Ewell Grove

and the Pollard family from Mitcham, also of Southwark and Aldersgate

Ewell Grove House
Ewell Grove House c1908
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Occupation of the site during the late Middle Ages

The Register or Memorial of Ewell from 1408 mentions 'Thomas Provys for a tenement called Alemannes, one bedrip*, one nedrip, and Kingsmead...' in the culture called Outhaghes. A conjectural map produced by C A F Meekings and P Shearman for Surrey Record Society Vol. XXVI, 1968, shows Alemannes, off South Street, on land where Ewell Grove was erected centuries later, adjacent to a large chalk pit. This would have been based on references to "a tenement called Alemannes, which Thomas Provys holds. And then next a toft [site of house/homestead], formerly of Alice Avenaunt, which Thomas Provys holds. And then next a pit at the southern head of the aforesaid vill [small collection of houses, the village], which was once a chalk- pit of the lord Prior, which the aforesaid Thomas Provys holds. And all the aforesaid tenements and messuages are situate between the East Street on the north and the said pit on the south, and abut on the South Strete towards the west." Osemunds Lane is depicted running behind Alemannes and other holdings.

The Tudor premises

An early house on the Ewell Grove site would have been comprised in the real estate of Allen Horde mentioned in the Ewell Rental of 1549 as follows: -
"Allen Horde holds by Copy given the 5th day of April in the 31st year of the reign of Henry VIII [1539/40] that piece of land and wood in Ewell called le Chalkepit alias Asshepit# lying next and close to the tenement of the said Allen Horde, late of Humfrey Wade and previously of Henry Saunder, son and heir of Richard Saunder, for which for heriot the same of no account hence an animal and for feoffment 12d and for this per annum 8d.

The same holds by Copy given the 24th day of April in the 28th year of the reign of Henry VIII [1536/37] a messuage with garden in Ewell and one acre of land at Ballardesput, one acre lying in the north part of the said messuage called Stetys, a moiety of one croft and of one garden pertaining to the tenement..."
The will of Allen Horde, the elder, of Ewell was proved on 24 August 1555 [Link to Horde Family]

Elizabeth Horde of Fitznells [presumed to have been the relict of Edmund, son of Alan Hord, the younger, who died in 1575] succeeded to the property as described in the 1577 Survey of Ewell : -
"Horde holdeth a pece of Hollow grownde inclosed called Asshepytt by Copy of the said Mannor abutting upon Hatchfurlong aforesaid of the southe upon the said landes of Olyver Gittens of thest and upon the highe waye leiding from Rigate thoroughe Ewell of the west conteyning by estimacion j acre The said Horde holdeth of the said Mannor one acre of land abutting upon the said Asshepytt# of the southe upon the said lane from the Churche to Southfeld of thest and upon the said highe waye thorough Ewell of the west lieng in parte upon the howse and parte upon the garden and yards of Hordes conteyning j acre

The same Horde holdeth by Copy of the said Mannor a tenemente called - with a forecourt Diuers edifices garden orchard and a parcell of lande of thest parte of the orchard abutting upon the said last named one acre of the southe upon the forsaid lane leding to southfeld of thest and upon the forsaid highwaye thoroughe Ewell of the west conteyning by estimacion [...]"
Its location appears on a map of Ewell drawn by C R Haybittle for Philip Shearman's article on Ewell in 1577 - SAC Vol. 54, p106 - on 'the road to Reigate' with a lane to the South Field (Osemund's Lane in 1408, later Ox Alley) at the rear.

Redevelopment in the 18th century

Eventually the Tudor house would have come into the possession of Thomas Hunt, junior, the eldest son of Thomas of Stourbridge (High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1725) who had died in 1727. Thomas, the younger, went up to Oxford matriculating, aged 18, on 30 March 1737. He was still at Worcester College in 1743 and on 5 April in that year married Susanna Carter at Halesowen. They had arrived in Ewell in time for Thomas Hunt to be nominated an additional Trustee under the Turnpike Act, 28 Geo.II (1755) and he became established as a Merchant trading from Old Jewry, London. In 1779 a memorandum of agreement between Thomas Hunt and Sir George Glyn was drawn up, relating to a right of way from Ox Lane to the common fields of Ewell [SHCOL_ 6832/2/1/32] - lane to the South Field mentioned earlier.

