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Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: January 15,2018


One long established firm in the motor trade in Tunbridge Wells was the firm of A. A Cundell Limited which operated under that name from the early 1900’s until the business came to an end by liquidation in 1986. The company had a garage on Crescent Road, located on the north east corner of the site occupied by the Calverley Hotel and just west of the fine home called ‘Greystones’ just west of the entrance to Calverley Park. As the business expanded they also opened a garage in the town of Tonbridge, it to coming to an end in 1986. There was also a A.A. Cundell garage on the west side of the High Street next door to the White Bear pub based on a postcard dated 1903(photo opposite).In this image Cundell's sign is on the arch beside the pub, an enlarged view of which is shown below. In the days of the horse and carriage Cundell was also in charge of the Calverley Mews behind the Calverley Parade on Mount Pleasant Road.

The founder of the business was Albert Augustus Cundell (1872-1934) who had been born in Hungersford, Berkshire, one of four children born to Leonard Cundell (1842-1905) a farmer and his wife Elizabeth Jane Cundell, nee Stratton (1843-1886). Albert was living with his parents and siblings at the time of 1881 and 1891 census in Hungerford where he worked on the family farm. Farming at that time relied on draft horses to pull farm equipment and the horse and carriage for transportation. Having grown up with horses it is no wonder that Albert went into a career largely connected with the horse and carriage trade.

Like many who entered the motor trade in Tunbridge Wells  Albert began his career in the horse and carriage trade in the town. He had married Beatrice Olive Marner(1878-1950) in the 4th qtr of 1900 at St George Hanover Square and after the marriage Albert and his wife took up residence in Tunbridge Wells and Albert established his business at 18 and 19 London Road. His premises were located on the west side of London Road on eastern edge of the Commons, in close proximity to the Pantiles and hotels in the area, a location that assured him of a good trade. An enlarged view of the Cundell sign on London Road is shown left.

By 1911 Albert was listed in the census records at 18 and 19 London Road with the occupation of job master and employing others. During WW1 , when there was a great need for horses in the military, some 55 horses were loaded on to a train in Tunbridge Wells in one shipment, among which were 25  subsidized horses belonging to Mr Cundell.

Albert had only one child with Beatrice namely Leonard Goodwin Cundell (1902-1952) who worked with his father in the motor trade until he emigrated to Southern Rhodesia in 1928, where he intended to be a tobacco farmer but worked as a motor engineer for most of his life, and later married and raised a family. 

Albert’s marriage to Beatrice ended in divorce and in 1912 he married Lilian Taylor Shaw (1879-1959) with whom he had a son Kenneth Stratton Cundell (1914-3003) who later married and raised a family. Kenneth went on to become a noted and highly successful trainer of race horses. In the 1930’s he teamed up with his cousin Frank Cundell and his first cousin once removed Leonard Cundell in the horse training business  but later went into business as a horse trainer on his own. Many accounts about the Cundell horse training dynasty have been written.

A directory of 1918 gave “A.A. Cundell Ltd, Calverley Garage, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, motor car repairs, motor car and taxi proprietors, engineers and repairs etc” who at that time had a staff of 32 men and 8 women. The business also expanded into producing a British version of the Model T Ford and sold a range of motorcars. . In the period leading up to February 26,1923 he had lived for a few years at No. 10 Broadwater Down.

Albert Augustus Cundell  left Tunbridge Wells about 1928 and settled in Bexhill-on-Sea,Sussex where he had a fine home designed for him by architects Tubbs & Messer in the 1930’s. Albert did not get to enjoy his new home for long as he passed away April 16,1934 while a resident of Bexhill-on-Sea, at 21 West Hill, Hastings. The executors of his estate 10,079 pound were his widow Lilian Taylor Cundell and his brother Henry Stratton Cundell, retired bank manager. His obituary, which is given later in this article reported that Albert died at ‘The Kennet’, Cooden Beach and that his funeral was held at Little Common Church in Cooden.

In this article I present a number of maps and photographs pertaining to the business of Albert Augustus Cundell as well as family photographs. Information and images pertaining to his two sons and their careers are also provided. The history of the A.A. Cundell business throughout the horse and carriage and motorcar era is the central focus of this article.


Albert Agustus Cundell (1872-1934) grew up on his father’s farm where he learned first-hand about the use and car of horses, both for work on the farm and for general transportation. Motorcars had yet to appear and it was not until 1895 that the first motorcar exhibition was held in England, and event organized in Tunbridge Wells at the showgrounds by David Lionel Salomans. Many tradesmen in Tunbridge Wells who began their careers as carriage builders expanded their business into the manufacture and sale of motorcars and many men engaged as fly proprietors in the carriage trade evolved into the rental, manufacture, service and sale of motorcars. Such was the case of A.A. Cundell. Shown opposite is an advertisement for his business in 1920

Albert was still in Hungerford, Berkshire on his father’s farm at the time of the 1891 census but after his marriage in 1900 he and his wife took up residence in Tunbridge Wells where Albert began is business in the horse and carriage trade from premises on London Road. As noted in the ‘Overview’ a postcard dated 1903 showed there was a A.A. Cundell garage on the west side of the High Street just north of Mount Sion Road and next door to (north of) the White Bear pub. Shown below are two views of London  Road in which Cundell's premises can be seen on the left side of the photographs , given as 18 and 20 London Road in the 1901 and 1911 census. A sign in one of these postcards announces “A.A. Cundell carriages of all kinds for hire”. An enlarged sign from the photo on the left was given in the 'Overview'.

At the local Agricultural Show in 1899 , as announced in the ‘Farmer and Stockbreeder’ (1899), the event drew a large crowd and among the judges was “Mr A.A. Cundell, Tunbridge Wells, for Shetland Ponies”. Albert was a regular judge of all things horsey at these annual events, being an expert in horses.

The firm of A.A. Cundell Limited (00118917) was incorporated December 4,1911 with its registered address being the Calverley Garage on Crescent Road.  Shown opposite left is a 1907 os map on which he location of the Cundell garage is shown on Crescent Road. The site chosen for the building, built in the early 1900’s, was on the north east corner of the Calverley Hotel site. This building is no longer there and nor is the once fine home called ‘Greystones’ that was located just to the east of Cundell’s garage near the entrance to Calverley Park. Shown opposite right is a map from 1985 on which Cundell’s garage is highlighted in red. This building is no longer there.

Shown below are two photographs of the Cundell garage on Crescent Road, taken in the 1960’s when he offered Shell petrol from the four pumps. Although the pumps and building behind it were later demolished the buildings shown in these photographs behind the garage still exist today.

The 1913 Kelly directory gave the listing “ Albert Augustus Cundell, 18 London Road, jobmaster”. A 1914 directory gave the private residence of Albert at 22 Frant Road. A 1918 directory gave the listing “ A.A Cundell Ltd, Calverley Garage, Tunbridge Wells, motor car reparis, motor and taxi proprietors, engineers and repairs etc. employing 32 men and 8 women”.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 24,1906 reported on a motor fatality involving a motorcar of A.A. Cundell. Details of this announcement were not investigated. The Kent & Sussex Courier of March 22,1935 reported on an incident of a man being knocked down on Crowborough Uckfield Road. The car was one in which Daniel Hutchings of Ucksfield sued A.A. Cundell Ltd of the Calverley Garage for damages relating to personal injury. The case went to court but the results were not investigated.

