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THE HISTORY OF FOREST PROSPECT/IVY CHIMNEYS

Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario

Date: May 17,2015

INTRODUCTION

Forest Prospect was a large home ,on extensive grounds,at 28 Mount Sion in the historic Mount Sion part of Tunbridge Wells. The original home on this site dates back to the 17th century and since that time it has undergone significant changes. For most of the homes early history it was a lodging house, with perhaps its most significant owner being the Delves family, who over the centuries have played an important role in the town’s history.

As is to be expected ,the building has seen a number of occupants in its over 300 year history, and some have claimed that it was, and is, the oldest surviving residence in Mount Sion, for it still exists today, under the name of Ivy Chimneys, and has been a private residence throughout the 20th century. It is understood that this residence was built circa 1689.

In the 19th century Forest Prospect was divided into two parts. The northern part, situated on large grounds became known as Ivy Chimneys. The southern part, on equally large grounds,which was the stable/coachouse block of Forest Prospect, was added to and significantly altered throughouts its history, becoming a private residence known as Marlborough Villa, at 3 Eden Road.

This artlcle describes the history of the site and the building(s) on it and provides some information about its occupants. Shown above is a modern view of me at the front entrance to this historic home taken June 2015 by my friend Mrs Susan Prince.

MOUNT SION IN BRIEF

Before dealing with the specifics of location and design of this residence  I begin my coverage of the topic with a very brief overview of the history of Mount Sion in general.

Up to the beginning of the 17th century, Mount Sion was part of the manor of South Frith and it was under the ownership of Viscountess Purbeck. The Chalybeate spring, which was believed to have healing properties, was first discovered in 1606. The spring soon became renowned for its healing properties and this resulted in development of the area to accommodate visitors. By 1636 two buildings had been built next to the spring to house visitors, one for ladies and one for gentlemen.

By the late 17th century Viscountess Purbeck (Lady Muskerry) had started leasing land to capitalize on the demand for lodgings and related buildings. The first leases were granted by the manor of South Frith from 1684.All building in the town, except that on the Pantiles and in the Culverden and Mount Ephraim areas, depended on the leasing of South Frith land and must date from after 1684.In general the plots leased out between 1684 and 1690 have not changed to this day; they have simply been divided into smaller portions. Within a year or two of the signing of the first leases in November 1684 the timber frames of houses began to rise, scattered over the Mount Sion hillside and were clad with planks or hung with tiles, with not attempt at grandeur.The houses had to be as large as possible to accommodate visitors at the peak of the season but they were built by local men using local methods, much as farmhouses were made.

At the beginning of the 18th century the Viscountess’ son, the Duke of Buckinghamshire,had started selling off these, with the exception of the Grove which was donated to the town, as a park for the benefit of all,  and has always remained undeveloped. Much of the property of the Duke of Buckinghamshire was managed for him by trustees for the befit of creditors,when he became faced with a financial crisis from the mortgages that had been piling up since the time of his mother’s first marriage and the morgagees were threatening to forclose.  The Earl of Buckinghamshire had borrowed heaving, partuicularly from Henry Marsh, who was acting as a front man for John Brett. You will hear more about John Brett later in this article for he has a direct connection to the home on the Forest Prospect site as well as many others in Mount Sion in the 1700’s.

Between 1780 and 1820 there was a wave of re-fronting homes that swept over the town with many of the old tile-hung or weatherboard homes altered to boast a flat Georgian or bow-windowed Regency façade, Amsink, writing in 1810 reported on the renovations being done several homes in Mount Sion.

The early 1800’s was a time of expansion. In 1801 the population of the town was estimated to be only about 1,000 but by 1841 it had increased to 8,302, and with that came an expansion of building in the town in general and in Mount Sion specifically. Many homes that had begun on large plots of land had their grounds divided and on these new parts were built more homes. By 1851 the population had reached 10,000 and by 1881 some 24,000 people called Tunbridge Wells home.

It was in this setting of expansion that the home on Mount Sion, known in the 19th century as Forest Prospect, came about and how its grounds were divided to create two parts, Ivy Chimneys to the north, and Marborough Villa to the south.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION  

The name Ivy Chimneys is quite a common name, and is generic in nature and not particularly related to ivy growing on chimneys, although as can be seen from the photographs of the home there is plenty of ivy growing up the walls. The use of the name can be found in directories all over England.

Shown opposite is a modern photograph of Ivy Chimneys at 28 Mount Sion, as taken by Nigel Chadwick. The text associated with this image states “ This home is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Tunbridge Wells, built circa 1689". Where the date of 1689 came from was not established, and I cannot vouch for its accuracy, however there can be no doubt that the “original” home on the site dates back to at least the early 1700’s, as it can be found on Bowra’s map of 1738.

As Roger Farthing notes in his book ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells’ published in 1990, John Brett had a significant involvement in various properties in Mount Sion.He had died at Tonbridge November 23,1719 and although he was married he had no children, and as a result his houses and land passed to his nephew, John Brett, Doctor of Plysic. Mr Bretts widow soon married Robert Pickering, who died in 1729 and Dr Brett died in 1740. The dispute over the estates was not concluded until 1752 when seven houses, including Mount Sion Bowling Green and House, and some 50 acres of land were sold by the court for 1,670 pounds to balance the accounts.

 Bowra’s map of 1738 shows the house which is the subject of this article . It was and still is located on the south side of Mount Sion where the road turns sharply north. An enlarged map of Mount Sion, given in Farthing’s book shows that this house and many others in Mount Sion were in the name of “Mr Brett” with a few in the name of “Mrs Pickering”. It is to be expected that as of 1738 and for many years before and after, this home was used as a lodging house, consisting of a main building of accommodations facing Mount Sion, with a building(s) behind it that served as the stables and coach house for the owner and guests, although the 1738 map does not detail the outbuildings, just the main house.

A Tunbridge Wells Guide by Jasper Strange gave the listing “ Mr Joseph Delves, New House, Forest Prospect” which, if taken literally ,suggests that the “New House” was different to the old house, perhaps a reconstruction of the original house. It was also a lodging house at this time.

The next map of interest is Barrows map of 1808 which shows lodgings and public walking routes and individual homes and other buildings but lacks detail. Shown on this map  is the subject home (Ivy Cottages) but is not labelled on the map. To the rear of it is a “T” shaped building on the same plot of land which is labelled “Mr Joseph Delves”. As you will read later in the section on Building Occupancy, the reference to Mr Delves pertains not only to the “T” shaped building but to the main building as well for local guides clearly show that Mr Delves was operating a lodging house. What this map really shows is the main house as a lodging house and the “T” shaped building at the rear is the stables and coach house related to the lodging house. Note that some buildings are shaded black for “domestic use” and some white (unshaded) as ‘residential use”, which in itself confirms what I have already stated regarding lodging house vs stable coach house use.

