Male portrait placeholder image

Name: William Sams

Burial Number: 1656

Gender: Male

Occupation: Nurseryman

Distinction: Horticultural Pioneer

Born: 00/00/1848

Died: 14/03/1937

Buried: 18/03/1937

Story

William Sams was born some time in 1848 in Great Bardfield, Braintree, Essex to Sarah (nee Willis) and Edward, a foreman and agricultural labourer. Sarah (1824-1895) had also been born in Great Bardfield, and her husband Edward (1824-91) was born not far away in Great Sampford, Essex. It is not known, but presumed that William was baptised in ‘The Holy Trinity’ parish church.

Great Bardfield lay on the River Pant in north-west Essex. Mentioned in the Domesday Book there was also evidence of earlier Roman occupation. From 1262 an annual horse fair was held, and by the 14th century it was a thriving medieval market town. The Black Prince Edward of Woodstock (15th June 1330 – 8th June 1376, the eldest son of King Edward Third) hunted in the nearby deer parks. William Bendlowes Elizabeth 1 Sergeant-at-Law (an order of barristers at the English Bar,) despite being a Catholic, endowed the village with schools, an almshouse, and made annual bequests to the poor.

By the time of William Sams’ birth the village was religiously non-conformist. Having a strong Quaker and Methodist presence their heterodox faiths had survived the persecutions of the late 18th century alongside resident Catholics.

In 1861 the 13-year-old William was a domestic servant and gardener. The family now resided at Taylors Farm, Hadham Lane, Takeley, Bishops Stortford. He lived with his mother, father, two brothers, John (8), Waller C (8) and sister Hannah (11). All three siblings were ‘scholars’ (schoolchildren).

Taylors Farm was named for the Taylor family who owned nearby Castle Cottage and the ground of Waytemore Castle (originally of classic Norman motte and bailey construction.) Hadham Road was the hub of the malting industry in the area each malthouse being operated by one or two people.

 

A decade later in 1871 William, now a 23-year-old gardener, was still at Taylors Farm. He still lived with his labourer father and mother Sarah. The family now included brothers Charles (10), Edward (3), and sisters Lydia (8) and Sarah (6). All had been born in Bishops Stortford in the intervening decade.

On 10th October 1874 William was married to Betsy (or Betsey) Beeson in Trinity Church, Upper Chelsea, where both were residing at the time. William’s father had become a farm bailiff and Betsy’s father was a licenced victualler.

Betsy, the daughter of publican William (1816-1895) and his wife Mary (1817-1889) was born in Albury, Hertfordshire in 1850. The name Albury derived from ald (old) and bush (fortification). Originally known as Eldeberei it lies on the Essex border five miles from Great Stortford. Home to the 14th century church dedicated to St. Mary (where Betsy was presumably baptised) and Albury Hall where the: ‘Religious, Just and Charitable’ Sir Edward Atkins, Knight & Baron of the Exchequer died in 1699. Betsy’s father was feeder of the Albany Hall hunt hounds for a time before becoming a publican.

Before meeting and marrying William child Betsy lived with her middle-aged parents at The Coach and Horses, Thorley Street, Thorley, along with older brother Thomas (14)  and sister Ann (13).

 

By 1881 Betsy and nurseryman/ labourer William Sams had moved to 116 Manor Road, Heene, Worthing where the couple had three children: Verley/ Virley (2), Edward (1), and William John (5).

In 1891 the Sams family were still at 116 Manor Road (now referred to as ‘Stortford House’). William was a first grower and nurseryman. In the 1891 census mention is made of a 9-year-old daughter Dolly Sams (possibly born in 1882), but no further mention can be found for her.

In 1911 the family were at ‘The Elms’ an 11-room property in Boundary Road, Worthing. The couple now had six children, but only Joseph, Daisy and Bessie were living there. They family also had one servant Lilly Bishop (23) from Portsmouth.

