The unquestionably ubiquitous 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’.

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Curo cable car, simple clanger or huge cock up?

I’ve added a section about the Curo cable car plan that flew across the sky between 2015 and 2017.

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 car plan was abandoned after negative feedback during the consultation process. 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 car 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."


"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."


"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 300x209
World Heritage Site extent
green belt 300x205
Green belt
conservation area 300x205
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.

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Unforgettable photos and maps

unfinished prior park chapel in about 1855 rev francis lockey 1796 1869 300x229
Unfinished Prior Park chapel in about 1855, Rev Francis Lockey (1796 – 1869)

I have spent some time adding to the galleries for Prior to Now and there are over 1,000 images of people, buildings and activities on Combe Down on the site.

The earliest photographic images are of Prior Park in about 1855 by the Rev Francis Lockey (1796 – 1869). 

Rev Lockey and his family lived in Swainswick near Bath, in a house known then as Swainswick Cottage and now known as the White House.

Amazingly Lockey’s photographic studio (now a conservatory) survives virtually intact at his former home. The studio has been confirmed as being the earliest known surviving photographic studio by the Science Museum.

Rev Lockey began experimenting in 1849, first using paper negatives and later glass plates developed using the calotype photographic process, which had been patented by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 – 1877) in 1841.

central combe down in 1899 somerset revised 1899 published 1904 1024x430
Central Combe Down in 1899 -Somerset, Revised 1899, Published 1904

The galleries that have been added are:

As well as these galleries I have also added two maps. They are very large image files that take some seconds to download on even a fast connection but, once loaded and if all works as it should you can click on the image and zoom into it.

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More pages and infills about Combe Down

glasshouse cafe bath chronicle and weekly gazette saturday 26 october 1929 230x300
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 1024x768
1 – 3 Claremont Buildings, later Hopecote, later Hope Cote Lodge, Combe Down

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Accessible historical maps treasure trove

I’ve found an historical maps treasure trove. There’s a lovely page at:

A Vision of Britain through Time

History of Combe Down in Bath and North East Somerset.

which tells us that in 1870 – 72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Combe Down like this:

“COMBE-DOWN, a chapelry in Combe-Monckton parish, Somerset; near the Great Western railway and the river Avon, 2 miles S of Bath. It has a post office‡ under Bath. Pop., 940. A hill, giving name to the place, is 550 feet high; commands an extensive prospect; yields Bath stone in large quarries; is pierced and cut with caverns and passages; and bears on its slope a pleasant little town, with villas, an inn, and the church. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, not reported.* Patron, the Vicar of South Stoke.

Historical maps

There’s also a link to historical maps that you can see, often, as a seamless map overlaying the modern equivalent and/or download the original free.

historical map of combe down
Historical map of Combe Down

There are general purpose topographic historical maps:

as well as boundary historical maps showing administrative boundaries, for counties, districts, parishes etc.:

as well as land use historical maps recording what each plot of land was being used for on the day it was surveyed, in the 1930s:

historical land utilization map
Historical land utilization map

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A quick look at Combe Down around 1846 – 1848

I was just looking at the Hunt & Co. and Silverthorne directories for Bath and Bristol for 1848 and 1846 respectively and thought it would be interesting to see what went on in the village around then – what was it like on Combe Down around 1846 – 1848? Who is mentioned? What trades and professions?

The problem is that, unlike later Kelly’s directories that locate a place and then show the people living there plus their occupations etc. these earlier directories are alphabetical and by class, so it’s not so simple to get an idea of what was going on.

Luckily, in this age of the internet you can find ‘electronic’ copies of most things, which makes it easier to do a search and then……

So that’s what I did, using Google books for Hunt & Co. 1848 and a PDF for Silverthorne 1846.

The results are below and provide an interesting snapshot of some of the people who lived and worked here.

I find a number of  things interesting, compared to today. 

For example the use of ‘nobility and gentry’ and people describing themselves as ‘gent’.

The boarding and day schools situated in private houses.

The fact that there were actually shops in the village (!) – no cars or supermarkets then.

Additionally, given the total population of 1,600 – 1,750 there are, unlike say the old telephone directories, actually very few people listed.

One other thing is the blacksmith. In Silverthorne’s of 1846 it is George Humphries but by Hunt & Co of 1848 it is Harriett Humphries – presumably his wife or daughter. But, was she the owner or did she actually smith? It would be interesting to know.

The census’ for 1841 and 1851 also give a picture and are shown below the directory findings.

Some interesting things were going on with property on Combe Down around this time.

