ID: MMH_GRN / Ron Green

TitleThe Greens of West Mersea
AbstractI believe I'm one of the most 'Local' persons on Mersea Island, being a product of two Green families both of which have been on the island for at least 200 years
Not only have the two families been on the Island for all this time, they have been mostly in the same part of the Island, bound in the West by Mill Road, in the North by Blue Row, The east by Workhouse Cottages and in the South by Cross Farm.

The earliest reference I have for my father's side of the family comes from a recorded interview made for the Lions Talking Magazine by Dennis Chatters interviewing Bill Clary.
In this interview recorded in January 1981, Bill speaks of his Gt Grandfather Abraham Green, my Gt.Gt.Gt.Grandfather, planting the trees round the church wall and the tree on the green in front of The White Hart. Bill said this was some 210 years ago when Abraham was gardener for Mr Mason at West Hall. This would have the trees being planted around 1771 but according to my records Abraham was born around 1781.
Bill also says Abraham lost his job when the Masons moved away from West Hall, but this was after 1851

Abraham found a job as a gardener at St Osyth Priory and stayed at St Osyth for the rest of his life. Bill records that Abraham was a Mersea native Abraham's wife was Mary and they had children- Abraham born 1815 (my Gt.Gt.grandfather), Mary baptised 24/6/1817, John baptised 27 February 1820, William Baptised 25/9/1823 and Sarah baptised 9 Apr 1829.

Abraham 1815, married Mary Ann Christmas born 1816 of Gt Wigborough and Bill records a crime Abraham committed around the time of the Crimean War when food and corn prices were high.
He was working at Brickhouse Farm and his wages were ll/- a week. Out of this his bread bill for his family was 10/- per week. He was in a 'Club' at The White Hart. Club Night was due and he had no money with which to pay his dues.
He foolishly stole a bushel of red wheat and hid it by East and West Turnings (by The Strood) in the cover of darkness after telling his wife he was going out to set some snares to catch rabbits He then took the wheat and sold it to Mr Cooper at Peldon Mill opposite the Peldon Rose. On arriving for work next day he was confronted by his master George Alt and miller Mr Cooper and confessed to his crime
He was sent to prison for 3 months, (2 months hard labour and 1 month solitary confinement) living on bread and water and sleeping on a bed of straw On his release from prison, Farmer Alt gave him his job back as he was such a good worker but it didn't end there.
It was harvest time and waiting until midnight Abraham went into the neighbouring Well House Farm field and stole twelve sheaves of corn which he placed in his master's field to thank him for taking him back.
This was a very stupid thing to do but fortunately this second crime wasn't detected otherwise Bill believes, Abraham would have been locked away for a year at least.

Abraham lived to the good old age of 84.
Abraham 1815 and Mary Ann had eight children, maybe more William born 1833, Abraham 1838,(my Gt Grandfather), Susanna 1840, Mary Ann 1843, Roger 1846, Eva Sophia 1848, Ernest Hale 1850 and Bertha Caroline (always pronounced Caroleen) 1856

Gt.Grandfather Abraham 1838, married Emma Mortlock, daughter of a Peldon chicken farmer on June 3rd 1865 ? 7 <1
Susanna married Wm Trim, one time landlord of the 'New' Victory and Threshing Contractor Roger married Emma Morlock's sister Rosena and these two were Heather Haward's Gt Grandparents, Eva Sophia married George Clary and these were Bill's parents, Bertha married James French and became a 'Laney' ,they were Lorna Tarran' née Mills's grand parents George and Eva Clary suffered a terrible loss when their daughters Eva Mary 21 and Annie Maria 17 were drowned in The Strood. It was April 19th 1889 when the sisters set out for Colchester in a pony and trap. As they were crossing The Strood, something frightened the pony which reared up tipping them into the water.
In the local newspaper report it was estimated that between 400 & 500 people attended the funeral 'These are numbers seldom seen at one time on Mersea Island'. Bertha Caroline married James French and became a 'Laney'
Their children were Bertha Agnes b.1877. She married Clarke Mussett. James 1879. Bessie 1881 went to Australia and Lorna Tarran told me how this came about. Bessie went to work in London, 'In service' to a very well known gentleman who's son had an affair with Bessie and got her pregnant. When the gentleman found out about this he travelled to West Mersea to tell Bessie's parents that he proposed for his butler to marry Bessie and send them to Australia and this is what happened
Shortly after the couple arrived 'Down under' the butler died leaving Bessie alone on the other side of world and presumably by that time, with a young baby
Bessie later married a wealthy sheep farmer and had more children, leading a comfortable life Gt Grandfather Abraham 'Ham' was a farm worker and fishermen gathering shellfish, catching eels and anything else of an edible nature to be found on the foreshore He was one of the Mersea men who fought the case to prevent men from Burnham on Crouch and Brightlingsea etc. from taking over our foreshore
It was said at the time that 'Ham' and three of his sons working together could earn £3 a week working on the foreshore which was considered to be good money at that time 'Ham and Emma had also had eight children - Harris 1866, married Margaret Cowell. Their children were William the barge skipper, George, well remembered for his nickname 'Highly' and Beatrice 'Beat' well known for her work at Gowens
William never married and spent his entire life in Workhouse Cottages where he was born Emma 1870 married Charles Farthing and had eleven children including Charles 'Bump', Kate 1872 had two children before marrying widower David Pullen in later life. Bertie 1875 married Emily Wright and had seven children including my good friend David Green's father Albert.

