The Three Brewers of Hinckley and District

Hinckley and District was the childhood home to three famous brewers, William Bass, William Butler and William Worthington.

William Worthington (1723-1800)

William Worthington was born in the village of Orton-on-the-Hill during 1723. The Worthington Brewery was established in 1761, on High Street, Burton-upon-Trent.

william worthington, worthington brewery
Worthington Brewery established in 1761.

1723 William was the fourth child born to William and Elizabeth Worthington, they were yeoman farmers (commoners who cultivate their own land) in the village of Orton-on-the-Hill, north-west of Hinckley, Leicestershire, within the confines of the Borough district.

21st March 1723 William was baptised at St.Edith of Polesworth in Orton-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire.

1744 William moved to Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire. He got a job as a cooper at Joseph Smith's brewery along High Street in the same town. During his time here he become a master cooper.

31st August 1761 William now aged 38, married widow Ann Tarratt at St.Modwen’s Church, Burton-upon-Trent.

1761 He purchased Joseph Smith's Brewery from Smith's successor, who was Richard Commings (of Repton), for a sum of £320 (equivalent to £40,000 in today’s money).

1761 Worthington & Co. Brewery was founded along High Street, Burton-upon-Trent.

3rd September 1762 William and Ann had their first child and daughter, Mary.

10th September 1764 William and Ann had their second child and first son, William. He was baptised on 8th October 1764.

16th November 1766 William and Ann had their third child and second son, Thomas.

1775 William’s only daughter Mary died, aged 13.

1780 The brewery was producing around 1,500 barrels of beer, which at the time would have been a similar amount as the rival breweries of Benjamin Wilson and Michael Bass. The sales were mostly of Porter, which was transported via narrowboat on the River Trent to the Port of Hull, where it was exported to the Baltic market.

22nd August 1791 William’s son Thomas, married Sarah Evans, the daughter of brewer Henry Evans.

8th October 1791 William’s eldest son William married Martha Evans, they acquired the brewery of John Walker Wilson from Martha’s father Henry Evans.

1800 William Died, aged 77. He was buried at St. Modwen’s Churchyard, Burton-upon-Trent.

At the time William died, the Worthington & Co. Brewery was one of the largest outside of London. William was succeeded by his eldest son William to take control of the company.

22nd August 2017 A Blue Plaque in the name of William Worthington was unveiled at The Unicorn in Orton on the Hill, Leicestershire.