More pages and infills about Combe Down

Glasshouse cafe - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 26 October 1929

Glasshouse cafe – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 26 October 1929

I have added more pages and infills about Combe Down by filling in some obvious gaps.

There’s some old adverts mentioning Combe Down or Monkton Combe – none very exciting it has to be said, but hopefully further research will find some that are. Having said that, even if the adverts themselves don’t excite they can lead to little known gems. Gems such as the 1912 Bath and West Show being held on Glasshouse Fields. I was unaware of this until I saw the ad and it also created a good opportunity to infill a bit about the background of the Glasshouse name.

I have added some more Combe Down maps and map links and moved it in the navigation too.

More old photos of Combe Down, Prior Park and Monkton Combe have been added.

A short section on the Monkton Combe lock up, an obvious omission, has been added. Another obvious omission, the Combe Down Jewish cemetery has be added too. Other additions cover Allotments on Combe Down, the old Wesleyan Reform chapel behind Glenburnie and some information about The Firs or Firs Field on Combe Down. This is now a Centenary Field protected in perpetuity through a legal Deed of Dedication between the Council and Fields in Trust, meaning that ownership and management of the site remain in local hands.

I have also added a section on Claremont Buildings or Hopecote Lodge as it is now known. It, along with Isabella Place and 109 – 117 Church Road, was part of the second wave of building on Combe Down from 1800. Some interesting people lived there including William Fortt who founded Fortt’s Refreshment Rooms in Milsom Street. Forrt’s later merged with tow other Bath firms to form Cater, Stoffell & Fortt that made the famous Bath Oliver biscuits.

There was also Rhoda Mary Hope (1828 – 1910) whose sister Sarah Clegg Hope (1832 – 1863) is the 2nd great-grandmother of Camilla Rosemary Shand (b. 1947), now Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. It was Rhoda’s nephew Dr Charles Middleton Coates (1857 – 1933), the son of Sarah Clegg Hope, who turned 1 – 3 Claremont Buildings, three Georgian buildings similar to 113 – 117 Church Road into one building with the French mansard it has now. One of his sons Donald Bateman Hope Coates (1904 – 1994) seems to have been a spy for the Cairo Gang inter-alia.

1 - 3 Claremont Buildings, later Hopecote, later Hope Cote Lodge, Combe Down

1 – 3 Claremont Buildings, later Hopecote, later Hope Cote Lodge, Combe Down

Historical maps treasure trove

I’ve found an historical maps treasure trove. There’s a lovely page at:

A Vision of Britain through Time

History of Combe Down in Bath and North East Somerset.

which tells us that in 1870 – 72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Combe Down like this:

“COMBE-DOWN, a chapelry in Combe-Monckton parish, Somerset; near the Great Western railway and the river Avon, 2 miles S of Bath. It has a post office‡ under Bath. Pop., 940. A hill, giving name to the place, is 550 feet high; commands an extensive prospect; yields Bath stone in large quarries; is pierced and cut with caverns and passages; and bears on its slope a pleasant little town, with villas, an inn, and the church. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, not reported.* Patron, the Vicar of South Stoke.

Historical maps

There’s also a link to historical maps that you can see, often, as a seamless map overlaying the modern equivalent and/or download the original free.

Historical map of Combe Down

Historical map of Combe Down

There are general purpose topographic historical maps:

as well as boundary historical maps showing administrative boundaries, for counties, districts, parishes etc.:

as well as land use historical maps recording what each plot of land was being used for on the day it was surveyed, in the 1930s:

Historical land utilization map

Historical land utilization map

A quick look at Combe Down around 1846 – 1848

I was just looking at the Hunt & Co. and Silverthorne directories for Bath and Bristol for 1848 and 1846 respectively and thought it would be interesting to see what went on in the village around then – what was it like on Combe Down around 1846 – 1848? Who is mentioned? What trades and professions?

The problem is that, unlike later Kelly’s directories that locate a place and then show the people living there plus their occupations etc. these earlier directories are alphabetical and by class, so it’s not so simple to get an idea of what was going on.

Luckily, in this age of the internet you can find ‘electronic’ copies of most things, which makes it easier to do a search and then……

So that’s what I did, using Google books for Hunt & Co. 1848 and a PDF for Silverthorne 1846.

The results are below and provide an interesting snapshot of some of the people who lived and worked here.

I find a number of  things interesting, compared to today. For example the use of ‘nobility and gentry’ and people describing themselves as ‘gent’. The boarding and day schools situated in private houses. The fact that there were actually shops in the village (!) – no cars or supermarkets then. Additionally, given the total population of 1,600 – 1,750 there are, unlike say the old telephone directories, actually very few people listed. One other thing is the blacksmith. In Silverthorne’s of 1846 it is George Humphries but by Hunt & Co of 1848 it is Harriett Humphries – presumably his wife or daughter. But, was she the owner or did she actually smith? It would be interesting to know.

