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Washbrook, Suffolk ~ Historic House History



A History of


Back Lane,


Also including Chelmesis and Cherry Orchard


Written by Sheila Herd in April 2024 as an Assignment for studies with Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies.

I have a box of deeds, with this house, in an acid free box from the archive’s office (they were left for us in a sweaty plastic bag, so I had to rescue them). I want to do as full a study as I can for this assignment so that I can print it off and leave it as a legacy for whoever lives here after my husband and myself and hope they enjoy the house as much as us and our family has, and hopefully will continue to do now that our initial five years of misery at the hands of narcissistic neighbour from hell has ended. My detailed documentation and logs on that will also be in the box as well as a book I’m keeping of before and after photos of work we’ve done around the house which was sinking into dereliction when we moved in.

The name "Washbrook" means 'Washing brook' or 'flooding brook'. Washbrook was called "Great Belstead" in Saxon times while the present Belstead was called "Little Belstead"[1].The village is likely one of the sources of the surname Washbrook. As of 1958 Washbrook Street was a secondary settlement for Washbrook. In 1961 the parish had a population of 368. On 1 April 1994 the parish was abolished and merged with Copdock to form Copdock and Washbrook.

There is an indenture document dated April 1825 between George Edwards, bricklayer of Washbrook and Jonathan Flory of Debach, farmer (George Edwards’ wife was a Flory and Jonathan was her father, a farmer) and Thomas Andrews of Great Coggeshall, gentleman.

There is a mortgage document between George Edwards and Thomas Andrews, gentleman, the mortgage was £2,000 and George Edwards was to pay interest at £5 per annum.


There is a massive Release document, which is 3 pages which seem to be sewn together at the bottom, one with wavy edge, two with straight edges. This was between John Christie, a pawnbroker the first part, George Edwards the second part and Jonathan Flory the third part.


The most interesting document in the box is an “Abstract of Title” prepared around 1853 for George Edwards the son, which runs to about 20 A3 size pages, the handwriting is easy enough to read but I cannot pretend to understand a lot of the legal language.


The most interesting passage in the document is this:

Thereinafter Ind(entu)re of mortgage dated 16th Oct 1697 between John Clarke of one part, Abigail Whitley wife of William Whitley the elder of the other part. Ind(entu)re of - dated 2nd Dec 1706 between Abigail Whitley of first part, said John Clarke of Harkstead the second part, Roger Goodchild the third part and John Clarke of Copdock, yeoman, fourth part.

Indenture of Lease and Release dated 3rd and 4th Dec 1706 between John Clarke of Harkstead one part and said John Clarke of Copdock the other. Will of John Clarke dated 2nd July 1711 stated that he left his messuage and tenements and outbuildings situated in Washbrook, and in the occupation of a Henry Day, to his wife Mary Clarke for the remainder of her life, and at her demise, to his daughter Amy Clarke and her heirs. John Clarke wished his wife Mary Clarke and son John Clarke to be his executors, his will was proved in the Archdeaconry of Suffolk on 8th April 1714.


John and Mary Clarke’s daughter Amy died young and unmarried. Their son John had also died.

Lease and Release dated 17th and 18th May 1733, between Peter Clarke, malster, and Joseph Clarke, joyner, of Ipswich, executors of the will of Mary Clarke, widow of John Clarke. This Lease and Release had as follows:


First part: Peter Clarke, a malster and Joseph Clarke of Ipswich, a joyner, executors of the will of Mary Clarke, who in her turn had been an executor of her husband, John Clarke’s will.


Second part: Samuel Lockwood of Ipswich, a joyner and Mary his wife, Goodchild Clarke of Ipswich, gentleman, William Fallowes of Holbrook a yeoman, and Elizabeth his wife, Stephen Clarke of Copdock, yeoman, Sarah Clarke of Copdock, spinster, Roger Clarke of Dedham, a yeoman. These were described as the only remaining surviving children of the said John Clarke.


Third part: Anne Green of Washbrook, a widow.

In 1787 by Lease and Release, Anne Green’s only son and heir, Thomas Green the elder, a farmer in Holbrook, sold the property to a Sarah Hayward, a widow of Ipswich, Sarah later married, Goymer and died intestate and without issue, the premises descended to her brother Joseph Rowland, a yeoman of Ipswich. In 1802 Joseph Rowland died and the property was left to his dear wife Elizabeth Rowland.


The property was then sold by Elizabeth’s executors to George Edwards around 1824, but George who was a builder, ran into financial difficulties after he rebuilt Stebbings as a new house, and he had to sell to a landowner called John Cole, after George Edwards died in 1847 his son, also George Edwards bought Stebbings from John Cole in 1853.


There are various documents relating to the auction / sale of property by the Edwards family in 1919, the house we live in was sold to the Stebbings family.


Our house was named “Stebbings” in the 1960’s because the family who had lived here for about 60 years was called Stebbings, Frederick and his wife Rachel had six children here and I have been easily able to read the records of this family.


