25th August 2017

My freeman history: Philip Yaxley

Philip Yaxley (in checked suit) at his admission to the Freemen of Norwich in 1978.

Philip Yaxley can trace his freeman heritage back to his ancestor Thomas Yaxley who was admitted in 1818.

“Thomas Yaxley, who died on 13 February 1842 at the age of 47, was the first in my line of freemen,” says Philip. “He was admitted to the freedom on 24 February 1818 when he was apprenticed to James Adams, a coachmaker in the yard of the Coachmaker’s Arms in St. Stephen’s Road, Norwich. Later Thomas worked for Spratts of Chapelfield.

Coachmaker’s Arms

Next came his son John Yaxley (1833-1925) who was born in Crook’s Place, Norwich, and was admitted a freeman on 23 July 1860. He is listed in White’s Directory of 1890 as an engineer at 37 Lower Westwick Street, Norwich. He worked for Bullards’ Brewery for 60 years and was one of the pioneers of the Anchor Brewery Sick Club. He took a big interest in the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and at one time held the office of Noble Grand in the Travellers’ Rest Lodge.

John Yaxley, admitted in 1860

His son, also called Thomas Yaxley, (1864-1951) originally lived at Lower Westwick Street, Norwich, and was made a freeman on 26 June 1885. He worked for over 60 years for the Briton Brush Company, formerly known as S.D.Page & Sons, firstly at the Haymarket in Norwich, but from about 1888 in Wymondham.

EDP article about Thomas Yaxley

He was Noble Grand when the Travellers’ Rest Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity, celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1885.

George (1891 -1947) and Thomas (1864 -1951

The next in line, my father, George Yaxley, (1891- 1947) was admitted as a freeman on 13 February 1946. He was a railway goods clerk and chief clerk at Wymondham Station on his death. He was a fine bowls player and footballer.

George Yaxley’s admission in 1946. George is second from left in the front row holding trilby (i.e. on the Lord Mayor’s right


Joanne Yaxley at her admission ceremony in 2010

I was born in 1936 and was admitted on 11 March 1978. My daughter Joanne was admitted in 2010 after the rules changed allowing women to become freemen.”


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