Notes on some of those mentioned in the Colchester pedigree
In an account of his ancestors, a transcript of which is preserved in Davy's Suffolk Collections, Robert Alefounder says of his "great-grandsire", presumably Edmund, that he was "a Captain in the Navy, who with his ship and ship's crew was lost at sea and no tidings were ever heard of them". This account is not altogether consistent with Edmund having been buried at All Saints', Colchester in 1713. I am inclined to think the account is untrue or is meant to apply to some earlier ancestor. There was an Edmund Alefounder from Colchester who died at sea in 1725: he does not appear to have been a Captain and I do not know how he is related to any other Alefounder - the only legatee named in his will was a friend, William Blunt, also a mariner.
Alefounder Close, Colchester was named after John Alefounder (1701-63), his son John (1731-87) and grandson John (1757-94). (Bensusan-Butt, J., 1996, personal communication).
Carpenter, builder and timber merchant, son of Edmund, above. He was apprenticed to Henry Bevan, carpenter of Colchester in 1715 and took his freedom in 1725. As a consequence of this, no fewer than 11 of his descendants were admitted freeburgesses by right of birth. He was chosen as a coroner in 1738 and was one of the first Assistants appointed under the new charter granted to Colchester in 1763.
According to Robert Alefounder's account in Davy's Suffolk Collections, he lived in a house on the south side of East Hill in Colchester and became quite wealthy, leaving the bulk of his fortune, £30000, to his eldest son (Upcher), who wasted it. I am not entirely convinced that this great fortune ever existed, the details Robert gives about the distribution of the estate are not in accordance with John's will. He died in 1763 and was buried at St James', Colchester.
Carpenter, architect and surveyor (Meissner, 1983), son of John, above. I know of no definite surviving example of his work, although it is suggested (Bensusan-Butt, 1972) that he was the architect for the house called the Minories in Colchester, now used as a gallery for modern art.
In 1756, he was living in Castle-street in London:
He was declared bankrupt in 1762 [Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser 28 September, 1762]:
To be SOLD by AUCTION, By ROBERT HEATH. To-morrow, at Five in the Evening, at Binn's Coffee-house in New Bond-street, A New well-built Brick House, situated in John-street, Oxford-Market, and now lett for five Years certain, at 28l. per Annum, subject to a Ground Rent of 2l. 19s. per Annum, held by Lease under the late Countess of Oxford, for an unexpired Term of 97 Years from Lady-Day last. For further Particulars enquire of Mr. John Alefounder, Carpenter, in Castle-street, the Back of Long Acre ; or of Mr Heath in Broad-court, Bow-street, Covent-Garden. [Public Advertiser 22 July 1756]
John Alefounder, now or late of St. George, Bloomsbury, in the County of Middlesex, Carpenter, Surveyor, Dealer and Chapman, to surrender on the 30th instant, and on the 6th of October at Ten in the Forenoon, and 6th November at Four in the Afternoon, at Guildhall, London.Progress in his case was reported in the same paper on 14 November 1768:
John Alefounder, of Homerton, in the parish of St. John Hackney, Middlesex, builder, to surrender the 19th and 25th instant, and 24th of December, at four in the afternoon, at Guildhall, London.—Attorney, Mr. Exley, in Chancery-lane, London.and finally on 25 September 1769:
He enlisted the help of his brother Robert in the sale of a house and estate in 1764. Ipswich Journal March 17th:
Final Dividend: John Alefounder, of Homerton, in the parish of St. John Hackney, Middlesex, builder, the 14th of October, at ten in the forenoon, at Guildhall, London.
A MANSION-HOUSE (fit for a large Family) in the most pleasant Part of Suffolk, situated three Miles West of St. Edmund's Bury, in a good Neighbourhood, with a Coach-Road to the Door: The said House consists of an elegant Hall, Dining-Parlour, Salloon, Drawing-Room, two small Parlours, seven good and convenient Bed-Chambers, and Garrets over ditto, with proper Offices and Servants Bed-Rooms over them, and good Cellaring under the said Offices; Stabling for ten Horses, double Coach-house, Graneries, Pidgeon-house, &c. four Acres of Garden-ground (including the Ground the Buildings stand on) and twenty-four Acres of rich Pasture-Land adjoining to the said Garden.----And there may be had a Barn, Stable, and Cart-Lodge, joining to the said Pasture-Land, with ninety-two Acres of Arable, Pasture, and Meadow-Land, and near three Acres of Wood-Land.An announcement in the Daily Advertiser, 15th & 17th December, 1772, shows that he was then living in Spa-Field:
And a small Estate situated two miles West of St. Edmund's Bury, which consistes of a double Cottage, Barn, Stable, and ten Acres of rich Pasture-Land, and 31 Acres of Open-field Land.
The above Estates are part Freehold and part Copyhold, at a Fine certain of Two Shillings an Acre, no Fine on any Buildings on the said Estates, and the said Buildings have been lately put in good Repair.
N.B. For further Particulars please to apply to Mr. Alefounder, Surveyor, at the Angel in St. Edmund's Bury; Mr. Alefounder, Grocer, in Colchester; or of Mr. Hargreaves, Upholster, &c. in St. Martin's-Lane, London, where a Plan and Elevation of the Buildings, &c. may be seen.
TO be lett, opposite Knightsbridge-Chapel, six new, neat, and well-finished Houses, each consisting of two good Kitchens, Wine-Cellar, two Coal-Vaults, two Parlours, two Dining-Rooms, a large Closet, a Well-Staircase, Mahogony Hand-Rails, four Marble Chimney-Pieces, ornamented Stucco Cornices, and four large square Bed-Rooms and Closets, &c. and a new neat House next to ditto, three Rooms on a Floor. Enquire for the Clerk of the Works, at the Fox at Knightsbridge ; or of Mr. Alefounder, No. 6, Spa-Field, Clerkenwell.In 1774 he was appointed District Surveyor of St. Luke, Old Street and the Liberty of Glasshouse Yard (Colvin, 1954). Around this time he was living at 17, Ave Maria (or Mary) Lane, just to the west of St. Paul's Cathedral. St James Chronicle or the British Evening Post Thursday 19 January 1775, issue 2174:
To be LETT or the lease to be SOLD. A convenient House with four Rooms on a Floor in thorough Repair, and in a good situation, within five Minutes Walk of the Royal Exchange.Other advertisements up to 1777 show him living at the same address. John Alefounder was also involved in the recycling of fittings. Daily Advertiser Friday 21 February 1777 issue 14409:
For further Particulars enquire at Mr Alefounder's, No. 17, Avemary-lane, Ludgate-Street ; or a line directed to A.B. to be left at the Rainbow Coffee-House, Cornhill.
In 1777 he moved to a house facing Moorfields, part of or in front of Dove Court. This property was the subject of a court action brought by the seller, one George Weston, who alleged that John Alefounder had taken over the house but refused to accept the lease and to pay him. The agreement, dated 26 March 1777, was that John Alefounder would take over a 7¼ year lease running from the previous Christmas for £57 10s, plus £12 5s. for fixtures, at an annual rent of £33 10s and also pay the legal costs and for repairs and improvements carried out by George Weston. In his answer, John Alefounder says that he offered to pay the £57 10s, the rent, £12 5s for fixtures, plus £40 for the repairs even though he considered that he had been "imposed upon" (overcharged) by £6 for this item, but no more than the agreed maximum of 10 guineas (£10 10s) for legal expences. Google Books), Dove Court "is in the Pavement, Moorfields, four houses south from Ropemaker's-street". It is not clear whether the building on the south side of the passage to Dove Court was entirely seperate or whether it connected to the main house via the upper stories.
To be SOLD, Tomorrow, at TwelveALL the old wooden Materials, Sashes and Glass, Iron Hinges, belonging to a large old House and Office, situate near Coleman-street. For the Particulars, please to enquire of Mr. Alefounder, Architect, No. 17, Avemaria lane.
Wanted a large two-stall Stable and Hayloft over ditto, near Coleman Street.
