The Ancestors of
Arthur Henry Smith

Family History Pages

Arthur Henry Smith, my grandfather, came to Mountnessing (Essex) in 1909. This webpage publishes my family history research. I would be delighted to hear from any of his many descendents.
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Research
1901 census


Our starting point is the 1901 census taken in April that year.  Here we find the following entry in Little Burstead parish:

Ninges Farm

Name

Relation to head of household

Condition as to marriage

Age last birthday

Profession or occupation

Employer, worker or own account

Where born

George Smith

Head

M

39

Farmer

Employer

Essex Stock

Jane

Wife

M

38

 

 

Essex
Great Burstead

Arthur

son

 

15

F. Ret.

 

Essex Buttsbury

Susannah

dau

 

14

 

 

Essex Buttsbury

Edward

son

 

12

 

 

Essex Buttsbury

Fredrick

son

 

10

 

 

Essex Buttsbury

Lancie

son

 

8

 

 

Essex Buttsbury

Ernest

son

 

7

 

 

Essex
Great Burstead

Percy

son

 

3

 

 

Essex Little Burstead

Nelson

son

 

9 mo.

 

 

Essex Little Burstead

Arthur was the eldest of what was to become ten surviving children.  His employment was described as ‘Farmer Retained’ rather than ‘agricultural labourer’.

His father, George, was a farmer.    

George Smith: the 1881 Census

A full twenty years earlier (on
3rd April 1881) we find George living at Stock prior to marriage.

Stock The Village

Name

Relation to head of household

Condition as to marriage

Age last birthday

Profession or occupation

Where born

Eliza Smith

Head

Widow

42

 

Stock

George

son

Single

18

Agricultural Labourer

Stock

John

son

Single

15

Agricultural Labourer

Buttsbury

James

son

 

8

Scholar

Stock

Harriet

dau

 

5

Scholar

Stock

The census shows his father having died and George (Arthur’s father), as the eldest son, being a principal breadwinner for the family.  He was an agricultural labourer.

To establish his father’s name the Parish Register for All Saints, Stock records that Harriet Eliza, daughter of Daniel and Eliza, was baptised on
15th August 1875.

George was baptised, at Stock, on
31st August 1862. 

Daniel Smith

The Burial Register for All Saints Stock reveals that Daniel was buried on
10th December 1874 aged 37.  He never lived to see his youngest daughter. 

Daniel had been married for 13 years.  The Marriage Register for the parish shows that he married Eliza Clark, aged 23, a spinster with occupation as a servant, on
19th October 1861.  He was also 23.  Daniel’s occupation was given as [agricultural] labourer.

Daniel’s father was George Smith, a labourer by profession, who acted as a witness to the marriage.  Eliza’s father was Thomas Clark, also a labourer.  Being the same age and from the same parish it is possible that Daniel and Eliza had known one another for a lifetime.

Several generations of the Smith family were baptised, married or buried at All Saints Church, Stock
Both Daniel and Eliza signed the register with a “X”, indicative that both were illiterate.  George (senior) also signed with ‘his mark’, a “X”. 

Was Daniel living at home until the time of his marriage?


George Smith (senior): the 1861 census


Stock

Name

Relation to head of household

Condition as to marriage

Age last birthday

Profession or occupation

Where born

George Smith

Head

Mar

55

Agricultural Labourer

Essex Stock

Maria

Wife

Mar

50

Agricultural Labourer’s wife

Essex Stock

Charles

Son

 

25

Agricultural Labourer

Essex Stock

George

Son

 

18

Agricultural Labourer

Essex Stock

Benjamin

Son

 

15

Agricultural Labourer

Essex Stock

James

Son

 

13

Agricultural Labourer

Essex Stock

Ellen

Dau

 

10

Scholar

Essex Stock

Mildread

Dau

 

8

Scholar

Essex Stock

Emma

Dau

 

4

 

Essex Stock

Frederic

Son

 

10m

 

Essex Stock

Daniel was not living at home when the census was taken in the spring of 1861. 

If we move back to the 1851 census we see Daniel then aged 13 working as an agricultural labourer.  Maria, not listed on the 1861 census was Daniel’s immediate younger sister, then aged 11 and a scholar.  I have not established Maria’s whereabouts during this research. 

