Kettlebaston Visitors Book

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Go to the top of the pageSister Mary Owen, OSB  26/11/18

St Mary's Abbey
West Malling
ME19 6JX

This afternoon I have been viewing your excellent website, and I hope that you may be able to help me with an enquiry. I am a Sister of St Mary's Abbey who is searching for three religious sisters of the Community of Saints Mary and Scholastica who were resident in Kettlebaston in the early 20th century. The names of two are known: Mother Mildred (Kate Louise Burdon) and Sister Scholastica (Clarrisa Jessie Baines). The name of the third sister is unknown, but she is said to have died at Christmas 1937, presumably in Kettlebaston.

The Guide to the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Kettlebaston by Roy Tricker (1993), produced by Andrew N. Gourlay (2004) dates their residence as "c .1920-4", but I am fairly certain that this is an error. The founder of the community. Mother Everlinda (Harriette Marion Ellis) died in 1933 in Plaxtol, Kent, and it was only after her death that the remaining sisters moved to Kettlebaston. They cannot have been there long as the last sister died in 1938.

According to your website the Sisters of the Holy Childhood ran an orphanage in Kettlebaston between c.1910 and 1928 in the house now known as The Old Convent. Is it possible that when the first Community left The Old Convent, the second Community took up residence there?

I have been unable to find any evidence other than the date "c.1920-4" for this small Community on your website. I am hoping that you may be able to provide some information or point me in a direction that might provide some information on these sisters.

Sister Mary Owen, OSB

On 29/11/2018 the Webmaster replied (extracts only):
Dear Sister Mary,

Thank you for your letter re the Sisters of the Holy Childhood in Kettlebaston, which arrived today.

I am a good friend and neighbour of the Gutteridge family and visited them this afternoon armed with a copy of your enquiry. The Old Convent is currently on the market, so by good fortune this means that their title deeds will soon be retrieved from the solicitor (giving us a wonderful opportunity to check on past sale dates and owners). However, in the interim, we did look at some records they had already uncovered from the archives of the Suffolk Records Office in Bury St Edmunds. A preliminary viewing has revealed:

In 1901 there is a reference to "orphans" being present at the property.

The "Holy Childhood" are first mentioned by name at the property in 1912.

We are currently unaware that there were two communities at the house, and look forward to learning more. From my own research, you might find the following web-link of interest?

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=M5etAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA236&lpg=PA236&dq=Sisters+of+the+Holy+Childhood+Clapton+Common&source=bl&ots=1a7BQOODbY&sig= -HBdl1xb0cZx3BivC0EHShjBzaQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSlJ2PxLXZAhVsJcAKHf5oADoQ6AEIRDAC#v=onepage&q=Sisters%20of%20the%20Holy%20Childhood%20Clapton%20Common&f=false

Thank you for providing the names of the two Sisters. When time allows I will tour the churchyard and see if I can identify the third. Please forgive my total ignorance in such matters, but her grave would have been marked with a permanent headstone? And she would normally have been interred in Kettlebaston , rather than at the headquarters of the community in Clapton Common or even in a family plot elsewhere? It has long been a goal of mine to map the graves (as a previous version has now been lost to us) but so far time has simply not allowed. As a last resort one would hope that she may have been in residence during 1931, but since we will have to wait until 2031 in order to access the census records........!

As to the guide, I'm afraid that Mr Tricker had long since departed the area by the time I discovered the village and all information is therefore presented at face value.

Finally, I have attached much larger versions of my photos for your records.

Mrs Gutteridge is keen to contact you, and should be in touch very soon. Given that Christmas is fast approaching I suspect that our conversation may be somewhat protracted, but I look forward to exchanging valuable data over the coming weeks.

30/11/2018 (extracts only)
Dear Mr. Gourlay,

Thank you very much for your e-mail message and attached photographs which I have enjoyed viewing. Of the three sisters of the Community of Saints Mary and Scholastica (CSMS) resident at Kettlebaston in the 1930s, only one may have died in the village.  Unfortunately, she is the one whose name is unknown. There was no "mother house" for this tiny Community, so she may have been buried at Kettlebaston.  The vicar of the parish church at that time, Harold Clear Butler, was not known for keeping records, so I doubt if there is a record for burials in the churchyard. The only proof that this sister existed at all occurs in a 1938 letter which states that she died at Christmas 1937, when we know that CSMS was resident at Kettlebaston..

