In maps from the early twentieth century, along the south side of Peldon's Lower Road, there are only five houses, Brickhouse Farm, Brickhouse Cottage next door to the farm, Honeysuckle Cottage, Games Farm and The White House (now Sampton Wick). Three farms and two cottages.
In this photograph below from about 100 years ago looking along Lower Road towards Brick House Farm and Cottage in the distance, there is not a sight of all the housing that was to be built later in the twentieth century, Honeysuckle Cottage is probably set back beyond the tree on the extreme right.
The name of Honeysuckle Cottage was first used in the 1970s when a couple called Mr and Mrs Avis moved into the house; at the same time they bought an extra parcel of land from the farmer to extend the length of the garden, the farmer at the time was Bill Bruton and the field belonged to Games Farm.
Prior to the name change, the cottage had been known as 'Olde Home' but in the oldest documents for the house, (indentures and wills),
the earliest of which dates to 1790, the house is given no name.
In this period the 'chain of ownership' for the previous 125 years had to be given as proof of title.
In the legal documents for the cottage, a list of previous inhabitants is given thus enabling the historian to discover the inhabitants of the house for the last 300 years or more!
The length of time one had to go back to get a good "root" of title to unregistered land was slowly reduced from 125 years over a period of years. The 1925 Property Act started the process, and amendments to the Act over the years have reduced the period to 15 years.
On the website for listed buildings [ www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk ], Grade 2 listed Honeysuckle Cottage is described as
Mid C18 cottage. Timber framed and plastered, with weatherboarded front. Red
plain tile gambrel roof. One storey and attics. Two window range C18 double
hung, vertical sliding sashes with glazing bars. Three catslide dormers, with
horizontal sliding sashes with glazing bars. End chimney stacks in red brick.
It has been possible to put together the following list of owners/occupiers from documents in the possession of the current owner. Details of some of those occupants have been gleaned from the Ancestry website and from newspaper cuttings from the 1930s and 40s. Copies of the Parish Magazines of Peldon and the Wigboroughs published in the 1970s and 80s have been a source of information in more recent times.
From a note by the late Ann Watkins, included in the cottage's documents held by the current owner, she wrote that she believed the cottage dates to about 1650 and that tithe duty was paid on it. She also believed the cottage to be a 'waste cottage' ie a cottage built on the 'manorial waste' or common land.
Former Owners / Occupiers
George Browne, yeoman, is the earliest occupant of Honeysuckle Cottage mentioned.
There is a George Brown listed as Churchwarden of St Mary's, Peldon, in 1704. It is likely this is him and that he was born mid to late 1600s.
He also appears in the Poll book of 1710, as a landowner eligible to vote.
As a yeoman he was a farmer who owned land; yeomen were considered to be one step down from the gentry classes.
It is possible that he was in fact responsible for building the cottage.
William Browne, labourer, son of George Browne
Samuel Browne, husbandman and son of William Browne.,
In the 1763 list of Freehold names (see below) Samuel is listed as owning land in Peldon and therefore eligible to vote. He is also listed in 1774. His marriage to Mary Pearson from Abberton appears in the Parish Register for 7th January 1778. As a husbandman, he was a small landowner and farmer.
Sarah Linnett did not live in the property, the bond states she lives in Colchester. However, since her uncle, Samuel Browne, died intestate she became 'Heiress at Law'. From a bond dated 1790 it would appear that she is selling Honeysuckle Cottage plus another property in Peldon, a 'New Erected Brick'd Messuage', to wealthy landowner, Samuel Bullock from whom she has received a £100 loan. He requires her to sign an indemnity in order that the obligation to pay an annuity to the widowed Mary Browne will not fall to him. Sarah Linnett undertakes to make a payment to her aunt of 2 guineas a year for life and Mary may stay in the property and enjoy any rents as long as she lives.
Mary Browne née Pearson, widow of Samuel, presumably lives in the cottage following his death in 1790.
