Greetings from Bangkok

In this guest blog post, Denwood Holmes writes for us from Bangkok about his research in the Essex archives…

Greetings from Bangkok, where I hope I have the distinction of being among the ERO’s more far-flung correspondents.

As an Ottoman art historian-turned-PR consultant, genealogy has been a means to maintain my interest in archival research while languishing in the private sector. Tracing my American patrilineal ancestry started out easy: most colonial New England descents are fairly well documented, and armed with the name of a great-great grandfather, two articles on the descendants of John Holmes, gentleman, Messenger of the Plymouth Colony Court by distinguished genealogist (and cousin) Eugene Stratton quickly took me back twelve generations. The original Mr. Holmes was by all accounts something of a rogue, frequently cited for drunkenness, and the executioner of Thomas Granger, the first person hanged in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, for unlawful congress with animals.

After that the going got tougher. American genealogists have historically been content to end their research with arrival in the New World (why ever would we go further?), but to do with my teenage years spent in the UK, and inspired partly by David Hackett Fischer’s book Albion’s Seed, I became determined to the trace the Great Leap across the pond.

It wasn’t entirely tabula rasa: George Mackenzie, in his Colonial Families (1925) cites a Thomas Holmes of Colchester as John’s father, but without further reference. Thomas’ will, dated 1637, is preserved in ERO (D/ACW 12/225): gentleman alias maltster alias gaoler of Colchester Castle, he leaves “five pounds, my corslet, my pike, and all my armour” to his son John.

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Will of Thomas Holmes of Colchester, 1637 (D/ACW 12/225)

 

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Thomas left corslet, pike and armour to his son John (D/ACW 12/225)

The will also mentions a daughter, Susan Mor(e)ton, the widow of Tobias Moreton, gent., of Little Moreton Hall, a half-timbered manor house which still stands in Cheshire. Susan’s will, unearthed by chance in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, confirms Mackenzie’s assertion: she mentions her nephews (John’s sons) Thomas (who remained in Colchester), John, and Nathaniel, my great x8 grandfather.

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Extract from Thomas Holmes’s will mentioning his daughter, Susan Morton (D/ACW 12/225)

Along with a number of noted Colchester Puritans, the will is witnessed by George Gilberd, esquire, brother of William Gilberd/t, physician to Elizabeth I.

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Signatures of witnesses to Thomas Holmes’s will (D/ACW 12/225)

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Thomas Holmes’s signature at the end of his will (D/ACW 12/225)

The Holmes family – clearly middling Puritan parish gentry – were not native to Colchester: according to the Red Parchment Book of Colchester, Thomas’ grandfather Thomas, draper, was sworn a burgess in 1543, and is described as being of Ramsden Bellhouse. There the trail dwindles. The ERO will of Thomas Holme of Ramsden Bellhouse of 1514 mentions a brother, John, a tailor, but little more. Finally, in the Feet of Fines for Essex, we find the last signpost to date:

“Hilary and Easter, 14 Henry VII (1499); William Holme, Humphrey Tyrell, esquire, Thomas Intilsham, “gentilman”, William Howard, clerk, William Bekshyll and William Rede, plaintiffs. John Choppyn and Joan his wife, daughter and one of the heirs of John Dawe, deceased, defendants. A third part of a moiety of 1 messuage, 60 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, 30 acres of pasture and 10 acres of wood in Ramesdon Belhous, Dounham, Wykford, Ronwell, and Suthhanyfeld. Defendant quitclaimed to plaintiffs and the heirs of William Holme. Consideration 40 marks.”

Certain prosopographical observations can be made here. Humphrey Tyrell of Warley was a younger son of the Tyrells of Heron, probably a nephew of the Sir James executed for the murder of the Princes in the Tower. Howard was his clerk. Hintlesham was an MP for Maldon, and Rede was probably the nephew and heir of Sir Bartholomew Rede, Mayor of London. All were in the circle of John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford. The identity of William Holme remains a mystery; there are two or three of the name active in London at around the same time, all probably in the cloth trade. Here the trail ends, for the time being: any thoughts or suggestions on the part of the ERO community as to how to proceed are much appreciated; I can be reached at Denwood_Holmes@yahoo.com.

