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

Date: March 29,2015


Trevenen James Holland (1834-1910) had a long and distinguished military career in India, and wrote about his experiences. He retired in 1872 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He had been born in Bombay, India and was the son of Colonel James Holland (1805-1889) and Jane Glegg Burns.

In 1858 he married Margaret Emma Nicholson(1840-1922), the 4th daughter of Peter Nichoslon, the former owner of a large plantation in British Guina, and was a slave owner. With Margaret Trevenen he had many children but most did not survive long. His son Captain Charles Trevenen Townsend Holland (1883-1915)was killed in WW 1. His name however is not recorded on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial.

On June 2,1869 he was nominated C.B. and received many medals and orders. In August 1871 he retired from the army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and became the J.P. for Kent and Cornwall.

In 1882 while living in Snodland,Kent  he was taken into partnership with the firm C. Townsend Hook & Co of the Paper Works at Snodland, and was still a partner in the firm when he moved to Tunbridge Wells, and took up occupancy of a grand home called Mount Ephraim House near Bishops Down.

During his occupancy of Mount Ephraim House (photo opposite)he was Justice of the Peace for Kent and Deputy Lieutenant; a Justice of the Peace for Cornwall and Sussex; Alderman of the Kent County Council and contested Colchester as a Conservative in the Parliamentary Election of 1900 but was unsuccessful in this last endevour.

Mr Holland and his family continued to live at Mount Ephraim House up to the time of his death on February 21,1910, with his widow and some of his children continuing to live there up to the time her death there in 1922. After her death the ownership of the house passed to another family.

This article reports on the life and times of Trevenen James Holland and his family with a brief overview of Mount Ephraim House, the history of which I reported on in detail in my article entitled ‘Mount Ephraim House And Its Occupants’ dated February 18,2013.

Shown above is the family crest of Trevenden James Holland. The description of the crest reads “Liet. Col. Treveen Holland C.B., Mount Pleasant House,Tunbridge Wells..out of a ducal coronet a demi-lion rampant guardant holding between the paws a fleur-de-lis ‘Bis Vincit gui se vincit’”, as given in Fairbairns Book of Crests.


Trevenen James Holland was born May 31,1834 at Bombay India. He was the son of Colonel James Holland (1805-1889) and Jane Glegg Burns, the 4th daughter of James Burns and Elizabeth Glegg. Jane had been born at Montrose,Ango-Scotland  October 11,1810 and had married her husband July 11,1833 at Ahmedabad India. Colonel James Holland was the quartermaster-general of the Bombay Army who retired from  active service on February 14,1857 and died April 16,1889. Colonel James Holland and his wife had the following children; Trevenen James Holland(1834-1910); Edward Burns Holland (1836-1874);Charles Wroughton Holland (born 1845) and Cecilia Agnes Holland born 1846.Elizabeth Holland nee Glegg died September 8,1894 at Croydon,Sussex.

Trevenen James Holland, the eldest son, decided to make the military his career, following In his father’s footsteps. He became an Ensign with the Bombay Infantry in 1851 and was appointed to the 13th Bombay Native Infantry in 1853. Shown opposite is a painting showing an officer with the 13th Bombay Native Infantry which a decendent of the Holland family states is an image of Trevenen. Shown below that is a generic image of the Bombay Native Infantry.

Continuing with his military career, he became a Lieutenant in 1856 and joined the Bombay Staff Corps in 1861. He became Captain in 1863 and Major in 1868 and in 1872 became a Lieutenant Colonel(retired). He was made Deputy-Assistant Quarter Master General, Northern Division in 1858 and served as Assistant Quarter master General throughout the Persian Campaign of 1856-1857, including the storming and capture of Reshira, the surrender of Bushire, the forced march to Borasjou, the battle of Kooshub, the bombardment and capture of forts at Mohamra, and the pursuit of the Persian Army (Medal with clasp and mentioned in despatches three times). He served again in the Quarter Master General’s Department with the Central India Field Force under Sir Hugh Rose, and was present at the action of Kotab-Ke-Seral where his horse was wouded. Her was involved in the storming  of various heights occupied by the enemy, and all the succeeding operations up to and including the general operation of June 19,1858, and the attack and capture of Lushgar and the town and fort of Gwalior (Medal and clasp). He served also as Assistant Quarter Master General of Sir John Michel: Division in Malwa, and was present at the action of Bioura (mentioned in despatches). He served as Assistant Quarter Master General in the General’s Department at Headquarters throughout the Abyssinian Campaign in 1867-1868. He was present at the capture of Maydala (Brevet of major, D.B. and Medal).Lord Napier in his despatches mentions “that Captain Hollands exertions have been conspicuous, and the exactness, promptitude, and ability with which they have  been carried out deserve my warmest commendation”. He also was a Government Interpreter in Shindhee,Persian,Arabic, and other Asiatic tongues.He was with the 10th Hussars in the Crimea.

Trevenen wrote of his military experiences, the most well -known of which was a book he co-authored called ‘A History of the Abyssian Campaign”  with Henry Hontague Hozier in 1870 which was entitled “Record of Expedition to Abyssinia”.He also wrote extensively about other military matters but perhaps best remembered for the aforementioned two volume work about Abyssinia.He is also referred to in the book ‘The War in Abyssinia’ published in 1936. Another example of Trevenen’s accounts is “Indians of Ethiopia-their Role and History’. It is said while in Ethiopia that he “pillaged  some early Christian manuscripts”.

On March 23,1858 Trevenen  married Margaret Emma Nicholson (1840-1922), the daughter of the late Peter Nicholson (1791-1855), of Strath, Isle of Skye at Karoonis Sindh,Palistan..She had been born 1840 at British Guina and was one of seven children in the family.The marriage took place in Trinity Church, Kurrachee, Bombay, India. A review of slave registers under the name of Peter Nicholson showed that in 1814 he had nine male slaves and one female slave working on his plantation at Berbice Guina. They were ages 14 to 38, all black, and all from Africa. Most of them were working in the fields of the plantation with one domestic and “one body servant” and one driver. The following year he had seventeen slaves.

On June 2,1869 Treveven  was nominated C.B. and received many medals and orders. In August 1871 he retired from the army with the rank of Colonel and became the J.P. for Kent and Cornwall.

His children were JessieAgnes  Holland born May 7,1861 at Mumbai, Maharashta,India,died September 25,1861; Emily Bertram Holland born September 18,1862 at Pune, Maharashta,India; Emily Gertrude Holland born October 15,1863 (who married June 30,1886 Andrew Noble Bertram of Clober,Stirlingshire);Dora Mary Holland born 1865 at Pune Mumbai,Maharashta,India, who died October 1,1866;Arthur Trevenen Holland born February 3,1866 at Pune Mumbai,Maharashta,India, who died March 15,1866;Mary Enid Margaret Holland born October 18,1872,at Upper Norwood,Surrey, who died 1935; Lilian Elaine Holland born June 9,1874,at Upper Norwood,Surrey, who died 1962;Ethel May Holland born April 16,1877,at Upper Norwood,Surrey and Charles Trevenen Towsend Holland born July 19,1882 at Snodland,Kentt, who  became a Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery as well as Captain. He married Annie Amelia Swinton, daughter of Charles Francis Edward Swinton on February 27,1911.He had a son Noel Trevenen James Holland(1911-1987).He died Mary 9,1915.Further details about Charles Trevenen Towsend Holland are given in the next section of this article.

The Printing Times of 1882 gives the following information “ Messrs C. Townsend Hook & Co of the Paper Works at Snodland inform us that they have taken into partnership their friend Lieut-Col. Trevenen James Holland. C.B. who has for the past three years been confidently associated with them in their business. The firm will hereafter consist of the following members; Edith Ann Hook,Maude Midsummer Hook, Agnes Darlington Hook and Trevenen James Holland”. The Hook business had been founded by Samuel Hook with his wife Anna Maria and his five children. The hook family had moved from Chalford,Glouchestershire to Maidstone in 1852 when Samuel took a partnership in the paper mill there. Two years later his son Charles Townsend,age 22, acquired the Snodland mill.By 1882 the company was employing some 350 people and manufacturing in the order of 90 tons of paper.Following C.T. Hooks death February 11,1877 the family appointed Trevenen James Holland as manager of the mill. He built Ivymeith (now the offices of the Mid-Kent Water Company) during the 1880’s but lived there for only a few years before moving to Tunbridge Wells. Nevertheless he remained formally in charge of the business until his death although William Dedrick, the General Manager, effectively ran the business. A photo of the paper mill is shown opposite.

The 1871 census taken at Tudor Road, Penge, Surrey records Trevenen James Holland as “ Major C.B. Bombay Army active list” . Living with him is his wife Margaret and his daughter Emily and two domestic servants.

The 1881 census taken at Ivy Heath High Street Snodland,Kent records the presence of Trevenen as Lt Col C.B. of H.M. Army retired with full pay; formerly of H.M. Staff Corps 8th Hussiers & Rifles. Living with him is his wife Margaret; thee of his daughters, one governess  and three domestic servants.

The 1891 census was taken at 94 Mount Ephraim (Mount Ephraim House). It records Trevenen as a J.P. ,living on own means.Living with him was his wife Margaret; three daughters and son Charles; a niece; a grandson; and five domestic servants. At Mount Ephraim Stable was James Elvey the estates groom and coachman along with his wife and daughter.

The 1901 census was also taken at Mount Ephraim House and lists Trevenen as a retired British Lieut-Col. Army officer and living with him was his wife Margaret and his two daughters Lilian and Ethel. Also present was his brother William Leonard, age 56 and six domestic servants. There was also a coachman/groom living with his family in the estates stables. It is perhaps interesting to note that the well-known Tunbridge War maker Thomas Barton was living next door in the white house (shown in the photo in the 'Overview'). Details about Thomas Barton and Tunbridge Ware can be found in the article I wrote a few years ago about the History of Tunbridge Ware and its Manufacturers.

On February 21,1910 Trevenen James Holland passed away at Mount Ephraim House leaving an estate valued at about 138,000 pounds. His executors were John Smith and Henry Oxley Ingram,esquires. Trevenen was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on February 25,1910. After he died his widow and some of the children  continued to occupy Mount Ephraim House.

The 1911 census taken at Mount Ephraim House records Margaret Emma Holland,age 71, a widow, living on own means. With her are two of her daughters and five servants.The census records that she had been married 52 years; had 9 children; but that only four of them were still living,but it appears that there were actually five survivors. It also records that Mount Ephraim House was a large mansion consisting of 26 rooms.

The five surviving children were (1) Emily Gertrude Holland, born October 15,1863 at Belgaume,Bombay,India; baptised November 13,1863 Helgaum. She is last found living with her parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1891 census (2) Ethel May Holland, born 1877 Upper Norwood,Surrey; baptised July 1,1877 Surrey. She was living with her widowed mother and siblings at Mount Ephraim House at the time of the 1911 census (3) Mary Enid Margaret Trevenen Holland, born 1872 at Upper Norwood,Surrey, baptised December 6,1872 at St John Penge,Surrey. In 1891 she was living with her family at Mount Ephraim House. In 1899 she married Henry Oxley IOngham (1869-1945) at Tunbridge Wells and with him had a daughter Enid Olga Holland Ingham. In the following years she lived with her family in Yorkshire and she died January 17,1935 at Augill Brough Westmorland. (4) Lilian Elaine Holland, born 1874 Upper Norwood, baptised July 25,1874 at Saint John,Penge,Surrey. In 1911 she was living at Mount Ephraim House with her widowed mother and siblings. Probate records gave her of Glastonbury Somerset when she died February 2,1967 and gave her name as Elaine Mostyn of Topr Down Ashwell Lane, Glastonbury,Somersetshire, widow. A family tree indicates that she had married Charles Mostyn. The executor of her 7,065 pound estate was Olga Stokes,married woman and George Hugh Harland,solicitor. (5) Charles Trevenen Townsend Holland (1883-1915)…Details for him are given in the next section.

