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A history of the Howes families of King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire

"King's Cliffe personalities of the past: The Howes Family"

By Canon John Bryan ©1994 - reprinted with permission and photographs added and living names removed. NB: the original text included several family trees of which only two are in my possession. At the request of one of Canon Bryan's sources, I have not published the trees themselves, though the individuals are in our database. We are interested in finding the other trees. Please let us know if you know where to find them. Many thanks to Patrick Cunningham for his assistance with research and for three of the photographs. For more information on the village of King's Cliffe and its heritage, click here.

If you enter 'Cliffe churchyard by way of the little hand-gate out of Hall Yard, immediately you are confronted by a large and well-preserved table-like tomb set at the north-east corner of the chancel of the church. On one side of it you read that it is the resting-place of the mortal remains of JOHN HOWES, who died 25th April 1816, aged 66; on the other side the inscription informs you that here rests ANN HOWES, relict of John Howes, died 27th February 1828, aged 76. This is the most imposing of a number of Howes family stones to be found in the churchyard, of which the last is one against the west wall, that of Mr. JOHN GROOME HOWES, died 1904,and his wife Mrs. ELIZA HELEN HOWES, died 1929.

King's Cliffe main street in 1950's

My interest in the Howes family was first aroused as early as 1966 by reading these sundry gravestones. The baptism, marriage and death of individual members I traced in the parish registers; accounts of the active part played by Mrs. Eliza Helen Howes in the life of King's Cliffe - and of her generosity - were related to me by the elderly folk of the village. Then my interest in the family was revived by a letter received in September 1997 from name removed, of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, who sought information about aunts of his mother who once lived in Park Villa (now "The Walnuts"); Miss Mary Howes DENNIS and Miss Elizabeth Sarah DENNIS. They were in fact the grand-daughters of a Benjamin Howes of King's Cliffe, about whom we shall learn later. same name supplied me with much information about the Misses Dennis and I must now acknowledge my indebtedness to him for such information and for his assistance in compiling this record of the two linked families of Dennis and Howes.

Early in our exchange of correspondence same name told me of his second cousin who had by then carried out a tremendous amount of genealogical research into the Howes family, second name removed of Redhill, Surrey. In due course second name wrote to me in February 1998, and so there began a correspondence which has continued to this day , and which has provided a considerable amount of information on the Howes family, from the 17th Century onwards. I must now acknowledge my indebtedness to second name for the vast amount of information she has passed to me, the fruit of her extensive researches into registers and archives both in London, in the Northants Record Society and in numerous parish registers. I am especially grateful to second name for a Family Tree of the Howes, (omitted) extending from the 1600's to her own date and that of first name; also for a second tree which traces the particular King's Cliffe line (also omitted), of which John and Ann Howes (the couple interred beneath that large table-tomb near the little gate into the churchyard) were the progenitors. Each of these trees is the work of second name and I am sure that King's Cliffe folk will join me to thank her for that work and for allowing me to append both Trees to this article.

It is the village parish of Benefield, close to Oundle, Northants., which appears to be the starting-point in the early 1600's for the Howes family with which we are particularly concerned, The Parish Registers of Benefield and of adjacent parishes have all been searched by second name; she has found 17th Century "Howes" only in Benefield. The spelling of the family surname varies from Hows, House, Hous and How to Howes, so that it is not exactly clear as to which family of Howes in Benefield is which, But the one certain register entry is that of the marriage at Warmington (presumably by licence) of Thomas Howes of Benefield and Elizabeth Goodyer of King's Cliffe on 10th June 1701. One asks why Thomas and Elizabeth travelled all the way over from their respective parishes to Warmington to marry by licence, but such was the case. Perhaps the Goodyer family of King's Cliffe, the bride's parish, didn't "hold" with the Rector of King's Cliffe at that time, one John Newton, a Cambridge University graduate, Rector from 1689 to 1714.

All Saints church, King's Cliffe - Courtesy: Robin Peel

Now this Thomas Howes is the person found at the head of the larger Family Tree attached to this essay; we identify him as "Thomas Howes I". He took to wife Elizabeth. of the Goodyer family of Cliffe. The Goodyers were a substantial farming family in the village, having been around at least from 1600 A, D, This is to be noted carefully, inasmuch as the connection enriched the next generation of this line of the Howes family. We must now follow the Family Tree closely, Thomas Howes I and Elizabeth his wife (nee Goodyer) had five children, all baptized at Benefield between 1701 and 1716. At some time they moved to King's Cliffe, where Thomas their eldest (and only surviving) son married another Elizabeth Goodyer, the niece of William Goodyer the elder. Let us identify this son Thomas as "Thomas Howes II"; we find him on the 2nd line of the large Family Tree. He became a butcher in Cliffe and it was to him that "uncle" William Goodyer, dying in 1751, bequeathed a fair number of freehold and copyhold lands in the Open Fields of pre-Inclosure Cliffe, together with a cottage in West Street.

