The Blackwell Family Of Chipperfield
John Parsley, the rather reclusive farmer and Lord of the Manor, lived in Pingelsgate House, which we now know as the Manor House. He is best remembered now as the man who sold the land on which St Paul’s Church was built in 1838. He was married to Mary Finch, daughter of John Finch of Redheath, which is now York House School at Croxley Green. John Parsley died childless in 1850 and left his estate to his nephew Robert Blackwell. Robert had been apprenticed to a grocer and tea dealer with a view to working with his brother, who had just established Crosse and Blackwell in 1830. However, he opted to work in Oxford Street with another brother, who ran an extremely successful saddlery business.
Robert was in quite a dilemma when he looked at the properties he had inherited, because both the Manor House in King’s Langley High Street and Pingelsgate House in Chipperfield were in a dilapidated state. He opted to come and live in Chipperfield and transferred the wooden panelling and the Kettell Coat of Arms from the King’s Langley building to Pingelsgate House and took up residence there as Lord of the Manor. He married Mary Wotton, grand-daughter of Dr Wotton of Haverfield in King’s Langley.
Both Mary and Robert dedicated themselves to village affairs. When Robert died aged 79 in 1893, the same problem occurred as had 43 years earlier. There was no heir apparent. He had outlived his nine brothers and sisters, so had to look to his nephews for an heir. Even there, the choice was limited to two people, because the younger generation were heavily committed to Crosse and Blackwell. The lot fell to Samuel John Blackwell, who had retired from active service with Crosse and Blackwell, although he still sat on the Board. He did not accede to the property until 17 years after Robert’s death when Mary died in 1910. By then he was 69 years old. Samuel and his wife Elizabeth had eleven children, so prior to moving to Chipperfield from Harrow Weald, he arranged for two wings to be added to the Manor House. Both Elizabeth and Samuel were strong supporters of the Church. Samuel took his duties as Lord of the Manor very seriously and was particularly strict about the Common being kept in good order. The Blackwells provided employment for many people in the village and there were tied cottages for some employees.
In 1915 Samuel and Elizabeth celebrated their Golden Wedding, but it was not a happy year for them as it brought the news of the loss of their son Charles, who was killed in action. The following year, a second son William Gordon, known as Don , was also killed in action in Flanders. The loss of these two sons was a great blow to Samuel and Elizabeth and, after the war in 1922, they had the Social Club built in their memory. In fact, Samuel never got over his loss. His health deteriorated and he died in January 1923. He was buried in the family tomb in Chipperfield churchyard.