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?)