Thomas Howes II and his wife Elizabeth had seven children, two boys and five girls, all baptized at King's Cliffe. The eldest boy was John, born 1750, like his father a butcher, but also, as we shall see, following other occupations; this John (1750-1816) is none other than the John Howes whose tomb we have observed in Cliffe churchyard, just inside the little gate. On the 29th of April 1773 he married Ann of King's Cliffe; he is the John Howes who we find at the head of the second Family Tree. The second son of Thomas Howes II was Benjamin Howes (1757-1811), of whom we shall read later. Let us identify him as "Benjamin Howes I", for future reference.

We have now reached the point where two Howes' brothers - John and Benjamin - emerge on the King's Cliffe scene, each as the progenitor of a family-line which extends down to the 20th Century. Just where in the village they had their homes we cannot say; neither of them had the house in West Street later occupied by Mr and Mrs John Groome Howes. The first evidence we find of John Howes is in the Roll of the Old Amicable Friendly Society, revised April 1795, which makes mention of him as landlord of the Cross Keys and as "Father" of the Society which established itself there. This marks him out as already a prominent person in the village-community. Later he appears as a butcher, as a farmer and as one of a list, dated 4 March 1804, of subscribers to the raising of a local Corps of Volunteer Infantry under the command of John, Earl of Westmorland.

In the King's Cliffe Inclosure Award of 1813 John Howes is awarded 3½ acres of freehold land in the Moors, 9 acres copyhold in Apethorpe Field, 2½ acres copyhold in Westhay Field and 13½ acres copyhold in West Meadow, Spa Field and Alders Meadow. At the same time his son Thomas was awarded 1½ acres copyhold in Long Doles Meadows and Spa Field. One wonders if these awards were allotted by the Inclosure Commissioners in respect of the bequest of "uncle" William Goodyer to his nephew Thomas in 1751. As the widow of John, Ann Howes is found in the Land Tax Assessment of April 1818 assessed £5 9s,3d, for Land Tax,, representing quite a holding of land. Ownership of that freehold land would have entitled John to vote in the County Election of November 1806, when he voted in favour of William Cartwright, Tory, the Squire of Aynho in South Northamptonshire,.

John and Ann Howes had twelve children in all. Here is the list, given in order of birth, all born, baptised and raised in King's Cliffe;

  1. Thomas, 1774-1848, a butcher of King's Cliffe, married Frances ?
  2. Mary, 1775-1810, married John Halford,
  3. Elizabeth, 1777- ?, married Thos Rawlinson, grocer, first of King's Cliffe, later of 63 Snow Hill, London.
  4. John, 1782-1868, draper & maltster of Stamford, also maltster in King's Cliffe,
  5. Sarah, 1783-1825, unmarried,
  6. Ann, 1785-1854, unmarried,
  7. Dinah, 1786-1804, unmarried,
  8. Philip, 1788-1866, unmarried, farmer and maltster in King's Cliffe,
  9. Henry, 1791-1860, draper, of Camden Town, London,
  10. Benjamin, 1792-1858, draper, of Brook Market and Fleet Street, London,
  11. Catherine, 1796-1878, unmarried, house-keeper for her brother Philip,
  12. Groome 1797-1866, married, partner in Cook & Son, wholesale drapers, St Paul's Churchyard, London.

It will be observed that the trade of draper was followed by four of these brothers, and that one of them - John - combined it with that of a maltster. There may be a clue as to where his maltings were in Bridge Street, King's Cliffe. Known to many as "Chapman's", a date-stone on the gable end of the house, facing up the street, carries the inscription " J.H. 1834 ",. It is more than likely that this stands for "John Howes", that the long workshops used by the Chapman brothers for wheelwrighting were originally built as malting. Miss Ida Chapman had learned this from her father, Joseph Chapman, and the date 1834 fits in with the life-span of John Howes.

Stamford Town and All Saints church - source: Wikipedia

John Howes was a man of considerable enterprise as a trader in Stamford; he lived there in All Saint's Place; was senior partner in the drapery firm of "Howes & Roden", with a shop in the High Street, and sundry house-properties in the town. Much is to be learned about him in the files of the Stamford Mercury of the 1830s. We see that Henry, Benjamin and Groome were also involved in the drapery trade.

