The Phillips Family


The Phillips family, which had a distinguished history, as will become clear in due course, owned Mounthill, South Street, Epsom for upwards of 30 years. They were certainly at the house in 1868, having moved from Lewisham, Kent, and the widowed Mrs Jane Phillips remained there until her children had all left; she then seems to have rented it out until she died on 3 January 1903, by which time she was living in Mitcham, Surrey.

John Phillips, shortly before his death in 1868
John Phillips, shortly before his death in 1868

Jane Phillips
Jane Phillips

John Phillips was a merchant, born in Marylebone, London in about 1813. On 4 October 1854, a widower, he married the considerably younger (born c.1832 London) Jane Atkins at St Martin's, Epsom. She was a solicitor's daughter (the Atkins family, formerly of Lewisham, lived in The Shrubbery, Epsom).

This is a letter written by Jane to a friend in Germany just before her marriage.

(22 August 1854 - written by Jane Atkins to Ulrike von Pogwisch)
The Shrubbery Epsom
Surrey;
England
22nd August 1854

My very dearest Friend,

I cannot express how much how very much I thank you for your thoroughly friendly Ulrikian letter, so heartfelt, so warm, the spirit breathing through it, that I can but read it again and again and fancy my dearest of friends watching over and sharing my thoughts and feelings. I do not deserve all the love of which I am the recipient. I hope I shall always have time to feel and acknowledge the kindly thoughts you entertain of me. I have now, as you may imagine much to think of, much to weigh and decide upon as we are to be married in about 6 weeks or two months. There is a mountain of trouble to be surmounted, the parting from my parents, the severance of home ties. My mother particularly has of late so leant on me, so confided in me that I know she ever dreads the being left alone, which she must be as my little brothers are all at a boarding school at Brighton and Annie must necessarily pursue her education which I shall be no longer able to continue.

John Phillips is secretary to a Spanish and Mexican mining company in which he is likewise a shareholder. I am rejoiced to inform you that he is childless. We shall live on the same line of railway about half an hour nearer London. He has taken a very nice ten-roomed house which he is busy furnishing. I gave him your message concerning my unworthy self but he really needs not to exalt me in his opinion. I only think he values me too highly. I have seen tears of joy stand in his eyes at any little mark of attention or affection from me. I fear he thinks me cold. Emily says I am and so do some others but can one love twice with the same fresh enthusiastic feeling! The first fire has burned out; the steady flame of affection remains. I hope I am doing right. I sometimes doubt whether I give him enough for all he pours out on me. I seem to be all in all to him and yet he tells me that he will never reproach me should I withdraw my word at the last moment. He says, deny your hand Jenny if you cannot give your heart. I want not one without the other.

It is midnight and Mama is ringing for her medicine. Good night. Heaven bless you for all your loving kindness and unselfishness to all and every one within your ken. Mama is very weak (having miscarried about a fortnight since). She takes long to rally. Papa contemplates taking her and our little Annie to the seaside, the latter not having yet quite lost the whooping cough. She is now at Hampstead under dear, worthy Kate's kind superintendence. She has made great progress in music and bids fair far to outstrip her teacher (this is not a great feat you will think) but she has no other instruction therein but my own. In French Annie has somewhat profited by the companionship of a Mexican about 15 years of age who passed two months of this summer with us. He spoke only Spanish and French. He is consigned to Mr. Phillips, who has placed him at a school in our neighbourhood. He is an orphan poor boy.

My cousin Dr. Hubert Shelley* (I do not know if I have mentioned him) has been staying a few days with us. He is practising dental surgery in London and bids fair to make a name. He is a great botanist, geologist and an artist in a small way. We have spent all the time in the open air sketching and flowers seeking. What wonders do not art and knowledge discover in nature's economy or rather in the works of the Almighty. Hubert is our John's best friend and we consider him a valuable companion for him. Mrs. Clarkson (for whom you procured a German pianist) is also staying with us. She sold her establishment some months since and has just parted with her only daughter who sailed last week with her husband Captain Julloch(?) for India. Already have two Jullochs(?) fallen victims to this terrible war.

My sister, her husband, child and nurse have also been staying with us. The baby, a fine little healthy thing, little Edith is better in health but still lame.

I began this on the 20th but finish it on the 22nd. Again I am up last, waiting now for Papa and John who are at a Freemason's meeting. With my kind regards pray convey my thanks to your sister and nephew for their kind congratulations and with every good wish. Every prayer for your welfare, every assurance of my continued love and affection for your beloved self.

Thanks for your thought of me.