In his answer, John Alefounder mentions that he inspected the house in the company of his son and nephew, neither named specifically. The son was presumably John, the artist, who had been living with him in Ave-maria Lane. The nephew could have been John son of Upcher, or either of the then living sons of James who had died in 1774, their mother having re-married, Robert or James Upcher.
John Alefounder moved from Dove Court in 1779. Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser Monday 26 April 1779 issue 15663:
By 1784, it appears that he had moved to 3, City Gardens. Public Advertiser Saturday 22 May 1784 issue 15597:
By HENRY TERRY On the premises, on Wednesday next, at eleven o'clock, by order of the ProprietorTHE valuable lease of a Capital brick-built dwelling-house, which contains four rooms on a floor, three stories high, the whole neatly fitted up, and in perfect condition, with spacious cellars, large wide vaults, and domestic conveniencies, pleasantly situated the corner of Dove court, on the Paved stones, Moorfields, in the occupation of Mr. Alefounder, (who is going to leave off housekeeping.) At the same time will be sold part of the household furniture, an exceeding large copper, and other valuable effects. The estate and effects may be viewed tomorrow the 27th Instant.
Catalogues and particulars may be then had on the premises; and at Henry Terry's cabinet and upholstery warehouse, Avemaria-lane.
Wednesday night Mr Alefounder was stopped at the End of the City Gardens by three Footpads, who robbed him of Twelve Guineas.Following his death in 1787, this house was offered for sale, together with the contents. Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser Thursday 13th September 1787, issue 18332 (and repeated the next day):
The Administrator was his son, George. Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser Monday 17 September 1787 issue 18335:
By JAMES LUCASBy direction of the Administrator of Mr. John Alefounder, deceased, (late one of the District Surveyors) on the premises, No. 3, in the City-Gardens, near the City Road, in the parish of St. Mary, Islington, on Wednesday the 19th instant, at eleven o'clock.
THE valuable LEASE of his Dwelling-house, comprising one of the neatest residences about the parish it stands in, with garden, l.o.-house, green-house, melon and cucumber frames, stable, wash-house, and every wished-for convenience ; a back-door which opens into the field : 2 : years unexpired at Midsummer last, subject to a small-rent of 15l. per annum.
Also on that and the following day will be sold all his near genteel household furniture, together with his valuable collection of curious exotic, green-house, and hot-house plants, scarce to be equalled.
May be viewed Monday, Tuesday, and the mornings of sale, when catalogues may be had on the premises, and of James Lucas, auctioneer, No. 66, Chiswell-street, Moorfields.
ALL Persons having any claim or demand on the Estate of Mr. JOHN ALEFOUNDER, late of the parish of St. Mary, Islington, in the county of Middlesex, Surveyor, deceased, are desired to deliver an account thereof to Mr T. Bryan, No. 6, St. James's Buildings, Roserton's-street, Clerkenwell ; and all persons indebted to the Estate of the said deceased, are desired forthwith to pay the same to the said Mr. Bryan, who is duly authorised by George Alefounder, the son and Administrator of the goods of the said deceased, to receive, and give a proper discharge for the same.
Artist, son of John, above. Born in the London area, married Maria Jane Curd or Evans (name as given in John's will, I have not yet found the marriage), moved to India where he eventually committed suicide. During his time in India he retained contact with his relatives by letter; one he wrote to his cousin Philip Havens has been preserved. A detailed account of his life and work is on a separate page.
Accused by Robert Alefounder of wasting an inheritance that may never have existed (see note for John Alefounder, above), Upcher certainly went bankrupt. He appears in a list of bankrupts in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1756 (vol. 26 p. 92), where he is described as a "staymaker". However, in the following item from the Ipswich Journal he is said to be a "baymaker", which is to say a maker of bays (now usually spelt baize), a type of woolen cloth. The general magazine of Arts and Sciences, philosophical, philological, mathematical, and mechanical, vol 9, p258 also lists him as a baymaker.
Ipswich Journal, Saturday 1st May 1756 (page 3, column 2, item 6):
THE CREDITORS who have proved their Debts under a Commission of Bankrupt awarded and issued forth against UPCHER ALEFOUNDER, of COLCHESTER in the County of Essex, Bay-Maker, are desired to meet on MONDAY next, the Third Day of May, at Three o'Clock in the Afternoon, at the House of Elizabeth Pack, Widow, called or known by the Name or Sign of the RED LION, in Colchester, in order to empower the Assignees of the Estate and Effects of the said Bankrupt to commence one or more Suit or Suits at Law or in Equity, or to compound, agree, or submit to Arbitration. any Matter in Dispute relating to the said Bankrupt's Estate, and on other Affairs touching the same ; and all Persons indebted to the said Bankrupt, are desired immediately to pay the same to the Assignees, or they will be sued for the same.
A settlement certificate, dated 8 April 1749, allowed him to move from the parish of St Peter to St James, Colchester. Perhaps this was connected to his forthcoming marriage to Alice Hemsted (20 November 1750, in Little Cornard, Suffolk). After his lack of success in the bay making business, he appears to have joined the Customs service, and must have recovered his fortunes. He was admitted as a Freeburgess of Colchester on 26th January 1764 (Essex Record Office ref. D/B5 Cb2/37), being listed as an Officer in the Customs. He appears in a poll book of 1768, living in Brightlingsea as a tide surveyor, although is not recorded as having voted for any of the candidates. In 1774, Mr Samuel Johnson was elected as Headman by the freeburgesses of Colchester, South Ward, and he nominated Upcher Alefounder as a Fellow. Upcher Alefounder was one of the signatories of the Address in 1775 to King George III from various prominent inhabitants of Colchester, concerning the "unhappy Disturbances in your Majesty's Colonies, which have at length broke out into actual and open Rebellion" (London Gazette, 7 Nov 1775). In 1780 he was a "Waiter and deputed searcher" for Colchester (Parliamentary Register, 1775-1780) at a salary of £40 per annum, and appears again in a poll book, living in Colchester as an Officer in the Customs. In 1781, he was resident in the parish of St Leonard, Colchester, occupying premises assessed at an annual rental of £12, and in a poll book for that year appears as Comptroller of Customs.
It appears likely that he moved house in 1774. Ipswich Journal 29 Jan 1774:
He died in 1784 and was buried on 7 February at St Leonard, Colchester; the house with "four Rooms on a Floor" was not his residence at that time. After his death, the following advertisement appeared in the Chelmsford Chronicle, Friday 14 May 1784 (page 3, column 3):
To be LETT,A Good and convenient HOUSE, four Rooms on a Floor, with good Chambers, Garrets, Washhouse, Brewhouse, Laundry, & other Conveniences, with a large Cellar and Garden, situate at the Hythe in Colchester, now in the Occupation of Mr. Upcher Alefounder, and is in every respect suitable for a Merchant, or any other Inhabitant. If required, may be had with it, a Stable, Coal-Yards and Granaries. Enquire of Mrs. Mary Pamplin at Copford.
And Enter'd on at Lady Day next.
To be SOLD by AUCTION
By TIMOTHY WALFORD,
On Tuesday the 25th Day of May, 1784, between the hours of four and five o'clock in the afternoon, at the Swan Inn at the Hythe in Colchester,
A very substantial well built Freehold DWELLING-HOUSE in exceeding good repair, situate at the Hythe aforesaid, lately in the occupation of Mr. UPCHER ALEFOUNDER, comprising 2 lower rooms, 2 chambers, 2 closets, 2 garrets, with a cellar, a brewhouse, and other conveniences, and a small garden.
For further particulars apply to Mr. R. Tabor, or of the auctioneer.
His will was proved in 1785.
Wife of Upcher Alefounder. Proprietress of a boarding school for young ladies, as is apparent from the following advertisements which appeared in the Ipswich Journal:
Saturday 5th July 1760 (page 4, column 3, 2nd Essex item):
MRS. ALICE ALEFOUNDER has opened a BOARDING-SCHOOL this midsummer for young ladies in TRINITY STREET, COLCHESTER (on Mrs. Lisle's having declined hers) ; where all Persons who will be pleased to favour her with their Children, may depend on her utmost Endeavours to render an agreeable Satisfaction in forwarding the Improvement of the young Ladies committed to her Charge ; and the Favours gratefully acknowledged.