I conclude with a special thanks to Allyson Lewis, Katharine Schofield, and all of the staff at ERO for their help and support which regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty, extending unto providing me with pencil-rubbings of seals by mail here in Bangkok; having worked in archives from London to Damascus I say unequivocally that ERO is lucky to have you.

 

 

 

You Are Hear: project update

Sarah-Joy Maddeaux, Project Officer for You Are Hear, writes for us about one unexpected aspect of her recent work…

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An unanticipated result of the development work for our Heritage Lottery Funded project, You Are Hear: sound and a sense of place, has been the number of new accessions it has prompted to flow into the repository of the Essex Sound and Video Archive.

I have spent most of the last four months investigating the copyright status of our collections, to establish which we will be able to use for our project. As I sort through the paperwork and get in touch with depositors of five, ten, or twenty years ago, this has served as a reminder of our existence. We have received recordings from people who have been busy creating new material since their last deposits, for example additional videos about Ongar from David Welford (Accession Number SA715 to add to five earlier deposits) and a new batch of oral history interviews from the Ongar Millennium History Society (Accession Numbers SA712 and SA713). Artists have given us final versions of earlier recordings, for example a fully printed and slightly amended CD from the Arts Action East and Arts in Essex African Lullaby Project, created by Julia Usher and Anna Mudeka to capture and create lullabies used by mothers in Essex from a range of cultural backgrounds (original Accession Number SA592).

African Lullaby Project

Having recently visited the tea rooms and museum at Wilkin and Sons jam factory in Tiptree, I was particularly interested in an interview with John S Wilkin, then Director of the company and grandson of the founder, recorded in 1986, shortly after the company’s centenary. We had received a copy of a similar interview in 1993, but unfortunately it was of such poor quality that it was not worth keeping. Thanks to Mr Wilkin’s widow, we now have a replacement. In an interview for Radio Colchester, Mr Wilkin explains the story behind the foundation of the company, its gradual growth, and the different stages of production. Although at the time of the interview they were in the height of strawberry season, they had abandoned the strawberries in order to complete an ‘urgent’ order of peach jam for Germany. Let nothing stand between a man and his condiment of choice.

What piece of Essex heritage will come through our doors next?

(Please note that these new recordings cannot be accessed by researchers until access copies have been created. To express an interest in hearing these recordings, please contact us on ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk)

When Essex won the World Cup

Did you know that England’s only triumph in the World Cup was actually powered by Essex? Four members of the team that triumphed in 1966, and their manager, were born in or had close connections with Essex.

Bobby Moore, the iconic captain of the team and central defender, was born in Barking in 1941 (below). Interestingly Chelsea was one of his middle names, although he played most of his career for West Ham United, making 544 appearances for the club, before moving to Fulham in 1974 and then finishing his playing career in the USA.  He later managed Southend United from 1984-1986.

Baptism of Bobby Moore (D/P 81/1/57)

Bobby Moore’s baptism record (D/P 81/1/57)

Martin Peters was born in Plaistow.  He too played for West Ham United before moving to Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich and Sheffield United.  While at West Ham he played in every position on the team, including goalkeeper.  He played in midfield and was a free kick specialist.

Jimmy Greaves was born in Manor Park, East Ham. He began his career at Chelsea before moving to AC Milan for a short spell in 1961.  He returned to join Tottenham Hotspur and won the FA Cup in 1972 and European Cup Winners Cup in 1973. Greaves later played for Chelmsford City in 1976-1977 after he had retired from top flight football.  During the 1966 campaign, Greaves was injured in a group match and his place in the final was taken by Geoff Hurst.

Geoff Hurst, scorer of the winning goal, moved to Chelmsford when he was 6 and also played for West Ham United.  His father, Charlie Hurst, was a professional footballer who played for Bristol Rovers, Oldham Athletic and Rochdale.  He married in Chelmsford Cathedral in 1962.

Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst both played cricket for Essex in the county youth team, while Hurst went on to make one 1st XI appearance for Essex against Lancashire in 1962 and play regularly in the 2nd XI as wicketkeeper between 1962 and 1964 when he left to concentrate on football.

