Oldest Family Businesses In Essex

Paul Andrews

Family Business United conducted the inaugural research into the oldest family firms in Essex and the report has been published here.  Due to the very nature of reporting requirements and there being no need to disclose family ownership at Companies House, if you think that there are any that need to be added, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will update the list as necessary.

As they currently stand, the oldest family firms in Essex are listed below.

The Oldest Family Firms In Essex

  1. M Lucking & Sons, Funeral Directors, Chelmsford (1631)
  2. T Pennack & Sons, Funeral Directors, Chelmsford (1740)
  3. Cants of Colchester, Rose Growers,  Colchester (1765)
  4. Richard Haward Oysters, Cultivating Oysters, Mersea (1769)
  5. John J Smith Stonemasons & Funeral Services,  Funeral Directors, Colchester (1818)
  6. P.S. Shelley Master Thatcher Ltd, Thatcher, Hockley (1820)
  7. W & H Marriage & Sons Ltd, Flour Millers, Chelmsford (1824)
  8. Gray & Sons (Chelmsford) Ltd, Public Houses & Beer Wholesalers, Chelmsford (1826)
  9. Fish Brothers Group, Jewellers & Pawnbrokers, Romford (1830)
  10. Warsop Stebbing, Manufacturers of Cricket Bats, Chelmsford (1850)
  11. Collier & Catchpole, Builders Merchants, Colchester (1850)
  12. Manns Music, Retailers, Colchester (1854)
  13. P.G. Oxley Ltd, Funeral Directors, Walton-on-the-Naze (1857)
  14. S Stibbard & Sons, Funeral Directors, Hadleigh (1867)
  15. Sadlers Taxis, Taxi Firm, Epping Forest (1869)
  16. CJ Townrow, Retailers, Braintree (1871)
  17. Daniel Robinson & Sons, Funeral Directors, Stansted (1872)
  18. Nicholls & Clarke Limited, Builders Merchants, Benfleet (1875)
  19. T Cribb & Sons, Funeral Directors, Benfleet (1881)
  20. Maldon Salt, Salt Producers, Maldon (1882)
  21. FR Shadbolt & Sons Ltd, Door Manufacturers, Braintree (1884)
  22. Wilkin & Sons, Manufacturers of Preserves, Tiptree (1885)
  23. Hatfields, Furniture Retailers, Colchester (1886)
  24. Church’s Butchers, Butchers, Epping Forest (1888)

Featured Oldest Family Businesses In Essex

1631 – M. Lucking & Sons, Chelmsford

M Lucking & Sons have served Chelmsford and the surrounding area for over 360 years.  Ongoing research has traced the Lucking family to the Great Waltham and Little Waltham areas of Chelmsford. In 1631, William Lucking of Little Waltham carried on the trade of carpenter and joiner and would, no…

1765 – Cant’s Of Colchester

From the oldest recorded Town of Colchester, Cants is the oldest recorded rose grower in the UK and one of the oldest family businesses in Essex. Established in 1765, they have over 250 years of experience and are still a family firm run by direct descendants of the founder.  Whilst…

1769 – Haward’s Oysters, Mersea Island

The Haward family began cultivating oysters in the 18th century and are believed to be the oldest oyster farmers in the world and one of the oldest family businesses in Essex today. Now run by the eighth generation, the business is thriving under the direction of Tom Haward.  Initially renting…

1820 – P.S. Shelley Master Thatchers

The Shelley family have a history as Master Thatchers in Essex that spans over 200 years. Henry Shelley was the first thatcher in the family, born in Hockley in 1807 where he lived all his life. His son, Daniel, followed him into the trade and in 1880, Daniel’s son George…

1824 – W & H Marriage & Sons

The Marriage family has been milling quality flour in Essex for almost 200 years, and pride themselves on supporting Britain’s food and farming industry. Wherever possible, they use wheat grown within 30 miles of Chelmer Mills, and several of their flours are Red Tractor accredited. Using techniques tried and tested…

1826 – Gray & Sons, Chelmsford

The Gray family came into brewing in 1826 at the Springfield Road Brewery in Chelmsford. From 1870 to 1954 the Maldon Brewery in Gate Street was also run by the Gray family to supply the growing number of pubs in the Maldon area. Stock, Mild, Bitter, Stout and Porter were…

1850 – Warsop Stebbing

The Warsop Stebbing story begins in the mid 1800’s with Benjamin Warsop, a gentleman from Nottingham who moved to London to set up his cricket bat workshop in St Johns Wood. Along with the help of his four sons: Alfred, Arthur, Frank and Walter. Their craftsmanship and skill in the…

1854 – Manns Music, Colchester

Manns is one of the oldest music shops in Great Britain, and possibly the world, under the same ownership. It’s currently run by Tim Mann, the great, great grandson of the founder. They moved to their current location in 1891 and have been there ever since. As a family business…

1882 – Maldon Salt

Four generations of master salt makers have been hand harvesting the naturally formed flakes that have become Maldon‘s signature. The Osborne family have been making the finest quality salt for a century. That‘s a long time and a lot of salt for a family that’s both custodians of an ancient…

1884 – F.R. Shadbolt & Sons

Established in 1884, F.R. Shadbolt & Sons are manufacturers of the highest quality architectural doors, panels and washroom cubicle interiors. Frederick started the business all those years ago selling his wife, Louise’s, marquetry inlays to the furniture trade, 138 years later the business has gone from strength to strength and…