Henry Howes in particular appears to have purchased a fair amount of land in his native King's Cliffe, altogether 88 acres, which we learn from details of the sale of his property after his death 3rd June 1860, Several of the fields offered in this sale were purchased by his nephew John Groome Howes, no doubt to form the nucleus of the land properties of J G Howes. The case of Groome Howes is of special interest. We find him engaged in the wholesale drapery firm of Cook & Son, in St Paul's Churchyard . It appears that early in his career he had joined forces with a certain Mr Cook, that together they built up a large business and prospered greatly. Married, he lived in Hamilton Terrace, St John's Wood, London, had six children, one of whom was John Groome Howes (1835-1904). John Groome entered his father's business, spent his whole working life in it, inherited the West Street home in King's Cliffe from his spinster aunt Catherine when she died in 1878, but had also a town-house at 48 Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park, London.

We must now complete the tale of John Groome Howes (1835-1904) and his wife Eliza Helen Howes, nee Thorpe (1848-1929), and how their names became "graven in lead" in the history of King's Cliffe. A marriage notice appeared in the Peterborough Advertiser of 29th Jan, 1870, which ran: "KING'S CLIFFE, MARRIED, On the 26th inst, at Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, (by the Revd Alfred Augustus Longhurst, vicar, assisted by the Revd Edward Du Pre, rector of King's Cliffe) John Groome, eldest son of Groome Howes, Esq., of Hamilton-terrace, St, John' s Wood, to Eliza Helen, second daughter of Charles Thorpe, Esq, of Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire". And in the same edition of the paper there appeared this report; "KING'S CLIFFE: Wednesday being the wedding day of J. G. Howes, Esq of 22 St. Paul' s, London, and of this place, he kindly ordered a dinner to be provided for fourteen persons, including his labourers and others, at Messrs Bentham and Green's, Cross Keys Inn. Roast beef, plum pudding, punch, &c., were partaken of by the party, who did justice to the good things set before them, the host doing all in his power to carry out the wish of their liberal master. At Christmas the same gentleman gave to his labourers and to all those engaged in harvest work, and others, 156lbs,of beef.”

Two observations on these extracts. First, the bride's home is at Fotheringhay where her father Charles Thorpe resided, he being estate agent to the Earl of Westmorland. Second, note should be made of the mention of the labourers of John Groome Howes, and others, in the celebratory dinner at the Cross Keys Inn, the implication being that J G Howes is already engaged, as early as 1870, in farming at Cliffe, and this is endorsed by the mention of a Christmas gift given to those labourers "and to all those engaged in harvest work ". There has not come to my notice, so far, any evidence that Groome Howes, father of John Groome Howes, ever acquired or farmed land in Cliffe. One can only assume that his son either inherited or purchased land (and property), or both, during his life-time.

All Saints church, King's Cliffe - Courtesy: Robin Peel

The question arises, "Just when did John Groome Howes and his wife set up home in King's Cliffe?" There are elderly folk in the village (1999) who remember the family living in the house in West Street known ever since as "King's Cliffe House". Was this always so?

This house in West Street has been identified as originally a plain farmhouse of 18th -century date, later extended on the east side, then enlarged on the west side in about 1894. Study of the census of 6th June 1841 reveals that Philip Howes, a bachelor aged 53, farmer, was living there then, together with his sister Catherine, a spinster aged 45. These two were the brother and sister of Groome Howes. Staying with them on the night of the Census was a John Howes, aged 6, who on the strength of his age can only be little John Groome Howes, born in London, staying with his uncle and aunt. (At this point we should refer to the second Family Tree attached to this essay). In the census of 7th April 1861 Philip and his sister are still in the same house; he is listed as a farmer of 1,239 acres employing 7 labourers and 4 boys. It is fairly certain that in addition to his own farm-lands he rented the Rector's Glebe-lands. He died, aged 78, the 12th December 1866, and it appears that his sister Catherine lived on in the house (she is so listed in the 1871 census with only her niece Catherine, sister to John Groome Howes, living with her.) Miss Catherine Howes died 22nd November 1878, and by her Will bequeathed the family house in West Street, with all its appurtenances, together with a small house adjoining and a small Pitchell, to her nephew John Groome Howes. The tale of occupation is completed by the census of 3rd April 1881, from which we learn that the house was then occupied by John Groome Howes, aged 46, merchant, born in London, together with his wife Eliza Helen Howes, aged 32, born at Fotheringhay. The three boys who had been born by that date are not in this census return; one can only assume that they had been left in the London home.

A final detail is that Philip Howes had come into possession of the house in succession to Thomas Howes (1780-1853), the son of Benjamin Howes I, listed in the 1841 Census a farmer, aged 60, living then in Park Street. Before that the house had been in the possession of several generations of the Richardson family, an influential farming-family which had often featured in the Court Leet Rolls of the 18th-century and which had gained much by the King's Cliffe Inclosure of 1813, so much so that in the Land Tax Assessment of 1818, George Richardson's assessment of £11,16s,9d. was the third largest in the parish. The Poll Book Record for the Election of December 1832 - the first election after the great Reform Act of 1832 - shows that there polled in King's Cliffe John Richardson, a farmer and a freeholder, resident in the village, together with his brother James Richardson, an auctioneer and a copyholder of Cliffe property, resident in Stamford.

