TitleGardening in the Past - Birch Centenary Chronicles 49
AbstractGardening in the Past

Birch, Layer Breton & Layer Marney Local History

Centenary Chronicles - No. 49.

Published in Parish News - February 2008

In celebration of the founding of the Three Villages Gardening Club we thought it appropriate to offer advice as to the way our ancestors planned their gardening activities!

We understand that if:

"You choose some of the most perfect buds of the flowers you would preserve such as are blooming and ready to open cut them off with scizzars (sic) having to each, if possible, a piece of stem about three inches long, cover the stem, immediately, with Spanish wax. When the buds are a little shrunk and withered wrap each of them up separately in a piece of paper, clean and dry, and lock them up in a dry box or drawer and they will keep without corrupting. In winter, or any other time, you would have the flowers bloom. Take the buds overnight, cut off the end of the stem sealed with Spanish wax and put the buds into water wherein nitre or salt has been infused and the next day you will have the pleasure of seeing the buds opening and expanding themselves and the flowers display their most lovely colours and breathe their agreeable odours".

This advice was given in the Ipswich Journal of 22nd October 1753 and was important enough to be copied by someone (probably the owner) at Copford Hall.

The gardens of the Hall were well cared for, as recorded, in the 18th century. The Essex Record Office (ERO) have not only the above item, but lists of trees and a "catalogue" dated 1732, recording the contents of the gardens. These were, mainly, walled and the planning for each section is noted. Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots and Grapes, as well as the more common Plums were all grown. Some are noted as having been planted as early as 1719 and the list was updated until at least 1750.

Examination of the list shows that on the south wall of the Courtyard the variety of nectarine was "Royal Newington" with a "Catherine" peach and a "Masculine" apricot all planted in 1719; the north wall included 2 Morello cherries. In the Best Garden "next the Grocer's Door" the south wall, also planted in 1719, had, among other fruit trees, a "Turkey" apricot and a "Montauban"; along the east wall were apricots, a greengage and an "Orleans" plum. The contents of other walls included peaches, plums, grapes, currants and apricots which are listed in the same way. There were other trees which are more common in gardens today.

The estate was owned by the Haynes (Haines) family and remained so until the late 19th century. In addition to the Hall the family had land in surrounding parishes and other parts of Essex. Although Haynes Green, Layer Marney may have been in their ownership at some time the Green was known by that name from the mid 15th century.

The many documents in the ERO include a pedigree of the family and relevant correspondence. The fact that this involved opinions from family members in the USA, as well as in this country, shows that much research has been carried out to trace connections in both countries.

John Haynes moved to Copford from Much Hadham, before 1624. He was a staunch Puritan and as such his continuing dissatisfaction with religion in England and the influence, among others, of Thomas Hooker led to his joining a party, returning with Hooker, to Massachusetts to expand an earlier settlement. Haynes estate was said to have been worth £1,000 in 1633 (over £125,000 in 2006). Regrettably we do not know whether the value was income or estate!

The party of 200 arrived in Boston on the "Griffin" after a two month voyage during which they received three sermons per day. John was clearly an important member of the community being chosen as "an assistant of the county" and a member of a committee with power to levy taxes, raise arms and having powers of imprisonment, within a few months of his arrival. In 1635 he was elected Governor of Massachusetts under the terms of the foundation. Native Indians and Dutch settlers were a danger to the new Colony and, in an attempt to widen British influence, "a hundred persons marched through the wilderness for a fortnight" to found a new settlement of Connecticut. In 1636 John moved his family to Hartford.

The earliest tasks were to quell the Indian tribes and design the legislation for the Colony. By 1640 a new constitution was established and Haynes became the first Governor. The term of office was limited by the constitution to two years but, after a year out of office, he was elected again. This was to continue for a few years during which he narrowly avoided being murdered, by an Indian, in 1646. He died in Hartford in 1654. Of him it was said "there was no more talented a settler in New England".

Such adventures were commonplace for early colonists but John's family were to experience difficulties common to many families who remained in England during the Civil War. John was married twice and one version of the pedigree has it that his eldest son, Robert, fought as a Royalist, was imprisoned by the Roundheads dying, perhaps of the plague, in 1657. Robert's brother, Hezekiah, succeeded as owner of Copford Hall having fought for Cromwell, becoming a Major General, living to 1693. These were torrid times and it was not uncommon for families to take opposing sides in the conflict but although many suffered at the Restoration further research is necessary to find out how the Haynes faired.

Reverting to John, as head of the family, he married, in Massachuettes as his second wife, Mabel Harlackenden which continued the Essex connection in that Mabel's family came from either Earl's Colne or Little Baddow. They had at least four children one coming to England and was, at some time, Rector of Stanway.

It may be said that the family has turned several circles over the first 100 years of the Haynes owning Copford Hall and that the gardener, noted above, was possibly one of John's great grand children.

PublishedFebruary 2008
SourceMersea Museum / Breton heath