|The Story so far. Early in the 1500s John Bullock, a member of the wealthy Bullock family of Arborfield in Berkshire came to Moulshams Manor in Great Wigborough and together with his wife, Margaret, settled with their three sons and a daughter. The children were all to marry and have families and over generations the family prospered and were to tenant a number of the major houses, held by the Lord of the Manor, in Great Wigborough. The family spread throughout Essex especially to Mersea and Peldon and ultimately Faulkbourne Hall near Witham which was their principal family seat from 1637 to the end of the nineteenth century.
Which family member first moved from Wigborough to Peldon has yet to be established; seventeenth century references to the family in Peldon are few, perhaps unsurprisingly, because Peldon Manor's Court Rolls are in private ownership and no longer at the Records Office. Whereas much information has been gleaned from the wills of the Wigborough Bullocks, there are only two wills for Peldon family members and other documents generally date to the eighteenth century.
Having started out as landed yeoman, over successive generations the Great Wigborough Bullock family dispersed its properties and lands as they were shared out amongst the children. The Bullocks we find in Peldon throughout the eighteenth century were not possessed of extensive farmland but had become skilled artisans, and over four generations, maybe more, ran a family carpentry business.
Earlier references in Peldon are scarce.
Kay Gilmour in Peldon in Essex A Village Over the Marshes relates that
Peldon's earliest surviving manorial document records the summoning of Peldon's
substantial tenants to a Manorial Court at Pete Hall in the first year of King Edward VI's
reign and that among those present at this Court on 28th September 1547, was a John Bullock whose family were to serve Peldon Church and village so faithfully for two centuries and a half.
In the Peldon Churchwardens' accounts there is a document revealing that Henry Bullock of Peldon had been assessed to pay 12 shillings Ship Tax in 1636. In Session Rolls, where Henry Bullock of Peldon was accusing a labourer of stealing a gelding in 1637, he is referred to as a yeoman.
The 1641 will of Henry Bullock of Purleigh, refers to a kinsman Henry Bullock of Peldon,
yeoman. [ERO D/AEW 21/122]
A Henry Bullock from West Mersea who died in 1646 [ERO D/ACW 14/221] left a property in Peldon called Little Haywards along with several Mersea properties some of which appear in sixteenth century Bullock wills from Great Wigborough. He had a wife, Martha, and two daughters, Mary and Martha. Whether he was the Peldon Henry Bullock who paid Ship Money in 1636 we don't know.
We have a fairly Comprehensive list of Peldon's churchwardens from the year 1692, when one
John Bullock, was closing a period, (probably a long one) in that office. It is possible that this John Bullock was a descendant of the John Bullock who formed one of the Homage of the West Mersea Court held at Pete Hall on behalf of King Edward VI, a few days before Michaelmas in 1547, and it is certain that he was an ancestor of Samuel, Churchwarden from 1758 - 1800.
It is therefore probable that the Bullock family served the parish and the church
faithfully on and off for at least 250 years. Peldon in Essex: Village Over the Marshes
During the eighteenth century, the Bullocks in Peldon are well documented. Another John Bullock appears in parish registers as Churchwarden at St Mary's, Peldon, from 1702 to 1704. Could he be John Bullock, the carpenter, mentioned in churchwardens' accounts in April 22nd 1716 who is paid 12s 2d for work and stuffe?
The Essex Records Office possesses a will from 1706 for Thomas Bullock, also a carpenter
(and churchwarden) whose son is John, to whom he leaves all such goods as belong to him &
mentioned in a certain Inventory now in his possession a week after my decease.
[ERO D/ABW 79/7]
Was the inventory all the tools of the carpentry trade which his son would need to carry on the family business?
In deeds for a property near the church Thomas Bullock, takes on the lease of the house now
known as Priest's House in 1694. [ERO An Abstract of Title of Messuage called Slyes in
Peldon 1657 - 1747 ERO D/Del T1/11] and it seems his son John lived there, probably until his death, followed by his son, Samuel.
Several times up until 1730 John is paid by the parish for manual jobs such as repairs and maintenance around the church and workhouse cottages.
On April 13 1723, a receipt from John Bullock to Mr Wilson makes it clear he is now
employing his son. He charges 5s for one day my self and man and sun.
On 28th November the same year, John Bullock, carpenter, receipted a bill for 8s 3d
for work done at the two poor houses and stuffe used by the order of Mr Digby.
It is likely it is Samuel Bullock who is John's sun mentioned in the 1723 bill already working with his father at the age of seventeen and six years later, in the Peldon marriage register there is a marriage between Samuel Bullock and Mary Miller in 1729.
