Extraordinary people – 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

Business

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

Doctor

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

Gentry

Charles Norris Williamson
Charles Norris Williamson

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

Soldier

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

Sailor

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

Writers

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

Luxurious 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:

Directories

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

Named after the powerful nobility – 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 Down....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."
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 in depth sections and 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.

(These are, now, incorporated into the “Family Maze” and all of the individual trees have been deleted from the site. They are all still available on Ancestry for anyone interested. NOTE BY RICHARD HILL ON 31 JANUARY 2024).

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.

New family trees for you about 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:

(Please note that these family trees have been deleted and, where possible, incorporated into the family maze. They are still available on Ancestry for anyone interested). NOTE BY RICHARD HILL ON 1 FEBRUARY 2024.

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.

Save

Save

More people and family trees for our block 1900 – 1950

The Christopher Hotel 1844
The Christopher Hotel 1844

I continue to add family trees. Here are more family trees for the owners and occupants of Claremont House and 113 – 117 Church Road in the period 1900 – 1950.

List of family trees

(These ttrees have been deleted and where possible incorporated into the family maze. The originals are still available on Ancestry for anyone interested.) NOTE BY RICHARD HILL ON 1 FEBRUARY 2024.

As usual the families are all middle class – farmer, vicar, hotel keeper (the Robinson family ran the Christopher hotel), colliery manager, bank manager, company director, naval officer.

There are still a number of trees to do for the period and it really is a “labour of love” doing the family trees!

I do them because I believethat family history is an important part of local history and vice versa. People shape how areas change over time and the type of people who lived in an area is crucial. 

Much local history has been concerned with the ‘descent of the manor’ and the pedigrees and houses of the landed classes, but the lives of ‘ordinary’ people who made up most of the population is often ignored and, arguably, it’s more important.

Family history and local history can converge to produce a more complete picture of an area.

Memorable, official original listing letter 1976

I have just been given the original listing letter 1976 from Bath City Council.

It’s dated 2nd August 1976 and addressed to Mr R Wall making the property a Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest or listed building from 5th August 1975 under the Town and Country Planning Act 1971.

Last evening I was just preparing the evening meal for the family (if you’re interested: smoked cod and prawns poached in a butter, tarragon, garlic and peperoncino sauce, served with British asparagus, Padrón peppers and Jersey Royals, lovely!) when there was a knock at the door.

A rather lovely lady was there bringing the original listing letter sent in 1976.

As I understand things, it was found in the effects of her husband’s grandmother, Daphne Mildred Bish who died last year.

Very kindly the family decided that the current owners of the house might like it and just brought it along.

It’s a wonderful little surprise gift and I’m only sorry that I didn’t get the chance to ask her for her name and her husband’s name – I was a little flustered as the timer beeper was going off, indicating all the food was ready, just after I opened the door. Anyway, I thank them here.

Original listing letter 1976
Original listing letter 1976

More family trees for Owners & Occupants 1850 to 1900

I continue to add family trees.

Here are more family trees for the owners and occupants of Claremont House and 113 – 117 Church Road in the period 1850 – 1900.

Interesting points

Amongst them are some interesting discoveries. 

List of family trees

The Le Feuvre family in August 1895 (courtesy Simon Jenkins) Left to right: Charlie, Annie, Ithiel, Jane, Arthur, Samuel, Gertrude, Edmund, Vincent. Photographer: W.G. Lewis, 1 and 2, Seymour Street, Bath
The Le Feuvre family in August 1895 (courtesy Simon Jenkins)
Left to right: Charlie, Annie, Ithiel, Jane, Arthur, Samuel, Gertrude, Edmund, Vincent. Photographer: W.G. Lewis, 1 and 2, Seymour Street, Bath

As one might expect, the families are middle class but with a wide range of trades and professions from butcher to solicitor, council health inspector to carpenter, police superintendent to school teacher.

(Please note that these family trees have been deleted and where possible incorporated into the family maze. The originals are still available on Ancestry for anyone interested.) NOTE BY RICHARD HILL ON 1 FEBRUARY 2024. 

More family trees for Owners & Occupants to 1850

Philip Nowell by James Warren Childe (1778 - 1862)
Philip Nowell by James Warren Childe (1778 – 1862)

I continue to add family trees.

Here are more family trees for the owners and occupants of Claremont House and 113 – 117 Church Road in the period to 1850. 

Unsurprisingly it’s not been possible to gain information for some of these people and it’s quite scant on some of the others. Or, maybe the families really did just die out.

Anyway, some information is available for the following:

(Please note that these family trees have been deleted and where possible incorporated into the family maze. The originals are still available on Ancestry for anyone interested.) NOTE BY RICHARD HILL ON 1 FEBRUARY 2024.

There is nothing startling about any of the families. Royal naval officer, lodging house keepers and quarry masters.

All are middle class, though some are somewhat higher up the social hierarchy of the time than others and there’s no surprise in that. 

