Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Rastrick

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1822. Letter to the Grand Jury.

John Rastrick (1738-1826), Civil Engineer, of Morpeth

1738 Born the son of William Rastrick (1695-1772), Millwright, and his wife Sarah Donaldson. His grandfather (father to William Rastrick) was also called John Rastrick (1651-1729).

1738 October 15th. Baptised at Mitford, Northumberland

1764 Became a member of the Worshipful Company of House-Carpenters and Millwrights

1766 Married Catherine Reed (1st) and had three daughters

1774 Married Mary Urpeth (2nd) (1750-1784) and had three sons and three daughters

1776. 'JOHN RASTRICK, Engineer, Mill-wright, and Pump-maker, Morpeth. FINDING it has been reported that he intends soon to leave Morpeth, takes this method of acquainting the public, he has no such design, but carries on his business in all its branches as usual. He draws plans in the most accurate manner; constructs, upon the most approved plans, all sorts of mills for the manufacturing of corn, iron, woollen, linen, paper, and snuff; also saw-mills, and has lately invented one, to be worked by one person only. He was likewise the inventor of the triangular spindles, whose utility is known to many. He builds cranes, pile and hydraulical engines, rasping and chipping engines for logwood, etc. piers, quays, dam-heads, and fishing locks, etc. etc. He returns his grateful thank; for the many favours received, begs leave to solicit a continuance of them, and humbly hopes for the encouragement of the public in general. N. N. Models of his inventions to be seen at his house; and Gentlemen, having commands for him, are requested to direct for John Rastrick, as there is another person of the name of Rastrick in Morpeth.'[1]

c1776 Birth of daughter Hannah. Her death is recorded in 1866 and says she was the daughter of John Rastrick, civil engineer, of Morpeth.[2]

1771 Patented the 'Imperial barrel-churn'

1779 'PATENT CHURN. JOHN RASTRICK, Engineer, Millwright, and Inventor and Proprietor of the IMPERIAL or PATENT CHURN, takes this method of informing those who have been pleased to transmit him orders for his Patent Churn, that the only obstacle that has hitherto prevented him from a more early fulfilling such orders, was the numerous applications he has of late received, and the multiplicity of other business under his immediate care and direction. The latter circumstance being partly removed, by engaging more workmen for the business, he is now able to execute their orders with greater facility and dispatch: And is happy to find this very useful invention is so generally introduced into the Dairy......... JOHN RASTRICK, Civil Engineer'[3]

1780 January 26th. Birth of son John Urpeth Rastrick at Bullers Green, Morpeth

1788 Built a lighthouse at Blyth

1790 August. Advertisement. 'Washing Machines, Steam Engines, Machines for Threshing Corn etc,' [4]

1796 Involved in the building of an iron bridge at Sunderland

1798 Married (3rd) to Anna Tewling 'the widow of a jeweller of Charing Cross'

1799 'To the PUBLIC. AN Advertisement having appeared in the Papers of last Week, from Mr. Meikle, the Patentee, or pretended Patentee, of Threshing Machines, contradicting in toto the Statement which I had laid before the Public, concerning the Action pending between us, as to the Right of erecting these Machines: I beg Leave to restate......JOHN RASTRICK, Civil Engineer, Morpeth, March 7th 1799.[5]

1801 Involved with the bridge at Weldon Mill, nine miles north of Morpeth

1822 Letter by John Rastrick. Dated Morpeth March 4th 1822 in which he claims that he invented the thrashing machine and that his invention was stolen by ‘so base a Scotchman’ who then went on to patent the idea.[6]

1826 June 8th. Died and left his estate to his four daughters and three sons.

1837 Death of Miss Rastrick, eldest daughter of the late John Rastrick.[7]

The Rastricks - Civil Engineers

A Paper Read before The Newcomen Society by H. W. Dickinson and Arthur Lee - Taken from The Engineer Journal of 1924/03/07.

"The family originated in what is now the parish and township of Rastrick - mentioned as Rastric in the Domesday Survey of 1083- in the West Riding of Yorkshire. There there lived from 1651 to 1729 a certain John Rastrick, who in the troublous times of the Revolution of 1688 he came impoverished and migrated to Morpeth in Northnmberland. His son William (1695- 1725) was a millwright at, Morpeth and his grandson John (1738-1826) followed the same occupation. It is with him that our story opens, for he was a man of considerable ability. He was the inventor of the "Imperial barrell churn," which was the earliest churn of any kind to be patented. The credit of having invented the thrashing machine, usually attributed to Andrew Meikle, was claimed by Rastrick, among others. It is not the place here to go into the early history of the machine. The genesis of Meikle's invention is stated to have been a model which was sent to him by Sir Francis Kinloch of Gilmerton, Bart, who had based his model on a machine he had seen erected by a Mr. Smart in 1772 at Wark, near Morpeth... " Read more here

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Newcastle Courant - Saturday 20 January 1776
  2. Western Daily Press - Wednesday 12 September 1866
  3. Newcastle Courant - Saturday 07 August 1779
  4. The Times, Thursday, Aug 26, 1790
  5. Newcastle Courant - Saturday 09 March 1799
  6. Original letter auctioned by Mullock's in 2014
  7. Newcastle Journal - Saturday 28 January 1837