Chapter 4

My cousin Rita, in an unguarded moment, told me that our grandmother, Maria Mansfield, came from Hundon, in Suffolk. This lead me to the Parish Registers and Census Returns of Hundon enabling me to piece together this Tale of Our Mansfield forbears.[M1]

Hundon is a village set in green, undulating countryside, 3 1/2 miles to the Northwest of the market town of Clare. The old houses, clustered round the spacious graveyard of the Parish Church of All Saints (Figure 4.2 ) – are thatch-roofed. Two very ancient manors originally existed in the Parish – one dating back to the time of William Conqueror. Early in the 18th century, a James Vernon acquired this old manor. A very large and unusual memorial to Arethusa Vernon, his wife, who died in 1728, still stands in the graveyard – close to the South porch of the impressive Parish Church - with its clock tower and six bells – and beautiful stone carving on the parapet of the clerestory, and on the buttresses of the tower.

The church is easily accessible from the main street down a right of way. It was here that my grandparents Maria Mansfield and Hugh Chisholm were married.

Two village Inns stood in the main street – “The Red Lion” and “The Rose and Crown” (Figure 4.1). Maria’s father was Inn-keeper at one or other for thirty years.


Figure 4.1: “The Red Lion” (top) and “The Rose and Crown”.

The population of Hundon in the mid 1800s, when Maria was born, was around one thousand. An endowed school was enlarged in 1859, to take 80 children, among whom would have been Maria, her brothers, and sisters and cousins.

The Parish Registers of Hundon were kept from the mid 1500s. Unfortunately, in 1914 a fire caused very considerable damage to the interior of the church – and to the Parish Registers housed there. Fortunately, many of the Bishop’s Transcripts were in existence. These were microfilmed – not continuously for the Parish, as is usual, but in Deaneries, each year, which made for complicated and time consuming research. However, with the help of a reader in Salt Lake City, who understood the system, it has been possible to trace Maria’s family back through several generations to Isaac Mansfield, Maria’s great grandfather, a widower who married Mary Pitt in June 1768 [M.1]. They had a son, Peter, born in Hundon a year later.


Figure 4.2: Hundon Parish Church where Maria Mansfield and Hugh Chisholm were married.

Peter Mansfield was a farmer when he married Elizabeth Ann Burrows, and by her had two children – Elizabeth, in 1797 and Thomas in 1800. In the records of the baptisms of Peter’s next seven children, the mother is named Mary Ann Burrows – so presumably Elizabeth Ann died after Thomas was born, and Peter married her sister.

The youngest of the seven children of this second marriage, was John, my greatgrandfather, baptised at the age of 3 years, in 1823. By this time, Peter was an “old” man, in his 50’s, no longer a farmer, but an innkeeper.

Peter made a will in 1830, only days before he died, bequeathing considerable possessions – “land, houses, household furniture and stocks of beer, corn and potatoes” to his wife Mary Ann and desiring her to give 100 from his estate to his son Thomas.

John and his older brother George who were the only sons of the second marriage to survive well into adulthood, were trained in skilled occupations – John as a cabinetmaker, and George as a wheelwright.

The name “Mansfield”, derived from Old English, and meaning “Field by the hill” was very common in Suffolk. At the time of the first census of Hundon in 1841, there were a number of families of Mansfields in the village – all labourers or agricultural labourers. In the nearby village of Kedington, pronounced “Ketton”, and still in the parish of Hundon, Thomas Mansfield, aged 35, is recorded living in the High Street, with John Mansfield , aged 20, a cabinetmaker. This is Thomas, Peter’s eldest son by his first marriage, and John, his youngest son by his second.

Thomas is described as an “Independent”.

In 1845, John Mansfield married Ann Martin (Figure 4.3), daughter of Samuel Martin, an independent carpenter in Clare. They were married in the Parish Church of Clare, Ann’s eldest brother Robert, who was also a carpenter, being one of the witnesses. The young couple moved to Hundon sometime after the birth of their first son, Roger.


Figure 4.3: Ann Mansfield (ne e Martin).

The 1851 Census records John as Innkeeper at the Rose and Crown, probably doing some cabinet making – perhaps making the coffins for the village. George, his brother, was also married with children and a master wheelwright employing two men.

In 1861 the census shows John, now Innkeeper at the Red Lion, George having taken over at the Rose and Crown. In 1871, they were still there – John and Anne with their family now 6 in number – ranging from 23 to 9 years of age [M.1]. Roger, the eldest was a clerk, Ellen and Maria, young ladies of no special occupation, Frank aged 17, who was witness at Maria’s wedding two years later – and Alice and Harriet were 14 and 9 and both students at school.

