Sometime between 1802 and 1807 John and Martha Lillywhite arrived in the Windsor/Eton Wick area. On John’s marriage in Norwich in 1802 to Martha West (age about 30), John was a Gamekeeper in Linford, Norfolk. On arrival in Windsor and Eton they quickly appear to have established themselves in both Windsor and Eton Wick. John appears in the 1811 Holdens’s Directories at the Swan Inn in Thames Street, Windsor and had also taken a tenancy of a farm in Eton Wick between the Tax assessments of 1813 and 1814. By the 1841 Census (John having died in 1828) the Lillywhite’s were tenants of both Saddock’s (Martha) and Manor (her son George Snowden) Farms. How was it that a “mere” gamekeeper had so quickly gained so much? Is the middle name of their eldest son, George Snowden Lillywhite, baptised at St Andrew’s Clewer in 1809, a clue as the Snowden family feature in Windsor as councillors, with John Snowden elected as Mayor in 1812?
|Fields farmed by Martha and George Lillywhite|
After 1814 John appears to have concentrated on farming whilst Martha appears to have been the driving force at the Inn as Angus Macnaughton in "Windsor and Eton in Georgian Times" reports that "Across the road from Old Bank House stood one of Windsor's most famous inn, the Swan, of which only a small part survives today. For thirty years, from 1810, Mrs Lillywhite presided, making it a notable RV for the many organizations which held their meetings and banquets there". John had died in 1828, with his son taking over his father’s role, with Martha retiring from the Swan in 1840, but with her son George Snowden Lillywhite she seems to have continued farming, being shown in the 1841 Census as the farmer at Saddock’s Farm with her son the Farmer at Manor Farms.
|George Snowden Lillywhite|
George Snowden Lillywhite was a member of the Chalvey Chapel and it is reported in the history by Dr Judith Hunter that "The Sunday School was closed (at Boveney) though services continued to be held in a barn, probably one belonging to Manor Farm; for at this dated the tenant farmer, George Lillywhite, was a member of the Chalvey Chapel. There is also a tradition that the cottage next to the farmhouse was once used for worship, with 25 people attending the services on “Census Sunday" in 1851".
By 1871 George had been elected Baliff of the Manor of Eton cum Stockdales and Colenorton. In the same year, Dr Judith Hunters' history reports George Lillywhite being a member of a committee which purchased Bell Farm from William Goddard for a sewage farm. George was married to a Goddard, and George's daughter married a William Goddard so this seems to have been a family affair!
George died age 68 in 1877 and is buried in Eton Church. No 536. His parents are buried in St John the Baptist, New Windsor. But how and why John and Martha came to Eton remains a mystery as does the reason for their rapid acquisition of the tenancy of a pub and two farms.
This article has been written by Louis Lillywhite.