Articles on the History of Essex, Researching your Ancestors, and British History

The long-distance postman

Finchingfield, the Village 1903, Essex.  (Neg. 50569)  © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005.
Finchingfield, the Village 1903
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

Samuel Wyatt who walked over 225,498 miles delivering letters.

In our days of motor cars and other forms of transport it is easy to forget that before their invention the only form of transport were horses and horse drawn carriages. But they were for the well-off. Postmen of the time had to walk their rounds, which in the country often consisted of several villages. Walking in all weathers on often badly constructed roads, the postman had a challenging job.

This is from the Essex Standard newspaper. Sadly we do not know whether Samuel received a pension or other reward for his hard work.

A memorial has been forwarded by Lord Western to his grace the Duke of Richmond, as Postmaster General, from Samuel Wyatt, the indefatigable foot postman from Braintree to Rayne, Saling, Bardfield, Finchingfield, and Weathersfield.

It had previously been signed by the Magistrates in Braintree division, the clergy, four bankers, and nearly all the respectable inhabitants in the district, who most readily attached their signatures to bear testimony to the honest and faithful manner in which Wyatt had fulfilled his duties.

The memorial states that applicant had been appointed by B J Bartlett, Esq., the then surveyor of the district, commenced walking the 22nd of May, 1803, and continued four days a week until October the 5th, 1811 - from that time to the present [1833] for six days in the week - walking 26 miles per day - having been absent during that period but five days with permission, and five days in consequence of sickness and lameness.

That applicant has walked in the service of the General Post Office 26 miles a day for 8,673 days, making in all 225,498 miles.

Now in his 54th year, having enjoyed general good health and a strong constitution, but feeling himself declining and not equal to the task, humby hope that something will be done for his benefit.

The Essex Standard 28 December 1833

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