The Kent & Sussex Courier reported on a cricket match between Cundell’s Garage and Capel.

Albert’s eldest son Leonard Goodwin Cundell (1902-1952) became a motor engineer and joined his father in the business at an early age. The two men worked together in the business until 1928 when Leonard decided to emigrate to Southern Rhodesia where he continued to work as a motor engineer. The Kent & Sussex Courier of February 3,1928 announced “Leaving for Rhodesia-Presentation to Mr L.G. Cundell today (Friday) Mr Leonard Goodwin Cundell,Messrs A.A. Cundell Ltd,the well-known Tunbridge Wells motor proprietors, leaves Southampton for Southern Rhodesia”. It goes on to state that he had intended to go into tobacco farming. A number of presentations were made to him, details of which are given in the full article I present later in this article.

After Leonard left the business his father continued it with a large staff for a few more years but in the 1930’s he retired from business and moved to Bexhill-on-Sea. The business was carried on by other members of the firm until 1986.

The London Gazette of July 15,1986 announced the appointment of a liquidator for A.A. Cundell (Services) Limited, garage proprietors with their registered office at Fairthorne Garage, Castle Hill, Tonbridge and A.A. Cundell Limited of Tunbridge Wells with their registered office at the Calverley Garage, Cresent Road. The appointment of the liquidator Harry Shuttleworth was made by members of these companies July 4,1986, making the end of a long running business. The firm of A.A. Cundell (Services) Limited (00447981) had been incorporated January 14,1948, the other business in Tunbridge Wells December 4,1911.  The meeting of members of the companies was held July 4,1986 at The Corn Exchange, Bank Street, Tonbridge with H.S. Taylor being the chairman of the meeting.


A family tree shows Albert Augustus Cundell and his ancestors dating back to 1772.The Cundell clan were largely engaged in farming and Leonard Cundell (1842-1905), Albert’s father was a farmer in Hungerford, Berkshire.

Albert Augustus Cundell was born in Hungerford, Berkshire in the first qtr of 1872 and was the son of Leonard Cundell (1842-1905) and Eliza Jane Stratton (1843-1886). Albert was baptised Mary 2,1872 at Hungerford.

Leonard Cundell was one of seven children born to Henry Arthur Cundell (1800-1874) and Letitia Cuncell, nee Slade (1801-1885) who had been married Mary 31,1836 at Hungerford.

Leonard Cundell (1842-1905) had married Eliza Jane Stratton(1843-1886) in 1867 at Hungerford . She had been born in Litchfield, Hampshire and died at Hungerford. Leonard and Eliza had the following children (1) Albert Augustus Cundell (1872-1934) (2) Mary Letitia Cundell (1868-1947) who was born in Hungerford March 30th. She went on to marry Osmond Richens in December 1888 at Hungerford and with him had three children. She was living with her husband, a farmer at The Croft Parsonage Farm ion Hungerford at the time of the 1911 census along with three children and one servant in premises of 9 rooms. She died in the first qtr of 1947 at Marlborough, Wiltshire.  (3) Henry Stratton Cundell who was born in Hungerford in the 4th qtr of 1869. In 1903 at Cardiff. Glamorgan, Wales he married Winifred Heywood (born December 9,1880)and raised a family ( 2 sons one daughter)and began his career as a bank clerk, rising to the position of bank manager. At the time of the 1901 census he was living in Dover, Kent at 54 Biggin Street with two servants and working as a bank manager. From the obituary of Albert Augustus Cundell in 1934 Henry was listed as a retired bank manager. Henry died in Surrey March 18,1941. His wife died in the 3rd qtr of 1970 a Chichester, Sussex.(4) Alfred Leonard Cundell (1871-1871) who was born in Hungerford but died at or soon after birth.

The 1881 census, taken at The Mall in Hungerford, Berkshire gave Leonard Cundell, age 39 as a farmer of 355 acres employing 10 men and 4 boys. With him was his wife Eliza and his sons Henry, a scholar and Albert Augustus Cundell a scholar. There were also two domestic servants there.

The 1891 census, taken at The Vicarage Farm in Hungerford gave Leonard as a farmer. With him was his second wife Theodosia Cundell (1847-1924) who Leonard had married in 1888. Also present was Albert Augustus Cundell, given as “farmer’s son’. From an article entitled ‘ A Blast from the Past’ it was reported that A.C. Cundell in 1891 was a member of the Hungerford Volunteer Fire Brigade.
The Reading Mercury, Berkshire dated February 11,1893 reported on a sports match and gave a list of players including “A.A. Cundell (halfback)”.

The British Trade Journal of 1897 gave a report on the Royal Agricultural Show (their 58th exhibition) and in part stated that “At a recent military tournament at Reading, Mr A.A. Cundell won the first prize for lemon cutting and also first prize for heads and posts on an ‘Ormonde’ safety bicycle”.  The Berkshire Chronicle of January 14,1899 reported on the election of a president of the Agricultural Society and among those mentioned in the account was “Mr. A.A. Cundell”.

Theodosia had been born at Hungerford but had no children with Leonard. She is given in the 1911 census as a widow at 10 Christchurch Road in Reading, Berskhire living on own means with one visitor and one servant in premises of 8 rooms.Theodosia died January 28,1924 at Hungerford. Her husband Leonard had passed away in Hungerford October 14,1905 at Broonage Farm.


Albert Augustus Cundell arrived in Tunbridge Wells after his marriage in the 4th qtr of 1900 to Beatice Oliver Marner ( 1878-1950) at St George Hanover Square and began his horse and carriage business with premises on London Road.

The Civic Society Newsletter of Summer 2013 contained an article entitled ‘ Home Needed for Working Horses’ by Chris Jones which in part reported that by the 1880’s there were some 3.5 to 4.5 million draught horses working in England in various capacities and that with the introduction of motorized transport in the early 20th century the number of working horses plummeted and that by the 1960’s extinction of them in the country was a real possibility. Albert Augustus Cundell who began his career with horses saw the trent towards motorcars and made the switch to them in the early 1900’s.

The 1901 census, taken at 18 London Road gave Albert as a job master dealer in horses and cabs employing others. With him was his wife Beatrice; one groom and one domestic servant.  Albert and Beatice had just one children namely Leonard Goodwin Cundell (1902-1952) who was born in Tunbridge Wells. By 1914 Albert and Beatrice were divorced.

The 1911 census, taken at 18 & 20 London Road gave Albert as married and working as a job master employing others. His wife Beatrice was not with him at that time. Also there in premises of 10 rooms was Francis Roberts, age 40 with the occupation of manager job master with his wife, a housekeeper, and his four children. The census recorded that Albert had been married 11 years and had just the one child. Where his son Leonard was at that time was not established.

In 1912 Albert married his second wife Lilian Taylor Shaw (1879-1959) and with her had just one child namely Kenneth Stratton Cundell(1914-2003) who was born in Tunbridge Wells November 18th.

