Mary Isaac❤️William Palmer

We had a lovely day out with friends yesterday, having a picnic in the grounds of Kingston Lacy NT near Wimborne, Dorset. We left home a bit earlier than needed, as there was a car boot sale en route! So glad we did!
I found this fabulous photo, it’s rather large, I’m trying not to buy large, but sometimes you just have to! After having a quick look on Ancestry when we got home, for more details of Mary, I found her birth, marriage in Somerset and then her death in Reading, my home town. What a coincidence! and there was more!

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Meet Mary Isaac, who was born into a Quaker Family from Somerset, and went on to marry William Palmer & have three sons that became the Palmers of the famous Biscuit makers Huntley and Palmers of Reading, Berkshire.

Here’s a brief family history of her:

Mary Isaac was born on 10 June 1785 in Sturminster Newton, Dorset her parents were William Isaac and Elizabeth Clark, below is the record of Mary’s parents marriage on 27 Jul 1774 in Somerset. Quaker Records and most Non Conformist records are wonderful to read, so much detail.

1774 b1774 a1774 c

This document below is Mary Isaac’s marriage to William Palmer on 29 April 1812 in Longsutton, Somerset.

Mary Isaac m William Palmer.jpg


Long Sutton LM_Page_1_Image_0002
This is the Quaker Meeting house in Long Sutton, Somerset where Mary and William married, it’s still there.


Mary and William had four children during their marriage. George 1818-1897. then Samuel 1820-1903. Then a daughter Mary Owens 1822-1844. Lastly William Isaac 1824-1893. Sadly William died in 1826, so never got to see the success of his sons.

Mary died on 21 December 1880 at Kendrick House, Reading, Berkshire, at the age of 95.

I have as usual compiled a small Public Tree for the family, direct link here: Isaac & Palmer Family Tree

This is a Timeline below of Huntley and Palmers Biscuit Company from their Website, with a direct link here: Huntley and Palmers

J. Huntley & Son biscuit bakery opens in London Street
Joseph Huntley junior opens tin making and ironmongery shop (later Huntley, Boorne & Stevens) opposite the bakery
George Palmer becomes Thomas Huntley’s partner. He was a distant cousin and a fellow Quaker. The business is renamed Huntley & Palmer
Eight agents are appointed across the country to sell Huntley & Palmer biscuits. George was ambitious and wanted to rapidly expand the business
A new factory opens in a former silk works on Kings Road employing 41 men and boys

Despite the successful move to the new factory in 1846, Thomas Huntley was increasingly concerned about rising costs which were not being met by profits. At the same time George Palmer wrote to Thomas Huntley complaining that he was not taking his fair share of responsibility. In 1847 George Palmers brother, Samuel, was brought into the firm to run the new London Office.

George, Samuel and William Palmer

1851 William Isaac Palmer, the youngest brother of George, became factory manager at a salary of £200 per year.
Thomas Huntley dies
William Isaac and Samuel Palmer join George as partners. Business renamed Huntley & Palmers
London Street shop closes
Joseph Leete becomes continental representative
H&P receives Royal Warrants from Leopold II of Belgium and Napoleon III of France
H&P awarded a first prize at Paris Exhibition
Becomes a private limited company and renamed Huntley & Palmers Ltd
Awarded two first prizes at Paris Exhibition
Huntley & Palmers provided ordinary and specially made emergency biscuits to the ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole, led by Captain Scott
H&P makes army biscuits and artillery shell cases during World War I
H&P buys Huntley, Boorne & Stevens, tin box makers
King George V visits factory
H&P forms Associated Biscuit Manufacturers Ltd with Peek Frean of London
Huntley & Palmers opens a new factory at La Courneuve, near Paris
The company exhibits at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, in London
Edward, Prince of Wales, visits the H&P factory in Reading
A new office building opens in Kings Road, Reading
H&P makes army biscuits during World War II
A new branch factory opens at Huyton, Liverpool
W. R. Jacob of Liverpool joins Associated Biscuit Manufacturers Ltd
Biscuit production of Huntley & Palmers, Peek Frean and Jacobs reorganised as Associated Biscuits Ltd.

Here is more information about the three brothers from the H & P Website: From the late 1840s George Palmer devoted more time to public service. He became a councillor in 1850 and argued for better sanitation and public recreation grounds for the people of Reading. In 1857 he was elected Mayor for the town. On the day after his election over-enthusiastic supporters fired off the old cannon that stood on the mound in Reading’s Forbury Gardens, blowing out most of the windows in the vicinity!
In 1878 George Palmer became a Member of Parliament for the Liberal party. He was nicknamed the ‘silent member’, although he did make a few contributions to debates. In his maiden speech he supported a bill to grant women the right to vote – however, seven years later, for reasons which are unknown, he had changed his mind on this issue!
George died in 1897 just before his eightieth birthday. London Road was lined with 5,000 employees as the funeral cortege passed by.
William Isaac and Samuel Palmer
George’s younger brother, William Isaac, died in 1893. During his lifetime he had donated much time and money to good causes and, on his death, his benefactions and promises of funds were found to exceed his assets. His brothers therefore had to help out from their own resources.
In 1887 Samuel Palmer fell sick and never really resumed work. He officially retired in 1898 and died in 1903 aged 82. If you want to know more do take a look, click on link above, about the family and also the next generation of Palmers.

I found this amazing large group photo with description, of the Palmer Family on a Public tree on Ancestry, it is from the H & P Website, isn’t it a cracker!


The Palmer Family. Public tree on Ancestry
It says photo taken 1870


Mary mother of the Palmer Brothers, is the elderly lady in the bath chair. George Palmer and wife Elizabeth Palmer (nee Meteyard) to Mary’s right. George William Palmer standing between them in the second row. Robert Meteyard is on the far left with the white beard. Samuel Palmer (1820-1903) is the gentleman holding the chequered rug and his wife Mary Jane Palmer (nee Marsh) is beside him. Alfred Palmer is the young gentleman sat on the ground with the top hat. William Isaac Palmer is stood behind Alfred holding his lapel. The Palmers often held Garden Parties at the home of George Palmer and senior or long standing staff were often invited“.

Are you a descendant of Mary Isaac? Do get in touch if you are.

Till next time then…………


  1. Hi Lynn this post is superb! I guess there were quite a few Quaker business’s during those times. But weren’t the wages outrageous then. 200 pound for the whole year. I just don’t know how they coped.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s probably the equivalent of about £30-40,000 a year today Rita, so not too bad!
      I do love the Quaker records & suspected she was a Quaker when I saw her hat, so was really pleased to find I was right.
      If you remember way back I wrote about the Quaker Wedding picture. Xx


  2. Hi Lynn
    As a child I and my sisters went to Walcot secondary Modern Walcot Street Bath Somerset
    We had this new teacher called Nigel Palmer who the children all loved,he was a new young teacher so was liked by all.
    Anyway school broke up for the summer holidays when we came back to school we received very sad new that our wonderful new teacher had been killed in a light aircraft of which he was the pilot.
    There was rumours that Nigel Palmer was related to the Biscuit family.
    I just wonder if you may know about him.
    School children of course would not be told how old he was or where he was born.
    But I do know that our school had a sports cup in memory of Nigel Palmer.
    Kind regards Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Christine, what an interesting story and a sad story. I will take a look tomorrow and see if I can find a link. Can you reme!bet what year Nigel Palmer died? Many thanks Lynn


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