Before I go onto the main report, it is important to state that I discovered the deeds related to the house / site of Stebbings, but also three cottages over the road called “Chelmesis” and a pair of houses also over the road, now called “Cherry Orchard” but in the past called “Monuments”. By the time the Edwards family left the village these were all one small estate or “houses, hereditaments, yards, out buildings, gardens” referred to in the documents and auctioned off by the Edwards. It is unclear when they purchased Cherry Orchard.

This part is where I go into the details of the lives of the folks who owned these properties, but first, here is the rough timeline I constructed of the history of this house and the other hereditaments and tenements, yards and outbuildings that went with it, namely Chelmesis and Cherry Orchard. See Appendix 1 for detailed table of information on ownership and occupancy.


1697 ~ c. 1717        John and Mary Clarke


c.1717 ~ 1733         John and Mary Clarke’s remaining children, Peter Clarke, Joseph Clarke, Goodchild Clarke, Stephen Clarke, Roger Clarke, Mary Lockwood, Elizabeth Fallows and Sarah Clarke.


1733                       Anne Green a widow of Washbrook (unable to find burial record for Anne).


Not known ~ 1787   Thomas Green the elder only son of Anne Green, a farmer in Holbrook


1787 ~ 1799            Sarah Haywood, widow of Ipswich who married Stephen Goymer at Flowton, Suffolk in 1794, died without children. I believe Stephen may have died in 1797 as there is a will for him at that date.


1799 ~ 1802            Joseph Rowland, brother of the above Sarah Haywood. When Joseph Rowland died in 1802, he said after his wife died his estate to be divided between 6 relatives.


1802 ~ 1821            Elizabeth Rowland, widow of the above Joseph Rowland, Elizabeth died 19th March 1821. Her executrix was a Mary Wilson, wife of Thomas Wilson a plumber and glazier, to whom she left residue of her estate after expenses paid.


1821 ~ 1824            This is where it got a bit messy. Ownership by Mary Wilson AND various relatives of the Rowlands as per James and Elizabeth Rowland’s individual wills; John Ling, Joseph Farrow, James Woolnough and wife Mary, Judith Ladbrook, John Christie. John Christie seems to have taken ownership. The house was in the occupation of Thomas Carrington and lately John Carrington, I believe they lived on the site which is Stebbings as per paragraph in abstract” “opposite to messuage then divided into 3 tenements or dwellings” (Chelmesis) and described as “one messuage, one stable, 2 curtilage’s, 2 gardens and one orchard".




1824                       Chelmesis sold to John Christie, Stebbings sold to George Edwards senior.


1827 ~ 1828            George Edwards senior in financial difficulties. Had built new house on site of Stebbings. John Cole now owned Stebbings; George Edwards senior occupied.


1838                       Tithe map shows John Kettle Hicks owned Cherry Orchard.


1847                       John / Amy Christie auctioned Chelmesis. Occupied by Plumb, Chisnall, Parker.

George Edwards senior died this year. I believe but can’t prove that George Edwards junior purchased, because it was auctioned as part of his wife’s estate in 1919.



c. 1853 ~ 1896        George Edwards, son of George Edwards senior, purchased Stebbings by lease and release for £200 + interest at 5 round percent per annum, from John Cole. George Edwards had 2 wives, 11 children, he owned the property with his sister Kezia, a spinster and his mother, Emma. His sisters Henrietta and Julia also had a share in the property but lived elsewhere.


1896 ~ 1954            Frederick Stebbings & wife Rachel moved in, rented from Edwards. Widow Emma Edwards and daughter Keziah lived elsewhere in Copdock street.


1919                       Keziah Edwards and mother, Emma, auctioned house + 12 cottages as separate lots, they were now living in a house in the Street, Copdock, Emma died the following year aged 87 and her daughter Keziah was living with her married sister Emma Robinson in the 1921 census, not far from Washbrook, and she died just 2 years later aged 58. Henrietta another sister who also shared the property had married a stockbroker and lived in London.


1919                       Frederick Stebbings purchased main house (now called “Stebbings” and outbuildings. Died 1954. Other people purchased the other properties, Cherry Orchard (2 cottages) and Chelmesis ( 3 cottages). Other properties in The Street, Washbrook which George Edwards junior had built were also part of this auction. (Bede, Lynton, Maycroft and The Cottage).        


Nov 1954 ~ 1964               Harold Richmond Peck, a farmer from Little Bealings. Also farmed in Copdock / Washbrook. Named the house “Richmond House”.



2017                       Mr and Mrs Herd


The Clarkes


There is a small passage in the abstract of title “Ind(entu)re of mortgage dated 16th Oct 1697 between John Clarke of the one part and Abigail Whitley wife of William Whitley the elder of the other part ~ Ind(entu)re of  ~ dated 2nd Dec 1706 between said Abigail Whitley of the 1st part, said John Clarke of the 2nd part, Roger Goodchild of the 3rd part and John Clarke of Copdock, yeoman of the 4th part. Indenture of lease and release dated 3rd & 4th Dec 1706 between said John Clarke of Harkstead of one part and said John Clarke of Copdock aforementioned of the other part, All deeds with the custody of said John Christie which related to said premises and permit copies to be made thereof”.


