Research Summary; Manor Farmhouse, Puttenham
This is a summary of the research which has been carried out into the history of Manor Farm, Puttenham, on behalf of Tringruralhistory.co.uk. As with most buildings that go back several hundred years, it is unrealistic to expect a complete history from the first phase of research and it is best to publish has been found so far and add to it when further information becomes available. In particular we are expecting more insights from the planned visit by our historic building specialist Nick Tyson.
This paper should be read in parallel with the timeline which records the main events and the people involved. Thanks are due to Christine Rutter and the current occupant of Manor Farm, Lis Josling, for their helpful contributions to our research.
The first 150 years
The only current information about the age of the house is from Historic England which describes each listed building (Manor Farm is Grade 2 listed). It is stated to be ‘Late 16C, altered in C17’. As restrictions and records of new buildings in that time were either limited or non-existent, it is impossible to specify the names or nature of the early occupants. It is also likely that the initial build was relatively small and informal and has been developed over the centuries. For instance, the listing states that ‘brick casing’ was added in C19. As part of our project, we are employing the skills and experience of a leading house fabric archaeologist, Mr Nick Tyson, whose work continues to include a very detailed analysis of Skinners Hall in London, as well as a number of country houses and Georgian Regency period London terraces. He will be kindly giving up his valuable time free of charge to help unravel the possible origins and changes that have been made over the centuries to Manor Farmhouse. It is also possible that the extant manorial records that Clive is tracing, and viewing will provide further clues as to the early residency and even, perhaps who built the cottage in the first instance.
The first recorded occupants; the Ives family
The Ives family are the first recorded family to have lived at Manor Farm. They seem to have been an important part of Puttenham life. For instance, in Margaret Vincent’s excellent history of Puttenham, she lays out the occupants of the various holdings at the time of the Enclosure Act 1816 and the Ives family was occupying, or at least holding the leases or freeholds of three properties, The Old Rectory, Potash Farm and Manor Farm, as well as two allotments.
The first recorded mention of the Ives family is of Robert Ives in 1738 and his status is confirmed by the St Mary’s parish records in which he is stated to be an Overseer of the distributions to the poor, a role that was usually only taken on by men of status in a community. Ancestry.com confirms that he was born in 1692. He appears to have continued in this overseeing role until around 1760.
His role as overseer was then passed to his son Joseph who continued in that role until his death towards the end of the century. He had married Hannah Puttnam in 1762 and in 1798 ‘Widow Ives’ was stated to be paying Land Redemption Tax. In 1800, Joseph’s son Thomas took on the overseer role.
The Enclosure Act of 1816 was the first time that ownerships of land were firmly established, and the Earl of Bridgwater was declared to be the ‘Proprietor’ of Manor Farm, along with several other cottages and allotments. The occupant at this time was stated to be Mary Ives (born about 1782), the daughter of John and Hannah Nash (nee Newens) who had been married in 1780 in Cheddington. Mary became the wife of Thomas Ives in July 1800 when they were married in St Mary’s Church in Puttenham.
The 1861 England and Wales Census, taken on 7th April 1861 records the Rector of Puttenham as one Henry Close, and given the position of Manor Farm to the Church it is legitimate to hypothesise that John Montague is at that time the resident farmer of Manor Farm. He is living with his wife Elizabeth (born about 1804), the daughter of Thomas and Mary Ives mentioned above, a nephew named Thomas Chapman (born about 1845) a niece also called Elizabeth Ives (born about 1842) and a house servant. However, it can also be noted that John Nash, a 62-year-old agricultural worker is living with his wife, 21-year-old son and a 13-year-old grandson on a plot close to Manor Farm. He appears to have been the brother of Elizabeth Ives, also born to the John and Hannah Nash mentioned above.
Further evidence that John Montague was resident of Manor Farm, or at least a prominent farmer in Puttenham during this period is provided in the will of George Gates, farmer of Puttenham and an uncle of John Montague, which was proved in London on the 4th April 1848. In the will Gates leaves all of his real estate (his fixed assets) to John Montague. We do not know the precise extent of Gates’ holdings in Puttenham, but his bequest is consistent with an uncle and nephew working the same farm, or possibly more than one farm together.
The last direct reference to the Ives family at Manor Farm was the death and burial of Mary Ives at Puttenham Church in 1860. Later in that same decade, in 1869, there are records of the death of a Mary Chapman and her executors selling off livestock and farm equipment based at Manor Farm, but this seems to have been because she may have been renting fields on the land rather than occupying the house.
Work continues to further unravel and validate the relationships between the families that held, or potentially held residence of Manor Farmhouse up until around 1869. It is not unusual for there to be much confusion and speculation as to ancestral lines and property ownership periods in small rural communities where records may be scarce or even lost. It is also very likely that the ‘snapshots’ provided by the census taken every ten years between 1841 and 1861 are misleading as they only give details of persons present in a property on one single day. The locating, analysing and referencing work will continue and it is expected that in time the ’bigger picture’ of Puttenham and its surrounds will help confirm much of what remains as speculative at this point of time.
