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Henniker Hipperson and Selena Burch

This post is about two of Jane Burch’s nine illegitimate children. Henniker Hipperson Burch was her 5th child and Selina Burch was her sixth, Henniker was born in Mendlesham in 1862 and Selina in 1864. According to the 1861 census Jane was living with her widowed father and youngest brother Walter in Green Chapel Road, Mendlesham and was probably keeping house as well as struggling to raise five young children, one older child, Sophia, was in the care of one of Jane’s older sisters and her husband who didn’t have any children of their own.


It must have been a very chaotic household for Jane’s father Richard Burch, who was farm labouring all day every day. Next door but one was an older brother of Jane’s with his wife and numerous children.


Jane and her children moved to Stowupland around 1865 as the next three children were born there, and there were quite a few Burch relatives in Stowupland too.


Henniker was the only one of the nine children who never married, he was a horseman on farms all his working life, and he always lived with his mother Jane in Stowupland until she died in 1916 when Henniker was 53, so I’m guessing he looked out for her in her old age. He then moved to the tiny village of Gipping and lived in Mill Street, which is a bit interesting, because I think Gipping is where the father of some/all of Jane’s children came from. I remember an elderly relative telling me that they used to get a coin every Christmas from “Uncle Hip”, but she never really knew who Uncle Hip was.


Selena at the age of 17 goes into service in Bury St Edmunds, then at the age of 19 she marries Hiram Laflin, a farm labourer from Battisford, at 27 her daughter Ethel is born, and at the age of 34 Elsie arrives. Hiram dies when they are 78. I love these photos I got from a distant relative, of Henniker and Selena (aunt ‘Lena), they both look happy to be spending time with family, and I get the impression Henniker was very thoughtful and kind to all his nieces and nephews, he looks like a happy uncle figure anyway.


Henniker and Selena appear to have been close throughout their lives, and they look like kindred spirits in the photos here, although I think Selena as a younger woman doesn’t look too comfortable all dressed up for the formal photo!

Henniker and Selena both spent the last years of their life, the war years, living with Selena’s daughter Ethel and her husband and son at 13 Coddenham Road, Needham Market. Henniker died there on 11th Jan 1945 at the age of 82, and Selena died there 12 days later on the 23rd January, age 80, and incidentally the next brother down from them, Herbert, also died the same day. I wonder if once Henniker had gone Selena lost the will to carry on. Henniker left a will where he stated that he left “his sister of the whole blood and only person entitled to his estate who survived him, and has since died…” his estate was valued at £438-7-10 (which in todays money is about £13,000). Selena’s daughter was executor. The wording of the will implies that Henniker and Selena at least knew they shared the same father.


Uncle Hip outside his sister 'Lena's house at Battisford.


Uncle Hip with Hiram Laflin (Selena's husband) and Mary Ann's daughters, Annie and Ethel visiting from Kent.

Selena with her husband Hiram and daughters Ethel and Elsie

If you’re interested in knowing more about your family tree, my contact details and info are on the page.

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