Part 3 Family Histories

The Day Family


Here lies the Daye that darkness could not blind…” is the beginning of a memorial inscription to John Daye, the famous printer (he printed Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and was one of the first English music printers). He was born in Dunwich in 1522 and died on his way to Little Bradley in 1584.

His second wife was Alice Le Hunt, by whom he had 13 children, but we only know about two of them: Lionel Daye who was provost of Eton and John Daye who was vicar of Little Thurlow from 1622 to 1627. According to the family bible, the Day family are descended from John Daye and Alice Le Hunt. How is this connected with Little Thurlow 2000?

We move on several generations. William Day lived in Rectory House, Great Bradley with his wife Joanna Seeley Day (née Pettett). He was born in 1788, married in 1813 and died in 1873. His fourth son Richard Pettett Day became the shop keeper in Little Thurlow, running a drapers and general store where Corner Cottage is now. In 1853 Richard married his first cousin Mary-Anne Day from Winteringham in Huntingdonshire. They had eight children, four sons and four daughters. The eldest son James emigrated to Australia, where he was murdered on his way back home from the bank on April 27th 1906; the second son William Osborne moved to Leicestershire and married Louisa Jane Goodacre; Thomas Day remained at home, dying at the age of forty seven; John the third son died from influenza at the age of twenty whilst studying at Oxford to enter the church. Tamar, Joanna and Elizabeth all became governesses and returned to Thurlow in their later years. Agnes, the youngest daughter, became a governess for a short time and then during the First World War was a nurse at the military hospital at Netley in Hampshire. She was one of the first physiotherapists!



Richard Pettett Day (22 Aug 1822 – 23 Dec 1904) married his first cousin Mary-Anne Day (9 Jan 1831 – 10 Jan 1898) on 29 Sept 1853. They ran the shop where Corner Cottage is now. They had eight children:


not pictured: 3rd son John (1859 – 1879) and eldest daughter Tamar (1855 – 1911)


Agnes Jane (23 Feb 1871 – 1959)Agnes Jane as a nurse in 1914-18 war


with two sisters [from the right] Elizabeth (20 March 1865 – 1926) Joanna Pettett (22 October 1862 – 1942)

Only one of the eight children married ­ William Osborne. He had three children: Stanley born in Leicester, and Louisa Agnes and Richard John born in Manchester. Stanley remained a bachelor, and Louisa married Victor Guiver and lived in London with their two daughters. Richard John married Winifred Mary Reed in Manchester; they had two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, and Mary is the present occupier of the Olde House.

Richard Pettett Day bought the Olde House from the Charities Commission in 1885. It had stood empty from 1876 when it had ceased being a school. Many negotiations took place before it could be put up for auction with a reserve of £120, but it failed to reach its reserve and was bought for £80.

Richard Pettett and his wife moved in during 1895 after the house had been let for a while, but Mary-Anne died in 1898. Richard’s sister, Mary Anne Bowyer, came to live with them when she was widowed. As their daughters retired they too came to live here; Tamar dying in 1911, Elizabeth in 1926, Annie (Joanna) in 1942 and Agnes in 1959. The house was left to Richard John Day, who having retired came to live here with his wife in 1960. He died in 1967 and Winifred Mary died in 1982, leaving the house to their elder daughter Mary.
The name Day may have died out, but there are still descendants to carry on: John Benjamin (Mary’s elder son) and his wife Beverley, and their three children, Natalie Catherine, Joseph Carey, and Amy Louise; and Michael Edmund (Mary’s younger son) and his son Nelson.