Stowupland has been home to many families with the surname Wilden, Wilding or Wildins. Some are related, others are not. As with many families, christian names are repeated down the generations, with sometimes a middle name being used instead of the first name.

The intention is to list them all here and as family connections become clear the links will be made.

Local resident Michael Smith says ‘The name Wileden is old English (Anglo Saxon) and is of locational origin. ‘Wilg’ means Willow, ‘Denu’ means valley. So the name translates to ‘Being from Willow Valley’. The 1068 Domesday Book  mentions two settlements named ‘Wileden’ one in Bedfordshire the other in Worchester.’

He goes on ‘the earliest family record is of William Wileden who was born in 1698, at Stowupland, Suffolk. In December of 1726 he married Susanna Scowen (1699 -1733). They had two children William (1727 -1811)  and James (b.1731)’. { Is there a link to widow Scowing associated with Bramford Farm in 1725?}

William Wileden

(1727 – 1811)

At Stowupland married Hannah Bennet. They had 5 children, 2 died as infants. Susanna (b. 1753), William (b1755 – 1756), another son was born in 1756 also named William but he died in the November, a third son also named William was born in 1963. Hannah (b 1776).

William’s wife Hannah died between 1776 and 1885.

William (a widower)

married Elizabeth Driver Roper (b. 18/01/1761) on March 31st, 1785. Her father was John William Roper (b.1735) and motherMary Jacob (b1732 at Mendlesham) . William and Elizabeth had 3 girls, Elizabeth (b1785), Susan (b. 1793) and Sarah (b. 1798).

Susan, unmarried, gave birth to a son William on October 20th, 1813, the father was named as William Cockerel. William was recorded as William Wileden Cockerel Dent, he married Mary Ann Lee from Essex on 25th October 1837. (She is possibly from Gypsy stock.) and he changed his name to William Wilding, he was a blacksmith. They had 5 children whilst living in stowupland; Thomas (b1840), Anne (b 1842), Susab (b. 1844), George (b, 1846) and Jane (b. 1848). They then moved to Colchester and had 4 more children; John (b. 1852), Elizabth (b. 1854), Emily (b. 1856) and Joseph (b. 31st october, 1853.)

Susan married Thomas Dent, a coal porter, on 17th April 1815. They lived near what was to become the Rail station and railway Tavern.

Susan died 4th may 1865 aged 72

Thomas died 5 weeks later on 9th June – they had been married 50 years.

They had 9 children –

Thomas (23.2.1816 – 30.6.1829)

Joseph (b 2.10.1837)

Issac (28.10. 1822 – 11.8.1899)

Thomas (7.5.1836 – 3.8.1904) -father of Thomas William Ralf (b 1858)

Elisa (30.8.1829 – 8.6.1855)

Susan (7.7.1827 – 17.4.1828)

Mrs Wilden c1845

September 20th 1845: Sale of Stock etc of Mrs Wilden, deceased.

George Wilden (b 1828)

From Ipswich Journal, 5th April 1850. George Wilden together with Abraham Colthorpe (41), John Pegg (33),  Robert Pegg (17),  John Diaper (40),  Charles Last (23), Abraham Furrow (33) were charged with feloniously cutting down trees at Stowupland. As witnesses for the prosecution did not appear the prisoners were discharged.

1864 John R Wilden, shoemaker, Thos Wilding, blacksmith, William Wilden, farmer

From 1901, Sarah Wilden, widow (64),   is living along Main Road at 2, Myrtle Cottage with her son Charles Robinson (42) Gunner 88 R. F.A. (88th Regiment Field Artillery?) and Ellen C. Robertson granddaughter (9). 

Also from 1901 we know of 50 year old William Wilden who is a stationary engine driver living with his family on the Green

William (b 1851) is thought to be the grandson of John Wilden who was also living on the Green in 1851. In the 1861 census we read of an 8 year old William.

In 1901 we have a household of William, Jemima (age 55), William (a chemical worker age 22), Charles ( a blacksmiths apprentice age 19), Flora (age 12) and Ethel (age 9).

Local Historian and recorder Ena Carter did not think the Wildens that ran the Retreat were related to the Wildens that had the Post office.

1916 (Kellys): Dennis Frederick Wilden, Boot Maker & Post Office

George Wilden (brother to Robert Wilden) lived at Mill House when this was a Beer-house. According to Ena Carter he may have moved the Beerhouse to a cottage on the Green which later became the first Retreat.

Kellys 1916 tells us that Geo Wilden was a beer retailer on Thorney Green.

He retired to Orchard Farm with his wife (this was farmed with Mill Green Farm

They had 4 sons:

  1. George who lived and farmed at Mill Green Farm and had a son Edgar.
  2. Jubal who was at Mill House and married E.M. Southgate (they had 2 children Gwen and Roy). he had a wheelwright shop at Orchard Farm and also helped his brother George with his farm. (see below)
  3. Leigh – (Leigh and Jubal were not twins but had both been born in a jubilee year). – he ran the Retreat and had a daughter Audrey. (see below for more on Leigh and Audrey)
  4. James – didn’t marry till after the death of his parents when he married Ruth M. Durrant.

May and Emma Wilden were Edgar’s aunts who came from London and kept house for Edgar till he married.

list of names
1939 Wilden's at Orchard Farm, Mill Street

kelly’s 1869 Thomas Wilden a blacksmith

Kelly’s 1869 Robert Wilden a farmer.

Robert Wilden., see Davy’s Farm

Davy’s Farm with Robert Wilden in the early 1960’s

By 1904 Robert Wilden, a poultry farmer and breeder was living in  Davy’s farm on Saxham Street

In the 1920’s Robert Wilden became an owner occupier  (with money borrowed from John Manning Prentice, Neville Hayward Smith and John Phillip Manning Prentice).