It is not certain that CSMS lived at The Old Convent; the sisters may have lived elsewhere in the village and they probably would have rented accommodation. They may even have lived at the old schoolhouse on the church property (now the Village Hall). One of the three sisters was a school teacher, and had run a school in Plaxtol, Kent before moving to Kettlebaston.  In October 1935, she applied for a transfer to another Anglican Community resident on Canvey Island in Essex.  She died shortly thereafter is buried on Canvey Island under her religious name, Sister Scholastica.
The last CSMS sister, Mother Mildred (Kate Louise Burdon), died in Colchester, Essex in September 1938 in the care of a woman named Kathleen O'Grady. It was she who wrote the 1938 letter I mentioned, asking the Abbot of Nashdom for financial help to support Mother Mildred who was destitute and dying. I have not seen this letter myself, but an Anglican Church historian who has seen the letter wrote that, in it, Ms. O'Grady claimed that the the vicar of Kettlebaston had "pushed Mother Mildred out of her accommodation".  This historian also stated that there is no historical corroboration concerning this claim. If the vicar had engaged or expected the sisters to run a school and if they had been unable to do so due to ill health, he may have felt justified in asking Mother Mildred to move on.    

Thank you for your reference to Michael Yelton's book, Outposts of the Faith, which we have just purchased for our library.  The Sisters of the Holy Childhood (who were at The Old Convent) had some sort of association with The Society of St. John the Evangelist.  If you google their website, you will find that a Holy Childhood Trust still exists. A volume concerning the Trust is kept in the SSJE archives at Lambeth Palace Library.  If I ever get there, I'll try to see if there is any information about the sisters at Kettlebaston.

I have just learned that the 1931 Census did not survive the Second World War. I am hoping that the 1921 Census will provide some information concerning CSMS sisters and, perhaps even the name of the unknown sister. Thank you very much for your help, and please do give the Gutteridge family my e-mail address.
Sister Mary Owen, OSB

On 30/11/2018 the Webmaster replied (extracts only):
Dear Sister Mary,

Thank you for your prompt and interesting response.

You mention the possibility that the CSMS may have lived at the School House? Actually, this was not the village hall itself but another property located just to the right hand side. The house was rebuilt during the second half of the last century, but three images of the original still exist - Miss Chevalier standing immediately outside the cottage and two further extracted from a book I happened to stumble upon. Just click the link to view the initial image and the right (next) button for the following two.


I remain concerned that the missing Sister may not reside in a marked grave, but will certainly go on a excursion up to the churchyard to find out!

01/12/2018 (extracts only)
Dear Mr. Gourlay,

I have access to a genealogical search engine through my sister (biological, that is), and I have been looking at the 1911, 1901, and 1891 England Censuses for Kettlebaston.  I don't know if you have this information, but it is quite interesting. There is no mention of orphans in the 1891 Census and School Cottage is listed as "uninhabited".  By 1901, There is an "Orphans Cottage Home" on Hitcham Road with a matron, Marian Gough who is a 42 year old single woman born in London, and six (male) orphans, all from London, ranging in age from 5 to 12.   The Pitt Family is listed as living at the Hitcham Road Schoolhouse, and Charles Pitt is listed as the school caretaker. By 1911, there are two "voluntary workers" in the "Orphan Home", both single women, born in London, and nine (male) orphans, ranging in age from 8 to 13.  The postal address is given as "The Home, Kettlebaston", and it is listed as having 7 rooms.

We really have no information on the CSMS sisters' years at Kettlebaston, except the fact that they were there.  Their presence may have had nothing to do with the school; that was just my conjecture based on what we know of them at Plaxtol.

It would be good to know more of them. With my thanks for your interest,

Sister Mary Owen

Go to the top of the pageKevan Wilding  26/12/10


My Wilding ancestors trigger heavily in the early census of Kettlebaston and I have had the 1841 census transcription online for some years. Today, I have added the 1851 census and a host of links which show how the Wildings linked to many of the other families present at the time.

 I hope this may be of use to others. http://essex1841.com/Kettlebaston/1851census.shtml


Kevan Wilding

Go to the top of the page Andrew Beaumont   26/11/09  andrewcbeaumont at hotmail.com

I'm writing to you from my home on a mountain in Western Serbia but when I was a child I was often taken to our 'weekend' home, the Old Convent in Kettlebaston.  This morning, unaccustomed nostalgia took me to your website where I found this from your correspondent Elaine Barbour...
"A new piece of information I gleaned concerns The Old Convent. My father's Aunty Floss, (Hannah's daughter) was apparently quite a snob and married a man called Alf Beaumont, a fine man and a man of influence as my Dad describes him.  He was the Manager of Matesco Engineering Company in London and lived in Wood Green,N22. They had 2 children, Clifford and Madeleine and bought The Old Convent as a holiday home in the 1930s, presumably because of fond memories of Kettlebaston while visiting Hannah. Dad doesn't know how long they kept it for. This isn't relevant to Kettlebaston but a nice aside. Dad was very grateful to Alf because he secured a job for my Dad at the Midland Bank on Cheapside when he left school aged 14, as a messenger. Sadly Dad failed the medical because of poor eyesight so couldn't take up the job. Two years later Dad's brother Ronnie was taken on, again with the help of Alf, and spent his entire working life with the Midland Bank, rising through the ranks to be manager of bullion supplies all on his own merits as Dad says."
Clifford Beaumont was my father, Alf my grandfather and 'Floss' (she would have been horrified - she was always 'Florence') my grandmother.  It seems therefore, that I've discovered a relative!  I'll need a little time to work out the nature of the relationship but if possible, I would love to make contact with Elaine Barbour and perhaps learn a little more about my family.  My 'origins' have always been something of a mystery for me.
I do hope this won't cause you any inconvenience but I should be most grateful if you can help.
With very best wishes,
Andrew Beaumont
Čolovića Brdo