Betsy died in the spring of 1924 aged 74. She was buried in Heene cemetery by Rector JP Fallowes. Her Probate was handled by her children Verley, Joseph and Daisy leaving an estate of  £3078 10s 4d.

William Sams was the fourth person in Worthing noted to be engaged in the hot-house industry (greenhouses). A keen writer on the subject William stated in 1866 that: ‘there were hardly any glass [houses] in the neighbourhood [of Worthing].’ The next 24 years saw substantial growth, and one acre of ‘glass’ in 1866 had become 2,473,000 square feet (or 45-50 acres) by 1906.

William was also active as a pillar the local community becoming a Justice of the Peace (magistrate). He also wrote to the local Burgesses of Worthing in the Worthing Herald on 29th October 1890 regarding extending the local urban water supply to outlying areas of the town and the creation of recreation grounds for public use.

William’s mention of the local water supply was prescient. Less than three years later in July 1893 Worthing Council workmen ‘digging deeply near Park Road’ hit an underground water supply, or aquifer near Worthing Infirmary. ‘Water suddenly burst into the diggings, pouring in so rapidly that workmen had to run for their lives. It was also accompanied by an ‘abominable stench.’’ The Worthing typhus epidemic that ensued would strike down one in every 16 people in the town.

It was contemporaneously noted in the Worthing Gazette that: ‘Three-fifths of victims are women and children, and the proportion of deaths is higher among the well-to-do class.’
Not until the end of July did the Council admit the source of the epidemic as the impure new water supply ‘fed by a watercourse under fields hitherto used by the municipal authorities as a sewage farm.’

After a cover-up involving the use of mass-graves the Council would finally begin a scheme of modern sewage treatment and waterworks.

William died on 14th March 1937. His Estate was handled by his son Joseph Beeson (a bank clerk), Percy Edwin Lephard (a retired farmer) and Frank Martin (a retired Chief Rating). He left  £50847 12s 7d.

THE SAMS CHILDREN

VIRLEY/ VERLEY STEVENSON-SAMS

Virley was baptised in Heene on 10th August 1879.

It was noted in The Belfast News of Wednesday 13th March 1907 that Virley married Ethel Maud Smith (only daughter of WB Smith of Kenmore, Vanbrough Park Road West, Blackheath, London.) The ceremony at Blackheath on 7th March was officiated over by Reverend Bernard Bennett of Preston Park, Brighton.

By 1911 Virley was living in Bognor Regis as a Dental Surgeon with his wife Ethel Maud Stevenson, their daughter Mollie Stevenson (2) and son Richard Stevenson (born on 18th January 1911, baptised at South Bersted on 23rd April 1911.) In the house they employed Nellie Avery (21) as a servant and K Odell (27) as a children’s nurse.

In 1913 wife Ethel landed in Liverpool from Los Palmas on the Andorinha, a ship of the Seaward Line.

In 1918 Virley (a registered dentist since 22nd November 1902) was practising at Bedford House, High Street, Bognor. His son Virley Junior would be registered at the same address on 15th April 1937.

Another daughter was born to the couple, Valerie Constance Stevenson-Sams on 26th March 1919. She was baptised on 11th May 1919 in South Bersted.

By the outbreak of the Second World War they were at Hollow Way Croft. Living with the couple were dental surgeon Virley Sams Junior (born 24th December 1912, baptised 18th January 1913), John Sams (born 1914) a Sergeant in the Volunteer Aircraft Reserve, and Valerie Sams (born 1918.) Richard Stevenson-Sams had left home, but Mollie Waugh (nee Sams) was still there, working as a VAD in Bognor. One domestic servant was also employed to help run the household.

On 9th February 1937 Virley arrived In Southampton back from Batavia, Indonesia on the Johann de Witt (of the Nederland Royal Mail line.)

Virley Stevenson-Sams died in Chichester in the spring of 1956.

DOLLY SAMS

Mentioned in the 1891 census as a 9-year-old no other record of Dolly has currently been found.

