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4 - 6 Church Street

4-6 Church Street were originally one property, dating from the 16th century. John Coote lived here from 1820 to 1881. He was a prosperous furniture maker, upholsterer, and auctioneer. On the far side of the wall that separates the rear garden from The White Horse next door is a stone tablet set into the brickwork by John Coote, with the inscription; THIS END BELONGS TO J.C. 1845.

The house was divided in the 1880s and at the far end was the home and office of George Mason Ball in the 1880s and 1890s. He was an important Agricultural Union organiser, many farmworkers lived in Church Street. He was one of the leaders of the early Farmworkers' Union, and an associate of Joseph Arch who lived here or in the house now demolished next door where the shops are.

Joseph Arch (10 November 1826 – 12 February 1919) was an English politician, born in Barford, Warwickshire who played a key role in unionising agricultural workers and in championing their welfare. Following their enfranchisement, he became a Member of Parliament.


Sources: Janet Gyford; Tom Henderson; Witham & Countryside Society.

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