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A brief history of the Hall can be found in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10 (2001).


1463 - 1499 Records exist of “East Donyland Hall.”


1522 - A lease of the property refers only to a dairy and a barn.


1542 - Tenant Edmund Troman had erected buildings which in 1560 included a dovecot.

The surviving Hall abuts the western side of a large rectangular moat, but no part appears to be structurally earlier than the early 17th century, when it had a hall and cross-wing plan; it was probably built for William Gray, husband of Edward Jobson's widow Mary, who lived at East Donyland until his death in 1612.


1630 - 1634 The manor was sold by Mary and George Brooke to Sir John Tunstall of Addiscombe, Surrey, who was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1650).  Henry's son John sold the manor to Edmund Thurston of Colchester in 1668.

1634 - "William Bennett of High Roding, Gent., proprietor of East Dullyland Hall." From document at the ERO.


1662 - The house was assessed on 17 hearths.


1669 - Edmund Thurston died and was succeeded by his son (d. 1690) and grandson, both called Joseph. The second Joseph, who married Mary daughter of Sir Isaac Rebow of Colchester, died in 1714.


1718 - East Donyland was sold by Edmund Raynham to Daniel Bayley of Colchester, Mary Thurston's steward. Joseph's son, a third Joseph Thurston, challenged the sale, and by 1725 had recovered at least an interest in the manor which he agreed in 1730 to sell to David Gansel of Leyton. In 1733 the house stood near the north-east corner of a 50-a. park, but by 1839 the area west of the Fingringhoe road had been converted to arable. David Gansel created a short-lived landscape park to the north of the house, incorporating the gazebo and perhaps a mound east of the medieval church.

The sale to David Gansel was completed in 1735 by Joseph Thurston’s brother and heir Thomas Thurston and Daniel Bayley.


1730 - 1733 The timber-framed walls were encased in brick and the space between the wings on the west side was filled in to give a continuous elevation; the work was carried out for, and probably to the plans of, the new owner David Gansel, an amateur architect. During the 18th century the central room was converted into a stair hall and much of the house was refitted. Later in the century a ballroom or drawing room was added on the north.


East Donyland descended from David (d. 1753) to his son Col., later Lt.-Gen., William Gansel, who died insolvent in 1774. He had devised East Donyland to Elizabeth Bowman for life with remainder to his nephew David Jebb, who held the manor in 1781, but his will was successfully challenged and in 1783 his sister Anne and her husband John Jebb released East Donyland to Nicholas Caesar Corsellis, who had acquired the mortgage interest in the manor.

1783 - "Francis Abell of Broomfield, formerly of "East Donyland Hall, Gent." As described on a marriage settlement at the ERO.


1787 - Corsellis agreed to sell the manor to James Ashwell, but Ashwell had not completed the purchase when he died in 1794, and his trustees sold East Donyland that year to Philip Havens. In 1794 the house contained four parlours and a drawing room or ballroom 38 ft. by 21 ft. on the ground floor, nine bedrooms on the first floor, and servants' quarters in the attic. Havens held the manor until his death in 1856 when he was succeeded by his son, Philip (d. 1874). Philip was followed by his son W. R. Havens (d. 1887), and his grandson E. J. Havens, both known locally for their eccentricity. E. J. Havens or his trustees apparently sold the manor in 1924 to G. F. Beaumont whose trustees sold it in 1954 to W. A. Foyle.       


1792 - National Archives  PROB 11/1221/257. The will of James Ashwell of East Donyland Hall, Essex.                 


The ballroom was demolished c. 1900. The house and outbuildings were restored in the later 1940s; the work included removing a high parapet which hid the dormer windows, and extending the east elevation by building screen walls, that to the north concealing a kitchen.

c.1900 when the Hall was in the occupation of Abraham Robinson and his family.

Donyland Hall in the newspapers.... spellings as found.



THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 12 September 1767 - “A Copy of Major-General Gansel’s Letter to Mr. Thomas Daniel of Colchester.


As the Report of my having such extraordinary success in Setting this Season, is farther illustrated by the Circumstance of Cruelty you mention’d to have heard, viz. “that having taken the whole Covey, 17 Birds, at once, that I did not spare even the old ones,” I am therefore to desire to know who it was that you heard it from, both in Justice to yourself & me, for I do declare upon my Honor, I never in my Life was possessed of Setting Dog or Setting Net, or any Person for same; never was a Setting, or ever in my Life saw a Setting Net used... And I do further declare, that I have not seen a Partridge alive or dead this Season, or have I shot at, much less killed, Partridge or any other sort of Game for six or seven Years past; or do I keep Greyhound, or other Hound, or have I for several Years... tho’ I do and will endeavour to preserve the Game of all sorts in my Mannors. I am, &c. W. Gansel.

P.S. As I do not recollect an Instance of refusing a Hare to any one of my Neighbours who desired it, but immediately direct the Game Keeper to kill one for them; so I flatter myself every Neighbour wishes to oblige me in endeavouring to preserve the Game... And I am sure no Sportsman of a qualified Gentleman, who knows the Circumstances of extensive and strong Cover, together with large Quantity of Paling, which renders Donyland as the Asylum for Game, and thence to spread the surrounding Mannors, would wish (even if not desired to the contrary) to destroy the Nursery from which their Sport must have its Origin.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 15 February 1783 - “To be PEREMPTORILY SOLD, Pursuant to a Decree of the High Court of Chancery, before John Hett, Esq; one of the Masters of the said Court, at his Chambers in Symond’s Inn, Chancery-lane, London, on THURSDAY the 6th day of March next, between the hours of 11 and 12 o’clock in the forenoon, THE Freehold and Copyhold Estates of WILLIAM CANSELL (sic), late of DONYLAND HALL, in the county of Essex, Esq; in Five lots, viz,

LOT I. The Manor of East Donyland, in the said county, Essex, and the perpetual advowson and right of presentation to the rectory of East Donyland; also, the capital mansion-house, call’d Donyland-hall; the park and sundry closes and parcels of land, containing 350A. 2R. 26P. with the timber growing thereon; the whole being freehold, and supposed to be of the yearly value of 300£.

LOT II. Twenty-five acres of Customary Land in East Donyland, held of the said manor, subject to a small quit-rent, now let at the yearly rent of 11£.

LOT III. Twenty-two acres of Customary Land, held of the said manor, at a small quit-rent, now let at the yearly rent of 21£.

LOT IV. Two undivided Third Parts of the manor of Low Leyton in the said county of Essex.

Particulars whereof may be had at the said Master’s chambers.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 28 February 1789 - “To be SOLD by AUCTION By TIMOTHY WALFORD, On TUESDAY, March 3, At EAST DONYLAND PARK, SEVERAL Hundred TREES, viz. Cedar, Pine, Fir, Oak, Ash, Elm, Chestnut, Hornbeam, Cherry, Holly, Apple, Crab, Thorn, &c.; all the above were fell’d in their proper seasons last year; about 20 of the oaks are large and fit for ship building; a great number of small timbers and whips, suitable for small buildings, gates, hurdles, &c. with about 50 stacks of FIRE-WOOD. The whole divided into small lots.

