Hill House Farm, Deopham Road. Photograph taken c.1940
Courtesy Carolyn Boatwright
John Garnham’s Claim
At No.49 in a Statement of Claims in connection with the Great Ellingham Inclosures of c.1799, is John Garnham’s claim:
One Messuage and 56A of Land, occupied by William Chaplin. Of which 27A 1R are Copyhold of Ellingham Hall, 14A 2R Bury Hall, 2R of Buckenham Castle Outsoken, 1A 1R of Buckenham Close Outsoken, 1A of Buckenham Lathes Outsoken
John Garnham also claimed rights benefiting his property over the common and waste lands in the village.
Extract from an 18th century Map. Stalland and Bush Green Commons, Great Ellingham. Original held at Norfolk Record Office. Catalgoue Ref NRO, MC 2213/116. With kind permission of NRO
The above late c.18 map shows clearly (bottom left) John Garnham’s Messuage (dwelling house with outbuildings and associated land) at Bush Green, at the junction with what today we know as Deopham Road. Mary Smith’s property is shown to the top of the map.
A Particulars and Valuation undertaken by the Commissioners also in connection with the Inclosures (c.1800), lists the parcels of land owned by John Garnham. The schedule shows that John Garnham owned some 81 acres in Great Ellingham, all of which were occupied by William Chaplin. There is also an indication of the name of the successive owner to John Garnham – the name ‘Bradfield’ appears to have been added at a later date.
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 numbering of the parcels of land shown on an 1802 map of Great Ellingham (held at the Norfolk Record Office), corresponds with the numbering used in the Particulars and Valuation of c.1800.
The position of John Garnham’s dwelling (occupied by William Chaplin) is indicated by a black dot on the above map (numbered ‘156’). I believe the property is what we today know as Hill House Farm. However, I cannot be certain whether the farmhouse standing today is the same farmhouse which the Garnhams owned, or whether it was re-built.
At No.156 of the schedule of John Garnham’s land in the Commissioner’s Particulars and Valuation c.1800, is : ‘Farm, House, Barn, Stables, Yard and Garden‘ – 0A 2R 22P” (two roods and 22 perches).
The above extract from the 1802 map also shows some of the other parcels of John Garnham’s land, including:
- 155 Orchard
- 157 Hempland
- 154 Little Meadow
- 160 Pightle above First Hilly Close
- 163 Hilly Close
John Garnham, Gentleman of Wymondham
I do not believe that John Garnham ever lived in Great Ellingham. All of the land (and dwelling house) which he owned in Great Ellingham was occupied by William Chaplin.
The claim made by John Garnham to the Commissioners, in relation to the Great Ellingham Inclosures, indicate that some of John Garnham’s land was copyhold of the Manors of Buckenham Close, Buckenham Lathes and Buckenham Castle (as well as the Manors of Bury Hall and Ellingham Hall).
I do not know whether the actual dwelling house occupied by William Chaplin was freehold or copyhold. However, with some of the land being copyhold, the Manor Court Books for Buckenham Close, Buckenham Lathes and Buckenham Castle provide further information about John Garnham, as any change in the ownership of copyhold land would also need to be dealt with at the Manor Court.
The records reveal that John Garnham died before the 2nd April, 1807. In 1803, the Court Books refer to him as ‘John Garnham of Wymondham, gentleman‘. He held copyhold land which had been awarded to him under the Inclosures Act. John Garnham had also been ‘admitted’ a copyhold tenant of certain pieces of land following the death of his wife, Susanna (née Grigson), in 1788.
The records also recite extracts from Susanna Garnham’s Will dated 27th September, 1785. Susanna Garnham directed her executors to sell and dispose of all her property on the death of her husband, John Garnham. This included disposing of any land which John Garnham had the benefit and use of since the death of his wife.
There is also mention that in 1737, Susanna Garnham (then as Susanna Grigson, spinster) had ‘taken’ a piece of land in Great Ellingham, which was copyhold of Buckenham Close Manor Outsoken, and which was previously held by copyhold tenant William Kiddle.
