Male portrait placeholder image

Name: William Sams

Burial Number: 1656

Gender: Male

Occupation: Nurseryman: JP: Church Warden: Town Councillor.

Distinction: Horticultural Pioneer

Born: 00/00/1848

Died: 14/03/1937

Buried: 18/03/1937

Story

William was born 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.

In 1861 the 13-year-old William was a domestic servant and gardener and the family now resided at Taylors Farm, Hadham Lane, Takeley, Bishops Stortford. A decade later in 1871 William, now a 23-year-old gardener, was still at Taylors Farm.

 

On 10th October 1874 William married Betsy (or Betsey) Beeson at 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

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

 

 

After their marriage, the couple moved to Worthing where William met George Beer a nurseryman and together in partnership, they developed the largest glasshouses in the county and cultivated grapes and cucumbers. William established his own glasshouses in Manor Road, The Vineries on the east side and The Field Nurseries on the west side. Fruit was grown for the overseas market and also for the Royal Table. William threw himself into local life, serving at Heene Church as a warden, and working as a Town Councillor until 1920. He was also vice chairman of the East Preston Board of Guardians and became a JP and County Alderman. He later turned down the office of Worthing’s Mayor and Town Alderman.

The family first lived at Stortford House on the corner of Manor Road and St Michael’s Road before moving to a larger house in Boundary Road called The Elms. The house was just south of The Vineries. William’s neighbours were Sir Thomas Skinner, who lived next door at The Gables (he is also buried at Heene) and Mr Rodocanachi who lived at Chios just across the road.

William’s wife Betsy died in 1924 aged 74. William continued to live at The Elms but by this time most of the business was being run by his son William Jonathan. Trouble came in 1932 when The Gables was bought for use by the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home. Only two people objected, one being William. The Committee of the home were able to calm the fears of one objector but William threatened legal action. He issued a writ to stop the house being used for this purpose. According to Rev. David Farrant’s excellent book, the Town Clerk Mr Kennedy Allerton and the Vicar of Heene Rev. Haviland became involved in the affair and tried to persuade William to withdraw his complaints. Eventually, William agreed to sell The Elms to the hospital home for £4000 (approx. £235K today) as long as he could stay as a tenant for life. Final agreement was made in 1933 and William stayed in his home until his death in 1937. The Elms became staff quarters for Gifford House as it became known but it was demolished in 1974. Probate was granted on 4th August 1937 to Percy Edwin Lephard retired farmer, Frank Martin retired chief rating officer and Joseph Beeson Sams bank official. Effects £50847 12s 7d.

After William’s death, the greenhouses were demolished and the land was gradually sold off. William Jonathan moved to Findon where he died in 1944.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: £2903000.00

Census Information

1861

Taylors Farm, Bishops Stortford, Essex

Edward 37yrs Agricultural Labourer, Sarah 37yrs, William 13yrs, Hanna 11yrs, John 8yrs, Walter C 11mths

1871

Taylors Farm, Bishops Stortford Essex

Edward 47yrs, Sarah 47yrs, William 23yrs Gardener, Charles 10yrs, Lydia 8yrs, Sarah 6yrs, Edward 3yrs

1881

Stortford House,  Manor Road, Worthing, Sussex

William 33yrs Nurseryman with 3 labourers, Betsy 31yrs, William J 4yrs, Verley 2yrs, Edward 1yr

1891

Stortford House, Manor Road, Worthing, Sussex.

William 43yrs Nurseryman and Fruit Grower, Betsy 41yrs, William J 14yrs, Verney S 12yrs, Edward 10yrs, Dolly 9yrs

1901

The Elms, Corner of Heene Road and Boundary Road, Worthing, Sussex.

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

The Elms, Boundary Road, Worthing, Sussex.

William 63yrs, nurseryman and fruit grower., 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

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.’

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.

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.

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