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

Date: October 4,2014


St Helena Cottage ,along with Belleville Cottage and Gibraltar Cottage is a residence located in the The Common west of  the junction of Mount Ephraim with London Road. Set on the top of a sandstone rock outcrop it commands a pleasant view of The Common. St Helena cottage was built between 1828 and 1838 on the floor of a small stone quarry ,and used in early times and for many years since from time to time, as a lodging house, a favourite spot of visitors to the town. Although this cottage still exists today it has undergone various alterations both to the exterior and interior to accommodate modern living. This cottage replaced a much smaller one on the same site  that is shown on Bowra’s map of 1738 and illustrated in a number of 18th and 19th century illustrations along with a second small structure to the north, on the other side of the rock. At the foot of the rocks a manhole cover marks the entrance to caves excavated for sand and open to the road until its level was raised in a controversial road levelling scheme carried out by the local Turnbike Trust in 1833. Residents complained that the loss of the caves spoiled the picturesque and much illustrated view of the town which visitors saw as they travelled in from London. The caves were reopened at the outbreak of WW II to serve as air raid shelters.

This cottage, of the three mentioned, is perhaps the most photographed of the group, and many fine postcard views of The Common have featured this quaint building,several of which are shown in this article. Over the years this cottage has been the residence of many interesting people. This article traces the history of the building and records some of its known occupants.


Shown opposite is a 1909 OS map of The Commons and surrounding area with the location of St Helena Cottage circled in Red. Shown to the north of it is Belleveille Cottage ,circles in Yellow, and to the south of it Gibraltar Cottage, circled in blue.The topography of the land slopes at a steep angle from its highest post on Mount Ephraim, along which were constructed may fine large lodging houses, down to the level of the Common and London Road to the east. The three cottages referred to above are perched on a high rock outcrop of sandstone, in an elevated position, substantially higher in elevation than the rest of The Commons. Who designed and built this cottage is not known.

Bowra’s map of 1738 shows the existence of St Helena Cottage, as does the 1808 map of T.T. Barrow, although only Gibraltar Cottage is labelled. None of the three cottages are listed on the 1808 map in the table of lodging houses, and the legend describes them as “other houses”.  All three cottages are shown and labelled on the first ordnance survey map of 1867. The 1867 map, w.r.t. St Helena ,shows the cottage on the south end of the rock outcrop and a smaller building to the north of it separated from it by rocks, but adjoined by a path.

Shown opposite a view of St Helena by Rock & Co. of London dated on the right as October 15,1869.In the background are the buildings along Mount Ephraim and in the foreground is London Road. Quite a pleasant setting showing people out for a stroll; riding on horseback; and out for a carriage ride. St Helena is the quaint looking home featured in the middle of this view with its gable roofs, decorative eaves and slate roof, and chimney stacks. Rock & Co. made several similar views of the town, a collection of which can be found in the Civic Society publication of 2013 entitled ‘Tunbridge Wells in the mid- 19th Century-Occasional Paper No. 1’.

It is worthy of note that the Tunbridge Wells Act of 1739 prohibited the erection of any buildings on The Common without prior consent of the Lord and tenants of the Manor. The Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act of 1890 is now the most relied upon document for regulating the management of The Common.

The best way of describing this cottage is by way of photographs, artists drawings, and postcard views, and fortunately there is no shortage of them, taken from different angles and vantage points. Modern photos show it has one gable on each elevation with four red brick chimneys and a slate roof. The south elevation has a black decorative scalloped eave but this is not an element that appears on the west elevation.Part of the roof of the cottage is flat and on top of this section is a low decorative black wrought iron fence. The most prominent feature of the west elevation is a large bay window. The exterior of the cottage is finished in white stucco with white window and door trim.

There is no access to the cottage from London Road. From Mount Ephraim there is a path leading from the sidewalk to a stone wall with two stone pillars and a black wrought iron gate, beyond which is one entrance to the cottage grounds on the north side of the cottage. On the west  side of the cottage is a driveway entrance leading to a fenced parking area on the south side of the cottage .Along its Mount Ephraim frontage there is a is trimmed hedge  and in the grounds of the cottage are an assortment of mature trees and shrubs.

The Summer 2013 newsletter of the Civic Society contained an article about Tunbridge Ware written by Dianna Brick and in this article is a glove  box decorated on the lid with an image of St Helena Cottage.This box, attributed to Tunbridge War maker Edmund Nye dates to about 1845 and Dianna states “ St Helena may well have been the first Tunbridge Wells view to be represented in mosaic”.

Estate agents Rightmove recently offered this cottage for sale and described it as a detached house of six bedrooms; three  baths, and two reception rooms.


Specific records of occupancy for the period before 1840 is unknown to the researcher. Given below is a table indicating some of the known occupants based on directory and census records and other references. As this cottage was used as a lodging house for much of the time, one can expect that its ownership/occupancy changed frequently and therefore the list below is by no means complete.

1840-1844………William Stone, esq

1850……….Delves & Jull (owner or agent)

1861……….Mary Ann Miles

1862………William Wagon

1863………William Ballantyne Hodgson

1881………Phoebe Curtis

1882…….. Edward Moxon

1911-1918………Alexander Hutton Dixon

1926………Dan Osborn

1931-1932…….L.W. Climenson

1966………. Mr N.M. Lerog

1975……….. William R. Ross

1)      WILLIAM STONE(1808-1878)………William Stone was a solicitor working in Tunbridge Wells in the 1840’s. He is found at St Helena Cottage in the 1841 census as born 1811 Kent. Living with him was his wife Ann, born 1821; his son Albert, born 1840 Tunbridge Wells and two servants. His wife was Ann Elliott Roper born 1816 Frant,Sussex who died July 20,1882 in Middlesex, She was one of two known children born to William Roper (1790-1856) and Frances Elliott (1790-1856). A family tree records that William and his wife had the following children (1) Frank William (1841-1921) (2) Edward Baldock (1844-1917) (3) Albert, born 1849 (4) Fanny born 1858. The same tree records that William Stone died August 27,1878 in Tunbridge Wells. William is recorded at St Helena  in 1840 and in a 1844 directory. The 1840 Pigots directory gave under the heading of Attorneys- Stone,Son & Brembridge,(& clerks to the magistrates), Mount Ephraim.The 1851 census, taken at 5 Belvedere Terrace,Tunbridge Wells recorded William as an attorney and living with him was his wife Ann and three of his children ,namely Fanny R,age 13; Arthur, age 8 , and Edward B,age 7. Also present in the home was Williams nephew Frederick A Stone, age 20 who was an “attorney articled clerk”. The 1858 Melville directory listed “ William Stone,Belvedere Terrace, Church Road. William was still a resident of Tunbridge Wells in 1861 when he was a resident of 5 Belvedere, on Church Road. The 1871 census recorded William as a retired solicitor at South Lawn. Living with him was his wife Ann, his son Frank W, a solicitor, and three servants. Probate records show he was late of Tunbridge Wells, gentleman, who died August 17,1878 at 40 Harley Street, Micclesex. The executor of his under 5,000 pound estate was his son Frank William Stone of Tunbridge Wells, a solicitor. Frank William Stone went on to be Mayor of Tunbridge Wells from 1898 to 1900. The stone family played an important part in the history of the town.The Stone family were residents of the town well before 1840, for as one example, there is a John Stone listed in the 1824 Pigots directory as an attorney and clerk to the magistrates.John Stone was born 1774 and died 1858, and was the father of William Stone (1808-1878), and the husband of Jemina Baldock (1780-1851). William was ine if six children born to the couple. For more information about the Stone family see my article ‘The Life and Times of Mayor Frank William Stone’ dated February 20,2014. The name of Stone continues today in Tunbridge Wells in the legal profession . To read more about the Roper family see my article ‘The Life and Times of William Roper-Surveyor/Auctioneer’ dated January 5,2014. The image shown above is a painting by local artist C.T. Dodd.

