now Park Place House, 24 Church Street, Epsom

In Surrey Archaeological Collections, Vol. 51, 1950, the late Cloudesley S. Willis describes one of the Old Houses in Epsom: -
"Parkhurst is an early Georgian house built of pleasant light red brick, standing on the west side of Church Street facing south. It is of three storeys with a basement and dormer windows to the garret. There is a parapet to the roof , below which a moulded brick cornice runs round the house. The imposing front doorway stands on a flight of semicircular steps and has a wooden segmental pediment supported on carved trusses.

About a hundred years later an angular wing to the west was added which contains the drawing-room. There is also a low extension on the east. A new staircase and sashes with reveals were fitted about the same time. In front of the house is a lawn bordered by apple trees, and there are extensive kitchen gardens,. The stabling has been adapted as a garage and dwelling."
The history of these premises from the 17th century may be traced from particulars in items 7B3 & 4 and 7C4 of H L Lehmann's The Residential Copyholds of Epsom. At the death of John Hillman, citizen and haberdasher of London, Joseph Hillman was admitted on 10 May 1692, under his father's will dated 14 January 1692 [proved 13 January 1693, Haberdasher of St Mary Woolnoth, PROB 11/413/93] to two messuages and lands on Church Street, Epsom, - 'near the White Hart gate leading to Epsom church' [This exit from the Woodcote Common field is represented today by a footpath from Downside which joins Church Street opposite Pitt Place]. One messuage eventually became Richmond House and this article is concerned with the other, lying to the south, with stable , yard, garden and orchard formerly in the occupation of Edward Harrison, then of Abraham Grocock. Joseph Hillman of Epsom, gentleman, on 7 June 1696 obtained a licence to let all or any of his properties for 60 years.

It is thought that this second messuage was taken by Martin Lister who reported that 'he had hired a house by lease for 7 yeares...[from 1702] where I purpos, God willing to end my dayes'. This then became 'his house near the Church in Epsom, Surrey' until death there on 2 February 1711/12.

On 13 March 1714, when occupied by Richard Varnell [Varney], the property was sold by Joseph Hillman to Josiah Diston of Epsom, Esq. In his Epsom, its history and surroundings of 1902, Gordon Home refers to Diston losing his fortune 'through expensive living and possibly some gaming', and consequently ruining himself... Josiah Diston had begun to sell off his estates in Epsom from 1722.

The early 18th century house, built by Josiah Diston

Josiah Diston of Epsom, Esq., on 27 January 1723, surrendered to John Myster of Epsom, Gent., the messuage originally part of Joseph Hillman's estate, by then divided into two parts or tenements (one in the tenure of Richard Varney and the other in the tenure of Samuel Woodford) on the west side of Church Street, together with rooms, cellars, yards and conveniences now let with them. In addition this sale included a further messuage, 'newly erected [by Diston and abutting on the first mentioned messuage on the south part] together with gardens, yards, passages, out-houses and buildings'. The latter was occupied by Devereaux Watson.

Ownership by John Myster (1689 - 1763), from 1723

On 23 October 1744, John Myster obtained a licence to let for 21 years all or any part of his premises.

The registers of St Martin's church record the burial of John Myster on 8 June 1763. The MI on his tomb in the churchyard has been transcribed as : -

'JOHN MYSTER Esqr. (born) the 4th of March 1689 (died) the 1st of June 176(3)
This Tomb was erected by his eldest and best beloved Daughter MARY now Wife
(of) WILLIAM THORNTON of THORNVILLE in the County of York, Esqr.
His Sole Execu(tr)ix'.

The Will of John Myster of Epsom was proved 10 June 1763 - PROB 11/889/55.

The Myster/Parkhurst Marriage Settlement, 1754

On 29 January 1754, in contemplation of the marriage between Susanna, youngest daughter of John Myster to John Parkhurst MA, the eldest son of the Lord of the Manor (John Parkhurst (1701-1765) of Catesby House, Northamptonshire), these and various other properties [as detailed by Lehmann] were surrendered to the lord of the manor.

