Peldon Lodge circa 1911
Peldon Lodge is situated on Lodge Lane in Peldon, set back from the lane and surrounded by mature trees. The lane was once a through road to Colchester and widely used by residents as the main route to the town. Up until around 1936, after passing Peldon Lodge, North Lodge, Lanhams and Butler's Farm, walkers and riders would cross a 'splash' known as 'Peldon Hole'. The lane then passed Butlers Grove and a track to the right leading to Layer House, eventually coming out onto the main road between Abberton and Layer de la Haye..
It was the fact this area was regularly flooded by the Layer Brook and not much use as farmland, that suggested the suitability of the site for a new reservoir. Before WW2, the lane was closed off and the Layer Brook valley, including Butlers Farm and Layer House, were submerged to form what is now Abberton Reservoir.
Prior to the building of the reservoir the whole of Lodge Lane from end to end was deemed to be in Peldon but by the 1939 register, the end that meets the main road between Abberton and Layer had become part of Layer de la Haye.
Peldon Lodge appears on the Chapman and Andree map of 1777 but the earliest reference to Peldon Lodge I have found is in a will of one of the Wayland Family, that of John Wayland the Younger whose will was written in 1750.
The Wayland Family
The Wayland family first appears locally in Great Wigborough with the marriage of Augustine Wayland to Mary Potter in 1633. Where Augustine originally came from is not known but we find their son, also Augustine, settled in Peldon at the time of his death in 1689. Augustine senior died in 1675 and left no land or property but his son Augustine, the Younger, was a wealthy yeoman who held properties in Wigborough, (bequeathed to his son Augustine), and properties in Peldon and Mersea left to his other son John - all properties unnamed although their tenants are named in some cases. To John he left
my farme w[i]th the lands and appurtn[a]nc[es] in peldon...now in the occupation of Thomas Bullock
He also leaves the house in Peldon , now in my owne occupac[i]on, to his wife for life, then after her death to his sons Augustine and John as tenants in common. My instinct is to say that the house he himself lived in would have been the grander of the two properties he owned and therefore likely to have been The Lodge. This probably came into the family's possession between 1675 and 1689 and became the family home.
It is not until the farm had been handed down through two or three further generations of Waylands we find the first mention of Peldon Lodge by name in 1750.
John Wayland the Younger of Peldon was also a yeoman, and in his will of 1750 he left his wife, Martha, an annuity and
the use and liberty of the three Best lower Rooms & the two Best Chambers in my now dwelling House called peldon Lodge.
It is clear from the will that he and his father held the lease on Peldon Lodge jointly, but John was to predecease his father, also called John, who died four years later. At that time, the Lodge would have been held by the Lord of The Manor of Peldon Hall, Charles Reynolds, and the Waylands would have been copyhold tenants, similar to leasehold.
When John the Elder of Peldon made his will four years later in 1754 the properties were further divided between his two surviving sons,
George and Joseph and the late John the Younger's son, John. It was to his son Joseph he bequeathed the leass of the Farm wheare he
lives Cald peldon Lodg.
Properties continued to be handed down through the Wayland family for the rest of the eighteenth century but remain unnamed in the
several wills we have for the family.
Various entries in Peldon's church accounts mention members of the Wayland family. George Wayland The Elder who styled himself as a
gentleman was one of the two parish Surveyors in 1756 and churchwarden from1775 - 1780.
George, who died in 1788, is described as a Peldon Magnate by Mary Hopkirk in A History of Layer de La Haye.
He inherited Dukes Farm in Layer (later to become Wellhouse Farm) which he promptly sold on. He also appears in The Poll For Knights
of the Shire in 1768, his eligibility to vote indicated by being a landowner of freeholds in East Mersea. His name appears in other deeds and documents for properties in Peldon including Rolls Farm and Malting Cottage.
George Wayland the Younger of West Farm, Fingringhoe, seems to have been his father's only son, and inherited from his father, George, a number of properties and land in Peldon, and East and West Mersea. This branch of the family fizzled out following George the Younger's death in 1795. Both father and son were buried in Peldon.
George the Younger's only child, an unmarried daughter, Mary Ann, predeceased her mother, Elizabeth, (both women died in 1804), and in Elizabeth's will of 1804, the huge family fortune in property and land was passed on to close friends and distant relatives. However, it would seem the lease for Peldon Lodge had been relinquished by the family upon George The Elder's death in 1788 and the next tenants were the Wilsmores.