The Clarke’s are mentioned in quite a bit of detail in the Abstract of Title, so much so that I was able to construct a family tree for them:


John and Mary Clarke and all their children are referred to in the Abstract of Title. John and Mary Clarke’s wills are also referred to and so I was able to order copies of them from Suffolk Archives, along with the inventories, and the names in the wills tied up perfectly with the deeds. There was also a will for another John Clarke of Copdock who died in 1701 who I firmly believe is the father of this John Clarke, who is mentioned as his “only son”, and he had four daughters, but I don’t have definitive proof.



Hearth Tax 1674


442. Washbrook in Samford


Widow Memiment 1


Mr Clearke 5

John Clarke 1[2]



I discovered that Goodchild Clarke, the attorney at law in Ipswich, was a member of Tacket Street Congregational Church in Ipswich and all his children were baptised there.


I constructed a Clarke tree on Ancestry with a note on it for anyone interested in this family.  I discovered a person on Ancestry who had done quite a bit of research herself on the Clarkes of Copdock and Washbrook as they were her family. I asked her how she knew that Mary Clarke’s maiden name was “Goodchild” as I hadn’t found any evidence of this, and got the following reply:


You have put me on the spot! It's high time I sorted my paper file on the Clarkes and other families at (what became) Tacket St Independent Chapel. I think I found other references at Dr Williams's Library saying the same thing, but this is sufficient:

“ ... when Mr. Glandfield came ... the Rev. Mr. John Goodchild and the Rev. Mr. Jonathan Mills " sit down with and are under the Pastorall care of Mr. G." Among the sisters were Mrs. Langston , relict of ye deceased Pastor ; and Mrs. Clarke, Mrs. Cole , and Goodw. Boyden, of Copdock, three

sisters to the Rev. Mr. Goodchild ; and Mrs. Goodchild.”[p. 374, History of Congregationalism and Memorials of the Churches in Norfolk and Suffolk. John Browne, B.A., 1877].


As John (d.1714) and Mary had a son Goodchild and were members of this congregation, I conclude that John married this sister of John Goodchild.


Here following are the abstracts of the wills associated with Stebbings:


Abstract of will of John Clarke of Copdock, yeoman, 1701[3] (See also Appendix 2)


Will written 3rd May 1699


3. Condition and occupation: Yeoman.

4. Bodily health: Not stated.

5. Place of burial: Copdock on 9th May 1701.

6. Bequests: to Elizabeth my wife for the term of her natural life, all of my copyhold and freehold lands, tenements and hereditaments with their apportionments lying and being within the – and Belstead  and after to my only son John Clarke and his heirs and assigns. After all my debts and funeral expenses paid any of my goods and chattels, rest and residue, I leave to my wife Elizabeth desiring her to educate and bring up my four daughters, after my said daughters are brought up my will is she shall distribute and divide amongst them as she shall think necessary and convenient.

7. Details of land held including a description and the name of any parish: Copdock, Belstead and others I have been unable to transcribe but suspect one is Hintlesham.

8. Lesser bequests: None

 9. Any articles of heirloom or family interest, e.g. tools of trade: None

10. Names of any trustees and the conditions of any trust: None

11. Names of executors and guardians of children with description, if any: Elizabeth, wife.

12. Date of the will: 3rd May 1699.

13. Names of witnesses: Miles Bull, Giles Parker and Elizabeth Boydon (a sister possibly of Mary Clarke, her mark)

14. Codicils with details; none

15. Date of probate: 28th June 1701

16. Court of probate: Archdeaconry of Suffolk.



Abstract of will of John Clarke 1714[4] (see also Appendix 3)


John Clarke of Copdock in the county of Suffolk


Condition: Yeoman


Bodily health: Not stated.


Place of burial: Not found.




To Mary my wife during her natural life, all my messuages, tenements, outhouses, yards and gardens situated in Washbrook, now in the occupation of Henry Day and his assigns. Mary to maintain and keep in good repair.


After Mary, to my daughter Amy, and then to her heirs.


To son John Clarke £40 within a year of my death.

To my daughter Mary Clarke £40 within 18 months of my death.

To my son Peter Clarke £15 on reaching age of 21.

To my son Joseph Clarke £15 on reaching age of 21.

To my son Goodchild Clarke 20 shillings on reaching age of 21.

To my daughter Elizabeth Clarke £40 on reaching age of 21.

To my son Stephen Clarke £40 on reaching age of 21.

To my daughter Sarah Clarke £40 on reaching age of 21.

To my son Roger Clarke £40 on reaching age of 21.


Anything left after funeral expenses, debts and legacies paid to go to his wife Mary.


