John Ward and The Gatwick Estate

 

John Ward

 Photo: Can be seen on display in the Cater Museum, 74 High Street, Billericay

Photo: Can be seen on display in the Cater Museum, 74 High Street, Billericay

John Ward was born in 1762 to wealthy parents, Samuel and Ann Ward.  Samuel Ward owned Samuel Ward and Co, a merchants and manufacturers associated with clothworking based in Guildford. In 1786 John was appointed a Freeman of the Clothworkers Guild, and in 1824-5 Master of the Clothworkers Guild inferring that he was also engaged in his father’s business.  In 1805 he was recorded as a goldsmith of Ludgate Street in the City of London and in 1817 he was described as a silversmith of Ludgate Hill, indicating that he was also engaged in the jewellery trade.

In 1795 he married Mary Ward.  The couple had six children: George Edward who died before 1849, Henry Ward born 1801, Robert John born 1812, and John Martyr, Mary Olivia and Florence Frances for whom birth dates are unknown.

In 1787 John Ward purchased Lockers Hall from John Price.  This purchase followed the marriage of his sister Mary to Peter D’Aranda who was appointed curate at St Mary Magdalene, Great Burstead the same year, bringing him to the area. Lockers Hall is an impressive three storey house which still faces the fields from the opposite side of Southend Road, with a magnificent Cedar Tree believed to be around 200 years old in the front garden.  

John Ward then made a series of acquisitions including Mill Hill House (which later became known as Gatwick House) in 1808, Greens Farm in 1812 and Oak Farm (by 1839). Further acquisitions followed, by John Ward’s son Henry Ward in 1868, of land including the windmill and mill cottages, and by his Grandson Alexander Ward, of Hurlocks Farm in 1879, these purchases extended the family ownership to cover an area of almost 150 acres centred around Gatwick House including all the land lying between Southend Road and Greens Farm Lane and reaching as far as South Green.  Together it was known as The Gatwick Estate.

The estate was passed down through the Ward family from the death of John Ward in 1849 until its sale in 1962 as follows:

1849 – death of John Ward, ownership of Lockers Hall, Gatwick House, Greens Farm and Oak farm passed to his son Henry Ward (1801-1872)

1872 – death of Henry Ward, ownership of Lockers Hall, Gatwick House, Greens Farm, Oak Farm, Mill Cottages and windmills passed to Henry Ward’s eldest son John Henry Ward (1849-1911)

1907 – Alexander Ward died passing ownership of Hurlocks Farm to his nephew, Henry Ward (1886-1965)

1911 – John Henry Ward died, ownership of Lockers Hall, Gatwick House, Greens Farm, Oak Farm, Mill Cottages and windmills passed to his son Henry Ward (1886-1965)

During the time of the Ward’s ownership the land was divided between three farms, Hurlocks, Greens and Oak Farm.  The proportion allocated to each farm varied from time to time and was all occupied by tenant farmers.

The Ward Family

Henry Ward (1801-1872)

Henry Ward was married to Mary Dalgleish (died 1877). They had five children, sons John Henry (1849-1911), Alexander (1852-1907) and Charles and two daughters Janet (1851-1937) and Fanny.

1868 - paid £100 to George Wood for more land including the windmill

1872 - died leaving his estate to his eldest son John Henry Ward

 

John Henry Ward (1849-1911)

1879 - purchased Hurlocks from Job Jeffrey Salter.

1885 - married Jose Elizabeth (1852-1922) and had one son, Henry (1886-1965)

1911 - died, ownership passed to his son Henry Ward (1886-1965)

 

Alexander Ward (1852-1907)

1879 - purchased Hurlocks farm but continued to live in London, practicing law

1875-89 - made routine visits to Samuel Ward and Co. His diaries reveal a busy social life including visits to Billericay mainly to participate in fox hunting.

1893-1905 - appointed Secretary of the Essex Union Hunt and President of the Billericay Cricket Club

1894 - moved to Lockers Hall as a tenant of his brother John Henry. Purchased additional land to the north and west of the house and the garden on the opposite side of Southend Road

1895 - Married Florence Emily Cunningham Scott (1860-1943), they had no children

1896-1906 - JP on the local bench

1897 - secretary to the Essex Union Hunt and President of Billericay Cricket Club

1907 - died, the estate passing to his nephew, Henry Ward (1886-1965). Florence Ward remained in residence at Lockers Hall until her death in 1943.

A 1916 survey showed Mrs Ward kept one horse but employed no labour, and we have a photograph of her on horseback. Later she employed a gardener/chauffeur; Len Quartermain who, with his family, lived rent free at Mill Cottages, another of the family’s properties. Len remained in her employment until her death.

 

Henry Ward (1886-1965)

1886 - born, the only son of John Henry Ward and Jose Elizabeth Ward

1962 - sold Greens Farm and Hurlocks Farm to the Metropolitan Railway Company Estates for development shortly before his death. So ended the ownership of Mill Meadows by the Ward family.

 

The Ward family chose to be buried in Gt Burstead churchyard. The plot may be found about ten yards in from the gate to the cemetery car park. There are also memorials within the Church.

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