Saturday 26th June 1762 (page 4, column 3, 5th item):
MRS. A. ALEFOUNDER, in Trinity-Street, COLCHESTER, begs Leave to acquaint the Publick, that her BOARDING-SCHOOL for Young Ladies open again on MONDAY the 28th of this Instant June; where due Care will be taken to instruct those committed to her, in every thing requisite for a genteel and useful Education, to the utmost of her Abilities; and to return her Thanks for the Favours received from those who have entrusted their Children with her, and to whom she has had the Happiness to render Satisfaction.
Saturday 10th March 1764 (page 3, column 1, 8th item):
COLCHESTER, March 7, 1764
MRS. ALEFOUNDER will remove to WIVENHOE between this and Lady-Day, at which Time she intends to open her BOARDING-SCHOOL for young ladies; where they will be taught all Sorts of Needle-Work in the neatest manner, and the greatest Care and genteelest Usage may be depended on. She begs leave to return her sincerest Thanks to those who have intrusted her with the Care of their Children, and hopes for a Continuance of their Favours.
N.B. Musick, Dancing, and Writing, at the usual Prices.
Wife of John Alefounder, son of Upcher and Alice, above. She proved her husband's will in 1785. What happened to her after that is unclear. Her eldest child, John Upcher Alefounder, appears to have died young – no mention of him after his baptism has been found.
The London Lives web site has a document dated 26th October 1786, "This is to Certify that Sarah Alefounder confined in New Prison is very ill with a Fever and unable to take her Trial at the Old Bailey". An expenses claim (1st and 2nd pages) for "Necessaries for the Sick in Newprison Clerkenwell" mentions Alefounder and Child: no doubt Sarah and her youngest son, William Wakelen Alefounder. From this, it is clear that she died of her " bad fever" on 30 November 1786, and her burial is recorded in the Register of St James Clerkenwell on the same day. As her case was never heard, no mention of it appears on the Old Bailey web site, and what she was accused of is as yet unknown.
Expenses for "Alefounder Child" continued to be claimed up to at least the 6th of December. Care of William Wakelen Alefounder appears to have passed to Mary Plunkett, as detailed below for his brother George.
Both George's parents died when he was young, his father John (a surgeon in the Royal Navy) in 1784 or 1785 and his mother Sarah née Wakelen in 1786. Custody of George, a minor, and his brother William Wakelen Alefounder, an infant, was assigned to Mary Plunkett, widow, although it appears that in practice Maria Jane Alefounder (wife of John Alefounder, the artist) had the care of George. She swore an affidavit (TNA ref. PROB31/767/643) on 28th August 1787 and on the same day, Mary Plunkett made a declaration of Sarah's effects (TNA ref. PROB31/767/644). It seems likely that William died young as no further record has been found of him – in particular, unlike George, he was not mentioned in the will of his grandmother Alice. It is not clear why Alice is called Ann in Maria Jane Alefounder's affidavit; maybe some confusion with her sister-in-law.
In 1789 George was painted by W.R. Bigg in a portrait alongside Maria. In his will her husband John described George as "Godson of my said Brother George Alefounder". From a letter of 1793 it is clear that George was then living with John's brother George and sister-in-law Ann at Wenham in Suffolk, learning to be a farmer – an occupation he did not eventually follow. In 1806 he was admitted as a free burgess of Colchester, described then as a confectioner of 178 Piccadilly, London. In the 1818 administration of his goods he was described as a fruiterer.
An alert visitor to Attingham Park, a stately home near Shrewsbury and former seat of the Berwick family, sent me the picture on the right. This is a receipted bill signed by George Alefounder on behalf of Grange & Co., Confectioners & Fruiterers. It was seen on display in the kitchen of the house. It appears James Grange owned the business at which George Alefounder was employed. The goods would have been supplied to Lord Berwick's London residence, 14 Grosvenor Square, not far from 178 Piccadilly.
Ipswich Journal 1787 Nov 3 page 3 col 3:|
AT the Yearly Meeting of the Inhabitants of the Hundred of Samford, who have entered into an association and subscription for apprehending and prosecuting FELONS, and other Offenders, it was ordered to be advertised, That any person, or persons, giving information to the Agent of the said Subscription or to any Subscriber who shall have been robbed, by means of which any offender shall be convicted, shall be intitled, on conviction of such offender, to a reward of FIVE POUNDS in case of FELONY, and TWENTY SHILLINGS in case of LARCENY, to be paid by the Treasurer of the said Association.
As several of the said subscribers have had fowls frequently stolen from them, they hereby give notice, That if any offenders shall hereafter be convicted of any like thefts, through the information of any constable, or constables, within the Hundred, he or they shall be fully satisfied for their vigilance, over and above what rewards they will be intitled to, under the general rules or articles of the Association. And the subscribers are determined to prosecute all constables who shall be found to offend in their duty.
Mr. John Josselyn
Mr. Thomas Cooper
Mr. Jordan Harris Lisle
Mrs. Elizabeth Last
Mr. Thomas Woodward
Mr. John Woodgate Smyth
Mr. Thomas Ansell
Mr. Robert Ralph
Brother of the artist John Alefounder, farmer of Wenham Hall in Suffolk and owner of land in Great Wigborough, Essex, later known as Alefounders Field. In 1818 he was appointed administrator of the goods of his cousin George, above, and of the goods of Alice Alefounder. Her will had been proved by William Kemp, one of the Executors, in 1801, but her grandson George had been given the responsibility for administering the estate, but had not done so before he died. He also became administrator for his son George in 1823.
He was a member of a Samford association for apprehending thieves, announced in a notice which appeared in the Ipswich Journal in 1787 (right). His name also appeared as a subscriber to a similar association, concerned with apprehending horse stealers, in an advertisement of 1789.
In 1793, some flour was stolen from his mill.
Ipswich Journal 1793 Dec 21:
In 1795, he suffered the loss of a sheep. Ipswich Journal 1795 Nov 28:
A ROBBERY.WHEREAS the Mill of Mr. GEORGE ALEFOUNDER, of Little Wenham, in Suffolk, was, in the night of Wednesday the 11th inst. or early the next morning, broken into, by taking a pane of glass out of the casement, and robbed of FOUR BUSHELS of FLOUR, which was emptied out of a sack of the said George Alefounder.
Any one who shall apprehend, or give information of, the offender or offenders, so as he or they be lawfully convicted of the said robbery, will be entitled to and paid the sum of Five Pounds, out of the public stock of the Association for apprehending and prosecuting FELONS, within the hundred of Samford, by applying to Mr. Steph. K. Woodward, of Chattisham, Treasurer to the said Association, or to Mr. W. Pearson, the agent. And the said Geo. Alefounder hereby offers an additional reward of One Guinea.
A ROBBERY.Whereas on the Night of the 9th Day of Nov. instant, or early the next morning, A FAT SHEEP was killed and stolen out of a field belonging to Mr. George Alefounder, of Great Wenham, in Suffolk. The sheep was marked on the rump, and cross the fore quarter, with red ochre. The entrails were left in a ditch by the side of a grove.
Any one who will apprehend, or give information of, the offender or offenders, so as he or they be lawfully convicted of the said robbery, will be entitled to and paid the sum of FIVE POUNDS, out of the public stock of the Association for apprehending and prosecuting FELONS, within the hundred of Samford, by applying to Mr. Steph. K. Woodward, of Chattisham, treasurer of the said association, or to Mr. Wm. Pearson, the agent. And the said George Alefounder offers a further reward of TWO GUINEAS, to be paid by him on the conviction of the offender or offenders.
I am indebted to Simon Curtis for information on this branch of the family, in particular, for a transcript of entries in a family Bible originally belonging to James Alefounder. This lists all his children, plus those of his widow after she remarried following his death, and continues until the death of George Swale Alefounder in 1925.
