Update to ‘Our Block’

Ralph Allen bequests, Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 23 August 1764

Ralph Allen bequests, Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 23 August 1764

I have just updated the ‘Our Block‘ page after Ian & Susan Parsons at 121 Church Road kindly lent me the deeds that they have in their possession.

Interestingly, most of them were for Claremont House, 109 Church Road but they also encompass Claremont Cottage, 107 Church Road, Claremont Lodge, 119 Church Road as well as Ian & Susan’s property 121 Church Road, which has been called Rosemere.

Solicitors’ filing systems are a never ending wonder, but I guess that as Claremont House was broken up into flats 121 became the ‘logical’ place to put all it’s history. I’m glad about that as old deeds can be a small mine of information as all the properties aforementioned were traded as one entity for a long time.

As stated, solicitors’ filing systems are a never ending wonder and another interesting inclusion was a deed from 1768. It seems to be a cuckoo as it relates to London Road properties and transactions by Lewis Clutterbuck, who was a lawyer, member of Bath City Council 1753 – 57 and town clerk, 1757 – 76. He was also mentioned in Ralph Allen’s will receiving a £100 bequest. His family owned Newark Park, at Ozleworth near Wotton-under-Edge. Why it’s with the deeds for Claremont….

Delving through the documents shows that Claremont was constructed c 1805 – 1806 along with 113 – 117 and Hopecote (which was, originally 3 properties).

We know that 119 was originally 2 properties and it became clear that at some time between 1878 and 1893, 121 was built as a block of stables.

The current structure is due to substantial alterations as the documents show that permission for ‘provision of a mansard roof’ was granted 4 Dec 1973, the ‘erection of a single storey extension to the rear,’ on 17 Aug 1978, the ‘erection at first and second floor level over existing garage’ on 16 Aug 1979 and the ‘erection of a garage’ on 17 Dec 1981.

Extract from deed of 13 July 1893

Extract from deed of 13 July 1893

 

More Combe Down cousins

Audrey Gurney Richardson (Shelford) (1886 - 1979 a daughter of Rev Alfred Richardson (1853 - 1925), Vicar of Combe Down

Audrey Gurney Richardson (Shelford) (1886 – 1979 a daughter of Rev Alfred Richardson (1853 – 1925), Vicar of Combe Down

Following last month’s movers and shakers post I have discovered more Combe Down cousins for that link them to other families who lived in the ‘big houses’. Those are the AllenAtherton, BennettBryanCruttwellDaubeneyDisneyFalknerForttGabrielGoreHopeHowardMaudeMorleyRichardsonVivian and Wingrove families who are mentioned on this site in numerous places

This post is probably best read with last month’s post open in another tab for easy reference as it’s all pretty complicated!

So, in no particular order let’s take a look at some more Combe Down cousins.

One of the mortgagees for 109 Church Road was Edward Langford (1777 – 1843). His grand daughter Caroline Charlotte Jane Langford (1840 – 1909) married the Ven Albert Basil Orme Wilberforce (1841 – 1916). Their son, Brig Gen Sir Herbert William Wilberforce KBE CB CMG (1866 – 1952) married Eleanor Catherine Micklem (1871 – 1956) and her great aunt Mary Micklem (1786 – 1849) had married Thomas Macaulay Cruttwell (1777 – 1848), whilst their son Thomas Cruttwell (1808 – 1881) had Glenburnie built for him. The Crutwells were linked to Richard Falkner (1796 – 1863), who had been a mortgagee for 115 & 177 Church Road via his brother Francis Henry Falkner (1786 – 1866) who’s son Robert Falkner (1811 – 1851) married  Susanna Eykyn (1811 – 1883) in 1841. Susanna’s brother William Eykyn (1821 – 1884) married Fanny Mary Cruttwell(1839 – 1902) in 1865. It was her second marriage. Fanny was the daughter of Robert Cruttwell (1812 – 1858) whose older brother was Thomas Cruttwell (1808 – 1881) who had had Glenburnie built for him.