A 2011 Heritage Statement by Heritage Collective LLP, was prepared w.r.t. an application for Planning Authority Approval that year for proposed work on this “T” shaped building known at that time at Marlborough Villa at 3 Eden Road. The report makes the same observation that I have but adds that “Ivy Chimneys dates from 1746” and that it is grade II listed. It is my opinion that the statement of the house being from 1746 is completely wrong as this number does not relate at all to the age of the home.

The English Heritage Grade II listing referred to is given here. The building appears under “28 Mount Sion South Side” and was listed May 20,1952. “Mid C18. 3 storeys red brick. Parapet supporting terracotta vases which were probably added later. 3 windows facing the street. Doorcase with Tuscan ½ columns, open pediment, semi-circular fanlight and 6 panel moulded door. The east front has a curved bay with large 3-light window and modillion cornice below the parapet. The glazing bars on this front are intact. The rear elevation is partially tile-hung. Nos 28 to 30 form a group.” It is clear from my research that the “original” building on this site predates the “Mid C18” date given by English Heritage, but perhaps this date is given to reflect some reconstruction of the “original house”.

Another description of the house from the Urban Characteristics website gave “ 28 Mount Sion, Ivy Chimneys, 18th C , 3 sty red brick house, curved bay , clad in mathematical tiles on south front, east porch with Tuscan half columns and ioen pediment”

The 2011 Heritage Statement continues with the following as it relates to the 1808 map. “ Although the well- defined south eastern plot is distinct from that of Ivy Chimneys, the area to the north and west is not demarked and appears to have been a large plot associated with Ivy Chimneys, or perhaps the plot of the adjacent lodging house on Mount Sion Road, to the west of Ivy Chimneys. This adjacent lodging house is shown with an ancillary rear range to the south alongside the “T” shaped building behind Ivy Chimneys”.

A map from 1839 labels the site as “Forest Prospect”. This map shows that Ivy Cottages is much greater in length along Mount Sion than it is deep and the shape of what was a “T” shaped building on the 1808 map is now more rectangular. Although this map might lead one to believe that both buildings are part of Forest Prospect this was not the case for the 1841 and 1851 census gave the southern building on the site as “Marlborough Villa”,occupied by the Joseph Delves and his family,  and a 1840 Pigots directory that gave the resident of Forest Prospect as William Offley. So ,one must conclude that sometime before 1840 what was once a large plot of land with a lodging house and at the rear stables/coach house, was divided into two parts, the north part being a residence (Ivy Chimneys) and the south part being “Marlborough Villa” a residence created by converting the old stables/coach house into a family home.

A map of 1867 shows just how much the footprint of both residences had changed from the time of the 1839 map, indicating that an extension had been made to the rear of Ivy Chimneys and Marlborough Villa had been significantly altered and enlarged. It is known that Marlborough Villas had a new Victorian style Façade added around this time, and obviously the work done on the building was quite extensive, and it was significantly enlarged. This  map shows that the building on the north was labelled  as Forest Prospect and that the building to its south was labelled as Marlborough Villa. The 2011 Heritage Statement, in referring to the 1867 map states “ The 1867 Ordnance Survey map is the earliest reliably accurate sourced cartographic evidence that records the building and its context in detail. By this time the building footprint of not only the subject building (Marlborough Villa), but also those nearby , has changed. No. 3 Eden Road is recorded as ‘Marlborough Villa’ and it now occupies an L shaped footprint. Its garden is also shown, together with two orangeries or greenhouses. One as attached to the eastern edge of the south elevation, and a smaller, freestanding one further to the southeast. The present plot of the building, to the southeast,appears to have been an orchard and although it is recorded for the first time on the detailed Ordnance Survey map, it is likely that historically there would have been an orchard. Indeed, given the evidence that the earliest part of the building was constructed as an ancillary/agricultural range rather than a dwelling, it is possible that the orchard may have been associated with its original function/use….” “The plot along the south and east is shown very similar to the present plot, save for two now demolished buildings to the northeast, which appears to have been associated with either Ivy Chimneys (labelled as ‘Forest Prospect’ on the map) or Marlborough Villa-or perhaps both. The boundary here was subsequently rationalised to the present straight line instead of following the outlines of the buildings. The western part of the plot appears to have been shared with Forest Prospect at this time, with a communal drive extending southwards form Mount Sion road to serve both buildings (unless the plot of Forest Prospect extended up to the building line of Marlborough Villa). A number of outbuildings along the southeast formed an L-shape that prevented access from Eden Road at this time. It is not clear whether these buildings were associate with Marlborough Villa/Forest Prospect or the adjacent Brunswick House to the west,although form the layout the latter seems to be the most probable. The 1898 Ordnance Survey map shows the building (Marlborough Villa) footprint and the plot much like the present day, although the orangery abutting the building at the southeast is no longer present, and neither is the small northern projection to the street fronting range”.

A map of 1909 shows that Ivy Chimneys is sitting on its own grounds with its property lines clearly shown and that most of its grounds at that time lay to the east of the house. Also one can see that Marlborough is also on its own grounds with most of its land similarly located to its eastern side. At this time the Madeira Park was in place and the grounds of both Ivy Cottages and Marlborough Villa back onto the rear property line of two of the homes in Madeira Park.  The 1911 census taken at Ivy Chimneys, 28 Mount Sion recorded John William Nott-Bower, as a commissioner of police for the city of London. He was living there with his wife Florence; four of his five children and four servants. Of particular interest is that this census recorded that the home had fourteen rooms.

A review of the Planning Authority files showed that in 1965 there had been an “Extension” to Ivy Chimneys but no details were given as to what work was carried out.The files from 1965 until 1990 do not record any work done on the residence and since it was a listed building by then, if any work was undertaken it would have been recorded. In 1990 approval was given to an application made by Duncan Collins for Ivy Chimneys requesting listed building consent of “part demolition and alterations”. Another application by the same owner was name in 1990 for ‘change in use and alterations to form an office and a self- contained flat, but approval was refused. In 1993 an application made by L. Langley Howie was approved for “underpinning to the front brick elevation”. In 2001 an application by Mr and Mrs Smith was approved for “reconstruction of boundary wall”. Part of the red brick boundary wall can be seen in the photographs and the same brick was used down the side property lines. It was noted that in the past several trees had been removed, the roots of which were damaging the wall and that part of the work involved the removal of additional trees to prevent damage to the new wall. In 2012 David Andrews made an application for some minor alterations to the house and approval was given. Shown above is a 2001 map showing both 3 Eden Rd and 28 Mount Sion and as can be seen there is another building on the site located just to the west of Marlborough Villa with an address of No. 1 Eden Road, indicating that sometime in the sites history the western part of the Marlborough Villa plot had been subdivided. An image of the building at No 1 shows it was of Victorian architectural style , and it is also shown on the 1909 os map given earlier, suggesting that it was built in the mid 19th century. This home at No. 1 Eden Road is referred to as Eden House, which should not be confused with a lodging house of the same name located on the south side of Mount Sion west of Eden Road.

