James Braddock (1808-1879)

James Braddock was born on 21st September 1808 at Martham and was baptised on 28th September that year as the son of William & Elizabeth Braddock. William was from Buxton, Norfolk and Elizabeth was from Martham.

James had seven siblings and grew up with them and his parents at Martham where his father was at various times a thatcher, farrier and towards the end of his life a farmer. His father also owned just over 15 acres of land in 1842 spread across various parts of Martham which included at Back Lane where the family lived and James grew up learning the art of thatching from his father.  

James married twice. When he was 25, he married Sarah Woods on 4th February 1834 at St Mary the Virgin. James & Sarah had the following children at Martham and they were all baptised at St Mary the Virgin as follows:

  1. James who was born in 1834 and was baptised on 1st May 1834, he married Harriet Harbord at Catfield, Norfolk on 1st October 1863.  He died at Wickham Market, Suffolk in 1875.
  2. Ann Elizabeth who was born on 6th November 1840 and was baptised two days later. She died at Martham aged two and was buried at St Mary the Virgin graveyard, section F, plot. O14.
  3. Thirza who was born on 23rd September 1842 and was baptised two days later. She died aged nine and was buried at St Mary the Virgin, graveyard, section F, plot. O13.
  4. Alfred who was born on 4th  October 1844 and was baptised on the same day as his brother Ambrose on 11th July 1852. He married Emily Scott at St Mary’s Church, St Leonard, Bromley on 18th July 1872. Alfred died in 1932 at Edmonton, Middlesex.
  5. Ambrose who was born on 19th February 1847 and was baptised on the same day as his brother Alfred on 11th July 1852. He died in June 1866, aged 19, and was buried at St Mary’s in an unknown grave.

By the time of the 1841 census James & Sarah were living with their first two children at what would later be known as 26 The Green or Chapman’s Butchers/The Walnuts and he was a thatcher.

James was listed in the 1842 Martham Tithe Award as the owner of 4 acres and 9 perches of land, houses, marsh and gardens being plots 172, 314, 315 and 484 in Martham. Plot 314 was immediately in front of the pond and was the house and premises where he lived. Plot 315 was known as Laurel Cottage and was let to ‘Jay & others’ (the family of John Jay and his wife Mary). Plot 484 was a marsh next to Cess Boat Dyke Staithe on the River Thurne.

Plot 172 was a long strip of land with a pightle (a small field or enclosure with a cottage) on it. The cottage – shown right- is so tiny it hardly features in any records of the time but was listed in the Tithe Award as being owned by James Braddock who lived next door. Note the hay, or thatch, next to the cottage which may have been his stock in trade. Even though James  owned the cottage it was occupied from around 1841 until 1866 by Mary Beaton and her daughter Ellen. You can read more about the cottage by clicking on “The Cottage”.

James & Sarah were still at No26 at the time of the 1851 census but Sarah died, aged 44, in 1853 and was buried on 15th March that year at St Mary the Virgin graveyard, section F, plot. O13 in the same place as her daughter Thirza.

St Mary The Virgin graveyard, section F, plot O13

James was married again on 4th January 1857 at St Mary’s to Sarah Jones the daughter of John Jones & Elizabeth, nee Burton. Before they were married James lived at 26 The Green and Sarah lived with her parents next door but one at No30 (Greenside). In 1858 they had a son called Edwin who lived in Martham all his life.

James continued to work as a thatcher throughout the 1860’s until the 1871 census that tells us he had become a farmer of 23 acres employing a labourer. The interesting fact from the 1871 census is that he and Sarah were recorded as living at Pit Farm, The Green but there is no reason to believe they had moved because older locals sometimes call the main pond in front of the house ‘the pit’ which may have been named after the farm or the other way round.

James died on 1st September 1879 at Martham and Sarah on 6th November 1882. They are buried in graves next to each other at St Mary the Virgin, James at section D, plot E3 and Sarah at section D, plot E4.

Grave of James Braddock, died 1879.
Grave of Sarah Braddock, died 1882.

After James died in 1879 his Executors sold some of his property at auction in June 1880 in three lots which showed that he owned Laurel Cottage, The Green which was let to the Jay family in 1842 and 1879; plus, another pair of cottages that may have been replaced by Ross Villas, The Green in 1899, plus confirmation of the marsh next to the Cess Boat Dyke Staithe on the River Thurne.

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