The census’ for 1841 and 1851 also give a picture and are shown below the directory findings.

Some interesting things were going on with property on Combe Down around this time. John Ovens Thomas (1778 – 1836), the eldest son of John Thomas, the owner of Prior Park had died 10 years earlier but in 1846 his trustees decided to sell much of the land he had inherited from his father as well as some of his ground rents. The land, as can be seen from the estate sale notice below included the farm next door to St. Michael and All Angels Church at Monkton Combe, a number of fields near the Dundas Acqueduct and Midford Brook as well as ground rents for the Tyning Road area, The Brow, and Tyning Place.

John Ovens Thomas estate sale - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 16 April 1846 - 1John Ovens Thomas estate sale - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 16 April 1846 - 2John Ovens Thomas estate sale - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 16 April 1846 - 3

John Ovens Thomas estate sale – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 16 April 1846

It also included the land from North Road to Church Road as the map below shows, The map also gives a really good idea of what this area of Combe Down was like in 1846.

Map of Combe Down plots for sale from estate of John Oven Thomas in 1846

Map of Combe Down plots for sale from estate of John Oven Thomas in 1846

Hunts & Co 1848

Nobility, Gentry, &c.

  • Baskett Mrs. Sarah, 6, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Crawley Rev. Edm. Jones, Combe grove villa, Monckton Combe
  • Freestun Capt. Humphrey, Mayfield, Combe down
  • Jenkins Vaughan, Combe grove, Combe down – also Magistrate, For The Bath Division Of The County Of Somersetshire.
  • Newnham Rev. George William, Parsonage house, Combe down
  • Palethorpe Edward, De Montalt cottage, Combe down
  • Price William, 1, Claremont bldgs Combe down
  • Richmond Rev. Henry, Combe down
  • Sheen Miss Emma, 2, Isabella pl. Combe down
  • Steart Augustus Wm. 5, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Steart Mrs. Maria, 5, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Tanner Miss Fanny, 1, South parade, Combe down
  • Tanner Mrs. Sarah, 1, South parade, Combe down
  • Walters Miss Mary, 5, Isabella pl. Combe down


  • Aslat Mary, lodging house keeper, Claremont house, Combe down
  • Bending Thomas tailor, Combe down
  • Brooks William, beer retailer and smith, Combe down
  • Bull Margaretta, boarding & day school, Prospect pL Combe down
  • Clarke Robert, painter, plumber, &c. and grocery dealer, Combe Down
  • Cook William, grocery dealer and butcher, 3, Prospect place, Combe Down
  • Davidge George, quarry master, Combe down
  • Edwards Samuel, beer retailer and grocery dealer, 1, Prospect pl Combe down
  • Ewens Frances, lodging house keeper, Combe down
  • Forward George, grocery, &c. dealer, 4, Prospect pl. Combe down
  • Franckling Wm. travelling stationer, Combe down
  • Garrett Samuel, haulier, Combe down
  • Giles Thomas, grocery dealer, and butcher 3, Park place, Combe down
  • Harding William, surgeon, 3, Claremont buildings, Combe down
  • Hewlett Anne Batchelor, boarding and day school, 11, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Humphries Harriett, blacksmith, Combe down
  • Hunt James, grocery dealer, Brunswick place, Combe down
  • Lacey Robert, haulier, Combe down
  • Margerum Robert, grocery dealer, and beer retailer, Combe down
  • Massy Hugh Nelson, surgeon, Combe down
  • Payne John, overseer of the parish of Monkton Combe, Park villa, Combe down
  • Radburn George, quarry master, Combe down
  • Rawlings William, Carriage Inn, Combe down
  • Ricketts Charles, carpenter & joiner, Combe down
  • Salter Job, 1, Priory cottages, Combe down
  • Spence Samuel, Hadley Arms, and quarry master, Combe down
  • Stinnard & Ford, quarry masters, Combe down
  • Stodart John, 2, Claremout buildings, Combe down
  • Sumsion Isaac, quarry master, 1, Park place, Combe down
  • Vincent William, boot & shoe maker, 9, Cheap street — p. r. Combe down
  • Whitaker William, boot and shoe maker, Combe down
  • Wren Thomas Jay, short hand writer, and stationer, Combe down


Trinity, Combe down. — Sunday, 11 morn. and 6 even. Sacrament administered the first Sunday in the month. Rector, Rev. George Newnham. Curate, -Rev. D. Topham.


  • Independent, Combe down. Sunday 3 aft. and 6 even. Ministers various.
  • Wesleyan, Combe down. Sunday 6 even. Ministers various.


National (boys and girls) Combe down. Master, Samuel Hellier.

