Samuel Newman: alehouse keeper

In 1657 William Worcester, the constable, brought Samuel Newman, alehouse keeper, before the magistrates for allowing Richard Wills and Samuel Brabson to continue drinking late into the night at his alehouse. He wasn’t the first Newman in the village to keep an alehouse and turn an occasional blind eye to the law. Over 70 years […]

Edward Clarke and the ruinous house

Half the house to my wife Alice for life during her widowhood and the other half to my son Edward. The pattern of houses being split between widows and their sons emerges strongly from wills made at around the time of the fire. In this case Edward Clarke directed that his son, Edward junior, should have […]

George Spokes: a brief span

The Spokes family had been farming in West Haddon since the first Queen Elizabeth was on the throne. By the 1630s there were several branches of the family. George was the son of John Spokes, who died in the spring of 1636, very shortly after making his will, so he may have been aware that […]

Gregory Palmer: on the winning side?

The legal case between Samuel Clerke and the charity trustees gives one of very few glimpses of West Haddon at the time of the Civil War. There is already a question over the Vicar, Gregory Palmer, concerning the disappearance of the pre-1653 parish register. The taking of sides became more open in the course of […]

Samuel Clerke: provision for the poor

Samuel Clerke was lord of the manor in West Haddon. He was buried here in 1688 but there is no evidence that he ever lived here. Had he done so he might not have found himself at odds with the freeholders of the parish, leading to  a legal dispute with them in the Court of […]

William Gulliver: oldest village family?

William Gulliver was Bartin Gutteridge’s father in law. He was also grandfather of Joan Elmes. His cousin was the vicar, Gregory Palmer – to whom he left ten shillings to preach his funeral sermon. The Gullivers were a very well-connected family in West Haddon, possibly beacause they had been here for a very long time. […]

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 […]

Richard Allen: a dead ringer?

In an age when husbands or wives might die at the drop of a hat, it was not unusual for widows or widowers to go on to have further marriages, resulting in many blended families. When Richard Allen, a tailor, married his wife, Jane Mills, she was already a widow with children, and after he […]

William Henfrey: tailor and smallholder – keeping it in the family

Like William Lane, William Henfrey also made provision for his children – not through a marriage settlement, in his case, but through his will. This offers a brief snapshot into the lives of his family. William and his wife Joan had two sons and two daughters when he came to make his will, which was […]

William Lane: another marriage settlement

William Lane was a small farmer in West Haddon around the time of the fire. He had two daughters. The elder, Mary, married Thomas Knowles in 1663 and all attempts to trace any record of the couple thereafter have so far failed. A few months after the wedding his wife Dorothy died, leaving his younger […]