Friday, 12 August 2016

Back with the Grace family at Pippen Hall Farm

Now I like the way a story takes on a new life and goes off in all sorts of directions.

Pippenhall Farm, circa 1900
Earlier in the month I revisited an old story about Pipenhall Farm and the Grace family.*

The farm was on the southern side of Bexley Road almost opposite Glenesk Road and appears on the tithe map of the 1840s, and I have no doubt with a bit of digging I could get much further back in time.

It also features in a few of the books about Eltham which make reference to Mr Grace. “whose family farmed here in Victorian times and into the 20th century.”*

The same spot today
Now the Grace family were here by the June of 1841 but had originated in the Midlands.  Old Mr Grace may have been born in Nottinghamshire and his wife Ann Fryer in Leicestershire, but he had died in 1842 leaving Ann to bring up their four children

She variously described herself as a “cow keeper,” “dairy farmer” and “market gardener” which was the occupation her son John gave later adding “farmer.”

If I have read the tithe schedule correctly back in 1841 the family were renting a mix of meadow land with a small orchard which would fit with the description of dairy farmer and market gardener.

To be honest I first posted the story last year, inspired by some pictures sent to me by Chrissie Rose and as lots more people now read the blog it seemed a good idea to publish it again.

And I am glad I did because my old friend Tricia went off to uncover more of the story of the Grace family.

As she said “I have been doing a bit of Miss Marpling and have compiled a draft of the Grace family tree.

John Vincent Grace, date unknown
It appears that Pippin Hall farmhouse was situated on the south side of Bexley Road 1,200 yards east of the church. It was built in the mid 17century

According to The House of Lords Session Papers dated 1838, Pippin hall consists of a messuage or farmhouse and several parcels of land containing about 236 acres in the parish of Eltham.

I found John Vincent Grace born 1881 an interesting character.

He shows up as “Infant Grace” on the 1881 census as he was only 6 days old living at Elm Villas Eltham.

In 1911 he was living at 3 Southwood Cotts Southwood Rd New Eltham but it seems that after his fathers death in 1915 he moved to Pippin Hall.

In 1899 when he was 18 he was serving in the military in the second Boer war attached to Mafeking Railway Volunteers winning a medal.

Lucy, Kitty and John Henry Grace, 
Sadly he died on the 9th March 1931 age 49 at Kent County Mental Hosp Maidstone and was buried at Sidcup  March 12 1931.

The previous address before he went into the mental hospital was Cambria, Halfway St, Sidcup. Probate to Harry Gower Contractors effects £2,182.65 dated 20.5.1931.

I mistakenly missed out two of John Vincent's children from the tree, William born 1912 and Lucie born 1914.”

Nor has Tricia finished because she has gone looking for the medal John was awarded, and tells me that there are other clues to follow up.

All of which promises an interesting part three and maybe four or five.



Research; Tricia Lesley

Location; Eltham

Pictures; Pippenhall Farm, date unknown and the same spot today, courtesy of Chrissie Rose, and Grace family tree, and John Vincent Grace, and Lucy, Kitty and John Henry date unknown from the collection of Tricia Lesley

* Down on Bexley Road looking for Pippenhall Farm and the Grace family, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/down-on-bexley-road-looking-for.html?spref=fb

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