The baptisms' register reveals a Samuel Bullock (c1700 - 1778) and wife Mary
(c 1700 - 1767) have six daughters and two sons; their first boy child, born in 1735, was Samuel junior.
In the Churchwardens' Accounts, John's name disappears after 1730 - there is a John Bullock in the burials register for Peldon in 1732. Then Samuel Bullock's name starts to appear regularly between 1732 and 1759. He was clearly continuing in the family business for there is an entry in the churchwardens' receipt book
August ye 15th (?) 1739 by Samuel bullock
For ye Crown in ye arch 12/8d
This was probably referring to the Royal Coat of Arms which an act of Edward VI obliged all churches to display and was sadly stolen from the church at the start of the twenty-first century. (A reproduction based on the Coat of Arms at East Mersea Church now hangs in its place).
In other entries in October 1732 Samuel Bullock is paid 8s for pales and nails and wood. In 1746 the work
itemised is 2 gates, 5 posts and ye work and the bill comes to £1.18.0.
In 1754 he is paid £1.06.4 for work and stuffe done at ye Church and Churchland and ye
Samuel and Mary's son, Samuel, born in 1736, enters the family business, judging by the apprentices' indentures listed below.
Documents listing both Samuels, father and son, include the following indentures for apprentices
3rd June 1751 the master is Samuel Bullock of Peldon, a carpenter, and the apprentice is Robert Crook
30th April 1760 the masters are Samuel Bullocks, Carpenters, and the apprentice, Thomas Haywood
2nd January 1764 the master is listed as Samuel Bullock Senior and the apprentice is Ja[me]s Wells
Registers of Duties paid for apprentices' indentures
It is clear that these apprentices often lived with their masters and, in the parish accounts, two boys from poor families who were 'on the parish' were living with Samuel junior. He was provided with cloth by the parish to clothe the boys.
1796 Jan 23 Cash laid out for the Boy Bunn and the boy Pooly
that live at Mr Bullocks for cloth 2/4/6
A list of freeholders' names for a Poll for a Knight of the Shire to represent the
County of Essex from 1763 lists both Samuels, father and son, and the Land Tax Redemption book from 1798 lists landowners including Samuel Bullock (junior). It is clear that Samuel Junior is now doing very well for himself and is in possession of land and properties across Peldon and subsequently in Wigborough.
Taking on posts within the community, Samuel Bullock (junior) was first elected as a churchwarden in 1758, re-elected in 1789 and then together with a man named Shepherd Hammers in 1797 to 1800. Samuel was also a parish overseer.
Samuel married a widow, Sarah Seabrook née Harvey in Peldon on 22nd April 1763. She was born about 1737 and died 1777 aged 40, from a still birth indicated by the inscription on the family tomb at Peldon. Samuel lost his father the next year in 1778.
In 1786 Samuel put a notice in the Chelmsford Chronicle (13.1.1786) advertising a new association of
landholders and other occupants in the different parishes of Winstree Hundred.
He urges them to meet him in The Peldon Rose to enter
into an association to prosecute horse-stealers and other felonious crimes or depredations committed against any of the said association
A receipt exists, dated 13/11/1792, for an insurance policy that Samuel took out on his
properties. Properties mentioned on the policy were Newports Farm and Sampsons
Wick Farm both of which were occupied by named carpenters, no doubt employed by Samuel.
Samuel died in 1814 aged 78 outliving all his children except Jane, his heiress.
As Kay Gilmour writes, he owned and farmed most of the land locally, employing most of the labour
his family connections with Peldon dated back to Commonwealth if not Tudor times. He owned
Peldon Hall, Newpotts, Sampsons, Eley's, Games and all the cottages and land that went
with them. He possessed orderliness and exquisite handwriting in his overseer's accounts.
Upon his death, Colchester Gazette notes he was in an advanced age, universally
respected and Kay Gilmour surmises he must have enjoyed one of the largest funerals
Peldon has ever seen.
Samuel's will, dated 6th November 1814 [ERO D/ABW 120/3/15], gives considerable detail about his family and property. He appoints three executors, described as his friends, John Wilkin of Inworth, Gentleman, John Cooke Spurden of West Mersea, Gentleman, and Edward Harvey of Great Horkesley, Gentleman. Samuel clearly owns a lot of land in Peldon, Great Wigborough, Little Wigborough, Salcott and the Rectory Manor in Peldon. He directs his executors to sell all his land and properties.
