(Family history research into the SHOPLAND family)                                                                                                   History
My Great Grandfather, Edwin SHOPLAND (1861-1929)

by Rita Rainbird (nee Shopland)
Edwin had also trained as a blacksmith but he didn’t want to take on the family business and instead asked his father for his inheritance. Now his father was really angry and upset to hear this news and gave his eldest son a guinea and told him, in no uncertain words, ‘to push off’. So Edwin went out into the big wide world to seek his fortune!

From the 1881 census Edwin is in Plymouth lodging with Mr Jabez Hill, a shopkeeper, and Mrs Hill together with 10 other lodgers from all walks of life: there is a police constable, three smiths (including Edwin), a boot maker, a grocer’s assistant, four tailors and a clerk. Edwin met his wife Ann Elizabeth Symons who came from Tavistock, Devon and they were married soon after. A son, James, was born and Ann was pregnant with my grandfather, also Edwin, when Edwin the elder decided that he wasn’t earning enough. So he answered an advert from the Great Zaruma Gold Mining Company, Limited, who had offices in London, and was taken on as a ‘Shoe and Mining Smith’. However, he had to work in Ecuador!

He signed his contract on 4th May 1885 agreeing to work for three years for £15 per month. The contract reads as follows:

Memorandum of Agreement.
Great Zaruma Gold Mining Company, Limited London, 4 May 1885

It is this day mutually agreed between John Charles Handfield, Secretary of the Great Zaruma Gold Mining Company, Limited, London, of the one part, and Edwin Shopland of Tavistock, Devon, of the other part.

I. That the said Edwin Shopland shall proceed by steamer from Southampton on the seventeenth day of May with all due despatch for the consideration hereafter mentioned to the company’s Mines situated at Zaruma, in the province of Loja, in the Republic of Ecudador, in accordance with the written instructions hereto annexed, and employ himself as Shoeing & Mining Smith or in any other way in which his services may be required by the General Manager at the Works of the said Company for the period of three years from the date of his arrival at his destination.

II. That the said Edwin Shopland shall attend to his duty to the utmost of his knowledge and ability during the period of his engagement, shall keep working time according to the Rules of the said Company, and work whenever required, by day or night, beyond such working time, for which the said Edwin Shopland shall be paid wages as specified in Article 5 of this Agreement, which wages shall cover all extra time that he may be required to work; the length of continuous work not to exceed nine hours consecutively.

III. That the whole number of working days that the said Edwin Shopland shall be absent from his work for any cause other than sickness, during the period of his engagement with the said Company, shall be fully worked up by him before the termination of his engagement, or in default thereof a reduction proportionate to the length of such absence shall be made from his wages.

IV. That the said Edwin Shopland shall receive half-pay when unavoidably absent through sickness.

V. That the said Edwin Shopland shall receive wages during the term of his engagement at the rate of fifteen pounds (£15) per month or its equivalent in value in the Currency of the Republic during the said term, any increase of wages to depend on a satisfactory report of the ability and conduct of the said Edwin Shopland from the General Manager or other authorised representative of the said Company, such wages to cover all claims whatsoever against the Company on the part of the said E. Shopland.

VI. That the said Company shall reserve in their hands ten per cent of the amount of wages payable under this Agreement to the said Edwin Shopland as security for the due fulfilment of his contract, the accumulated sum from such researve to be paid to the said Edwin Shopland at the termination of his engagement.
VII. That the said Edwin Shopland shall be provided with a free Second class passage to his destination, or a sum sufficient to defray the expenses of the same, including provisions while travelling. Wages will commence from the date of leaving England enroute to Zaruma, Ecuador.

VIII. That the said Edwin Shopland during and throughout his engagement agrees to abstain from all irregularity, to obey the laws of the Country, and to conduct himself soberly and properly.

IX. That in case the said Edwin Shopland should through neglect or misconduct fail to comply with the terms of this Agreement, the Company or their General Manager or other authorised Representative in Ecuador shall have power to discharge the said Edwin Shopland immediately, without any notice, and he shall forfeit any wages that may be due to him at the date of such discharge.

In witness whereof the said parties have hereunto set their hands the day and year above written.

Witness: A. Francis Signed: Edwin Shopland
Witness: J. Minch Signed: J. C. Hadfield

His sailing instructions read;

The said Edwin Shopland will proceed to Southampton on 16th May and report himself to Messrs Dunlop & Co., who will provide him with lodging for the night. He will embark the next morning 17th inst on board the Royal Mail Steamship ‘Nile’ then about to sail.

On arrival at Guayaquil he will report himself to Mr Chambers Her Majesty’s Consul who will forward him to his destination, Zaruma. End of Sailing Instructions.

Well, I don’t know anything about his years in Zaruma and it is now too late for anyone else to tell me. But, he did return in July, 1887 and his reference given to him from the company reads:

Great Zaruma Gold Mining Co., Limited
Zaruma, Ecuador, 25th July 1887
I certify that Edward Shopland is under a three year contract with this company as Mine Smith and Shoer over two years of which has been served under my management to my entire satisfaction, and I can recommend him as a steady and capable workman.

Signed: H. M Nicolas
General Manager.

So Edwin returned to Tavistock collected his wife and two sons, who had been staying with his in-laws and went back to Broadwood. From the 1891 census the family (now including a daughter) was staying at the Blacksmith’s Cottage presumably with his father and mother. Another son was born in 1895 in Stonehouse, (Plymouth), Devon, so Edwin and family must have moved there sometime before this date. In the 1901 census Edwin and family are at 130 Union Street, East Stonehouse, Devon, and he is a master butcher.

According to family stories, Edwin and his family rented a couple of rooms just down from 130 Union Street and as the business prospered, he was able to buy 130 Union Street and move his family in. His sons, James and Edwin, and his daughter, Jane, all worked in the shop but did not receive weekly wages. Instead, their father would buy a property in Plymouth, hand them the deeds and say that the property was their wages. I have Jane’s rent book and she owned quite a few properties and collected the rent from them on a weekly basis.

Son James took over the shop while the other son, Edwin, decided he wanted to be a policeman and joined the Stonehouse police force, eventually moving to London to join the Metropolitan police force (but that’s another story!).

Edwin the elder died on the 14th February 1929 at 130 Union Street and was buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas church, Broadwoodwidger.
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Edwin SHOPLAND (1861-1929)
Edwin Shopland was born  on 18th March 1861, the eldest of seven children, in the Blacksmith's Cottage at Grinicombe Moor, Broadwoodwidger, Devon.  His father and grandfather were the village blacksmiths, the business having started around 1832 when his grandfather moved to Broadwood.
Headstone of Edwin SHOPLAND and his wife Elizabeth Ann (nee SYMONS)