Charles Howard (1853 – 1928) and Helen Gertrude Bryan (1860 – 1917) lived at Combe Lodge

Charles Howard (1853 – 1928) and Helen Gertrude Bryan (1860 – 1917) lived at Combe Lodge

In 1831 Anne Falkner (1813 – 1886), the sister of  Robert Falkner (1811 – 1851), married Charles Thomas Moule (1800 – 1865). His brother was Frederick Moule (1789 – 1843) who married Mary Gore (1795 – 1845). Her brother was Rev John Gurney Gore (1799 – 1871) who married Mary Eliza Hole (1812 – 1891) and their daughter Caroline Letitia Gore (1843 – 1920) was the third wife of Rev Reginald Guy Bryan (1819 – 1912), the Principal at Monkton Combe College.

Rev Alfred Richardson (1853 – 1925), who was vicar of Combe Down from 1902 – 1914, married Emma Leatham (1853 – 1925). Her great aunt Mary Leatham (1738 – 1820) was married to Thomas Howard (1736 – 1834) whose grandson was Rev Thomas Henry Howard (1804 – 1885) and whose great grandson Rev Richard Nelson Howard (1852 – 1932) was vicar of Combe Down from 1892 – 1897. In addition Rev Thomas Henry Howard (1804 – 1885) had another son Rev Charles Howard (1853 – 1928) who was married to Helen Gertrude Bryan (1860 – 1917) who was a daughter of Rev Reginald Guy Bryan (1819 – 1912), the Principal at Monkton Combe School. Charles and Gertrude started Monkton Combe Junior School at Combe Lodge in May 1888.

Rev John Clark Knott (1818 – 1907) lived at Combe Hill House. His brother William Henry Smith Knott (1804 – 1851) was married to Sabina Judith Bernard (1812 – 1861). Her cousin Sabina Pool Atherton (1828 – 1913) married Charles Henry Gabriel (1821 – 1900). Thus the knotts were related to the Atherton / Gabriel family and all the others.

Someone else who lived at Combe Hill House, as well as at Prior Park, was Edward Candler Brown (1732 – 1807).  His mother was Mary Ryves (1703 – 1768) and her great uncle was Rev Jerome Ryves (d 1705) who was married to Ann Maude (b 1679), the sister of Sir Robert Maude (1677 – 1750) 1st Baronet Maude, the father of Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden. He, of course was the husband of Mary Allen, Lady Maude (1732  – 1775), the daughter of Ralph Allen’s brother Philip Allen (1695 – 1765). It seems likely that this family connection was how Edward Candler Brown came to reside at Prior Park.

Combe Grove farmhouse about 1905

Combe Grove farmhouse about 1905

James Ledger Hill (1839 – 1912) lived at Combe Grove Farm. His wife wife Mary Tucker (1849 – 1931) was the daughter of William Henry Tucker (1814 – 1877) and his wife Emily Hannah Hendy (1815 – 1885) who lived at West Brow in the 1870s. James Ledger Hill’s daughter, Grace Hill (1881 – 1959) was married to Dermot Gun O’Mahony (1881 – 1960). His grandfather was Robert Gun Cuninghame (1792 – 1877) and one of his sons was Col Robert George Archibald Hamilton Gun Cuninghame (1818 – 1880) who married Isabella Tottenham (1817 – 1880), the daughter of Rt Rev Lord Robert Ponsonby Tottenham (1773 – 1850) and The Hon Alicia Maude (1782 – 1866), a daughter of Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden and his third wife Anne Isabella Monck Viscountess Hawarden (1759 – 1851) after whom Isabella Place is named.

So now to the the Allen, Atherton, Bennett, Bryan, Cruttwell, Daubeney, Disney, Falkner, Fortt, Gabriel, Gore, Hope, Howard, Maude, Morley, Richardson, Vivian and Wingrove families we can add the Candler, Hill, Knott, Langford, Tucker families who have been involved in the development of Combe Down or lived here for a reasonable period and show that all are inter-related.

Even more evidence of property, power, position and patronage being the cornerstone of the class system, at least in the 17th 18th and 19th centuries, because it’s “not what you know, but who you know”.

Movers and shakers

Ralph Allen

Ralph Allen

I have been convinced for a while that the “movers and shakers” who built and lived on Combe Down from the time of Ralph Allen to the early 1900s were probably related – albeit distantly. By movers and shakers I mean the Allen, Atherton, Bennett, Bryan, Cruttwell, Daubeney, Disney, Falkner, Fortt, Gabriel, Gore, Hope, Howard, Maude, Morley, Richardson, Vivian and Wingrove families who are mentioned on this site in numerous places.