At the SAME TIME will be SOLD, A large Wainscot LIBRARY CASE, 18½ feet long, 9½ feet high, with drawers and sliding shelves; may be easily removed, as it takes to pieces. Likewise, Three small LIBRARY CASES, 7 feet long, 9½ feet high. Sale to begin at Eleven o’clock. Catalogues to be had of the auctioneer, Four days previous to the sale. All the trees lay within half a mile of water-carriage.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 17 September 1791 - “COLCHESTER, Sept. 16. Sunday died at East Donyland-hall, Mr. Js. Ashwell.”


THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 6 October 1792 - “GROCER’S KEY, COLCHESTER, Sept. 28. ALL Persons who stand indebted to the late Partnership between ASHWELL and CARR, are requested immediately to pay their respective debts to Sam. Carr, of Boxford, Suffolk, (the present possessor); to S.P. Carr, of Colchester, or to Mr. Robt. Tabor, Mr. J.W. Ashwell, or Mr. J.C. Tabor, the executors of Mr. James Ashwell, late of Donyland-hall, deceased. And all parsons having any demand of the said partnership, are desired to apply for payment to the said Sam. Carr, to his son, or to either of the executors, who will immediately discharge the same.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 18 October 1794 - “SALE of a capital MANOR ESTATE. Called DONYLAND-HALL, Formerly the residence of Gen. GANSELL, and late of Mr. ASHWELL, deceased, situate at East Donyland, in the County of Essex, within 2 miles of Colchester and 54 of London; bounded on the North and East by a navigable river.

To be SOLD by AUCTION By TIMOTHY WALFORD, In Five separate Lots, at Twelve o’clock, on Thursday the 6th day of Nov. next, at the Three Cups Inn, in Colchester, (unless previously disposed of by Private Contract),

THE MANSION-HOUSE, MANOR, LANDS, and APPURTENANCES, with the Perpetual Presentation to the RECTORY of EAST DONYLAND, comprised in the Five following Lots:

Lot 1. A substantial well-built Brick Mansion-House, in excellent repair; containing on the attic story, a very large laundry, 4 servants rooms, and other conveniencies; first floor, 9 very good bed-chambers; principal story, a drawing room, 38 feet by 21 feet 6 inches; 18 feet high, with a bow window at the East-end; 4 excellent parlours, all neatly fitted up with marble hearths and chimney pieces; a spacious kitchen, scullery, pantry, &c. The basement consists of 4 dry cellars and a wine vault.

At a suitable distance, A handsome brick-built brewhouse and dairy, a store-house and granary, a three-stalled stables and coach-house; a double barn, with stables on each side, bricked and sashed, which makes one handsome front, on a rising ground, in full view of the house, and forms the North-end of a noble farm-yard, which is enclosed on the East and West sides with a lofty brick-wall; to which is attached elegant and convenient accomodations for sheltering cattle from the weather; with a cow-house, pig-sties, pens for calves and poultry, herdsman’s house, hay-barn, straw-house, cart-lodge, and chaise-house; a handsome dove-house, summer-house, a large gardens, walled in, and planted with choice fruit-trees; extensive plantations, and 6 fish-ponds; a lawn and park, with arable, pasture, meadow, and marsh land, containing about 195 acres, in a ring fence; all which are situate on the North East side of the road leading from Donyland heath to Fingringhoe; the said road to belong to this lot, subject to a right of passage to lot 3; together with the manor, quit-rents, rights, royalty, and privileges, which extends over 2000 acres.

The fixtures of the mansion to be taken at a fair appraisement; and all timbers and trees, above 6 inches girth, to be taken at a fair valuation.

Lot 2. The Perpetual Presentation to the Rectory of East Donyland, to which belongs 39 acres of glebe land. The present incumbent is about 60 years of age.

Lot 3. The Farm-house, Red Barn, and all the Land on the South West side of the road leading from Donyland heath to Fingringhoe, in a ring fence, containing about 160 acres of arable, pasture, meadow, and marsh land; all freehold except about 6 acres near Donyland Church, called Butlers, subject to a quit-rent of 2s. 2d. per ann. The timbers and trees in this lot, to be taken at a fair appraisement. The purchaser of this lot has a right of passage from any part thereof to the aforesaid road, paying one moiety of the expense of keeping in repair the said road.

Lot 4. About Twelve Acres of Arable Land - and a Cottage, freehold, at the North corner of Donyland heath, called Carters.

Lot 5. Pilgrims, or Bulls Farm, in Wire-Lane; containing about 26 acres of arable land, copyhold, holden of the Manor of East Donyland, and pays a quit-rent of 4s. 9d. per ann.; together with a piece of freehold land adjoining, containing one acre and a quarter.

N.B. These lots, containing near 400 acres, with Donyland wood of 85 acres, and Leaths land of 100 acres, still in hand, pay altogether only 27l. 16s. per ann. land-tax.

For further particulars apply to Messrs. R. Tabor and Son, Mr. J.W. Ashwell, Mr. S. Daniell, steward to the said manor, all of Colchester; or to Messrs. Forbes and Hurlock, solicitors, Southampton Buildings, London. The estates may be viewed by applying to Mr. Daniell, or the Auctioneer, where may be seen maps of the estates, and one of the manor.”

The estate had been on the market for two and a half years.

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 22 November 1794 - “To be SOLD by AUCTION By TIMOTHY WALFORD, At DONYLAND-HALL, near Colchester, On Tuesday, December 2, and following day. PART of the Household Furniture, with various other effects; comprising 4-post bedsteads, with cotton and other hangings; featherbeds, blankets, and quilts; window curtains in damask and cotton; mahogany card and dining tables, mahogany chairs covered with crimson damask, and others; a sofa covered with damask, chest of drawers, pier and dressing glasses, Wilton carpets, an India mat floor cloth, a capital fine toned hall organ, with 5 stops, in a neat mahogany case, in complete repair; a very stout iron-screw wine-press, with kitchen, brewing, and dairy utensils. Also, about 70 stacks of fire wood, a large quantity of slates and stones, several very large wainscot bookcases, and many other articles, which will be expressed in catalogues, to be had 7 days before the sale, at the Falcon, Wivenhoe; George, Witham; Chapel; Coggeshall; the Pacquet, Manningtree, and of the auctioneer, Colchester. The early attendance of the company is requested. Sale to begin at Ten o’clock each day.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 14 February 1795 - “To Be SOLD by AUCTION By TIMOTHY WALFORD, On Tuesday, the 24th inst. ALL the valuable Farming Stock at Donyland-hall. Particulars next week.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 21 February 1795 - “FARMING STOCK. To Be SOLD by AUCTION By TIMOTHY WALFORD, On Tuesday, the 24th inst. ALL the valuable Farming Stock at Donyland-hall, near Colchester, Essex; comprising 15 mares and geldings, a brood mare, 6 colts, 11 milch cows, 83 Norfolk sheep, 2 South Down rams, 38 lambs, 4 shoats, a boar; 3 stacks of hay, 3 road wagons, 2 harvest do. 5 tumbrels, 2 dung carts, 6 wheel ploughs, 5 gang of harrows, 3 large horse rolls, very large timber gim, with double harness for all the horses; skreens, threshing cloths, and every other farming implement. Also, 54 very long fir trees, and several other articles; to be expressed in catalogues, to be had at the Falcon, Wivenhoe; Bell, Thorpe; Pacquet, Manningtree; Swan, Sudbury; Chapel, Coggeshall, and of the auctioneer, Colchester. Sale to begin at Ten o’clock.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 30 September 1797 - “Came astray to Mr. Ashwell’s, East Donyland, near Colchester, in May, 1797, A Chestnut Cart MARE. The owner describing her marks, and paying all expences, may have her again by applying as above.”

