The White House, The Green

Plus references to the adjoining Granary

The White House & granary

The White House has stood prominently on the south side of the Village Green where residents once stepped straight out onto what was the only road into the village centre from Hemsby long before the present road that dissects The Green existed. The house goes back that far but it is not known exactly when it was built. The earliest record for it appears to be the 1842 Tithe Award map. It is shown on the map as plot 310 coloured pink like other occupied properties.

The Tithe Award map was drawn because the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 required that payments of tithes in the form of farm produce should be replaced by money payments. Tithe was a tax which was paid to the local church. Tithe maps were not particularly drawn up to identify dwellings but still help us trace their history.

In 1842 George Rising owned the property but it was occupied by George Manship the uncle of *Rebecca Rowing, nee Manship who we will see again later. The barn to the west end of the property was probably built after 1842 because if it was there then it would be a square not coloured in pink. Much, much later the barn was converted into a domestic property called Granary Barn.

The house is unusual in Martham in that its owners never seemed to live there and it was let for long periods to a succession of village vets. This becomes apparent from the Will of Stephen Leach. He was a highly successful gentleman farmer and his wife was Rebecca, nee Manship came from the Manship farming dynasty. Under the terms of his Will, Stephen left The White House to his daughter *Rebecca and she was entitled to the income from rents for as long as she lived. Stephen lived and farmed at West Somerton rather than at The White House but instead let it to provide an income.  His daughter also does not appear to have lived there. She married Archibald Rowing who was yet another successful farmer and they lived and farmed at Wicklewood which is about 11 miles west of Wymondham. Rebecca made a will in 1901 and after she died in 1909 her Trustees sold The White House to Mary Thirza Wiseman & and her sister Gertrude. They remained spinsters all their lives and lived with their parents at Grange Farm and Martham House.

1861 & 1871

The next records we can look at are the 1861 & 1871 census returns and these confirm the use of the house as the home of the village vet. In 1861 the property was not named but in 1871 it appears to have been known as The Cottage. The Daniels family lived there throughout this time. Robert Daniels was 55 in 1871 and was the head of household and a Veterinary Surgeon born in Wickhampton (a hamlet between Halvergate and Reedham) and his wife Harriet was the same age and from Martham.

The White House

1881

The 1881 census was carried out on 3rd April that year. We cannot be absolutely certain about which entry refers to The White House as individual properties are not named but only listed as “South of the Green” but the most likely is the Smith family. Sydney Smith was 33 and a Veterinary Surgeon. He was born in Rowenden, Kent. His wife was Clara, aged 23, and was born in Martham.

1891

The 1891 census was carried out on 5th April that year.   The Golden family lived at The White House at the time. The head of household was Francis Charles Golden who was 27 a Veterinary Surgeon. He was from Dudley, Worcestershire and his wife was Mary V Golden, aged 25, from Sedgley, Staffordshire.

1901

The 1901 census was carried out on 31st March that year.  The use of the house as a vets had come to an end with the Larter family living in the property. The head of household was John Larter who was 33 and a plumber & decorator. He was born at Ludham. He was married to Edith, aged 29 and they had two children.

1911

The 1911 census was carried out on 2nd April that year.   The Terman family lived at The White House at the time. The head of household was Percival John Whitfield Terman who was 45 and he was a General Medical Practitioner. He was born in Barbados; West Indies and the census says he was a British Subject by his parentage.  He was married to Agnes Rosa Terman, aged 43, and they had three servants living in on the night of the census.

We have seen above that in October 1909 Mary Wiseman and her sister Gertrude purchased The White House from Rebecca Rowing for £500. The Wiseman sisters were the daughters of Alfred & Thirza Wiseman the very successful farmers who lived in a series of the best houses in Martham including Grange Farm and Martham House. In March 1916 the sisters sold The White House for £600 to Mary Elizabeth Debbage the wife of Horace who was a corn merchant.

White House deeds 1909
White House deeds 1916

I have studied the 1939 Register. The White House is not specifically named but Mary Debbage is listed as living on The Green with her daughter and granddaughter. Mary had become a widow but was a corn merchant, no doubt continuing her husband’s business after his death in 1938.

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