The Palmers of Rochford

Photo:The Dancing Bear

The Dancing Bear

East Street, c. 1908. The little boy on the left is Marion Morgan's uncle.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Palmers of Rochford' page

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As told by Marion Morgan

My mother was Mary Palmer, born and brought up in the butcher's shop at the crossroads in Rochford. Her mother was Emily Jane Bishop - the same family as the solicitor and, of course, the drapers. Emily Jane was born and brought up in Delft House.

Over the past few years I have been gradually tracing the family tree. My great-grandmother was an Aylett from Hockley, most of whom went to Australia in the 1800s. The Bishops appear to have come from Southend - I can trace them to about 1850 through Kelly's. The Palmers go back to great-grandfather in, I think, 1860 at the butcher's premises, but I have no knowledge at all about where they came from.

I used to visit my grandmother, Emily Jane Palmer, in the 1940s when she lived at 54 West Street (next to Clements the bakers. Their rolls smelled wonderful in the mornings!).

I remember going to visit the Palmer great-aunts who lived in Glenmore, East Street. I think there was also a great-Uncle William, because I remember singing a simple hymn down his ear trumpet when I was about 6 years old, in 1948. Have you any knowledge or recollection of these? There may have been a daughter. I would love to know where the Palmers came from before buying the butcher's premises in Rochford.

With the help of a friend, I have traced a few family details on the Bishop side. One of my great-aunts was a witness in the murder trial in the 1880's! My friend has found a copy of the newspaper report.

This page was added by Mave Sipple on 19/10/2011.
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Hi Nicky.
I cannot believe it's almost 10 years since I posted on here, and almost as long since I checked back!
So, your dad's name is Michael, whose sister would be your auntie Sandra?
I'm sure that somewhere I have some photos of both of them including, I think, one of Sandra in the garden at Glenmore.
If you're still on this site please leave me a message - which I promise to read and respond too promptly - and I'll look out whatever photos there are and let you have copies via email.

By Ian Walton
On 08/09/2022

My understanding is from the Albert Bishop side of family, their was quite a few Bishops back then!

By Shawn cain
On 25/08/2020

The Bishop’s are still here and strong, and so is the Cain’s.

By Shawn cain
On 25/08/2020

Hi. I have also been researching the Bishop family tree (my maiden name). My grandfather was Oswald Arthur Bishop, and his father was Arthur. Both born in Rochford Essex. My grandfather emigated to Canada where he married my grandmother, and we all lived in Toronto. I think I have come across your name somewhere else, Ancestry perhaps?

By susanne
On 19/06/2018

Hello again - I posted here last year - apologies for a very slow response. I would love to see the photos Marion Morgan has - I have a family bible and photo album of the Bishops with a number of photos, but which are unmarked as to who they all are - perhaps someone else might recognise them. Unfortunately I can't readily scan them, as they are fixed in a very ornate and rather fragile book, which I suspect will fall apart if I tamper with it too much.

Since last posting, I have done further research on the Bishops, Palmers and Carters. It is complicated looking back, as families seemed to quite often have sisters marrying brothers from neighbouring families. There also seems a tendancy, perhaps for very practical reasons, that those widowed on two sides of a family would then marry the remaining spouse... so my widowed great grandfather on my grannie's side of the family married my great grandmother Bishop when she was widowed. If you go back far enough, it is also apparent (inevitably, I'm afraid) that occasionally people may have not necessarily tied the knot, or 'absconded' from a marriage (though that does seem fairly rare) - but causes great confusion with marriage records.

Various branches of the Bishops are rather fascinating. I have reached back as far as John Bishop (born 1775) so far - the Bishop line was very, very modest at this time, with primarily farm labourers and common carriers as family occupations. By majority, his children ended up living in poor houses and a number died early deaths.

The William Bishop who you mentioned above - his father, also a William Bishop, grew up with his brothers and sisters in Workhouse Lane, Rochford - and it is clear their situation was not only dire, but that this had been building from the previous generation's circumstances. I am only presuming - but when you look at all branches of the Bishops from this point onwards, there seems an explosion of activity, which to me seems a response to their childhood: many of the Bishops seem to take the chance to pursue opportunities in the United States and Canada, during the gold rush period and the 'Land rush' of the 1890s in the States. There is also a branch of the family who settle in Australia. Although some Bishops settled permanently abroad, many came back with their good fortunes to Rochford, to build the businesses you mentioned below. What I find surprising is that many of the Bishops continued to travel to and from the States and Canada.

In essence, the family went from extreme poverty to considerable entrepreneurial success, with very respectable professions, in the space of two generations - and this seemed to apply fairly broadly across the many branches that evolved - so they seemed to have considerable character and 'get up and go'.

I'm not sure how I can distill all the information I have on the noticeboard here. It would be lovely to come and share the information and to get further light shed on aspects of the family, as well as seeing if we could corroborate pictures, stories, etc.

Please do let me know if you are having a meeting at any point, where we could get together! The pictures on the website are wonderful to see.

By Julia Salmon
On 09/08/2015

Hi Ian,

I have just started looking up my Dad's family and discovered this post. My Dad is Douglas Palmer Pipe's son and he just told me last night that he thinks my Grandad Douglas had a sister called Joan, therefore from reading this post you are my Dad's cousin. I would love to learn more about the family and  happy to pass on any information (which is extremely limited) that I may have.

