Origins of The Worlds End and the Hensman Family

Thanks to John Smith of Southampton, 10x great grand nephew of John Morris circa 1535-1598, and 10x great grandson of Mychael Hensman circa 1544-1584 for compiling this article.

The exact position of the original Worlds End Inn is not known for certain, but in 1825, John Cole, in his book ‘The History and Antiquities of Ecton’, claimed that the place had stood near the large Walnut tree in the orchard belonging to the present building, and that the new Worlds End had been built sixty years since.
If John Cole’s source of information was correct, this would date the move to circa 1765.

In 1730 and before, there was a lane that branched off of the turnpike from Northampton to Wellingborough and ran across the bottom of the now familiar triangular Worlds End plot of land, across, and fairly close to the Hall, and on to Earls Barton. Opposite the site of the Worlds End, on the other side of the Sywell / Ecton lane in 1730 was a large field named ‘Towns End’.
This lane disappeared at the time of enclosure, or before, when Ambrose Isted of Ecton Hall offered 350 acres of land in Little End near the World’s End in exchange for property in Little Ecton, he had petitioned in the Court of Chancery for permission to close the road (Church Street) which ran in front of his house and the top end of Middle Street and East Street in Little Ecton. His petition was granted so long as he made alternative access, which resulted in a new road and footpath, a new bridle road to Barton was established South of Ecton Hall. By 1759 the long lead in of the old lane from the turnpike was lost under the new enclosed fields and a shorter road now turned off at a more acute angle from the turnpike into Ecton creating the current large triangular plot.

Looking at old maps does cast some doubt on John Cole’s claim that the Worlds End was previously situated elsewhere. On a map created circa 1675, John Ogilby showed the route from Cambridge to Coventry, in it he has marked Ecken (Ecton), where he shows the Church of St Mary Magdalene, and also the Worlds End Inn, right by the side of the Great Turnpike Road.
Later maps of 1730 and 1759 would seem to indicate the same current position of the Inn, which raises the question, is the Worlds End Inn still in the place that it ever was, albeit refurbished and reconstructed over time.

For the history of the Worlds End we start almost a hundred years before John Ogilby’s map, using Parish Registers and various last Will and Testaments.
Mychael Hensman was an Ecton Yeoman, believed to have been born there circa 1544, he married Elizabeth Morris at St. Mary Magdalene in Ecton, in the November of 1565, raised four children, and by the time of his early death in 1584 he owned extensive land and property both within and without the Ecton area.
In his Last Will and Testament, among many other bequests, he left to his youngest son John, who was eleven years old at that time, 40 Pounds, to be paid upon reaching the age of twenty one years, or, upon default of the payment of this sum by Johns elder brother Thomas, he was to receive one yard land in Parsons Hide Ecton, along with all the commodities thereunto belonging.
We do not know whether he got the money, or the land and all that went with it, but by the time of his own death, and his own Will written in 1620, John Hensman had also become a Yeoman himself and owned extensive land and property in Ecton.

It should be noted at this point that within the contents of the last Will and Testament of one John Morris of Ecton, dated 1597, he left jointly to his wife Margaret and eldest son John, a half yard land within Parsons Hide along with a Maulte Mill, two Garners and Hovellings for the duration of the term of their lease.
John Morris, who died in 1598, was the brother of Elizabeth Morris, wife of Mychael Hensman.

John Hensman who had been born in Ecton in 1573 married Margaret Kent in Ecton, in the November of 1602, they were raising three children when Margaret died in 1619, so in his Will of 1620 John distributed all his land and goods among his three young children, daughter Elizabeth, who was fifteen years old, Aimy who was eight years old and John who was just eleven. Among other property, money, and land held in trust by his executors for his children, he left to his only son John, a Maulte Mill [sic] and two Garners.

It would appear that it was this Malt Mill that was the origin of the Worlds End Inn, for when this John Hensman, the inheritor of a Malt Mill, died in 1667, he was shown in the parish burial register as John Hensman Snr. (of the Worlds End).
It would seem to be that the Malt Mill and Garners bequeathed by John Hensman and those that had been previously bequeathed by John Morris were probably one and the same.

John Hensman, son of John, was born in Ecton, 1609, he married Cicily Harris in Earls Barton in the November of 1630, they lived in Ecton and raised five children, and upon his death in 1667 it was the second of his two sons, Joseph, born in1645 who appears to have taken over the running of the Inn as later baptismal records would show.