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL - 9 February 1799 - “EAST DONYLAND, near COLCHESTER, Essex, 18th January, 1799. To be SOLD by AUCTION By Mr. WALFORD, At the White Hart Inn, Colchester, on Thursday the 14th day of Feb. next, at Eleven o’clock in the forenoon.

SEVERAL Freehold and Copyhold ESTATES, and other property, in the following Lots:

Lot I. Consists of Three Fields of Freehold Arable Land, situate in the parish of East Donyland; containing together, by the late admeasurement, 7A. 3R. 39P.; now in the occupation of Mr. Joseph Ashwell.

Lot II. Comprises Nine Fields of Copyhold Arable and Pasture Land; containing together, by a late admeasurement, 38A. 3R. 15P. in the aforesaid parish of East Donyland (adjoining to Lot I.), and holden of the manor of East Donyland, by a copy of court roll; now in the occupation of the said Mr. Ashwell.

This lot is subject to an annual quit-rent of 16s. to the manor of East Donyland and to the payment of a fine upon death or alienation.

Lot III. Consists of Six Fields of Freehold Arable and Pasture Land, with a farm-yard, large barn, stable, granary, and cart-lodge, standing upon and belonging to the same, containing in the whole by a late admeasurement 46A. 3R. and 15P, lying in the aforesaid parish of East Donyland, and now also in the occupation of the said Mr. Ashwell, of whom possession of this, and the two preceding lots, may be had upon payment of the purchase money.

Lot IV. Comprises about Eighty-eight Acres of Freehold Woodland, called Donyland Wood, lying in the aforesaid parish of East Donyland.

Lot V. About Forty-five Acres of Underwood, growing in Donyland Wood.

Lot VI. Consists of all the Timbers and other Trees in the aforesaid Wood.

The above estates are conveniently situated within three miles of Colchester, and one mile of a navigable river; and are very moderately assessed to the land-tax....

N.B. The several lots may be viewed by applying to Mr. Serjeant, of Beerchurch, or to Mr. Joseph Ashwell, of Donyland; and for further information apply to Mr. Ashwell, Mr. John Collins Tabor, the Auctioneer, all of Colchester, or to Mr. Daniell, of the same place, attorney, at whose offices maps of the estates may be seen.”

THE SUFFOLK CHRONICLE - 19 March 1825 - “THE CHACE (sic) - The East Essex Fox Hounds will meet on Monday, the 21st, at Marks Hall; and on Thursday, the 24th, at Donyland Hall.”


THE SUFFOLK CHRONICLE - 25 February 1826 - “THE CHACE - The East Essex Fox Hounds will meet on Monday, at Donyland Hall.”

THE SUFFOLK CHRONICLE - 7 September 1833 - “MARRIED - On Thursday week, the Rev. Wm. Maynard, of Liverpool, second son of Capt. Maynard, of Donyland Hall, near Colchester, to Esther Cooper, fourth surviving daughter of the late Thomas Suffield Aldersey, Esq., of Lisson Grove.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 16 November 1833 - “ACCIDENT - On Monday last, as Captain Maynard, of Donyland Hall, was returning from Colchester about five o’clock in the afternoon, in a four-wheel chaise, the horse ran away, and threw him and his son out of the chaise. Captain Maynard pitched on his head, and received a severe contusion over the eye, accompanied by concussion of the brain. He was taken up, and conveyed to a cottage. The symptoms at first were those of extreme danger, and he remained fifteen hours in a state of insensibility; but we are happy to state that there is now every probability of his recovery. Mr. Maynard, jun. escaped unhurt.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 25 December 1835 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE. Saturday, Dec. 19 - James Wright, labourer, of East Donyland, was charged by William Payne, bailiff to Philip Havens, Esq., with ferreting upon the lands of that gentleman, on the 10th inst.; he stated that, on the day mentioned, he saw the defendant place several nets on the ground, whilst his ferret was in the bank, when he went up to him, and afterwards gave him into the custody of the constable. Defendant said that he put the ferret into the bank by the side of the road. He was also convicted and fined 10s., and the expenses 7s.; which not being able to pay, he was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 18 March 1836 - “MARRIAGES - 3rd inst., at East Donyland Church, by the Rev. Foster Maynard, John Grant Wilson, Esq., surgeon, of Bristol, to Elizabeth, third daughter of Captain Foster Maynard, of Donyland Hall, in this county.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 4 May 1838 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE. Saturday, April 28 - Mr. Barnabas Pettitt, a respectable farmer of East Donyland, was charged with trespassing upon the lands of P. Havens, Esq., of that parish, and taking a quantity of fish from a pond on Wednesday the 25th ult. Mr. Pettitt, in defence, stated that he had been in the habit of fishing upon complainant’s manor for years with consent, and had had no intimation that he was not to do so in the present instance. Mr. Havens stated to the Bench, that defendant was in error,  for his (Mr. Havens’s) son had sent him a note requesting him to keep off his lands; but he did not wish to press the charge, and would be satisfied by defendant paying the expenses. The Chairman told defendant, that he ought to feel obliged to Mr. Havens for his kindness, for if the case had been pressed to a conviction, the utmost penalty would have been inflicted. Defendant paid the expenses 12s., and was discharged.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD – Friday 18 January 1839. “Commutation of Tithes. I, the Undersigned, being the duly authorised Agent of the REVEREND VICESIMUS MC.GIE TORRIANO, Clerk, Titheowner within the parish of East Donyland, in the County of Essex, whose interest is not less than one-fourth part of the whole value of the Tithes of the said parish, Do by this Notice in writing, under my hand, call a PAROCHIAL MEETING of Landowners and Titheowners within the limits of the said parish, for the purpose of making an Agreement for the General Commutation of Tithes within the limits of the said parish, pursuant to the provisions of an Act passed in the Sixth and Seventh years of the Reign of his late Majesty King William the Fourth, intituled “An Act for the Commutation of Tithes in England and Wales.” And I do hereby also give Notice, that such Meeting will be held at the House called the Hall, in the said Parish, on MONDAY, February the Eleventh, at the hour of Eleven in the Forenoon.

