Occupants of 109, 113, 115 & 117 Church Road, Combe Down from 1805 to 1850

Margaretta – 115 & 117

Notice about Lewis Bull, Bath Chronicle, Thursday 17 May 1792

Notice about Lewis Bull, Bath Chronicle, Thursday 17 May 1792

Margaretta – (Bull, Taylor) (1784 – 1869) lived at what is now 115 Church Road for at least 35 years from at least 1827 until 1862. She has been the most frustrating of all the occupants to unravel of all. It’s still not complete, as her first husband remains a mystery, thus her own early background has proven impossible to substantiate.

From census records we know that she was born in Bristol sometime between 1786 and 1791 (it varies in each census).

Given her first married name of Bull I have a suspicion – given all the other interconnections that have become clear about the mortgagors – that she may be related by marriage to Benjamin Wingrove.

His aunt Mary Wingrove (1742 – 1803) was married to John Hensley (1737 – 1802). Their son, also called John Hensley (1768 – 1843) was married first to Mary Bull (1771 – 1810) on 12th May 1792. We know that Mary Bull’s father was Lewis Bull (1732 – 1807), of circulating library fame – mentioned by Richard Sheridan in The Rivals and who is supposed by some [1] to have bought Northanger Abbey from Jane Austen in 1803 for £10 (though others say it was the Crutwells[2]) – and her brother was John Bull (1764 – 1804), who married a Susanna Bowles in 1794, but little else at all can be established about their family. So, it’s possible Margaretta had a relationship with Lewis Bull’s family.

Margaretta first appears in 1827 when she was burgled and robbed of beef and mutton:

This also suggests that Margaretta was running some form of school. We have always wondered about this as when the front of 115 was cleaned of an horrible ‘plastic paint’ covering that someone had put on the Bath stone to ‘protect the house from damp’. This was a fallacy if there ever was one as it prevented the stone from breathing. Anyway, when wet the plat band showed a very faint inscription in the stone which read “Bo  a   Gir    Scho  ” – presumably Boys and Girls School?

Theft from Mrs. Bull, Bath Chronicle, Thursday 15 February 1827

Theft from Mrs. Bull, Bath Chronicle, Thursday 15 February 1827

We know that she ran this until at least 1848 from ‘Hunt & co.’s directory & court guide for the cities of Bath, Bristol, & Wells’ of 1848 and, in fact, the 1851 census has resident at 115 Church Road with the word ‘Pupil’ clear for another three residents:

Mary Jane Giles, Pupil, 15, 1836, F, Bath, Somerset, England
Ann Milsom, Pupil, 10, 1841, F, Bath, Somerset, England
Louisa Wilcox, Pupil, 12, 1839, F, Bath, Somerset, England

From Hunt & co.'s directory & court guide for the cities of Bath, Bristol, & Wells 1848

From Hunt & co.’s directory & court guide for the cities of Bath, Bristol, & Wells 1848

I wonder too whether Gye’s Directory of Bath for 1819 has her, but in Weston?

From Gyes Directory of Bath 1819

From Gyes Directory of Bath 1819

Margaretta next appears in an 1833 directory and, of course in the advert for the auction of the properties in 1836 as well as, after the auction on 21st June 1836 when there is for 115 and 117 Church Road the:

“Indenture of Assignment endorsed on the last mentioned Indenture and made between Richard Falkner Banker Robert Jupe Upholsterer and Henry Ward of the first part the said Thomas Macaulay Cruttwell of the second part James Standerwick Gentleman of the third part Margaretta Bull of the fourth part and the said Francis Ewens of the fifth part”.

All of this, together with the fact she was a widow. of about 53 by then, the annuity on her and the fact she is running her own business gives the feeling she was now the owner of the properties.

This is confirmed in the deed of 29th October 1862 referring to the Indenture of Assignment of 24th July 1836 which cross refers to the Indenture of Lease of 28th April 1820:

"…The premises contained in the said Indenture of Lease of the eighth day of April One thousand eight hundred and twenty were assigned to the said Margaretta Bull her executors administrators and assigns for the then residue of the said term of Four hundred and eighty five years subject to a mortgage then subsisting therein and to a certain Annuity which has since determined…"

So Margaretta seems to be doing well and in about July 1848 she marries Thomas Taylor about whom I have found out nothing except that he was born in Frome. He was 71 by the time they married and she in her mid 60s. Some time after this things do not go well as by 1862, from 2 deeds, we know that he has died and that she was in debt for £460, a substantial sum[3] in those days. Why she had that debt is unknown.

