Samuel Collingridge (1767 - 1827)

Secondary of Giltspur Compter,
of 31 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, and Ewell

Samuel was born 9 December 1767, the youngest son of Thomas and Elizabeth Collingridge, and baptised on 31 December at St Sepulchre, London. His father is reported to have been the founder of a coach making firm in Theobalds Road, London, who became Master of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers in 1786 (and in 1798).

Samuel Collingridge appears to have trained as a solicitor and attorney before appointment as Clerk of the Coachmakers Company in 1787. At some stage he had entered a partnership, Potter and Collingridge, solicitors. Noted at Gray's Inn before 1791 he does not appear to have been admitted there until 11 December 1802. In 1801, he purchased the office of Secondary of the Giltspur Street Compter [See below*].The Secondaries were usually lawyers - 'a highly respectable station, of much responsibility and of some authority, probably nearly analogous to the station of masters and prothonotaries [principal clerks] in the courts of law.'

From The Portfolio of Entertaining & Instructive Varieties in History, Volume 2, 1827
From The Portfolio of Entertaining & Instructive Varieties in History, Volume 2, 1827

He may have been married twice, firstly to Mary Potter at St Bride, Fleet Street, on 13 October 1796. On 25 October 1804, however, Sarah (positively identified as his wife) was bearing a child by him - Ann baptised 29 November 1804 at Old Church, Saint Pancras.

In 1817, he and his wife Sarah acquired a copyhold in Ewell identified with Plot 298 on the 1803 Enclosure Map - a house and garden at the junction of Epsom Road and Reigate Road. This property had been observed by James Edwards in his Companion from London to Brighthelmston of 1789 - '...on the left is the turnpike road to Reygate. At the angle formed by the roads, a small distance to the south, is a genteel house, lately erected, the property of Mr Kitchen...'

Plot 298 Enclosure Map
Plot 298 Enclosure Map

Samuel Collingridge died at 31 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, aged 59, and was buried 9 October 1827 in the churchyard of St Andrew's Holborn - Will, 'of [the Secondaries' office, 28] Coleman Street', proved 1 February 1828, PROB 11/1736/66. Also in 1827, his younger son, Charles (born 1 April 1808, christened 13 May 1808 at Old Church, St Pancras), had been articled, in a clerkship as solicitor or attorney, to George William Killett Potter (Samuel's partner in what had become Collingridge and Potter, solicitors). On 11 October 1827, the widowed Mrs Sarah Collingridge, Charles mother, petitioned the Corporation of London asking for the vacant office of Secondary to be reserved for her articled son but this was refused. A subsequent proposal that Mr Potter might purchase the place but re-sell it to Charles Collingridge after 5 years also failed to meet with approval. The matter was then referred to the Common Council of the City of London and a Report on The Secondaries' Office appeared in The Morning Chronicle, 29 July 1828. Amongst other things, this revealed that the officers refused render an account of their fees and emoluments during an earlier enquiry in 1819 - since Collingridge paid the Corporation £10,000 for his place, it had been felt he had a right to make the most of it! Numerous abuses by the Secondaries, and their subordinate officers, were alleged including the exaction of illegal fees and 'acts of oppression exceeding their process'. In the event, it was determined the Giltspur Street Secondary should in future be appointed annually by election. [Nevertheless, three years later G W K Potter paid £5,000 before his 'election' to Poultry Compter.*]

Advertised for sale in The Times of 27 June 1829, may be found: - 'A Freehold and small part Copyhold Estate and Residence at Ewell... A Villa Residence upon about 2 acres and a half of land including paddock, pleasure grounds and gardens delightfully situated at Ewell...the late residence of Samuel Collingridge, Esq., deceased.The house contains 9 bedrooms and 3 dressing rooms, dining parlour 20 feet by 18, drawing room 22 feet by 16, breakfast parlour, and offices of every description; coach-house, stabling and outbuildings... Messrs Collingridge and Potter, solicitors, Coleman Street...'

It appears the premises failed to attract a buyer because before 1850 copyhold Plot 298 had been passed down to Samuel Collingridge, junior (born 7 April 1806, baptised Old Church, St Pancras 15 May 1806) The younger Samuel appears, however, to have died before 1838, intestate, in India as an Ensign. The London Gazette, 23 October 1838, named his 'Kindred in England' as Mrs Sarah Collingridge, the Misses Ann & Sarah Olive Collingridge, and Augustus & Charles Collingridge.

Cloudesley S Willis, in A Short History of Ewell and Nonsuch, mentions that 'About 1840 there were several old trees growing outside the house..' but, uncharacteristically, offers no description of it.

