A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
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Selected Biographies

Silver, Allen – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 27.4.1879.[1] Parents: Allen Silver (Ironmonger) and Anna Flower [née Churchyard] of Long Melford.  Home: Posting House, Hall Street, Long Melford (1881 to 1891), 43 Gabriels Hill, Maidstone, Kent (1901), 3 Gateley Road, Lambeth, London (1911), 71 Llanthewy Road, Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales (1921), Birds Acre, Cwmbrân, Monmouthshire (1939).  Occupation: Chemist’s Assistant (1901), Commercial Traveller for a Seed Merchant (1911), Seed and Bulb Merchant (1921), Seed and Corn Dealer (1939).  Service Record: Allen was conscripted on 11.1.1916 as Pte.6299, with 1/13th (County of London) Princess Louise’s Kensington Battalion, London Regiment being posted to the Western Front from 15.12.1916 to 10.2.1917 as part of 168th (2nd London) Brigade in 56th (1st London) Division.  At the time of his return to England his unit was in front-line trenches near Givenchy[2] and it was probably here that he received the wound that took him out of active service, although without an extant military service record it is not possible to confirm this assumption.  He was issued with a new regimental number as Pte.493107 sometime in 1917 being issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged with a disability pension on 21st June 1918.[3]  Died: Pontypool, Monmouthshire in 1970.

Silver, Christopher Patrick – Born: Exeter, Devon on 21.4.1920.[4] Parents: Clifford Marking Silver of Long Melford (Dental Surgeon) and Gladys Lucy [née Acott].  Home: 5 West Avenue, Exeter (1921), Worcester College, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire (1939), 12 Balfour Road, Acton, Middlesex [1948], 138 King Henrys Road, Hampstead, Middlesex [1955 to 1959], 591 Finchley Road, Hampstead [1960 to 1963].[5]  Occupation: Medical Student (1939).  Married: Nancy Pym in 1950.  Professional Record: Christopher was awarded a Batchelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Chemistry from Oxford University in 1942.[6]  Service Record: He was granted a lieutenant’s commission (260682) in February 1943 with the Royal Army Medical Corps.[7] He was posted first to North Africa then to Italy when as Captain Silver he was listed as wounded on 8.3.1944 during the Italian Campaign.[8] [WO 417/5 British Army Casualty Lists]  Died: in 2012.

Silver, James – Born: Melton, Suffolk in 1814. Parents: James Silver (Carpenter) and Mary [née Pipe].  Family Connections: Brother-in-law of David Ward [b1817].  Home: Melton, Suffolk (1841), Foundry House, Hall Street, Long Melford (1851 to 1881).  Occupation: Engineer (1841), Iron Founder (1861 to 1881), Iron Founder, Gas Proprietor and Farmer [1885]. Commercial Record: James went into partnership with David Ward in 1843 establishing the firm of Ward & Silver Iron Foundry in Long Melford.  The enterprise lasted for nearly a hundred years and employed 11 men and 11 boys (1851), 60 men and 15 boys (1861), 70 men and 6 boys (1871), 63 men and 4 boys (1881).  Died: Long Melford on 6.9.1885.

Related Biographies

Ward, David – Born: Brightwell, Suffolk in 1817. Parents: Thomas Ward (Wheelwright) and Lydia [née Hayward].  Family Connections: Broth-in-law of James Silver [b1814].  Home: Greenstead Green, Essex (1841), Foundry House, Hall Street, Long Melford, Suffolk (1851 to 1891).  Occupation: David went into partnership with James Silver during the 1840’s establishing the firm of Ward & Silver Iron Foundry in Long Melford, which lasted for nearly a hundred years and at its peak in the late nineteenth century employed 11 men and 11 boys (1851), 60 men and 15 boys (1861), 70 men and 6 boys (1871), 63 men and 4 boys (1881). Following David Ward’s death, the business was continued initially by his younger brother William, and after his demise in 1907, by his nephew David Hayward Ward.  Married: Mary Silver in 1843.  Commercial RecordDied: Long Melford in 1896.

