I received an intriguing email back in January from a lady named Lorna. Her great, great grandfather was Edward Ellis, who resided in Keepers Cottage in the 19th Century. He worked on the estate for around fifty years in the employ of the Berens family.
Whilst researching her family tree and some Chislehurst connections she discovered her hitherto unknown connection to Mr Ellis, the cottage and the woods. What some of you may know is that Edward Ellis and his wife Elizabeth were murdered close to the cottage in 1880. The grisly event is quite well known locally and has always intrigued me, not least as my family and I live at Keepers Cottage. The full story is told in the newspaper article below.
Lorna expressed an interest in seeing the cottage. As part of a trip looking at other ancestral connections in the Chislehurst area Lorna and her son Peter travelled down from Scotland for a weekend visit on 10/11th May. It was fascinating to meet them, show them around the cottage and learn more about their family history. I know the Chislehurst Society and St Nicholas Church (where Mr and Mrs Ellis are buried) were also very helpful in welcoming Lorna and Peter to Chislehurst and helping them to find locations with family connections.
The pictures shown above, particularly of the Keepers Cottage, are so interesting to see. I was especially surprised that there have been so few changes to the cottage and that some features that I had assumed were newer additions have in fact always been there. The story of the Ellis family and Joseph Waller is a dreadfully sad one, but such an interesting part of the history of the cottage and the wider estate.