The Freeman Family

During much of the 19th century members of the Freeman family owned and farmed Stowupland Hall estate, but other Freeman’s owned lands across Suffolk and many were physicians. Charles Rayner Freeman’s family donated some of their land for Holy Trinity church and Stowupland school to be built on.

Charles Rayner Freeman started farming at Stowupland Hall in 1821. In 1828, following the death of Robert Boby  he bought Tiithe Farm (The Uplands) for £5160.

In 1823 Charles married his cousin Mary Freeman (d.1849, aged 48). They had 11 children but 6 died in infancy and a daughter died at 11years old. The four surviving children were Mary (1827 – 1875), William (1830 – 1922), Ellen (1836 – 1875) and Spencer (1840 – 1914).

His daughters Mary and Ellen were killed in a railway accident in France. Their father was ill for some 9 years before his death in 1861, So his son William effectively took over the farm from the age of 22.

Photo of Stowupland Hall owners and farm workers, it is thought to date from the 1860s (maybe 1864). It was retrieved from the Freeman/Ridley archives at the Suffolk Record office by Neil Langridge. It is erroneously attributed to Columbine Hall.

The original photo was donated by  Miss H Freeman, a grand daughter of William Freeman. Written on the back by I presume by Miss Freeman the following –

“Joyce & William Freeman,  William’s two sisters (L) & the farm workers (circa 1860?) my grandparents”

Further research by NL tells us that the photographer wasn’t local but a Cundall,  Downes & Co. 168 Bond St. London however Joseph Cundall had trained as a printer in Ipswich so there was a local connection. The company was at that address and trading under that name from 1861 to 1865 which fits with the suggested date for the photo.

According to this info the people in the photo would be first on left Mary Freeman born 1827, second left Ellen Freeman born 1831. first on right Joyce Freeman (nee Ridley) born 1837 second right William Freeman born 1830.

However NL adds they all look older than they would have been at the time even given that people probably aged faster then. Difficult to judge Williams age in his hat but he would be 35 at the most if the dating is correct.

illiam Freeman married Joyce Ridley (b 25/6/1837, d. 20/20/1923) in 1861 and they had 3 children.

Many members of the Freeman family were medical men.

Spencer Freeman was a 19th century ocal medical man in Stowmarket, seen here in his uniform as honorary assistant surgeon to the 6th Suffolk Rifle Volunteers. The Freeman family were land owners across much of Suffolk  and there were several medics in his family.  He lived in what is now Bucks estate agents in the market place. The building next door that is now the mobile phone shop was once Stearns chemist but started as a chemist in 1833 by Thomas Simpson a relation by marriage of Spencer Freeman,  Mr Freeman is thought to have helped set him up in business.


William Freeman

Held the title Lord of Manor of Thorney Kebles from 1840 to 60s.