It appears Samuel did not live in the cottage, he was a wealthy property and land owner in the area. That he was the owner of Honeysuckle Cottage is indicated by the documents, including this 1790 bond above and his will, being kept among all the other legal papers for the cottage.
The Bullock Family first came to the area in the late 16th century, moving into Moulshams Manor at Great Wigborough; with connections to Great Wigborough for over three hundred years the family warrants a study all of its own.
In the 1763 list of Freehold names Samuel is listed as owning land in Peldon and therefore eligible to vote. (There are two Samuel Bullocks listed, presumably one is his father).
Probate is granted to Samuel's executors on 6th November 1814. He appoints three friends as executors, John Wilkin of Inworth, John Cooke Spurden of West Mersea and Edward Harvey of Great Horkesley.
He wills that all his properties in Peldon and Great and Little Wigborough are to be sold which no doubt included Honeysuckle Cottage.
Having outlived his wife and most of his children, at the time of his death he has one married daughter still living and several grandchildren. He also leaves money to enable his workers' wives to buy black clothes to attend his funeral and leaves two shillings to each widow in the village to be distributed at his funeral. Samuel and his family are buried in a table top tomb in the churchyard of St Marys, Peldon.
In a document held at the Essex Records Office ( D/Del T226 ) details are given of Samuel Bullock's estate which went up for auction in eight lots.
Particulars and Conditions of Sale of Several Valuable Estates at Peldon and Wigborough the late property of Mr Samuel Bullock deceased which will be sold by auction by James Thorn at the White Hart Inn Colchester on Saturday the 1st day of July 1815 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon in 8 Lots.
It would seem that Lot 8 was Honeysuckle Cottage
LOT 8 A freehold cottage or tenement situate in Peldon in the occupation of ... Ruse Tenant at Will with a yard or Garden thereto belonging.
Simon Ruse Simon Ruse married Hannah Boley in Peldon on 1st August 1815.
We have no record as to who bought the property in 1815 but one can only assume that Simon Ruse was still a tenant there a month after the auction when he married. Simon and Hannah's son, Simon Boley Ruse was born in Great Wigborough in April 1816 so one can only presume the family had gone back to the village where his father had also been born.
[Simon Boley Ruse, at the age of 41 takes an assisted passage to Australia with his family in 1857 on board the ship Alfred. Simon Boley Ruse died in New South Wales in 1875].
Unoccupied for an unspecified time
James Peachey husbandman was born in 1786 in Inworth and on 25th May 1812 married Sarah Pewter, a widow (1787 - 1871).
He appears in the 1851 census aged 64. We learn Sarah, also 64, was born in Tolleshunt Knights. James is an agricultural labourer and lives in Maldon Road, Peldon - presumably in Honeysuckle Cottage. He dies on 4th August 1860 leaving the house to his widow for her lifetime
Sarah Peachey. In widowhood she seems to live in the cottage with William Smith. It is not clear what relation William was to Sarah. She was a widow from 1860 and died in 1871.
The Peacheys' son, John, sells the cottage in an auction at The Plough Inn, Peldon, on 4th August 1871 for £84. John Wright was the highest bidder.
John Wright Born about 1807 he appears in the 1851 census; he is 43 and a farmer of five acres in the Colchester Road.
In the 1871 census aged 64 he is listed as a farmer of 102 acres employing 6 men and 1 boy. He was born in Great Wigborough. His wife Sarah is 62 in the census and was born around 1809 in Fingringhoe. They have a daughter, Lavinia aged 22 born in Peldon. The census states farmhouse licensed to sell beer, this farmhouse appears to be close to Peldon Hall.
John Wright dies on 12th January 1878. He appoints his son, John, and wife, Sarah as his executors and wills that Sarah can live in the cottage during her lifetime, then his properties are to be sold at the best possible price.
Sarah Wright widow of John died on the 15th May 1892.
John Wright farmer at Little Wigborough son of John and Sarah Wright sells the cottage according to his father's will.
