GESTINGTHORPE 'THEN & NOW' PHOTOGRAPHIC BOOK - COMING LATER THIS YEAR
One of Gestingthorpe's most devoted researchers was the late Dorrie Pannell. The Parish's official 'History Recorder', Dorrie devoted years of her spare time to compiling 'house histories' of many properties in the village and also collecting - and annotating any old photographs of the village that she could find.
The information on houses shown below has been taken from Dorrie's extensive research compiled between 1982 - 1985 without the aid of modern technology it would have involved a journey to the Essex Records Office and copying the entries in long hand before typing them up. It gives us a snapshot of the properties until around 40 years ago - of course since that time, owners and properties have undergone much change and evolution.
The Inn was mentioned in the 1804 survey by the Rector of the parish, the Reverend Charles Hughes A.M. and was then in the occupation of Mr William Weybrew.
For some years the property was part of the Overhall Estate and belonged to the Walkers, the Lords of the Manor.
Some old documents called the 'Abstract of the Title of the Trustees of Sale under the Will of George Walker Esq. to the Manor of Overhall' (the earliest date 1757) at a later sale in July 1847 from George Walker and others to Robert Walker it shows -
Moat Farm - 167 acs.lrd. 16 pls. (This farm dates back to about 1350, also an old barn which is still standing. A dovecote there is dated at about 1500).
Newhouse Farm - houses, outhouses, cottages, barns, buildings, stables, gardens etc. (The lands have now been taken into the Moat Farm and two cottages there have been sold and made into one).
The messuages or tenement and public house called the Compasses with the buildings, stables, yards and gardens, formerly occupied by William Weybrew, afterwards by Ann Weybrew, his widow, then of late by Woodford Weybrew and then by Sarah Weybrew (spinster).
The Conveyance from Edward Walker Esq. and others to Mr C. Hammond Branwhite in 1869 shows an item 'The Compasses Inn and premises, 2 rd. 18 pls.', but on the 1891 map the property is shown as two cottages, one being occupied by a Mr. W. Blake.
At the sale of the Moat Farm properties to Mr. F. Nott in 1903 it is classed as 'formerly Compasses Inn'.
There have been various occupiers since then until in March/April 1957 the old house was demolished and a bungalow built on the site for a farm worker and his family.
(Note - In the surname index is shown - 1769, 1770 - Robert Pannell, Gestingthorpe Q/RLv Licenced Victualler Recognizances - kept the Compasses for the years mantioned.
(he married Mary Butcher in Gestingthorpe on the 19th December 1765 and he died in 1798).
The Post Office was established in the village about 1848 by Mr. H. E. Pashley, Postmaster of Halstead, the same time as Post Offices in Pebmarsh and Gosfield were started.
The earliest Sub-Postmaster on record for Gestingthorpe was John Downs, landowner and later Ironfounder, who was selling stamps in 1855. His cousin Samuel Rayner was doing the work in 1866 at Ellises Farm. The letter box was inserted in the front wall of the Farm house and the customers had to go round to the back door to buy stamps and postal orders. Sam Rayner fetched the mail from Castle Hedingham station by horse and cart, delivering some on his return journey. Later on a postman named Wright, cycled from Hedingham with the mail in the morning and waited in a purpose built corrugated iron hut nearby until the time of the despatch several hours later.
The Post Office work was done by the Rayner family for over sixty years, Sam Rayner's daughter carrying on after the death of her parents. In 1933 the Post Office was transferred to Mr. B. Harnden at the shop across the road. The public were served in a wooden shed built onto the North side of the shop and entered between that and the bungalow next door. At this time the mail was being fetched and delivered by Mr. Leonard Martin on his bicycle and in later years in his car. Eventually the mail cam directly from Halstead Post Office by mail van.
