RICHARD WILLIAM MASTERS
Richard Masters was born in the little village of Walcote which lies about 24 kms south of Leicester. The turn off to the village meanders through Misterton for about one kilometre. Misterton was originally the larger village until a series of plague attacks diminished its population. St Leonards Church is situated on a hill overlooking Misterton, with Walcote just in the distance. The church was a focal point for the people of both villages as it recorded important events in the lives of those who lived there. Each Sunday those from Walcote would follow the well-worn track that wove through the fields and paddocks of the surrounding countryside to attend the Sunday service.
Richard's parents John and Ann Masters were farming people. John had originally come from Arnesby, just north-east of Walcote. Ann came from north east of Leicester - a little village called Twyford. They would have met at the markets in Leicester, and their wedding day 6 November 1827, was Tuesday, Leicester's market day. Ann was pregnant with their daughter Elizabeth. They married at St Mary de Castro Church in Leicester and moved to live in Walcote.
Being a wool area (Border Leicester sheep originated from this region) knitting stockings was a common employment among the villagers of Walcote and Misterton, John and the men from other Masters families who lived in Walcote remained as farming labourers. In 1841 when the first census was taken, Richard was 10 years of age and his sister Elizabeth was 13. Their younger brother, Joel was one year old. By 1851, Elizabeth was married to blacksmith, Thomas Archer, and Richard was listed as a farmer's son, and it is assumed that he worked for his father. Joel was attending the local school.