At The Old Vicarage – more tea Vicar?

Cleveland Bridge Bath in 1830 - engraving by FP Hay

Cleveland Bridge Bath in 1830 – engraving by FP Hay

I realised that I haven’t mentioned The Old Vicarage and the clergy of Combe Down in the blog.

That’s an error as  as the house was designed by Henry Edmund Goodridge (1797 – 1864) who designed one of Bath’s iconic monuments: Beckford’s Tower. He also designed one of the world’s earliest retail arcades The Corridor in central Bath. He designed Cleveland Bridge at the site of a Roman ferry crossing, linking the A4 London Road with the A36. It’s a cast iron arch bridge with lodges like miniature Greek temples at each corner and was was built in 1827 by William Hazledine. Oh, and he had also designed Holy Trinity church.

The Old Vicarage was used by the vicars of Combe Down until 1974 when it was sold to Dr John (Jack) Ferens Turner (1930 – 2002) and his wife Dr Anne Curtis Turner (née Pyke) (1939 – 2006).

Rev G W Newnham

Rev G W Newnham

There have been some interesting ministers living at The Old Vicarage, such as Rev George William Newnham (1806 – 1893) who was Vicar from 1842 – 1877. He was married 3 times and had 17 children!

His third wife Harriette Helen White (1820 – 1889) set up what became the Institution for Idiot Children and those of Weak Intellect at Rockhall House on Combe Down. He also started the Combe Down allotments.

There was Rev Carr Glyn Acworth (1842 – 1928) who was Vicar from 1877 – 1890. He was also was married 3 times but he had no children.

Rev Alfred Richardson (1853 – 1925) was vicar from 1902 – 1914. After he retired he wrote: An historical guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton with Rev David Lee Pitcairn (1848 – 1936) who was vicar of Monkton Combe from 1883 – 1914 and also a great grandson of Arthur Guinness (1725 – 1803) – the brewer.

Ven Albert Bushnell Lloyd (1871 – 1946) was vicar from 1930 – 1933. He  was a missionary and Archdeacon of Western Uganda. His written works include: Uganda to Khartoum (1906), In Dwarf Land and Cannibal Country (1907), Dayspring in Uganda (1921) and Apolo of the Pygmy Forest (1923).


Combe Grove area and Summer Lane

Thomas Sturge Cotterell

Thomas Sturge Cotterell

Recently I added information about the Combe Grove area and Summer Lane. By the Combe Grove area I mean Shaft Road and Brassknocker Hill.

On Brassknocker Hill that means that Combe Hill House and Combe Grove Lodge are covered and on Shaft Road that means that Lodge Style, Combe Grove Farm, Combe Grange and Ivy Cottages. In Summer Lane , Quarry Vale and De Montalt House are covered. De Montalt Mill is covered elsewhere with its history before 1850 here and its history after 1850 to modern times here.

The person who most caught my eye was Patrick Young Alexander (1867 – 1943) who lived at De Montalt House. He lived an interesting life – probably helped by the fact that his father left him a very large legacy – but was also an aeronautical pioneer fascinated by the prospect of heavier than air flight, an enthusiastic balloonist and meteorologist.

Another interesting person is Thomas Sturge Cotterell (1865 – 1950). He commissioned Lodge Style from Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857 – 1941) in 1909. Cotterell was General Manager of the Bath Stone Firms and a Bath Councillor, one of the main movers behind the Bath Pageant of 1909, an Alderman and Mayor of Bath in 1930. He also set up the Bath Corps of Honorary Guides. His uncle was Jacob Henry Cotterell (1817 – 1868) a land surveyor responsible for the 1852 map of Bath that appears regularly on this site.

The most frustrating area when researching the Combe Grove area and Summer Lane was Quarry Vale. I knew it would be difficult to find published information about the inhabitants for they were working class people – not middle class or higher and the ‘social medium’ of the day, the newspaper, did not really follow their world unless criminality or scandal was involved. This gives a distorted image of working people’s lives. So I decided to take a look at the census, give a flavour of the range of occupations, pick out a few that were well represented and give a thumbnail sketch of those, as well as try to find some news clippings. It’s not what I would have wanted to publish, but, if the information is not there….

