Whitmores formerly known as Hylands

but not to be confused with The Hylands or Hylands House
that lie further east on Dorking Road, Epsom

Whitmores - Front View
Whitmores - Side View
Whitmores Frontage and Side View photographed by Witkowski in 1963
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection

Sometime after 1716, Sir William Stewart, a member of the Company of Barber-Surgeons and Director of the East India Company, established two messuages on what had been land of the New Inn. At his death on 29 April 1723, in his 80th year, he was living in one recently built which later became Hylands House. The other, with outhouses, yards, gardens and appurtenances and two pightles (small pieces of enclosed land) of 6 acres and 20 acres dispersed in the common fields had been let to Anne Cocke. By 29 June 1724 her place had been taken by Micajah Perry of London who then purchased the premises from the Stewart executors; Elizabeth Perry, his wife, was the daughter of Richard and Anne Cocke of Epsom. Micajah Perry sold on to Anne Cock of Epsom, spinster, 28 July 1744, for £700 - by then with the benefit of gardens and orchards but the larger pightle reduced to 12 and a half acres. Although it was purchased from Miss Cock on 26 May 1747 by Samuel Smith he retained the estate only until the following 14 July. The next owner, Henry St. John of Sanderstead, continued to be the proprietor until his death: by will dated 11 May 1771 the premises were devised to his daughter Susanna Wigsell and her descendants as detailed at 3C1 in The Residential Copyholds of Epsom. Eventually, in 1807, the messuage and 6 acres of land were sold to John Lewis Mackay from Bushey, Herts.

On 30 June 1824, John Lewis Mackay of Cheltenham was licensed to let his copyhold property to John Steele of Guildford, schoolmaster, for 21 years. Consequently the property may be identified in Henry Pownall's Some particulars relating to the history of Epsom of 1825: -
"Passing over Epsom common, from Woodcote Green, by some cottages and the farm house of Mr. Fox, we approach the south-west entrance into Epsom; at the commencement of which, about half a mile from the town, to the right of the turnpike road from Dorking to Epsom, stands Mr. Steele's Academy; adjoining is a large house, lately occupied by Mr. Kilner, but now by Robert Barclay, Esq. It was formerly the seat of Governor Starke, and subsequently of Lady Ducking-field; from the back of the house, are some delightful views of the downs, Woodcote, and surrounding country."
When Mackay died he appointed a friend Mary Ann Harrison of Cheltenham, spinster as executrix and she was admitted on 7 April 1842 in trust for life. The property appears as item 1086 on the 1843 Tithe Map - owner Miss Makay (sic), occupier John Steele. [Dr Lehmann refers to the will of "Jan Lewis Mackay" but this individual's given name appears to have been Jean Louis Mackay who was born 20 June 1776 in Utrecht of Scottish ancestry. He is reported to have become involved in middle age with a young woman whilst other sources suggest he had married Mary Ann Harrison on 30 October 1827 years before his death in Doornik, 26 July 1840.]

Extract from the 1843 Tithe Map
Extract from 1843 Tithe Map

Steele's lease was extended for a further 21 years from 13 April 1848.

Mary Ann Harrison's death at Bath, aged 72, appears to have been registered in the June Quarter of 1872. Trustees named in her will dated 31 December 1869 were admitted to the Epsom copyhold on 28 March 1873 and the survivor arranged for the premises to be enfranchised on 13 May 1884.

Meanwhile, by 1881, a tenancy of the property had been taken up by a solicitor Harry Reid Lempriere from Ewell, a friend of Millais and brother to Arthur Reid Lempriere. No owner is specified in Epsom's valuation list for 1900.

Mr Lempriere died in 1911 and was laid to rest in St Mary's churchyard, Ewell. His wife survived for another four years before burial at Epsom cemetery as shown by the following record: -

Last Name First Name(s) Description Age at Death Place of Death Date of Burial Grave No. Register No.
Lempriere Ella Louisa widow 70 Hylands, Epsom 23 December 1915 A53A 5418

After the Great War another name appears in Street Directories for Dorking Road, Epsom - Arnold Salters (sic) Harrison - for 1922 in particular at "Whitmores". One can only speculate whether he could have had a family connection to Mary Ann Harrison from two or three generation earlier.*

He is included in a list of Old Carthusians: - HARRISON, Arnold Sanders, 1876. Son of Charles Whitmore Harrison, of Whitmores, Beckenham. b. 1863. From the foregoing information one can establish the time and reason for renaming the house.

