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Henry Linhooke Helsham 1736-1805

Surgeon of Stoke Ferry (near Downham), Norfolk

Born: 1736(?) and died 25 April 1805 aged 69.
Parents: Not known but mother was possibly called Katharine and may have had the surname Linhooke.
Brother of: Not known.
He married: Ann Harvey (1731?-1793) at Stoke Ferry 2 December 1761, daughter of Robert Harvey (1700-1756) and Mary Harvey (nee Wheasenham).  .
They had issue:
Henry Helsham (1767-1806) who married Catharine Crowe (Katharine,1773-1816).

This branch of the Helsham family appear to be cousins of Dr Arthur Helsham but I am not sure yet of the link?

The information I have about Henry Helsham comes from the following sources:

  1. The diaryof his grandaughter Elizabeth Jones(nee Helsham) who makes reference to him but says that her only recollection of him as a child was that she was frightened by his red velvet cap in which he took his afternoon nap.
    2. Various notes written by his great grandson Col Henry Helsham Helsham-Jones.
    3. His tomb stone inside the All Saints Church in Stoke Ferry.
    4. A book titled "Stoke Ferry" by Doris E Coates, 1980.  This mentions the doctors in the village including the Harveys and the Helshams living near the church.
    5. An articles of agreement relating to the sale of land from Henry Linhooke Helsham to William Denn in 1787 for £500.  See below.
    6. His will which is in the Public Record Office at Kew PROB11/1434.

I understand from the book "Stoke Ferry", by Doris Coates, that Henry Linhooke Helsham was one of the doctors or "Surgeons" in the village, following on in the same practice of his father in law Robert Harvey (1700-1756), working with his brother in law William Harvey (1732-1803) and later with his son Henry Helsham.  It should be noted that while Doris Coates describes Robert Harvey as a doctor, Robert in his will describes himself as a Grocer.

In her diary, Elizabeth Jones states that her grandfather Henry Linhooke Helsham lived in a large red brick house that he had built opposite the church.  She goes on to state that this house had the date 1790 in split flints in front of the door.  In Stoke Ferry there still exists a large red brick house, known as "The Hall", located opposite the church and with the date 1790 in flint stones in the pavement directly in front of the main entrance door.  I think we can safely assume that this is the house which Elizabeth says was built by Henry back in 1790 and this would also account for him selling land in 1787 presumably to raise money for the project.  However, Doris Coates states that the Hall was built by James Bradford?

Doris Coates mentions the doctors house being called "The Lodge" and William Harvey owning it from 1777.  There still exists on the other side of the church an old house which is now three houses, one of which is known as the Old Chemist Shop.  This is presumably the house which William Harvey bought in 1777 and was possibly lived in by Henry Linhooke Helsham up untill 1790 when presumably he moved the family into the newly completed Hall.

I do not know where Henry Linhooke Helsham was born, or who his parents were but the brick house which he built is a substantial dwelling and probably much larger than would be expected for the doctor in a small village like Stoke Ferry.  We know that his wife Ann inherited some money from her father in 1756 and we can probably assume that Henry's parents were also reasonably well off and perhaps he also inherited some money from somewhere.

Henry Linhooke Helsham is buried in the All Saints Church in Stoke Ferry and there is a tablet in the floor stating that he died 25 April 1805 aged 69 years.  In his will he describes himself as "Surgeon and Apothecary" of Stoke Ferry.  He left everything to his son Henry Helsham who was also the executor.  The will was written in May 1793 and proved 3 September 1805.

It would appear Henry's son Henry  took over the practice but died the following year after which the family moved away.

In her diary Elizabeth makes reference to the Helshams of Kilkenny in Ireland and states that they were probably distant relations but she did not know how they were related.  She makes a reference to the Dr Helsham who was a friend of Johnathan Swift and states that she had in the family at that time (1866) a portrait of Swift (or Dr Helsham?) which indicates that there was a family connection with Swift's Friend Dr Helsham.  This Dr Helsham would appear to be Richard Helsham MD (1682?-1738) who's Scientific Lectures "A Course in Natural Philosophy" was published posthumously by his colleague Bryan Robinson in 1739.  This book went on to be reprinted a number of times with a fifth edition appearing in 1777. 

