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John Trotter Senior (1736–1790): A Timeline

1713 John Trotter Senior was born in Castelsheill, Berwickshire in 1713, one of eleven known children of Alexander Trotter and Jean Steuart, including Archibald (b. 1717), Thomas (b. 1716) and William (b. 1719).
1747 According to Clive Edwards, Tom Trotter [John’s brother] and Robert Young were in business together in Edinburgh in this year.1
1749 A newspaper advertisement records him in business at Frith Street, Soho in this year.2
1752 John Trotter Senior married Anne Locke ( –1759), by whom he had four children, none of whom followed him into the business.
1755 Alexander Trotter (1755– ), eldest son of Archibald Trotter (one of John’s brothers) was born.3
1756 John Trotter (1756–1833), second son of Archibald was born. He was later to become a partner of his uncle John and a highly successful military contractor, and later a close friend of William Southwell senior.
1759 A letter from the Countess of Leinster’s sister exists which refers in some detail to two chairs being made for the Countess at Carton House by J Trotter of Frith Street, Soho, London.4
1761 John Broadwood aged 29 (therefore born ca. 1732) arrived in London to seek his fortune. He is said to be the eldest son of the village “wright” or carpenter of Oldhamstocks in the Lothian Hills, south of Edinburgh.5

Over eighty years later a historical ‘snippet’ column of the Leeds Mercury in December 1843 reads as follows:
Mr Broadwood, the celebrated pianoforte maker, London, and the late Mr Trotter, cabinet maker, Princes-street Edinburgh, were at one time fellow apprentices to the village wright at Innerwick, in the east of Haddingtonshire.6
1764 The dissolution of a partnership between Charles Smith, George Smith Bradshaw and John Trotter was reported in The London Gazette.7
1773 By this year John Trotter Senior (the cabinet maker) had bought the estate of Horton, at Epsom in Surrey. This is proved by an entry in the parish records for that year.8
1785 John Trotter occupied 5 Soho Square from 1785–90.
1787 In this year Anne Trotter (daughter of John Senior) married her cousin Robert Trotter, who by this time had become Postmaster General of Edinburgh.9
1790 John Trotter Senior died – a very wealthy man. His will was proved on 4 July 1790.10

1 Clive Edwards Turning Houses into Homes; A History of the Retailing and Consumption of Domestic Furnishing (Ashgate, 2005).
2 The London Daily Advertiser, 30 October 1749.
3 Archibald Trotter (another brother) had three sons: John (1756– ) – who would later become a military contractor and was a close friend of William Southwell Senior; Alexander (1755– ); and Coutts (1765– ). Alexander Trotter was to become paymaster for the navy and was to become publicly discredited with Lord Melville in 1805. He retired to spend the remainder of his life on his estate at Dreghorn.
4 The Knight of Glin and James Peill, Irish Furniture: Woodwork and Carving in Ireland from earliest times to the Act of Union, New Haven, 2007, 129.
5 History of Broadwood website:
6 The Leeds Mercury Saturday, 16 December 1843.
7 The London Gazette (10411), 21 April 1764 p3.
8 Surrey History Centre, Woking , Collection ref: 3132. EPSOM, ST MARTIN: ADDITIONAL PARISH RECORDS 1770-1899. Series ref: 3132/2/VESTRY. Additional rate for legal costs of hearings concerning common rights, 1770-1772. Complaint about illegal enclosure of common by John Trotter Esq. of Horton, 1773. Accessed 12 March 2008.
9 Robert Trotter, Post Master General of Edinburgh -see
10 The National Archives, Kew. PROB 11/1194. The main beneficiaries were his eldest son James (to whom he left his estate at Horton in Surrey), his son John (in the armed forces – not the military contractor, who was his nephew); and his daughter Ann (still Trotter as her husband is named as Robert Trotter).
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