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading more about  the Combe Grove area and Summer Lane.

Bryan, Daubeney, Gore, Howard, Montagu and Richardson families

Recently I have added a family tree for the Bryan, Daubeney, Gore, Howard, Montagu and Richardson families. A fascinating insight into the relationships of leading families on Combe Down. Follow this if you can!

The Rev Reginald Guy Bryan (1819 – 1912) Principal at Monkton Combe School from 1875 until 1894. The Bryan family were related to the Gore family via Caroline Letitia Gore (1843 – 1920) the third wife of Rev Reginald Guy Bryan

Richard the Fearless statue in Falaise, France - by Imars at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 2.5, httpscommons.

Richard the Fearless statue in Falaise, France – by Imars at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 2.5, httpscommons.

The Gore family were related to the Daubeny / Daubeney family via Edith Henrietta Gore (1852 – 1931) Caroline’s sister and wife to Capt Charles William Daubeney (1860 – 1937). The Daubeney’s lived at The Brow. They were of direct Norman descent in the male line and descended from people who came over with William the Conqueror even if they were not companions of William the Conqueror and ancestry back to Richard “Sans-Peur” Fitz William (933–996), Duke of Normandy and from there to Ivar Halfdansson (c. 757 – 824) Jarl of The Uplands.

Helen Gertrude Bryan (1860 – 1917) married Rev Charles Howard (1853 – 1928) and Edith Mary Marow Bryan (1866 – 1951) married Rev Alfred Howard (1857 – 1945). Both were sons of Rev Thomas Henry Howard (1804 – 1885) whose other son Rev Richard Nelson Howard (1852 – 1932) was vicar of Combe Down from 1892 – 1897.

The Howard family were related to Rev Alfred Richardson (1853 – 1925) was vicar of Combe Down from 1902 – 1914. Rev Alfred Richardson was married to Emma Leatham (1853 – 1925) and her great aunt Mary Leatham (1738 – 1820) was married to Thomas Howard (1736 – 1834) whose grandson was Rev Thomas Henry Howard  and whose great grandson Rev Richard Nelson Howard (1852 – 1932) was vicar of Combe Down from 1892 – 1897.

Henry Grahame Montagu (1829 – 1916) was  Inspector of Nuisances in Bath, lived at Claremont House, 109 Church Road and was married at least four times and had 22 children.

He had 8 children with his first wife Louisa Maria Jenkins (1845 – 1890) whom he married in 1861 and who died on October 17th 1890. They had a son, also called Henry Graham Montagu (1862 – 1942) who lived at 113 Church Road from 1932.

Their daughter Ethel Montagu (1871 – 1919) was the second wife of John Cunningham (1846 – 1930) who had been married to Maria Howard (1848 – 1896) the daughter of Rev Thomas Henry Howard (1804 – 1885)  who was vicar of Warmley from 1860 – 1885 and two of whose brothers were married to daughters of Rev Reginald Guy Bryan (1819 – 1912), Principal at Monkton Combe School from 1875 until 1900. 

He had 5 children with his second wife Gertrude Kate Fortt (1872 – 1900), who died on January 12th 1900 from heart failure. Gertrude Fortt’s great uncle was William Fortt (1796 – 1880), ‘cook, pastrycook & confectioner’, who started Fortt & Son, later Cater, Stoffel and Fortt Ltd, and who lived at Hopecote or rather 1 Claremont Buildings as it was then.

There you have it, the Bryan, Daubeney, Gore, Howard, Montagu and Richardson families.

Pubs, inns, arms and crowns

A while ago I added a page about the pubs, inns, arms and crowns of Combe Down and Monkton Combe. In our small area there used to be at least fourteen but now there are five. When I first came to write this blog I thought it might be more about them, but I became side tracked and interested in why so many may have closed and whether things have changed for ever or whether the pendulum might, one day swing back.

An old English pub, 1930s

An old English pub, 1930s

When I was very much younger, in the 1970s, I had a flat in Brunswick Square in Brighton. So did my maternal grandfather whom I did not know well as he and my grandmother had divorced before I was born. However, he was now retired and frequented the Star of Brunswick pub in Brunswick Street West just behind the square. It has long since converted to a private home. We spent many convivial evenings in the pub over a pint or two while he smoked his pipe. There I got to know him and there were also many regulars, much banter and laughter.