John Ovens Thomas (1778 – 1836), the eldest son of John Thomas, the owner of Prior Park had died 10 years earlier but in 1846 his trustees decided to sell much of the land he had inherited from his father as well as some of his ground rents. The land, as can be seen from the estate sale notice below included the farm next door to St. Michael and All Angels Church at Monkton Combe, a number of fields near the Dundas Acqueduct and Midford Brook as well as ground rents for the Tyning Road area, The Brow, and Tyning Place.

the john ovens thomas estate sale bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 16 april 1846 1the john ovens thomas estate sale bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 16 april 1846 3the john ovens thomas estate sale bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 16 april 1846 4

John Ovens Thomas estate sale – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 16 April 1846

It also included the land from North Road to Church Road as the map below shows, The map also gives a really good idea of what this area of Combe Down was like in 1846.

map of combe down plots for sale from estate of john oven thomas in 1846 751x1024
Map of Combe Down plots for sale from estate of John Oven Thomas in 1846

Hunts & Co 1848

Nobility, Gentry, &c.

  • Baskett Mrs. Sarah, 6, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Crawley Rev. Edm. Jones, Combe grove villa, Monckton Combe
  • Freestun Capt. Humphrey, Mayfield, Combe down
  • Jenkins Vaughan, Combe grove, Combe down – also Magistrate, For The Bath Division Of The County Of Somersetshire.
  • Newnham Rev. George William, Parsonage house, Combe down
  • Palethorpe Edward, De Montalt cottage, Combe down
  • Price William, 1, Claremont bldgs Combe down
  • Richmond Rev. Henry, Combe down
  • Sheen Miss Emma, 2, Isabella pl. Combe down
  • Steart Augustus Wm. 5, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Steart Mrs. Maria, 5, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Tanner Miss Fanny, 1, South parade, Combe down
  • Tanner Mrs. Sarah, 1, South parade, Combe down
  • Walters Miss Mary, 5, Isabella pl. Combe down


  • Aslat Mary, lodging house keeper, Claremont house, Combe down
  • Bending Thomas tailor, Combe down
  • Brooks William, beer retailer and smith, Combe down
  • Bull Margaretta, boarding & day school, Prospect pL Combe down
  • Clarke Robert, painter, plumber, &c. and grocery dealer, Combe Down
  • Cook William, grocery dealer and butcher, 3, Prospect place, Combe Down
  • Davidge George, quarry master, Combe down
  • Edwards Samuel, beer retailer and grocery dealer, 1, Prospect pl Combe down
  • Ewens Frances, lodging house keeper, Combe down
  • Forward George, grocery, &c. dealer, 4, Prospect pl. Combe down
  • Franckling Wm. travelling stationer, Combe down
  • Garrett Samuel, haulier, Combe down
  • Giles Thomas, grocery dealer, and butcher 3, Park place, Combe down
  • Harding William, surgeon, 3, Claremont buildings, Combe down
  • Hewlett Anne Batchelor, boarding and day school, 11, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Humphries Harriett, blacksmith, Combe down
  • Hunt James, grocery dealer, Brunswick place, Combe down
  • Lacey Robert, haulier, Combe down
  • Margerum Robert, grocery dealer, and beer retailer, Combe down
  • Massy Hugh Nelson, surgeon, Combe down
  • Payne John, overseer of the parish of Monkton Combe, Park villa, Combe down
  • Radburn George, quarry master, Combe down
  • Rawlings William, Carriage Inn, Combe down
  • Ricketts Charles, carpenter & joiner, Combe down
  • Salter Job, 1, Priory cottages, Combe down
  • Spence Samuel, Hadley Arms, and quarry master, Combe down
  • Stinnard & Ford, quarry masters, Combe down
  • Stodart John, 2, Claremout buildings, Combe down
  • Sumsion Isaac, quarry master, 1, Park place, Combe down
  • Vincent William, boot & shoe maker, 9, Cheap street — p. r. Combe down
  • Whitaker William, boot and shoe maker, Combe down
  • Wren Thomas Jay, short hand writer, and stationer, Combe down


Trinity, Combe down. — Sunday, 11 morn. and 6 even. Sacrament administered the first Sunday in the month. Rector, Rev. George Newnham. Curate, -Rev. D. Topham.


  • Independent, Combe down. Sunday 3 aft. and 6 even. Ministers various.
  • Wesleyan, Combe down. Sunday 6 even. Ministers various.


National (boys and girls) Combe down. Master, Samuel Hellier.

