1889.

J.P. Shawcross came from a family of clerics. His father, William, and brother, William Henry Shawcross, were both clergymen. He was appointed deacon, priest and became curate of Holt, Worcestershire in 1887. In 1891 he was lodging at Little Witley, Worcestershire. He served here for six years before being appointed Vicar of St. Chad’s, Chadwell Heath in 1893.  Shawcross served his flock of 2,000 souls here from 1893-1895 with a gross annual income of £212, £193 net, plus a house.  The 1901 census records him, aged 37, his wife Maria, aged 45, and their 3 year old son Leonard living at St. Chad’s Vicarage in the High Road. With them them was a visitor, Susannah Lewis, living on her own means aged 50 and no less than four servants - a cook, two maids, and a nurse. In the first edition of his History of Dagenham, published in 1904 he describes himself as Vicar of Chadwell Heath and Chaplain to the West ham County Borough Asylum.

By 1911 he was Chaplain to the Winchester Union, but only had two servants. He was then living at Kenley, Barnes Close, St. Cross, Winchester. This is the address he used on the letter presumably sent to Basil T. Fanshawe on 25th January 1905.
He served as Vicar of Bengeworth, Worcestershire from 1917-1926.

J.P. Shawcross penned several books and pamplets. He published A Short Sketch of Goodmayes of eight pages in 1902, but he is probably best known for his authoritative History of Dagenham which was first published by Skeffingtons in 1904 and republished in 1908.  Following a popular address for the Shakespeare tercentenary, published in 1916, he wrote an account of Bengeworth, near Evesham in Worcestershire. Shawcross took a great interest in local history and was a member of the Royal Historical Society and Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society





A Short Sketch of Goodmayes

8 pages


A History of Dagenham

327 pages


The History of Dagenham  

327 pages. Second & Cheaper Edition


The Daily Biographer, consisting of short lives for every day of the year

387 pages


The Shakespeare Tercentenary

14 pages. Popular address


Bengeworth: being some account of the history of the Church and Parish

155 pages 17 plates

W.H.G 20/6/2014

Barnes close

Jan 25. 1905

Dear Sir,
 Many thanks for your letter & cheque. I send you a 2nd copy.

I am glad you like the book and should be grateful if you would get members of your ancient family to take copies. I have to meet the Publisher’s a/c next month, and would send copies for 6/5d [32p] post free.

The book has been favourably reviewed by the press.

With thanks
Yours v. truly
J.P. Shawcross

Back to content | Back to main menu