Notes – [1] Baptism Register 22.5.1879 for Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  [2] See the regimental War Diary for further details [The National Archive – WO 97/2955].  [3] For extant military information see his Silver War Badge [TNA – WO 329/ref: 413692], Medal Roll [TNA – WO 329], and Medal Index Card [TNA – WO 372].  [4] 1939 Register.  [5] Some addresses taken from the Electoral Roll.  [6] Medical Registers 1859-1943.  [7] Supplement to the London Gazette 2.4.1943.  [8] British Army Casualty Lists [WO 417/5].

The cast iron sarcophagus grave marker of James Silver situated by the west door of Holy Trinity Church in Long Melford (photo courtesy of David Gevaux)

Genealogical Table

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2023
Additional research by Georgina Southall

James Silver was born in Melton, Suffolk in 1780 to parent’s James and Sarah.  James married Mary Pipe on 11 June 1810, they subsequently had five children: John Edward b1811, James b1814, Mary b1816, Susan b1819 and William b1821 all born in Melton, Suffolk.  Father James was a carpenter, as per the 1841 and ‘51 census.  The family lived almost next door to Thomas and Keturah Ward. Thomas was David Ward’s eldest brother and the Wheelwright for Melton in 1841.  David Ward was born in 1817 in Brightwell Suffolk to parent’s Thomas and Lydia Ward, nee Hayward.  James and Mary Silver’s daughter Mary born in 1816 married David Ward in Melton in 1843.  Mary’s brother James Silver became David Ward’s partner in the Iron Foundry business in Long Melford, sometime during the 1840’s.


Descendants of James and Mary Silver:

  1. John Edward Silver b11.8.1811. John married Sophie Clover born in 1814 in Mount Bures, Essex, daughter of Thomas and Mary Clover. John married Sophie Clover sometime before 1838 when their first child Sophie Elizabeth was born in Colchester. Sophie Clover was born in Mount Bures, Essex to parent’s Thomas and Mary Clover, Thomas was a Miller.  John and Sophie went on to have 11 children as follows: Sophie Elizabeth b1838, Mary b1839, Susan b1841, James b1843, Emma b1845 and Ellen b1848 were all born in Colchester, Essex.  The next five children were born Chesterton, Cambridgeshire: Agnes b1849, Allen b1852, David b1854, Alice b1857 and Clara b1859.  In 1851 the family were living in Chesterton and John’s occupation was described as an Ironmongers Clerk.  Ten years later in 1861 they were still in Chesterton and John’s profession was now described as an Iron Founder.  In 1871 and ’81 whilst still living in Chesterton John was described firstly as a Clerk of Iron Works and in 1881 as a Foundry Manager.  In 1889 Sophie died in Long Melford and left £50 in her will to husband John, the equivalent of £2,415.50 in today’s money.  John was living in Long Melford in a house on The Green by 1891 and was described as a Retired Iron Founder living on his own means.  With him was his unmarried daughter Clara aged 32 as his Housekeeper. John died in Long Melford in 1899, I could not find any will for John. 
  2. James Silver b1814. James was described as an engineer when he was living at home with his parents in 1841. James went into partnership with David Ward during the 1840’s establishing the firm of Ward & Silver Iron Foundry in Long Melford, which lasted for almost 100 years in one form or another. James never married and lived all his adult life with his sister and brother-in-law David and Mary Ward in Long Melford, running the Foundry business with David.  James died on 6th September 1885 aged 69 years. James left £7,307 in his will; this would be the equivalent of £437,658 in today’s money.
  3. Mary Silver b.1816. Mary married David Ward on 15th July 1843 in Melton, Suffolk when she was 27 years old. David and Mary did not have any children. Mary died in the October quarter of 1880 aged 64 years.
  4. Susan Silver b. 1819. Susan married a John Cook who was also born in Melton in 1822. Their marriage took place in 1846 in Melton. In 1851 John was described as a Builders Merchant, employing 2 men, they were living in Trimley St. Martin, Suffolk at that time.  Susan and John had four daughters, Margaret b 1850, Frances b 1851, Alice b 1858 and Agnes b 1861.  By 1881 they were living in Kirton, Suffolk, John was described as a Brickmaker and Farmer of 30 acres employing 4 men and 1 boy.  John Cook died in 1886 and Susan died in 1892.
  5. William Silver b. 1821 in Melton. In 1841 William was living at home with his parents aged 15 in Melton and was described as an Engineer. By 1851 he was living in Melford at the home of his sister Mary and brother-in-law David Ward, his occupation was a Whitesmith Journeyman. In 1856 William married a Louisa Bigg from Glemsford Suffolk.  Louisa’s father was Charles Bigg a Farmer of 310 acres.  William and Louisa seemed to have lived their married life in Cambridge near William’s eldest brother John.  His occupation during this time was as an Engineer and Pattern Maker.  William and Louisa had one son Tom born 1857.  Louisa died in 1881 and William was living back in Melton on his own means by 1891.  William died in 1901.