DORA (DAISY) SAMS

Baptised on 17th August 1898 she died on 21st September 1952 and was buried at Heene cemetery.

WILLIAM JONATHAN SAMS

Baptised on 6th October 1876 he died in Worthing between April-June 1944.

In 1939 he was living at Huvae/ Nuvae in Worthing Road with housekeeper Millicent Clay. William Jonathan had followed his father’s profession and was a self-employed (‘own account’) fruit grower.

BESSIE SAMS

Bessie (born 7th December 1885) was baptised the same day as sister Dora Daisy, on 17th August 1898. Partially deaf from birth by 1891 8-year-old Bessie was a schoolgirl at ‘Elmhurst’, Ealing, Middlesex, a training college for teachers of the deaf. . She was one of nine boarders in a college comprising one head, two secretaries and three teachers

By 1939 Bessie was living ‘on private means’ at 21 Montefiore Road. Also, in the building resided a solicitor, a managing agent and an advertising agent.

Bessie died on 24th February 1944.

JOSEPH BEESON

Born some time in 1889, on 15th September 1921 bank clerk Joseph married Phyllis Marjorie Page, a 24-year-old spinster of Kenward, Haywards Heath in the parish church of Haywards Heath. The ceremony was witnessed by his brother William Jonathan.

Joseph died on an indeterminate date between April- June 1946 in Hammersmith aged 58.

 

WRITINGS OF WILLIAM SAMS

PRODUCTION UNDER GLASS

I see that Mr. W. Sams, a Worthing grower who gave evidence before the Departmental Committee on Fruit-Culture, said in his statement: ‘I am a firm believer that a working man by himself and his son, perhaps, or one hand, will hold his own, when I and others, who have larger premises, are out of it.’ Asked if that applied to glass-houses, Mr. Sams replied: ‘Yes… A working man will be able to live and place himself in a better position than if he was a day-labourer or working for a master he will not mind what hours he puts in at the work; but I do not believe it will pay a man with capital, certainly at the present moment, to go into the business,’ especially, as Mr. Sams had previously explained, in face of ‘ free imports.’ A more legitimate grievance is the burden of local rates, the average assessment for which on glass-houses in the borough of Worthing works out at 117 per acre. Mr. Sams was especially forcible on this point in the evidence he gave before the Departmental Committee: ‘Every pound of fruit,’ he said, ‘that I send into market is weighted with a certain amount of rates and taxes. Every pound I send to London bears a proportion of rates and taxes. Of course, it is infinitesimal on a pound, but there it is, and the foreigner sends his produce here without any of those burdens.’

 

WORTHING GAZETTE– 29th OCTOBER 1890

To the Burgesses of the Borough of Worthing (West Ward):

Ladies and Gentleman, I beg to offer myself as a Candidate to represent you on the Council of the newly formed Borough.

For some years past I have had the honour of being one of your Commissioners. If my service in that capacity has met with your approval I again solicit your interest and votes.

In me brief address to you in March, 1888, I urged the importance of the Water Supply for this district being in the hands of our local authority; that every means should be used to bring the rural portions of our Parish under Urban Sanitary control; and the extension of the roadside tree planting. Earnest efforts have been made to come to terms for the purchase of the Water Works and Baths – so far, I regret to say, without success. Negotiations are still pending with the Company, and will, I trust be continued by the Corporate Authority and brought to a successful issue. – This is, in my opinion, the most burning question affecting the Ward. By the Charter of Incorporation, rural Heene is brought under urban control, and effectual steps can now be taken to close, or demolish, certain insanitary dwellings in our midst. The roadside tree planting has been carried out where practicable, adding much to the beauty of our neighbourhood.

One other matter of great interest to our Ward is the acquisition, while opportunity presents, of a recreation ground. This would be a great boon to the many Schools in the Ward, and the teeming of juvenile population of Montague Street and Clifton Road.

