6. The October 1866 Chancery Proceedings

This is an extract from Thomas Willingale, Lopping Rights and the saving of Epping Forest, my research into the Willingale family’s involvement in the saving of Epping Forest.

In October 1866 Thomas Willingale filed a suit in Chancery against John Maitland, and others, in support of the lopping rights. Thomas was advised by the Commons Preservation Society and a fund of £1,000 was raised to support the case, with half coming from Sir T. Fowell Buxton. (21) To raise funds, adverts were placed in certain journals, John Maynard being noted as one of the trustees in an advert in The Entomologist. No details were given of the amount raised, although one of the trustees states in a subsequent advert ‘[…]must express my disappointment at its smallness[…]’ (112)

The original bill of complaint states Queen Elizabeth granted a Royal Charter that allowed the labouring or poor people of Loughton to lop wood in the forest. The bill continues

“The inhabitants of the said parish of Loughton have, since the making of the said Charter, continually exercised and they still exercise the rights thereby granted to them; and in particular the Plaintiff, who is a poor inhabitant of the said parish, and who has a wife and family of children, has, for upwards of twenty-five years last past, exercised the said right of cutting wood at the times aforesaid from trees growing on the said wastelands, and of using and selling the same to other inhabitants of the said parish for fuel, and by so doing has gained or greatly improved his livelihood in the winter seasons during the said period.” (66)

Loppers in the Forrest

Loppers in the Forrest

Maitland responds by denying the existence of any lopping rights. He states his father, in 1857 bought 1,377 acres of forest waste including rights of Free Warren and Free Chase, the conveyance being completed during 1860.

Maitland states that certain freeholders and copyholders were compensated for the extinguishment of certain forestall rights, mention being made of payments to Elizabeth Tyser, Thomas Willingale’s landlady. As such Maitland asserted that Thomas had no right to any claim. Maitland also goes on to query the CPS involvement

[…] The Plaintiff has in fact no interest whatever in this suit and that this suit though instituted nominally by the Plaintiff on behalf of himself and the other inhabitants of the said parish of Loughton is in fact and in truth instituted at the instigation for the purpose of and at the cost of a certain society or association known as the “Commons Preservation Society” and that the Plaintiff is acting throughout this suit under an indemnity as to costs as well past as future given by aid of the said society or association.” (72) Maitland also queries Thomas’s income and thus his ability to fund the court action.

Thomas denied that that the case was being brought on his behalf by the CPS, and further denied accusations that Phillip Henry Lawrence, his solicitor, who was also Hon. Solicitor to the CPS, had tracked him down and requested he instigate this suit against Maitland. (67) Although this is contradicted in the book ’The Loppers of Loughton’ which states “Lawrence hunted out old Willingale, who lived on the borders of the forest and got some information from him ” (49) Whilst Addison gives a different story as to the origin of the court case: Old Tom Willingale , despite his age, made it clear to everyone that he would fight the rector across every heath and through every copse to the last ditch. On hearing this, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton of Warlies sent a message to Thomas Willingale encouraging him to stand his ground and promising financial support if his right to lop was challenged in the courts. (22)

Maitland also mentions Thomas’s appearance before the Epping bench, stating that he abandoned his claim that he was lopping and agreed not to repeat the offence in return for the summons being withdrawn. (78)

In the ‘Answer of the Plaintiff’ filed on the 3rd December 1866, Thomas claims that the Thomas Willingale mentioned in the court rolls of 1828 was not him. Thomas also denies abandoning his claim of Lopping Rights at his earlier court case. He stated that the main prosecution witness advised during proceedings “that a large piece of the forest had been set apart for lopping by the poor’. The day after this case Thomas visited Maitland and requested details of this land, but Maitland denied any knowledge of this. Thomas confirmed he had continued to lop during that season, except when prevented by ill-health. (67)

Whilst the case was on-going, the CPS arranged events to keep the fight for the forest in the public eye. An open-air meeting of the East London committee of the Commons Preservation Society was held opposite the King’s Oak Tavern, High Beech, Loughton on 22nd April 1867. This heard from a Mr George Burney of Bow, who stated that Rev Maitland had purchased 1,400 acres from the crown commissioners at £100 per acre and £4 10s per acre for crown rights. Now, if that land was sold for building purposes it would fetch about £1,000 per acre. He contended that the whole affair was illegal, because the rights of the people had not been considered and could not be bartered away. (39)

A Dr. Bowkett of Poplar stated that he had been talking to a man who was sentenced to imprisonment for cutting wood in the forest, and who afterwards was offered money to give up his right to do so. It was clear this man had a right, or the money could not have been offered to him. During the course of the meeting several sturdy fellows inquired if they would be legally justified in pulling down the fence, as they were anxious to do so. In reply it was stated that the committee did not advise such action at present, until some legal steps had been taken. (39)

On 16th September 1867 an excursion of the Commons Preservation Society to Loughton took place. Some were under the impression that the object of the excursion was to throw down the palings which had been erected by Rev Maitland. However the event was simply to view the enclosures and consider the best means for their removal. The excursionists did however roam the forest, including the enclosed lands to their hearts content, as the gates to the enclosures could not be closed as the Chancery proceedings were still continuing.

The extent of the forest enclosures can be seen on this map, the red areas being enclosed and returned to the Forest by Sir George Jessel's judgment in 1874

The extent of the forest enclosures can be seen on this map, the red areas being enclosed and returned to the Forest by Sir George Jessel’s judgment in 1874.

During the excursion Mr Maynard gave an address on forest and common rights, during which “Willingale (plaintiff in the suit of Willingale v. Maitland) arrived upon the ground, and was greeted with loud cheers”.

Two resolutions were passed during the meeting, the first being:

That this meeting views with indignation the wholesale enclosure of the ancient waste forest lands, which have always been open to the free use and enjoyment of the people at large; which enclosures we look upon as being illegal as they are unjustifiable. And we hereby pledge ourselves to give our most strenuous support to the Epping Forest Preservation Society, in their efforts to support by every legal means the ancient rights of the people to the use of those lands; and to secure those rights to the use and enjoyment of the people for ever”.

The second resolution was as follows

“That the thanks of this meeting are due, and herby given to those gentlemen who have so nobly and generously come forward to defend by their personal influence and pecuniary aid, the forest and common rights of the people”. (35)

The chancery case was never brought to a final hearing and lapsed on Thomas’s death in 1870. However whilst the case was proceeding, further enclosures and development of the forest were put on hold. (20) (31)

Nevertheless, legal argument during the course of the case proved that the commoners did have a legal right to lop. A demurrer, which means an objection to legal claim, which admits the facts of an opposing argument but asserts that those facts alone are not adequate to make the case was found in Thomas’s favour. The original case stated that:

“[…] Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, being then lady of the manor of Loughton, by her Royal Charter granted to the inhabitants of the parish, that the labouring or poor people inhabiting the said parish, and having families, might at all times commencing from the hour of twelve at night on the 11th day of November in every year, until the same hour on the 23rd day of April in the succeeding year, cut or lop the boughs and branches above the height of seven feet from the ground on the trees growing upon the waste lands of said manor and parish. […]”

Although Willingale later amended the claim to all inhabitants of Loughton, not just the labouring poor.