In 1921 Robert was one of 4 signatories on behalf of the Parish Council  for land being leased from Stowmarket Charity Estates (see Spoonmans)

By  the 1960’s Robert and his wife Grace  had built their bungalow Restleigh (now Greatwoods) on land adjoining Davy’s Farm


Wilfred and Audrey’s wedding

Audrey Wilden – daughter of Mr and Mrs Leigh Wilden of The Retreat, Stowupland. In 1959 she married Wilfred Hennessy at Holy Trinity church Stowupland. He was a Lay Reader and she, amongst other musical activities, was a church organist.

Leigh Wilden, Retreat publican from 1924 to 1966

Leigh Wilden was landlord of The Retreat from 1925 to 1966, following in the footsteps of his father who had been landlord for 38 years. Leigh had been involved with Stowupland Football Club, Town Lands Trust and the Over 60’s Club. He died on December 17th 1968 (taken from press cutting report)

Gladys Lilian Wilden of Highfield Road (25), Stowupland. She was landlady of the Retreat for 41 years, she died at the age of 71. The funeral was conducted by the Rev Whitefield at Holy Trinity Church, Stowupland.

Mourners were

Mr & Mrs W Hennessey (daughter and son-in-law)

Mr & Mrs ) Pettit ( brother and sister-in-law)

Mrs B Wilden (sister)

Mrs J Scarlett attended representing the Mothers Union, Among others present were  Miss I catchpole and Miss M Catchpole,

Mrs Laura Emma Wilden, widow of Charles Wilden, formerly of Fairfield Cottage, Stowupland Green. She was a member of the Mothers’ Union, the Women’s Fellowship and taught at Stowupland Sunday.school for many years.  Her brother and sister-in-law were Mr and Mrs F.W. Finbow .

She died in November, 1949 (details from press cutting)

Reeve Wilden for 20 years was sub-postmaster for Stowupland Post office. He had been born at Stowupland post office where his father,Dennis Wilden, was postmaster for 30 years. Having completed an apprenticeship with a Stowmarket Green Grocers Reeve set up in business as as a shoe repairer in stowupland.

During WW1 he served with the Bedfordshire regiment in France and later Italy, being demobilised in 1918.

 In 1925, after the death of his father,  he took over the post office running it till 1945. The branch was transferred to his wife in the 40’s when his health failed, due to injuries he had suffered during the war.

He was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters. He died in 1958, aged 71. He was cremated. His wife survived him.(details from press cutting)

Frank Wilden was born in Saxham Street, Stowupland in 1885, his parents Alice and Robert Wilden.   In 1911 at the age of 26 he is married with 2 children and living in Saxham Street working as a farm labourer,living next door to Harry Cutting.

Both Harry and Frank were killed in WW1. Frank Wilden, Private 48214, 2nd Battalion Northampton Regiment,  and  He is killed at age 33 KIA on 25/3/18, Frank was 8 years older than Harry and died the month after him.

 Frank has a cousin Frederick Wilden, but this seems to have been quite a common name

Alice and Robert Wilden lived in Saxham Street. (more details unknown)

Frederick Wilden, born 1892, son of Frederick and Eliza Wilden of Ivy Cottage, Gipping Road. he is the cousin of  Frank Wilden and brother of Fanny Stannard (Ne Wilden) from 18 Columbine Close. Bfore enlisting in the army Frederick was employed as a labourer at Stowmarket chemical Works.

He was a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery, died 20th July 1918 of meningitis in Cherbourg Hospital.

Margaret Rose at Frederick Wilden Grave in Cherbourg

Fanny Wilden – sister of Frederick Wilden and married a Stannard. She was paternal grandmother to local resident Margaret Rose to whom we are grateful for showing her knowledge of the Wilden and Stannard family

1928, Mrs Frederick Wilden died, she was 81 (b1847)

In the 1930s Frederick and emma Elizabeth Wilden were living at 61, Regent Street. They had at some time run The Little wellington Public House. They were to die within a few hours of each other.

May Wilden with her twin sister Daisy Hill in 1958

Hector and May Wilden lived opposite Columbine Close. During WW2 they were  one of the large group of families who took in children who had been evacuated from Ilford. May is on the left.

Hector worked at the Chemical factory off Creeting Road

Emma and William Wilding were living in Saxham Street in the 1890s. In 1933 after the death of William, Emma moved to No3 The Bungalows to live with her younger daughter Mrs V. Stedman. Emma died in 1936 at the age of 75.

In 1851 a John Wilden was living on the Green.

Joseph Wilden had been born  on 11/7/13, according to the 1939 war survey at the age of 26 he was living at home on the Green and working as a plumber. His father Edward who did heavy work at the chemical/fertilizer factory in Stowmarket. His mother Elizabeth did domestic work and his younger brother, David (12/2/15) worked at the Pork Sausage Factory. Joseph died at the age of 31, he was in the Royal Navy working as a stoker on the HMS Janus which was sunk in 1944.  We don’t know what happened to his brother David, whether or not he served.

David Edgar Wilden was living on the Green in 1939. At the age of 31 he was living with his parents Eldred and Gertrude Wilden and a younger sibling. His father was a cowman whilst David E was a sawyer. At some point before his death in 1943 he had married Sylvia, he was a driver for the Royal Army Service Corp before being killed in Italy


press cutting

In 1939 the death of Betsy Thurlow was reported. She had been born in 1843 in Stonham Aspal. Her daughter Harriet married into the Wilden family. She had 17 grandchildren.

obert Polley or Robert Polley Wilden – d 11/6/1968 age 77