Jenny Atkins

* Hubert Shelley was the son of Dr John Nichols Shelley

After her husband died on 16 December 1868 at Sutton, Surrey, Jane raised her five children on her own. By the time of John's death the family was in residence at Mounthill. The children, all born in the general Deptford/Lewisham area, were as shown below.

Mariquita Jenny 1855
John Bevan (or vice versa) 1857
Lawrence Charles 1859
Arthur Waller 1862
Walter Alison 1864

Mounthill overlooked South Street and was on the site of what is now Mounthill Gardens; the house was demolished to make way for flats.

The rear of Mounthill
The rear of Mounthill

Mounthill Gardens
Mounthill Gardens.
Image source: the photo workshop's photostream via flickr

The children were an interesting and diverse bunch, all making a mark in life.

Mariquita Jenny Phillips

Mariquita, aged 15, c.1870.
Mariquita, aged 15, c.1870.

Mariquita was an artist and a fair number of her paintings can be found on the internet. Most of them are rather typically romantic Victorian, portraying landscapes, children and dogs, but they still sell today, albeit at modest prices. Following the death of John Phillips the family went to live in Germany for a time at Goethe's house in Frankfurt, which is now a museum. At that point the building was apparently occupied by Goethe's daughter-in-law. Mariquita studied art in Germany and then went to Paris under the tutelage of the portraitist Carolus-Duran. She exhibited extensively in London. Mariquita's account of her time in Germany, entitled 'Old Days in Weimar', is in the Appendix to this article.

Mariquita
Mariquita

The Derby Daily Telegraph of 31 October 1925 carried the following comment on one of her paintings in the Derby Art Gallery. 'I like, too, "The Ragamuffin's Forty Winks". The ragamuffin is such a "human" little dog, if you know what I mean - the kind of dog who walks into your heart and stays there.' In 1905 the same newspaper said about her painting 'The Viking's Daughter', 'It shows a charming figure of a girl who "set hands to her hair of gold until its many ripples rolled all over her." She is on some rocky coast and is evidently watching for the approach of someone of importance, probably the Viking himself. Whatever it is, and whether such hair ever existed other than in the possession of Lady Godiva, Mrs Moberly has produced a charming work and one of the most pleasing in the gallery. In the lower gallery also Mrs Moberly has another charming work, a watercolour, "The Rosary", also of a classical description, but Mrs Moberly can also be distinctly humorous, for her picture "Awaiting the Next Move", depicting a cat in the leafy recesses of some safe tree calmly contemplating the actions of two dogs from whose clutches she has evidently just escaped, is extremely good.' These now seem like the kind of pictures that used to appear on the lids of biscuit tins, but they were popular in their day and, despite the fact that many of them now come over as twee, Mariquita could clearly paint very well.

Jane Phillips by Mariquita Jane Phillips by Mariquita
Two portraits of Jane Phillips by Mariquita.

Mariquita in her London Studio.
Mariquita in her London Studio

Portrait after Mariquita Moberly Archer Hunters Children
Portrait after Mariquita Moberly of the two daughters of the Rev Archer George Hunter, vicar of Christ Church, Epsom

Herbert Guy Moberly came from a mercantile family in St Petersburg, where he was born in 1854, the son of Charles Moberly (1787-1874 Lewisham) and his second wife, Cornelia Wilks (1816-1895 Surrey). He had several older half-brothers and two full siblings, Edward Grafton and Mary Grafton. Presumably Herbert worked for his father and he popped up in the 1871 census, described as a Russian merchant clerk, visiting the Phillips family at Mounthill. On 23 February 1884 at Christ Church, Epsom he married Mariquita. Initially they lived in St Marylebone, but moved to an eight-roomed house in Ravensbury Gardens, Mitcham, Surrey. Herbert became a bank clerk and later a bank manager; there were no children. He died in Mitcham on 24 January 1931, leaving effects of £10,683, followed by Mariquita on 1 November 1937 (£18,878).

Mariquita aged 60, 1915
Mariquita aged 60, 1915

I need to cover the other children in non-chronological order, since the stories of two of them were tied up with what Arthur Waller Phillips did in adult life.

