Pete Tye Farm pre 1970 before it was demolished and a new farmhouse built
The current owners of Pete Tye Farm, the Coans, moved into the newly-built Pete Tye Farm in 1970. The old farmhouse was still standing when the newly married couple bought the farm in the late 1960s but in a very dilapidated state so it was demolished; few photographs remain.
The Coans bought 32 acres with the buildings from the Hendys who then moved to Marigold Cottage on the Mersea Road in Peldon. The old farm dairy still stands - the long low single storey building parallel with the road, facing as you turn into the farm - and a cart lodge by the driveway.
The word 'Tye' in the farm's name comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'a small enclosure' but in Essex, South Suffolk and Kent from at least the 13th century the meaning developed to that of a 'common pasture', becoming a synonym for a green or common. Suffolk and Essex examples include Bulmer Tye, Honey Tye, Matching Tye and Pete Tye.
There are deeds for the farmhouse from the 18th century which the owners kindly lent me and much of the following information about the farm's history is taken from those documents.
The farm belonged to the Manor of Pete Hall, often spelled Peet in old documents, and its tenants were copyhold tenants, which meant essentially they were leaseholders. Any transfers of property had to be made through the Manorial Courts, often presided over by the Lord of the Manor's Steward. There was a ritual ceremony and oath involved in any admission to property and tenants had to swear to adhere to customary rules and services. The Manor kept a record of all property transactions in their Court Rolls while a copy was given to the tenants, hence copyhold.
Tenants could buy and sell and inherit these copyhold properties but all such transactions had to go through the Manorial Courts and certain fees were levied whenever there was a change of ownership. Rather than 'bought' and 'sold' the language concerned with these transactions was 'admitted' and 'surrendered'
If a tenant died then a 'heriot' had to be paid. Harking back to feudal times, the heriot often involved the best animal of the deceased although later, a monetary payment became the norm.
The earliest document amongst the farm's deeds, written in 1777, refers back to 1757 when William and Elizabeth Mayhew surrendered the land to the Manor and Samuel Webb, a weaver of Brick Lane, London, was admitted. In 1777, Samuel surrendered the property and this earliest surviving document records when Sarah Denew of Whitechapel in Middlesex was admitted by the Manorial Court. As is the case with so many of the farms in Peldon these were all absentee landlords.
The earliest owner referred to in the deeds, William Mayhew, was a noted attorney in Colchester. He famously had his portrait painted by Thomas Gainsborough in 1757; this now hangs in the Art Gallery of Western Australia. His memorial slab in St Leonard's Church, The Hythe, Colchester sums up how he was regarded.
an alderman of this borough, a chearful companion, a friend to his country, a good Christian but no bigot ... lived esteemed, and died lamented by his family and friends, upon the 21st August 1764 aged 58 years
Monuments to William Mayhew (left) and William Mayhew his son
Of Samuel Webb, the weaver, who was admitted to Pete Tye Farm following William Mayhew, no further biographical evidence has been found, but it is known that Brick Lane was in an area where the weaving of silk became one of London's largest industries throughout the eighteenth century.
This 1777 document details all the parcels of land, their acreage and field names, [for a transcription of the whole document see PTF_1777_001 ]
All that Messuage or
Tenement with the appurtenances called Sheppards And Also three Crofts of Land called Maydays containing six acres
And also one Croft of Land called Helves otherwise Helps containing by estimation seven acres And also one croft of
Land and one Tenement and half a yard land called Merchants in North Peet And also four acres of Land called Thorolds
And also one Croft of Land called Blasts And also one pightle of Land containing by estimation one Rood of Land
called Wigletts in peet And also one Cottage and forty acres of Land called Phipps and Blasts And also two Crofts
of Land and one Meadow called the Ley Heriotable And also one Messuage or Tenement called Salmons and divers
Lands and Tenements to the same belonging and appertaining
The earliest document in Pete Tye Farm's deeds dating to 1777. Samuel Webb had surrendered Pete Tye Farm and this records Sarah Denew's
admission. Note the heading 'The Manor of Peet Hall', the name of the Lord of the Manor, Jacob Brown, and his Steward Samuel Ennew.
This next owner, Sarah Denew, who became Sarah Quincey upon her marriage the following year (1778), became a noted landowner in this part of Essex.
Sarah's husband, Joseph Quincey, became Lord of the Manor of Peldon Hall, when is uncertain; the Manorial records for Peldon Hall that
survive are in private ownership. Following Joseph Quincey's death in 1829, Sarah continued as Lady of the Manor until her death in 1844.