The 1851 census also shows an Eliza Clark (aged 13) living at Stock with her father (Thomas, aged 58), mother (Sarah, aged 42) and three siblings (ranging from 4 to 21 years old).

The entry in the Parish register shows Daniel was baptised on 1st October 1837.  His oldest brother, Charles was baptised on 19th July 1835.

George’s marriage, again at Stock, is recorded as follows: 

“George Smith of this parish Bachelor and Mary Polley of this parish Spinster were married in this Church by Banns with Consent of --- this Eighth Day of June in the Year One Thousand eight hundred and thirty four By me Edward John Edison Curate. 
This marriage was solemnised between us George Smith his mark, Mary Polley.” 

No ages are given in marriage registers prior to 1836.  The first census recording names was in 1841 so lines of enquiry prior to these dates frequently run cold.

Pre Victorian records

Fortunately two legible entries appear in the Parish Register for Stock prior to 1812.  This Register is a list of Burials at the beginning and Baptisms at the end.

In the Baptisms section we find under 1810: 

“George Smith son of Henry and Sarah Smith. Sept 16th.” 

Under 1806 we find: 

“James Smith son of Henry and Sarah Smith. Sep 21st.” 

Henry Smith was married, at Buttsbury, on
10th April 1806. 

‘Banns of marriage between Henry Smith Bachelor of the parish of Butsbury and Sarah Fitch Widow of the parish of Stock were published on March 23rd 30th and April 6th 1806.
Henry Smith Bachelor of this Parish and Sarah Fitch Widow of the Parish of Stock were married in this church by Banns this tenth Day of April in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and six by me George Thos. Edison Minister.
The marriage was solemnized between us (the mark of Henry Smith
                                                              (the mark of Sarah Fitch
In the presence of Ann Turnstill. Thomas Atherton.  

We do not know where Henry Smith was baptised.  He is Arthur’s Great Great Grandfather so we can conclude that the Smith family have lived in this part of Essex for at least eight generations.
Moving forward
Arthur’s childhood and George’s influence on the Smith family


Arthur’s father, George, was a single man, aged 18, in 1881. 

On 25
th October 1884 George Samuel Smith married Jane Francis, a spinster, at St Mary and St Edmund Church, Ingatestone. He was 22. She was 21.

George was a labourer on
11th October 1885 when Arthur Henry, his eldest child, was baptised at St Mary’s Church, Buttsbury. 

He was a Bailiff when his daughter Susannah Jane was baptised at Buttsbury, on
20th February 1887. 

George was a Farm Bailiff when Frederick George was baptised at Buttsbury on
24th September 1890.

The 1891 census reveals where George and his family were living and working. 

Imphey Hall, Buttsbury
St Mary’s Church, Buttsbury:
where Arthur Henry Smith was baptised in 1885

Name

Relation to head of household

Condition as to marriage

Age last birthday

Profession or occupation

Where born

George Smith

Head

Mar

28

Farm Bailiff

Essex Stock

Jane

Wife

Mar

27

 

Essex
Great Baddow

Arthur H

Son

 

6

Scholar

Essex Buttsbury

Susannah

Daughter

 

4

 

Essex Buttsbury

Edward

Son

 

3

 

Essex Buttsbury

Frederick

Son

 

7m

 

Essex Buttsbury

George’s next son, Lancie Bertram, was baptised at All Saints’, Stock, on 4th August 1892.  The Register states the place of residence as ‘Impey Hall, Buttbury’ with George’s profession expressed as ‘Farm Bailiff’.

The family moved to Great Burstead by 1894, where George became a ‘Dairy Farmer’, then to Little Burstead during 1896.  We find his daughter, Edith Maud, was buried at Little Burstead, aged 11 months, on 11th November that year.  However, she was baptised at Great Burstead on
15th March 1896. 

Nelson was baptised on
12th August 1900, at Little Burstead.  The margin note states that he was born on 2nd July 1900. 

We have therefore come full circle to the starting point of our research, the 1901 census. 

1911 census

The recent release of the 1911 census to public inspection enables us to learn a little more about the Smith family.  It was taken on 2nd April.