THE OCCUPANTS/OWNERS

From a review of Planning Authority files, newspaper articles, census and directory records and other documents the following table has been constructed. Given the age of this building and the fact that records for each year were not available to the researcher, the dates/range of dates, and in fact the names on the list, should be considered as a partial record for this residence. The list is given in three parts. Part 1 relates to the entire site as Forest Prospect covering the period from 1689 to 1839. Part 2 relates to a recognition that by this date Forest Prospect had been divided into two part [2A]namely Forest Prospect  to the north and [2B]Marlborough Villa to the south. Part 3  is a record for Ivy Chimneys. Some records give only the street address of the building and not its name and others give only the building name and not its address although in some cases the name of the street is also given.

[1] THE PRE 1840 ERA AS ‘FOREST PROSPECT’

1689-1719…………… Duke of Buckinghamshire/John Brett (d1719)

1719-1740…………... Dr. John Brett (died 1740)

1740-1752…………….The estate of Dr. John Brett

1753-1796……………..Unknown

1826…………………….. Mrs Caloner

1797-1839…………….Mr Joseph Delves

[2A] FOREST PROSPECT

1840-1862…………… William Offley and Mrs Offley

1875……………………..Mr & Mrs Williams

1883-1891……………. Alfred Tulk

[2B] MARLBOROUGH VILLA

1841-1857……………..Joseph Delves

1881-1882……………… Mrs Rebecca Guilford (as 3 Eden Road only)

1899………………………. Walter Julian Pain (as 3 Eden Road only)

1903………………………. Sir Richard Bennie (as 3 Eden Road only)

1913……………………… Charles Perry Brown (as 3 Eden Road only)

1922-1938…………….. A. Herbert Carless (as 3 Eden Road only)

1945- abt 2011…………….. Richard Roy Douglas and sister Doris Edith Douglas

2011-2015………………David and Maria Andrews

[3A] IVY CHIMNEYS

1898…………………… Rev. Walter Octavius Peile

1903…………………….. Norman William Grieve

1911……………………. John William Nott-Bower

1913…………………….. Capt. Sir William Nott-Bower (as 28 Mount Sion only)

1918-1922……………. Mrs McGachen (as 28 Mount Sion only)

1920-1923…………….Rev. D. Barry

1924-1946……………. I.C. Thomson

1926……………………. Reginald Ord Cambell Thomson (son of I.C.Thomson)

1948……………………… K. Murdock

1956-1972……………. Ian Lilburn MacEwen

1977-1981…………….. E. Chaplin

1990……………………….Duncan Collins

1993……………………… L. Langley Howie

2012…………………….. David Andrews

2019……………………… Laurence and Christine Smith

Due to the number of occupants of both buildings I have made no attempt at this time to provide details about each of them but below is some information about the Delves family as they were early owners and occupants of the entire Forest Prospect site and in the 1840’s and 1850’s occupied Marlborough Villa. For more information about the Delves clan dating as far back as the 1500’s see my article ‘The Life and Times of Joseph Delves-Surgeon’ ,the son and grandson of the Joseph Delves referred to in this article

The first Joseph Delves connected with Forest Prospect was Joseph Delves (1753-1827) wo was born and died in Tunbridge Wells and who married Susannah Fry (1748-1822) and with her had 13 children, including a son Joseph Delves, born 1796 Tunbridge Wells, who died Mary 5,1857.  It was Joseph Delves (1796-1857) who is found In the census records of 1841 and 1851 who lived at Marlborough Villa and he died at that residence. Joseph Delves (1796-1857) married July 3,1824 Mary Jane Smith (1807-1872) and with her had ten children, including the eldest child Joseph Delves (1834-1862) a surgeon, who is the central figure in the referenced article.

The Tunbridge Wells by Jasper Sprange of 1797 gave “Mr Joseph Delves, New House,Forest Road on a list of local lodging houses, cottages and apartments.This listing reported that his lodging house had four sitting rooms, six chambers, ten garrets, space for the stabling of ten horses and that it had two coach houses. It is the stabling and coach houses that were later converted into a private residence called Marlborough Villa. The same guide by Sprange of 1801 gave the same information.

The guide of 1814 by Sprange  gave the listing “Mr J. Delves, Forest Prospect” under lodging houses and recorded that there were  four parlours, six chambers, ten garrets, two coach houses and stabling for 8 horses. The 1817 guide gave the same listing but the number of horse stabling was reduced from 8 to 6.

The 1822 guide by Clifford gave the listing “Mr J. Delves, Forest Prospect and that it had two sitting rooms, six best beds and eight servants.

Another member of the Delves family was also a resident of Mount Sion, namely William Delves who was recorded at 23 Mount Sion, in the 1913 and 1918 directories .He was not a direct decendent of the Joseph Delves families I have referred to but is connected to them further back in another branch of the ancestral family tree.

Shown opposite is a photograph of a home called ‘Eden House’ , which today can be seen next door to and west of Marlborough Villa. In the 1841 census Joseph Delves (1796-1857)was living at Marlborough Villa, and next door at Eden House was Thomas Delves (1769-1846) and next to Eden House, on the other side,  was Marlborough House. A review of maps shows that Eden House, as it appears in this photo ,was not the same building as Eden House in 1841 but was built much later on this site.

William Offley and his wife Mary are found in the 1841 census at Forest Prospect. He was a man of independent means, born 1783 in Middlesex and who died at Forest Prospect in 1847. His wife Mary Offley remained at the home and is found there in the 1851 census as a fundholder born 1810 at Hertfordshire, along with her son William age 41, a merchant and son Charles, age 27 and five servants.

Alfred Tulk died at Forest Prospect April 25,1891 leaving an estate valued at over 22,000 pounds to his wife Agatha, He had been born 1820 in London and she had been born 1823 London. Alfred was a retired surgeon and member of the Royal College of Surgeons. He and his wife and daughter and two servants are found in the 1891 census at Forest Prospect. His will stipulated that his estate was to be sold and the proceedes invested in trust funds for the benefit of his widow and his six children.

Bracketts catalogue of 1894 listed for sale “the valueable contents of the residence at Forest Prospect, which included pianos.ebonized china cabinets, water-colours, old prints and engravings and a library containing 1,600 volumes and 200 ounces of silver”.  The Kent and Sussex Courier of November 9,1923 announced that Ivy Chimneys had been sold at auction by the local firm of Richardson and Pierce.