Few of the many schemes now before the public, and which if, carried out, will involve a large expenditure of money – almost alarming to the ratepayers – have hitherto been of urgent importance to this district. The Central Road would be of some benefit to a small part of this Ward, but private enterprise has recently done much to neutralise the advantage of that scheme by the newly made roads running from Richmond Road to Heene Road. Still, I am of the opinion that any scheme of improvement likely to benefit the body corporate should receive the thoughtful attention and, if possible, the support of your representatives.

Researcher: Matt Bury

The Grave

Photograph of headstone for William Sams

Location in Cemetery

Area: EB Row: 4 Plot: 52

Exact Location (what3words): strong.palm.nights

Ashes or Urn: Unknown

Headstone

Description:

No description of the headstone has been added.

Inscription:

In ever loving remembrance of William Sams J.P. who passed to his rest on March 14th 1937 aged 89 years Also of his beloved elder daughter Daisy Dora Sams at rest Sept. 21st 1962 In loving memory of Betsy the beloved wife of William Sams J.P. Also of their beloved younger daughter Bessie Beeson Sams died Feb 24th 1944 Remembering also William John Sams their beloved eldest son who died June 26th 1944 "Sweet and happy memories encircle them"

Further Information

Birth

Name: William Sams

Gender: Male

Born: 00/00/1848

Town: Braintree

County: Essex

Country: England

Marriage

Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: 10/1/1874

Spouse First Name: Elizabeth

Spouse Last Name: Beeson

Town of Marriage: Kensington

County of Marriage: London

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 14/03/1937

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: The Elms

Address line 3: Boundary Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England

Obituary

No obituary has been entered.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £50847 12 s 7 d

Current value of effects: £4.200000

Census Information

1861

Living at Taylors Farm, Bishops Stortford – Edward 37yrs Agricultural Labourer, Sarah 37yrs, William 13yrs, Hanna 11yrs, John 8yrs, Walter C 11mths

1871

Living at Taylors Farm, Bishops Stortford – Edward 47yrs, Sarah 47yrs, William 23yrs Gardener, Charles 10yrs, Lydia 8yrs, Sarah 6yrs, Edward 3yrs

1881

Living at Manor Road – William 33yrs Nurseryman with 3 labourers, Betsy 31yrs, William J 4yrs, Verley 2yrs, Edward 1yr

1891

Living at Stortford House, Manor Road – William 43yrs Nurseryman and Fruit Grower, Betsy 41yrs, William J 14yrs, Veriley S 12yrs, Edward 10yrs, Dolly 9yrs

1901

Living at The Elms, Corner of Heene Road and Boundary Road – William 53yrs Nursery Man and Fruit Grower, Betsy 51yrs, William J 24yrs Fruit Grower, and daughters Dora 19yrs, Bessie 18yrs plus a Housemaid and a Cook

1911

Living at The Elms, Boundary Road – William 63yrs, Betsy 61yrs, Joseph Beeson 23yrs Bank Clerk, Daisy Dora 29yrs, Bessie Beeson 27yrs and Lilly Bishop 23yrs General Servant.

1921

Visitors at the Smedley’s Hydro Hotel, Matlock, Derbyshire.

William Sams, 73yrs, Betsy Sams, 70yrs.

Miscellaneous Information

Early Production at Worthing.
Favoured with a mild and equable climate, abundance of sunshine, and a soil admirably suited to the vine, the Worthing district seems to be an ideal one for the hot-house industry, and especially for the production of early grapes. The soil is a deep loam over a subsoil of chalk or chalky marl, mixed with flints. The land chiefly valued by nurserymen is a strip of splendid alluvial soil which runs through Worthing, 6 ft. in depth. Land suitable for nurseries sells at 300/-. to 500/. per acre, and lets at about 71. if arable, or at a higher rent if old turf.