Margaret continued to live at Mount Ephraim House until she died there on December 7,1922. She left an estate valued at over 10,000 pounds and the executor was Henry Oxley Ingham, a retired army officer. Margaret was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on December 12,1922.After Margaret passed away Mount Ephraim House was put up for sale and it is believed by the researcher that this was the last time that Mount Ephraim House was used as a private residence and instead came into institutional use.


Charles had been born 1883 at Snodland,Kent. Like his father he decided at an early age to make the military his career. He was living with his parents and siblings at Mount Ephraim House at the time of the 1891 census but was absent from the family home after that.

The Harrow Memorials of the Great War gave the following “ Captain C.T.T. Holland,Royal Field Artillery. The Head Masters 1896-99.Died aged 32 May 9,1915, the only son of the late Col. Trevenen James Holland, C.B. and of Mrs Trevenen Holland of Mount Pleasant House,Tunbridge Wells. Attended Royal Military College Woolwich. Married 1911, and leaves one son. Captain Holland was gazetted for the Royal Field Artillery in 1901. He resigned his commission in 1908, and went out to British West Africa, but rejoined the Army on the outbreak of war. He went to the front in November 1914 with the 33rd Brigade, 8th Division R.F.A. The following extracts from letters received relate to the manner of his death on May 9,1915………”Col Graham wrote on May 10,1915-He was bored at the somewhat inactive time he had during the Neuve Chapelle fight and begged to be allowed to see more of this one, so he volunteered to go as what is called liaison officer with the Brigadier of the infantry with whom we are working in. It was a task that, had he been successful, would have brought him some distinction and reward ,but he hardly started with this at the beginning of the fight,when he was shot through the head and instantly killed. His orderly came back to report it, but no one could get out to where he was lying until the evening, when a party of men, at great risk to themselves, went out to find him.We got him in last night.He looked quite peaceful, and the doctor says he must have been killed instantly”. In another letter Captain Stirling wrote –“ I miss him greatly and his cheery ways. He lunched with me the day before the fight and was full of delight in getting away from the office into the field of action”. Captain Spencer wrote-“ He was liaison officer with the 25th Infantry Brigade, on the 9th and had volunteered for the duty. He had to maintain communications between that Brigade and ourselves. The Brigade came under very hot fire, and, as far as can be made out, he was repairing his telephone wire in the open. The telephonist with him could only give the vaguest description, as his nerves were much rattled at the time”.

The 1911 census, taken at 4 Darnley Terrace in Folkestone,Kent gave Charles as the head of the household with the occupation of “Lieut. R.F.A, retired”. Living with him was his wife Annie Amelia Holland, nee Swinden, bor 1884 in Lewisham,Kent. Also present in the 9 room house was two domestic servants. The census recorded that Charles and his wife had been married for less than a year and that they had no children.  Annie Amelia Swinton, the daughter of Charles Francis Edward Swinton, married Charles  on February 27,1911.Their son was Noel Trevenen James Holland(1911-1987).What became of Charles wife and son after 1911 was not investigated.

Annie Amelia Swinden is found living with her parents and siblings in Lewisham,Kent in 1891 and 1901. Based on these records her parents were Charles F.E.Swinden, born 1856 B irmingham,Warwickshire, with the occupation of “iron merchant employer”. Annies mother was Annie Amelia Swinden, born 1855 at Sedgefield,Durham. Annie was one of six children born to the couple between 1880 and 1898.

Probate records gave Charles Trevenen Townsend Holland of Mount Ephraim House,Tunbridge Wells , and that he died May 9,1915 in France. The executor of his 504 pound estate was Mary Elizabeth Pewtner Butt (wife of Henry Arthur Butt). It was strange that no mention of his wife was made in this record.

Shown in this section is a photo of Charles which was one of several published in The Illustrated London News of June 5,1915. Also shown is a cap badge for the Royal Field Artillery and photo of his headstone and the Rue-du-Bois Military Cemetery at Fleurbaix, France where he was buried (grave ref 11.C.2). His records show that he was with the 33rd Btn Royal Field Artillery at the time of his death and on his grave is written “Beloved only son of the late Colonel Trevenen Holland C.B.” . The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that he was the son of Liet. Col. T.T. Holland and Mrs T. Holland of Mount Ephraim House,Tunbridge Wells. His name is not recorded on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial.


Trevenen James Holland and his family took up residence at Mount Ephraim House after purchasing the estate from Frederick Wadham Elers in about 1890.

During is occupancy of Ephraim House he was Justice of the Peace for Kent and Deputy Lieutenant; a Justice of the Peace for Cornwall and Sussex; Alderman of the Kent County Council and contested Colchester as a Conservative in the Parliamentary Election of 1900 but was unsuccessful in this last attempt.

Given here are some photos of Mount Ephraim House and the “Overview” from my article entitled ‘Mount Ephraim House And Its Occupants’ dated February 18,2013, which should be consulted for a more detailed account .

“Mount Ephraim House, located at the corner of Mount Ephraim and Bishops Down, was constructed in the 17th century and was one of the earliest residences built in the area at that time. As can be seen from the image opposite, dated 1790, Mount Ephraim , with its commanding view of the Commons, became a favoured location for the construction of grand residences and boarding houses. There is a claim, although disputed, that Charles II and Queen Katharine stayed at Mount Ephraim House when they visited the town in 1663, while their court was camped in the Common.It is also reported that their camp in the Commons consisted of about forty tents costing over 2,600 pounds.This information is given in many sources including Peltons 1912 guide.If there is any truth to this storey, then Mount Ephraim House existed from at least 1663 and may well have been the only house on that part of Mount Ephraim at the time. Regardless of when it was built, the house you see on the site today, bearing the same name, is not the original house from the 17th century, but rather a replacement for it was constructed in the Victorian Era (1837-1901) and it bears most of the architectural features typical of that time.

Who constructed the original house and its replacement are unknown as is the actual date of construction for both. Also unknown is who occupied the residence throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and for that matter  the name(s)of  the occupants during the first quarter of the 19th century.Records after that time however note that its two main occupants were those firstly of the William Elders  family followed by the Trevenen James Holland Family. The occupancy of Mount Ephraim House by these two families gives a complete history from 1846 right up to 1922.

After 1922 the history of the building, and who its occupants were, becomes less certain, but it is known that the building came into institutional use around the time of WW II and remained so ever since. In 2013, and for many years before that , Mount Ephraim House has been an ‘Elderley Care Home’.Throughout the 20th century the building has been modified, added to and subtracted from, repeatedly and although some of the buildings Victorian exterior  features have been retained there have been considerable changes made to it, particularly towards the rear.The building today,however, still looks quite grand from the road and its features and history are worthy of recording.”



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

Date: March 16,2015


St Peters Church on Bayhall Road is a grand Gothic stone church built 1874/75,which was extended in 1889. St. Peter's parish was formed July 25th 1876.The church was designed by local architects Henry Hickman Cronk and E. Cronk. The site of the church lays on a  plot of land located on Bayhall Road east of Windmill Street, and sits on the former grounds of a windmill called Calverley Mill and in an area referred to as Windmill Fields. When built it was referred to as ‘the tallest building in Tunbridge Wells” and the only church in the town at that time with a peal of bells.

The church has been well maintained and over the passage of time alterations to the building have been made. The churches five bells were cast in 1875 by John Warner with a sixth bell added in 1879 and two more added in 1886, In 1919 the bells were recast and in 1954 the bells were overhauled. The clock in the tower was added in 1884. Other changes to the church are described in this article.

As is to be expected ,the church has had a number of vicars over the years. The first was Rev. Algernon Howell Smith (1845-1930) who served there from 1875 to 1885. The current vicar is Mike Warren and between these two men there were 13 other vicars.

Associated with the church was a vicarage, which from  about 1881/1883 until about 1960 was located at No. 6 Camden Park, a grand home designed by well- known church architect Ewen Christian (1814-1895), details of which are given in my article “The History of No. 6 Camden Park’ dated march 16,2015. After No. 6 Camden Park was sold by the church the vicars lived for a time in a Bishops’s House on Forest Road and in more recent times have occupied a 4 bedroom purpose built vicarage on Bayhall Road.

This article provides an overview of the history of St Peter’s Church and information about its vicars.


St Peters Church, on Bayhall Road ,was built 1874/1875 on a plot of land in an area known as Windmill Fields, on the site of one of the towns former grain grinding windmills, called the Calverley Mill, which had been taken down in the 1860’s, its machinery being salvaged and used in another mill. Details about this mill and its site can be found in my article ‘The Windmills of Tunbridge Wells’ dated March 27,2015.

The Wikipedia website gave the following; “Housing development in the Windmill Fields area east of the town on the road to Hawkenbury prompted the construction in 1874–75 of this spire-topped church to a design by H.H. Cronk. His brother E.E. Cronk helped him add a north aisle in 1889. The sandstone church is Decorated Gothic Revival in style.”

The original church of 1874/5 was designed by Henry Hickman Cronk (1839-1902) on his own.The E.E. Cronk referred to by Wikipedia was Henry’s cousin  Edwin Evans Cronk Henry’s brother was actually Egbert Cronk (1847-1925) who the researcher believes is the one who worked on the design of the 1889 extension and not E.E. Cronk. Henry and his brother and cousin at times worked together on a number of projects. Details about these architects are given in a later section of this article.

The 1883 Peltons guide gave the following “ St Peters is a new and handsome Gothic Church, erected during 1874-5, in Windmill Fields. This is the only church in Tunbridge Wells which possesses a peal of bells…..Hymnal Companion is the book used. The Rev. Algernon H. Smith M.A., is the vicar”. When the church was built, it was reported to be the tallest building in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1896 Peltons guide gave the following. “ St Peters is a new and handsome Gothic church created during 1874-75 in Windmill Fields, from the designs and plans of Messrs Cronk, and has been recently enlarged. This is the only church in Tunbridge Wells which possesses a peal of bells. The Rev. C. Courtenay M.A. is the vicar”.  

From Church history records it was noted that a clock was added to the church tower in 1885. A website providing details about the bells reported that the church was built  1874-75 to the design of architect H.H. and E. Cronk; that in 1876 the Parish of St Peter was created and that a ring of 5 bells was cast by John Warner with a tenor weighing 11-2-2; that in 1879 a treble was added by John Warner to augment the ring to 6; that in 1886 two bells were added to complete the octave; that in 1919 the bells were recast and rehung with new fittings by Gillett & Johnson and that on July 19,1919 the new bells were rung for the first time on Peace Celebration Day. In 1954 the bells were  overhauled. When the bells were recast in 1919 they bore the following names on them; “J.L. Cobham (Vicar) and Brendon R Collins and Charles F Catt, Church Wardens”.

