Sunday, 22 February 2015

James Starkins

James Starkins', my children's 8th x maternal great grandfather's line has been, without doubt, the most complicated and intertwined I've had to decipher - for reasons that will become apparent.

James (dates unknown) of Elsenham, Essex was a miller in nearby Henham viz:

11,12 Aug 1756 Conveyance (Lease and Release) for £100

Samuel Feake senior to James Starkins, of Elsenham, miller re a parcel of ground (1/2 rood), formerly part of waste of manor of Henham Hall, and a windmill lately erected thereon, with millstones, running gears, utensils and implements, in tenure of James Starkins, in Henham.

He and his wife, Jane, were parents to George Starkins (1732-1785) who took over the mill and married Elizabeth ? (1729-1821) and who had George (1765-1843), Sarah, of whose line more at a later date, and Unknown Starkins (a daughter).

George jnr was born in Elsenham on 9 Aug 1765, married Mary Jones in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, on 22 Feb 1790 and died, without surviving issue on 1 Feb 1843.

Chantry House, one of the oldest former residences remaining in Bishop's Stortford, was built by George Starkins, now unremembered but in his day a highly successful businessman and farmer. It became his principal home in 1824.

In April 1823, Cockett & Nash, of Royston, designed the house for him at Chantry. It was a handsome residence with large windows just inside the present day gateway; its appearance is identical with today's building, now used as offices.

Inside it has been modernised, but downstairs much of the decorative pargetting to the beams remains; upstairs there are large rooms and a finely panelled dressing room.

George's father died in 1785 and left him a farm and the windmill in Henham. His interests expanded; in 1796 he was a currier (dressing, finishing and colouring tanned hide) and in 1811 a tanner - the business probably deriving from John Jones, his father-in-law. Property in Elsenham came to him after his mother died in 1821 at the age of 92.

In around 1826 George formed a tannery business partnership with Frederick Chaplin, 26, son of George's Congregational Church minister, the Rev William Chaplin. Most likely Frederick learned this trade from George at the Water Lane tannery. An 1837 field plan maps his 1,000 acre farmland in Matching and High Laver.

George's death at the age of 77 on January 23, 1843, was recorded in The Times.

He left 1,300 acres of Essex farmland, £7,500 of cash legacies (worth about £725,00 today), a beer house in Elsenham and 290 gallons of ale in his cellar.

His will caused some drama. Firstly, the map: it indicated how his holdings should be divided to provide income for his relatives and their descendants. Sworn testimony records that on January 24 his Royston solicitors transmitted the will to Frederick (an executor) who read it over; he knew of the map's importance and so locked the door to the Chantry House dressing room where it lay in a japanned deed box.

The Map lists the following properties:

The Reversion
The Readings
Househam One Farm or Clarkes
Tadgets Farm
Logters Farm
Fagotters
Manor of Oates
Hog Farm
Monters Farm
High Laver Farm

All in or around High Laver and Matching, Essex and in total worth £10257.17 in 1837 which equates to £4,5,2371.19 today (2010).

After the funeral on February 1, the door was unlocked by the executors, the map was fetched downstairs and examined by those gathered and the will was read.

More dramas occurred when it turned out that George's birth was unrecorded (his mother's Bible contained the necessary family detail) and the Elsenham property had no deeds of ownership!

Frederick Chaplin inherited the Chantry estate. The house contents were mostly sold, but not, it seems, the ale.

Meanwhile his nameless sister married one Thomas Wallis (d. 1822 Shepreth, Cambridgeshire) and had issue: George Starkins Wallis 1 (1794-1856), Sarah b. 1788 and Ann.

Sarah married Charles Wedd 23 Jun 1810 and had two boys and two girls; the girls, Sarah and Elizabeth married, I assume but not proven, brothers Thomas, a brewer in Harlow, Essex, and Frederick William Chaplin, a farmer also in Harlow, and both had issue.

Ann married John Inkersole who first appears as a Miller in Thriplow, Cambridgeshire and subsequently as a bankrupt brewer in 1856 in Sawbridgeworth, Herts. They had issue three boys and 2 daughters:

Thomas b. 1816 married an Essex girl but had no children. He seems to be a bit all over the place having been a farmer in 1851, a spirit merchant in 1861 and finally a commercial clerk in 1881.

Charles b. 1821, Mary b. 1825, James 1826, Elizabeth b. 1826.

Elizabeth married Thomas Frederick Cheesman (1814-1900) ex RN and Surveyor of Taxes (early Inland Revenue) and had issue three boys and two girls.

George Starkins Wallis 1 was born in 1794 at Shepreth, Cambridgeshire and was twice married; 1st to Ann Matilda Fitch on 28 Jul 1810 in Meldreth, Cambridgeshire & 2nd to Martha Fordham on 30 10 1819 at St George, Hanover Square, London.

By his first wife he had Ann b.1812 Harston, Cambridgeshire m. 25 May 1836 Joseph Ellis and subsequently A Wright; and Sarah (1814-1857) m. Tomas Hacker Body or Boddy 21 10 1835 Meldreth, Cambridgeshire (she died in Wisconsin).

By his second wife he had a son and three daughters:

George Starkins 2 (1824-1900) see below.

Mary Jane b. 1821, Martha Fordham b. 1827 and Elizabeth Harriet b. 1833.

Mary Jane died unmarried, Martha Fordham married, in 1859, either Thomas Bush or William Olive in Bishop's Stortford and Elizabeth Harriet married William Wilkerson in 1853 as per my previous post.

George Starkins Wallis 2 (1824-1900) was born in Melbourn and married Smithson Wilkerson (1827-1900) in 1850. They had no children.

He was a dairy farmer in Renhold, Bedfordshire from 1861-1881 and subsequently an estate agent (1891).

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