Stamford Tenants: a history of Rock Terrace and its occupants by John Daffurn traces the people who lived in homes at Scotgate
Have you ever wondered who lived in your house in the years before you?
That question was puzzling John Daffurn, then living at Rock Terrace, and so he began the research which led to his latest book, Stamford Tenants: a history of Rock Terrace and its occupants.
Having initially traced the people who lived in his own house from its construction to the present day, John set about charting the tenancy of the entire terrace.
He said: “Rock Terrace was built in 1842 by the former Stamford Mercury proprietor, Richard Newcomb, and is unusual in that only two families owned it for the first 100 years.”
“I set myself the task of identifying the tenants for all 10 houses for the hundred years after they were built.”
Using the Stamford Mercury archive and The British Newspaper Archive online to find births, marriages and deaths linked with Rock Terrace, John discovered tenants and servants with family names still much-heard in Stamford today - Atton, Bettle, Bowman, Burrows, Crowson, Cunnington, Halliday, Hibbitt, Pollard, Pond, Rudkin, Russon and Scholes.
In addition to a handy ‘timetable’ for each Rock Terrace property, referencing more than 200 individuals including live-in servants, Stamford Tenants is brought to life by potted life histories of over 15 of the most interesting occupants.
“One profile is of a servant girl from Great Casterton who ended up working at Duddington Manor,” said John. “She then married the lord of the manor and her life was changed.”
Another historical nugget John uncovered is the identity of the architect of Rock Terrace and Rock House- although this is something he’s keeping for his own readers to find out.
Stamford Tenants: a history of Rock Terrace and its occupants is available from today (Friday, October 23) at Walkers bookshop in Stamford High Street priced £14.99.
John will be signing copies at a market stall near the library in Stamford High Street, tomorrow (Saturday, October 24).