Combe Down family maze

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.

The Combe Down family maze is still a work in progress but is published here.

Over the coming months I plan to make improvements.

The Combe Down family maze

Summary of the Combe Down family maze

More family trees for Owners & Occupants to 1850

Philip Nowell by James Warren Childe (1778 - 1862)

Philip Nowell by James Warren Childe (1778 – 1862)

I continue to add family trees. Here are more family trees for the owners and occupants of Claremont House and 113 – 117 Church Road in the period to 1850. 

Unsurprisingly it’s not been possible to gain information for some of these people and it’s quite scant on some of the others. Or, maybe the families really did just die out.

Anyway, some information is available for the following:

There is nothing startling about any of the families. Royal naval officer, lodging house keepers and quarry masters. All are middle class, though some are somewhat higher up the social hierarchy of the time than others and there’s no surprise in that. 

Philip Nowell was clearly well off, I have just discovered some information in The Gazette which hints at his wealth:

TO be sold, pursuant to an Order of the High Court of Chancery, made in the matter of the estate of Philip Nowell late of Grosvenor Wharf, Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico, in the county of Middlesex, and of Rock Hall, Combe Down, near Bath, in the county of Somerset, Esquire, and in a cause Cruse v. Nowell, with the approbation of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Torin Kindersley, the Judge to whose Court the said matter and cause are attached, at the Auction Mart, in the city of London, on Tuesday th« 22nd day of May, 1855, at two o'clock in the afternoon, in two lots;: A wharf, called the Grosvenor Wharf, situate in Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico. in the county of Middlesex, with an extensive quay abutting on the basin of the Grosvenor Canal, with warehouses, counting-house, and stabling; thereto belonging, and to messuages or dwelling-houses, being Nos. 27 and 28, in Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico aforesaid, and two messuages, being Nos. 1 and 2, Nowell's cottages, Wilton-road, Pimlico aforesaid. And also a wharf with entrance gates from the Wilton-road, Pimlico, with an extensive quay abutting on the basin of the said Grosvenor Canal, and the warehouses, workshops, drying-rooms, anda forge thereto belonging, and six messuages or dwelling houses, being Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, Nowell's cottages aforesaid. Printed particulars and conditions of sale may be had (gratis) of Mr. Robert Pope, of No. 11, Gray's-inn-square, Holborn ; of Mr. R. G. Smith, Solicitor, No. 5, New-inn, Strand; of Messrs. Maples and Co., Solicitors, Frederick'splace, Old Jewry; and of M'ssrs. Dunn and Gibbs, the Auctioneers. No. 7, Great Tower-street; and at Mr. Smith's, No. 25, Ebury-street, Pimlico.  The messuage, No. 27, Lower Belgrave-place, may be viewed by cards only, to be obtained as above, the remaining property may be viewed with the consent of the respective tenants.
TO he sold, pursuant to an Order of the High Court of Chancery, made in the matter of the estate of Philip Nowell, late of Grosvenor-wharf, Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico, in the county of Middlesex, and of Rock Hall, Combe Down, near Bath, in the county of Somerset, Esq., and in a cause Cruse against Nowell, with the approbation of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Torin Kindersley, the Judge to whose Court the said matter and cause are attached by Mr. W. J. Stent, the person appointed for that purpose at the Bath Arms Hotel, Warminster, in the county of Wilts, on Tuesday the 29th day of May, 1855, at six o'clock ia the afternoon, in seven lots: Three freehold messuages or dwelling-houses, with the appurtenances thereto belonging, situate at Sarnbourne-hill, and in Back-street, in the town of Warminister aforesaid. Also four leasehold messuages or dwelling-houses, with the appurtenances, situate in and being Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 7, George-street, in the said town of Warminster. Printed particulars and conditions of sale may be had (gratis) in London of Mr. Robert Pope, No. 11, Gray's-inn square Holborn; of Mr. R. G. Smith, Solicitor, No. 5, New Inn, Strand; and of Messrs. Maples and Co., Solicitors, Frederick's-place, Old Jewry ; and in the country of Mr. Thick, Solicitor, Cheltenham; of Mr. Stone, Solicitor, Bath; of the Auctioneer, Warminster; and at the place of sale.
TO be sold, pursuant to an Order of the High Court of Chancery, made in the matter of the estate of Philip Nowell, late of Grosvenor Wharf, Lower Belgrave-place, Pimlico, in the county of Middlesex, and of Rock Hall, Combe Down, near Bath, in the county of Somerset, Esquire, deceased, and in a cause Cruse v. Nowell, with the approbation of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Torin Kindersley, the Judge to whose Court the said matter and cause are attached, by Mr. J. W. Sient, the person appointed for that purpose, at the Langford Inn, in Churchill, in the county of Somerset, on Thursday, the 31st day of May, 1855, at six o'clock in the afternoon, in two lots: Three several closes of arable, meadow, and orchard land, containing by estimation HA. 2R. 5P., or thereabouts, situate in the parish of Churchill, in the said county of Somerset, in the occupation of Mr. Henry Dando, as a yearly tenant. And also a piece of meadow land, containing by estimation 4A. 2n. 7P., or thereabouts, situate in the parish of Wrington, in the said county of Somerset, also in the occupation of the said Mr. Dando. Printed particulars and conditions of sale may be had (gratis) in London, of Mr. Robert Pope, Solicitor, No. 11, Gray's-inn-square, Holborn; of Mr. R. G. Smith, Solicitor, No. 5, New-inn, Strand; and of Messrs. Maples and Co., Solicitors, Frederick's-place, Old Jewry; and in the country of Mr. Thick, Solicitor, Cheltenham; of Mr. Stone, Solicitor, Bath ; of the Auctioneer, Warminster; and at the place of sale.

