- 1675-1999 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
All the farms, houses and lands in Foulsham, Bintry, Foxley and Wood Norton were inherited by Robert John Woods Purdy [RJWP] through his father (Robert John Purdy), his mother (who was the only child of John Berwick) and Robert Woods, his godfather and Berwick's brother in law. Woods never lived in Foulsham and had no children.
RJWP was tenant of the Woodgate farm from Oct 1864 and inherited it with the whole Aylsham estate from Robert Woods in 1870. He ran the Woodgate farm himself and had tenants in Stonegate farm, Spa farm etc.
Seamans, later known as Virginia House, was held copyhold of Foulsham manor. Bought by Robert Woods and left in his will of 1870 to Susan E. Purdy who was admitted in October 1873 (she also had Hill House - later to RJWP). At her death unmarried in 1905 it passed to her brother RJWP (heir to Woods's main estate) who came to live in Foulsham at around this time (Woodgate House in Aylsham was let). It was still owned by his son Col. Tom Purdy at the time of the 1938 family settlement. In the 1930s, it was occupied by the vet Arthur Woodhouse and before that at the 1911 census his father Herbert Woodhouse was in it - he also was a vet.
The Purdy papers give previous occupiers as John Powell and before him Henry May Waller. Waller was there on the tithe apportionment and map as owner and occupier. The land behind it, shown as occupied by Waller, was part of the property description in the 1873 admission: 3.5r. in 2 pieces. The 1873 description includes a shop in the property.
According to a poll book, Henry Waller had it in 1844. But in 1868 he was voting on East Dereham property, where he shows in the censuses of both 1851 and 1861 as a commission agent. This narrows down the likely range of purchase dates by Woods to 1844-1851. John Powell, a tailor and draper, was in Foulsham in 1851 and 1861 and the place in the census sequence suggests Virginia House. He does not appear in the poll books as an owner.
The date when it was sold by the Purdy family is unknown, but the disposal of the estate from the 1940s onwards was piecemeal.
Between 1908 and 1920 Woodgate House was let to a childless couple, Mr and Mrs Arthur Boulderson, a retired Bengal Civil Servant. They had previously lived in Westwick nr Nth Walsham and brought their four senior servants, Chastney the groom, Emma Farrow cook, Jemima Farrow parlour maid and Alice Gould housemaid, with them to Aylsham. In 1911 Beatrice Cross was the under-housemaid and the sick nurse was Margaret Bennett. The photos are of these servants and others. Arthur died, 81, in the summer of 1915 and his widow continued as tenant until she died in 1920. See letter.