Monday, 30 July 2012

Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge : L is for...

This week I present to you another alphabet blog challenge double whammy. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about my 3xgreat-grandfather Josiah Jolly, and this week I am writing all about my ancestors, the Leman's of Loddon.

My ancestors - the Leman's (pronounced like the fruit, lemon) lived in the county Norfolk market town of Loddon in the 1700s through to the early 1900s. Situated about 12 miles from Norwich, Loddon is thought to mean muddy river (Celtic meaning). The Norfolk Broads is connected by the river Chet that runs through Loddon. In the past Loddon was largely agricultural but nowadays it is a commuter settlement for those who work in Norwich, Lowestoft and beyond.
My 4xgreat-grandfather William Leman was born about 1767 and lived in Loddon until his death in 1839. Writing this post has brought to my attention that I know nothing else about him, not even his occupation (I will order his death certificate, pronto). He may have had a brother, John Leman, who died in Loddon in 1843. John can be found in the 1841 census as 'Independent', living in The Grove. There is also William's son, John Leman, who was a Grocer & Draper on the High Street. William's youngest son, born in 1814 was my 3xgreat-grandfather.

Leman's Grocer & Draper Store (right)
Image courtesy of Before Your Time:

William Leman was a Saddler & Harness Maker by trade. He was listed in various Trade Directories such as Kelly's and Pigot's. In 1838 William married a local girl from Thelveton (more about her family will be written in my letter R post). They had at least seven known children, including twin daughters. One of those twin daughters was my 2xgreat-grandmother. It is not entirely clear who introduced the Methodist faith to the Leman family but sometime in the 1800s they were known for this religious practice both in Loddon and surrounding districts, such as Beccles.

William's brother John Leman, mentioned above, had a son John Spence Leman. He carried on the grocer & draper business in the High Street for many years, until his death in 1908, when his son Ernest Spence Leman carried on the trade. Of the two brothers, John Leman seemed to have faired better, business-wise. William Leman's humble, yet important for the time, trade of Saddler was not carried on by any of his sons. In fact, they followed in their uncle John's footsteps and became Tailors, Clothier Assistants and Drapers.

Leman's Universal Stores
Image courtesy of Before Your Time

The Leman family owned land right up both sides of the High Bungay Road as well as several other throughout the village. On the Tithe Map of 1838, John Leman owned some property in The Pits, while he owned and occupied The Grove - the cottage right on the point between High and Low Bungay Road. Today this Grove is called Leman Grove which intersects with Leman Close and High Bungay Road.

"Leman's Universal Stores sold everything from bacon to best hats. The first floor rooms were only 5' high and were used as a mini sweat shop with girls and ladies sewing the orders in the shop below. The rails outside supported a blind which pulled out to shade the articles in the window and shelter window shoppers if it rained. The Leman family were ardent Methodists and were extensively involved in the community."

My small claim-to-fame is that my auntie used to play tennis with the sister of Davy Jones (of Monkees fame) during the 1960s. Davy and his family lived in Loddon for a time. Also, my mother met an Irish pop group in Loddon, called The Bachelors. The photographs in her collection are so sweet, the boys are sat at a table with cups of tea whilst they meet and greet the fans!


  1. What a lovely story and great pics to match!

    1. Thank you very much, that's really kind of you to say. xx

  2. I've passed this post's link on to my Leman/Lemon friends downunder - maybe there is a connection.

  3. I love that the "Leman's Universal Stores sold everything from bacon to best hats" ... that's about as wide ranging as you could get. And great researching, writing and beautiful pics. :)

    1. I know, isn't that quote great? ;-) Thank you very much for your kind comments, it means a lot to me. xx

  4. A totally interesting post.