Ox Lane, Ewell
Ox Lane, Ewell
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Writing in 1943, the late Cloudesley S Willis provided a report on Ewell Grove, Ewell, an 18th century structure which had been demolished before the start of WWII: -
"Pleasantly placed among trees and facing the home of the Lemprieres, who were relatives of the Reids of Ewell Grove, this house stood on the N.E. side of Cheam Road with its front to S.W. James Edwards the topographer, writing between 1789 and 1801, referred to it as: "a handsome seat, just erected for John Pollard, Esq." Pollard was born 1740 and died 1817.

Originally a square house built of warm-coloured "white" bricks with three storeys and a basement, there were added to it, about 1820, a segmental-ended one-storey wing, panelled with blind arches, at the S.E. for the drawing-room and an angular-ended wing at the N.W. for the kitchen. The front elevation had a parapet and a stone cornice and frieze decorated with round paterae and flutes; there were tall elegant sash-windows with narrow sash-bars; a central front door, approached by stone steps, with wooden niche-shafts, the caps having upright acanthus leaves, and a semicircular fanlight. The back elevation corresponded, and had a wooden porch, axial with the front door, with Doric columns and over-door with a modillion cornice, pleasantly grouped with the Venetian staircase window above. The bay window on the right was an addition.

The hall and inner hall were decorated with a plaster frieze of wreaths and swags. The hall contained a statuary marble chimney- piece with Ionic columns and a frieze carved with a subject of Britannia and Commerce with a three-masted ship and bales, etc., indicating the mercantile interests of its owner. From the hall a segmental arch with Ionic columns and fluted spandrels led to the inner hall, which contained the main staircase, which was fitted with 1in. square wooden balusters and mahogany handrails on the balustrade and walls and was lighted by a Venetian window. The added drawing-room had a plaster cornice of mixed classic and floral design. Another ground-floor room had a segmental bay with sash-windows, one being a dummy window with the sash-bars filled with mirrors. The spacious kitchen, well lighted from its bay, was paved with flag-stones and had a wide opening for a roasting range with a spitrack on the chimney breast. One of the bedrooms had a carved wood and carton-pierre chimney-piece with a female mask in the frieze. The principal rooms had six-panelled mahogany doors. The original mortice locks and brass door- furniture remained generally in the house, and the front door had a brass-cased drawback lock. In a ground-floor room was a built-in iron safe of the period and a small quantity of Jacobean scratch- moulded panelling used to line a cupboard.

There was a carriage sweep in front with two pairs of wrought- iron gates and railings 6 ft. high formed of 1in. square bars with square section spear-heads, dog-bars and cast-iron vases; and formerly there had been a wicket-gate in the railings facing the front door.

In the stableyard to N.W. was a range of red brick stabling with a string-course and dentils and a pedimented arch through which the farmery was approached. There was a walled kitchen garden, lawn and paddock with a ha-ha fence and finely grown timber, and to the S.E. a dell formed in a chalk-pit recorded in the manorial register dated 1408 (Register or memorial of Ewell). In the chalk-pit is a domed brick ice-house.

A brick drain was found running from the site of the house to a square cesspool in the chalk-pit. It was built of soft Tudor bricks 2 in. thick with very hard mortar containing particles of pounded chalk; it was arched and was 4 ft. 6 in. high and 2 ft. wide, with a channel formed in the bottom.

The house was subsequently owned by Sir Thomas Reid, Bart., died 1824, and by his son Sir John Rae Reid, Bart., died 1867. Lady Reid, wife of Sir John, who died 1869, was remembered as having been carried in a Sedan chair when she went out to dine.

Sir David Evans, K.C.M.G., Lord Mayor of London, afterwards owned Ewell Grove; he died 1907. In his time the Surrey Stag Hounds met there.

There are mural tablets to the Pollards and Reids in Ewell Church and the grave of Sir David Evans is in the churchyard. The house was demolished in 1937".

The Pollards

The marriage of John Pollard to Mary Yates was recorded at St Sepulchre, Holborn, on 26 April 1760.