James Alefounder was a pawnbroker of Petticoat Lane near Aldgate [London], as appears from the records of several Old Bailey trials. On 21st May 1766 he suffered a fire at his house: various people saved some of his property, both personal and that held in connection with his business. James Alefounder alleged that two of these were a little reluctant to return the property afterwards. Transcripts of the subsequent trials on 2nd July 1766 can be found on the Old Bailey web site: both William Smithson and John Robinson were acquitted.
Other cases show that James Alefounder operated in an honest manner. In December 1766, he informed John Brannan that he had taken in some goods from Levi Harry that Brannan had advertised as stolen. (In the subsequent trial, it was established that Levi Harry was not the original thief.)
In 1767 James Alefounder appeared in court in connection with the theft by one Daniel Turner of some cloth from Samuel Richardson & Co. Daniel Turner had asked Esther Moses, a seller of oil and lemons, to dispose of the cloth. She took it to James Alefounder, who bought it and then sold it on to Mr. Blaney, a publican and tailor. Hearing the next day that the cloth had been stolen, he attempted to retrieve it, but Mr. Blaney would not reverse the transaction, preferring instead to claim the reward for the return of the stolen cloth, and even went so far as to attempt to have Mr. Alefounder arrested. The latter must have been well respected and trusted however, as a neighbour gave his word for £1000 for Mr. Alefounder's appearing the next morning. At the original time of writing, this case did not appear on the Old Bailey web site (which now covers trials up to 1913) and I prepared a transcript of the case from the published proceedings.
He appeared in court again in 1767, this time in connection with the theft by Mary Brown of various items belonging to Samuel Whale at the time she left his employment as a servant maid. James Alefounder was one of three pawnbrokers she used to convert the goods into money. A transcript of the case can be found on the Old Bailey web site.
He was mentioned in the trial (1769) of John Davis and Joseph Andrews, accused respectively of stealing and receiving woolen cloth from a dyeworks. Chamberlayne Goodwin, partner in the dyeing business, had found a remnant of his cloth "at Mr. Alefounder's in Petticoat-lane, who had advertised things stopped".
On 2nd February 1764 he was admitted as a freeburgess of Colchester, being a son of John Alefounder. He was described as a Draper and Salesman of London. He became a freeman of the City of London in 1765 in the Company of Musicians, although it was noted that he was in fact a Pawn Broker, on payment of 46s 8d.
James Alefounder died on the 30th May 1774 and his widow Elizabeth, being granted administration of his goods, took over the business. On 6th July she appeared at the Old Bailey in the trial of Moses Phillips, who had stolen a watch from her on 30th June. A transcript of this case can be found on the Old Bailey web site.
Elizabeth soon married Thomas Bradshaw, but it would appear that he or they did not keep the business for very long. Daily Advertiser 26 April 1776, 25 May 1776, and possibly other days as well:
ALL Persons having any Plate, Watches, Jewels, or Goods, pledged at the Shop of the late Mr. James Alefounder, No. 30, Petticoat-Lane, are desired to redeem the same within three Months, or they will be sold. The House to be lett. March 17, 1776.This may well have been connected to the court case brought by John Alefounder in January 1776 on behalf of her infant children then living, James Upcher and Robert. Before she remarried, Elizabeth, in order to safeguard her children's inheritance, asked Peter Dawson to become a trustee for them. He, under a penalty of £1000, was to have control of £500 which would, however, remain with Elizabeth invested in the pawnbroking business. If she remarried, her husband was to give the money, or suitable security for it, to Peter Dawson. It appears that he did not do this and that Peter Dawson was unwilling to pursue the matter too vigourously for fear of being unsuccessful and thereby becoming liable to pay the penalty. John Alefounder, acting as the next friend of James Upcher and Robert, brought the case, claiming that Peter Dawson, in allowing Thomas Bradshaw to retain the £500 without any security, was putting the children in danger of losing both the £500 and the two thirds share of their father's effects to which they were entitled under the law relating to intestacy. Peter Dawson, Thomas Bradfield and Elizabeth were all named as defendants, but the only answer, given on 22 June, is from Peter Dawson. He admitted the facts of the case and said he was ready and willing to act, "being indemnified by this Court for so doing". As is usual in these cases, the extant records do not include the verdict, but the fact that the business was being wound up by then suggests that arrangements were already in hand to secure the children's inheritance. This, it appears, was considerable — "Leases for Years Bonds Notes ready Money and Securitys for Money Money in the Publick Funds Household Goods and Furniture Plate Jewels Linnen China Books and other Valuable Effects," worth in total, several thousand pounds.
Notice in the Ipswich Journal, Saturday 10 November 1798, p2 column 4, under the heading "Ipswich Nov 10", paragraph 9:
Thursday was married Robert Alefounder, Esq. Leut. in the East Essex Light Company of Militia, to Miss Swale, only daughter of Mrs. Swale, of this town.
Ensign Robert Alefounder received his commission as lieutenant of the Eastern battalion of the Essex Militia on 17th April 1794 (London Gazette, 29 April 1794). He resigned his commission in 1799, his replacement being appointed on July 23rd (Sun, 18 October), and became Captain of the Helmingham Volunteer Infantry, the Earl of Dysart's corps, on 11 October 1803 (London Gazette 18 May 1805). There was a fear of invasion by Napoleon at that time. Following his defeat at Trafalgar …
Thursday last being the day appointed for General Thanksgiving, the Helmingham Volunteers mustered nearly 500, and marched to Helmingham church, where they heard a most excellent, appropriate and impressive discourse from the Rev. Edmund Bellman, the chaplain of the regiment, the band played the psalms, and a thanksgiving hymn, to the tune of God save the King. After the service, the men in a most handsome, unaminous and voluntary way came forward, and requested Capt. Alefounder (who in the absence of the Earl of Dysart commands) to transmit, in their names, the amount of a day's pay from the whole regiment, for the benefit of of the widows and orphans of their brave bretheren in arms, who so nobly fell in the late glorious victories of Trafalgar, and under Sir Rich. Strachan, when Capt. Alefounder determined that they should be no losers by their patriotism, and immediately ordered 1s. to each man present, to drink to the healths and success of the surviving heroes. Shortly after their dismissal, a letter was received by Capt. Alefounder from their Noble Colonel, authorising him to distribute 50£, in proportions according to their attendance, and perfection in discipline. This remains a reserve for their future meeting.[Ipswich Journal 7 December 1805]
An unfortunate incident was reported by the Ipswich Journal, 26 May 1804:
Yesterday morning some villains stole from the dressing room of Mr. Alefounder's house in this town, a dressing-glass, gold ring, some valuable trinkets, &c. This robbery was effected by taking a pane of glass from the casement of the room; a boy was sleeping there, but such was the caution and silence of these villains, that he was not awakened.
Mrs Swale and Robert Alefounder ran a tannery in Ipswich until 1808. Ipswich Journal 1 October 1808, p2 col 4 item 2:
NOTICE is hereby given, That the Partnership lately carried on by us in the business of Tanners in the town of Ipswich in the County of Suffolk, was mutually dissolved and determined from the 1st day of Sept. inst. All debts due and owing to and by us in respect to the said business carried on at Ipswich, are to be adjusted, received and paid by the undersigned Martha Swale of Ipswich aforesaid. As witness our hands this 23d day of Sept. 1808.
Witness P.T. Long
He also moved house at this time, the cause of a furniture sale. Ipswich Journal 24 Sep 1808, p2 col4:
SALES BY AUCTION
By JOHN SPARROW [... item 14]
On Tuesday the 27th of Sept. inst. and following day
THE genuine almost new and handsome Household Furniture, china, glass and other effects of ROBERT ALEFOUNDER, Esq. who is changing his residence, at his dwelling house, in Ipswich ; consisting of 5 handsome valuable beds and bedding, 2 servants ditto, complete drawing room suite, mahogany and japan'd chairs inlaid and plain, card, pembroke, loo and dressing tables, beautiful set of Jamaica mahogany dining tables, 5ft. 3, by 9ft. 2, chimney glass, 5ft. 6, by 3ft. 8 Brussels, Wilton and Kidderminster carpets, single and double chests with drawers, pier and dressing glasses, patent mangle, long dinner set of wedgewood ware, china and glass, great variety of good kitchen requisites, which will be expressed in catalogues, and may be had at the Auctioneers, Butter-market, Ipswich at 3d. each. Goods to be viewed on Monday preceding the sale, which will begin each morning exactly at half past Ten.