Rev John Parkhurst (1728 - 1797) married, first, in 1754, Susanna (d. 1759), daughter of John Myster of Epsom; by her he had two sons, who died before him, and a daughter (d. 25 April 1813), married to the Rev. James Altham. He married secondly, in 1761, Millicent (d. 27 April 1800, aged 79), daughter of James Northey of London, by whom he had one daughter, married (1791) to the Rev. Joseph Thomas.

Susanna Parkhurst was buried at St Martin's 15 December 1759: -

'Here resteth in hope of a joyful Resurrection to Life eternal the Body of SUSANNA PARKHURST
youngest daughter of JOHN MYSTER Esq., and wife of the Revd. JOHN PARKHURST
she departed this Life December the (2nd) 1759 Aged 57 Years leaving three children

Also the remains of the said Rev. JOHN PARKHURST who died 21st of February 1797 Aged 69 Years.

Also the remains of MILLECENT PARKHURST Second wife of the said JOHN PARKHURST
who died 27th of April 1800 Aged 79 years.

The 'brick house' called 'Parkhurst'

For the 1755 survey of Epsom manor, this real estate was held in demesne occupied by the Revd. Mr John Parkhurst. Then it had been described as 'a brick house, coach-house and stables, and a garden about 1 acre...'

John Parkhurst of Catesby House, Northamptonshire, Lord of Epsom Manor died 1765.

Chest tomb in churchyard of old Church of St. Mary, Catesby Upper Catesby listed: -
'Limestone. Stepped plinth. Bombe chest with inscriptions supporting triangular obelisk with concave sides on circular base with foliage panels in low reliefs. Obelisk topped by flame finial, formerly on top of gilded ball'.
Henry Pownall tells us in Some particulars relating to the history of Epsom, published in 1825, that: -
"Nathaniel Parkhurst died in his father's life-time, leaving John his son and heir, on whose marriage with Ricarda, a daughter of Robert Dormer, Esq., one of the justices of the court of common pleas, his grandfather gave up this manor to him, reserving the rectory for his life. There were issue of this marriage three sons, Dormer, Robert, and Fleetwood Parkhurst. By some family arrangement, Dormer gave his father power over the estate, and dying in his life-time, the father by his will, dated 4th December 1792 [typo for 1762? - Will of John Parkhurst of Catesby, Northamptonshire proved 24 January 1766 - PROB 11/915/274], devised the manor and rectory to Sir Charles Kemeys Tynte, Bart, and George Byrd, Esq., upon trust for his wife Ricarda for her life, and after her death, upon trust to sell the same, and divide the money arising therefrom, between his younger sons Robert and Fleetwood. The advowson of the vicarage was to go to his eldest son John. Mr. Parkhurst died in December 1765, leaving his son the Rev John Parkhurst his heir at law.

Mrs. Ricarda Parkhurst died in 1770, and in September following the manor was sold by auction..."
The Will of Ricarda Parkhurst, Widow of Catesby, Northamptonshire, was proved 27 March 1770 - PROB 11/956/110.

And so it came to pass that on 10 September 1770 this property, with other assets, was offered for sale by Trustees at auction in the Spread Eagle. Described in Lot 5, as 'a freehold well built house, genteely finished, with marble chimney-pieces and other neat fittings, with coach-house, stabling and other offices, court yards and garden, situate in Church Street, Epsom - commanding a pleasing view of Woodcote Common Field etc. - it was occupied by the Rev, Mr Parkhurst at will for £25 p.a.

James Edwards' survey of Church Street, in his Companion from London to Brighthelmston, 1789, refers to 'a large brick house, the seat of Joseph Shaw Esq.,[Richmond House]. Near, adjoining, is a brick house with its front to the south, the residence of the Rev. Mr Parkhurst.' Since it has been reported that Rev Parkhurst 'serenely followed a life of study and of virtue, far removed from the din of senseless pleasures, and the follies of trivial society, [but died] after a painful and lingering illness of ten months, on the 21st of February 1797, at Epsom in Surrey, where, he had during the latter part of his days, resided', he evidently remained in residence in Parkhurst until his demise. He had been buried at St Martin's, 2 March 1797, followed by Mrs Parkhurst, 3 May 1800.

