The Tunaley Family History

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Boott and Tunaley connections to James Oakes Snr. & Jnr., owners of the Riddings

Ironworks and Foundry, Derbyshire, that eventually became part of the British Steel Corporation

(by P.H.Tunaley with much source information supplied by J.E. Holmes)

1853-1855 Court Hearings

1857 Court Cases

Download A More Detailed Account of the Mousley and McKenzie cases in pdf format

See also "The McKenzie Letters"


This article highlights the family connections between the Tunaleys, Oakes, Bootts, and Hadens of Derby and also shows the Oakes family's probable influence

at start-up to the ill-fated iron foundry project located on the Mill Dam in Boston's Back Bay, Massachusetts.

These relationships were also put to the test in the years 1853-1855 after a dispute arose between Constantia Tunaley and the executors of the estate of

William Eaton Mousley, solicitor and one-time Mayor of Derby, leading to the various 1853-1855 court hearings (click here for details).

There was also a strong family connection between the Bootts and Mousleys (see below).


The Oakes influence.

Given the closeness of these relationships, there is the probability that both James Oakes Snr. and Jnr., the successful entrepreneurs of the Riddings

Ironworks and Foundry, Derbyshire, were at least partly influential in the startup of the ill-fated iron foundry at Boston's Mill Dam, this foundry project evidently

initiated by John Wright Boott in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Mill Dam was an engineering project involving the enclosure of Boston's Back Bay, allowing tidal waters to drive machinery. In the event, pollution, much of it

sewage from Boston's Charles River, ruined both the project and the businesses that invested in it.

We know for example that Kirk Boott Jnr. spent much time in England consulting and planning with William Strutt about the Lowell project. Hence it is probable that,

at the very least, Boott discussed the setting up of an iron foundry in Boston's Back Bay with the Oakes father and son. Especially as there is no evidence that

any of the Bootts had specialist knowledge in that field of work. We also know that in November 1821, Kirk Boott Jnr. and John Wright Boott were working together on the

planning of the Lowell project - see "Samuel Slater and the Bootts: US Pioneers". This was at the same time as James Oakes Jnr. was expanding his Riddings Ironworks

business, now under the name of James Oakes & Co., that expansion including the opening of collieries in the area.


Brief background to the Court Hearings of 1853-1855

As a result of losing the case "Tunaley v. MacKenzie" in 1824 - click here for "The Dancing Exploits of Thomas Snape Tunaley"- Thomas Snape Tunaley was then faced with

paying all costs incurred.

That case having followed McKenzie's letter of complaint published in the Derby Mercury 30th July, 1823, relating to Thomas Tunaley's refusal to sign "Articles of

Co-Partnership" (click here for "The McKenzie Letters").

In fact those costs were paid on Thomas's behalf by William Eaton Mousley (solicitor) and Mayor of Derby 1845 and 1846. Mousley, at that time, a close neighbour of

Thomas Snape Tunaley and resident in Exeter House on Full Street. Mousley also the brother-in-law of Francis Boott the physician and botanist.

In return, a plot of land owned by the Tunaleys was handed over to Mousley in what appears to have been an informal and covert transaction, for which Mousley made

no payment for the next 29 years.

Following the death of Willam Mousley in 1853, it was wrongly assumed by his executors that the plot was part of Mousley’s estate even though, legally, it was

still owned by the Tunaleys. One witness called to the court hearings that followed was James Oakes (3) because the original James Oakes (1750-1828) and

his son, also James (1786-1845), by now both decesaed, were involved in the leasing and later purchase of the plot with the Oakeses acting as trustees.

William Eaton(1787-1853) was married to Antonietta (nee Hardcastle) the sister of Mary Hardcastle who was married to Francis Boott, the physician and botanist.

William was a prominent solicitor and partner in the firm of Mousley and Barber. He was a magistrate and alderman, and owner of a substantial amount

of local property.

The 1853-1855 Court Hearings


The Tunaley, Haden, Oakes, Boott and Mousley family connections.

1786 Dorothea Snape, c. St. Werburgh's, Derby, 22/2/1759, married James Oakes (1750-1828), 30/5/1786, Weeford, Staffs.

James shareholder, partner and, in 1817, owner of The Riddings Ironworks, Derbyshire, (click here).


1800 Robert Tunaley (1744-1820), married Constantia Snape (1763-1854), sister of Dorothea, 27 Jan 1800. Constantia d. Duffield, nr. Derby, 5th June, 1854 - buried,

Duffield, 10 June 1854, (click here).


1805 Mary Tunaley (1775-1846) m. Francis Boott ("merchant"), All Saints, Derby, 25th July, 1805. Francis cousin of Kirk Boott Jnr. (see below).


1814 Sarah Haden (1788-1860) married James Oakes Jnr. (1786-1845), Derby, 1814. James Jnr. took over the Riddings business when James Snr. died 1828. and remained head

of the family firm until his own death in 1845 after which James Oakes (3) (1816-1868) took over. Finally after James (3) died the business was again taken over

by his brother Thomas Haden Oakes (1819-1902),(click here).


1816 William Eaton Mousley (ca 1787- 1853), solicitor, m. Antonietta Hardcastle (b. 1792-1848), 3rd July 1816, St. Werburgh’s Derby.

Antonietta, sister of Mary Boott (Hardcastle) and sister-in-law of Francis Boott, the physician and botanist. Antonietta christened St. Martin, Birmingham,

10th December 1792. Antonietta and Mary were the daughters of John and Lucy Hardcastle (nee Swift), Lucy having been the childhood friend of Mary Tunaley - see and the suspected illegitimate daughter of Erasmus Darwin.


1818 Ann Haden (1788-1869) married Kirk Boott Jnr., (1790-1837), St. Michael, Derby, 14th November, 1818. Ann died 12th June 1869, Massachusetts. U.S. Immigration

records of 1862 show she spent time in England after twin sister Sarah died 1860.


1820 Francis Boott (1792-1863), physician and botanist, m. Mary Hardcastle (1795-1871), 3rd July 1820, St. Werburgh’s Derby. Mary daughter of Lucy Hardcastle (nee Swift)



Final Note:


"1847: James Oakes (3) erected the world`s first oil refinery at Riddings Ironworks. It yielded 300 gallons of oil a day which was distilled into paraffin oil for lamps".

For further details of the Oakes family's achievements go to:


The 1853-1855 Court Hearings

The 1857 Court Cases

Download a Full Detailed Account in pdf format

"The Last Will and Testament of Kirk Boott Snr. and the Travails of John Wright Boott"