All and Every my Copyhold or Customary Messuages, Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments
whatsoever and wheresoever and holden of the several Manors of Great Wigborough with
Salcott, the Rectory of Peldon and Little Wigborough ... Also I direct [the executors] as soon
as convenient after my decease to make sale and dispose of All my household Goods and
Furniture, Farming stock, Crops of Corn and all other my personal Estate and Effects
He asks that all his debts be paid off, then lists the bequests to be paid once the sale of his estate is completed.
Also I give and bequeath unto my daughter Jane Creek, the wife of Mr Thomas Creek the sum
of one thousand pounds of lawful British money ... And I will and direct that the further sum of one thousand pounds to be placed out in the names of [the executors] either on good, real or Government security the Interest and proceed whereof I give and bequeath to my said daughter, Jane Creek, for and during her natural life to be paid her by two equal half-yearly payments.
He goes on to say that, following Jane's death, this thousand pounds should be shared
between any children she may have by her present or any future husband that she may leave
If Jane does not have children then he directs that his six grandchildren by a deceased daughter and son share the money. Samuel has two grandchildren by his late daughter, Elizabeth Jones (Elizabeth and William Jones) and four by his late son, Samuel, (Samuel, Thomas, Jane and Sarah Ann Bullock).
Samuel then bequeaths a thousand pounds to grandchildren Elizabeth and William Jones to be
paid upon their 21st birthdays. Five hundred pounds is left to the four grandchildren,
Samuel, Thomas, Jane and Sarah Ann Bullock, the two girls to receive their legacy at the
age of 21 and the two boys at the age of 25. In the meantime the money is to be kept in
trust that such interest be applied to their support and maintenance
Also I give and bequeath to my niece, Sarah Deeks* who lives with me the sum of £20 of lawful money for a suit of mourning and a ring at the discretion of my Executors. Also I give and bequeath to my friend Mrs Mary Bartholomew of Great Wigborough aforesaid widow the sum of £50 of like lawful money and to Edward Bartholomew her son I give and bequeath the sum of £10 which legacies I will direct shall be paid within six months of my decease.
* Sarah Deeks née Seabrook was Samuel's late wife's niece.
He also leaves £20 each to his three executors for their trouble.
Also I give to all my workmen 10 shillings each and to the wives of such as have any a black gown and gloves and to all the poor widows of Peldon who belong to that parish 5 shillings each to be paid them at my funeral.
After all bequests and funeral costs are met, Samuel directs all the remainder of his money
be equally divided between his daughter, Jane Creek, and the six grandchildren
share and share alike
The witnesses to the will are John Pooley Sen, John Pooley Junior and Robert Cunnington, the latter seems to be a clerk to the magistrates, commissioner of taxes and stamp distributor from Witham while the former are local landowners.
The will is proved on 17th April 1815 following Samuel's death in 1814.
Samuel's daughter, who seems to be the only child who outlives her parents, was Jane Bullock who married Thomas Creek from Great Wigborough.
The current owners of Brickhouse Farm (built, according to the British Listed Buildings website, circa 1780, although the owners believe it is from the era of Queen Anne in the early 1700s) believe the Bullocks lived in their house. It was known as The Red House, possibly because of the red roof tiles and is named as such in the tithe maps of the 1830s. The brick frontage which gives the farmhouse its present name was not built until it was restored after the 1884 earthquake.
The Bullocks' daughter Elizabeth, (1764 - 1811) together with a friend Jane Game (hence Games Farm, Peldon?) etched their names in a window of the Bullock household, the etching is dated 9th August 1785, confirming that the family were living in Brickhouse Farm.
Etching in an upstairs window in Brickhouse Farm.
It reads Jane Game August 9 1785 and Elizabeth Bullock
A copy of Samuel's will appears with the deeds for Honeysuckle cottage on Lower Road, Peldon. It is unlikely he lived there but it must have been part of his estate.
In his will, Samuel requests that he may be interred in the vault in Peldon Church Yard by the side of my
late beloved wife who is buried there. Samuel's parents, Samuel and Mary, are not buried in the tomb at St Mary's but his son, Samuel, predeceases him in 1810 and is buried there along with several other siblings who die young. Samuel's heiress, Jane Creek, who dies in 1823 is buried there although not her husband, Thomas Creek, whom she had married in Great Wigborough in 1807; he was to marry again.
The text from the badly worn stone of the Bullocks' table top tomb was transcribed some 20 years ago by the Essex Society for Family History and reproduced in a Graveyard Book held by St Mary's; fortuitously, since the tomb collapsed in the early part of the 21st century.