The pub has long been a social venue, a social centre for a local community, a place to meet friends and a place to foster community spirit – pubs are good for social cohesion. A report by the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford for CAMRA called ‘Friends on Tap‘ suggests that local community pubs have unseen social benefits such as  a venue in which we can serendipitously meet new, in many cases like-minded, people but also  broaden our network of acquaintances and widen our experience by bringing us into contact with people from other walks of life, become more engaged with our local community and that this is likely to have significant health and wellbeing benefits.

Another study by Newcastle Business School, ‘The Importance of Pubs in Shaping Community Cohesion and Social Wellbeing in Rural Areas of England‘, of 2,800 rural parishes across the country over a 10-year period found that those areas which had a pub enjoyed a greater sense of community. There were more likely to be local football or cricket teams, charity fundraising events and branches of the Scouts and Brownies.

It seems that 40% of people in the UK typically socialise with friends in someone’s home and 30% prefer to do so in pubs and feel it important to have a pub nearby, but only 20% say pubs are a regular part of their life. 72% of people go to the pub to eat. I believe that great British pub is where the personality of the pub is created by the personality of the landlord, but a recent survey showed that it was second most important to the price and quality of the beer which is clearly dichotomous with the number of people who go there to eat.

  • Price and quality of the beer     33.6%
  • Personality of the landlord        24.6%
  • No music or TV screens          20.6%

But, cheaper alcohol from supermarkets, increases in rents and rates, the rise in duty and VAT, the smoking ban and a rise in the health conscious consumer have affected the British pub. In 2003, the average adult drank 218 pints of beer but by 2011 they consumed just 152 pints with sales in pubs down 54% whereas sales from off licenses were down only 10%.

Around 40% of pubs are owned by ‘pubcos‘ but 60% are independent. The number of pubs in the UK has almost halved since 1905:

  • 1905     99,000
  • 1935     77,500
  • 1951     73,400
  • 1971     64,000
  • 2006     58,200
  • 2016     52,750

However, The Society of Independent Brewers report ‘British Beer‘ says that 532 million pints were brewed by its 835 members in 2015 which is an increase of 15% over 2013 and 176% over 2009. They say that well over 75% of their members’ beer is served in pubs, restaurants and hotels.

A report commissioned by Greene King in 2008, ‘The enduring appeal of the local‘ from The Social Issues Research Centre also provides more hope that the pendulum may swing back. The pub is considered to be neutral territory compared with entertaining at home which makes some people feel pressured whereas the pub allows them to relax and be a less intense way of meeting people. A pub is a hub for sociability and the bringing together of people from different walks of life in a way that no other social institution or public space can match. We go to the pub ‘for a drink’, but ‘having a drink’ is a social act surrounded by tacit rules — a hidden etiquettes that gives us a sense of inclusion and belonging that is independent of our status in the mainstream world.

Barrister, Businessmen, Composer, Sailor, Soldiers & Writers

Frederic Edward Weatherly in 1895

Frederic Edward Weatherly in 1895

A while ago I added Belmont to the site and, as usual, I’m doing a quick update about what I found out.

It seems that the simplest way to give a flavour of Belmont, since Belmont House was constructed in the 1850s is to list some of the people who have lived in the houses in the road and what they did.

As you can see from the list below it’s, unsurprisingly for such a street with such large Victorian villas, a cross section of the 19th and 20th century British upper middle class: a Barrister, businessmen, composer, sailor, soldiers & writers.