The year 1934 saw the Post Office moved again, up the hill to The Firs when Mr. W. J. Pannell became Sub-postmaster. After his death in 1946 his wife carried on the work helped latterly by their daughter. In 1972 Mrs. Pannell resigned because of illness and since then there has not been a Post Office in Gestingthorpe.
The Church of England School, which was built in 1856 on part of the old church yard at a cost of £156, was closed in August 1963 due to diminishing numbers of pupils. Soon afterwards the building was bought by Mr. & Mrs.H. B. Cooke of Overhall, Gestingthorpe and handed over to the village people for use as a Village Hall and transferred temporarily to Trustees. It is now vested in the Official Custodian for Charities and run and financed by a local Hall Management Committee. Certain renovations were done by volunteers from the village and the hall is used for Jumble Sales, Whist Drives, Dances, Meetings etc.
A landmark in the centre of the village for several centuries has now disappeared. 'The Basin' as it was known by every child as they grew up, was a hollow in the ground where earth had been dug and used in the early 14th century to fill in part of an old pond over which the farm house called 'Delvene' or 'Delvyns' over the way was being built. There is only a small part of the old building left now as a new 'White House' was built there in the early 19th century. Over the years the 'Basin' has been a place of amusement for the children who never tired of chasing one another in and out of the hollow and round the trees which grew up about there. The density of the trees which grew on both sides of the road and a high hedge in the front of the Delvyns garden made it a dark and eerie place at night. Most of the trees have now been felled and in the 1980/81 the 'Basin' was filled in with rubble and earth left over from when the new 'Pump Yard' cottages were built.
The farm was situated to the West of Hill Farm and the farm buildings, which have now all disappeared, were in the field on the North side of the present drive. According to the 1804 survey map, Netherstreet Farm included about twenty pieces of land and was occupied by Mr. Josiah Firmin.
In 1838 the occupier, Mr. Robert Purkiss, farmed just over 36 acres, paying tithe of £3. 17s. 3d.
An indenture dated 29 September 1869 was between Edward Walker and the Reverend Robert Walker on the one part and John Downs junior on the other part.
An indenture dated 7th October 1869 was between John Downs the younger and John Nice.
1883 October 6th. Last mentioned indenture endorsed, as between John Nice on the one part and Eliza Downs and King Downs on the other part.
John Downs the younger (Ironmonger and Farmer) made his will on 16th April 1873. He died on 18th April 1873, leaving the estate to his wife Eliza Downs and his son King Downs. They were to collect rents and profits until John Downs the younger's son Charles Edward should attain the age of 16 years. John Downs the younger appointed his wife and son as executors and trustees of his will. At a court held at the Manor of Netherhall on 23 March 1876, King Downs was duly admitted tenant. Charles Edward Downs attained 16 years on 17 July 1883.
Indenture on 12 October 1883 between John R. Vaizey of Attwoods, Halstead, Lord of the Manor of Netherhall, on the one part and King Downs on the other part. Whereby John R. Vaizey conveyed the copyhold and enfranchised the property to King Downs and his heirs as Freehold.
Soon after this the farm was sold to the Burk family for £1600 - 43 ac. 2 r. 36 p. The purchase deeds suggest that the Farm included the Barrack cottages as well. Early in the nineteenth century these cottages stood on the piece of land in front of the church. They were so named because the wooden beams which were used to build them with were taken from the old Barracks at Colchester. They were occupied by poor people taking parish relief. The cottages now belong to the owner of Hill Farm, and most of the land also.
The operation to demolish the five brick and tile cottages began in 1977 after the property had been sold by the owners, the Cook family of Overhall and purchased by Mr A. Dixey, a builder from Bulmer.
The cottages had few modern conveniences and structurally were in very poor condition. The 1804 survey map shows cottages on this site and they were rented by a Mrs. Rayner, one of the brick and tile making family. In 1891 the property was owned by Mr. Lewis W. Downs, brother of John the Iron Founder and the tenants were Alfred Cansell, William Collar, Samuel Felton, William Downs, William Turner and Henry Felton.
