The Bull's Head, Ewell

The Bull's Head, Ewell
The Bull's Head, Ewell

The Bull's Head, dated to about 1800, sited at what was then the end of High Street - showing a rutted Eastern Approach leading towards Cheam. Cloudesley Willis commented: - 'The front of the house with its roomy bay window suggested that it was built in Charles II's reign to accommodate the company travelling to Epsom Wells'. As may be seen later, it had actually been built during the short reign of James II.

The following list, extracted from the Copyholds page on this website, shows the descent of the property on Plot 284, with references to entries in the Court Rolls of Ewell Manor which are held by the Surrey History Centre with the Northey Papers, catalogued under 2238.

Plot 284

A messuage known as the Bulls Head; the site is now occupied by the HSBC Bank; part of plot 284 on the Enclosure Award.
Dates Holder Reference
1687 William Parkhurst Snr and his wife Mary,William Parkhurst Jnr and his wife Mary 10/170 page 130
1688 William Parkhurst, maltster, and his wife Mary 10/170 page 131
1691 Rebecca Parkhurst 10/170 page 141
1693 John Worsfold Snr 10/170 page 143
1705 John Worsfold Jnr his son 10/170 page 175
1705 John Bardoe and his wife Mary, Thomas Life and his wife Rebecca 10/170 page 141
1736 Edward Life 10/172 page 236
1740 Edward Acton Snr, gentleman, and his wife Susan 10/172 page 46
1780 Edward Acton Jnr their son 10/175 page 75
1799 William Langford his grandson 10/175 page 386
1800 James Jackman 10/175 page 387
1808 J.T. Whitby 10/166 page 62
1816 W.H. Ashpittle 10/166 page 29, 10/168 parcel 18
1850 William Winks 10/179 page 202
1866 Myra Danvers 10/166 page 63
(1866 Enfranchised)  

The intention of the present article is to put some flesh on those bare bones.

Parkhurst Family

On 13 June 1687, William Parkhurst, Senr., blacksmith,William Parkhurst, Junr., maltster, & Mary his wife, with John Bard(oe) & Mary his wife, had held a Messuage, Cottage, Malt houses, barns stables etc., Brewhouses & yards - occupied by the elder William. The younger William, son of William, is presumed to have been the child christened at St Mary's, 24 July 1667.

The Court Roll record of 10 May 1688 mentions them again, joined by John Banister, wharfinger, & Elizabeth his wife, with Rebecca Parkhurst, Spinster, holding 'Their new erected Messuage & Inn called the Bulls Head with barns stable cowhouse etc.' Tenure had then been granted to John Worsfold of Farley Green, Yeoman.

John Worsfold, Senior and Junior

William Parkhurst, Junr., may have pre-deceased is father because he is not named on surrender of the Bull's Head to the elder John Worsfold on 22 October 1691. The death of the latter was reported on 21 December 1705, with his son John named as heir.

John and Mary Bardoe with Thomas and Rebecca Life

The position is far from clear but, in 1705, the Bull's Head appears to have reverted to the married daughters of William Parkhurst, Senr., and their husbands, with John Banister, wharfinger, holding a mortgage on the property. Subsequently, Mary and Rebecca seem to have been granted a joint life interest in the property. Rebecca, presumed to have outlived her sister, was reported on 27 October 1735 to have died. The property passed down to her son, Edward Life.

Edward Life

In the London Gazette for 17 August 1743 appeared a notice: -
'The following Persons being Prisoners for Debt in the Borough Compter Prison in Southwark, in the County of Surrey, hereby give Notice, that they intend to take the Benefit of an Act of Parliament passed in the Sixteenth Year of the Reign of his Majesty King George the Second, intitled, An Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, at the next General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held at St. Margaret's Hill for the Town and Borough of Southwark, on Wednesday the 5th Day of October next...[including] Edward Life, late of Ewell in the County of Surrey, Innholder...'

Edward Acton, Senr., his wife Susan and their son Edward Cecil Acton.

Edward Life is reported to have disposed of the Bull's Head in 1740 to Edward Acton, gentleman. The latter lived at Owtons or Outons. off Chalk Lane, Ashtead. By his Will, proved 19 September 1769 [PROB 11/951], a life interest in the Bull's Head, 'my copyhold estate in Ewell which I purchased of Edward Life', had been granted to Susan, his relict.

In 1778 it was recorded that the Vestry adjourned to John Green's at the sign of the Bull's Head.

Mrs Susan Acton's Will was proved 16 February 1780 [PROB 11/1061].

Edward Cecil Acton was then admitted for life. He had been baptised at Ashtead, 5 March 1728, was educated at Eton and went on to Magdalen College, Oxford - BA 4 June 1752, MA 9 April 1755, BD 27 April 1762. Rector of Wambrook, Dorset, 13 June 1762 to death 16 April 1799.

During this period, the Inn has been described as 'having genteel accommodation but neither post-chaise nor saddle horses [In 1852 a licence to let post horses came to be held by the King William IV].

The property should next have gone to Sandys, daughter of Edward Acton, Senr., & Susan who had been baptised at Ashtead, 6 October 1730. She married Thomas Langford at Ashtead, 15 October 1752, and bore a son,William. The latter appears to have been baptised at St Andrew, Holborn, on 6 August 1754.

William Langford

Evidently, however, Edward Acton's grandson inherited the Bulls Head in place of his mother following his uncle's demise.

James Jackman, listed as Jackson for the Enclosure Award

'At a meeting held at the Bulls Head Inn in the Parish of Ewell, February 3rd 1801 respecting inclosing the Commons, Common fields and Waste Lands in the said Parish a form of a Bill to be presented to Parliament was Read by the Solicitor which was Approved of and Agreed to be Presented Accordingly.'
Extract From The Enclosure Map of Plot 284
Extract From The Enclosure Map of Plot 284

Plot 284 on the 1802 Map shows, at the junction of High Street and Eastern Approach or Entrance, later Cheam Road, access to a large yard surrounded by buildings.

