I went to England in 2002 to visit my aunts, uncles, and cousins and to do as much genealogical research as time permitted. Before I left, my mother told me that my uncle, John Bellamy, had a small painting that was supposed to be a picture of the house where my grandmother, Grace Carolyn Thorogood Bellamy or her mother, my great grandma, Emily Munson Thorogood was born in. I asked my uncle to see it when I got there and since I showed an interest in it, he left it to me when he died.
I didn’t have a lot to go on at the time. I was pretty sure that my grandma was born at 37 Baddow Rd in Chelmsford. It was a row house, so probably the free standing building in the painting was not where she was born. That left it as the possible birth place of her mother, Emily, who was born in Felsted. When I went there I made an effort to find the house, but so many of the houses were like the one in the picture that it could have been any of them? I continued my research after I got home and eventually discovered the place where Emily was born was called Rose Cottage.
In time I got a drawing of it done by a Munson descendent and some actual photos taken by another Munson descendent.
In both the drawing and the photos, the doorway exactly matched the doorway in 3 different photos of Emily’s mother, Mary Ann Munson. Curious!
So the painting isn’t either Grace or Emily’s birthplace. Whose was it?
I noticed that in 1891, Frederick Thorogood, his wife Emily and his mother Mary lived in a place on Baddow Road in Chelmsford called White House farm. Their daughter Annie wasn’t born yet. She was born in 1891 so it must have been very close to the time the Census was taken.
Add to that the fact that my Grandad was married to Annie first and that he didn’t marry my grandma until after Annie died. We always thought the picture came into the family by way of my Grandma. But it now seems more likely that Annie was the one to have brought it. She was the one who was likely born at the farm.
If you compare the painting and the map below you will notice a couple of things. The House is basically rectangular with a “bumped out” front entry. It looks like it has a couple of chimneys and it has the fence in front of it. Both the painting and the map are alike on these points. I have tried to find a photo of the farm, but no luck yet. For now, we may have solved the mystery, but we won’t know for sure until we can find a photo of White House Farm.