Property Owner Benjamin Turner
In 1800, Benjamin Turner owned five dwellings and one blacksmith’s shop in Great Ellingham.
Turner occupied one of the dwellings, and let the other properties to tenants.
The blacksmith’s shop (copyhold of the Manor of Ellingham Hall), was occupied by James Lebbell.
Where was the Blacksmith’s Shop?
Extract from 1802 Map of Great Ellingham. Original held at Norfolk Record Office. Russell James Colman Plans. Cat. Ref. C/Ca 1/84. With kind permission of NRO
The majority of the numbering of the schedules to a Particulars & Valuation of 1800, concurs with the numbering used on an 1802 map of the village.
No.465 on the map (extract above) shows the position of the blacksmith’s shop and garden in Town Green. For ease of reference, I have inserted a black dot indicating the shop.
House next Door to the Blacksmith’s Shop
Next door, at schedule No.466, is another property owned by Benjamin Turner. ‘466’ can be clearly identified on the map.
This property is a house, outbuildings, stables, yard and garden which (in 1800) was tenanted to John Lebbell, Philip Hunt and Susan Cockle. The house, divided into at least three tenements, likely housed more individuals than the three tenants.
However, I am unclear as to where James Lebbell and his family were living. Did the shop have living accommodation? In any event, I believe they were living in Town Green.
Variations of the name Lebbell
There are several entries for the name Lebbell in the Great Ellingham Parish Registers, with variations of the name. For example, Lebbel, Lebble. However, to be consistent I will use the spelling ‘Lebbell’ whether or not a variation was used in the Parish Registers or other documentation.
A son of Isaac and Sarah Lebbell, James was baptised in the Parish Church at Great Ellingham on the 25th December, 1774.
James was one of at least a dozen children. However, the parish registers reveal burials for some of the children, which is not unusual to find for this period.
The marriage between James Lebbell and Rebecca Carley took place in the Church of St James, Great Ellingham on the 12th October, 1799. Neither James nor Rebecca had married before. James was 25 and his bride 18.
The couple had three children, all of whom were baptised in the parish church: James baptised on April 27th, 1800; Edward on June 27th, 1802 and Robert on November 25th, 1804.
Both Edward and Robert followed their father’s footsteps and became blacksmiths.
St James’s Churchyard, Great Ellingham. Photograph taken 5th February, 2012
Death of Rebecca Lebbell née Carley
At just 33 years of age, Rebecca Lebbell died in January 1815, leaving James a widower at 41.
His sons then aged 14, 12 and 10 were possibly already out to work. They may have been working for their father and learning the blacksmith’s trade.
James buried his wife in the churchyard at St James on January 15th, 1815.
All Saints Church, Rocklands
Marriage to Alice Seaman
The following year, James married spinster Alice Seaman in the Church of All Saints, Rocklands on the 25th June, 1816.
Sadness & Joy
The year of 1817 brought both sadness and joy to James Lebbell and his new wife Alice.
James buried his eldest son, James aged 17, in the churchyard in Great Ellingham on the 22nd April, 1817.
A few months later, Alice Lebbell gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. The only daughter of James Lebbell, Elizabeth was baptised on the 28th September, 1817.
Around three years later, Alice gave birth to Isaac. He was baptised in Great Ellingham on June 4th, 1820. Sadly, the couple buried six week old Isaac in the churchyard on the 2nd July.
Death of Benjamin Turner, the Owner of the Blacksmith’s Shop
Benjamin Turner died in 1813. Assuming that Turner did not dispose of his blacksmith’s shop in Town Green prior to his death, the shop (together with Turner’s other properties) passed to his married daughter Hannah. Hannah was married to Theophilus Smith.
Samuel Carter, Occupier of the Blacksmith’s Shop
A Survey of Great Ellingham 1817-1819 indicates that the blacksmith’s shop with a common frontage once owned by Benjamin Turner and occupied by James Lebbell, was then owned by Theophilus Smith and occupied by Samuel Carter. Carter also occupied an allotment on Town Green which, again, was previously owned by Turner but now by Smith.
Samuel Carter lived in the neighbouring house with John Lebbell and Sarah Tooke. Again, this house was formerly owned by Benjamin Turner but now by Theophilus Smith, which his wife Hannah had also inherited from her father.
Accordingly, it is clear that the blacksmith’s shop is now occupied by Samuel Carter. This leaves the question, where was James Lebbell carrying on his trade at this time (1817-1819)? The baptism entry in 1817 for James’s daughter Elizabeth, states James’s occupation as blacksmith. Perhaps James Lebbell was working with Samuel Carter?