Rev. Walter Octavious Peile, born 1845 at Repton,Derbyshire was living in Essex from about 1874 to 1881 and was the rector of Markshall Church in Markshall,Essex. On October 28,1888 he married Harriet Lloyd at Bromley,Kent. He is recorded as being of Forest Prospect ,Tunbridge Wells at the National Archives in respect to a land agreement dated February 25,1898. He was living in the early 1900s’ at Chertsey,Surrey. He was of Springfields, Broadstairs, Derbyshire when he died September 24,1918 leaving an estate valued 5,631 pounds. He graduated with an MA from Magdalen College,Oxford in 1867 and was ordained 1868.He served as rector of Marshall,Essex from 1877 to 1884 and after that up to about 1892 he was the chaplain of Bromley College. He is also noted to have written a few novels.

Norman William Grieve is noted as a resident of Ivy Chimneys  in a letter he wrote from there dated July 9,1903 to Sir William Thiselton-Dyer.  He is not found in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1901 census and the 1911 census recorded him living in Kensington with his wife Charlotte Adelaide Grieve and daughter Charlotte and three servants in 12 rooms. His occupation was given as “tropical agricultural director of companies”.He was born February 27,1852 at Wix, Roxborough,Scotland and his wife 1853 in Glamorgan Wales.The 1911 census recorded  that he had been married 34 years and had four children, three of which were still living.  He died September 4,1936 in Surrey leaving an estate valued at 308,574 pounds. From 1920 to 1934 he had lived in London and Surrey.He was the son of William Grieve and Sarah Grieve,nee Clark.

Sir John William Nott-Bower is found at Ivy Chimneys in the 1911 census where he was a commissioner of police for the City of London. The census recorded that their residence had 14 rooms; that they had been married 22 years and that of their five children only four were still living. He had been born March 20,1849 at 17 Micklegate, York, Yorkshire, one of nine children born to barrister at law John Bower (born 1808) and Charlottte Bower, nee Nott, born 1821. He spent his early life in Yorkshire living with his parents and siblings. In the 2nd qtr of 1889 he married Florence Harrison (1866-1920) at Liverpool Lancashire. Florence had been born in Liverpool and was one of three children born to Reginald and Jane Harrison. Sir John and his wife had four children between 1891 and 1894. The 1901 census recorded John in Toxteth Park, Lancashire where he was the head constable of Liverpool. With him were four of his children,,his brother in law, a governess and three servants. By 1911 he and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells. He died in Surrey February 4,1939.  The Wikipedia website gave “Bower was born in 1849, the son of Dr. John Bower, and grandson of Sir William Nott. The barrister Sir Edmund Ernest Nott-Bower, KCB, was a brother. He was educated at Cheltenham and Sandhurst, and served in the army in the King's Regiment. He was later appointed a captain of the 5th (Militia) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment.Bower was transferred to the Royal Irish Constabulary, then served as Chief constable of Leeds, before he was appointed Head constable of Liverpool in October 1881. The police force in Liverpool was the largest in the country, and gave a thorough knowledge of police administration on an extensive scale. In March 1902 he was elected Commissioner of Police of the City of London,serving as such until 1925.He was knighted in 1911, was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) the same year, and was later promoted to a Knight Commander (KCVO) in the order. An image of him is given opposite.

Ian Lilburn MacEwen was at Ivy Chimneys from about 1956 to 1972. He had  been born September 15,1905 at St Andrews & St Leonards, Fife,Scotland, one of four children born to Gordon Lilburn MacEwen (1873-1960) and Sybil Maud Inglis (1883-1976). On October 23,1937 he married Penelope Maude (maiden name unknown)(1913-1970) and was the British Consulate General at Bangkok, Thailand. He travelled extensively including Rangoon Burma in the 1950’s as well as Japan, Colombo and Singapore. He and his wife had three children .He died in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1994.The 1911 census, taken in Kensington, recorded him with his father,a barrister at law, and one sibling living as visitors with the Syme family.In 1977 he married a Miss or Mrs Ghanlan in the 4th qtr in Tunbridge Wells.

 

THE HISTORY OF CULVERDEN CASTLE

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

Date; January 14,2013

Although there is no shortage of castles in England ,or for that matter in the Tunbridge Wells area, few people will know that there used to be a castle off St John’s Road on Culverden Park called variously as Culverden Castle, Culverden Tower or Great Culverden Castle depending on the reference looked at. All the derivations of this name pertain to the same building and its history is a fascinating one.

The man who thought up the idea of having his own castle was Jacob Jeddere Fisher who had it built about 1828 when he acquired the former site of Culverden House.He had the house demolished and a new mansion called Great Culverden built for him by W. and L. Cubitts, to the designs of Decimus Burton.This building was formerly part of the holdings of Selina Hastings nee Chirley (1707-1791) who is best known as the Countess of Huntingdon. She was a religious reformer who next to Culverden House had erected a chapel. Although the chapel survived until 1869, in which year it was demolished and replaced by the Emmanual Church, Culverden House was demolished to make way for Fishers new mansion.

The first authoritative reference to Fishers ‘Castle’ is in connection to his mansion Great Culverden  in ‘Descriptive Sketches of Tunbridge Wells and the Calverley Estate’ by John Britton in 1832.In this publication is written “ Great Culverden has been recently finished, from the designs of Mr D. Burton, and executed by Messrs W. and L. Cubitt for Jeddere Fisher,esq, of Earling Park, near London. This house is adorned with porticos in front, and on one side, with bold cornices of dressings to the windows, and is finished and fitted up with all the cosmetic comforts, and even luxuries, appertaining to an English gentlemen’s home, seated in the lawn, which declines to the west, it commands a fine and diversified prospect.In a wild and romantic part of the grounds the proprietor has raised a singular fanciful cottage, having its lower apartments hewn out of the sand-rock, it forms a most picturesque object. On another part of the grounds the same gentleman has raised a tower, on high land, commanding a most extensive tract of county.A shaded walk of half a mile through a fine wood, leads to this building. A farm house near it is in the midst of stone quarries and excavations, which constitute a romantic scene.In Culverden Row is a chapel and a cemetery belonging to the Dissenters.The ‘tower’ referred to in this description became known as Culverden Castle.Culverden Castle is labelled on a map  of 1849. It is located on what today is known as Culverden Park to the west of Reynolds Lane towards the road Culverden Down, just south of which is ‘Culverden Lodge’ and at the end of which is Fishers ‘Swiss Cottage’. The entrance gates to Culverden are still there. Shown above marked by the red arrow is the location of Culverden Castle, which name is also labelled on the map. Shown below are two images of Culverden Castle, courtesy of the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery.















Culverden Castle was demolished in the 1950's- it's location is today indicated  by gate-posts that survive at the sharp bend in Culverden Down. Two images of the castle appeared in 'Sketches from Nature at Tonbridge Wells and its Vicinity', after G.E.Brooks, surveyor, of 28 Old Bond Street. The sketches in this publication were not dated but it is generally understood that they date from the 1830's. These sketches were annotated 'Adapted for transferring on White Wood' suggesting that they were perhaps intended for use on Tunbridge Ware manufactured in Tunbridge Wells. One of the two images of the castle are shown at the top of this article.

