Ebbisham House

30 Church Street, Epsom

Ebbisham House
Ebbisham House
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

English Heritage listed Grade II*, 10 April 1954: -
"Early C18 brick house built entirely in yellow stocks. Three storeys, five windows, with three further windows to right, band. Modern sashes ground and first floor, original ones to 2nd floor. Fine central rusticated door surround with pilasters, triglyph frieze and pediment with mutules [A projecting rectangular block or bracket situated above the triglyph and beneath the corona of a Doric cornice.]. Six panel door. Brick modillioned cornice, capped parapet. C18 wrought iron gate.

Interior. Panelled hall with high Palladian stone chimney piece; contemporary staircase with grouped turned and twisted balusters, cut strings with brackets; wainscotted to dado level opposite balustrade. South ground floor room, once two, with panelling and marble fireplace surround with fluted keystone and C18 wood mantelpiece. Panelled landing and 1st floor drawing room which also has two similar mantelpieces, another panelled room on this floor, and another to top floor."
The following survey had appeared in an article, 'Old Houses in Epsom, Ewell and Cuddington' by Cloudesley S Willis, F.S.A., published in Surrey Archaeological Collections, Vol. 51, 1950: -
"Ebbisham House, Church Street

This is a remarkably interesting and somewhat puzzling house, as, although it is of one build and almost untouched, it possesses early 18th-century features as well as others in Restoration taste. The conclusion is that it was built about the reign of Queen Anne, when there was some overlapping of styles.

It is a square building, and an early example of the use of stock bricks, and consists of three storeys, with a parapet, slightly relieved by brick string-courses and a cornice with dentils. To this a northern addition was made in the third quarter of the l9th century. There is a walled fore-court and a walled garden behind. The wooden front porch has rusticated pilasters and a pediment, and the garden doorway has trusses. The sash windows have outside frames and the original sash-bars have been preserved on the second floor.

There is a fine panelled hall with a bracketed cornice and a high Palladian stone chimney-piece. An archway leads to a staircase of early 18th-century design which has low risers with brackets on their ends, grouped balusters of round and spiral patterns, breaks in the handrail and a dado on the wall to agree. The south ground-floor room, once two rooms, is divided by an elliptical arch; the walls are panelled and a deep wooden moulded cornice is carried round a projecting moulded beam. There is a flat marble fireplace lining with flattened arch and fluted key-stone - a form characteristic of the Restoration period. Another chimney-piece of wood with thin swags was inserted towards the end of the l8th century when the two rooms were made one.

The first-floor landing is panelled and the doors have six raised panels. The drawing-room on this floor has panelling with a cornice and a beam similar to those in the room below, and two veined statuary marble chimney-pieces of the same Restoration pattern. It has also a panelled and windowed closet. A back room on this floor has panelling and a chimney-piece like those in the drawing-room. Two bedrooms on the second floor are also panelled and fitted with chimney - pieces of a similar design, but in stone.

There is chalk masonry in the cellar, and the cellar staircase has a solid string and tapered balusters of late 17th century character."
Rear of Ebbisham House
Rear of Ebbisham House
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

The land on which this house was built appears to have been held in 1680 by George, Lord Berkeley - half an acre, taken out of Woodcote Common Field and enclosed. Lying in the Little Pickles [corruption of Pightle - a small field or enclosure?] near St Martin's Church, it had into the occupation of John Morehouse, Vicar of Epsom by 1June 1696. On 30 October 1702, Lady Berkeley sold the parcel to John Ward of London, later Hackney. He is believed to have been a relative of his namesake, Sir John Ward of Hookfield and composer of the 18th century prayer:-
"O Lord, thou knowest I have nine estates in the City of London, and likewise that I have lately purchased one estate in fee simple in the County of Essex; I beseech thee to preserve the two counties of Middlesex and Essex from fire and earthquakes, and as I have a mortgage in Hertfordshire, I beg of thee likewise to have an eye of compassion on that county; and for the rest of the counties thou mayest deal with them as Thou art pleased. O Lord, enable the Bank to answer their Bills, and make all my debtors good men. Give a prosperous voyage to the Mermaid sloop, because I have insured it. Preserve me from thieves and housebreakers, and make all my servants so honest and faithful that they may attend to my interests, and never cheat me out of my property night or day."
John Ward of Hackney became infamous for fraud. On 4 May 1722, however, he sold the half acre in the Little Pickle, then occupied by Hayes (sic) Woodford, Vicar of Epsom, to William Woodford of Epsom, gent.

At West Worldham, Hampshire, recorded under Marriages, one finds for 9 October 1690 - Heighes Woodford Rector of Elvetham, eldest son of Dr. Samuel Woodford Curate of this parish, and Mistress Mary Lamport of Anstey by licence.

Heighes Woodford had been Rector of Eveltham, 1690/1, and became Prebendary of Chichester Cathedral on 26 July1700, a post he retained until 31 March 1725. He was also appointed Vicar of Epsom on 20 November 1704 and stayed in charge of our parish until 1725. As Mr Woodforde, Minister of this parish, he was buried at St Martin's on 9 January 1725. His wife was Mary, only daughter of Captain Thomas Lamport, of Alton, Hants, who appears to have survived him by eighteen years was buried St Martin's on 24 January 1743.