The Wilsmore Family
We know from Kay Gilmour's research [Peldon in Essex:Village over the Marshes] that Thomas Wilsmore farmed Peldon Lodge from 1788, the year of his marriage to Mary Partridge. Mary was the daughter of Arthur Partridge whose family were to live in Shelley Hall, Suffolk, for over 120 years.
Thomas Wilsmore occupied Peldon Lodge as a tenant farmer under the ownership of Charles Jolland, Lord of The Manor of Peldon Hall. Thomas died around 1795/6 and his wife, Mary, was to carry on at Peldon Lodge until 1809.
Mary Wilsmore is the first recorded female Overseer for Peldon -usually a twelve month post - serving in 1790, 1794, 1796 and 1802. The Parish Overseer was responsible for the care of the poor and sick in the parish and at this time there was a village almshouse, offering accommodation to the most vulnerable. Mary also appears in the parish records as a Surveyor with a responsibility for the maintenance of roads in the village in 1794, again a twelve-month post.
It was Mary Wilsmore who was to institute the provision of a weekly bread ration for the children of the parish between January 1794 and July 1796, at a time when the country was plunged into famine as a result of the French Wars and the high price of corn. Mary even went into Colchester to collect corn in 1795 and the following year provided the flour herself on one occasion. She also pressed for parishioners to be vaccinated against smallpox.
Kay Gilmour tells us that Mary's only child, Sarah, was to die unmarried before 1817 but she and her cousin Mary Ansell Partridge were noted for their beauty.
Mary was living in West Bergholt when she died in 1831. Her brother, Robert Partridge of Shelley Hall, was sole executor and
beneficiary. In the Register of Electors of 1842 he is listed as still having property in Peldon with tenants Pooley and Cooper.
The next document I found for Peldon Lodge is notification in the Suffolk Chronicle published on 9th September 1826 of a Live and
Dead stock auction by order of the proprietor who has let the estate. These auctions were usually held upon the departure of a tenant farmer. It is likely that it was Joseph Quincey, Lord of the Manor who owned the Lodge at that point.
In the Chelmsford Chronicle of 25th October 1844, there is notification that Peldon Lodge Farm was to be auctioned, its area extending to 277 acres 1 rod 33 perches. Also Grove Farm, Little Wigborough, 61a 3r 14p and Pete Tye Farm, 109a 1r 22p, are being auctioned along with four farms on Mersea (Well House, Lucas's, Pratt's Garden Farm and Baker's) and two farms at Dovercourt and Great Bromley.
These farms formed the huge estate of Sarah Quincey who died earlier that year. Sarah was the widow of Joseph Quincey whom it would
appear had been Lord of the Manor of Peldon Hall until his death in 1829. In his will, Joseph made Sarah his executrix and bequeathed
all his Freehold, Copyhold and Real estate to her.
[The Will of Joseph Quincey:National Archives PROB 11/1759]
Sarah Quincey continued as Lady of the Manor of Peldon Hall until her death, her name appearing in various newspaper notifications of her
Manorial Courts, mainly held in The Rose Inn.
To date there has been very little biographical detail found about this couple who appear to have no children. There is a reference to
Quincey owning land locally in a memoir of the Bean family, as early as 1808. It refers to Quincey owning New Hall, Little Wigborough,
and giving the agency and tenancy to Samuel Edwin Bean, who later became tenant of Peldon Hall. Samuel Bean was also an executor of Sarah
Quincey's will in 1844; clearly a trusted friend. [The Will of Sarah Quincey: National Archives
In 1847 Samuel Bean, as executor, put the wheels in motion to sell Peldon Lodge as the outgoing tenant's lease came to an end.
AT PELDON LODGE FARM, NEAR
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION
On Wednesday September 15th 1847
The entire Live and Dead AGRICULTURAL
STOCK and Effects of Mr. STEPHEN HARVEY
whose Lease expires this Michaelmas, comprising nine
valuable cart geldings & mares, full sized, plenty of
bone, young & good workers, a year old bay cart colt,
and a well-bred two-year-old riding ditto; five prime
young Milch cows, sow & six pigs, and two shoats[weaned piglets]; also
two good road waggons, two harvest ditto, full-time tum-
brel, three ¾ load ditto, four iron foot ploughs, Bentall's
harrows, rails, ladders, cribs, excellent 8-furrow scarifier
with shafts & shifting hoes, very good cart and plough
harness, farming tools, brewing and dairy utensils, and a
few Lots of Household Furniture
Sale to commence at Ten o'clock
[Suffolk Chronicle 11/9/1847]
The outgoing tenant, Stephen Harvey, a farmer, his wife, Mary Ann and three servants can be found in the 1841 census, presumably the unnamed property was Lodge Farm.