JACOB JEDDERE FISHER

Jacob Jeddere Fisher, esq, was born 1766 in London.On October 21,1813 he married Elizabeth Wallinger at St Marylebone, Westminster,London. Elizabeth Wallinger had been born January 22,1795 at St John Westminster,London and was the only daughter of William Arnold Wallinger(b 1774) and Elizabeth Wallinger nee Turner, born 1774. From the years 1814 to 1828 Jacob and Elizabeth had four children namely Cuthbert Jeddere Fisher(1814-1891),born in London;  Ann Elizabeth Jeddere Fisher(b1817 France)Agnes Jame Jeddere Fisher(1820-1853)also born in France; Jessy Maria Jeddere Fisher(1823-1901) born at Ealing,Sussex; and Cyril Jeddere Fisher (1828-1902) born at Westminster, London. All of the children resided in 1830 with their parents at Great Culverden except for Cuthbert who began a career in law at an early age and was at the family home only on occasion( Cuthbert was admitted to the J. Temple June 1832).Cuthbert had attended Wahham College, Oxford.

Jacob Jeddere Fisher did not get to enjoy his grand estate for long as he passed away July 20,1833 at Park Street in Westminster, London.During his short stay in Tunbridge Wells he and his wife became active in church,something his wife continued after his death.

Colbran’s Tunbridge Wells of 1840 gives the following “ As you approach the Wells, on the right is the Culverden property, which formerly belonged to the Countess of Huntingdon, who resided there.The present elegant mansion, built for the late J. Jeddere Fisher, Esq., and now the residence of Mrs Fisher, is not seen from the road,but we may with truth apply the same terms in speaking of it now as were used of “The Culverden” upwards of seventy years since, “It is as happily situated as almost any house in the place”. In one part of the grounds there is a unique building, having its lower apartments hewn out of the sand rock. It is called the Swiss Cottage, and both the exterior and interior well merit the name,as may be judged from the annexed wood-cut.In another part of the grounds, and in a most romantic situation, is a tower, built also by Mr Fisher, which overlooks an extensive tract of country, and looks down immediately on a wild glen,which with the necessary adjuncts of moustachioed faces and high crowned hats, would have formed a capital study for Salvador Rosa.There is also an interesting subject for the naturalist to be found there. In the ravine at the foot of the Castle, from three to six feet below the stir-face, lie buried large trunks and branches of birch trees in a tolerably perfect state, and with the rind in better preservation than the wood itself.” Colbrans continues with “ The Hurstwood affords another delightful stroll. Turning to the right by Fenner’s Repository, you pass the old Baptist burying-ground, and Ashbirnham House, and then proceed down a shady lane through some fields to the wood, which is the property of D.J. Robertson,Esq., It is tastfully laid out in walks, and seats are provided for the accommodation of visitors. To the right of the lane we have mentioned, there are Tea and Strawberry Gardens. The prospect from the fields here is very charming, as it comprises Speldhurst Church,the Swiss Cottage, and Culverden Tower, each of which forms a pleasing object”. It is interesting to note from the map above just how far Culverden Castle was from Fisher’s mansion Great Culverden on St John’s Road. Swiss Cottage which was referred to above was also some distance from Great Culverden for it was located at the south west end of Culverden Down just beyond Huntley’s estate.

In the 1861 census taken at Great Culverden was Elizabeth, age 66,; her son Cuthbert, a farmer of 40 acres with his wife Ellen J.age 35, and their two children and several servants of the estate. Probate records give that Elizabeth died at Great Culverden on July 30,1867 and left an estate valued at under 7,000 pounds. Her sole executor was her son Cuthbert of Huntlley’s, near Tunbridge Wells.

The 1861 census taken at Castle Cottage records George Serles,born 1822 at Hartfield,Sussex who was working as a carter. Living with him was his wife harriet,born 1822 Hartfield and their two children George and Esther plus one lodger. Its not clear to the researcher what connection Castle Cottage had to the castle itself but obviously there was some connection.

Sometime after the death of Jacob Jeddere Fisher Mrs Fisher disposed of Culverden Castle for it is found in the directories as being occupied by others from at least 1841 onwards.. So why did Jacob Fisher built this castle? Was it just for his amusement? Was it for guests to live in while they visited him? Was it to lease out as a source of income, or was it built as an investment to profit on when it was sold? And, did Jacob Jeddere Fisher also build ‘Castle Cottage’? All valid questions for which there does not seem to be an answer. Another unanswered question is how big was it and what did the interior look like?.

Below is information about those that occupied Culverden Castle.

WILLIAM BARNETT

William Barnett is found In the 1841 census at “Fishers Castle”. William was a farmer born 1799 in Kent. In the 1841 he was living at the castle with his wife Jane.born 1811 Kent and their children Sarah,age 7, Thomas,age 4 and James age 2. Also present was another farmer called Richard Down,age 23. William had married Jane Pankhurst June 4,1832 in Tunbridge Wells.

JOHN SHARP

The second record of occupancy of the Castle is from Colbran’s 1850 guide in which John Sharp junior is listed.It is likely he was living there at least in the late 1840’s but gone by 1851.It is not known by the researcher who John Sharp was but there are two possibilities. Firstly there was the family of John and Ann Sharp of Tunbridge Wells whjo in the 1851 census were living at Aldenburgh, House and both working as Tunbridge Ware mankers. John Sharp of Culverden Castle could have been their son. The second likely candidate was the family of John and Mary Sharp who in the 1841 census are living at Spring Cottage, Tunbridge Wells. John and his wife were born 1781 in Kent wth John working as a tiler & turner. Their son may be the one who lived at Culverden Castle for it is recorded that they had three children namely Henry,Ruth and John, born 1830 Kent.

MRS SOPHIA CAMPBELL

The 1851 census,taken at Culverden Castle, records it being occupied by Mrs Campbell and she is still there in an 1862 Kelly directory. The 1851 census at Culverden Castle records Sophia as born 1784 in London, an annuitant. Living with her are her daughters Julia, and annuitant; Amelia, an annuitant and the eldest daughter Georgiana, born 1809 in Edinburgh. Sophia also had four domestic servants.

The 1861 census taken at Culverden Castle records Sophia Campbell, age 60, born 1801 London. Living there with her are her two daughters; Julia Dale Cambell,age 26 and Amelia Caroline,age 30, both single and both born in Edinburgh,Scotland. Also in the household were four servants.

The 1871 census records Arabella G. Campbell,age 62, born 1809 Scotland and her sister Julia D. Campbell,age 56, born 1815 Scotland . Both of these women are living on idependent means at Culverden Castle.

