“My Orford” - An Orford Miscellany

Over the years I have made notes of many happenings relating to the history of Orford and also many imponderables.

Where, I wonder, was the street called Southend, where was Garfish Lane, Catmers Lane, Buschops Chamber, Luskes Marsh and Chapel Street?

Gategrave was certainly Gedgrave and Cheselford would have been Chillesford.

There is mention of Thomas Rychman of Gedgrave in 1566, could this be how Richmond Farm got its name?

In 1995 a piece of land called the Harp which was the site of the windmill and kept separate for hundreds of years, was ploughed and included in the rest of the field known as Mill Field.

In the Corporation records there is a Notice of Bargain and Sale:-

1. Thomas Allyn of Orford, miller.

2. Mayor and Corporation of Orford.

For 42 pounds (1) to (2) windmill standing on piece of ground belonging to the town of Orford called the Harp with all appurtenances.

This was dated 7th July 1634 and so, after 361 years this piece of land has lost its individual identity.

There is an Article of Agreement dated 29th September 1677 between

1. Mayor and Corporation of Orford

2. Daniel Wayth of North Glemham

(2) to erect a quay and wharf at Orford.

(1) to pay for timbers etc used.

Although there were means for loading and unloading ships before this date it is possible that this was the first quay to be built as we know it today.

In a lease dated 11th January 1742 the Mayor, Portmen and Burgesses leased the quay, two granaries over the Town stable and two Warehouses on the S.W. side of a stable, except use of the stable and liberty of passage to and from the quay, to Benjamin Beart of Orford, merchant, for a period of 99 years for 6-6-0.

Benjamin Beart was not a very successful merchant. Five years later an Assignment of Lease dated 10th December 1747 stated he had been declared bankrupt and the lease of the quay reverted to the Mayor, Portmen and Burgesses for the sum of 5 shillings.

There are many wills in the records, a typical one being that of Richard Andrew of Orford in which he left 20 pence to the high alter of the church of St Batholomew; 20 pence to reparation of same; 6 marks to Friar John Geynysburgh to sing for him in the Friary and 20 pence to the Convent of Orford 20d to pray for him and his friends. They are also released from all debts on condition that they make him a brother of the Chapter House. He also made bequests to the Black Friars of Dunwich, the Grey Friars of Dunwich, the Chantries of Ipswich in Christchurch and St Margarets, Our Lady within the Chapel Wall of Orford and to repair the highway in Chapel Street. Finally to his wife he left a tenement for 12 months after his death, with all moveables not otherwise bequeathed with the stipulation that at the end of this period the property should sold. This will was dated 23rd November 1507.

Nearly every will left sums of money to the high alter of St Batholomews and also to the repair of the church.

Legal proceedings were taken by the Mayor and Corporation many times against fishermen, mainly from Brightlingsea, for illegally taking oysters from the river.

There were several writs taken out against Lord Willoughby of Parham and his bailiff Thomas Spicer, concerning alleged breaches of ancient liberties including the use of stalboats, fishing rights etc.

In one particular case things must have got out of hand when there was a legal complaint by Lord Willoughby against John Johnson, Walter Ely and William Beckell for assaulting Thomas Spicer, his bailiff.

Orford returned two Members of Parliament from the reign of Edward 1st until the Reform Act of 1835. Some of the prominent people returned as M.P.s included in 1559 Thomas Sackforde. Would he have had some connection to the Seckfords of Woodbridge? Other prominent M.P.s were Sir Edmund Bacon, Bart., Sir Edward Turnour, Knight, owner of Orford Ness lighthouse, Henry Bilson Legge, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1754. Lord Robert Seymour, Lord Henry Moore and the Hon Robert, Marquess of Londonderry.

Apprenticeship indentures include Thomas Symley, a poor child of Orford, to Robert Elliot of Orford, sackcloth weaver, and Anne Galley, a poor child of Orford, to Robert Tockley of Orford , alehouse keeper.

There were complaints by the parson of Orford Parish Church against the inhabitants of Orford regarding the payments of tithes of fish and herring.

A certificate was issued on 9th September 1844 by the minister, churchwardens and overseers of Orford stating that Elizabeth Fuller of the Jolly Sailor, Orford was a proper person to keep a Public House.

An agreement was drawn up in 1870 between Henry Whyard, inn keeper of the Jolly Sailor and the Mayor and Corporation for a flagstaff on land belonging to the Corporation opposite the Jolly Sailor for the sum of sixpence per annum.

The Parish of Orford had an area of 2933.115 acres made up as follows 2464.692 acres of land, 23.066 acres of roads, 8.690 acres of water, 205.598 acres of salt marsh and 231.069 acres of foreshore. In addition there were 317.355 acres of tidal water adjoining the parish. In 1880 the area was said to be 3156 acres with a rateable value of 3806.

In 1871 the population was 1022.

In 1880 Orford had two blacksmiths, three boot and shoe makers, three grocers & drapers, five butchers, three bakers and four farmers. In addition there was Edward Rope, listed as brewer, malster and corn, coal spirit and porter merchant, and agent for Trumans & Hanburys porter and stout, Bass & Cos Burton ales, Ind Coope & Cos Romford ales and Lawes patent manures. There was also a Ropes Wharf at Aldeburgh.

Robert Mills was the accoucheur (man-midwife).

Other occupations at that time were jobmaster, saddler & poultry dealer, oyster merchant, professor of music, plumber & painter, two master mariners and a wheelwright & carpenter.

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