The Grove House

Church Street, Epsom

Grove House
Grove House
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2012

English Heritage

The Grove House, The Grove, Epsom - Listed Grade II
"Late C18. Two storeys and attic, cemented. 2 - 5 - 2 windows, the centre ones sashes contained in a semi-circular bow over a segmental bayed fluted Doric columned porch, with triglyph frieze and cornice. Central door semicircular fanlight, bands. Windows of house otherwise standard steel casements. Cornice, parapet, capping. Slate roof with seven round topped dormers. Two storey additions each end, modernised."
Listing NGR: TQ2134960717

From: The history of Milton, Mass., 1640 to 1877
"NEHEMIAH BOURNE. [Senior] He was the son of Robert Bourne, shipwright of Wapping; born 1611; married 1632; came to America, with Thos. Hawkins, 1638; located in Dorchester, and became freeman in 1641; went to England with Graves in 1643. He was not a resident of Milton, but owned a tract of land on the hill, and probably was interested in the early ship-building on the river.
  Mr. Bourne and his wife Hannah were members of the Dorchester Church in 1639. He was also connected with the artillery company. He was with Col. Stoughton in England, 1644, and received the commission of major in Col. Stoughton's regiment under Gen. Rainsboro. At the death of Stoughton he returned to Boston in the ship "Trial," 1645, but again went with his wife to England in 1646, and entered the naval service, where he afterwards attained distinction, rising to the rank of rear-admiral in the "St. Andrew," of 64 guns, and soon after in command of a squadron of live frigates. His fleet, under Admiral Blake, met the Dutch fleet under Van Tromp, an admiral of great renown, when a battle was fought, much to the disadvantage of the Dutch. Again they met, Oct. 28, 1652, near the coast of Kent, the Dutch at this time under Deputy de Wit and Admiral de Ruiter, with the same successful issue for the English. He obtained pardon from Charles II., and may have been the man mentioned in a letter of the wife of Goife the regicide, in 1672. (See Mass. Hist. Col., I., 60, and IX., 268, 3d Series.) He finally returned to Boston. Mrs. Bourne died in London, 1684 ; he died 1691."

[Will Nehemiah Bourne, Merchant of London proved 15 May 1691 PROB 11/407 - particulars in 'Genealogical Gleanings in England]. Further details are available from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessible via the Surrey Libraries website.
A Memorial Inscription at Bunhill Fields read: -
"Here resteth in Hope, the Body of Hanna, Wife of Nehemiah Bourn, sometime Commander at Sea and Commissioner for the Navy; by whom he had four sons and one Daughter. She departed this World at Ebisham in Surrey, upon the 18th of June; and from thence she was brought to this place , and buried the 21st in the Year of our Lord 1684, and of her age, 68. Seven years later she was joined by her husband whose will desired that he should be 'buried in my vault at Bunhill where I laid my dear wife'.
His executor had been named as my 'dear son, Nehemiah Bourne' [junior] and the reason for this introduction is to identify him as 'Major Bourne', the lessor in 1680 of premises which became known as The Grove House. At that date the property would have been owned by the Lord of Epsom Manor, Mrs Elizabeth Evelyn nee Mynne.

Nehemiah Bourne, the younger, - tenant 1680 - 1710

Records of births in Boston include an entry- 'Nehemiah, sonne of Nehemiah Bourne and Hanna his wife was borne 10 [day of] 9 [month] 1640'.

In Hans Lehmann's Residential copyholds of Epsom, 9A6, it is reported for 1680: -
'At the rear of the premises in Church Street was a demesne property on lease to Major Bourne - One messuage, one barn, three stables, an outhouse, a coach-house a cart-house, two gardens, two orchards, one court, and one close of land thereunto adjoining called the house-garden, 2 acres, abutting... on Toms Lane'.
Evidently, this is where Mrs Hanna Bourne died and where Nehemiah , junior, joined in his father's business and continued after the latter's demise in 1691.

Nehemiah Bourne, merchant of Ebsham, Surrey, Will dated 9 April 1709, proved 3 January 1710, transcript in The New England historical and genealogical register: 1897, Volume 51.

Frederick Calvert, Lord Baltimore - Freeholder in 1755 Survey of Epsom Manor

Tenants after the death of the younger Nehemiah Bourne have not been identified and one does not know when the freehold had been purchased by the Calverts. Frederick, Lord Baltimore held the premises in 1755 and probably sold off the Grove House property with his other estates about 1769.

John Whitmore, the elder (24 October 1720 - 23 August 1791)

By 1780 this real estate had been acquired by John Whitmore, Old Jewry, London, merchant, and he held it until his demise, 23 August 1791, 'at his house in the Old Jewry'. His wife, Elizabeth had pre-deceased him in 1788.

John Whitmore, the younger (1750 - 1826)

Born 15 October 1750, the eldest son of John Whitmore, Portuguese merchant, of St. Lawrence Pountney, London by his second wife Elizabeth née Henkell In 1778, he had married Caroline, daughter of Thomas Williams of Epsom.