Barrister & Composer

Frederic Edward Weatherly KC (1848 – 1929), St Christopher, Barrister & Composer of Danny Boy

William Henry Tucker 1814 - 1877

William Henry Tucker 1814 – 1877


Charles Richard Osmond (1868 – 1933), Ashlands, Ironmonger
David Owen (1850 – 1933), Belmont House, Accountant
George Cruickshank (1814 – 1896), Belmont House, Hosier
James William Soane (1833 – 1912), West Brow, Music Dealer
Walter John Cook (1857 – 1925), Combe Ridge, Clothier
William Henry Tucker (1814 – 1877), West Brow, Cloth Merchant
William Livingstone Russell (1828 – 1911), Combe Ridge, Draper


Dr Robert Lane Walmsley (1909 – 1982), Ashlands, Family Doctor


Charles Norris Williamson

Charles Norris Williamson

Sir William Blunt 7th Baronet (1826 – 1902), West Brow, Baronet


Col Hugh Augustus Boscawen (1805 – 1881), Combe Ridge, Indian Army and also great great grandson of Arabella Churchill (1648 – 1730)
Lt Col Arthur John Pilcher (1866 – 1960), Ashlands, Soldier & Engineer
Maj Gen Joseph Fletcher Richardson CB (1823 – 1900), West Brow, Indian Army
Maj Harry Edward Meade OBE (1884 – 1952), West Brow, Soldier


Admiral Sir Richard Henry Peirse KCB KBE MVO DL JP (1860 – 1940), Belmont House, Royal Navy


Charles Norris Williamson (1859 – 1920) and Alice Muriel Livingston (1869 – 1933), St Christoper, Novelists
Eliza Margaret Jane Gollan (1850 – 1938), West Brow, Novelist

Church Road Villas, a Viking and Directories

Wikinger. Danes about to invade England. From Miscellany on the life of St. Edmund from the 12th century.

Wikinger. Danes about to invade England. From Miscellany on the life of St. Edmund from the 12th century.

This month the Church Road Villas, a Viking and Directories are what it’s about.

The Victorian villas on Church Road, Combe Down have, now, been covered:


I have also added images from some Post Office Directories and some Kelly’s Directories. 

There’s some brief background information about directories and then one link to the following that have been added so far:

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

Isabella Place

Isabella Place, Combe Down

Isabella Place, Combe Down

As well as tidying up some issues with navigation I have spent some time finding out more about Isabella Place. About building Isabella Place and its builders William Harrold (1750 – 1817), a carpenter, and William Butler (1756 – 1846), a victualler.

Isabella Place, like Claremont House, 113 – 117 Church Road and Hopecote (originally 1 – 3 Claremont Buildings) was built about 1805. What is not clear is whether there was anything there before. If one looks at the rear of the houses in Isabella Place it is fairly clear that the present buildings are not the original buildings. The original buildings appear to be a terrace of five 2 up, 2 down cottages that were extended and re-fronted. Peter Addison says in Around Combe Down (ISBN: 9780948975486) that “it is quite likely that they were originally built in the 1770s…” but is clear there is no evidence of this. Indeed there is the opposite, possible evidence that they did not exist then.

Collinson’s History of Somerset, published in 1791 says:

"On the summit of Combe a neat range of buildings belonging to this parish. It consists of 11 houses built of wrought stone raised on the spot, each of which has a small garden in front. They were originally built for the workmen employed in the quarries but are now chiefly let to invalids from Bath, who retire hither for the sake of a very fine air (probably rendered more salubrious by the plantation of firs), from which many have secured essential benefit."
Part of interview with 'Old John' Greenway - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 19 March 1896

Part of interview with ‘Old John’ Greenway – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 19 March 1896

We can also read an interview with ‘Old John’ Greenway, a stonemason, published in Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette on Thursday 19 March 1896. ‘Old John’ was 94 at the time and had lived on Combe Down since he was an infant and in the same house (in Rock Cottages on Rock Lane) on Combe Down for 67 years since 1829. He states clearly that that by the early 1800s there were “only 13 cottages besides the houses in the Old Rank” (De Montalt Place).

We know that Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden had agreed on 23rd April 1800 with Messrs. Harrold and Butler to build Isabella Place but he died in August 1803. We also know that he had real money troubles. It’s just possible that the original design was for a terrace of five 2 up, 2 down cottages but that, after he died and his heirs had to deal with his debts and sold Isabella Place to William Harrold and William Butler, the design was changed to appeal more to the middle classes. Perhaps we will never know.

Two things stand out. The relatively large houses in Isabella Place were used as schools and boarding or lodging houses for much of the 19th century.

