Notes for James FLETCHER: cityark PR Ash next Ridley James son of Joseph and Mary FLETCHER baptised April 28 1765
Proudfoot Chapter 11 - Some Old Ash Families Thomas Wadlow must have been a stranger to the district, for Michael Fletcher and John Rogers, who were the assessors for the Land Tax in 1787, called him 'Waddle'.…………… The Fletchers seem to have arrived in the parish at much the same time as the Elcombes. They first come to notice through the christening of Mary, daughter of Joseph and Mary Fletcher, on New Year's Day, 1758. A Michael Fletcher, of whom more later, was probably the infant's elder brother, born before the move to Ash. Several more children followed Mary. The last born, James Fletcher, was to become the family Croesus. Basically, the Fletchers were a farming family, but probably agriculture made only a modest contribution to their advancement. Although Joseph Fletcher became the owner of Rands House Farm, the nucleus of what in more recent times was the extensive Holywell Park estate, only some fifty-seven acres went with the house in his day. Michael Fletcher owned Padley Farm, of which the Malthouse was the homestall; its acreage, or at least its acreage in Ash, was modest and initially Michael only ranked as an husbandman. In 1792 Joseph, then an old man, was living on his farm at Stone House and Michael was working the land. Not all the Fletchers were long lived, but Joseph was eighty-one when he died in 1800, his wife died twelve years later at eighty-four and James, their youngest son, achieved eighty-eight. Michael Fletcher married, at Shoreham, a girl named Sarah Petman; 'she presented him with seven sons and three daughters, but three of the sons died in infancy. The Fletchers were by no means universally successful. One of Michael's sons, Joseph, described himself as a farmer in 1841, when he was living in Ash Street, but he seems not to have prospered as such. Ten years later, he was an 'annuitant', having perhaps been pensioned off by his uncle James. At the age of seventy-six, by which time 'he had moved on 'to West Yoke, he was in business of sorts as a land measurer. One of his daughters, Susannah, was for many years a schoolmistress and another, Emily, was for a time a dressmaker. In 1871, at which time some of the family were living in considerable state in the vicinity of Hodsoll Street, Joseph' son of the same name, a widower, and his son, aged thirteen, were occupying one of the numerous abodes provided by the Old Malthouse; both were agricultural labourers. Joseph's elder brother, Thomas, became a wheelwright. During his lifetime, two of his children, Kezia Laurenda and Frederick Augustus, were adopted by their great-uncle James, but both died in their twenties. It seems highly probable that James Fletcher also adopted Thomas' other two sons, Amos James, who was born in 1806, and the last-born of the family, Joseph Flitcroft, who was some twelve years younger than Amos. It was Amos who ultimately succeeded to Rands House, but all the indications are that Joseph was not forgotten. The memorial to James Fletcher on the south nave wall of Ash church bears record that 'having served his country for several years by sea and laud', he had 'retired from the gay world in a bad state of health in the 47th year of his age to this place of his birth where it pleased a gracious providence to bestow upon him a comfortable state of health and all the blessings he could wish for'. The inscription makes mention, too, of the two of his adopted children who had died in the eighteen-thirties and 'who were the most amiable of their kind'. A wife, it seems, was not one of the blessings that James wished for; he never married. His return to Ash can be dated to about 1809 and it could well be that he brought with him a pocket- full of prize-money - and perhaps also the 'fine picture by Andrian Vandicot' which is known to have adorned Rands House about twenty years later. That dwelling was then described as James' 'seat' and as 'an ancient house, but has been modernised and considerably improved'.17 By that time, the thirty-one acres of Giles Farm had been added to the Fletcher title,18 In 1851 James Fletcher, now aged eighty-five, was living alone, his wants attended by four servants. There were, however, two other Fletcher households nearby, one being that of Amos James and the other that of Joseph Flitcroft, with a young and growing family. It must have been at about this time that James financed the building of the vestry at the east end of the extended south aisle of Ash church, an 'excrescence', it was later tartly remarked, that 'ought to be removed'.19
1822 his unmarried sister Jane dies she leaves him money and property in her will and makes him her executor
1835 his unmarried sister, Anna Maria makes him her executor tog. with their sistyer, Sarah RICH. She refers to him as 'Captain' and leaves him the books that belonged to the architect Henry FLITCROFT who was married to their sister Jane
1841 Census - Rands House, Hodsoll Street, Ash, Kent James FLETCHER - 75 - ind. Joseph FLETCHER - 20 (both born in county) + 4 servants
1851 Census - Hodsoll Street, Ash James FLETCHER - head - unm - 85 - land owner - b. Ash + 4 servants
Tithe Farm L.B. Barnet Local History Archives has a file called 'Mill Hill: Older houses, families etc' compiled by Ralph CALDER 1992 (rev. ed. 1995) incl. notes on Tithe Farm