Her Manorial Courts were advertised in various newspapers and were mainly held in The Rose Inn! Locally, she also owned New Hall Farm in
Here amongst the deeds for Pete Tye Farm we have the assessment for Land Tax Redemption sent by the tax office to the landowner, Joseph Quincey, dated 5th October 1803; the occupier was William Hance.
The Land Tax Redemption Office was set up in 1798 and details of Peldon's landowners and their tenants are listed in an official tax office book (this will often come up on the Ancestry website when searching names).
At this time, a national Land Tax had been made a permanent charge on land, however, owners could pay a large lump sum or purchase government stock to free themselves from future liability. By 1815 about a third of England's land had been redeemed in this way.
The Pete Tye Farm document sets out seven payments to be made over a period extending from November 1803 to May 1805 totalling £264. From the time of the 1798 assessment where Joseph Quincey's tenant is listed as Mary Hance, Pete Tye's owner was liable to £7 4 0 annually and the lump sum would exonerate him and subsequent owners from future payments.
The Land Tax Redemption Assessment for Pete Tye Farm [ PTF_1803_001 ]
Another document amongst the deeds is an agreement for farmer, John Hance, to have a farm-let, dated 26th September 1811; it is signed by Joseph Quincey. The Farm is referred to as The Tye Farm (the first reference in the deeds to this name). It was estimated to consist of 107 acres 2 roods and 13 perches and was in the tenure of William Hance (the Hances are clearly related). The let to John Hance was for a term of 40 years at a rent of £187 5s yearly. The forty year lease took us to 1851 and indeed members of the Hance family remained at the farm until then. However, their landlords were to change because Joseph Quincey died in 1829, his wife Sarah died on 14th July 1844 and a new owner bought the farm, George Robinson.
George Robinson was the highest bidder at the auction on 25th October 1844. Lot 9, which was Pete Tye Farm, went for £2,920. Another £54 was paid to include timber.
We see from a document dated 1st February 1845, the farm was transferred to Robinson by the trustee of Sarah Quincey's will, Samuel Edwin Bean of New Hall Farm, Little Wigborough, (a farm that was bequeathed to him in her will). Then on 22nd February George Robinson was admitted to the property by the Manorial Court.
The admission of George Robinson to Pete Tye Farm 22nd February 1845 [ PTF_1845_002 ]
The list of parcels of land is as follows, (the eagle-eyed will notice it bears little relation to the list in the 1777 deed quoted above.
All that messuage or tenement and farm house with the yards barns stables and other outbuildings to the same belonging the scite whereof contains three roods and five perches or thereabouts And also all those the several pieces or parcels of land lying near or adjoining to the said farmhouse and occupied therewith and known by the several names and containing the several quantities hereinafter mentioned that is to say. Broad field fourteen acres and thirty six perches Thistlefield six acres three roods and thirteen perches. Fore field seven acres one rood and twelve perches Brookfield eleven acres three roods and seven perches Tye Hill eleven acres one rood and six perches Middle Tye twelve acres three roods and eight perches Further hill eleven acres and fourteen perches Long meadow seven acres two roods and twenty perches Cartlodge field eleven acres and twenty two perches Little Barn field five acres two roods and thirty five perches Great Barnfield seven acres and 2 perches Orchard two roods and eleven perches and the Little Meadow one acre and thirty one perches be the said several quantities or any of them little more or less Which said messuage or tenement outbuildings and lands are used as one farm called the Pete Tye Farm.
Another set of field names from earlier documents, is listed in this document in quotation marks. The implication is the two sets of names are referring to the same property and land.
The indenture is witnessed by Samuel Edwin's son, Henry Bean of Peldon, who, at that time, would have been living with some of his siblings at Peldon Hall, the Manor held by the Quinceys.
The document reveals the tenant was Sarah Hance, living there under the lease Joseph Quincey made with her late husband, John Hance who died in 1824.
From 1841 on we can start to find occupiers of the farm in the censuses and Sarah Hance, a widow, aged 67, can be found in that first census a few years before Sarah Quincey's death. She is living in, we presume, Pete Tye Farm with her 28 year old son, Thomas, who is a farmer. She also has her daughter, Sarah Hance, aged 36 living there and three-year old Jane Harrison, her granddaughter. The child's mother, Deborah Hance, married the Abberton blacksmith, James Harrison, and was to take on the business (and also the blacksmith's in Peldon) when her husband died relatively young.
Sarah Hance died in 1850 and one can only presume her family did not renew the let which terminated in 1851. However, son Thomas, was still farming 120 acres and employing 6 labourers at the time of the 1851 census (presumably Pete Tye). By 1861 Thomas was a farmer in Layer de La Haye but it is not clear who was occupying Pete Farm from the census of that year.