Alf Ramsey's baptism record (D/P 69/1/18)

Alf Ramsey’s baptism record (D/P 69/1/18)

The England Manager, Alf Ramsey, was born in Dagenham in 1920 (above).  He was a talented youth player and played for his regiment during the Second World War before joining Southampton FC and then moving to Tottenham Hotspur. He retired as a player in 1955 and went into management managing Ipswich Town from 1955 until 1963 when he was offered the England job. On his appointment as England manager he predicted that England would win the next World Cup.  Ramsey was the first England manager to have control over team selections and he instituted a strict regime of control over the players on and off the field.  As a player his tactical awareness had earned him the nickname The General and he brought this tactical astuteness to the England team.  He was sacked in 1974 after failing to take England to qualification for the 1974 World Cup.

Bienvenue les rouleurs

As the Tour de France comes to Essex, Archive Assistant Edd Harris takes a look back at our county’s cycling past…

As Essex “gears up” (geddit?) to host several hundred brightly clad racers in the third stage of the Tour de France on the 7th of July, we felt it would be a good idea to take a look back at Essex’s rich cycling past. Essex had cycling aficionados, fans and competitors long before the exploits of Ian Stannard and Alex Dowsett brought the county’s cycling talent into the limelight. (I am also reliably informed that Laura Trott comes from Harlow, and Mark Cavendish lives near Ongar.)

TS 310/1 - An ordinary bicycle (penny farthing) leaning against an unidentified shop in Southend.

TS 310/1 – An ordinary bicycle (penny farthing) leaning against an unidentified shop in Southend.

Before the invention of the safety bicycle life was a much loftier affair for cyclists. To gain any sort of real pace a large wheel had to be used, so brave men clambered onto “ordinary bicycles” or “penny farthings” as they became nicknamed. (If you are feeling very down with the kids, I hear they can also be called “P-fars” and can still be bought from specialist retailers.) The safety bicycle and the pneumatic tyre were in widespread use by 1890 bringing about a massive boom in cycling.

Almost as soon as cycling had been invented clubs were formed and despite the machines still being worth the equivalent of a small car in today’s money, hundreds of people ventured out onto the roads each weekend, and this early boom in cycling Essex is evident in some of the documents in our collections.

D/P 296/1/13 is a register of services held at St Nicholas, Kelvedon Hatch between 1897 and 1908. As well as recording interesting details about events happening both locally and nationally, it also tells us that the Vicar held a number of services specifically for cyclists attended by lots of cyclists.

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D/P 296/1/13 – The service register of St Nicholas’ Kelvedon Hatch with a cyclists service attended by 35 cyclists. (Click for larger version)

D/Z 518/1 is the guest book of the Cock Tavern in Ongar and it seems to have been reserved purely for the use of visiting cyclists. We have looked at it once before as part of our document of the month series, but it is well worth re-visiting. Beginning in 1890, it is full of messages of thanks from cyclists, illustrations of the badges of the clubs (amongst other things) and complaints about the local traffic. In one message thirty or more riders are said to have descended on the pub from just one club. One commenter reminisces about his first visit to the Cock Inn, drawing an image emphasising how old fashioned he thought cycling was. He is shown in tweed plus-fours, pipe in mouth, flat-capped and astride his “ordinary”. Can anyone identify T.M.R. Whitwell or any of the other names in this register?

D/Z 518/1 - Entry in the guest book for the Cock Inn in Chipping Ongar. Here T.M.R. Whitwell illistrates his first visit to the pub in 1893. Is this the same Whitwell who illustrated the works of P.G. Wodehouse?

D/Z 518/1 – Entry in the guest book for the Cock Inn in Chipping Ongar. Here T.M.R. Whitwell illistrates his first visit to the pub in 1893. Is this the same Whitwell who illustrated the works of P.G. Wodehouse?

D/Z 518/1 - Another entry from the guest book. A rather delightfully named club - the Cemetery Crawlers

D/Z 518/1 – Another entry from the guest book. A rather delightfully named club – the Cemetery Crawlers

With the increasing affordability of cycling, it became the working man and woman’s chance of escape, providing them with the freedom to travel where and when they wanted. As its popularity grew, however, the well-heeled country gent was becoming worried that his quiet country solitude was being disturbed by this riff-raff and in an attempt to assuage their worry, the National Cyclists Union banned racing on the roads in 1890. This was a ban which would last till the 1950 and shaped the character of British cycling to this day. We have always been at our best when taking part in the once clandestine discipline of time trialing, our biggest stars, Boardman, Wiggins and Dowsett can all trace their heritage back to the black clad cyclists hammering along the country’s A-roads in pursuit of the best time whilst trying to avoid the attentions of the authorities.