Interestingly, these records also indicate that Charles Bradfield, and then George Wright, were successors in title to some of the land held by John and Susanna Garnham. This concurs with the indication of successors to Garnham’s land which I have found in other documentation (and which I mention below).
John & Susanna Garnham
I found a marriage between John Garnham and Susanna Grigson at East Bradenham Parish Church on 7th January, 1746. At that time both the bride and groom were said to be of ‘Mawley’ (Morley?).
Burials for both Susanna and John Garnham appear in the Deopham Parish Registers – Susanna Garnham, aged 71, of Morley, the wife of John Garnham and daughter of Robert and Frances Grigson, was buried on 30th January, 1788. John Garnham, widower, was buried on the 24th December, 1806 aged 88.
The announcement of the death of a John Garnham appeared in the Bury and Norwich Post on Tuesday, 31st December, 1806. Said to have died in Redgrave, aged 88, John Garnham, a gentleman, was said to be formerly of Wymondham.
William Chaplin Vacates the Property
I have no doubt that the above marriage and burial entries (and the death announcement) relate to John and Susanna Garnham, who once owned the dwelling house and land (Hill House Farm) in Bush Green.
Following the death of John Garnham at the end of 1806, the land and property once owned by the Garnhams was sold in accordance with Susanna Garnham’s Will.
The notice of a forthcoming auction of property in Great Ellingham appeared in the Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette on the 23rd May, 1807. The Auction would be held at the Cock Inn, Attleburgh in the following month. The property would be sold in two Lots:
Lot 1 comprised “a very eligible estate situate in Great Ellingham” and consisted of “farmhouse, barn, stable and all requisite outbuildings and 65 acres 3 roods and 20 perches of excellent arable, meadow and pasture land“. All the land was said to be inclosed, and in the occupation of William Chaplin, who had been given notice to quit at Michaelmas.
Lot 2 comprised “Five pieces of excellent arable land” again in Great Ellingham, “late of the parcel of Stalland Common” and, again, in the occupation of William Chaplin.
Owner & Occupier Charles Bradfield
A survey of Great Ellingham carried out around 1817-1819, reveals that most of the land (including the House, Barn, Stable and Yard) once owned by John and Susanna Garnham was, at that time, owned and occupied by Charles Bradfield. The survey shows that Charles Bradfield owned just over 65 acres – possibly all the land and property as described as Lot 1 in the auction in June 1807.
This ownership concurs with the findings in the Manorial Court Records for the Manors of Buckenham Close, Buckenham Lathes and Buckenham Castle. The Court Books show that Charles Bradfield, a farmer, of Knettishall, Suffolk and his wife Sarah, purchased certain copyhold land from the executors of the late Susanna Garnham in 1807.
I understand that Charles Bradfield’s wife Sarah was the daughter of John and Susanna Garnham. However, I have not yet been able to verify this.
Charles Bradfield was in his early sixties when, in 1807, he purchased the property (including the House, Barn, Stable and Yard) from the executors of the late Susanna Garnham.
At the age of 82, Charles Bradfield was buried in the Church of St James on the 22nd March, 1825. He was survived by his wife Sarah.
An announcement of the death of ‘Mr Charles Bradfield of Great Ellingham’ appeared in the Bury and Norwich Post on Wednesday, March 30th, 1825.
The report tells us that Charles Bradfield died at his home in Great Ellingham on the 16th March. Said to be formerly of Knettishall, Charles Bradfield died “after severe and protracted sufferings, borne with the fortitude of a man and the resignation of a Christian, a character long and well displayed in his relative duties of a husband, father, friend, and neighbour“.
Following Charles Bradfield’s death, the house was offered for sale at auction. Consequently, it would have a new owner and occupier.
Auction of Property
The following Notice appeared in the Norwich Mercury of the 16th July 1825:
A highly desirable Estate & genteel Residence,
At Great Ellingham, Norfolk
With Possession at Michaelmas next
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION
By Wm. Spelman
This day, the 16th July, at Four o’clock in the afternoon,
at the White Swan Inn, St Peter’s Bancroft, Norwich
ALL that eligible ESTATE, situate at Great Ellingham, Norfolk consisting of a modern and substantially built residence, with barn, stable, cow-house, cart-shed, granary, gig-house, and all requisite out-buildings, with well-planted gardens and orchard, and 65A 20R 20P of rich arable, meadow and pasture land lying nearly within a ring fence,
and now in the occupation of the the executors of Mr Bradfield, deceased.
