Maidstone House

Chalk Lane, Woodcote End, Epsom, KT18 7AS

Maidstone House
Maidstone House
Image Date: 20 Oct 1972 but photographer: not known

English Heritage Listed Grade II, 10 April 1954
"Mid C18. Two storeys, slurried red brick, three sashes. Central door-case with panelled pilasters, flat dentilled hood, and radiating fanlight. Windows to ground floor Venetian with wood mullions Capped parapet, tile roof with two dormers. Listing NGR: TQ2076259740"
This property is considered by H L Lehmann in The residential copyholds of Epsom at 13A8 - 13C8. George, Lord Berkeley and Elizabeth his wife acquired, on 11 April 1673, from John Hewitt the elder of Mitcham, yeoman and William Thomas of the parish of St Olave in Southwark a copyhold messuage, a barn, a stable, a garden, an orchard, a yard, buildings and erections thereto belonging... On 24 October 1677, the Earl of Berkeley leased these premises to Maria Elliott for 23 years from the previous Michaelmas.

A record of the holding appears in the Survey of the Manor of 1680 as follows:-
'The Right Honble George Berkeley, Lord Berkeley Mowbray Segrave and Bruce, Baron of Berkeley Castle, Viscount Dursely and Earle of Berkeley, Claymes to hold by Coppy of Court Messuage or tenement, one Barne, one Stable, one Garden and one Orchard abutting on the highway leading to upper Woodcott Greene...'
On 2nd May, 1695, as reported at a Court Baron on 28th October, 1695, George Earl of Berkeley and his wife Elizabeth surrendered:-
'a customary messuage or tenement, a barn, a stable, edifices, a yard, a garden and an orchard plus 75 acres of dispersed land now or late in the tenure or occupation of Maria Elliott Widow, her assigns or subtenants for the Countess to appoint by deed or Will.'
By a Deed of Covenant dated 14th March, 1696, George Earl of Berkeley and Elizabeth his wife confirmed to Sir Edward Northey Esq. of Middle Temple that copyhold property was surrendered on that date to the use of Richard Ryves of London, gent., youngest son of Richard Ryves of London merchant. The property comprised:- 'a customary Messuage or Tenement, Barne, Stable, Outhouses, Garden, Orchard and Yard and parcels [of land]'. Richard Ryves had been acting as agent for Edward Northey.

On 13 May, 1727, by an Assignment to attend the inheritance, between Richard Ryves gent of London and Edward Green Esq of Middle Temple (by virtue of a licence had for the purpose from the Lord of the Manor dated the previous day, l2 May), Ryves demised property (as described in the Deed) for 1000 years to Green in trust for Ryves to attend the freehold and inheritance, being property intended to be conveyed by John Parkhurst, junior, Esq., Lord of the Manor, by Bargain and Sale to bear date the fifteenth of the month.

On 15 May 1727, by an Indenture Tripartite, (enrolled in Chancery) John Parkhurst, the younger, Esq., Lord of the Manor of Epsom, enfranchised, on payment of £120, the property to which Richard Ryves was admitted (amongst other lands) as tenant in trust for Edward Northey, at the Court Baron on l June, 1696.

The property was to go, in accordance with Sir Edward's Will, to his widow Dame Anne for life, with remainder to his younger son Edward Northey and his heirs in tail male, failing which to his elder son William Northey and his heirs in tail male, failing which to Sir Edward's right heirs.

The property was described as a 'customary messuage in the tenure or occupation of John Moore, gent., and a customary close of pasture divided by rails in three parts containing one and a half acres...'

Consequently for the 1755 Survey Edward Northey of Ebbisham, Esq., claimed to hold by free deed property described as:
'Also another Messuage or Tenement, Coach House, Stables and other Outhouses and Garden containing in the whole about three quarters of an acre abutting on the road leading to Durdans on the east part...'
The Companion from London to Brighthelmston of 1792 mentions [after a small public house, the Hare and Hounds, later The Amato]- 'On the same side, at an angle formed by a road, is a small brick house, the property and in possession of William Northey, Esq.'

The property appears on the 1843 Tithe Map as a house and garden, 3 roods and 23 perches, of Edward Richard Northey, in the occupation of Edward Wright. Information about later lessees is sketchy.

J. Wickwar [William Joseph, died 1874?] may have been there by 1859 when he proposed a Roman Catholic Mass Centre should be established in Epsom. Daughters were born to James Wickwar, a Civil Servant, in Epsom 1875 & 1876 but the family had moved to Dorking before 1881.

By 1878, when he became involved in bankruptcy proceedings, Jesse Cornelius Winfield occupied Maidstone House, Woodcote End, Epsom. Variously described as gentleman, horse dealer, & commission agent he was prominent amongst the racing fraternity and seems to have trained at Woodcote Lodge stables. His horse 'Maidstone' had featured in the racing calendar for 1875 & 1878.

Humphrey Halgrim Grundtvig was probably born at the house on 24 July 1896 (reg. Epsom 9/1896) to Herbert Theodore and Norah Grundtvig (nee Forde). Certainly, Humphrey's father Herbert a 32 year old solicitor born in Brazil who had become a naturalised British subject appears there in the 1900 Rate Book, and was enumerated at Maidstone House with his family for the 1901 census. Herbert Theodore Grundtvig's name continued to appear in the Epsom street directory up to 1918.

Maps of Northey holdings indicate that it was still in that family's possession after the First World War.

Mrs Phyllis Nunneley became the second wife (reg. 9/1920) of Hubert Augustus Nicholls [1879 -1958], Lloyds Underwriter. References to her presence at Maidstone House appear from the early 1930's. Country Life, Vol. 131, 1962, contained an advertisement for sale 'by direction of Mrs Phyllis Nicholls' of 'MAIDSTONE HOUSE, EPSOM, AN EARLY XVIIIth-CENTURY HOUSE in a quiet corner of this old Market Town with bridle path to the Downs'. Nairn and Pevsner's Surrey records 'in Chalk Lane, Maidstone House, mid-Georgian, of three bays with Venetian windows l. and r. of the doorways'.

In Epsom, Town Downs and Common, published in 1976, the property was described as
'a complete mid 18th century red brick house in a most attractive courtyard like setting. Its fairly recent restoration is so excellent and complete to an original as new appearance, it is said that the owner was pleased to have the Surrey County Council Historic Building plaque fixed to the outside wall. People thought, it seems, that it was a modern reproduction, even to what are in fact the original wings and two ground floor Venetian windows'.
The Times of 26 August 1977 reported that the recently modernised property called Maidstone House was to be sold and expected to make £100,000. It contained 4 reception rooms, a large music or billiards room, two bed and bathroom suites and two further bedrooms. The garden extended to about an acre. There was planning consent for a staff cottage.

Brian Bouchard © Februrary 2012

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