#52Ancestors ‘The Farmlands of South Fambridge’

Welcome to Week 17 of my Genealogy Challenge, from the wonderful Amy Johnson Crow, #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks, week 17’s prompt is “Land”.

I struggled a bit with an appropriate subject, I come from humble stock, there are no known Land Owners amongst any of my Family, so I settled on “working the Land”, I have my fair share of Agricultural Labourers amongst my Family. In fact too many to mention them all, individualy. So instead I will give you an overall feel for their working life and the areas that they worked.

The Chiddicks family worked the farm lands of Essex for over 100 years, initially in the tiny Village of South Fambridge in a tiny corner of Essex. So here is a sneak preview into the Village life of South Fambridge, Essex.

White’s Directory of Essex 1848  lists South Fambridge as small parish, with only 94 inhabitants and 1232 acres of land, so that should give you an idea of how small the Parish is!


The Farmers were:- Reuben Dines, Pulpit’s Farm; J. Keyes, of Little Stambridge; John Mew, of Canewdon; John Potter, Farmbridge Hall; and Mrs. Lawrence, victualler, Ferry Inn.

The Tithe Apportionment Maps for South Fambridge can be seen below.

South Fambridge Tithe Maps 1

South Fambridge Tithe Maps 2


South Fambridge Tithe Maps 3

South Fambridge Tithe Maps 4

South Fambridge Tithe Maps 5

I don’t know for certain the exact Farms that my Ancestor’s worked, but being such a small community, I am sure that they would have worked most of the Land in and around South Fambridge, during their lifetime.

After speaking to local residents many years ago, when I visited the Village, I was able to get a real ‘feel’ for what life must have been all those years ago, Some of the Families that lived their included, White, Caton, Ward, Stock and of course Chittock, as it was pronounced back then. There was also a family called Gunn who lived across the fields about a mile from the Village itself, who used to operate the rowing boat, which was the Ferry across the River Crouch. The Village itself was fairly sparse, there was a large Public House in a Victorian Building, called The Anchor (previously called The Ferry Boat), and there was just one road, which was lined with very humble Farm Labourer’s Cottages. All the inhabitants of the Village lived in these Cottages, apart from the Stock family who lived in the last Cottage on the edge of the Village.

For many years South Fambridge had a hotel and Inn. It was believed that the hotel was built to accommodate a new railway, which was due to cross the river and connect the north to the south coast, as a route for trade purposes.  Unfortunately the Railway did not materialise and the hotel remained and was a popular pub for all villagers to use from the surrounding areas.  The original pub, known as the Ferry Boat was built in 1851 and was later rebuilt in 1900 and remained until it was demolished and flats were built in its place in 2006.

Previous owners of the Pub, The Anchor (Ferry Boat Inn) can be found listed Here


(The Southend to Fambridge Stagecoach)

The Children would take the long walk to school every day, Children as young as 5, unless they could grab a lift on the Horse and Cart that delivered the milk.

The Village was set close to various waterways and there is a very old house backing onto the River, which local legend says was the original Anchor Pub and the haunt of Smugglers!

The Church (All Saints) is a small plain structure, which was built in 1846 and is on the road between Ashingdon School and the River and is now sadly disused. It was in this very Church, that some of my Chiddicks Ancestors worshipped, were Baptised in, Married in and although I cannot find any visible Graves or Markers, were buried in. Including my oldest Chiddicks Ancestor, my 4 x Great Grandfather, Samuel Chiddicks, who died in South Fambridge in 1816, aged 55.


Here is just a feel of what village life was like in South Fambridge, Essex all those years ago.

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