The Wivenhoe Maltings 1734-1879

An attempt to reconstruct the history of the Maltings in Wivenhoe

Pat Marsden

Ipswich Journal, Saturday 27 February 1773
Extract from the 1799 Survey Map of Wivenhoe showing Parcel No 23 known as Bures and Cross Keys
From the original map held at Essex Record Office
Queens Road, Wivenhoe. The Anglesea Arms in the distance [which closed in 1922].
Mersea Museum, John Leather Collection
Plan on Conveyance of 20th December 1910
Plan on original deed
Sale of Maltings Furniture and Farming Stock
Essex Standard 12 April 1834
The explanation of key sites listed on the 1734 Survey Map of Wivenhoe
Extract from the 1734 map held by ERO (D/DU 27/1)
Notice of Sale of Mill and Maltings Essex Standard 04.02.1859
Schedule attached to the Conveyance between Elizabeth Eade and J. S. Barnes of 1 November 1879
Plan attached to the 1879 Deed of Conveyance between Elizabeth Eade and her Mortgagees and John Stuck Barnes
1876 Ordnance Survey Map 'First Edition' (1:2500 twenty-five inches to one mile); Wivenhoe, Elmstead & Ardleigh Parishes
Extract from OS map

Beer was the staple drink before the introduction of tea and coffee and it was quite common for malting and brewing industries on a small scale to be carried out in local communities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wivenhoe was no exception and we decided to explore the history of the lesser known local maltings trade.

There wasn’t a huge amount of information but we found a few early references to maltsters: the Will of William Hill which refers to him as a maltster of Wivenhoe (ERO D/ACW 7/58 dated 27 February 1604); the 1734 Hayward Rush Map of Wivenhoe shows (Item D) ‘The house of Mr John Cardinal, a maltster who built the same’ on the High Street and (Item C) ‘The house of Peter Robinson – a Common Brewer’ [the name for brewers who did not originally own pubs themselves] to the east of the High Street; Nicholas Butler in ‘The Story of Wivenhoe’ (p47) refers to Clarkson Cardinal who pursued the trade until he joined the army in 1759; and John Bawtree’s Sun Fire  insurance record of 9 April 1790 at the National Archives refers to the ‘Hon Mrs Townsend of Lower Malting House, Wivenhoe, on the Quay near the ferry’. But we found limited evidence to date of actual malting premises.

 We mostly know about the existence of a Malting in Wivenhoe because of the house called Malting House, which currently stands at 74 High Street and the row of cottages called Maltings Yard, tucked away between No 74 and 76.

But was this the only Malting in lower Wivenhoe? A. F. J. Brown in ‘Essex at Work: 1700-1815 (p125) suggests that there were two maltings in Wivenhoe at this time.  After looking through various local maps, deeds, and plans we discovered that there had indeed been two maltings, both sited on an Estate formerly known as Angiers, and in the late eighteenth century as a parcel of land known more specifically as Cross Keys: one malting being based on that part of Cross Keys where Queens Road runs eastward from the High Street (1) and the other on the parcel of land where 74-76 High Street now stands (2).

We follow what is known of the history of the two maltings below.

1) The Malting off Queens Road formerly part of the premises of the Greyhound

1799 Survey Map of Wivenhoe

The first hint we had of a malting on this site came from looking at the 1799 Survey Map of Wivenhoe. This names Parcel No 23 as Bures and Cross Keys. It is described as being of two acres and five perches in size and when compared to a modern map seems to approximately cover the length of the present day Queens Road down towards the Brook but approximately three times the width including the parcel of land now containing the White House on the High Street and indeed the second malting at No 76.

Another deed (D/DEl T379) in a mixed  bundle dated 1791-1860 refers to two tenements called the ‘underset’ to the Cross Keys tavern alias Roger Saxabies and this property was owned by the Havens family running down the east side of the High Street towards East Street.

We don’t know exactly where the Cross Keys Tavern was sited although it is tempting to think it might have stood on the site of the  later Greyhound Pub which is shown immediately adjacent to but slightly to the south of the Cross Keys Parcel. But it might also have been the largish building shown some way towards the east of the building we know to be the malting.

This is the long building stretching out eastward for 75 feet from the rear of the eighteenth century cottages (now No’s 2 Queens Road and 64 High Street) adjacent to a building which would later become the site of the Greyhound pub.

