Fine art legacy of a son of Aveley

By Nub News Reporter

26th Nov 2023 | Local History

The graves in St Michael’s churchyard.
The graves in St Michael’s churchyard.

Here is the latest in the occasional series of features from Sue Yates, chair of Thurrock History Society.


RECENTLY I visited an old friend who showed me a painting by William Parrott.

He was very surprised when I told him that the artist was born at Parsonage Farm, Aveley.

William was born on 23rd November 1813 he was the son of William and Anne Parrott of Parsonage Farm, Aveley and baptised on 6 December 1813 at the parish church of St Michael's, Aveley.

Parsonage Farm was formerly the Rectory House which is referred to back in the 13th century. It stood on the north side of Purfleet Road roughly where Lowlands Road stands now and is shown on the Chapman and Andre map of 1777.

The artist's father, William Parrott, was born in 1773 and farmed Parsonage Farm and on William senior's death his son George took over the running of it.

George died aged 50 on 6th April 1859 and is buried in St. Michael's churchyard alongside his father who died aged 60 on 11th May 1833 and was buried on 17th May 1833.

They lie side by side in the family plot. William's mother Anne, who passed away on 18th March 1847 aged 75 years, is buried there too.

William junior became an artist and worked in the mediums of both oil and watercolour. He was a pupil of the engraver John Pye (1782-1874).

On the 1841 census William was shown as an artist aged 27 years living at Parsonage Farm with his 68-year-old widowed mother Anne and several siblings including 32-year-old George who ran the farm.

Parrott went to Paris and was there from 1842 to 1843.

William Parrott's 'The Montem at Eton, with Windsor Castle beyond the River Thames'. Picture: National Trust Images

In 1843 he published 12 Parisian lithographs. He then travelled to Rome where he stayed from 1844 to 1845.

His work featured in exhibitions from 1835 to 1869. He also exhibited work at the Suffolk Fine Arts Association, Ipswich which began in 1850.

William was living in St Pancras according to the 1851 and 1861 censuses at 14 Fitzroy Street, St Pancras, London, the home of William Maerk, a tailor. He did though during a 1851 tour Germany.

William at the age of 57 years married at Ampthill, Bedfordshire on 28th March 1871 to his namesake 49 years old Martha Parrott, the youngest daughter of the late Edward Parrott of Dorton Park.

By the time of the 1871 census William and his wife were living at Denmark Place, St Mary in the Castle, Hastings, Sussex and by 1881 they had moved back to London residing at No. 3 Moss Hall Villa, Nether Street, Finchley.

The 1891 census shows him still living in Nether Street and his occupation as a landscape painter. He lived here until he died on 23rd September 1893. He was buried in St. Marylebone Cemetery on 27th September 1893.

Martha, his wife died on 14th December 1907. Sadly William had no children.


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