On the death of his father, he became - 'heir to extensive mercantile establishments'

He appears on the Roll of Freemen 27 Oct 1777 and was MP for Bridgnorth , 1795 -1806.

As Director of Bank of England 1786-1807, 1810-23; Deputy Governor. 1807-8 & Governor 1808-10, he features in John Wade's The Black Book or Influence of the Bank of England, 1820, -
"The proverb says: - 'If a knave or a fool with Carus we see, A knave or a fool Carus we sentence thee'. It is certainly a just observation, that they may generally know a person by the company he keeps; and we think they may as certainly know whether any individual is a Reformist or Corruptionist, by ascertaining his profession and connexions. It hardly appears possible that any disinterested individual should be the advocate of the present system of pillage and injustice; and, therefore, we generally find those who come forward in its defence, are connected with it either in state, law, divinity, or some other way. As soon as we saw the name of John Whitmore affixed to a Declaration of London merchants, bankers, traders, and others, in defence of property and social order, we felt quite sure that John Whitmore would turn out to have some great stake in the sort of social order that Declaration was intended to support. Accordingly, we found, after a little inquiry, that this gentleman was the governor of the Bank of England, at the time of the famous Bullion Report in 1810, and that the same person is now a Bank director.

This circumstance alone will sufficiently explain Mr. Whitmore's meaning, when he declares his abhorrence of 'seditious and blasphemous publications', and his 'full reliance on the efficacy of the laws, the purity of their administration, and the wisdom of the Legislature'. This language is now well understood; and no one is so little informed as not to comprehend its meaning when proceeding from the mouths of sinecurists, placemen, judges, bishops, and Bank directors."
Three copyhold properties along the Church Street frontage (Lehmann 9C 3, 4 & 5) were acquired by John Whitmore, the younger, on, respectively, 16 July 1821, 29 March 1802 and 26 May 1820. He obtained a licence, 21 October 1822, to pull down the messuages existing on those plots. During 1830 Whitmore engaged in land exchanges with Elizabeth Wheatley (Lehmann 9C2) to construct a new roadway [improving Toms Lane?] which has become the present Grove Road.

John Whitmore, Esq., aged 76, died on the 9 October 1826 at 1 Bloomsbury Place, Bloomsbury Square, London. The Will of Caroline Whitmore, Widow of Bloomsbury Place , Middlesex, was proved 14 January 1834 [PROB 11/1827].

Edward Whitmore (1784 - 1857)

Born 11 June 1784, third son of John, junior, he was baptised 8 July 1784 at Saint Mary The Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. As a result of a family agreement on 3 & 4 March 1828, he came into possession of the Epsom property.

Frances, wife of Edward Whitmore, Esq. of Lombard Street, eldest daughter of the late John Pooley of Kensington, died 28 June 1833 at Epsom - to be buried in St Martins churchyard, aged 39, the following 5 July.

Edward Whitmore was a banker at 'the sign of the Artichoke', 24 Lombard Street - partner in a firm known as Whitmore, Wells & Whitmore since 1821(formerly Chatteris Whitmore & Co.). This business failed in 1841. On 17 September 1841, following a fiat in bankruptcy proceedings, the freehold and copy hold properties at Epsom were sold by public auction.

The deceased Edward Whitmore, aged 72, was finally brought from St George's, Bloomsbury, to join his first wife on 31 January 1857.

Altar Tomb No 251 in St Martin's churchyard: -
South Side
In Memory of FRANCES Wife of EDWARD WHITMORE ESQR. who died 28th of June 1833 in the 40th Year of her Age. Also Two of their children
JOHN died 18th Feby. 1828 Aged 6 Days. HARRIET died 6thJuly 1828 Aged 17 months.

North Side
To the Memory of EDWARD WHITMORE ESQR. who died 26th of Jany. 1857 Aged 72 Years.
Also of ELIZABETH second wife of the above who died on the 12th of August 1861 and buried at Frensham near Farnham.
Thomas Bulcock Burbridge

The highest bidder at the 1841 auction re-sold the premises to Thomas Bulcock Burbridge of Bridge Street, Southwark, hat manufacturer and hosier, for £2330 (Copyholds £400 & Freehold £1,930). The copyhold parts were 'ceded' to Richard Hotham Pigeon the younger of Throgmorton Street, London, probably in trust for Mrs Charlotte Burbridge nee Toulmin.

The 1843 Tithe Map shows the Grove estate on plots 615 - 617. Click image to enlarge
The Grove Estate on the 1843 Tithe Map. Click image to enlarge
The green highlighted area shows the Kitchen gardens (plots 615a),
House Outbuildings and Pleasure Grounds (plot 615) and Meadows (plots 616 and 617)

The Grove Epsom
The Grove Epsom
Image from Brayley' Topographical History of Surrey 1844

Thomas Bulcock Burbidge of the Grove, Epsom, 'many years a magistrate and Deputy-Lieutenant of Surrey', died 5 March 1846 in Bridge Street, Southwark. The freehold and copyhold estate was then sold to Robert Carter on 12 September 1846.