Also will be sold about 12 o'clock on Tuesday.
A clever brown Gelding, near 16 hands high, remarkably steady in harness or saddle
Robert Alefounder, now a Captain in the Hertfordshire Regiment of Militia, was involved in a Court Martial in 1809. He and two other officers, Captains Richard Goakman and Thomas Keeling, were accused of "raising and circulating a report" of a scandalous nature, concerning one Lieutenant John Kingston. Robert Alefounder was acquitted of all charges, the other two were found guilty of circulating (but not instigating) the report and were dismissed. A prosecution witness, Lieutenant Hubback, was also dismissed for offering wagers on the trial. The Court was at pains to make clear that the report concerning John Kingston was completely untrue. Charles James has published an account of the trial.
In 1829 he was living in New Market Street when, it seems likely, he took the opportunity to purchase the freehold of his own and the neighbouring properties. The following advertisement appeared in the Ipswich Journal on 22 August 1829 (page 3, column 6, 9th item) and was also advertised on 29th August and in the Suffolk Chronicle on the same two days. However, also on the 29th August in those two newspapers, appeared a further notice to the effect that the sale was deferred sine die: maybe Mr. Alefounder had put in a private bid in the meantime.
To be SOLD by AUCTION.
By Mr. CATT.
On Friday, the 11th day of September, 1829, at the House of Mr. Pipe, known by the sign of the Golden Lion, Ipswich, beginning at Six o'clock in the Evening, subject to such Conditions of Sale as will be then produced, in Lots.
Lot 1. All that Messuage or Dwelling-House situate in New-Market Street, in Ipswich aforesaid, in the occupation of Dr. Field, comprising on the ground floor large and lofty drawing and dining rooms, store room and closet, kitchen, scullery, and pantry, with beer and wine cellars, and requisite offices.
Lot 2. All that Messuage or Dwelling-house, situate in New-Market Street aforesaid and adjoining the above, in the occupation of Robert Alefounder, Esq. consisting of two good parlors, pantry, store-room, kitchen, back-house, and other buildings, easily convertible into coach-house and stabling ; beer and wine cellars, three bed-chambers, one attic, small yard and garden, also suitable for the reception of a genteel family.
Lot 3. All that Messuage or Dwelling-House, situate in the same street, and adjoining the last lot, in the occupation of Mrs. Gill , consisting of a parlor, kitchen, wash-house, three sleeping rooms, and small garden.
The several tenants are tenants at will, and are under notice to quit.
Particulars and conditions of sale may be had of Mr. Parson, solicitor, 43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London ; at the place of sale ; and of the Auctioneer, Ipswich.
Allowing for possible alterations and changes to the use of rooms, these houses could be the three adjacent properties in New Market Street that were sold following the death of Robert Alefounder in 1840, he having occupied the middle one. He certainly owned a freehold house and garden in "Silent—or New Market—Street" in 1832 as, under the Reform Bill of that year, this qualified him to vote in elections of Members of Parliament for the Borough and for Knights of the Shire.
He took an active interest in civic affairs, being one of the original subscribers to a fund for "relieving the distresses of the poor resident in the town", contributing £1 1s on 30th December 1799. The first of the reports that I have yet found in the Ipswich Journal of his activities as one of the Commissioners for Paving and Lighting is in the issue for 15 May 1830; such reports continue until 1840. He was Chairman in 1837, around the time when financing of the new Wet Dock was considered. He was one of the Commissioners for the construction of the Wet Dock from 1838 to 1840. In 1833 he served on a committee to "take into consideration the propriety of Petitioning Parliament to order the removal of the Turnpike Gate, in the Parish of St. Margaret's Ipswich". He was nominated as Councillor for Bridge Ward in 1835 and was elected as an Assessor there under the Municiple Corporation Act in 1838, and as churchwarden for the parish of St. Nicholas in 1836. In an Act of Parliament in 1838 he was named and appointed as a Land Tax Commissioner for Ipswich. In 1836, he signed a petition against an invitation issued to Daniel O'Connell, M.P., to visit Ipswich (Ipswich Journal, 28 May 1836), and on 11th June the Ipswich Journal published a letter correcting a statement made about him in the Suffolk Chronicle the previous week:
To the Editor of the Ipswich Journal. Sir,—I feel myself called upon to contradict a statement made in the Suffolk Chronicle last week, having reference to my conduct as Churchwarden of St. Nicholas Parish. The statement is as follows:— "Church Rates—The Tory Churchwarden (Capt. Alefounder) of St. Nicholas parish, being aware that Mr. O'Connell would arrive in this town, at 11 o'clock, this day se'nnight, and thinking it 'an ill wind that blows nobody good,' summoned a parish meeting, to be held precisely at that hour, to consider the propriety of levying a church-rate, for the purpose of placing a palisade round the church-yard, at the expence of 300£., or heightening the present brick wall. The Reformers, however, being on the alert, assembled unexpectedly, and on the question being put, 'that no new rate be made till the whole of the present one is collected, and the accounts are passed,' it was carried by a majority of 20 to 4. Thus, in effect, deferring the question for 12 months." That I fixed the hour for holding the vestry meeting, with a view to carry my propositions in the absence of any parishioners who might choose to attend, is false; the hour was fixed with the consent of Mr. Justice Carter, one of the principal occupiers in the parish, before it was known Mr. O'Connell would come to to Ipswich—the meeting was called in obedience to an order received from the Archdeacon at his last visitation, and the customary public notice was duly given. As regards the expence:—Mr. Borrett's estimate for brick work was under 30£., and for an additional 20£. I would have guaranteed all expenses. I had no intention of proposing palisades. The Editor calls me a Tory Churchwarden—well—I am a Tory, or a Conservative, whichever he pleases to call me: and I rejoice in being called so;—anything rather than a Destructive of my country's institutions, or a libeller of my neighbour's fame. Ipswich, June 10. ROBERT ALEFOUNDER
In April 1840, he exchanged Handford Lodge with surrounding land in St. Peter's, Ipswich, for Lower Mill Field—glebe land belonging to St Matthew's parish, Ipswich [Ipswich Journal 11th and 25th April 1840].
In a bill dated 30th June 1840, he initiated legal action against his own children, Robert Swale Alefounder and Mary Robinson. The essence of this (TNA reference C13/3039/12) was that under the provisions of a marriage settlement for William Swale (late of Ipswich, deceased) and his wife Martha and also under the last will of Mary Houldon, widow, deceased sister of Martha, he and his wife Martha Maria Alefounder née Swale (daughter of William & Martha Swale) became entitled to a remainder in tail to land in Yorkshire, expectant on the death of Martha Swale. The parties concerned agreed to make a recovery in order to bar the entail and thus get a clear title to the property. This they did, and the land was sold to various people for a total of £2200, which was paid to Martha Swale under the terms of an indenture dated 8 Mar 1803. The £2200 was to be invested at interest with good security. During her life, Martha Swale should have the income, and after her decease the income should go to Robert Alefounder and his wife during their lives (and the life of the longer liver), and then after their decease the £2200 was to go to the children of Martha Maria Alefounder. The complaint of Robert Alefounder was that the money had never been invested and that Robert Swale Alefounder, executor of the estate of Martha Swale (d. 1836), having obtained the £2200, had not paid him any income from it. The bill fills seven large sheets, setting forth and reiterating many questions and demands for accounts, ending with requests for injunctions and subpaenas against the defendants. If these were ever issued, there is no record of it, nor any evidence that the case was ever properly heard. Robert Alefounder died on 29th July 1840 and was buried at St Matthew's, Ipswich.