In an 1874 directory is the listing “ Misses Campbell,Culverden Castle” but “Misses” suggesting that Mrs Sophia Campbell had passed away by then and the castle was occupied by her daughters Julia Dale Campbell and Amelia Caroline Cambell.When they left the castle is not known by the researcher.

THE REVEREND EDWARD PHILLIPS

The 1881 census, taken at Culverden Castle records it being occupied by the Reverend Edward Phillips, age 74, born 1807in London with the occupation “ Clergyman without care of souls”. Living with him is his wife Eliza,age 56  born at Camberwell,Surrey and four servants (cook,maid,housemaid and a kitchenmaid). At Culverden Castle Stables was John O. Cruttenden, the gardener, ; his wife Barbara and their three children.Edward had been christened February 8,1897 at St Dunsten in East London with his actual date of birth given as November 10,1806.His parents were Silvanus Phillips and Mary Phillips.

Edward Phillips had come to Tunbridge Wells after being the vicar at St Mark’s Surbiton.His wife Eliza was well known in connection with her activities as the co-founder of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and was the RSPB’s vice president and publications editor.Eliza Phillips was born Eliza Barron and known as Mrs Edward Phillips (1822- 1916).She was the daughter of George Barron(1763-1852).Little is known of her early life, though she did meet Samuel Taylor Coleridge while living in Highgate in her youth.On November 11,1847 she married the author Robert Montgomery Martin after he had his first marriage dissolved by an Act of Parliament.She was widowed in 1868 and her interest in animal welfare began, inspired by witnessing the sufferings of cattle on a sea voyage.She married the Reverend Edward Phillips (1807-1885).While living at Culverden Castle she became a central figure in the local branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. An 1883 directory records Mrs Phillips as the Hon. Sect. of the Tunbridge Wells S.P.C.A. and that she was residing at Culverden Castle. Patrons to this local society included Lord Rowton, the Hon. Francis G. Molyneux; The Rev. Canon Hoare; R. Barlow Kennett, esq; Her Grace the Duchess of Wllington; The Lady Charlotte B. Lyster and the Hon. Mrs James Byng. James Byng as I mentioned earlier was the owner of the mansion Great Culverden.Mrs. Phillips remained as the hon. Secty and treasurer throughout the time she lived at Culverden Castle.

Edward Phillips had in 1862 been bequeathed a considerable amount of money for charitable uses for the building and endowment of a church or chapel  with the stipulation that a tablet be placed upon the church/chapel “in memory of my ancestor James Hervey the author of “theoron and Aspasis” and other works”. This document was signed by Mary Jel fe Hervey June 1,1860. Edward Philluips was the sole executor of her estate. Edward Phillips was well thought  of in Surbiton. A book entitled “Surbiton 32 years of Self Government” by Rowley W.C. Richardson 188 recods “ In memory of the first vicar, the Rev. Edward Phillips, a window in the south isle put up by his daughter January 25,1886. The object is Solomons blessing the people at the dedication of the temple. It was designed and painted by Miss E. Collingridge and it bears the following inscription “ In memory of the Reverend Edwarrd Phillips, this window is presented by his daughter”. Sadly this window  as well as the rest of the church was bombed during WW II (see postcard image opposite) on the night of October 2,1940 and was destroyed.Edward Philliips had been a graduate of St Peter’s College, Cambridge, obtaining a BA in 1829 and an MA in 1832.

Edward Phillips died at Culverden Castle January 11,1885 but his wife continued to live there for awhile.Probate records for Edward show he was “late of Culverden Castle”;that his executor was his wife Eliza and that his estate was valued at about 35,000 pounds. After Edward’s death Mrs Phillips made a central contribution to the history of the protection of bird life in Britain. The focus of these groups was opposition to the use of bird feathers in ladie’s fashions and the plumage trade. The founding of the Society for the Protection of Birds specifically brought together an anti-plumage group based in Didsbury,Manchester, run by Emily Williamson and meeting for ‘Fur,Fin and Feather’ afternoons that were held at Mrs Phillips house in Croydon Eliza died at her home in Croydon August 18,1916.

In the same 1881 census is mention of the Cruttenden family living at ‘Culverden Castle Stables with rooms, Huntley’s Estate,Tunbridge Wells’ suggesting that by this time the Huntley family had acquired a large land holding in the area and that Culverden Castle now formed part of the Huntley Estate.

JULIUS CHARLES HENDICOTT DREW/DREWE

The 1899 Kelly directory records “Julius C. Drew,Culverden Castle, Down Lane”. He had acquired the Castle in 1890 and in 1898 he purchased Wadhurst Park.His two daughters were born at Wadhurst in 1898 and 1900 but his three sons Adrian,Basil and Cedric were born at Culverden Casle during the period of 1892 to 1897.His children were Major Adrian Drewe(1891-1917); Basis Drewe(1894-1974); Sir Cedric Drewe(1896-1971) Mary Drewe (1900-1985) and Nancy Drewe born 1907. Julius Drew became wealthy from the tea trade and was the founder of the well- known ‘Home and Colonial’ empire who had a large chain of stores, including one in Tunbridge Wells.

Julius had been born as Julius Charles Hendicott Drew  April 4,1856 at Polloxhill, Bedforshire  and was the son of George Smith Drew(1818-1880)  and Mary Drew,nee Peek (1821-1896), and was one of nine children born to the couple..The 1871 census taken at Avington,Hampshire (at the rectory) records Julius living with his parents and brother Adamadiah. His father George was at the time the rector of Avington Church. The 1881 census taken at Toxteth Park,Lancashire records Julius living as a lodger at 4 Alexander Terrace and working as a tea agent. On September 16,1890 Julius married Frances Richardson at Chapel-en-le-Frith,Burbage,Derbyshire and right after the marriage moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at Culverden Castle. Frances was born 1871 at Oldham,Lancashire, and was the daughter of Thomas Richardson and Frances Richardson nee Astley.The 1891 census, taken at Culverden Castle records Julius and his wife and three domestic servants. At ‘Culverden Cast Stables’ was living James Watts, a coachman along with his wife Florence and one servant.

The 1901 census, taken at Wadhurst Hall in Sussex,records Julius living with his wife Frances and their four children.Not only did Julius own a fine mansion in Wadhurst but he also had other land interests there including Settle Farm and Buttons Farm.His three sons all saw action in WW1 but sadly his son Adrian was killed during the conflict July 12,1917 at Ypres Belgium and was buried in the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery.He had served at a Major with the Royal Garrison Artlllery,262nd Siege Battery, Heavy Artillery Group, and was mentioned in despatches. The 1911 census records he had been married 20 years and had five children which were all still living.