The court found:

“A grant by the crown to the inhabitants of Loughton. which was a crown manor and parish within a royal forest, that the labouring or poor people inhabiting the parish, and having families, might, during a certain period of every year, cut or lop the boughs and branches above seven feet from the ground, on the trees growing on the waste lands of the manor and parish of L.oughton for their own use and consumption, and for their own relief or any of the inhabitants for their consumption within the parish for fuel.

Held upon demurrer, a valid grant.” (10)

Fisher, in his definitive work The Forest of Essex, confirms that this “Preliminary legal objection was found in favour of the plaintiff, but it was afterwards found that the origin of the right so claimed had been mistaken”. (42) The ‘origin of the right’ refers to the lopping rights being conferred by Queen Elizabeth, this seems never to have been confirmed, however as the bill was deferred to, this was taken as fact. (43)

Another interesting fact from the court case was:

“The right claimed by the bill is neither uncertain nor unreasonable, the wood cut is only to be sold to the inhabitants, for their own consumption, within the parish; and the cutting of boughs above the height of seven feet, that is to say, out of the reach of the deer in browsing, and during the season where the boughs are not growing, would rather tend, by stimulating the growth of the lower branches, to improve the covert and pasture of the deer”. (10)

During the course of this case Thomas was apparently offered considerable sums of money to abandon the case, but held firm until the end. Lord Eversley quoting a figure of £500. Alfred’s obituary went as far as to say “Large sums were offered him to give up the suit, but he declared that he would die like his son before he would surrender the people rights”. (17)(22)(21)(3)

It’s interesting to note that during the course of this case, Maitland summoned another three individuals before the magistrates for lopping (who these three ‘labouring men’ were is not stated), the three men claimed it was their right to lop under ancient charter. On this occasion the case was dismissed, as the Chancery case was still proceeding. Some viewed this as an attempt to subvert the Chancery case. (24) This or a similar case is also reported in the Daily News of 6th May 1867, although this report states “two poor men brought before the local magistrate”. The report goes on to say at least one of the sitting magistrates had benefited from the forest enclosures. Luckily these two men had a barrister representing them and ‘after several hours of warm discussion’ the case was dismissed. (36)

Another case came before the Epping Petty Sessions in December 1867, this time for lopping in the Manor of Waltham Holy Cross. The loppers seem to have been attempting to revive the lopping rights in this parish. However the loppers admitted their error in court and agreed to pay the Lord’s costs thus far in return for the prosecution being dropped. (80)

The Commons Preservation Society also helped fund another case, concurrently with Willingale’s case, Castell v. Maitland, this concerning the freeholder’s right of common. (35)

An idea of the costs involved in this case can be seen from some of the invoices which survive in the Maitland family records. The author identified five separate bills from a large bundle of documentation, specifically relating to this case which totalled £1,011 15s 8d. (63)

It seems Jack Straw, the Labour politician, also at some point viewed these records and picked up something the author did not, in the margin of one of these documents Maitland supposedly wrote “Why should a twenty-five shilling a week labourer be allowed to sue me, the Lord of the Manor?” (111)


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17. The Willingale Axes

This is an extract from Thomas Willingale, Lopping Rights and the saving of Epping Forest, my research into the Willingale family’s involvement in the saving of Epping Forest.

The Essex Field Club were presented with two relics by the Willingale family, the EFC online archive gives a summary of the history of these items as follows:

In conclusion, I would remind my hearers that our Club possesses two direct relics of the Willingale family in its Forest Museum, namely, a lopper’s axe, which was presented to that museum by John Willingale, and a billhook, formerly belonging to Samuel Willingale, both of which tools were employed in lopping trees on the Forest in the old days before the lopping rights were extinguished. (8)


Mr. Cole also exhibited a Bill-hook which had been used for at least 100 years as a tool in asserting the lopping rights on the Forest at Loughton on the 11th day of November in each year. The hook was formerly owned by Robert Higgins, of Baldwin’s Hill, Loughton, uncle to Thomas Willingale ; later it came into the possession of Thomas Willingale, and from him descended to Samuel Willingale, who had now presented it to the Club. (81)

In the summer of 2002 the author photographed a billhook at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge at Chingford, an Axe head was also kept with the billhook, although for some reason the author did not photograph this item. Both these items were kept at the Lodge although they were not on public display, however the staff at the Lodge confirmed these were the ‘Willingale Axes’.

The photograph of the Billhook was published on the WFS website and the author subsequently found a letter from the Superintendent of the Forest to The Epping Forest Guardian confirming this was the ’Willingale Axe’ and hoping that it would be on display in a suitable context shortly. (101)

In the process of producing this document, the author returned to the lodge in 2010 but none of the staff at the lodge knew anything about the Axe.

In 2012 a new Interpretation Centre, called The View, opened in the former stable block next to the Hunting Lodge. Upon visiting the Interpretation Centre the author noted that two axes were part of the display. One of the axes, a billhook, looks remarkably like the one which was photographed in 2002.

Unfortunately upon enquiring again with the Corporation of London, the owners of The View and Hunting Lodge, they were unable to positively confirm the provenance of the axe. In the hundred years since the axes were donated to the Essex Field Club and then passed on to the Corporation, records have become muddled. Although this is most likely the Willingale Axe, the Corporation are unwilling to positively identify it as such.  (82)

A photo of the assumed Willingale billhook was placed on the ehive.com website by the Corporation in the hope that it would be positively identified. In July 2013 a Bob Burgess who has researched billhooks extensively identified the ‘Willingale billhook’ as one made by a William Swift of Seal in Kent. William was still making billhooks in 1911, which contradicts the assertion made by the EFC that the billhook was over 100 years old. (113)

In 1978 a billhook appears to have been part of a display called the ‘Willingale Collection’ part of ‘A Keeper’s Tale’ by Fred Speakman, an exhibition in Loughton Library. Unfortunately the photos the author has of this exhibition are not clear enough to identify the axe, but it raises the hope there are other images of the billhook and Axe in existence that may yet help in ascertaining the provenance of these items. (114)

 (Black and white photos courtesy of Sophie Lillington, Forest Centres Officer, Epping Forest at City of London, Colour photo is authors)


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TNG Mods – Hyperlinked Statistics Page

The default Statistics page in TNG does not link back to the pages it shows statistics on.