In the register from All Saints Church in Stoke Ferry I understand there was a note of a Katharine Helsham, widow, who was buried 19 December 1774.  Perhaps this was Henry Linhooke Helsham's mother?  Henry's second name Linhooke may indicate her maiden name.  Linhooke is a very unusual surname.  There was a William Linhooke recorded as being buried in 1708 in Wesbech District, Norfolk.  This is recorded in the Parish Register for Tilney All Saints.  Pehaps this William Linhooke was related?



Articles of agreement relating to the sale of land  from Henry Linhooke Helsham to William Denn in 1787 for £500. 

This document reads as follows:

Articles of Agreement made and agreed upon the fifth day of December in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven Between Henry Linhooke Helsham of Stoke near Downham in the County of Norfolk Surgeon of the one part and William Denn of Shipsham [?] in the said County Gentleman of the other part First the said Henry Linhooke Helsham in consideration of the sum of Five Hundred Pounds of good and lawful money of Great Britain to be paid him his Heirs Executors or Administrators by the said William Denn his Heirs or Assigns as hereinafter mentioned Doth hereby for himself his Heirs Executors and Administrators Covenant Promise and Agree to and with the said William Denn his Heirs and Assigns in manner following that is to say that for the said Henry Linhooke Helsham his Heirs Executors or  Administrators shall and will upon the Fifth day of April next or as soon after as conveniently can be by good and sufficient Conveyance and Assurance in the same such as the Council of the said William Denn his Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns shall advise and require convey and Assure unto the said William Denn his Heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns free from all incumbrances whatsoever, an Annual Free Rent of Thirteen Shillings and four pence to the Manor of Whisburgh [?] to grow . . . the present subsisting Leave to Thomas Boulter [?] for Twenty One years from the Tenth day of October next at the yearly Rent of Twenty Pounds only excepted All those several pieces and parcels of land meadows and pasture ground of him the said Henry Linhooke Helsham lying and being in Woolfield [?] in the said Country containing together by Estimation Twenty Acres, be the same more or less with the Rights Liberties Privileges and Appurtenances together with all the wood timber now growing thereon And Also that all and every the said lands and premises are freehold or leasehold and as to such part as is leasehold the term is not less than two hundred years now to come and unexpired.  The said Henry Linhooke Helsham his Heirs Executors and Administrators to be at all expense necessary to make a good Title to the premises and the said William Denn and his Heirs at the expense of the Conveyancer And the said William Denn in Consideration of such Conveyance and Assurances made to him his Heirs Executors Administrators as aforesaid and a good Title made of the said Premises doth hereby for himself  his Heirs Executors and Administrators Covenant promise and Agree to and with the said Henry Linhooke Helsham his Heirs Executors and Administrators in manner and form following that is to say That the said William Donn his Heirs Executors or Administrators shall and will  upon the said Fifth day of April now next morning (coming ?) well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto the said Henry Linhooke Helsham the said Sum of Five Hundred pounds as and for the purchase Money of the said Hereditaments and premises And Lastly it is agreed by and between the said Parties to those present that he the said Henry Linhooke Helsham shall receive the Rents and Profits of all the said Hereditaments and premises up to the said day of April next from that time the same are to be received by the said William Denn his Heirs Executors or  Administrators . . . In Witness  whereof the parties first above named have to those present set and put their Hands and Seals the Day and Year first above written
Henry L. Helsham
William Denn
Sealed and Delivered by them within named Henry Linhooke Helsham in the presence of 
Thomas Boulter. 
Sealed and Delivered in the presence of 
By them within named
William Denn
John Crisp



If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact me.

(Diary of Elizabeth Jones) (Will of Henry Linhooke Helsham)  (The Hall, Stoke Ferry)  (The Old Chemist Shop)  (All Saint's Church)