william ives hall farm chrishall

William Ives (left) photographed by Maxwell, photographer at Bishop’s Stortford.

This is the story of William and Jessie Rosetta Ives, a couple who were both born in Chrishall.


William Allen Ives married Jessie Rosetta Abrams when she was 21 and he was 20. They married at Chrishall church on Saturday 19th November 1887 after banns had been read. William was a labourer at the time of his marriage but he went on to live at, and presumably farm, New Farm in Hollow Road, Chrishall.

William and Jessie must have grown up together as on the 1871 census we find their families living next door to each other in Builden End.  Ten years later on the 1881 census William is still living at home but Jessie is working as a domestic servant for Philip Downham, Park House, Church Road.  She was aged 15 then and is entered on the census as Rose rather than Jessie.  It looks like she was known as Rose from then on.  The Downhams were a young family with Philip being just 28 and his wife Annie 24.  However Philip was already a successful business man running one of Chrishall’s first steam plough enterprises and employing 9 men.  They had twins of 10 months, Nellie and Charles and Annie’s sister was with the family too although whether she was living there or just happened to be staying over census night we don’t know.  But Rose must have been kept quite busy.

After their marriage in 1887 we next find William and Rose (Jessie) on the 1891 census living in Crawley End with the Flack and Slater families as neighbours.  By this time they had started their family with Florance (as spelt on the census) who was three and Clara who was three months. William is still listed as a labourer at this time but he obviously had ambition.

By 1901 they have moved to Mill Causeway and William is now proudly entered on the census as a ‘cattle dealer’.  He is on the way up! Two more daughters have joined the family, Decima and Daisy and the family lived at the first house on Mill Causeway after Abrams Lane – so that was probably Mill House? Please correct me if I’m wrong someone, but I think the bungalow built by Mr Pigg on the right of the Causeway as you come from Abrams Lane was not built till after this time.

Then some time between 1901 and 1911 the Ives family moved to New Farm.  I wonder if the photograph below was taken to celebrate moving to the farm. There is no way of knowing of course but it seems to me this is a picture of quite a proud family.

It was a good job William was obviously a good business man as in the end he would have had several weddings to pay for! William and Jessie went on to have a family of seven girls: Florence Lily, Clara, Decima, Alice Daisy Rose, Winifred Hilda, Nellie Blanche and Millicent Kate. In the photograph below you can see William and Jessie with three of the girls.  In 1901 Florence was 13 and Clara 10 and this photograph was obviously taken after this time.  So perhaps here we are seeing Winifred, Nellie and Millicent but we don’t know.

Alice married Albert Rogers and you can see a photograph of Alice and Albert here and read an article from Alice’s daughter Annie here.

The family have links with other village families of Rogers, Drurys, Harveys, Cranwells and Abrahams among others and we have some lovely photographs of Clara, of which more in another article.  Rose (Jessie) died in 1948 and is buried in the chapel graveyard where her father-in-law Nathan had the very first plot.  I can’t see William recorded on either the church or chapel graveyard lists but perhaps someone will enlighten me on that one.  Do feel free to comment below!


This article was made possible by the loan for copy of some wonderful photographs from Jane Spengler and Penny Swift, William and Jessie Rosetta’s great-grand-daughters.  Look out for more articles to come on the Ives and Abrams too – lots more stories still to tell!
hall farm ives family

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