On Combe Down from 1800 – 1805

Hawarden Will

1st Viscount Hawarden’s will

Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden died in August 1803. His executors were Charles Stanley Monck, Baron Monck of Ballytramon and John Monck Mason who were both his brothers in law.

He also appointed George Edward Allen who was the grandson of Ralph Allen’s brother Philip Allen.

His will[1] of 16th of February 1799 amended by a codicil of 24th of July 1803 is very clear:

"This is the last will and testament of me, the Right Honourable Cornwallis Lord Viscount Hawarden of Dundrum, in the County of Tipperary, in the several kingdom of Ireland. Whereas, my three children, by my late wife, Miss Allen, are already, by divers settlements or otherwise, amply provided for; therefore, I trust, they will not look upon it as a mark of disregard or want of affection towards them, that they are not particularly noticed under this my will. Imprimis, I give and bequeath all and singular the arrears of rent, interest, or other annually-increasing sums that shall or may be due and owing to me or my representatives, up to the time of my decease; and also all such sum and sums of money as may be due and owing to me, whether upon bond or simple contract, at the time of my decease; and also all and singular my horses, carriages, cattle, household-furniture, goods, implements, and utensils of household and husbandry, plate, linen, china, watches, rings, jewels, books, and all other my moveable chattel property that shall be, at the time of my death, in or about any or either of my houses at Prior Park, in the parish of Monckton Combe, or in the parish of Walcot, in the kingdom of Great Britain, or at Dundrum aforesaid, or elsewhere in either of the said kingdoms of Great of Great Britain, or at Dundrum aforesaid, or elsewhere in either of the said kingdoms of Great Britain or Ireland, unto my now wife Anne Isabella Lady Hawarden, her executors, administrators, or assigns, as and for her and their own absolute property; and as to, for, and concerning all my manors, messuages, and lands, tenements, and hereditaments, whether freehold, leasehold, or copyhold, situate in the several parishes of Monckton Combe, Lyncombe and Widecombe, and Walcot, and also in the city of Bath, or elsewhere in the kingdom of England, I give, devise, and bequeath the same, and every part and parcel thereof, with their and every of their rights, members, privileges, ad vantages, and appurtenances whatsoever, unto the Right Honourable Charles Stanley, Baron Monck, and the Right Honourable John Monck Mason, both of the kingdom of Ireland, and George Edward Allen, of the city of Bath, aforesaid, and the survivor of them, and the heirs, executors, and administrators of such survivor, to hold the same," &c. upon trusts for sale....."

Out of the monies arising from the sale, the trustees were to pay:

  • first, the charges on the estates which should be sold;
  • secondly, the testator’s just debts and funeral expenses; and,
  • thirdly, charges on the inherited estates and
  • until such sales were made, the rents and profits were to be applied in keeping down the interest of incumbrances, and
  • the surplus was to be paid to the benefit of Lady Hawarden and that of his 11 children by her. Given that he had had 3 wives and 16 children and Mary’s son was the heir it’s probably not surprising that he cut out Mary’s children.

However, of more interest to us is that the Kilkenny and Carmarthen estates, with some other lands, had been conveyed in December 1798, to Mr. Mason and another trustee, to raise by sale or mortgage sufficient money to pay off incumbrances on the Tipperary estate, and certain other debts.

Now, under the will they also had the rest of his property to pay off his debts in full.

It is during his period we start to see a substantial amount of recorded activity on Combe Down – the Hadley family had come to town. Thomas Ralph Maude 2nd Viscount Hawarden (1767 – 1807), Mary Allen’s son and Ralph Allen’s great nephew, had now acceded to his inheritance in Bath, but much of it was to be sold off.

The Lewisham Record Office holds the Hadley Family papers[2]. The period from 1801 to 1816 shows considerable activity in Bath and especially on Combe Down. There are many recognizable names of either people that have already been mentioned or will be mentioned or are well known in Combe Down’s history, to whit:

Napoleon

It should, of course, be remembered that at this time Britain was at war with Napoleon. The Napoleonic Wars lasted from 1799 – 1815. From 1803 until the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 made it clear that France could no longer challenge Britain at sea there was much fear in the United Kingdom that Napoleon would invade. Because of this Britain made many preparations to repel any invasion. The Defence of the Realm Act was passed in 1803.

Locally, the people of Monkton Combe joined in. Many of the names in the cutting will be recognised.

Parish of Monkton Combe Defence of the Realm statement - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 11 August 1803

Parish of Monkton Combe Defence of the Realm statement – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 11 August 1803

The Hadleys

The Hadleys on Combe Down

The Hadleys should, perhaps, really be called the Laytons as it was Edward Layton (abt 1730 – 1805) of Southwark who had laid the foundations of their fortune.

