Bawburgh Village

History Alphabet

is for Bawburgh Mill.

Bawburgh Mill, seen as it was during the 1960s, when still a working mill (with thanks to Rosemary Salih, niece of the last Miller

It milled flour, rags and (then) cattle feed, until 1967. Although the date of 1802 is recognised as that when Jeremiah Colman owned Bawburgh Mill, he did not start to grind mustard seed until 1814, when he bought Stoke Holy Cross Mill. His predecessor at the Mill was John Wagstaffe, who was milling there in 1801, and who died in 1809, leaving the "Silver Spoon" legacy to the village (see W is for Wagstaffe). Before that, William Pepper, rebuilt the Mill and lived there from 1753 to 1779. Early history shows that there has been a Mill of some sort for 700 years before that, since it is mentioned in the Domesday Book. During the period 1514 to 1581, three generations of the Tilney family milled here, and we know this since it was third generation, William, who built the Kings Head, just across the road, in 1602. During the 1800s corn-milling continued, but the change to a rag mill is well documented, since it provided paper for the Times, made at Taverham Mill, when in the ownership of Walter Paper Manufacturing, until 1904. The Mill burned down and was rebuilt in its present form in 1876 - the very same year that the School was built, and Mill Cottages built for the Mill workers. The Child family changed the Mill back to corn-milling early in the 1900s and the family became an important one in the village. indeed  Childs Terrace was named by the Childs family (millers in 1908-1929) although locally known as The Poor Yard. Unfortunately father David, died soon after taking over the Mill, but had five children. In 1929 the Warman family took over and it was still in their ownership, when in 1967, the Mill was closed for business by the last miller Clifford Warman. One of the millstones set on the Green provides an unusual memorial to him, as well as a reminder of the importance of the business and iconic status of the building! - the mill had always provided a constant hub of activity and employment for the village.  (He was also remembered laterly with the naming of Warman Close). The Mill became a private residence with a succession of residents until 1988, then with a major makeover it provided four enviable townhouses, as well as retaining the Stable and Mill Houses.

The present red brick version of the Mill replaced the wooden structure after the major fire in 1876; the date brick on the front, indicates it was 1887 before completion of building. There was a huge industrial chimney attached too until around 1900. The nearby Warman's Close was so named in 2000. The Mill provides an attractive centre-piece to the village - especially at night, when the lights from the windows reflect in the Mill Pool. 

Work to Mill Bridge in 1991 and 2014

M is also for Robert Matthews,

Bawburgh’s longest-serving Parish Clerk. Born “a pauper” in 1793, in North Walsham, Robert Mathews married Elizabeth Shickle at St Mary & St Walstan on the 16th February 1816, just one month before the baptism of their first child – John. A clear indication of how well-accepted was this young, itinerant labourer, was his appointment – just six years later - as Clerk of the Parish, shortly after the baptism of their third child. During the following fifteen years, the couple reared seven children – all at No. 6 Church Street, Bawburgh. The Census of 1861 shows that, by April of that year, there were still 17 residents of Church Street named Matthews (including 12 of Robert & Elizabeth’s 27 grandchildren bearing the name), with John and his family at No. 5, second son William and his family at No. 3, and youngest son James and his wife at No. 2.

Robert Matthews was to remain “in harness” as Parish Clerk for 46 years, until his death in 1868, 22 days before his 76th birthday. How this remarkable man – who, according to the death certificate, had continued working as a “Farm Labourer” – achieved the feat of becoming the longest-serving Parish Clerk is a matter for speculation, but we can safely assume that he was a well-respected member of the community of 19th century Bawburgh. It is of interest that John Osborne – who, in 1868, took over from Robert Matthews – “notched up” another remarkably long period as Parish Clerk, serving for 42 years (until his death in 1912).

Thanks go to Michael Matthews (a great, great, great grandson of Robert), who helped with the above. Michael visited the village - for Saint Walstan’s Day in 1999 – from his home in Melbourne, Australia. The Editor "met" Michael via the Internet, through his interest in family history. Michael’s branch of the Matthews' family hail from the north of England, and many of the family still live there. His great grandfather George – born in Bawburgh, a son of Robert’s first-born, John – “migrated” to Tyneside during the 1860s, marrying in South Shields and settling in Jarrow. There are still members of the Matthews' family living locally in Norfolk.

M is also for Mortimer.

