It covered some 8,600 individuals. About 320 of those are gentry that lived on Combe Down and about 2,900 are ‘ordinary’ people that that lived on Combe Down or in Monkton Combe.
The other 5,000 or so are ‘linkers’, i.e. the people who link families across the generations (most of these are in the gentry, where the ‘marriage market’ – pragmatic marriages made for the preservation or transfer of wealth was general) and ‘partners’ as not everyone born on Combe Down stayed and many moved away when they married.
I’ve added another 600 people of which about 400 are ‘ordinary’ people that that lived on Combe Down or in Monkton Combe and the rest their spouses who did not.
I hadn’t realised but it’s a year since I last wrote anything about the site which was Update to ‘Our Block’. Before that it was October 2018 with More Combe Down cousins. That is actually what has stopped me from publishing anything, as I have been working on a Combe Down family tree or, more accurately, a Combe Down family maze.
If you recall that far back you may remember that there were a number of posts about how the families in the ‘big houses’ were related. I’ve taken that further. I’ve also added and linked a many ‘ordinary’ families who live on Combe Down and in Monkton Combe as I can.
The grand result of that is that the tree or maze now covers some 8,600 individuals. About 320 of those are gentry that lived on Combe Down. About 2,900 are ‘ordinary’ people that that lived on Combe Down or in Monkton Combe. The other 5,000 or so are ‘linkers’, i.e. the people who link families across the generations (most of these are in the gentry, where the ‘marriage market’ – pragmatic marriages made for the preservation or transfer of wealth was general) or the ‘partners’ as not everyone born on Combe Down stayed and many moved away when they married.
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.
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”.
We don’t hear so much about missionaries these days.Today they are seen by many as invasive, forcing their language, culture and religion on an unwilling population – as another form of colonialism and exploitation.
It was not always this way.
In the 19th century many Europeans and Americans emphasised their racial, cultural, economic and religious superiority over black or coloured peoples.
Missionaries included ordained ministers, educationists, doctors, nurses and others. At the height of the missionary movement, between 1880 and 1920, around 60 British missionary societies were actively engaged in this work with many thousands of missionaries.
But what has all this to do with Combe Down and Monkton Combe?
Rev Sir Montagu Harry Proctor Beauchamp (1860 – 1939), vicar for Monkton Combe from 1914 – 1918 and one of the Cambridge Seven: students from Cambridge University, who, in 1885, decided to become missionaries in China.
He ran a sort of religious, ‘reverse Ponzi scheme’ and founded or bought fourteen schools or colleges but ran them in an illegal and financially disastrous way by investing their profits in a wasting asset – advowsons – which, eventually, led to him having to resign all his positions and the schools to be rescued.
Smith was also involved with Charles Conolly who owned Midford Castle in a plan to quarry stone. This was to lead to Smith becoming heavily indebted and eventually led to being imprisoned for debt and losing his house and estate. Midford Castle was also briefly owned (2007 – 2009) by the actor Nicholas Cage
Other than William Smith, the Tucking Mill area seems to have had no notable inhabitants.
The area also became important to Bath’s water supply as the Combe Down and District Waterworks, to take water from the Midford Springs was set up by Right Reverend Monsignor Dr. Charles Parfitt (1816 – 1886) who had inherited Midford Castle from Mrs. Jane Conolly (1798 – 1871).
In the last 60 years or so the area has been somewhat returned to nature. The S&D line, the viaduct and Combe Down tunnel closed in 1967.
The old mill and Fuller’s earth works were knocked down in 1979 to make room for a larger reservoir. This now provides free coarse fishing to disabled anglers in a lake stocked with roach, rudd, bream, perch, carp, tench and gudgeon.
The person who most caught my eye was Patrick Young Alexander (1867 – 1943) who lived at De Montalt House. He lived an interesting life – probably helped by the fact that his father left him a very large legacy – but was also an aeronautical pioneer fascinated by the prospect of heavier than air flight, an enthusiastic balloonist and meteorologist.
I knew it would be difficult to find published information about the inhabitants for they were working class people – not middle class or higher and the ‘social medium’ of the day, the newspaper, did not really follow their world unless criminality or scandal was involved.
This gives a distorted image of working people’s lives. So I decided to take a look at the census, give a flavour of the range of occupations, pick out a few that were well represented and give a thumbnail sketch of those, as well as try to find some news clippings.
It’s not what I would have wanted to publish, but, if the information is not there….
In our small area there used to be at least fourteen but now there are five.
When I first came to write this blog I thought it might be more about them, but I became side tracked and interested in why so many may have closed and whether things have changed for ever or whether the pendulum might, one day swing back.
When I was very much younger, in the 1970s, I had a flat in Brunswick Square in Brighton.
So did my maternal grandfather whom I did not know well as he and my grandmother had divorced before I was born.
However, he was now retired and frequented the Star of Brunswick pub in Brunswick Street West just behind the square. It has long since converted to a private home.
We spent many convivial evenings in the pub over a pint or two while he smoked his pipe. There I got to know him and there were also many regulars, much banter and laughter.
The pub has long been a social venue, a social centre for a local community, a place to meet friends and a place to foster community spirit – pubs are good for social cohesion.
A report by the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford for CAMRA called ‘Friends on Tap‘ suggests that local community pubs have unseen social benefits such as a venue in which we can serendipitously meet new, in many cases like-minded, people but also broaden our network of acquaintances and widen our experience by bringing us into contact with people from other walks of life, become more engaged with our local community and that this is likely to have significant health and wellbeing benefits.
It seems that 40% of people in the UK typically socialise with friends in someone’s home and 30% prefer to do so in pubs and feel it important to have a pub nearby, but only 20% say pubs are a regular part of their life. 72% of people go to the pub to eat.
I believe that great British pub is where the personality of the pub is created by the personality of the landlord, but a recent survey showed that it was second most important to the price and quality of the beer which is clearly dichotomous with the number of people who go there to eat.
Price and quality of the beer 33.6%
Personality of the landlord 24.6%
No music or TV screens 20.6%
But, cheaper alcohol from supermarkets, increases in rents and rates, the rise in duty and VAT, the smoking ban and a rise in the health conscious consumer have affected the British pub.
In 2003, the average adult drank 218 pints of beer but by 2011 they consumed just 152 pints with sales in pubs down 54% whereas sales from off licenses were down only 10%.
Around 40% of pubs are owned by ‘pubcos‘ but 60% are independent. The number of pubs in the UK has almost halved since 1905:
However, The Society of Independent Brewers report ‘British Beer‘ says that 532 million pints were brewed by its 835 members in 2015 which is an increase of 15% over 2013 and 176% over 2009. They say that well over 75% of their members’ beer is served in pubs, restaurants and hotels.
The pub is considered to be neutral territory compared with entertaining at home which makes some people feel pressured whereas the pub allows them to relax and be a less intense way of meeting people.
A pub is a hub for sociability and the bringing together of people from different walks of life in a way that no other social institution or public space can match.
We go to the pub ‘for a drink’, but ‘having a drink’ is a social act surrounded by tacit rules — a hidden etiquettes that gives us a sense of inclusion and belonging that is independent of our status in the mainstream world.
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