He was a cooper and vatmaker born in Southwark. His father was called Thomas but nothing else is known of his early life. By 1755 had been admitted to freedom of the City[3] and there are records in 1761 that he was taking on apprentices[4].

He appears in the UK Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-1893, under the livery of London as a member of the brewers company[5]. There are records of him having premises or living at 143, Borough High Street, London and 84, Upper East Smithfield, London over a number of years in a variety of directories of the time.

Grace’s Guide[6] to British Industrial History has him listed as one of the founders of the predecessors to Carty and Son of Peckham, vatmakers which traded until 1989, and states:

“1761: Lease granted to Benjamin Powell and Edward Layton for building on a site in Borough, Southwark. This was on the site of the old Kings Bench Prison when the buildings were demolished and a building lease of the site was granted to Benjamin Powell and Edward Layton who formed the alley still known as Layton's Buildings[7].

1763: Powell and Layton listed as 'near St. George's Church, Southwark'

1766: Company formed

c1788: Layton formed a branch at Nightingale Lane, East Smithfield

1790: Traded as Layton and Young

1797: Nightingale branch taken over by Ruffin and Enticknap. Later business taken over from Ruffin by Charles Carty (son of James Carty)”.

Edward Layton clearly did well. He appears as a commissioner in an:

“Act for Paving the Streets and Lanes within the Town and Borough of Soutwark in the Statutes at Large: From the Fifth Year of the Reign of King George III to the Tenth Year of the Reign of King George III and in and in Anno Regni Georgii III Sexto for the same years 1761-65”.

He also appears in:

Mnemonika or the Tablet of memory. Being a register of events from the earliest period to the year 1829 ...The matter furnished by William Darby... Revised, with additions, by the publisher Edward J. Coale and other persons William Darby (Surveyor) Edward J. Coale (1829)”

which is a sort of Guinness Book of Records of its day.

Edward Layton’s entry in Mnemonika or the Tablet of memory

Edward Layton’s entry in Mnemonika or the Tablet of memory

By 1778 he had done well enough to have bought a farm in Surrey:

Agreement for sale of estate[8].  A91/18/4 28 Sept. 1778 Contents: Farm with 50 acres of land in Abinger and Wotton. 1. John Boorer. 2. Edward Layton Consideration: £1825

And we know something of his timber purchases in 1790 and 1792:

Articles of Agreement[9]. 1. John Davies of Marrington, Chirbury, esq. 2. Edward Layton of Southwark, Middlesex, esq.

In consideration of £6 paid and of the further sum of £120 to be paid John Davies has sold 130 oak timber trees and pollards scribed, marked and numbered on a messuage called Alport in Churchstoke in the holding of John Hurdley, with the tops and bark of the same. Layton his assigns and servants with their carts carriages and horses may have liberty of access to come at the timber trees and pollards to fell them, to make and dig saw pits, to make charcoal hearths, and to take away the timber and charcoal.

Edward Layton covenants to pay the consideration money as follows - £60 on 1 November next the remaining £60 on May 1 1792, and will fell and carry away the whole of the timber trees and the offal arising therefrom before 29 Sept.1792 and will not commit any act of wilful or negligent trespass or damage, and will make reparation for any damage done.

Witnesses to the signature of John Davies, Geo. Gould of Pool, Jno. Davies late of Pool to the signature of Edwd Layton. Benjamin Hobley junr. J Taylor. Docketed.

We know from his will that he moved to Bath as he says ‘now of the City of Bath’ but when he moved here is not known. The first record so far discovered of purchases of land in the city by him are dated 1801.

In 4th September 1783 his daughter Mary Ann had married Nathaniel Hadley (1786 – 1864), about whom little has been discovered.

Building Isabella Place

Building Isabella Place

Edward Layton and the Hadleys bought large amounts of land on Combe Down.[10] We have a plan of some of it[11] from 15 – 16th January 1805.

Plan from Lease and Release of Isabella Place on Combe Down dated 15-16 January 1805

Plan from Lease and Release of Isabella Place on Combe Down dated 15-16 January 1805

Isabella Place - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 25 June 1812

Isabella Place – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 25 June 1812

Edward Layton was buying the land shown enclosed by ABCIKLMNOPQ and RSTVW on the plan and the document refers to:

“……..behind the newly erected row of houses called Isabella Place built by Messrs. Harrold and Butler”.

One can see references to Mr. Wingrove’s Land and Land belonging to Edward Layton Esq. on the plan. Benjamin Wingrove was selling the land to Edward Layton for £833 17s with Charles Perks as his trustee. This plan clearly shows the beginnings of the Hadley Estate on Combe Down.