At the time of the 1804 survey, the property, 1 ac. 3 r. 20 p, included the present site and all the ground up to the garden of what was then Ellisses Farm House, the home of Sam Rayner the Sub Postmaster, and is now a private cottage. The present Blacksmith's two cottages and the four in Blacksmiths Row had not been built. The Pump Yard premises were classed as 'Farm Yards and a Pightle'. The cottages were so named because of the old water pump which stood in the yard at the back for the use of the tenants.
Early in the 20th century the property belonged to Mrs C. A. Oates, the Lady of the Manor.
On the site now a terrace of new modern cottages have been built with five garages for cars at the east end of the property, but the old name still survives.
An extract from the Court Book of the Manor of Netherhall held at the Record Office, Chelmsford, ref. D/DV 2. 77-79 shows under the date 16 December 1892, the willing of the above premises from Henry Corder to his wife Charlotte.
The property was then known by 'The Greyhound Inn' but it had been converted into and used as cottages.
After the death of Charlotte in 1899, the building, which then comprised house and shop was passed to her son Mark who in 1900 sold it to F. A. Mauldon, the brewers. At this time the place was known as 'Corder's Beer House' where beer made from the local hops had been sold.
The 1838 tythe map shows that several hop grounds were owned in the village. The Beer House was carried on as an Off-Licence until 1969 when the business was closed and since then the building has been used as a dwelling house.
Hop Grounds in the village in 1838
Parks Farm - 1 ac. 2 r. 8 p.
Old Hop Ground - 2 ac. 3 r. 4 p.
Nether Street Farm - 2 r. 23 p.
Odewell Farm - 9 ac. 0 r. 12 p. (Hop Ground Ley)
Overhall - 8 ac. 0 r. 24 p.
Nether Hall Farm - 3 ac. 3 r. 9 p. & 2 ac. 0 r. 17 p.
A copy of the particulars and conditions of sale of 'The Lion Inn' (now know as 'The Pheasant'), also of four cottages and two pieces of garden ground in Audley End, on Thursday June 27th 1918, at the Four Swans Hotel, Sudbury.
The valuable Freehold fully-licenced property known as the 'Lion' inn, Gestingthorpe situated in the centre of the village and having a frontage to the highway of about 50 feet. It contains excellent cellarage, bar, taproom, 2 sitting rooms, kitchen with cupboard, scullery with sink, wash house with copper, 4 good sized bedrooms, back and front staircases, a good back yard with side entrance, in which is situated a range of boarded and tiled buildings forming stabling for 4 horses, with hay and straw loft over, coach house, poultry house and a tiled open shed.
Excellent supply of drinking water.
This lot is now Let on a lease to Messrs Adams and Sons, which expires March 25th 1920 at a rental of £40 per annum. Tenant paying rates.
The property is sold subject to the existing tenancy, and any fixtures and fittings belonging to the tenant are not included in the sale.
Three semi-detached timber, plaster and tiled cottages, well situated in the village of Gestingthorpe with small gardens in front and now in the occupation of:
George Coe, a yearly tenant at - £3 10 0d per annum
Arthur Finch, a yearly tenant at - £4 0 0d per annum
Mrs Hasler, a yearly tenant at - £5 0 0d per annum
A detached plaster and thatched cottage with garden and orchard in front, and now in the occupation of George Finch, a yearly tenant at £4 0 0d per annum.
A brick and tiled bake house, with copper for the joint use of the four tenants. A lean-to boarded and corrugated store house, let with the cottage occupied by George Finch. Landlord paying all out-goings.
There is a good supply of water. Land Tax.
The Tithe - apportioned for the purpose of this sale is 2s. ; Amount payable for 1918, 2s. 2d.
George Finch claims the wooden floor in store house, which is placed over a brick one.
A freehold piece of garden ground, situated near Lot 2 and let to Mr George Coe, a yearly tenant at the rental of 4s per annum. Landlord paying outgoings.