Evidence points to the incoming tenant being farmer, Robert Cooper Smith, who in the census of 1851 is living in an unnamed farm. However, the acreage of 277 acres confirms it was Lodge Farm.
On the same newspaper page
FARM TO BE LET
PELDON LODGE FARM
ESSEX near COLCHESTER
CONTAINING 280 Acres of most excellent arable and
some pasture Land, together with good Farm Resi-
dence, Barns, and other buildings. New stabling for 14
Horses. Horse and Bullock Sheds will be erected with
new enclosures to yards, at the expense of the landlord.
The farm is surrounded by excellent roads, and is situated
about 6 miles from Colchester, 16 from Witham, 22 from
Chelmsford, and 2 miles only from watercarriage connected
with the Sea, giving every facility to shipment of corn,
and obtaining manure.
For further information apply to Mr Samuel Bean,
Peldon Hall, or Messrs Philbrick, solicitor, Colchester.
The likelihood was that this sale was to Charles Oldfield described as a Land Proprietor and Landholder in the 1851 census for Middlesex, for in a Kelly's trade directory of 1844 C Oldfield is listed as being amongst Peldon's principal landowners (and the Countess Waldegrave as the Lady of the Manor).
Oldfield, Burgess and Aspinwall
In local trade directories, Charles Oldfield appears as a Peldon landowner in 1844 (a tenant, Robert Smith is listed as holding The Lodge).
The family of Charles Oldfield was clearly a close one for in the 1851 census, living with Charles and his wife, Christiana, in Middlesex are their daughter, Mary Louisa Burgess and her husband, Henry William Burgess, a solicitor, daughter Elizabeth Ann Aspinwall and her husband James Leigh Aspinwall, a manufacturer of upholstery, and granddaughter Emily E Aspinwall along with four servants.
Charles Oldfield was to die in 1855 and in his will he made provision for his wife, Christiana, during her natural life. His son, Charles Frederick and two daughters, Mary Louisa Burgess and Elizabeth Aspinwall were left
my freehold messuage or tenement called Peldon Lodge and the farms called Peldon Lodge and Billets ... situate in the Parishes of Peldon, Great Wigborough, Little Wigborough and Layer de La Haye...now in the occupation of Robert Cooper Smith.
Between writing his will and a later codicil, Charles lost his wife, who died in 1853.
In White's directory in 1863 Charles is listed as a farmer in Peldon, but by then both father and his son and heir had died - it sometimes took trade directories time to catch up!
Taking on responsibility for his father's farm, Charles Frederick Oldfield became a member of the Royal Agricultural Society in 1856 but he had little time to make his mark as a farmer for on 19th December 1860 he died, a bachelor, leaving no issue.
Peldon Lodge passed to the two sisters, Mary Aspinwall and Elizabeth Burgess, and their spouses.
Possibly with aspirations for a different life, in 1851, James Leigh Aspinwall had dissolved the partnership with his sister, Esther, for their Upholstery Company.
Notice is hereby given that the Partnership, trades or businesses of Upholsterers, Cabinet Makers, Decorators and General Agents heretofore carried on by the undersigned at No 70, Lower Grosvenor-street, Grosvenor-square under the firm of Aspinwall and Son has this day been dissolved by mutual consent. Signed by Esther Aspinwall and James Leigh Aspinwall.
She is to carry on the business under the present firm of Aspinwall and Son London Gazette 30th June 1851
In 1863 James Leigh Aspinwall appeared in the Royal Red Book or Court and Fashionable Register for April 1863 An alphabetical list of
the nobility and gentry with their town and Country residences. Both his London address and Peldon Lodge appear next to his name. For a manufacturer of upholstery he had done very well for himself as a result of his marriage and made it into the ranks of the gentry.
In the catalogue of Silk and Sons, coachmakers, a barouche is pictured as built for four eminent men including an MP, M Sichel who may have been from a noted family of wine merchants, a Parisian client, and James Leigh Aspinwall.