The website Wikepedia gives the following information about the village of Broadhembury, in East Devon. “ Julius Drew (Drewe) purchased the inn, and half the village at the turn of the 20th century.Broadhembury House, the large thatched residence on the north side of the church, was converted by him from an old cottage.The decendents of Julius Drewe of Castle Drogo, still live in the village in Broadhembury House.It is thanks to Sir Cedric Drewe, the son of Julius, who was M.P. for many years that the village has kept its excellent character over the years”. Julius changed his name legally from Drew to Drewe in 1910 by Deed Poll.

Julius Drewe passed away November 20,1931.Probate record he was of Castle Drigo,Devonshire and died at Kilmorie,Torquay. Probate was to Lloyds Bank Limited, Frances Drewe,widow, Basil Drewe,barrister, and Cedric Drewe, esq.His estate was vaued at about 208,000 pounds. Probate records for his wife record Frances Drewe of Castle Drogo,Drewsteignton, widow, died June 10,1954. Probate was to Basis Drewe, O.B.E., M.C.,Q.C. with an estate valued at about 85,000 pounds.

 For more detailed information about the life and times of Julius Drewe I can recommend visiting the following websites; Wadhurst History Society (www.wadhurst,info) and This is Kent (www.thisiskent.co.uk). Both of these sites given details about his association with the tea trade and the Home and Colonial Stores, as well as details about Drogo Castle and Wadhurst Park where Julius lived after leaving Culverden Castle. Shown above are two images of Julius Charles Drewe by Tunbridge Wells photographer George Glanville.

ELLEN BALL

It is not known who the true occupant of the premises were at the time of the 1901 census for the only occupants of the place at that time were Ellen Ball, age 25, born 1876 at Wallington,Surrey, who was a cook domestic. She is living there with three other servants, one of which was a gardener and the other two general domestics.

ALDERMAN ALFRED HICKS

The next occupant was Alfred Hicks, who is found at the Castle in a 1908 Kelly directory.Cenus records and other documents show he was still there up to at least 1913 but moved to 41 Salisbury Road sometime before 1922. Alfred Hicks had been an Alderman of Tunbridge Wells but was set to retire from that position in November 1918.It may have been at the time of his retirement that he changed residences.Alfred Hicks had  been born 1869 at Highbury,Middlesex and in 1911 was a stock jobber. The 1911 census, taken at Culverden Castle records Alfred with his wife Evelyn MayHicks, born 1867 Clushbunt,Kent  and his son Rupert Bordon Hicks, born 1906 in Tunbridge Wells. He had been married 16 years and had three children but only two had survived. Alfred was listed as an alderman in the 1913 Kelly. Alfred was the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells from 1905-1906. He had replaced Harold Thorpe (1904-1905) and was replaced in 1906 by Benjamin Winers Woolen.He had also been a council member of the Tarriff reform League.Alfred passed away in the 2nd quarter of 1930 at Marylebone,London.He left an  estate ,valued at about 4,800 pounds. The executors to his estate were Geoffrey Alfred Hicks, a stock exchange member, and Rupert Gordon Hicks, a merchant.His wife Evelyn May Hicks passed away in the 1st quarter of 1953 in surrey.

DURING WW 1

During the war the castle and its grounds became referred to as “Culverden Castle Camp” and various regiments stayed there. Two letters, held by the Pickler Memorial Library at Trumen State University, both written by ‘Buglar’ Gay Miller, confirm this use of the property. The first letter was sent from ‘Culverden Castle Camp,Tunbridge Wells’, on August 15,1918 and addressed to B.F. Benfoey at Kirksville,Missouri. The second letter sent from the same address and dated September 1,1918 was sent to E.E. Swain in Kirksville. The soldier was Gay Ewing Miller, born April 5,1900 at Kirsville,Missouri. His mother was Mabel Miller, nee Ewing born in Missouri 1847.Gay was one of several children in the family but at the time of his enlistment his father ,D.G. Miller,born 1869 in Wisconsin,a commercial traveler in 1910, had already passed away. He was a graduate of the Elementary School consisting of eight grades and had completed two years at Kirksville High School. He enlisted for service at St Louis, Missouri at the age of 18 years and 2 months on June 19,1918 with his home address given as 904E. Washington,Kirksville but when he enlisted he claimed he had been born 1900 at Plymouth,England, perhaps so he would be allowed to enlist in the British Army. The medical examination he received at St Louis shows he was just a small man, being only 5”-3” tall and weighing only 96-1/2 pounds.He was accepted into service ;sailed from the USA to Britain; and was enlisted as Buglar-private  Gay Ewing Miller and assigned service number G/39941.

Captain Fred Johnson of the 17th Sep Co. Infantry at M.O. Headquarters reported that “This is to certify that Gay Miller enlisted as a private in the 17th Separate Company Infantry MO.H.C, June 1,1918 and served as such until February 1,1918 when by c.o. #3 he was appointed Buglar and has served in this capacity until this time (June 7,1918). After that time he was a buglar in the Drum Corp 4th Btn Queens Own West Kent Regiment and it was during that time that Gay was in Tunbridge Wells at the Culverden Castle Camp. The E.E. Swain he wrote to was Edward E. Swain, the editor and publisher of the Kirksville Daily Express newspaper that Gay Ewing  worked at as a reporter after the war.

It’s not known if Gay saw any action during the war for he was not in the army very long. Military records show he was in Tunbridge Wells November 1918 and his letters show he was there in August and September of that year. He was discharged from the army in 1919. He travelled from Winchester by train to Southampton, at which place he boarded the steamship Mauritania March 31st for the trip back to New York,USA, arriving there the beginning of June 1919. Gay Ewing wrote several letters to the British Army complaining that his kit bag containing many personal items had been lost or mislayed on the trip and didn’t show up at his destination. A search for it was conducted but never found. Ewing sent a letter listing the lost items and the value of each of them, requesting compensation, which he did not receive.

Shown above is a photograph by Tunbridge Wells photographer Percy S. Lankester of the encampment of the Territorial Army on  Tunbridge Wells Common in September 1914.Part of its function was to maintain communications between the various units camped nearby and perhaps with the Culverden Castle Camp. Unfortunately I was not able to locate a similar image taken at the Culverden camp but it gives a good idea of what it may have looked like.

SELKIRK WELLS

In the period of 1922 to 1927 Culverden Castle was the residence of Selkirk Wells, a brewer, and the son of wealthy brewer Frederick Wells of Chelmsford,Essex. He lived at the Castle with his family and in 1928 moved to Kelvedon,Essex.It is likely that Selkirk worked the Kelsey’s Culverden Brewery on St John’s road near Culverden Park as it certainly would have made a short trip for him to get to work.