Silverthorne 1846

  • Alien Thomas Nelson, messenger at Guildhall; residence, Combe down
  • Barnes George, greengrocer, Combe down
  • Batchelor Arthur, grocer and provision warehouse, Combe down
  • Bending John, tailor and publican, Combe down
  • Burgess John, quarry master, Combe down
  • Burgess Mrs. Mary, Woodbine place, Combe down
  • Byfield J., quarry-master, Crossway place, Combe down
  • Clarke Robert, plumber, glazier, &c., I, Park place, Combe down
  • Cooke William, grocer, Combe down
  • Corbould John, mourning establishment, 32, Milsom street; residence, 4, lsabella place, Combe down
  • Davidge Sarah, publican, Combe down
  • Dayer Mrs. Hannah, Three Crowns, Combe down
  • Dill John Michael, lodgings, Green-Down house, Combe Down
  • Downey John, Brass-Knocker inn, Combe
  • Edwards Samuel, baker and grocer, Combe down
  • Heal George, Carriage inn and tavern, Combe down
  • Hewlett Miss Ann Batchelor, ladies’ seminary, 11, Demontalt place, Combe down
  • Hine Thomas, brewer, and wine and spirit vaults, Combe down brewery
  • Humphries George, blacksmith, Combe down
  • Hunt James, grocer and tea-dealer, Combe down
  • Lewis James, surgeon Combe down
  • Loscomb Mrs. Mary Anne, lodgings, Woodbine place, Combe down
  • Luff John, boot and shoe maker, Combe down
  • Newnham Rev. George William, Combe down parsonage, Combe down
  • Osburne Mrs. Col., 2, lsabella place, Combe down
  • Palethorpe Edward, gent., Demontalt cot., Combe down
  • Price William, gent., 1, Claremont bdgs., Combe down
  • Prince Mrs. Henry, 1, Isabella place, Combe down
  • Russell Henry, gardener, Combe down
  • Sheppard William, quarryman, Crossway house, Combe down
  • Steart Mrs. Maria, 5, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Stroud Thomas, gent., Combe down
  • Sumsion Samuel, quarry-master, Combe down
  • Tanner Thomas, gent., l, South parade, Combe down
  • Vincent William, boot and shoe maker, 9, Cheap street; residence, 2, Priory cottages, Combe down
  • Weaver William, butcher, Combe down
  • White Benjamin, gent., 2, Park place, Combe down
  • Wren Thomas Jay, Greendown cottage, Combe down


  • Quarrell Rev. R., Brow-hill house, Combe down


Monkton Combe, District 8: 149 properties, 362 males and 435 females giving a total population of 797

Monkton Combe, District 9: 50 properties, 164 males and 169 females giving a total population of 313

Lyncombe & Widcombe, District 9: 95 properties, 232 males and 258 females giving a total population of 490

Combe Down: 294 properties, 758 males and 862 females giving a total population of 1,600


Monkton Combe, District 1a: 25 properties, 196 males and 200 females giving a total population of 396

Monkton Combe, District 1b: 205 properties, 412 males and 461 females giving a total population of 873

Lyncombe & Widcombe, District 1i: 109 properties, 221 males and 248 females giving a total population of 469

Combe Down: 339 properties, 829 males and 909 females giving a total population of 1,738

1817 Ordnance Survey map including Combe Down

Old maps are fascinating.  Just seeing what an area looked like 100 or more years ago on and Ordnance Survey map can give real insights into the place.

Of course very old maps tend to be either somewhat inaccurate or have little detailed data because of their scale. Even so they can be interesting and the history of the maps themselves is almost as fascinating. As most people know the mapping of the British Isles has been led by the Ordnance Survey, which was, effectively, started after the Jacobite rising of 1745. The Duke of Cumberland (1721 -1765) realised the army did not have good maps of the Scottish Highlands. In 1747, Lieutenant Colonel David Watson proposed a map of the Highlands to subjugate the clans. King George II charged Watson with making a military survey of the Highlands under the command of the Duke of Cumberland. This eventually led to the Principal Triangulation of Great Britain (1783–1853), a project carried out between 1784 and about 1853 at the instigation of senior surveyor General William Roy (1726–1790) and to the creation of the Ordnance Survey.

Anglo French survey of 1784-1790 proposed mesh

Anglo French survey of 1784-1790 proposed mesh by William Roy – Scanned from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London vol77: 188–226 1787

In 1801, the first one-inch-to-the-mile (1:63,360 scale) map of Kent was published. During the next twenty years, roughly a third of England and Wales was mapped at the same scale under the direction of William Mudge (1762 – 1820). Somerset was mapped by 1817. It was tough work, Major Thomas Colby (1784 – 1852) walked 586 miles in 22 days in 1819.

The map of that covers Combe Down, that was published in 1817, shows surprisingly little change has occurred . Development of housing , yes, but the shape and the main features are very recognizable.

Combe Down Ordnance Survey first series 1817

Combe Down Ordnance Survey first series 1817

This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth.