Wilfred Stanley Pettitt (1904 – 1978)

As part of consolidating a number of family trees that my cousin Hamish has been putting together at the Ancestorium.com family tree collaboration, he’s traced a number of my wife’s ancestors (see links to some of the longer branches below).

There’s an obituary for her father Robin Garth Pettitt in The Times that’s included in his record. I’ll try and add a photo of him and her uncle David along with his eulogy. And from what I understand there’s also a tree of my wife’s maternal ancestors (the Jenkins) that’s been compiled and I hope to be able to add this at some point.

But in the meantime, I thought I would start with her grandfather William Stanley Pettitt (see biography below I found for him on the Tudor Galleries website). He was a commercial and fine artist, and we are lucky to have several of his paintings but here is a selection of his landscapes I have found online (mostly of East Anglia):


My wife has put a little book togher of his painting she and other members of her family have, as well as those she had found online. I will try and add those to the blog at some point:

Wilfred Stanley Pettitt was born in Great Yarmouth in 1904, the fourth child in a family of eight; he studied at the Great Yarmouth School of Art and Norwich School of Art.

When his father’s art shop in Great Yarmouth floundered during the First World War the family moved to a small holding in Reedham. This developed into the firm known as “Pettitts Ltd of Reedham” and was run by the family; more recently, having new owners, it is now called “Pettitts Animal Adventure Park”.

When Wilfred Pettitt married in 1929, he and his wife, Bessie, settled at 38 Earlham Green Lane, Norwich. The year before he had the first of several Royal Academy hangings (1928-1948). His work was also exhibited by the “Royal Society of British Arts” and the “Royal Cambrian Academy”. In the 1920’s he began experimenting in wood cuts and etchings but he was mainly an East Anglian landscape painter in oil, acknowledging Constable as an influence. The greatest impression on the young artist was made by Sir Arnesby Brown, one of East Anglia’s finest artists to whom he became protégé and friend.

Wilfred Pettitt was one of the founder members of the “Norwich Twenty Group” becoming secretary from 1946-1948, later becoming Chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle in 1953-1954.

For over 30 years Wilfred Pettitt worked in advertising with the Norvic Shoe Company, he retired as Manager of their Norwich Studio in 1969. In 1975 he organized an exhibition of his work which formed one of the highlights of the Drayton Village Festival. His best works were of English skies and hedgerows; however he also occasionally painted portraits and did one of a former Mayor of Norwich.

Wilfred Pettitt moved to Eastbourne to live near one of his sons where he died in 1978 aged 74.

Pettitt Pedigree Chart: stretches back 7 generations from my wife’s grandfather Wilfred Stanley Pettitt (1904 – 1978) to a John Pettit born about abt 1750 in Odell, Bedfordshire (see chart here). There’s also some notes you can read about the Pettitt family’s possible Huguenots roots here, but there’s also a possibility that the name is actually Norman in origin.

Clough Pedigree Chart: stretches back 5 generations from my wife’s paternal grandmother Bessie Hilda Clough (1902 – 1974) to an Edward Clough born about 1790 who is registered as living in Norwich in the 1861 census.

There was less discovered about maternal branches. The furthest ancestor back traced is a John Pake whose daughter Priscilla was born abut 1650 in Norwich (see relationship to BH Clough here). But there are number of paternal branches – mostly in the Midlands and East Anglia – that go back 10 generations or more, including:

The Faldo family are mentioned in The visitations of Bedfordshire ; annis Domini 1566, 1582, and 1634. … by William Harvey et al. As you can see from the attached image, there are no dates. That might explain Hamish’s note on the record for Richard ‘Faldoe’ of Ravensdon about there being a bit of a muddle between names, dates, and possibly generations from trees he cites:

The Richard ‘Faldoe’ of Ravensdon mentioned above and his wife Agnes Franklin are also included on the ‘Franklin01 page on Stirnet. The source is also The visitations of Bedfordshire:


That’s three more generations of Franklins, and they and Faldo family both seem to have coats of arms. There’s probably more to be discovered about my wife’s Franklin, Faldo and Nevell ancestors. For example, I found this snippet from The Victoria history of the county of Bedford (1904):

It mentions that the manor of Faldo owed its name to the family of Faldo or Keynes of Faldo. And that a William de Faldo and Cecilia his wife owned land in Higham Gobion in 1245. And that in 1312, William son of William de Keynes of Faldo and Joan – probably a grandson of the original holder – defended his mother in an action which she brought against Robert Michel. And that this William joined the earl of Lancaster’s rebellion in 1322, and his estates were forfeited but he was afterwards pardoned, and his possessions were restored to his heir in 1324. I think this William was the brother of my wife’s ancestor Richard Faldoe of Ravensdon mentioned above. Anyway, hopefully a starting place for further research.

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