From about 1880 onwards the names of John Groome Howes and his wife recur frequently enough in newspaper reports of King's Cliffe : he, for example, is elected a Governor of the Law and Hutcheson Foundation, while she becomes active in work for the parish church and for the village. The fields he had purchased in the sale of his uncle Henry's estate in 1870 he steadily added to by purchase of land and cottages as opportunity afforded. For example, he purchased the Windmill Inn, then the corn windmill which stood next to his residence in West Street, and then the " two maltings and brewery with dovecote, cooper's shop, stable and outbuildings " which adjoined the windmill (this complex had its origin in 1818, when William Cunnington, 1776-1850, erected it all). In all it was a sizeable estate in Cliffe which he left when he died, suddenly, on 6th January 1904; this in addition to his estate and interests in London.

The offspring of John Groome and Eliza Helen Howes were;

  1. Arthur Groome, 1872-1920, unmarried, farmed at the Alders and bred hunters,
  2. Percy John, 1573-1916, married - two sons and a daughter - a partner in Messrs. Cook & Son, London,
  3. Walter George, 1876-1934, unmarried,
  4. Sidney Gerald, 1885- ? , Army officer, married - two daughters, Pamela and Oriel, one son Anthony who died c. 1990, unmarried,
  5. Helen Maude, ? , married (1) Mr. R. Hardy (2) Col. Adams, no issue,
  6. Ethel May, ?- 1964,married Col. Howard Goad, C. S. I.

The obituary reports of the death of John Groome Howes in January 1904 and of his wife in November 1929, as given in editions of the Peterborough Advertiser, give some idea of the life-work of each of them. We now turn to those reports.

  • 9th January 1904 DEATH OF MR. J. G. HOWES "With deep regret we announce the death of Mr, John Groome Howes, which melancholy event took place in London on Wednesday afternoon (6th Jan). He had been spending Christmas with Mrs. Howes and family at King's Cliffe, and only left for his town residence on Tuesday, A telegram was sent to Mrs. Howes to go at once, but he expired before her arrival. Deceased was of a kind and generous disposition and charitable to the poor, and was ready to assist in every good work connected with the parish. This sad event has cast quite a gloom over this village. The Passing Bell was rung about half-past ten on Wednesday night. The funeral is fixed for one o'clock on Saturday."
  • 16th January 1904 FUNERAL OF MR. J. G. HOWES, IMPRESSIVE OBSEQUIES "In a burst of winter sunshine, which imparted no warmth and only seemed to mock chilled humanity, and in the presence of silent sorrow stamped on every face and on nearly every home in King's Cliffe on Saturday, that which is mortal was brought from the Metropolis to the deceased gentleman's country home and to the solemn silence of the country churchyard, there to rest in the yew-lined grave under the sound of the bells which heralded his birth nearly seventy years ago. To see the village in its gloom was striking testimony to the beneficent influence of Mr. Howes' life. Business was suspended, blinds were everywhere drawn, and it would seem a village of the dead were it not for the groups of inhabitants who, in their sombre attire, more or less lined the streets, and to see their leading townsman, whom many had seen collecting in the Church on the previous Sunday and whom others had noticed driving to the station on the Tuesday before, borne back to them for the last time. Six carriages provided by Mr, T, F, Richardson, of the Cross Keys, received the coffin at Cliffe station and carried the family and a company of London mourners to the Church, where crowds both outside and inside the building had assembled. "At the same time at which the funeral took place, a memorial service was held in the Church of St, Andrew--by-the Wardrobe, Queen Victoria Street, London, which is near Messrs, Cook's establishment and of which Mr Howes was, at one time, Churchwarden, Some 500 of the firm's employees attended it." The report continued with an account of the circumstances of his death at work in his office, and of how death was occasioned by heart trouble; it then gave account of his manner of life and of his career in the wholesale drapery firm of Cook & Son (in which, incidentally, not a few bright boys from King's Cliffe were given employment by Mr, Howes); - "It is difficult to say which section of the local community will miss the deceased gentleman most, because his benevolence was restricted to no particular class of the community in whose midst he and his ancestors had resided. The poor and the Church benefitted largely by his generosity and ability to give. He subscribed to every charity, and headed every local subscription list, and the extent to which he privately succoured those less fortunate than himself will never be known, because he took care, as far as possible, to see that it was not known. He was deeply interested in all Church as well as parochial matters, and for some years was Churchwarden. His donation of £50 towards the erection of the Church clock, and his subsequent gift of £25 to the same object, is only an instance of his generous attitude towards Cliffe institutions. Politically, he was a Liberal, but consistently with his quiet and unobtrusive disposition, he never took a prominent part in politics. Bright and active, he was a keen man of business, and was the oldest member of the firm of Cook, Son and Co., in which he succeeded his father, joining it when quite a young man, over half a century ago. His father and the late Mr, Cook - the father of the late Sir Francis Cook, Bart, who built the Alexandra Institute and handed it over to Queen Alexandra, then Princess of Wales, and who was the father of the present head of the firm, Sir Frederick Cook, Bart., M.P. - established the business, which has been so well engineered that at the present time between 700 and 800 people are employed in its great warehouses, a hundred of them being porters."