We know that it is a malting because it is described as such in early twentieth century deeds stating that it was formerly part of the premises attached to the Greyhound pub but long since demolished.


The earliest deeds which refer to the Cross Keys parcel were located in the Essex Record Office (D/DEl T229) dated 1752-1820. They also comment that it was formerly part of an estate called Angiers. Prior to 1801 the property was owned by John Bawtree of Colchester (who is described variously as a ‘brewer, maltster and farmer’ (1788); ‘brewer and maltster’ (1789); a ‘merchant, brewer, and maltster’ (1791); ‘common brewer, maltster and merchant’ (1793), etc, in National Archive Records). An attempt to dispose of a number of properties in Wivenhoe, including one with a ‘Brew-house, Store-House and a Malt-chamber’, in a ‘To be Sold by Auction’ notice of 1777 (see image to right) is of interest. This might be the malting off Queens Road but we can’t be certain. However in a Lease and Release (D/DEt T27/6) dated 19, 20 March 1801 John Bawtree does release what appears to be the whole of the property to Edward Sage of Wivenhoe, who was in the process of acquiring parcels of land to form the Wivenhoe House Estate.


The deeds cited above are referred to again in a deed of 1811: the ‘Release and Conveyance of an Estate at Wivenhoe and Elmstead in Essex between Edward Sage Esquire and William Brummell Esquire and his Trustee… dated 4th July 1811 (D/DU 225/7)’. It refers to a:

‘certain Indenture of Lease and Release bearing dates respectively the nineteenth and twentieth days of March one thousand eight hundred and one and made between John Bawtree of the one part and the said Edward Sage of the other part for the sum or consideration therein mentioned the said John Bawtree did grant bargain sell alien remise release and confirm unto the said Edward Sage his heirs and assigns a certain messuage or tenement with the outhouses yards gardens orchards hereditaments and the Malting Office thereupon erected and other appurtenances therein belonging formerly called or known by the name of the Cross Keys situate and being in Wivenhoe aforesaid and also certain messuages or tenements therein mentioned called Burrs and Harsoms or otherwise with the brewhouse houses outhouses edifices buildings yards gardens and appurtenances thereunto belonging situate in Wivenhoe aforesaid And also a certain close piece or parcel of Land and Ground with the appurtenances thereof therein and hereinafter mentioned to be part of an Estate called Angiers with the appurtenances To hold the same unto and to the use of the said Edward Sage his heirs and assigns for ever

And Whereas by certain other Indentures of Lease and Release bearing date respectively the twenty seventh and twenty eighth day of January one thousand eight hundred and two the Release being of three parts and made the said Edward Sage of the first part Thomas Norfolk of the second part and Joseph Michael Barnes of the third part for the considerations therein mentioned He the said Edward Sage reconveyed the said Messuage or Tenement Malting Office and other hereditaments in the said last mentioned Indenture mentioned to have been formerly called the Cross Keys with the appurtenances to the use of the said Thomas Norfolk his heirs and assigns excepting and always reserving unto himself the said Edward Sage his heirs and assigns free liberty of ingress egress regress right of way and passage at all reasonable times in the daytime with servants waggons horses carts and carriages or without to enter on and pass over the said premises through the great Gates then standing thereon next the Street to and from the land and Premises of the said Edward Sage adjoining thereto without any payment to be made therefore.’

These deeds suggest that while John Bawtree released the whole of the Cross Keys Parcel to Edward Sage, Edward Sage released only the immediate malting area to Thomas Norfolk.


The next Record we found relating to this Malting was an advertisement dated the 23rd April 1834 describing what  could be a closing down sale ‘near the Greyhound Inn’  including ‘Furniture, farming stock, horses, carts, malt [20 quarts of capital malt], and various other property’.

We know that the Greyhound was established circa 1817 and we have transcribed deeds relating to two houses adjacent to the Greyhound dated 1790-1817 (D/DHt T485). However these make no further references to the malting although they do refer to Thomas Norfolk [referred to in the deed above] holding the Tenure of Occupation in one of the houses in the late eighteenth century.