This page adds Hyperlinks to the values as appropriate.


Just download the file below, unzip the statistics.php file, and FTP to your TNG folder, overwriting the existing statistics.php file. (Remember to keep a backup just in case!)


This ONLY works with TNG 10.1.x. It WILL NOT work with earlier versions of TNG due to changes in the version of PHP/mySQL.


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Samuel Willingale – Epping Forest Arbitration Proceedings 03 Nov 1880

Transcript of

Epping Forest Arbitration Proceedings 03/11/1880

 Loughton Lopping Rights

 Page 15

 Samuel Willingale, Sworn

Examined by Mr Cave

165       Do you live at Baldwins Hill, Loughton


166  How old are you?


167  Have you lived at Loughton all your life


168  Have you lopped trees in the forest?


169  When did you begin to do that

In November, the 11th, night

170 I mean how old were you when you first did it?

I used to go along with my father there when I was seven or eight years old, to draw it together and fetch it home after he has got it, in my young time.

171 Have you cut it since that time pretty regularly?


172 Where did your father live?

At Golder’s Hall, Baldwin’s Hill

173  How much wood do you suppose was burnt in your house at first; I mean that your father burnt?      In my fathers time?

174 Yes in your fathers time

I would say between 30 and 40 heaps

175 What do you mean by a heap?

A slid

176 At that time did you burn anything else except this wood?

No, father used to ask the keeper there for a dead tree, and then he would give him a dead tree to go and   fetch out of the Forest – what was dead at that time

177 Except the dead trees, you only burnt this wood which you lopped?


178 Of late years have you burnt coal as well?

Yes we have burnt coal of late years

179 When did you begin to burn coal?

I should say pretty well 20 years ago

180 Have you also gone lopping to the present time?

Yes up to last year. I took about 30 heaps last year because I heard there would be no more   lopping, so I cut a   little extra.

181 How much of those 30 heaps have you burnt during the year?

I would say I have about 300 faggots left out of it

182 Then you have burnt half of it?

Yes about half

183 What have you generally burnt, do you suppose the last few years?

About 300, because we always bake once a week, and that takes two faggots a week for baking

184  That is 100. What else do you use it for?

We use it for lighting fires. In summer time if we want to boil the kettle we do not use any coal but only a   piece of wood

185  You do not keep a fire burning all day in summer time


186  You make it up of the wood only?

Yes just so

187  How did you get the wood out – did you cut it yourself?

Yes I cut it myself, and carried it home on my back

188  When did you do this – what time of day?

I work on a building and sometimes when I am frozen out then I fetch it, and sometimes of a night when it is   moonlight when I have been at work

189  When you are thrown out of work, or at night time?

Yes any leisure time

190  Were you able to get all you wanted without sacrificing a days work?

Well, sometimes if it was not a winter with any frost we used to get a day; we used to have a day to go and   cut it.

191  What do you mean by having a day?

Instead of working that day we go lopping in the forest

192  How many days would you have to give up for that to get the fuel you wanted for the year?

We have never done it, not a day. We have done it at night when the moon shone, and at leisure times.

193  You have done it at odd times, have you?


194  Do you remember the enclosures taking place


195  Were there more trees before that time than there are now, or fewer, or what?

Yes a great deal more than double.

196  How did you cut it in the old times

We used to cut some off one tree, pick the best bits out, and leave the other there for another year

197  You took the best boughs?


198  Of late years has that been altered at all?

No, only what has been done illegal

199  Did any one look after you in old times to see how it was cut?

Yes, Hatherill, the keeper

200  Has anyone looked after it of late?


201  Nobody at all?


202  People have cut as much as they liked?

Yes, they have done as they liked

203  And did the inhabitants of Loughton generally get their fuel in the same way as you did?


204  Go and cut it themselves and bring it home on their backs?

No, not all, some of them paid 9d a heap for cutting

Mr Webster: You put a general question – the inhabitants of Loughton generally

205  Mr Cave: I do not mean that. Taking people who work for their own living, how would they get their wood?

If they were in work they would pay some one else to go and cut a slid of wood.

206  And if they were out of work?

If they were out of work they would cut it themselves

207  When they paid other people to go and cut it what would they pay?

They pay 9d a heap for cutting and 9d to bring it home.

208  9d a slid?

Yes, that is what they charge in the village to one another, but it is worth more than that. It is worth   more than 1s 6d

209  That is what they charge one another?


210  Do the people who cut it sometimes make it up into faggots and sell the faggots?

Not until the last few years, since the enclosure

211  During the last few years they have?


212  What have they sold the faggots at when they have made them up into faggots?

About 14s

213  14s a hundred?

Yes 14s a hundred

214  In the old days it was always sold by the slid was it?

Yes 1s 6d a slid


Cross examined by Mr Webster


215  It was what used to be paid for cutting and bringing it home – 1s 6d


216  I understand you say, if a man was at work and did not want to go and do it himself that is what he used to   pay?


217  You said that it was worth more than that. What do you consider it is worth a slid, cutting and bringing it   home?

If you get 5 heaps of wood it would make 100 faggots or 14s


218       If you get 5 slids and make 100 faggots, that is to say it would be 14s, then of course it would be 3s. Who            was this man who was keeper; whose keeper was he. He was the lords keeper was he not, Mr Maitland’s?


219       He was the man – I do not mean that particular man – but the man who had the same post as the man your          father asked leave of to take a dead tree out of the forest


220       You say that you used to burn about 300 faggots in the year

Yes with baking and lighting fires

221  Can you tell me during the last ten years any number of slids that have produced any number of faggots that   you have counted?

Any number of the faggots

222  I do not want your opinion for the moment, but can you tell me any particular year during the last ten how   many faggots a given number of slids would produce – one slid, or two or ten?

One slid would make 20 faggots

223  Now at the present time?

Yes You must put more branches in according to the wood

224  You say it is a question of the number of branches. If the branches are small?

If the branches are small you want a great many more for a heap than what you do when they are larger

225  Is a slid a uniform height or not?

No, not any particular height

226  About what does it run?

The height of a slid of wood do you mean?

227  Yes

About 6 feet.

228  Of course the limit is really is what a man can carry or bring home. If you have thick branches, about   how many would go to a slid, do you know?

Do you mean now?

229  Either now or formerly. If you have larger branches, how many would go to a slid; and of small, how   many?

When they were larger they would take about 120. Now, about 160 I should think

230  I think I rather gather it from what you said, but I will put it distinctly to you 1s 6d being what was paid, if   a man was in good work it would scarcely be worth his while to go and cut it himself, he would send   somebody else?