Regards, Nicky Pike

By Nicky Pike
On 03/08/2014

Very interested in Julia Salmon's comment and would love to see the Bishop family tree. I met Stanley Bishop (in the shop) and also Albert Bishop. I am not sure whether or not I met a William Bishop. Lavinia Bishop (Auntie Weenie) lived in a flat off Back Lane and we always visited her when we came to Rochford. She eventually moved to a Nursing Home near where we lived in Woodford Green so my mother could see her more often. I have traced some of the Bishops. I have a photo album and also the front page of a family Bible. Please get in touch again!  Marion Morgan (grand-daughter of Emily Jane Bishop).

By Marion Morgan
On 02/06/2014

Emily Jane Bishop is my great grand aunt.  William Bishop, the draper, is my great, great grandfather, and his son William Bishop (Jnr) my great grandfather.

I have a fairly complete family tree of most lines of the Bishop family.  Along some paths of the family tree, I have traced back to the late 1700s.  The Bishops seem to have had quite a range of different local businesses in Rochford.  There is also more than one marriage between the Ayletts and the Bishops.

William James Bishop (Jnr) was known in the Southend area for racing penny farthings - I didn't know about his membership of the local cricket club.  Family fokelore accounts for this William Bishop being known for a fondness for drink, so I am not surprised he frequented the Cherry Tree pub.

I also have a number of the newspaper articles, in relation to Eliza Ann Bishop, who was a witness in the murder trial of Emma Hunt.  This murder in Rochford was, ultimately, never solved.

I am trying to find out whether the two William Bishops spent a short while in the States, during the Colorado Gold Rush - I have conflicting information on this score.

Does anyone know of others in Rochford who went to the States in the 1870s-1880s?  I am happy to email anyone to exchange information. 

(Editor: Hi Julia and others. Whenever possible please exchange your information by posting it here.)

By Julia Salmon
On 01/06/2014

As mentioned previously I have been researching the Rankin's Cricket Club history and William Palmer features over many years.  This is William Edward Palmer I believe born 1876 and who took over the Butcher's shop in West Street from his father also William.  He is also shown in the census as having a son William A Palmer who also played for Rochford CC (as they were known then).  He made his debut in 1893 and was a formidable bowler, being one of the highest wicket takers for the club.  There are team photos of both him and his son on the wall of the cricket club from around 1908 and 1910. There are many games recorded on the Rankin's Cricket Club website in which he appears for those that are interested.

By Brian Pettitt
On 15/02/2014

May "Mabel Ellen Palmer" 1881-1957 was married to my 4th cousin, Percy Augustine Binley. He died in France in 1918.

By Jodie Edgar
On 07/02/2014

I have recently been researching the history of Rankins Cricket Club in Stambridge (Originally Broom Hills CC) and in looking into the original members I notice that George Aylett appears in the minutes of the first meeting of 11th March 1881 in the Cherry Tree Pub, Great Stambridge. A William Bishop was also an original member. The 1881 census shows William Bishop Snr. as Outfitter and Upholsterer of the The Square West Street and his son William J Bishop, Drapers Asst. They were 42 and 21 respectively so either could have been the player concerned. Geo Aylett was 64 and a wheelwright living in Oak Row Gt Stambridge which was next to the Royal Oak and was born in Tillingham.

By Brian Pettitt
On 07/01/2013

Ian - your mother was my mother's first cousin. She also visited Babs in Wellington, another first cousin. Would love to be in touch and am happy for you to have my email address. My mother, Mary Palmer, died in 1986. Have traced a few ancestors!

By Marion Morgan
On 01/01/2013

I am the grandson of Olive Kate Pipe (nee Palmer), the daughter of William Palmer who owned the butchers' shop of which you mention in your article. I spent part of my summer holidays in the early to mid 1950s with my mother (Joan) at Glenmore in East Street where my grandmother lived with two "aunts", Ethel Jennie Palmer and, as I vaguely recall, May Binley. Olive married Bernard John Pipe in September 1909 whilst living in Glasgow and my mother was born there in January 1910 (you do the maths!), and they also had a son, Douglas (born March 1918) whose birth was registered in Rochford. Interestingly, and perhaps unusually, both Joan and Douglas were given Palmer as their middle names. Olive died whist visiting us in Cheltenham in 1957. I believe she outlived Ethel by about a year, but I don't recall when May died. Olive also had another daughter that I knew only as Babs. She married into a farming family, the Warrens, who farmed near Bradwell but later moved to near Wellington, Somerset. Douglas married and emigrated to Australia with a young family - I have a photo of them taken in the garden at Glenmore in about 1950. Bernard Pipe was working as a hotel clerk when he met my grandmother but he was called up at the outbreak of war and served as a Private in the 5th Seaforths. In June 1915 he received gunshot wounds to the face. Notification of this was was sent to my grandmother c/o Palmers, High Street, Rochford (I have the original document and envelope), which suggests she moved back to the family home during the Great War. I know he survived his injuries as he was posted to the Gordon's at Ripon in November of that year. Much is unclear to me as to what happened later. I never knew Bernard. He and Olive were estranged and my mother never spoke much of her father. I have copies of correspondence from him to Joan (mostly in the form of picture postcards of Cologne dated 1919) whist he was serving as a Major with the Army of Occupation on the Rhine, but then all communication ceased. It was not until some three months after the death of Olive that my mother received a handwritten, but very formal letter from Bernard offering his condolences. It did not include an address for her to contact him, but the postmark on the envelope was Romford and Dagenham. Maybe someone reading this can fill in some of the blanks. I have fond childhood memories of Glenmore, Rochford and the surrounding areas but have only been back a couple of times in the last 50 years. Happy to share more of these if anyone would care to contact me.

By Ian Walton
On 30/12/2012
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