Articles of heirloom or family interest, e.g. tools of trade: None


Trustees and conditions of any trust: None


Executors: Mary Clarke his wife, and John Clarke his son


Date of will: 2nd February 1712


Witnesses: Mary Beckwithe, Giles Clarke (must be a relative), James (illegible)


Codicils with details: None


Date of Probate: 8th April 1714


Court of Probate: Archdeaconry of Suffolk



Abstract of Will of Mary Clarke of Copdock 1718[5] (See also Appendix 4).


Condition: Widow of Cobdock, Suffolk.


Bodily health: Not stated.


Place of burial: 30th March 1718 at Washbrook, Suffolk.




Joseph Clarke, my son, £10 pounds to be paid within 2 years of my death.

To my son Goodchild Clarke, £5 to be paid with 2 years of my death.

To my daughter Elizabeth Clarke, £5 when she reaches 21.

To my son Stephen Clarke £5 when he reaches 21.

To my daughter Sarah Clarke, £5 when she reaches 21.


All the rest and residue of my estate after funeral and debts paid to go to my sons Peter Clarke and Roger Clarke equally. Peter Clarke to ensure Roger gets this share when he reaches 21.


My son Peter Clarke shall continue in the possession of the premises now in my occupation after my demise until my son Roger Clarke reaches the age of 24, then Peter should turn over the premises to Roger.


If any of my children die before me, their share shall be shared equally with my other children.


Articles of heirloom or family interest, e.g. tools of trade:


To Anna, the wife of Joseph Clarke, a silver bodkin.

To my son, Peter Clarke, a silver spoon marked with the letters “P C” immediately after my death.

To my son Goodchild Clarke, a bed with all the furniture hereunto belonging (that is mine which I lent to Samuel Lockwood) immediately after my decease, also a silver spoon marked with the letters “G C” immediately after my death.

To my daughter Elizabeth Clarke, a silver spoon and a black petticoat immediately after my death.

To my daughter Mary, wife of Samuel Lockwood, a black gown, immediately after my death.

To my daughter Sarah Clarke, my black and white gown and petticoat to be made fit for her for mourning.

To my daughter Amy Clarke all the rest of my wearing apparel to be made fit for her so she shall have occasion for them.


Trustees and conditions of any trust: None.


Executors: Sons Peter Clarke and Joseph Clarke.


Date of will: 14th March 1717.


Witnesses: the mark of Mary Lamb, the mark of Sarah Smart.


Codicils with details: None


Date of Probate: 17th May 1718


Court of Probate: Archdeaconry of Suffolk.


These wills indicate that both John and Mary Clarke died relatively young, half of their children hadn’t reached 21. Daughter Amy who was to be the main beneficiary appears to have died shortly after her parents as this was mentioned in the Abstract of deeds.


The Greens ~ at Stebbings 1733 ~ approx. 1787


Scant information is known about the Green’s, all I could find was an Anne Green buried in Holbrook in 1747 and a marriage for Thomas Green to a Sarah Pack in Holbrook in 1760.[1]

The deeds refer to Anne Green, a widow of Washbrook, purchasing from the Clarke’s in 1733. Thomas Green was described as “Thomas Green the elder” (implying he had a son called Thomas Green), a farmer in Holbrook, only son of Anne Green.


The interesting thing about the conveyance from the Clarke’s to the Green’s, is that there is a full description of the location of the property which I think confirms its precise location:



Sometime in the tenure or occupation of John Monument since then of Henry Day and then of John Twaite or his assigns between the Kings Highway on the part of the south and the lands of the Manor of Much Belstead on the part of the north, whereof one head abbuteth upon the land called Tassell Yard against the west and the other head thereof abbuteth upon the Kings Highway against the east and the Rev. J

And all the Estate J.

I believe this paragraph is really key, because in the 1820’s, George Edwards built a new house on the site of an old house, and Stebbings as it is today was built in the 1820’s by George Edwards.


Stebbings is highlighted pink on the map. Amor Hall to the north was the seat of the Manor of Much Belstead or Great Belstead. The houses across the road from Stebbings are Chelmesis and Cherry Orchard.

Sarah Rowland / Hayward / Goymer and her brother James Rowland


In 1787, Sarah Hayward, widow of Ipswich, purchased from the Green’s. Sarah Hayward married a Stephen Goymer at Flowton, Suffolk in 1794[1] and died without children. There is a marriage licence bond for Sarah Hayward, a widow of St Mary Quay, Ipswich to be married to Stephen Goymer, widower, farmer of Flowton[2]. Stephen Goymer died in June 1797, in his will he mentioned that his wife Sarah had moved in with him in Flowton.  Sarah died in 1799 aged 57 and is buried in Copdock.[3][4] (See also Appendix 5).


Sarah died intestate and without issue, the said premises descended to Joseph Rowland of Ipswich, yeoman, Joseph was Sarah’s only brother, Joseph “took possession and was so possessed at the time of his decease”,  Joseph “bequeathed after his demise with other hereditaments all his freehold messuages or tenements with the yards, gardens, and apportionments situate lying and being in the parish of Washbrooke in the county aforesaid and then in the occupation of George Chisnall and others to his dear and loving wife Elizabeth Rowland for and during her natural life and at her decease he willed and desired his said premises at Washbrooke aforesaid to be sold and the money ---- therefrom might be equally divided to and amongst six of his nearest relations surviving and the said testator did thereby constitute and appoint his wife as sole exutrix of his said will.

