I hadn’t realised but it’s a year since I last wrote anything about the site which was Update to ‘Our Block’ and 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 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) 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”.
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
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 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 Hopecote. Herbert 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Missionaries operate on the front line between cultures. 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.
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.
There are 56 people mentioned on the war memorial cross for WWI and 36, all duplicates, on the Combe Down school memorial board. The Cruickshank brothers (who are not on the war memorial cross) and the men of the parish who fell in the First World War are also commemorated in a stained glass window at Holy Trinity church. There are 16 people mentioned on the war memorial cross for WWII. I have been able to find some information on 64 of those 74 people.
Whilst it is almost invidious to mention individuals I will mention those that have already appeared in Prior to Now:
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.
Serendipity has struck with the memories of Frank Sumsion who was born on Combe Down in 1926, meaning he’s now into his 90s. He published these on Bathonian’s past and present memories on Facebook – a closed group for Bathonians and their families. I loved them and they had a great response from members. Thinking they deserved a wider audience, I contacted Frank and asked whether I could publish them here. Luckily he said yes, so they have been added.
"My first vivid memory as a four or five-year-old child was moving home with my dad, mum, two brothers and sister into an almost derelict cottage in Byfield Place, off Summer Lane, Combe Down. I clearly remember walking into a very dark room with one gas light in a corner, a stone sink and an iron fireplace with a hob and small oven...."
"My memories of Combe Down are still quite clear in my mind, it was all so different then. As children, we wandered everywhere and people seemed to notice you and talk to you more...."
"Another 50 yards or so brought you to Mrs Colmer’s sweet shop, a favourite of ours. Mrs Colmer ran the shop, and Mr Colmer, the local shoe repairer, worked in the cellar below. We wore boots most of the time, the soles covered in studs to make them last, my dad repaired them...."
"Towards the right-hand side of the Firs Field was a ‘light hole’, approximately 20 feet in diameter, it serviced the underground stone mines, it was surrounded by a dry-stone wall three or four feet high. We were told never to climb over the wall...."
"I vividly remember vast numbers of the once-common lapwing (the peewit). Before the Second World War lapwings would flock at Foxhill. There were no houses only fields, owned by Springfield Farm. Part of my evening paper round involved delivering to an old farmhouse, at the outset of war it was taken over by the Admiralty. During what must have been early summer, I would spend an hour or more sitting perfectly still in the fields, surrounded by hundreds of these birds. Also there always seemed to be a skylark, high in the sky, singing clearly..."
"I previously mentioned our return to Combe Down School. My first teacher was Miss Condy, she taught juniors and came from Claverton. She was kind and caring. I soon moved up the general classes and remember most of the teachers names...."
I realised that I haven’t mentioned The Old Vicarage and the clergy of Combe Down in the blog.
That’s an error as as the house was designed by Henry Edmund Goodridge (1797 – 1864) who designed one of Bath’s iconic monuments: Beckford’s Tower. He also designed one of the world’s earliest retail arcades The Corridor in central Bath. He designed Cleveland Bridge at the site of a Roman ferry crossing, linking the A4 London Road with the A36. It’s a cast iron arch bridge with lodges like miniature Greek temples at each corner and was was built in 1827 by William Hazledine. Oh, and he had also designed Holy Trinity church.
There was Rev Carr Glyn Acworth (1842 – 1928) who was Vicar from 1877 – 1890. He was also was married 3 times but he had no children.
Rev Alfred Richardson (1853 – 1925) was vicar from 1902 – 1914. After he retired he wrote: An historical guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton with Rev David Lee Pitcairn (1848 – 1936) who was vicar of Monkton Combe from 1883 – 1914 and also a great grandson of Arthur Guinness (1725 – 1803) – the brewer.