Yes, he would send somebody else.




A faggot, in the meaning of ““bundle”, is an archaic English unit applied to bundles of certain items. Alternate spellings in Early Modern English include fagate, faget, fagett, faggott, fagot, fagatt, fagott, ffagott, and faggat


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TNG Mods – Reports Search

This is a TNG Mod that adds a search box to the public reports page, which is useful if you have a large number of reports.

This mod has been written for TNG 10.1.2 but may work on earlier versions.



An earlier version of this mod, that works on TNG 9.x but without the ‘You searched for’ and ‘Show all available reports again’ options can be downloaded below:


In either case, just unzip the download, then upload to your Mods folder, then install…

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5. Supper at the Kings Head

This is an extract from Thomas Willingale, Lopping Rights and the saving of Epping Forest my research into the Willingale family’s involvement in the saving of Epping Forest.


The Kings Head, Loughton

The Kings Head, Loughton, location of the alleged supper designed to deprive the loppers of their lopping rights

Another Willingale descendant, Walter Bullen, who this time actually is a direct descendant, being a great-grandson of Thomas Willingale, gives some more detail to the background to events. He states:

“On the 11th November 1859 an agent for the Lord of the Manor named Richardson (also called The Bulldog) ordered a dinner at the King’s Head, Loughton and invited all the loppers. The wine flowed freely and all got drunk, all except old Thomas Willingale who had been warned by a lawyer, Mr Buxton, not to touch any drink. Tom took his axe with him, went to Staples Road, lopped the bough and returned to the King’s Head on the stroke of midnight, thereby saving the lopping rights.” (19)

I would suggest at the very least this date may be confused. If these events occurred in 1859, i.e. some years before Maitland started the enclosures, why would Thomas be known to Buxton, who has yet to become one of the leading members of the Commons Preservation Society? Remember this occurred some years before Thomas came to public attention through the court cases of 1865 & 1866 and long before the main enclosure of the forest in Loughton.

Other versions of this supposed supper also made print, ‘The Victoria History of the County of Essex ’ (2) states

“It is significant that it is from the 1860’s that there comes the story that Thomas Willingale saved the lopping rights in Loughton in a manner similar to that described in the tract. [ie Maynards book ref (37)] Willingale is supposed to have been one of the loppers who were entertained by the Lord of the Manor to a supper on 11 November 1860. As midnight approached he ‘rose up hastily from the table, shouldered his axe, called to his fellows and went out to lop as usual’, thus ‘defeating the lawyers’. There is good evidence that he did something of this kind, in the belief that the continued existence of the lopping rights depended upon his action.”

Sir William Addison’s book ‘Epping Forest, Figures in a Landscape’ describes events thus “[…] especially of how the old man himself had kept himself sober and at 11.30 had left the other guests and walked out onto Staples Hill, where he lopped off a branch at midnight, carried it back to the King’s Head, and flourished it triumphantly before the eyes of the stupefied company.” (22) Addison states that it was J W Hayes, who produced his ‘Notes and Extracts’ recording the history of the forest & lopping in 1933, who played a major part in publicising this story.

Hayes obtained the story from interviews with Alfred Willingale and William Willingale, another of Thomas the Lopper’s sons. William recounted that as a boy of about 9 years his father related several times the story of the supper and the axe, William thought this event took place around 1860. (9)

Hayes version of events is the same as Maynard’s, except for the insertion of Thomas Willingale’s name:

the same scheme was tried at Loughton but without success, and although many accepted of the supper there given, and old man [Thomas Willingale] gave the signal when he with others at once proceeded to the forest and duly secured charter(9) (37)

Other versions give the date of this event as 1866, with the villagers again being tipped off by Sir Thomas Buxton. In this version Thomas Willingale is said to have returned to the King’s Head where the villagers were being entertained, brandishing a freshly cut bough before the furious landowners. (13)

Interestingly two other people, Mr E Linder & Mr P Thompson, who interviewed and had contact with the Willingales in the process of producing histories of the forest, and neither of these men mention any supper. (8) (57)

Lord Eversley mentioned the historic attempt to deprive the Loppers of their lopping rights, in a letter to The Times, (41) “[…] and the story goes that, many years ago, the then Lord of the Manor, wishing to put an end to it, invited all the parishioners to a great feast on the 11th of November, and so plied them with drink, that none might be sober enough to perform the accustomed ceremony. Fortunately, however, one man kept himself sober, and at midnight stole from the feast and made a descent upon the forest, and from that time the people have never neglected to perform the same duty” but as you can see does not mention that any Willingales were involved or that the event happened in the context of the current enclosures.

Addison goes on to quote a Fred Brand, a collector of local history material found in Essex newspapers and journals, which he complied and indexed in a work called ‘An Essex Index’, who firmly dismissed this story as a complete fabrication. Addison sates that Brand knew ’all parties personally’ and had served the rector as church warden & organist for many years. (22) Brand gives a compelling rebuttal of these events in his limited edition book ‘Items of Interest No 7 – Epping Forest’

“What evidence is their to support this fantastic story? Here are extracts from letters received by me from two well known Essex Historians and writers on matters connected with this county:

Mr Percy Thompson of Loughton writes on 18/08/1937:

‘No I know of no documentary evidence of the supposed supper, which may be only another of several legends which have sprung up about the fight for the lopping rights.’

Mr Stephen Barnes of Woodford, writes on November 10th 1937:

‘I have been searching all the forest evidences I have available […] and cannot find a single reference to the fantastic, drunken, lopping story in any

responsible work, or by any other responsible writer. A pretty (?) fairy tale and nothing more.’

It is notable that Mr Fisher makes no mention of the supper when dealing with the lopping question.


In Pigots Directory for 1839 (Loughton) it is stated “In 1831 the parish contained 1,269 inhabitants, of these 23 are described as gentry & clergy, whilst 41 are names of shop keepers and traders, leaving roughly 1,200 inhabitants, not mentioned in the directory. Of these it is I think fair to assume at least 100 were householders.

Now every householder claimed the right to lop trees in the forest. Thus a gathering to include ALL the loppers would at the very least number 100 people. The task of the wicked Lord of the Fairy Tale was not a light one.

Amongst the 100 there might have been some who were not given to alcoholic indulgence, others might not have received an invite, or refused to accept if they had. The success of the conspiracy depends upon all these loppers being present at the supper.

To accept the story one must suppose that a man in the position of a country gentleman, Lord of the Manor in a well known town not far from the metropolis, would have entered upon such a highly questionable undertaking with so little hope of success. Is it at all likely, assuming such a man to have had the initial, almost criminal intent, that he would have risked his reputation on such a venture?” (57)

This book goes on to state that nothing can be found in the local press from 1791 onwards recounting such an event.