I have now proven it to my own satisfaction, though I am still working on the complete, single family tree. As it’s not finalised with all citations etc it may be a while before I publish on the site, so I have uploaded a zipped GEDCOM for anyone who may be interested.

Let me try to explain. You’ll also find some conclusions at the end.

It’s well known that Ralph Allen was the first of the movers and shakers, responsible for building the first community on Combe Down but that he left no surviving children. His will stipulated that his estates were for the use of his wife during her lifetime. After she died the Bathampton Manor & estates were to go to his brother Philip Allen (1695 – 1765) and Prior Park in trust to:

  • Gertrude Tucker (abt 1727 – 1796 ), his niece (daughter of his sister Elizabeth Allen (1702 – 1731)) and her issue, sons and oldest first but daughters equally, but if none then
  • Capt. William Tucker RN (abt 1728 – 1770) his nephew (son of his sister Elizabeth Allen (1702 – 1731)) and his issue, sons and oldest first but daughters equally, but if none then
  • Mary Allen, Lady Maude (1732  – 1775) (daughter of his brother Philip Allen (1695 – 1765)) and her issue, sons and oldest first but daughters equally, but if none then
  • To whomever was his lawful heir

Mary Allen, Lady Maude became the beneficiary but she died before inheriting and so her husband Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden had possession of them for their son Thomas Maude, 2nd Viscount Hawarden. Mary Allen was the daughter of Ralph Allen’s brother Philip Allen (1695 – 1765) who had married Jane Bennett (1703 – 1767). Her family owned Widcombe Manor and thus the Bennett and Allen families were connected as were, obviously, the Allen and Maude families. 

Move on some time and the Bennetts have left Widcombe Manor and acquired Rougham Hall in Suffolk. Maj Philip Bennett (1837 – 1875) married Barbara Sophia Harriet Disney (1838 – 1929) who was the great, great, great grand daughter of Rev John Disney (1677 – 1729). He was also the grandfather of Henry Woolhouse Disney Roebuck (1733 – 1796) who built Midford Castle. After the death of Maj Philip Bennett, Barbara Sophia Harriet Disney married The Hon Harbord Harbord (1836 – 1894), a son of Sir Edward Harbord, 3rd Baron Suffield (1781 – 1835). Though they had no children this marriage tied the Bennett, Disney and Harbord families together.

In 1861 Charles Henry Gabriel (1821 – 1900) the son of John Gabriel (1787-1825) married Sabina Pool Atherton (1828 – 1913) the daughter of Nathan Atherton (1798 – 1885). In 1909 Charles Harry Atherton Brown (1888 – 1961), the great grandson of Nathan Atherton married Ida Harbord (1878 – 1956). She was a grand daughter of Sir Edward Harbord, 3rd Baron Suffield (1781 – 1835), who is mentioned in the previous paragraph. This linked the Bennett, Disney, Harbord, Atherton and Gabriel families.

Alice Mary Disney Roebuck (1843 – 1869) the great grand daughter of Henry Woolhouse Disney Roebuck married John Brabazon Vivian (1836 – 1874) who was the great grand son of Rev Thomas Vivian (1718 – 1792) whose son Rev Henry William Vivian (1756 – 1840) had married Frances Wingrove (1777 – 1830) who was the cousin of Benjamin Wingrove (1773 – 1840), lawyer, land speculator and road builder who did work for for Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden (1729 – 1803), Thomas Maude, 2nd Viscount Hawarden (1767 – 1807), Cornwallis Maude, 3rd Viscount Hawarden (1780 – 1856) and John Thomas (abt 1752 – 1827). This links the Disney, Vivian and Wingrove families and also the Allen, Maude, Bennett, Harbord, Atherton and Gabriel families.

In 1911 Mary Morley (1855 – 1917), the daughter of Samuel Morley MP (1809 – 1866) lived at St Christopher, also residing there was her niece Rebekah Wilbraham Phibbs (née Taylor) (1877 – 1952) the daughter of Herbert Wilbraham Taylor (1847 – 1899) and her sister Rebekah Hope Morley (1842 – 1877). Mary Morley was the niece of Rhoda Mary Hope (1828 – 1910) and a cousin of Dr Charles Middleton Coates (1857 – 1933) who both owned HopecoteHerbert Wilbraham Taylor was a grandson of Sir William Gosset CB KCH (abt 1783 – 1848) and Gertrude Martha Daniell (1789 – 1849). Gertrude Martha Daniell was the daughter of Ralph Allen Daniell MP (1762 – 1823) whose grandmother was Gertrude Allen (1697 – 1789) – Ralph Allen‘s sister. This links the Hope and Morley families to the Allen, Maude, Bennett, Disney, Vivian, Wingrove, Harbord, Atherton and Gabriel families.

