History of Halstead

Agricultural show at Sloe Farm
Agricultural show at Sloe Farm

History of Halstead >> Greenwood's memories of Essex

Greenwood's memories of Essex

One of our readers, Christina, has kindly supplied History House with a copy of the reminiscences of William Henry Greenwood 1846-1939. William was born in Halstead, Essex, and later emigrated to Canada.

Greenwood's ancestors were Quakers. They became merchants and then bankers. William's father, Robert Ellington Greenwood, lived at Sloe Farm (160 acres), in Halstead - it is also called Sloe House in some sources. He was an important member of the community. Apart from being a banker, he owned the local gas works, was a director of The Colne Valley and Halstead Railway, Trustee of Halstead Grammar School, and involved in many other local institutions and societies.

Around 1929-1931 William Henry Greenwood wrote down some of his memories of his life, and extracts from these concerning Essex are now copied below as images. Parts relating to his volunteer army service in the Oxford Battlion of Volunteers in Banbury and life in Canada have not been copied.

The text by each image indicate the contents of the image. This is so that the search engines can pick up the contents. These extracts are not only of interest to the Greenwood descendants, but also descendants of the many people mentioned by Greenwood. We have conducted some further research into some of the people and events mentioned.

We apologise that the extracts are listed in a haphazard way. His recollections were already a little like this, and we have added to it, but we thought that this was the best way of setting them out.

The Greenwood family tree:

Robert Ellington Greenwood married Ann Greenwood nee Youell and lived at Sloe Farm, Halstead.
Their portraits can be seen on this link to the Essex Record Office

Their children and grandchildren:
William Henry Greenwood b.15.2.1846 d.1932 York, Ontario, Canada, married Florence Ann Lawrence (their children: Beatrice Susanna Greenwood b.1881; Hanslip Lawrence Greenwood b.1883; George Douglas Greenwood)
Joseph Youell Greenwood b.17.6.1840 d.1865 Halstead
Robert John Greenwood b.27.3.1844 d.1912 Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia
James Cooper Greenwood b.27.5.1844 d.1937 Toowoombia, Queensland, Australia
John Greenwood b.22.2.1848 d.1879 Newmarket, York, Ontario, Canada
Fanny Elizabeth Greenwood b.10.4.1851 d.1904
Lucy Ann Greenwood b.18.8.1853 d.1943 London
Russell Greenwood b.26.9.1855 d.1920 York, Ontario, Canada
Kirbell Greenwood b.13.7.1857 d.1931 York, Ontario, Canada
Mary Greenwood b.31.5.1859 d.1943 London
Percy Vernon Greenwood b.6.11.1863 d.1891 York, Ontario, Canada

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His birth at Sloe House, Halstead, and of family origins of Youell and Greenwood.

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Details of his aunts, Robert Ellington Greenwood's sisters. Mention of Maria Weston nee Greenwood, married Lambert Weston; Eliza Youell, nee Greenwood; Emily Taylor nee Greenwood; Lucy Greenwood. Edward Youell.

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Lucy Greenwood, William's aunt, referred to above, founded the Halstead Industrial School for Girls in 1866. Industrial Schools were established take in girls under the age of 14 who were found under the following circumstances:
"..found begging or receiving alms whether actually or under the pretext of telling or offering for sale any thing or being in any street or public place for the purpose of so begging or receiving alms;
..found wandering and not having any home or settled place of abode or proper guardianship or visible means of subsistence;
...found destitute either being an orphan or having a surviving parent who is undergoing penal servitude or imprisonment."

By 1893 over 400 girls had passed through its doors.

The boxer Jim Mace is actually Jem Mace. The first heavyweight boxing champion. His biography can read in The boxing register: international boxing hall of fame official record book

Hannah A Mace, aged 13, is shown in the 1881 census at the Halstead Industrial School along with 64 other girls, 6 staff and Lucy Greenwood. Ref: Class: RG11; Piece: 1801; Folio: 77; Page: 8. View on Ancestry.co.uk

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Details of Maria Weston's children.
Mention of Maria Weston nee Greenwood and Lambert Weston. Brian Colby, John Colby. Joseph Greenwood Weston married Miss Harmon. Ken Weston. Sidney Cooper Weston. Jasper Weston.

