Orchard Dene

Orchard Dene, c. 1895
Photograph supplied by Ann Handscombe
William Lambeth, owner of Orchard Dene, c. 1920
Photograph supplied by Kath Lambert
William Lambeth, pictured in the garden of Orchard Dene, c. 1920
Photograph supplied by Kath Lambert
A sale advertisement for the house from 1977
Meldreth WI

Orchard Dene was built in 1892.  The house which now stands next door, known as Greycot, was originally a farm building belonging to Orchard Dene.  Greycot was developed as a private dwelling in 1928.

John Frederick Blomfield: the first owner

The first owner of the house was John F Blomfield, a farmer and butcher from Norfolk. The rooms, which included a “best” bedroom, “spare” bedroom, “back” bedroom, drawing room, dining room and morning room, were furnished with items purchased from Maple & Co. in London. The cost of the furniture, carpets and accessories was just over £250.

The five-page Maple & Co. invoice may be viewed as a pdf document.

In 1871 John married Mary Ann Cornish of Meldreth.  The couple had one son, Ernest who was born c. 1873 in London. In 1891 the family was living in Ealing, London but the 1901 census, taken on 31st March, shows John and Mary Ann, both aged 54 living in High Street, Meldreth (presumably at Orchard Dene). John’s occupation is given as farmer and butcher and he is self-employed and working from home.

The family must have moved to Meldreth sometime between 1891 and 1896, as in August 1896 Mr Blomfield was a juror at an inquest that was held into the death of a man in the goods yard at Meldreth Railway Station.

The next record we have for John and Mary Ann is the Land Values Duties return of 1910 where John is shown as the owner and occupier of a house and orchard (of over 2 acres) in High Street, Meldreth.

By the date of the 1911 census, however, John and Mary Ann had moved to Stoke Newington, where he was a Master Butcher.

John George Mortlock: the second owner

John George Mortlock purchased the house, with others, in 1910 and owned it until it was purchased by William Lambeth in 1916.

The Lambeth Family

Although William Lambeth purchased the house in 1916, he had lived there since at least 1911. The 1911 census, taken on Sunday 2nd April, shows the occupiers of Orchard Dene as William Lambeth, aged 62 and his wife Emma, aged 55, both from Bethnal Green. Living with them was William’s nephew, William Lydall aged 27. William Lambeth’s occupation is given as horse dealer and his nephew was a cowman on a diary farm.

Orchard Dene had eight rooms at this time.

William subsequently sold the house to his wife Emma in 1922 for £900.  However, Emma died two years later, leaving her estate to William. He then sold it to George Lambeth of Leyton immediately probate was granted. At the time of the sale, it included the coach house (subsequently called Greycot) and the piggeries (now the wall dividing the two properties). By 1946, the two properties and the land had been formally divided.

George Lambeth owned the house until 1946 but must have rented it out for at least some of the time for in 1940 the house was occupied by the Bennett family, headed by Francis Edward Bennett.  His daughter, Patricia, was enrolled at Meldreth Primary School on 2nd April 1940.

The Atlas Stone Company

The Atlas Stone Company purchased Orchard Dene from George Lambeth in November 1946.  The Burgess family may have been living there at the time for Diana and Michael Burgess attended Meldreth Primary School from 3rd June 1946 and gave their address as Orchard Dene. Their father was Tom Burgess, who was the Manager of the Atlas Stone Company.  The company owned the house for some years. The last Atlas Manager to occupy the house was David Wright, who lived there with his wife Mary.  David Wright purchased the house from the Atlas Stone Company in the 1970s.  David left soon after Eternit took over the Atlas Stone Company and he and his wife moved to Scotland.

Recent Owners

In 1978, David sold Orchard Dene to Rob and Sandra Searles. They extended behind the house in 1984 by adding a family room. A double garage was added in 1985/86.

In April 2006, Mr and Mrs Searles sold the house to the present owners.  They extended the house in 2007 by building above the family room that had been added in 1984.

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