The book ‘ Tunbridge Wells in the Great War’ by Stephen Wynn (2016) reported “ 55 horses entrained.This morning at 2 am 55 horses were entrained at the South Eastern Station for Shorncliffe Camp. They had been obtained for the Expeditionary Force by Mr Rupert Nevill and Lord Henry Nevill, who are the purchasing officers on behalf of the War Office for Area No. 7, which included this district. Twenty-Five were subsidized horses belonging to Mr Cundell. The remainder included some valuable horses patriotically parted with by their owners at low prices, one of them was Georgina, a well-known racer, formerly owned by Mr Wild of Hungerhall Park”.

As noted in the previous sections about his business, his son Leonard Goodwin Cundell, who had worked with his father as a motor engineer left the business and emigrated to Southern Rhodesia in 1928. Further information about him and his brother are given in later sections of this article.

Sometime soon after 1928, most likely in the early 1930’s Albert retired from business and moved to Bexhill-on-Sea where in the 1930’s he had a fine home built for him. The National Archives have the set of house plans in their collection, which plans were by the architect Tubbs & Messer, under the title of “ House for A.A. Cundell”. These plans can be viewed at the East Sussex Office.

Probate records gave Albert Augustus Cundell of Kennett Gooden, Bexhill-on-Sea when he died April 16,1934 at 21 West Hill, Hastings, Sussex. The executors of his 10,079 pound estate were his widow Lilian Taylor Cundell and his brother henry Stratton Cundell, retired bank manager.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 27,1934 reported that the funeral of Mr Cundell took place with many tributes as “Cooden”. In the probate records he was stated to be of Kennet, Herbrana Walk, “Gooden” and that the funeral took place at St Mark’s Little Common on Friday afternoon…”A more detailed account was given in the Courier of April 20,1934 which I give below.

“Death of Mr A.A. Cundell-A link with the early days of modern transport has been severed by the death which occurred at ‘The Kennett, Cooden Beach on Monday of Mr Albert Augustus Cundell. Mr Cundell, who was 62 years of age, established the business of A.A. Cundell Ltd of which he was a director. He opened the business at the Star Stables, London Road, Tunbridge Wells, which contained some of the finest horses in the district. He frequently rode with the Eridge Hunt and won many events on his own mounts at Eridge point-to-point races. He was recognized as a leading authority on horses and before the introduction of motor coaches he ran a number of horse drawn chars-a-banc which undertook daily excursions to the beauty spots of Kent and Sussex. These departed from the Star office3 in London Road with the horses three abreast. One of his whips was a celebrated horseman and was known to  many passengers as Bill Dearing. In recent years he developed the motor engineering side of the business, and ran a fleet of taxis. Before taking up residence at Cooden Beach he lived at 10 Broadwater Down, Tunbridge Wells. At one time he was captain of the Nevill Golf Club, whilst he was also a member of the Kent & Sussex Club and the Pantiles Lodge of Freemasons. He leaves a widow and two sons to mourn their loss. The funeral will take place today (Friday) at Little Common Church, Cooden”.

The Courier of April 27,1934 included an article providing details of his funeral. The article was too long to include here and mainly provided a very long list of those who attended his funeral and information about the tributes given by family members and others.


Leonard was the only child born to Albert Augustus Cundell and Beatrice Olive Cundell. He had been born in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1902.  He was not found with his father in the 1911 census and was either away at school or with his mother elsewhere.

At an early age he worked in his father’s business as a motor engineer, a career he had for most of the remainder of his life.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of February 3,1928 announced that Leonard was a motor engineer with Messrs A. A Cundell and that he had decided to leave Tunbridge Wells and emigrate to Southern Rhodesia intending to get into the tobacco farming business (image opposite). Whether he did or not was not established but passenger lists detailing his travels all gave him as a motor engineer. The article itself is a very long one and for that reason only parts of it are given below.

“ Leaving for Rhodesia……….Presentation to Mr L.G. Cundell…Todfay (Friday) Mr Leonard Goodwin Cundell of Messrs A.A. Cundell Ltd, the well-known Tunbridge Wells motor proprietors, leaves Southampton for Southern Rhodesia, where he is taking up tobacco farming as a settler under the South Rhodesia Government.  Mr Cundell has been connected with many societies in Tunbridge Wells and during the past week he had been the central figure at two interesting presentations. At the Crescent Road garages on Friday members of the Sports Club and the staff of the offices and garages presented him with a handsome case of pipes, pouch, and lighter, complete with flints etc. Mr C.B. Pearce, Chairman of the Football Club presided, and expressed the sincere regret of them all at the departure of one who had been both friend and employer. He had proved himself a man both with the firm and on the sports field and he carried with him their best wishes. Mr. J. Fry (foreman of the workshops) Mr. A. Lowe (garage employees) Mr. Leete (yard foreman) and Mr T. Saunders all added messages of wishes for good health and happiness, and in the remarks, of all sincere regret at Mr Cuncell’s departure was apparent. Mr Cundell in reply thanked those who had always extended to him courtesy and sportsmanship both in business and on the playing field. He hoped that they would continue to extend to his father, who was carrying on the business, the same”. After singing ‘He’s a jolly good fellow’ they later that evening entertained Mr Cundell at the Mount Ephraim Hotel by the Operatic Society, the Tunbridge Wells Rigby Club and numerous friends. There was an excellent musical programme given by Mr R. Swann acting as accompianist. Dance in connection with the Tunbridge Wells Amateur Dramatic Society was held at St Mark’s parish Hall on Tuesday when a presentation was made to Mr L. Cundell in appreciation of his valuable service to the Society for many years. Mr Cundell was presented with a cigarette case that had been engraved. In closing Mr Cundell said he would not be back for five to six years but “hoped to return then if not ‘stoney broke’ which comment was met with laughter.”

Leonard left Southampton for the Cape on the ship WALMER CASTLE on February 3,1928 and gave his occupation as “motor engineer’ and his previous address as 18 London Road, Tunbridge Wells. Shown here is a photo of a motor car in Rhodesia. Details about his motor car business there was not located.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 6,1929 announced the engagement of Alice Charlotte Lee-Dillion in Southern Rhodesia. She had been born June 21,1907 and given in the marriage announcement as the granddaughter of Viscount Dillon of Ditchley, Oxfordshire. The marriage took place at Bulaways, Southern Rhodesia. The name of his wife is sometimes given as Charlotte Henrietta Eleanor Florence Lee-Dillon.

The Lee-Dillon family were prominent and wealthy people. Alice’s grandfather was Harold Arthur Lee-Dillon  (1844-1932) the 17th Viscount Dillon, a English antiquary and leading authority on the history of arms and armour and medieval costume. Details about his life and career can be found on such websites as Wikipedia. His wife was Viscountess Juliana Stanton born December 9,1843 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She was the daughter of Isaac Brock Stanton and Maria Wilson. She and her husband had a son Henry Lee Stanton Lee-Dillon (1874-1923).