Joseph Hensman born in1645 married Helen Stamford in Ecton in the September of 1668 and they had seven children before Helen died giving birth to her son James in 1682, Joseph re-married to Elizabeth Hornsby in 1686 and one more child was born. It is the baptism entry in the Ecton Parish register for Joseph’s last son James in 1682 that first records him as Inn Keeper at the Worlds End. Joseph Hensman is again shown in the occupation of Inn Keeper at the time of his own burial in Ecton, May 1704.

The running of the Inn then passed upon Joseph’s death in 1704, to his eldest son, another John Hensman who was born in 1671 and who had married his wife Ann circa 1696, they had five children and at the baptisms of his first two children in 1698 and 1702 John is shown as a labourer, but at the baptism of his other children in 1705 and 1708 he is shown as an Inn Keeper, a clear indication of when he took over from his father. Johns wife, Ann died in 1720.

It is unknown who took over upon the death John Hensman in 1729, but the running of the Inn may have been covered by his brother Joseph.

Joseph had been born in 1672 and Married Catherine Morris (Great, great, grand daughter of John Morris c1535-1598) in Northampton on the 6th of February 1693, by the time Joseph took over the Inn he was already 57 years old and he died just six years later in 1735. It would appear that at that point the Inn was now taken over by Joseph’s forty-one year old son Thomas.

Thomas Hensman had been born in Ecton in 1694 and married Elizabeth Smith in Ecton in the April of 1738, where in 1739 their only son Joseph was born. At his marriage Thomas is described as of Tyringham Bucks so it would appear that he had settlement there before returning to Ecton to take over the Worlds End, at the baptism of his son in 1739 Thomas is described as Inn Keeper.

Thomas can be found in licensee records for 1756 to 1758, the licensee records for the years 1759 and 1760 are missing but we know that Thomas Hensman was still the landlord in 1760 when the commissioners for land enclosure held their meetings at the Worlds End, where it is recorded that Thomas Hensman received £13-9s-6d for expenses.
In the 1761 record of licensees the name of Thomas Hensman name is crossed out and that of William Sutton of Wellingborough is substituted.

Thomas Hensman must have been gravely ill in 1761 because he died and was buried in Ecton on March the 8th 1762, in his Will he left £30 in trust with Ambrose Isted Esquire for a term of six years, to his son Joseph who had at some time departed from Ecton to become a soldier and had not returned, failing an eventual return of Joseph or any sign that he was still alive, the sum was to pass to Thomas’s youngest brother, Morris Hensman, who was by then married and living in Higham Ferrers, and to his brother in law, Samuel Smith.

Elizabeth the wife of Thomas had previously died in 1749.

The lack of any mention of the Worlds End in Thomas’s Will would seem to indicate that he had been a tenant landlord rather than an owner, and this may well have been the case with the previous Hensman landlords. The actual Worlds End building and the land it stood on may have been the property of the Lord of Ecton Hall and leased out on lengthy terms.

Whether Joseph Hensman returned from his soldiering and received his inheritance, or whether it went to Morris Hensman and Samuel Smith is not known, but one William Sutton now continued as licensee of the Worlds End, and the Hensman occupancy had seemingly come to an end.
William Sutton had married Ann Hudson in Ecton 14th of July 1735, and was living in Earls Barton during the births of their five children. William, having taken over the running of the Worlds End in 1761 remained the publican there until 1777, when aged 76, he died. He was buried in Ecton, in March 1777.

Now the name shown in licensee records was now changed to Edward Wheeler.

Edward Wheeler had been born in Dallington, in December of 1747 and in April of 1777 had married Mary Hensman; she was the daughter of John and Ann Hensman of Ecton, and grand daughter of Worlds End Inn keeper, John Hensman 1702-1735, so for a very brief period a Hensman was back in residence.

Some kind of untimely misfortune befell Edward and he died in 1778 aged just 30, he was buried in Ecton in the July of that year. His Widow Mary later married a John Brown of Ecton, in Mears Ashby in the August of 1781.

For the remainder of 1778 and 1779 the keeping of the Inn was now in the hands of one Samuel Knight.

Samuel Knight had been born in Ecton on the 7th of November 1736, and married Rebecca Gillitt of Mears Ashby; they had married in that parish, in the November of 1768. Rebecca died in Ecton, aged 35, in May of 1782.

Here the waters muddy slightly and I am not sure how long Samuel Knight continued as landlord, perhaps he was the Samuel Knight, Victualler of Doddington, who married Mary Lambert in Grendon in December of 1782.
But whatever had become of Samuel Knight, in the year 1799, one Daniel Clayson was recorded as the Inn keeper at Ecton, his Suritie for the sum of Ten Pounds was a John Knight of Great Doddington.