Given under my hand this Twelfth day of January, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine.


THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 28 January 1842 - “TRESPASS - Mr. Thomas Mortimer, landlord of the Lion public-house, at East Donyland, was charged with trespassing, on the 14th inst., in a grove, in the occupation of Mr. James Purkiss, of the same parish, in pursuit of game. Mr. Purkiss stated that on the day in question he heard the report of a gun near his grove; he went to the spot, where he found the defendant, who told him he was shooting snipes.- Witness warned him not to shoot on his land, and the defendant then went away. A short time afterwards, however, he saw the defendant in another grove, where he shot a snipe.- In defence, Mortimer said that he had permission to shoot snipes on land adjoining Mr. Purkiss’s grove, and having wounded one he followed it into the grove where he shot it. He considered it a very trifling offence, and he hoped the bench would deal leniently with it.- The Chairman said he had been informed that he (defendant) had been a great annoyance to his neighbours by trespassing on their lands, and also that he had been before convicted at that court; and after having bid defiance to warnings and the law, he could hardly expect that much leniency would be shown him. Under these circumstances, the Bench considered they should not be doing justice if they did not convict him in the full penalty of £2, and the expenses 13s.- Defendant paid the money.”

[James Purkiss was convicted at Colchester Castle on January 29th of using a gun, without possessing a certificate, for the purpose of killing game]

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 1 April 1842 - “EXTENSIVE SALE OF  TIMBER, SECONDS, POLES, BAVINS, FAGGOTS, AND FIREWOOD, AT DONYLAND HALL, NEAR COLCHESTER. - Mr. J.G. Fenn Respectfully announces that he has received Instructions from the Proprietor to SELL the above by Auction, on Friday, April 15th, 1842. Further Particulars of the same in future papers.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 8 April 1842 - “AT DONYLAND HALL, NEAR COLCHESTER. TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, BY Mr. J.G. Fenn, On Friday, April 15th, 1842, by direction of the Proprietor, A Large quantity of Fir and other Timber, Seconds, Poles, Bavins, Faggots, and Firs Wood, as cut and put down on that Estate.

The above will be sold free of Auction Duty, and in convenient lots; they are well situated either for land or water carriage.

Sale to commence at Eleven o’clock in the Forenoon.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 26 May 1843 - “Mr. William Rawdon Havens, son of Philip Havens, Esq., of Donyland Hall, was yesterday admitted to the freedom of this borough by right of birth.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 24 November 1843 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE, Saturday, November 18. John Crooks, a labourer, living at Colchester, was convicted of stealing six score of withes from a wood at East Donyland, in the occupation of W.R. Havens, Esq. He was fined 5s. for damage and 5s. 6d. expenses, to be paid in a week, or to be imprisoned 14 days in the County House of Correction.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 26 April 1844 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE, Saturday, April 20.- CHARGE OF STEALING MONEY - A respectably-dressed girl, named Eliza Barnard, was placed at the bar on a charge of stealing money, the property of W.R. Havens, Esq., of Donyland Hall.- Ephriam Collinson, a gardener, deposed that on Tuesday afternoon, while at work in the garden, he heard the dairy door unlocked, and upon looking through the window he saw the prisoner take a bowl from the shelf and put something from it (which rattled like money) into her pocket. He afterwards told the steward of the circumstance. On being cross-examined by Mr. Goody, who appeared for the prisoner, the witness slightly varied from his original evidence.- Elizabeth Payne, wife of the bailiff, deposed that she had the care of the dairy, and was in the habit of putting the money she received for milk into a bowl on the shelf. On the morning of Tuesday she had put a shilling in halfpence into the bowl, besides a few halfpence which were there before; but on counting the money in the bowl, after she heard of this circumstance, she found but 3½d. She charged the prisoner with taking it, which she denied.- William Payne, the bailiff, stated that Collinson told him he had seen a girl take some money from the bowl, and pointed out the prisoner, who was coming towards the house, and whom he said he knew by her dress. He went to meet her, and charged her with the theft, but she denied having been in the dairy at all. She afterwards took 8d. from her pocket, and said that 6d. of it was for eggs, 1d. for milk, and the other penny, which was a new one, was given her by her uncle.- Mr. W.R. Havens, who was present when the prisoner was charged with the robbery, corroborated the evidence of the last witness.- Mr. Goody addressed the court for the prisoner, and commented upon the improbability of the first witness’s evidence being true. He then called another girl, named Mary Ann Brown, who stated that on the day in question she called for Eliza Barnard to go with her to Donyland Hall for some milk; the prisoner also told her she was to get some eggs, and witness saw her take 6d. in halfpence from the shelf. A young man walked with them to the Hall, and waited for them in the road, when finding that the milk was not ready, they, as was the usual custom, left their cans in the brew-house, and went back to him directly, and all three went for a walk; they were gone about twenty minutes, and upon their going back the prisoner was charged with this robbery.- Mrs. Barnard, mother of the prisoner, deposed to giving her daughter 6d. in halfpence to buy eggs with.- After some consultation the Bench decided that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain the charge, and the prisoner was accordingly discharged.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 30 October 1846 - “COLCHESTER MUSEUM AND LIBRARY - By a resolution of the Mayor and council of this Borough it was referred to the Estate and Finance Committee to consider whether any accommodation could be afforded in the Town Hall, or any other place, for the deposit of any articles of antiquity or curiosity, intended for a Museum to be erected in the town,”...  A vast array of coins, fossils, works of art, weaponry etc was donated by the great and the good of the borough, including-

From F.G. Abell - [among other treasures] “Painting by Sir Peter Lely of General Gansell, a former proprietor of, and resident at, Donyland Hall, near Colchester.”

THE SUFFOLK CHRONICLE - 16 October 1847 - “AT DONYLAND HALL FARM, NEAR COLCHESTER. TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By Mr. J.G. Fenn, On Tuesday, October 26th, 1847, by direction of W.R. HAVENS, Esq., having let the farm, ALL the capital Live and Dead AGRICULTURAL STOCK and Effects thereon.

THE LIVE STOCK; 6 Very clever and useful CART GELDINGS and MARES (two of the Mares in Foal by Mr. Ward’s noted Horse.)

A very clever two-year-old Chestnut CART COLT (by Mr. Ward’s Horse.)

A clever suckerel CART COLT (by Mr. Ketley’s Horse.)

A two-year old Bull,

A young MILCH COW (in calf),


41 HEAD of SWINE, and about


THE DEAD STOCK; A very substantial and well-built double-breasted road-waggon with iron arms, a single-breasted ditto, harvest ditto, two full-sized tumbrels, three three-quarter-load ditto, market cart, eight furrow corn and seed drill, iron scarifier by Mason, four-wheel carriage with water-butt, two cast-iron wheel-ploughs, two nearly new iron foot-ploughs (Bentall’s patent), six gangs of heavy and light iron and wood frame harrows, two-horse, one-horse, and bellied rolls, twenty bullock and sheep troughs, 150 hurdles, farming tools, barn implements, good cart and plough harness, brewing utensils; Building Materials, including bricks, pan and plain tiles, and various timber scantling; also several Lots of new Wheelwright’s stuff.