Silverthorne 1846

  • Alien Thomas Nelson, messenger at Guildhall; residence, Combe down
  • Barnes George, greengrocer, Combe down
  • Batchelor Arthur, grocer and provision warehouse, Combe down
  • Bending John, tailor and publican, Combe down
  • Burgess John, quarry master, Combe down
  • Burgess Mrs. Mary, Woodbine place, Combe down
  • Byfield J., quarry-master, Crossway place, Combe down
  • Clarke Robert, plumber, glazier, &c., I, Park place, Combe down
  • Cooke William, grocer, Combe down
  • Corbould John, mourning establishment, 32, Milsom street; residence, 4, lsabella place, Combe down
  • Davidge Sarah, publican, Combe down
  • Dayer Mrs. Hannah, Three Crowns, Combe down
  • Dill John Michael, lodgings, Green-Down house, Combe Down
  • Downey John, Brass-Knocker inn, Combe
  • Edwards Samuel, baker and grocer, Combe down
  • Heal George, Carriage inn and tavern, Combe down
  • Hewlett Miss Ann Batchelor, ladies’ seminary, 11, Demontalt place, Combe down
  • Hine Thomas, brewer, and wine and spirit vaults, Combe down brewery
  • Humphries George, blacksmith, Combe down
  • Hunt James, grocer and tea-dealer, Combe down
  • Lewis James, surgeon Combe down
  • Loscomb Mrs. Mary Anne, lodgings, Woodbine place, Combe down
  • Luff John, boot and shoe maker, Combe down
  • Newnham Rev. George William, Combe down parsonage, Combe down
  • Osburne Mrs. Col., 2, lsabella place, Combe down
  • Palethorpe Edward, gent., Demontalt cot., Combe down
  • Price William, gent., 1, Claremont bdgs., Combe down
  • Prince Mrs. Henry, 1, Isabella place, Combe down
  • Russell Henry, gardener, Combe down
  • Sheppard William, quarryman, Crossway house, Combe down
  • Steart Mrs. Maria, 5, De Montalt place, Combe down
  • Stroud Thomas, gent., Combe down
  • Sumsion Samuel, quarry-master, Combe down
  • Tanner Thomas, gent., l, South parade, Combe down
  • Vincent William, boot and shoe maker, 9, Cheap street; residence, 2, Priory cottages, Combe down
  • Weaver William, butcher, Combe down
  • White Benjamin, gent., 2, Park place, Combe down
  • Wren Thomas Jay, Greendown cottage, Combe down


  • Quarrell Rev. R., Brow-hill house, Combe down


Monkton Combe, District 8: 149 properties, 362 males and 435 females giving a total population of 797

Monkton Combe, District 9: 50 properties, 164 males and 169 females giving a total population of 313

Lyncombe & Widcombe, District 9: 95 properties, 232 males and 258 females giving a total population of 490

Combe Down: 294 properties, 758 males and 862 females giving a total population of 1,600


Monkton Combe, District 1a: 25 properties, 196 males and 200 females giving a total population of 396

Monkton Combe, District 1b: 205 properties, 412 males and 461 females giving a total population of 873

Lyncombe & Widcombe, District 1i: 109 properties, 221 males and 248 females giving a total population of 469

Combe Down: 339 properties, 829 males and 909 females giving a total population of 1,738

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1817 Ordnance Survey map including Combe Down

Old maps are fascinating.  

Just seeing what an area looked like 100 or more years ago on and Ordnance Survey map can give real insights into the place.

Of course very old maps tend to be either somewhat inaccurate or have little detailed data because of their scale.

Even so they can be interesting and the history of the maps themselves is almost as fascinating.

As most people know the mapping of the British Isles has been led by the Ordnance Survey, which was, effectively, started after the Jacobite rising of 1745.

The Duke of Cumberland (1721 -1765) realised the army did not have good maps of the Scottish Highlands.

In 1747, Lieutenant Colonel David Watson proposed a map of the Highlands to subjugate the clans.

King George II charged Watson with making a military survey of the Highlands under the command of the Duke of Cumberland.

This eventually led to the Principal Triangulation of Great Britain (1783–1853), a project carried out between 1784 and about 1853 at the instigation of senior surveyor General William Roy (1726–1790) and to the creation of the Ordnance Survey.

anglo french survey of 1784 1790 proposed mesh
Anglo French survey of 1784-1790 proposed mesh by William Roy – Scanned from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London vol77: 188–226 1787

In 1801, the first one-inch-to-the-mile (1:63,360 scale) map of Kent was published.

During the next twenty years, roughly a third of England and Wales was mapped at the same scale under the direction of William Mudge (1762 – 1820).

Somerset was mapped by 1817. It was tough work, Major Thomas Colby (1784 – 1852) walked 586 miles in 22 days in 1819.

The map of that covers Combe Down, that was published in 1817, shows surprisingly little change has occurred . Development of housing , yes, but the shape and the main features are very recognizable.

combe down ordnance survey first series 1817
Combe Down Ordnance Survey first series 1817

This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth.

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Particulars of Prior Park sale in 1808

I just love old handbills and maps. Bath Record Office has a small treasure trove of them.

Here are some prepared for the Prior Park sale in 1808 before John Thomas bought in in 1809. 

The language is wonderful. “A capital mansion, seated on an eminence, erected, in the most substantial manner, about the Year 1738, by RALPH ALLEN, Esq. Planned for the accommodation of A NOBLEMAN, OR FAY OF DISTINCTION”.

If one had the wherewithal it would be difficult to resist. It’s a world away from the ‘estate agent speak’ we are so used to; but then, so is the property.

Anyone wondering what A, R, and P are was obviously born more recently! It’s acres, roods and perches.

front of sale particulars for prior park in 1808
Front of sale particulars for Prior Park in 1808
more details of sale particulars for prior park in 1808
More details of sale particulars for Prior Park in 1808
map details of sale particulars for prior park in 1808
Map details of sale particulars for Prior Park in 1808

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