The Dwelling-house has been built within a few years, is pleasantly situated; has an entrance-hall, two parlours, kitchen, wash-house, pantry, store-room, dairy, cheese-chamber, capital cellar, and 5 sleeping-rooms, with large attic over the whole back staircase, and suitable offices.
The above Estate forms a desirable and pleasant residence, and is situated 2 miles from Attleburgh, 3 from Hingham, and 7 from Watton – possession of which may be had at Michaelmas next.
£1000 may remain on the Premises at 4 per cent.
For particulars apply to Messrs. Francis Turner, solicitors, Surry-street, and to the Auctioneer, Duke’s Palace, Norwich.
The Bailiff on the Premises will shew the Estate.
The notice gives a good description of the house. It also tells us that the house had been ‘built within a few years’. However, what we do not know is what is meant by ‘within a few years’!
Purchaser George Wright & Occupier William Lynn
The schedules contained in a document entitled ‘Estates and Occupations Collected‘ in relation to the Lands titheable to the Impropriate Rectory of Great Ellingham c.1830-1840, also provide us with clues as to the owners of the property following the death of Charles Bradfield.
The records indicate that a purchaser was Mistress Wright with the occupier being William Lynn, and then an owner George Wright with, again, the occupier as William Lynn.
Looking again at the court records for the Manors of Buckenham Close, Buckenham Lathes and Buckenham Castle, the death of Charles Bradfield was ‘presented’ at a Manor Court held on 26th October, 1825.
At a later manor court held on the 10th April, 1827, George Wright of Great Ellingham produced an extract of a ‘Bargain & Sale’ dated 10th March, 1827, made between himself, the executors of Charles Bradfield and Sarah Bradfield (widow of Charles) relating to copyhold land.
Given that the entry specifically mentioning the House, Barn, Stable & Yard in the schedules to the ‘Estates and Occupations Collected’ c.1840 also indicates that the successive owner and occupier to Charles Bradfield as Mistress Wright and Wm Lynn, I have no doubt that George Wright also purchased the dwelling house once owned by Charles Bradfield.
I do not know whether George Wright ever occupied the property, but I think it unlikely. Baptism entries appear in the Gateley Parish Registers for his sons George Samuel on 4th March, 1827, and William on 23 March, 1828. Both entries state that the parents, George and Phillis (Phyllis) Wright were resident in Gateley at the times of the respective baptisms.
In any event, the court records for the Manors of Buckenham Close, Buckenham Lathes and Buckenham Castle reveal that George Wright died before the 6th August, 1832. Phillis Wright was left a widow with two young sons.
The manor records also show that a George Wright of Little Fransham, the eldest son and heir of George Wright deceased, presented himself to the court by his attorney, James Cuddon the younger, ‘to craveth the favor of the Lord of this Manor to be admitted tenant to the [copyhold] lands and tenements whereof his said Father [George Wright] died seized as his right and inheritance”. The entries mention that the land in question was land which had been purchased by George Wright from Charles Bradfield.
Another entry at the same time and at the same court reveals that George Wright (the eldest son and heir of George Wright), was a minor being under the age of 21 years. The guardianship in relation to the copyhold land held by the young George Wright was granted to Phillis Wright of Little Fransham, widow and mother, until George Wright reaches the age of 21.
As the entry in the Manor Court Books state that Phillis Wright was of Little Fransham, it is unlikely that widow Phillis Wright and her son, George, initially lived at the ‘House, Barn, Stable & Yard‘ at Bush Green. However, it does appear that the property was occupied by William Lynn.
White’s Directory of 1836 lists William Lynn as a farmer in Great Ellingham.
Five years later, the 1841 census captures 40 year old farmer, William Lynn with his 45 year old wife Maria and 15 year old daughter, also named Maria. Servants, 45 year old Robert Meres and 20 year old Susanna Meres, complete the household.