E W Brayley in A Topographical History of Surrey remarks on the original parish church at Ewell: -
"The Church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a very ancient structure of flint and stone, repaired in parts with brick, and having a tiled roof. It consists of a nave and chancel, a tower at the west end, and a south aisle, opening at the east end into a chapel, which was erected by Richard Bray in 1529, and became his burial-place in 1559. This chapel, now appropriated as a vestry, is separated from the chancel by an obtuse-pointed arch: on its south side is a small piscina."
O. Manning and W. Bray's The History and Antiquities of Surrey (1814) reported
"Against the East Wall of the Bray Chapel, on a white marble tablet was an inscription: -
'Sacred to the memory of Mrs. POLLARD, wife of Mr. JOHN POLLARD Tobacconist, of Southwark, who died the 7th of October, 1788, aged 52 years, deservedly beloved and sincerely lamented'".
On 26 May 1787, Miss Mary Pollard, second daughter [born 4 August 1767, bap. 31 August 1767 at St Sepulchre, London] of John Pollard Esq., from Mitcham married Thomas Seddon, 'upholder' [upholsterer?], of Aldersgate. Seddon was a member of the famous family of furniture manufacturers in London House, Aldersgate, of whom particulars may be obtained from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessible via the Surrey Libraries website.

In Ewell, during 1785, Thomas Hunt had died leaving 'Two acres Hatch Furlong in Common Fields, adjoining Hunt's garden and lately fenced by a hedge'. [Will of 8 pages proved 8 March - PROB 11/1127**. Thomas Hunt's relict had been Susanna, later of Bath, Somerset, but they had no issue.] On 1 November 1786, Thomas Fletcher and others, trustees of Thomas Hunt, surrendered to John Pollard, Esq., of Mitcham the two acres of copyhold land with, it may be assumed, Hunt's freehold estate. Evidently the Pollard family moved to Ewell fairly soon after that event which suggests that their new house had been built before 1789, earlier than the circa 1800 date suggested in Linda Jackson's article about The Reids on this website.

John Pollard was a partner with Joseph Sales in a firm of Tobacco and Snuff Manufacturers, Sales Pollard & Co., of Aldersgate Street, London, that had been established during 1750. Described as one of the oldest houses in England in the Tobacco Trade, it established a reputation for 'fine Rappee and Scotch Snuff, also for Saffron Cut Tobacco. The initials of the firm were adopted as the name of a very popular snuff, 'thereby proving the high repute of the house as snuff makers'. Much later, however, 'SP' became the subject of a trade mark dispute.

In 1790, Pollard resigned from his position as chairman of the manufacturers of tobacco and snuff resident in London, Westminster and Southwark. About this time the house of Sales and Pollard had been mentioned in a debate about Tobacco Tax as having paid a third of the whole duties on tobacco collected for a number of years then past.

Between 1795 and 1801 John Pollard advanced more than £20,000 on loan to his son in law's furniture firm, Seddons of London House, Aldersgate Street.

On 22 August 1801, at Ewell, Catherine Pollard married George [later Admiral] Wilson of Redgrave.

John Pollard is mentioned by Cloudesley S Willis in his Short History of Ewell as "a gentleman known as 'fine Pollard'" with his "brother a rough customer known as 'coarse Pollard'".

For the Enclosure of Ewell in 1803, Jno. Pollard held freehold: -
Plan No. 288 House Offices Gardens and Pleasure Ground      7 acres 2 roods 38 perches
No. 381 Enfranchised allotment in the Common Field          1 acre 1 rood 38 perches
Extract From The Ewell Enclosure Map - click to enlarge
Extract From The Ewell Enclosure Map - click to enlarge

