The Applegaths

The Applegaths were a prominent Baptist family from south London during much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Elizabeth Lanfear’s grandmother was Sarah Applegath. After the death of her first husband, Thomas Hays c. 1735, she married Capt. Thomas Hills (d. 1774), thus tying these three South London families together for the next century. The Applegaths worshiped primarily in the Baptist congregation at Carter Lane, during the ministry of John Gill (1697-1771), the famed Calvinist theologian. In 1779 Ann Lepard, a member at Carter Lane and Mary Hays’s close friend during her teenage years, married Henry Parker, most likely the son of James Parker, the Hays's neighbor in Gainsford Street and probably a member  at Carter Lane. The Parkers will live at Ballam and are visited on a few occasions by Mary Hays and Eccles. Henry Parker dies in 1782. On 14 October 1784, Ann Lepard Parker married Augustus Joseph Applegath (c. 1753-1816) at St. Mary Woolnoth. His father was, like Capt. Hills, for a time a sea captain employed with the East India Company. Their son, also named Augustus Applegath (1788-1871), would later become a prominent Baptist layman famous for improvements in printing and the inventor of the vertical printing press. Applegath set up his printing works in Stamford Street, London, and shortly afterwards was appointed engineer to The Times. His press was exhibited at the Great Exhibition. Among the Applegaths’ children, besides Augustus, are a Joseph Applegath (1792-1859) who married Mary Lepard (most likely a relation of Ann) and later emigrated to Edwardsville, Illinois; and Ann Applegath (1794-1836), who married Edward Shickle Cowper (1790-1852). Cowper served for many years as head of the Department of Engineering at King’s College, London. His work with Augustus Applegath, his brother-in-law, led to significant improvements in the newspaper printing press. His son, Edward Alfred Cowper (1819-1893), became one of the leading mechanical engineers of his day, supervising the redesigning of the Crystal Palace between 1852 and 1854. See Church Book, Horsley-down and Carter Lane, 1719-1808, at Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, fols. 10, 16, 23, and 25.