Catalogues of which will be in due circulation, and may be had at the Place of Sale; at Mr. Fenton’s Printing Office, Colchester; of the Auctioneer, Rookery, Ardleigh, and at his Stand in the New Corn Market, Colchester. Sale to begin at Eleven o’clock in the Forenoon.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 9 June 1848 - “MARRIAGES. June 7th, at Donyland Church, by the Rev. V.M. Torriano, the Rector, W.R. Havens, Esq., to Julia Lingwood Baker, relict of the late Mr. J.B. Baker, of Kelvedon, and daughter of Mr. S. Seaman, of Donyland.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 15 December 1848 - “POACHING AND “THE KNIFE.” - The connexion of poaching with the most serious crimes, and its tendency to lead those who practice it to the greatest extremes to avoid capture or detection, were illustrated on Monday last, in a savage attack upon Mr. James Purkiss, farmer, of East Donyland, near this town. Having, while walking in one of his fields, observed two men at the bottom of another, adjoining the road through Donyland Heath, he approached them without being noticed, by keeping under the fence, and finding they were ferreting for rabbits he jumped over close by one of them, caught him by the collar, and demanded his name; the fellow refused to give it, and began to bluster; but Mr. Purkiss said he was not to be frightened, and would not part with him till he had learnt who he was. In rejoinder swore he would not be taken by any man, and immediately tripped Mr. Purkiss up; the latter, however, retained his hold and was soon upon his feet again. Another struggle ensued, in which both fell, but Mr. Purkiss had the advantage of position and soon got above his antagonist, whom he succeeded in keeping on the ground. In the mean time the other poacher had fetched a number of stones from a neighbouring heap, with which he commenced a second attack upon Mr. Purkiss, who endeavoured to ward off the missiles with his right hand, while holding his captive down with the left. While his attention was thus diverted the latter managed to get his knife from his pocket, and inflicted a frightful gash at the back, and just above the joint, of Mr. Purkiss’s wrist, severing the sinews and veins down to the bone. The hand was of course rendered powerless, and the flow of blood was profuse. Being thus released from the grasp of his captor the fellow rushed over the fence into the road, whither he was followed by Mr. Purkiss, when he again drew his knife and swore he would “Do for the ----,” his companion incited him on, and making use of similar threats. In his disabled state, as well as faint with the loss of blood, Mr. Purkiss himself, unable to cope with a couple of such desperate assailants, and to escape the threatened violence which he fully believed they would otherwise inflict upon him, was compelled to resort to flight. The fellows, after a short pursuit, made off in the opposite direction; and Mr. Purkiss, though in a dreadfully exhausted state, managed to reach the beer-shop at the corner of the Donyland Road, where he remained till the aid of a surgeon could be obtained. Both the men were strangers to Mr. Purkiss, but from the description which he gave of them to Supt. Brown, of the county constabulary, suspicion attached to two brothers named Prestney, shoe-makers, living in this town, and both notorious poachers. Accordingly, on Wednesday one of them, George Prestney, was apprehended by Policeman Sparrow, and positively identified by Mr. Purkiss as the man by whom he had been wounded. The prisoner was taken the same day before J.W.E. Green, Esq., and remanded for further examination, the charge against him being that of cutting and maiming. The other party has not at present been apprehended. With respect to the injury sustained by Mr. Purkiss, we are happy to state that the wound presents a very favourable appearance; and that although cure must necessarily be slow, there is every hope of the limb being restored to its full use.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 22 December 1848 - “CHARGE OF CUTTING AND MAIMING AT EAST DONYLAND - On Wednesday last the prisoner George Prestney, journeyman shoemaker, was brought before Sir G.H. Smyth, Bart., M.P., and J. Bawtree, Esq., at the magistrates’ office, Colchester, charged with wilfully cutting and wounding Mr. James Purkiss, of Donyland Hall.

The prosecution was conducted by Mr. F.B. Philbrick; and Mr. J.H. Church attended to watch the proceedings on behalf of the prisoner. Several of the prisoner’s friends and relatives were present during the investigation.

Mr. Philbrick requested that the examination might be conducted privately; but the Bench decided otherwise.

Mr. Purkiss, the prosecutor, deposed - About 12 o’clock on Monday, the 11th inst, I observed the prisoner, with another man, coming from East Donyland Heath across a field in my occupation, called the “Five Acres,” and walking towards the fence; in about half an hour I saw the prisoner at the bottom of another called “Pound Field,” where they were ferreting for rabbits; I immediately jumped over a gap into the road, when I discovered another man standing on the opposite side of the fence; seeing me coming he walked away as fast as he could; I jumped over the fence and alighted within less than a yard of where the prisoner Prestney was standing in the ditch; I there saw a net, a ferret, and a dog; the prisoner jumped out of the ditch, but I caught hold of him and said - “I don’t know who you are, but you shall go with me till I find you out;” upon which he raised his fist, and, with an oath, threatened to knock my ---- head off; I told him he had got the wrong customer, as I was not the man to be frightened; he immediately tripped me up, and we both fell to the ground; I, however, did not let go my hold, but shortly after recovered my footing, and we wrestled for some time, when both fell again; I had the advantage of him and held him firmly, upon seeing which prisoner’s companion jumped over the hedge with a number of stones in his hand and began to throw them at me; in attempting to ward off the stones, my attention was taken from the prisoner, who in the meantime took a knife from his pocket and cut a deep wound at the back of my wrist.- [Witness here described the nature of the wound, by which two muscles of the fingers and one of the thumb were completely severed, leaving the hand quite powerless.] - I was so disabled that I was compelled immediately to let go my hold of him; the prisoner then got into the ditch, and having taken his ferret up, both he and his companion stepped over into the road; I followed them with my wrist bleeding profusely all the time; at length my hand suddenly dropped as it were asunder, so that I had to hold it up with the other hand; after getting into the road I told the men I should not leave them yet, and followed them for a few paces down the road, when Prestney again raised his knife in a very determined manner, and swore he would do for the ----; feeling very weak from the loss of blood and the agony I was in, and believing they would murder me or do me some serious injury; I ran away, and upon my turning my head shortly after, I perceived that the men were following me, but I cannot say how far they pursued me, being almost unable to see in consequence of great weakness in my eyes produced by faintness; the other man used very threatening language as well as the prisoner; I ran to Parker’s beer-shop, which was the nearest house, where I fainted from loss of blood, and having recovered myself I came over to Colchester in company with my wife for medical assistance; my hand is still disabled from the wound, and it is doubtful whether I shall not for life be deprived of the use of it; upon looking at the prisoner, I have no doubt whatsoever that he is the man that used the knife; on the same day I gave a description of the prisoner to Policeman Sparrow, who at once recognized him to be Prestney.

By Mr. Philbrick. I hire the Hall Farm of Mr. Havens under a lease; I have the right of shooting, and I believe the landlord has also.