Barouche, Silk and Sons catalogue
In Kelly's directories of 1874 and 1882, principal landowners of Peldon listed include Mrs Burgess (by then her husband and her sister, Elizabeth, had died) and James Leigh Aspinwall. John Pratt was Lord of the Manor, and Alexander Bean tenant of Peldon Hall
The Farm Bailiff for Mrs Burgess was listed as George Wilsmer in trade directories from 1874 to 1899.
Wilsmer and his family can be found living at the Lodge in all the censuses from and including 1851 to 1891 and the 1871 census reveals that eleven men and 5 boys were also employed on the farm.
By the publication of the 1894 directory Henry Thomas Tiddeman was Lord of the Manor and again among principal landowners, were Mrs Burgess and James Leigh Aspinwall.
By 1899, Mary Louisa Burgess presumably had died (I cannot find a record of when) for only Aspinwall is listed as landowner. George Wilsmer was now bailiff to not only Aspinwall but Mrs Gibson, widow of George Stacey Gibson, a wealthy landowner from Saffron Walden, who, with his father before him, had owned vast areas of Peldon for several decades. Henry Tiddeman was still Lord of the Manor.
The last entry for Peldon mentioning the family is in a 1902 trade directory when Aspinwall is listed as a principal landowner.
As a wealthy family with homes in London, the Aspinwalls and Burgesses used Peldon Lodge as their 'country residence' but, nevertheless, a place where they made a great contribution to both church and school.
The family was clearly supportive of charity. At the death of father, Charles Oldfield, a legacy of £90 was given to the Royal Free Hospital for the Destitute Sick, the will witnessed by the three executors, all of Highgate, son, Charles Frederick Oldfield, and sons-in-law, Henry William Burgess and James Leigh Aspinwall.
Locally, the Aspinwalls made a donation of 5 guineas to the restoration of St. Mary's, Peldon in 1858 when the church was 're-pewed'; its boxed pews and the West Gallery removed to make room for more seating. A ceiling which obscured the beautiful hammer-beam roof was also taken away.
Upon the death of their brother in 1860, Charles Frederick, the two sisters decided to commemorate him at the church, where you can imagine them attending services whenever they were in residence.
The pulpit, low screen and lectern were donated in 1860 by Mrs Aspinwall and Mrs Burgess of Peldon Lodge, as a memorial to their late
brother, Mr C F Oldfield. The initials "A.B." are discreetly incorporated in the low screen to the left of the pulpit. Alan Ellis A
History of St Mary The Virgin, Peldon
St Mary's pulpit carved with the In memoriam to C F Oldfield who died in 1860
In 1862 James Leigh Aspinwall was elected to be an Overseer for Peldon, taking on the responsibility for the poor and the sick of the parish.
In 1872 annual subscriptions towards the building work to expand and improve Peldon School included 2 guineas from Mrs Burgess and 1 guinea from James Leigh Aspinwall.
The Aspinwalls and Mrs Burgess were among the great and the good of the village (along with the Beans of Peldon Hall), who made visits to
Peldon school. In the school logbook a visit by Mr and Mrs Aspinwall is recorded on 18th October 1870 and for Bonfire night three years
later Mr Aspinwall very kindly gave the children a treat of cake and tea, Also fireworks in the evening on Friday 7th November .
In December 1876, the Aspinwalls distributed a box of clothing amongst the school children.
The Aspinwalls had also donated the harmonium to the church and permission had to be gained, presumably from Aspinwall's second wife, by then a widow, to sell it in 1912 when a church organ was purchased from St Michael's Church, Mile End, Colchester. The harmonium was bought for £5 by a parishioner and the organ, which is still there now, installed.
From the school logbook we learn of James Leigh Aspinwall leaving Peldon in 1904, and the huge negative impact this had on employment.
September 23rd 1904 Mr Aspinwall is giving up The Lodge and Farm, a serious loss to the village as the men will be out of employment.
The children and teachers were invited by the Aspinwalls up to The Lodge, presumably for a farewell tea. However, the school logbook
records a sequel to the giving up of Peldon Lodge by Mr Aspinwall in the departure from the village of the Talbot family whose children Archie and Ethel were at Peldon School. The 1901 census reveals farm labourer John Talbot's family were living at Lodge Farm and clearly they were to lose their home along with John's job; in October 1904 they moved to Langham.
Aspinwall's name can also be found amongst the deeds of a cottage near the church, Priest's House, on a conveyance dated 12th September 1907. The conveyance was for all three cottages near the church, being sold together, Sleyes, Priest's House and Church Cottage but it seems the transaction was never completed, Aspinwall died in 1908.