Proved by the said executrix at the Archdeaconry of Suffolk 2nd August 1802[5]”. (See also Appendix 6)

Elizabeth Rowland wrote a will[1] on 19th March 1821 (Appendix 7). Her will was proved on 30th January 1822[2], and she appointed Mary the wife of a Thomas Wilson of Ipswich, a plumber and glazier, her executrix and as a beneficiary of her will.


This is where it all got a bit messy for a period, because when Elizabeth died, there were several people who were entitled to inherit including Mrs Wilson, they were mostly the children or grandchildren of a relative, John Rowland who had various daughters: John Ling of Framsden a shoemaker, Joseph Farrow of London, lacemaker, James Woolnough and wife Mary, Judith Ladbrook who was the daughter of Judith Rowland, John Christie, John Christie was a pawn broker in Ipswich and the gist is that he took charge of the administration and sale of the property with Mrs Wilson, to George Edwards and George Edwards’ father in law Jonathan Flory who was a farmer in Debach, Suffolk.


An extract from the book “Copdock and Washbrook Walkabout” written by local historians Richard Pipe and his daughter Isabel Strickland:


The name “Chelmesis” was on the central part in 1980. The deeds of number 18 Charlottes included a plan showing the part of Back Lane on which Chelmesis stands and giving the house the name of Chelmesis with land adjoining called “Old Tasselyarde”.


In his will, dated 1606, Richard Smarte bequeathed to John Smarte, his nephew, his tenement called “Chelseyes” in which he dwelleth, and one other tenement called “Tasselyarde” in the occupation of Michell Burkett. Richard Smarte comes into the history of Copdock and Washbrook several times as the owner of property.


Further up is Cherry Orchard, a seventeenth century listed building, originally known as “Monuments” s corrupted version of Memiment after Mrs Memiment (or Monement). Nicholas Monyment of Bruisyard, gent, had a pension of £20 given him by Michael Hare, a relative of the grandfather of Nicholas Timperly IV of Hintlesham Hall. Moneyment became the servant of Timperley and died in 1629. He is buried in Hintlesham churchyard. The widow Monyment owned property in Washbrook, and it is assumed that this was the tenement later called Monuments. She

paid tax in 1674 for one hearth and earlier, in 1639/40 paid one shilling ship money.[3]


For many years Cherry Orchard housed the Washbrook Garden Centre[4].


Note also that a Sarah Smarte witnessed Mary Clarke’s will in 1717.

George Edwards (the father) 1789 ~ 1847


George was baptised in the parish of St Nicholas, Ipswich on 16th March 1790 and his date of birth was recorded as 28th September 1789. His parents were James Edwards and Margaret his wife (late Rowland). I have so far been unable to establish his connection to the Rowlands who’ve gone before, but it’s too much of a coincidence for him not to be connected. George was the middle of 5 brothers.


George Edwards and his father-in-law, Jonathan Flory, a farmer from Debach, purchased Stebbings in May 1824. George was 34, he was a builder, he had been married to Susannah Flory for 5 years and they had 2 children, both born in Washbrook at the time he bought Stebbings. They went on to have 3 more children, four daughters and one son in total.


Soon after this George seemed to have fallen into financial difficulties, my speculation is that he had demolished and rebuilt a grand new house, barn and outbuildings on the site of Stebbings and over committed himself. There is a date written in the attic of our house, 1826.


His house was up for sale, and he had incurred debt as per these snippets:


The deeds show that the house was purchased by a John Cole, but George Edwards continued to reside in the house.


 The 1838 tithe maps bear this out:

In 1841 George Edwards was shown as a bricklayer in Washbrook, living with his wife Susannah, son George, 18, also a bricklayer and daughters Kezia, 14 and Mary, 7[1].

Tragically George drowned in Ipswich in March 1847 as the following newspaper article reported:

George Edwards the son


In the 1851 census George Edwards the son, aged 29 was living in Stebbings with his first wife Mary and infant daughter Agnes, he was a bricklayer[1]. His mother Susan had moved to another cottage and was living with her daughter Elizabeth who was deaf but working as a dressmaker.


George and his first wife had 5 daughters and their sixth child was a son, also George, who tragically died at a few months old, as did one of his daughters, Julia. His mother, Susannah, also died around this time. In March 1861, at the age of 38, George’s first wife died of disease of the lungs[2].


In the 1861[3] census he was a bricklayer, a widower, his wife Mary had died 2 weeks previous, and living with his daughters, Agnes, 11, Bella, 8, Julia, 6, Clara, 5. George’s sister Kezia, 30 was also living with them. His property was described as a dwelling house and shop, this is the only mention seen of a shop.