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Thank you so much for your reply and for passing on my message to Elaine who seems to be my cousin (at one or more removes) - if my genealogical calculation is correct.  I look forward to hearing from her.
I have some very fond memories of my time in The Convent although looking back, the conditions during the 1950's and early 60's were rather basic. My most vivid memories of the cottage include my parents' discovery while investigating some fallen plaster of what I believe was a bakers oven. Is it still there ?  They made an awful mess uncovering it.  Also, I remember my father's alleged encounter with 'a ghost'. So far as I recall, he was a rational and (usually) quite moderate man but he was apparently convinced he'd seen something spooky. I understand he mentioned it to Father Butler who seemed to know all about our unusual 'lodger'.  But maybe Father Butler wasn't entirely ...reliable?
I have very happy memories of Mr and Mrs Pitt who lived in a tiny cottage across the road from the Convent.  Mr Pitt kept some very impressive pigs, saddlebacks I think, in a small orchard at the other end of the village. Even then, visiting the Pitts' home was like travelling back in time.  I remember Mrs Pitt as a large, red faced lady dressed always in a long black voluminous dress who was invariably doing something mysterious with the contents of one of her many large iron cooking pots.  At that time, she cooked on the open fire in the small 'front' room.  My principal memory of Mr Pitt is of a small, happy and probably quite long-suffering man wearing big trousers held up by braces and always, his cap.  I was very impressed by that cap, it seemed to be an organic part of him!
And then there were the Durrants at the farm, a place of unending joy and mystery for me.  Perhaps my memories are a little unreliable now but I seem to recall that even in those relatively modern times, they still did some of the farm work using horses.  It's a curious thing but near my home in Serbia, I know many villages in rural Zlatibor where there are even today strong echoes of the Kettlebaston of my childhood.  I can still go to one of my neighbours and get fresh milk in a pail, just like the pail I used to have filled at the Durrant's farm.  And here too horses still do much of the work, and the apples smell exactly like those from Mr Pitt's orchard. No Saddlebacks though, just ordinary generic pink pigs.
Of course, please use any part of any of my messages on your excellent website and if there's anyone left in the village who might remember a chubby, probably rather unkempt and wide-eyed little boy who occasionally visited the Convent all those years ago, please pass on my best wishes to them.
Thank you once again,
Pozdravi iz Srbije
Andrew Beaumont


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28/11/09 (after webmaster sent photo of Treakles)

That's the place!  Treakles was where the Pitt's lived and Croft Cottages was where the chickens lived.  Perhaps Treakles just looked bigger because I was older? No, hang on, that's not how it works is it...  Ah well, bigger or smaller, Treakles looked very nice but I'll bet the current occupier doesn't cook on an open fire any more.
I've made several comments about Father Butler's 'eccentricities, have you encountered him in your research? I  never learned all the gory details of the incident that led to his downfall but I do remember my parent's whispered discussions about the Great Kettlebaston Scandal.  If you know what happened, I'd love to hear about it.
Perhaps you would like a few more details of the Beaumonts who used to occupy the Convent. As Elaine told you, My Grandfather Alfred Beaumont (of 316 Alexander Park Road, Wood Green, London) bought the cottage in the 1930's and used it as a 'weekend house' with my grandmother Florence, my father Clifford and my aunt Madeleine. I believe that during WW2 years, my grandmother and my aunt spent much of their time there. Alfred died in about 1950 when my grandmother inherited the Convent (and the 'bungalow' as we called it)  but I think that afterwards it was only used by my parents and us children, me and my sisters Wendy and Mary Lynn. I understand that the Convent was sold when my grandmother died in the late '60's.
I'm looking forward to hearing from both Elaine and Val. I hope Elaine may be able to help fill in some of the many gaps in my knowledge of my family.
If one day you should find yourself in our lovely (and unfairly much maligned) country, please let me know.  I'll be delighted to show you around and of course, if my travels ever bring me back to Kettlebaston I'll ask you for the guided tour.
Andrew Beaumont

Go to the top of the page Robert Bird 21/08/09   boboiseau at gmail.com

My family name is Bird and I have at least eight blood relatives from the 18th & 19th centuries

To date I have managed to trace almost five hundred of my blood related Birds and many have originated from South Suffolk particularly in the Cosford District.