2)      DELVES & JULL…… The firm of Deves and Jull were operating in Tunbridge Wells during the 1850’s as the agents or owners of several lodging houses.They were listed in the 1850 Colbran guide as agents for St Helena Cottage. A Mr J. Delves and a Mr T. Delves owned lodging houses in the town as far back as 1808 and in 1824 Richard Delves was a house agent and coal dealer. In the 1840’s Mr Henry Delves had a business in the Parade and in the same period Richard Delves is at Pelham House and working as an auctioneer and appraiser; Joseph Delves was a butcher at Market Place and Henry Delves a butcher at Market Place. Also in 1840 Joseph Delves was a china, glass dealer at Bath Square and a grocer and tea dealer as well as a house agent. Other members of the Delves family that were house agents in 1840 were Joseph at Chapel Place and Richard at Pelham House. The Delves family were an old and very large family of the town and branched out into many areas of the commercial trade. Delves and Jull, as house agents, acted on behalf of the building owner, for a fee, and were responsible for arranging for tenants to take up occupancy, a role they performed with respect to St Helena Cottage. The image opposite is an early 20th century postcard view looking north towards the intersection of London Road and Mount Ephraim with St Helena shown on the left perched on top of the rock.

3)      MARY ANN MILES……..Mary Ann Miles was found at St Helena Cottage in the 1861 census. Sje was single, age 46, being born 1815 at Rotherfield, Sussex. She was listed in the census as a lodging house keeper. Living with her at the time was six visitors and one domestic servant.

4)      WILLIAM WAGON(1818-1866) ………William was listed at St Helena Cottage in the 1862 Kelly directory as the proprietor of a lodging house.William had been born 1818 in Snodland and died March 16,1866 at Hawkhurst,Cranbrook,Kent. He was one of seven children born to Robert Wagon, born 1781, and Ann Phillips, born 1793. He also had four half siblings. William was baptised July 19,1818 at Snodland,Kent.. In 1841 he was a grocer living in speldhurst. In the 3rd qtr of 1843 he married Maria Louisa Miles (1814-1885) and with her had seven children.Maria Louisa Miles had been born February 11,1814 at Rotherfield,Sussex and was baptised June 26,1814 at Rotherfield. She was one of several children born to William Miles, born 1786. Maria was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on November 5,1885. She left an estate valued at under 3,000 pounds.The 1851 census, taken at London Road Mount Ephraim recorded William as a grocer. Living with him was his wife Maria ; five of their children, and six others. The 1859 electoral roll recorded William at Mount Ephraim. The 1861 census found William at 4 Ephraim Terrace on London Road where he was a grocer and agent employing two men and one boy. Living with him was his wife Maria; six of his children, his mother Ann Wagon. Also present were two domestic servants. By 1862 William had given up the grocers trade and moved to St Helena Cottage and ran it as a lodging house. Probate records give William Wagon late of Tunbridge Wells, grocer,died March 16,1866 at Hawkhurst,kent. The executor of his under 3,000 pound estate was his widow. Shown opposite is a lovely modern winter scene of St Helena.

5)      WILLIAM BALLANTYNE HODGSON (LLD)………The prime source of information about this gentleman who lived for a short time at St Helena Cottage before taking up residence at Gibraltar Cottage, was a book entitled ‘Life and Letters of William Ballantyne Hodgson,published in 1883. William was an educational reformer and political economist. He was born October 6,1815 at 23 Gardner’s Crescent,Edinburgh,Scotland and obtained a university degree in Edinburgh, having entered the University of Edinburgh at the age of 14 in 1829. He became a professor of economic science at the University of Edinburgh. In 1841 he married Jane Cox at Liverpool but she died without issued July 1,1860. On October 14,1862 he wrote a letter to his future 2nd wife from St Helena Cottage, and among other things stated “ my present quarters look out on Gibraltar Cottage, occupied by the secretary of Mr Ellis’ Company (The Marie Indemnity) but he will leave it in November”. He goes on to state that he wishes to move into Gibraltar Cottage and remarks on the beauty of the area. The author of the book states that Mr Hiodgson spent 8-9 months at Gibraltar Cottage and then moved to 41 Grove End Road, St John’s Wood, London where he remained until 1870. On June 14,1863 William married  Emily Wolmsley,the second daughter of Sir Joshua Wolmsley, a mayor and NP at different times for Leicester and Bolton.Dr Hodgson wrote several letter from  his premises at St Helena Cottage in late 1862. With his second wife he had four children, all born in London. William was one of several children born to William Hidgson, a printer. William died 1880 in Brussels.In the 1861 census he was living in Scotland and so it was soon after then that he moved to Tunbridge Wells. Shown opposite is a modern view of St Helena taken on a sunny summer's day.

6)      PHOEBE CURTIS………Phoebe is recorded at St Helena Cottage in the 1881 census. She was age 28, single, and born 1853 at Churchover,Warwickshire.She was baptised June 14,1855 at Churchover. She was living in the cottage with one servant who was a nurse. Her actual birth record gives her birth registered at Rubgy,Warwickshire in the 2nd qtr of 1855. At the time of the 1861 census,taken at High Street in Churchover,Warwickshire , Phoebe , and her four siblings were living with her parents Thomas Curtis, born 1823 Churchover, a labourer carter, and Esther Curtis, born 1824 in Walford,Northamptonshire. Her two brothers John and Henry were both working as farm boys.