The Ewell Street Directory for 1791 shows that Ja. Jackman was already publican, as tenant of Rev. Edward Cecil Acton. He would have been interested in acquiring the copyhold interest when it became available in 1800. His first wife died during the same year but on 20 January 1804, at St Mary's church, he married secondly Ann Griffes, spinster.

The headstone for Exwood Plot 17 in Ewell churchyard bears the inscription: -
"In Memory of Mary Jackman, wife of James Jackman, who died Nov. 3rd 1800 aged 45 years. She followed virtue as her surest guide, And like a christian lived, As such she died. Also to the memory of above said Mr James Jackman, who departed his life 7th Aug. 1820 aged 70 years"
Mary Jackman's headstonein St Mary's, Ewell
Mary Jackman's headstonein St Mary's, Ewell
Image courtesy of Brain Bouchard © 2011

His second wife was buried in Exwood plot 334: -
"In Memory of Mr John Griffes, son of Willm. And Elizth. Griffes who died April 8th 1799, aged 29 years. Also Mrs Ann Jackman, sister of the above, who died September 12th 1845, aged 81 years"
Jackman would have been the innkeeper at the time the Ewell Loyal Volunteers misbehaved.

John Hassell, writing in Picturesque Rides and Walks, published in 1817, observed: -
"The best inn for accommodation is the Bull's Head which, when the principal road to Brighton led through the town, was famous for exorbitancy as any house between London and that celebrated bathing place".

J T Whitby

Actually Thomas John Whitby (20 August 1775 - 6 September 1844), Deputy of Vintry Ward in the City of London, & Member of the Drapers Company, was a coal merchant from Red Lion Wharf, Upper Thames Street, who had a house at 65 Queen Street, Cheapside.

On 5 September 1808, Whitby was admitted to the copyhold as Jackman's mortgagee, presumably on the latter's default.

Thomas Whitby's wife, Mary, was buried at St Mary's, Ewell, in February 1820 and a son, also Thomas John Whitby, during December 1826 [Exwood Plot 20]. He was declared bankrupt, 21 July 1840.

Copy of court roll of manor of Ewell, 8 February 1821,: surrender by Thomas John Whitby of Red Lion Wharf, Upper Thames Street, London, and James Jackman, the younger, of Dulwich, gardener, to the use of David Showell of Beer Lane, Christchurch, of messuages on east side of High Street, adjacent to the Bull's Head Inn, with use of well and pump. [SHCOL 6832/1/4/214]

William Hurst Ashpitel (1776 - 1852)

Whitby's successor was a prominent Architect, resident on Clapton Square, Hackney. He had married at Christ Church Greyfriars on 6 November 1807.

At a Vestry Meeting, 6 February 1834, 'the Surveyors of the Highways reported that they had been called upon by the Trustees of the Turnpike Road to repair the footpath leading from the Bulls Head Inn to the Green Man'.

On 13 December 1849, 'It was resolved that the Bulls Head & Premises be rated as per Valuation made by Messrs. Foulkes & Roberts but that it be divided as under.

The Bulls Head Inn garden & Premises to be rated 
                        £	s	d
To the occupier at	32	0  	0 	Rateable Value	 
To the owner - Stable,	6	0	0	Rateable Value
shed & part yard 	__________________	
			38	0	0'
The Bull's head site could have been attractive to an architect for development but he withdrew early from his profession

Having sold on to William Winks during 1850, Ashpitel died on 20 April 1852.

The Ashpitel Tomb In St John's Churchyard, Hackney
The Ashpitel Tomb In St John's Churchyard, Hackney
Image by Jane and courtesy of


George Harding

Publican in 1845.

William White

Publican about 1850.

William Winks

Winks lived at 6 Queen's Street East, 'near the sign of the Duke of York', St Luke, Chelsea. He traded both as a 'Bread & Biscuit Baker' and Builder from rented premises called Danver House, Danvers Street, near Poulton Square, Chelsea. He had erected 12 houses in, and to the rear of, Danvers Street.

Having become bankrupt and been confined to 'the Queen's Prison', he applied to the Court for the relief of insolvent debtors on 26 January 1856 - lately resident in lodgings at the back of Danver House, out of business or employment.

Charles Richard Frisbee (1825 - 1891)

Publican in 1852. Son of John Frisbee and Elizabeth Shiers, he migrated to Australia, married and had children in Melbourne.

Charles Arrivereyte (1804 -1879)

Born in Paris, France, Arrivereyte arrived at Southampton, England, from Vera Cruz, Mexico aboard RMS Tweed. Described as a 'Servant', he subsequently settled in Woolwich, married and had two children christened at St Mary Magdelene in 1850 & 1851 respectively.

Arrivereyte remained the tenant from 1853 to 1867 - three more children having been baptised at St Mary's 1853/5. In the 1861 Census he is described as 'publican formerly music seller'.

Miss Mira Danvers

Mira Danvers, spinster of Godalming, was admitted, 19 February 1866, by William Wicks 'on forfeited conditional surrender', as surviving mortgagee [SHCOL 2238/57/77].

It was described as 'all those stables, coach houses, buildings and a piece of garden ground, with the Inn, containing on S 187 feet, E 61 feet & W 68 feet. A roadway 14 feet wide leading from the High Street.

She enfranchised the property and seems to have disposed of it within a year for re-development. Cloudesley S Willis suggested it had been pulled down 'during a wave of temperance reform'. He also wrote that 'The curious may fix its exact position by the large York stone in the pavement which replaced the cellar flap'.

Brian Bouchard - December 2011

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