Robert Carter

The biographical details for this owner will be found in Linda Jackson's article on Epsom Bench of Magistrates. Particulars of the way in which his business was conducted may be found in evidence delivered on 2 July 1833 to the Select Committee on Manufactures, Commerce and Shipping [LINK TO]. After his first wife's death, Robert wed Maria nee Harrison, later Alderson, subsequently widow of William Bolton, on 2 May 1854 at Torquay.

St Martin's memorials
Wall plaque 731
Sacred to the memory of ELIZABETH for upwards of thirty one years the beloved wife
of ROBERT CARTER Esqr., who died June 3rd, 1852, Aged 59 years.
A sincere Christian, a devoted wife and faithful friend. A benevolent neighbour.
She was loved and respected in life and in her death universally lamented.
Her earthly remains are interred in the family vault in this Churchyard.

Churchyard Tomb 638
South Side
ELIZABETH the wife of ROBERT CARTER ESQRE. of The Grove in this Parish
Died the 3rd of June 1852 Aged 59 Years.

North Side
Died the 21st of January 1861 Aged 58 Years.
ROBERT CARTER ESQRE. J.P. Born July 1794. Died May 23rd 1878
The 1878 Street Directory for Epsom includes 'The Misses Carter -The Grove and 5 Palmiera Square, Brighton'; these ladies would have been Robert's nieces.

The copyhold elements had been enfranchised on14 May 1877 and so The Grove, Epsom, a freehold estate comprising the 14 bedroomed house, outbuildings, a 6 roomed gardener's cottage, garden and grounds of 12 acres was offered for sale, by order of devisees, 21 July 1879, having previously failed to be sold at auction. The Times for 26 July 1879 advertised a sale of the contents including '150 dozens of choice wines' & '1100 vols. of books'.

John Pyemont

The real estate was acquired by John Pyemont, otherwise John Smith, formerly of Willow Lodge, Leeds, who had become a member of the London Stock Exchange.

Amongst the reminiscences of Mr George W Challis, a former postman, of his life and work in Epsom appears the statement: -
'One place The Grove with its lovely iron gates has been demolished [In this respect his memory had failed him]. From the road to the house, there was a carriage drive and near the tradesman's entrance, a huge dog was chained up. Some of us lads hated to have to deliver parcels here'.
The big house had in fact survived to be converted into flats, 'Grove House'.

Ann Isabella, nee Lupton, aged 79, wife of John Pyemont, of Church Street, was buried in Epsom Cemetery 31 July 1895. John Pyemont, Gentleman, aged 80, from The Grove joined her on 16 February 1899.

The Misses Isabella and Pauline Pyemont

Spinsters Annette Isabella Conway Pyemont and Pauline Alice Maude Pyemont inherited the property.

Sale of The Grove, Epsom, 'an estate with 1350 feet of frontage to Church Street and other thoroughfares' was announced in The Times of 15 April 1916.

Martin Harry Benson (otherwise Harry Philip Gottshalk or Douglas Stuart)

The Grove estate was purchased from the Misses Pyemont by Martin Harry Benson, Highfield, Burgh Heath Road, Epsom, during 1916 and the land developed thereafter. Charles Osenton acquired The Grove itself with other houses in 1929 and subsequently sold them off. A plan annexed to the abstract of title and to the conveyance held by Surrey History Centre at reference 2702/2/2 shows the estate before and after development respectively.

Martin Benson, formerly known as Harry Philip Gottshalk, has been described as 'a neat dapper character', co-founded a bookmaking firm called Douglas Stuart Ltd whose motto was 'Duggie Never Owes'. He was mentioned in a Great War Diary of a lance corporal in the Public Schools' Brigade: - " We soon moved to Epsom where I and two privates were billeted on Duggie Stuart, the bookie; I forget his real name. We spoke too enthusiastically about the comfort of this billet and the welcoming whiskey soda in the evening. It was declared to be our company officers' billet and we were thrown out." Benson appears in the Street Directories for Epsom from 1915 to 1922 at Highfield, Burgh Heath Road under his alias 'Douglas Stuart'.whiskey soda in the evening. It was declared to be our company officers billet and we were thrown out.

Benson came to own the Beech House Stud in Newmarket and in 1938 bought the great Italian champion Nearco for £60,000 to stand there. The horse founded a great male line which thrives to this day. He also originally owned the Grand National winners Shaun Spadah and Sergeant Murphy before their Aintree triumphs, bought the ready made Derby winner Windsor Lad shortly after he was beaten in the Eclipse Stakes. A payment of £50,000 was money well spent, for the horse was never beaten again in six starts including the St Leger, Coronation Cup and Eclipse Stakes.

Brian Bouchard © March 2012

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