D/Z 518/1 - Another entry from this fascinating guestbook. It seems like interacting with motorcars was a problem for cyclists even way back in 1906.

D/Z 518/1 – Another entry from this fascinating guestbook. It seems like interacting with motorcars was a problem for cyclists even way back in 1906.

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A series of sketches detailing the extra forms of transport considered by Lieutenant Colonel Francis H.D.C. Whitmore then High Sheriff of Essex when his car broke down en-route to an important engagement in 1922.

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Over time the various clubs began to specialise in different activities. There were racing clubs who time trialed and raced on private tracks, there were social clubs and there were touring clubs. Eventually one club would form which attempted to encompass cyclists all over the country. The Cycle Tourists Club or CTC would go on to become advocates for the pastime as well as organising rides and meets. The Essex Section of the CTC was formed in 1927 and almost immediately got down to business. It seems that that business was initially to very carefully delineate the boundaries of the section to avoid confrontation and then to move on to the more important tasks of arranging for design and supply of a club badge (not without some argument), deciding where to hold their Christmas dinner and ensuring that the tea stops they visited on their rides were of adequate quality. There is a little bit of riding too. Tellingly, they had to cancel a women-only ride due to a lack of interest, a problem which still blights the male-dominated pastime to this day.

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A13272 – On this page of the CTC minute books one member seems somewhat worried about substandard tea.

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A13272 – During this meeting arrangements were made for bike parking in a cow shed in Chelmsford during a lecture.

So, when Le Tour comes charging though Essex on the 7th of July remember that this is not a new cycling boom, more of a renaissance. Cycling in Essex can trace a very long history and we are always looking for more information and material relating to the clubs and riders of Essex.

Wading into a Polystyrene Sea

After our recent posts on how to run a manorwhat a manor was, and the records produced by manorial courts today we had an exciting package which arrived from Professor Lawrence Poos all the way from America. It’s another manorial document for our collection! You can find out more about manorial records and how you can use them in your own research from Professor Poos and others at Essex through the ages: tracing the past using manorial records on Saturday 12 July 2014.

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ERO Archivist Katharine Schofield and Public Service Team Manager Neil Wiffen eagerly anticipating opening the package!

We thought we’d provide a little photo story of the unboxing. I think the pictures below will give you some idea of the lengths people go to to transport the documents they want to deposit with us. Documents arrive with us in all sorts of forms and conditions and it is always exciting to unwrap them for the first time.  As always, stay tuned for more details about this new document! 

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Don’t worry, Neil is a fully trained knife wielder.

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Nearly there!

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Hey Presto! One new Copyhold Deed for the Essex Record Office Collection.

Hey Presto! One new Copyhold Deed for the Essex Record Office Collection.

 Whether you are interested in using manorial records in your own research, or just want to enjoy hearing experts talk about them, join us for Essex through the ages: tracing the past using manorial records on Saturday 12 July 2014 to find out how you can discover centuries of Essex life using these fascinating documents. There are more details, including how to book, here.

Document of the Month July 2014: Commemorative handkerchief for the peace celebrations at Southend, July 1919

Each month a document is put on display in our Searchroom. Our document for July has been chosen by Archivist Chris Lambert to reflect the 95th anniversary of Peace Day at the end of the First World War.

Acc. S3299

August this year will be heavy with the memory of the First World War, declared 100 years ago.  The shattering effects of that conflict continue to mark families and continents. But we have almost forgotten the peace that brought it to an end.

For most of us, the Great War ended on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, but in fact it was only the killing that stopped.  The war itself did not end until 28 June 1919, when, after months of tortuous negotiations, the peace treaty was signed at Versailles.  This July marks the 95th anniversary of the celebrations that followed, and specifically of Peace Day itself, 19 July 1919.

Our amnesia is not, perhaps, too surprising.  The Treaty of Versailles was controversial at the time, especially in its treatment of Germany, and later came to be seen as the fuse that lit the Second World War.  The peace itself was a period of economic and political turmoil.  Even so, it remains striking that while the smiling faces of victory in 1945 have entered the collective consciousness, those of 1919 have faded away.  Armistice Day too is still with us, albeit under another name; Peace Day is not.