'Oct 1756 60 acres bought for £2,140 by the distinguished London architect John Flitcroft (1697-1769).... on his death the fields were inherited by his son Henry (1742-1826), a barrister living in Hampstead. John Cooke's map and index of 1796 shows that by that time there had been built a brick house with a yard, garden, stable and barn. These were at the top corner of Saint Foin Field, except for the barn which was at the lower end of the field. By this time the whole constituted a working farm, let at first to John DOWDSWELL (1772-1775) and then to William GEEVES. By 1828 WISHAW describes the house as 'a neat white house occupied by William GEEVES', a member of a large farming family in Mill Hill and an earlier surveyor of highways in Hendon. Two years earlier in 1826 on the death of the younger Flitcroft the estate had been inherited or bought by Captain James FLETCHER (1765-1854), a brother of FLITCROFT's wife Jane. Captain FLETCHER who lived at Hodsell in Kent, had become rich on prize money from the battle of Trafalgar, and had purchased the tithes on 3,418 acres in Hendon (almost half the total in the parish). the barn, already by 1828 designated by WHISHAW as the tithe barn, must have been used for the storing of the tithe crops until the commutation for money rents begun by the Act of 1836. At some time before the 1841 census Richard WALTER (1801-1877), a distant relative of FLETCHER, was installed as bailiff, with wife Thirza and 4 children. He was succeeded in 1877 by his son William. When Captain FLETCHER died a bachelor in 1854 he left his estates in Kent and Mill Hill to his 'great nephew and dear friend' Amos James FLETCHER (1806-1876), who had been supervising his farms. He had seven children, all of whom were given the name FLITCROFT. Henry James and Michael Dean were both mentally defective. Two of the girls - Kezia Lauranda and Anna Maria - remained spinsters. Fanny Mary married Bion REYNOLDS. Augusta married the Rev. Alfred Barrett LAMPLUGH, and Mary Jane married the Rev. David LAMPLUGH of Yalding. When Amos FLETCHER died he left all his property to his widow Frances in condition that during her lifetime she paid annuities of £25 each to their seven children. In 1880 she discharged her obligation to one daughter, Mary Jane, by giving her the fields to the west of Page Street, on which she and her husband raised a mortgage of £1,500 to obtain the annuity. The two fields to the other side of Page Street would seem to have been sold to the NICOLLS who owned other fields there. In 1883 the LAMPLUGHs sold the farm lands for £6.500 to George BARHAM of Hampstead. He had founded the Express Dairy Company in 1864, and in 1882 bought the Sheephouse Farm in Finchley, to be renamed College Farm. He converted the Tithe Farm to dairy to supply milk for his company and leased to George MEAD'
Will of James FLETCHER 1853 - proved London 28 Jan 1854 This is the last will and testament of me James FLETCHER of Lions House in the parish of Ash in the county of Kent Esq. In the first place I give and devise to my great nephew and dear friend Amoz James FLETCHER now living with me at Hodsol Street in this parish of Ash all my worldly goods after the payment of my just debts, real and personal, all my house, gold, furniture, plate, books, pictures, linen and all my farming stock live and dead and all my ? of ? and all my interest present and future in any policies of insurance ? in the equitable law, life and town and country to the said Amoz James FLETCHER to his heirs and assigns forever (various bequests to friends and servants) I also give and devise to Richard WALTER living at Hendon in the county of Middlesex the sum of £50. And all the rest of the residue and remainder of every property ? real or personal I give, devise and bequeath the same unto the said Amoz James FLETCHER his heirs and assigns forever. And I do hereby nominate and appoint my said great nephew Amoz James FLETCHER to be my sole executor to this my last will signed and delivered this ? day of October 1853.
Witnesses - Thomas and David BISHOP
Death Duty Records 1854 James FLETCHER Ash, Kent - executor Amoz J. FLETCHER Ash, Kent - PCC - 1/21
History of Ash Church (website) Among the few other slabs and tablets only one rouses our curiosity. This is the white marble tablet in the south aisle, to James Fletcher, who died aged eight-eight in 1853, and two of his adopted children. One would like to know more about Mr Fletcher who, 'having served his country for several years by sea and land retired from the gay world in a bad state of health' and found at Ash a comfortable state of health and all the other blessings that he could wish for'.
KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY Kent Maps and Tithe award schedules, apportionment etc. Pages 101-118 The Tithe Commutation Surveys in Kent By Roger J.P. Kain. Updated 25-02-2005 Ash-next-Ridley - 1830/1840 With names of landowners, occupiers and fieldnames with acreages, and tithe payments James FLETCHER esq. owned and occupied Part of Giles Rands House Farm Homestead, Yards & Gdn Late Giles Yard Garden & Orchard Home Field Hop Garden Field Little Lion Field Lion Shaw Great Green Field Lower Green Field Little Green Field Pudding Dean Pudding Dean Shaw The Mead Home Field by Bishops Hedgingham Shaw Little Hedgingham Home Mead The Orchard Court Field Great Hutchfield Hutch Shaw Great Hedgingham Court Shaw Little Hutch Field Grove Field Little Grove & Hutch
Half Lanes Included orchard, meadow, arable, woodland and hops also - Part of Cop Hall :Little Wood Three Acre Gore Field Little Gore Field Part of Little Mead Field Also land in Ridley - Ash Plantation - 6 Acres
More About James FLETCHER: Census 1: 1841, Hodsoll Street, Ash, Kent. Census 2: 1851, Hodsoll Street, Ash, Kent. Christening: April 28, 1765, Ash by Wrotham, Kent. Will: 1853