On the 7th April, 1914, Elizabeth Harbour, the wife of John Thomas Harbour, completed her purchase of ‘Fir Cottage’ . The house was sold by the Personal Representative of the late Reverend James Toll who had purchased the property in 1880.
‘Fir Cottage’ was built between 1857 and 1861 on land at the southern end of Long Street, which was then owned by Robert Utting. The arrow on the map below shows the location of the cottage.
Elizabeth Harbour purchased the property for the sum of £130.
However, the late Reverend James Toll owed Frederick Robinson, a solicitor of Watton, the sum of £144. A few months before Toll died, Robinson had repaid Toll’s debt to Barclays Bank. Fir Cottage was used as security for the debt. In effect the debt transferred to Frederick Robinson.
Toll’s only surviving daughter and heir, Helen Brighton, lived in South Africa. Accordingly, she appointed solicitor Frederick Robinson as her attorney to deal with the sale of Fir Cottage.
I assume that Toll had sufficient additional assets to cover the shortfall in the mortgage debt as Frederick Robinson (as mortgagee), executed the Conveyance Deed to Elizabeth Harbour. Consequently, releasing the property from the debt.
John Thomas & Elizabeth Harbour
John Harbour married Elizabeth Hubbard in the Parish Church at Bridgham on the 19th September, 1877. In the 1911 census, the couple tell us that they had one child who had sadly died.
The 1881 census captures the couple living at 5 Pier Cliff Terrace in Gorleston. 29 year old John Harbour is working as a gardener. Elizabeth, aged 30, is working as a dressmaker.
By 1891, John and Elizabeth Harbour are at the Royal Oak at Workhouse Common (West Carr Road), Attleborough. John Harbour is described as a farmer and licensed victualler. Norfolk Pubs website suggests that Harbour was licensee of the Royal Oak from 1890-1892. With the couple is John’s three year old nephew, Albert Harbour.
The 1901 census finds the couple at ‘Strolling Common’ in Great Ellingham. At 48, John Harbour is described as a farmer working for himself.
Ten years later, the couple are at ‘Bush Green’, Great Ellingham living in a 5 roomed dwelling. John Harbour is still farming. Indeed, I believe the couple may well be at Bush Green Farm.
A Conveyance of the 23rd April, 1914, relating to Bush Green Farm, reveals that Elizabeth Harbour sold a small farm and cottage at Great Ellingham to Charles Adams.
It is interesting that the property at Bush Green and the purchase of Fir Cottage were in the name of Elizabeth Harbour and not her husband, John Thomas Harbour. Was there something in John Harbour’s past which precluded him from actually owning a property – or perhaps the property was funded by a marriage settlement or similar trust?
Nonetheless, the Electoral Register for 1915 shows John Harbour at Bush Green and Long Street.
Mortgage to Elizabeth Hales
Extract from the Mortgage Deed 4th May 1914 Elizabeth Harbour to Elizabeth Alice Hales. Courtesy Pat Price
On the 4th May, 1914, Elizabeth Harbour completed a mortgage with Elizabeth Alice Hales, a widow, of Tacolneston. She borrowed the sum of £75 plus interest at £4 per centum per annum. Fir Cottage was used as security for the loan.
Consequently, this debt was repaid in full. On the 15th November, 1924, Elizabeth Alice Taylor (formerly Hales) re-conveyed Fir Cottage back to Elizabeth Harbour.
The census of 1921 captures 69 year old John Thomas Harbour and his 70 year old wife Elizabeth in Long Street. I have no doubt that the couple are living at Fir Cottage.
John Harbour describes himself as a ‘British Farmer’. I wonder why John Harbour specifically mentions that he is a ‘British Farmer’. Could it be that like many other local farmers, he was affected by the perilous position of farming in the post-war period?
Whatever the reason, John and Elizabeth Harbour continued to live at Fir Cottage for the remainder of their lives.
Elizabeth Harbour died on the 12th May, 1929 aged 80. John Harbour outlived his wife for nearly two years. He died on the 3rd February, 1931, also aged 80.
Following the deaths of both John and Elizabeth Harbour, Fir Cottage was inherited by Sydney Thurston Claxton.
Bridgham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 395. Also available via www.ancestry.co.uk
1881 census RG11/1907/18
1891 census RG12/1549/7
1901 census RG13/1867/81
1911 census RG14/11473/9
1921 census RG15. Registration District 231. Great Ellingham Sch 148. Viewed via www.findmypast.co.uk
England, Norfolk Register of Electors, 1832-1915 database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2HTN-8HT : 12 February 2018), John Harbour, 1915; citing Great Ellingham, Mid division, Norfolk, England, Record Office, Central Library, Norwich; FHL microfilm 1,597,076
Private Collection of Deeds – Many thanks to Pat Price
Private Collection of Deeds – Property at Bush Green