Rev Parkhurst's remains were laid to rest in his family vault with a memorial in the parish church 'raised by conjugal affection and filial piety to the memory of the kind husband, the indulgent parent, and the enlightened preceptor. It bears the following inscription written by Mr. Parkhurst's valued and learned friend, the late Rev. William Jones, of Nayland, in Suffolk.

Sacred to the Memory Of the Rev. JOHN PARKHURST AM.
Of this Parish, And descended from the Parkhursts of Catesby, in Northamptonshire.
His Life was distinguished
Not by any Honours in the Church,
But by deep and laborious Researches
Into the Treasures of Divine Learning:
The Fruits of which are preserved in two invaluable Lexicons,
Wherein the original Text of the Old and New Testament is interpreted
With extraordinary Light and Truth.
Reader! if thou art thankful to God that such a Man lived,
Pray for the Christian World,
That neither the Pride of false Learning,
Nor the Growth of Unbelief,
May so far prevail
As to render his pious Labours in any degree ineffectual.
He lived in Christian Charity;
And departed in Faith and Hope

On 21st Day of February, 1797 In 69th Year of his Age

As a freehold, later details for Parkhurst are scanty.

Rev Robert Cuthbert Hesketh

The son of Robert Hesketh, Esq. of Shrewsbury who matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1792; graduated B.A, 1797, M.A. 1814. He was presented to Acton Burnell in 1815 by Sir Edw. Smyth; and collated to St. Dunstan's (a peculiar) in 1817, by the late Archbishop of Canterbury.

His second marriage, to Emma Daniell, took place at St Andrews, Holborn, 18 August 1809. The first child of this union, George Frederick Hesketh, arrived on 2 November 1810 and he was baptised at St Martin's, Epsom, on 10 June 1811 but expired 11 January 1813.

It is believed that this family had taken possession of Parkhurst because, according to Henry Pownall in Some particulars relating to the history of Epsom, 1825,: -
"To the south of the vicarage is the seat of the Rev Robert Hesketh. It was formerly a much larger building; but has recently been modernized and improved. Behind , the house is a handsome conservatory."
That redevelopment is presumed to have included addition of the 'angular wing to the west...which contains the drawing-room' mentioned by C S Willis, as noted in the third paragraph of this piece.

The Church Street Conservation Area Appraisal Document, 2010, notes: -
"This building [Richmond House] has been substantially extended in connection with its use as the Epsom Beaumont Care Home, and wraps around the next listed building, No. 24 Church Street, called Parkhurst. Unusually this sits well back from the road at right angles to it and dates to the early 18th century. It has a simple Georgian brick façade, three storeys high, with a mansard roof. Matching three storey stuccoed bays have been added to the original brick building, probably in the mid 19th century."
The eastern bay-windowed extension would appear to be later than Mr Willis' description in 1950; there was listed building consent for a three storey extension to form additional office space as recently as 2001. A curious interlocking of these premises with the outbuildings and garden of Richmond House possibly arises because, at one time, there were two messuages on the site, back to back.

Frontage of what is now called Park Place House - the three storey stuccoed bays on the right are thought to date from after the second half of the 20th century
Frontage of what is now called Park Place House -
the three storey stuccoed bays on the right are thought to date
from after the second half of the 20th century.
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

[Grade II Listing 1954 "Early C18. 3 storeys. Red brick with some blue headers. Three late C18 sash windows. Central doorcase with segmental pediment on carved brackets. Semi-circular steps and rails up. Three storey late C18 - early C19 bay to left, modern sashes - cornice and parapet continued over all. Flat topped old tile roof with two flat topped dormers. Interior. Staircase of late C18 or early C19 date."]
Side view of eastern extension with abutting outbuildings of Richmond House
Side view of eastern extension with abutting outbuildings of Richmond House
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