In London, Peace Day was marked by a huge military parade, followed by a firework display in Hyde Park.  Essex saw many local celebrations.  Saffron Walden, for example, provided a ‘peace celebration dinner’ for returned servicemen (involving among other items 200 pounds of plum pudding and 4 gallons of custard), followed by children’s sports, a procession and dancing.  Similar plans for Chelmsford were curtailed by the refusal of local ex-servicemen to take part.  However, the greatest spectacle was a naval review off Southend, accompanied by yacht races, swimming competitions and a pageant.  The festivities at Southend were commemorated by this paper handkerchief (printed in London to a standard pattern), which remained in private hands until it was deposited in the Record Office in 2008.

Commemorative handkerchief for the peace celebrations at Southend, July 1919 (Acc. S3299)

Commemorative handkerchief for the peace celebrations at Southend, July 1919 (Acc. S3299)

Recording of the Month July 2014: Father Went Down to Southend

Our Sound Archivist Martin Astell brings us another highlight from the Essex Sound and Video Archive…

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The promise of summer sunshine leads our thoughts toward the seaside and this month’s recording should help us on our journey. It is taken from a 78rpm Edison Bell gramophone disc released in 1911 or 1912. The song Father Went Down to Southend was written by T.W. Connor who wrote a number of other Music Hall favourites such as She Was One of the Early Birds (And I Was One of the Worms), I’m the Airy Fairy and A Little Bit of Cucumber. This last can be heard performed by Mr Cutmore of Halstead on the Essex Record Office CD How to Speak Essex: 20th century voices from the Essex Sound and Video Archive.

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Father Went Down to Southend can be seen as providing further evidence of the popularity of the resort as a destination for day trippers travelling by rail from London in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, telling a story – which may be familiar to some of us even now – of a man who ‘didn’t see much of the water, but he put some beers away!’ The tune is lively and the words humorous. Note also the curious ending which mirrors the introduction but, to me, has the effect of sounding like an arrangement intended to segue into another song.

If the recording quality sounds a little less than ‘hi-fidelity’ to our modern ears, it is worth noting that the disc itself is over 100 years old and that it would have been recorded acoustically – that is, without microphones – requiring the singer and accompanying orchestra to be arranged in front of a conical horn (somewhat akin to those seen on gramophones) and to perform live.

I hope this recording gets you in the mood for your summer holiday. Perhaps you should consider a day trip to ‘Southend on the Sea’.

Conservators galore

Essex Record Office recently hosted a meeting of the Archives and Records Association (ARA) Conservation Training Scheme with Trainees coming from other Offices as far away as Lancashire, Pembrokeshire and Derbyshire. The scheme aims to train Archive Conservators to be able to preserve and repair the extremely varied material found in a county record office, dealing with the theoretical knowledge of the history and science behind the materials and the practical skills required to preserve historic documents for the future.

Following a tour of the building and facilities at ERO, Trainees were instructed on the conservation of photographic negatives by Photographic Conservator, Rosalind Bos. During this session Rosalind described the types of materials used in the production of negatives and the conservation challenges caused by unstable plastic negatives. Methods for the conservation of damaged glass plates negatives were demonstrated including the sandwiching of a broken negative between two glass plates with a tight border of mount board to provide pressure on the pieces and keep them in place. A negative repaired like this can be safely stored, handled and digitised without causing further harm.

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Conservator Rosalind Bos talks to Trainee Conservators on techniques used in photographic conservation

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A broken photographic negative sandwiched between glass and held in place by a specially made border

ERO’s Conservation staff, Tony King and Diane Taylor, ran a session on the technique of leafcasting in the afternoon. Leafcasting is a method by which paper documents with weakened areas, tears and holes can be repaired using liquid paper pulp. The document is held underwater positioned on a fine mesh and the liquid pulp is added to the water. Once a vacuum is turned on the water rushes through the mesh depositing the pulp in the holes in the document, once pressed and dried the pulp forms new paper in the holes. You can see how this process works in our leafcasting video here.