7)      EDWARD MOXON (1845-1925)………Edward is recorded at St Helena Cottage in the 1882 Kelly directory.Edward had  been born in the 1st qtr of 1845 at Nailsea.Somerset, one of eight children born to William M. Moxon (1808-1887) and Ann Farbank (1811-1887). In 1851 he was living with his parents and siblings at Islington and was still there in 1861. On December 31,1867 he married Julia Neville, who had  been born 1849 at St Mary’s Islignton and was the daughter of Frederick Neville. With her Edward had three sons namely Edward H.N.,born 1873; Gerald R,born 1875 and Reginald,born 1878. All three children were born at Tottenham,Middlesex. By 1881 the Moxon family moved to Tunbridge Wells. The 1881 census, taken at Rock Mount,Tunbridge Wells (located based on the order of census taking, between 18 and 22 Mount Ephraim Road), recorded the presence of Edward Moxon, a ship broker; his wife Julia and their three sons. There were two families living at this residence in 1881. By 1901 the family was living in Kensington,London and in the 1911 census,taken at Prittlewell,Essex. Edward is recorded as a ship and insurance agent. Living with him was his wife Julia.Also in the twelve room home was a niece and two servants .The census recorded that the couple had been married 43 years and had four children but only three were still living. Later Edward returned to Tunbridge Wells. His probate record gave Edward Moxon of Boyne House,Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, died January 15,1925. The executors of his 33,060 pound estate was his wife Julia and his son Edward Harold Neville Moxon, agent.  The name “Boyne House” in this record is an interesting one for as I note in my article entitled ‘The History of Boyne House’ dated February 21,2013, Charles John Gallard bought Boyne House on Mount Ephraim in 1891 and demolished it that year to make way for his Boyne Park development. So it would appear that although the “original” Boyne House had been demolished its name survived. During the time Edward Moxon lived at St Helena it is interesting to note from a report by the Tunbridge Wells Conservators  “The most heavily critical incident in 1882 occurred when the Freeholders Committee gave permsission to the owner of St Helena Cottage to ‘enclose a portion of the rocks and Common with an iron fence’. The Local Board protested that ‘the recent enclosures and obstructions were illegal’, while local solicitor Frank William Stone, along with his brother Frederick, launced a personal campaign to  change the Freeholder’s policy”. The fence referred to had been erected as a means of keeping people from peering into the windows of the cottage and afforded the owner some privacy. As you will see from the photos in this article some iron fences ,walls and gates exist today. Also of note from The Nautical Magazine of 1882 is a record of a patent application (No. 7564) for “ Edward Moxon of St Helena,Tunbridge Wells for ‘Improvements in the construction of barges and other similar vessels’. Shown opposite is a 2009 image of St Helena from an estate agents brochure.

8)      ALEXANDER HUTTON DIXON…….. Alexander is found at St Helena Cottage at the time of the 1911 census and is still recorded there in the 1918 Kelly directory. Alexander had been born 1835 at Jedburgh,Scotland and was one of five children born to George Dixon (1801-1973) and Jessie Hutton (1801-1841). In 1841 Alexander was living with his widowed father and siblings in Scotland, on Castle Street.The 1851 census, taken at Ashkirk,Roxburghshure,Scotland recorded Alexander as a scholar. He and his brother George,age 15, were living with Thomas Ballantyne and huis wife Margaret. The two Dixon boys were related to the Ballantyne’s. Moving ahead in time to the 1911 census, taken at St Helena Cottage, Alexander is given as a medicine manufacturer. Living with him was his wife Annie, born 1841 in Tunbridge Wells, and one domestic servant. The census records their home had twelve rooms; that the couple had been married 51 years (1860) and had one child that was still living. Directories of 1919 and 1920 record Alexander living in the City of Westminster.  There is a record of patent dated 1889 (No. 3459) in the Canadian Patent Office for “Alexander Hutton Dixon, of Toronto, Ontario, for ‘certain medical remedies May 18,1889’. There is also a curious advertisement in The South Australian Register of May 11,1891 under the patent act of 1877 which stated “Notice is given that Annie Dixon, wife of Alexander Hutton Dixon, and William Magill,gentlemen, both of Toronto,Ontario,Canada, have applied for a patent ‘for improvements in organs’ the specifications for which can be seen at the post office in Adelaide. There was also a Canadian patent No. 34162 filed in 1890 by Annie Dixon for a “Skirt Protector”, a photo of which is shown opposite. She identified herself on the patent application as ‘the wife of Alexander Hutton Dixon. Her invention consisted of material that fitted both over and under a skirt and fastened at the bottom, essentially forming a bag around the skirt. Details of the patent can be found online. Based on the above information Alexander and his wife Annie lived in Canada in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s but later returned to England. Another view of St Helena is shown opposite. This one is a modern view taken in the fall/winter when there was just a touch of snow on the ground.

9)      AFTER DIXON……..No research was undertaken for the occupants of St Helena after the Dixon era, except to note certain records of occupancy, as given the table above.



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

Date: September 22,2014


John Maughan Barnet(1867-1938) had been born in Warwickshire and took up playing the organ as his career. After studying music in London and playing the organ there he moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1882 and was appointed the organist and choirmaster at King Charles the Martyr Church and apart from his duties there participated in concerts and gave organ recitals. He became an accomplished organist, pianist,conductor and composer.

On September 4,1889 John married Harriett Frances Tugwell (1865-1925) at King Charles the Martyr Church, making this the first marriage conducted at the church in its long history as a chapel of ease.

John left Tunbridge Wells in 1889 and took up other appointments. At the end of 1889, being in poor health he left England and spent the rest of his life living and working in Australia and New Zealand where he gained quite a reputation as an accomplished organist. This article traces the history of the man and his career. Shown opposite is an early postcard view of King Charles the Martyr Church.


John Maughan Barnett, born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England, on 21 March 1867, was the son of Maria Gibbs(1839-1928) and her husband, John Barnett(1840-1890), a lawyer's clerk. John as one of eight children in the family, and was the eldest child. He was baptised July 28,1867 at Leamington Priory,Warwickshire.John’s father had been born in the 1st qtr of 1840 at Leamington, Warwickshire; lived all his life there; and married his wife in the first qtr of 1866 in Warwickshire.His wife Maria had been born in the 1st qtr of 1839 at Radford Semele,Warwickshire. She was one of two children born to Edward Gibbs and she died in the 1st qtr of 1928 at Stratford-upon-Avon.

The 1871 census, taken at 3 Owiner Place in Leamington,Warwickshire, recorded John Barnett as a solicitors clerk. Living with him was his wife Maria; their children John Maughan Barnett, a scholar, and two of John’s siblings. Also in the home was one domestic servant. As a boy he was boarded away at a private school .

As young man he was educated at a private school and learned the organ from the local parish church organist. He studied piano and composition at the Crystal Palace School, London.He had studied piano-playing and composition under Gustav Ernest, and organ-playing under Frank Spinney. In the years leading up to his subsequent move to Tunbridge Wells he lived, studied and performed in London.


Most accounts state that John moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1882 when he was appointed as church organist and choirmaster at King Charles the Martyr Church. Some accounts give the date as 1884. Interestingly a review of local directories for 1882,1886 and 1889 do not give a listing for John Barnett.

Apart from his duties at the church, John participated in concerts and gave organ recitals in the town.The church itself was built in 1676, as the first permanent building in Tunbridge Wells and is Grade 1 listed by English Heritage.It was built at first as a chapel and was not raised to parish church status until 1889. The church has a colorful and obviously a long, history and during that time many changes have been made to the church. The glory of its interior is the ornate plaster ceiling, the work of John Wetherell and Henry Doogood and is of a quality seldom seen outside London. The church also has on its exterior the only surviving non- residential sundial in the town, which was recently faithfully and wonderfully restored.