Eugene Kobylecki obviously had Polish ancestry, and has traced one of his father’s forebears back to 1500. But little did he know that for the 15 years he lived in Little Melton, his mother’s ancestry was much more conveniently placed in the village next-door! His research into his mother’s maiden name, Joan Olive Mortimer, born in Norwich in 1926, brought him, with that very Bawburgh-surname, back to Bawburgh! He found it a wonderful time warp. He started searching, and found certificates for his mother and grandfather, William Mortimer, also born in Norwich in 1887. His father William was born in 1862, and because his marriage certificate showed Bawburgh, Eugene found himself at Bawburgh Church, amazingly close to home, to check out the records. Having contacted the church warden, he entered a “165 year time travel". He made notes and cross references, and then by a stroke of luck, made contact with fellow-genealogist, David Beech, who was also researching the Mortimers of Bawburgh. Sadly, Eugene Kobylecki died in August 2004, but together with David Beech they had traced the line back to the marriage of William Mortimer and Susannah Paul in Bawburgh Church on 18th November 1816—Eugene’s great-great-great-grandfather. They had seven children, Mary Ann, Maria, Eliza, Charles, Sarah (she is David Beech’s connection), William and Jeremiah. Charles, Eugene’s great-great grandfather married Amelia Cocks in Bawburgh Church on 20th August 1853. They had children Alma, Charles, Arthur, Amelia, William and Francis. Amelia junior married Henry Arthur Woods at Bawburgh Church on the 16th November 1880, and his story and the ensuing huge Mortimer/Woods family was told in Bawburgh News some years ago. Eugene’s great-grandfather, William, the next in the family, married Alice Brewster, again in Bawburgh Church, in 1884 and went on to have William (Eugene’s grandfather, born in Norwich), Isaac and Phoebe.

M is also for The Marriage Register 1837—2011.

The oldest register held in Bawburgh Church, is the Register of Marriages, which started when Registration became law in 1837 and is not yet filled! The first entry in the linen-covered register, albeit now bound with protective plastic, was made on 1st December 1837, when James Mortar (not Morter) married Harriet Gould. All taking part made a cross and this in general happened until around 1890. However, entry number two for George Perkins and Maryanne Bringloe shows that she was able to sign with a beautiful script. Most men were described as labourers, until Rose Mortimer—that name again— married Henry Boast on the 15th November 1838—he was a shoemaker. Now there are names to conjure with .... Bringloe and Boast, Mortimer and Morter .... bringing history to life and painting a picture of 19th Century Bawburgh. There is only a sprinkling of “outside” names. Thomas Bone, also a shoemaker, came all the way from Colney to marry Mary Ann Mortimer in 1845. Imagine also the shindig when the Gould and Mortimer families merged in 1852. Twenty-one years later, on 6th June 1873, Christopher William Gould married Alma Elizabeth Mortimer. He was the son of John Gould—and his grandfather John Christopher, was only the third entry in the Register, when he married Elizabeth Parder on 25th July 1838. Thus the familiar names thread their way through Bawburgh’s history, with often around a twenty year gap linking the generations. From the two Mortimer sisters, Alma and Amelia, daughters of Charles Mortimer and Amelia Cock, who married on 28th August 1853, the Gould, Mortimer and Woods families descended, when on 16th November 1880, Amelia married Henry Woods.

Robert Ottaway (a miller) was a witness to the Bogg/Morter match back in 1858, and also to his own daughter the year before, when Mary Ann married Thomas Gardiner, a papermaker. He also witnessed his son’s marriage (also Robert, a papermaker) to Ann Chaplin on the last day of 1859. Christmas (some times Christmas Day itself) was a very popular time to get married—perhaps the only time, that time off was available. The next year, on 28th December, Robert Ottaway’s daughters, Mary and Sarah, had a double wedding—both marrying a Henry (Oakes and Perkins). Then Lewis, married Catherine Mop in 1868 and Alfred married Sarah Joy in 1870. Four of the Ottaways claimed Wagstaffe spoons. Schoolmaster, William Sturgess, had a busy time between 1854 and 1859 marrying off his three daughters—all to men from outside the village, and all received Wagstaffe spoons when their first child was born.

The twenty year gap is noticeable, as the son of the first entry—appears in 1857, at number 53, when Thomas Morter Gould married Mary Ann Farrer. At number 128, 23 years later, in 1880, their son, James Peter Morter Gould, married Maria Susanna Gould (presumably cousins), the same year and only one entry before Henry Woods married Amelia Mortimer—they must have all known each other well. There were in fact only 19 weddings at Bawburgh Church during that decade—the lowest recorded, until the 1960s, and equalling only two a year! It will take another 40 years to complete the current Register.

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