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Marshall Sadd (1869-1951)


Marshall Sadd was also named by Billy Bennington as a dulcimer player, although the two may never have met and he may only have known of him by reputation through Marshall’s older brother Herbert Sadd. Nothing is known about his music-making, and whether or not he played after he moved out of the area in later life.


Marshall was born in 1869 in Marlingford, west of Norwich, where he was apprenticed as a blacksmith by the age of twelve, probably to Frederick Blyth, the Marlingford blacksmith who lived with the Sadd family for many years. In 1890 he married Mary Ann Bennett, daughter of the blacksmith in nearby Hethersett, where the pair were living when the 1891 census was taken, and where their first four children were born. In 1900/01 the family moved to Lakenheath in west Suffolk where they stayed for about ten years, and in 1911 they were living on Hardwick Road in Bury St Edmunds, and Marshall was working as a blacksmith on the Hardwick estate, owned by the Cullum family, which was dismantled in the early 1920s. The Hardwick estate contained an entire village and the main house also had extensive grounds which at one time included a Venetian indoor riding school, and the local Hunt often met there.


Nothing is known of Marshall’s movements until he moved out of East Anglia to Astley, near Nuneaton in Warwickshire. The opportunities to work as a blacksmith would have shrunk dramatically in the second decade of the twentieth century, firstly with so many horses being taken to the First World War, and secondly with the increase in motor transport and mechanisation on farms. Astley was a tiny village and it is likely he worked on the Castle estate there. From photographs taken in the Astley years, probably in the 1940s, when Marshall was in his seventies, it is clear that he kept a small number of pigs and cows, and a horse-drawn cart bearing his name is also visible in the background.


Marshall died on 3rd April 1951 and probate records show his address in Astley to have been Blacksmith’s Cottage, which is still the name of the house today, just down the lane from newly restored Astley Castle.



Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture


Photo descriptions & sources

Main photos: Marshall Sadd and his wife Mary in Suffolk (via the Ancestry website)

Marshall Sadd in Astley (via the Ancestry website)





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