Shown above is a modern view of the interior of the church. In the background , behind the column, can be seen the organ pipes on the wall with the keyboard of the organ located to the left.

In 2014 the church launched an appeal to raise funds for work on the organ(shown below). From their website is given “ The organ that you now hear in King Charles Church began life in 1887. It was built by the renowned firm of J.W. Walker, and has been extended by them several times since, most notably in 1938, when their advertising leaflet described it as “ in every way a complete and modern three manual instrument”. Its voice plays an important part in services every Sunday, as well as being heard in weddings, funerals and concerts throughtout the year. The organ still sounds magnificent, so why do we have a restoration appeal? Unfortunately, deep inside the mechanism there is a fault-some sheepskin valves have perished, which means that the notes they control do not sound, In order to get at these valves, hundreds of the 2,055 pipes will have to be removed-a skilled, time-consuming, and therefore expensive business. It is much more sensible to ensure that all the other bits of maintenance which will, most likely, be needed in the next few years are done at the same time-keeping the organ working for future generations”. The Church estimated that the work would cost in the order of 80,000 pounds and that they hoped to have the work done within the next five years. The organ they refer to was of course the same one that John Maughan Barnett played on.The Church was asking for donations to fund this work.Since the original appeal was launched the church has managed to find a builder to work on the organ without removing the pipes ,and as a result, the funds to be raised was revised to be 28,000 pounds.  Shown above are some photos of the organ.

Some technical information about the organ comes from ‘The National Pipe Organ Register’ which indicates that work was done on the organ in 1971 by an unknown person; in 1988 was overhauled by H. James and the action converted to electric with new muntiplex system with the consol refurbished and made mobile ; the choir box removed; tonal changes; and couplers rationalised. In 1991 minor work was done by Martin Cross  when the trumpet was restored to original 6 inch wind pressure. Further  technical details about the organ can be found on the website of The National Pipe Organ Register.

John married Harriett Frances Tugwell (1865-1925) at King Charles the Martyr Church on Wednesday September 4,1889, being the first marriage ever conducted at the church.This historical event was reported on in the Kent & Sussex newspaper, which in part stated “ It is not long since that the Church of King Charles the Martyr, which has for years been a chapel –of- ease to the other churches in Royal Tunbridge Wells, had an order made from the Diocesan of Kent for the assignment of a separate district for the church. One of the difficulties associated with the withholding of the long sought-for privilege was that of inability to solemnise marriage in the church”.  The Tunbridge Wells Reference library, following my inquiry tried to locate the entire article but reported that the part of the paper with the article was missing. As an alternative they forwarded to me a copy of an article about the wedding from the Tunbridge Wells Gazette, some details of which are given below.A photograph of Harriett is shown opposite.

The Gazette article appeared under the heading of “Interesting Wedding at Tunbridge Wells”. It starts off by stating that until Wednesday afternoon last it “had never had marriage service celebrated within its walls” and that the church was “crowded with a large and fashionable congregation to witness the ceremony of a very interesting character”. After some history about the church it stated “For the first wedding no more appropriate one than that of Wednesday could have occurred, for the nuptuals were those of the eldest daughter of the respected incumbent and  a gentleman whose reputation in Tunbridge Wells is largely bound up with the church-Mr J. Maughan Barnett, who for some time was the able organist and choirdirector, and in that capacity, as well as a young but talented profession musician, gained golden opinions in the neighbourhood. Mr Barnett has lately been fulfilling duties of organist of St Saviour’s Warrior –square, St Leonards, and has just obtained an important post at Hobard Town, Tasmania, whither the happy couple will sail in a day or two.The event had been looked forward to with a great deal of interest, and some idea of its extent may be gained from the preparations made for the ceremony. Under the able direction of Mr Councillor Anscombe, assisted by several ladies and gentlemen of the congregation, including Miss Weekes, Miss R Read, Miss Elsie Read, Miss Eva Harris, and Mr W.A. Diggens, nor forgetting the kindness of Mr Charlton, of the Pantiles, who lent the plants (Charlton was the owner of a nursery and flower shop in the town), and Mr Councillor Weeks (the department store owner on Mount Pleasant Road), who gave most of the flowers, the interior of the church had been handsomely decorated for the occasion, dahlias, single and double cactus, gladiolas, and other flowers with palms and plants, being skilfully and artistically arranged to produce a very pretty effect, and filled as the sacred building was in all parts by a fashionable congregation, the scene during the progress of the ceremony was very animated. The service of course was choral, and was ably conducted by the organist, Mr Hattersley…..” Details of the service are then given and stated “The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Canon Tugwell, uncle of the bride, assisted by the Rev Aanon Joynes. The Rev. L.S. Tugwell gave his daughter away, and the Rev W.J. Pressey was the bridegrooms ‘Best man’. The bride, who was attired in a lovely dress of cream Pongee silk, with veil and orange blossoms, was attended by five bridesmaids, viz., her three sisters, Misses Beatrice, Hilda and Doris Tugwell, and two sisters of the bridegroom, Misses Maud and Annie Barnett, who wore handsome dresses of Pongee cloth, and there were two little pages, who carried the bride’s train, Masters Burslem and Gorham, cousins, who wore dark crimson velvet costumes trimmed with lace cord. All the beautiful loose bouquets, which were greatly admired,were made by Mr Charlton of the Pantiles and Summer Vale Nurseries.Those carried by the bride were composed entirely of beautiful white flowers, viz., orange blossom,parcretian, stephanmotis,white roses,bouvardia,lapsderioa,francoa,pelargoniums, and double primula mingled and surrounded with maidenhair fern”. The article continues with a description of other flowers and details of the service and songs sung, after whish ‘the happy couple left the church and after the service “ a small family reception was held at 1, Montacute Gardens, the residence of the Rev. L.S. and Mr Tugwell,all the family of the bridge being present with the exception of Lieut Tugwell who is on service in Egypt. The wedding cake, which was handsomely adorned with flowers, was supplied by Mr. Featherstone.In the afternoon the newly married couple left for London, where they have been staying since, and we understand that they will leave to-morrow (Saturday) by steamship for their new home across the sea. Among the most interesting and noteworthy presents was a Bible given by the Church wardens and Sidesmen…we understand that it is the custom throughout the country for the church wardens to give a Bible to the first couple married in the church…”  “ The edition chosen was Baxter’s Comprehensive Teachers Bible, beautifully bound, and was supplied by Mr H. Groves, of the Old Library, Pantiles. On the fly leaf was the following inscription –This Bible is presented by the Churchwardens and Sidesmen to John Maughan Barnett and Harriett Frances Tugwell, on their marriage, September 4th 1889, in the Church of King Charles the Martyr, Tunbridge Wells.This wedding is the first celebrated in the Church, the oldest-A.D. 1682-in the town, but which, until its consecration and the recent assignment of a district, has not been available for the solemization of matrimony. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path Psalms, csix.,105. With every good wish, W. Kington, Lieut. Col.; John Read; J.A. Anscombe; A. Nicholson” Among the numerous wedding presents to Miss Tugwell …..was a bag of money and a sheet of vellum………a white satin bag, given by a parishioner…embroidered and filled with 80 pounds Jubille coins and new Bank of England paper”. The article concludes by listing the presents namely, Bridge to groom-gold ring; Bridegroom to Bridge-gold albert and locket; Lady Charlotte lyater-cheque; Miss Gratton Guinuess-silver table napkin rings; Miss Ladds-Pongee dress and German linen; Rev. Canon and Mrs Tugwell-cheque; Mr and Mrs Needham-silver jam spoon,pickfork and butter knife; Rev. A.W. Scott-silver butter knife and Mr and Mrs W.H. Delves-dady’s dressing mirror”.  See the Tunbridge Wells Gazette for the full and long article about this historic and grand event.  As noted in this article a discrepancy appears about where the couple were living at the time of their marriage, for it states that they were already at St Leonards on Sea at the time of the marriage, and so those interested in an accurate account are best to rely upon this newspaper article. It is obvious that John Maughan Pearson had left Tunbridge Wells sometime early on in 1889 and taken the posting at St Mary Magdalen but returned to Tunbridge Wells in September for his wedding, and then he and his wife went to London and subsequently left England.