Mr. Church said before he proceeded to examine the prosecutor he should like to know the specific charge against his client - whether merely for a common assault or for cutting and wounding, in order that he might know what course to take for the defence.

Mr. Howard replied that in all probability both charges would be preferred.

Prosecutor cross-examined by Mr. Church. When I first approached the prisoner I did not request him to leave the field before I took hold of him, nor did I directly ask his name and residence; while I held the prisoner down my knuckles might probably have hurt his neck; at the time he was on the ground he said he would go with me if I would release him; at the time the prisoner held up the knife in a threatening manner I was about ten yards from him; although I was very weak at the time I ran away the prisoner did not overtake me.

Re-examined by Mr. Philbrick. Every step the prisoner followed me along the road rendered the probability greater that they would be met by some one, and perhaps taken. When the prisoner said he would go with me the other man was near by, and I did not consider it safe to release him.

By Mr. Church. I did not know either the prisoner or his companion, having never seen them before. I did not pay much attention to the knife with which I was cut.

Supt. Brown deposed that on Wednesday he went to the prisoner’s lodging in Wyre Street, and before taking him into custody asked him if he had not been at Donyland on the Monday; he replied “No, I was at Nayland Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday;” upon a remark as to the latter from a young woman, who was with him, he added, “I said Friday.” Saw the prisoner in Colchester on the Tuesday evening, but was not then in a position to apprehend him.

Policeman Sparrow spoke to taking the prisoner into custody by direction of Supt. Brown; upon searching him he found a knife which had lost the spring, so that it was possible for a person to open it with one hand.

Mr. Philbrick applied to have the prisoner remanded for the prosecution of additional testimony, and the Bench adjourned the case till Tuesday next.

Mr. Church asked the magistrates to admit the prisoner to bail; but the application was  refused.

We understand the second party was not the prisoner’s brother, as stated in our paper last week. His name, we believe, is known, and the police are in search of him.”

The Chelmsford Chronicle of the same date gives Prestney’s lodgings as being Albion-court, Long Wyre Street.

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 26 January 1849 - “THE EAST DONYLAND CUTTING AND WOUNDING CASE -  On Friday last, in accordance with the summons previously served upon J. Bawtree, Esq., the committing Magistrate, and Mr. Purkiss, the prosecutor, the application for the admission of the prisoner George Prestney to bail, was heard in chambers, before Mr. Justice Erle.- Mr. W.R. Havens appeared in support of the application; and Mr. Ryland in opposition to it.- After considerable discussion, the learned Judge ordered his admission to bail, upon giving surety, himself in £250, and two sureties in £125 each; but the amount required seems to be as great an obstacle as the previous refusal, no steps having since been taken to give the prisoner the benefit of the decision; and we understand the idea of doing so is pretty well abandoned.”

ESSEX HERALD – 6 February 1849  -  “BIRTH. 25th ult. Mrs. W.R. Havens, of Donyland, of a daughter.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 9 March 1849 - “CROWN COURT - The business in this Court was fixed to commence at one o’clock on Monday, a few minutes after which hour the Right Hon. Baron Parke took his seat on the Bench.... Cutting and Wounding at East Donyland. George Prestney, 24, shoemaker, was charged with cutting and wounding James Purkiss, at East Donyland.- Mr. T. Chambers for the prosecution; Mr. Rodwell for the prisoner. The facts having been stated; The prosecutor said - I live at East Donyland Hall, and on the 11th December I was walking over my fields when I saw two men as I thought ferreting; one of them made off, and I jumped over the hedge to the spot where the prisoner was standing; I took hold of his coat and said he should not go till I found out who he was; he had a dog, ferret, and nets, and said he would knock my head off if I detained him; I told him I was not the man to be frightened, and he tripped me up, and when I got up we had a scuffle and both fell, and on the fall I held him by the collar, when the other party, who had supplied himself with stones, commenced pelting me; my attention being directed from the prisoner he drew his knife and cut my wrist to the bone, separating the tendons of the finger and thumb; they both ran away and I after them, and Prestney took out the knife and swore he would do for me; seeing that I was powerless, and feeling faint from loss of blood (the wound being large enough to lay a man’s finger in it), I went away; I have been shown a knife since which corresponds exactly with what he used on the occasion; I then sent for a surgeon and fell down from loss of blood; I gave Sparrow a description of the man, whom I recognised the moment I saw him; I had not known him before, but I had such opportunities of seeing him that I have no doubt of his identity.

Cross-examined. Prisoner was getting away when I caught hold of him; but I did not call to him.

The learned Judge thought the charge, which laid that he committed the crime to prevent his apprehension, could not be sustained.

Cross-examination continued. This scuffle took about ten minutes, but I was not forcing my knuckles into his throat; I did not want to detain the man if he would have told me where I could have found him; the prisoner was quite furious in his conduct, and I was a little excited - (laughter - he only asked me once to let him go, for I had no opportunity of doing so, as I expected a lump on the head from the stones which were thrown at me by the other man. (Laughter.)

Re-examined. He did mischief by ferreting, and the destruction of the rabbits was not a compensation for the injury.

John Brown, superintendent of police at Colchester, said- In consequence of a description received from prosecutor, I went to prisoner’s lodgings, and found him sitting by the fire; I asked him where he was on the day in question; he replied at Nayland on that and the two following days; the young woman then said “this is only Wednesday.” Mr. Purkiss then entered the room and immediately identified prisoner as the man who had cut him; in his pocket was found a clasp knife.

Cross-examined. Prisoner has got two brothers, but they are not like him.

Josiah Sparrow, a police-constable 48, gave corroborative evidence.

William Game, a labourer, said - On the day in question I met the prisoner on Old Heath going in a direction towards Donyland in company with a stranger; and as I thought they were going ferreting I took particular notice of them.

James Ives said - I live on the road from Colchester to Donyland, and on the 11th December met the prisoner going towards Donyland Hall.

Mr. Joseph Partridge, surgeon, of Colchester, said - I saw the prosecutor on the Wednesday after the wound had been inflicted. I saw a wound upon the back of the hand two and a half inches long; it had been previously dressed, but I am able to say that four tendons were divided, and the probability is that he will never perfectly recover the use of his fingers. Nayland and Donyland are on different sides of Colchester. The wound was of such a nature that it might have been committed by the knife found upon the prisoner.

Mr. Rodwell addressed the Jury for the prisoner, submitting that the prosecutor did not fulfil the requirements of the law by first demanding the name of the prisoner before he sought his apprehension.- After a long address Mr. Rodwell called Mr. Dennis, shoemaker, of Colchester, who gave the prisoner a good character for humanity.

The learned Judge then summed up the evidence, and the Jury found the prisoner Guilty of the act with the intent of doing grievous bodily harm.

The superintendent of police said he was guilty of a similar offence at Stanway last year, when he escaped.- Sentence deferred.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 16 March 1849 - “ESSEX LENT ASSIZE. NISI PRIUS COURT. ... George Prestney, for cutting and wounding at East Donyland, whose sentence had been deferred, was transported for seven years, his Lordship remarking that it was a most savage and brutal attack.”