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Gathered in the glow of the leafcaster

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A paper document repaired with fresh paper pulp in the leafcaster

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Looking at paper documents repaired by the leafcaster after they have had a chance to dry

The day gave the Trainees a chance to learn about several specialist conservation techniques as carried out by staff at ERO and was a great opportunity to share ideas and approaches with colleagues from all over the country.

In search of Mars

Our newest Archivist Lawrence Barker pins down where composer Gustav Holst wrote his famous Planets suite…

It was about a hundred years ago that the composer Gustav Holst started work on his masterpiece, The Planets suite, and at the same time, to spend weekends at Thaxted.  He started with Mars “The bringer of war” shortly before the First World War broke out, and much has been made of the coincidence.  However, apparently Holst always denied that he had had a premonition of the horrors of war that were to ensue.

Like many I am sure, I had assumed that the house in the middle of Thaxted, identified now by a blue plaque, was where he wrote The Planets. But, as the plaque confirms, he only moved into that house in 1917 after he had completed the work.  Before then, he rented what his daughter Imogen described as a ‘three-hundred-year-old cottage on the top of a hill…two miles from Thaxted’[1] in the small hamlet of Monk Street, which had been previously occupied by the writer S.L. Bensusan.  It was there that he wrote Mars.

Sadly, the cottage no longer exists but a photograph does exist of the interior (which you can see here) showing Holst’s wife Isobel sitting by the fire and possibly taken by Holst himself.  The grand piano also visible in the left foreground is recognizably the same as that which Holst bought for the cottage which now takes pride of place in the Holst birthplace museum at Cheltenham, with a score of The Planets placed on the music stand and a note claiming that it was composed on that piano.  Holst bought it because it had a very light action which suited his neuritis.

At the time, Holst called himself Von Holst as is confirmed by his entry in the 1911 census.  Imogen describes how he helped out with the music in the church and was affectionately called ‘our Mr. Von’ by singers in the church choir.  However, with the onset of the First World War, neighbours became suspicious of him walking around the district and asking questions about the history of the area.  He was reported to the local police who carried out an investigation under the terms of the Aliens Restriction Order; and you can read the outcome reported below in a book of police investigations of those with German associations (J/P 12/6, 1914-18) kept by the ERO.  Usefully, you can see that the book states his address at the time as ‘Hill House, Monk Street, Thaxted’.

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Holst later took steps to have ‘Von’ formally removed from his name and paid for a change in the deed poll.  However, ironically, as Imogen relates, he was not entitled to call himself ‘Von’ Holst in any case as the title was initiated as an affectation by his father in the 1880s to increase his kudos by advertising himself as a German music teacher.

As the cottage has disappeared, I thought I would try and find its exact location by carrying out a typical house-history search.

Imogen Holst described the cottage in a small pamphlet about her father and Thaxted published in 1974:

The cottage dated from 1614; it had a thatched roof, and open fire-places, and a wonderful view across meadows and willow trees to the church spire in the distance.[2]

The NW volume of the Royal Commission on Historic Monuments for Essex has an entry for such a cottage on the Dunmow Road, East side:

(37). Cottage, about 1½ m. S. by E. of the church, was built apparently in 1614, and has a modern wing at the back and a low modern addition at the N. end.  On the W. font are three gabled dormer windows; the middle window is dated 1614.

The map shows it to be located on the right going towards Thaxted just before the road bends to the left into the hamlet of Monk Street.

The cottage was owned by Bensusan, and this is confirmed on the 1910 Finance Act map based on OS 25″ 2nd ed. sheet XIV.16 (ERO reference A/R 1/3/14), which shows the cottage to be plot 743 (79 on OS map) with the ownership of Bensusan confirmed in pencil on the map; that is, the second cottage past the turning to Sibley’s Green to the South and just before the left bend into Monk Street to the North on the Thaxted road (now the B184).  The accompanying reference book (A/R 2/5/10) shows on pg. 72 that assessment no. 743 was a vacant cottage (extent 1/3 Rod) owned by Samuel Bensusan (of The Brick House, Gt Easton) in Monk Street.  This was the only cottage in Monk Street belonging to Bensusan.

