1901 – The Hadley Estate
The Hadley Estate on Combe Down had come about when Edward Layton (abt 1730 – 1805) had bought some of the land being auctioned by Thomas Ralph Maude 2nd Viscount Hawarden (1767 – 1807), Mary Allen’s son and Ralph Allen’s great nephew after the death of his father Cornwallis Maude 1st Viscount Hawarden in 1803.
Edward Layton’s daughter Mary Ann had married Nathaniel Hadley (1786 – 1864), and since Edward Layton died so soon after he made his purchase and left much of his wealth to his son-in-law. Nathaniel Hadley’s grandchildren all died childless, as far as I can tell, except for Clara Emma Hadley (1813 – 1890) who had married Thomas Cowper Brown (1807 – 1846) a barrister. They had 4 daughters who were all now in their 60s and 2 of whom were spinsters. It probably seemed like a good time to sell and make provision for family and descendants, as there had been steady house price inflation since 1895 – though this was followed by rapid deflation from 1903 to 1914 and stagnation during the First World War.
So 20 acres of land, 6 houses and the Hadley Arms on Combe Down were up for sale all of which were part of the land bought by Edward Layton in 1805
1910 – Col. Thomas Sparkes
Col. Thomas Sparkes (1836 -1910) of 5 Isabella Place dies on May 30th of heart failure at the age of 74 – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, Thursday 2 June 1910
1916 – Knatchbull lighting offense
James Riddle (1851 – 1936) had moved to Bath with his father and mother sometime before 1871. He’s shown as a Journeyman Baker in that year’s census, working for William Sibley who was a baker and grocer at Isabella House on The Avenue. He married Emma Tilley (1852 – 1935), who was from Combe Down in 1872. They had 2 children Frederick (b. 1876) and Beatrice Grace (b. 1880). James Riddle became a Master Baker and by 1881 was employing 4 men himself at Isabella House and continued to live and work there for at least the next 20 years. By the 1911 census he had moved to 3 Isabella Place and described himself as a Quarry Master.
His brother Frederick Denning Riddle (1855 – 1906) was listed as running a lodging house at 3 Isabella Place in 1883 in the 1883 Kelly’s and had himself tried to become a baker, at Crossways, in 1898 but his business had failed within 15 months. Frederick’s son Archibald was summoned in August 1899 for keeping a dangerous dog that had bitten Albert Ferris. He was told to keep the dog under control and fined 13/-.
Prior to this another brother Edwin Riddle (1859 – 1914) had run the bakery at Crossways but his business had also failed in 1896 with debts of £46 14s 3d because of ‘inability to attend to business, loss of trade, bad debts and illness’. Later in 1896 Edwin Riddle had been summoned, along with 3 others, for stealing an axe worth 3/-. They were found not guilty. In 1898 Edwin was also charged with fighting, at the 3 Crowns in Monkton Combe, with John William a cabinet-maker. Williams was bound over in £5 for 3 months but the case against Riddle was dismissed. In 1900 Edwin’s sons James (b. 1888) and Edwin (b. 1892) were charged with Frederick Sumsion with doing willful damage to trees costing 2s 6d and were fined 2/- each to cover the damage.
From the articles below it’s clear that the Riddles were a well-respected couple. When he died James riddle left £9,619 3s 0d equivalent to £1,611,000.00 today.
Ellen Julia Hambridge (1853 – 1932) and Mary Hambridge (1855 – 1940) were the daughters of Francis Henry Hambridge (b. 1826).
Their father had been a brewer who sold out to the Wadley Brothers who were, in turn, bought out by Ushers in 1918. Presumably he made quite a lot of money as the £39,000 left by Ellen is the equivalent of £6,876,000.00 today and the £85,000 left by Mary is equal to £11,750,000.00 today.
1941 – Bath centenarian
John Joseph Wenham (1841 – 1943) living at 3 Isabella Place celebrated his 100th birthday.
His mother, Mary Knight, who is mentioned in the article, was, in fact born on 18 September 1805, just a month or so before the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 and died in September 1907 at Edmonton, Middlesex.
He died, aged 101, on Saturday 16 January 1943, and the article in the Bath Chronicle says that he comforted babies on his knee at the height of the raids on Bath during the Bath Blitz in April 1942.
The Bath Heritage Watchdog site has maps showing the areas bombed:
There is a description of The Bath Blitz on Combe Down by Frank Sumsion at WW2 People’s War on the BBC website.
Cyril Wood (1890 – 1984) had married Kathleen Mary Crisp (1894 – 1988) in 1919 and they had 3 sons: Peter C Wood (1920 – ), David James Wood (1923 – 2009), Michael George Wood (1923 – 1944).
It was overcrowded, with little running water, poor sanitation and, in winter, no heating. Shortage of food and warm clothing prompted debate in the House of Commons.
PoWs suffered under a violently pro-Fascist regime. The first Commandant personally beat up one recaptured escaper. A pilot was murdered by an Italian guard following his escape attempt.
Tunnels were dug, and the prisoners were even prepared to swim through human sewage to try to get out. Somehow, morale remained remarkably high.
After the Italian Armistice, in September 1943, the Italian guards abandoned Camp PG 21 in the middle of the night. When the SBO, Colonel Marshall of 5 Mahratta Light Infantry, threatened to court-martial any PoW who left, there was a near mutiny, so he appointed his own phalanx of guards and ordered them to man the watchtowers.
This order was based on instructions from MI9 in London who had issued Order P/W 87190: “…in the event of an Allied invasion of Italy, officers commanding prison camps will ensure that prisoners-of-war remain within camp. Authority is granted to all officers commanding to take necessary disciplinary action to prevent individual prisoners of-war attempting to rejoin their own units.”
German paratroops were astonished to discover the prisoners milling around inside the camp compound. Some 1,300 soldiers were transported to camps in Poland and Germany. Some managed to hide, and more than half of these subsequently escaped. After the war, a number of the camp’s staff were arrested for war crimes.
He was commissioned to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and joined the 2nd (Airlanding) Battalion (the 52nd) in 1942. The Battalion formed part of 6th Airlanding Brigade, 6th Airborne Division in 1943.
On D Day Wood and his No 24 platoon were involved in Operation Deadstick led by Major John Howard. David Wood was in the second glider to land at Pegasus Bridge; touching down at 00.17 hours, one minute after the first glider. Wood’s glider crash-landed near the bridge over the Caen Canal. He was thrown out by the force of the impact. He quickly recovered to find himself on the ground clutching to his chest a bucket of 36 primed grenades.
Wood’s platoon’s objective was to clear trenches, machine-gun nests, and the anti-tank gun pit along the east bank of Pegasus Bridge. He was shot in the leg by a burst from a Machine Pistol, along with his ‘Batman (military)’ Pvt Albert Chatfield whilst leading his platoon. Wood was hit in the left thigh by three bullets at close range and was bleeding badly. Later, when both bridges had been captured, he was wounded again by shrapnel splinters. He was evacuated to a divisional aid post in Ranville and eventually back to England.
After the war, Wood was granted a regular commission finally Commander of Rhine Area. In 1977 he retired from the Army. In 1969, he married Alice Bingloss, a former officer of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.
David Wood’s twin Michael George Wood. At this time, despite much research I have been unable, so far, to find out any more about him than is mentioned in the article other than that he died, in action, at Cherisy in France on 13 July 1944. He was probably part of the Battle for Caen. He is, of course, on the war memorial cross.