ESSEX HERALD – 24 April 1849 – “GAME LISTS – COUNTY OF ESSEX. List of the Names and Residences of Persons on whom Charges have been confirmed in the double duty of £8. 1s. 8d. [list includes] Purkis (sic), James. East Donyland.”

ESSEX HERALD – 29 May 1849 – “COLCHESTER AND EAST ESSEX HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. This flourishing society held the first of its exhibitions for the present season, on Wednesday last, in the Corn Exchange, a building admirably adapted for such a purpose; and taking all circumstances into account, the display may not only be considered to have been highly successful, but must be viewed as filling a superior rank in the scale of excellence, and as being in every way more satisfactory and encouraging, than the corresponding exhibition of last season…. VEGETABLES – French Beans… 2nd prize Mr. J. Purkiss, of East Donyland.”



THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 5 October 1849 - “COLCHESTER SMALL DEBTS’ COURT. Monday, October 1,- James Purkiss, farmer v. William Watson, labourer, Donyland.- This was an action for a sovereign, rent of a cottage let to the defendant, at £1 a-year, whilst in plaintiff’s service.- The defence set up by Mr. Goody was that Watson had been excluded four days only before the quarter-day; but this the plaintiff denied.- Judgment for the amount claimed, at 5s. a month.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 3 May 1850 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE. Saturday, April 27.- Thomas Wayard, who had been committed for trial at the Magistrates’ Clerk’s office on Wednesday, on a charge of stealing five hens’ eggs from Mr. James Purkiss, of East Donyland, was again brought up on a further charge of stealing potatoes from the same prosecutor.- Mr. F.B. Philbrick, for the prosecution, stated that the evidence he should adduce was that of another of Mr. Purkiss’s men, who about six weeks since saw the prisoner take a quantity of potatoes from a clamp and carry them away, but did not inform the prosecutor of the circumstances till after the prisoner had been committed on the former charge.- The Chairman thought that would not be sufficient to substantiate the charge; and consequently the case was not proceeded with.- Mr. Goody, on behalf of the prisoner, then applied for his admission to bail in the first case.- Mr. Philbrick said where a person came before a Bench for the first time, and satisfactory sureties could be obtained, by all means set him at liberty; but where, as in this instance, the party had been before convicted, he submitted that the Bench should not suffer him to be at large.- Mr. Goody was proceeding with his address, when the Chairman said the Bench had determined to accept bail.- Upon reference being made to the register it was found that it was the prisoner’s brother who had been previously convicted.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 24 May 1850 - “ESSEX ADJOURNED SESSION. The business of this session commenced on Tuesday last... Thomas Wyard (sic) was charged with stealing a quantity of wood and three hen’s eggs, from James Purkiss, at East Donyland,- Mr. Chambers prosecuted; Mr. Hawkins defended.- The prisoner, who was in the employ of the prosecutor, was suspected of stealing eggs, and some marked ones which were placed in a nest upon the premises were subsequently found in his basket.- It was endeavoured to be proved that prisoner had the eggs in his possession on the evening previous to the robbery, but the Jury found him Guilty, and, a previous conviction being proved, he was sentenced to six months’ hard labour.”

The ESSEX HERALD states:- “… indicted for stealing five eggs and two pieces of wood from Jas. Purkis (sic), his master, at East Donyland.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - 29 October 1852 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE - Oct. 23. Before T.L. Ewen, Esq. (Chairman); J. Bawtree and C.H. Hawkins, Esqrs. - STEALING TURNIPS - A little urchin, named James Symonds, was brought up for stealing turnips, the property of Mr. Wm. Bruce, farmer, of East Donyland.- James Quickmore (sic), a little boy, proved seeing Symonds pulling up the turnips, and upon telling him he had better let them alone, for he would get into a muddle, he replied that he did not care.- Mr. Bruce said he had before forgiven him for a similar offence.- The prisoner’s father was in Court, and the Bench told him they did not wish to bring upon him the expense of a conviction if he paid the expenses, which amounted to 5s., and advised him to give his boy a severe whipping.- The father thanked the Bench for their consideration, and paid the money.”

SUFFOLK AND ESSEX FREE PRESS – 29 October 1857 – “CROWN COURT – Thursday.- Charles Bacon was charged with stealing five tame fowls, the property of William Bruce, at East Donyland on the 18th of April. Mr. Cuffe prosecuted. Three months’ imprisonment.”

SUFFOLK AND ESSEX FREE PRESS – 14 October 1858 – “COLCHESTER DIVISION, October 9. ROBBING AN ORCHARD.- Charles Wright, John May, and James Cook (lads), appeared to informations charging them with stealing apples from the orchard of Mr. William Bruce, farmer, East Donyland.- It was stated by complainant, who had suffered from repeated similar depredations, that, whilst watching his premises at half-past nine o’clock on the morning of the 1st inst., he saw defendants, with baskets, get over into his orchard and commence picking up the apples; he pursued and captured them, and took away their baskets, when Wright, the biggest lad, swore he would break his (Mr. B.’s) --- skull if he did not give up his basket, and persuaded his companions to resist him.- Defendants pleaded guilty to stealing the apples, but Wright denied making use of the threatening language towards Mr. Bruce.- The Chairman said this was one of the boldest robberies they had heard of for some time; and Wright had made his case all the worse by attributing falsehoods to Mr. Bruce. They should fine Wright 20s. and 8s. expenses, or, in default, one month’s hard labour; and the younger boys, who were led away by Wright, in the mitigated penalty of 2s. 6d. and 8s. expenses each; in default 14 days’ imprisonment.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 11 March 1859 - “COUNTY MAGISTRATES’ SITTING.- March 5.- Thomas Walford, John Garland, and Augustus Wade, labourers, of East Donyland, were charged with having damaged a wooden fence, the property of Mr. Bruce, on the 27th Feb.- The only evidence against the defendants was that of a little boy named Crickmore, in the employ of complainant, who, on the information being taken out, swore that he saw one of the defendants kick the pales; but who now said he only saw one of them throw a pale over the hedge.- Under these circumstances the Bench dismissed the case.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - 19 August 1859 - “DEPREDATION BY BOYS - Seth Cook, Wm. Taylor, Thos. Ennew, Wm. Allen, and Jas. Harris, boys from East Donyland, were charged with stealing carrots from a field on the farm of Mr. William Bruce, Donyland Hall - Mr. Philbrick appeared for the prosecution - The offence was proved by police-constable Buck, stationed at Rowhedge, who, whilst on duty on Sunday evening, at 8 o’clock, saw the defendants get over a hedge into prosecutor’s field, and pull the carrots, about thirty of which he found in their possession.- Defendants denied taking the carrots, and said they were only looking at them.- Mr. Bruce spoke to the numerous depredations committed upon his property by boys on Sundays, and said he could only hope to put a stop to the practice by making an example of the offenders.- The Chairman regretted to see such children before them; and commented on the duty of the parents in preventing their children from going about committing depredations on Sundays. They were each fined 6d., 9s. expenses, and 1s value of the carrots or 7 days’ imprisonment.”

