The Miner family on Combe Down

Michael Miner has recently given me the story of the Miner family on Combe Down. You can see it here.

Michael George, Gladys Ivy, Arthur James Miner with Peggy the dog taken outside Bramley Cottages, Claverton Down
Picasa Michael George, Gladys Ivy, Arthur James Miner with Peggy the dog taken outside Bramley Cottages, Claverton Down

The Miner family are a long established Combe Down family and have lived at many addresses, including:

  • 1 Green Cottages, Combe Down
  • 1 Miner’s Cottages, Monkton Combe
  • 2 Quarry Rise, Combe Down
  • 2 Upper House, Combe Down
  • 3 and 4 North Cottages, Combe Down
  • 3 Park Avenue, Monkton Combe
  • 4 Isabella Place, Combe Down
  • 5 Tyning Place, Monkton Combe
  • 8 DeMontalt Place, Combe Down
  • Brunswick Place, Combe Down
  • Byfields Place, Combe Down.
  • Edward Cottage, 5 Tyning, Combe Down
  • Edward Cottage, Belle Vue, Monkton Combe
  • Farrs Lane, Combe Down
  • Pearl Cottage, Monkton Combe
  • Tinsmith Shed, Avenue Road, Monkton Combe
  • Upper House, Laura Place, North Road, Combe Down
  • West Upper House, Monkton Combe

Michael’s research includes information about those members of the family that went to Australia and Canada as well as those that stayed on Combe Down.

He has also included a number of interesting photos.

It’s a good read and I thank Michael for contributing the article.

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

A couple sleeping in a Morrison shelter during the Second World War
By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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

Personal memories of Combe Down

I have long wanted to introduce some personal memories of Combe Down into the site. The article written by Jackie Carr, wife of Dr David Carr about the history of Combe Down surgery was a step in this direction.

J C Wilcox, Combe Down baker delivering at Southstoke early 1900s
J C Wilcox, Combe Down baker delivering at Southstoke early 1900s

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.

Frank’s personal memories of Combe Down are about his childhood years in the 1930s. You may be interested to know that in his work life he joined Sparrows International Crane Hire in 1957 and became  Managing Director of Sparrows Heavy Crawler Cranes Ltd. He has a personal website about Sparrows.

Frank’s writing  about his personal memories of Combe Down brings out what life was like nearly 100 years ago, here’s just a taste of what he says:

"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...."

Please do read Frank’s personal memories of Combe Down, I promise you that it’s well worth it.

At The Old Vicarage – more tea Vicar?

Cleveland Bridge Bath in 1830 - engraving by FP Hay
Cleveland Bridge Bath in 1830 – engraving by FP Hay

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.

The Old Vicarage was used by the vicars of Combe Down until 1974 when it was sold to Dr John (Jack) Ferens Turner (1930 – 2002) and his wife Dr Anne Curtis Turner (née Pyke) (1939 – 2006).

Rev G W Newnham
Rev G W Newnham

There have been some interesting ministers living at The Old Vicarage, such as Rev George William Newnham (1806 – 1893) who was Vicar from 1842 – 1877. He was married 3 times and had 17 children!

His third wife Harriette Helen White (1820 – 1889) set up what became the Institution for Idiot Children and those of Weak Intellect at Rockhall House on Combe Down. He also started the Combe Down allotments.

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.

Ven Albert Bushnell Lloyd (1871 – 1946) was vicar from 1930 – 1933. He  was a missionary and Archdeacon of Western Uganda. His written works include: Uganda to Khartoum (1906), In Dwarf Land and Cannibal Country (1907), Dayspring in Uganda (1921) and Apolo of the Pygmy Forest (1923).