The growing crops on this Lot belong to the tenant and are not included in the sale.
A freehold piece of garden ground and orchard, situated on the Halstead road, Gestingthorpe, adjoining property belonging to Mr Frank Nott and having a frontage to the highway of about 170 feet, and let to Mr. A.T.Finch, a yearly tenant, at £1 0s 0d per annum. Landlord paying outgoings.
Certain erections on this Lot belong to the tenant and are not included in the sale. (Bought by Mr. F.Nott).
Notes on the above cottages.
The four cottages mentioned in Lot 2 have now all been demolished. Within the last fifteen years, we have seen a new house built on the site of the old Thatched Cottage and a car park for the 'Pheasant Inn' made in place of the other three.
The little shop in Church Street, which was of a wooden construction was built about 1922. It was bought in 1973 and pulled down by the new owner Bob Chapman who lived opposite in Dove Cottage, and a large house built on the site.
The shop was very popular years ago with the village folk, selling many thins from sweets for the children from large glass jars set along the shelves, to paraffin for lamps, saucepans, groceries, vegetables, fruit and picture postcards were among the numerous articles sold in this little store until the coming of more buses to the towns lessened the trade so much that it became a non-paying business.
The Grocery and Baker's Shop and Off Licence with living accommodation on Nether Hall Hill was a going concern in the early 20th century when Dick Felton and his family lived and worked there where his father worked before him.
In 1877 Mrs Ann Felton was the owner/occupier of the cottage and shop. Her son Joseph Felton was the owner/occupier in 1904 up to the 1920's when his son Dick took over the business. The bread was baked on the premises.
Everyone knew Dick as he rode through the village in his cart drawn by his faithful old horse, delivering bread and flour to his customers. His shop was well stocked with groceries of all kinds and the service was always given with a friendly word.
Dick Felton gave up the business in August 1955 and the shop has changed hands twice since then, the trade dwindling over the years so latterly the sale was only for cigarettes and tobacco.
In 1980 the shop was closed and fresh people bought the property and turned the whole building into a dwelling house.
In the late 19th century one of the old cottages near the church was a tiny shop where Mrs. R. Butcher sold sweets from large glass jars. She preferred to keep her jars of sweets at the same level so she encouraged her customers to buy the sweets that she wanted them to have. The school children would spend their halfpennies and get their sweets wrapped up in any odd piece of paper.
Particulars and Conditions of Sale of six freehold stone, plaster, timber and slated cottage tenements situated in Halstead Road and let to good tenants producing £19 0s 0d per annum. Landlord paying outgoings, which Stanley Moger has received instructions from the Executors of the late Mrs. Branwhite to sell by auction in three lots. At the George Hotel, Halstead on Tuesday, 15th March 1904 at 4.30 precisely.
The gardens to each lot are staked out. Only the land inside the stakes is now sold. The buildings in the gardens, except W.C.'s are claimed by the tenants.
2 Stone and plaster-built and tiled cottages, situated on the Halstead Road, Gestingthorpe.
Let to Samson Butcher, Michaelmas yearly tenant at £4 per annum.
Land tax for the purpose of sale 5s. per annum.
2 plaster-built and tiled tenements with brick-built bakehouses.
Let to Thomas Butcher, michaelmas yearly tenant at £4 per annum.
Void, estimated at £4 per annum.
Total £8 per annum.
Land tax for the purpose of sale 5s 6d per annum.
2 plaster and timber built slated cottages
Let to John Corder, michaelmas yearly tenant at £3 10s per annum.
Let to Henry Plampin, michaelmas yearly tenant at £3 10s per annum.
Land tax for the purpose of sale 5s 6d per annum.
At the General Court Baron and Customary Court of Lord Viscount Wellesley, Lord of the Manor of Netherhall, held in and for this Manor 12 June 1843, Walter Weybrew was admitted tenant of one pair of these cottages on Halstead Road, land measurement about 5 square rods.