In 1864 he married his second wife, Emma Wood, who was 11 years younger than him and was from Grundisburgh. Before the 1871 census George and Emma had 4 daughters, Keziah, Emma, Mary Ann and Georgina, sadly Mary Ann died at the age of 2.


In the 1871 census George was doing well for himself,[4]he was a builder employing 8 men and 4 boys. His daughter Clara, 15 was living with him, his wife Emma, on this census, was staying with family in Colchester with the other 4 daughters. George now had 8 daughters in total. The last and youngest daughter Henrietta was born in 1874.


In the 1881 census[5] George was a builder employing 7 men and 3 boys, living with his wife Emma and daughters Keziah, 16, a teacher, Emma, 15, Georgina, 10 and Henrietta, 6. The oldest daughters had left.


A few days after the 1881 census, tragedy hit the Edwards family, eldest daughter, Agnes, who was living and working as a seamstress with a Miss de Vall, in St John’s Street in Colchester, died suddenly of an epileptic fit, she was only 31[6], and in March 1887, daughter Clara also died in London, also aged 31. She was married to Stephen Raymond and left behind 3 daughters.[7]


In the 1891 census[8] George was 65 and a builder, this time it doesn’t mention if he is employing anyone. His wife Emma was with him, and two daughters, Georgina, 20, a public teacher, and Henrietta, 15.


George died in Washbrook on 18th September 1896 at the age of 74.[9] He left a will (Appendix 8). He appointed his daughters Keziah and Emma as his executors and a nephew, John Winch. George left all his household furniture and effects to his wife Emma, he also left all his messuages, tenements, cottages and real estate to his wife Emma for the term of her natural life.


After his wife Emma died his property was to be divided amongst his daughters as follows:


Keziah was to get Stebbings.


Emma ~ 2 cottages in Copdock in the occupation of John May and Arthur Pearson.


Georgina ~ 2 cottages in Copdock in the occupation of George Taylor and William Barfield.

Henrietta ~ 2 cottages new built in the occupation of Walter Ridgeon and William Plumb, and also, 5 cottages in Wenham Lane occupied by William Fayers, John Cook, Henry Day, Charles Marven and Arthur Barrell (Chelmesis and Cherry Orchard cottages).


Julia ~ £11 rent charge payment to be paid to her on 11th October every year.


Isabella ~ no mention, she was living in Colchester with her husband George Johnson, a china ware merchant.


In the 1901 census[10] Emma Edwards, a widow, was living “on own means” with daughter Keziah in one of the houses in the street, they were in the same place in the 1911 census. Keziah was a teacher. Frederick Stebbings had now moved into Stebbings.


Frederick Stebbings and his family


I believe Frederick Stebbings, builder/foreman moved into Stebbings around 1897 as his first child was born in Washbrook that year. In the 1901 census he was in this house with his wife Rachel and children John, 3, Herbert, 1 and Dora, 3 weeks.[11]


In the 1911 census[12] he was recorded as a carpenter, (he was known to be a wheelwright), living in this house with his wife Rachel, and children, John, 13, a farm labourer, Herbert, 11, Dora, 10, Frederica, 5, Cecil, 4 and Elsie, 1.


The oldest of Frederick and Rachel Stebbings’ children, John Frederick Stebbings, died on the 10th of May 1917 in Flanders, he was just 19 years old.


This must have been the most awful heartache for the Stebbings family, John is on the village war memorial.


In 1919 the Edwards family decided to auction all their property off, and the deeds show that Frederick Stebbings purchased this property from Keziah Edwards.


In the 1921 census[1] Frederick was shown as a carpenter, Frederick and Rachel Stebbings had 4 children at home, Herbert, 22, also a carpenter, Dora, 20 and her infant daughter Dorothy, 1, Cecil, 14 and Elsie, 11. The granddaughter Dorothy Kathleen went on to marry Frederick Spencer Gladwell who was part of the Gladwell’s milling family in Copdock.


Frederick’s wife Rachel died in 1931[2] aged 61 and was buried at Copdock church.


In the 1939 register[3] Frederick, a widower, was a master builder, his daughter Frederica, 34 was at home, and his granddaughter, Dorothy Stebbings aged 20 was also living with him, Dorothy was 20, working in underwear, and about to marry her first husband, William Barron, a bricklayer. Dorothy’s mother, Dora lived at the other end of the village with her husband, John Vince and two teenage children.


Frederick Stebbings died on 16th June 1954[4] . He was buried in Copdock next to his wife. Probate was granted to two sons, Herbert and Cecil Stebbings. Herbert and Cecil Stebbings sold this house to Harold William Peck, who was 57 and a farmer locally, and the son of a farmer and hay and corn merchant from Ipswich. Harold was the first resident to give this property a name “Richmond House”. Harold also bought one of the Chelmesis cottages from Jean Merry Motson, a midwife from Edinburgh.


There was no record of Harold ever having married, and 10 years later he sold “Richmond House” to the next residents, and the story goes, that when they were looking for Richmond House, they went into the pub and asked where it was, the postman said “Oh, you mean old Stebbings place…”, and that’s how this house came to be called Stebbings.