    By his Will Mr, Howes left monetary bequests to each of his children and on trust to his wife, for her to enjoy rent-free during her lifetime, his house at 45 Porchester Terrace, London, and his King's Cliffe house and properties. For probate purposes his estate was valued at £541,933 11s,2d, Thereafter Mrs. Howes continued to divide her time between the two houses until, early in 1924, she decided to leave King's Cliffe and live permanently in her London home. It is of interest to note that the Sale Notices both for the King's Cliffe house (which was purchased in June 1924 by Colonel H. S. Hodgkin) and for the entire and splendid furnishings of it (21st and 22nd May,1924), gave the house the title of "Windmill House", referring by that to the great windmill which stood adjacent to it until its eventual demolition at the order of Col, Hodgkin in 1926.

    Mrs. Howes continued in her widowhood to do good for the Parish Church and for the village. One of her abiding interests was the Nursing Association, founded in Cliffe in 1893 as the Medical Club, a voluntary institution designed to assist village people with their need in times of sickness, childbirth and the like. By her energies the services of the renowned Nurse Norman were secured for the Nursing Association and the nurse herself accommodated in a new house (one of a pair) built by Mrs. Howes in West Street. At its half-yearly meeting in January 1910, when Mrs. Howes presided as President, the secretary, Mr. J. Lyman, reported that there was then a contributing membership of 80 and that the monthly payments had been well paid up.

    Stained glass window in memory of John Groome Howes - courtesy P Cunningham

    Mrs. Howes died, aged 81, at her London home on 13th November 1929. To the people of King's Cliffe it came as a great sorrow, as the passing of an era in the life of the village, I consider it appropriate that the tribute paid to her in the obituary report of the Stamford & Rutland News of 19th November 1929 should now be reproduced in full;

    "GREAT LOSS TO 'CLIFFE DEATH OF MRS. J. G. HOWES A GENEROUS BENEFACTOR "The utmost sorrow prevailed in King's Cliffe and the neighbourhood when it was known that Mrs. Helen Howes, widow of Mr. J. G. Howes, had died at her residence in Porchester Terrace, London. The sad intimation reached 'Cliffe on Wednesday, the same day as her death.

    "The family had resided in the village for a very long period until a few years ago, when Mrs. Howes decided to dispose of her King's Cliffe residence and live at her London home. The deceased lady had spent her whole life in thinking and working for the welfare of others, and she was beloved by the residents, the poor always finding in her a friend. She visited the inmates of the almshouses regularly, and many others looked forward to her informal visits and her bright and interesting conversation.

    "She was for over twenty years President of the Nursing Association and a generous subscriber to its funds, and was also President for a long period of the Women's Unionist Association.


    "The schoolchildren have lost in her a great friend, and she had provided them for many years with a Christmas tree and entertainment, Her last subscription was a donation of 20s, last week for the Clothing Club. She was a generous subscriber to everything in the village that needed supporting, and the Parish Church was enriched by many beautiful gifts from her. ( Note here ; the wooden screen at entrance to south transept; the two memorial windows in south aisle; the embroidered white altar frontal, J,B,)

    "Mrs. Howes was predeceased by her husband, the late Mr John Groome Howes, 25 years ago. He was a director of Messrs, Cook, Son, and Company, St, Paul's Churchyard, London. Through Mrs, Howes' influence, many King's Cliffe lads were found situations upon leaving school in what was known in the old days as "the firm". Mrs Howes leaves two sons, Mr Walter Howes, the elder son, and Colonel Sydney Howes, the younger, and two daughters – Mrs Adams and Mrs Goade, widow of Colonel Goade, For these much sympathy is felt.