Roof-line of Park Place House seen above converted outbuildings of Richmond House
Roof-line of Park Place House seen above converted outbuildings of Richmond House
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

Former stables built in the 19th century upon a plot originally between Parkhurst and The Old King's Head - now residences 24a & B Church Street, Epsom

24a & B Church Street, Epsom
24a & B Church Street, Epsom
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

Linda Jackson, writing about The Northeys observes that Louisa Mary Ann Hesketh, born 5 December 1812, appears in the 1841 census with three of her siblings living together in Church Street, Epsom. In the 1843 Tithe terrier, 'Mrs Hesketh is named as owner of this [Parkhurst] and other properties.

Extract from 1843 Tithe Map
Extract from 1843 Tithe Map

Memorial Inscription in St Martin's churchyard: -

'Beneath this Stone are buried the Bodies of the Revd. ROBERT CUTHBERT HESKETH M.A.
who died on the 11th day of February 1837 In the 61st Year of his Age.
And of EMMA his Wife who died on the 17th Day of February 1847 In the 62nd Year of Her Age.
In the hope of the Resurrection of the Dead Through Jesus Christ
Near this Stone is buried the Body of GEORGE FREDERICK their Son
who Died on the 11th day of January 1813 in the 3rd Year of his Age.
My flesh also shall rest in Hope. Psalm XVL 10'.

By 22 May 1860, Julia and Agnes Hesketh, spinster sisters, of Church Street, Epsom, were letting a messuage in Church Street to Edward James Rickards from Cheam - SHCOL_ K84/18/1. On 29 April 1867, they entered another lease of the property to John Pycroft Collier of Epsom - SHCOL_ K84/18/2.

1871 Census

Church St., Epsom, John Pycroft Collier, Assistant Paymaster General.

Archibald Godfrey Hope had married Adela Henrietta Curtis, 5 October 1871. On 6 March 1877, the family was living in Parkhurst and a younger son, Adrian Lewis Hope born 3 October 1878, needed to be christened privately, 8 October 1878 in Epsom, because he was ill. Archibald Godfrey Hope, late Madras Light Cavalry, aged 33, died on the 17 June 1881 at Old House, Betchworth, Surrey.

1881 Census

In the 1881 census William E G Niven, aged 3, is living at Parkhurst,Church Street, Epsom, Surrey with his widowed father William Niven, architect, aged 34, born Pershore,Worcestershire, England, and grandfather David G Niven, MRCS retired, aged 70, born St Martins, Perth.

W E G Niven became the father of the film star David Niven.

The house was taken over by William Stuart Rendel, who, having married Ruth Francis Paul towards the end of 1881, remained there until his death , aged 42, on 4 May 1898. He had been the second son of Sir Alexander Meadows Rendel, KCIE, and expired at his father's home, 44 Lancaster Gate.

The Epsom Rate Book for 1900 confirms that Miss J Hesketh continued to be the owner of Parkhurst with Edward S Allen as her tenant. Julia Hesketh is reported to have died 30 June (buried 5 July) 1900 in Brighton [reg. 9/1900, aged 80, Brighton].

Edward Satow Allen had married Eva Mary Gorton in 1893. Their son Percy Cecil Satow Allen, born 21/10/1901 was baptised at Christchurch, Epsom on 30/11/1901. The father was in partnership at 77 Cornhill, London, as a Billbroker and Discount Agent. The family were at Parkhurst in 1906 but had moved to Crampshaw Cottage, Ashtead, before 1910.

The Thompsons arrived by 1920. William James Thompson died at Parkhurst, aged 81, on 14 August 1949. He had been the senior partner in Messrs William James and Henry Thompson, Tea, rubber and colonial brokers, 38 Mincing Lane, London, EC. His funeral took place at St Mary's Kippington where his family had a seat called Kippington Park.

Although it has not been established what happened to the property over the next half century, it seems to have been adopted for office accommodation by 1992.

Brian Bouchard
January 2013

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HV Usill
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