White’s Directory of 1845 again lists William Lynn as a farmer in Great Ellingham. However, by 1850 Hill House Farm may well have been occupied by Phillis Wright and her son, George, who had (three years earlier) reached the age of 21.
Hunt’s Directory of 1850 lists Phillis Wright as a farmer in Great Ellingham.
The 1851 census finds 53 year old widow Phillis Wright with her 24 year old son, George, at Bush Green, Great Ellingham. Born in North Elmham, Phillis Wright is said to be farming 65 acres and employing two labourers. Was it the very same 65 acres which was sold to Charles Bradfield by the executors of Susannah Garnham some 44 years earlier in 1807? I believe it probably was.
George Samuel Wright
Ten years later (in 1861), 62 year old Phillis Wright is listed within the household of her 34 year old son, George Samuel Wright, at Bush Green, Great Ellingham.
Born in Gately, George is described as a farmer of 65 acres employing three men and one boy. George has a wife 39 year old Mariane and two daughters, Ellen Sarah aged 3 and one year old Elizabeth Barnard. The family have a domestic servant, 17 year old Ellen Corble.
Whilst the censusus of 1851 and 1861 do not specifically say exactly where the Wright family was living at Bush Green, I am confident that they were living at the farmhouse which was once owned by John & Susanna Garnham (and occupied by William Chaplin), and which today we know as Hill House Farm.
A marriage was registered in the Wayland District in the last quarter of 1855 between George Samuel Wright and Mary Ann Barnard. Born in Cossey (Costessey), Maryann (or Mary Ann) was the daughter of James and Sarah Barnard of Bury Hall – a property in Deopham Road not far from the home of George S Wright and his widowed mother Phillis.
The 1871 finds George Samuel Wright with his growing family still at their home in Bush Green. Now aged 44, farmer George Wright is farming 96 acres, but still employing three men and one boy. After the birth of five daughters, George’s wife Maryann gave birth to (I assume) a much longed- for son (and heir) in 1867.
Registered as James George Wright, the four year old is listed as George James on the census and, although the youngest of the children, his name appears on the census before his sisters Ellen Sarah 13, Elizabeth Barnard 11, Alice Mary 9, Louisa 7 and Sarah Barnard 5.
Headstone in Memory of Maryann wife of George Samuel Wright and also of George Samuel Wright in the churchyard of St James
At the age of 54, Maryann Wright was buried in the churchyard at St James on the 28th October, 1874.
Widower George S Wright appears to have moved out of his home at Bush Green by the October of 1880. I don’t know whether George sold up, or just moved out retaining the ownership of the farm.
A notice of a forthcoming auction in Great Ellingham of live and dead farming stock and household furniture and effects on ‘the Farm late in the occupation of Mr George S Wright‘ appeared in the Norwich Mercury of the 9th October, 1880.
The list of the stock and household furniture for sale gives us an insight of what George Wright was farming, and what furniture he had in his home.
The livestock included 10 horses, 6 grazing steers, 10 cows, 50 lambs, a breeding sow in pig, as well as 10 good pigs and a quantity of fowls. Carriages, implements, drills, machines, bins, troughs and harnesses were also for sale.
The furniture (said to be for sitting and sleeping rooms) included Mahogany dining and other tables, chairs, Mahogany four-post and iron bedsteads, mattresses, feather beds, bolsters, pillows, blankets, Mahogany and painted chests of drawers, dressing tables, dressing glasses (I assume mirrors), washstands and toilet sets. Linen, china, glass, plate and plated goods together with dairy utensils would also be auctioned. A prospective buyer could obtain a catalogue of the items for sale from the auctioneer, James Bacon, of Attleborough.
Just over three months after the auction of his livestock and household goods, and two months before the 1881 census was undertaken, George Samuel Wright died. He was 53.
The deaths of George and Maryann Wright likely brought their family’s ownership of the farm to an end.
George Samuel Wright participated in village life. A churchwarden, he was also a Trustee of the Great Ellingham Fuel Allotment Charity. Further, he was at one time a member of the School Board.