Daniel Clayson is thought to be the person born at Brafield on the Green in 1756, and who married Elizabeth Marston in Ecton, St Mary Magdalene, on the 1st of October 1787. Daniel Clayson was recorded as the Inn keeper in 1803 but his name does not appear in the ‘Ale House Recognizances’ for the Wellingborough district of 1805, however, when he made out his Will in April of 1806 he identified himself as Victualler at Ecton, he died early the next year and was buried in Ecton on the 18th of January 1807.

The next recorded licensee was Thomas Blason in 1806, although he may well have been in situ before that year, his Suritie for the sum of Ten Pounds was one Samuel Eaton of Earls Barton.

Thomas Blason had been born in Ecton in 1779, the son of William and Elizabeth Blason, he married Dorothy Meredith of Cransley, in that parish in 1807, they raised their family of seven children in Ecton and at the baptism of their first daughter Elizabeth in 1808, Thomas is recorded as a Publican.

In the 1841 census of Ecton, Thomas is shown as Victualler at the Worlds End. He died in 1849 aged 70 and his wife Dorothy died two years later in 1847 aged 73, both were buried in Ecton.

Thomas Blason must have given up the job of landlord some years prior to his death because in the Kellys directory of 1847 Joseph Wills is now shown as Inn keeper at the Worlds End having taken over from Thomas Blason, and in the 1851 census, 56 year old Joseph Wills, who was born in Felmersham Bedfordshire is shown as a Victualler in Ecton, along with his Denton born wife Ann, and with a niece, a servant and a lodger. Neither Joseph nor Ann were buried in Ecton, Ann appears elswhere in the 1861 census as a Widow living close to her son Charles who was at that time a retired Publican, so it would appear that Joseph and Ann had moved on shortly after 1851, making way for Thomas Lansberry.

Thomas Lansberry is shown in the 1854 Post Office directory as Inn Keeper of the Worlds End, Ecton. He was born in Ecton in 1800 the son of Joseph Lansberry and Patience Pettit, he married Frances Britten, born 1804, of Weston Favel in the year 1825 and in 1829 a daughter, Fanny Selina Britten Lansberry was baptised at the Church of All Saints Northampton. At some time between 1829 and 1842 both wife and daughter must have died because in the 1851 census Thomas has a new wife named Caroline and a two year old son, Joseph Thomas. (Joseph Thomas Lansberry died in 1855 and was buried in Ecton).
Thomas had married Caroline Britten (of Weston Favel) in the Church St Dunstan Stepney, London, on the 12th of July 1842, (Caroline and Frances Britten were sisters) but he was now living in Kettering with his wife, his son, and two servants, another daughter also named Frances Selina Britten Lansberry was born in Kettering at the end of 1851 but she died in 1859 and was buried in Ecton.

By the time of the 1861 census Thomas had moved on was living at the Angel Inn, Wellingborough, with his wife Caroline, a seven year old son named William, one bar maid, and three servants.
In the 1871 census he is shown living in Silver Street Wellingborough with wife Caroline and several employees, where he is now described as a Hotel Keeper. After he died in 1874 Thomas was buried in his home village of Ecton on the 31st of December, he was aged 74. Caroline remained in Wellingborough and in the 1881 census was shown as a 73 year old Widow living off the rent of the houses she now owned.

At some time between 1854 and 1861 William Slow had become the new licensee of the Worlds End.

William Slow was born in Northampton in 1829 and had married Charlotte Liner of Rushton in 1856, in the 1861 census he is shown as a Publican and farmer employing a labourer and two boys. In the 1871 census he is shown living at the Worlds End in Turnpike Road along with his wife and five children, he was farming 30 acres of land and employing two men and three boys. By 1774 William Slow had given up the running of the Worlds End and at the time of the 1881 census was living in his farm house at Thorpe Malser, now with eight children, and farming 254 acres of land, while employing six men and two boys.

Meanwhile, back at the Worlds End, William Christopher Perkins was now in charge.

William Christopher Perkins was born in All Saints Northampton in 1851, the son of Frederick Perkins, Nurseryman, and Anne his wife, in the 1871 census William is still in All Saints working as a gardener. His wife, Annie Tarry was born in 1848 and in the 1871 census is a domestic servant to John Ash, a sugar bailer in St Giles Northampton, they must have married around 1876 as their first son, Frederick Tarry Perkins was born in Northampton 1878, their other four children were all Ecton born. William Christopher Perkins appears in the 1881 and 1891 census as living at 1 Turnpike Road (Worlds End Inn) and is described as a Farmer and Inn Keeper. He is first shown as the Worlds End licensee in 1874 and is also shown as Inn Keeper at the Worlds End in various trade directories right through to 1914. Annie Perkins died in 1919 and William Christopher Perkins died in 1924.