Moses & Martha Linford
Moses was born in about 1776 and was baptised on 24th August 1777 at St Mary’s. His parents were William & Sarah Linford. In 1792 he was employed as an apprentice wheelwright to William Woods and on 6th October 1805 he married Martha Stagg at Great Yarmouth. They had at least two sons, William (born 1814) and James (born 1815) and they lived at Black Street between 1832 and 1835 where Moses appeared in the Martham Poll Book as eligible to vote in West Flegg which means that at that stage he was a property owner. The freehold land he owned was listed in the 1812 Inclosure Award as a long thin plot off Black Street being 1 acre and 16 perches in size and is what is now known as Oak Tree Close and was formerly Kirby’s Yard. It is almost certain that Moses gave land for the building of the first Baptist chapel in Martham. – read on.
Moses died in 1839 and his death was recorded as being in the Flegg area. It is most likely that he was buried in the family plot in an unmarked grave at the Baptist graveyard off what is now Oak Tree Close. In 1812 he owned the land on which the Baptist Church and burial ground were later situated. Moses and his wife were lifelong Baptists and there used to be monuments to them both displayed in the Baptist Church on The Green but they are no longer on view. These are the memorials:
Martha is listed in the 1842 Tithe Award as a land and property owner. She is listed as owning five plots. Key to these were plots 663, 664,and 667 which were adjacent to each other on the west side of White Street and would later be the trading point of her son William’s grocery store. She also owned plot 686 which today is Hollydene House in the centre of the village. Lastly, and perhaps oddly, she owned plot 320 which was a small saw pit on the Green just opposite Hollydene House.
Moses & Martha’s son James is shown in the 1842 Tithe Award as still being the owner of the same land his father owned in 1812 off Black Street. By 1842 it was known as plot 691. He also owned plots 31 (arable land), 365, 486 & 487 which were marshes. Plot 691 was listed as being a brick ground which basically meant that clay was there which could be used to make bricks. Much later on when this became exhausted the remaining pit became Kirby’s former Yard.
William Snr., Marianne & William Jnr.
Moses and Martha’s other son, William who was born at Martham in 1814 became a very successful grocer at a store in White Street on the same plots his mother had owned in 1842. He is recorded as being a grocer in Kelly’s Directory of 1845 and he remained as a grocer and draper at the White Street store until his death in 1882 as shown in every census from 1851 to 1881 inclusive. William’s wife was Marianne (nee Mallett) and she appears in the 1883 copy of White’s Directory at Martham but had retired by 1891 and lived at Repps Road.
There are three Linfords in the family grave at the Baptist graveyard at Oak Tree Close. Moses is not recorded but grave number 9 is that of William Linford who died on 16th March 1882 aged 68. As we have seen above William had married Marianne Mallett in 1843 and spent almost all his adult life as a grocer and draper from his shop in White Street. Being a man and an owner of a premises worth more than £50 he was eligible to vote and appeared in all the West Flegg Register of Elector lists from 1853 to 1882. During this time voting was not seen as a universal right but as a privilege for the wealthiest class of society. In 1853 only 67 people were entitled to vote in the whole of West Flegg and this had grown to 92 in 1882 by which time it included men who could afford to pay rent for property of at least £12 per year.
Grave number 10 is of William Joshua the son of William & Marianne. Sadly, he only lived from 1844 to 1850. Grave number 11 similarly is that of Marianne Jemima the daughter of William & Marianne who died aged 20 months on 12th November 1849.