William and Martha Wale were engaged in the Framework Knitting business from this cottage on Elder Lane. William Wales was clearly an entrepreneurial gentleman as the census statements for Wales cottage demonstrate how William and Martha’s occupations changed to adapt to the times:-
1851 census William Wale aged 35 occupation Stocking makers, cotton and thread, his wife Martha was a stocking seamer finishing the garments. The description of their trade suggests that they were buying and selling thread and owned the frames that the garments were made on.
1861 census he has further diversified describing his occupation as Family Hosier and Designer, employing four men and is now engaged in retail.
1871 census, William now 55 is listed as a Druggist and Licensed Pharmaceuticals but still there is a stocking seamer and Framework Knitter living at the property.
1881 now 65 Wale is described as a Chemist. Presumably his frame work knitting activities had come to an end by then. At the time Doctors were only affordable by the rich, and Dr ‘John’ Wales as he was known would have supplied an affordable alternative.
The following paragraph comes from an article in the Coalville times dated 28/7/1978:-
A Mrs. Pearl Walker, who lived in Kingsway, Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear at the time the article was written, was born in Wales Cottage in Griffydam. She was a distant relative of John Massey who was her grandmother’s uncle. She was also the great grand-daughter of “Doctor” John Wales who was known around the district for his herbal cures.
The title “Doctor” was purely a courtesy one it seems, for the healer had no recognised qualification. He had however, a widespread fame for his skill and his kindness to people in sickness and in trouble.
William presumably changed his name to John to differentiate between his two professions.
William and Martha Wale, daughter Annie (who died at 14yrs old) are all buried in Griffydam graveyard.
Wales Cottage Today