In all, the Quinceys held Pete Tye Farm between 1777 and 1845, while the Hance family occupied it from at least 1798 followed by the let for 40 years from 1811 - 1851.
George Robinson (senior) died on the 24th March 1852. His eldest son, George, died only months later on 13th June 1852 and his son, Francis Robinson, was admitted to the property on 27th November 1854.
The Robinsons' tenant was no longer the Hance family but now Thomas Mills.
Thomas Mills agreed a lease for 21 years on 12th April 1854 and the lease required him to farm a 'five-course' crop rotation system. The document indicates he was a farmer from 'Tillenhanger Green' in Hertfordshire. [I believe this to be the hamlet Tyttenhanger Green]. This was a draft lease and was never executed (due to the death of Francis Robinson in December 1855).
The majority of the deeds from now on reveal the problems caused by the deaths in quick succession of George (Senior), George (Junior), and Francis Robinson plus the death of one of the executors of George (Senior). After a few years and court cases the family were given licence to let the farm and a document of 14th July 1858 reveals Thomas Mills was assigning his interest in the Tye Farm to Mr Benjamin Clarke.
Finally, the executor of Francis Robinson's will, William Bird, was admitted to the property on 1st June 1863 and permitted by the Court of Chancery to sell the farm.
William Clarke, son of the tenant Benjamin Clarke and a farmer in Fingringhoe was the successful bidder at auction bidding £3,375
The particulars approved on 16th April 1868 were
Pete Tye Farm (Exonerated from land tax) situate in the parish of and near to the village of Peldon in the county of Essex and contains about 109 acres. 1 rood. 22 perches of arable and Grass land with farm house and Buildings - let to and in the occupation of Mr Benjamin Clerk for a term originally granted for 21 years at the rent of £100 per from the 29th day of September 1854 determinable at the option of the Lessor at the end of the 14th year.
The Vendors have exercised their option and have given notice to the Tenant and thus the occupation will cease at Michaelmas 1868 when possession can be had.
The farm house contains one Attic Two Store Rooms and two Bed rooms Two Parlors Back Hall pantry Store Room Kitchen Coal Cellar Dairy and Granary over - adjoining are Flower and Kitchen Gardens The Buildings comprise a Barn Stable and Chaff house Loose box 3 bay open shed and Cart house - 2 Bay open shed and Hen house - Piggery 2 Fold yards and open Waggon shed standing on the Common.
The Tithe rent charge is commuted at £31.17.6 per annum and is paid together with the Parochial rates and Taxes by the Tenant -
The Acreage quantities of the lands in this particulars are taken from the Tithe Map and shall be taken as correct by the purchaser.
The Estate is Copyhold of the Manor of Pete Hall and subject to an annual Quit rent of £3. 3. 3 a fine certain of £7.10 an admission and a Heriot on death or alienation.
Finally, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered on 5th October 1868.
It had taken fourteen years from the death of George Robinson to deal with the fall-out from his will.
William Clarke needed a short-term loan of £2,500 to buy Pete Tye Farm and there are some documents detailing this. He borrowed the money from Mr. Sheldrake, but repaid it to his widow within two and half years.
A solicitor's bill dated 31st October 1868 made out to William Clarke confirms that the Title was very complicated by reason of the
trusts of Robinsons will and the Chancery proceedings
Over forty appointments and meetings are listed, some in Chelmsford at the office of Peet Manor's Steward. Another half dozen or so meetings were to arrange a mortgage with Mr. Sheldrake. All meetings were between January and October 1868 until the conveyance was completed. The bill was £141. 9. 8 including a payment to the Manor Steward.
The head of the Clarke family, Benjamin, was born in Ramsey, Essex and at the age of 25 in the 1841 census was farming in Wrabness, married to Maria, with his eldest son William only 15 months. In 1851 still in Wrabness his farm acreage is given as 54 acres and he was employing 2 men. In 1858 he took on Pete Tye Farm.
In 1861 Benjamin was farming in Peldon, and living at Butler's Farm which later was to be submerged by the Abberton Reservoir, so he, no doubt, farmed both Butlers and Pete Tye Farm. He is described as a farmer of 426 acres employing 14 men and 5 boys. It is likely Pete Tye Farm was occupied by some of Benjamin's farm labourers.
In 1871 Benjamin and his wife were farming in Toppesfield and in 1881, in retirement, were living in Layer de la Haye with their son, William, and family.