Perhaps my family tree may be of interest, it can be found at

My preferred email; should you chose to show it as a personal contact is:
boboiseau at gmail.com

Look forward to hearing from you,

Robert BIRD

Go to the top of the pageSarah Hardingham   26/07/09  sarah_hardingham at yahoo.co.nz

I'm trying to trace my ancestry for the Barrell family from Kettlebaston. My ancestor Phoebe Barrell married John Laflin and I know that Phoebe and her parents Thomas Barrell and ? Sarah Bugg were from Kettlebaston. Any help would be greatly appreciated

As far as I know Phoebe Barrell was born 1796 to Thomas Barrell (1770) and ? Sarah Bugg. They married around 1795.

Go to the top of the page Elaine Barbour  14/04/09

Excerpt from Elaine's emails re her father's time in Kettlebaston  (Leslie Seager):

His father's parents lived in Kettlebaston in the early 20th Century and were called Hannah and Joseph Seager.  Joseph died (of too much drink!) so she married again to a man called Robert Wilding, also a heavy drinker!  Robert was an odd job man who did things like putting out the forms for the children in the school.

My Dad remembers staying in their cottage, very close to the church. There was no electricity so they relied on oil lamps.  Water came from a well full of frogs, so as children they wouldn't drink it.  They would go down to Underwoods farm and bring back a big jug of fresh milk, which was still warm from the cow. There was no toilet, but a bucket, with a wooden seat, in an outside shed and "Dan, Dan the lavatory man" would come twice a week to empty it not pleasant in the hot summers.

Dad would sleep in the top of the cottage which was very hot and stuffy with only a tiny window and he remembers how very black it was, with no lights in the village, but waking in the morning to a fresh breeze and the sweet smell of the countryside is a very vivid memory.

Dad's name is Leslie Seager. He lived in London in the East End and his father was allowed to borrow the taxi from the firm where he worked to drive the children, Rene, Leslie and Ronnie down to Kettlebaston.  When Derek was born he went too and Dad has a photograph of all four children, around 1928 sitting on a farm gate, which is possibly in the same place as the one on your website, with the church in the background.

 In recent years my brother took Dad back to see the village and it was much as he remembered it, but obviously much modernised homes.

Hope this is of interest.


Thank you so much for the pictures.  My father has returned home now but I'll make sure he sees them. 

Further to my original email I've got a little more information. My father's grandmother Hannah was living in Ipswich where the 4 children, Frederick, John, Floss and Jesse, were born.  When her first husband Joseph died she left all her children at an orphanage where they stayed until they were grown up.  When she married Robert they lived in Bloxhall before moving to Kettlebaston and lived on a farm where Robert was the ostler, looking after the working farm horses while Hannah took in sewing. Dad doesn't know why they moved (maybe the drunkenness lost Robert the job and with it a presumably tied cottage?)  Robert did his drinking at the Preston Bells as there was no pub in Kettlebaston.

Having looked at all the old photos on the website Dad remembers Hannah looking very similar to Miss Chevalier in long black skirts with her hair in a severe bun.

Their cottage has been demolished. Dad's sister Rene visited Kettlebaston and happened to be there while the demolition was going on. Dad can't remember when that was, but it was at some point in her adult life.  He knows a new house has been built on the site.

As regards Underwood's Farm Dad doesn't remember precisely where it was, but it was a short walk from there down the lane to a stream where they picked watercress.

My father does remember Mr Durrant, who he describes as a gentleman farmer, with a pig farm. He remembers an outbreak of swine fever and saw lots of pigs laid out all waiting to be burned. He doesn't remember Gordon though or the Ward and Debenham families. (Dad is getting rather confused these days but the memories of Kettlebaston, though limited are very vivid.  He's been telling me the same little snippets (about warm milk form the cow etc) for years).

He also remembers a lady called Mrs Leegrice (spelling?) who had a black rose in her garden.

I will try and get a copy of the photograph, taken around 1928, my father has and send it to you, but it may be a while before I go up to Lancashire to visit him.

A new piece of information I gleaned concerns The Old Convent.  My father's Aunty Floss, (Hannah's daughter) was apparently quite a snob and married a man called Alf Beaumont, a fine man and a man of influence as my Dad describes him.  He was the Manager of Matesco Engineering Company in London and lived in Wood Green,N22.  They had 2 children, Clifford and Madeleine and bought The Old Convent as a holiday home in the 1930s, presumably because of fond memories of Kettlebaston while visiting Hannah. Dad doesn't know how long they kept it for.  This isn't relevant to Kettlebaston but a nice aside. Dad was very grateful to Alf because he secured a job for my Dad at the Midland Bank on Cheapside when he left school aged 14, as a messenger. Sadly Dad failed the medical because of poor eyesight so couldn't take up the job. Two years later Dad's brother Ronnie was taken on, again with the help of Alf, and spent his entire working life with the Midland Bank, rising through the ranks to be manager of bullion supplies all on his own merits as Dad says.

Elaine Barbour.