Suffolk Chronicle, 1st August 1840 (page3, column 1):
On Wednesday last, at Harwich, after a long and severe illness, Capt. Alefounder, of Ipswich.
The house where he lived, together with other properties he owned, were offered for sale by auction. Ipswich Journal, 29th August 1840:
desirable FREEHOLD RESIDENCES, &c., AT IPSWICH, Late the Property of ROBERT ALEFOUNDER, Esq., deceased To be SOLD by AUCTION, By ROBt. GARROD. At the Suffolk Hotel Inn, Ipswich, on Friday, the 11th day of September, 1840, at Six o'clock in the Afternoon, In Lots: A MANSION HOUSE and PREMISES, situate in New Market-street, Ipswich, now in the occupation of Dr. Drummond; comprising, in the basement—a kitchen, with pantries; closets, with other appendages; a store room, with spacious wine, beer, and coal cellars. On the ground floor—a vestibule, dining and drawing rooms, lofty and of good dimensions; small breakfast room, butler's pantry, store room, and convenient closets ; a handsome staircase leading to two principal bed rooms, and on the landing is a suitable room for a water closet. On the second floor—3 bed rooms. On the attic floor—are 2 servants' bed rooms. A good garden, planted with fruit trees, and inclosed by lofty brick walls. The land tax is redeemed. This property is advantageously situated in the best part of Newmarket Street. The House is substantially built, has a handsome elevation, is in an excellent state of repair, and is adapted for the residence of a genteel family. A comfortable & convenient FREEHOLD DWELLING HOUSE and PREMISES adjoining the above, situate in New Market Street, Ipswich, late the residence of Captain Alefounder, deceased ; comprising in the basement, excellent wine, beer and coal cellars—on the ground floor an entrance and closet, with breakfast and dining room in front, good kitchen, store room, pantries, wash-house, and all other domestic offices—on the landing is a large china and other closets—on the first floor is a lofty drawing room, 18 feet by 16 feet, commanding a beautiful prospect 2 principal bed rooms, with dressing rooms. On the second floor—3 bed rooms, with closets. A garden, surrounded by brick walls; a water closet, approached under a verandah; a warehouse, stable, and paved yard. Also, fronting the street, is a chaise house, with stable, and lofts over; and two Cottages, each having a front shop, keeping and bed rooms. Possession of this Lot (except the back stable) may be had on completion of the purchase. The land tax is redeemed. This property commands a most extensive frontage. The House is well arranged and fitted up with every regard to comfort and convenience, and the Premises are altogether in a good state of repair. A substantial and well-built MESSUAGE adjoining the above, situate in New Market Street ; consisting of a front shop, 2 keeping rooms with closets, 3 chambers, a small yard, and other conveniences, now in the occupation of Mr. Charles Siggers, butcher. These premises being contiguous to the New Market are remarkably well situated, and will always command a good trade. The land tax is redeemed. The respective Properties may be viewed and further particulars had on application to Mr. R. S. Alefounder, Mr. Lawrence, Solicitor, or of the Auctioneer, Ipswich.
The following month, his furniture and other effects were also offered for sale. Ipswich Journal, 19th September 1840:
Neat Household Furniture, &c., AT IPSWICH. To be SOLD by AUCTION, By ROBt. GARROD. On Friday, the 25th day of September, 1840, THE Neat and Excellent HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, 250 Volumes of Books, Glass, and other Effects, the property of ROBT. ALEFOUNDER, Esq., dec., at his late residence, New Market Street, Ipswich ; comprising excellent 4-post and other bedstands, with chintz furniture; capital down and feather beds and bedding; mahogany and painted chests of drawers, neat painted washing and dressing tables and chairs, dressing glasses, bed-side carpets, &c. ; mahogany dining, loo, Pembroke, and card tables; mahogany and painted chairs; couch, antique carved seat; Brussels carpets, hearth rugs, chimney and pier glasses, fenders and fire irons, 250 volumes of books; the John Bull newspaper from 1821 to 1837 ; glass—in decanters, wines, ales, dishes, &c. ; also, the earthenware, and the kitchen, culinary, and general housekeeping requisites; Catalogues of which may be had at the place of Sale, and of the Auctioneer, Butter Market, Ipswich. Sale to begin at half past 10 o'clock precisely, on account of the great number of Lots.
Mentioned by Copinger in his Manors of Suffolk:
[Concerning Wenham Parva manor: Little Wenham Hall - Little Wenham estate, which was sold to ...] Philip Havers by deeds dated the 22nd and 23rd Nov. 1765. Philip Havers married Ann Lowe, and made his will the 17th June, 1767 [Proved P.C.C 16th June, 1769]. On his death the estate passed to his son and heir, Philip Havers, who married Lucy, daughter of John Alefounder, of Colchester, and died 17th Jan. 1778, when he was succeded by his son and heir, Philip Havers, of Great Donyland Hall, in Essex, who married Mary Anne eldest daughter of Edward Sage, of Wivenhoe, co. Essex, and died the 8th Nov. 1856 [Will dated 6 Nov. 1844, proved P.C.C. 19th March, 1857] when the estate passed to his son and heir Philip Havers, of Colchester and of Wenham who died the 13th Oct. 1874 [Will dated 15th Sept. 1874, proved P.C.C. 19th May, 1875].
Lucy married, secondly, Captain Robert Baas (sometimes spelt Bass). In a settlement (Essex Record Office Acc 47 CPL 820), dated 7 April 1789, £1957 2s 5d Bank Stock was transferred to Charles Matthews esquire and Joseph Green, merchant (both of Colchester). Lucy was to have complete control of the money and dividends, which after her decease and in the absence of any will were to be divided between her surviving children at their ages of 21. She died in 1809 and was buried at St James', Colchester.
I have not found a record of the baptism of Robert Swale Alefounder, but he was granted administration of the effects of his father, Robert, in 1840 and records of admission of free burgesses of Colchester give his ancestry:
1826 April 3d Robert Swale Alefounder of Ipswich Gentleman son of Robert and Grandson of James was admitted and sworn a Freeburgess in right of birth from his Grandfather and hath no son.He qualified to vote under the 1832 Representation of the People Act as he owned a warehouse and yard in Curriers' Arms Lane. In 1840 he was living in Ipswich in one of the seven houses sold by the assignees of the bankrupt John Coleman: 4, St. Matthew's Terrace, and nos. 1, 2, 2½, 3, 4, and 5 Coleman's Buildings (London Gazette, 15 September 1840).
[Essex Record Office, freeburgess index book no 2 1620-1741, uncatalogued at the time of consultation in the former Colchester branch]
At the time of the 1851 census he was still living in Ipswich, but now at Tanner's Lane; in 1861 the precise address was given as no. 24.
On a loose sheet in the family Bible mentioned above is written:
Ipswich 12th September 1864
This building was originally stables built by Mrs Martha Swale, who continued the business of Tanner for upwards of forty years after the decease of her husband William Swale who were both natives of Yorkshire.
William Swale was the son of Mr John Swale of Catterick and Mrs Martha Swale was the daughter of George and Martha Paget of Rawden Yorkshire.
Robert Swale Alefounder the present and only grandson of the said G&M Swale now inherit the property his mother being the only daughter of G&M Swale.
The present R.S.Alefounder rebuilt the nine houses opposite and also altered the buildings as chief of the property belonging to him in the street.
The said R.S.A. leaves only one son George Swale Alefounder who will inherit his property his eldest son died when eight years old.