Richard Falkner (1796 – 1863) was a banker and a partner in Tufnell, Collett, Falkner & Co. and part owned 115 Church Road & 117 Church Road. Richard had a brother, Francis Henry Falkner (1786 – 1866). His grand son Archibald John Campbell (1867 – 1944) married Clementina Henrietta Brooke (1876 – 1952) who was the daughter of Kathleen Maude (1854 – 1939) who was the daughter of Sir Cornwallis Maude (1817 – 1905) 1st Earl de Montalt, 4th Viscount Hawarden, 4th Baron de Montalt, 6th Baronet Maude who was the grandson of Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden who was married to Mary Allen, Lady Maude. Thus the Falkner family links to the Allen, Maude, Bennett, Disney, Vivian, Wingrove, Harbord, Hope, Morley, Atherton and Gabriel families.

Robert Falkner (1811 – 1851) the son of Francis Henry Falkner married  Susanna Eykyn (1811 – 1883) in 1841. Susanna’s brother William Eykyn (1821 – 1884) married Fanny Mary Cruttwell (1839 – 1902) in 1865. It was her second marriage. Fanny was the daughter of Robert Cruttwell (1812 – 1858) whose older brother was Thomas Cruttwell (1808 – 1881) built Glenburnie on Church Road. They were both sons of Thomas Macaulay Cruttwell (1777 – 1848) and Mary Micklem (1786 – 1849). The Cruttwell family owned the Bath Chronicle for many years. This means the Cruttwell family links to the Allen, Maude, Bennett, Disney, Vivian, Wingrove, Harbord, Hope, Morley, Falkner, Atherton and Gabriel families.

Evelyn Pierrepont (1665 – 1726) 1st Duke of Kingston upon Hull, 1st Marquess of Dorchester KG PC

Capt. William Tucker RN (abt 1728 – 1770), the nephew of Ralph Allen was married to Diana Marriott (1740 – 1816). Her father was Rev Dr Randolph Marriott DD (1699 – 1782) and her mother Lady Diana Feilding (1706 – 1756) the daughter of Basil Feilding (1668 – 1716) 4th Earl of Denbigh and 3rd Earl of Desmond and Hester Firebrace (1670 – 1726) Countess of Denbigh and Countess of Desmond. One of her father’s siblings was Lady Mary Feilding (1670 – 1697) Countess of Kingston-upon-Hull who was married to Evelyn Pierrepont (1665 – 1726) 1st Duke of Kingston upon Hull, 1st Marquess of Dorchester KG PC. One of Evelyn Pierrepont’s sons was William Pierrepont (1692 – 1713) Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull who married Rachel Baynton (1695 – 1722), which brought Great Chalfield Manor and much of the old Bath Priory property in central Bath to the Pierrepoints. In the 1730s Gen Evelyn Pierrepont (1712 – 1773), 2nd Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull, sold the old Bath Abbey Orchards land in Bath to John Wood the Elder (1704 – 1754) and his business partner James Leake who went on to design and construct housing and named the streets Pierrepont Place and Pierrepont Street in homage. The rest of the lands passed to Charles (Medows) Pierrepont (1737 – 1816) 1st Earl Manvers, grand son of Evelyn Pierrepont (1665 – 1726) 1st Duke of Kingston upon Hull when the 2nd duke died without issue.

Capt Lord William Stuart RN (1778 – 1814) was married to The Hon Georgiana Maude (1781 – 1807), a daughter of Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden and Anne Isabella Monck (1759 – 1851) Viscountess Hawarden. Lord Stuart was a grandson of John Stuart (1713 – 1792) 3rd Earl of Bute, KG, PC who was married to Mary Wortley Montagu (1717 1794) Countess of Bute, 1st Baroness Mount Stuart. She was the only daughter of Sir Edward Wortley Montagu (1678 – 1761) and Lady Mary Pierrepont (1689 – 1762) the eldest daughter of the Evelyn Pierrepont (1665 – 1726) 1st Duke of Kingston upon Hull, 1st Marquess of Dorchester KG PC.

