A Harness & Saddler Shop to the left of the postcard on the Corner of Church Street and Chequers Lane. Possibly dates between 1900-1913
Henry Warren was living and working in Great Ellingham as a harness maker from at least 1881 until some time after the 1911 census. But who was Henry Warren and where was his shop?
The census of 1881 finds 31 year old Henry Warren described as a harness maker and shopkeeper living with his wife Matilda and children Agnes 4, John 3 and Ada who was just a few weeks old, in Church Street possibly quite near to the Crown Inn. The family have the help of a nurse, 55 year old widow Phebe Syer, and a house servant, 15 year old Rebecca Church.
Matilda (who is an assistant in shop) was born in London, Henry was born in Little Ellingham and the children in Great Ellingham.
Ten years later, Henry, Matilda and their enlarging family (they now have Percy Charles and Ethel) are still living near to the Crown Inn. Matilda’s sister, 42 year old Eliza Spurgeon, is with the family. She is described as a ‘companion to lady’.
By 1901, Henry and Matilda with their family had moved to other premises in the village. The census states the family to be living at Town Green (but near to the Chequers Inn).
On some of the census returns “Town Green” can include areas which we know today as Chequers Lane or Long Street. Henry’s shop was the western end of a property which was then divided into several cottages.
Henry is then aged 52, Matilda 56 and the children with them are John aged 22, an agricultural labourer, Ada 20 a teacher and 13 year old Ethel.
Matilda Warren died in the January of 1910. The 1911 census finds Henry Warren as “H.Warren” now a widower and aged 62 living in “the Street”. The area referred to as “the Street” on the census appears to be the area we know today as that part of Church Street from the Crown Inn towards the junction with Chequers Lane and Long Street (at the Post Office).
Henry Warren’s harness & saddlers shop was at the western end (left) of a row of cottages on the corner of Chequers Lane and the Street. Postcard courtesy Carol Ewin
Henry is still working as a saddler as is his son Percy Charles who is now 28. Henry also has his two daughters (both unmarried) Agnes aged 34 and 30 year old Ada living with him. Ada is employed by the County Council as a teacher.
Henry Warren’s early life in Little Ellingham
Besides living and working in the Great Ellingham for over 30 years, does Henry Warren have any other connection to the village? The census returns state Henry to have been born in Little Ellingham.
The census of 1861 reveals 12 year old Henry Warren living with his parents and siblings in Little Ellingham. The same census confirms that Henry’s father John Warren was born in Great Ellingham!
John Warren is aged 47 and described as a farmer of 89 acres employing two men and one boy. His 43 year old wife Elizabeth was born in Little Ellingham. The couple have six children (including Henry) all born in Little Ellingham. The household also includes two servants: 39 year old agricultural labourer James Rushbrook and 16 year old Rebecca Knights as dairy maid.
Henry’s Father John Warren born Great Ellingham c.1814
Working back from the age given for John Warren in the 1861 census, John Warren would have been born in Great Ellingham around 1814 just a few years before Queen Victoria acceded to the throne.
There is a baptism entry in the Great Ellingham Parish Registers for John Warren son of John Warren, a farmer, and his wife Mary on 22 May 1814. This is very likely to be the baptism entry for Henry’s father.
Henry Warren, the harness maker and saddler, may well have been descended from those parishioners with the surname ‘Warren’ who appear in the Great Ellingham Parish Registers from as early as 1662!
Henry Warren was buried in the churchyard of St James on October 17th 1928, aged 79 years.
Great Ellingham Parish Registers Norfolk Record Office PD/609. Also available at
1911 census RG14/11473/122
1901 census RG13/1867/71
1891 census RG12/1549/79A
1881 census RG11/1974/92
1861 census RG9/1237/102
Postcard – Christine Bell