Armed with the name of the cottage, I carried out a search on Seax for any other documentation that might survive about it and found two bundles of documents.  The first (D/F 35/8/308) concerned ‘Hill Cottage’, Monk St., which underwent repairs, including the thatch, in 1924.  It was leased to Mrs Kennedy and correspondence contained in an envelope dated 1924 referred to the ‘Monk St property belonging to S. L. Bensusan Esq.’.  The other bundle (D/F 35/8/342) includes an agreement between M. Kennedy and L. Mackinnon re. the let of Hill Cottage, Monk St. in 1926 which identifies the plot as No.79 on the OS map (see the 1879 edition below).

Holst's cottage Monk st - no 79

So, there can be little doubt that the cottage in which Holst worked on Mars, the bringer of war, just before the start of the First World War, was on the right just past the right turn to Sibley’s Green and before the road bends round the left.  The cottage was still there in 1948 according to 25″ OS map but by 1977 on the OS map TL 6128 it had disappeared, although the plot still seems to be intact despite road widening and the building of new by-pass to Monk Street, now a left turn off the road.



[1] Holst, Imogen (1938). Gustave Holst: a biography. London: Faber and Faber

[2] Holst, Imogen (1974). Gustav Holst and Thaxted. Thaxted: Thaxted bulletin (later published as a separate pamphlet)

How to run your manor

Following our recent posts on what a manor was, and the records produced by manorial courts, today we have the final instalment in our manorial mini-series from Archivist Katharine Schofield. Running a manor produced all sorts documents, which record boundaries, customs and obligations owed between tenants and lords – read on for just a few examples. You can find out more about manorial records and how you can use them in your own research at Essex through the ages: tracing the past using manorial records on Saturday 12 July 2014.

Imagine you are lord of a medieval manor. You might even own several manors, and they might be scattered around a county, or indeed the country.

To make sure you are making the most of your manors (and getting the most from your tenants), you are going to need to establish how much and what type of land your manors include, how much your manors cost to run, and how much income you can expect to get from them.

All of this took a great deal of estate management, and has left us with a rich archive of administrative records. This includes extents, surveys and custumals, accounts or compoti, and later maps, rentals, perambulations and terriers. Handily for the modern researcher, they were often produced in English from as early as the 15th century.

Custumals

Custumals record the customs of a manor; that is, the labour services and rents owed by tenants in return for their lands, and any obligations owed to or by the lord. The famous Dunmow Flitch ceremony, for example, has its origins in a custom of the manor of Little Dunmow.

The extent and custumal of 1329-1330 from the manor of Stansgate in Steeple (which survives as a copy of c.1450 (D/DCf M34)), records a number of customs, including the obligation of all tenants resident in Ramsey Island, Steeple and Stansgate with their own boats or barges to take the Prior of Stansgate (the priory owned the manor), monks and servants by water to and from Maldon market every Saturday with their food. In return the Priory would give them dinner on the following Sunday.

Surveys, maps, terriers and perambulations

These are all different types of document that establish the boundaries of a manor, and which bits of the manor were held by which tenants.

The survey of the manor of Ingatestone of c.1275 (D/DP M150) is stitched into a rental and names the tenants, with a brief description of their holdings and a more detailed list of the service they owed the lord. For the tenants the survey recorded the extent of their liabilities and offered the assurance that the lord could not demand more work from them. This document was known as the ‘Domesday of Barking’ (Barking Abbey owned the manor) and appears as such in a court roll of 1322-1323 where it was produced as evidence in a dispute about a customary fine.

Title page of the ‘Domesday of Barking’, for the manor of Ingatestone, here called ‘Gynges’

Title page of the ‘Domesday of Barking’, for the manor of Ingatestone, here called ‘Gynges’

The ‘Domesday of Barking’ records that Juliana Strapel (you can make out her name at the beginning of the first full line shown here) held one messuage and 10 acres. Her obligations from this landholding included the payment of 5s 3d. annually, 9d. ‘lardsilver’ (a payment to the larder of Barking Abbey), and payment of one ploughshare at Michaelmas. She was also obliged to plough twice a year, hoe and harrow each for one and a half days, make hay, reap one acre in the autumn, and provide a man to work for three days. She also owed pannage, where pigs were allowed to roam in the wood to feed off acorns, and was obliged to collect nuts