From this it’s also clear that Messrs. Harrold and Butler had already built or were completing Isabella Place by 1805. They were also now selling 3 Isabella Place to Edward Layton, for £400 5s, who lived at Cornwell House (now Ladymead House again, built about 1680) in Walcot. It was for the use of his sister, Mary (1740 – 1824) and was to remain in Layton – Hadley family ownership for about 100 years.

Isabella Place plan 1 - 2 January 1805, Lease and Release A/91/18/5/15 Lewisham Archives

Isabella Place plan 1 – 2 January 1805, Lease and Release A/91/18/5/15 Lewisham Archives

From another conveyance mentioning Isabella Place dated 1st – 2nd January 1805 between:

“The Rt. Hon. John Mason and David Ockden Esq. by the direction of Anne Isabella, Viscountess Hawarden with and to Mr. Benjamin Wingrove In Trust for Messrs. Butler and Harrald”
William Harrold, Wheelwright - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 16 January 1794

William Harrold, Wheelwright – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 16 January 1794

it becomes clear that Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden had agreed on 23rd April 1800 with Messrs. Harrald and Butler to build Isabella Place. It was named Isabella Place after his wife Anne Isabella Monck, Viscountess Hawarden (1759 – 1851).

William Harrold (1750 – 1817) is stated to be a carpenter (though he could be the wheelwright from Monkton Combe mentioned in the ‘Bushell bankruptcy’ mention in the Bath Chronicle in 1794) and William Butler (1756 – 1846) a victualler – possibly the publican at the Carriage Inn. The conveyance transfers the centre house in Isabella Place to them. Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden had died in 1803 and it seems that the house is their payment for the work or perhaps more likely that they bought Isabella Place as William Harrold was letting or selling 1 & 2 Isabella Place in 1812 and, after Mrs. Harrold [Hannah Weaver (1756 – 1826)] died 4 & 5 Isabella Place were put up for sale.

From this it seems reasonably clear that Isabella Place was built in between 1800 and 1804 by Harrald and Butler. 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. This presents a problem as we know that In 1780, Mr. Rack, Secretary of the Bath & West of England Agricultural Society wrote:

Isabella Place conveyance from Lease and Release AP5455

Isabella Place conveyance from Lease and Release AP5455

"The entire village of Combe Down consists of 11 houses built by Ralph Allen in 1729, for his quarrymen."

In addition, Collinson‘s History of Somerset, published in 1791, and describes the village of Combe Monkton:

"On the summit of Combe Down, a mile Northward from the church, (i.e. Monkton Combe Church) among many immense quarries of fine freestone, are large groves of firs, planted by the late Ralph Allen, Esq., for the laudable purpose of ornamenting that at that time rough and barren hill. Among the groves is 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. The surrounding beautiful and extensive prospects, the wild but pleasing irregularities of the surface and scenery, diversified with immense quarries, fine open cultivated fields, and extensive plantations of firs, which throw a solemn gloominess of shade, impervious to the sun and wind, over a fine soft turf free from underwood - all seem to render this a delightful summer retreat..............".

So we know that in 1791 there were only 11 houses (this is also confirmed by the 1788 mortgage deeds for the loans taken out by Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden) and that Viscount Hawarden only agreed in 1800 to build Isabella Place, just before he died. So how come there appear to be a terrace of five 2 up, 2 down cottages before the current Isabella Place? So far that has not been resolved. However, after Ralph Allen’s death in 1764 his quarries were leased to tenants, who had to have somewhere to live, and it is likely that the cottages were built for them, but, though the date of 1770 is mentioned frequently I have yet to find any evidence of this.

Schedule from Lease and Release 1 - 2 January 1805, Lease and Release A/91/18/5/15 Lewisham Archives

Schedule from Lease and Release 1 – 2 January 1805, Lease and Release A/91/18/5/15 Lewisham Archives

We can also be reasonably certain that at least some of the land being sold on Combe Down, by the Maudes and by William Phillimore Esq., the Rt. Hon. John Mason and David Ockden, was being sold to discharge the mortgage debts that Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden had accumulated as another deed[12], in which Benjamin Wingrove appears again. Edward Layton is buying for £100 5s.

Interestingly, the Schedule mentions Ralph Allen’s will, the conveyance and mortgage by Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden in 1788, the mortgages of 1794 and 1799, Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden, his will of 1803 and other agreements between the mortgage holders and the Maude heirs in 1804 (of which the contents are unknown).

“Eight acres Three roods and Eighteen perches or thereabouts being part and parcel of certain enclosed Closes or pieces of pasture Ground and formerly part of Green Down otherwise (illegible) being within the parish of Monkton Comb…”

Edward Layton died in Bath in October 1805 and was taken to London for burial.