After this there is a long gap in terms of deeds or other information and we have to wait until 1910 onward before further deeds appear. These relate to the site of the later Ironmonger’s shop on the corner of Queens Road and the High Street referring to what is now No 2 Queens Road and the cottages at what was then known as the Greyhound Yard, but now No’s 4, 6, and 8 Queens Road. The 1910 deed not only refers to  the demolished malting formerly belonging to the Greyhound but also contains a helpful Plan which illustrates both the Greyhound Yard, the cottages on the High Street adjacent to the Greyhound and the site of the former malting. We also found a pre 1922 photograph of Queens Road  showing one of the semi-industrial buildings belonging to the complex before it was converted into residential accommodation at No’s 4, 6, and 8 Queens Road.


The Abstract of the Title of Mr Albert Hazel Ellis and his Mortgagee to Freehold property situate in High Street, Wivenhoe Essex dated 20 December 1910 refers to:

‘ALL THOSE two freehold messuages tenements or dwellinghouses and premises [Later No 2 Queens Rd and No 64 High Street] then formerly one tenement situate in the High Street in Wivenhoe in the County of Essex abutting towards the North East upon Queens Road (then formerly a gateway leading to the open yard thereinafter mentioned) South West upon the Greyhound Public House South East upon other portion of the said open yard and North West upon the road there then known as High Street As the same premises were then formerly in the occupation of Robert Stacey Bennett afterwards of Benjamin Blois and John Plane and then or then recently of John Sutherwood and John Fuller TOGETHER with so much of the open yard lying next the back part of the said two messuages and next the site of a malting then forming part of the premises belonging to the said Greyhound Public House taken in a straight line from the South East corner of the washhouse and running Eastward 75 feet which said messuage and premises were more particularly delineated and described in the plan drawn on abstracted presents and therein coloured pink TOGETHER with a free and uninterrupted right of way and passage with horses carts and carriages or without over and across that part of the open yard at the rear of the said two dwellinghouses which was not intended to be thereby conveyed’


2) The Malting on the High Street

We don’t know exactly when the High Street malting was erected but it is obvious from local nineteenth century deeds that it stood on the site of No 76 High Street and what is now known as Maltings Yard. The house which stands next to it at the south side of Maltings Yard is almost certainly the same house occupied by John Cardinal, the maltster, as described on the 1734 Hayward Rush Map.  Not only is the house known as Malting House it is described on the Wivenhoe Local List as a 16th/17th century building with a c1850 brick facade.

This malting is not shown at all on the 1799 Survey Map but the 1838 Tithe Award Map shows a building in the same position as on the 1876 Ordnance Survey Map and this definitely must be the malting at 76 High Street. It is clearly a different site to the malting which formerly formed part of the premises at the Greyhound.


Much of our information about the malting at 76 High Street comes from an ‘Abstract of the Title of Mrs Elizabeth Eade to Certain Freehold Premises in Wivenhoe 1859-1879’ see which refers to the malting at this site. Similarly to the Cross Keys parcel of land identified on the 1799 Survey Map the deeds referred to in this Abstract state that the site had once been called ‘Angiers and had been divided into several tenements part of which said tenement had for a long time been converted into a Malting Office together with the said Malting Office yard garden and hereditaments to the same’ which had formerly been in the occupation of W. Mortimer since of Coats Gordon then lately of Robert Emson and then or then late of Messrs Daniell and Cooper and John Smith or their undertenants’. It was described as abutting ‘North on premises of [blank] South on premises belonging to John Pratt East on land then late of Thomas Harvey and west on the Queens Highway’.

Elizabeth Eade was the Widow of John Eade the builder and following his death she disposed of the Malting site along with other property in 1879.

John Eade himself had originally acquired the property from Benjamin Page Grimsey who in turn had acquired it from John Smith (the younger) and his unmarried sister Mary Maria, the offspring of John Smith (the elder) who was the local miller and occupied the Wivenhoe Mill at the corner of Belle Vue Road and what was then called Brightlingsea Road.

John Smith (the elder), had been the copyhold tenant of the Mill since 1816, He not only ground corn, but was also involved in both the malting and brewing trade in the town. In the local Trade Directories for 1826-1827 (Pigot’s & Co) he is described as a maltster and a miller; a retail brewer, maltster and miller in 1832-4 (Pigot & Co); brewer and maltster 1845; and grocer and maltster 1848 (White’s Directory), etc.

