The first piece of evidence of the Ward family being involved with the mill came from the Essex Standard, dated 3rd May 1834. Beeleigh Mill had been sold at auction to Mr Ward, of Merton Mills, Surrey.
An article on the Merton Mill, Wimbledon, states that Joseph Ward entered into a 21-year lease of the mill in September 1821. Joseph is reported to have left the mill by 1834.
At the time of the 1841 census, Joseph Ward lived in Beeleigh House with his grand-daughter Mary Ward and two servants. This census does not give the place of birth, but does state whether or not they were born in the county. Both Joseph and Mary are shown as being born in Essex. Beeleigh House was to the west of the mill and the remains of the basement are still visible today
Living in Beeleigh Cottage, are Charles Ward aged 30 and Henry Ward aged 25. Neither was born in Essex but later sources confirm these as Joseph’s sons. Beeleigh Cottage was to the east of the mill, on the site of the current Beeleigh Falls House.
The 1851 census begins to give us more useful information. Joseph was born in Langford, Essex and he now has a wife Rebecca, who was born in Maldon. His grand-daughter, Mary was actually born in Wimbledon, Surrey. Later sources show that Mary was the daughter of Charles and Mary Ward. Mary Ward, senior, died in 1837 and is buried in Maldon.
Joseph Ward had married Rebecca Bright in 1842. The register of marriages for All Saints with St Peters in Maldon show that Joseph was a widower and that his father was Voice John Ward, a farmer. Rebecca was a spinster and her father was Edward Bright, a merchant.
I have found evidence of a will showing that Voice John Ward’s grandfather lived in Ulting. Voice John Ward married Mary Butcher and they had seven children, including Joseph. Voice John was a yeoman farmer, meaning he farmed his own land, in Langford.
A search of the civil death registers identifies a Sarah Ward, wife of Joseph Ward, who died on 1st September 1840 in Maldon. She was 55.
The 1851 census now shows only Henry Ward and two servants living in Beeleigh Cottage. Henry was born in Stratford, Essex. His age is given as 37 which means he would have been born in 1813/14.
So where is Charles Ward? He has moved to Manor Farm, Woodham Walter, and has a new wife and a daughter. His second wife is Eleanor. Eleanor was born in Islington. A newspaper entry reports that Mr Charles Ward of Beeleigh married Eleanor, daughter of the late Mr Robert Branston, of Holloway on 21st April 1846.
Charles’ first wife was Mary, who died in Maldon on 13th August 1837. A newspaper entry reported “13th inst, at Beeleigh, near Maldon, Mrs C Ward, the beloved wife of Mr C Ward the son of – Ward Esq., of Beeleigh Mill, aged 26 years”.
Charles does not appear to have had any further direct involvement in the mill.
Joseph died on 19th February 1853. Rebecca, in the 1861 census was living with her sister, Jane Bright, in Witham. She was buried in Maldon on 23rd January 1862.
Joseph’s son, Henry, married Louisa Matilda Youl on 28th March 1856. They were married at All Saints Church, West Ham. Louisa was the second daughter of John Robert Youl, of West Ham. She was 20 years younger than Henry.
Henry and Louisa had a son and 6 daughters. Louisa Caroline in 1858, Ada Gertrude in 1859, Charles in 1860, Julia Kate in 1862, Florence May in 1863, Ida Constance in 1865 and Bertha Ellen in 1868. In the 1871 census, Louisa Caroline and Ada Gertrude were at a ladies school in Kidbrooke, Kent. Charles was at Dedham Grammar School.
In August 1873, Mrs Henry Ward advertised for a nursery governess, a young lady to teach english and music to three little girls and to take entire charge of them.
In the 1881 census, Ida Constance was at school at Beth Coombe House, in Greenwich.
It would appear, therefore, that Henry and Louisa’s children received a good education.
Louisa Caroline Ward died in 1875, aged 17, and was buried in St Michael, Woodham Walter.
Ada Gertrude Ward married David Carr Binnie in St Michael, Woodham Walter on 4th June 1896.
David was a widower, aged 52. Ada was 37. David was a retired oil manufacturer. He had been married twice before. He married Clara Elizabeth Jameson in 1877 and they had four children, Dorothy Clara, Olive Marion, Winefred Elizabeth and Mabel Lilian. Clara died in 1889, aged 38. Their daughter, Mabel, died in 1892. He then married Ellen Houghton, aged 42, in 1890. Ellen died in Maldon in 1892.