In 1850 Mr Weybrew gave an absolute surrender of the property to James Rippingale, Inn keeper. The tenancy was passed over to his son Thomas Rippingale by will in 1883 and Thomas was admitted tenant by the Lord of the Manor, Mr J.R.Vaizey of Tilbury Hall.
Eliza Rippingale, the sister of Thomas, was admitted tenant bt the Lord of the Manor in 1910 to the property formerly stated to contain about 5 square rods but in fact contained 20 square rods. Maybe she had bought the other cottages since then.
The above sale in 1904 of the six cottages, which were bought by Mr. Frank Nott for £70 and passed from father to son and grandson until during the 1960's the first pair of cottages, Lot 1, which latterly was used as one cottage, was demolished. Lot 3 has also been demolished and the plot of ground taken into the garden of the new house next door. This house was constructed from the two old cottages described in Lot 2.
These thatched cottages of lathe and plaster are mentioned in the 1804 survey, the owner then being Mrs Pearson of Church Farm. According to the Tythe record of 1838 they then belonged to Mrs Crane the owner of Church Farm, one occupier being John Carter (senior). A map dated 1877 shows that two cottages were still owned by Mrs Crane but the other was owned by Mr. C.F. Hunt. He lived there with his wife and family until his death in 1885. His family continued to reside there until about 1915 when they moved up to Church Street.
It is not known locally when the one cottage, which faced down the field, was demolished, but the brick wall and little gate which no doubt belonged to it are still there.
The other two cottages are still occupied and have changed hands several times over the years. In the latter part of the 19th century Mrs Butcher lived in one of them with her small sweet shop.
Mrs C.A. Oates, the Lady of the Manor, was the owner of the property for some time. People named Allison, Keys, Cansell, Viall and many others have found a home in these little thatched cottages which have a view of Church Green where, at certain times of the year, the pink chestnut trees are in bloom.
These old thatched cottaged of lathe and plaster were owned in 1804 by Mrs Pearson, the owner/occupier of Church Farm. They belonged to Mr. Thomas Chinery at the time of the 1838 Tythe Record, the tenants being Joseph Pearson, William Chinery and John Finch. It appears that in 1877 according to an old map the property was then owned by William Rayner, one of the brick & tile making family, and the 1891 Valuation List for Gestingthorpe shows the owner as Mrs Crane, the owner then of Church Farm. The occupier of one cottage then being Mr. Aubrey Chinery with two cottages standing empty. Several generations of Chinery's lived there from time to time, the last being Frank Chinery in 1918.
In 1869 the cottages were included in the Sale of the Overhall Estate when the Manor changed hands after the death of George Walker and his wife and the property was bought by Mr. John Brewer, Barrister at Law of London.
A few occupiers who have lived in the little old places were Arthur Pearson, James Tuffin, Eliza Broyd, who later married Aubrey Chinery, and in the 1920's George E. Pannell and his wife Emma (nee Nice) from the forge.
There is no trace of the cottages left now. It is believed they were demolished in the early 20th century.
The farm under the name of 'Hunfords' is mentioned in the 1523 Court Rolls of the Manor of Overhall, Gestingthorpe. The Rolls state that Thomas Bedlowe surrenders a tenement and lands called 'Hunfords' to the use of John Park, who is admitted tenant. The propert is mentioned again at a Court held in 1532 when John Park, on his death bed, surrendered a customary tenement, lately of Thomas Bedlowe, called Hunfords, alias Elises, in Gestingthorpe, to the use of Richard Park who is now admitted.
The 1804 Survey shows the property contained 11 acres, 0 rods, 6 poles and the owner and probably the occupier also, was James Rayner. His son Samuel Rayner and his family were living there at the time of the 1838 Tythe Record. By 1877 the farmer was George English although several generations of Rayners continued to live at the old farm house and carried on the Post Office there for over 60 years.