    "King's Cliffe was a village of deep mourning on Saturday when all that was mortal of Mrs Howes was laid to rest in a grave in a quiet and secluded corner of the Churchyard, where her husband was buried in 1904 and her son (the late Mr Arthur Groome Howes) in 1920. Blinds were drawn at practically every house, cottage, and shop, and almost every family, high and low, was represented at the funeral, which was of impressive character. Enclosed in an unpolished oak coffin, the body was brought from London to Cliffe in a motor hearse, and was reverently carried into the Parish Church, where at half-past 2 o'clock the first part of the burial service was held. The Rector of King's Cliffe, the Revd. W. P. Blakeney, and the Revd. E. E. Law, Rector of Daventry (formerly Curate of Cliffe),officiated. Ladies of the Cliffe congregation assisted in the floral decoration of the altar.

    "As the members of the congregation were assembling a muffled peal was rung on the Church bells by Messrs. L. Cooke, J. Hill, T. Smith, and F. Blake, and an appropriate voluntary was played on the organ by Mr. G. W. F. Cockayne, A.L.C.M. of Stamford. The chief mourners were Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Goad, daughters; Mr. Walter Howes and Colonel Sydney Howes, sons; Mrs, Sydney Howes and. Mrs, Christopher Heseltine, daughters-in-Law; Mr. Tony Howes, grandson; and Mr. Thorpe, nephew.

    Detail from above window - Courtesy: P Cunningham


    "Amongst the large number of people who were present to pay their last respects to the late Mrs. Howes and to show their sympathy with the members of the bereaved family were Sir Leonard Brassey, Bart. of Apethorpe Hall; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Brotherhood, of Thornhaugh Hall; Mrs. E. E. Law, of Daventry; Mr. Lionel Thrower, Mr. Peregrine Birch, and Mr. R. K. Merrylees, of Haddon Manor; Col. H. S. Hodgkin, King's Cliffe House; the Misses Thorpe, of Ketton; Mr. C. Conyers Lowe, of Stamford; Mrs. William Abbott, of Thornhaugh; Miss Kingston, of Wansford; Miss Elsam, representing the King's Cliffe Nursing Association; Miss Normanton, representing the King's Cliffe School; Mr. J. Love, Headmaster of the King's Cliffe School; Mr. W. Ingle, representing the King's Cliffe Memorial Hall Committee; the Revd. A. E. Grinstead, Congregational Minister; Mr. F. Edgson, Mr, Reuben Dixon, Mr. A. Robins, Mr. Robert Gregory, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Skinner, Mrs. Normanton, Mrs. Maslin, Mrs. W. Wright, Miss Hill, Mrs. Charles Chapman, Mr. W. Hakes, Mr. Fred Portess, Mr. J. A. Ellis, Mrs. A. W. Bailey, Mr. William Sharpe, and Mr. Arthur Brown, all of King's Cliffe, and Mr. C. F, McKee,of Oundle.

    "The service was choral, the surpliced choir being in attendance to lead the singing. At the conclusion of the service Mr, Cockayne rendered Chopin's "Funeral March", and afterwards another muffled peal was rung on the bells. The family's floral tribute, a beautiful cross, rested on the lid of the coffin and extended to the whole of its length. A bunch of lilies of the valley was buried with the coffin, the silver breast-plate of which was inscribed "Elizabeth Helen Howes, Aged 81 years".

    We now turn to that other line of Howes which begins with Benjamin Howes I, of King's Cliffe, who we find on the third line of the large Family Tree. (The reader will do well to refresh his/her memory with a reread of page 2 of this essay).

    Benjamin Howes I was baptised in King's Cliffe Parish Church 31st May 1757. He married, first, Ann Jinks on 15th January 1778 at Benefield. There were seven children of the first marriage, one of the second marriage of Benjamin to Alice Scott of (probably) Great Casterton, and of these seven children we take special notice of the three sons ; Thomas born 1780, Benjamin born 1784, and Henry born 1796.

    Benjamin Howes I, born 1757, was a farmer in Cliffe, but also (and more significant) an auctioneer, here in the village. We find many of his Sale Notices of the 1800-1814 decade in the Stamford Mercury; he placed this personal notice in the Mercury of 3rd May 1805; "To Gentlemen, Farmers, Graziers, and Others, BENJAMIN HOWES, of KING'S CLIFFE, in the county of Northampton, begs leave to return his grateful thanks to his numerous friends and the public in general for the very liberal support they have offered him as an AUCTIONEER, and earnestly solicits the continuance of their favours, as they may depend upon his punctuality and fidelity in the discharge of the above business, KING'S CLIFFE, April 30, 1805".