Harriet Frances Tugwell had been born in the 2nd qtr of 1865 at Cockermouth,Cumberland and died in Auckland, New Zealand in 1925. She was the daughter of Rev Lewen Street Tugwell (photo opposite), (1835-1898), Harriett Lear Tugwell (1840-1877).The 1881 census, taken at 19 Mout Sion, Tunbridge Wells recorded  Rev Lewin S Tugwell as the incumbent of the Chapel of Ease. Living with him was his second wife Annie E, Tugwell (born 1850 Stepney,Middlesex)and his children (1) Harriet Frances b1865 (2) Henry Charles, born 1869 (British subject) (3) Beatrice Maud, b 1872 Islington (4) Arthur Davis Ross, b 1874 Islington (5) Duncan Boyd , b 1876 Islington (6) Hilda Constance, b 1877 Islington (7) William B , b 1880 Tunbridge Wells. Also present was one visitor and two domestic servants. Harriett Frances Tugwell was one of eleven children in her family.Her father  who had been the incumbent of the Chapel  of Ease (King Charles the Martry Church) since 1878 died in Tunbridge Wells January 10,1898.


After John’s marriage in Tunbridge Wells in September 1889 he and his wife left the town  and England. At the time of his marriage he was at St Leonard’s –on-Sea where John, earlier in 1889, was appointed organist and choirmaster at the Church of St Mary Magdalen, St Leonards, Sussex The couple initially took up residence in Tasmania but later moved to New Zealand. Shown opposite is another image of John.

John and his wife Harriett had the following children (1) Maud, born June 17,1890 Hobart, Tasmania,Australia (2) Hilda Margery, born June 11,1892 (3) Lewen Maughan, born April 11,1894 at Napier,New Zealand (4) Alison Gladys ,born August 9,1895 at Wellington,New Zealand. Details about his children are given in the last section of this article.A photo of his wife Harriet is shown below.

Never robust, Barnett had for several years had a demanding schedule of teaching, composing, organ and piano recitals, as well as a keyboard practice routine of five to seven hours a day. This led to a breakdown of health, and following a farewell recital he and his wife embarked on the Tainui for Tasmania. Intending to return within 12 months, Barnett was not to see England again for 37 years.It is expected that the farewell recital was held in London, for the article about their wedding refers to them heading to London in the afternoon of Sept 4,1889.

He was appointed organist and choirmaster at Hobart cathedral in 1890, also teaching and giving recitals. Wishing to visit New Zealand, he availed himself of an opportunity to tour with the lecturer and humorist Max O'Rell. This decision led to the Barnetts settling in Napier in 1893. Maughan Barnett was appointed cathedral organist and conductor of the Napier Liedertafel.

In 1895 the 'young, enthusiastic, aggressive' Barnett succeeded to the post of organist and choirmaster at St John's Presbyterian Church(photo opposite), Wellington. Over the next 18 years he participated prominently in the diverse musical activities of the city. He soon formed a musical society and, in 1908, became the first city organist. He conducted the Wellington Choral Society in the first New Zealand performance of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, and was appointed conductor to the society when it amalgamated with the Wellington Musical Union. His very popular organ recitals led to an invitation to inaugurate the new city organ in the Auckland Town Hall in December 1911, and to his appointment in 1912 as Auckland city organist, a position he took up the following year and held until his retirement in 1932. In 1912 he lived on Manakau Road in Auckland. He gave numerous organ recitals to large audiences, conducted municipal choirs, was organist and choirmaster at St Mark's Church, Remuera, and served other musical organisations.John was also a prolific composer, from small choral, vocal and piano works to large-scale orchestral and choral works, several of which were published in London.

Following Harriett Barnett's death at Auckland in 1925, John Maughan Barnett revisited London, presenting organ recitals there and at Leamington. Passenger records show that he had arrived in London February 27,1926 and departed from Southampton on June 4,1926.

On 22 April 1935 in Auckland he married Mary Duncan Jameson, née Thomson(1862-1951).Mary had been born 1862 in Melbourne,Australia and on April 12,1883 she married James Jameson (1848-1922) at St Andrews Church, Brighton, Victoria, Australia. With him she had five children between 1884 and 1894.Sometime after the death of her 1st husband she came to know John Maughan Barnett and a relationship was begun which led to their marriage in 1935.At the time of her marriage to John she was age 73 and John was age 68, and as expected ,due to their age, the couple had no children together. Mary passed away March 19,1951 at Auckland, New Zealand. Shown opposite is a 1913 postcard of Auckland.

In the two years prior to John’s death at Christchurch on 31 July 1938 he served as organist at Christchurch cathedral. He was survived by his second wife and by his three daughters of his first marriage.His only son  Lewen Maughan Barnett was killed at Gallipoli during the First World War.John was buried in the Putewa cemetery(photo opposite), in Auckland,New Zealand on August 4,1938.

John Maughan Barnett was an authoritative musician whose keyboard skills were those of a virtuoso. He published A short course of pianoforte technique in London in 1904. Throughout his career he performed frequently as organist, piano soloist, accompanist, and participant in chamber ensembles. During his years as Auckland city organist he played the complete organ works of J. S. Bach in recital. His repertoire included little-known works as well as the principal composers of his day, and many of his own transcriptions. He drew up specifications for the organs at both the Wellington and Auckland town halls and was generous with his knowledge of organ construction. As a choirmaster he had a predilection for unaccompanied works, but his ability as an orchestral conductor enabled him to direct an extended choral repertoire. His energetic participation was a constant stimulus to the musical culture of his adopted cities.

Among his contemporaries, Barnett's compositional technique places him next to Alfred Hill. Several of his choral, vocal and piano works were published in London. Large-scale works include a concert overture, two commemorative odes for soloists, chorus and orchestra, and a piano trio. He also wrote a number of compositions for the interesting combination of carillon and organ. Barnett's most successful works, while seldom innovative in style, demonstrate the instrumental mastery and accomplished musicianship for which all his musical involvement was noted.