The 1881 census at Oaklands,London Road,Chelmsford records Frederick Wells as a brewer and wine and spirit merchant,born 1827 at Chelmford,Essex. Living with him is his wife Jane Thompson, born 1845 in Ireland and their four children, including  Selkirk,brn 1878 at Chelmsford Essex, and five domestic servants. In the 1901 census Selkird is living as a border at Brighton Terrace, Horley Reigate,Surrey and working as a brewer. The 1911 census, taken at Chelmsford, Essex at Coval Lodge, records Selkirk Wells, born 1879 Chelmsford,Essex, a brewer. Living with him is his wife Isabel Frances Wells, born 1888 at Rigmaden park, Kirkley,Londsdale, plus four domestic servants.Selkirk and Isabel Frances Barbara Wilson were married January 17,1908 at Chelsea Holy Trinity Church. The census records that they had been married three years but had no children. Selkirk was one of at least seven children born to this well- known brewer.

The wealth of the Wells family came from Frederick Wells of Chelmsord Brewery (Wells & Perry) Ltd. Fame at 26 Duke Street in Chelmsford. The business had been founded in 1792 with the brewery built in 1812 known then as Woodcock,Hodges & Wells (from 1819 to 1839). Later the company became known as Wells, Hiodges & Perry.After Hodges death it was called Wells & Perry with William Woodstock Wells and Isaac Perry as partners. In 1865 Thomas Greenwood, a banker, sold just over 29 acres of land to Frederick Wells who had  become a successful brewer, coal/timber and lime merchant.Frederick was also an alderman of the Borough and a prominent nonconformist and philanthropist. It was Wells who had a home built (that the Essex Numismatic Society & Shelmsford Museum is now located in). It was a fine Italian style home.After Wells death in 1908 the home changed hands several times.It was bought by the Chelmsford Council  in 1929 and the museum and park were officially opened May 24,1930.

Directories for 1928 to 1937 record “Selkir Wells, Durwards Hill, Rivenhall.Kelvedon,Essex. A 1938 directory records Mrs Selkirk Wells, Croft Lodge, Brackley and directories for 1941 to 1953 record Mrs Selkirk Wells, Radclive Hall, Buckingham.

Cruffs Catalogue for 1952 and 1959 gives the names of entrants at The Kennel Club dog show and in both catalogues lists Mrs. I. Selkirk Wells. This event was also referred to as “ Cruffs Dig Show”.

Selkirk passed away in the 3rd quarter of 1961 at Brentwood,Essex.

JOHN GOOD

In 1930, and no doubt just after Selkirk Wells vacated the place, John Good became the resident of Culverden Castle. He is found in the telephone directories of 1930 and 1931 living at the castle although the Courier reported he had committed suicide in 1930. The Kent & Sussex newspaper’s of November 28  reported on the death of John Good and on  December 12,1930 the newspaper reported on the inquest that was held into his death. The inquest included questioning of Mr Good’s servant, Wiliam Joseph Hamilton who said that on the morning of Mr Good’s death that Mr Good had told him he was not feeling well.Later in the day John Good went out for some air in the grounds and on the roof of the castle.At noon Mr Good  did not want to eat lunch and at about half past one  on December 23 a loud crash was heard and upon going to the front door Mr Good was found on the pavement of the forecourt. Witnesses phoned Sir John Blunt and Miss Blunt who called for a doctor and later witnesses called for a priest. Police found near the body of Mr Good a tumbler containing liquid and sediment which later was found to be cyanide. It was  also stated by his servant that earlier in the day Mr Good had said to Mr Hamilon that if anything happened he was to call Mr Good’s solicitor Sir Robert Gower. It was conclude that Mr Good died from falling 36 feet from the roof and from cyanide poisoning and that his death was the result of his own actions. It was also noted that John Good had lost a large sum of money in rubber shares and that he was being pressed for an account in seven days. The newspaper also reported that John Good was chairman of the Ribbon Record and Gramophone Company Ltd and was joint inventor with Mr R.T. Thorgood of a ribbon recording gramophone which was to have been publically tested “this week”.

MRS E. BAERLAIN

Telephone directories for the years 1941 to 1943 show the Castle was occupied by Mrs E. Baerlain.

CARMEN MURIAL PATTERSON

In a 1945 telephone directory there is a record of Carmen Murial Patterson living at Culverden Castle .

CAPTAIN MIRLES

In telephone directories of 1944 and 1946 a Captain Mirles is listed at Culverden Castle.

MRS MAUD ETHELINE BLUNT

Telephone directories for the years 1944 to 1956 list Mrs. M.E. Blunt residing at Culverden Castle. Mrs Blunt was its last resident, as the Castle was demolished in 1956 to make way for a redevelopment of the area.

Maud Etheline Blunt was born in the 2nd quarter of 1890 at Uckfield Sussex and was the daughter of Thomas John Elwood (born 1865) and Kate Alva Ellwood nee Weston (1869-1908) and was one of five children born to the couple. She had been christened May 4,1890 at Mayfield,Sussex. From 1901 to 1911 she was living with her parents and siblings at Rotherfield,Sussex.

She had married George Blunt in the 2nd quarter of 1915 in Tunbridge Wells.She lived at Culverden Castle during the years noted above and then passed away in Tunbridge Wells December 14,1955. Probate records give she was of Providence Place, Paddock Wood, Kent, widow, and left an estate of about 1,600 pounds. Her executors were Henry Thomas Blunt, butcher and Donald Arthur Francis Warner, company secretary.

The name “Blunt” appears often when researching the Culverden area.Home information packages for residences sold in the Culverden area record the presence of the Blunt’s as property owner. One example in the property records is for 36 Rydal Drive which records in the deeds of former owners of the land “Sir John Lionel Reginald Blunt (tenant for life)” and also “Charles William Lockhart Blunt”, who was one of the Huntley’s trustees.A second record appears in the deed records for Kufri Lodge at 61a Culverden Down in which Dame Maud Julia Blunt (Lady Blunt) is recorded.A 1928 record for the same property makes mention of a covanent with Lady Blunt and her successors of properties known as Culverden Castle Estate and the Down Estate. A 1934 Kelly directory lists “ Sir John Harvey Blunt,bart., Huntley’s, Culverden Down. Sir John Harvey Blunt (1872-1938) was the 9th Baronet , and one of six children born to Sir John Harvey Blunt the 8th Baronet.Sir John Harvey Blunt (1872-1938) had married Maud Julia Golsmith-Stern Salomons. He fought in the Boer War between 1899 and 1902,.He obtained the rank of Captain in the Imperial Yeomanry; captain in the Roayl Army Service Corp; fought in WW1.He succeeded to the title of 9th Baronet Blunt of London January 26,1922.

Another property record associated with Culverden Castle was reported on in the London Gazette of December 2,1958 where it gives the following description of a property to be registered with the Land Registry. “ Part of Culverden Castle Cottage, Tunbridge Wells by R.J. and J. Rowland-Winchcombe, Elysian Fields, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells”.

 

 

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