Peltons 1912 guide gave “ST. PETER'S CHURCH, Bayhall Road. Built 1875, since which time considerable additions have been made. The only Church in Tunbridge Wells possessing a peal of bells (eight, by Messrs. Warner). 700 sittings, 270 being free. Register dates from 1876.Directories up to 1938 record the same number if sittings as those given in 1912.

Inside the church is a memorial plaque for those of the parish who gave their lives during WW 1, on which are listed 48 men. A photograph of the plaque is shown opposite.

‘Royal Tunbridge Wells-Past and Present -1946’ by Strange gave the following “ St. Peters Church-This parish was formed in 1876. The church, of local sandstone, was also the work of the local architects H.H. and E. Cronk. Its well-proportioned tower contains a peal of bells. The present vicar is Rev. R.H.Walker, M.A..Previous to 1876 this district was known as Windmill Fields”.

Up until the mid 20th century the vicars of the church lived in a vicarage at No. 6 Camden Park, but by the 1970’s the vicar was living at a Bishop’s residence on Forest Road, which according to Lindsey Sumpter, the Administrator of St Peter’s Church, was eventually sold by the diocese and a new purpose built 4 bedroom vicarage constructed for their use on Bayhall Road.

St Peters Church of England Primary School for children ages 5-11 is located on Windmill Street near the church. Mike Warren, the current vicar of St Peter’s is one of the governors of the school.


Given here are two articles previously written by me. The first is entitled  Henry Hickman Cronk-Architect’ dated March 13,2012 but updated April 7,2013. The second is entitled ‘Egbert Cronk-Architect’ dated March 24,2014. Henry and Egbert were brothers. It is understood that the initial church was designed by Henry Hickman Cronk on his own, and that his brother Egbert designed the later addition, although both brothers worked closely together on a number of projects.

[1} HENRY HICKMAN CRONK (1839-1902)

Henry Hickman Cronk's claim to fame in Tunbridge Wells was for the design he and his cousin  Edwyn Evan Cronk did for the extensive changes to St John's Church but later in this article is a description of the other projects he is known to have done,either alone or with his cousin Edwyn or with his brother Egbert.

Henry was born January 12,1839 at Rotherfield,Sussex and was christened  on January 25th at St Deny's Church.He was one of six boys and three girls born to John Cronk(1812-1851) and Elizabeth Taylor Cronk(nee Round)(1804-1875).His father John  was born March 1812 at Seal,Kent and his mother 1808 at the same place.His parents had been married September 29,1936 at St Peter's Church in Seal,Kent.

By the time the 1851 census was taken Henry's father had passed away and left his wife to look after the family farm (New Terrace Farm in Southborough)consisting of about 200-300 acres. To run the farm Elizabeth hired 9 men and 3 boys.In the census for that year Henry is living on the farm with his mother and four siblings.By the time the 1861 census was taken Henry had learned to be an architect by attending the South Kensington School of Art and articled with another architect.In the 1861 census taken on Mount Pleasant Road Henry is working as an architect and surveyor and living with his mother and two siblings Margaret ,age 15 and Egbert,age 13.

The Building News and Architectural Review of August 22,1862 announced that Henry Hickman Cronk was the architect of three residences in Tunbridge Wells for which he had received tenders from contractors and from which he selected the winning bids. The three residences were firstly a villa for Stephen Busden,esq, at #11 Hungershall Park, the second was a villa residence for Edward Churchill,esq, of Tunbridge Wells on Sand Rock Road. Churchill is best known locally as the proprietor of various hotels. The third residence was a villa for another Tunbridge Wells resident by the name of Charles Edwards, esq. No address was given for the last residence listed.

On May 1,1862 Henry married Emma Clark(1833-1923) in Tunbridge Wells and began to raise a family. With Emma he had seven daughters and one son,Cuthbert, who would later go on to a career as a music professor and for 40 years was the organist at St. John's Church in Tunbridge Wells.

In the 1891 census,taken at 4 Mount Ephraim Road, Henry is an architect and surveyor operating his own practice and has assistants working for him.With him at this address is his wife Emma and seven children.His son Cuthbert is a professor of music.In the 1901 census,taken at the same address, Henry is still running his architect/surveyor practice and living with him at this time was his wife Emma and eight of their children.

In addition to being an architect Henry is recorded in an 1867 directory as the secretary of the Literary,Scientific & Useful Knowledge Society at the Parade,Tunbridge Wells,a position he held until at least 1899.Henry was also the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells from 1893-1894.

His business premises in 1874 were at 2 Mount Ephrain and from at least 1881 to 1903 at #4 Mount Ephraim.The directory of 1899 records for the first time that he and his cousin Edwyn Evans Cronk are working together for the firm is listed as Henry H & E Cronk. In 1903 the company is still listed by this name at #4 Mount Ephraim even though records show that by 1887 Edwyn has left Tunbridge Wells and set up his own practice in Chelsea,London. However it is known that both Henry and Edwyn continued to work together on various projects and in some cases both of their names appear on the plans and specifications.

Some of the projects credited to Henry Cronk include the redesign of St Johns Church in 1887.The plans and specifications for this work bear the names H.H.Cronk and his cousin E.E.Cronk.Henry also designed St Peters Church in Tunbridge Wells in 1874.This church was the only one entirely designed by Henry on his own.The Vale Towers on London Road was a collaborative work by Henry and Egbert Cronk.Henry also designed the bank at the top of Mount Pleasant which was at that time called  Beechings,Hodghin & Beeching Bank.The manager of this bank was Henry's eldest brother Richard Widen Cronk.Since November 1,1890 this bank had been Lloyds Bank.In 1862 Henry Cronk designed Ashdown House at #11 Hungershall Park,Tunbridge Wells.At 76 Mount Ephraim,Molyneux Place is a building that began as a mansion called Earl's Court.In 1904 Henry Cronk added two floors and a rear addition to the original building which served thereafter as Earl's Court Hotel.Henry is also credited with the design of "Bredbury" an Italionate mansion called Bredbury House on Mount Ephraim.Henry was also called in to provide his input April 1,1870 at a meeting of the members of the Corn Exchange for the purpose of seeing if more space could be obtained.The records held by the Centre orf Kentish Studies for St John's Church indicate that they have the plans for the 1897 changes to St John's Church and that the set of 13 plans bear the names of H.H.Cronk and E.Cronk.Also,a plan with both their names on it is on file regarding a seating plan for the church dated November 1896.Also on file bearing the same names are various plans dated 1909-1913 regarding alterations and additions to the interior of St John's Church.Also on file is a set of 10 plans bearing the name of H.H and E Cronk dated February-May 1892 regarding additions to the Girls Memorial School and another set of three plans dated 1901 for proposed additions to the Girls Memorial School.The firm of H.H. and E. Cronk were also hired by the carriage building firm of Rock & Son of Hastings to design for construction in 1892 a large four floor brick and stone building at the north east corner of Grosvenor Road and Grosvenor Park in Tunbridge Wells. Although there was an extensive five in this building in 1915 it was saved and restored to its former glory and still exists today as a commercial building. No doubt other projects Henry Cronk undertook will be uncovered with further research.

Architect Stanley William Worth Delves,who in the period of 1895-1914 was an architect in Tunbridge Wells, articles with Henry Hickman Cronk at the beginning of his career. Architect Egbert Augustine Crooke also articled to Henry Cronk and Edwyn Cronk when they were working as partmers.

Henry Hickman Cronk passed away on December 11,1907 at #4 Mount Ephraim Road,Tunbridge Wells.His estate of just over 21,000 pounds was left to Egbert Cronk,architect,Constance Emma Cronk,his spinster sister and to Cuthbert Cronk,organist.

[2] EGBERT CRONK (1847-1925)

Egbert Cronk's claim to fame in Tunbridge Wells was being a church warden of St Johns' Church for 30 years; preparing as an architect a ground plan for St John's Church October 1920;the design of St Luke's Church on Silverdale Road  in 1910 and with his brother Henry Hickman Cronk(1839-1902) the Vale Towers on London Road opposite the Commons. His name is also given ,along with his brother Henry Hickman Cronk for design work on St Peters Church that was built in 1874/75 with an addition in 1889. It is believed that the initial design of St Peters was by Henry and that Egbert designed the addition.

Egbert Cronk was born August 20,1847 at Southborough,Kent. His parents were John Cronk(1816-1851) and Elizabeth Taylor Cronk(1808-1875).He had five brothers and three sisters.In 1861 Egbert was living with his widowed mother,a fund holder;his brother Henry Hickman;one sister and two servants.Edbert at this time was a student.In the 1871 census taken at 30 Mount Pleasant Road,Egbert is living with his mother,his brother Arthur,age 27, a tutor with a B.A. from London and his sister Margaret,age 25,a governess. Edgert at this time is an architect’s clerk.In the 1881 census,taken at 30 St John's Road,Egbert is a single man working as an architect and living with his mother,three sisters,two nieces of his mother,three boarders and two servants. In the 1891 census, taken at 30 St John’s Road Egbert was an architect living with his sister Margaret W. Cronk,single,age 45 who was the school mistress of a girls school at that location.Also present were two servants and eight girls between the ages of seven and 14 who were boarding at the school.Among the students were five sisters of the Snelling family, of which Lilian (1879-1971) became a world famous artist. For details about her life see my article ‘Lilian Snelling And Her Artistic Career ‘dated April 21,2014.In the 1901 census,taken at 30 St John's Road Egbert is a single man working as an architect and living with his sister Margaret,age 55.There was also one visitor (Lilian Snelling)b;two studnets and two servants in the householdat the girls school.

Egbert obtained his training as an architect at the Kensington School of Art,just as his brother Henry did.He articled to his brother Henry.Directories for 1899 to 1903 record him as a surveyor at 30 St John's Road. Directories of 1913 to 1922 record him as an architect and survey at 4 Mount Ephraim,the business address of the architectural firm of his brother.From 1923-1925 he is recorded as a surveyor and architect at 30 St John's Road.

Egbert is not found in the Directory of British Architects except in reference to him articling with his brother.On October 29,1925 Egbert passed away at 30 St John's Road and left his estate of 3,861 pounds to his sisters Constance Emma Cronk and Mary Augusta Cronk,both spinsters.


Given below is a list of church vicars covering the period of 1875 to 2015. Details about each of them are also given below.

1875-1885…………      Algernon Howell Smith (1845-1930)

1885-1892………...     Joseph Edmund Rogers (1856-1906)

1892-1895…………     Robert William Atkinson (1859-1910)

1895-1911…………     Charles Courtenay (1850-1936)

1912-1919…………     John Lawrence Cobham (1873-1960)

1919-1921………….    William Henry Ferguson (1862-1929)

1921-1935………….    Henry Lynden Potter (1877-1943)

1935-1940………….    Hubert Leonard Fenn

1940-1943…………...   Edward Frederick Yorke

1943-1948…………….  Robert H. Walker

1948-1952…………….  F.C. Ellis

1952-1955…………….. H.R. Ward

1959-1992……………..  John W. Hurst

1992-2004…………….   Richard Payne

2004-2015…………….  Michael Philip Warren


Algernon was the first vicar of St Peter’s Church..He was born in the 2nd qtr of 1845 in Margate,Kent, being one of three known children born to Sydney Smith (born 1807) and Frances Mary Smith, nee Richardson (1815-1892).