In a later sale catalogue we discover that Robert Store had owned The Lodge since around 1905, presumably buying it from Aspinwall. The 1911 photograph of the house above would therefore date to the time of Store's ownership.
In the 1911 census it says family gone to South Africa
Presumably this was not a permanent move for in the 1912 trade directory, Robert Store is listed as being among the principal landowners in Peldon and his farm bailiff as Edward Charles Jones. In the 1914 trade directory he is listed as landowner and farmer of The Lodge and the 1918 Electoral Roll lists Robert and wife Mary as resident at The Lodge.
According to the sale catalogue [ERO SALE/A283] for an auction on 23rd July 1920 2.30pm at Winchester House, Old Broad Street,
London, Peldon Lodge, along with neighbouring Lanhams, came up for sale by the direction of Robert Store. Described as
An excellent Residential and Farming Property it notes
Peldon Lodge was acquired by the present owner over 15 years ago and he has laid out large sums of money in installing modern improvements and bringing the grounds to their present state of perfection ...Well-timbered park and pleasure grounds with 2 lodges. Excellent homestead and about 283 acres of Superior Meadows Woodlands and Arable Land
Much is made of the property's proximity to the important Market Town of Colchester and the fast rising resort at Mersea
as well as being within easy reach of the Metropolis due to the train service from Colchester.
Among other 'mod cons', Store had installed a well 500ft deep with power pump apparatus and the house was supplied with hot and cold water.
Trying to appeal to the hunting, shooting and fishing well-to-do the catalogue reads the Estate affords good game and rabbit
shooting and makes much of the sea-fishing, wild-fowling, bathing, yachting and boating at Mersea.
The imposing Residence is approached from the road by a long Carriage Drive through a small well-timbered pastoral Park from which views of great extent and beauty are obtained over the Blackwater Estuary
The house itself, built of brick and with a slate roof had seven bedrooms, there were also an Entrance Lodge occupied by the gardener
and a Comfortable 4-roomed Cottage in occupation of the foreman.
The house sat amidst 2 acres of Ornamental gardens including a conservatory, tennis and croquet lawns, a walled kitchen garden, heated greenhouse and small orchard.
A further entry in the Chelmsford Chronicle on 3rd September 1920 refers to Robert Store having sold Peldon Lodge.
Percy Golding was the next owner of the Lodge. From a farming family, his grandfather, Pearson Golding (born 1814), was a farmer in Ixworth in Suffolk before moving to Tollesbury by the mid 1840s where he worked as a farmer and miller.
Percy was born circa 1880 in Tolleshunt D'Arcy to John (born in Tollesbury in 1846) and Clara (born in Tolleshunt D'Arcy in 1847) and had, as his father and grandfather before him, farmed in Tollesbury at Bourchiers Lodge.
Following Robert Store's departure, Percy took on Peldon Lodge and moved there with his family, wife Gracenia (one of the Bunting family) and three sons and four daughters, the youngest being born in Peldon. His name appears as a farmer of The Lodge in the Kelly's trade directories of 1922, 1923, 1929 and 1933 and he hosted the Five Parishes Show in 1931 and 1933. The electoral roll of 1929 lists Percy, Gracenia and son Robert Percy Golding living at The Lodge.
Percy was a veterinary ARP warden during the Second World War and his wife was involved with war-time First Aid Services in Peldon. We
know from the 1939 register that he and his son, William Pearson Golding, were dairy farming at The Lodge and had a milk round. In
1943 relinquishing farming Percy and Gracenia moved to West Mersea and they were to live in Smiths Hall, Dawes Lane, West Mersea where some years later they both died within two months of each other in 1956.
Notification of Percy Golding's sale of his agricultural stock in 1943
We have a picture of a Golding family wedding dated 12th September 1936, that between John William Kenneth Lord, known as Jack, and
Nancy Rosemary Golding who was Percy and Gracenia's daughter. On the bride's side, Percy, Gracenia and son William are standing and their
daughter, Meg, a bridesmaid, is seated.
The Lodge was bought by the father-in-law of the current owner in 1947 along with the Gatehouse, formerly South Lodge, and North Lodge.
The Gatehouse now offers 'glamping' and camping for tents and caravans on a 6 acre site. North Lodge, previously the foreman's cottage in 1920, still belongs to the owners of the Lodge.
Below is a picture of Peldon Lodge in February 2019: the house has belonged to the current owners' family for seventy five years.
Peldon History Project