Below is the Bullock Family Inscription on their vault in Peldon Churchyard
In this vault / lyes SARAH the wife of / SAMUEL BULLOCK of this parish / and four of their children who
died / in their infancy / namely / SAMUEL LUFFE BULLOCK / AMMIRITT BULLOCK / RICHARD HARVEY BULLOCK / the other a still-born child of which / affliction she languished and died / the 26 Feb 1777 / and in the 40 yr of her age/ __ in this vault lieth / SAMUEL BULLOCK / son of / [broken] ___L BULLOCK of the above / [broken] AH BULLOCK his wife / died Sept 16th 1810 / aged 41 years/ [broken] this vault also lieth /__AMUEL BULLOCK /(___)band to the above / (__)RAH BULLOCK/ died Novr 23rd 1814 / aged / 78 years /
West end: In memory of the above / SARAH BULLOCK / six lines of indistinct verse
North side: firm as the earth the gospel stands / My Lord my hope my trust /If I am found in Jesus hand / My soul can never be lost / His honour is engaged to save / The meanest of his ___/ All that his heaven only (__) gave / His hand see (__) reaper / Nor _eath nor hell shall (___)/ His favour (---) his (___) / In the _____ love/ They must forever rest /
South side: Sacred to the memory of Jane the wife of THOMAS * CREEK and daughter of SAMUEL
BULLOCK / of this parish who departed this life / Oct 26 1823 aged 56 years / Eight lines of indistinct
verse follows ___
* I have amended this name from the original transcription from GREEN to CREEK
The collapse of the Bullock tomb at the start of this century enabled Colchester Archaeological Group to
examine the vault on 23rd February 2010, a report appears in the Colchester Archaeological Group magazine
Vol 51 2011. The article, A Watching Brief in Peldon Churchyard by Don Goodman
states the brief was to look at the backfill from the time of the vault's building in the hopes it may reveal
evidence of the earlier Saxon church built there. There were indeed many older bones and two skulls from
previous burials and the conclusion was the builders had little or no respect for earlier burials in the
vicinity of the new vault they were building. No Saxon pottery was uncovered although there were two Roman
pottery sherds. The Bullock's vault itself was partially under water. It revealed three brick partitions
running east/west and as was expected contained much rotted coffin material and skeletons. One coffin had a
highly decorated coffin plate on the lid possibly of copper or brass.
In the adjacent table top box tomb in Peldon Churchyard, daughter Elizabeth Jones, (who was probably the daughter responsible for etching her name in an upstairs window of Brickhouse Farm) and her husband, William Jones, surgeon of Tolleshunt D'Arcy are both buried. William died in 1798 and Elizabeth in 1811 at the age of 47. They had two children.
The Bullock family vault covered in ivy and in the foreground the tomb of William and Elizabeth Jones
Following the proving of Samuel's will, an auction of his properties was held, eight lots in all although tantalisingly names are not given for all of the buildings.
Particulars and Conditions of Sale of Several Valuable estates at Peldon and Wigborough, the late property of Mr Samuel Bullock deceased which will be sold by auction by James Thorn at the White Hart Inn, Colchester on Saturday the 1st day of July 1815 at 4 c'clock in the afternoon in eight lots
I believe Lot 1 was what is now known as Brickhouse Farm. The Cottage mentioned was Brickhouse Cottage, now replaced by a modern house. The Chaisehouse and granary are still there, a Grade II listed building.
Lot 1 A capital freehold brick messuage with two stables Chaisehouse and granary over the same, good Gardens and other convenient outbuildings the late residence of Mr Bullock situate in Peldon with 11a: 3r: 29p [acres rods and perches] or thereabouts of good arable pasture land thereto adjoining and a Cottage thereon in Three Roods of the Lot are Copyhold of the Manor of Peldon Rectory Subject to a Fine arbitrary on every admission, and the Land Tax is Redeemed.
Lot 2 is a farm called Copelands which seems to adjoin Lot 1 and comprises 21 acres.
Lot 3 is a desirable estate of 66 acres of arable and pasture land.
Lot 4 A further farm in Great Wigborough, Lot 4, is named as Bumsteads and Herstons with 44 acres.
Lot 5 Hill House Farm in Great Wigborough with 143 acres is lot 5.
From an 1801 indenture we find Samuel and his, at that point unmarried, daughter, Jane, had bought Bumsteads, Herstons and Hill House Farm, Great Wigborough
The entry for Lot 6 confirms that the Bullock family Carpentry business continued and given the location described as being opposite Brickhouse Farm is possibly the house now called The Old House.