The Northey Papers contain two draft releases by way of enfranchisement, 12 June 1847, related to copyhold land 'on which formerly stood a customary messuage or tenement which was long since pulled down by one Henry Kitchen and all so much part and so much of all the capital messuage or tenement coach house, offices and stables built by the said Henry Kitchen deceased on all or part of the said customary land... now in the occupation of the said Sarah Collingridge'. Parties to the release were Edward Northey (as lord of the manors of Ewell and Cuddington), Charles Collingridge of Basinghall Street and Sarah Collingridge, Samuel's widow. Charles was joined to the deed 'to obviate any doubt whether the said estate passed by the said will', being the heir at law of Samuel Collingridge, the younger, then deceased..... [who] died after the demise of... Samuel Collingridge [senior], intestate and unmarried'. [SHC 2238/57/23. Releases of manorial property, 1847, with Samuel Collingridge's will, 1827].

The 'kindred' mentioned above can be identified as the younger Samuel's Mother and siblings. Augustus Collingbridge became notorious as a serial fraudster - Reports from Committees of the House of Commons,1853 [http://books.google.co.uk/books]. In evidence during the case of Cullen v Busher, reported in The Times of 12 December 1845, Charles Collingridge introduced himself as a solicitor in the City before deposing that his brother Captain Augustus Collingridge [a master mariner] had been 'brought up in the India service': the latter had gone to prison in November 1843 and 'since taken the benefit of the Insolvent Act'.

A later partnership between G W K Potter and Charles Collingridge came to be dissolved in 1850. Ironically, by March 1851 Charles had been committed to a debtors' prison before being declared insolvent. (Having been reduced to working as a solicitor's clerk, he died, aged 52, on 12 August 1861.)

The death of Sarah, relict of Samuel Collingridge, occurred at 27 South Street, Thurloe Square, during 1853. By that date the churchyard of St Andrew's Holborn had been closed and she was interred in plot M/168/46 at Brompton Cemetery [later to be joined there by other members of her family].

The family home in Ewell, mentioned earlier, appears unnamed on the 1866 edition of the Ordnance Survey Map, as coloured red in the following extract.

It emerges from obscurity in 1903, occupied by Percy Robert Bristowe and then called The Corner House, on Epsom Road. Henry Norman Brooke had succeeded him by 1913, followed by Dr Ernest Noel Rycart during 1917. Tom Pocock's Memoir tells us: -
"Reigate Road from the Village - Right Hand Side: - From the village to Mongers Lane was a brick wall with the trees inside the wall enclosing Dr. Ryecart's garden footway, ... & Epsom Road from Village - Left Hand Side: - The first house, which had brick walls to both Epsom Road and Reigate Road, was Dr. Ryecart's. The house lay back from the road with the entrance from the corner of Reigate and Epsom Roads. Just inside the gates were the stable buildings etc., and about half way up the Epsom Road was a door in the wall to the surgery. One went down one step inside the wall to the entrance."
The widowed Mrs Rycart remained at the house until at least 1934; thereafter the property disappears for the land to be re-developed as shown on modern maps from Corner House Parade along Reigate Road and into Curvan Close.

Extract from 1866 OS Map
Extract from 1866 OS Map

*Writing in 1871, G W Killett Potter explained: -
"To each of the Compters there was a Secondary or London Under-sheriff. These in early times were great men who purchased the situation of the Corporation and acted by their first and second clerks..., who were paid by a portion of their fees. No register was kept of either the Secondaries, or of these clerks. Latterly the two Secondaries acted together. I became one by purchase upwards of half a century ago. On the death of my colleague I became under an arrangement with the Corporation, sole Secondary: the first and second clerks are done away, and I now act personally, with clerks appointed by myself."
"OBITUARY: MR SECONDARY POTTER. Mr. George William Potter, solicitor, and Secondary of the City of London, died at his residence in Russell Square, on the 12th of May [1871], after along and painful illness, at the age of 73 years. Mr. Potter was admitted in 1819, and was elected to the office of secondary in 1831, by the Court of Common Council, in succession to Mr. Philip Wyatt Crowther. Mr. Potter had previously paid the sum of £5,000 for the office, which was at that time purchasable, and it was agreed by the corporation that his emoluments should never be less than £1,000 per annum, though the fees might not reach that amount. As secondary, he presided over one of the City Courts, and also had the duty of providing juries for the Courts sitting at Guildhall, and at the Central Criminal Court. His position required him to act as legal adviser to the sheriffs, and he conducted for them all the elections in which they were returning-officers. One of his last official acts was, presiding at the election of members of the School Board for the City. By Mr. Potter's death, the clerkship of the Coachmakers' Company has also become vacant. He was a member of the Incorporated Law Society, and of the Solicitors' Benevolent Association, and generally attended the annual dinners of the latter institution, which loses in him a liberal contributor. He was a Freemason."
With grateful acknowledgement of helpful contributions from Margaret Griffiths, Archivist, Surrey History Centre, and Margaret Bower, Volunteer at Epsom & Ewell Local & Family History Centre, Bourne Hall.

Brian Bouchard, Oct. 2013


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