As noted earlier John and his wife Harriett had three daughters and one son. A brief summary is given below for each of the daughters.The last section gives details about his son, as a casualty of WW 1.

(1)    HILDA MARGERY BARNETT……She was born June 11,1892 in Napier,New Zealand. On August 31,1920 she married Ronald Duncan (1884-1968), a car salesman, in Auckland Remuera, New Zealand. She and her husband had a son John Lewen Duncan,who was born April 18,1921, and a daughter Diana Margery Duncan, born November 18,1927 at Norton Road, Frankton, Hamilton,New Zealand. Hilda died October 2,1946 at Taumaranai.New Zealand.Shown opposite is a photo of Hilda and her sister Maud.

(2)    MAUD BARNETT…….She was born June 17,1890 at Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, being the eldest daughter. A photo of her and her sister Hilda is given above. Maud never married and died as a spinster September 21,1985. Passenger records show that she visited England from time to time and newspaper accounts indicate that she played the organ and had donated a sketch of her father, which presumably she had drawn herself.

(3)    ALISON GLADYS BARNETT…….She was born August 9,1895 at Wellington, New Zealand, being he youngest of the three daughters. On January 7,1926 she sailed from Auckand via New York and Boston, with her father,arriving in London on February 10,1926. Her home address at that time was given as High Street, Auckland.On October 17,1931 she married Frances Loveday (1892-1954) at the registrar’s office in Auckland. Her husband had been born September 14,1892 in London,England and became a farmer in New Zealand. Soon after the marriage the couple moved to England. Her husband Frances died October 18,1954 at Bluebell Common,North Walsham,Norfolk. It is not known by the researcher if Alison had any children. Alison died May 11,1976 in Princess Alice Hospital, Eastbourne, Sussex, having died of Coronary Thrombosis. She was buried in England, possibly in Eastbourne.

LEWEN MAUGHAN BARNETT (1894-1915)          

Lewen was the only son of John Maughan Barnett. He was born April 11,1894 at Napier, New Zealand. In the years leading up to WW 1 he lived with his parents and as a young man. At the time of his enlistment for service in the war in 1915 he was a resident of Piopio, New Zealand and was a farmer.Military records show that he had military service before the war with the 16th Waikato.Dispite best efforts the researcher was not able to locate a photo of Lewen, but shown opposite is a photo of his regimental badge. Military records show that Lewen was awarded the 1914-1915 Star; the British War Medal; and the Victory Medal. Images of these three medals can be found on the internet.

Lewen enlisted August 3,1914. His records state he was 5’-8” tall and weighed 145 pounds.He was a private (service No. 12/699) with the Auckland Regiment New Zealand Expeditionary Force (16th Waikato) Coy. On October 16,1914  he and his comrads embarled on the ship WAIMANA at Auckland with a destination of Suez,Egypt.

The campaigns he fought in were Egypt 1914-1915 and then Gallipoli in 1915.On April 25,1915 Lewen and his regiment landed on the beach at Anzac. Shown opposite is a photo of the men landing on the beach that day. They had arrived at the beaches of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli about 5 a.m. that day and by the end of the day more than 100 men of the force had been killed, including Lewen who was reported killed Arpil 25,1915, having “died in action”. News of his death was published in a number of newspapers such as The Fielding Star June 18,1915.the Advocate and the Otago Daily Times. References in these accounts is brief but all mention his father John Maughan Barnett as “the Auckland City Organist” and refer to Lewen has having been involved in “farming persuits” prior to the war. Initial accounts had stated that Lewen was wounded but later accounts stated he had been killed in action at Gallipoli.

As mentioned above Lewen had been a resident of Piopio prior to enlisting for service.Shown here are two images of the Piopio War Memorial located on Main Street outside the hall. Note that his name is incorrectly given as “Llewelyn Barnett”. The names of those who died in WW II are also given on this monument. Lewen is also remembered by name on a plaque at the Auckland War Memorial Museum at the WW I Hall of Memories.

Shown below  is a photo of the Lone Pine Memorial  and cemetery  in Turkey.Lewen is recorded on this memorial (grave memorial 72).The records of the Commonwealth War Grave Commission state “He was the son of John Maughan Barnett and Harriett Barnett of 212 Remuera Rd,Auckland” and that Lewen was “killed in action” and that there are 4,932 casualties recorded at this memorial.The memorial was erected to mark the death of servicemen for whom the location of the their grave was unknown.

Lewen had died as part of an eight month campaign in Gallipoli in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war. Lone Pine was a strategically important plateau in the southern part of Anzac. The memorial itself stand on the site of the fiercest fighting at Lone Pine and overlooks the whole front line of May 1915. The memorial stand in Lone Pine Cemetery (photo opposite) in which there are 1,167 commonwealth  servicemen of WW I buried or commemorated in this cemetery ( 504 of the burials are unidentified).






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

Date: June 21,2015


The Toad Rock Retreat was a public house with rooms where visitors could obtain refreshments and a room for the night. It was ,and still is, located in Denny Bottom, Rusthall just west of Tunbridge Wells north of and adjacent to the Rusthall Commons.  The retreat derives its name from Toad Rock, one of several fascinating geological formations in the area, and one that has appeared along with images of the Toad Rock Retreat in several drawings, postcard views and photographs over the years.

The original building on the site used as a cottage/ laundry, is reported to date back to the 18th century, but in the 19th century was converted into a public house/inn, located at 1 Harmony Street. The name “Toad Rock Retreat” appears in directories and census records dating back to at least 1891 when in that year the proprietor was James Wills, and who’s son Percy George Wills took over in the early 1900’s. Since that time the pub/inn has been run by a number of gentlemen . In more recent times it was run by Tom Snook until in 2012 it was taken over by the mother and son team of Sylvia and Chris Kolyos, who still run it today.

In the 1930’s the building was all but completely destroyed by fire and was rebuilt on the same site as the original building. In 1998 another fire destroyed it and a new building erected, similar in appearance to the older version.

This article reports on the history of the Toad Rock Retreat and its proprietors and includes a number of maps and other images describing its location and appearance. Shown above is a postcard view of Toad Rock and the Toad Rock Retreat in the background to the left of Toad Rock beside the road.


Shown opposite is a map of 1878 showing by way of a red arrow the location of the Toad Rock Retreat. The building is located at 1 Harmony Street on a large plot of land and is found a short distance ,north east of “Toad Rock”  in Denny Bottom, a predominantly residential area occupied largely in early years by people of the working class.

