The Avenue, the heart of Combe Down

The Avenue

From the extract from Ralph Allen‘s tithe map of 1761 – 1762 it’s simple to see that The Avenue is the oldest road in and the heart of Combe Down.

It’s the only road that existed in the village apart from Summer Lane when Ralph Allen built “The Old Rank”, the Carriage Inn and his tramway.

The tramway was a wooden railway for the transport of stone from his quarries.

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From Ralph Allen’s tithe map of 1761 – 1762

However, the first housing was, obviously, at de Montalt Place though The Carriage Inn, the pub for his quarrymen also existed on The Avenue.

Indeed the tithe map indicates some other buildings around the Avenue Place area, but it seems probable that these were ‘industrial’ buildings associated with the quarrying as there is no evidence of any other housing at the time.

the avenue combe down early 1900s
The Avenue, Combe Down, early 1900s
the avenue combe down in 1905
The Avenue, Combe Down in 1905
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The Avenue, Combe Down, 1915

Combe Down House

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Combe Down House

Combe Down House has been the home of the main medical practice on Combe Down for about 120 years.

In 1997, when Dr David Carr retired, his wife Jackie wrote an excellent article “The history of the Combe Down surgery” for him to present to his partners.

Dr & Mrs Carr have kindly consented to allow that article to be published on this site in full as a separate web page. There have been a few very minor changes. In layout for a web page. By introducing links to other parts of the site, By adding DoB/D where known to fit with the rest of the site.

Other than that the article is rendered exactly as it was written in 1997 and I present “The history of the Combe Down surgery” as the history of Combe Down House.

So as not to distract from such an excellent article and its flow, where I have found out some other information, I have added links back (in green) between this page and “The history of the Combe Down surgery” and that information is shown below.

Thomas Hanks (1816 – 1893) also owned 115 and 117 Church Road and lived at 115 for many years.

John Barnard (1812 – 1880) was a chemist and druggist who had previously practiced in Walcot and later in Bristol.

Rev Joseph Knight Newton (1838 – 1916) was chaplain of Bath Union (Frome Road Workhouse) and the city jail and also lived at 6 De Montalt Place.

Rev Edwin Trevelyan (1818 – 1894) was witness to an indecent assault in 1880 and changed his name from Trevelyan Smith to Trevelyan in 1881. He had founded The Warwick Provident Sick Association in 1857

indecent assault trevelyan smith witness bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 19 august 1880
Indecent assault, Trevelyan Smith witness – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 19 August 1880
trevelyan name change bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 10 march 1881
Trevelyan name change – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 10 March 1881
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Jacomelli advert

Dr Charles Edward Stonebridge Hagenbach (1901 – 1993) was one of four brothers, the others being William Banks Hagenbach (1903 – 1990), Arnold Hagenbach (1904 2005) and Thomas Macdonald Hagenbach (1910 – 1999). There was also a sister Barbara Hagenbach (1909 – 1975). Their father was Carl (Charles) August Hagenbach (1872 – 1922), a Swiss national, and their mother Jessie MacDonald (1878 – 1952). He was a confectioner in Wakefield and built his business into a major concern.

Dr Hagenbach was subject to a nasty libel in 1941.

After his father’s death Arnold Hagenbach took over and was Managing Director of the confectionery and bakeries firm Charles Hagenbach and Sons Ltd, from 1929 to 1957, when the company was sold to Allied Bakeries. From their Wakefield, West Yorkshire HQ the Hagenbach concern controlled one of Yorkshire’s biggest bakeries and nearly 40 shops and restaurants in the county. Jacomelli’s was a subsidiary of Hagenbach’s.

The Hagenbachs owned Porthleven and The Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company for many years and sold it to The Trevor Osborne Property Group in 1977. Trevor Osborne lives at The Old Rectory, Combe Hay.

donald arnold william charles hagenbach l to r in 1913
Donald, Arnold, William, Charles Hagenbach (L to R) in 1913
arnold william donald charles hagenbach l to r in 1984
Arnold, William, Donald, Charles Hagenbach (L to R) in 1984

Park House

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Park House – 1 Park Place

In 1841 Park House was occupied by Hugh Nelson Sturges Massey (1798 – 1876), who was a surgeon and his wife Elizabeth Evan (1801 – 1843).

sale of isaac sumsion quarry bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 6 february 1862
Sale of Isaac Sumsions quarry Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette Thursday 6 February 1862

By 1846 Hunt’s Directory and by 1851 the census show Isaac Sumsion (1801 – 1859), Quarry Master, and his wife Eliza Welch (1806 – 1875) were living at Park House with three of their children Isaac (1834 – 1909), Charles (1838 – 1920) and Giles (1846 – 1921) listed on the census form.

He was the second son of another Quarry Master, Isaac Sumsion (1774 – 1849) and his wife Ann Broad (1771 – 1847) and, in 1862, his executors put one of his quarries, Tyning Quarry, up for sale.

The 1861 census shows Charles Frederick Harril (1831 – 1915) and his first wife Elizabeth Lewis (1824 – 1878) living at Park House.

