The delightful thatched house on the corner of Church Street and Chequers Lane. Postcard possibly dates from the early 1900s. Courtesy of Carol Ewin
The Story of the Owners and Occupiers of the House
We continue the story of the owners (and some of the occupiers), of the delightful thatched house in the centre of the village.
Before 1862, the house was copyhold of the Manor of Buckenham Close Outsoken. As such, the Court Books (or Court Rolls) provide us with an unbroken chain of ownership until the copyhold tenure was converted to freehold.
In Part I, we covered the period from c.1704 to just before the turn of the 19th century. The property was then in the ownership of the Smith family.
In this blog, we continue the story with the house still owned by Sarah Smith. We also look at the occupiers, Mary Mitchell and Daniel Browne.
Owners, the Smith Family
We know that around 1784 when shopkeeper Sarah Smith owned the house, that it was divided into two tenements. Sarah Smith lived in one part, and the other was occupied by John Turner. I assume that Sarah’s shop was part of the premises too.
Save for the period when Sarah Smith (the shopkeeper) lived in one half of the property and let the other, it would seem that the property was occupied by tenants throughout the duration of the Smith family’s ownership.
In 1800, the property was owned by another Sarah Smith. This Sarah Smith, a niece to shopkeeper Sarah Smith, lived in Old Buckenham. She did not live in the property, but let the property to tenants Mary Mitchell and Daniel Browne.
Sarah Smith died c.1802. She left all her property and lands in Great Ellingham (including this house) to her sister, Jane Smith. Again, I do not believe that Jane Smith ever lived in the property.
Occupier Mary Mitchell
James and Mary Mitchell came to Great Ellingham sometime after the 20th December, 1779, when their daughter, Amelia, was baptised in Watton. The couple’s other children, Martha and James, were also baptised in Watton.
James Mitchell died not long after they settled in Great Ellingham, leaving his widow with three young children. James was buried in St James’s churchyard on the 24th January, 1781.
I do not know when Mary Mitchell first lived in the property. However, she was certainly living there by c.1799. We know from Mary’s will that she was a shopkeeper. I wonder whether Mary took over Sarah Smith’s shop when Sarah died in 1784.
Daughters Marry Local Men
Both Mary Mitchell’s two daughters married local men. Amelia married shopkeeper William Rose on the 27th July, 1802. Nearly two years later, Martha married John Chaplin on the 24th May, 1804. Both marriages took place in St James’s Church.
Likely the Mitchell family walked the short distance from their home in what is now Church Street, to the parish church .
Occupier Daniel Browne
Mary Mitchell’s neighbour was Daniel Browne.
The parish registers for St James include baptisms for children of wheelwright Daniel Browne and his wife, Sarah (née Watling).
Before coming to Great Ellingham, Daniel and Sarah Browne had married in Hingham in 1792. Three years later they were living in Great Ellingham.
In 1795, Daniel Browne of Great Ellingham is recorded as being apprenticed to wheelwright, Richard Jolly.
The Brownes had at least 9 children. Most (if not all) of the children may have been born in the house.
The Browne family moved out of their home in the thatched house by 1819. A Survey of Great Ellingham 1817-1819, does not include the name Browne amongst the occupiers of the property. However, Daniel Browne and his family remained living in Great Ellingham.
End of the Ownership by the Smith Family
Some 20 years after the property was first owned by a member of the Smith family, the house is sold. It was purchased by one of the tenants, Mary Mitchell.
New Owner Mary Mitchell
On the 1st November, 1804, at a Court for the Manor of Buckenham Close Outsoken, Jane Smith surrendered the property back to the Lady of the Manor (as is the custom on a bargain and sale), and to the use of Mary Mitchell (her purchaser).
Mary Mitchell was admitted as a copyhold tenant of the Manor. However, there were conditions attached to Mary’s purchase.
Mary either borrowed money against the property, or took on an outstanding debt. Whatever the circumstances, Mary Mitchell was bound to pay the sum of £200 with interest to John Chipperton, a grocer, of the city of Norwich.
The loan to be repaid on the 18th February the following year. If Mary defaulted on the repayment, she would forfeit the property to John Chipperton.
In the event, the £200 plus interest was repaid in full.
Death of Mary Mitchell
Mary owned the property until her death in 1818. On the 18th October, 1818, Mary (aged 70), was buried in the churchyard of St James.
Mary Mitchell’s Will
Mary Mitchell signed her will on the 19th May, 1812. She appointed her son-in-law William Rose (the husband of her daughter Amelia), and local farmer James Barnard, as her executors.
She instructed William Rose and James Barnard to sell all her stock trade, household furniture, goods, chattels and effects.
Legacy of the Messuage
Mary left her property in Great Ellingham (i.e. the messuage built upon the tenement Greenhouse), to her son-in-law, William Rose.
However, this legacy was on condition that William Rose paid half of the value of the premises to his co-executor, James Barnard. The half value of the property to be held on trust by James Barnard.
The beneficiaries of the trust were Mary’s daughter, Martha Chaplin (the wife of John Chaplin) and her children.
I do not know why Mary Mitchell gave William Rose a half share in her property. It may be that Mary borrowed money from her son-in-law. He was, after all, a businessman.
However, I think it more likely that she trusted her son-in-law William Rose, and she was confident that her daughter Amelia (William’s wife) would benefit from the legacy.
It was not until the Married Women’s Property Act 1870 that married women were allowed to inherit property, or be the legal owners of the money they earned. Accordingly, William Rose had the control of any property owned (or inherited) by his wife Amelia.
Mary Mitchell left £10 to her son, James Mitchell. On the face of it, is seems a paltry sum bearing in mind that his two sisters, Amelia and Martha, each had the benefit of half of the value of Mary’s property. I wonder why – but I shall leave any investigation for another day!
New Owner John Chaplin
In the event, William Rose and James Barnard sold the property.
On the 28th January, 1819, Rose and Barnard conveyed the copyhold messuage ‘built upon the tenement Greenhouse in Great Ellingham‘ to John Chaplin.
We continue with John Chaplin’s ownership of the property (and the subsequent owners and occupiers), in Part III
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
1753-1847 Manor of Buckenham Castle, Lathes, Close and Priory. Court Book. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: MC 1833/8 -MC 1833/16. 1595-1847 also available at https://www.familysearch.org/
1799 Statement of Claims. Great Ellingham Inclosure. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: MC 2213/118
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD609. Also available at www.familysearch.org
UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 1710-1811. The National Archives of the UK (TNA); Kew, Surrey, England; Collection: Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books: Series IR 1; Class: IR 1; Piece: 55. Also available at Ancestry.co.uk
Norfolk: Norwich – Index of Wills Consistory Court 1751-1818. 1784. Smith, Sarah, Great Ellingham, N, shopkeeper 312 Whitesides. Viewed on microfilm at the Norfolk Heritage Centre
Will. Smith, Sarah, spinster of Old Buckenham. Norfolk Record Office. 1802. NCC will register Cowell 92. Not viewed but cited for reference purposes.
Watton Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office.PD 218. Transcript of Watton, Baptisms 1740-1804.Transcript of Watton, Burials 1682-1901. Norfolk Family History Society. www.norfolkfhs.org.uk
Hingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD 575. Transcript of Hingham, Marriages 1754-1805. Norfolk Family History Society. www.norfolkfhs.org.uk
Will. Mitchell, Mary of Great Ellingham. Norfolk Record Office. 1819. ANF will register 1819-1820. fo. 211 (1819 no.1). Viewed via http://www.norfolksources.norfolk.gov.uk/DserveNS/ May 2021