The fields at Belfairs Farm in Leigh, Essex were created by clearing woodland owned by Lady Olivia Bernard SPARROW between 1804-1842 and there is evidence to suggest there had been a farm there to manage the woods since the 13th century. The land was originally part of the holdings of Leigh Manor, not changing until the death of Lady Sparrow in 1863 when her estates were sold and can be traced back through the family to Richard RICH, 1st Earl of Warwick, who acquired it from Henry CAREY, 1st Baron Hudson in the mid-16th century.
The origins of the row of cockle sheds situated along the creek in the old town of Leigh-On-Sea, Essex can be traced back to a time when they were little more than wooden shacks sitting in front of an ever-growing mountain of discarded shells. No. 1 Cockle Shed Row was run by Richard HARVEY from c.1892, who was from a local Leigh fishing family and was amongst the first to start selling directly from the sheds.
We walk past and sit on park benches everyday, many of which have plaques in remembrance to departed loved ones. It suddenly dawned one me not too long ago that I had never taken the time to read the inscriptions properly before, and being both artist and genealogist, thought it would make a really interesting project to photograph each bench and do a little research into each person named.