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Helmdon Historical Articles

Why Hintons Close?

an article by Audrey Forgham

  It is always intriguing as to where the names of roads come from, especially if you live in or near to them, and so a search in the archives began.

The first indication of the Hinton family name comes in old records of Helmdon. In the Leicestershire Record Office archives there is a “grant and confirmation” of the late (13 with Henry de Hinton a witness, and a similar document, dated 28th November 1349, again with one of its witnesses a Hinton, this time John de Hynton.

All goes quiet until 1573, when we find a Thomas Hill and Elizabeth Hynton, both living in Helmdon.  If in the interim the  Hinton family had held land in the village this would have possibly been recorded by John Bridges* or George Baker*.

It is not until  the mid-1700s we have more mentions of the family. In 1741 an indenture found in Worcester College, Cambridge, archives, between the college and John Hinton, leased "the manor house", which was probably fortified, to John.   Later on it is recorded that John was living at "manor house farm".  Suffice to say that the old stone manor house, which was demolished in the early twentieth century,  was on a site some 76 yards north east of the present  manor house farm.

John’s son, George, was a yeoman farmer.  He was not the most moral of men since he had two affiliation orders against him, citing village girls.  His other son Matthew was also a farmer, and it is probably his grave which is in the churchyard.    It is under the old yew tree, and he is buried together with his wife Elizabeth.

Under Yew Tree (Headstone)

In memory of MATTHEW HINTON / and ELIZABETH his wife / who died 31st October 1792 /aged 77 / who died 24th December 179[1] aged 71 /

P.R. 1792 Matthew Hinton buried Nov 8th
P.R. 1795  Elizabeth widow of Matthew Hinton buried Jan 1st.

Matthew left £20 “to his son in his will” of 1793. This would probably have been Thomas Hinton, born in 1754. Although farming was almost certainly his main income he could have been the Thomas who was also alehouse keeper of The Cross from 1793-1818.

The doorway of the Old Cross in Cross Lane.  Its ornate nature means that it was probably originally the home of a stone mason.

In 1807 we have a record that Thomas Hinton stood surety for John Payne of The Chequers, so it seems there was camaraderie, not rivalry, between the two principal drinking houses.  Not that this was unusual. It was a general trend. Many publicans were supportive of each other, partly to vouch that each kept a house of good repute. Thomas Hinton’s wife was named Frances, and they had two sons, John and George. John was almost certainly a churchwarden since the undated sanctus bell, “a rather clumsy casting”, referred to in What’s up That Tower, is shown to have been provided in 1816 when John Hinton is a churchwarden together with Richard Fairbrother, with the inscription on his grave recording him as such:

Under Yew Tree (Broken Stone)

Sacred / to the memory of JOHN HINTON / 19 years churchwarden / of this parish / who died October -- 1853 / aged 74 years

John had a son, as shown in the militia returns of 28th November 1762, with John Hinton Junior  appearing in  “a list of all persons qualified to serve as militia men, to the best of the knowledge of John Parkins (Petty Constable)”.

The baker's house, pictured in 2004, with
outbuildings to the right.

The first reference to a member of the Hinton family having the occupation of baker is a victualler's licence of 1798, when Matthew Hinton, baker, and John Hinton, Yeoman, stood surely for Edward Jones of the Horseshoe, Wappenham.   One of the members of the family probably built the bakehouse, some 250 yards along from the long demolished manor house. The Manor House farm's grain could have been used for the baking of bread needed for their family and the surplus bread sold to those villagers who couldn't or wouldn't bake for themselves.  As farmers they could have provided the yeast, although after around the turn of the (19 yeast was less likely to be obtained from the brewer and had become a distinct branch of the baking trade.

Another record that definitely ties the Hintons to the Bakehouse building is the Helmdon Church rate book. In 1849,  Matthew Hinton’s nephew, Richard Hinton, aged 22, had to pay rates for "the bakehouse", and he is named as a baker in the 1851 census.  In 1852 a Joseph Hinton was also paying the church rates for the building, and he is named as the baker and grocer in an 1854 and 1864 Kelly’s Trade Directory.  At the time of the 1861 census, his wife Mary was a dressmaker and the household included a journeyman baker, Thomas Penn, and a housemaid, Charlotte King. Being a baker at that time was a hard, back-breaking job. Joseph may have spent up to sixteen hours a day, depending on his output, some of that time in great physical labour, and all of it in a hot, grimy, smoke-laden atmosphere.

A line drawing of the Old Bakehouse

by Will Watson

The census returns 1841, 51, 61 and 81 give positive evidence that Hintons lived in Helmdon during the (19. In the 1841 census we have a “Thomas Hinton Church End”,   in 1851  “Anthony Hinton, retired farmer” and in 1861 “William Hinton, farm bailiff”,  but there are no mentions of the Hinton family in the census from then on,  and it seems possible that the 1871 census marks the end of their sojourn in Helmdon.  However their memory lives on in the road named Hintons Close, off Station Road, and there are Hintons in the near neighbourhood even today.

Audrey Forgham

This article owes much to research done for The Pubs of Helmdon and The Old Bakehouse in the early 90s when visits to Worcester College and the Leicester and Northampton Record Offices were made.
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