In an indenture between John Wright, son of the late John Wright of Little Wigborough farmer and Joshua Cudmore of Peldon made on 1st October 1892 the description of the cottage with the chain of ownership is given thus.
All that messuage or tenement with the yard garden hereditaments and appurtenances thereto belonging situate in Peldon aforesaid formerly in the occupation of William Browne or his assigns afterwards of Samuel Browne since of Mary Browne Widow then of Simon Ruse afterwards of Sarah Peachey and William Smith and was until recently in the occupation of the said Sarah Wright.
Joshua Cudmore of Peldon buys the cottage in 1892 following Sarah Wrights' death; he buys it from Sarah's son John for £85. He appears in both the 1901 and 1911 censuses living there, although as yet it is unnamed and can only be identified by following the route the census taker follows. Joshua dies in 1936 aged 80 but the house was to remain in his family's possession until his daughter-in-law, Agnes, sells the house in 1970. The house was in his family's hands for 78 years.
Joshua was born in Peldon in 1855. His father and mother, Benjamin and Ann first appear in the Peldon census in 1851 living in Mersea Road, Peldon. His father is an agricultural labourer and his mother a tailoress. Apart from the 1881 census, which shows that he was lodging in Distillery Lane, Colchester working as a Maltster's Labourer, he returns to his home village for the other censuses. He marries Harriet in 1896. She was born in Elmstead Market, Essex and in the 1881 and 1891 censuses she is working as a domestic servant in London. She lives in the cottage until her death in 1944.
Harriett Cudmore widow of Joshua dies on 23 December 1944. Her obituary appears in the Neighbourhood News for Peldon in the Essex County Standard.
LIFE-LONG METHODIST The village has lost a highly respected inhabitant in the person of Mrs Harriet Cudmore, who after an illness lasting only a few days passed away on Dec 23 aged 83 years. The deceased was a native of Ardleigh, but had spent the whole of her married life in Peldon. Her husband, Mr Joshua Cudmore predeceased her in 1936.
A life-long Methodist, in earlier days she was a teacher in the Sunday School. Her chief hobby was gardening, and she was a fine judge of flowers and vegetables. The funeral took place at the Parish Church on Thursday, Dec 28, the rector (Rev J R Wilson B A ) officiating ... Floral tributes included one 'from friends at Peldon Chapel and neighbours'.
Benjamin Joshua Cudmore Benjamin was born in Peldon in 1899. He appears in the list of Absent Voters in 1918 for Peldon; during WW1 he serves as a wireless Telephone Operator. He is a schoolteacher and dies in 1968 aged 69. He married Agnes Louise and they had a daughter Joan Ethel Cudmore and a son, Alan. In the 1939 register the family are living in Weston Road, Colchester and his mother, Harriett, is living there until her death in 1944.
In 2020 Benjamin's son Alan reminisced about what the cottage was like in the years his family was there.
When my grandmother Harriett Cudmore died in 1944 (her maiden name was Allen hence my Christian name) my
father kept the cottage as it was and we went there at the week-end also during the holidays ... after some updating we moved there permanently when I was 13. It was one of the best things that happened to me and I rejoice that I saw at first-hand agricultural husbandry before its total mechanisation.
It was my job to make the name board that hung from the cottage's front gutter with chains. Early postcards establish it was sufficient to put the recipient's name followed by Near The Common, Peldon!
... the western dormer [is] at a lower level to the other two, and roofed in tiles with the other two slate, and the timber work at the western end of greater size to the eastern framework, together with two front doors (one was of a heavy basic construction, the other more refined and of a later date) also one chimney stack outside the building the other within the house, and possibly later. I have often asked myself are we looking at two builds, an extension. This could raise the idea of a double tenement or some shared arrangement...
... My grandfather Joshua did in a small way 'farm' having, I believe, occupation of land across the
road and also a field on the road to the Peldon Rose on the Western side just beyond what I recall
as Rose Cottage ... at Harvest time the Fairhead daughters at Brick House were heard singing
Come ye thankful people come
Raise the song of Harvest home
All is safely gathered in
All except Jos Cudmore's beans.