Arthur 'Jack' 1878, my grandfather married a London girl Alice Jane Mingay
Florence 1882 married Arthur Vince producing nine children all well remembered on the island including Councillor Ernie Vince
My grandmother, Alice Jane Mingay, was born in Camberwell in May 1871. Her father was Paul Mingay, an engine fitter, steam presumably, and mother Mary Ann formerly Beauchamp was of French decent. Alice came to Mersea with a family which stayed at Haycocks Farm for their summer holidays. She was governess looking after the children and met Jack Green when walking the children down Waldegraves Lane on the way to the beach. Jack was working in the fields.

The couple married in Brentford on 5th November 1899.
Granddad was found a job working in Kew Gardens where his brother-in-law worked. He didn't stay for long as he couldn't bear to be away from Mersea.

So that's where I get it from!!

Their first child, my Uncle Arthur John, was born in Chiswick in about 1901. My father Leslie James was born at Blue Row on 5th December 1902 so it's possible that Jack and Alice stayed in the London area for little more than a year
I have been unable to find them anywhere in the 1901 census returns
Their third child my aunt Nellie Louise was born in Hall Cottages, East Mersea on the 23rd January 1906 and my uncle Rupert Harry was born on the 9th October 1908, also in Hall Cottages.
All four children had all of their schooling at East Mersea School, just across the road from the cottages.
The three boys did farm work on leaving school. Arthur later became groundsman at East Mersea Golf Links. My dad spent his first year at Ivy Farm looking after cows then did a bricklayer apprenticeship at Clifford White & Co. He was a bricklayer for the rest of his working life. After a year looking after chickens, Rupert also did a bricklaying apprenticeship at White's and their apprenticeship completed, the brothers were working together building the Playhouse Cinema in Colchester. Rupert heard that the police were after recruits. There were over 30 applicants and he was one of only three to succeed.
He worked his way up to the rank of inspector.
Nellie married Frank Richer and had two children. They lived with my grandparents and Uncle Arthur who never married, in Hall Cottages until a German mine fell in the road near the cottages, which were badly damaged and they to move out.
Grandma Alice was an invalid, in fact I was fourteen years old when she died and I never saw her walking.
The family moved into an empty cottage at Weir Farm during the day to get shelter for the following night.

Leslie James Green married Edna Mahalah Green (My mum and Dad), 5th November 1927 at West Mersea Church by the Rev. Pierrepont-Edwards and lived in No.6 Barfield Road where I was born on 17th February 1932. Brother John David was born there on 5th March 1937.

The earliest I can find of my mother's side of the family is my GT.Gt.Grandfather John Green, born in Langenhoe in 1805. He and Sarah Surry born in West Mersea in 1815, were married by the Rev Nathanial Forster at West Mersea Church on 11th October 1832.

Of their children Susannah, born 3 Nov 1838, married William Pullen of Yew Tree House on the 9th February 1861. David born c!842, Sophia born 22nd December 1845 married William John Farthing in 1864, Isabella born c1848, Robert Chinnery (always known as Chinnery) was born February 1851 married Susanah (Kaziah) Maria Ratford in 1875, Cathrine Sarah b 7 September 1854 married James Blatch 26 October 1862 and Thirsa married a Mr. Daw Chinnery and Kaziah were my GT Grandparents and lived at Cross Farm.

My Gt.Gt Grandparents John and Sarah lived most, if not all of their married lives in a cottage next to The Fox in East Road. The Tithes for 1839 show the cottages and yards occupied by John Green and others. John and Sarah both lived a long life. Sarah died on the fifteenth of September 1898 of Cardiac Disease. She was 84 years old and her daughter Sophia Farthing was with her when she died Her husband John lived to the good old age of 94 and died of Senile Decay on the ninth September 1899, his daughter Susannah Pullen was present at the time of death.

My Gt Grandparents Chinnery aged 22 years and Maria Ratford aged 20 years, were married on August 8th 1875 The witnesses where James and Catherine Blatch, Chinnery's sister and brother in law The bride's father is named as Joseph Ratford, so, another of my Gt Gt Granddads. Chinnery and Maria lived at The Cross, as the farm was known, where Chinnery worked as a horseman.