Further commentary on the Kings Head saga can be found in the Essex Review. Hayes writes a history of ‘The Old Parish of Epping’ in the 1933 edition which contains a couple of paragraphs on events including :

Time went merrily and the clock’s hands pointed to 11.30pm. Another half hour and the legal rights would cease forever. Most of the representative loppers were too intoxicated to observe the passage of time. The overlords were congratulating themselves on the apparent success of their plot, when suddenly one of the loppers, Willingale by name, whose descendants are still proud of the action, rose up hastily from the table, shouldered his axe, called to his fellows and went out to lop as usual. (46)

This is rebutted in the 1934 edition by the editor of The Review:

A discredited story of Lopping at Loughton. In the Essex review (XLII, 168 Oct 1933), in an article by the Rev J W Hayes on ‘The Old Parish of Epping’, a story ‘well known in Loughton’ was given reference to an alleged attempt by certain ‘overlords of the manor’ to frustrate the lopping rights of the public at Loughton. The story was that it was the custom to go out ‘on a certain night of the year and do some lopping’, the ‘legal aspect’ being that if this was not done openly before midnight the public of that parish lost the right of lopping timber for their fires during the winter. A great supper was prepared by the ‘overlords’ on that ‘special night’ and by 11.30 ‘most of the representative loppers were too intoxicated to notice the passage of time’. The plan looked like succeeding when one of the loppers, named Willingale, ‘rose up hastily from the table, shouldered his axe, called to his fellows and went out to lop as usual,’ thus saving the rights and ‘defeating the lawyers’. Several correspondents inform us that there is not a scrap of evidence to prove this story, which has long been discredited as an invention. Can any reader produce any definite information to show that this ‘supper’ ever took place? – ED (47)

Later in 1934 Hayes writes in a long letter in reply to this rebuttal, but offers no new information, however we also hear from two Willingale descendants thus:

Letter from William Willingale. In reply to your inquiry as to the supper given to the loppers at the old King’s Head on the night of 11th November, 1860, I am the son of the Thomas Willingale who distinguished himself on that occasion by leaving the supper and with his axe cutting a bough in the forest and returning with it to show those assembled there that he thus preserved the loppers rights. Twas his axe that is now preserved in the Forest Museum as a memento.

This letter is written by a friend at my dictation, as my hands are feeble, although my intellect is as strong as ever, and if anyone wishes to know more about the supper, let them interview me here.

William Willingale

The Cottage, Baldwin’s Hill, Loughton (47)


A niece of the elder Tom Willingale writes to us from Loughton stating that she feels sure that the supper did take place in Loughton. She adds : “I lived part time with Grandmother, and she was always talking about the loppers’ dibber or supper, and how Grandfather went out and cut the bough at 12 o’clock on the 11th November and by doing this saved the loppers’ rights’ (47)


Further correspondence then ensues:

Loughton Loppers’ Supper. Your correspondent, the Rev J W Hayes, has failed to produce any documentary evidence in support of his accusation that a supper was given by the lord of the manor of Loughton with the express purpose of robbing the loppers of their right. I beg to submit that the so-called evidence adduced in your last issue is entirely insufficient to establish the suggested conspiracy.

Fred J Brand (47)


Loppers’ Supper at Loughton.- I did not think that the subject of ‘the Loppers Supper’ would come up again after the evidence from living persons given in a former issue, but your correspondent, Mr Brand, writes that I failed to produce any ‘documentary’ evidence of the incident. This is quite wrong, but besides what I wrote formerly I now adduce not merely ‘documentary’ but actual historical evidence of the incident, eg on page 45 of John Maynard’s Concise History, issued in 1860. After referring to the supper of 1641 at quite another parish (when the loppers ‘by cunning and artifice’ were deprived of their rights), he writes thus, p.46 : ‘The same scheme was tried at Loughton, but without success, and although many accepted of the supper there given [Loughton] an old man gave the signal when he with others at once proceeded to the forest and duly secured their charter’. This historical evidence by one on the spot, as it were, at Theydon Bois, satisfies me, and ought to satisfy any reasonable person. The incident is now closed as far as I am concerned.

[Rev.] J W Hayes, Loughton


Loppers’ Supper at Loughton. – I refuse to accept as documentary evidence to support a gross conspiracy by a Lord of a Manor, an opinion expressed by a decidedly biased writer, unsupported by any confirmatory proof. A mere opinion so expressed cannot be considered as documentary evidence, no court of law would admit it as such. To establish such a charge surely it would be necessary to give the date of the supper, where it was held, and above all, to explain why the dupes of the drunk remained silent.

Fred I Brand, Illford.(48)


Despite the testimony from William Willingale, and other Willingale family members, I feel Hayes is mistaken in his belief the supper took place. He quotes Maynard as proof, but whilst Maynard gives a date for the loss of rights at Waltham Abbey, and states the loss at Epping was ‘almost within the memory of man’ no date, actual or implied, is given for the supper at Loughton. Lord Eversley’s statement implies the supper was not contemporary with the Willingale’s lopping, whilst the book ‘Lays and legends of the forest of Essex’ (see foot of page) puts these events as occurring during the reign of King Charles.

A more recent variation of this story appears on a display in The View, the new forest interpretation centre next to the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge in Rangers Road, Chingford. This states: According to legend, landowner Revd John Whittaker Maitland came up with a cunning plan to terminate commoners’ rights. He waited for the lopping celebration at the Kings Head pub, Loughton, then quietly locked the doors and windows to prevent people leaving to lop at the appointed hour. Not to be outsmarted, the villagers had left some companions outside who smashed in the doors so everyone could reach the woods at Staples Hill in time. And their lopping rights continued for another year.

In Lays and Legends of the Forest of Essex, by Edward Hardingham, J. Haslam, London, 1907, the earlier attempt to deprive the Loppers of Loughton of their rights seems to have been a violent affair:

Loughton is a storehouse of good stories. One that often goes round still, is how the sturdy village folk frustrated the evil intentions of a generous minded Lord of the Manor of King Charles’s time.

It seems that a brother lord of Waltham, by giving a grand supper and ‘drunk’, as the forest folk still call it, to the loppers on the night of the eleventh of November – the night when at midnight, according to the royal charter, lopping must commence or the privilege be lost – contrived to make everybody so drunk that no lopping was attempted, and the right was lost

But he of Loughton had no such good fortune. He provided the supper, a right bountiful one, and his tables were well furnished with guests – everybody came indeed – and the consumption of good things was great. But the knowing ones of the party had their axes with them, hidden away under their smocks; and as midnight drew near, these knowing ones rose up and made for the door. But the door was shut! Yet more it was fast barred and bolted! Splinters and chips were soon almost as plentiful as the execrations of the lord and his friends, held back in their seats by the remainder of the guests, could only look on and curse lustily and loudly, while the gorged but thankful ones smote down door and bar and rushed out whooping and yelling, to hack away merrily as of yore, at the stroke of twelve.