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Riding to Earl's Colne to visit his old nurse Warren.
Research shows this may be Lucy Warren b.c.1793 at Wakes Colne. In the 1871 census she is living at Church Hill, Earls Colne, and is described as a Nurse. Ref: Class: RG9; Piece: 1111; Folio: 33; Page: 19. View on Ancestry.co.uk

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The emigration of his brothers John Greenwood and James Cooper Greenwood to Australia, with Sam Sinclair.
Mention of Jessie Sinclair, Duncan Sinclair. The father, Dr Sinclair, appears to be Duncan Sinclair, general practioner and surgeon F.R.C.S., born Scotland, living in the High Street, Halstead.
1861 census ref: RG9; Piece: 1110; Folio: 67; Page: 23. View on Ancestry.co.uk

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Robert Greenwood was a directory of the The Colne Valley and Halstead Railway. It was intended to extend the railway from Halstead to Haverhill. In 1858 the spendedly named King Viall (a farmer in Birbrook and Stoke by Clare) spoke at a public meeting organised by the company to promote the extension. Viall was in favour of an extension, but at that time the route had yet been finalised.

When the company applied to Parliament for a bill, two routes had been drawn up. Viall objected to the Birbrook route at the House of Commons Committee hearing despite his earlier support, for the proposed route lay through his own land at Birdbrook. Parliament, however, gave approval for this route and work commenced on June 19th 1860. The extension was opened in stages and reached Haverhill in 1863. Viall was compensated by receiving shares in the company.

King Viall (Viath on the transcription) 1861 census ref:Class: RG10; Piece: 1713; Folio: 30; Page: 22. View on Ancestry.co.uk

Mr Watt is Robert J Watt described in the 1871 as Railway Manager, ref: Class: RG10; Piece: 1697; Folio: 160; Page: 35. View on Ancestry.co.uk

Bradshaws Railway Guide 1864 for more information on The Colne Valley and Halstead Railway

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Alexander Pudan, the drunken train driver.
1861 census ref: Class: RG9; Piece: 1110; Folio: 97; Page: 10. View on Ancestry.co.uk

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The Essex Agricultural Society held their annual show at Halstead on 3 June 1862. Part of the show was sited in the grounds of Sloe Farm. We have been able to track down engravings from the Illustrated London News and these would have been made from the artist's drawings.

In the town there were three triumphal arches and the town was decorated throughout with flags, flowers and everygreens; while the show was set up on Slow Farm which was "admirably adapted for their purpose, both by proximity to the town and railway station; the undulating formation of the ground: the grateful shading trees as protection [...], and the picturesque scenery upon which the eye could rest in almost every direction."

Thousands of people came to visit the show, and with the help of a day's kind weather, it was hailed a success. (The Essex Standard, and General Advertiser for the Eastern Counties, 11 June 1862)

Halstead decorated for the agricultural show
Halstead decorated for the agricultural show

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Visit to Colne Engaine on 5 November.
Mentions Rev. Dr. J. Greenwood (who may have been a relation?), the former Head Master of Christ's Hospital, and Rector of Colne Engaine, and his third son William Henry Greenwood. The Reverend died in 1865 aged 79, and it was reported in the The Archaeological journal, Volume 23 that when the grave diggers were digging his grave, at the depth of 8 feet they found a medieval betrothal ring dated about 1400.

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The Horner family were farmers and landowners in Halstead. and the father Edward Horner was Justice of the Peace in 1861. Mentions Frank (Francis) Horner, Lewis Horner, Allan Horner, Ernest Horner, Alice Horner, Edith Horner, John Robert Vaisey.

1851 census ref: Class: HO107; Piece: 1784; Folio: 360; Page: 20; (poor quality). View on Ancestry.co.uk

1871 census ref: Class: RG10; Piece: 1697; Folio: 89; Page: 29. View on Ancestry.co.uk

Six servants are shown in the 1871 including William Sturmer, aged 57, the coachman. He had been coachman for at over ten years. Is this the servant called Stammas?

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Halstead Gas Company was formed in 1835 and the works built in Rosemary Lane. It's not clear when Robert Ellington Greenwood became involved, but by 4 October 1869 he had aquired all the shares of the company (source: The National Archives database). The company became incorporated in 1879.

The Courtauld Silk Factory was owned by Samuel Courtuald (Messrs S Courtauld and Co). With mills in Bocking and Halstead, it was a large employer of local people, especially women (+1,000). Samuel held a strong control over the company until his death in 1881. His brother George then took over. We can confirm the date electricity was installed in Courtauld's as The Bury and Norwich Post and Suffolk Herald of 18 January 1881 reported that "Experiments in lighting Messrs. Courtauld's factory at Halstead with electric light are reported to be succesful." (British Libary Newspapers)

If you are related to the Greenwood's and wish to know more, email us using the link at the bottom of the page and we will forward your email onto Christina.

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