The Cambridge Univeristy Alumni records give the following “Adm. pens. at CAIUS, June 28, 1865. S. of the Rev. Sydney (1828), of Worth, Sandwich, Kent. B. [1845], at Margate. Bapt. May 4, 1845. School, Sandwich. Matric. Michs. 1865; Scholar; B.A. (15th Wrangler) 1869; Tyrwhitt Hebrew Scholar, 1871; M.A. 1872. Ord. deacon (Ely) 1870; priest, 1871; C. of St Paul's, Cambridge, 1870-3. C. of Seaton Carew, Durham, 1873-4. C. of All Saints, Monkwearmouth, 1874-5. V. of St Peter's, Tunbridge Wells, 1875-85. R. of St James, Dover, 1885-1906. R. of Wittersham, 1906-26. Publ. Pr., dio. of Rochester, 1926-30. Married, Oct. 2, 1879, Ada Charlotte, dau. of F. Wickins Smith, of Blackheath. Resided latterly at Tunbridge Wells, where he died June 1, 1930. Brother of Archibald G. (1876); father of Arthur D. (1899, sub Howell-Smith). (Venn, II. 371; Crockford; The Times, June 7, 1930.)”

The 1851 census, taken at Margate St John The Baptist,Kent gave Sydney Smith as a Chaplan , born 1807 in London. With him was his wife Frances, also born in London, as well as the children Sydney and Algernon. Also present were three pupils and three servants. The 1861 census, taken at the Vicarge on Worth Street in Worthj,Kent gave Sydney as the incumbent of Worth. With him was his wife Frances, his son Sydney, and articles clerk to an architect, and children Algernon and Archibald. Also present was one visitor and three servants.

At the time of the 1871 census, Algernon had left home was a curate of St Pauls Cambridge. He was living as a lodger with the Dixon family at St Andrew the Less,Cambridgeshire.

In 1879 Algernon married Ada Charlotte Smith (maiden name unknown) (1848-1920). After the marriage Algernon and his wife moved to Tunbridge Wells,  and with her had the following children(1) Arthur Denner H. Smith born 1880 (2)Sydney Gerard Howell Smith ,born 1883 (3) Eva M.H. Smith,born 1887. All of the children were born in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1881 census, taken at 8 Prospect Road, Tunbridge Wells recorded Algernon as the vicar of St Peter’s Church. With him was his wife Ada, born 1846 at Greenwich,Kent and their son Arthur, with two domestic servants. Algernon left St Peters Church in 1885.

The 1891 census, taken at The St James Rectory on Harold Street, in Dover,Kent gave Algernon as the rector of St James Dover.With him was his wife Ada and his three children along with two servants. The 1901 census, taken at the same place has Algernon with the same occupation. With him was his wife; his children Arthur and Eva, and one visitor.

The 1911 census, taken at The Rectory, Wittersham,Kent gave Algernon as a clerlk in holy orders. With him was his wife Ada, a nurse, and two domestic servants. The census records they were living in four rooms; that the couple had been married 31 years (1880) and of the four children they had only three were still living.

Probate records gave Ada Charlotte Smith of The Rectory Wittersham when she died November 22,1920. Her husband was the executor of her 167 pound estate. Probate records for Algernon gave him of Rydal Bank, 28 Mountfield Gardens, Tunbridge Wells, when he died on June 1,1930. The execitors of his 13,358 pound estate were Sydney Gerard Howell Smith, his son, a schoolmaster, and John Henry Gill,solicitor, No burial record for Algernon in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery was found.

[2] JOSEPH EDMUND ROGERS (1856-1906) 

Joseph was the vicar of St Peter’s from 1885 to 1892. An image of him is shown opposite. Joseph was born July 28,1856 at Areley Kings, Stourport on Severn,Worcestershire, being one of three known children born to Joseph Rogers,born 1827, and Mary Elizabeth Rogers, nee Nichols, born 1837. Joseph was baptised at Arely Kings August 23,1856.

The Cambridge Univeristy Alumni records give the following “Adm. pens. at CHRIST'S, June 7, 1875. S. of Joseph. B. July 28, 1856 at Stourport, Worcs. School, Shrewsbury. Matric. Michs. 1875; B.A. 1879; M.A. 1884. Ord. deacon (London), 1880; priest, 1881; C. of St Paul's, Onslow Square, London, 1880-5. V. of St Peter's, Tunbridge Wells, 1885-92. V. of Gt. Yarmouth, 1892-1900. Hon. Canon of Norwich. R. of Walcot, Bath, 1900-6. Preb. of Wells, 1904-6. Died Oct. 31, 1906, aged 50. (Crockford; Peile, II. 641; The Times, Nov. 3, 1906.)”

The 1861 census, taken at Arely Kings,Worcestershire rave Joseph Rogers as a farmer and tanner, born in Worcestershire. With him was his wife Mary Elizabeth and three children,including Joseph. Also present was one visitor and four servants. The 1871 census talen at Well House, Hanley Castle, Worcestershire records Joseph as a pupil in school .

The 1881 census,taken at 102 Beaifort Street in Chelsea,London gave Joseph living with the the Lubback family and working as the curate of St Basils South Kensington.

On July 24, 1883 Joseph married Mary Catherine Elizabeth Watson (1860-1913) at St Paul’s Church Kensington, London.  Josephs father was given as Joseph Rogers, gentleman, and the father of his spouse was given as James Watsomn (deceased) publisher. Mary had been born at St Pancras,London and died March 9,1913 at 9 The Circus, Bath.

The 1901 census, taken at Home Lea, Charlcombe,Somerset gave Joseph as a clergyman C of E. With him was his wife Mary and four servants. Joseph and his wife never had children.

Probate records gave Rev prebendary Jospeh Edmund Rogers of Holm Lea, Lansdown ,Bath, clerk, who died October 31,1906. His wife was the executor of his 18,365 pound estate.


Robert was the vicar of St Peters from 1892 to 1895. The records of the Cambridge University Alumi gave the following “Adm. pens. at ST JOHN'S, Oct. 2, 1879. S. of Samuel, inn-keeper. B. at Shipley, Yorks. Bapt. Sept. 30, 1859. Matric. Michs. 1879; B.A. 1883; M.A. 1886. Ord. deacon, 1882; priest (Ripon) 1883. C. of Christ Church, Armley, 1882-7. C. of St Paul's, Onslow Square, London, 1887-92. V. of St Peter's, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 1892-5. V. of St John's, Deptford, 1895-1907. V. of Hammerwood with Holtye, 1907-10. Died Dec. 16, 1910, at Tunbridge Wells. (Records of Rochester; Scott, MSS.).

Robert was born 1859 in Shipley,Yorkshire, one of four known children born to Samuel Atlinson(1802-1975) and Sarah Atkinson,nee Moore (1821-1888)..Robert was baptised September 30,1859 at the parish of St Paul,Shipley,Yorkshire.

The 1861 census, taken at 1 Westgate, Shipley,Yorkshire recorded Samuel Atkinson as born in Shipley,Yorkshire and working as an innkeeper. With him was his wife  Sarah and their son Robert William Atkinson. Also present was one bar staff and three servants.In 1871 Robert was away at school.

The 1881 census, taken at 14 Commercial Road in Shipley,Yorkshire recorded Robert as an undergraduate at Cambridge University. He was living with his widowed mother Sarah .Also in the home was a 4 year old Sarah Ann Atkinson.

On June 18,1889 Robert married Florence Edith Hunt at St Paul,Kensington. Robert was given in the marriage records as a clerk in holy orders ,living at 16 Sydney Street in Chelsea, the son of Samuel Atkinson, a deceased gentleman. Florence was a spinster of St Paul Onslow parish, living at 3 Onslow Gardens in South Kensington . Her father was given as Edmond D’arcy Hunt and an Emily Hunt ,her mother, was a witness to the marriage. Florence was born 1864 in Kensington, one of eight children born to Edmund D’arcy Hunt (1825-1891) and Emily Hunt,born 1842 in Canterbury,Kent. Edmunt D’arcy Hunt had been born in Wimbledon,Surrey and at the time of the 1881 census he was a” Lieut. Colonel late 61st Dragoons.

The 1901 census was taken at St John’s Vicarage at Depford,Kent. Recorded there was Robert William Atkinson, clergyman C of E. with him was his wife Florence and their two children Basis F.C. Atkinson, born 1896 in Tunbridge Wells and Aileen W. Ditrcy Atkinson, born 1900 at Deptford,Kent. These were the only children known to have been born to the couple.

Probate records show that Robert William Atkinson was of 8 Garden Road,Tunbridge Wells when he died December 16,1910. The executor of his 3,552 pound estate was his wife Florence. Robert was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on December 19,1910. His wife Flroence was buried in the same cemetery on September 24,1943, having survived him by 33 years.

[4] CHARLES COURTENAY (1850-1936)

Charles Courtenay  was the vicar of St Peters from 1895 to 1911. Crockfords 1932 Clerical Directory gave the following “ Charles Courtenay T.C.D. ..BA 1889; MA 1892;d 1872; p 1874 Ex.C of Quethiock,Cornw 1872-75; Lowestoft 1875-78; St Pail Onslow Swuare 1878-82; Vicar of Upper Armley,Leeds 1882-87; P.C. of Em. Ch. Everton 1887-95; Vicar of St Peter’s Church Tunbridge Wells 1895-1911; Chap. Of Holy Trinity Rome 1912-19; In 1932 at Wiston. Coppice Way,Hawywards Heath.”

Charles was born 1850 in Truro,Cornwall, one of five known children born to Matthew Coirtenay (1808-1880) and Elizabeth Courtenay, born 1808. The 1851 census, taken at Truro St Mary, Cornwall gave Matthew Courtenay as a gentleman running his own confectioners and grocers business. He had been born in Truro,Cornwall. With him was his wife Elizabeth, born in Cornwall  and five of his children, including Charles. Also present was one apprentice and two servants.The 1861 census, taken at the same place records Matthew as a confectioner and grocer, and with him was his wife Elizabeth and three children, including Charles. Charles and his two sisters at that time were working as assistants in their fathers shop. The 1871 census, taken at the same place recorded Matthew running his confectioners and grocers shop, and with him was his wife Elizabeth and their three children. Charles was working at this time as a clerk in the town office and his two sisters were working as assistants in their fathers shop.

In the 1st qtr of 1878 Charles married Ellen Louisa Aldred at Mulford,Suffolk. She was born 1853 in Blything,Suffolk, and died in 1926. She was one of at least two children born to William Henry Aldred, who in 1861 was a linen and woollen draper employing others. Her mother was Ellen M. Aldred. The 1861 census, taken at the ‘Thoroughfare’ in Halesworth gave William running his linen/woollen drapers shop employing several assistants. With him was his wife Ellen, his two daughters Ellen Louisa and Gertrude. Also there was a governess, seven drapers assistants and five grocers assistants and four apprentices.At the time of the 1871 census, Ellen Louisa Aldred was  living at 2 Esplanade, Lowestoft,Suffolk , given with the occupation of ‘drapers dasughter’. Living with her were two servants.

Charles and his wife had the following children (1) Gertrude,born 1879 in Kensington,London (2) Charles A, born 1884 at Armley,Leeds,Yorkshire (3) Ashley R, born 1889 at St Margarets Annfield,Liverpool (4) Hugh A, born 1893 at Liverpool.

The 1881 census, taken at 5 Gilster Road in Kensington gave Charles as the Curate of St Paul’s Church. With him was his wife Ellen, his daughter Gertrude, and two servants.