Ewell Grove was sold by John Pollard by auction on 2 June 1806, advertised as:-
"The Freehold Residence, with offices suited to the villa and the farm, extensive gardens, lawn, pleasure grounds, shady walk, shrubberies, hot-house, green-house, pinery, peachery, succession pits, ice-house, billiard room and paddock, containing about nine acres and a half, with 57 acres of leasehold land adjoining, pleasantly situated in the village of Ewell 14 miles from town, the property of John Pollard, Esq. The villa is a uniform building, substantially erected, replete with every convenience and accommodation for a large family, fitted up and finished in a superior style, comprising numerous bed-chambers and dressing-rooms, elegant lofty drawing-room, eating parlour, gentleman's room and morning parlour, spacious vestibule, servants apartments; well supplied with spring and soft water, carriage yard, carriage-house for three carriages, stalled stabling for 12 horses, detached brew-house, farmhouse and husbandry buildings. The grounds laid out with taste; in high cultivation, and near to several packs of fox hounds stag hounds and harriers."
It was also announced: -
"Furniture, about One Hundred Dozen of Choice Port, Three Years in Bottle, One Hundred and Forty Dozen Bottles, a Barrel Organ, Fire Arms, a Mangle, a Polled Cow, Five Years Old, a Heifer, Two Years Old, and Other Effects of John Pollard, Esq. at His Villa, at Ewell, in the County of Surry... [would] be Sold by Auction by Messrs. Winstanley & Son, on the Premises, on Monday, June 30, 1806, and Following Day".
The catalogue further detailed: -
"The remaining household furniture comprising four post and other bedsteads with dimity and chintz furnitures, and window curtains to match, prime goose beds and bedding, mahogany double and single chests of drawers, dressing stands and usual chamber furniture, dining, card, and Pembroke tables, pier glasses and mirrors, Axminster and Brussells carpets, library-case, writing-table, cut glass, a trou madame [bagatelle] table, dining-room window curtains of morine [a sturdy ribbed fabric of wool, cotton, or wool and cotton, often with an embossed finish], cellarets [cases for holding bottles or decanters], kitchen articles, and other useful effects, the property of John Pollard, Esq., at his Villa at Ewell in the County of Surrey. The wine will be sold on Monday".
The house is presumed then to have been acquired by Thomas Reid. Certainly Henry, his second son (born 28 August 1793, christened St Stephen's Coleman Street, London, 18 November 1793), died there in 1810 'after a lingering illness'. The Pollards subsequently moved to the parish of St Andrew's, Holborn, where another daughter, Susannah, married Joseph Yates Cooper on 17 November 1809.

A William Pollard was in partnership with James Cooper (a relative of Joseph Yates Cooper, whose mother's maiden name had been Lucy Yates), as wine merchants, at 20 St Swithins Lane, London, between about 1795 and 1805. This William Pollard [assumed to have been 'coarse Pollard'] died in 1814 and left a will mentioning his niece Susan, his son [Reverend] John Pollard and Admiral Wilson. The Reverend John Pollard had been officiating minister at Susan Pollard's wedding.

John Pollard himself died, 20 January 1817, at Bedford Row, London - will, dated 10 March 1810, proved 11 February 1817 [PROB 11/1589].

The marble tablet in memory of his wife (mentioned earlier) was replaced with new mural monument which has been re-sited in the new church dedicated to St Mary.

The memorial to Mary Pollard
The memorial to Mary Pollard
With kind permission of Jeremy Harte, Curator, Bourne Hall Museum

The premises further described

Ewell Grove was again offered for sale at auction during 1878, reported to be 'An exceedingly attractive, richly timbered Freehold Residential Property' -
"It comprises an old-fashioned detached family mansion, approached from the high road by a carriage drive, and containing the following accommodation: - On the upper floors, nine large bed-chambers, a dressing room, day and night nurseries etc.; on the ground floor, an entrance-hall about 23ft by 19ft, at present used as a billiard-room, an elegant and lofty drawing-room measuring about 33ft by 19ft 6in, a capital lofty dining-room about 17ft by 20ft 6in, a library about 21ft by 17ft, housekeeper's room, spacious kitchen, scullery etc.; also numerous other domestic offices and good cellarage in the basement which is very light and dry. At a convenient distance from the residence and entered from a courtyard is excellent modern stabling, comprising three stalls, two loose boxes, coach-house for six or eight carriages, a harness room, a large loft, and two or three living rooms for men servants; also a small farmery, consisting of two-stall stable, harness-room, sheds, and other outbuildings. The singularly beautiful old pleasure grounds include wide-spreading lawns (one shaded by a stately chestnut tree), a romantic dell with ornamental fountain, an old-established rookery, an Italian garden, and numerous other pleasant features; extensive kitchen gardens abundantly stocked with choice pyramidal and wall fruit trees, double greenhouse, a gardeners cottage, and a potting shed. A ha-ha fence divides the grounds from an excellent grass paddock beyond which is an enclosure of rich undulating pasture land extending almost to lovely Cheam Avenue and forming in itself a complete park. The whole estate is dressed with a variety of grand old timber trees in addition to a profusion of luxuriant shrubs; it commands some charming and extensive views and is in a very interesting neighbourhood with plenty of first-class society. The entire area is about 40 acres."

