James Bane (1768-1834)

James Bane was born on 23rd May 1768 at Happisburgh, Norfolk as the fourth child of John Bane & Mary Appleton. He had four siblings, namely: Elizabeth, Kezia, John and Ann. This is the family tree for his immediate family. His nephew James (1793-1861) is also highlighted and you can read about him by clicking HERE.

James’ parents must have moved to Acle because his siblings were all born there, the earliest being Elizabeth in 1763. James’ met his wife Esther England in Acle and they were married there on 9th February 1790. Their only child, Elizabeth, was born in about 1795 but there is no other record of her other than as a beneficiary to her father’s Will – see below.

At some point around the turn of the century James & Esther had moved to Martham and in 1802, 1806 and 1817 he appeared in the Martham Electoral Register where he had become a farmer. His land ownership grew rapidly and by the  time of the 1812 Inclosure Award he  owned 57 acres, 2 rods and 37 perches of land in Martham. He owned plots 19, 27, 28 & 29 which were around his mill at Hemsby Road plus plot 101 which was immediately west of Common Road staithe on the River Thurne and four plots to the east of Damgate including plot No55. The Award mentions that he held some of the land as copyhold from John Barker Huntingdon of Burnley Hall, East Somerton who was Lord of the Manor.

1812 Inclosure Award plot 55 & three others east of Damgate
1812 Inclosure Award plots around Hemsby Road windmill
1812 Inclosure Award plot 101 next to the Boat Dyke Staithe

His land ownership and activities as a miller must have attracted a lot of attention and there is even a reference to James in Robert Porters odd little book called “The Strangers Guide Book for the Polite Village of Martham”. The book was published around about 1830 and includes a short verse in tribute to two millers, Bane and Wells:

The verse says: “Here Bane and Wells – two millers dwell of far farm’d notoriety. And if you’d plan – their Arts to scan. Pray entry their society. They are said to be – no more dissimilar. Than honesty and miller are.

In 1832 he was listed in the Poll List for the Hundred of West Flegg (voters list) as living at Mill Farm, Martham – shown left – which was the mill house next to the tower mill on Hemsby Road.

James must have been very ill in early 1834 because he made a Will which he signed on the day he died, 14th February. He was buried at Acle on 18th February . His wife must have also been very ill as well because he left the greater part of his assets including his mill to his only daughter rather than his wife. He left her some provision for the remainder of her life but perhaps they had something contagious because she died only two months later on 11th April and is buried with James. Did he know she was dying when he made his Will and therefore made life easier by leaving his mill – shown right – direct to Elizabeth, his daughter? We shall never know. A copy of his Will is shown below.

The sarcophagus of James Bane (d1834), his wife Elizabeth (d1834) and their daughter Elizabeth (d1837). At St Edmund Church, Acle.

This branch of the Bane family were associated with Martham for several generations. Two generations after James his second, great, grand nephew – James William Bane – would become well known in Martham for taking over Alcocks Cash Stores that did business out of what is today known as Norwich House.

Will of James Bane 13th February 1834

I James Bane of Martham in the county of Norfolk. Farmer being of sound mind and disposing mind, memory and understanding do make, publish and declare my last Will and Testament in the manner following that is to say I give and devise unto Elizabeth my daughter all and singular my messuages, farms, dwelling houses, cottages, , barns, stables, mills, edifices, buildings, lands, tenements and hereditaments and real estate whatsoever both freehold and copyhold or wherever or where to I now have or claim any estate right, title or interest in possession, reversion, remainder contingency expectancy or otherwise howsoever situate lying and being in Martham and West Somerton in the County of Norfolk or elsewhere within the Kingdom of Great Britain with all the rights and appurtenances there into belonging. To hold the same unto my said daughter, her heirs and assigns forever. Also I give and bequest the use of and not the absolute property of or in all my household furniture and implements of household plate, lining, china books, pictures and prints, money and securities OCR money dead and live farming stock produce crops implements of husbandry and all the rest and residue of my good chattels and personal estate and effects whatsoever and of what nature or kind solver the same may be or consist except a legacy of ten pounds which thereby I give to Benjamin Bowgen my Executor hereafter named for his care and the trouble in the execution hereof unto Ester my wife for her life and from and after her deceased I give and bequeath the said furniture, money and securities for money, stock, crops, personal Estate and Effects and the absolute property of  or in the same unto my said daughter to and for her own sole and absolute use, benefit and disposal provided nevertheless and notwithstanding anything herein before contained I charge my Mill and the piece of land on which it stands and their appurtenances in Martham aforesaid and now in the occupation of William Harrison Wells with the payment unto my said wife for her life of the annual sum of twenty five ponds in half yearly portions. And I give her the usual powers of entry and distress on the said Mill and piece of land in case of non payment of the said annuity for the recovery of the same together with all costs attending the same. And it is my will that in consideration of the  provision I have herein made for my wife she shall release all her dower Estate and interest of and in all and every said hereditament and real Estate whenever required and I nominate and appoint my said daughter and Benjamin Bowgen of Martham aforesaid farmer to be the Executrix and Executor of this my Will lastly hereby revoking all Wills and Testaments by me here before made I do declare this only to be my last Will and testament. In witness whereof I have herewith set my hand and seal the thirteenth day of February in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty four.

James Bane                                                                                                           (seal)

Signed sealed published and declared by the above named testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presents of us who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses William Copper, Mary Forder, Chas Bell.

This Will proved at Rollesby on the twenty seventh day of March 1834 before the Reverend Thomas Baker, Clerk surrogate duly appointed to the Worshipful William Gonge, Clerk.”

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