Bartin Gutteridge: a Silsworth connection

Silsworth was once a tiny settlement in Watford parish.By the 17th century it was no longer viable as an independent hamlet, but the land around it was good grazing and it was gradually parcelled up and sold – not just to Watford farmers, but also to several from West Haddon. The land of Silsworth ran along the West Haddon parish boundary roughly from the Crick road to the Watford road.

The Gutteridge family were among the West Haddon farmers who extended their land ownership beyond the parish boundary. Bartin senior was a relatively small farmer, with only about ten acres in West Haddon and an unspecified acreage in Silsworth. His house in West Haddon entitled him to one cow common (the right to graze a cow and a calf) and the right to pasture 20 sheep on the common grazing land across the parish. (Access to common land was carefully controlled to guard against over-grazing.)

Over the next 30 years his son, Bartin junior, increased his land ownership in West Haddon to nearly 50 acres with a 10 acre freehold in Silsworth and a lease on a further six acres.

In September 1657, the month following the fire, Bartin junior made his will. He was buried the following month. From his will we can see that he had a son (yet another Bartin), two married daughters and one under 21 who was still unmarried. She was to receive £200 when she came of age and it is reasonable to suppose that her elder sisters had been given similar marriage portions. Ann had married Adrian Ward (possibly a relative of John Ward, whose house had burned down), while Sarah had married John Wills, brother of the hot-headed Richard.

Bartin arranged for his son to inherit the house, but to share it with his mother for her lifetime. He laid down that she shall have the use of the great parlour and the little buttery joining up to it during her life. And what necessary occasions she hath, either in the kitchen or common hall, I do hereby appoint that she have the use of them altogether with my executor [Bartin.]