The 1891 census, taken at 23 Newsham Drive, Walton in Hill, Lancashire gave Charles as the vicar of Emmanuel Church. With him was his wife Ellen, three of his children and four servants.

The 1901 census, taken at 6 Camden Park, St Peter’s Vicarage, Tunbridge Wells, gave Charles as the vicar of St Peter’s Church. With him was his wife Ellen ,his two sons Charles and Hugh, one boarder and three servants. The 1911 census, taken at the same address, gave Charles as the vicar of St Peter’s Church. With him was his wife Ellen and three servants. The census recorded that their residence had 14 rooms; that they had been married 33 years (1878) and that all four of their children were still living.

Probate records for Ellen Louisa Courtenay gave her of Windy Brae Danecourt Road, Parkstone,Dorset (wife of Rev Charles Courtenay) and that she died March 17,1926. The executors of her 11,473 pound estate were her husband and Robert Maysade Manser,solicitor. Ellen was buried at Parkstone St Peter, Dorset.

Probate records for Rev Charles Courtenay gave him of The Albany Hotel, Hastings,Sussex ,clerk, when he died December 26,1936. The executors of his 6,310 pound estate were Ashley Reginald Courtenay, advertising consultant, and Gertrude Rebecca St John Manser, married woman, the daughter.

 From my research of the Boys Brigate I noted that a Boys Brigate was established at St Peters Church in February 1895 but it ended in May 1900. It originally was known as the 1st Tonbridge Boys Brigade but later became the 3rd West Kent Boy’s Brigade. Rev Courtenay was the captain of this brigade.

[5] JOHN LAWRENCE COBHAM (1873-1960)

John Lawrence Cobham was the vicar of St Peters from 1912 to 1919. The records of the Cambridge University Alumni gave the following “Adm. pens. at CORPUS CHRISTI, Sept. 29, 1891. Of Lancs. S. of John, Esq., of Liverpool. B. May 12, 1873, at Waterloo, near Liverpool. School, Merchant Taylors', Gt Crosby. Matric. Michs. 1891; B.A. 1894; M.A. 1898. Ord. deacon, 1896; priest (Norwich) 1897; C. of Gt Yarmouth, 1896-1900. C. of Gipsy Hill, 1900-4. V. of St John-the-Evangelist, Carlisle, 1904-12. V. of St Peter's, Tunbridge Wells, 1912-19. Commissary for Uganda, 1912-22. Chaplain at Entebbe, Uganda, 1920-1; at Clarens, 1922. R. of Torwood, Torquay, 1922-38. Rural Dean of Ippleden, 1928-33. Archdeacon of Totnes, 1933-. Preb. of Exeter, 1935-. Brother of the above. (Crockford, 1939.)”

John was born May 12,1873 at Waterloo, Lancashire, being one of six known children of John Cobham (1839-1889) and Martha Ann Cobham,nee Matches (1839-1912). His father also had one child from a second marriage.

The 1881 census, taken at Fearns House, Crosby Road in Great Crosby,Lancashire gave Hohn Cobham senior as a retired victualler, born ion Liverpool,Lancashire, With him was his wife Martha born in Worthignton,Cumberland. Also present were six of their children, including John Lawrence Cobham, and four servants.

The 1891 census, taken also at Fearns House, gave Martha Ann Cobham,widow, as the head of the home. With her was John Lawrence Cobham and several of his siblings and four servants. John was a student and his brother George H. Cobham (1867-1944) was a student of theology.

On May 17,1898 John married Florence Eliza Willis at St Michael and All Saints Church Blackheath, in Woowich,Kent. Johns father John was given as a gentlemen  and Florences’ father was given as William Willis, a “gentleman (knight0”. Florence had been born in the 2nd qtr of 1871 at Lewisham,London, but the 1901 census gave her born 1872 at Lee,Kent.

The 1901 census, taken at 9 Lunham,Norwood,Lambeth London (Christ Church Gypsey Hill parish) gave John as a clergyman C of E. with him was his wife Frances and their son John O. Cobham, born 1900 at Great Yarmouth,Norfolk. It is not known by the researcher if the couple had other children. The 1902 Kelly directory still gave John at 9 Lunham,Norwood, London . but by 1912 he moved to Tunbridge Wells and is recorded in the 1913 Kelly directory as Rev John Lawrence Cobham, MA, Vicar St Peters Church Tunbridge Wells.

Probate records gave Rev. John Lawrence Cobham of 11 Southfield Avenue, Paignton,Devon,clerk, when he died December 27,1960. The executors of his 20,904 pound estate were Rev John Oldcastle Cobham, the son,clerk, archdeacon of Durham and Janet Marjorie Cobham,spinster,who most likely was a daughter of John Lawrence Cobham, born sometime after 1900, and most likely born in Tunbridge Wells.

Probate records for his wife gave Frances Eliza Cobham of 11 Southfield Avenue, Paignton, Devon, widow, who died  July 17,1961 at Mount Olivet Nursing Home, Great Headland Road, Brighton. The executor of her 9,581 pound estate was the venerable John Oldcastle Cobham, the son, archdeacon of Durham and Janet Marjorie Cobham, spinster, most likely her daughter.


William Henry Ferguson was the vicar of St Peters from 1919 to 1921. The records of the Cambridge University Alumni gave the following “Adm. pens. at ST JOHN'S, Oct. 18, 1888. S. of James Corry, farmer, of Glasslough, Co. Monaghan, Ireland [and Jane Hoy]. B. there [Nov. 5, 1862]. School, Billis, Co. Monaghan (Mr Gilliland). Matric. Michs. 1888; B.A. 1891; M.A. 1895. Ord. deacon (St Albans) 1891; priest, 1892; C. of St Paul's, Stratford, Essex, 1891-5. C. of Holy Trinity, Tunbridge Wells, 1895-9. V. of Longwood, Yorks., 1899-1902. V. of St Paul's, Stratford, 1902-19. V. of St Peter's, Tunbridge Wells, 1919-21. Lived first at Gedding rectory, Suffolk, where Joseph Hind (1884) was R.; latterly at 66, Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells. Died there May 13, 1929. (Crockford; Scott, MSS.; The Times, May 15, 1929.)”.

William had been born  November 5,1862 at Monaghan, Glasslough, Resident, Ireland. He as one of a number of children born to James Corry Ferguson, a farmer of Glasslough Country,Monaghan  of Ireland and Jane Ferguson, nee Hoy.

On September 11,1894 William married Emily Victoria Gandy (1863-1961) at Everton ,St Augustine, Lancashire. The marriage records record that Williams father was James Corry Ferguson, a farmer and that William was a clerk in holy orders living at 54 Boscton Road in Stratford,Essex. It also records that his wife was a spinster, living at 52 Eastbourne Road and that her father was Henry Haydock Gandy, a collector. The 1899 Kelly directory listed “Rev. William Henry Ferguson BA curate of Holy Trinity, 12 Lime Hill Road.  Emily was one of two known children born to Henry Haydock Gandy (1837-1901) and Matilda Beggs(born 1835). In the years 1871 to 1891 Emily had been living in Everton, Lancashire with her parents and sister. Emily had been born in the 2nd qtr of 1863 at West Derby,Lancashire.

William and his wife had the following children (1) John Charles Gandy Ferguson (1896-1974) (2) Henry Corry Ferguson, born 1897 (3) Kathleen Irene Ferguson (1899-1992) (4) William Handley Ferguson (1902-1972) (5) Gordon Patrick Ferguson (1904-1982).

The 1901 census, taken at the vicarage in Longwood,Yorkshire gave William as a clergyman C of E. With him was his wife Emily; his children John,Henry and Kathleen and two servants.

The 1911 census, taken at 18 St Paul’s vicarage in West Ham,Essex, gave William as a clerk in holy orders. With him was his wife Emilyl their five children and two servants. The census recorded that they were living in 16 rooms; that they had been married 16 years (1895) and that all five of their children were still living.

Probate records for William Henry Ferguson gave him of 66 Warwick Park Tunbridge Wells at the time of his death on May 13,1929, but noted he died at Camberwell House on Peckham Road,Surrey. The executor of his 3,900 pound estate was his wife  Emily Victoria Ferguson. William was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on May 16,1929.

Probate records for Emily Victoria Ferguson gave her of 66 Warwick Park,Tunbridge Wells when she died December 20,1961. The executors of her 24,761 pound estate were John Charles Gandy Ferguson, son, school master, and Kathleen Irene Ferguson, spinster daughter. Emily was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on December 27,1961.

[7] HENRY LYNDEN POTTER (1877-1943) 

Henry Lynden Potter was the vicar of St Peters from 1921 to 1940. Crockfords 1932 Clerical Directory gave the following “ Henry Lynden Potter-T.C.D… Ba 1900; NA 1907; d 1900, p 1901 Derry, Curate of Letter-Kenney 1900-02; C of St John’s Church Tunbridge Wells 1902-04; Holy Trinity Tunbridge Wells 1904-07 and 1909; St Andres Bp Auckland 1907-09; Vicar of Boulton 1909021; St Peters Church Tunbridge Wells Dio. Roch from 1921 (P. Trustees; gross income 400 pounds and house, pop 2713, St Peters Vicarage, Camden Park,Tunbridge Wells.”

Henry was born June 26,1877 at Dromahair, Leitrim,Ireland, one of a number of children born to Dean Jieseph Potter and Jane Catherine Caroline Potter, nee Pervcy.

On July 11,1907 Henry married Mabel Boulton Cayley in Tunbridge Wells. Mabel had been born 1884 in Lodnond and died July 2,1957 at Surrey .She was one of seven children born to Claud Thornton Cayley (1854-1928) and Esther Mary Cayley, nee Bayley (1855-1926). At the time of the 1901 census Mabel was living with her parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells. Henry and his wife Mabel had a son Joseph Raymond Lynden Potter (1916-1994).

The 1911 census, taken at the vicarage Alvaston and Boulton, Derbyshire gave Henry as a clergyman. With him was his wife Mabel and two servants. The census recorded that their residence had 9 rooms; that they had been married 3 years and that so far had no children. The 1912 Kelly directory gave him at the same place and as the vicar of the church.

Probate records gave Rev. Henry Lynden Potter of Huntleys Hindhead,Surrey, widow, when he died July 2,1957. The executors of his 2,463 pound estate were John Patrick Lyndon Potter, schoolmaster, and Joseph Raymond Lynden Potter, building  society executive , and Arthur Arnold Rust, solicitor.

Shown above is a group photograph circa 1910 showing the Boulton Church dignitaries taken at Summerhouse,Parkfields. In the back row from left to right is Mr Druit, Mrs Henry Lynden Potter (Mabel) and next to her is Rev Henry Lynden Potter vicar of Boulton from 1910 to 1921. The other sitters in the photo are also known but not given here.


Hubert L. Fenn was the vicar of St Peters from 1935 to 1940.Crockfords 1932 Clerical Directory gave’ Hubert Leonard Fenn- Can. Sch. Linc. 1902; d 1905; p 1906 St Alb. Curate St Thos. W. Ham, 1905-06; St Barn. Walthamstow 1906-7; Gt Bromley 1907-12; St Mk. Wel. NZ 1912-1914; Vicar of Pahiatua 1914-19; L.Pr. Dio. Wel. 1919-1922; Perm. To Offic Dio. Wai 1922-28; Prin. Of Essex Ho. Sch. Hexton 1923-28; Vicar of Holbeton Dio. Ex. From 1928. Currently Vicar at vicarage of Hilbeton,Devon”.