The couple produced eight children Mabel May b.1876 married Charlie Woods, Roland Percy (Roly) b. 1877, married Annie Laura Cook (These were my grandparents) Ernest b.1880, Arthur b. 1881, Phillis b. 1883, Daisy b.1885 married Dick Cook a railway locomotive driver who lost an eye by a spark from his engine, Elsie 1890 married Eddie( Juggy) French and Eddie 1894. Roland Green aged 20 and Annie Cook aged 19 were married on July 6th 1896. The witnesses were Arthur and Rose Whiting, Annie's older sister. The fathers were Chinnery Green labourer and Daniel Cook Mariner.

My Gt Grandfather Daniel Cook was born in West Mersea in 1827 and apparently spent a lot of his time in the Old Victory. He was the son of John Cook b. 1806 and Mary b. 1803 in Gt Bentley There was a Daniel Cook born 1759 who I believe was of the same family, probably John's Grandfather. There was an Elizabeth Cook baptised at the Union Church on 19 March 1795, daughter of Thomas and Alline Cook and Elizabeth Cook baptised 13March 1737 and her brother Benjamin 30 May1737 These two were the children of John and Elizabeth Cook. All of these from the same Cook family I believe.

My grandfather 'Roly' Green worked for over 71 years. In the 1891 census he was a fourteen year old Ag.Lab. working at Cross Farm. By 1901 he was a 24 year old horseman living near The Firs Farm where he was no doubt worked. Grandma Laura was 22 years old with 4year old son Pearl attending school and 3 years old Herbert. Laura's brother Ernest Cook was a lodger there.
My Mother Edna Mahalah was born there on the 9th August 1905.
The family moved some time to Haxcells, East Road for a short time before moving again to a semi-detached house named 'Roseville' near the bottom of Fairhaven Avenue. It was believed that 'Roly' owned the pair of houses at one time. This would have been about this time that he became gardener at 'Shameen' at the bottom of Seaview Avenue for Sir Jessie Herbert the liberal M.P. This was a huge garden stretching from the beach up to what was until recently the entrance to Seaview Caravan Park. The garden was surrounded by a rustic brick wall, much of which still survives.
Shameen was sold to Capt. Charles Musters and 'Roly' continued to work for the new owner My mother, her sister Madge and a Newcastle girl named Ada worked there 'In Service' Ada married my uncle Pearl Green.

Capt. Musters and his wife did a lot of entertaining and on one occasion they were showing some guests around the garden when they remarked on the fine cauliflowers. How do you do it? They asked. I'll ask Green what he does said the Captain but 'Roly' refused to tell him Captain Musters insisted and 'Roly' said 'Well, each morning I go to the Septic Tank, draw a bucket of liquid and pour it round them' The family lost their appetite for cauliflowers after that.

The Musters often went away for holidays and on one occasion the servant girls had a party. No doubt my aunt Ada was instrumental in this and some local lads were also involved. The party came to an abrupt end when the Musters returned home unexpectedly. I think they saw the funny side of it and no one got into serious trouble.

I have a postcard of 'Shameen' posted on February 3rd 1924 and written by Mrs Chaworth- Musters praising their garden. My aunt Mary once told me that when Roly worked for Sir Jesse Herbert he used to borrow his pony and trap and they would go to visit relatives at Fingringhoe. I have be unable to discover who these relatives were.

In later life 'Roly' was gardener at Yew Tree House for Mr Orgill and at Mrs Firbank's bungalow in Mersea Avenue. He also laid the first Bowling Green in Yorick Road and cut the grass on the tennis courts at the Glebe.
My dad once remarked, 'Roly' never seems to be doing any work, always yarning over the fence, but his gardens are always immaculate'.

My friend Pixie told me she met 'Roly' in Cresta Stores one day and asked ' Is your rhubarb up yet Mr Green? ' My rhubarb's always up' replied Roly.
Grandma Annie's mother was Hepzibah (Lucy) née Hardy born 26 March 1842 at Tolleshunt D'arcy A relative has gone back through this family and from research I see that my Gt.Gt.Gt.Gt. Grandfather Henry Hardy was born at Inworth in 1771 and he married Mary Ann Francis b 1778 Their oldest son Francis ( my Gt.Gt.Gt.Grandfather) was born in 1791 and married Mary b.1801 They lived at Hall Farm, Birch and I was told Hardys Green near Birch was named after him.
Their oldest son William (my Gt.Gt. Grandfather) was born at Layer Breton in 1821 and married Lucy Mary Jane Cocks, born at Tolleshunt D'arcy also in 1821. She died in 1884 Hepzibah was their second child. The other siblings were all born in Tolleshunt Major.

More on the Green family

AuthorRon Green
SourceMersea Museum