On 16th April 1868 Benjamin's son, William Clarke, a farmer in Fingringhoe, as we have seen, was the successful bidder at auction bidding £3,375 for Pete Tye Farm. William appears on the censuses in Wrabness in 1841 and 1851 but in 1861 is farming in Fingringhoe at Hams Farm.
He married Charlotte Fenn in Marylebone in 1865.
William Clarke was still farming in Hams Farm, Fingringhoe in 1871 but a move to Peldon between 1871 and 1873 is indicated by the birth of his daughter, Lottie Maria Clark in Peldon in 1873.
All his subsequent children were born in Layer de La Haye and it would appear he was farming in Layer de La Haye by 1875. William and his family are listed in the 1881 census at Brick Farm, Layer de La Haye.
In 1891 William was farming Wick Farm in Layer de La Haye. He can't be found in any of the 1901 censuses but two of his daughters and
Frank Joseph Clarke, his son, who was employed assisting father, are listed as living at Rye Farm, Layer de La Haye.
In 1911 William, now a widower, is a retired farmer living back in Pete Tye Farm with four of his children including Frank Joseph who is listed as a farmer.
By the time the farm was sold to Stanley Ellis by William's sons, the farm had belonged to the Clarke family for 71 years.
It seems William Clarke and his wife, Charlotte, had eight children, 4 boys and 4 girls. In William's will he stipulated the farm be kept on to provide for his wife and children until the youngest, Stanley Fenn Clarke, reached 25. At that point he willed that the farm should be offered to his two elder sons. In the event, his wife Charlotte pre-deceased him in 1910 and he died in 1911
William Clarke's youngest child, Stanley, reached the age of 25 in February 1913 and an indenture on microfilm reveals his two eldest sons, William Benjamin and Frank Joseph bought out their siblings. On 6th September 1913 they bought the farm, still copyhold, for £1,250.
Sixteen years later, on 10th October 1929, the Clarke brothers sold the farm to Stanley William Ellis of Lawford Hall Farm. The conveyance (on microfilm) reveals the farm now to be freehold. William Benjamin Clarke was farming Rye Farm, Layer de La Haye (which we know to have been in the family since at least 1891) and brother, Frank Joseph Clarke, was the occupant of Pete Tye Farm. Stanley Ellis paid £1,300.
A postcard of Pete Tye Farm in the possession of Stanley Ellis's family
By the time of the 1922 Law of Property Act, copyhold properties had already started to be converted to freehold or leasehold. With the Act, this last meaningful function of the Manorial Courts was abolished although in some cases copyhold did persist until 1925.
Stanley Ellis was therefore the first freehold owner of Pete Tye Farm. A dairy farmer who built up a herd and a milk round in the few years he ran the farm, Stanley Ellis was to be evicted by the War Agricultural Committee on 31st July 1943.
The War Agricultural Committees were set up in every region to maximise the production of food crops during WW2. Their strong-arm tactics came under close scrutiny and criticism and Stanley's case was taken up by the Peldon Rector who appealed to author, journalist and countryman, James Wentworth Day, to help fight Stanley's case and those of other farmers, against eviction.
A national campaign ensued. However, the War Ag Committee stood firm and Stanley, his wife, Dorothy Alice, and their young daughter,
were evicted from Pete Tye Farm which was then taken over by a War Ag approved farmer (who, I have yet to discover). Stanley did,
however, carry on his business and moved into the village into Tronoh House on Peldon Green. His daughter, Yvonne, tells me he used
to go to a dairy in Colchester daily to collect the milk in churns for his local milk round.
[See article on Farmers' evictions in WW2, and the Peldon Protest PH01_WAG ]
Stanley's wife, Dorothy, standing by the duck pond at Pete Tye Farm
What happened to the farm between Stanley's eviction and the Hendys buying the farm, has not so far been discovered.
The Ellis's daughter, Yvonne, remembers they had three unfurnished rooms in the big farmhouse at Pete Tye and during the war military officers moved in, while tents were put up outside for their men. The rooms in the farm became an officers' mess. She was told ten evacuees had been assigned to come and live at Pete Tye Farm but they didn't appear. She wonders if her parents had refused to take the evacuees because of her mother's poor health.
The family was to stay at Tronoh House until Stanley's death in 1950. He is buried in Peldon Churchyard.
The Hendys were the last to live in the old farmhouse before moving to Marigold Cottage, Mersea Road, Peldon. They sold to the current owners in 1968.
Peldon History Project
Thanks to the Coan and Ellis families
Dorothy Ellis at Pete Tye Farm by the hen-house
Farmer's evictions in WW2 and the Peldon Protest
List of Deeds of Pete Tye Farm