Friday, 3 September 2010

Blackmore: Twites / Williams family

30 July 2010

Hi - I was in Blackmore recently, but I had not been there since 1947. My maternal great grandfather was Thomas Williams who lived at Twites. (I think he died in 1910.) When I went there, living in the house was his son Robert (Bob) and his two spinster sisters Eva and Minnie. They took into care their other sister's (Ella) son, and brought him up as their own child. This boy was called Charles (Charlie) Whittaker. He later married May (I don't know her family name) She is buried in Stondon Massey. I don't know what happened to the others in the family, except that Charlie and May had several children.

In 1947, Twites was a smallholding, and was without mains water, electricity or gas. The outside lavatory was in a shed in an enclosure reached by negotiation with their nanny goat. (sole supplier of milk). They had a horse and cart at one stage. There were lots of fruit trees, and water was taken from a well and decanted into a small tank on wheels. The only heating as far as I can remember was from a wood fired range in the kitchen.

Bob used to go out with his shotgun to catch rabbits. Eva and Minnie resembled old witches to me. They all lived in poverty. They lost the deeds to the estate which I understand was owned by Thomas Williams. Thomas is said to have built the house. I think he was a spec. builder.

His father was William Williams who was also a builder in Victorian times. His office was in Hammersmith Grove. He was very rich.

Thomas Williams did not do much work, but went up to London every three months to collect his money. He would buy presents for the family and get busy with the drink on the way home. He would take the train from London to Ongar and then a horse carriage from the railway station to Blackmore.

Thomas Williams inherited a lot of money from his father William, and when Thomas died in 1910, 35 claimants to his will came out of the woodwork - both legitimate and illegitimate relatives.

The case started in 1910 was finalized in 1945 and paid up in 1948. An open and shut case that makes Jarndyce v Jarndyce look silly. [ ]

Let me know what happened to Twites please (and their acreage) if you can.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Schofield.

31 July 2010

Hello John

Thanks for your E mail.

Twites Farm is marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map, though it is no longer used for agricultural purposes. I do not have a note of the original acreage of the farm but noticed, searching the Internet, that the Essex Record Office holds a ‘Deed of messuage called Twyteys or Twitches Blackmore [Abstract of title from 1783] dated 1842 [ERO D/DTy/T6 ] ( ). This may help you.

The 1910 Electoral Roll has a Thomas Williams as a voter, living at Twites (

The 1918 Electoral Register [ERO C/E 2/1/1.] ( shows that Thomas Williams and his wife Sarah were eligible to vote in Parliamentary and local government elections (Division 1) and Thomas and Henry Arthur Williams were Parliamentary electors only (Division 2). Quite why the distinction I don not know.

The 1929 Electoral Register [ERO C/E 2/1/12] ( shows the following as eligible voters living at Twites: Thomas Williams, Thomas Robert Williams, Henry Arthur Williams, Mary Louise Williams, Eva Williams and Thomas Charles Whittaker.

In her book ‘Blackmore My 1920s Wonderland’, Mary Coller refers to a Mr and Mrs (known as ‘witch’) Williams who had a “foster son”, Charles Whittaker.

I could find no Burial Register entries for the Williams family at Blackmore.

Kind regards



james maurice said...

I am researching the Williams family. James Williams originated from Dawlish in Devon, came to London, ran the 'Britannia' pub in Latymer Street, Shepherds Bush and became a contractor in the Hammersmith area. His son Thomas started work as a plumber before becoming a farmer at among other places New House farm, High Laver, Essex. His son was Thomas R as recorded at Twites. Sarah Jane Williams died January 1924 and Thomas R died in October 1930. Both are buried at Kensal Green cemetery.
I would be very interested to know anything about James Williams' business, and also any sources of information about the contested will and the names of the claimants. Also what happened to Ella Williams?

james maurice said...

James Williams came from Dawlish, Devon. He was running the 'Britannia' pub in Latymer Street, Shepherds Bush in the 1850s. He branched out to become a contractor in the Hammersmith area. His son Thomas started life as a plumber before becoming a farmer. In 1901 he was at New House farm, High Laver, Essex. Thomas was married to Sarah Jane Diddon. Their son was Thomas R Williams. Another son, Isaac Harold, who died in 1818 was at Bramwoods Farm, Highwood, in 1911. Isaac, along with Sarah Jane, diedJanuary 1924, and Thomas R, died October 1930, are buried at Kensal Green cemetery.
I have not found any information about James' contracting business, and would be very interested in the sources for information about the contested will and the names of the claimants.

james maurice said...

My information is that Thomas Williams died in 1933 aged 86 years. If this is so I do not know who had left the contested will.

Anonymous said...

the Gills took over from May Whitaker. VERY interesting course of events.