Rev Reginald Guy Bryan

Rev Reginald Guy Bryan

Rev Reginald Guy Bryan M. A. (1819 – 1912), who had been the vice-principal at Protestant College, Malta; Perpetual Curate at Fosbury, Wiltshire and the Principal at Monkton Combe College first married Salome Blomefield (1827 – 1894) the daughter of Sir Thomas William Blomefield (1791 – 1858) and Salome Kekewich (1795 – 1862). Sir Thomas William Blomefield‘s great, great, great, great, great grandmother was Isabella Pierrepoint (1549 – 1620). She was also the great, great, great aunt of Evelyn Pierrepont (1665 – 1726) 1st Duke of Kingston upon Hull, 1st Marquess of Dorchester KG PC.

Caroline Letitia Gore (1843 – 1920) was the third wife of Rev Reginald Guy Bryan. She was the daughter of Mary Eliza Hole (1813 – 1891). The Bryan family were related to many others on Combe Down. 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 also related to Rev Alfred Richardson (1853 – 1925) was vicar of Combe Down from 1902 – 1914. The Bryan family were related to the Gore family who, in turn, 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.

Henry Grahame Montagu (1829 – 1916) lived at 109 Church Road. He was married at least four times and had 22 children. He had 8 children with his first wife Louisa Maria Jenkins (1845 – 1890). 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. His second wife Gertrude Kate Fortt (1872 – 1900). Gertrude Fortt’s great uncle was William Fortt (1796 – 1880) who lived at Hopecote or 1 Claremont Buildings as it was then.

Everything noted in the last five paragraphs links the Bryan, Daubeney, Gore, Howard, Fortt and Richardson families to the Allen, Maude, Bennett, Disney, Vivian, Wingrove, Harbord, Hope, Morley, Falkner, Cruttwell, Atherton and Gabriel families as well as the Pierreponts.

So what, you may reasonably say. It’s just a whole load of old families you may add. I find it more fascinating than that.

Property, power, position and patronage were the cornerstone of the class system (and still are?) in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Their lands and estates were often made up of tenanted farms, in which case the gentleman could live entirely off rent income so that they did not have to to actively work. They could even pass off most of the administrative work to a steward. This allowed them to pursue other careers at court, in the military or politics from which they could gain even more property, power, position and patronage. The nobility and gentry had good reason to make sure that they married other people of a similar ilk who understood the ‘rules of the game’ and only to ‘let in’ those who had made it to a similar status whom they then absorbed in the ‘rules of the game’. It still goes on today, think of quangos.

Benjamin Wingrove

In another tenuous coincidence I have discovered that Benjamin Wingrove (1773 – 1840), who has his own page on this site, and was an attorney, land speculator, agriculturalist and road builder is the 1st cousin 1x removed of the wife of the husband of the 7th great-aunt of our son-in-law. I said it was tenuous!

The Wingroves were a family based in North Bradley until Benjamin Wingrove (1693-1768) moved to Bath He married Ann Pitman (1703 – 1796) in 1730. They had nine children in 16 years.

His children also prospered. Francis (1733 – 1795) became a well known baker.

His daughter Mary (1742 – 1803) married John Hensley (1737 – 1802) a coachmaker based in Broad Street.

Another son William (1745 – 1786) was a brewer and died quite young but married Martha Whittaker (1737 – 1795) a daughter of Thomas Whittaker (1702 – 1760) of Bratton, Wiltshire. The Whittakers were clothiers, fullers, corn and sheep farmers. After her husband died Martha became a pump mistress at the baths. The pump mistresses were widows of good repute. They needed to have reasonable means as the annual rent was £840 but the potential was that they could make a good profit and set themselves up for retirement. The covenant was with Mayor, aldermen and citizens and the duties included opening and shutting the pump rooms, keeping the rooms tidy and fit for the reception of Nobility, Gentry, Inhabitants and others and paying all taxes. It related to baths and vaults at the Kings & Queens Baths, Hot Baths and Cross Bath.

Martha Wingrove, Pumper - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 9 July 1795

Martha Wingrove, Pumper – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 9 July 1795

Anthony Wingrove (1748 – 1798) became a Captain in the 34th Regiment of Foot seeing action in Canada and the West Indies and dying in Dominica.