Leonard and his wife had the following children (1) Jack Stratton Cundell (1930-2012) (2) Robin Osmond Cundell (1931-2002) (3) Leonard John Michael Cundell (1943-2005).

In 1936 Leonard left London, England September 5th,bound for the Seychelles and the Cape and gave that place his intended place of residence. With him was his wife Charlotte,age 30 and his sons Jack,age 5, and Robin age 4. They had sailed on the ship UMTATA.Leonard and his family were still living in the Seychelles in 1943.

Leonard died July 26,1952.


Kenneth was the only child of Albert Augustus Cundell and his second wife Lilian Taylor Cundell. He had been born November 18,1914 in Tunbridge Wells. Like his father he grew up with a great love for horses and decided to make a career out of training race horses. He appears to have little if any association with the Cundell motor car business. Shown opposite is a photograph of Kenneth taken while a Captain with the Hampshire Regiment in 1943, a photo taken at the Empire Studio in London.

In the 1930’s, with his cousin Frank Cundell he went as an assistant horse trainer to his first cousin once removed Leonard Cundell, who trained at Aston Tirrold then in Berkshire and later in Oxfordshire. A book entitled ‘Trainer-The Story of a racehorse training dynasty’ buy Jane McKee gives a detailed account of the Cundell clan engaged in training horses. One section of the book reported that “The Cundell brothers took over the Bungalow Stables in 1923; Leonard was the trainer and his brother Frank was a vet in Swinton. There best years were in 1930 and 1931 when their Noble Star and Oak Ridge won several classic races. With the prospect of war, the Air Ministry took over the site in 1935 and made a compulsory purchase of the site for 11,650 pounds. The Cundells then moved to Aston Tirrold”.  Details about horse trainer Leonard Cundell can be found in the Wikipedia website and others, along with a photograph of him.

Kenneth served in WW II as a captain in the Hampshire Regiment.  The London Gazette of January 14,1941 gave under the Hampshire Regiment “ Kenneth Stratton Cundell (162517)”. In 1947 Kenneth set up his own horse training business at Compton, Berkshire.In addition to race horses he also trained jumpers.

He married Frances Margaret Annie Bailey (1920-2007) in 1947 and had a son Percy Cundell.  She had been born May 4th at Altrincham and died April 29th in Reading. She was the daughter of Edwin Bailey (1879-1965) and Margaret Fanny Bailey, nee Bolseworth (1884-1980).

Shown oppoiste is a photo dated March 25,1950 of his stables in Compton.

Shown below left is a photo showing Kenneth September 29,1965 talking to Mrs Marcow and E. Smith. To the right of it is a photo showing Kenneth with the caption “ trainer of the racehorse Fighting Line and Royal Mount where were entered for the Grand National, at home in Compton, Berkshire where his stables are. Many other photographs of Kenneth and his horses can be found on the internet.

Kenneth died October 9,2003 in Berkshire. He is described in accounts of horse racing that he “was a highly successful trainer both on the Flat and under National Hunt Rules. Cundell was a kind and generous man whose strength as a trainer lay in his great versatility. He liked landing a gamble. When he retired he handed over his stable to his only son Peter Cundell (photo opposite). The article(January 31,2011) from which the photo of Peter Cundell (age 62)was obtained stated that he had retired and was the trainer of top-class jumpers and gives details of his horses. His career yielded around 520 winners. After retirement he remained on the council for the Racehorse Owner’s Association and spends his time administering his property interests and mainting his traditional turf gallops, which are still in significant demand.

An article entitled ‘Ken Cundell, trainer behind Arkle defeat, dies aged 88 in 2003’. The article , which can be found in its entirety on the website stated in part that “his career had spanned 27 years; that he had sent out 828 winners. He had retired from training at the end of the 1974 campaign and handed over the reins to his son Peter on a high note after his final runner. Princely Son, landed the Vernons Sprint Cup at Haydock”.


Details about the Broadwater Down residential development are given in my article ‘The Broadwater Down Residential Development’ dated November 22,2013 and in part notes that the construction of homes there began in the 1860’s including the construction of St Mark’s Church.  The occupancy record for No. 10 was given in that article as follows;

#10-Thomas Field Gibson(1867); Thomas F. Gibson,68.M.Retd silk merchant(1871)Thomas Field Gibbons(1874);Thomas F. Gibson,78,M,farm and land owner(1881);Thomas Field Gibson(1882);Jarguis Vanraalte,61,M.Retd merchant(1891);Jacques Van Raalet(1899);In care of servants(1901) Jacques Van Raalte(1903);Janes Van Raait,81,M,Retd merchant banker(1911);Jacques Van Raalte (1913);Albert Augustus Cundell(1922);Alexander Guthrie(1923);Alexander Guthrie(1934);Joseph Osborn Fairbrother (1946-1950).

From the above list it was noted that No. 10 was sold to Alexander Guthrie February 26,1923.

The Mr Thomas F. Gibson listed above had been born 1803 and was a retired silk merchant. He was living in the home with his wife Eliza and three servants. At No. 10 The Cottage was a gardener and his wife and at No. 10 The Stables was a coachman and his wife and son.

From a review of census records it is known that in 1911 No. 10 had 15 rooms and at that time the home was the residence of Jacques Van Raalte born 1830 on Holland, who was a retired merchant banker. Living with him was his wife and four servants. The couple had been married 37 years and had no children. The same census noted that a coachman and his wife were living at No. 10 The Stables (3 rooms)and that a gardener and his wife were living at No. 10 The Lodge (3 rooms).

During WW II No. 10 was taken over for military use, as were several other homes in Broadwater Down. Mrs Hilary Finch, who lived at No. 10 since 1961 wrote to General Montgomery for clarification as to the use of No. 10 during the war. Montgomery replied stating “ I did indeed house by Corps HQ at No. 10 in 1941, from April 12th to November 17th. I had arrived in Tunbridge Wells April 12,1941. Among the photographs of the house is the one opposite showing Montgomery and King George VI leaving No. 10 June 13,1941.

The book ‘ Tunbridge Wells in the Second World War…” by Ann Bates noted in Appendix 1 that No. 10 had been requisitioned for war use and served as the “Army H.Q. XII Corps’ and on Page 105 she states “It was at No. 10 Broadwater Down, the XII Corps GHQ Officers’ Mess, that King George VI paid a visit on 13th June 1941”.  In about 1960 the home was converted into flats, a use it retains today.



Written by: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario, Canada

Date: January 11,2018


Greystones was a large 3 sty stone residence constructed in the 1890’s on the south side of Crescent Road adjacent to the Victoria entrance gates leading to Calverley Park. To the west of it was the Calverley Hotel and related outbuildings (stables and laundry and by the early 1900’s the garage of A.A. Cundell was built in front of the hotel on the north east corner near to the Greystones residence.

This home served as the private residence of Lady Olivia Montague, the eldest daughter of George Montagu, 6th Duke of Manchester after the death of her husband Charles Augustus Bennet (1810-1899), the 6th “Earl of Tankerville at Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire December 18,1899.  Olivia continued to live at Greystones, with a large staff of domestic servants, up to the time of her death at Greystones on February 12,1922. Who occupied the home after her death up to the time that Dr William Christopher Long and his family moved in circa 1935 was not established.

