Where did Sarah Deacon Live?

Update 2016: There were 3 cottages standing behind the Roebuck pub. These were destroyed by fire in 1874. Sarah may have lived in one of these.

There are clues as to where Sarah Deacon lived. George Bull, in his first-hand examination of the scene, says her tracks extended 300 yards, 270m, from her house to the Rector’s moat. That could be up towards Froxfield, or down towards Tyrells End. There were some houses about halfway between the rectory and Tyrells End until the twentieth century. Looking at the 1764 map and the 1808 map, It seems that there’s not been much development in Hills End. The houses up the hill or down the hill from the rectory might fit the bill for 300 yards away. Sarah must have lived somewhere on HIlls End, it’s 330m from the current front gate of the rectory to the Tyrells End junction, 700m from the rectory to the nearest Froxfield House. The houses up the road are further away, but both the houses up and down the road are a bit too close, though.

But, where was the “moat”? Maybe it wasn’t right on the road. The 1764 map shows a good-sized pond quite a way from the road. If Sarah had walked down hills end, from the furthest house up the hill, to the drive in front of the rectory, and turned in and walked to that pond, it’s about 280m. Pretty much spot-on. the moat “borders upon the recotry garden”, it’s not in the garden. It does “have a little gate from the road”, but if the driveway were considered part of the road, that would match.
What about the neighbours? The 1841 census is the first information we have, and it doesn’t have house numbers, and there is no Deacon and no Brown in the road. Here it is:
Hills End 1841 census
. uninhabited inhabited name gender age occupation born in Beds elsewhere
. 1 Samuel Stevenson m 70 farmer y
. Mary Godfrey f 70 female servant n
. 1 Mary Shing f 60 lacemaker y
. Sarah Osborn f 81 lacemaker y
. Rebecca Stapelton f 65 lacemaker y
. 1 Robert Farmer m 60 mason y
. Fanny Farmer f 55 y
. 1 Richard Blachford m 40 shoemaker? n
. Mary Blachford f 40 y
. Mary Blachford f 12 y
. 1 James Smart m 65 agricultural labourer y
. Ann Smart f 45 y
. 1 James Reed m 72 clergyman n
. Maria Shemeld? f 25 female servant y
. Samuel Farmer m 24 male servant y
. Eliza Drome? f 20 female servant y
. 1 William Parkes m 60 army p y
. Mary Butcher f 55 lacemaker y
. George Allen m 15 agricultural labourer y
. 1 James Blunt m 35 agricultural labourer y
. Elizabeth Blunt f 30
. 1 1 Joseph Chapman m 30 agricultural labourer y
. Eliza Chapman f 30 y
. Sarah Chapman f 9 y
. Louisa Chapman f 7 y
. John Chapman f 5 y
. Ann Chapman f 3 y
. Charles Chapman m 1 y
. 1 Jonas Chance m 35 agricultural labourer y
. Mary Chance f 30 y
. Eliza Chance f 12 y
. Mary Chance f 8 y
. 1 James Steen? m 60 agricultural labourer y
. Martha Steen? f 60 y
. Abraham Steen? m 15 y
. Susan Steen? f 14 y
. 1 Ann Perry f 80 lacemaker n
. George Perry m 15 agricultural labourer y
. Adam Perry m 14 agricultural labourer y
. 1 1 William Chance m 30 agricultural labourer y
. Sarah Chance f 30 y
. James Chance m 11 y
. Elizabeth Chance f 8 y
. Emily Chance f 5 y
. William Chance m 1 y
. Thomas Chance m 70 y
. 1 George Smart m 25 agricultural labourer y
. Mary Smart f 25 n
. Elizabeth Smart f 6 y
. James Smart m 5 y
. Joseph Smart m 3 y
. Mary Smart f 2 y
. Jane Smart f 0.25 y
. Ann Bosker f 15 lacemaker n
. 1 John Hostler? m 30 agricultural labourer y
. Sarah Hostler? f 3 y
. William Millard m 25 agricultural labourer y
. Ann Millard f 25 y
. Thomas Millard m 0.166666666666667 y
. 1 William Fleet m 40 Tailor y
. Elizabeth Fleet f 30 n
. William Fleet m 11 y
. Elizabeth Fleet f 8 y
. James Fleet m 5 y
. Francis Fleet m 3 y
. Mary Fleet f 1 y
. Frederick Biley m 15 y
. William Worker m 65 agricultural labourer y
. 1 John Sam m 55 farmer y
. Sarah Sam m 55 y
. George Blake m 15 gardener n
. 1 Maria Crick f 40 charwoman y
. Thomas Crick m 15 agricultural labourer y
. William Crick m 9 y
. Lipporah Crick f 7 y
. 1 Thomas Harris m 30 agricultural labourer y
. Ann Harris f 35 n
. Joseph Harris m 9 y
. William Harris m 8 y
. Ann Harris f 5 y
. Henry Harris m 2 y
. Woods Rayner m 15 n
. Geen Rayner m 14 n
. 1 John Stopp m 33 agricultural labourer y
. Mary Stopp f 38 n
. Thomas Stopp m 6 y
. Ann Stopp f 4 y
. Louisa Stopp f 2 y
. James Stopp m 1 y
. 1 John Smith m 30 y
. Jane Smith f 25 y
. Mary Smith f 8 y
. Joseph Smith m 7 y
. Eliza Smith f 5 y
. William Smith m 3 y
. Elizabeth Smith f 0.916666666666667 y
. 1 Martha Pepper f 65 carrier y
. Samuel Pepper m 25 agricultural labourer y
. 1 Samuel Harris m 30 grocer y
. Ann Harris f 30 y
. Richard Harris m 3 y
. Susan Farmer f 25 female servant y
. Rueben Farmer m 15 sawyer n
. Harry Page m 20 gardener y
. 1 William Chapman m 40 bricklayer y
. Sarah Chapman f 40 y
. 1 Isaac Pepper m 40 carpenter y
. Mary Pepper f y
. William Pepper m 15 y
. Abel Pepper m 15 y
. Charlotte Pepper f 13 y
. Jane Pepper f 11 y
. John Pepper m 8 y
. Ruth Pepper f 7 y
This list is just the people from Hills End, not Froxfield. We don’t know the exact order of the houses, it could be random, although more likely it was the way the enumerator walked upt he road. The interesting thing is that Isaac Pepper is at the end. Isaac pepper had a beer house, that’s where the inquest was held. Later, directories show him running a pub called the Deer, and then the Roebuck. Eversholt memory goes back as far as the Roebuck, it was the furthest house up the road from the rectory, now divided into two houses. It used to be a big pub. That’s where Isaac lived later on, but was that where he lived when he ran his “beer house”? It’s suggestive, but not conclusive, that on both the 1841 and 1851 censuses, the last household listed in Hills End, before the listing starts on the Froxfield houses, is that of Isaac Pepper, and that would be consistent with Isaac always living in the building that was to become the Roebuck.
The reason that Isaac’s house is important is that, after Sarah’s son goes to look for her, Mrs Meltham rouses the neighbours, and finds Brown (her son-in-law?), Pepper and Chapman. There are two Chapman families in the Hills End census, but only one Pepper – Isaac – and he lives right next to (if the census is in order) William Chapman. Isaac and William are full-grown men in their prime, carpenter and bricklayer, just the sort you’d send out into the snow on a difficult task at dead of night. So it does look highly likely that Sarah lived up the Hill from the rectory, in one of the houses near the building that became the Roebuck.


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