Based in the 1911 census, Hubert was born 1899 at Leintwarding,Hertfordshire but his  birth was registered  in the 3rd qtr 1898 at Ludlow,Shropshire. He was one of three children born to land agent and surveyor Andrew Thomas Cranage Fenn (1865-1918) and Florence Annie Fenn, nee Jones, born 1870 at Watford,Hertfordshire. His father had been born in Downton,Hertfordshire.

At the time of the 1911 census, taken at Weston House, St Giles Shropshire, the head of the household was Andrew Thomas Crange Fenn, land agent. With him was his wife Florence Annie and their children Gladys Minnie Fenn (1895-1980) and Herbert. Both children were attending school. Also in the home were two servants. The census recorded they were living in 10 rooms; that the couple had  been married 18 years and that all three of their children were still living.

It was not determined when Hubert married but the probate record given below noted that his widow was Florence Annie Fenn.It is interesting to note that this widow had the same name as his mother.

The probate record gave Rev. Hubert Leonard Fenn of 43 Common Close Woking,Surrey,clerk who died August 31,1944. The executor of his 542 pound estate was Florence Anne Fenn, widow.


Edward F. Yorke was the vicar of St Peters from 1940 to 1943. The Crockfords Clerical Directory of 1932 gave “ Edward Frederick Yorke –G and C Coll. Cambridge BA 1928; B.C.M. Coll. Clifton 1928; d 1931 Bris Curate of St Math. Kingsdown.City and  Dio. Bristol. From 1931. Now at 2 Cotham Park Cotham,Bristol.”Directories of 1937 to 1941 list him as Rev. Edward Frederick Yorke, M.A. vicar of St Lukes Prestonvill,Brighton,Sussex. The 1942 directory gave him at St Peters Church, Tunbridge Wells, residing at St Peter’s vicarage ,Camden Park.


Robert H. Walker was the vicar of St Peters from 1943 to 1948


F.C. Ellis was the vicar of St Peters from 1948 to 1952


H.R. Ward was the vicar of St Peters from 1952 to 1955


John W. Hurst was the vicar of St Peters from 1959 to 1992


Richard Payne was the vicar of St Peters from 1992 to 2004.


Mike Warren is the current vicar of St Peters. Mike became Vicar in 2004. He trained at Oak Hill Theological College, served his curacy at St John's, Tunbridge Wells and spent six years as Vicar in a group of seven rural churches on the Essex/Cambridgeshire borders.

Before ordination, he was a physiotherapist. Mike is married to Sarah and they have two daughters.

He also enjoys playing golf, is a keen gardener and has a bash at playing the piano.

The website of the St Peters Primary School gives “As a Church of England Primary School we have close links with St Peter's Church.  The vicar, Rev. Mike Warren is one of our school governors; once a week our Act of Collective Worship is held in the church and at least four times a year we hold services in the church to celebrate important events in the church and school calendar. 



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

Date: April 16,2015


The development of Camden Park by the 2md Marques Camden began in the 1840’s but by 1851 only the west and north entrance lodges had been built with two houses under construction. Salesmere at No. 1 Camden Park was the first house built (in 1851) and others followed, but at a slow pace.

No. 6 Camden Park began as the  St Peter’s Church vicarage. This substantial red brick building was constructed to the architectural design of Ewan Christian (1814-1895), best known for his design of Churches rather than domestic buildings. A review of directories indicates that it was built after 1875 but before 1883. In 1881 St Peter’s first vicar Rev Algenon H. Smith was living at 8 Prospect Road, suggesting that the vicarage was not ready by then, but a directory of 1883 records  the existence of the vicarage in Camden Park.

This vicarage was first occupied  by the Rev. Algernon H. Smith, M.A. ,who was appointed Vicar of St Peter’s Church in 1875. Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, and well into the mid 20th century No. 6 was occupied by a succession of vicars of St Peters Church.

Later in the 20th century St Peter’s Church sold the vicarage and the vicars lived in a  Bishop’s residence on Forest Road before finally moving into a purpose built vicarage on Bayhall Road, which they still occupy.

The new owner of the former Camden Park Vicarage divided the building into two attached residences in about 1960. The west half became known as ‘West House’ and the eastern half ‘Holly House’, names which continue today, with both halves being single family dwellings.

Over the passage to time there have been many changes to both its occupants and to the building itself. This article provides information about this fine building and some of its early occupants.

For further information about St Peter’s Church and its vicars see my article ‘The History of St Peter’s Church on Bayhall Road’ dated April 16,2015.


Shown opposite is a 1909 os map  on which is labelled ‘St Peters’ Vicarge’ with the building highlighted in yellow. The buildings closest neighbours at that time was No. 7 Camden Park  to the east of No. 6 on the plot next right next door . To the west of No. 6 was an unoccupied plot (#650) and beyond it a large plot forming the extensive grounds of No. 5 Camden Park, which was called “The Lawn”. Later in the 20th century the grounds of No. 5 were divided and to the east of No. 5 was built a new home called ‘Perrys’. Also in the 20th century, a home called the ‘Willows’ was built upon  the vacant plot west of St Peters Vicarage. Site maps given later in this article show the location of these homes.

Shown below is a modern winter view of the front of No. 6 Camden Park showing the large red brick home in all its splendor with many interesting architectural features. Note the domes cupola on the roof and the massive chimneys, not to mention the elaborate front entrance supported on stone columns and surrounded by white railings. The 1911 census, which recorded Rev Charles Courtenay as the occupant, also reported that the house at that time was of 14 rooms

The book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ published by the Civic Society in 2004 provides a good historical record of Camden Park. From this book and my own research it is noted that No. 6 did not exist at the time of the 1871 census.In 1875 an auction was held to sell of lots in the park, but sales were disappointing with only three plots being sold, one of which is believed by the researcher to be the plot on which St Peter’s Vicarage was constructed. The 1875 directory for Camden Park does not indicate the existence of the vicarage and  it is not found in the 1881 census.The first vicar of St Peters Church was Algernon H. Smith and at the time of the 1881 census he was living at 8 Prospect Road in Tunbridge Wells.  From this book is written “ Continuing past ‘Camster’, we pass several other large detached houses dating from the turn of the century and then there is the house which was formerly St Peter’s Vicarage (No. 6), now divided into two and known as Holly House and West House. Obviously it is by an architect of no ordinary ability; built of red brick, with tile hanging to the first floor, it has a most impressive roof, with two sets of dormer windows. The chimney stacks are very substantial, and the whole is reminiscent of the work of Norman Shaw. In fact the architect was Ewan Christian (1814-95) who is generally thought of in connection with churches rather than domestic buildings. However, his position as an architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from 1850 meant that he had oversight of the many new vicarages and rectories which Victorian piety and enthusiasm produced. In most instances he acted as an advisor but on occasion, as here, he was his own architect. In the immediate area, he was the architect of St James,Tunbridge Wells, and Hildenborough Church, further afield, and in another style, Christian was the architect of the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square. He was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1884-6, and Royal Gold Medallist”. Further information about the buildings architect is given in the next section of this article. A view of St Peter’s Vicarage  (No. 6 )can also be seen in the ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells Conservation Area’ report of November 2000.

The remainder of this section of the article is based on information contained in the files of the Planning Authority as it relates to applications make for Planning Authority approval for work proposed by the building’s owners. The information is presented in chronological order.

In 1979 an application was made for ‘West House’ by Mr. B. Booker, for the construction of a garage, which was approved. Further details about the work were not given.

In 1993 an application made by Mr. & Mrs. Harris of West House was approved for ‘Conversion of garage to kitchen and extension of covered area and external w.c’ Further details were not given, but shown above is a site map of 1993 on which can be seen ‘West House’. ‘Holly House’. No. 7 Camden Park and the ‘Willows’ and ‘Perry’s’, to the west of No, 6. , homes which I have referred to earlier. The small building to the west of the main house ‘West House’ is a garage and in the rear of the property can be seen the existence of a swimming pool. The land beyond the rear property line of No, 6 is a meadow, a central feature of the park.

In 1998 an application by Mr & Mrs Harris of West House was approved for a ‘first floor side extension to existing dwelling and conversion of the garage to living accommodation with one storey link extension. There were a number of concerns expressed about the design of the proposed work and so the planned work was modified to satisfy the objectors.

In 2010 an application by Mr & Mrs Grabowski was approved for the construction of ‘orangry to rear elevation of West House’. The orangry measured 4.6 m wide by 6.0m by 3.37m deep was to be constructed to glass and harwood with brickwork to match the existing house.

Approval was given for a new fence, gate posts and gate for West House in 2010 and pertained to an application by Mrs R. Grabowski . The application called for the replacement of a timber fence and gate along the frontage of the home with a new metal fence/gate and brick pillars with stone capping. The original design was changed due to concerns and the plan shown here gives the approved design. The gates and railings were metal and painted black.

During the period of 1979 to 2010 there had been no Planning Authority applications for Holly House, but in 2010 a major work was proposed. The proposed work was ‘Demolition of existing side single/Two storey extension and construction of new two storey side extension’. The applicant was Mr & Mrs James Collins of Holly House 6 Camden Park. A delegation report stated in part “ The property itself is a 3-storey semi-detached dwelling,resulting from the sub-division of one larger property into two separate dwellings. There are existing extensions to the side of the property, being 2-storey and single storey (proposed to be demolished), with a detached single storey flat roofed garage to remain”….”Proposed is the demolition of the existing extensions and the erection of a new two-storey extension being ‘L’ shaped in design with a maximum width of 8.2m to the front and a width of 4.4m to the rear, the maximum length of the extension would be 13.8 m with a pitched roof “. Holly House is a historic asset…its origins as a single residence that was later divided into two in approximately 1960 are well known …Editions of the Ordnance Survey up to 1870 do not show buildings on the site, but those of 1890’s clearly show the house. Holly House is understood to have been built as the vicarage to the nearly new church of St Peter (H.H. Cronk and E. Cronk, 1874-6,extended 1889.Holly House may therefore be understood to have been constructed in the late 1870’s or the early 1880’s as a single vicarage with its finer accommodation on the West side and the service wing on the East (Holly House). The building is attributed to the architect Ewan Christian (1814-1895)”. The report goes on to state ‘The extensions shown in the drawings are regarded as excessive in scale …and therefore are not acceptable…and it is felt that the size and layout of the garden at Holly House does not provide scope to add a pool without involving some visual detriment”. There was also concern about the impact of the work on the many trees on the site. In the end the concerns were addressed and the application was approved.

Also pertaining to the above 2010 application was the Design and Access Statement ,which in part referred to the building “springing form the Arts and Crafts Tradition  and that the Holly House has been relatively unaltered in the last 50-60 years and is in need of some considerable modification that would be facilitated by an appropriate extension to it”. …”The particular language that is employed at Holly House is known as the Old English or Queen Anne revival style, the best known proponent of which was the renowned Victorian architect Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912). Holly House can be clearly considered ‘school of Norman Shaw” if for no reason other than the massive chimney that was an absolute signature of his work. The part of the house called Holly House died away into a cascade of reducing extensions, and no resultant sense of cohesion. The proposal is to reinvent the house as if it was built to be in two parts and so that the Architecture of the whole is empowered and the balance is restored…” Shown below is a series of architects plans showing the proposed elevations of the residence from the 2010 Holly House file. Floor plans both existing and proposed can be found in the Planning Authority files.