After his first wife died he married Mary Caroline Annely (1844 – 1916) daughter of Rev Thomas Annely (1817 – 1893), pastor at Union Chapel. Thomas Annely was appointed in 1850 as the first pastor and remained as pastor until 1888.

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Funeral of Charles Harril – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 11 December 1915

Charles Harril ran a commercial school at Park House from the 1860s to the late 1880s.

Although technological competence in the Victorian era was, generally, less valued than an image of gentility, many parents preferred to send their sons to a private school offering a commercial education which would enable them to become white collar workers rather than to a grammar school aping public school values with a classical education. Thus commercial schools where good handwriting, grammar and composition with the ability to write a commercial letter, quick ready-reckoning, being able to draw and speak at least some French & German were set up. Charles Harril’s school was one such establishment.

In 1891 Park house was occupied by two families.

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Rt Rev William George Peel by Elliott & Fry c 1900

John Henry Bath (1848 – 1903), a Congregational minister, and his second wife Mary Ann Freeman (1857 – 1939) were the first and the other was Rev William George Peel (1855 – 1916) and his wife Agneta Jane Bryan (1855 – 1916).

Rev Peel’s wife was the second daughter of Rev Reginald Guy Bryan (1819 – 1912) principal at Monkton Combe School from 1875 until 1894.

Rev William George Peel was made third Bishop of Mombassa in 1899.

As Bishop of Mombassa, Rt Rev Peel was involved in the Kikuyu controversy.

He and Rt Rev John Jamieson Willis (1872 – 1954), the Bishop of Uganda, were accused of propagating heresy and committing schism by Rt Rev Frank Weston (1871 – 1924), the Bishop of Zanzibar, for agreeing that

In the 1901 and 1911 census and up to at least the 1923 Kelly’s directory Rosaline Mary Ellis (1858 – 1948) was running a boarding house at Park House as she was at Arclane.


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Arclane – 2 Park Place
frederick denning riddle bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 26 may 1898
Frederick Denning Riddle – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 26 May 1898

In 1851 2 Park Place was occupied by Benjamin White (b. 1781), a retired farmer from North Stoke, his wife Edith (b. 1801) and their two daughters.

In 1848 Thomas Jay Wren (1801 – 1868), short hand writer, and stationer and in the 1861 census, described as postmaster at Combe Down, and his second wife Charity (1813 – 1904) were resident. So, it seems that it was the post office. His son Henry Biggs Wren (1838 – 1907) became postmaster after him. Charity was also there in the 1871 census as a lodging house keeper.

He had previously been married to Mary Wansbrough (1810 – 1859) and had seven children. She had previously been married to a Capt Reed of Newton Bushel in Devon.[1]

He had appeared in the 1846 Silverthorne as Wren Thomas Jay, Greendown cottage, Combe down and in the 1848 Hunt & Co Directory at as a short hand writer and stationer. They had been at Greendown Cottage in 1846 according to Silverthorne 1846. It’s possible that he had previously been a Baptist minister in Tunbridge Wells.

By 1881 it was occupied by Frederick Denning Riddle (1855 – 1906) and his wife Laura Chappell (1857 – 1937). He was a baker and she was a lodging house keeper. By 1883 he was listed as a lodging house keeper at 3 Isabella Place. He was also the brother of James Riddle (1851 – 1936) who ran the bakery at Isabella House.

It seems that whilst he worked for his brother Frederick did not get on with his sister in law as he was taken to court in 1898 and bound over to keep the peace after using threatening language to her.

In 1891 Mary Ann Robbins (née Zebedee) (1817 – 1891) was listed at the property as a lodging house keeper.

In the 1901 and 1911 census and up to at least the 1923 Kelly’s directory Rosaline Mary Ellis (1858 – 1948) was running a boarding house at Arclane as she was at Park House .

Graham House

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Graham House – 3 Park Place
auction of victoria house park place combe down bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 29 march 1855
Auction of Victoria House, Park Place, Combe Down – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 29 March 1855

A Thomas Giles (b. 1815) and his wife Mary (b. 1814) seem to have occupied the property in 1851. He was a baker, butcher and grocer; it was known as Victoria House and he was, apparently, renting it “under peculiar circumstances at a very Low Rent”. Based on the lease noted in was constructed about 1820 – 1821.

In 1871 a James Thomas Irvine (1826 – 1900) and his wife Elizabeth Pugh (b. 1833) were resident. He was a clerk of works.

By 1881 Louisa Miner (1848 – 1924) occupies the house as a lodging house keeper. She would be there until at least 1919. In 1885 she married George Dixon (1846 – 1927) who is described as a general labourer and jobbing gardener.

In the 1901 census James Ross (1855 – 1933) who lived at 115 Church Road for many years and Alice Gertrude (née Robinson) (1867 – 1927) Lawrence who lived at 117 for many years, after the death of her husband William (1862 – 1908) were living at Graham House, presumably in their own apartments.

Park Villa

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Park Villa
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Robbery at the Carriage Inn – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 14 August 1834

In 1851 Park Villa was occupied by Eliza Payne (née Cole) (1808 – 1888). She was also listed here in the censuses of 1861, 1871 and 1881 and appeared here in directories until she died.