Go to the top of the page Mike O'Connor   25/01/09  michael@oconnor5107.freeserve.co.uk

I would be interested in any information with regard to the Wright family living in Kettlebaston certainly from the late 1700's onwards. My family line can be set out simply as follows:
William Wright m. abt. 1796 Jemima Anne Peacock (born 1776) - their son
James Wright born 1797 (Chelsworth) m. 1822 Mariah Harvey (born abt. 1803) - their son
Elijah Wright born abt. 1824 (Kettlebaston) m. 1846 (Kettlebaston) Maria Ann Wilden/Wilding (born abt 1825) - their son
Abraham Wright born 1862 (Kettlebaston) m. 1889 (London) Alice Emily Fredsum (1862 Clerkenwell) - their daughter
Alice Maud born 1895 (Paddington) was my paternal grandmother
Elijah Wright had 8 children that I have so far discovered all of whom were born in Kettlebaston.
Abraham Wright moved to London where he became a Coffee Shop Proprietor in premises on the site of what has now become Sainsbury's Head Office
I am interested in any information with regard to the Wright family and what became of them. Large numbers of the family are to be found on The Cosford Database.
I visited Kettlebaston for the first time Summer 2008 and was enchanted by the surroundings although apprecitating that the village is somewhat smaller than in the time of my ancestors.
With kind regards
Mike O'Connor

Go to the top of the pagePhil How   16/06/08    phil at howlight.co.uk

I have been researching my family tree, and find that I am descended from the MAKIN family of Kettlebaston. My 4th great grandparents were Maria MAKIN and Daniel FAYERS. Maria was baptised there on 29 May 1787 and buried there on 25 Mar 1817, whilst the FAYERS  came from Bildeston, where they had been since around1680.
Maria's memorial apparently reads:
"In memory of Maria, wife of Daniel Fayers, who departed this life March 18th, 1817, aged 29 years"
The earliest ancestor I have traced to Kettlebaston was one Henry Makin baptised 30 Apr 1682 at Long Melford. He married a Mary Hammond at Preston St Mary on 28 Jun 1705, and they then had 4 children at Rattlesden, before moving to Preston St Mary, and then in 1715 they moved to Kettlebatson, where they had at least another 5.
Being a fairly small village, I wonder whether there are any records there specific to the Makin family?
I would be most interested in any info that you may have.
In the earliest census (1841) the family are shown thus:
Dwelling:  High House Farm, Kettlebaston,  Suffolk
Robert Makin 45  Farmer  of Suffolk
Mary Makin 35  of Suffolk
Ann Makin 10 of Suffolk
John Makin 8 of Suffolk
Frederick  Makin 5 of Suffolk
Hariott Sarah Makin 4  of Suffolk
I also know that there is apparently a plaque in the church there referrring to a Robert Makin who was probably Maria's brother.

Phil How

Following a response from the Webmaster, Phil added the following information:

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.
Certainly you could upload my mail. It would be much appreciated.
I am not local to the area, living in Croxley Green, Herts, But my Nan was born at "The Mills" Rushmere St Andrews, and moved back there in the late 60s when my Grandpa died. I spent many happy summers there staying at Nan's cottage at the bottom of the "garden"
The Dawsons were the millers there from the 1840s until the mill was dismantled c1930. Nan's father Alfred Dawson was the last miller there, and his father William had another windmill at No 1 Foxhall Rd in California, Ipswich.
Nan's brother, my great Uncle Douglas was the last Dawson to live at the mills when my Nan left there to move to Felixstowe. He died around 1993, and is buried at Rushmere.
It was through Douglas that I discovered the FAYERS connection. I always knew him as Uncle Douglas, but his full name was Alfred Douglas Fayers Dawson. I spent ages trying to find out his grandmother's maiden name, and it wasn't until I found out his full name that I discovered his grandmother was Elizabeth Fayers, bap Milden 1835 daughter of Daniel Fayers and Elizabeth Thorpe from Bricet.

Go to the top of the page Carey Sherwood Elliott    30/04/08    celliott@eanes.k12.tx.us

Dear Sir,

I was most exited to find your web page about Kettlebaston. Your little hamlet looks so quaint and inviting. I have also viewed Kettlebaston through Google Earth surrounded by endless farm fields of green. I could even see grave stones in the cemetery next to St. Mary's church,

I have a particular interest to your small community because I have ancestry connected to the village even though I am half way around the world. There names were Thomas Sherwood (1585-1655) and his wife Alice Seabrook with five daughters Thomasin, Margaret, Sarah, Hannah and Rose. They lived in Kettlebaston between 1613-1622 and left for the colonies from Ipswich in 1634. He is eleven generations behind me. I have included a chart connecting me to Thomas Sherwood thus connecting me to Kettlebaston along with excerpts from the book "A Changing America as seen through one Sherwood family line".

If by chance you have any records thereI would be most appreciative to know. Also, if you have any pamphlets or brochures of Kettlebaston I would be most happy to receive them. I truly hope to visit your quaint and beautiful town one day.