Mr. William Sams, of West Worthing, who was the fourth man to engage in the hot-house industry in the district, was very obliging in affording me information. Forty years ago, he stated, there was hardly any glass in the neighbourhood, and it was not until 24 years ago that a substantial growth took place. At the latter period there was less than one acre covered with glass; whereas, last summer, the extent rated in Worthing and the parishes adjoining it, and using Worthing station, was 2,473,000 sq. ft. Allowing for the pitch of roofs, this expanse is equivalent to 45 acres of land actually covered with glass last summer, and by the present time, probably, at least 50 acres are covered. If all the nurseries on either side of Worthing from Southwick, near Shoreham, to Littlehampton, about 85 miles of coast-line, be included, it may be estimated,
according to one authority, that 70 acres are covered with glass.
Book on Agriculture produced in 1906

92 PRODUCTION UNDER GLASS

I see that Mr. W. Sams, a Worthing grower who gave evidence before the Departmental Committee on Fruit-Culture, said in his statement : 1 am a firm believer that a working man by himself and his son, perhaps, or one hand, will hold his own, when I and others, who have larger premises, are out of it.’ Asked if that applied to glass-houses, Mr. Sams replied: ‘ Yes. … A working man will be able to live and place himself in a better position than if he was a day-labourer or working for a master he will not mind what hours he puts in at the work; but I do not believe it will pay a man with capital, certainly at the present moment, to go into the business,’ especially, as
Mr. Sams had previously explained, in face of ‘ free imports.’ A more legitimate grievance is the burden of local rates, the average assessment for which on glass-houses in the borough of Worthing works out at 117 per acre. Mr. Sams was especially forcible on this point in the
evidence he gave before the Departmental Committee – ‘ Every pound of fruit,’ he said, * that I send into market is weighted with a certain amount of rates and taxes. Every pound I send to London bears a proportion of rates and taxes. Of course, it is infinitesimal on a pound, but there it is, and the foreigner sends his produce here without any of those burdens.’

Worthing Gazette – 29th October 1890

To the Burgesses of the Borough of Worthing (West Ward)

Ladies and Gentleman, I beg to offer myself as a Candidate to represent you on the Council of the newly formed Borough.

For some years past I have had the honour of being one of your Commissioners. If my service in that capacity has met with your approval i again solicit your interest and votes.

In me brief address to you in March, 1888, I urged the importance of the Water Supply for this district being in the hands of our local authority; that every means should be used to bring the rural portions of our Parish under Urban Sanitary control; and the extension of the roadside tree planting. Earnest efforts have been made to come to terms for the purchase of the Water Works and Baths – so far, I regret to say, without success. Negotiations are still pending with the Company, and will, I trust be continued by the Corporate Authority and brought to a successful issue. – This is, in my opinion, the most burning question affecting the Ward. By the Charter of Incorporation, rural Heene is brought under urban control, and effectual steps can now be taken to close, or demolish, certain insanitary dwellings in our midst. The roadside tree planting has been carried out where practicable, adding much to the beauty of our neighbourhood.

One other matter of great interest to our Ward is the acquisition, while opportunity presents, of a recreation ground. This would be a great boon to the many Schools in the Ward, and the teeming of juvenile population of Montague Street and Clifton Road.

Few of the many schemes now before the public, and which if, carried out, will involve a large expenditure of money – almost alarming to the ratepayers – have hitherto been of urgent importance to this district. The Central Road would be of some benefit to a small part of this Ward, but private enterprise has recently done much to neutralise the advantage of that scheme by the newly made roads running from Richmond Road to Heene Road. Still, I am of the opinion that any scheme of improvement likely to benefit the body corporate should receive the thoughtful attention and, if possible, the support of your representatives.

I do not intend to canvas for votes – the system is most objectionable – but should you do me the honour of electing me as one of your representatives, I shall endeavour, as in the past, to prove myself worthy of your confidence.

Your faithful servant, William Sams

Stortford House, Manor Road, Oct. 14th 1890