“…After reciting that the said Margaretta Taylor was indebted to the said John Taylor and Isaac Golledge as Executors in the sums of Three hundred pounds and One hundred and twenty pounds on Mortgage of her said Messuages and also in the sum of Forty pounds on her Promissory Note the said three several sums and interest were assigned and transferred unto the said John Taylor his executors administrators and assigns and the said Messuages and premises of the said Margaretta Taylor were assigned and transferred  unto the said John Taylor…”

The holder of the debt (secured on the property) was John Taylor ‘of the Borough of Cheltenham in the County of Gloucester Gentleman’. I assume that he was related to Thomas Taylor but have been able to find out nothing about him. Margaretta was forced to sell 115 and 117 for £380 and, presumably, John Taylor had to cover the £80 loss and the loss of interest.

The solicitor was Thomas Cruttwell (1808 – 1881) son of Thomas Macaulay Cruttwell who was in practice with his brother Robert and 5 Westgate Buildings. He was also living at Alma Villa (now Glenburnie) at the time. Thomas Cruttwell bought the properties in trust for Thomas Hanks.

Incidentally, Margaretta appears to have lived in both 115 and 117 at different times. The Chronicle articles of 1827 and 1836 as well as the 1833 directory and 1841 census have her living at 115. The 1851 census has her and Thomas Taylor living at 117, but by the 1861 census she is back at 115.

Edward Teast Wylde – 109

From A naval biographical dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer  in Her Majesty's navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive 1849

From A naval biographical dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer in Her Majesty’s navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive 1849

Although he is referred to as Captain Wylde in the Bath Chronicle advert for the auction of the houses in 1836 Edward Teast Wylde (1792 – 1860) was not a Captain but a Lieutenant. There is nothing strange in this as Captain was used as an honorific of command. An officer might be (and still may be) called Captain whilst a Lieutenant or Commander if he had been in command of a naval vessel, but was not a formal rank. The formal rank was achieved when someone became a Post Captain – by being given a rated command (a ship with at least 20 9-pound cannonball guns) when his name was then “posted” in the London Gazette.

He was the son of Rev. Sydenham Teast Wylde who was Rector of Ubley, Perpetual Curate of Burrington, Chaplain to the Viscount Melville and a Somerset magistrate. Two of his brothers also served in the military.

The excerpt from British Naval Biographical Dictionary (1849) gives a clear account of his service.

Edward Wylde married Magdalena Johanna Geertruyda Andree who was from Surinam (North Eastern Atlantic coast of South America, bordered by French Guiana to the East, Guyana to the West and Brazil to the South) and whose place of birth in the 1841 census was given as ‘Foreign parts’ but she is stated to be a British subject. Her ancestors included Dutch aristocracy, the Counts or Earls van Bylandt.

Surinam was first colonised by the British but was ceded to the Dutch in 1667. I have not been able to establish how they met, though the fact that Edward Wylde served on HMS Swiftsure in the West Indies in 1814/1815 surely has some relevance.

They were married in 1817 when she was just 20.

They had 7 children and Caroline Albinia Gertrude Wylde was born at Claremont Buildings (now Hopecote Lodge) on 16th August 1831

When he died in 1860 Edward Wylde was adjutant of The Royal Hospital at Greenwich.

Edward Palethorpe – 109, 113, 115 & 117

Murder on Combe Down, Bath Chronicle, Thursday 18 November 1841

Murder on Combe Down, Bath Chronicle, Thursday 18 November 1841

Edward Palethorpe (1804 – 1890) was born in Richmond and it would seem that his early career was that of a Revenue Officer or Exciseman, entering the job in 1825 and in 1827 being based at Southwark.

He married Lucy Ann Orme (1793 – 1863) and their first child was born in 1828, though he died at about 8 months.

I have not been able to establish exactly when and why he came to Bath but his father died in 1835 and he and his family were living at 2 De Montalt Place by 1841 when the census said he was of independent means, perhaps because of his father’s will?

In 1841 he was also a member of the Coroner’s Jury for a murder that was committed on Wednesday 17th November.

There was a report of that in the Bath Chronicle for Thursday 25th November 1841 that covers a full 1½ columns of the paper.

The Coroner’s Jury found for a charge of ‘Wilful Murder’ against William Stennard and against Thomas Stennard and William Every as accessories. They were later committed for trial at the assizes by the magistrates and taken to Shepton Mallet gaol.

