Review number 41 – April 2007

The Folks Who Lived on Joly Cote Hill

Issues nine and ten of the Walsham History Review, published in 1999, outlined the probable development of property ownership, over a five hundred year period, on the south side of Walsham’s Main Street on land described in 1577 as a parcell of waste grownde lying open unto the Churche Waye called Joly Cote Hill. This article is issued largely on documents relating to Jolly Coate Cottage, situated at the entrance to The Avenue.

In 1845, 27-year old Henry Jaggard took over the tenancy of the property from a wheelwright, John Seaman, and Henry Plummer who farmed 87 acres at Cranmer Green. Plummer transferred his £70 mortgage on the property to Henry Drake, a plumber and glazier employing two men and a servant, who lived at Holly House on the north side of The Street. Drake was obviously a successful businessman, for between 1849 and 1853 he purchased Clive House, Clive Cottage, The Bakehouse and The Old Bakery for £343 from the bankrupt miller and baker William Darby.

Drake transferred his mortgage on Jolly Coate Cottage to a St Neots Solicitor, Thomas Hutton Wilkinson, in 1857. At that time the property was described as all that piece of land or ground being part of Timber alias Jolly Cock Hill bounded by The Street to the north and west the river to the south and school premises to the east and also that dwelling house lately erectec by the said Henry Jaggard upon the said piece of land and the Carpenters’ Shop and all other buildings then standing thereon. This allows us to date fairly closely both the age of Jolly Coate Cottage and the School buildings.

Thomas Hutton Wilkinson, related to the Wilkinsons of Walsham Hall, seems to have been a hard man. His mortgage deed, witnessed by George Robert Newson, Edward Waspe and the gig builder Robert Kerry, instructed Henry Jaggard and the tenant to insure the buildings against loss or damage in some good Insurance Office in the sum of £50. Jaggard was also to pay any expenses incurred by Wilkinson’s periodic inspections of the property.

Within five years, in 1862, Wilkinson transfers his £50 mortgage to Thomas Easlea who farmed 168 acres at West Street and employed five men, a boy and a servant. Easlea also agreed to lend Jaggard £60 and a further £30 was lent in 1865. Was business poor at this time? Certainly the census of 1861 records 22 of a total of 113 families living in The Street as paupers. And Henry Drake, recorded above as buying several properties between 1849 and 1853, now borrows £200 from farmer John Proctor. Interestingly Drake still employs apprentice plumbers and glaziers, including one by the name of Harry Nunn.

Thomas Easlea’s mortgage takeover ushers in a 30-year period of stability in which Henry Jaggard pursues his trade as a cabinet maker. His brother John is a shoemaker, another brother, James, is a carpenter, while Robert Jaggard occupies the 79-acre Fishpond Farm, and William Jaggard employs five men and three boys in a carpentry and building business. This would later be taken over by the Nunn family based on Nunn’s Yard. What an enterprising family the Jaggards were, and they were leading figures in establishing the Wesleyan Chapel on Swan Path between 1816 and 1840.

With Easlea’s death in March 1895 there follows a breathtaking series of transactions where the property is conveyed and reconveyed five times in fifteen months. The Walsam attorney’s firm of Golding, based on The Grove, with Walsham clerks, Ziba Sones and Samuel Jessup, had supervised the mortgage deals of 1862. This now gave way to two larger firms: Fowell, Woolsey & Thorold of Walsham, Hopton and Thetford; and Bankes Ashton of Bury. They deal with a string of interested parties: Mary Elmer of Great Ashfield, Henry Wakelin, Sarah Hunt staying at Everards Hotel in Bury, and finally James Aldridge the tailorwho lived at Clive House, Walsham. He wished to have some control over the premises occupied by his widowed mother.

Aldridge sold the property in 1912 for £235 to Frederick Flatman, a cornchandler. The property was described as freehold messuage shop hereditaments and premises known as Timber alias Joly Cock Hill. The property had of course always been insured, but in 1915, because of the Zeppelin scare, Flatman took advantage of an altogether unusual scheme to insure his property for £250. His Majesty’s Government promised to pay or make good within 30 days all loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by Aerial Craft (hostile or otherwise) or shots shells bombs or missiles from or used against Aerial Craft.

a black and white pen drawing of a squiggle!

Such was the sense of fear and insecurity with the new weaponry of war.

The policy was maintained throughout the First World War and was last renewed on 17th August 1918 for three shillings and ninepence, then a considerable sum.

For nearly fifty years Henry Jaggard lived at the cottage with his wife Betsy, carrying on his trade of cabinet maker while a succession of people held the mortgage deeds. But why, when in 1577 the area was referred to as Joly Cote Hill,was it known as Timber alias Jolly Cock Hill? Has your house been the subject of such wheeling and dealing, touched by as many interested parties?

Rob Barber


  1. Indentures, Mortgage documemts and conveyances 1845-1912
  2. Walsham Tithe Award and Schedule 1842
  3. Census Returns 1841-1901
  4. Parish Registers 1539-1900
  5. History Reviews 9 and 10
  6. Field Book of Walsham 1577

What The papers Said A Hundred Years Ago

Bury Post Free Press 27/4/1907

-“A young horse belonging to Mr. J. Kenny, a Walsham baker, was standing near the White Horse Inn in Wattisfield when it became restive and broke away, knocking Mr. Kenny to the ground. Dashing up Wattisfield Street, the horse and trap overtook and then came into violent collision with another trap containing Mr, & Mrs. W. Kerridge, also of Walsham, who were thrown out. The shaft snapped and their horse, taking fright, tore off homeward. On reaching Walsham Street it ran close to a house, catching the doorstep. The cart turned over and the body was torn from the wheels and axle. Mr. Kenny’s horse had meanwhile turned into Mr. Davey’s yard at Wattisfield catching a gatepost and smashing a wheel. Mr. and Mrs. Kerridge were severely shaken but not seriously injured.”

Bury Post Free Press 29/6/1907

‘Four Balaclava veterans have been spending a week’s holiday in the village, kindly entertained by Mr. Allan Banyard and the vicar of Walsham. They met many people and attended the village gala, being always pleased to relate their experiences in the Charge of the Light Brigade. On leaving they were greatly cheered en route to Elmswell station.’

A later report names the men, whose picture is in the Walsham Photograph Book, as being Mr. J. Mustard, Mr. J. Ford, Mr. H. Herbert and Mr. J. Lamb. The Battle of Balaclava had taken place in 1854.

James Turner

Our letter W

a black and white pen drawing of the words WALSHAM IN THE WILLOWS with the letters being drawn as just outlines!



James Turner’s book Wartime Walsham has been very popular and we have donated £500 from the proceeds to the restoration of Walsham Memorial Village Hall.

In April we celebrate the launch of Audrey McLaughlin’s book Who lived in Your House? – the Pre-1700 Houses of Walsham le Willows. This is the outcome of many years of research and study of deeds, wills and other original documents and is a fascinating account of the lives of Walsham people during those centuries.

Details of our publications are in the History Group section of the Walsham website. Some of our previous Reviews can be read on this website.

To order publications please ring Ann Daniels on 01359 258535

Editor and Membership – 01359 25849640

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