Quorn historical image   Quorn Village On-line Museum

Wednesday 18th May 2022  

Thomas Delarue from Quorn, 1791 to 1878

Behind so many names in old Quorn records lay stories that have been lost in the passage of time. Thankfully, due to interested descendants and researchers, some of these stories have been investigated, recorded and kindly passed on to Quorn Village On-line Museum website. This piece of research was kindly sent to the museum team by Peter Duckers.

Early Days
Thomas Delarue was born in Loughborough on 19th September 1790, the son of James De La Rew, and Jane (nee Dexter), who were early members of the Baptist church. He later moved to Quorn and became a framework knitter working in lace.

The name Delarue occurs in a wide range of variations, which include De-la-Rew, Delaroux, Delarowe, Dillerowe, Dilirowe, Dellerew and others, sometimes reflecting a simple mis-reading of manuscript material e.g. Delarne (reading 'n' for 'u'), Delevan etc. This makes research very complicated.

Military History
Thomas took part in the Peninsular War (1807–1814), which was fought by Spain, Britain and Portugal against France, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars.

On 20th September 1807 he enlisted into the 95th Rifles and by 1810 had been posted to their newly-raised 3rd Battalion, when a few of its companies were sent to Cadiz, where he occurs in the musters. He served in the same battalion until discharged on 14th June 1815 after returning from North America.

The muster rolls for 3/95th, show his service in North America in 1814 and presumably presence at the battle of New Orleans on 8th January 1815. Both Captains James Travers and Nicholas Travers were wounded at New Orleans, Private Delarowe (Delarue) serving in Capt. N. Travers' company. The battalion arrived in Deal from ’foreign service’ on 2nd June 1815, Delarowe appearing in that muster, and he was discharged on the 14th at Shornecliffe depot.

After Leaving the Army
In pension papers Thomas is described as being nearly blind in his left eye and having incipient cataracts in both eyes; he stated that he had lost his left eye (presumably meaning its vision) due to exposure at Hythe in Kent.

After leaving the army in 1815, Thomas returned to live in Quorndon (now known as Quorn) and initially appears as a frame work knitter - using machinery extensively used for lace making - but was later was listed as an agricultural labourer, perhaps reflecting his loss of vision or the downturn affecting the lace industry.

Marriage and Children
His first wife was Mary Squire, daughter of John and Sarah Squire of Woodthorpe and they were married on 15th April 1816 at All Saints Church in Loughborough. They are recorded as living in Quorn in 1821. Four of their children were baptised in Quorn in 1837 - Ann (born 15th June 1817); Jane, born 18th January 1824); Sarah (born 20th Aug. 1826); Thomas (born 18th June 1830). All were ‘registered’ in the General Baptist Chapel on Meeting Street on 8th July 1837 by Edward Pywell, the ‘Protestant Dissenting Minister’ at Quorn. It seems that whole families in Quorn were ‘registered’ together on that day.

Mary died in 1839 and Thomas Delarue then married the widow Mary Rudkin (nee Sarson; first married to Joseph Rudkin of Quorndon) in Quorndon on 2nd April 1840 after banns and was himself described then as a widower and a laceworker. Mary Rudkin was older than Thomas and died in the last quarter of 1849 in Barrow-on-Soar district - he is a widower again in the 1851 census.

Timeline for Thomas Delarue
1841 Census:
Living in Chapel Street [now Meeting Street], Quorndon, as a lace worker aged 50, with wife Mary (60) with daughters Jane (15) and Sarah (14), both lace workers and children of his earlier marriage.

1851 Census:
Living in Leicester Road, Quorndon, a widower and agricultural labourer, living with his daughter Sarah aged 24, who was keeping house and grand-daughter Mary Anne aged 2, born in Quorndon.

1861 Census:
Living in Leicester Road, Quorndon, a widower and agricultural labourer, living with his daughter Sarah, now a stocking stitcher aged 34, and grand-daughters Anne, aged 12 and Jane, aged six, both born in Quorndon.

In 1866, as a "labourer in husbandry", he was given £2 at the Loughborough Agricultural Show as the longest serving member of a benefit club.

1871 Census:
He is presumably the Thomas "Dellerhue" aged 80, born in Loughborough, living in the Old Men's Hospital in Barrow-on-Soar (near Quorndon) - an almshouse complex established in 1689 to house and care for a number of elderly local men and still in use as housing for the elderly.

1874 - Pension increased to 1/6d per day, recording his increasing blindness.

1878 - Thomas died on 20th or 26th September 1878 aged 88, at 55 Colton Street in Leicester, the home of his son Thomas and his wife, Eliza. So he had moved out of the Hospital, perhaps after only a temporary stay. The Notice of Death in the Leicester Chronicle (named as "Delarne") gives 26th September; a later Obituary in the same paper (named as "Delarue") gives 20th.

Leicester Chronicle 5th October 1878
Death of a Pensioner. — Our obituary last week contained a notice of the death of Mr. Thomas Delarue, which took place at his residence, Colton-street, on the 20th ult. The deceased was an old veteran, and had seen a good deal of active service. In 1810, when 20 years old, he enlisted in the 95th Foot, and fought in the Peninsula war under Wellington, at Salamanca, and on other fields, for which he received the medal and clasps. Since 1874 he had had a pension of 1/6 per day.

Military General Service Medal
Below are Thomas’s discharge papers from Army and the Military General Service Medal with four clasps, ie Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Vittoria and Toulouse. This medal, although awarded for service up to 1814, was not issued until 1847, so many men missed out, either because they did not live long enough or they didn’t bother to claim it or even know about it. They also had to remember what actions they had taken part in many years after the event.
According to Rifle Green in the Peninsula, by Caldwell and Cooper, Delarue should/could have claimed more clasps than he eventually did. Examining his presence in the muster rolls, the authors conclude that he should have had:

Barrosa - he served ("on duty") in No.1 Company under Capt. Knipe who was killed in the battle.
Ciudad Rodrigo (claimed)
Salamanca (claimed)
Vittoria (claimed)
Toulouse (claimed)

If correct, this would have given Thomas Delarue a 10-clasp medal.

After Barrosa, Delarue seems to have served only in No. 4 Company, 3rd Battalion, firstly under Captain Jas. Travers (at Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz and Salamanca), then under Capt. Wm. Balvaird (Vittoria and Pyrenees), then Wm. Cox (Nivelle and Nive) and finally under Capt. Nicholas Coulthurst Travers, in whose company he was serving at Orthes and Toulouse (and at New Orleans) and when discharged on 14th June 1815 - two days before some of his comrades in 3/95th served at Waterloo!

 Submitted on: 2021-10-10
 Submitted by: Peter Duckers
 Artefact ID: 2469

   Quorn Village On-line Museum
 copyright notice