Alan's father, Benjamin, trained as a schoolteacher at a Methodist teacher training college and was to be a devout Methodist all his life being a stalwart of Peldon Chapel on Lower Road. Upon marriage, Ben settled with his wife Agnes in the New Town area of Colchester teaching at Magdalen Street School before moving to the newly built St Anne's, Goring Road (now Willowbrook).
... unlike our neighbour William Greenleaf, the village blacksmith, and senior steward at Peldon
Chapel he was not registered as a local preacher on the Circuit Plan but listed as an Exhorter one
might say 'stop gap'. At his funeral where Anglican priest and Methodist minister officiated it was
said his knowledge of The Bible was encyclopaedic. ... My father's musical interest started with piano lessons, I believe, at Yew Tree House opposite the church at Mersea and he played at Gt Wigborough Church, and occasionally at Peldon Church but shared the playing of the American organ at the chapel with Mrs Dansie and Leslie Mallett.
We had at home a piano, and a harmonium in what we called the long place, a passage running at the back of the cottage, with a cubby hole curtained off known as 'Lob's Hole', this was where my grandparents kept the large stone wine jars, this area was later to become the downstairs bathroom and WC.
... the boundary between us and Newholme was a variety of species elm, hawthorn and privet; that on the football field side was largely the Duke of Argyll's tea plant, a decorative shrub but not very stock proof. Further along the boundary with the farmer's field was reinforced with hawthorn and quite spiteful to keep in check. The field had at one stage (this pre-to the Stockleys coming to Games Farm), had eleborate pens for the breeding of mink but I think this was a short-lived experiment.
At the bottom of the cottage garden there was quite a deep pond that had been a source of water before the mains tap arrived just inside the front gate - carting buckets from the pump in front of The Plough was solely for drinking purposes and 3 large corrugated iron water butts collected the rain off the roof. This pond when not covered with mardlins [?] would in the evening sunlight provide views of smooth and palmate newts. Sadly when a cess pit had to be dug for modern drainage the spoil filled the pond just leaving an open ditch to take the rainwater down towards Newpots Lane.
Alan tells me that his grandfather Joshua had two pear trees he'd grafted, a Johnny Mount (or Little Dick) and a Pitmaster Duchess. At Alan's prompting a Pitmaster Duchess has been planted in the Woodland Trust's orchards at Fordham.
Alan went into the army in 1954 and he acknowledges that really was the beginning of my severance from Peldon
Agnes Louise Cudmore (born in 1894) died aged 82 in 1976; widow of Benjamin Joshua Cudmore.
All four Cudmores are buried in Peldon Churchyard
Ronald Frederick Avis and Jean May Avis buy the cottage on 27th February 1970 for £3,500, moving into the village from a cottage in Fordham. For £142.85 they buy an extra bit of garden from the farmer, Robert William Bruton, who owned the field behind the cottage which belongs to Games Farm. They are the owners who change the name from 'Olde Home' to 'Honeysuckle Cottage.
Les and Joan Richardson In the Parish Magazine of July 1983 Lesley Arthur and Joan Richardson are welcomed to the village. Sadly Les was to die in 1984 aged 59. He is buried in Peldon Churchyard and a rose tree was planted in his memory. Joan remained in the cottage for a few years before selling Honeysuckle Cottage to David and Hilary King.
Current owners 1991 to the present. The current owner, Hilary, churchwarden of St Mary's tells me that the wooden-framed cottage moved twelve inches in the earthquake of 1884 which explains the fact that it now leans. Amazingly, it wasn't damaged and hasn't moved since!
Honeysuckle Cottage in 2014
Peldon History Project
Thanks to Alan Cudmore
Alan Cudmore: Peldon Reminiscences
Researching the History of Your Home - an article written by Elaine for the Peldon Parish Magazine.