With much regards,

Cary Sherwood Elliott

367 Hollowbrook Avenue
Johnson City
Texas 78636

Webmaster's note - we have actually heard from another member of this family, and hopefully helped them make contact. Please see entry dated 4th may 2006 for more details on the Sherwoods'.

In case it is of any use to other genealogists, please see my response to Cary below:

Dear Cary,
Firstly, may I please apologise for taking a few days to get back to you - It's a busy time of year in these parts!
Thank you so much for taking the time to contact me, and for providing so much background information. I will pass your letter on to our Village Archivist for safe keeping, and (with your permission) would like to post the content on our online 'Visitors Book' - perhaps you could let me know please?
OK, the best bit first, and I'll move on to the other queries later.
I have been contacted by another 11th generation member of your family previously - in 2006 to be exact, when Geoffrey Sherwood of N.J. emailed me prior to his visit to the UK. During his stay he took the time to visit the village with his family and meet with some of the inhabitants, and actually received some hospitality at the home of our Village Archivist (with whom I believe he is still in contact). His email and address are on our Vistors Book page at www.kettlebaston.suffolk.gov.uk and I'm sure he would be delighted to hear from you (he will certainly have numerous photos of the village, and may well have some of the historical data you are seeking). If you have difficulty contacting him please let me know, and I'll make further enquiries.
As you will appreciate, documents dating from the 17th century are very fragile and have to be stored extremely carefully. Because of this all historical data is archived in temperature/humidity controlled vaults at local public record offices. Data pertaining to Kettlebaston is located at both Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds - some 30 minutes drive away (different documents at each). Items can be viewed in person, but sadly I do not believe that they operate a 'look up' service at present (but this may have changed). More information on their location and services can be found at:
http://www.suffolk.gov .uk/LeisureAndCulture/LocalHistoryAndHeritage/SuffolkRecordOffice/ContactUsLocations/ They certainly hold manorial data and maps from the relevant period, but I am afraid that I do not know where the parish records are located - they may still be retained by the Church at Bury St Edmunds or even Ely?
We are a tiny hamlet, and very little literature has ever been produced about it, but anything that is in circulation is available without charge on the website (under the Y2K Project banner). Also 900 years of occupation has taken its toll, and I believe that all gravestones from the period in which you are interested have been removed long ago. I would love to produce a map of the churchyard showing the ancient grave sites for genealogists, but insufficient data appears to be available to do this. But I will continue to make enquiries, and should any further information come to light I will of course contact you.
Wishing you every good fortune in your search.
With kind regards,
Andrew Gourlay.

Go to the top of the pageJoan Gomer     12/11/06

Dear Sirs,

1 have recently looked at the website for the Kettlebaston Millennium Project and 1 congratulate you on what such a small village has achieved!

My grandmother was Anna Brett born in Kettlebaston in 1873. From my researches, her grandfather John Brett was born in Hitcham in 1798, moving to Kettlebaston shortly after his marriage in 1820 and all of his six children were born in Kettlebaston. He is shown on the censuses living at Church Farm and Back Road. Anna's father, also John, born in the village around 1830, is shown on the censuses living at Waggon Farm and The Green and nine of his ten children were born in Kettlebaston. He moved his family to Newton/Edwardstone around 1876 where he became a farm bailiff, none of his children remained in Kettlebaston - two lived in Sudbury, most of the rest went to London.

The article from the Chronicle and Mercury 1 had not seen before but 1 had read the one in the East Anglian some years ago and decided that "Ria" Manning must have delivered my grandmother and her siblings. Harry Pitt (the devout churchman pictured) may be the Henry Pitt (or a relative) who witnessed the marriage of Anna's parents, John Brett and Harriet Allen, in 1851.

My grandmother being a Brett, what interests me is, of course, the identity of Mumpshy Brett. Anna's grandfather was married twice and she might have been either of his wives. Also she might have been the wife of Anna's uncle Cornelius Brett. Presumably anyone who might have known her Christian name is long since gone.

Is the stone cottage where Mumpshy (and later Miss Barton) lived still in existence? Probably long gone, 1 suppose, but I would like to see it if it does exist!

The article in the Chronicle and Mercury has Mrs Ward relating how her grandmother was loused by Mumpshy. Are there any relatives of Mrs Ward around? 1 thought that if 1 knew her grandmother's name and when she lived 1 might be able to tie down which one of the Bretts Mumpshy was!

I appreciate that the website says no genealogical research can be undertaken but 1 enclose an SAE in case anyone local knows the answers!

Yours sincerely,

Joan Gomer

55 Hythe Hill
C01 2NH

Go to the top of the pagePatricia Bridges     17/05/06    patricia@bridgessuffolk.plus.com

I am presently updating the page of Towns and Villages on-line for The Suffolk Surnames List. I shall happily recommend this excellent village web site.

