The hidden history of one village home

I came to live at Woodvale in Redlingfield in 2004, by then the bungalow was four or five years old.

Many local people remember Russell Coe’s builder’s yard and workshop being on this site for many years. He built the bungalow before he retired.

Russell’s father Ted worked from here as a carpenter/ builder. He made coffins and at one time took on the role of undertaker. Before him, his father Joseph was wheelwright here.

 Joe Coe (born 1863) grew up in Huntingfield and came to Redlingfield with his wife Editha and several children around 1895. He appears on the 1901 Census as wheelwright, working on his own account, living at the Cross, Redlingfield. He lived in the house now called Tudor Rose, which at that time was part of the same property as the wheelwright’s workshop.

Joe and Editha had a large family. Ted (Albert Edward) was born in 1903 and older brother Alfred in 1899. Alfred, as mentioned in the winter issue of the magazine, was Eddie’s father and village blacksmith.

A 1929 trade directory lists Joe as a carpenter, joiner and wheelwright and son Alfred as a blacksmith working at the forge across the road. Joe’s wheels would have gone over to the forge to have their metal tyres fitted. A 1933 directory has Joe listed as a carpenter as does the index of the 1937 Kelly’s. Joe died in 1941.

Before the Coes the wheelwrights were Cracknells. In 1851 it was John (born 1828) son of George Cracknell, carpenter, and Hannah nee Shadd. He moved to Thorndon and by 1861 his brother Thomas (born 1830) had taken over. He carried on through 1871 and 1881. He married Lucy Howes, daughter of blacksmith Alfred. By 1891 Alfred Cracknell was wheelwright. His parents were Thomas Edgar Cracknell and Betsey nee Howes.

The 1839 Tithe Map and Apportionments show that Robert Bolton (born 1803) was owner and occupier of the wheelwright’s premises here. He was also a farmer at Mount Pleasant as we know it today. This document also shows another wheelwright’s, almost on the site of the old school, which was worked by Thomas Bean. Robert Bolton’s wheelwright business was the subject of a newspaper article concerning bankruptcy in 1845.

This is as far back as I have been able to go with this so far. How different this corner of Redlingfield was in the past.

Linda Hudson (Published in Athelington, Horham & Redlingfield News Spring 2017 issue No 38).