The next recorded occupant of Greystones was Dr William Christopher Long (1877-1960) a distinguished radiologist. He was decended from a long line of medical practitioners but was one of four known children born to East India Merchant Frank Long (1838 in Brighton Sussex-1910) and wife Louisa A Long born 1846 in India. Frank Long had left England for India sometime before 1861 and was while there that he married his wife. While in India Frank and his wife had four children between 1867 and 1880 who were all born in India and then he and some of his family members returned to England. Frank’s son William Christopher Long had been born in India March 22,1877 but  was educated in England. He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (M.R.C.S) in 1899. By 1900 he had joined the Indian Medical Service as a Lieut; then Captain in 1903 and finally Major in 1912. He retired from this service in 1916. He had served in Somaliland East Africa and received a medal with two clasps. By 1912 William was back in England and in the 4th qtr of 1912, at St Marylebone, London he married Madmoiselle Louise Emele Dutheil, the daughter of Constant Duthiel of Paris. Louise who had been born in 1880 died in Tunbridge Wells in 1957 at Greystones.

In 1915 William and his wife Louise and their daughter Mary Evelyn Long (1814-1973) sailed from Bombay, India on the ARABIA and arrived in London February 12,1915. Local directories show that William and his family lived at 13 Lansdowne Road from at least 1920 to 1930 and that by 1935 had taken up residence at Greystones. Details of his medical career as presented in the Medical Directories is given later in this article but he worked for a time at the Tunbridge Wells General Hospital. William died at the Greystones residence in 1960.

When William Long passed away his only child Dr Mary Evelyn Long moved into Greystones. She had married Dr Kenneth Aird Ross (1913-1975) December 2,1944 in Kensington. Kenneth was the son of the late Dr. Kenneth Ross and Mrs Ross of Duneden, New Zealand. Directories of New Zealand list Kenneth Aird Ross at Duneden from at least 1935 to 1938 but had moved to England in the early 1940’s. As noted above, in 1967 the St Augustines Church purchased Greystones from the Ross family. Kenneth and his wife Mary moved from Greystones to 134 London Road in Southborough. It was while living there that Mary died in 1973 and Kenneth died in 1975.

The former Greystones was purchased by St Augustines in 1967 (London Gazette May 9,1967) for 35,000 pounds and initially the building was used as a presbytery and parish office, with two rooms which opened up to make a very small chapel of use on a weekday, accommodating some 50 people. Being too small Sunday services were held elsewhere. After lengthy planning applications to build a new church on the Greystones site, approval was finally given and the church was completed  in the fall of 1975 and remains today in this location.

In this article I present a series of maps and photographs pertaining to the Greystones site  and the house itself along with information and some photographs of its occupants.


A review of local maps from the 18th century up to 1899 was undertaken . From this it was seen that a map of 1828 showed Calverley House (Calverley Hotel c1839) on the south side of Crescent Road a few hundred feet east of Mount Pleasant Road. On the site of the hotel were two outbuildings to the north and east of it which were the stables and laundry of the hotel.By the early 1900’s buildings were constructed to the west of Greystones beside the Calverley Hotel which buildings became the site of the A.A. Cundell garage. To the east of these buildings was a plot of treed land and further to the east of it more open land before the entrance to Calverley Park was reached. It was upon this forested and open land that Greystones would later be constructed. Shown opposite is a map of 1839.

Maps up to and including that of 1872 still show no signs of the Greystones residence but a map of 1899 (the next one available to view) shows the home, named Greystones, on the North-West corner of the site. The large 3 sty home called Greystones was built of local limestone. Its exact date of construction was not determined but must have been built in the 1890’s. Who designed it and who built it was also not established. Associated with the main house, which sat on large landscaped grounds, was a cottage used no doubt by the gardener and his family.

Shown opposite is a 1907 os map on which the location of Greystones is highlighted in red. Note how the residence abuts the building to the left of it which itself is attached to the Calverley Hotel complex, a complex that had evolved from the original Calverley House with subsequent additions.

As noted in the Overview Greystones was purchased by the Roman Catholic Church in 1967. The London Gazette of May 9,1967 reported that a freehold interest in “Greystones” of Crescent Road had been obtained by the church.  Details about the usage of Greystones by the church in the years before it was demolished are given later in this article. Shown below is a map of the site dated 1985 on which can be seen the Calverley Hotel and a garage in front, which was the garage of A.A. Cundell until 1986 when it was announced in the London Gazette that the business had ended. To to the right of these two buildings is shown Greystones directly across from the Victoria Lodge entrance to Calverley Park.

From the book’ 175 Years of St Augustine’s Parish Tunbridge Wells 1838-2013’ by John Cunningham it was noted that “it took some six years to obtain the necessary permission” to redevelop the site for church purposes” but “only a further two years to build”(the new church on the site).

At the time the Church purchased Greystones for 35,000 pounds it was the home of the Ross Family and initially (since 1967) the building was used as a presbytery and parish office, with two rooms which opened up to make a very small chapel for use on a weekday, which could take up to 50 people, but which was not large enough to for Sundays.  As a result Sunday services were held elsewhere until the new church could be built on the Greystones site.

The new church was built by Elkingtons of Tonbridge , a firm owned by Jack Elkington who lived in Southborough and built St Dunstan’s at the same time. The plan involved the demolition of the main part of the house, leaving a two-sty section , called ‘The Cottage’, which would be converted in 2000 into a new Parish Hall, permission for which took two years. The church was completed in the autumn of 1975 and was blessed by Archbishop Cyril Cowderoy. The cost had escalated to a final figure of 184,036 pounds on completion. In constructing the church most of the tall mature trees on the site were kept; the 2 sty house was replaced with a single-storey open plan square church, with seating on three sides of the altar and with a pyramid roof with glazed ends, which made it less than two-storey. The development was built into the side of the hill to that the church was on the top level and the presbytery and other offices were somewhat unusually below the church. Many of these development features were incorporated into the design to address concerns by residents of visual blight and other issues for which they had made their objections known during the planning process.


Catholic Mass was probably celebrated in Tunbridge Wells from the later part of the 18th century and certainly from 1813 when Mass was celebrated at Jerningham House on Mount Sion. The first St Augustine’s Church in Tunbridge Wells was built in 1838, on the corner of Grosvenor and Hanover Roads; a Classical design by Joseph Ireland. It was run by the Jesuits until 1866. This church was closed in September 1969 and demolished soon afterwards. Subsequently a hall on Hanover Road and the chapel at Sacred Heart School were used for worship. Mr & Mrs Ross (Ken Ross and Dr Mary Long) sold their house, Greystones, Crescent Road, to the parish around 1970. This became the site for the new church, designed by Maguire & Murray and erected in 1974-75,  and  Greystones  Cottage  was  retained  and  incorporated  into  the  new building. The total cost was £177,500.