Bush Green Farm and Hill House Farm
The ‘Post Office’ Directory of 1879 lists George S Wright, farmer, at Bush Green Farm. Today, Bush Green Farm is a separate farm to Hill House Farm. I do not know when these respective farms began to use the names Bush Green Farm and Hill House Farm.
I can only surmise from my investigations, that George S Wright lived at what is today known as Hill House Farm. This is based on the seemingly unbroken chain of ownership from Garnham to Bradfield to Wright, and given that the position of John Garnham’s property can be identified on the 1802 plan.
The various early trade directories tend only to mention the names of farmers (not the actual farm) save for the large farms i.e. The Hall and Bury Hall. Whilst later directories also include the names Tanyard, Portwood, Haw Hill, Rose Farm and Cottage Farm, again not all the farm names are listed.
Without further evidence (for example, deeds), it is difficult to say with any certainty who owned or lived at Hill House Farm after George S Wright left the property in 1880.
However, I have some ideas ….
Possible Occupiers after 1880
George Painter may well have been the next occupier of Hill House Farm. The 1881 census records 39 year old farmer George Painter at ‘Bush Green Farm‘ with his 37 year old wife Mary Ann and 17 year old daughter Edith. George Painter is stated to be farming 65 acres.
My belief that the Painter family were at Hill House Farm is based on the fact that the 1881 census states George Painter to be farming 65 acres at Bush Green, and the likelihood that Charles Bradfield purchased the same 65 acres from the executors of Susanna Garnham back in 1807 (which was subsequently farmed by George Wright and his wife Phillis, and then by their son George Samuel Wright).
The 1871 revealed that George S Wright was then farming 96 acres (an increase of some 30 acres from the 65 acres he had farmed 10 years previously). However, it is possible that George Wright rented the additional land, and following his exit from the farm, only the 65 acres were actually sold.
By 1891, the Painters had vacated the farm. The census (of 1891) finds farm bailiff William Kendall with his wife Mary Jane at ‘Hill Farm Bush Green’.
However, Kelly’s of 1896 lists William Kendall, farm bailiff to James Bacon Esq. at Hill House. William Kendall had moved on by 1901.
The next occupier may have been Robert Ward. Although the 1901 census states 39 year old farm bailiff Robert Ward and his wife Emily to be at ‘Strolling Common‘, the 1903 Electoral Register for Occupation Voters, lists Robert Ward at a dwellinghouse in Bush Green. I know from documentation relating to Bush Green Farm, that John Thomas Harbour and his wife Elizabeth were at Bush Green Farm in 1901, and still there in 1911. Accordingly, Robert Ward was not at Bush Green Farm either in 1901 or 1911.
The 1911 census finds 50 year old Robert Ward described as a working steward at Bush Green. Robert and his 48 year old wife (to whom he had been married for 26 years), were said to be living in a nine roomed property. The number of rooms did not include any scullery, bathroom or office. Again, I believe the property was Hill House Farm. Just down the road at Bury Hall, William Downes and his family also occupied a nine-roomed property.
Just a year later, Kelly’s Directory of 1912, lists Robert Ward as a farm bailiff to James Bacon & Sons, at Hill House.
Kelly’s of 1916 lists Charles Woods, a farm bailiff, to Mr Thomas William Dixon at Hill House.
Arthur A Neal & Edward James Reynolds
Kellys of 1925 lists Arthur A Neal, a farmer at Hill House. Arthur Neal is also listed as a farmer at Hill House in 1929. However to confuse things further, Edward James Reynolds, a castrator, is listed at Hill House Farm!
Updated 5 October 2023
18th century Map. Stalland and Bush Green Commons, Great Ellingham. Norfolk Record Office. Catalgoue Ref NRO, MC 2213/116.
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. Also available at https://www.familysearch.org/
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Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette 23rd May 1807
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Norwich Mercury 9th October 1880
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1841 census HO107/781/8
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1861 census RG9/1237/98
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England, Norfolk Register of Electors, 1832-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DW53-DC3?cc=1824705&wc=MX69-5Z9%3A161034801%2C161186101%2C161135301 : 21 May 2014), Norfolk > Mid division > 1903 > image 26 of 512; Record Office, Central Library, Norwich.
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Norwich Mercury 16 July 1825