Ada and David had two children. Alfred Maurice was born in 1901 and Marjorie Constance was born in 1902.
David died on 31st August 1918 at Hill House, Maldon. The value of his estate was £17,920 15s 8d.
Ada, then living at 54 Holywell St in Oxford, died on 16th October 1948 leaving her effects of £7,031 17s 6d to Alfred and Marjorie.
Neither Alfred or Marjorie appear to have married. Alfred, a physicist of Trinity College Cambridge, died 31 December 1986 leaving £923,029. Marjorie died in 1999.
Charles Ward has caused a few problems. A Charles Ward married Alice Barber at West Ham in 1888. Most of the details on the wedding certificate match our Charles – his father Henry, his occupation of corn merchant – but his age is given as 26 years instead of 27. Alice was 25. At the time they was living in Leyton. He is still in Leyton, with Alice, on the 1891 census. However, on the 1901 census a Charles Ward, born in Maldon, is living with his wife Lily aged 27, in Chertsey, Surrey. I can find no death in this period for an Alice Ward (nee Barber) or a marriage between a Charles and Lily. Charles, who was living in Chertsey, died on 26th April 1901. His probate was to his sister, Julia Kate Shackel. As we shall see shortly, Shackel was his sisters married name. So all we can be sure of is that he was born in Maldon and died in Chertsey. His death certificate shows his age as 41, profession as corn merchant, and cause of death as acute alcoholic nephritis.
Julia Kate Ward married Henry Thomas Shackel on 15th September 1887 at All Saints and St Peters, Maldon. Henry Shackel was a gentleman from Hamstead. Henry was 35 and Julia was 25. Henry died on 13th October 1897 in 6 Wellington Rd, Maldon. Julia remarried in 1907, this time to Horatio Richard Hollingdale. Horatio died on 9th May 1934, in Exmouth. Julia died on 25th December 1960, also in Exmouth. No children have been found for either marriage.
Florence Mary Ward married Robert Nevill on 26th June 1884 in All Saints and St Peters, Maldon. Robert was a wholesale baker. In both the 1891 and 1901 census, Florence and Robert were living in Kensington. At the time of the 1911 census they were living at Beeleigh Falls. Robert died on 13th June 1938 and Florence died on 17th August 1940. At the times of their deaths they were living at Woodlands, Galleywood. No children have been found for this marriage.
Ida Constance Ward married Moses Bottomley Tetley on 28 December 1887 in St Mary Magdelene, St Pancreas. Middlesex. In the 1881 census Moses was a lodger at Millington House, Danbury. He was a steam plough proprietor employing 5 men. They had a son, Hugh Cuthbert Tetley in 1889. Moses died at Beeleigh on 7th June 1925. Ida died on 17th December 1946 in Debden, while on holiday with her son. She had been living in Victoria Rd, Maldon. Their son, Hugh, married Annette Rosalind Nichols in 1914. Hugh and Annette had a daughter, Annette Constance in 1917. Annette Constance married Dermot Cormac Lawrenson in 1940 but they do not appear to have had any children.
Bertha Ellen Ward married Thomas Herbert Solly on 13th June 1889 at All Saints and St Peters, Maldon. Thomas was a farmer and lived at Mundon Hall. They had two sons, Alec Richard and Maxwell Stuart. Bertha died on 21st June 1901, in Shropshire although still resident at Mundon Hall. Thomas remarried in 1902. Alec Solly does not appear to have married. Maxwell Solly married Mercia Shackles in 1932 but no children have been found.
To finish, we go back to Henry and Louisa Matilda Ward.
Henry Ward died on 25th July 1900 in Beeleigh Falls House. Louisa died suddenly the following month, on 22nd August, of heart disease. Henry left an estate valued at £27,355 19s 2d.
The newspaper entry on the proving of Henry’s will states that he left £1,000 and £3,000 on trust to his son Charles Ward, to whom he has already given large sums. Given the cause of Charles death it is possible that this money was not well spent!
I have been unable to find any evidence of living descendants of Henry Ward but it has been an enjoyable and enlightening exercise. I still have Henry’s brother Charles branch of the family to conclude. I also intend to do more research into Joseph Ward’s ancestors and siblings to try and prove, or disprove, a link between the Ward family at Beeleigh mill and the Ward family at Heybridge mill.