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The Early Wrights – Part 4

Robert (October 20, 1866-October 9, 1948)
Robert had two illegitimate children by a girl named Jeanette Manning. Jeanette’s parents were drowned when travelling home in their punt down the River Blackwater from Maldon Hythe to Heybridge Basin in 1877. Jeanette and her older sister Julia were sent to the Halstead Industrial School for Girls where they received a religious and moral education as well as industrial training.
The Prince Albert on the corner of Weedington  Road and Marsden Stree

The Prince Albert on the corner of Weedington
Road and Marsden Street

Their first child, a girl, died aged 10 months, but the second, a boy named Robert Wright Manning survived. Although Robert had promised to marry Jeanette this didn’t happen and he left Maldon to live in London.
Robert later married Alice Sarah Jacobs from Bethnal Green in 1891, and they had nine children, of whom four survived infancy: Mary Isabella, Grace Evaline, Robert James, and Harold. The children were all born in north London, excepting Robert Jr, who was born in Southend on Sea.

At one time Robert ran a public house in north London, at the corner of Weedington Road and Marsden Street, what is now Talacre Road and Marsden St.  (In September 2000 on a trip to the London Metropolitan Archives we discovered that Robert had been the licensee of the “Prince Albert” for only one year – from 14th April 1897 to April 20 1898. The owner of the premises was The Camden Brewery Co. of Hawley Crescent. ) The building was destroyed in the blitz.

The family went to the US on the S.S. Philadelphia in the autumn of 1902, and it seems that William Charles had lined up a job with Singer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Robert. They all lived out their lives in Pittsburgh. He sold life insurance door to door and bought a 78 acre farm in Saxonburg, PA where he lived for the rest of his life. Robert became a US citizen on December 29 1922.

Alice WrightAlice Isabel Wright (June 11, 1869 – Dec 15, 1944)
Alice married Robert James Nisbet, a civil engineer at All Saints Church, parish of St. Peters in Maldon on 19 August 1897. Both were 28 at the time, and stepsister Grace Hayes was a witness. At some point they lived in Cairo. Alice and Robert had three children, Robert Hayes Nisbet, Grace Murrell Nisbet and Thomas Nisbet. Daughter Grace Murrell Nisbet (March 26, 1900 – Jun 3, 1986) became a controversial television producer as detailed in the following extract from the “Dictionary of National Biographies”
Grace Murrell Nisbet was born 26 March 1900 in Arisaig, Inverness, the second child and only daughter of Robert James Nisbet and Alice Isabel Wright. Her father was a civil engineer who worked in Egypt for a time and her first school was the Convent of Notre Dame de Sion in Alexandria.
The family returned to England in 1916 and Grace was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College. From there she went to Bristol University where she obtained a 1st class honours degree in history in 1921. She went on to Somerville College, Oxford where she earned 2nd class degrees in philosophy, politics and economics.
For the next three years she taught history at Brighton and Hove School. She married Frank Wyndham Goldie, a handsome film actor, in 1928 and they lived in Liverpool for six years, where Grace wrote the book ” Liverpool Repertory Theatre 1911-1934″.
In 1934 they moved to London and for the next seven years she wrote radio criticism for “The Listener”.
From 1942 until 1944 she worked for the Board of Trade and then in 1944 she joined the BBC. In 1948 as a young radio producer, Grace Wyndham Goldie was offered a post in the television service; at the time she was working for the prestigious and highbrow Third Programme. Despite discouragement from two senior radio executives, it was Gerald Cock who encouraged her to defect to television. Goldie was to become the single most important personality in the development of British current affairs television, overseeing the development of programmes such as Panorama and Tonight–precisely the kind of programmes that Cock had envisaged as the sine qua non of television programming.
She was awarded the OBE in 1958.
Grace died in her London flat on 3 June 1986
William Charles Murrell WrightWilliam Charles (April 1, 1871 – June 11 1929)
William Charles moved to the US before Robert. He lived at 884 Van Buren Street, Brooklyn, NY in 1915, and later at 2372 Jamaica Avenue, Richmond Hill, Queens. Subsequently he moved to Long Island, NY. He married Marcella Dandurand and had four children Harold, Charles, Marcella, and Grace.
The 1900 Federal census for Pittsburgh shows William Charles Wright, listed as a merchant, living at 4601 Butler Street . He was born in April 1871, age 29 and had been married for 6 years to Marcella E Wright. She was born in New York in July 1877 and was aged 22 at the census. Her mother was born in New York as well. They had at the time two children – Charles O. Wright, born February 1896 and Grace I. Wright born August 1897. Both children were born in New York.
William also confirmed that he was an American citizen in 1900 and that the year of emigration was 1891.
The following information was found from the 1920 census for New York:-
William Charles was living at 1145 Jamaica Avenue with his family. He was born in England, aged 47 and migrated to the US in 1893. (1900 census said 1891). He became a naturalised citizen in 1898 and worked as a salesman for a sewing machine company. His wife was Marcella E Wright aged 42, born in New York. Her father was born in Canada (mother tongue French) and her mother was born in Charleston (mother tongue English). Children living at home were Grace I Wright aged 22, born in New York and working as a stenographer in an export house, Harold E Wright aged 18, born in Pennsylvania and working as a clerk in a steel company and Marcella C Wright aged 12, born in Pennsylvania.
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The Early Wrights – Part 3

Edwin James (Feb 9, 1860 – Dec 24, 1921). Born in Wantz Road, Maldon, Essex. Granddaughter Dorothy Olive, remembers him saying he was born in Wants and had been living in Wants ever since.

In the 1891 Essex, census he is shown as a gasfitter, aged 30 who lived at 3 Albion Villas, Brewery Road, Southend on Sea, with his wife Emily, aged 30, Edwin J., his son age 10, born in London, Winifred E., his daughter, age 7, born in Southend, Isabel, his daughter, age 4, born in Southend, Grace, his daughter, age 1, born in Southend, Alice Wright, his sister, age 22 (acting as servant), born in Maldon, and Hannah Briton, a servant aged 15, born in Cold Norton.

Isabel and Grace died in infancy from diphtheria.