In 2011 an application by Mr & Mrs James Collins of Holly House was approved for an open air swimming pool and pool house with decking area, which some reference was made to above. The swimming pool was to be installed in the rear garden in a spot shown on the site plan with the dimensions of 12m in length, 4m in width and would have paving around the perimeter to a width of 0.9m. The pool house was to be a single storey detached building with timber clad walls and a clay tile roof being 10m in width, 3.3m in depth and with a pitched roof with an eaves height of 2.5m and a ridge height of 4.5m. The timber decking was to be to the front of the pool house with a width of 10m , 3.3m in depth and would be raised about 0.6m above ground level. There was to be a bulstade to the sides.

The last planning application on file for Holly House and West House is one for 2014 pertaining to West House in which there was to be ‘Demolition of existing first floor side extension and construction of a single sty rear extension and a first floor side/rear extension over existing ground floor rooms with rooms in roof space over, including new dormer windows. Also alterations to front elevation to form a new projecting landing window with pitched roof over. The application by Mr & Mrs M Grabowski was approved, although much discussed before approval was given.

The delegation report for this application stated that”  the extensions to the rear would not be visible outside the site. To the front the extension would be built above an existing single storey element and would raise the height to that of a 2 sty with accommodation in the roof. It was noted that an extension to Holly House was recently approved and that the work had been carried out. Overall it is considered that the proposed extensions would be of an acceptable design and appearance”. Shown above is an architect’s plan of West House dated 2014. The proposed plans can be viewed on the Planning Authority website, which due to printing problems  I was not able to present here.


The following biography of Ewan  Christian is by Jacqueline Banerjee and I have reproduced it here as written by her.

Ewan Christian (1814-95) may not be one of the major names in Victorian architecture now, but he was an extremely prominent figure in his own lifetime. Of Manx descent, he was born into good circumstances in Marylebone, London, but orphaned early on. His eldest brother John saw him through his education: he attended Christ's Hospital in Hertford, and when he turned fifteen was articled in 1829 to Matthew Habershon, from whose office he was able to enter the architectural school of the Royal Academy. In 1836 he joined the office of William Railton, then spent some time with the Norwich architect, John Brown, for whom (for example) he was Clerk of Works at the Colchester Union Workhouse. After a seven-month study trip to Italy in 1841, he set up on his own account in Bloomsbury in the following year.

Christian was aptly named, since he was a committed Anglican Evangelical, and many of his buildings were churches. In 1851 he was appointed to the important post of architect and architectural adviser to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, a post that kept him busy, indeed much too busy, for the rest of his life. His partners were James K. Colling, who had been a fellow-pupil at Habershon's, and who had also been at Railton's with him; Charles Henry Purday, who superintended the work at Carlisle Cathedral; and his cousin Joseph Henry Christian; among the architects who also worked in his office were W. D. Caroe. Having been elected vice-president of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1880, Christian became its president in 1884-86, and was awarded its gold medal in 1887. In this year too he was appointed architect to the Charity Commissioners. As consulting architect to various bodies, and member of panels of judges on architectural competitions, he wielded considerable influence.

As might be expected, his own body of work was considerable. According to Martin Cherry, he had "over 2000 completed works to his name; many of these were church restorations carried out in his capacity as architect for the ecclesiastical commissioners, but included ninety new churches, many parsonages, schools, and private houses." Cherry adds that "[n]otable restorations include those of Carlisle Cathedral (1853–7) and Southwell Minster (1848–8); of his secular buildings, the National Portrait Gallery, London (1890–95), may be singled out." As for the latter, it had a mixed reception: "Neither in size or arrangement, which is a logical consequence of the cramped space, is the building ideally perfect," wrote the Times reporter ("The New National Portrait Gallery"). More recently, however, it has been described as "a very sophisticated scheme which faultlessly extended William Wilkins' National Gallery and provided a completely new Early Renaissance block with a clear identity of its own" ("Ewan Christian").

Christian was very well connected. In 1848 he married Annie Bentham, a relative of Jeremy Bentham, and they had four daughters, three of whom survived them (his wife died not long after him, also in 1895). In the architectural fraternity, he was J. L. Pearson's cousin-in-law and a close friend of S. S. Teulon, for whom he served as executor. G. E. Street and William Burges were also good friends.

However, his own reputation as an architect suffered from his connection with the ecclesiastical commissioners: his work, under economic strictures, was considered workmanlike but little more, and it has earned only grudging praise from the critics — if that. In the Pevsner series on the Buildings of England, for example, St John's in Churt, Surrey (1868) is seen as "acceptable because nicely sited" (Nairn and Pevsner 160), while St Bartholomew's in Roby, Lancashire (1875) is dismissed with the words: "Competent, conventional.... Dull interior" (Pollard and Pevsner 202). As for his restorations, Simon Jenkins says that as late as 1890 he "ruthlessly scraped" the chancel of St Andrew's, Lyddington, in Rutland. His houses could show more flair, but here again the outspoken architectural historian Reginald Turnor, still writing in the wave of anti-Victorianism of the earlier twentieth century, particularly condemned his "horrible self-inflicted home at Hampstead".

Overworked to the end, Christian died at the age of eighty, before the new buildings of the National Portrait Gallery were quite complete. Cherry suggests that his reputation has been improving. Certainly, the National Portrait Gallery has been Grade I listed since 1970, and some of his churches (such as St Bartholomew's, Roby) are Grade II listed — as indeed is his elaborate tower house in Well Walk, Hampstead, that Turnor so disliked. This was listed in 1982 (see "Klippan House"), and only a multi-millionaire could hope to live there now.

Show in this section are two images of buildings he designed. The top image is a postcard view of St James Church in Tunbridge Wells and below it is a modern photograph of the National Portrait Gallery. Also shown is a portrait of him and another image from  a British postage stamp commemorating him.


Given here is a list of known occupants covering the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, with a few, but incomplete, additions for the buildings more recent history. From the time the home was built up to about 1960 when St Peter’s Church sold the building, it was occupied by the vicars of St Peter’s Church. When the house was sold, it was divided into two semi-detached residences known as ‘West House’ and ‘Holly House’. The list is by no means complete and all dates given are approximate, and is based on a review of census and directory records available to the researcher, for which records of every year were not available. The list is also based on a review of Planning Authority files and other records in which the occupants/ owners of the building are given. Information about the tenure of the Vicars of St Peters Church is based on Crockfords Clerical Directories; by local census and directory listings and by input to this work by Lindsey Sumpter-Administrator, St Peter’s Church. For complete details about the life and career of each of the vicars as well as the history of the church itself see my article ‘The History of St Peter’s Church on Bayhall Road’ dated April 16,2015, for only a brief reference to them in connection with their occupancy of No, 6 Camden Park is given below.


1875-1885…………     Rev. Algernon Howell Smith (1845-1930)

1885-1892………...     Rev. Joseph Edmund Rogers (1856-1906)

1891…………………….. Harry William Gibbon Stocken (1859-1955) (curate)

1892-1895…………    Rev.  Robert William Atkinson (1860-1910)

1895-1911…………     Rev. Charles Courtenay (1850-1936)

1912-1919…………     Rev. John Lawrence Cobham (1873-1960)

1919-1921………….    Rev. William Henry Ferguson (1863-1929)

1921-1940………….    Rev. Henry Lynden Potter (1877-1943)

1940-1943…………...  Rev. Edward F. Yorke

1943-1948……………. Rev.  Robert H. Walker

1948-1952……………. Rev.  F.C. Ellis

1952-1955…………….. Rev. H.R. Ward

1955-1959……………….Rev.   Hubert L. Fenn


1960-1978……………….not researched

1979………………………. Mr B. Booker

1993……………………….. Mr & Mrs Harris

1998………………………..Mr & Mrs Mills

2010-2014……………….Mr & Mrs Grabowski


1960-2009……………….not researched

2010-2011………………Mr & Mrs James Collins

In addition to the vicars living at No. 6 Camden Park it was noted from the 1891 census that Harry William Gibbon Stocken (1859-1955) was a resident of No. 6., and was identified as the curate of St Peter’s Church. He was living there with his wife Catherine ,born 1858 at Portland,Dorset. Aslo in the home was his daughter Dorothy M Stocken, and three servants. His wife Catherine died in 1891. On June 29,1896 he married Gertrude Ellin Cox, born 1862 and with her had two dauighters, born in Alberta Canada in 1899 and 1900. He and Gertrude were married in Osaka,Japan . After the marriage he and his wife moved to Canada. The 1906 Canadian census found him at the Blackfoot Indian Reserve in Alberta. He died in Victoria British Columbia Canada on May 25,1955. He was one of three known children born to Charles Stockton (born 1832, and Adelaide Thirza Gibbon (1831-1868). Although the church had a number of other curates,  Harry was the only one known to have resided at No, 6 Camden Park.



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

Date: May 11,2017


Lord Northcliffe, proprietor of the Daily Mail, founded the Ideal Home Exhibition in 1908 at London’s Olympia exhibition centre, in the spirit of social reform, to stimulate debate about better housing conditions. Since that time this much looked forward to event has been held annually, with a few exceptions, particularly when the event was suspended during WW 1 and WW 2. It was so popular that over a million people took in the event annually, lining up for the month long event at railway stations and bus depots.

It was a grand affair and great expense was incurred to put on the event. Within the exhibition hall were displayed all the latest products for the home and garden, brought in from all over the country, including Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area.

This article provides a history of the exhibition and features two local firms who participated in the event. The first was a display of Tunbridge Ware by The Tunbridge Wells Manufacturing Company during the years 1924 to 1927. The second was a fantastic garden display at the 1954 show assembled by R. Wallace & Co of Tunbridge Wells.  Shown above is a photo from 1949 of the event centre.


In this section I provide two accounts describing the history of the exhibition which I present as written by others. The first once given below is from the Wikipedia Website, which in turn is followed by an account from the Victoria and Albert Museum. There is of course some duplication of information.


The Ideal Home Show (formerly called the Ideal Home Exhibition) is an annual event in London held at Olympia, London since March 2015. The show was devised by the Daily Mail newspaper in 1908 and continued to be run by the Daily Mail up until 2009. It was then sold to events and publishing company Media 10. Shown opposite is a photo of the event from 1930.

Its goal is to bring together everything associated with having an "ideal home", such as the latest inventions for the modern house, and to showcase the latest housing designs. A regular feature of the show for many years was the Ideal House Competition, where designs were invited and the winning schemes erected at the exhibition the following year.

The first exhibition was held in 1908 at the Olympia exhibition centre, with sections dedicated to "phases of home life" such as construction, food and cookery, furniture and decoration. Demonstrations and contests included an Arts and Crafts competition and a competition to design the "Ideal Home". Wareham Smith, advertising manager of the Daily Mail, founded the exhibition as a marketing event for the newspaper. It was often visited by celebrities and royalty.

The inaugural Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition was opened by the Lord Mayor of London at Olympia and the Daily Mail explained that you would see:

“ Streets of a town lined with hundreds of bright little buildings of varying shape and design – red roofed cottages, brown bungalows, and gaily coloured pavilions – and moving between them endless lines of interested visitors. ”

Visitors queued to view the furnished houses and to tour a landscaped garden. Stands became rooms with all the merchandise available for sale – offering the opportunity for people to see the latest designs for luxury living. A dispute about the content of a room designed by members of the Omega Workshops for the 1913 show was instrumental in the secession of several artists from that group.

