Notice to Quit addressed to Mrs Mary Howe dated 31st March 1874. Courtesy of Wymondham Town Archive
When Mary Howe and Samuel Chaplin received Notice to Quit their respective homes in Bow Street in the April of 1874, were they expecting the Notice or did it come ‘out of the blue’?
The Notice addressed to Mary Howe was signed by Caudell Clarke of Wymondham on the 31st March 1874, on behalf of the landlords, Mrs Julia de Roubigne Beevor Clarke and William Robert Clarke Esq. It was handed to Mary’s son, William Howe, on the 4th April.
The pre-printed Notice advised Mary that she must ‘quit and yield up‘ to the landlords on ‘Michaelmas Day (Old Style) next‘ the ‘quiet and peaceable possession of All that Messuage or Cottage, with the Out-houses, Buildings, Yard, Garden, Land, and Appurtenances‘ in Great Ellingham which she occupied as a tenant.
On the same day, a similar Notice was given to Samuel Chaplin.
The 1871 census (undertaken three years prior to the cottages being sold), captures 69 year old widow Mary Howe in Bow Street with her 44 year old son, William, and his 30 year old wife, Elizabeth. Also is Bow Street, is the household of 55 year old labourer, Samuel Chaplin, his wife Rebecca and their grandchildren 8 year old Alban Bass and 5 year old Adeline Bass.
Homes in Bow Street for over 20 years
Both families had been living in Bow Street for at least 20 years.
It was not until the 1891 census that we are given an idea of the number of rooms in a particular dwelling. However, the properties occupied by the Howe and Chaplin households were possibly no more than ‘two-up-two down’ dwellings. Each household would have obtained their water (for drinking, washing etc) from one of at least 10 wells in Bow Street, and the particular well which they used would have been shared with other households. It was also likely that they shared privies with their neighbours.
Like many other Tenants, Mary Howe and Samuel Chaplin would have been reliant on their landlord to keep their homes in reasonable repair. In some cases, particularly if the landlord did not live in the same village or town, it may have been a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I have written about a case brought before the Magistrates in 1871 where a Landlord was ordered to make tenanted cottages safe and inhabitable.
Sale at Auction of freehold cottages in Bow Street
On the 29th August, 1874, a notice of a forthcoming Auction at the New Inn, Attleborough appeared in the Norwich Mercury.
Lot 9 comprised two freehold cottages in Bow Street, Great Ellingham which were said to have good gardens containing about two roods. The cottages, abutting on property belonging to a Mr Feltham, Mr William Lebbell and Mr Charles Rivett, were said to be in the occupation of William Howe and Samuel Chaplin.
This would account for Mary Howe and Samuel Chaplin being served with Notice of Quit their respective cottages. Assuming that the cottages were indeed sold at the auction, I wonder whether the buyer purchased the properties as an investment and subsequently re-let the cottages to William Howe and Samuel Chaplin?
The 1881 census shows both the Chaplin and Howe families still living in Bow Street. 53 year old labourer William Howe is now listed as the head of his household, which includes his 40 year old wife Elizabeth and his 79 year old mother, Mary Howe. Samuel Chaplin’s household remains unchanged from 10 years earlier.
Norwich Mercury, 26th August 1874.
First Edition of Ordnance Survey Map, Norfolk. 1879-1886. Viewed online http://www.historic-maps.norfolk.gov.uk/mapexplorer/ Accessed 10.06.2020
1851 census HO 107/1823/115
1861 census RG9/1237/83
1871 census RG10/1841/80
1881 census RG11/1974/84
31 March 1874. Notice to Mary Howe to quit cottage in Great Ellingham. Pomeroy Collection. Box 47/736. Bundle 18. & 31 March 1874. Notice to Samuel Chaplin to quit a cottage at Great Ellingham. Pomeroy Collection. Box 47/735. Bundle 18. Wymondham Town Archive, Council Offices, 14 Middleton Street, Wymondham NR18 0AD