A later report in The Bath Chronicle, on Thursday 7th April 1842, is from the trial at the Somerset Assizes. It seems that the jury found William Stennard guilty of manslaughter and acquitted Thomas Stennard and William Every.

William Stennard was sentenced to be transported for life.

On 10th August 1842 he was put on board the Moffat, together with 390 others convicted to transportation. The ship arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on 10th April 1843 and someone has left this information about his time in Australia on the web:

“During his incarceration he spent a total of 28 days in solitary confinement for various misdemeanours. He was granted his leave about the time he was granted permission to marry 1/10/1850 Catherine Fitzgerald b. 1834 in Cork Ireland to Mary & James Fitzgerald. Mary Fitzgerald a widow was transported to VDL 1849 along with her 2 daughters Catherine (15) and Mary (11). They had been charged for the same offence but served 6 and 12 month gaol term in England. Their mother pleaded no kin and the daughters were transported with her and on arrival placed in an orphanage, Catherine discharged to a Mrs Yeoland same year and she and William married the following year. They had 5 daughters and a stillbirth child which brought about Catherine’s death. William remarried 1859 in Hobart Bridget Burns and produced 3 sons. He remarried again in 1868 in Hobart Mary Anne McCarthy and produced another daughter. William died in May 1890 at the age of 68. The surname was often spelt as Stannard”.[4]

In 1848, according to Hunt & co.’s directory & court guide for the cities of Bath, Bristol, & Wells, Edward Palethorpe was living at De Montalt Cottage, though as the 1851 census still has him living at 2 De Montalt Place I suspect this means a cottage in De Montalt Place. In the 1851 census he described himself as a ‘Proprietor of Houses’ and, as we know, he had in 1849 bought 113 and into the mortgage for 115 and 117.

In 1855 he was appointed a Parish Overseer.

Overseers supervised endowments and other charitable funds, collected any fines allotted to the relief of the poor, and assessed inhabitants for a poor rate.

The Overseers were allowed to erect a poorhouse at the ratepayers’ expense. They were expected to provide work for paupers and, as far as possible, pauper children were to be apprenticed.

His first wife Lucy died in January 1863 and in June 1863 he remarried to Jesse Sewell (1828 – 1915). He was 59 and she was 35.

After living for 50 years on Combe Down he died in 1890 and in 1893 his wife moved to Christchurch in Hampshire where she died in 1915, but she was brought back to Bath and buried at Widcombe.

Henry Street – 109

Henry Street (1812 – 1857) was a quarry master and the son of Henry Street (1776 – 1858) who was also a quarry master. He was living at Claremont House in at least 1841 and 1842 although by 1851 he had moved to Odd Down.

Philip Nowell by James Warren Childe (1778 - 1862)

Philip Nowell by James Warren Childe (1778 – 1862)

His brother in law was Philip Nowell (1780 – 1853) who supplied the stone to the architects John Nash ( 18 January – 1835) and Sir Jeffrey Wyattville (1766 – 1840) and for extensions at Longleat, the garden front at Buckingham Palace, the round tower at Windsor Castle, Apsley House and Stratfield Saye. It seems that as a reward for his part in royal building projects Philip Nowell was made a Guelphic knight.[5]

The Royal Guelphic Order is an order of chivalry instituted on 28 April 1815 by the Prince Regent (later George IV). It has not been conferred since the death of King William IV in 1837, when the personal union of the United Kingdom and Hanover ended. The honour is named after the House of Guelph to which the Hanoverian kings belonged and in the United Kingdom it has always been regarded as a foreign order and the members were not entitled to style themselves as Sir unless they were also created Knights Bachelor. Philip Nowell was also a builder, based at Grosvenor Wharf, Pimlico. His firm was among the contractors for the building of Belgravia, and was also responsible for the construction of the main buildings and boundary walls at Brompton Cemetery[6] as well as the Bridgewater Monument at Aldbury in Hertfordshire.

He also built and lived at (as one of his residences) Rockhall House – perhaps the ugliest Victorian building on Combe Down – which was built around 1850.

Philip Nowell had 10 children with his first wife, who died in 1843, and in 1850 when he was 70 and she was 39, he married Harriett Street. He died in 1853. 