William Woodford was Heighes' second son who was buried in St Martin's Church, as Mr W Woodforde, 28 September 1722 - an eroded stone in the chancel recorded his passing ' ...[Son of ] Hughes Woodford de Ebsham Vicerij. Obit Sep XXV MDCCXXII Aetat XXV'. At the death of William Woodford his eldest brother, Samuel Woodford, Clerk, was admitted on 22 October 1722 to the messuage and brew-house newly erected on the piece of land called the Little Pightle. The Rev Samuel Woodford had become Rector of Ansford, otherwise Almsford, Somerset, on 17 September 1719 and Perpetual Vicar of Castle Cary 1 November 1721.

On 26 October 1723, Samuel Woodford of Almesford, Somerset, Clerk, mortgaged the messuage and brewhouse with separate outhouses and buildings for £300 with lawful interest. There were later changes in mortgagees and amount borrowed before the premises were sold on 26 October 1746 to Alexander Hayes of Southwark, wharfinger [probably ftom the Hays Wharf family], who entailed them to himself and Jane his wife for life. It would seem that Jane had expired before, on 28 May 1750, the property was again entailed in contemplation of a marriage with Elizabeth Bicknell. The Will of Alexander Hay, wharfinger of St Olave, Southwark, came to be proved 3 March 1754 - PROB 11/807/233.His relict, Elizabeth Hay was admitted to the copyhold, 19 April 1754, so that in the 1755 Survey she held the messuage, brewhouse, stable and garden, half an acre abutting on the road leading from Smith Hatch common Field to Woodcote Common Field. The Will of Elizabeth Hay, widow of Southwark, was proved on 22 July 1778 [PROB 11/1044/38].

On expiry of Elizabeth's life interest under the Will of the late Alexander Hay, the premises then descended to Charles Richardson. He had been the only child of a marriage between Alexander Hay's niece, the daughter of his brother Thomas Hay, and Charles Richardson, the elder, of the Bank in the City of London. Charles Richardson the younger, however, lived only for another two years before expiring at the age of 20 in 1780. His younger brother, William, then only about 9 years old, came into the Hay inheritance and was admitted to this property, 5 June 1780.

A presumption that the mansion was leased out is supported by James Edward's Companion from London to Brighthelmston (1789), in which it is described as 'a high house, built with grey stock[in modern parlance, yellow, as distinct from red] bricks, which has a pleasant prospect of the adjacent country, particularly of the ever-green downs which appear over the spacious plain of cornfields on the south, the property of William Mount, Esq'. This occupier appears to have been one of Trustees of a marriage settlement on the engagement of Rev. Jonathan Boucher to Miss Mary Elizabeth Foreman, prior to their wedding in 1787 - Reminiscences of an American Loyalist. He is thought to be identifiable as William Mount of Postern Row, Tower Hill, London and Wasing Place, Thatcham, Berks., stationer, who took as a second wife, in 1745, Elizabeth Girle. The latter's niece Caroline Girle (who became Mrs Philip Lybbe Powell) kept diaries which were published. In 1759, from her uncle Mr. Mount's place [assumed to be Ebbisham House] at Epsom, she visits Lord Baltimore's seat, and Mr. Belchier's [Pitt Place] described as 'very curious': -.
"Literally contained within the circumference of a chalk-pit. Its owner had a very fine seat called Durdens, in Surrey, burnt to the ground, but, instead of rebuilding that, has collected not only the necessaries, but even the luxuries of life into the above small compass, a good house, one room 30 feet by 20, and 15 feet high. In his gardens (all within the pit), is hothouse, greenhouse, orangery, vineyard, pinery, a grove, terrace, fish-ponds, fountain, with rock-work and the largest gold and silver fish I ever saw, a hot and cold bath, a pretty shrubbery; in short, one cannot name anything that is not in this wonderful chalk-pit."
William Richardson, in 1797 of Mile End Old Town, Middx., subsequently acquired other mansions - Belmont Lodge and Kingston House in Leatherhead, and Willoughby House, Cheltenham. In Leatherhead parish church may be found a memorial tablet to: -

Rebecca Fish, wife of William Richardson, Esq., of Leatherhead,
and Willoughby-house Cheltenham, ob. July 9th, 1832, aged 49;
of her husband, the said William Richardson ob. Feb. 23rd, 1843, aged 68;
and their son William, B. A., of Exeter college,
Oxford, who died at the age of 27 years, July 31st, 1834.

On 29 July 1839, William Richardson of Leatherhead had obtained a licence to let 'the copyhold messuage with outhouses, garden, and ground thereunto belonging, built upon a piece of copyhold land called the Little Pightle' for 21 years to Grimstead [not Charlotte, relict of Joseph Valentine Grimstead, but possibly a daughter - Miss Grimstead in the 1843 Tithe terrier].

