Chalk Family Timeline

A Thundersley and Hadleigh family in pictures

According to the 1841 Census the Chalk family, with John Chalk (born 1804/5) at the head, lived at Ranks Green, Fairstead, a hamlet of a dozen houses, including two beerhouses. John ran one of them. 1851 finds the family in Kelvedon district – John and Phoebe Chalk and nine children aged from 5 months to 21 years. The fifth child, Angelo, was nine years old. Ten years later and the 20-year old Angelo was an agricultural labourer at Rayleigh Lodge, a farm of 205 acres. Also working there was his older brother Henry who lived next to the Lodge with wife Emma and two children. By 1861 Angelo Chalk had married a Thundersley girl, Mary Ann. Of their daughters Jane and Jimima, the youngest, Flora, was born in Thundersley. When a new Peculiar People’s chapel was built on Daws Heath in 1880, Angelo Chalk was one of Bishop Harrod’s three assistants. (See pictures of gravestones.)

By 1881 the Chalk family were living at ‘Heath Road’, Thundersley, with daughter Louis(e) and sons Herbert and William. Herbert Angelo and William were still there in 1891.

In 1901 Herbert Angelo Chalk was staying with his sister Louis(e) (28) and brother-in-law Lewis Sydney Upson (31) at ‘Still Cottage’, Hadleigh. Also staying at the house were Annie Kezia Howard (9) and Alice Jane Fairhead (20), Herbert’s future wife. Lewis Sydney Upson’s father George had become landlord at the Waggon & Horses in 1881, but it seems the Upson family became builders who built half of Hadleigh, Thundersley and Benfleet. Herbert Angelo Chalk’s family still lived in (Daws) Heath Road and father Angelo had become a ‘builders labourer’. Brother William was 20 and a carpenter. The large orchard at the house in Daws Heath Road, called ‘Orchardville’, on the high ground close to what is now the Deanes School entrance, provided at least part of the family income. (It was sold in 1959.)

1911 records Herbert Angelo Chalk and his wife Alice living at ‘the Institute’, Rectory Road, Hadleigh. Their children were Herbert John (9), Ben (6) and Henry George Angelo (5).

The Electoral Register of 1918 shows Herbert Angelo Chalk and his wife Jane still living at ‘the Institute’ in Rectory Road. William James Chalk lived at 4 Beech Villas, Leigh Road.

In 1929 Herbert Angelo Chalk and wife Alice, with children Ben, Harry, and Herbert were living at ‘Woodlands’, New Road, Hadleigh. William was still living at 4 Beech Villas.

Ben Chalk married Rose Johnson of Hovels Farm, Fobbing, on 12 June, 1929. Later Rose Chalk kept her flower shop and at one time a greengrocers in Hadleigh’s Central Parade, now called London Road. Fruit and vegetables would be delivered to her shop by bicycle. Her husband Ben was a carpenter at Underwoods Boatyard, South Benfleet. When he took it upon himself to change the names of her shops from ‘R. Chalk’ to simply ‘Chalks’, she was not best pleased.

Peter Rigden remembers how, as a boy, he picked berries along the hedgerows and sold them to Chalks the greengrocers for 3d. (three old pence) a pound.

Thanks to Gill (née Chalk) and Colin Blackall for story and pictures and to Karen Bowman for her research.

Historical note: An early 14th century document gives an account between Roger de Blaxhale, Constable of Hadleigh Castle and Gilbert de Chalk, ‘dwelling there with a valuable courser of the King’, for wages, oats, bran, candles, a leather shackle, etc. (A courser was a strong and swift horse. If it were possible to follow the line, could the Chalk family reach back to Hadleigh’s former royal horsekeeper?)

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  • My mother Doris Chalk (b.1916) and her younger sister Ida were the daughters of William James Chalk. He married Ada Parish in 1914 but she died in 1922; after that he brought up his two daughters alone with the help of a housekeeper. William James died in 1950 and is buried in Hadleigh church yard. He lived throughout at 4 Beech Villas (also known as 284 London Rd); my mother and father also raised their family there until 1963. The property was owned by Upson “cousins” and was part of the housing (and pet shop, and car dealer) that is now the site occupied by Lidl, and before that Maplin. William James Chalk belonged to the St James Lodge of the Royal Antedeluvian Order of Buffaloes ( a working class version of the Freemasons I think?) I have his lodge medals and two letters of condolence on the death of his wife; one from the St James Lodge secretary – surname Smith, initials unclear possibly R W; and one from Victory Lodge, Castle Hotel Hadleigh, secretary W J Knight.

    By Jacky Loh (née Wickman) (10/11/2018)
  • My mother who is Irene Chalk, her father was Ernest Chalk who worked for Marsh and Baxter: meat suppliers.  His father was the one who had the greengrocers; don’t know his name but was married to a lady called Drinkwater. He had a brother called Sydney Chalk.

    By Debra Forsyth (18/10/2016)
  • My mother was born 1934 as Irene Chalk;  her grandfather had a shop, a greengrocers I believe.  I know it was somewhere in England as we are all Scottish, she had 3 sisters and 3 brothers. I’m sure her father was a brummie and moved down south during the war, feel there must be a connection especially with the shop !!!! 

    By Debra Forsyth (17/10/2016)
  • I am so excited to read this, I am researching my family tree and my great great great grandfather was John Chalk.  I’d love to hear from anyone who is related to this family.

    By Joan Campbell (Chalk) (27/02/2015)
  • My mum’s family lived at Number 1 for as long as I can remember; my mum was born there in 1917 and died at the end of 2012. Indeed it was my first home; it ceased to be the family home around 1959 but I have lots memories of being there with my grandma. There used to be an alleyway at the back dividing the gardens. The last house was the home of a Mr Robinson, who only had one arm; somewhere in the middle lived the Smith family.

    By Rob Keen (21/06/2013)
  • Ah, Chalks! In the flat above Chalks, in the 40s and 50s, lived a family called Joseph.  I was great friends with the son Tony, who I recall went to Westcliff High. He taught me to ride a bike, and I became a racing cyclist in the Benfleet Wheelers. Tony’s dad was policeman in South Africa, I think that really was their nationality, and he was rarely there. When I visited the UK in the 90s, Tony and I got together and had great reminiscences.

    By Don Thompson [jnr] (20/11/2012)
  • This is super, I am currently researching my family tree and believe I am a direct descendant of John Chalk.

    By Michelle Quintavalle (23/10/2012)
  • Come on then, Kate! We’re all agog. Tell us which one exactly, and a bit more about your family, please. (Who knows what amusement it might lead to for you.)

    By David Hurrell (02/07/2012)
  • One of our relations stood 6 away from the one marked with x. Great to see the school photo.

    By Kate Knott (20/06/2012)
  • Very interesting and well collated

    By SUZANNE NISBET (05/08/2011)

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