Anthony Wingrove becomes Captain - Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 1 April 1794

Anthony Wingrove becomes Captain – Kentish Gazette – Tuesday 1 April 1794

Another daughter, Elizabeth (1749 – 1822) married Robert Forman (1741 – 1792) an attorney.

His son John Wingrove (1739 – 1790) ran the Marlborough Tavern, 35 Marlborough Buildings, Walcot, Bath and the Fox & Hounds, Walcot Street. He married Anne Blatchly (1740 1822) on 14 February 1764. They had six children in 11 years, but 4 died in infancy or childhood. His eldest son John (b 1765) became a ribbon weaver in Bristol.

Wingrove, Marlborough Tavern coach horses - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 2 May 1793

Wingrove, Marlborough Tavern coach horses – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 2 May 1793

John Wingrove, Fox and Hounds - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 6 December 1787

John Wingrove, Fox and Hounds – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 6 December 1787

His other surviving son was Benjamin Wingrove (1773 – 1840)  who appears in this site and whose page I have ‘upgraded’.

Curo cable car plan – clanger or cock up?

I’ve added a section about the Curo cable care plan that flew across the sky between 205 and 2017 whilst Curo were starting the development of Mulberry Park and having some ‘issues’ with their Foxhill master plan – which was mentioned in last month’s blog ‘Black hats or blunderers‘. 

The Curo cable care plan was abandoned after negative feedback during the consultation process but what I find interesting is why it was put forward? Did Curo really believe that it would receive planning permission in Bath’s World Heritage Site?

Curo are members of the World Heritage Site steering group which also includes:

The World Heritage Site steering group  is involved with producing the Bath World Heritage Site Management Plan.

A quick review of this would have shown the obstacles that the Curo cable care plan would have faced in getting any planning approval – presumably why they said they intended to bypass the usual planning system and go straight to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Even that, one suspects, would have been a challenge. As the Bath World Heritage Site Management Plan makes clear:

"Government guidance on protecting the Historic Environment and World Heritage is set out in National Planning Policy Framework and Circular 07/09. Policies to protect, promote, conserve and enhance World Heritage properties, their settings and buffer zones are also found in statutory planning documents. The Bath and North East Somerset Local Plan contains a core policy according to which the development which would harm the qualities justifying the inscription of the World Heritage property, or its setting, will not be permitted. The protection of the surrounding landscape of the property has been strengthened by adoption of a Supplementary Planning Document, and negotiations are progressing with regard to transferring the management of key areas of land from the Bath and North East Somerset Council to the National Trust."

Further reading would have shown:

"The site boundary is the municipal boundary of the city. This covers an area of approximately 29 square km. As noted in chapter 1, Bath is exceptional in this respect as the World Heritage inscription in almost every other city worldwide covers only a part of the urban area and not the entire settlement. Venice and its lagoon is the closest European comparator.

The property was inscribed in 1987 without a boundary map, which was not uncommon at that time. The description of the ‘City of Bath’ was taken to mean that the boundary encompassed the entire city and it was managed accordingly. This boundary was subsequently confirmed by letter (dated 17 October 2005) from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre."

and:

"Bath remains a compact city, contained largely within the hollow in the hills as previously described. The city does not have significant ‘urban sprawl’ and high quality built development directly adjoins high quality landscape at the urban edge. The skyline is predominantly characterised by trees or open pasture. The green hillsides provide a backdrop to the urban area and are visible from most of the city centre. Bath is well provided for in terms of parks and open spaces, with the River Avon cutting through the city centre providing natural beauty and sense of calm. All of the above contribute to an impression that the city is smaller than it actually is."

and: 

"The Green Setting of the City in a Hollow in the Hills

42. The compact and sustainable form of the city contained within a hollow of the hills
43. The distinct pattern of settlements, Georgian houses and villas in the setting of the site, reflecting the layout and function of the Georgian city
44. Green, undeveloped hillsides within and surrounding the city
45. Trees, tree belts and woodlands predominantly on the skyline, lining the river and canal, and within parkland and gardens
46. Open agricultural landscape around the city edges, in particular grazing and land uses which reflect those carried out in the Georgian period
47. Fingers of green countryside which stretch right into the city"

as well as various maps: 

World Heritage Site extent

World Heritage Site extent

Green belt

Green belt

Conservation area

Conservation area

So, why was the Curo cable care plan put forward? It would seem that it was most unlikely to get planning permission – unless there’s something I don’t know about.