In Edward Layton’s will [13], it was his:

“desire to be buried in Clapham Church Yard in the same grave as my deceased wife and children.”[14] 

Nathaniel Hadley received, inter alia, his lands in Bramber, Sussex. His daughter Mary Anne received other substantial sums and land in trust. He also remembers his grand daughter Caroline Hadley, sister in law Margaret Layton and his sister Mary Withy and his nephew Thomas Withy in his will, leaving the latter:

“the sum of four hundred and fifty pounds principal….”

He adds, in a codicil:

“….will that my Trustees so permit my sister Mary Withy to occupy my house on Coombe Down with the appurts thereto now in her possession during her natural life and….”

This is also stated to be a house in Isabella Place, probably the centre one mentioned above, though we cannot be certain of that, but he did buy it for £400 5s from Messrs. Harrald and Butler[15] only one month after it had been transferred to them.

Thus Nathaniel Hadley, Edward Layton’s son in law became the major beneficiary of his will and his children Caroline Mary (1784-1849), Nathaniel Hadley (1786 – 1864), Samuel (1788-1871), Edward (1791-1817) and their children lived comfortable lives in solid middle class professions such as Solicitor. 

William Smith

William Smith and Tucking Mill

William ‘Strata’ Smith (23 March 1769 – 28 August 1839) is known as the “Father of English Geology”. He bought Tucking Mill in 1798 whilst he was still working for the Somerset Coal Canal to which he had become a surveyor in 1793, though he became a sub engineer in 1795 on £450 p.a.[16] There is a plaque to him on Tucking Mill but Simon Winchester his biographer says he actually lived at Tucking Mill House to the East[17].

William Smith is justly one of the great men of science and his genius was thus described in an address to the Geological Society by the President, the Rev. Adam Sedgwick, M.A. F.R.S. announcing the first award of the Wollaston Prize on February 18th 1831[18].

“He saw particular species of fossils in particular groups of strata, and in no others ; and giving generalization to phenomena, which men of less original minds would have regarded as merely local, he proved (so early as 1791) the continuity of certain groups of strata, by their organic remains alone, where the mineral type was wanting. He made large collections of fossils; and the moment an opportunity presented itself he arranged them all stratigraphically. Having once succeeded in identifying groups of strata by means of their fossils, he saw the whole importance of the inference—-gave it its utmost extension--seized upon it as the master principle of our science --by help of it disentangled the structure of a considerable part of England-—and never rested from his labours till the public was fairly in possession of his principles. lf these be not the advances of an original mind, I do not know where we are to find them; and I afirm with confidence, after the facts already stated, that the Council was justified in the terms of their award, and that Mr. William Smith was “the first, in this country, to discover and to teach the identification of strata, and to determine their succession by means of their imbedded fossils."

By 1790 he had published “Tabular View of the British Strata”[19] after realising the stratification of the ground and of fossils whilst working in Somerset. He determined to produce a geological map of Britain and by 1799 had produced a map of Somerset using colour to represent different geological formations. He spent much time travelling the country to produce his map of geology published in 1815. (A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland; Exhibiting the Collieries and Mines, the Marshes and Fens Formerly Overflowed by the Sea and the Varieties of Soil According to the Variations in the Substrata, Illustrated by the Most Descriptive Names, By W. Smith).

However he was not a business man. He always seemed to suffer money troubles and in about 1810 he and Charles Conolly, the owner of Midford Castle, envisaged a scheme to take stone from Mr. Conolly’s Kingham Quarry via a railway down to the Somerset Coal Canal by Tucking Mill to be transported. It seems that to finance his end of the deal William Smith had to sell Tucking Mill Meadows to Conolly for £1,330[20].

By 1811 the scheme was operational but by 1819 it was bankrupt and during this period, in April 1814, Tucking Mill estate was offered by William Smith as security against a loan of £1,000 by Charles Conolly [21] which led, along with his maps being plagiarised and sold at a lower cost than he sold them, to him being committed to Kings Bench Prison in 1819 on 11th June by Charles Conolly. He was released on 31st August but by then Tucking Mill belonged to Conolly.

William Smith was also responsible for creating the pond at Tucking Mill by damming Horsecombe Brook, though the present one dates from about 1979 after the Fullers Earth processing works that existed there for many years from 1883 until the end of the Second World War was demolished.

After leaving prison Smith went to work for Sir John Vanden Bempde Johnstone of Hackness near Scarborough and was largely forgotten outside Scarborough until the Geological Society recognized him as the father of English geology with the award of the Wollaston Prize in 1831.

Britain by William Smith 1815

Britain by William Smith 1815


References