This assignment has been a true lesson in how valuable house deeds can be, and how they can lead to all sorts of delightful avenues of enquiry. It sent me in search of wills, newspaper articles, tithe maps, other maps in Suffolk Archives, reference books, Hearth Tax records, as well as practice with palaeography, Power Point and formatting tables in Word.


It turned into a beast of an assignment, and at some points I almost regretted taking it on, but I am happy that I can leave a legacy here in this house, with the deeds, in the archive box, for anyone who lives here after Peter and myself leave, and I hope they find it jolly interesting!


Appendix 1



Chelmesis 1

Chelmesis 2

Chelmesis 3

Cherry Orchard 1

Cherry Orchard 2

1697 ~ c. 1717                        John and Mary Clarke










c.1717~1733           John and Mary Clarke’s children, Peter, Joseph, Goodchild, Stephen, Roger, Mary Lockwood, Elizabeth Fallows, Sarah Clarke.










1733 ~ 1787   Anne Green, a widow of Washbrook & her son Thomas Green farmer from Holbrook.



Stebbings occupied by John Monument, Henry Day and John Twaite between about 1733 ~ 1799







1787 ~ 1799 Sarah Haywood, a widow of Ipswich who married Stephen Goymer of Flowton, died without children.











1799 ~ 1802   Joseph Rowland, brother of Sarah Haywood. Joseph died in 1802 and left to his wife Elizabeth, he stated after his wife died, his estate to be divided between 6 closest relatives.










1802 ~ 1821 Elizabeth Rowland, widow of Joseph, died 19th March 1821.










1821 ~ 1824  Very messy for a short period, ownership by various relatives of Rowlands, John Ling, Joseph Farrow, James Woolnough, Judith Ladbrook, John Christie.

John Christie seems to have taken ownership. Stebbings was in the occupation of Thomas Carrington and lately John Carrington, I believe they lived on the site which is Stebbings as per paragraph in abstract” “opposite to messuage then divided into 3 tenements or dwellings” (Chelmesis) and described as “one messuage, one stable, 2 curtilage’s, 2 gardens and one orchard".



Stebbings occupied by Thomas and latterly John Carrington 1821 ~ 1824








George Edwards the father purchased Stebbings. George’s mother was a Rowland. I believe at this point he bought Stebbings and Chelmesis with the help of his landowner father-in-law Jonathan Flory.












George Edwards in financial difficulties, sold Stebbings to a John Cole, but George Edwards still occupied.

Chelmesis sold to John Christie, a pawn broker and later his wife Amy Christie.

Unclear who owned Cherry Orchard at this period but probably John Kettle Hicks.











1838 Tithe Map

John Cole owned George Edwards occupied

      Amy Christie owned Chelmesis. Martin Parker, William Plumb & Robert Chisnall occupied.

John Kettle Hicks, landowner from Chattisham owned Cherry Orchard. A John Lewis and Joseph Potter occupied.





1841 owned

John Cole

Amy Christie

Amy Christie

Amy Christie

John Kettle Hicks

John Kettle Hicks

1841 occupied

George Edwards the son.


William Plumb













George Edwards the father died, Amy Christie auctioned Chelmesis, I believe George Edwards the son purchased as was included in auction in 1919.











George Edwards the son purchased Stebbings.











At some point George Edwards purchased Cherry Orchard but it is unclear when, it was included in the 1919 auction. He also built four cottages on The Street, Bede, Lynton, Maycroft and The Cottage and rented them out.










1851 owned

John Cole.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

1851 occupied

George Edwards the son & family.


John Parker

William Plumb

Robert Cook












1861 owned

George Edwards the son & family.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

1861 occupied

George Edwards the son & family.


John Parker

Thomas Ridgeon

Robert Cook












1871 owned

George Edwards the son & family.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

1871 occupied

George Edwards the son & family.


John Parker

William Marven

Robert Cook











1881 owned

George Edwards the son & family.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

1881 occupied

George Edwards the son & family.



Walter Ridgeon

Robert Cook

William Plumb

William Fayers










1891  owned

George Edwards the son & family


George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

George Edwards the son.

1891 occupied

George Edwards the son & family


Harry Day

Charles Marven

Arthur Barrell

John Cook

William Fayers










1901 owned

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

1901 occupied

Frederick Stebbings

Harry Day

Charles Marven

Robert Cook

Charles Southgate

William Fayers








1911 owned

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

Emma Edwards

1911 occupied

Frederick Stebbings

Harry Day

Charles Marven

Robert Cook

George Southgate

William Fayers










Emma Edwards and her daughters auctioned all these properties in 1919 and the 4 properties which her late husband had built in The Street, Emma died in October 1920.

1919 Purchased at Auction

Frederick Stebbings

Not known.

Charles Marven

Not known.