In 1855 when John Smith (the elder) was 64 years old he passed over the management of the mill to his son John Smith (the younger) who was also then listed in the local Trade Directory as a ‘brewer and maltster’. The mill subsequently had a number of different tenants or occupiers.

However John Smith (the younger) and Mary Maria started running into financial difficulties. They had been lent £500 by Benjamin Page Grimsey with the money being secured by freehold properties and copyhold lands surrendered to John Smith (the younger). These included the messuages or tenements, Malting office and hereditaments. 

By 1859 the Smiths acknowledged that they were in default and the hereditaments were sold by Benjamin Page Grimsey at a public auction held in three lots in February 1859 at the Railway Hotel to John Eade for the sum of £600.

Because the Auction Notice of 4 February 1859 included both the sale of the Wivenhoe Mill (Lot 5) and the Malting (Lot 10) there might have been an implication that there was also a malting on the same site as the mill. The Notice referred to the Malting ‘at the entrance to the town’ (where the mill lay) but it was also being sold as a completely separate lot and ‘its contiguity to the intended new railway station’ was also enthusiastically reported which certainly applied to the Malting on the High Street described here.

Although John Smith was both a Miller and a ‘Maltster’ as well as a brewer this does not mean that these other trading sites were part of the Mill premises. The malting is not only listed separately on the Auction Notice; if you follow the documents through it does make clear that the description of the siting of the malting is referring to the one on the High Street. To clarify further it appears that the Mill property auctioned in the sale was actually bought by Daniell Cooper who were at the same time divesting themselves (together with John Smith) of the malting in the High Street.

23 November 1864

Although earlier deeds suggest John Eade had acquired the Malting in February 1859 the ‘Indenture of Conveyance between Benjamin Page Grimsey and John Eade’ did not take place until 1864. This again refers to ‘the freehold messuage or tenement called ‘Angiers’ or by whatsoever other name or names the same was or had been called or known therefore divided into several tenements part of which said tenement had for a long time been converted into a Malting Office together with the said Malting Office yard garden and hereditaments to the same belonging as the said messuage malting office and premises were situate lying and being in Wivenhoe aforesaid and were then formerly in the occupation of W. Mortimer since of Coats Gordon then lately of Robert Emson and then or then late of Messrs Daniell and Cooper and John Smith or their undertenants and did abut North on premises of   [blank]  South on premises of belonging to John Pratt East on land then late of Thomas Harvey and west on the Queen’s Highway.’


Following her husband’s death Elizabeth Eade decided to sell the now former malting property. At some point the Malting must have been no longer required and it was converted into a steam mill possibly following its sale in 1859.  The conveyance dated 1st November 1879 between Elizabeth Eade and her Mortagees to Mr John Stuck Barnes see describes the property as:

A freehold messuage with steam flour mill and premises formerly a Malting situate in High Street Wivenhoe the County of Essex let to Mr Mortlock [the later miller] on lease together with the Stables and Sheds on the other side of the road or way leading to the Cottages in the rear now in hand purchased with other property of B. Grimsey by Indenture dated the Twenty third day of November One thousand eight hundred and sixty four’.

The 1879 deed is accompanied by a plan which shows the steam flour mill and premises marked in yellow. This also confirms (as referred to previously) that the site of the steam mill marked on the Plan is the same as the site of the malting shown on the 1838 Tithe Award Map.


The deeds we have looked at seem to imply that the malting which lay off Queens Road was operational in the latter end of the eighteenth century.  It formed part of the later Greyhound premises but it was sold and demolished presumably some time after the Sale of Furniture, Farming Stock and Malt which was advertised in the Essex Standard dated 12 April 1834.

We don’t yet know when the later malting on the High Street was built. It may have had previous incarnations in the mid eighteenth century if the connection with John and Clarkson Cardinal could be proved. It was certainly being actively used in the mid nineteenth century until it was sold in 1859. Some time after this it was converted into a steam mill before it was sold again in 1879 and was replaced by a residential property.

if you would like to know more in general about the history of the brewing and malting industries in England click on the links below.

[Written by Pat Marsden with thanks to Peter Kay for his additional advice and comments]

This page was added on 04/02/2020.

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