Richmond Avenue

Home of the Wrights from 1884 to 1964

Edwin married Emily Esther French who was born in Colchester, on June 15, 1880 in Brentford, Middlesex. He lived at Holly Lodge, Grove Road in Southend for a time and then moved to Richmond Avenue. His granddaughter Dorothy tells that he ran a bicycle shop at 1 Richmond Avenue, off the High Street, in Southend on Sea in the 1880s. He made & rented cycles and gave lessons. He gave lessons to a young girl, Mary Ann Burles, who fell in love with his son Edwin James Jr., and married him on February 20th, 1905 in Rochford, Essex.
Edwin Sr. opened a pram and pushchair hire service in 1884, supplying these items to the public as well. The cycle factory was on the opposite side of the road from the shop. The shop was still run by his grandson Herbert Henry Wright when it was demolished to make way for a ring road in the 1960s. The road was never built and a car park now stands on the site.

Henry Robert (June 12, 1862 – Dec 18, 1937). He married Ellen Morten at Colchester St Giles on October 9 1884. He is listed in the 1881 census as a bicycle maker in Maldon. Grandson Pearson reports that Henry & Ellen kept a tobacconist & newsagents business in Dover, and retired to Southwick, Sussex where he died.

Henry & Ellen had four children, George, Hayden, Kathleen, and Pearson Wright. George was a talented flautist, who lost his hearing and was severely shell-shocked in World War I. He never married and was a conservationist and nature lover. Hayden, a civil engineer married Maggie, and they had two sons, William and Bernard. William emigrated to Australia and went into radio & TV production, and Bernard became a Church of England vicar in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kathleen never married and was a teacher in Braintree, Essex.

Wright's SignPearson married a widow named Marion, and they eventually moved to Orchard Croft, Victoria Avenue, Shanklin. Pearson, Jr. was born February 13, 1926 and his brother Robert Henry in 1932. Marion died in 1938 and Pearson Sr. married again in about 1941 to Laura , a Canadian Methodist missionary/teacher returning to her Toronto home from 23 years on the China India border. The second marriage failed, although a daughter Annabelle was born when Laura was 47. Pearson senior died aged 92.

Henry Robert emigrated to Tasmania about 1948, married another emigrant and had two daughters. Pearson junior married Eileen King on 19 February 1945 and had two children Anthony John ( born 1945) and Marion (born 1947).

John George (Sept 14, 1863 – May 24, 1938). He seems to have been known as George, not John George. There was a George Wright who was a witness at Edwin James’s wedding. His birth record lists him as the son of James Wright and Susanna Wright, formerly Murrell (this must be an error).

John George married Julia Adelaide Raven in 1892 at Hampstead Registry Office and they had at least three children.
In 1901 they lived at 26 Burton Road, North Brixton – RG13/422/106/44 333
John G Wright Head aged 37 Company Secretary & Solicitor Clerk born Essex Maldon
Julia A Wright Wife aged 33 born Essex Purleigh
Stanley G Wright Son aged 8 born London Kilburn
Percy E Wright Son aged 6 born Essex Maldon
Jack A Wright Son aged 2 born Essex Leyton

John George was one of the executors of his brother Henry’s will.

We have the death certificate for John George Wright, solicitors clerk, who died 24May 1938 aged 74 from carcinoma of the colon. The death was registered by his son J. Wright who was present at the death at 21 Akerman Road, Brixton, SW9. There was a will which left effects to the value of £119- 8 shillings to his wife Julia Adelaide Wright.

Annie (March 9, 1865 – April 9, 1940). We know little about Annie. She lived at one time in Barking and gave elocution lessons. The following was learned in January 2003 from Keith Nisbet, a descendant of Annie’s sister Alice. Annie had two daughters, Isabel Mary and Irene. Annie was married twice, firstly to a Charles Nathaniel White with whom she had two daughters, and then to a chap named Joseph Downes.

In 1901 at 13 Heigham Road, East Ham RG13/1603/150page 3 Annie White, widow aged 33 living on own means, born in Maldon, Essex
Irene Florence White, daughter aged 9 born in Willesden, London
Isabel Mary White, daughter aged 6 born in Willesden, London

Annie’s daughter Isabel Mary “Belle” White (Sept 1,1894, – June 24, 1972) became Britain’s first Olympic diving medallist with the bronze medal in 1912, and was also Britain’s first European champion 15 years later at the first championships in 1927.

Between these successes she was 4th in 1920 and 6th in 1924 at the Olympic Games and she was to compete at a fourth Games in 1928. The first ASA championship for women’s diving was not held until 1924, but White won each year from then until 1929. She had, however won the Ladies Plain Diving Bath championship organised by the Amateur Diving Association (which became part of the ASA) nine times from their first championship in 1916.

She was an official and administrator for the rest of her life, and the Belle White Memorial Trophy is now presented each year to Britain’s most successful club in women’s competitions

Belle died of congestive cardiac failure and broncho-pneumonia in 1972 at 11 Rookfield Close, Muswell Hill. Taken from Guinness All-Time Greats of British & Irish Sport by Peter Matthews and Ian Buchanan.

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The Early Wrights – Part 2

Children of James & Isabella Wright:

All of James & Isabella’s children were born in St. Mary’s parish, Maldon.

William Charles (Oct 8, 1854 – Oct 28, 1856) He died of scarlet fever.

Harriet (July 6, 1856 – Nov 11, 1919). Harriet was living with her uncle William Charles Murrell at Dockhead, Bermondsey in 1871, working as a domestic servant.
She married Thomas Stapleton Bate on October 23, 1877 in the parish of St. John the Evangelist, Middlesex. The Bate family had a bicycle shop in Maldon. Robert, William & Henry Wright lived with Harriet Bate in 1881 according to the census, whilst Alice and Annie lived with Isabella and Thomas Hayes.
Harriet and Thomas had 12 children, all of which survived to adulthood.

Harriet died at West Hill House in Maldon of malignant disease of the liver. Her husband was still alive and he registered the death.

Mary Ann (March 16, 1858 – Nov 26, 1930 Mary Ann Wright was born on 16 March 1858 at St Mary Maldon according to a certificate that we have. It is possible that this is the wrong birth certificate as in 2004 we have discovered that on the 1891 census she was calling herself Marion. She was also Marion on her marriage certificate to Charles Eusden Broughton. On all the censuses 1861-1901 it also states that she was born in Bermondsey, not Maldon, another indication that we have the wrong birth certificate.

ThisMary Ann Wright is “Popsie” who is remembered by Dorothy Wright as living in Westcliff in the 1920s and visiting her brother, Dorothy’s grandfather Edwin James, in Southend.

In 1871 Mary Ann was living with her Uncle Henry Murrell and his family at West Road, West Mersea acting as a general servant. The census shows that she was 13 years old and was born in Middlesex.