Extract From 1843 Tithe Map - Plot 602
Extract From 1843 Tithe Map - Plot 602

Following William Richardson's death in 1843, the property descended to his surviving son, George Fish Richardson, who also lived in Leatherhead. George Fish died on 4 January 1881, late of Kingston House, Leatherhead, and Willoughby House, Cheltenham, naming in his Will (dated 2 July 1880, proved 1 March 1881) his wife Louisa Richardson and son Harry Seymour Richardson. This copyhold having been enfranchised on 7 July 1881, the house is believed to have been put up for sale by Mr Richardson's Executor, Frederick Waller, 11 Old Square, Lincoln's Inn, 'one of Her Majesty's Counsel'.

Extract From 1866 OS Map
Extract From 1866 OS Map.
The name Downside on the property appears to be a cartographic error
as the road on the left is, and has been, known as Downside (or Down Side).
We have been unable to trace a house called Downside in this part of town.

Subsequently two deaths at Ebbisham House were announced in national newspapers:-
12 May 1884 Heathfield Smith, son of Edward Grose Smith, The Priory, Isle of Wight, aged 80 &

25 March 1886 Frederick Lock, son of late Admiral Lock of Haylands, Isle of Wight, aged 85.
These events are linked by the fact that the two men had been brothers in law, Frederick Lock having married Mary Fielder, only daughter of Edward Grose Smith, at St Pancras New Church on 4 March 1824. So it may inferred that a member of the family had purchased the property and was probably responsible for the northern extension mentioned in Mr Willis' survey above.

Extract From 1896 OS Map
Extract From 1896 OS Map showing the extension.
Note: The house is no longer labeled Downside but the road is labeled Down Side.

Mary Isabel, born at Fort Colombo, Ceylon, daughter of Frederick Lock had married General Thomas Armstrong Drought of Hill House, Winchester, Hants. Letiia, second daughter of that union then wed William Maunsell Reeves of Foo Chow, Southern China, 20 January 1876.

William Maunsell and Letitia Reeves, with their family, moved into Ebbisham House after the death of her maternal grandfather, Frederick Lock and were in residence for the 1891 Census. In the 1900 Rate Book, the owner is named as Mrs M[aunsell?] Reeves and the occupier William M. Reeves.

Tragically, the latter died in 1907 as shown by a memorial to him, placed by his family in their place of worship, St. Martins of Tours parish church, Epsom, Surrey.

William Maunsell Reeves memorial
William Maunsell Reeves memorial
Image courtesy of Hazel Ballan © 2013

For the 1911 Census, the Reeves had been succeeded by the Rev Charles Hare Simpkinson de Wesselow with his family.

A potted biography reveals: -
Rev. Charles Hare Simpkinson de Wesselow: formerly Simpkinson; b. March 11,1855; s. of Rev. J. N. Simpkinson, of Harrow; m. Nov. 14, 1882, Henrietta Lucy, d. of R. O. White. Issue: two sons, one daughter. Educ. Haileybury (Sch.); Balliol 1874-8 (J.F.B.); 1st Mod. Hist., and B.A.,1877; M.A. 1881. Ordained d.1878, p.1879; Curate of St. Mark's, Kennington, 1878- 80; St. Mary's, Lewisham, 1880-1; Vicar of Holy Trinity, Greenwich, 1881-7; St. Paul's, Newington, Surrey, 1887-94; Rector of Farnham 1894-7; Stoke-on-Trent 1897-1904; Vicar of Eynsford, Kent, 1904-6; Exam. Chapl. to Bishop of Winchester 1891-1903; ditto. Archbishop of Canterbury, 1903 ; Proctor Li Convocation 1900. Publications: A South London Parish,1893; Life and Times of Archbishop Laud, 1894; Life and Work of Bishop Thorold, 3rd ed., 1896; History of England (to 1603), 1897; ditto (to 1898), 1898 ; History Readers for Elementary Schools, 1898-1901; Life of Major-General Harrison, 1906; Editor Laud's Controversy with Fisher,1902. Club: Athenaeum. Address : c/o National Provincial Bank, Stoke-upon-Trent. [Died Sept. 22, 1912.]
He was buried, aged 57, in Epsom Cemetery, 25 September 1912.

A daughter, Dorothea, was married from the house in 1913.

An announcement appeared in The Times, 17 October 1925, however, that Mrs Ralph Batley (Miss Mabel Terry Lewis) had left Corner Hall for her permanent address to become Ebbisham House, Epsom (Telephone Epsom 586). By 1936 she was offering her Epsom residence for sale - Early Georgian house in walled garden, quarter acre. Contains old powdering closets for dressing the hair and a notable oak staircase. The second World War intervened and a sale could not be completed until 1945 - to Merchant Navy Officers' Pension Fund. Miss Mabel Terry Lewis' new address became St Michael's Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset.

Later extensions and alterations are reflected in material held by Surrey History Centre - during 1960's, CC532/20 & 21, and 1987, 7062/ Plans 10 -15.

Brian Bouchard
January 2013

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