Philip Nowell was clearly well off, I have just discovered some information in The Gazette which hints at his wealth:

TO be sold, pursuant to an Order of the High Court of Chancery, made in the matter of the estate of Philip Nowell late of Grosvenor Wharf, Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico, in the county of Middlesex, and of Rock Hall, Combe Down, near Bath, in the county of Somerset, Esquire, and in a cause Cruse v. Nowell, with the approbation of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Torin Kindersley, the Judge to whose Court the said matter and cause are attached, at the Auction Mart, in the city of London, on Tuesday th« 22nd day of May, 1855, at two o'clock in the afternoon, in two lots;: A wharf, called the Grosvenor Wharf, situate in Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico. in the county of Middlesex, with an extensive quay abutting on the basin of the Grosvenor Canal, with warehouses, counting-house, and stabling; thereto belonging, and to messuages or dwelling-houses, being Nos. 27 and 28, in Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico aforesaid, and two messuages, being Nos. 1 and 2, Nowell's cottages, Wilton-road, Pimlico aforesaid. And also a wharf with entrance gates from the Wilton-road, Pimlico, with an extensive quay abutting on the basin of the said Grosvenor Canal, and the warehouses, workshops, drying-rooms, anda forge thereto belonging, and six messuages or dwelling houses, being Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, Nowell's cottages aforesaid. Printed particulars and conditions of sale may be had (gratis) of Mr. Robert Pope, of No. 11, Gray's-inn-square, Holborn ; of Mr. R. G. Smith, Solicitor, No. 5, New-inn, Strand; of Messrs. Maples and Co., Solicitors, Frederick'splace, Old Jewry; and of M'ssrs. Dunn and Gibbs, the Auctioneers. No. 7, Great Tower-street; and at Mr. Smith's, No. 25, Ebury-street, Pimlico.  The messuage, No. 27, Lower Belgrave-place, may be viewed by cards only, to be obtained as above, the remaining property may be viewed with the consent of the respective tenants.
TO he sold, pursuant to an Order of the High Court of Chancery, made in the matter of the estate of Philip Nowell, late of Grosvenor-wharf, Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico, in the county of Middlesex, and of Rock Hall, Combe Down, near Bath, in the county of Somerset, Esq., and in a cause Cruse against Nowell, with the approbation of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Torin Kindersley, the Judge to whose Court the said matter and cause are attached by Mr. W. J. Stent, the person appointed for that purpose at the Bath Arms Hotel, Warminster, in the county of Wilts, on Tuesday the 29th day of May, 1855, at six o'clock ia the afternoon, in seven lots: Three freehold messuages or dwelling-houses, with the appurtenances thereto belonging, situate at Sarnbourne-hill, and in Back-street, in the town of Warminister aforesaid. Also four leasehold messuages or dwelling-houses, with the appurtenances, situate in and being Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 7, George-street, in the said town of Warminster. Printed particulars and conditions of sale may be had (gratis) in London of Mr. Robert Pope, No. 11, Gray's-inn square Holborn; of Mr. R. G. Smith, Solicitor, No. 5, New Inn, Strand; and of Messrs. Maples and Co., Solicitors, Frederick's-place, Old Jewry ; and in the country of Mr. Thick, Solicitor, Cheltenham; of Mr. Stone, Solicitor, Bath; of the Auctioneer, Warminster; and at the place of sale.
TO be sold, pursuant to an Order of the High Court of Chancery, made in the matter of the estate of Philip Nowell, late of Grosvenor Wharf, Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico, in the county of Middlesex, and of Rock Hall, Combe Down, near Bath, in the county of Somerset, Esquire, deceased, and in a cause Cruse v. Nowell, with the approbation of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Torin Kindersley, the Judge to whose Court the said matter and cause are attached, by Mr. J. W. Sient, the person appointed for that purpose, at the Langford Inn, in Churchill, in the county of Somerset, on Thursday, the 31st day of May, 1855, at six o'clock in the afternoon, in two lots: Three several closes of arable, meadow, and orchard land, containing by estimation HA. 2R. 5P., or thereabouts, situate in the parish of Churchill, in the said county of Somerset, in the occupation of Mr. Henry Dando, as a yearly tenant. And also a piece of meadow land, containing by estimation 4A. 2n. 7P., or thereabouts, situate in the parish of Wrington, in the said county of Somerset, also in the occupation of the said Mr. Dando. Printed particulars and conditions of sale may be had (gratis) in London, of Mr. Robert Pope, Solicitor, No. 11, Gray's-inn-square, Holborn; of Mr. R. G. Smith, Solicitor, No. 5, New-inn, Strand; and of Messrs. Maples and Co., Solicitors, Frederick's-place, Old Jewry; and in the country of Mr. Thick, Solicitor, Cheltenham; of Mr. Stone, Solicitor, Bath ; of the Auctioneer, Warminster; and at the place of sale.

After his death his will led to a case in Chancery:

CRUSE V NOWELL

Exparte: Philip Nowell late of Grosvenor Wharf, Lower Belgrave Place, Pimlico, Middlesex and of Rock Hall, Combe Down near Bath, Somerset, esq.
Document type: Administration summons.
Application made by: Anne Barnard Cruse, Emma Nowell Cruse, Edward Nowell Cruse and George Frederick Cruse, infants by Edward Cruse their next friend of 70 Cambridge Street, Ecclestone Square, Pimlico, Middlesex, professor of music.
Short title: Cruse v Nowell.
Plaintiffs: Anne Barnard Cruse, Emma Nowell Cruse, Edward Nowell Cruse and George Frederick Cruse, infants by Edward Cruse their next friend.
Defendants: Philipp Nowell and Arthur Nowell.
Date: 1853

His sons Philip and Arthur had received £10,000 (worth about £1 million now) in trust for his daughter Mary and, in the event of here death his other children.

Mary died, but so did another of his children, Catherine, who died while he was still alive and the question was about whether this meant her ‘share’ lapsed. It was decided it did.