Dunt (farmer from Bentley)

Dunt (farmer from Bentley)

1919 occupied

Frederick Stebbings

Harry Day

Charles Marven

Robert Cook

George Southgate

William Fayers










1921 owned

Frederick Stebbings


Charles Marven





1921 occupied

Frederick Stebbings

Harry Day

Charles Marven


Robert Cook

Benjamin Vince

Elizabeth Neeve














William and Florence Burman purchased Cherry Orchard.














Frederick Burrell purchased from Burmans.


Burman’s owned & occupied









1939 owned

Frederick Stebbings


Charles Marven

Jean Motson

Frederick Burrell


1939 occupied

Frederick Stebbings

Harry Day

Charles Marven

Jean Motson

Frederick Burrell











1950’s owned

Harold Peck







1950’s occupied

Harold Peck



Harold Peck




Appendix 2 ~ Will of John Clarke 1701. 


 Appendix 3 – Will and Inventory of John Clarke 1713.




Appendix 4 Will and Inventory of Mary Clarke 1718

Mary Ann Clarke’s Inventory


A true and perfect inventory of all singular

The goods and chattels of Mary Clarke of Cobdock in the

County of Suffolk widow deceased taken valued appraised

This second day of Aprill in the year of our Lord one

Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighteen by William Upson

And John Cole as followeth (that is to say).


In the Kitchin


Imprimis one --- three tables eight joint stooles

One dresser one pewter shelf twelve pewter dishes

Ffifteen pewter plates –pewter porringers

Pewter basons five ---one pewter tankard one

Clossett two keeps one spire box one cubboard sven                             06: 05: 00

Old Chairs one slate two warming pans one mortar

One Gunn one pair of Cobirons one fire pann one

Pair of tongs one pair of bellows on still and other



In the Parlour


Item one bed and bedstead   if stands withal the

Ffurniture thereunto belonging one case of Drawers

One Chest one Table one cubboard one box one –

One Great Chair five small ones one pair of cobbirons                   09: 06: 00

One pair of tongs one firepan two boxes of linen

One Glass and one bason.


Item wearing apparel ready money ---and plate                          10: 00: 00


In the Parlour Chamber


Item one bed and bedstead as it stands with the

Furniture thereto belonging one Trundle bed with                       04: 16: 00

The furniture thereto belonging on --- of ffeathers

One chest of lynnen with other ---


In the Ba--house Chamber


Item one bed and bedstead as it stands with the

Furniture thereto belonging and other---                                    03: 05: 00


In the Corn Chamber


Item one parcell of pease, one parcel of oates one parcel

Of wheat and one parcel of clover seed                                       04: 01: 03


In the Dairy Chamber


Item one bed and bedstead as it stands one with a

Parcel of ---and other lumber                                                    01: 10: 00


In the Buttry


Item one pillion and pillion ---one ---Cheese

Press wagon ---a pease dab two ---three

Kittles Eight Skilletts three pottage potts one pudding                  05: 07: 00

Pann two cups one –usefell fve wedges and

Other small things


In the Dairy


Item a pondering tubb with pork one cheese tubb

One stand seven ---one churn six milk bowls one                           03: 05: 00

Small tubb one – five cheese --- seven earthen

Potts one fying pann and some shelves


In the Ba--house


Item two coppers one mesh tubb one --- with other

Tubbs two wheels one reel three basketts and other                             02: 17: 00

Small things            


                                                                                           50: 12: 03

In the Bar—house Buttry


Item four bear vessels one needing trough two meal

--- and meal and other small things                                            01: 05: 00



Item beehouse and Bees                                                           00: 15: 00


In the Barn


Item corn thresh and --- two --- one ---

Cows one --- five forks rakes and other small --                             13: 11: 00


In the Stable


Item  and ssows and caffs cart horse --- cart saddle

Indplims plow---plow indplins one shovel and other---                    36: 09: 00


In the Orchard


Item --------------and a dozen and half of ----                                    06: 10: 00

Item five -----cows--- amd two bull budd                                       20; 10: 00

Item thirteen sheep and fifteen lambs Eight---                              12: 05: 00

Hens and Ducks


Item one wagon two tumbrels two wheel ploughs

One foot plough one pair of old wheels one pair of harrows            7: 12: 00

One cart rope one rowl one --- rake one cutting knife

One wheel barrow four low r---

Item one paire of -----                                                              11: 05: 00


Item seed wheat                                                                     06: 16: 00


Item for work and some land and ploughing of land                     23: 18: 00


Item for a --- of old wheels and a spade                                       02: 10: 00



                                                                                           153: 06: 05

                                                                                           050: 12: 03



                                                                                           203: 18: 09

William Upson  appraised

John Cole


                                                     Return to Executors

                                                     17 May 1718






Appendix 5 – Stephen Goymer and Sarah Haywood marriage witnessed by Joseph Rowland

Appendix 6  - Joseph Rowland’s will 1802

Appendix 7 – Elizabeth Rowland’s will 1821.

Appendix 8 – George Edwards’ will 1896.

Appendix 9 – 1910 Valuation Map showing site of Stebbings at top between E and A.


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