The Suffolk Surnames List has lots of information regarding finding your ancestors in Suffolk.


with best wishes
Pat ...
in Little Waldingfield

Go to the top of the pageGeoffrey Sherwood     04/05/06    demidave@juno.com

I am writing to you because of an astounding coincidence. I am Geoffrey Sherwood, an eleventh-generation descendant of Thomas Sherwood (1585-1655 ), who sailed on board the "Frances" from Ipswich, England, in April 1634, and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts Colony, two months later. American Sherwood researchers, of whom I am one, have been searching for the English home of Thomas for well over a century. It has been a frustrating search, and I had long since given it up.

I live in New Jersey, USA, with my wife and two children - David (age 12) and Demetra (age 13). We will be arriving in England on May 26th and staying until June 4th. This will be our first ever trip to Great Britain. We are all beside ourselves with excitement.

I just this week learned of an article by a Mr. Leslie Mahler, published in the October 2005 volume of "The American Genealogist", that establishes almost irrefutable proof that Thomas Sherwood's English home was in Kettlebaston, at least from 1610 until 1623, the period during which the baptisms of his daughters - Rose, Rebecca, Anna (Hannah), Thomasine, and Jane, are recorded in the Kettlebaston parish register, according to a transcript cited by the author.

This is absolutely stunning news to thousands of American and Canadian Sherwoods who are descended from Thomas (he had fourteen children by two wives, so there are a VERY large number of his progeny in North America today). And the amazing coincidence is that this discovery has occurred fortuitously on the eve of my family's trip to England.

I would first like to extend my family's warmest regards to everyone in and around Kettlebaston. And secondly, I would like to ask a bit of advice if it's not an imposition. I would just like to know what would be my best avenues of research in Suffolk relating to my Sherwood ancestors in Kettlebaston. One thing I am particularly interested in knowing is exactly what church they belonged to. I don't know if the parish register provides this information. I would also like to know something of what life was like in Kettlebaston in the late 16th - to early 17th century. Early generations of my American Sherwoods were master builders and millwrights, specializing in the building of grist mills (they built some of the earliest grist mills and finest homes in colonial Connecticut). So I am also interested in learning if there were any mills in the Kettlebaston area at the time that Thomas was there.

Lastly, if any of the good folks of Kettlebaston would like to meet a thoroughly humbled, gawking, overwhelmed American Sherwood family around June 2nd or 3rd, it would be a wonderful way for us to end our vacation in England.

Kind Regards,
Geoffrey Sherwood
Montville, NJ, USA

Go to the top of the pageMichele Phillips     20/02/06    Michelejack3@aol.com

I liked your site, i am presently researching my family history and have found that some of my family lived in the village (1800's) and are burried there "Grimwoods" it was good to find out about the village it would be nice to have a little bit more about those individuals who lived in the village over time and their way of life, thankyou for what you have already achieved

Kind regards

Michele Phillips


Response from the Webmaster:

Dear Michele,

Thank you for your kind comments re the Kettlebaston website. There are additions planned for the 'historical' section in due course, and one project I intend to tackle will be to map out the graveyard (as numerous headstones are now unreadable or missing). I hope this would be a useful resource to aid genealogists and historians in their research.

I'd dearly love to expand the site to incorporate pages on each of the families that have lived in the village, but sadly the information simply isn't available to me. There are now very few inhabitants that grew up in the area and I am therefore totally reliant on contributions from members of the public - like yourself - who can offer data for inclusion within my site, or give me a link to an external page. If you would care to set the ball rolling I would be delighted to post a feature on the Grimwood family - photos are always welcomed.

Good luck with your research.

Kind regards,

Andrew Gourlay.

Go to the top of the pageD'Ann and Doug Matthews    31/12/05     dmcookbooker@aol.com

My husband and I very much hope to visit your beautiful village some day in the near future - especially since we have dear friends living there - Jan and Alan Guilford - and, it's been far too long since we've had the joy of visiting with them in person.

Warmest regards to all -

D'Ann and Doug Matthews

Go to the top of the pagePauline Clare Coventry     11/08/05    redwineandale@aol.com

You seem to have a charming hamlet I enjoyed reading about it shame about the aircraft noise!

Regards Pauline Clare Coventry


Response from the Webmaster:

Dear Pauline,

Thank you for your email, and please accept my sincere apologies for not posting your message more quickly (I'm totally snowed-under preparing another site at the moment).

I'm hoping that your comment re aircraft noise was referring to the article on our News page and not from personal experience! Thankfully the revised Stansted stacking area hasn't had a significant effect on our tranquillity (as yet), but it's the post-expansion levels that really give cause for concern. Whilst noise levels will never become truly intrusive, l will always miss the comparative silence that we enjoy at present. What really ticked me off was that the decision to divert the area was made without consultation!

Regards, Andrew.

Go to the top of the pagePeter Probert    26/07/05     peterprobert@btconnect.com

Wow! What an impressive website - informative and interesting!