Arthur Henry Smith was living alone at Begrums Farm, a place with five rooms.  He is 25 and describes himself as a farmer (born in Stock).  He gives his postal address as Jordons Farm. 

At that time Begrums Farm formed two properties.  His neighbours were Ernest Sucking, a 30 year old born in Little Burstead, whose profession was horseman, and his wife, Elizabeth, to whom he had been married for two years. 

On 30th October 1911, Arthur Henry Smith (than aged 26) married Elizabeth May Wait (a spinster, aged 24) at the newly consecrated Christ Church in Great Warley.  Theirs was the tenth wedding to be held at the church, the first marriage was on 1st June that year. 
Elizabeth lived at Junction Road.  Her father, Sadler Wait was a joiner by profession.

The remainder of Arthur’s family lived at Great Burstead Grange, close to the church in that village.  Since 1901 there had been two further additions to George’s family: Sidney, then aged 8; and Ronald, then aged 6.  There were therefore four sons at school and four sons described as “Farmer’s son. Working on farm”.  This was truly a family business with George’s sons serving a kind of apprenticeship before being found farming work elsewhere.  Susannah, George’s only daughter, single, aged 24, was living at home.  The family employed a domestic servant, Jessie Amelia Francis, aged 17, who was born in Stratford.

Great Burstead Grange, Great Burstead

Name

Relation to head of household

Condition as to marriage

Age last birthday

Profession or occupation

Where born

George Smith

Head

Married

48

Working Farmer

Essex Stock

Jane

Wife

Married

47

 

Essex
Galleywood

Susannah Jane

Daughter

Single

24

 

Essex Buttsbury

Edward George

Son

 

22

Farmer’s son working on farm

Essex Buttsbury

Frederick

Son

 

20

Farmer’s son working on farm

Essex Buttsbury

Lancie Bertram

Son

 

18

Farmer’s son working on farm

Essex Buttsbury

Ernest Walter

Son

 

16

Farmer’s son working on farm

Essex Buttsbury

Percy

Son

 

13

School

Great Burstead

Nelson

Son

 

10

School

Little Burstead

Sidney

Son

 

8

School

 

Ronald

Son

 

6

School

 

Jessie Amelia Francis

Servant

 

17

Domestic Servant

Stratford

Family Photograph taken at Burstead Grange in 1906. At the centre is Jane and George Smith.  Arthur Henry Smith is to their left leaning on the back of a chair. Back row: Lancie, Cissie (Susannah), Fred, Ernest.  Middle Row: Nelson, Arthur, Jane (mother), George (father), Edward. Front row: Percy, Ronald, Sidney.
The Essex Record Office has a sale catalogue dated 28th June 1926 which describes Grange Farm, South Green, as having 295 acres.

Research time has been limited so this is where the story ends.  We do not know what effect the First World War had on the family.  George Smith stayed at Grange Farm, South Green, until 1921.  He then moved to White Posts, Great Burstead, where he stayed until 1929.  George died in 1936.

Other information

Following Daniel Smith’s death and George’s marriage, Eliza remarried.  She was betrothed to William Booty, a bachelor living in the parish of Stock, aged 37.  She was 50 by the day of the wedding:
27th October 1889.  When he died in 1903, the Rector, E P Gibson added as a footnote to the Burial Register entry (dated 8th March), “50 entered as certificate real age 45 or 46”.  William Booty seems an interesting character!

George Smith (senior) died at Stock, aged 80, and was buried
21st August 1887.

Mary Smith (his wife) died, again at Stock, aged 77.  She was buried
3rd February 1887.  The Rector relates a sad tale in the footnote to the Register: “She died of some burns caused by upsetting a lamp over herself when in a fit”.

George Smith was farmer at Burstead Grange throughout the First World War.  On the night of 23rd/
24th September 1916 a German Zeppelin crashed at nearby Snail’s Farm killing all those on board.  

Conclusion

Within the space of ten years or so George Smith had risen from the profession of agricultural labourer to farmer.  He seems to have been a determined individual who faced up to his responsibilities of looking after the family following the death of his father, Daniel, at the age of twelve.  His background made him equally zealous to ensure that his sons followed him into the farming business.  Arthur, the eldest, came to Mountnessing in 1909 to make his fame and fortune!
Last updated: 20 January 2010