Solicitor and Landlord

William Henry Reffell (1856-1936)

In the early 20th century much of land in Britain was still owned by a privileged few, who often got richer as their land increased in value with no effort on their part. This was beginning to be seen by many people as a social injustice. In 1909 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George (and later Prime Minister) started a survey that is sometimes named after him, it’s other common name is the Doomsday book. His Liberal Government’s ‘People’s Budget’ of 1909 introduced a new tax on any increase in land values due to the State’s economic efforts rather than to landowners’ own efforts. The resulting 1910 Lloyd George Domesday Survey is a unique combination of maps and residential data which can be used to see who owned what at that time.

These records show that a few members of the Reffell family owned a number of houses in the London area. Two of these were William Henry Reffell and his wife Ellen Reffell nee Bond. Between them they owned twenty two properties in the south London and Sidcup areas, being purchased at various times between 1870 and 1890.

Specifically these were:
5 and 7 Nottingham Road 4 Rosehill Road, 139 Leathwaite Road, 2,and 4 Dulka Road, 1, 42 and 44 Webbs Road, 40 Bennerley Road, 30, 32 and 34 Knox Road, 47 and 49 Gap Road, 107 and 108 Bollingbrook Road, 79 Honeywell Road and 25, 27, 29 and 31 Steyne Road.

William had been born in Rotherhithe to George Bush Reffell and Martha Bartlett and was descended from the lighterman branch of the family. He started as an office boy when living in Holborn in 1851. By 1901 he was a solicitor living in Cheam Surrey and by 1911 had moved out to Alton Hampshire. In 1921 he was living in Blackberry Lane Upper Lymington Hampshire as a small holder & property owner.

Personal Information:
Father: George Bush Reffell (1828-1872)
Mother: Martha Bartlett (1831-1861)
Born: 1856 at Rotherhithe
Married: Ellen Bond (1858-1941) on 4 September 1880 at Onslow Chapel Neville Terrace Kensington
Children: Edith Beatrice (1881-1978), Frederick William (1882-1927), Sidney Guy (1885-1959) & Ernest Henry (1887-1893)
Died: 30 October 1936 at Lymington Mount, Four Marks, Alton, Hampshire