He owned a lot of property on Combe Down including Greendown Terrace and Greendown Place which were sold by his executors at an auction at the Carriage Inn on Monday May 23rd 1853 in 20 lots according to an advert in the Bath Chronicle on Thursday 19th May 1853. At the same auction 158 oak trees were to be sold in 12 lots. There is more about the effects of his will here.

Harriett died in 1879 and for a while Rockhall became the home of a George Wyatt, but by 1887 it became the home of ‘The Bath Institution for Idiot Children and Those of Weak Intellect’.

This was a municipal charity that had been founded in 1846 at 5 Walcot Parade and was then at 35 Belvedere.

Since about 1883 it had been proposed that it be amalgamated with the St. Mary Magdalen Hospital Charity (founded c. 1200 AD to care for lepers, though by the mid 17th century its role had changed to caring for the mentally ill) though it was not until November 1893 that this was formally approved. However they had operated as if they were amalgamated then advertised for a large house to purchase in the Bath Chronicle on Thursday 17th March 1887 which became The Magdalen Hospital School, later known as Rockhall School.  This became part of the NHS and closed in 1980. Rockhall House is now used as retirement and sheltered housing. 

Henry Street’s father was also the man who sold the land for the Jewish Cemetery, near Greendown Place on Bradford Road, in 1812[7], though it is also said that it was founded in 1815 and its title deed dates from 1820.[8] It is not known exactly when it was ready for use but the first burial seems to have been that of Aharon b Moshe (1779 – 1826) in 1826.[9] This cemetery is one of only fifteen Jewish cemeteries surviving from the Georgian period in the country.[10]

Anthony, Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary Aslat – 109

Anthony Aslat (1779 – 1850) appears to have been a mason and then a farmer but had become insolvent and had, in 1837, to apply to The Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors.[11] This had been set up in 1813 to allow the release of debtors from prison if they applied and had reached an agreement with creditors that ensured a fair distribution of present and future assets.

Before 1869 a debtor could be sent to a debtor’s prison or separate quarters in a local prison until the debts were cleared or a petition for release was accepted. An insolvent debtor – anyone whose debts did not arise through trading was an insolvent debtor – could remain in prison indefinitely based on the creditor having the final decision or if the debts remained unpaid. Before 1841 the legal status of being a bankrupt and therefore able to pay off creditors and be discharged of all outstanding debts was confined to traders owing more than £100. The Insolvency Act 1844 abolished imprisonment for debts under £20 and allowed private persons to become bankrupts and lowered the financial limit to £50. The Bankruptcy Act 1861 abolished the Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors and transferred its jurisdiction to the Bankruptcy Court. It authorised registrars of the Court of Bankruptcy to visit prisons and adjudge bankrupt those imprisoned for debt who satisfied them as to the genuineness of their insolvency. This resulted in a dramatic fall in the number of debtors in prison. The Debtors Act 1869 ended most imprisonment for debt and by 1877 only 3% of all committals to prison were for debt compared to a figure of 60% in 1776.

Elizabeth Aslat (1806 – 1846) and Mary Aslat (1810 – 1900) describe themselves as lodging house keepers. In 1841 Elizabeth was doing this at Claremont Buildings whilst her mother Sarah was living at 8 Mount Pleasant.

Either Elizabeth or Mary may have been the Miss Aslett reported in the Bath Chronicle on Thursday 5th June 1845 in the suicide of Elizabeth Morris mentioned earlier. It seems the name was spelled Aslat, Aslet, Aslatt and Aslett by various different parties. It seems spelling variants were common in Victorian England.

Elizabeth died at Claremont House on September 27th 1846 and then Sarah died at Claremont House on 31st May 1848 according to the Bath Chronicle of 1st June 1848 ‘after a long and painful illness’. Anthony also died at Claremont House on 25th February 1850. Mary Aslat was still at Claremont House in 1851 as a lodging house keeper, but after her father’s death moved to Clifton in Bristol to do the same thing. She died in Bristol in 1900 aged 90.

It seems that Claremont House was a lodging house between about 1842 and 1851 though who the owners and occupants were is not clear.

Margaret Musters – 113

Other than that she was born in Somerset in about 1811 and was living at 113 at the time of the 1841 census I have been unable to establish any more.

Thomas Gill – 117

Other than his date of birth and death I have been unable to establish with any certainty who Thomas Gill (1808 – 1891) was. He and his wife Louisa (b.1811) and daughter Louisa (b.1828) were living at 117 at the time of the 1841 census and he is of independent means. There was a mayor of Bath called Thomas Gill in 1853 but we cannot be sure that it is him.


References