Jenny has carried out some forensic research into the ownership of houses in Stonefield Street which you find here under the title "From Stony Fields to Bricks and Mortar".  She did this using Poor Rate records held at the Islington Local History Centre in St Johns Street.  Poor Rates were a bit like Council Tax today - they were levied by the Vestry on all houses in a parish according to size, and the proceeds used for poor relief.  The great thing about them from our point of view is that, unlike Census records which only begin in 1841, they allow us to trace the occupancy and ownership of houses in the Cloudesley Estate right back to when they were first built around 1830.199 Liverpool Rd

As explained elsewhere, the freehold to the houses in the Cloudesley Estate was owned by the Parish of St Mary which appointed "Feoffees" to administer the estate.  The Feoffees let the land to leaseholders to build houses and these leaseholders let the houses to tenants (who might then sub-let to sub-tenants!).  From 1838 the records in Jenny's article show leaseholders (as "owners") in addition to tenants (as "occupiers") and what is immediately apparent is that a Mrs Freeman is by far the most important landlord as "owner" of no less than 12 houses in Stonefield Street.

Jenny has of course tracked down Mrs Freeman and she turns out to be Martha Freeman (1775-1849) who in 1795 married David Freeman.  David Freeman, like John Emmett, was one of the handful of builders responsible for building houses in the Cloudesley Estate.  By his death in 1838 he was the leaseholder for the 12 houses in Stonefield Street as well as a further 6 houses in Cloudesley Terrace (now Liverpool Road), all of which he presumably built.  David and Martha themselves lived in one of these - 59 Cloudesley Terrace - now 199 Liverpool Road, on the corner of Richmond Avenue - see photo.

Martha inherited this substantial portfolio and no doubt led a very comfortable life on the rental income, as indeed did her 10 children, as Jenny explains!


Addition, March 2024.

Thanks to Susan Skedd, leader of the "Tales from the Crypt" project, we now have further evidence of the scope of the Freeman property empire which, intriguingly, extended to a small chapel in Walworth St!  Susan established this by transcribing fire insurance records held at the LMA, which you can view here.