The house is a low, long fronted building with a thatched roof and there used to be latticed panes in the windows. A pond was in the front of the cottage near the road, this in later years was filled in and a rose garden planted on the top.
In 1892 Mr English built himself a new brick house on part of his land and lived there for a time. The farm cottage was occupied by George Carter. Joseph Coe was farming the land and living in the new brick house in 1894. The house was called 'Laura Cottage', named after the daughter of of Mr English.
Charles Felton was the farmer in 1901, living in the little farm cottage up the yard until he went to the Lion Inn about 1904. He came back to the farm cottage about 1915 where he kept the farm going for several years.
During the 1920's Horace Felton and his wife occupied the cottage and farmed the land, selling new laid eggs locally, until about 1949/50 when he died and the farm was bought by another landowner. After the death of Mrs Felton a few years later, the cottage stood empty for some time and during the 1970's it and part of the farm was sold again. The cottage has been enlarged and the new owner has planning permission to build on his land which, up to now, still holds the old barn. It looks as if this will disappear before long.
George English died at Bulmer in December 1920 and the property was passed to his daughter Miss Laura E. English and Mr Frank Nott of Wickham St Paul as joint executors.
Miss L. E. English died 29th February 1956 and she willed the property to her cousin Miss L. B. T. English and Mr Frank Nott as joint executors.
On Saturday, 9th August 1956 the farmyard and little farm cottage was sold by Auction at the Four Swans Hotel, Sudbury, Suffolk - the buyer being Mr H. Rippingale, the local bus proprietor and small holder, who farmed the land for several years. Also at this sale the new brick house, built by Mr G. W. English in 1892 on the Homefield, was sold and bought by Mr C. Honeywood who built sheds on part of the ground and worked up a chicken selling business there, employing several people from the village. A larger part of the garden of this house was sold again, locally, in 1982 and two villa type houses are now in the process of being built.
The old farmhouse of Ellises Farm was sold privately in about 1950 away from the farm, and has had two or three different owners since and is now called Alvaston Cottage.
Information taken from old documents referring to the above property.
In the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King George III (May 1785). Indenture (or contract) made between John Ruffle, late of Stisted, but now of Barking, farmer, one of the sons of Jeffery Ruffle the younger, late of Wickham St Paul, farmer, deceased and Robert Andrews of Bulmer.
John Ruffle has bargained and sold - - - - unto Robert Andrews all that messuage or tenement - - - situate and being upon a certain place commonly known as by the name of Wisburrow Hill in the parish of Gestingthorpe in the County of Essex, together with all the singular the yards, gardens, backsides, orchard and grounds thereunto belonging or held, - - - late in the tenure or occupation of James Bryant, now of Luke Moss the younger.
(Robert Andrews, eldest son and heir at law of Robert Andrews, late of Aubries, Bulmer)
October 2, the fortysixth year of the reign of King George III, 1806.
Indenture between Robert Andrews of Lexdon and William Nice of Gestingthorpe, farmer.
Robert Andrews and Charles Andrews has bargained and sold unto William Nice - all that messuages or tenament situate lying and being upon a certain place commonly called or known by the name of Wisburrow Hill in Gestingthorpe, together with all and singular, the yards, gardens, backsides, orchards and ground thereunto belonging or therewith now or late occupied by James Bryant and afterwards of Luke Moss and now of William Barroll and widow Moss.
Last Will of William Nice, farmer October 1811. - give and bequeath all the cottage or double tenement in Gestingthorpe with the yard, garden, etc and now in the occupation of Samuel Wiffen and John Barroll and which I purchased of the - - - Andrews unto and to the use of my children namely Ann Elizabeth and Edward Nice, their heire - - for ever, as tenants in common and not as joint tenants. Also I give unto my son William Nice his heirs, all that other cottage or tenement situate and being in Gestingthorpe with yard.