    In another notice of 24th June 1808 he refers to himself as "BENJAMIN HOWES, senior" and speaks of an illness by which he had been laid low. He died 5th April 1811, bequeathing all his land to his eldest son Thomas Howes. By that time Thomas had taken over his father's business as auctioneer and in the same Mercury notice of 24th June 1808 commends himself thus ; "THOMAS HOWES, of KING'S CLIFFE, tenders his services to the public as an AUCTIONEER, in which business he has assisted his Father for 14 years past, and pledges himself that he will act an honest part to his employees." As a "farmer and auctioneer" he married Elizabeth Atkins of King's Cliffe 22nd May 1811; she died an early death 13th March 1828, when the Mercury notice relates that she was "half-sister to Stafford O'Brien of Blatherwycke Park." One of his interesting auctions was that held 17th February 1840, at the Cross Keys, of the estate of William Dakin, the renowned Cliffe eccentric, which included Dakin's home in Park Street and the "large Building adjoining the same, lately used as a Dissenting Chapel". This is where Charles Stokes set up his wheelwright's business in 1840, Dakin's chapel becoming his big workshop (much later F, Portess and Son). This Thomas Howes (not to be confused with his cousin Thos, Howes, son of John Howes) is listed in the 1841 Census as a farmer resident in Park Street. That he gave up his farm we learn from a Sale Notice in the Mercury of 27th May 1842, to the effect that a considerable sale of livestock, implements and grass-keeping were to be auctioned on the Park Street premises, 7th June 1842. It would appear that he suffered a setback in business, for in the 1851 Census he is listed as "formerly farmer", a lodger at the Windmill Inn, a widower aged 71 and on Parish Relief. He died at York, 26th March 1853, apparently living with his sister Ann, wife of Robert Mears, also formerly of Cliffe.

    We now come to Benjamin Howes II, son of Benjamin Howes I and younger brother of Thomas Howes (see line 4 of the large Family Tree). Born about 1784, he married Mary Sculthorpe, of Blatherwycke Mill, at Blatherwycke on 10th August 1807; they had four children. Benjamin appears to have done well for himself as both farmer, baker and miller, acquiring land in the process. According to the 1841 Census he lives in Hog Lane, his occupation "miller". In 1840 he is found, by a Sale Notice in the Mercury of the large estate of Thomas Gamble, to be involved with his brother in one of the lots, viz, "Lot 8, An Allotment of rich Arable Land, containing 8a, 0r. 11p, (more or less), called the Mill Close, occupied by Mr. Thomas Howes, lying next the Apethorpe-road and near the town of King's Cliffe. Also an excellent Wind Corn Mill, in the occupation of Mr, Benjamin Howes, in full trade, standing on part of the above land." This was a smock windmill, standing in the field at the rear of what is now Calvehay Cottage; here in 1840 the tenant miller is Benjamin Howes; from an advert in the Mercury of 22nd September 1854 we learn that this same wind mill was to be let "at Michaelmas next, enquiries to be made of Mr ,George Howes." George Howes was the second son of Benjamin Howes II, so it seems safe to assume that George inherited the mill from his father. Benjamin Howes "miller and baker" died 20th January 1845, aged 64. Amongst other properties he had acquired a stone quarry in the vicinity of the Apethorpe Road, the stone from which he advertised for sale in the Mercury of 26th September 1845; " BENJ,HOWES begs to remind Railway Contractors, Builders, Gravestone cutters, and others, of the superior quality of Stone which is now for Sale at his Quarry. "

    Benjamin and Mary had four children, as will be seen in the fifth line of the large Family Tree. The eldest and first-born son was William Sculthorpe Howes. Born 1808, he married Hannah Skelton, was a butcher in Cliffe, and died an early death 20th July 1834.There was one son; Benjamin, born 1832, of whom we learn this from the 1850 Report of the Northamptonshire Colonization Society ;- "Benjamin Howes, aged 18, baker, of King's Cliffe, wishing to emigrate to America from want of employment, a grant of £6 10s. was made in favour of this case. The man left for the port of embarkation on the 27th February 1850, and sailed by the Hancock. He took £3 upon loan." The gravestone of William Sculthorpe Howes is to be found amongst other Howes' stones in the west part of Cliffe churchyard.