In 1908 90% of the population rented their home. It took over 3,000 men a week to build the first Exhibition.

Technological developments gathered pace throughout the 1920s and 1930s and new products were often featured in demonstrations at the Show. The event became a focal point for the housewife to view the latest in household technology.

Throughout the 1930s building was Britain’s chief industry, and the suburbs began to spread. Mortgages were becoming more accessible and more people than ever before bought their first home.

The Daily Mail was committed to the drive for greater efficiency and for one year in 1921 it even renamed the show the Daily Mail Efficiency Exhibition. In 1937 the BBC broadcast televised the event for the first time.

The Second World War meant that the exhibition was suspended from 1940-1946 but from 1947 onwards it continued to grow, culminating in a huge attendance in 1957 of almost 1.5 million people. The show continued to ‘Educate and Entertain’ throughout the decades and in 1953, the Coronation year, it even featured a two-thirds scale copy of the state coach.

The first microwave oven was launched at the show in 1947. In 1957 the British housewife still spent an average of 70 hours a week on housework.

The 1960s was an era of forward-looking fashion and the first man on the moon, yet the most popular house style of the period was mock-Georgian. The disco decade of the 1970s ushered in a new look for interiors featuring chrome and smoked glass and the show reflected trends in all the latest house designs and interiors.

The last Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition to be held at Olympia was in 1978 when the event was taken over by others.

Corner baths and conservatories caught the eye in the 1980s and new technology was still very much in evidence. Through the 1990s, a new shopping experience was developed for the Show, with entertainment high on the agenda and a mission to provide everything for the home in one environment.

In 1997 a rainforest was created and visitors could experience a tropical downpour every hour from the shelter of a tree house. In 2008 people could take a trip down memory lane and see some of the highlights of the last century in the Century Street. In September 2009 the show changed hands for the first time in its history, after being sold by the Daily Mail to Media 10. The 2010 Ideal Home Show won the award for Best Consumer Show over 2,000sqm at the Industry AEO Awards. The 2011 Ideal Home Show took place from 11 to 27 March at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. With more than 50,000 buyers each exhibitor sold goods worth £1,000,000. Shown above is an interior view of the 2017 exhibition.


The Victoria and Albert Museum have in their collection a vast collection of information, photographs, film and other items pertaining to the event, details of which can be found on their website, along with an overview of the history of the event which I present below.

Lord Northcliffe, proprietor of the Daily Mail, founded the Ideal Home exhibition in 1908 at London's Olympia exhibition centre, in the spirit of social reform, to stimulate debate about better housing conditions. For a fee of one shilling, the public were educated and entertained by displays of labour-saving appliances and show homes. The exhibition was next held in 1910, then 1912 and 1913, disrupted by the 1914-18 war, and held annually from 1920 to 1939. Inter-war issues of 'homes fit for heroes', child welfare and working-class housing were taken up. Many of the displays were generated by the organisers, such as Heath Robinson's Ideal Home in 1934. The Daily Mail ran competitions for its readers to design 'ideal homes' and the results were often displayed at the exhibition. 300,000 visitors attended the exhibition in 1924; by 1937 the attendance figure had more than doubled.

The emphasis of the post Second World War exhibitions, from 1947, shifted. In an era of postwar austerity, display space was needed to generate income from commercial stands. An increasingly sophisticated public, familiar with the spectacles of mass communication, was harder to entertain through display. Nevertheless attendance reached an all-time peak in 1958 of over1,300,000. In the 1950s and 1960s, the exhibitions acted as a shop window, giving valuable floor-space and publicity to white goods that shops did not have the room to display, but in the 1970s superstores and commercial television took over this function. The Blue Ribbon awards for good design were set up in 1966. In 1979 the exhibition moved from Olympia to Earls Court. 'Green' design, has been a prominent feature in recent years.

The Ideal Home exhibitions are a rich source for the history of domestic architecture, interior design, product design (eg Hoover), advertising, the marketing of public utilities (eg British Gas) and the formation of constituencies of taste, social aspirations and lifestyles of social groupings not usually well documented by museums. A deliberate attempt is made to appeal to the 'mum in the street' and her daughters. The exhibitions are divided into thematic sections which can be summarised as: 1) Domestic Labour Saving; 2) Show Homes; 3) Food; 4) Interior Decoration; 5) Leisure. Major designers and architects, such as Wells Coates (Sunspan House, 1934), Alison and Peter Smithson (House of the Future, 1956), Basil Spence, Hugh Casson, Misha Black and James Gardner worked on the Ideal Home exhibitions.

During the 1940s (advertisement above )and 1950s the Ideal Home exhibition organisers compiled photograph albums recording international exhibitions and architecture, as a source of information and inspiration. In 1955-6 a Daily Mail Happy Home exhibition toured Britain, organised in conjunction with the Gas Council and Good Housekeeping magazine. In 1975, Associated Newspapers set up Angex Ltd to take over responsibility for the Ideal Home exhibitions. The company also organises a number of other consumer exhibitions.


As noted in the introduction millions of people from across the country annually headed to London by train, bus and motor car to take in the grand exhibition at Olympia.

Since time of the construction of the Crystal Palace in London manufacturers of products from Tunbridge Wells displayed their wares there. At the 1851 exhibition for example local embroidery, Tunbridge Wells and other items were shown and those involved in local motor car industry exhibited at the London Motor Shows. Tunbridge Wells has never been known as a major player in the manufacturing industry but its Tunbridge Ware, produced largely during the golden age of the 19th century, was well known throughout England.

A list of exhibitors at each annual Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition was not available for viewing from which a list of exhibitors from Tunbridge Wells could be compiled. It is to be expected the town’s main manufacturers of Tunbridge Wells exhibited their intricate wood products from the time the exhibition began in 1908. Details about Tunbridge Ware and its manufacturers can be found in my article ‘ Tunbridge Ware-A Profile of Manufacturers’ dated February 14,2012.

With respect to Tunbridge Ware it is known that The Tunbridge Wells Manufacturing Company was the last of the Tunbridge Ware companies in production in Tunbridge Wells between 1924 and 1927. They produced a range of small items and were known to exhibit at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition from 1924 to 1926. They also inherited some of the topographical blocks, such as Tonbridge Castle, from Hollamby via Boyce, Brown, Kemp. Typically they produced small unlined boxes marked the companies trade mark and the name ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells Ware.  Further information can be found about this company in the aforementioned article. Shown above are two examples of Tunbridge Ware, typical of the type exhibited at the Daily Mail exhibition.

The second local business known to have exhibited at the Daily Mail event was the firm of R. Wallace & Co. Shown opposite is one of several hundred postcards produced for the 1954 event which was held March 2-27 in Olympia.  This image shows a sign reading “ Tunbridge Wells” and the caption on the image refers to R. Wallace & Co. The firm of R. Wallace & Co were based in Tunbridge Wells. A whole series of postcards were produced showing all the  nurseries who put on similar displays, which can be found on the internet.

Details of R. Wallace & Co can be found in my article ‘ The Cripps Nursery’ dated October 27,2012. His nursery was begun in 1837 by Thomas Cripps and was known as Cripps Nursery, who in addition to having extensive nursery grounds had a flower shop on the High Street. Although he had two sons they both died at an early age and when Thomas Cripps passed away in 1888 his daughter Ellen Cripps continued the business until her death in 1901. When she died Mr, Taylor, who was her confidential secretary, and Mr Field, who had been associated with the business for some 47 years took over with Mr Dane being in charge of operations. Under their management Cripps Nurseries continued until 1920 when the business was taken over by Mr Wallace. Given below from the aforementioned article is some information about the Wallace era.

“Mr Robert Wallace’s nursery was originally at Kilnfield Gardens,Colchester,Essex.He claimed to have established the business there in 1895.He traded through a company R. Wallace & Co Ltd.In 1920 he moved to Tunbridge Wells taking a lease on land at Bayham Road,which was known or became known as The Old Gardens, from the Marquess of Abergavenny.The lease was for 21 years expiring 25th dec. 1940 at a rent of 100 pounds p.a. . In 1937 he took a lease of more land at Forest Way, off Forest Road and adjacent to Whybourne Crescent.This lease was for 21 years from 25th March 1940 (possibly as a result of an extension). In 1940 he put the company into liquidation and sold the business.”

John Antell, in an Autumn 1993 article entitled "A Great Victorian Nurseryman" ,gives this account of the nursery business after 1920. "It was at this time that the nursery firm of R.W.Wallace came from Colchester to take over a greatly reduced area,calling it "The Old Gardens".Wallaces had been founded in the middle of the nineteenth century by Dr. Alexander Wallace who had many contacts all over the world and from whom came a steady flow of new plant introductions,particularly lilies from Japan and iris from Russia.His book on Lily Culture was published in 1879 and was the standard work on the subject for many years. Some members of the Wallace staff came to Tunbridge Wells;these included Mr. W.A. Constable who,some years later,ran his own lily nurseries at Southborough and at Burnham, Buckinghamshire.The proprietor was a Mr. Burkwood who also went into business later on his own account.He raised many new cultivars of real garden merit;also the bi-generic hybrid Osmarea Burkwoodii which is still sold at most garden centres.The Wallace firm dealt in shrubs,lilies and bulbs as well as having a landscape department,but the depression of the thirties followed by the Second World War made things difficult.By 1950 matters had begun to improve and in 1955 an amalgamation took place with the firm of Barr and Sons of Taplow,well known for daffodils.Over one hundred people were on the payroll at this time.Under this new partnership the nursery operated under the name of Wallace & Barr.Then in 1967 the ground was sold for development as housing.Many interesting trees were then lost,but a few remain;Magnolia accuminata,'cucumber tree’still flowers well on the corner of Wallace Close, named after Mr Wallace.The fine Weeping Beech at the crossroads in Forest Road fell victim to decay only last year.Many other trees and shrubs planted in the last century must have come from Cripps' nursery.The lime or linden tree was popular for screening.There are good plantings of them in Broadwater Down and Woodbury Park Road;these were planted about 1860.It is most likely that the Bayhall Road limes were planted at the time of the Diamond Jubilee in 1897,because,it is possible to calculate that originally there were sixty trees.Rhotodendron and azaleas were very long lived plants.I well remember the late Cecil Burns pointing out to me rhotodendrum in his garden,which he said was shown on a very early plan of Calverley Park.Tunbridge Wells also had its fair share of plantings of Sequoia Wellingtonia,All of these plantings mark a remarkable living link for our own and for future generations with a Tunbridge Wells where seemingly everything was so elegant,so leisurely and so idyllic,with income tax at just a few pence in the pound for those who were privileged to pay it".
A search of telephone directories resulted in finding a listing for R. Wallace & Co. Ltd as Garden Architects, nurseryman...The Old Gardens,Baytham Road Tunbridge Wells throughout the period of 1920 to 1953 with no listing found afterwards. A review of newspapers show that throughout the period of 1925 to 1938 R. Wallace & Co. Ltd exhibited elaborate gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show and in several of these articles it was stated that his gardens were " admired by Royalty" and no doubt much admired by everyone who attended this popular annual event.

The annual Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition was an event looked forward by local residents and although many took the train or motor car to London to take it in, special express buses were laid on in the town which were advertised to leave Tunbridge Wells at 9:30 am and departing on the return trip from Olympia at 5 pm. The buses were packed and some even had to stand the whole way.

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