The Pilgrim family have lived in Earls Colne since at least 1568. However the first confirmed record of our family is in 1801, being the marriage of James Pilgrim1 and Hannah Hales. (my Great Great Great Great Grandparents).
In researching my family I was extremely fortunate as Earls Colne is one of the best recorded villages in England due to a study undertaken between 1972 and 2002 by (retired) Professor Alan Mcfarlane and his team from the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.
From the census records I was able to determine that in 1841, there were 298 households in Earls Colne with about half of the working population, including my ancestors, employed on the land.
It was primarily mixed farming with crops of grain, hops, fruit and vegetables. Cattle, sheep and pigs were also bred. By 1851, the number of households in Earls Colne had grown to 318 and there were as many as 235 farm labourers with about 150 regularly employed on farms in the parish. Additionally, seventy three labourers’ wives or daughters worked as straw plaiters and 21 as tambour lace makers. The professional or richer residents employed 53 servants in the village.
The available work for agricultural labourers then fell steadily and times were tough, which is likely what motivated my Great Great Grandfather, also named James3, his brother John and sister Emma and her husband to make the journey to Australia for a new life.
|The Records of Earls Colne showed a map of Lot numbers|
Then by using the street view on Google maps and counting the houses and blocks, I located the address of what I thought to be the correct house.
Writing to the residents of this house, resulted in a very friendly and prompt reply but I had the wrong house. It was the house next door that I wanted.
Through my research, I had made contact with distant cousins who lived in England and were only too happy to visit the house and were openly welcomed and able to obtain further details and copies of documents relating to the property and my ancestors.
|Home of the Pilgrim family, built in 1854|
On the 25th October 1847, My Great Great Great Grandfather, James Pilgrim2, purchased a cottage in Holt Street, Earls Colne (also known locally as Bridge Street) for £80, with annual land tax being 3 shillings 4 pence. In 1854 he built a new home on the property, which remains standing today and is pictured. The property previously incorporated a shop and James2 was listed in 1851 as a dealer in coal and chandlery. He continued to be listed as a shopkeeper until 1859.
One day I shall visit Earls Colne and see where my ancestors lived and worked. It is my dream to complete a research trip to UK and visit the places where my ancestors originated. My previous post was "D is for Determined and Dedicated". And I really am. I'll get there!
|Google Maps - A summary of the places where my ancestors originated.|
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