Summary by Hilary Roadley from deed information, local burials, census & Rob Sharp photos
At the beginning of the 19th century John Newling was recorded at inclosure as having the land now occupied by 33-39 Church St. It continued to be occupied by members of the Newling family until 1962. they generally prospered as threshing machine contractors.
John Newling (D:1829)
He was living in (present 37-39) Church St in 1825 when he made his will bequeathing his wife Elizabeth his two cottages with gardens for her life. In 1825 he occupied one cottage and his son John the other, with yard, garden & other buildings (now occupied by nos 33-35). At his death the cottage John lived in and half the orchard would go to his eldest son Thomas and the other remain with John.
In the 1841 census three Newling households were shown, side by side. John’s widow Elizabeth headed one, son Thomas (already a widower with children) another and son John with his family in another. John was already a drill man by then, although Thomas was a gardener.
He had married Hannah Ansell from Hauxton and appeared to live there at least until 1825 before moving to Harston, probably by his father’s death in 1829.
By the time Thomas died in 1863 his sons had died before him but his daughter Mary Ann, a spinster, lived in 37-9 Church St until her death in 1898 at the age of 81. In 1881 she was recorded there as a pauper, and as blind. Her younger sister (by 3 years) Rebecca lived with her, also a pauper. Thomas’s will ensured that during her life she would have the sole use and occupancy of one room of ground floor of the Church St cottage and the exclusive use of a bed and sufficient of his furniture to render the room comfortably habitable. Rebecca died, a spinster, in Dec 1913, at the the age of 95 at the Chesterton Union (workhouse) but was buried at Harston.
Thomas’ brother John, and his family, also lived in the 37-9 Church St cottages but seemed more prosperous. John, his sons John and Thomas, grandson Thomas, great grandson John were all in the ‘Thrashin machine’ business, using steam driven engines to thresh the corn. they had a number of sheds on their land adjoining the cottages where they stored their machines and carts. They visited all the neighbouring farms so had plenty of work and were recorded as machinists from 1851 until 1916. From 1922-29 Kelly’s directory recorded them as farmers, presumably doing so well they were able to buy or rent land to farm.
Four Newling households together
In 1901, four Newling households were living side by side in Church St, most in the three adjoining cottages, now only No 37. The two Sarahs, one (1838-1907) widow of John, one sister (1824-1909) of John, living on their own means. Then Robert Newling (1870-), wife Emma and four children and finally the household of Robert’s cousin, Frederick who was the son of John Newling (1864-).
Frederick was an agricultural engine driver with his own business, while Robert worked as a coalman. Frederick still lived there in 1911 but Robert had moved away.
The 1911 census had father Frederick, wife Rose and children William, (Margaret) Grace and Arthur living at No 31 Church St, next door to No’s 35-39. We found a postcard which Grace had sent to her godmother in 1911 with a picture of all Frederick’s children on it. However the 1911 census did show that one of Frederick’s sons, Robert Ransom Newling, was living next door with his maternal grandmother June Ransom.
Photos submitted by Rob Sharp, grandson of Robert Ransom Newling, show Frederick, wife Rose, three of their sons, a daughter and son Robert’s wife Alice Pointing in the 1920s, still at No 31 Church Street.
Both Robert Ransom Newling and his brother William fought in WW1. The photo below shows Robert with his medals.
The 1970s photo was taken by Robert Ransom Newling when he returned to make a visit of the house where he was born and lived for the first 16 years of his life (1897 – 1914). When he lived there it was called Rose Cottage. He said he left at the beginning of 1914 and apart from odd visits up to the 1920s, it was over 50 years since he had visited and what changes he saw. He said ” Oh dear, the village as I knew it exists no more – it is just not the same, of course it could not be”.
The house had been extended by then although you could still see where the double front porch had been.
Robert also visited the church and thought that it was very overgrown.
Thomas Newling (1860-1940)
In 1940 Frederick’s brother Thomas died leaving the double cottage, machinists shops, outbuildings, garden (part which had been site of a third cottage) to his daughter Kate Ethel Hopkins, married to Bertie Frank Hopkins (a haulage contractor).
In 1963 the property was left to their son Thomas Clarence Frank Hopkins a warehouseman who lived in 37 Church St while Kate & Bertie had lived in 39 Church St, the adjoining cottage. Tom and Isabella his wife lived there at least until the 1980s when they moved to Hauxton.
Below can be found the Newling family tree relating to Harston.