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Hullbridge Village History

The Fitch Family

In accordance with The History of Rochford Hundred published 1867 Author Philip Benton page 292 the history of High Elms is as follows- " High Elms " was formerly the property of Thomas Sly, of Rochford Hall, who retired to Baddow, where he died, and was buried February 8th, 1779, and left this estate to his wife, Mary Elizabeth Sly, who was interred with her husband May 14th, 1808. (She was youngest daughter of Thomas Brewitt, of Crow's Heath, and sister of Mrs. Thomas Fitch.)
She be-queathed it to her nephew, John Fitch, then tenant, who died in 1840. This family date from an early period, and claim descent from the Fytches, of Canfield Hall, who were related to the family of Wiseman, of Felstead. Some of the Fytch's were knights and baronets, which latter title became extinct circa 1736. William Fytch in the 17th century owned Danbury Place, Woodham Walter Hall, and the manor of Fingrith, in Blackmore. He took down the once splendid mansion of Woodham Walter Hall, the ancient seat of the noble families of Fitzwalter and Radcliffe, and divided the park, consisting of 900 acres, into farms. Many of the Fytch family are here interred, and likewise at Danbury, where a very old escutcheon of one of them still exists.
The Disneys, of the Hyde, Ingatestone, are descended from this family through Elizabeth, daughter of William Fytch, governor of Bengal.
The first of this family known in Hockley was Thomas Fitch who was bom at Fingrith Hall, Blackmore, which he left upon his marriage to reside at High Elms. He is said to have been the first who spelt the name Fitch, and he had an old escutcheon long preserved at High Elms, bearing the ancient arms of the family, which are " Vert, a chevron between 3 leopard's faces. Or."
This Thomas Fitch, called "handsome Tom Fitch," married twice. His first wife was a Miss Riley, aunt to Jesse Newcombe, of Orsett, who died childless. The name was formerly spelt Fytche and Pfytche. Ffrancis Ffytohe, and Margaret his wife, were owners of the manor of North Bemflete Hall, temp Eliz, (See the manuscript of Bayleigh honor.) His second was a widow named Elizabeth Waight,* of Blunts, in this parish. He was churchwarden of Hockley for 42 years, farmed the great tithes of the parish, and died at High Elms, July 21, 1799, aged 68. His wife Elizabeth died August 22nd, 1797, aged 78. He had two sons, Thomas and John who in 1795, during a severe frost, walked over the water at HuUbridge on the ice at high water, and on February 4th, of the same year, a horse and cart went over at the same place on the ice at half channel.
The eldest son, Thomas Fitch, was drowned February 9th, 1783, aged 21 years. This unhappy event took place in the river Crouch between Cricksea and Fambridge Ferry, when returning in his yacht from a pleasure excursion to Burnham. His body was found after 9 weeks immersion, and an expenditure of £500 for dragging the river opposite Raypits, on April 13th, and buried under his father's pew on Good Friday, April 18th. John^ his brother, was born at High Elms on the 19th of August, 1768, and married Etheldred of Barnard from Brick House, Beaches Common. He was churchwarden for 40 years, and died May 29th, 1840, aged 71 years. The vestry at Hockley was built over the family vault in 1854, and there is an inscription on the wall referring to their right of sepulture. The entrance to this vault is from the outside. He had 16 children, 8 of whom are buried in this place. He sold High Elms, the bequest of Mrs. Sly, in 1827, to William Truston, a grocer of Brentwood, who married a sister of Thomas Laver, of Prittlewell Temple. Miss Truston married Charles * This lady married three times amd her maiden name was Elizabeth Brewitt, of Crows Heath, Downham, and she married from there to — Geoffry or Jeffrey ; her seoond husband was — Waight, of Blunts, by whom she had two children, a son and a daughter. The daughter, Elizabeth Waight, married Bobert Laver, father of Thomas Laver, of Prittlewell Temple. f Etheldreda Barnard was bom 10th April, 1773. Her father was a Quaker, who removed from Woodham Mortimer to Beaches Common. He married twice, Etheldreda being his daughter by his second wife, a Miss Cooper, from Danbury. Teissier Master, formerly of Saffiron Walden, and now of Rollesby Hall, near Norwich, (late the residence of Joseph Hume,) who has this estate for life, with reversion to his daughter, the wife of Maurice Bird, a grandson of William Hilton, of Danbury. The house was partly pulled down after John Fitch left it, and a new frontage erected.

Thomas Fitch

On 27th Feb 1818 a piece of land known as Hockley Hill in the manor of Hockley was transferred from Thomas Fitch of Hockley and Ethelred his wife to William Truston

William Truston 17??-1838.

Many of the villagers whose property was once part of High Elms Farm have similar property deeds which contain a document dated October 31st 1923 being an "Abstract of the Title" of Messrs D.G. Best and W.J.Beach. An "Abstract of the Title" is a condensed history, taken from public records or documents, of the ownership of a piece of land.
The document starts at the date 17th Aug 1838, being the will of William Truston of Haveringwell in the parish of Hornchurch.
The property is listed as 4 farm lands and hdts(?) the greater portion being "Copyhold"(an explanation of this term is from Wikipedia:
"Copyhold tenure was a form of feudal tenure of land common in England from the Middle Ages until the 19th century, and surviving in residual form until 1922.
The land was held according to the custom of the manor, and the mode of landholding took its name from the fact that the "title deed" received by the tenant was a copy of the relevant entry in the manorial court roll. A tenant who held land in this way was known as a copyholder.)"

and a small part being "Freehold" in the Parish of Hockley, then in the respve(?) occupancy of Wm. Law and Noble Parker.
The will's beneficiaries through executors William's wife Elizabeth Truston, Thomas Mashiter, John Cooper and John Bearblock were Elizabeth Truston and his only daughter Eliza (wife of Charles Teissier Master) and the grandson of William, Charles Truston Master the son of Eliza.