James Lebbell dies
In any event, James and Alice continued to live in Great Ellingham, possibly in Town Green.
At the age of 64, James Lebbell died on the 25th January, 1840. He was buried in the churchyard of St James on the last day of the month.
On the 16th April, 1834, blacksmith James Lebbell signed his last will and testament.
Alice Lebbell inherited all her husband’s household furniture, plate, china, linen, beds, bedding and the bedsteads with hangings. However, her ownership of these items were limited to her lifetime. On Alice’s death, the household items and effects would pass to their daughter Elizabeth.
James left all his tools and instruments (including those items in his shop) to his son Robert.
White’s Directory of 1836 (published around 4 years before James Lebbell’s death), lists Robert Lebbell and Robert Yeomans as blacksmiths in Great Ellingham.
Accordingly, I believe that Robert Lebbell may well have taken over his father’s business and trade.
Robert later take over as landlord of the Chequers Inn and, subsequently, of the Crown, whilst continuing his blacksmith’s trade.
Widow Alice Lebbell
In 1841, widow Alice Lebbell is living alone in Great Ellingham. She was independently living ‘on her own means’.
Ten years later, the 1851 census captures 70 year old Alice in Town Green.
South Lopham born Alice Lebbell was buried in the churchyard of St James on the 12th January, 1853. The burial register records her age as 75.
Ownership of Theophilus & Hannah Smith
An Estates and Occupations of Great Ellingham c.1830s-1840 records Samuel Carter still at Theophilus Smith’s blacksmith’s shop in Town Green.
However, a later annotation on the document refers to the property subsequently being occupied by Robert Lebbell (presumably, James Lebbell’s son).
The neighbouring house, outbuildings, stable, yard and garden (numbered 466 on the above extract from the 1802 map) was still owned by Theophilus Smith) and occupied by Samuel Carter, John Lebbell and Sarah Tooke.
Again a later notation on this document suggests that Stephen Houchen moved in when John Lebbell vacated.
1845 Theophilus & Hannah Smith sell Properties
In 1845, Hannah and Theophilus Smith sold off some of the properties in Great Ellingham, which Hannah had inherited from her father, Benjamin Turner.
Notice of the auction to be held on 28th July 1845, appeared in the Norwich Mercury on the 19th July.
Lot 2 comprised ‘A double cottage and garden near Lebbell’s blacksmith shop in Great Ellingham and fronting the Street‘. The property (copyhold of Ellingham Hall) was said to be occupied by Samuel Pitts and Robert Houchen.
Given that the auction particulars refer to the double cottage being copyhold of Ellingham Hall and that, in 1800, the neighbouring house to James Lebbell’s blacksmith shop was freehold, I wonder whether by this time (1845) that ‘Lebbell’s blacksmith’s shop’ is now along the street which we today know as being the northern end of Long Street? It was certainly in Long Street by the end of the 19th century.
An Ordnance Survey Map 1892-1914 confirms a smithy in Long Street.
Postcard of Long Street showing the Smithy to the right. (Date unknown)
Published August 2019
First Update April 2021
1841 census HO107/781/8
1851 census H01071823/110
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD/609. Also available at FamilySearch.org
Rockland All Saints with St Andrew Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 335. Transcript of Marriages 1755 to 1903. Norfolk Family History Society. www.norfolkfhs.org.uk
1802 Russell James Colman Plans. Great Ellingham. Catalogue Ref. C/Ca 1/84.
1799-1842 F W Horner, Records of the Surveyors to Commissioners for Inclosure in Parishes in Norfolk and Suffolk. Great Ellingham (Act 1799). Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: NRO, BR 90/2
1800 Inclosure Commissioner’s Particulars and Valuation, Great Ellingham. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: NRO, MC 2213/119
1799 Statement of Claims. Great Ellingham Inclosure. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: MC 2213/118
White’s Directory 1836. Norfolk Record Office.
Norwich Mercury 28th July, 1845
Will. Lebbell, James, of Great Ellingham. 1840. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: ANF will register 1839-1841 fo.204 (1840 no.13). Viewed via http://www.norfolksources.norfolk.gov.uk/DserveNS/ 7th April 2021
Will. 1814 Turner, Benjamin of Great Ellingham. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: ANF will register 1814-1815 fo. 169 (1814 no. 25)