Portrait of a Colkirk Rector
James Bradby Sweet was born at Cullompton, Devon in 1818.
The first record we can find of him is as the Perpetual Curate of Modville, Leicestershire in 1851. He lived in the Parsonage House with his sister Eliza Ann Sweet born at Tiverton in 1827. Their servants were Ann Dolman, cook, aged 25 from Repton, Derbyshire; Jane Tabbor, housemaid, aged 23 from Staunton Harold, Derbyshire, and Arthur Brealey, servant, aged 15 from Woodville, Derbyshire.
James married Emily Jane Hallward in Leicestershire in 1853.
Their first child, a daughter , Florence Emily was born in 1856 in Swepstone, Leics. A son, J. Leslie, was born in 1857 in Benson, Oxfordshire. Later that same year, the family moved to the Rectory in Colkirk where their third child, Mary, was born in 1859.
James and Emily had two more children whilst living in Colkirk; William, born 1860, and Edward, born 1861.
James's mother Caroline was also living with them. Their staff consisted of a cook, Eliza Britton, from Bermondsey; a young housemaid, Frances High, from Colkirk, and a teenage undernurse, Anna Thompson, from Colkirk.
Whilst living in Colkirk, Emily painted several watercolours of the village and surrounding areas (reproduced at the bottom of this page).
In 1868, James and his family moved to Yorkshire where he became Vicar of Scalby, Scarborough. James's teenage niece, Clara, born in Worcestershire, also lived with them.
Working for the family were a French Governess; a cook, Elizabeth Farrant, from Fakenham; a parlour maid, Fanny Bradley, from Boston, Lincs, and a teenage housemaid, Diana Harper, from Colkirk.
By 1871,the Revd. Sweet and his family had moved to Barton in Fabis, near Nottingham. The undernurse, Anna Thompson went with them.
By 1881 the family had moved to Otterton, Devon where James was the Vicar, living in the Vicarage with his wife Emily, daughters Florence and Mary, and son Edward, now an undergraduate at Oxford. Their undernurse, Anna Thompson, remained in Barton in Fabis where she had met her husband- to-be, Henry. They travelled down to Otterton in Devon so that they could be married by the Revd. Sweet but lived in Barton in Fabis for the rest of their lives.
They were looked after by a cook, Elizabeth Salmon, from Calstock, Cornwall; a parlour maid, Ann Nelson, from Colkirk, and a young housemaid, Elizabeth Langmead, from Otterton.
James Bradby Sweet died in 1897 in Devon.
In 1901, Emily was living in Fleet, Hampshire with her daughters Florence, 45 and Mary, 42, both still unmarried.
Emily Jane Sweet died in 1906 at Hartley Wintney, Hampshire.
We are grateful to Mr. D. Eldridge for lending us photos of these paintings to display on the website.
Watercolours by Emily Jane Sweet
Click on a photo to display a larger image.