After his death his will led to a case in Chancery:

CRUSE V NOWELL

Exparte: Philip Nowell late of Grosvenor Wharf, Lower Belgrave Place, Pimlico, Middlesex and of Rock Hall, Combe Down near Bath, Somerset, esq.
Document type: Administration summons.
Application made by: Anne Barnard Cruse, Emma Nowell Cruse, Edward Nowell Cruse and George Frederick Cruse, infants by Edward Cruse their next friend of 70 Cambridge Street, Ecclestone Square, Pimlico, Middlesex, professor of music.
Short title: Cruse v Nowell.
Plaintiffs: Anne Barnard Cruse, Emma Nowell Cruse, Edward Nowell Cruse and George Frederick Cruse, infants by Edward Cruse their next friend.
Defendants: Philipp Nowell and Arthur Nowell.
Date: 1853

His sons Philip and Arthur had received £10,000 (worth about £1 million now) in trust for his daughter Mary and, in the event of here death his other children. Mary died, but so did another of his children, Catherine, who died while he was still alive and the question was about whether this meant her ‘share’ lapsed. It was decided it did.

More family trees for mortgagees

In December 2015 I added Family Trees on Prior to Now and I have now added more family trees.

The first ones were of the gentry who owned the large houses in the area – Prior Park, Combe Grove, Midford Castle and the other early movers in the development of Combe Down.

This batch are for the Owners of 109, 113, 115 & 117 Church Road, Combe Down before 1850 or, at least, those that I can identify with some level of certainty and then find some of the details of their families.

Deed dated 29th October 1862 for 115 Church Road, Combe Down, Bath

Deed dated 29th October 1862 for 115 Church Road, Combe Down, Bath

Those concerned, where I have been able to establish something of their family tree, are:

The Owners of 109, 113, 115 & 117 Church Road, Combe Down before 1850 were the mortgagees but they were, in reality, nominal owners as long as the mortgage interest was paid.

In the 19th century there were no building societies as we know them today. Property was still a good and secure investment, even though possession of land and its economic and political importance was diminishing as trade became more important. Like today, however, buying a house outright was beyond the means of most people. Mortgages were arranged privately and a mortgage was, primarily, a way of raising money (for the mortgagor or debtor) and investing money at interest (for the mortgagee). 

Even so, one might assume that the balance of power was weighted heavily in favour of the mortgagee, especially when looking at the wording of deeds for mortgages and property. These show that mortgagors gave ownership of land to the mortgagee until he repaid a debt the owed by a certain time. If he repaid the debt the mortgagee would re-convey the land to the mortgagor. If the mortgagor failed to repay the debt by the time that was specified in the mortgage, the land became the mortgagee’s.

However from the 16th century onwards the English equity courts intervened on the side of the mortgagor. Equity gave the mortgagor a right to redeem the land by paying the amount that was owing, even after he had defaulted on the debt, so long as he did so within a “reasonable time.” In order to clear their title to the land after the mortgagor had defaulted, mortgagees brought actions in equity to foreclose the mortgagor’s “equity of redemption.” In a foreclosure, equity gave the mortgagor a right to the proceeds of the sale of the land to the extent that the sale realized more than the outstanding amount of the debt. Legislation in the 19th century extended the mortgagor’s right to redeem to a fixed period after the mortgagee had foreclosed.

So, whilst the Owners of 109, 113, 115 & 117 Church Road, Combe Down before 1850 were indeed the owners they were not landlords. If they ‘wanted out’, then they would assign their interest in a mortgage to another person, who would pay him the money he was owed. Now the mortgagor had a new person to deal with, to pay interest to every year, and eventually, to repay the capital sum. This can be seen in the deeds.