The site slopes from north to south such that the church is a two-storey building with the church on the upper level. The semi-basement is in brick whilst the church is tile hung. Externally it has no windows other than a continuous narrow clerestory band beneath the eaves, no more than a slot with regular timber supports that are the ends of the roof rafters. The roof is tiled and hipped but with the north and south slopes broken by glazed gables. Placed on the centre of the ridge is a cross which can be read from all directions. The entrance, into a narthex, is at the northwest corner, where the street level is at the same level as the church. It has a separate hipped roof.

Although the building is not high the interior feels lofty and spacious as there are only four thin steel columns interrupting the internal space and central roof structure is open and the closely set trusses all visible, lit from the glazed gable ends. The rafters are visible throughout and are stained green. The main altar is set on a podium towards the middle of the east wall with pews arranged in three banks facing it. The plan is a rectangle with the longer dimension being north to south. The Blessed Sacrament chapel is directly visible when entering the church and has a glass screen separating it from the main part of the church. The altars, font, holy water stoup, candlesticks and statue plinths were all designed by the architects, as were the initial design of the pews, finished in polished pine. The Stations of the Cross (photo bottom right) are by a French sculptor, René Gourdon, of Angers. The organ dates from 1994, by Harrison & Harrison of Durham. Off the narthex is the library, meeting room, offices etc.; whilst at the lower level is accommodation for clergy.

Shown below are some recent images of Crescent Road showing the church.  The images are arranged in order in a west to east direction beginning in the first view with the building next to the hotel and ending with a view of entrance to Calverley Park and the new church, which church is accessed by a short road branching south off of Crescent Road. The online Planning Authority files from 1984 onward provided details of activities on the site of the church, which include additions and renovations and other work.


From a review of local directories, census records and other genealogical sources the following occupancy list was prepared. The list is by no means complete but most of the occupants are identified. The dates of their occupancy are approximate unless specifically referred to in the text below the list. As the date of construction of the house is not known and no census or directory lists for it were found prior to 1899, the list begins in that year. Who occupied Greystones in the period of 1923-circa 1935 was not established.

1899-1922……….Olivia Bennet, nee Montagu, (The Countess Tankerville)

1923-C1935………Not established

C1935-1960………Dr William Christopher Long and family

1960-1967………..Dr Mary Evelyn Ross, nee Long and her husband Dr Kenneth Aird Ross

1967………………….Sold to Roman Catholic Church… Greystones demolished…St Augustine’s Church built on site


Lady Olivia Montagu had been born July 18,1830 at Kimbolton Castle in Huntingdonshire. She was one of four children born to George Montague (1799-1855) the 6th Duke of Manchester,who was known as Viscount Mandeville from 1799 to 1843. George was a British peer and Tory Member of Parliament. George had been married twice, first to Millicent Sparrow (1798-1848) with whom he had three sons and a daughter (Olivia Montague) between 1823 and 1830. George’s second marriage was to Harriet Sydney Dobbs (1834-1907) in 1850 with whom he had two children. His second wife married Sir Stevenson Arthur Blackwood in 1858 without issue. Shown below left is an image of Kimbolton Castle and to the right of it is an image of George Montague.

Shown below right is an image of Olivia  ,when the Countess of Tankerville, by the distinguished nineteenth-century photographer Oscar Gustave Rejlander.

Olivia spent her childhood at the family estate of Kimbolton Castle in Huntingdonshire, about 45 minutes north of London by train. It was at Kimbolton Castle that Olivia married Charles Augustus Bennet, Lord Ossulston, the 6th Earl of Tankerville (1810–1899), on   January 29,1850. Charles Augustus Bennet between 1822 and 1859 was a British peer and Conservative politician. He served as the Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms between 1866 and 1867 and as Lord Steward of the Household between 1867 and 1868. He had been born at Berkeley Square, London, the eldest son of Charles Augustus Bennet (1776-1859), 5th Earl of Tankerville and Armandine Corisande de Gramont (1782-1865), daughter of the French duke of Gramont and duke of Guiche. Charles was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford. He became known by the courtesy title Lord Ossulston on the death of his grandfather in 1822. Further details about his life and career can be found on the Wikipedia website. Shown opposite is an image of him.

Olivia and her husband Charles had the following children (1) Charles Bennet (1850-1879) (2) George Montague Bennet (1852-1931) (3) Hon. Frederick Augustus Bennet (1853-1891) (4) Lady Corisade Olivia Bennet (1855-1941) (5) Lady Ida Louise Bennet (1857-1887).

Following their marriage, the couple resided at Chillingham Castle, the seat of the Earl of Tankerville. Located in Northumberland, Chillingham was famous for its herd of all-white, wild cattle that had fascinated the famous nineteenth-century naturalist Charles Darwin.

The family divided their time between their estate in Northumberland and London. Like many in the upper class, the Countess—along with her eldest daughter Corisande and her good friend Jane Loftus, the Marchioness of Ely—visited one of London’s most frequented photography studios in London, that of Camille Silvy (1834–1910), located at 38 Porchester Terrace in Bayswater. The portrait session resulted in at least three photographs, each suitable for use in personal albums that were becoming common in drawing rooms across Europe.

In 1865, the Earl and the Countess were living at 19 Curzon Street in the fashionable Mayfair district of London, where they would continue to reside until about 1880. In 1866, Lady Olivia had her portrait made by Rejlander in his Malden Road studio. By this time, Rejlander had established a solid reputation as a portrait photographer, and his work was known to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It may have been through these royal connections that he came to make a portrait of the Countess of Tankerville. The Countess was also part of a social circle that included writers such as Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863), and Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), as well as the famous Pattle family, including one of its most celebrated members, photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879), an acquaintance and student of Rejlander’s.

Little is known about the Countess of Tankerville beyond accounts of her excellent singing voice and her record as an active social reformer and philanthropist. She was also an editor, illustrator, and writer; in 1884, for example, she published an essay titled A Bright Spot in Outcast London. As she explained in the text, the essay was intended to serve as a “voice on behalf of those who have long been toiling in the depth of its misery,” and to defend the work of the many charitable women and men who risked their lives to tend to the sick and helpless in London’s slums.

Distributed in pamphlet form, the essay was a response to a text written by Reverend Andrew Mearns in his pamphlet The Bitter Cry of Outcast London: An Inquiry into the Condition of the Abject Poor. Mearns’s text had galvanized public attention in Britain when it was published in 1883. Even before Mearns’s publication, the subject of urban poverty had been raised by writers such as Charles Dickens as early as 1836, and artists like Rejlander, whose staged study of a young boy in rags, known to many as Night in Town, Poor Joe, or The Outcast, became a visual symbol of the plight of the London poor .

The Countess of Tankerville published a second work in 1884, a book of poetry titled Life Songs, Being Original Poems. The book contains chromolithograph reproductions of watercolors and illuminations done by the Countess in collaboration with amateur artist and fellow philanthropist Louisa Beresford (née Stuart), the Marchioness Louisa of Waterford.

Charles Augustus Bennet died at the family seat of Chillingham Castle, Northumberland  December 18,1899 and was succeeded by his second, but only surviving son, George. After the death of Charles his wife Olivia, the Countess of Tankerville, moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at Greystones on Crescent Road.