Descendants of John Edward and Sophie Silver:

1.1.  Sophie Elizabeth b1838 in Colchester, in the 1841 census she was living in Melton with her paternal grandparents, aged 3 years.  Sophie married a Henry Nunn in Cambridgeshire.  Henry was born in Mildenhall, Suffolk in 1842 to parent’s William and Elizabeth Nunn, William Nunn was an Agricultural Labourer.  Sophie and Henry lived the whole of their married life in the parish of St. Andrew the Less, Cambridge.  Henry’s occupation was a Boot & Shoemaker.  They had three children, Albert b1872, Sidney b1874 and Grace b1883.  Sophie died in Cambridge on 30th March 1900 and left £137 0s 4d to her husband Henry Nunn.  In today’s money this is the equivalent of £7,818.17.

1.2.  Mary b1839 in Colchester; Mary never married.  In 1861 and ’71 Mary was a nurse maid to the Johnson family in the parish of St. Bendict, Cambridge, Mr. Johnson was a school master.  By 1881 Mary was a domestic nurse to the Kempton Family in Halstead, Essex.  Mr. Kempton was described as an M.A. of Cambridge, Pensioner Indian Civil List.  Mary was 61 in 1901 and had retired to Long Melford Suffolk, living in a house on The Green and was still there in 1911.  Mary died in 1912 in Long Melford.

1.3.  Susan b1841 in Colchester.  By the 1851 census Susan by then was 9 years old and living along with her brother James then aged 7 with David and Mary Ward, their aunt and uncle, in Long Melford.  The Foundry business by then was already thriving, also living at Foundry House with them was their paternal uncle’s James and William Silver, James was David Ward’s partner, also William Ward David’s brother, soon to become a major part of the Ward and Silver business.  In 1861 Susan and James were still living in Long Melford with David and Mary Ward, Susan was then 20 years old.  In 1868 Susan married Albert Orlando Steed in Long Melford.  Albert was born in 1841 in Clare, Suffolk.  Albert’s father William Steed was a Master Boot & Shoemaker and was employing 5 men and 2 boys in 1851.  Albert’s profession in 1871 when the family was living in Westgate Street, Long Melford was recorded as an Organist & Teacher of Music, he went on to become a Professor of Music and a composer of some renown.  (In 1841 he was living in Great Russell Street, St. Giles, which was in then Middlesex with a family by the name of Jewell.  Mr. Jewell was a seller of music employing 2 boys, his daughter Sarah was also studying music along with Albert.)  By 1881 Susan and Albert had moved to Penge, Surrey at 5, Queen Adelaide Road.  Susan and Albert had six children in all, the last daughter Grace Alberta was born about three months after Albert died in January 1882.  Their children: Alice Mary b1870, Walter John b1872, Minnie Silver b1874, Percy Roland b1879, Dudley David b1881 and Grace Alberta b1882.  On 25th October 1881 Albert died in Penge when Susan was expecting their last child, he was 42 years old.  Albert left a will to the value of £457.5s.7d in today’s money the equivalent value would be £22,091.16.  In 1891 Susan was still living in Penge with all her children, the youngest Grace only 9 years old.  By 1901 with her were her three daughters and her sister Ellen Silver who was a School Governess.  Susan and her unmarried daughters were still living together in Penge by 1911, the youngest Grace was 29 years old.  Susan died on 7th October 1926 in Upper Norwood Kent. She left a will of £558.11s1d in today’s equivalent would be £16,739.87.