Black hats or blunderers?

Judges gavelSomehow when ever I see the words ‘master plan’ I give a tiny shudder. I think of evil dictators and ‘James Bond villains‘, the ‘black hats of cowboy movies too.

The saga of the Foxhill regeneration master plan that ran on Combe Down for 5 years or so has elements of the things that give me the ‘master plan’ shudder.

Ordinary folk living their lives as best they can, given that they had been described as living in an area that was designated “in the most deprived 20% of the country”, who are given a master plan to regenerate their community by the housing association that owned many of the affordable homes in the area and a council that granted the housing association outline planning permission.

That outline planning permission was, later, adjudged, in a Judicial Review, to have been given without: ” due regard to the need to remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected characteristic or to take steps to meet the needs of such persons The relevant characteristics were age, disability, race and pregnancy or maternity … The grant of outline planning permission on 30 November 2017 was unlawful, and that outline planning permission will be quashed.”

So were the housing association and council black hats or blunderers? Only you can decide what you think, but I’ve laid out the main elements of the Foxhill regeneration master plan.

It seems to me that two of the key documents are:

Given that:

it’s difficult to see that much “working in partnership with residents” took place.

N.B. There’s a great video made by the residents:

Only 3 years?

Combe Lodge late 1800s, names of people unknown

Combe Lodge late 1800s, names of people unknown

I suddenly realised that it’s 3 years since Prior to Now launched as a website, building on the book.

It happens that in May 2015 I wrote 3 blog articles: Bathampton Manor on May 3rd, Prior Park sale on May 5th and Particulars of Prior Park sale in 1808 on May 8th.

A year later in May 2016 I wrote 2 blog articles: More family trees for Owners & Occupants 1850 to 1900 on May 19th and Original listing letter 1976 on May 21st.

By last year, in May 2017, it was just the one: Personal memories of Combe Down on May 21st.

Quite what all this proves, other than that my blogging frequency has declined, I don’t really know. Having said that it’s interesting to me to see the range of subjects that have been covered.

Also, there are many things that are within the site that have not been covered by the blog. I find the money troubles that  Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden seems to have inflicted on himself quite fascinating. I’m not particularly risk averse but the way some of the aristocracy behaved back in the 18th century really does boggle my mind – though, I suppose it shouldn’t given all the financial shenanigans we see today! Even so having mortgages of £18,008 18s 0d in 1799 on land that was doubly mortgaged to different lenders, seemingly without their knowledge and not having the wherewithal to pay the interest does seem slightly risky. 

Looking at the site by date ranges also gives some insights. The Victorian period from 1850 – 1900 saw an ‘explosion of activity’ on Combe Down, with things that were innovative in their time, such as allotments, public lighting, safer water, public transport such as the omnibus and railways, improving healthcare with the Combe Down Convalescent Home, Bath Statutory Hospital and Magdalen Hospital School.

So many of these things are so normal to so many of us these days that we barely even think about them and, sadly, when we do, it’s too often to criticize the ‘patriarchal attitudes’ or similar of the people who pushed them and who were, in their day seen as progressive. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

More about Combe Down quarries and quarrying

Main passage in Firs quarry, Combe Down

I’ve added more about Combe Down quarries and quarrying.

It’s now divided into the following nine sections which are, hopefully, self explanatory:

Combe Down’s freestone is, of course, why the village exists. Combe Down’s quarries were heavily worked between 1730 and 1840 and did not cease operations until the early years of the 20th century. Over 40 quarries have been listed on Combe Down. In 1895 The Builder listed 10 open quarries and one mine on Combe Down. Upper Lawn Quarry, across the fields from Gladstone Road, continues to operate today, the last quarry on Combe Down.

According to The British Geological Survey: “The best freestones in the Chalfield Oolite are found in the upper part of the Combe Down Oolite Member and within the Bath Oolite Member, where the rocks are composed of fine- to coarse-grained ooid-limestone with a sparry cement and little matrix.”

P539526 Stone Firms Limited (Bath and Portland) underground workings, Old Cleft Mine, Box. Working on Bath Stone near Corsham Wiltshire. Lifiting blocks with eye bolt.Copyright © British Geological Survey.