No census records for Olivia at her Crescent Road home were found for 1901 and 1911 and in fact none were found for her in England suggesting that she was abroad. The 1911 census however did list a house of 20 rooms located near the Calverley Hotel that was occupied by several servants. It was not listed under the name of Greystones, suggesting that the home did not take on this name until later but it is known from the probate records for Olivia in 1922 that the home was called Greystones at that time.

Probate records noted that the Rt Hon Olivia Dowager Countess of Tankerville, of Greystones, Tunbridge Wells, formerly of Chillingham Castle (photo above), Northumberland, died February 15, 1922 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The executors of her 12,547 pound estate were the Hon. Patrick William Maule Ramsay and the Hon. Alexander Robert Maule Ramsay. Her will  indicated a ward by the name of Stella Dibdie with a loan to the Women’s Protestant Union upon trust for her education. Olivia was interred at Chillingham.


A review of local directories noted that William and his family were residing from at least 1920 to at least 1930 at 13 Lansdowne Road in Tunbridge Wells. Directories of 1935 to 1942 list him at Greystones, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells. From this it was estimated by the researcher that he and his family took occupancy of Greystones circa 1935.

The Long family come from a long line of medical practitioners , among which was William Long  FRA. FSA, a surgeon (1747-1818) the youngest of ten children born to Walter Long, of Preshaw,Hampshire (1690-1769) and Phillipa Blackall. He was eminent in his profession and from 1784-1807 was surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Details about his life and career can be found on the website Wikipedia. About 1798 he purchased Marwell Hall (photo opposite) near Winchestet and made considerable alterations to the building. He and his wife Alice had no children and his estate was handed down to his nephews and nieces who William Christopher Long is related to, he himself becoming a surgeon.

William Christopher Long  was born in India March 22,1877 and was baptised April 11,1877 at Rawul Pindee, Bengal India, where his father Frank Long (1838-1910)was working as an East India Merchant. Williams mother was Louisa A. Long .

Frank Long was born 1838 in Brighton, Sussex, one of six children born to William Long (born 1800) and Sarah Stedman Long (1806-1892). In 1866 Frank Long married Louisa A. Long, who had been born in India in 1846 and with her had the following children who were all born in India (1) Frank T. Long, born 1867 (2) Louise Ellen Long (1871-1942) (3) WILLIAM CHRISTOPHER LONG (1877-1960) (4) Evelyn May Long, born 1880.

Frank Long lived with his parents and siblings in Brighton, Sussex for several years where he was educated. At the time of the 1841 census Frank was living with his father William Long, a surgeon, and his mother and five siblings and two domestic servants at 63 Grand Parade. At the same address in 1851 Frank was attending school with his brother Alfred. The two brothers were living at that time with their father, a general practitionior MCS and licentiate of apothecaries, and their mother. Also there were two domestic servants.

Frank was still living with his parents in Brighton up to the time he decided to emigrate to India in his capacity as an East India Merchant. The lack of census records for Frank in England in 1861, 1871 and 1881 suggest he was living in India during that time. Frank returned to England with some of his family in the late 1880’s and by 1891 was living in Wallington, Surrey. In the 1891 census, taken at ‘Brockhurst’ Wallington, Surrey Frank was an East India Merchant employer. With him was his wife Louisa, born in India ; his son Frank T. Long, a surgeon; his daughter Louise and two domestic servants. His son William Christopher Long was not in the home at that time indicating that he had remained in India.

At the time of the 1901 census Frank, still an East India Merchant,  was a visitor in Newbury, Berkshire and eventually ended up in Eastbourne, Sussex where he died October 14,1910 while living at 3 The Avenue. Probate records show that the executors of his 5,136 pound estate were his widow Mary Ann Long and Gerald Edwin Phillips, esq. When his first wife passed away he married Mary Ann Reid, the daughter of the late W.W. Reid of Glasgow,but had no children with her. The marriage allegations between Frank Long and Mary Ann Reid, a spinster, born in Scotland in 1882, were dated January 20,1903 and taken at St Barnabas Church on Addison Road, Middlesex.

Frank Long left his estate to his wife and four of his children but left nothing to one of his daughters as she had become a nun. His widow Mary Ann Long was living at 3 The Avenue, Eastbourne, Sussex at the time of the 1911 census. With her was her step daughter Evelyn Maria(May) Long, born 1880 in India.  Mary Ann long died in 1935 and left her entire estate to her sister Mrs Jamie Robertson of Glasgow.

Returning now to William Christopher Long- the following information about his early career in the medical profession comes from the records of the Indian Medical Service . “ William Christopher Long, born March 22,1877. Bart’s M.R.C.S. 1899. L.R.C.P. London 1899. Lieut January 27,1900; Captain January 27,1903; Major January 27,1912; Retired January 27,1916. D.M.R.E. Cambridge 1920; East Africa 1903-1904. Somaliland, medal with clasp”.

The 1891 census, taken at the Roman Catholic College, Oswaldkrk Quarter Ampleforth, Yorkshire gave William Christopher Long, born 1877 India, living at the college as a pupil with a large number of other pupils.  The Lancet of August 7,1920 in ‘Medical News’ noted that a diploma in Medical Radiology and Electology had been obtained by William Christopher Long. William also appears in lists of the British Association of Radiology.

Uk Medical Directories 1845-1942 gave the following “ William Christopher Long, Greystones, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells (Long & Adedey; Tel 712)….M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., London 1899; D.M.R.E. Cambridge 1920; (St Hart.); Hon. Radiologist Tunbridge Wells General Hospital & E. Grinbstead & Edenbridge Cott. Hospitals;Cons. Radiol. Crowborough Cott. Hosp.; Mem. Brit. Inst. Radio. & Fac Radios; retired Majors India Medical Service. Author, ‘On Sulphamaglobinaemia’(jointly) Quar. Jl.Med. Vol. 12,No.12”. Shown below is a postcard view of the General Hospital on Grosvenor Road and to the right is a view of its replacement on St John’s Road.

In the 4th qtr of 1912 Major William Christopher Long married Madmouselle Louise Emele Dutheil, the daughter of Constant Dutheil of Paris, France. His father was given as the late Frank Long of Eastbourne, Sussex. The marriage took place at St Marylebone, London but was announced in ‘Homeward Mail from India, China and the East September 2,1912. The 1911 census, taken at 42 Princess Street, Paddington. London, gave Louise Duthiel as born 1879 in Eastbourne, Sussex and that she was living as a visitor as a private hotel.

An incoming passenger list for 1915 gave William C. Long, born 1877 India, departed from Bombay, India on the ship ARABIA (image opposite) of the Peninsula and Orient Steam Navigation Company, an East India Merchant, with his wife Louise Emele Long, age 35 (born 1880) and their daughter Mary Long, age 7 mths. The ship arrived at London on February 12,1915. They indicated that their permanent address was to be England.

As noted earlier Medical Directories of 1920 to 1930 record Dr William Christopher Long living at 13 Lansdowne Road, Tunbridge Wells. A photograph of the house is shown opposite, and that directories of 1925 to 1942 record William at Greystones on Crescent Road. He and his wife remained at Greystones up to the time of their death and then their daughter and her husband lived at Greystones, further details of which are given later.

