Among the old deeds kept at “The Old Post Office” in Ashwellthorpe Road was an unexpected two page document – an Oath from John Bullimore, dated 1865. The document was written and signed in the presence of George Walton, a commissioner for oaths, in Norwich.
In summary, the Oath describes how John Bullimore was appointed to the role of Steward or Agent at Burtons Farm by William Ottey Burton one year before William’s death in 1857. William’s sister, Maria Burton (who acted as executrix for her late brother’s estate) retained John Bullimore in the same role, working for her. Hence John Bullimore had a detailed understanding of both their business dealings.
John Bullimore stated he was also well acquainted with Samuel Day (carpenter, who lived in the adjacent property, in Ashwellthorpe Road with his nearby workshop). Samuel Day had died in October 1853 and, at the time of his death had owed William Ottey Burton £200.
Samuel Day’s wife, Sarah, in settling the estate of her late husband had entered a Mortgage agreement with Maria Burton with the intention of paying off the £200 debt. The property listed under the terms of the mortgage was the Day’s cottage with it’s land: a total of 2 roods and 14 perches. The specified land included Samuel’s carpentry workshop.
Unfortunately, 8 years later, Sarah had not made any mortgage payments to Maria; meanwhile, interest had accumulated on the debt. Maria Burton had also been paying all of Sarah Day’s outgoings in respect of her property, too.
As a result, Sarah Day was in default of the mortgage. In 1865, (the year of the Oath) Sarah Day had died – interestingly, without leaving a Will. As a result of the mortgage default, Maria Burton was entitled to seize Sarah’s properties – which she did.
On gaining possession, Maria Burton sold the property in three lots, as follows:
Sale price £?
Actual document not found
The south half of Cherrytree Cottage (Samuel and Sarah Day’s cottage / home) was bought by John Bullimore. This property stayed in the possession of John Bullimore’s descendants (as landlords) until the early 1990s.
Sale price £?
The Carpenters Workshop was bought by Alfred Quantrell. This property continued as a workshop until eventually being converted into a home nearly 100 years later: c1960.
Sale price £46
The land to the north of the carpenter’s workshop was bought by tailor John Kersey for the construction of a double cottage – one half of which, for many years, became the location of the Village Post Office.
We have found two out of three sets of original legal documents covering the three lots. The two 10 page “Abstract of Title” documents are both in the same hand and almost identical – with the exception of the top-level property-specific details. Maybe the third set of documents will turn up, one day?
Although a wealthy person seizing the assets of a debtor might seem harsh, there was nothing unexpected in the outcome, following the mortgage default. We should also note that Maria Burton had actually subsidised Sarah Day through her final years and then waited until Sarah’s death before exercising her legal rights.