Famous Billericay Families

The Boughtwoods

Burstead House School
Joyce Norris

The Boughtwoods

The Boughtwood family name is well known in Billericay and goes back many generations.  There are several different branches of the family; one kept a farm at South Green, one was proprietor of the butcher’s shop in Billericay High Street and Miss Annie Boughtwood was the headmistress of the  ‘Old School House’ later known as Burstead House.  This small private school was popular with many of the children of the more well-to-do families between the two wars.   Miss Boughtwood and the few teachers she employed were all remembered as being very strict, but fair.

Burstead House School was very much a landmark standing as it did in the centre of Billericay, facing south at the junction of Norsey Road and the High Street. The old school building  was demolished in 1958 as part of the road developments that came into force, along with much re-development work taking place at that time.

The late Joyce Norris remembered attending Burstead House School.   Miss Boughtwood was, in fact, her great aunt on her mother’s side. Although Joyce was ‘family’, Miss Boughtwood made no special allowance for Joyce, who remembered her as being rather severe, but kindly. Joyce recollected:  “Children started at the school at just under five-years-old and they were called the baby class and all that divided them from the eleven year-olds (which was considered the big school), was a blue curtain.

“Most schoolchildren left Miss Boughtwood’s school with excellent knowledge of the three Rs and beautiful handwriting skills.  Writing and arithmetic was all done on slates with special chalks. The slates were cleaned using pieces of damp sponge.  Spelling and tables were learned by rote and children were given copybooks to practise their writing. Miss Boughtwood was very keen to make youngsters read out loud to the class and I think this helped them with their reading abilities.”   

There are now numerous descendants of the Boughtwood family in New Zealand and Australia and several have made contact with local historians.

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  • My dad A Jackson worked with Ben and John Clarke for many years in the butchers shop. He went on to own his own shop at Harts Corner in Western Road.

    By G Jackson (25/01/2021)
  • I clearly remember moving to Tye Common Road in about 1948 from Clarks the butchers in the High Street. My father George Twiddy was a butcher and worked there and we lived in a flat above the shop. We arrived in Tye Common Road in a horse and cart supplied by Mr Boughtwood who I believe was friendly with my grandad Thomas MacDonald always known as Mac. He was from Aberdeen and had a lovely Scottish accent all his life.

    By Barbara Stewart (nee Twiddy) (16/01/2021)
  • I am a grand-daughter of Albert Victor Boughtwood who died in WW1 and is buried in Basra Iraq. His widow Elizabeth left for New Zealand with her five children in 1921. 

    By Glenys Plaistowe nee Boughtwood (02/10/2017)
  • I am a direct descendant of Thomas Timothy Beningfield 1770- 1853 died at Billericay. I believe that he was the local member of parliament & owned about fifty properties in the town. I would appreciate any information you have of the family.

    By ALLAN COX (23/07/2015)
  • Am I right but was not Burstead House used by the Civil Defence in the 50s’ of which my Father Arthur Downham was a member, with Mr Bullen the Chemist and Gerry Hardman. Sorry can remember any other names.

    By Felicity (09/06/2012)

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