    Several Howes graves, King's Cliffe - Courtesy: P Cunningham

    The second son (as we noted earlier) was George, born 1809, He succeeded to his father's milling business and land, and married a Susanna Etheridge of Tottenham, Middlesex. In the 1851 census he is found living in West Street, near Clive House, listed as "Landed Proprietor". In March 1850 he advertised "To Let", on account of his retiring from business, his bakehouse "situated in the central part of the populous parish of KING'S CLIFFE" and his smock windmill, with from 18 to 20 acres of land. Further to this, the Mercury of 12 April 1850 carried the Sale Notice of his livestock, farming implements, baking, brewing, dairy requisites and household furniture, all indicative of a man of considerable means. In the 1861 Census he is found to be living in that house at the corner of the First Drift on Apethorpe Road which came to be known as Park Villa, now "The Walnuts". He is there listed as "Landed Proprietor" and his wife Susanna as "House proprietor, Fund Holder." She died in Cliffe 11th September 1864 and he died in London 14th October 1868. There was one surviving son, George Etheridge Howes, who lived in London and died a bachelor in 1921. Incidentally the smock windmill was severely damaged in a terrific gale which swept all England in the last days of February 1860 and wrought great havoc in the village. So it came about that Mr, George "Hoddy-Doddy" Howes wind-mill on the brow of School Hill was a complete loss. Mrs. Lizzie Ainge of West Street told me of this disaster, she having learned about it from her father "Bobby" Brown, shepherd to the great Thomas James Law.

    The first and eldest daughter of Benjamin Howes II was Elizabeth, born 1812. On the 26th October 1837 she was married at All Souls' Church, Langham Place, London, to William Dennis, a leather cutter of Little Pulteney Street, Westminster. William and Mary Dennis had two daughters ; Mary Howes Dennis, born 1841, and Elizabeth Sarah Dennis, born 1843. These two sisters are the two Misses Dennis still remembered by today's elders of King's Cliffe, living in Park Villa, Apethorpe Road, where each died ; Mary Howes Dennis died 4th March 1916 and Elizabeth Sarah Dennis 13th June 1928. The evidence of the 1881 census is that they were then living in Park Villa, the house in which their uncle George Howes had lived (and probably built). There is a gravestone of their parents in the western part of Cliffe Churchyard, close by one of their grandparents Benjamin and Mary Howes. They themselves were interred in the Cemetery. Of Mary Howes Dennis the Stamford & Rutland News of 15th March 1916 carried this obituary;- " The death took place at Apethorpe Road Villa on Saturday in last week (4 March) of Miss Mary Howes Dennis, at the age of 75 years. Deceased was an artist of exceptional ability, and many of her portrait and landscape paintings have been exhibited in London. She had been a resident of Cliffe over 50 years, and was highly respected. She leaves a sister, who has ever been a constant and devoted companion, to mourn her loss, and for whom much sympathy is felt. Her father, who was a leather merchant in London, was buried here forty years ago.”

    When Miss Elizabeth Howes died 13th June 1928, at the age of 86, the same newspaper carried an obituary which related that she had lived in the village all her life, that she had resided at Park Villa for a very long period, and that she had taken an active part in church work from 1863, during the incumbency of the Revd. Edward Du Pre. That she, like her sister before her, was a gentle and charitable soul, is all that was passed on to me by old folk of King's Cliffe in my early years as Rector. It should not be forgotten that in the early 1900s the Parish Council was gravely concerned with the business of securing land for a parish cemetery, a problem which was solved by the Misses Dennis in May 1910, when they offered, and sold, one acre and half a rood of their land in the Mill field to the Parish Council for the generous consideration of £105.

    The second and youngest daughter of Benjamin and Mary Howes was Anne, baptised in King's Cliffe Parish Church 16th February 1815. Now she married a gentleman named Charles Wymer Tinkler at Middleton Cheney parish church 18th June 1842, The 1841 Census for King's Cliffe shows Charles Tinkler listed as a County Police Officer, aged 30, a lodger in the Park Street home of one Mary Dixon. Since rural policing was still a novelty in 1841 (Rural Constabulary Act 1839), it is probable that Charles Tinkler was Cliffe's first policeman. By 1842 he had been moved to Middleton Cheney, in south Northamptonshire, where he married Anne Howes, then living with, or at least close to, her sister Elizabeth in St, James', Westminster. The two persons of whom I wrote in the opening page of this essay, name removed of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, and second name of Redhill, Surrey, are descendants of Charles and Anne Tinkler, whose daughter Mary Howes Tinkler (1846-1933; married W. J. Hallett) was grandmother of first name and great grandmother of second name. It is with their assistance that I have been enabled to undertake this account of a family which, numerous in its day, has place no longer in this village of King's Cliffe, save in churchyard memorials.

    From two gravestones still to be seen in King's Cliffe Churchyard,

    • In affectionate Remembrance of Elizabeth wife of William Dennis of London Eldest daughter of Benjamin & Mary Howes, who departed this life April 3, 1860 Aged 47 years, Also of William Dennis Husband of the above who died 26 day of June 1877 In the 70th Year of his age,
    • Sacred to the Memory of Benjamin Howes Who departed this mortal life On the 20th of January 1849 In the 65th year of his Age Also of Mary wife of the above Who died in London on the 10th of May 1869 In the 82nd year of her Age

    Paul. January 2011

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