More memories from Frank and an 1832 marriage settlement

butler davis deed dated the 23rd day of march 1832 settlement on the marriage of mr william butler with mrs jane davis
Butler Davis deed dated the 23rd day of March 1832, Settlement on the Marriage of Mr William Butler with Mrs Jane Davis

This time I am writing about more memories from Frank and an 1832 marriage settlement

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[media-credit name=”By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit] A couple sleeping in a Morrison shelter during the Second World War

That’s Frank Sumsion who tells us about Senior School and the outbreak of the Second World War.

Those days were certainly interesting with the Bath Blitz in 1942, having to use Morrison shelters to protect oneself from the bombing and with every item of food and drink was rationed.

It’s all very different from today. He also tells us about starting work just after his 15th birthday, working at  Combe Down Waterworks, being in Bath Civil Defence Service, a a succession of different motorbikes, working at a mushroom farm and meeting his future wife Jane.

The Settlement on the Marriage of Mr William Butler with Mrs Jane Davis. William Butler it was who, along with William Harrold built Isabella Place after Thomas Maude, 2nd Viscount Hawarden (1767 – 1807) started to sell the estate of Ralph Allen (1693 – 1764) that he had inherited from his father Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden to pay his father’s debts. His mother had been Mary Allen, Lady Maude (1732  – 1775), his father’s first wife, and the niece of Ralph Allen who built Prior Park Mansion.

The marriage settlement between William Butler and Jane Davis.

A marriage settlement was very necessary in those days for a wealthy lady like Jane Davis – her assets in the settlement were £808 16s 11d which is now worth about £976,900.00. Once again things were very different from today. At the time an unmarried woman had the right to own property and make contracts in her own name but, upon marriage, a woman’s legal rights and obligations were subsumed by those of her husband. Married women did not have any rights due to the legal fiction, called coverture, that a husband and wife are one person. Once a woman married she had no claim to her property as her husband had full control and could do with it whatever suited him!

This did not start to change until The Married Women’s Property Act of 1870.

I hope you enjoy more memories from Frank and an 1832 marriage settlement

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Named after the powerful nobility – Isabella Place

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Isabella Place, Combe Down

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

Isabella Place, like Claremont House, 113 – 117 Church Road and Hopecote (originally 1 – 3 Claremont Buildings) was built about 1805. 

What is not clear is whether there was anything there before. If one looks at the rear of the houses in Isabella Place it is fairly clear that the present buildings are not the original buildings. The original buildings appear to be a terrace of five 2 up, 2 down cottages that were extended and re-fronted.

Peter Addison says in Around Combe Down (ISBN: 9780948975486) that “it is quite likely that they were originally built in the 1770s…” but is clear there is no evidence of this. Indeed there is the opposite, possible evidence that they did not exist then.

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

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

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More in depth sections and family trees

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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.

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