12th September 1864
He continued his father's work in public service, in 1847 being elected to the Ipswich Lighting and Paving Commission and the Ipswich Public Paths Association (Ipswich Journal, 10 July and 9 October) and in 1848, churchwarden for St. Peter's. According to further reports in the Ipswich Journal in 1848 and 1849, he was the Surveyor for the parish of St. Nicholas. He was still on the Lighting and Paving Commission in February 1852, but seems to have left by August that year, when he complained about flooding of property he owned in St. Mary Elms, caused by the Commission having "crowned the road" without installing proper drainage, and threatened legal proceedings unless the matter received prompt attention. Reports in the Ipswich Journal show that he continued to attend meetings of the Commission as a rate payer (1854, 1855) and to concern himself with their operations (1860). He was instrumental in causing "an inquiry into the sanitary condition of the parish of St. Mary-at-Elms" by the Board of Health and participated therein (1855), and attended meetings of the Joint Burial Board for Ipswich Cemetery (1859) and the Ipswich Board of Guardians (1860).
Tanner's Lane and Berners Street may well have been contiguous; the above might not imply a previous change of address.
FURNITURE BEAUTIFUL FOREIGN CHINA PAINTINGS, ENGRAVINGS, &c, At Ipswich. To be SOLD by AUCTION, by GARROD & TURNER, On Monday, the 21st of June, 1852, (Without Reserve.) PART of the neat HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, some beautiful Foreign China, Paintings, Engravings, and other Effects, of Mr. R. S. ALEFOUNDER, Berners Street, Ipswich, who is about to change his residence. Sale to commence at 11 o'clock precisely. The Effects may be viewed on Friday, the 18th, from 12 to 3 in the afternoon. Descriptive Catalogues may be had at the Place of Sale, and of the Auctioneers, Ipswich. [Ipswich Journal 12 and 19 June, 1852]
Presumably, in June 1852 he moved to the parish of St. Mary Elms, being elected churchwarden there in 1853 (Ipswich Journal, April 2). In that year, further advertisements in the Ipswich Journal (June 4 and 18) announced the sale of the freehold of the "genteel & commodious residence" he was then occupying in St. Matthew's Place on the Norwich Road, consisting of "front and back hall with principal and secondary staircases, 2 front parlours, store room, pantry, 4 chambers, cellar, back yard, large garden, and suitable domestic offices" at a rent of £35 per annum.
He died on 16th December 1864 and was buried at St Matthew's Ipswich.
Lived just less than 8 years, but still managed to leave his mark on
history. Ipswich Journal, Saturday, April 3, 1852:
Ipswich Museum.—The following presentations to the Museum, and donations to the Library, have been received since the last announcement … Master Robert Alefounder, Ipswich: Two pairs of ancient English shoes, and one pair of Dutch slippers. …He died on 12th of May 1856 of consumption (tuberculosis) and was buried at St Matthew's Ipswich.
Son of Robert Swale Alefounder above. Lived in Tanners' Lane, Ipswich, where he suffered a break-in [Ipswich Journal, 30 January, 1869]:
Housebreaking and Extensive Robbery.—The house occupied by Mr. Alefounder, situated in Tanners' Lane, was broken into on Sunday afternoon last, whilst the family were at Church. An entrance was effected by the kitchen window, and, from what subsequently took place, by some person or persons who had some knowledge of the premises. Mr. Alefounder had a large sum of money in the house at the time, a number of tenants having paid their rents during the previous week; and this money was kept in a cash-box placed in a small closet. The thieves forced the door of this closet open, and next the cash-box, taking all the money, which amounted to a large sum, including two or three notes, the numbers of which are, fortunately, known. Information was at once given to the police, but we regret to say the thief or thieves are not yet in custody.He was removed from the register of voters that year [Ipswich Journal, 16 October, 1869]:
The Revising Barrister (J. H. Mills, Esq.) sat in the Sessions Court of the New Town Hall, on Wednesday, for the purpose of revising the list of voters for the Borough of Ipswich. …He owned property bounded by the River Gipping, as is made clear by a report in the Ipswich Journal 24 March 1877, concerning an enquiry into proposed compulsory purchase of land for sewerage works:
Mr. George Swale Alefounder (St. Peter's parish), was objected to on the ground that he did not occupy either as owner or as tenant, and, secondly, that he was not of age, and the vote was struck off. …
Mr. G. R. Mills said he objected on behalf of Mr. Alefounder, the owner of a considerable frontage on the Gipping, which formed a natural boundary to his property. If it were filled up some fence would be necessary, and he asked for a five feet wall. … The Inspector said [the matter] hardly came within his province …He also owned property on Harvey Street, an adjoining freehold building site being offered for sale in 1879. Property in Southwold that he inherited from his father was the subject of a report in the Ipswich Journal of 6 June 1882:
Negociations are now pending with reference to the acquisition of a portion of the late Mr. Alefounder's property, and should the schemes which have been brought forward be carried out great improvements will be effected. We hear that application has been made to the Corporation to erect a Coastguard watch-house on this site, in the place of the existing one: but this is, of course, dependent upon the scheme of making a broad roadway fronting the sea, on the Corporation property and the late Mr. Alefounder's land.The negociations were successful. Later that year, 23 December and repeated in the two following weeks, a notice appeared in the Ipswich Journal to the effect that, unless objections were made, an exchange of land under the Inclosure Acts would take place. George Swale Alefounder would lose a strip of land formerly part of North Field, &c, of 1 acre 20 poles, and would gain part of land known as "South Went" (8 poles) plus part of Went Ward Piece (3 rods 7 poles).
The Order of Exchange, dated 3rd May 1883, is in TNA ref. MAF 11/159. The sketch map on the right shows the land to be exchanged. George Swale Alefounder lost the land marked in red, which then formed the present Marlborough Road, part of Pier Avenue and the aforementioned "broad roadway fronting the sea" and gained the bits marked in green: a small triangular area between Marlborough Road and North Parade (part of South Went) and an area now between Pier Avenue and Hotson Road (part of West Ward, not "Went Ward" as stated in the Ipswich Journal). According to the Order, he was at this time a resident of Kemp Town, Brighton, Sussex.
In 1884, a dispute arose as to compensation to tenants for loss of crops when some of Mr. Alefounder's land was used for a new road to the north of Southwold. The Town Council asked Mr. Alefounder to pay the money. He replied that "he had not agreed to recoup the tenants for the loss of their crops. He understood that the road would not be made until the crops were off the land. The making of the road rested with the Corporation, and time was not specified." Somewhat under protest from some councillors, it was agreed that the Council should compensate the tenants for loss of crops and their rent.
According to Skinner, a certain G.S. Alefounder was a director of Kangarilla Silver Mines Limited. It appears that this was a London-based company with mining interests near Adelaide, Australia. Skinner does not make clear whether it was this G.S. Alefounder or his son that was the director. However, the Financial Times, 21 June 1894, reported how "Mr. Alefounder" came to be appointed as a director, and as the younger G.S. Alefounder was then only 15, this must refer to the elder George Swale Alefounder.
Kangarilla Silver Mines, Limited, had authorised the issue of 12000 new shares, but the issue had not been fully subscribed. In particular, Mr. Alefounder, the largest shareholder, had not taken up his allotment. Mr. Davis persuaded him to do so, but he only agreed on the basis that he would become a director. The existing directors all resigned, and a new Board, consisting of Mr. Davis, Mr. Alefounder, Mr. D. Church, and Mr. Alvey, was appointed.
The account of her funeral (left) says that she had been living with her sister, Mary Elizabeth Smith for "many years", the implication being that she had separated from her husband. Just what the situation was is unclear. What is clear is that they were not estranged. In her will dated 1907 (lengthy, without doubt written by a lawyer, and not yet transcribed), she gives her address as 10 Stanford Avenue, Preston Park, Brighton, Sussex and describes herself as "the wife of George Swale Alefounder of the same place". He does not appear to have attended the funeral, but sent a floral tribute. By the time of the 1911 census, he was living in Charmouth, Dorset. She left nothing to her husband "solely because I thought it unnecessary to do so as he does not require it and not for any want of affection for him", and in a codicil dated 1910, she removes her cousin Blanche Elizabeth Foster as an executrix and trustee and appoints instead her "said husband George Swale Alefounder".
The will goes to some length to specify a trust fund to support her sister, Mary Elizabeth Frances Florence Smith during her life. As the sister survived her by just one day, this might have left someyhing of a mess for the executors to sort out, but as the will specified it was to be started "as soon as conveniently may be after my decease", that section was, no doubt, disregarded.