For example there was Mrs. Armytage’s Ladies’ Boarding & Day School as well as Miss Holbook’s school and Mrs. Battely’s preparatory school. In 1883 Frederick Daniel Riddle at 3 Isabella Place and James Miner at 4 Isabella Place were both running lodging houses according to Kelly’s Directory.

There are some interesting people. Rosa Robinson (née Pyne) (1829 – 1901) the widow of George Augustus Robinson (1791 – 1866) George Robinson was known better as Black Robinson, Protector of Aboriginals. Thomas Towill Treffry (1809 – 1886) may be related to the Treffry family of Fowey. If this is so he was related to Charles Stanley Monck, Baron Monck of Ballytramon, an executor of the will of Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden. Ellen Julia Hambridge (1853 – 1932) and Mary Hambridge (1855 – 1940) were the daughters of Francis Henry Hambridge (b. 1826) who was a brewer. When Mary Hambridge died she left £85,000 which is equal to about £11,750,000.00 today. Then there are the Wood family who had 3 sons Peter C Wood (b. 1920), David James Wood (1923 – 2009), Michael George Wood (1923 – 1944) involved in the 2nd World War.

More sections and more family trees

Hunt and Co directory 1848

Hunt and Co directory 1848

I have started to add more sections and more family trees.

The new sections are and will be about our historical houses on Combe Down. The first section is for Isabella Place and covers the building of Isabella Place and some of the things going on in Isabella Place from 1800 – 1900.

In these new sections I do not go into as much detail as I have for 113 – 117 Church Road. Obtaining all the information there is about those 3 houses (and Claremont House) has taken me around 3 years and I had many of the deeds to them. With Isabella Place having five houses, De Montalt Place having eleven and well over 150 listed houses on Combe Down, none of which I have the deeds for, though I hope to get access to those for some of them, trying to replicate the work for ‘our block’ would take …. who knows!

So what I’m doing and will do is more of a helicopter view. I still use a range of sources – directories, censuses, newspaper archives, family trees, Google, Wikipedia etc. etc. – to try to give some useful and interesting background to each particular place and the people who lived there. Hopefully it will be found interesting and I will add to each section as more information becomes available. That’s the nature of this type of historical research – one day you are facing a blank wall and the next you discover something.

I have also added more family trees for the owners and occupants of Claremont House and 113 – 117 Church Road in the period from 1950.

This is the last present set of family trees and take us upto c.1985. As the people who have occupied the houses since then are, mostly, still in residence or live in the area, I am not publishing their Family Trees just yet, though our own can be found at Our Blood.

 Perhaps the most interesting of the people this time is Cuthbert Bates who helped to pioneer the revival of interest in sixteenth and seventeenth century music in the UK.

More family trees for the owners and occupants of Claremont House and 113 – 117 Church Road in the period 1900 – 1950

King John presenting a church, painted c.1250-59 by Matthew Paris in his Historia Anglorum

King John presenting a church, painted c.1250-59 by Matthew Paris in his Historia Anglorum

I have added more family trees for the owners and occupants of Claremont House and 113 – 117 Church Road in the period 1900 – 1950.

The families are:

There is one very interesting snippett and that is that Francis William Henry Webb (1887 – 1949) was related to royalty. His 23rd great grandfather was King John, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Duke of Aquitaine. This, of course, means that he was also a direct decendent of William the Conqueror.

At this time of the 100th anniversary remembrances of World War I it is appropriate to remember Private Carol Fale (1899 – 1918) whowas a Rifleman in the Rifle Brigade, 8th Battalion. Carol died on 22 March 1918 fighting in the Battle of St Quentin and is buried at Pozieres and commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Picardie, France on panel 81 to 84 [33] and on the Combe Down war memorial on Firs Field.

Gilbert Victor Westlake (1878 -1939) was an accountant, owner and publisher of Target Comics, and a builder with offices in Queen Square.

Henry Graham Montagu (1863 – 1942) was a witness to the Widcombe Bridge accident of 6th June 1877 which kiled 12 and injured 51 people.

Rev Leonard Nelson Haxell (1858 – 1939) was a friend of Sir Henry Irving (1838 – 1905), the prominent Victorian actor-manager and became chaplain for the Frome Road House in 1923.