1.4.  James b1843 in Colchester.  By the 1851 census James, aged 7 was living with his sister Susan in Long Melford with their aunt and uncle, David, and Mary Ward.  James and Susan seemed to have been “adopted” by David and Mary, as he along with Susan appears to live there with them until he married in 1874.  In 1861 James was still in Hall Street with the Ward’s, his occupation was given as an Assistant Shop man.  By 1871 he was described as a Commercial Clerk, I imagine he was employed at the Ward & Silver Iron Foundry.  On 3rd August 1874 James married Janet Ruse at St. John’s Church, Hackney.

Marriage of James Silver & Janet Ruse in 1874

James and Janet lived all their married life in Long Melford. James was a Clerk at the Iron Foundry from 1881 to 1902 until he died on 15th November.  Their address throughout these years was Hall Street.  They had six children in all: Sidney Ward b1876, Herbert Ruse b1877, Edith Eleanor b1878, Jessie Mabel b1880, Clifford Marking b1881 and Lilian H. b1882.  The boys were given significant middle names!  In the 1901 census Clifford’s occupation was given as a Dental Student.  James died in Long Melford on 15th November 1902 leaving a will to Janet to the 1902 value of £6,611 8s 1d in today’s money £376,500.  Janet died at 14 Blackall Road, Exeter, Devon on 17th April 1919.  She left a will to Herbert and Clifford, Herbert was described as a Locomotive Engineer and Clifford as a Dental Surgeon, the amount in 1919 value £4,013 8s 9d the equivalent of just under £85,0000 in today’s money.  Clifford married Gladys Lucy Acott in 1908 and he died on 1st December 1957 in The Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital leaving in 1957 value, £39,291 1s 0d to the National Provincial Bank, the equivalent to £888,000 in today’s money.  Clifford Marking Silver was Fred Silver’s grandfather.

James & Janet Silver, nee Ruse, & Family (photo courtesy of their great grandson Fred Silver)
Clifford Silver in his dental surgery in Exeter, Devon (photo courtesy of his grandson Fred Silver)
Clifford & Gladys Silver & family (photo courtesy of Clifford’s grandson Fred Silver)

A brief look at the Ruse family connection:

Janet Ruse was born on 22nd July 1854 to parent’s Teverson and Hannah Ruse, nee Marking. Janet was baptised at St. Anne’s Church, Limehouse on 13th August 1854.  At the time of the baptism the family were living in Salmon Lane in Limehouse, father Teverson’s occupation was described as a Butcher.

Baptism record of Janet Ruse in 1854

At this point we will investigate the background of the Ruse family.  Teverson was born in Saffron Walden in 1826 to parent’s Stephen and Rebecca Ruse, nee Cooke.  Stephen Ruse was born in Horseheath, Cambridge in 1785.  In 1841 Stephen was described as a Miller at Ruse’s Mill, Saffron Walden, Ruse’s Mill was a windmill.  In 1841 Teverson was apprentice to James Archer butcher of Saffron Walden, Essex.  Teverson married Hannah Marking on 23rd September 1847 in Ickleton, Cambridge.  Hannah was born in Pemleton Cambridge in 1821 to Issac Marking a Farmer.  Teverson and Hannah were living in Cavendish Suffolk in 1851 where their first two children were born, Frederick and Eleanor.  Teverson’s occupation was as a butcher and Henry Marking Hannah’s brother, was his apprentice.  After 1851 the family seemed to have moved to Middlesex and Cambridgeshire as their next three children were born outside of Suffolk.  Janet as we have seen was their next child born in 1854 in Limehouse as was Elizabeth who followed in 1857 and Henry was born in Duxford, Cambridgeshire in 1859.  By 1861 the family was back living in Long Melford Suffolk and Teverson had established Ruse Butchers, employing one man.  The premises were bought for £400 and had its own small abattoir at the rear of the premises, as it still does today in 2014.  Their last child Walter was born in Long Melford in 1862.  Teverson Ruse died on Christmas Eve 1879 in his will he left £800 to his wife Hannah, the equivalent of £36,560.00 in today’s money.  Teverson Ruse started Ruse the butchers that still exists today in Long Melford and their website is well worth a look at www.rusebutchers.co.uk.  Also www.oraltraditions.co.uk which has a feature on the business and a DVD to purchase for £10 (2014), about Ruse the Butchers!

We visited Long Melford on Wednesday 29th October 2014 and popped into Ruse Butchers and bought some sausages and bacon…delicious!  (January 2020 Ruse Butchers of Long Melford closed its shop for the last time, it had been established nearly 160 years.)

1.5.  Emma b1845 in Colchester.  Emma was at home with her parents in the 1861 census aged 16 years and at school.  Unfortunately, after this the trail goes cold on Emma and I could not find any other conclusive records for her.

1.6. Ellen b1848.  Ellen never married and lived at home until the 1881 census when she was recorded as living in White Hall, West Wickham,Cambridge.  Here she was governess to the De Fraine family. Mr.John De Fraine was described as a Lecturer and Author on Social Subjects.  The autobiography of John De Fraine is available to buy on Amazon titled Forty Years of Public Lecturing Work & Recollections of the Great & Good, first published before 1923.  In 1891 Ellen was a governess at 31, Park Crescent, Brighton to the Samuel family. Mr Samuel was a Fancy Goods Merchant.  As we have seen earlier Ellen was living with her widowed sister Susan in 1901 in Penge, Surrey.  Come 1911 Ellen was back in Chesterton working as a Sick Nurse to the William’s family. Mr. Williams was a builder.  Ellen died in Chesterton in 1916 aged 68 years.

1.7.  Agnes b1849 Chesterton.  Agnes never married and lived with her parents until 1881 when she was described as a Dressmaker.  Agnes was baptised on 18th May 1873 in Chesterton aged 24 years.  During the 1891 census she was visiting the Wallis family in Chesterton and was recorded in their census. Agnes described herself as a Needlewoman.  Mr. Wallis was a Printers Overseer.  In the 1911 census she was lodging alone at 209, Chesterton Road, Cambridge her occupation was recorded as a Dress Maker.  Agnes died in 1922 in Chesterton.

1.8.  Allen b1852 Chesterton.  Allen was aged 9 year and living at home in Chesterton with his parents in 1861.  By 1871 he was living in Long Melford with Aunt and Uncle David and Mary Ward.  In 1871 Allen’s occupation is stated as an Iron Mongers Assistant.  In 1878 in Long Melford Allen Silver married Anna Flower Churchyard.  Anna was born in 1857 in Long Melford her paternal grandfather John Churchyard started a Horsehair business in Melford sometime before 1841.  Anna’s father Thomas Churchyard was Assistant Manager at the Horsehair Factory in 1851, when Grandfather John was described as a Horsehair Manufacturer employing 43, 12 boys and 56 women and girls.  The Churchyard’s lived next door to David Ward in Hall Street.  The following is a photograph of the house the Churchyard’s lived in, taken on 29th October 2014.

The Churchyard’s home ‘Olde House’ in Hall Street, Long Melford in 2014.
Employees of the one of Long Melford’s Horsehair Factory’s c1890

Allen and Anna Silver lived all their married life in Hall Street, Long Melford.  Allen seemed to be another one of John and Sophie’s children “adopted” by David and Mary Ward.  Allen and Anna had two children, Allen born 1880 and Margaret born 1881. Margaret died in 1899 aged 18 years, her death was recorded in West Ham which was then a part of Essex.  In 1881 they lived at The Sadlers Shop in East Hall Street; Allen is described as an Ironmonger Shop man.  They were still there in 1891, Allen was recorded as an Ironmongers Assistant. Also in 1901, the same address but Allen was now described as a Commercial Clerk.  By 1911 Allen was 59 years and Anna was 54.  Allen was recorded as an Iron Founders Clerk.  A few months after this census was taken in 1911 Allen Silver died in Long Melford, aged 59 years. Anna Silver died in 1934 aged 77 years in Wales where their son Allen had settled.  He in turn died in 1970 aged 90 years in Wales.

1.9.  David b1854 Chesterton.  David Silver lived at home with his parents until his marriage to Mary Ann Kester in Chesterton in 1881.  Mary Ann was born in Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire in 1859 to parent’s James and Susan Kester who in 1861 were running the Prince of Wales pub in Dry Drayton.  David and Mary lived in St. Andrew the Less district until 1901, this was the same area as his sister Sophie and her husband lived.  In 1881 David was described as an Iron Mongers Assistant and in 1882 their one and only child Frances Rosa was born.  In 1891 they were still living in St. Andrews the Less and David’s occupation was recorded as a Toy Dealer.  By 1901 they had moved to into Chesterton and were living on their own means.  Their daughter Frances was recorded as a Shorthand Typist on her own account.  In 1911 they were still in Chesterton and David’s occupation was recorded as a Caretaker of Private House.  David Silver died in 1918 in Royston, Hertfordshire, unfortunately I could find no conclusive death record for Mary.

1.10.  Alice b 1857 Chesterton.  Alice lived at home until her marriage in 1882.  In the 1881 census her occupation was recorded as a Book Binder.  Alice married Charles Vincent Key in Chesterton in 1882.  Charles was born in South Stoneham, Hampshire to Vincent and Mary Ann Key, Father Vincent was a Joiner.  In 1891 Alice and Charles lived in Chesterton and already had two children:  Vincent John b1883 and Alice Winifred Lucy b1889.  Charles was recorded as a builder in this census.  By 1901 Alice and Charles had another son called Gilbert Charles born in 1897. Charles’s occupation was recorded as a Carpenter/Employer, they were still in Chesterton.  In 1911 they were still in Chesterton and Charles occupation was a Carpenter on his own account.  Unfortunately, I could not find a conclusive death record for Alice.  Charles died on 21st April 1928 in Cambridge, he left a will to the value of £6132.17s.2d to son Vincent John Key a Chemist, the equivalent of £180,000 in today’s money.  Daughter Alice never married and died in 1955 she also left £1870.5s.10d to her younger brother Gilbert a Pharmacist Chemist and a Millicent Smith, £35,000 in today’s money.

1.11.  Clara b1859 in Chesterton.  Clara never married.  In 1871 she was staying with her maternal Aunt and Uncle John and Lucy Stanforth in Wymondham Norfolk.  Lucy Stanforth was her mother Sophie’s sister, and her husband John was a Farmer of 62 acres employing 2 men and 2 boys.  On 18th May 1873 Clara was baptised with her sister Agnes in Chesterton.  In 1881 Clara was at home with her parent’s and was recorded as a General Servant.  In this census Lucy Stanforth was staying with the family.  By 1891 Mother Sophie had died and Clara was living with her father on The Green in Long Melford as his housekeeper.  After her father died, Clara in 1901 was a Companion to a Rhoda Huggins in Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire.  Rhoda was 70 years old and living on her own means.  In 1911 Clara was recorded as living at the Rectory at Stonham Aspall, Suffolk as Cook to the Reverend Arthur William Darwin.  Clara Silver died in 1929 in Chesterton, Cambridgeshire.


Reading through the newspaper report of David Ward’s funeral and his will, we can see how some of the Silver family were involved and benefited from the will.  David Ward died on 18th December 1896; the funeral took place at Long Melford on the 23rd December 1896.  The following people that feature in the story of the Silver family who attended David Ward’s funeral, were as follows:  Mr.& Mrs. James Silver and daughter Miss. Silver, Mr. H. Ruse, Mrs. Orlando Steed, Mr. W. Silver, Mr. Allen Silver, Mr. J. Owen Steed and Mr. Bigg.  Remembered in David Ward’s will out of the Silver family: Along with David’s brother William Ward, the other two executors were Joshua Owen Steed and James Silver, who were left £10 each for their trouble, Susan Steed was left £200, James Silver was left £300 on trust for the benefit of his children.  The executors to apply £100 for the benefit of Allen Silver’s children.  Sidney Ward Silver, Godson £50.  Amongst the witnesses were J. Owen and Francis G Steed these were relations of Albert Orlando Steed and were solicitors of the area and the firm of Steed and Steed still are to this day.  See www.steedandsteed.co.uk.

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