White’s Directory of 1874 lists John Mansfield – Victualler, still at the Red Lion, but by the 1881 Census, John, his wife and family were no longer living in Hundon. I have found no record of a marriage for Roger. Maria married Hugh Chisholm in September, 1873. Ellen married later that year. Alice married George Scales, son of a well-to-do family of brewers in Cambridge, in 1879. What happened to Harriet, the youngest, I do not know.

The 1881 Census of Cambridgeshire, shows John and Ann Mansfield now living at 19 Ferry Path, in Chesterton – just to the north of Cambridge, with Frank their son, aged 26, and unmarried. Rita told me that Frank was an asthmatic – as was her mother.

This census shows Alice and George Scales not long married, living at the Scales Hotel on the Chesterton Road – with one maid. Maria and Hugh Chisholm with 3 children were also in Cambridge in 1881 – at 29 Union Street – Hugh’s occupation given as travelling draper.

I don’t know where or when John and Ann Mansfield died. The only photograph Rita gave me, of our family, was probably of Ann – an old lady with large hands, the joints swollen with arthritis. It was taken by a Studio photographer in Cambridge, between 1891 and 1901 – when Ann would have between 70 and 80 years of age. John’s brother George Mansfield died at the ripe old age of 87, in Hundon, in 1894.

The Mansfields, one way or another, were connected with the liquor industry! Peter and his sons, George and John, were all Innkeepers. John’s daughter, Alice, married into a wealthy Cambridge family of brewers, and his grand-daughter Alice, my mother’s sister, married a publican, in London! It is small wonder that my mother kept quiet about her Chisholm and Mansfield forbears to her in-laws in Dunedin!

4.1 Martin

Ann Martin who married John Mansfield, was born in 1819 in Clare, Suffolk.

Clare is a very ancient town – a little market town with spacious streets and some fascinating old houses. Several are decorated with Suffolk pargetting, dating back to the 15th century. The Castle which stood at the junction of the Chiltern River and the Stour, was built in Saxon times and is mentioned in the Domesday Survey. Only some earthworks and a fragment of the Keep remain. Lady Elizabeth de Burgh who lived there founded Clare Cottage, in Cambridge – and the grapes of the old vineyard are thought to have given the name to Claret.

Our Martins, the forbears of Ann, were carpenters.[M2] The Parish Registers of Clare date from the 1600’s. It is possible to trace the family back to the mid 1700s, with certainty, to Ann’s great grandparents, Richard and Isabella Martin.

They had a family of 5 sons and 3 daughters. Their eldest son, Robert, was born in 1749. He was a carpenter, when he married Ann Robinson in July 1771. She was a daughter of George Robinson and Ann Oliver, also of Clare – George is named as a witness at the marriage.

Robert and Ann Martin also had 8 children. Two of their sons died young, Robert, their second son in infancy and Richard the youngest at 13 years. George, the eldest, died two years after his father in 1807. The three remaining sons – a second Robert born in 1775, Samuel in 1778 and Joseph in 1784, all became carpenters.

Robert Martin, the father made a will just before he died in 1805. He named George and Robert, his sons, as executors with their mother Ann. He was a man of some means, bequeathing “estates, household goods, furniture, plate and linen” to his wife, and after her death or remarriage, his estate was to be divided equally among his sons and daughters. Also, he authorized and desired his wife to give to his children who married after his death – “A bed, bedstead and furniture”!

Samuel, the middle son of the three, who become our Ann’s father – was presumably thus set up when he married Prudence Buffet in 1811. The name Buffett is spelled thus in the original Parish Register – but in Boyd’s Marriage Index, where Samuel and Prudence’s marriage is recorded, the name is given as Bassett. Prudence signed her name with a cross on the marriage register – in the presence of Robert Martin, Samuel’s older brother.

Samuel and Prudence had 5 children.[M3] Their eldest, yet another Robert, became yet another carpenter, and married Emma, a dressmaker. Samuel, 4 years younger, became a journeyman shoemaker. His wife, Ursula, was also a dressmaker.

Then came Anne, their first daughter. In 1838, when Anne was 19 years of age, Prudence died, aged 57, the cause of death given on her Death Certificate – “Inflammation”. The 1841 Census for Clare, shows Anne, aged 22, at home at Nethergate Street with her father, described as an Independent Carpenter, her younger brother James, a coachman’s apprentice and Elizabeth, 10 years old and a “scholar”.

Four years later Anne married John Mansfield, a young cabinetmaker from Hundon. Sometime after the birth of their first child, Roger, they moved to Hundon, where the rest of their children were born – including Maria, my grandmother.

By the 1851 Census, Samuel was 72 years old, had retired and was living with his son Samuel, the shoemaker and his family. In 1858, Samuel Martin died, described on his Death Certificate as an Alms man formerly a carpenter. The cause of death – old age.