To the purists Denny Bottom means just the area of Rusthall around the Toad Rock enclosed by Woodside Road and Harmony Street, and Upper and Apsley Streets, but effectively it includes the rest of Woodside Road, Grange Road, Rusthall Park and Rustwick too. Until a hundred odd years ago much of it was a sandstone quarry, one of several dotted around Tunbridge Wells to provide stones for the mansions and other buildings of the town. Denny Bottom was also one of Tunbridge Wells’s laundry areas , a fact which is confirmed by the presence of ladies engaged as “wash/laundresses” in the census records from the late 19th century who resided and worked in cottages at 2 and 3 Harmony Street, next door to the Toad Rock Retreat, and elsewhere nearby. It is said that the Retreat itself was once the main laundry but several other houses/cottages nearby were also engaged in this laundry activity. Washing would be cart3ed up from the town to be scrubbed and hung out on the rocks and gorse bushes of the Common to dry. Shown above left is postcard 39035 that provides a general view of Denny Bottom.

The Toad Rock Retreat had parts that were said to date back to the 18th century but over the years was considerably altered and enlarged. Shown opposite  right is a 1909 os map showing the location and footprint of the building at that time highlighted in red. The local post office is also marked on the map near the subject site, as is the location of Toad Rock, and other interesting rock formations in the Commons.  The website of the Rusthall Common Tour states that this pub was established  “about 1880”.

Shown opposite left is a postcard ( No. 49315)by the Tunbridge Wells postcard publisher Photochrom Co. dated circa 1910, which shows Toad Rock and the Toad Rock Retreat to the right of it in the background.

Shown opposite is a map from 1979 showing the location and footprint of the building (identified as "PH"). It is claimed that the Red Rock Retreat was originally three cottages knocked into one, but these had been so chopped and changed over the years that basically all that remained of them were some internal walls, the main chimney and the front of the Games Room. The pub was burned down in the 1930’s and what was left from the fire that could be used became part of a new building constructed on the site. After extensive rebuilding the pub reopened with its exterior façade remaining little changed since that time. Half the neighbours who happened to be home at the time of the fire were standing just behind the camerawoman, who’s great photograph appeared on the front page of the Kent and Sussex Courier. The firemen disapproved of the ‘gawping’ and tried to encourage people to go home, but to many locals it was like watching an old friend die and they were ignored.

On March 2, 1998 another fire at the Toad Rock Retreat destroyed the structure and had to be completely rebuilt. Details of the fire can be read in the Courier of March 6,1998.The new Toad Rock Retreat was a faithful recreation of the old building employing new materials and complying with current building regulations and it is this building that can be seen today. In fact, people who had seen it before and after the fire often assumed that the old place had been  spruced up and not  a new building. The pub reopened in April 1999 and provided seating for 50. A photograph from the fire is shown above  left. In this image you can see on the right hand side the pub sign,another view of which is given below.

After a said decline in trade the pub/inn closed completely for a while in early 2009 before being revived with a fanfare in July of that year by Tom Snook who continued to run the pub until it was taken over in 2012 by the mother and son team of Sylvia and Chris Kolyos, who continue to run it in 2015.

As is the case with most pubs, the Toad Rock Retreat provides a menu of food and beverages and has special entertainment nights. It offers a place of rest for walkers, climbers and families who reside in the area or visitors who are taking in the sights of the area.


Given below is a list of known publicans of this establishment, as derived from a review of local directories, census records ,newspaper reports and other documents.The list is by no means complete and the dates given are based on the dates of records used in the research and do no necessarily indicate the full range of years in which the individual ran the pub.

1881………………….. John Ashby

1891-1901…………. James Wills

1911-1913…………..Percy George Wills (son of James Wills)

1918-1922…………..James Joseph Ford

1935…………………….Frederick Mills

1937-1938…………….Arthur Charles Dunlop

1942-1946…………….Thomas Gunner

1951…………………….. S.J. Janes

1953……………………..Richard Gorham

1958-1960……………. Leslie William Hooper

2009-2012…………….. Tom Snook

2012-2015……………….Sylvia and Chris Kolyos

Given below is information about some of the publicans

[A} JOHN ASHBY…………. Although no record was found specifically identifying John Ashby as the publican of the Toad Rock Retreat, he is found in the 1881 census of Rusthall as a beer house keeper. John was born 1838 in Merton, Oxfordshire and at the time of the 1881 census his wife Mary, born 1836 Eynesbury,Huntingdon and son Reginald, born 1873 at Thrybergh,Yorkshire, were present. The 1891 census, taken at 1 Jubilee Cottage, Speldhurst, New Town,Rushhall gave John as a club steward and living with him was his wife Mary and son Reginald.  John was one of six children born to John Ashby (1805-1892) and Hannah Ashby (1804-1881). From the time of his birth until at least the time of the 1851 cenus, John was living with his parents and siblings at Merton,Oxfordshire, By the time of the 1871 census, taken at Knowle, Cranley,Surrey, he was working as a servant. On may 7,1873 he married Mary Ann Todd at Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Milton by Gravesend,Kent. Details of his location at the time of the 1881 and 1891 census have been given above. The 1901 census gave John at 2 Rock Terrace,Tunbridge Wells and the 1911 census gave him at 17 High Street,Tunbridge Wells. He died at Banbury,Oxfordshire in the 1st qtr of 1915.

Whether John was the proprietor of the Toad Rock Retreat was not positively determined and it is possible that he was the publican of another pub in Rusthall. Unfortunatley the name of the pub was not given in the census records.

[B] JAMES WILLS……….Sometimes given as “Wells” he was actually James Wills, born 2nd qtr 1849 at Sidlesham,Sussex. At the time of the 1851 census, taken at Street End, Sidlesham,Sussex he was one of two children living with their parents James Wills, born 1821, a shepherd and Sophia Wells, born 1815.The family were living at the same address in 1861 and at that time Janes was one of five children in the family. The 1871 census, taken at Church Farm House in Sidlesham gave James as an agricultural worker with he and his sister Mary living with their parents, James Wells was still a shepherd at that time.  On October 25,1876, at Sidlesham,Sussex, James married Elizabeth Hewitt who had been born 1848 at Lavant,Sussex. The 1881 census, taken at New Cottages, Burnham,Sussex gave James Wills as a working foreman on a farm. With him was his wife Elizabeth and their two children Florence Lilian and Herbert Charles Wills, born 1878 and 1880 respectively.

Sometime after 1881 and before 1891 the Wills family moved to Rusthall. The 1891 census, taken at the Toad Rock Retreat,Rusthall, gave James as a beer house keeper “employed”. With him was his wife Elizabeth and children Florence Lilian, age 13; Herbert Charles, age 11; Leonard James, age 9 and Percy George,age 7. Next door at Home Villa and at 2 and 3 Harmony Street were three people engaged as “wash laundresses”. The 1901 census, taken at Toad Rock Retreat, 1 Harmony Street,Rusthall, gave James Wills as a beer retailer on own account. With him was his wife Elizabeth and his son Leonard. Next door at 2,3 and 4 Harmony Street were people engaged as ‘wash laundresses”.

The 1911 census, taken at 19 High Brooms Road, High Brooms,Southborough, gave James Wills as a “licenced victualler now jobbing”.with him was his wife Elizabeth. The census recorded that they had been married 37 years and had six children, only three of whom were still living. Probate records gave James Wills of 19 High Brooms Road when he died February 20,1930. The executor of his 750 pound estate was his wife Elizabeth. He was buried in the Southborough Cemetery February 25,1930. Probate records for his wife Elizabeth record that she was of 19 High Brooms Road when she died April 1,1933. The executor of her 602 pound estate was a solicitor. She was buried in the Southborough Cemetery April 14,1933.

