Church of St James, Great Ellingham
The name Samuel Williamson (or variations of the name such as Willyamson and Willyomson) appears amongst the names of the churchwardens, overseers, constables and surveyors in the Great Ellingham Town Books 1741-1775.
This is a period of time when the churchwardens, overseers, constables and surveyors dealt with the administration of the village – or ‘town’ as it was then referred. These duties included setting and collecting in the rates, making distributions to the poor by way of paying for clothing, firing, settling doctor’s bills and funeral charges together with responsibility for law and order and the maintenance of the church and churchyard.
Samuel Williamson was one of four overseers for the ‘Town’ in 1742. The others were Edmund Chaplen (Chaplin), Timothy Sippens and Simon Warren. Simon Warren was also a churchwarden with John Barnard. Robert Barker and Edmund Chaplen were constables and Edmund Bream and William Kiddall, the surveyors.
Together with Layer Vynne, Samuel Williamson was a constable and surveyor in 1746 and 1747.
However Samuel Williamson’s name as holding an administative position in the village does not appear again until 1760 when, with James Barnard, he was again a constable which he continued to do with James Barnard for the next two years. In addition to being a constable, Samuel was also a surveyor (with Zachariah Browne) in 1762.
During the period between 1747 and 1760 when Samuel seems not to have taken on an adminstrative role in the village, he may well have attended the annual Town Meeting which was called to approve the Town Accounts. His name appears on a few occasions but not all the persons attending the meetings are listed.
The marriage of a Samuel Willyomson to Rebecca Youngs appears in the Great Ellingham parish registers on February 17th, 1734. This would tie in with the Samuel Williamson appearing in the Town Books. However, it is of course possible that there was more than one Samuel Williamson in the village during this period.
By 1772, Samuel Williamson had moved from Great Ellingham. The London Gazette of 9th May, 1772, reveals a Samuel Williamson, late of Great Ellingham in Norfolk, wool-comber as being amongst the prisoners in the Castle of Norwich for being an insolvent debtor.
Great Ellingham Town Book. 1741-1775. Norfolk Record Office. PD609/37
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD/609. Also available at FamilySearch.org https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=4J8C-CB7%3A29627201%3Fcc%3D1416598
The London Gazette. 9th May, 1772. Issue 11247. Pg 6. Accessed online https://www.thegazette.co.uk/ 05.01.2020