The item on the left is an account of the double funeral for Ellen Martha Alefounder and Mary Elizabeth Frances Florence Smith at Burgess Hill, Sussex on 2 May 1910. On the right is a notice concerning the will of Elizabeth Salt, mentioning legacies to, among others, nieces Martha Alefounder and Mary Elizabeth Smith. These are the sisters who died in 1910: the will had been written in 1894 and not updated. By the time of the death of Elizabeth Salt in 1924, Martha's son George Swale Alefounder had also died. It seems Martha's legacy would have passed to his children.
Son of George Swale Alefounder above, photograph on right. An account of his life, together with a photograph of his children, is given by Grant (1914). According to this, when young, he went abroad on account of his health. In fact, his health would appear to have been excellent, as he was able to travel the world. Whatever the truth of this, he was certainly resident in England between 1894 and 1896. Records of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway show that he joined the company as a fitter's apprentice in the week ending 4th October 1894, being paid 10d (presumably per day) and received a raise to 1s in the week ending 16 January 1896. In 1899, he gave an interview to a reporter for the Daily Picayune, a New Orleans newspaper, in which he mentions having lived in South Africa and having just been to Alaska.
He eventually acquired Studley Park, built on a former sugar plantation in Tobago, West Indies, and made a fortune growing coconuts. His inclusion in Grant's book arises from his residing, until 1913, in Great Bromley Hall near Colchester, returning thence to Tobago. He died on board the Royal Mail ship Danube on 4th July 1915 while on a journey back from the West Indies and was buried at sea.
The exact sequence of events thereafter is not as yet known to me, but it appears that the family did not retain ownership of Studley Park. However, they did acquire the nearby Grafton estate, which has now become a bird or wildlife sanctuary. A picture of the entrance board can be found here.
Grant's account and comments in the Daily Picayune interview concerning his earlier life are far from the entire story. In the National Archives, reference BT 31/11685/90445 can be found the details of Alefounder & King, mechanical engineers. This company was created in 1906 to continue the business of George Swale Alefounder the younger (of Holmesdale, Winkfield, Windsor) and Samuel King (of 42 Lyndhurst Grove, Camberwell) at Sumner Road, Peckham, London (registered office, 62 Leadenhall St). The other initial subscribers were Ellen M Alefounder of 10 Stanford Avenue, Brighton (wife of G.S. Alefounder), George Swale Alefounder of The Bungalow, Charmouth, Dorset, William Alfred Farmer of Glen Lodge, Winkfield (director of a public company), Florence Adalaide King of 42 Lyndhurst Grove (married woman) and Madeline Alefounder of Holmesdale, Winkfield (married woman).
On 7 January 1907, the company moved to The Regent Engineering Works, Conewood Street, Highbury, London. At an extraordinary general meeting held on 14 December 1908, the company was wound up voluntarily, by reason of liabilities. Harry J Barclay of 36 & 37 King St, Cheapside was appointed as the liquidator and the company was renamed Alefounder & King (1908) Ltd. Under this name, it continued to be listed in Post Office trade directories at least until 1919, with the address 20a Conewood St, Highbury. In fact, Alefounder & King (1908) Ltd. continued in existence long after that, and it was not until 24th February 1950 that a notice appeared in the London Gazette that the Company was to be dissolved in three months time. The actual dissolution took place, and was announced, on 19th December 1950.
Using the esp@cenet database, I have traced five patents in which George Swale Alefounder was involved:
A most unusual Alefounder reference can be found in Papers Past, an on-line collection of New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. According to the New Zealand Evening Post for 10 November 1910, a message in a bottle was discovered on the beach near Levin (West coast, North Island). A reward was promised for its delivery to G.S. Alefounder via his solicitors in London. It appears that the bottle had been thrown overboard from the SS Medic on 14 February 1909 at latitude 44.57, longitude 75.51, as part of an attempt to trace ocean currents. To be in that position the SS Medic would have been en route from Cape Town to Albany, Western Australia.
Sketch map showing the route of the SS Medic and where the bottle was dropped. Inset: Levin, where the bottle was found. Click on map to enlarge.
According to relevant passenger lists, George Swale Alefounder, his wife Madeline, their three children, plus a nurse, Maud Jennings arrived in Albany on 20th February 1909, having embarked at Liverpool. A certain Charlotte Dare may have been travelling with them as well.
Lived in, or visited Australia at various times, although his main place of work was London, as chairman of Farmers & Co, a shopping emporium that began as a drapery store in Australia owned by Sir William's uncle, Joseph. William Farmer (picture, upper left) was Sheriff of London 1890-1, knighted in 1891, High Sheriff of Berkshire 1895, Master of the Gardeners' Company 1898 and sometime Deputy Lieutenant and later Lieutenant for the City of London.
While in England, he lived at Chislehurst Hill, Kent, then at Coworth Park, Sunningdale, Ascot Place, Berkshire and finally Peterley Manor in the Chiltern Hills near Great Missenden.
He appears in the 1901 census living at Ascot Place. Apart from himself, his wife and two unmarried daughters, the household included a butler, footman, cook, five housemaids and a lady's maid: not bad for one who gave his occupation as "farmer."
The lower picture on the left shows Sir William with his daughter Madeline on the lawn at Ascot Place.
I am grateful to Anthony Shield for these photographs and information about Sir William Farmer and his family.
The Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for him can be found here.
Grave at St Mary's Parish Church, Troston
Wife of George Swale Alefounder, and daughter of Sir William Farmer (above, with photograph); lived at The Lodge, Troston, Suffolk. She died 10th January 1951 (notice in the Times 12 Jan 1951) and was buried at Troston.
I am grateful to the Gravestone Photographic Resource for the photograph on the right.
An account of the life of this turbulent priest is given by Solly (1949), from which the following summary is taken. He was born at Aberford, Yorkshire, with the surname Hickhorngill. He joined, and later left, the Baptists, Cromwell's army and the Quakers. He then rejoined Cromwell's army, went abroad, returned and was ordained into the Church of England, eventually becoming rector of All Saints', Colchester in 1662. He fell out with his bishop over various publications and, later, performing marriages without banns or licence. The first court case brought against him did not succeed, being mishandled by the prosecuting counsel, Sir George Jeffries (better known in later life as Judge Jeffries of the Bloody Assizes). He lost his living in 1682 as a result of a second court case, regained it in 1684 after writing a grovelling letter of recantation, lost it again in 1685 for supporting Monmouth, returned in 1688 and resumed publishing tracts against his bishop. He died in 1708 and was buried in All Saints' Church.
Solly(1949) makes note of the fact that when Edmund Hickeringill first arrived in Colchester, he had no benefice. He, possibly unofficially, undertook the role of Vicar of St. Peter's, signing the baptismal register there in 1662. He was also associated with Boxted for a short time, starting the day after his appointment at All Saints' (which was 21 October 1662), but resigned that post lest he lose both as a result of such an irregularity, and arranged to be re-instituted to All Saints' on 31 December 1662.
He married Anne Brookes at Boxted on 3 October 1663. Edmund their son is recorded in the Boxted register as "borne & baptised" 29 July 1664, the baptism also being recorded in the register of All Saints': he was buried at Boxted 9 July 1669. Similarly, their son John was baptised 21 January at All Saints' 1665 and buried at Boxted 14 March 1666. A curious omission from the registers is any mention of the baptism of Edmund Hickeringill's daughter Frances. She died in 1748 aged 79 and was buried at Greenstead. There are no entries in the baptismal register of All Saints' between 26 July 1668 and 11 July 1669. Solly makes no mention of his being deprived of his living just then; perhaps there was some connection to his attempt, reported by Board & Durgan (1994), to gain the parish of St Leonard's at that time (he was eventually appointed rector there in 1683). Evidence that Frances was indeed his daughter is provided by his will (Bensusan-Butt, papers at Essex Record Office).
Last updated 10th July 2017 by Peter Alefounder
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