P539526 Stone Firms Limited (Bath and Portland) underground workings, Old Cleft Mine, Box. Working on Bath Stone near Corsham Wiltshire. Lifiting blocks with eye bolt.

When quarrying stone needs to be carefully removed and prepared for use without causing damage to or weakening of the stone and quarrying is hard work. When the Combe Down stone mines stabilisation was taking place, lots of graffiti was found and it provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the miners, throwing light on such matters as the price of beer in 19th century pubs and the miner’s often uncomplimentary attitude to their employers.

Among the famous and beautiful buildings built with Combe Down stone are: Royal Crescent, Bath Assembly RoomsThe CircusQueen Square, St John’s HospitalPrior Park, South ParadeThe Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Claverton Pumping Station, Gay StreetDundas Aqueduct, Lancaster House, Buckingham PalaceLongleat, Windsor Castle and Apsley House.

Two centuries of excavation of Bath stone left a huge void under the original parts of Combe Down village and so an infilling project was started. It lasted for 10 years from 1999 until 2009, covered 25.608 hectares, and affected 649 properties. The total volume of infill placed was 620,894 cubic metres, enough to cover a football pitch to a depth of nearly 90m.

A shaggy dog story

Shaggy dog, Brunswick Place, Combe Down - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 11 September 1873

Shaggy dog, Brunswick Place, Combe Down – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 11 September 1873

Things that are new on the site recently are a small section on Combe Road – something of a shaggy dog story given that it, unfortunately, has so little of consequence in it. But one can’t just make things up for a site like this.

There’s also a brief article on Mulberry Park the the 48 acre (19 hectare) Ministry of Defence site started by the Admiralty and purchased by Curo for £50 million in 2013. It’s probably the third largest project on Combe Down since the Admiralty set up site at Foxhill for World War 2 and since Ralph Allen set up his stone quarrying operations in the 1720s and built Prior Park in the 1730s.

There’s also a great YouTube video on the Combe Down quarries page that is an animation of a quarry crane produced by Mark and Ben Jenkinson to illustrate the Corsham Institute’s Bath Stone exhibition in autumn 2016 at Cranes at Work. Cranes were an essential part of the quarrying process: they were used to lift the blocks of stone cut from the working face onto carts, which were then pulled to the surface by horse or donkey; or later, the transport was provided by small locomotives. The main structure of the cranes was wooden, with metal gearing and fixings. They could lift blocks of around 5 tonnes. A crane would be erected in a new working area until all the stone within its reach had been quarried. Then it would be dismantled, moved along to a new area, and re-erected to continue working.

Help Save Our Stone Heritage

Help Save Our Stone Heritage appeal leaflet

Help Save Our Stone Heritage appeal leaflet

The ‘message’ this month is a little different from normal. The Museum of Bath Stone, the Combe Down Heritage Society and The Friends of Firs Field charities are running an appeal for funds called “Help Save Our Stone Heritage“.

They want to restore the remains of a shaft wall where Combe Down freestone was hauled out and create a curved seat for all to enjoy as a memorial to Ralph Allen’s role in the building of Georgian Bath with Combe Down stone. It will also commemorate the stabilisation project that, by 2009, restored the village to safety.

With the approval and support of B&NES, local councillors Bob Goodman and Cherry Beath, the UNESCO World Heritage Enhancement Fund, conservation professionals and local community groups, they now have seed money pledged. However, they need to raise a further £6,000 to get this project underway. If you would like to donate just text DONATE STONED to 88802 to give £5.00.

It all started last year. A group of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students helped with an archeology project to detail and record the conservation of the last surviving mine shaft on public land in Combe Down. 

The students feel it is important “to have a site visitors and locals can visit to see how mining for stone shaped our village and also shaped the world famous architecture in Bath and the surrounding area”. They detailed their work in a great blog ‘Firs Field Mine Shaft‘ where there’s information about how they surveyed the site, made a map and planned and executed their dig. The students had help from The Museum of Bath Stone, the Combe Down Heritage Society and experts from Cliveden Conservation and Odgers Conservation. The blog has many images of them hard at work and is well worth a visit.

The project got some great publicity from Bath Newseum who also created a video with Val Lyon who directed the Firs Field Project telling the story in more detail.