The ‘Domesday of Barking’ records that Juliana Strapel (you can make out her name at the beginning of the first full line shown here) held one messuage and 10 acres. Her obligations from this landholding included the payment of 5s 3d. annually, 9d. ‘lardsilver’ (a payment to the larder of Barking Abbey), and payment of one ploughshare at Michaelmas. She was also obliged to plough twice a year, hoe and harrow each for one and a half days, make hay, reap one acre in the autumn, and provide a man to work for three days. She also owed pannage, where pigs were allowed to roam in the wood to feed off acorns, and was obliged to collect nuts

Originally, records dealing with boundaries used written descriptions of the land in question.  During the 16th century these written descriptions developed into maps and some of the earliest local maps in the Essex Record Office were produced by manors. In 1592 Israel Amyce produced a written survey of the manor and lordship of Castle Hedingham (D/DMh M1). In order to make the written descriptions clearer he included marginal sketch maps and larger pull-out maps.

Pull-out map of centre pf Castle Hedingham in survey of manor and lordship of Castle Hedingham by Israel Amyce, 1592 (D/DMh M1)

Pull-out map of centre pf Castle Hedingham in survey of manor and lordship of Castle Hedingham by Israel Amyce, 1592 (D/DMh M1)

A survey of manor and lordship of Castle Hedingham by Israel Amyce, 1592, using a combination of written descriptions and  maps (D/DMh M1)

A survey of manor and lordship of Castle Hedingham by Israel Amyce, 1592, using a combination of written descriptions and maps (D/DMh M1)

Maps were costly to produce as it usually required the employment of somebody with the cartographical skills of Amyce or Walker. Terriers and perambulations (where the boundaries were walked) and a written description was produced, continued as a cheaper alternative to describe the bounds of a manor.

Rentals

After the Black Death of 1348-1349 and the estimated loss of between a third and half of the population, lords of the manor found it much more difficult to enforce labour obligations on their tenants. This made it much less profitable for lords of the manor to farm the land themselves and increasingly the lords commuted the labour services into a rent.  At Thaxted in 1393 the survey (D/DHu M58) lists all of the labour services which had been due from each tenant and then concludes ‘now pays to farm’. The rent payable quit the tenant of any further labour obligations and from the 15th century onwards rentals or quit rentals are found among manorial records. Rentals name the tenants, and often give a description or even names of the copyhold premises they occupied, with the amount that they owed to lord.

Accounts (compoti)

When lords of the manor farmed the lands of the manor themselves, detailed bailiff’s accounts or compoti (from the Latin computare to calculate or estimate) were produced. The parchment membranes of accounts and rentals are usually stitched together end to end to produce an effect like a giant till roll. When unrolled they can be several feet long.

D/DBw Q1, which is about 18 feet long

D/DBw Q1, which is about 18 feet long

A compotus usually runs from Michaelmas to Michaelmas and there is a set pattern, beginning with the cash amounts to be charged and then discharged, the corn and stock (in a specified order) and then labour services. The compotus for the manor of Terling, 1328-1330 (D/DU 206/22) is the record kept by the bailiff William Knott. He accounted first for all of the money and goods coming in, including the sale of produce and purchase and birth of livestock. He then continued by listing every charge on the lord’s income including shoeing horses, making wheels, wages for work including ditching the park and roofing and repairing the gutters of the hall, chapel and dovecot. Knott also accounted for every loss of livestock, including deaths from the ‘murrain’ (a catch-all word used to describe unidentifiable animal diseases) and payments of eggs to the lord’s household and to the church. One of the biggest items of expenditure was bringing a watermill from Prittlewell (£10). There were further payments for the mill including digging the pond for it and removing the earth, buying nails and tiles and timber from Boreham and paying a carpenter.

Extract from the compotus for the manor of Terling, 1328-1330 (D/DU 206/22), which records the purchase of a watermill [molend’ aquatic] from Prittlewell [Priterewelle] to be moved to Terling.

Extract from the compotus for the manor of Terling, 1328-1330 (D/DU 206/22), which records the purchase of a watermill [molend’ aquatic] from Prittlewell [Priterewelle] to be moved to Terling.

Whether you are interested in using manorial records in your own research, or just want to enjoy hearing experts talk about them, join us for Essex through the ages: tracing the past using manorial records on Saturday 12 July 2014 to find out how you can discover centuries of Essex life using these fascinating documents. There are more details, including how to book, here.