Sir David Treharne Evans

Sir David Treharne Evans
A carte-de-visite of Sir David Evans of Ewell Grove
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Sir David Evans, mentioned in the above report by Cloudesley Willis, had taken up residence in Ewell in time for his eldest son, Richard Evan David Evans to be baptised at St Mary's on 10 June 1876. He appears to have been the purchaser of Ewell Grove in 1878: although beyond the scope of this article, details of his life may be found at : - http://www.llantrisant.net. Of interest, however, are the following images of Ewell Grove which appeared in The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News for 6 February 1892, after he had become Lord Mayor of London.

Brian Bouchard © June 2012
* Bedrip & nedrip - Work on the harvest performed by tenants as part of the customary dues to their lord, usually for a specified amount of time.

Kingsmead, demesne land of The Worth Court (Ewell's manor house on elevated ground overlooking the water-meadows) [Link To Chamber Mead]

# 'Marling' (the addition of calcareous marl to clay soil so that the lime content could improve structure, enhance drainage and aid workability) was a process discovered by the Gauls and Britons. In Brittania, according to Pliny the elder writing Naturalis Historia circa A.D. 77, pits were sunk which might be 100 feet deep in order to gain access to 'a kind of chalk'. It has been observed, however, that in this part of Surrey, 'marl pits' were simply chalk pits whose produce was usually burnt before application. Farmers used quicklime from burnt chalk to spread on fields (known as 'liming') to reduce soil acidity and supply calcium for plant growth. Workings in Ashtead have been dated to the Romano-British period. The use of 'Asshepit' as an alternative name for one of Ewell's chalk pits could suggest such a burning process had once been carried out there. Dangers arose from carting quicklime because if the material became damp the heat generated could cause a fire, consequently it might be left at source covered with earth to slake over time.
Ewell Grove - click image to enlarge.
Ewell Grove - click image to enlarge.

Ewell Grove was auctioned by Hampton and Sons of Pall Mall, London, under instructions from the executors of the late Sir David Evans, KCMG, on 19 November 1907. Sale particulars of the property comprising a Georgian house, stabling, farmery, cottage, coachman's quarters and grounds of 7½a, illustrated with photographs are held by Surrey History Centre. [SHCOL_4299/11]
** The Will, dated 7 June 1784, of Thomas Hunt of Ewell, Surrey, esq. provided £100 for his uncle Thomas Fletcher of Walthamstow, Essex, esq., and £50 each to his other executors Joseph Paice of Bread St. Hill, London, esq., John Fullager of Hackney, Mdx., esq., and Oliver Cromwell of Essex St., Strand, Mdx., gent.; his nephews and nieces Nathaniel, Anne Harriett, Jane, Thomas Joseph and Langham Mason were to receive £21 each for mourning; each servant would take £5 plus wages. To the widow Susanna went £200, coaches and horses, jewellery, a £300 annuity (added to her marriage settlement) to be paid quarterly and levied upon all unsettled saleable property excepting her dwelling-house, and residuary estate (including what lies within Warwickshire) with power of re-entry if the annuity's payment fall thirty days behindhand; all other lands and the dwelling were consigned to the executors, who could let the widow reside there although she would have to give them notice if she wanted to leave within six months of her husband's death, being compensated with £40 p.a. if she decline to live there - whenever she ceased to reside, the house to be sold for the benefit of any children whom the testator and wife might have, but by default to the aforesaid nephews and nieces at 21 years of age with right of survivorship subject to annuities of £12 to Mrs. Mary Wraxall of Queen's Sq., Bristol and £20 to Mrs. Hester Fry and to the wife's £300 or £40, the executors devoting a discretionary amount towards Jane, Thomas, Joseph and Langham Mason's maintenance.

[Joseph Paice and Nathaniel Mason were cousins, the latter being father of Thomas Hunt's nephews and nieces mentioned above. They had been rivals for the hand of Thomas' sister Ann, who became Mrs Mason at St Botolphs without Aldersgate on 12 June 1759 - Family pictures, by the author of 'Mary Powell' by Anne Manning (1861)]

The Will of Susanna Hunt of Walcot Bath was proved 24 January 1797 - PROB 11/1284.

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