John Mason, of Camberwell, owned a lot of tenements (apartments) at Bolts Tenements, just off Tooley Street, in Southwark, and also property in Camberwell, where he died in 1781.
He married Elizabeth Butts.
|Elizabeth was born about 1748, the daughter of William Butts, apothecary of Sutton, Derbyshire, and his wife Jane Truman. Elizabeth was bapt. at All Saints, Derby, on May 12, 1748. She first married John Mason, of Camberwell. He died in 1781. Elizabeth inherited everything and moved into an apartment in Bolts Tenements. Not far away, at Bridge House, also off Tooley Street, lived Joseph Dixon, the bankrupt mason-turned-bridgemaster of London Bridge, and||uncle of the newly-qualified surgeon, Dr George Dixon. The Times of April 28, 1786 reported George Dixon's marriage to the widow Mason. The Rev. Thomas Wignell, curate, performed the ceremony, by an April 26, 1786 license from the Archbishop of Canterbury's office. Witnesses were Dr George's uncle Joe and his brother Joe. Elizabeth's father had died in 1775.|
Birth of Parents
Eliza No Date Married Rev. Henry Warren
No Date Camberwell
b: abt 1748 c: 12 May 1748 All Saints, Sutton, Derbyshire
daughter of William Butts and Jane Truman
daughter of John Mason and Elizabeth Butts
|John Mason||Died 1781|
George was born on 31 May 1763, the son of Richard Dixon and Anne Gibson, in London.|
George was apprenticed as a surgeon to William Curtis of Islington. The first apprenticeship binding took place on 17 September 1778, at which point Richard Dixon (George's
father) paid 105 pounds to Mr Curtis, and on 3 November 1778 (the day of Richard's bankruptcy) George was finally taken on for seven years, after another 5 guineas had changed hands. So, on 3 November 1785 George emerged as a qualified surgeon.
b: 31 May 1763 c: 10 Jul 1763 St. James, Westminster, London
son of Richard Dixon and Anne Gibson, London
27 Apr 1786|
Bermondsey St. Olave, Southwark|
By License, Wit: ???Dixon, Joseph Dixon Jnr.
Just after Dr George's marriage Elizabeth's mother drew up her will, on June 22, 1786, and this will was proved in London on January 28, 1789.
George Dixon and Jenny Hamilton Butts Martin (Elizabeth's sister) were the executors.
George's venture into big businesss began when, with his apothecarial knowledge, he began making antibilious pills for his wife. These were so efficacious that he started spreading them around to his friends, such as the Duke of Norfolk, the Dowager Lady Saye and Sele and Viscountess Bulkeley. Rave reviews followed, and by the 1790s George was manufacturing and selling masses of his little pink "pills to cure all ills". Dixon's Antibilious Pills is what they became known as, and by 1798 Ching's, the pharmacist, at 4 Cheapside, was running ads claiming to be the "only warehouse for Dixon's Pills, celebrated for removing bilious disorders".
When George's brother, the Rev. Joe Dixon, moved to Storrington, Sussex, in 1795, George and Elizabeth went with him, setting up in neighboring Chiltington Parsonage, in West Chiltington. Eliza Mason, Elizabeth's youngest daughter from her marriage with John Mason (she was also Dr George's stepdaughter), came with them.
On June 24, 1799, at nearby Wiggonholt, Eliza married the Rev. Henry Warren, nephew of John Warren, the Bishop of Bangor, and moved to Ashington Rectory, again, close by.
Their first child, also named Eliza, was born uncomfortably soon after the nuptials.
Young Eliza would still be alive in 1881, living in Holdenhurst, Hants.
In 1800 George began to have cards printed, offering his (expensive) services as a surgeon to local Sussex gentry.
But the pills were starting to dominate his life.
By 1801 they were all over the United Kingdom (a term that came into being that year, incidentally - prior to that it had been Great Britain), and selling in boxes at 5s 9d, and half boxes at 2s 9d, and five-boxes-in-one at a guinea each.
These pill-boxes were not genuine unless stamped with the name "G. Dixon, Storrington" and sealed with the arms of the proprietor. George's coat of arms was simply a slightly altered copy of many of the other "entitled" Dixon families, mostly of Scotland, and included their motto "Fortune Favors the Brave" in Latin. These arms were arbitrarily and quite illegally assumed by Dr George, although everyone who had any sense of vain glory in them did it, and still does. The Heralds at the Colleges of Arms go nuts, of course, partly because they don't get the enormous fees attendant on the granting of a "legal" coat of arms, and partly because this "piracy" dilutes the value of genuine arms. In short, then, this Dixon coat of arms can be discounted as meaningless, in that it has no genealogical relevance.
In April 1803 the Rev. Joe Dixon finally left the late Mrs Copley's house in Storrington, which he had been renting, and moved into Sullington Rectory, which was now more or less habitable after much repair.
Miss Byas bought the Storrington house, and Dr George and Elizabeth moved in, renting from Miss Byas.
In 1806 George bought it.
He and Elizabeth would spend the rest of their days there.
On Nov. 22, 1809 George came into 9,000 pounds of annuities in the will of benefactor William Williams. In 1813 he bought quite a large stretch of the grounds of Robert Horne's house next door, and more of it in 1817. These lands, attached to Dr George's house, were below the bank in Storrington Churchyard, and in later decades came to be
known as "the old Pillery Gardens", i.e. where the pill-house stood, next to Storrington Church.
Later still the land became known as Dixon's Field.
Dr George died in 1821.
The Times had an obit for him on June 29, 1821. By the time George died his pills were famous all over the world. Every city in the USA carried them. The pill business continued under his brother and partner, the Rev. Joe Dixon, and when Joe died in 1824 the Rev. Henry Dixon and Dr Fred Dixon, as well as the Rev. Henry Warren continued to oversee it. The Battcock family, who had for years actually done the making of the pills, continued to manufacture them in the Pill House at Storrington for decades thereafter.
Died Jun 1821
Burial 27 Jun 1821, Storrington, Sussex
|At his house, at Storrington, Sussex, after a lingering illness of 15 weeks, borne with almost unparalleled fortitude, in the 58th year of his age, George Dixon, Esq.|
Elizabeth (Mason) Dixon
Elizabeth, died in 1827.
Her will was drawn up on Feb. 15, 1822, and proved in London on March 29, 1827.
She left everything to her daughter, Mrs Eliza Warren, wife of the rector of Ashington.
The Dixon half of the pill business passed down from Rev. Joe in 1824 to his three sons - Capt. William Dixon, Rev. Henry Dixon and Dr Fred Dixon. Capt. William was the only one of these three sons to have issue, and the Dixon side of the business all eventually trickled down to them - Col. Henry Dixon, Annie Dixon, Caroline Webster-Wedderburn, and Maria Dixon. In 1845 the eldest Warren child, Henry, inherited the Dixon house in Storrington, and re-named it "The Bartons". By 1864 the Rev. James Beck had bought the house and pulled it down and built another, more imposing,
Victorian structure, farther back from the road, reached by a sweeping carriage-drive through a fine garden.
The house subsequently and successively became a rectory, the Chanctonbury Rural District Council Offices, and the premises of Scan Computers. In the late 1980s the building was vacated by Scan, but they couldn't find a buyer. The house was vandalized, and finally torn down. This site is now known as Chanctonbury Walk, a private estate containing about 50 houses and flats, as well as the new council offices. The pill company would run ads until the 1880s, but by that time medicine had improved to the extent that the pills were losing some of their credibility. By 1923 the pills had lost all of their credibility and the partnership was finally dissolved.