The Life and Family of Fanny Marjoram

Fanny Leggett was baptised in St Peter’s Church, Charsfield on 9th May 1773, the fifth child of John & Elizabeth (née Woods) Leggett. However, only 4-year-old sister Sarah, was alive at the time of her birth; three earlier daughters, all called Elizabeth, had sadly died in infancy. Six further siblings were to follow – Elizabeth, John, Mary, Ann, James & Tamar.

Several other family trees can be found online that include Fanny Marjoram and most assume her proper name is Frances, but it is clear from the parish record and our own Historia Caresfelda that she was christened Fanny (at first sight Fany in the HC baptism record below but the line above “ny” implies the second n). Fanny is a name that appears a number of times in Charsfield family trees of that era.

Fanny marries Stephen Marjoram on 17 January 1800 at Charsfield church. Stephen was a year or so younger, having been baptised in Bromeswell on 2nd October 1774. Between 1801 and 1818, she has 11 children:

Stephen (1801-62)       Lydia (1803-05)        Richard (1804- ?)         Lydia (1806-47)

Martha (1807-43)        Elizabeth (1809-42)         John (1810-77)              William (1813-?)

James (1814-?)             Daniel (1816-51)        George (1818-?)

On 13th August 1835, husband Stephen Marjoram makes his will, citing himself as:

 “…Innholder, being sick and weak in Body, but of sound Mind…”.

He continues:

“I nominate, constitute and appoint Fanny my beloved Wife sole Executrix of this my Will”.

The terms of the will are straightforward. He leaves all his personal estate to Fanny, adding that anything remaining after her death should be equally distributed amongst their children whom he names (matching those above, except missing William and James – presumably, they have died). Helpfully (for the researcher), the husbands of Lydia and Martha are also given. Elizabeth will marry, but not for another year.

Stephen only lives another month. He dies on the 20th September 1835 and is buried four days after. His grave can be easily found in St Peter’s churchyard, along its northern edge and central.

Four years later, the records taken at the time of the tithe reform show that Fanny Marjoram is the occupier of the Horse Shoes Public House and the owner is John Cobbold.

The land around The Horse Shoes is given as 1 rood & 14 perches, about one third of an acre. Adding the Hempland (until recently part of the pub grounds), the total comes to nearly an acre.

Given that Stephen died in Charsfield, it is a good presumption that the couple were running The Horse Shoes back in his lifetime and that Fanny has just carried on. The 1841 census further confirms her occupation as Publican. The only other resident is Mary Leech, shown as F.S (Female Servant). Mary is though Fanny’s great-niece, granddaughter of Sarah, Fanny’s elder sister. It is also interesting to note that next door at the Grocers (present-day London House), another great-niece, Emma Leech is helping out.

White’s Directory of 1844 is the first to feature a description of Charsfield village and the people working in it.

An extract is shown below and there is a lot to interest us here.

Fanny Marjoram is shown as “vict. Horse Shoe” meaning, in full, she is the licensed victualler. Just below, Thomas Motum, the blacksmith is the father of John Motum whom Fanny’s daughter, Elizabeth, has married back in 1836. We will return later to this couple.

On the right-hand side can be seen two farmers with the surname of Leggett. John is Fanny’s younger brother, born 1778 and he and wife Mary are at Hill House Farm (situated at the turning into Hall Road after coming up the hill and on the south side there). It is a small farm of some 13 acres, one of the many owned by Lord of the Manor, Earl Howe. Unfortunately, the farmhouse is no longer in existence, having burnt down in the late 1800s.

James Leggett is John and Mary Leggett’s son (and so Fanny’s nephew). James and wife, Mary Ann, have recently moved into the farm over the road (present-day Hill Farm). This is larger, comprises 39 acres and is again a tenancy, owned this time by Colonel John White. James Leggett is a veterinary surgeon as well as a farmer and the couple will have three sons who also become vets. Mary Ann is a farmer’s daughter; her parents, William and Elizabeth Smith, are close by at Valley Farm (later Mary Ann will find herself embroiled in a dispute over her father’s will – that is another story).

Returning to Fanny Marjoram, the 1851 census finds her still living at The Horse Shoes but now listed as “Mother & Formerly Publican”. Her son Daniel has taken over with wife Harriet (née Taylor).

Sadly, Daniel dies within a couple of months of this census and is buried on the 8th June 1851. His grave is found in St Peter’s graveyard just a short distance to the east of his father’s. In the 1855 edition of White’s Directory, we again find Fanny Marjoram listed as victualler at the “Horse Shoe”. She is 82!

Daniel’s widow, Harriet does in fact marry again in 1856 to Thomas Leech. Thomas is the younger brother by some 10 years to Mary Leech who we observed was helping out at the pub back in 1841. Thomas is therefore Fanny’s great-nephew.  By 1861, Thomas is listed as Innkeeper (and thatcher) at the Horse Shoe and again in 1871.

Fanny Marjoram, though, has died in 1858, a couple of months short of her 85th birthday. She is buried 5th March in Charsfield but, unfortunately, her grave cannot be found today. She appears to have had a full, probably challenging, but interesting life, albeit she would have rarely travelled beyond Charsfield and its surrounding villages.

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There are many lines of Fanny’s descendants that could be followed; we will just look at one that stays relatively local. We noted earlier that Fanny’s daughter, Elizabeth had married John Motum, son of Thomas the blacksmith and they have two children, Elizabeth in 1837 and, in 1840, Susannah (whom we shall follow). But Susannah’s parents die early, her mother when she is two, her father three years later. In 1851, Susannah is ten and it appears she is being brought up in the Charsfield home of her grandparents, Thomas and Ann Motum. It is the same in 1861 though only her grandmother is still alive.

Susannah marries William Brook of Hoo in 1868. William is part of a farming family and carries on that tradition. All four censuses, 1871 to 1901 show William as a farmer with acreage increasing. By the 1900s, they are at Poplar Farm (just north of the border with Charsfield). William dies in 1910, Susannah in 1915. Their joint gravestone is easily found in Hoo churchyard. There are seven children, and the third child Georgina is buried near her parents. We may not have Fanny Marjoram’s gravestone but at Hoo we do have ones for her granddaughter, Sussanah, and her great-granddaughter, Georgina.