Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Family make their mark on history

REGULAR readers of the Diary may remember my Hidden Henley item of January 24 in which I asked about the significance of a set of initials cut into the brickwork of a wall at Simmons & Sons in Bell Street.

The accompanying photo showed SN 1763, FN 1763, EN 1763, MN 1763, IN 1763 and FN 1763.

Now Hilary Fisher, a member of Henley Archaeological and Historical Group, has come up with the likely answer from the 18th century wills currently being transcribed by the group.

She says that in his will Samuel Norman bequeathed to his wife Frances for life and then for the benefit of two of his daughters “the dwelling house in which I now live situate on the east side of Bell Street with the buildings, yards, gardens….”

The couple had four daughters christened at Rotherfield Greys Independent Chapel (now Christ Church) — Frances, who was born in 1754, Elizabeth (1755), Mary (1756) and Jane (1760). (The letters I and J were used interchangeably then.)

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