Mary Ann married grocer Charles Eusden Broughton at the parish church of St Philip, Lambeth, on February 16 1885. Charles had been married previously to Mary Elizabeth Winter, born about 1859 in Islington, but according to the 1881 census for 1 Oval Road, Lambeth, Charles E Broughton, grocer, was living alone on census night. Having searched the 1881 census for a Mary E. Broughton, married but not with her husband I can only assume that the following is her. In Bethlehem Royal Hospital, Southwark ref RG11/0531/104, Mary E Broughton, insane patient, married aged 22, a gutterwoman born in Islington.

In 1891 at 14-16 Oval Road, Lambeth RG12/399/49 page 38 Charles E Broughton aged 33, a provision dealer, born in Westminster
Marion Broughton his wife aged 32 born in Bermondsey
Gretchen Broughton his daughter aged 5 born in Lambeth
Hayden E Broughton his son aged 3 born in Lambeth
Natalie G Broughton his daughter aged 1 born in Lambeth

In 1901 at 4 Cranbrook Mansions, Lambeth – RG13/415/20 page 32
Marion Broughton aged 37, a widow living on her own means, born in Bermondsey
Gretchen Broughton her daughter aged 15, a theatrical artiste born in Lambeth
Hayden E Broughton her son aged 13 born in Lambeth
Natalie G Broughton her daughter aged 11 born in Lambeth

The fact that Marion was calling herself a widow in 1901 would assume that Charles her husband had died but he was in fact living with his widowed mother and sister at 40 Vincent Square, Westminster.

Mary Ann Broughton, widow of Charles Eusden Broughton, a retired general stores merchant, died aged 72, of myocarditis and chronic bronchitis at 8 Park Hill, Richmond, Surrey. The informant was H E Broughton, son who was present at the death.

Mary Ann’s daughter Gretchen Broughton (1886 – ?) married Clinton Seymour Peterson, an American in 1901. Clinton, from the turn of the century through the 1920s enjoyed a remarkable career as a vaudeville star, working in a trained horse act, later branching out into acrobatics, first as Auer and DeOnzo then with his wife Gretchen as The Auers and finally, as the Novelty Clintons famous for extraordinary jumping.

Gretchen Broughton and Clinton Peterson

Gretchen Broughton and Clinton Peterson

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The Early Wrights – Part 1

For several years, since we started researching our ancestors, we believed that James Wright born 17 May 1828 was the son of Jacob Wright
and Sarah Reeve but new evidence has shown that James was in fact the son of James Griggs and Mary Ann Blackwell. He was baptized in Woodham Ferrers as James Griggs on 8 June 1828 and later adopted the surname of his stepfather Jacob Wright.

Jacob Wright, married Sarah Reeve (she signed Reeves), on October 20, 1818 in Woodham Ferrers, with Sarah Wright and Samuel Cable as witnesses. Sarah Wright signed her name; Cable wrote an “X”. Both Jacob and his wife signed their own names.

They had two children in nearby Rettendon, Jacob who was baptized Jan 10, 1820 and David, baptized 8 November 1821 and buried 16 January 1822.
Sarah Reeve Wright died in December 1821 and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on 19 December. In 1833 Jacob married widow Mary Blackwell Griggs.

Early Griggs
The earliest member of the Griggs family that we know of is Thomas Griggs. He married Judith Guy on 21 July 1775 at Woodham Ferrers although neither Thomas nor Judith was baptized in Woodham Ferrers.

They had at least the following children:

Thomas Gregs (sic) baptized 29 September 1775 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the daughter of Thomas and Judith).

William Griggs baptized 4 July 1784 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the son of Judith), the register also states that her husband was living abroad. [Does this mean that the child was illegitimate?]

Judith then had a number of illegitimate children:

Isaac Griggs, baptized 3 February 1788 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the base son of Judith Griggs). He may have died in 1844, aged 62 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 5th October 1844.

Milly Griggs, baptized 21 March 1790 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the base son of John Timor and Judith Griggs)

James Griggs, baptized 20 April 1794 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the base son of Judith Griggs).

Judith Griggs died in 1843, aged 91 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 5 November 1843 .

Our direct forebear James Griggs (born 1794) married Mary Ann Blackwell, who was born in Chelmsford, on 28 April 1820 at Woodham Ferrers. Witnesses to the marriage were Mary Griggs, Jacob Griggs and Joseph Rickner. Only Joseph Rickner could sign his name.

They had the following children:

James Griggs (1) Baptized on 1 February 1824 at Woodham Ferrers. He died in August 1824, aged 7 months, and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on 30 August 1824.

Sarah Griggs Baptized 1 May 1825 at Woodham Ferrers.
On 23 January 1853 she married William Perry at Woodham Ferrers. Sarah and William were bachelor and spinster, both of full age. Sarah’s father was James Griggs, a labourer and William’s father was John Perry, also a labourer. Both Sarah and William came from Woodham Ferrers and neither could sign their names.
William Willis and Elizabeth Perry witnessed the marriage.

James Griggs (2) Born on 17 May 1828 and baptized at Woodham Ferrers on 8 June 1828. After his mother re-married in 1833, James assumed his stepfather’s name of Wright.

James Griggs (senior) died in December 1828, aged 39 years and he was buried on 16 December 1828 at Woodham Ferrers.

Mary Ann Griggs (nee Blackwell) married for the second time on 6 January 1833 to Jacob Wright, an agricultural labourer, at Woodham Ferrers. She died in Woodham Ferrers on December 6, 1857 aged 55.

Her husband Jacob Wright died aged 90 and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on March 11, 1885.

Children of Jacob & Mary Griggs Wright (Half Brothers & Sisters of James Wright.

Thomas (baptized December 22, 1833)
Mary (baptized July 26, 1835 – buried December 13, 1840)
Joseph (baptized June 18, 1837)
Naomi (baptized March 28, 1841)
Hannah (born Dec 28, 1847, baptized Jan 28, 1850).

Judith’s illegitimate son Jacob Griggs married Mary Cliff in Woodham Ferrers on 19 October 1818. They had the following children who were baptized in Woodham Ferrers:
Samuel Griggs, baptized 29 August 1819.
Jacob Griggs, baptized 12 November 1821.
Mary Ann Griggs, baptized 16 March 1824, died in 1831, aged 7 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 28 August 1831

Joseph Griggs, baptized 7 Jun 1829, died in 1848, aged 18 years, and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on 15 March 1848.

William Griggs, baptized 15 May 1832, died in 1833, aged 1 year, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 5 August 1833. Alternatively he could have died in 1845, aged 13 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 14 December 1845.
John Griggs, baptized 19 April 1835.
Jacob (senior) was described as a labourer at the time of each baptism.
Mary Cliff Griggs died in 1847, aged 52 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 29 October 1847 .
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