[C] PERCY GEORGE WILLS………..Percy was the son of James Wills (above) and had been born  in 1884 and was baptised at Barnham,Sussex on March 23,1884. He was living with his parents and siblings at the time of the 1891 census at the Toad Rock Retreat. The 1901 census, taken at “vessels Royal Navy, Gibraltar” recorded Percy as an ordinary seaman and one of several young men serving on the ship MARS. In the 2nd qtr of 1909 Percy married Fanny May Leach at Chichester,Sussex. Fanny had been born 1879 at Chester,Sussex. The 1911 census, taken at 1 Upper Street, Toad Rock Retreat,Rusthall, gave Percy as a beer retailer. With him was his wife Fanny M. Wills. They were living in premises of 6 rooms and the census records that they had no children. The 1913 Kelly directory listed Percy at the Toad Rock Retreat, but left the premises sometime before 1918. Probate records gave Percy George Wills of 53 York Road,Chichester when he died January 8,1953 at St Richards Hospital in Chichester. The executor of his 483 pound estate was his wife Fanny Mary Wills.

Probate records noted that Fanny Mary Wills was of 53 York Road,Chichester when she died October 19,1953 at St Richards Hospital,Chichester, The executor of her 800 pound estate was Oliver Emily Jeannette Clinch (wife of Henry George Clinch), who was possibly her married daughter.

[D] JAMES JOSEPH FORD……….. James is found at the Toad Rock Retreat in directories of 1918 and 1922. James was born in the 1st qtr of 1868 at Speldhurst, and was one of eleven children born to Michael Ford (1821-1899) and Fanny Jenner Ford, born 1824. James lived in Speldhurst with his parents and siblings up to and including 1891 when in that year he was living at 44 Lower Green, Rusthall, New Town and working as a carman. His father Michael was a carter and had been born in Penshurst,Kent in 1821. His mother Fanny was also born in Penshurst. In 1892 James Joseph Ford married Constance Frances Godley who had been born 1869 in Speldhurst.  The 1901 census, taken at 19 Stone Street,Tunbridge Wells, gave James Joseph Ford as a carman employer. With him was his wife Constance and children Victor, age 7,born 1894 in Tunbridge Wells, and Reginald, born 1898 in Tunbridge Wells. The 1911 census, taken at 1 Gladstone Road, Rusthall, gave James Joseph Ford  as a carman and contractor. With him was his wife Constance; and his children Victor James Joseph Ford, age 17, a haytrusser; Reginald Lewis Ford, age 13, at school; Leonard William Frank Ford, age 6 , at school. The census recorded that they were living in premises of 4 rooms; had been married 19 years and their three children were still living.  Military records show what his son Victor James Joseph Ford had enlisted for service in WW 1 at Maidstone July 3,1916 and served as a private (G11453) with the 10th Btn Royal West Kent Regiment. His father was given as next of kin. Victor was killed in France October 26,1916. He had served 155 days at home and 162 days in France. He died of wounds received in action.

James Joseph Ford died in May 1951 in Tunbridge Wells and was  buried at the Tunbridge Wells Borough cemetery on May 21,1951. His wife Constance had died in Tunbridge Wells in the 1st qtr of 1914.

[E] FREDERICK MILLS………..Frederick was found at the Toad Rock Retreat in the 1935 directory but most likely took over the pub from James Joseph Ford in the early 1930’s. Frederick was baptised October 1,1876 at Speldhurst and was one of seven known children born to Thomas Mills, a farm labourer , and Mary Mills. At the time of the 1881 census Frederick was living with his parents and six siblings at Brooomhill Bank,Speldhurst. The 1891 census, taken at 40 Lower Green, Rusthall New Town,Speldhurst gave Frederick as a farm labourer who was living with his parents and four siblings. His father Thomas was employed at that time as a carter. Frederick died in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1941.

[F] ARTHUR CHARLES DUNLOP…… Arthur was found at the Toad Rock Retreat in directories of 1937 and 1938. He was born in the 4th qtr of 1901 at Blackheath,Kent, one of four children born to Arthur Victor Dunlop (1876-1944) and Nellie Selina Watkins (1877-1969). Arthurs parents were married in 1899.The 1911 census, taken at 41 Addington Road, Margate gave Arthur Victor Dunlop as an assistant superintendant of agents for the Prudential Assurance co. Ltd. Living with him was his wife Nellie and his four children Ivor, Leslie,Doris and Arthur Charles Dunlop who was attending school. The family were living in premises of 7 rooms. Sometime  in the 1930’s Arthur Charles Dunlop moved to Tunbridge Wells and while living in the town he married Evelyn Gladys Knight (1912-1992) in Tunbridge Wells. Evelyn was one of two children born to Harold George Knight (1891-1958) and Ethel Mary Knight, nee Bench (1888-1979). Probate records gave Arthur of 144 Whitton Road, Twickenham,Middlesex when he died July 4,1964 at West Middlesex Hospital Islenworth,Middlesex, The executor of his 2,229 pound estate was his wife Evelyn Gladys Dunlop. In 1986 Evelyn married Frederick George Luker (1908-1997) at Eastbourne,Sussex. She died in the 4th qtr of 1992 at Reading, Berkshire.

[G] LESLIE WILLIAM HOOPER……..Leslie was the licenced victualler of the Toad Rock Retreat from at least 1958 to 1960. Leslie was born 1904 at Hampshire, one of four children born to James William Hooper (19=865-1934) and Ethel Marie Octavia Hooper, nee Brookes (1877-1956> James and Ethel were married in in 1904. At the time of the 1911 census he was living with his parents and siblings at 43 A Moat Street in Lambeth,London. His father worked as an actor. In the 2nd qtr of 1930 Leslie married Ivy Muriel Excell (1906-1983) at Croydon,Surrey. Details about any children born to the couple were not investigated. Leslie died in Tunbridge Wells in 1983 and was cremated at the Kent and Sussex Crematorium  on February 22,1983. His wife Ivy was cremated at the same place on April 21,1983.

[H] TOM SNOOK………Tom took over the Toad Rock Retreat in early 2009 at a time when the establishment had fallen into a sad decline. The pub was said to have been “revived with a fanfare in July of that year” by Tom who used to manage the Rusthall Social Club and had known the village all his life. In 2012 he left this pub and moved on to manage the King’s Head in Robertsbridge.

[I] SYLVIA AND CHRIS KOLYOS……….Sylvia and her son Chris took over the Toad Rock Retreat from Tom Snook  November 27, 2012. They used to run a pub in Horam,Sussex. Sylvia’s husband, Petro, died in 2010. In 2012 Chris was 45 years of age. A current photo of their pub is shown opposite. They still run the pub in 2015. Their takeover of the pub was announced in the Kent and Sussex Courier on December 11,2012.


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