My partner and I live in nearby Chelsworth and we regularly make a detour through Kettlebaston on our jaunts to take in the stunning view and pass by one of our favourite houses: the utterly charming "Evan's Corner".

We enjoyed an unforgettable evening at last year's Service of Compline and we look forward to joining you all again for this year's service.

Thanks again.

Peter Probert

Go to the top of the pageKevan Wilding    13/05/05     kevan@essex1841.com     http://essex1841.com

Hi all,

I previously posted when my site was at kevw.net which is now no longer operational. You can view many residents of the 1841 census for Kettlebaston and surrounding areas at my newer site at http://censusology.net or http://essex1841.com

I have traced my ggfather William Wilding back to Kettlebaston. He was born around 1854 and moved on to marry a Mary Ann Cole in Raydon. They moved on to Hemley, Chelmsford and then Mary and my gfather Robert were in Romford since 1901.

Long since, with the help of the Cosford database, I have also been able to find him as a step son in 1841 and matched up much of this information with other Wilding / Death families in the area; and more.

There is a complete genealogy tree on my site, which may be of use to your study, and lots more.


Kevan Wilding

Go to the top of the pageVenetia Webb   07/05/05     venetia@webb1493.freeserve.co.uk

Trying to find out what happened to Francis John Pitt born 6.1.1879, twin son to Hannah Ann Pitt of Kettlebaston,

Twin brother was my grandfather Arthur Leonard Pitt (Rushbrooke) killed in Arras on 24.3.1918.


Venetia Webb

Go to the top of the pageCorin Greenhow     21/01/05    coring@hotmail.com

Hi to all in Kettlebaston, I grew up there in the 1970's, we used to live at The Croft in the middle of the village, many many happy memories.

Corin Greenhow.

Flat 145, The Viridian
Battersea Park Road
London SW8 4DB

Go to the top of the pageMichael Minter     23/11/04

Church of the Assumption of Our Lady Kettlebaston is very dear to me. A picture of my visit about ten years ago always hangs in my cottage. May God bless all in the Parish and all who visit.

Go to the top of the pageJames AH Campbell    08/02/04     james@netcampbell.com

Such a beautiful village!

Go to the top of the pageLisa Fletcher    27/01/04     lisa.fletcher@dfat.gov.au

Congratulations on a lovely community, set in Englands stunning countryside! The villages hospitality has been warm with every visit, and I look forward to returning soon. I wonder if there is a better place on earth for a summer barbecue.

Go to the top of the pageMary Ellen Hendricks     26/01/04    mecubs@aol.com

To the charming people and devotees of Kettlebaston,

How proud you must all be to present and share information on your lovely village. After a quick review, I found myself longing for a stay, as it is my good fortune that my cherished friends Jonathan and Tasia are blessed to be part of the Kettlebaston community. I look forward to another visit in the near future. Best wishes for abundant health and peace to all residing in this pleasant and welcoming place.

Mary Ellen, Chicago.

Go to the top of the pageJeannine Juhnke    21/01/04   jmjuhnke@hotmail.com

I have two very good friends in Jonathan Campbell and Tasia Kavvadias who live in Kettlebaston. So, when I think of this beautiful village in the Suffolk countryside, I also think of the wonderful times I've had with my friends, both in Kettlebaston and places far beyond. My husband and I became engaged there and will continue travelling there for a long time to come.

Go to the top of the pageDavid Murray     21/01/04

Kettlebaston is a lovely scenic village in the heart of the beautiful Suffolk countryside. I can heartily recommended the area for walking and cycling, though beware the steep hill coming back into the village!

Go to the top of the pageLindsay Critchley    20/10/03     eagerbeaver@shaw.ca

I want to thank you for your wonderful site.

In looking into my family history, I have found that my great grandmother Sarah Ann Brett was born in Kettlebaston in 1857. My family now live in Canada and the U.S., so visiting is very difficult, and it has given us tremendous pleasure to be able to read about, and view on our home computers, the village where our ancestor was born.

Thank you.

Go to the top of the pageSue Curtis     02/09/03    susannecurtis55@aol.com

Congratulations on a brilliant site and regards to all in Kettlebaston.

Go to the top of the pageKevan Wilding    14/06/03     kevan@essex1841.com     http://essex1841.com

I have traced my ggfather William Wilding back to Kettlebaston. He was born around 1854 and moved on to marry a Mary Ann Cole in Raydon. They moved on to Hemley, Chelmsford and then Mary and my gfather Robert were in Romford since 1901.

I am looking for William's parents, possibly Thomas Wilding and Harriet Death ?? They had a son William in 1850 who died the same year, therefore there is a good chance they called their next child William.

Just for interest, I will be doing quite a large article on Kettlebaston on my site, as I have already done for some of the areas in Essex, if anyone is interested.

Any info or contacts welcome - I know about the Cosford Database.





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