Arthur Waller Phillips

Arthur's story reads like a fictitious adventure but, according to a family history on the internet, this was all written down in the man's own hand at the time. Apparently he began his working life as a clerk, which he did not like, so he went to sea, but was shipwrecked off Ceylon and met a relative who owned a tea plantation. He did not like tea either, so returned home to England. In 1887 he can be placed in Market Drayton, Shropshire, where he married Edith Mary Ann Berkeley Greenwood (originally from Long Ditton, Surrey) on 8 March. There were four daughters in total and one of them, Mabel Frances, was born in Market Drayton in 1890/91. Another relative then encouraged him to try cattle ranching in Sherman, Wyoming, so Arthur invested his money and set sail for America. When he arrived he found that the 'ranch' was actually a saloon and general store between Cheyenne and Laramie, with not a cow in sight. (Sherman is now a ghost town.)

Sherman, Wyoming 1874.
Sherman, Wyoming 1874.
Image source: Harper's Weekly

Undaunted, he eventually obtained a ranching property in Converse County, where his brothers, Bevan and Lawrence, later joined him, and he became a US citizen. This was all real cowboy/Wild West stuff but Arthur, whilst retaining the ranch, returned to England and by 1911 he was settled at Southbourne, Bournemouth, giving his occupation as a ranchman with land, a livestock business in Wyoming - principal income from other sources, stocks and shares. When he died on 21 July 1936, leaving effects of £14,137, he was described as a retired captain in HM Army, although I have not found out when this part of his career might have occurred. Edith predeceased him on 28 May 1931.

Lawrence Charles Phillips

Lawrence trained as a solicitor but went out to join Arthur in Converse County. It seems, however, that the ranching life did not suit him and he went back to the law. In 1895 he married Sarah Jane (Jenny) Gates of Laramie. They lived in Denver, Douglas (Wyoming) and finally Portland, Oregon.

Bevan Phillips

Bevan was an architect, an apprentice of and assistant to Alfred Waterhouse, who was a very fine practitioner indeed, being responsible for the fabulous Natural History Museum in South Kensington. As you see from the testimonial below, Mr Waterhouse thought highly of him.

Testimonial written by Alfred Waterhouse to Bevan Phillips in December 1883.
Testimonial written by Alfred Waterhouse to Bevan Phillips in December 1883.
Image courtesy of Julian Lewis ©2013
.

Bevan was a fine artist and I show below two of his church sketches.

Trinity Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, 1877
Trinity Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, 1877
Image courtesy of Julian Lewis ©2013
.

North transept, Gloucester Cathedral, 1881.
North transept, Gloucester Cathedral, 1881.
Image courtesy of Julian Lewis ©2013
.

Bevan too headed for America and initially settled in Colorado, where he set up an architectural practice in Denver.

A hand-painted business advertisement.
A hand-painted business advertisement.
Image courtesy of Julian Lewis ©2013
.

Eventually Bevan joined his brother Arthur in Douglas, Wyoming.

Bevan at the ranch in Wyoming, 1898.
Bevan at the ranch in Wyoming, 1898.
Image courtesy of Julian Lewis ©2013
.

He and Arthur then went into the oil business together.

Bevan at the Hilliard Oil Well, Wyoming, 1902.
Bevan at the Hilliard Oil Well, Wyoming, 1902.
Image courtesy of Julian Lewis ©2013
.

Unlike the others, Bevan stayed in America; he apparently died on a very cold morning in 1912 whilst cranking up his car. He was unmarried.

Walter Alison Phillips

Walter Alison Phillips
Walter Alison Phillips

Given that John Phillips died in 1868, when Walter was just a tot, his mother must have been the main influence on him and she did him proud, just as she did all of the others. He was sent to the prestigious Merchant Taylor's School and went on to Merton and St John's Colleges, Oxford; he was president of the Oxford Union in 1886 and did not go ranching in Wyoming.

Walter's specialism was 19th century European history and from 1914 to 1939 he was the first holder of the Lecky Chair of History at Trinity College, Dublin. Additionally he was a special correspondent for 'The Times' and chief assistant editor for the Encyclopaedia Britannica (see https://en.wikipedia.org).

In 1906 he married Catherine Beatrice Sennett (born 1884 Oxford). Walter died on 28 October 1950, then resident in Barnes, Surrey/London, leaving £829.


Linda Jackson
May 2013
With thanks to Brian Bouchard for suggesting the subject.

Unless otherwise stated, all images are courtesy of Julian Lewis ©2013 (Julian is Arthur Waller Phillips' great-grandson). Many thanks also to Julian for sending me the letter written by Jane Atkins and the text of Mariquita's 'Old Days in Weimar'.

Click here for the Appendix.


HV Usill
HV Usill
Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
Page Family
Page Family
TH Snow
TH Snow
JA Larby
JA Larby
J Harrison
J Harrison
Foundlings
Foundlings
Nonsuch Mansion
Nonsuch Mansion
New Stables
New Stables