Lot 6 A messuage or Tenement with a Carpenters Shop, Garden and Timber yard and suitable buildings situate in Peldon, in the occupation of Thomas Creek [Samuel's son-in-law] at will and opposite Lot 1.
Lot 7 comprised Two freehold Messuages divided into three Tenements adjoining the Church yard of Peldon and now
in the several occupations of John Wood, James Brown and ... Bush Tenants at will, with an oven and Bake House Office attached
It is known the bake house was close to the church. Church House and Priest's house between them seem to have housed bakery, bake house and office as well as living accommodation. Access to the deeds for Priest's House has confirmed these two houses comprised Lot 7 and as we have already seen, Priest's House, known as Slyes, was held by the Bullock family from 1694 . From deeds held by the owner of Priest's House, we know it remained in the Bullocks' hands until 1771 when it passed into other hands. However, in 1799 Samuel Junior entered into an agreement to buy the house, before it was sold at this auction upon his death.
Lot 8 is a Freehold Cottage or Tenement situated in Peldon in the occupation of ... Ruse Tenant at will with a yard or Garden thereto belonging.
From the deeds of Honeysuckle Cottage on Lower Road it would seem likely this is Lot 8 and it is Simon Ruse being referred to above.
By the 19th century censuses, starting in 1841, there are no members of the Bullock family in Little Wigborough
and those born in Peldon have scattered to Birch, Layer Breton, Layer de La Haye, Paglesham and Foulness.
In Great Wigborough, there are no entries for family members after the 1841 census, and even in 1841 it is just the
family of agricultural worker, William Bullock.
From the Peldon branch of the family, Jane Creek's widower, Thomas Creek married again and was listed amongst the Gentry and Clergy in Pigot's Trade Directory of 1839 living in 14, Lexden Road, Colchester. In his probate document of 1839 he still has properties in Peldon,
all my freehold messuages or tenements and Butchers shop cottages lands and hereditaments situate in Peldon
These are occupied by tenants, John Chignall, shopkeeper, James Whiting and George King and Thomas also leaves a leasehold farm and lands in Wigborough to his second wife Elizabeth. In the tithe awards of 1840, The Plough Inn is marked as belonging to the executors of Thomas Creek and John Chignall is the tenant.
Of Samuel Bullock's six grandchildren remembered in his will, all four of his late son's children were baptised as teenagers at Great Wigborough Church in 1814 not long before the death of their grandfather.
Grandson Samuel Bullock married and had a large family, having moved to Foulness by the 1841 census. He was working as an agricultural labourer in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses. His sister Jane remained unmarried and went to live with their other sister, Sarah Ann Clay, in Lambeth. Sarah's husband John was a tailor and draper and sister Jane a milliner. Brother Thomas Bullock, married with two boys, is listed as a commercial traveller in the 1851 census living in Islington.
Of the two children by daughter Elizabeth Jones, only William's baptism in Tolleshunt D'Arcy can be found in 1796. His sister Elizabeth was to marry into the May family from West Mersea and lived at Copt Hall, Little Wigborough, but her husband, William, died when she was just 29. Her uncle, Thomas Creek helped her to run the farm at Little Wigborough for a year before the Harvey family took it over. Elizabeth was to die young only three years after her husband. Susanna her only daughter to survive into adulthood went on to marry a widower, clergyman William Meymott Farley from Haddenham. She died in 1881 aged 60 in the parish of Cretingham, Suffolk where her husband was incumbent. He was to marry again and suffered a much-reported gruesome murder by his curate!
As we have seen, the Peldon branch of the Bullock family scattered far and wide but there are Bullocks still living on Mersea Island. I am certain they will be descendants of the original Bullocks who came over to Great Wigborough from Berkshire early in the 1500s. I'd love to hear from any of these Mersea Bullocks if they have researched their family tree!
Peldon History Project
Memoirs of the Family Bullock AD 1166 - 1905 The Reverend Llewellyn Christopher Watson Bullock Essex Records Office LIB/B/BULL
Parish Registers of Great & Little Wigborough by Mrs P.A.F. Stephenson
Monumental Inscriptions of St Mary the Virgin, Peldon Essex Records Office T/Z 151/234
Colchester Archaeological Group magazine Vol 51 2011 A Watching Brief in Peldon Churchyard by Don Goodman
The History of Essex Philip Morant 1768
The History of Essex Thomas Wright 1830
The Bullock Family of Great Wigborough
Robert and Liz Davidson