She was the widow of John Payne (1796 – 1849) who ran the Carriage Inn. They had moved there by 1848 as the Hunt & Co directory of 1848 states: “Payne John, overseer of the parish of Monkton Combe, Park villa, Combe down”.

In the 1891 census Park Villa was occupied by Fanny Ferris (née Evill) (1824 – 1893) who was living on her own means. She was a widow who had been married to Samuel Charles Ferris (1806 – 1858) who had served in the East India Company.

Fanny was the great grand daughter of George Evill (1720 – 1785) who had been a well known master tailor in Bath, who later moved into woollen drapery retailing and who had a number of well known brothers.

Matthew (1737 – 1795) was a tailor, umbrella maker and brewer.

John (1731 – 1791) had a shop selling shoes and second-hand clothes.

William (1732 – 1793) ran a shop selling cutlery – including silver-handled cutlery, candlesticks and other necessaries for sale or rent to the many prosperous visitors to Bath – and hosiery. This later became a ‘toy-shop’ – in eighteenth-century usage a ‘toy’ meant any knick-knack, bauble or plaything – which held a wide range of goods from wedding rings, gilt thimbles, musical clocks, filigree & toilet sets, patent spectacles, firearms, watches plated tableware and silverware.

From 1759 he had a shop in the Marketplace at the Sign of the Golden Knife-and-Fork and Stocking-Legs, which became the leading establishment of its kind in Bath. By 1765 he had appointed agents on his behalf in London, Birmingham and Sheffield. and opened a work-shop on Borough Walls where specialist workmen were employed to sharpen and repair knives, tools, and surgeons’ instruments.

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Publication of The Bath Macaroni – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 15 November 1781

In a contemporary poem, The Bath Macaroni, a fop boasts of his latest acquisition:

See, my Patagonian buckles,
Adorn’d with pearls, adorn’d with cockles;
I have worn them just three days,
They are the ton, as EVILL says.

From at least 1901 until his death Edward Henry Wherret (1865 – 1924), a carpenter and joiner, and his wife Amy Bending (1862 – 1946) lived at Park Villa with their 4 children.

From the cuttings below it seems that his brother John Wherrett (1869 – 1916) was something of a handful at the very least.

serious charge from combe down bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 12 november 1903
Serious charge from Combe Down – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 12 November 1903
john wherrett charge bath chronicle and weekly gazette saturday 8 june 1912
John Wherrett charge – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 8 June 1912

2 - 5 Avenue Place

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2 – 4 Avenue Place, originally The Carriage Inn

2 – 4 Avenue Place is one of the earliest developments on Combe Down, dating from the 1720/30s.

They were, formerly the Carriage Inn, which took its name from the stone-bearing wagons used by Ralph Allen.

5 Avenue Place is a small workman’s cottage built on as an extension to number 4.

Isabella House

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Isabella House

Isabella House is mentioned in the 1841 census when a baker Joseph Lanham (1776 – 1849) is in occupation. He had married a Betty Adams (1790 – 1840) from Southstoke and they went on to have 10 children.

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William Sibley move in Bathwick – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 21 December 1854

By 1851 Robert Clarke (b. 1806), a plumber and glazier, and his wife Maria (b. 1805) were living there with three children but by the 1861 census William Sibley (1806 – 1876), a baker and grocer, and his wife Catharine Cottall (1807 – 1870) were at Isabella House, having moved from Bathwick in some time after 1854.

William Sibley was there until he died and his son, Henry (b. 1841) moved in about 1879 selling his furniture and effects.

In 1863 Willliam Sibley was fined 1s and costs for an incorrect scale which was 1/2 oz out. He was not the only Combe Down merchant fined as George Chase, a coal merchant, Jacob Watts, also a coal dealer, William Cook and William Wale, both butchers were also fined by the court.

sibley et al in court bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 23 april 1863
Sibley et al in court – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 23 April 1863

By the 1881 census James Riddle (1852 – 1936) and his wife Emma Tilley (1852 – 1935) were at Isabella House. There is a more about them and their family in the Isabella Place section as they lived at 3 Isabella Place for many years.

By 1911 Frederick John Hobbs (1870 – 1923) and his wife Louisa Young (1868 – 1955) were at Isabella House as bakers and confectioners.

Frederick was the nephew of James Riddle. James’ sister Elizabeth Riddle (1843 – 1915) had married John Hobbs (1844 – 1907), a timber merchant and sawyer, in 1869 and presumably James ‘retired’.

bath has a jack hobbs bath chronicle and weekly gazette saturday 20 may 1944
Bath has a Jack Hobbs – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 20 May 1944
sale of henry sibley effects isabella house combe down bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 9 october 1879
Sale of Henry Sibleys effects Isabella House Combe Down Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette Thursday 9 October 1879

Although Frederick John Hobbs died in 1923, the bakery with his name was still running at least until 1941 and Louisa Hobbs was still living at Isabella House in 1950.


[1] Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, Thursday 11 October 1860

[2] Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 13 September 1941

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