Charles Weddall was listed as a yeoman farmer, which meant that he owned his own land rather than renting it. According to the 1871 census Charles Weddall even though he was 67 years of age was listed as a farmer owning 250 acres of land, employing three laborers and four boys, who could have been between the age of ten and fourteen, not uncommon for the time. These boys were sometimes the sons of other farmers, who hired them out.
Around the time of Edward’s birth the agricultural industry in the area was thriving:
The Pocklington Agricultural Society started in 1847. An Agricultural show was followed by a public dinner with an an impressive number of toasts! Read more from and Extract from the Hull Packet and East Riding Times for July 30, 1847.
Charles Weddall was also a coal merchant, in1844, the same year his son Edward was born he was listed as such in the 1844 Williams & Co. Directory of York. The address of his business is given as Canal-head, Pocklington. It was not unusual for merchants to have their business’ close to canals to transport heavy goods before railways and motorways. However Charles Weddall’s business may not have been as lucrative as it could have as described below by the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society;
The canal was mainly used to carry coal and agricultural produce. It was never a great financial success, partly because goods had to be transferred to horse-drawn carts at the terminus of the canal, adjacent to the Hull-York turnpike road, to continue their journey.
Hodgson, Rt., Canal-head
Peart, James and Josh., Canal and West-green
Weddall, Chas., Canal-head
In spite of their less than thriving coal business the Weddall’s were comparatively well off the standards of the time. Young Edward, unlike his future second wife Emily, would have grown up wanting for nothing. Somehow the agricultural lifestyle did not appeal to Edward Weddall and at the tender age of sixteen he left home and headed to the nearest port, Hull and embarked on a life at sea.