SUFFOLK AND ESSEX FREE PRESS adds that John Barnard, “who was at sea, being represented by his mother,” was also charged…. When witness [P.c. Buck] showed himself they ran away, leaving the carrots behind; witness brought Taylor back, whilst he picked up thirty carrots; witness then took Taylor to prosecutor.- Harris denied being present in the field; the others acknowledged being in the field,  but said they did not pull the carrots.- The Bench thought the case fully proved, but considered that the mothers were the persons to blame, it being evident that they had been tutoring their children to say they were not present….”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - 11 November 1859 - “COUNTY MAGISTRATES’ SITTING - Nov.5. BASE INGRATITUDE - Robert Tuff, an aged man, living at Donyland, was charged with stealing several mangel wurzel roots, the property of Mr. Wm. Bruce, of Donyland Hall.- Mr. Philbrick appeared for the prosecutor.- It appeared that the prosecutor has for some time allowed the prisoner the grass growing on his headlands, and has every week given him besides some chaff for his donkey; and notwithstanding this the prisoner was seen by a woman, on Friday evening, to go towards a field of the prosecutor’s, and return with some mangel under his arm. Only one mangel was found at the prisoner’s house, which the prosecutor identified.- The prisoner said he picked up the mangel from the footpath leading through the field; and elected to be tried by the Magistrates.- The Bench sentenced the prisoner to 14 days’ hard labour.” SUFFOLK AND ESSEX FREE PRESS adds; “Mrs. Thirza Crickmore, whom prosecutor had commissioned to keep a “look out” at that part, deposed that she lived close by one of Mr. Bruce’s fields planted with mangles….”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - Wednesday 25 April 1860 - “£2 REWARD. LOST, on MONDAY LAST, from a 3-year-old Pony, belonging to Mr. BRUCE, of Donyland Hall, its TONGUE - torn out by the roots. It is supposed that the loss occurred at the Stables of the Castle Inn, All Saints, Colchester.

Whoever will produce the said Tongue shall receive the above reward from Mr. Bruce.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - 14 December 1860 - “COUNTY MAGISTRATES’ SITTING.- Dec.8. - ROBBERY OF A MASTER - Jeffrey Theobald, a labourer, in the employ of Mr. William Bruce, of East Donyland, was placed in the dock charged with stealing a quarter-of-a-peck of potatoes, the property of his master.- Mr. Philbrick appeared for the prosecution.- Prosecutor said about four o’clock on the previous Tuesday he went out into his hot-house and there saw the prisoner’s coat, and, judging from its appearance that there was something in it, he went to the prisoner, who was at work planting turnips with another man named Dyer. The ground on which they were employed had grown potatoes, some of which still remained, and he told them to take care of the potatoes they might find and carry them to the hot-house, adding that he suspected that they had taken some away on the previous night, and that if he found they did so again he would give them what the law allowed. He (prosecutor) then went away, and shortly after saw them leave to go home; he called the prisoner to him and asked what he had in his pocket; and he replied, “Nothing,” but afterwards, on prosecutor insisting that he had, and took about ¼ peck of potatoes from his coat and laid them down and asked to be forgiven, but prosecutor told him he would not, as he ought to have taken the caution he had previously given him. Prosecutor added that the prisoner was very deaf, and he was not certain that he had heard the caution.- The prisoner pleaded Guilty, and elected to be tried by the Bench.- John Dyer, the man mentioned in the last case, was then charged with stealing some potatoes and parsnips, the property of the same prosecutor.- The evidence given in the last case was repeated, and the property was found in the prisoner’s flail-basket.- The prisoner pleaded Guilty, and Mr. Philbrick informed the Bench that the prosecutor was actuated by no vindictive feelings in the case, but had brought it forward as a caution to the prisoners and others. Mr. Bruce was desirous that the leniency of the Court should be shown to them, more especially to the prisoner Theobald, who, being deaf, might not have heard his caution.-  The Bench, in consideration of the recommendation, sentenced Dyer to one month’s, and Theobald to a fortnight’s, hard labour.”

THE ESSEX STANDARD - 14 December 1860 - “COUNTY MAGISTRATES’ SITTING.- Dec.8. - ROBBERY OF A MASTER - Jeffrey Theobald, a labourer, in the employ of Mr. William Bruce, of East Donyland, was placed in the dock charged with stealing a quarter-of-a-peck of potatoes, the property of his master.- Mr. Philbrick appeared for the prosecution.- Prosecutor said about four o’clock on the previous Tuesday he went out into his hot-house and there saw the prisoner’s coat, and, judging from its appearance that there was something in it, he went to the prisoner, who was at work planting turnips with another man named Dyer. The ground on which they were employed had grown potatoes, some of which still remained, and he told them to take care of the potatoes they might find and carry them to the hot-house, adding that he suspected that they had taken some away on the previous night, and that if he found they did so again he would give them what the law allowed. He (prosecutor) then went away, and shortly after saw them leave to go home; he called the prisoner to him and asked what he had in his pocket; and he replied, “Nothing,” but afterwards, on prosecutor insisting that he had, and took about ¼ peck of potatoes from his coat and laid them down and asked to be forgiven, but prosecutor told him he would not, as he ought to have taken the caution he had previously given him. Prosecutor added that the prisoner was very deaf, and he was not certain that he had heard the caution.- The prisoner pleaded Guilty, and elected to be tried by the Bench.- John Dyer, the man mentioned in the last case, was then charged with stealing some potatoes and parsnips, the property of the same prosecutor.- The evidence given in the last case was repeated, and the property was found in the prisoner’s flail-basket.- The prisoner pleaded Guilty, and Mr. Philbrick informed the Bench that the prosecutor was actuated by no vindictive feelings in the case, but had brought it forward as a caution to the prisoners and others. Mr. Bruce was desirous that the leniency of the Court should be shown to them, more especially to the prisoner Theobald, who, being deaf, might not have heard his caution.-  The Bench, in consideration of the recommendation, sentenced Dyer to one month’s, and Theobald to a fortnight’s, hard labour.”

Donyland Hall 1888.jpg

From Esther Simons, born 1 February 1880 - “When I was about 16 we had the hardest & the longest frost since 1881 when I was a baby – so this would be around 1897, it froze & froze for 6 solid weeks. We used to skate on the moat round Donyland Hall. Oh how I enjoyed that time. In the evening too, mostly by moonlight or flares. Old Spinky used to bore holes in the ice every night, pump up the water & next day there it was, solid & smooth – lovely; they all liked me well enough to ask me round pretty often. I was always one for sport in those days but not much opportunity then, but here I am, 81 & still about…. “

Abraham Robinson (1839 - 1905) at Donyland Hall

Another view of Donyland Hall c.1900

Painted c.1900 by a daughter of Rev. Lufkin, rector of East Donyland.

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