Death records noted that Louise Emele Long died in 1957. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery May 20,1957.

Probate records gave William Christopher Long of Greystones, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, died May 1,1960 at Bon Secours Nursing Home, London Road, Ramsgate. The executor of his 5,875 pound estate was his daughter Mary Evelyn Ross, married woman.  William was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on May 6,1960.

John Cunningham in his book ‘175 Years of St Augustine’s Parish …” had the following to say about the Long/Ross family. “ Greystones was bought by a Catholic family, Dr William Long, a pioneering radiologist, and his French wife, and then occupied by their daughter, Dr Mary Long and her husband Dr Ken Ross, a New Zealander, who would emigrate to Durban, South Africa in October 1967”. For a long time Dr Mary Ross had wanted St Augustine’s to have the house (Greystones), so that a new church and priest’s house could be built on the site”. As noted above the Catholic Church bought Greystones in 1967 from Dr Mary Ross and her husband.


Mary Evelyn Long was born in India  July 14,1914, the only child of Dr. William Christopher Long and his wife Louise Emele Long. As noted above she had travelled from India with her parents on the steamship ARABIA in 1915 and lived with her parents in Tunbridge Wells up to the time of her marriage to Dr. Kenneth Aird Ross. Shown opposite is a photograph of Mary with her father at Greystones.

Marriage records note that Mary Evelyn Long married Dr Kenneth Aird Ross, the eldest son of the late Dr. Kenneth Ross of Dunedin,New Zealand December 2,1944 at Brampton Oratory, South Kensington, London. Mary was noted as being the only child of Major William Christopher Long I.M.S. (Ret’d) and Mrs Long of Tunbridge Wells.

Kenneth Aird Ross had been born September 19,1913 at Victoria, Australia, the son of Kenneth Ross (died 1944)

New Zealand Electoral Rolls listed Kenneth Aird Ross at Dunedin West, Otogo District from at least 1935 to 1938.

Death records noted that Mary Evelyn Ross died age 59 in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1973. Probate records noted that at the time of her death July 29,1973 she was living at 134 London Road in Southborough and left an estate valued at 500 pounds.  She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on August 2,1973. A modern image of 134 London Road is shown opposite.

Kenneth Aird Ross died in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1975 in Southborough and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery September 5,1975. Probate records gave him of 134 London Road, Southborough when he died August 29,1975 leaving an estate of 22,148 pounds. An obituary for Kenneth can be found in the New Zealand Medical Journal of January 14,1976.




Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: February 1,2018

Modest Corner began as a small hamlet in Southborough in about the middle of the 16th century when at that time the whole area of Southborough was part of the Royal forest of Southfrith which was reserved by royalty for hunting. The settlement consisted of a number of isolated hamlets, which in addition to Modest Corner, included Nonsuch Green, Holden Corner and a few houses near the Southborough Common. The earliest image located of Modest Corner is the one shown above from a 1885 publication about Southborough by E.Paget Thurstan, M.D., B.A.,M.R.C.S., L.S.A.  

Edward Paget Thurstan (1851-1942) was a noted surgeon who produced a large body of work in the form of books, articles and letters on a range of medical topics and held many important positions in England and Australia. He had been born in Ceylon and was the son of Rev. Joseph Thurstan and Louisa Constantia Thurstan,nee Hoblyn, who were married in Colombo, Ceylon in 1845. In 1878, in Kensington, London he married Anna Wilhelmina Reid and had at least two children including Anna Violetta Thurstan (1879-1978), a famous lady noted for her decorated work as a nurse during the Spanish Civil War and WWI. In the mid to late 1880’s Edward lived in Southborough at 17 Park Road and worked at the hospital on Grosvenor Road in Tunbridge Wells. It was during that time that he took an interest in medical matters of the town and wrote ‘Southborough-Its Chalybeat Springs, Climate and Attractions as a Health Resort’ from which the view of Modest Corner was obtained.

Iron had been worked in Southborough since prehistoric times and from the 16th century onwards there were a number of water-powered furnaces on the two streams running through the town of Southborough. On one of these steams that connected to the River Medway was a mill in Modest Corner, which mill was demolished in the 19th century.

Modest Corner also had a small brewery which provided ale to a local pub, a pub which had been created through the interconnection of two small abutting cottages in the hamlet. Today the Beehive pub (photo opposite)is a private residence.

The records of English Heritage include several C17 buildings in the hamlet which have been given a Grade II listing, several of which are farmhouses and barns connected to the agricultural history of the area.

Modest Corner is found on maps off Victoria Road abutting the north-west part of the Southborough Commons and is largely rolling land of great natural beauty.

Although Southborough expanded greatly from 1879 onwards when the Holden Estate was sold and developed to accommodate 165 new dwellings, Modest Corner grew at a modest pace and today there are about 800 residents.

A review of the 1881 census showed that at that time there were 139 residents of Modest Corner, in 28 family groups. Typical occupations of the residents were [1] harness and cricket ball maker [2] labourer [3] carpenters apprentice [4] gardener [5] farm labourer [6] housekeeper [7] servant [8] market gardener [9] brewers assistant [10] plasterer [11} laundress [12] retired brewer [13] brewer [14] slipper maker [15] carpenter [16] errand boy [17] painter [18] maker of cricket balls [19] chimney sweep [20] mason [21] cow keeper [22] beer retailer [23] plasterer [24] dairyman [25] dairy maid [26] milk man [27] wheelwright [28] dressmaker. As one can see from this list the occupations of the residents suggest that the hamlet was largely self -sufficient with its occupants venturing off to larger communities on occasion for goods and services not available in the hamlet. Three families were engaged in the making of cricket balls and three members of the Bender family were working at home as slipper makers.

At the time of the 1881 census the local pub was run by beer retailer Ann Chapman, a 69 year old widow who was living at the pub with her 39 year old son Thomas who was working as a plasterer. Both of them had been born in Kent.

At the time of the 1881 census the local brewery was being run by Robert John Phipps, age 73 born in London. At that time he was employing two men. With him was his son Mathew W. Phipps, age 30, born in Bosley,Kent who was working with his father as a brewer. Also present was one housekeeper. Also from the same census was Edward White, age 63, a retired brewer, born in Kent and his niece,age 17. Mr Phipps had taken over the brewery from Mr White. Also living in Modest Corner in 1881 was Albert Carter, age 25, born in Speldhurst who was working at the local brewery as a brewer’s assistant. His wife Mary Carter and his daughter Florence and one visitor was living with him at that time.

Shown below is a collection of images of Modest Corner covering the period of 1896 to 1955. Arranged from top to bottom, left to right are the following [1} view of 1896 [2] view of 1900 [3] view of 1904 [4] view of 1907 [5] view of 1908 [6] view of 1912 [7] view of 1925 [8] view by E.A. Sweetman undated but early 20th century [9] view looking up Modest Corner  circa 1910 [10] view of Benthan Hill from Modest Corner in 1955.

Modest Corner has greatly expanded over the years with many new homes constructed and is a popular spot for its picturesque setting and close proximity to Southborough, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells and is served by public transportation.


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