After the Ives family ceased to occupy Manor Farm, the Farmhouse began to be lived in by the farmer, John Deverell and his family. He was recorded at that address in 1886 when the Bucks Herald reported that he was taking legal action against another local farmer, William Procter, for stealing hens.
John Deverell was something of a contrast to the Ives family. He had been born into a wealthy family whose interests were centred on the village of Soulbury in Buckinghamshire. His father, also John Deverell, was a farmer of some 176 acres and resident of Chemscott (now Chelmscote) Manor. This property has existed in a number of guises, including that of a chapel, since the reign of King John, but had been converted to a sizeable and comfortable farmhouse long before the Deverell family took residence, probably in the early 19th century. The 1871 England and Wales Census records that John Deverell (snr) was married to Caroline (nee Waters) and lived in the property at that time with their 3 daughters, 3 sons and 1 servant.
John and Caroline had during their marriage a total of 6 daughters and 2 sons, including John Jnr who was born in 1856 in the house in Soulbury. His father died in 1880 leaving his elder brother Thomas as head of the family, but with his younger brother clearly working alongside him.
John was married to his first wife, Annie Elizabeth Aveline on 30th April 1884 in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire. However, Annie died the following year in Puttenham and as reported in the Northampton Mercury of 6th June 1885 she died ‘at her home, Manor Farm, Puttenham’. A further report published in the Croydon Weekly Standard the same day described Annie as having been ‘a long-time organist at the congregationalist chapel [who was] highly esteemed by the members as well as by a large circle of friends’.
In 1889 John married again to Jane Leach with whom he was living in Manor Farmhouse in 1901 when the census was taken, along with a nephew, George H Deverell and a general domestic servant named Elizabeth Chandler. John knew his second wife from his time in Soulbury as she was born there herself around 1843 and lived on a neighbouring farm named ‘Dollar’ that in 1851 was being farmed by her widowed mother, Elizabeth. Jane, who was some 13 years older than John did not bear him any children and she died (probably in Manor Farmhouse) in 1910.
John Deverell was married again in 1912 to his third wife, Alice Mary Frost who was then the 41-year-old daughter of George and Hannah Frost. Her father had been a devout Methodist and a Shipwright by trade who had died in 1897. The religious beliefs of the family are indeed reflected in the baptism of Alice on the 22nd March 1871 in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Brompton, Kent and by the fact that her brother John was in 1901 recorded as following the calling of Methodist Minister in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, where Alice was resident with him and his two children.
Alice died on the 13th June 1946 at the age of 75 in the new family home of ‘Redmays’in Linslade Buckinghamshire, outliving her husband who had died on 1st November 1931 by some 15 years. They had one child during their marriage, namely Robina Mary who was born on the 12th February 1916, almost certainly in Manor Farmhouse. She married a Stanley Crampton in Hampstead, London only a few months after her mother’s death in 1946 and lived until her death in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in 2000.
John Deverell had continued to be mentioned in census and electoral returns and rolls until 1925, when he seems to have moved to Linslade having sold Manor Farm to Henry Turner.
The Turner Extended Family
Henry Turner, who was a veterinary surgeon originally from Worcestershire, moved into the village around 1911, when he first appeared in a census return. He and his wife Sarah came to live in the Old Vicarage. At some point between that date and 1925, Henry bought Ivy Cottage, the property next door to Manor Farmhouse which is also mentioned in the Enclosure Act list of 1816.
He also seems to have purchased Manor Farmhouse in 1925/6 because, after Deverell’s disappearance from the scene, members of the extended family of Sarah Turner (nee Walker) are recorded in census returns for the first time. These family members are Sarah’s sisters Helen Piggott (nee Walker) and Emily Walker and (from 1929) Alice Piggott, the daughter of Helen. It is not clear how the occupancy of these relatives was split between Ivy Cottage and Manor Farmhouse as their address on the census returns was always stated as ‘Manor Cottage’.
Henry Turner died in 1940 and his widow Sarah moved into Ivy Cottage. Helen Piggott died in 1943 but the other two relatives – Emily and Alice – continued to live in the Manor Farmhouse. However Emily and Sarah both died in 1956 and, at this point, ownership of the properties seems to have been transferred to transferred to Nellie and Theodor Meyer, daughter and son-in-law of Henry and Sarah Turner. Henry and Sarah also has a son Harry Logan Turner and, from the evidence of the one legal document available, he seems to have transferred ownership of the properties to the Meyers for agreed considerations.
Theodor (Teddy) Meyer was a Swiss citizen and, though he never lived in Puttenham, he became a frequent visitor and valued benefactor to the village. He is buried in Puttenham Church, alongside the other members of the extended family.
After 1956 Alice Piggott continued to live in the Manor House for a while (she is on the census list for 1959) but she seems to have moved out during the 1960s at which point Theodor decided to rent the property to a series of paying tenants, until he sold it to the present occupants Lis Josling and her husband John in 1988.