In 1915 the Harrisons had resided at The Shrubbery in South Street, Epsom and they stayed at Whitmores for more than twenty years before demise and interment at Epsom cemetery: -

Last Name First Name(s) Description Age at Death Place of Death Date of Burial Grave No. Register No.
Harrison Ethel Gwendoline Married woman 70 Whitmores, Dorking Rd, Epsom 1 August 1935 E23A 9002
Harrison Arnold Sanders Retired 76 Whitmores, Dorking Rd, Epsom 24 March 1939 E23A 9991

An announcement in the Times gives his second name as 'Sandars'; a member at Lloyds [and former Warden of the Company of Grocers], he had died at Whitmores on 21 March 1939.

Whitmores - Front Entrance
Front entrance 1939
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection

During October 1941 the Corporation under direction of the Minister of Supply began to schedule iron railings in the district with a view to removal for scrap metal. The Nonsuch Society set out to list items of artistic or historical interest that it was hoped might be saved. Despite representations, however, the ironwork at Whitmores, and elsewhere, was sacrificed as part of the war effort. The late Cloudesley S. Willis, FSA, used the list as a basis for an article 'Ironwork in Epsom and Ewell' which appeared in Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. 48 for 1942/3.

He mentioned that when what had been Hylands was reconstructed and extended in the first quarter of the 18th century its small forecourt was enclosed by iron railings. His description continued: - "These were set on a dwarf wall with moulded stone coping, abutting on brick piers with stone caps and Baroque vases. The verticals are 3 feet 6 inches high and of varying thicknesses about 1 inch square, and are leaded into the stone at 5 inch centres; they have concave spike heads and swages; the posts are 2 inches square, stayed to the coping, and are finished with cast-iron vases of Baroque pattern. The wicket gate of tall plain bars and arrow-headed dog-bars corresponds; the pilasters are similar, and support an overthrow formed of scrolls, water-leaves and twists on a plain horizontal base. The top rail of the fence finishes with scrolled iron buttresses against the pilasters and the brick piers."

Thanks also to Mr. Willis, we have a description of the property, Whitmores published in his paper 'Old Houses in Epsom, Ewell and Cuddington' - Surrey Archaeological Collections (1950), Vol. 51: -
"This house, formerly known as Hylands, is the western one of three on the south side of Dorking Road. Its date is early 18th century. It is built of brick in two storeys and a garret with dormer windows. There is a moulded brick cornice and a string-course runs round the house. The handsome wooden doorway has Corinthian pilasters and entablature and the enriched architrave is fancifully turned up over the frieze; it has an eight-panel door and stands on elliptical stone steps. The hall is spacious and L-shaped, the shorter arm leading to the garden door; it is paved with stone and black insets. The walls are panelled in pine with a bold moulded cornice, and the ceiling is panelled with plaster bolection mouldings. The staircase well and landing are decorated in the same way. The drawing room has a plaster cornice with a leaf pattern and the dining-room one of floral design. The bedrooms on the first floor are panelled and have wooden cornices, some having raised panel doors and window seats. The principal staircase is modern, but the back staircase has contemporary turned balusters. Some pieces of wallpaper of the period, of floral design printed in black, are in the house. At the end of the 19th century bay windows were added at the back and the dormer windows altered.
The garden has brick walls; and there are pleasantly coloured stable buildings of red brick and Reigate stone."
Despite becoming a listed building described as 77/79 Dorking Road, Whitmores was demolished in 1963 to be replaced by what Pevsner categorized as 'terrible speculators' Georgian-style [town houses] of the sixties'. Plans are preserved at Surrey History Centre, ref. CC 512/98. A sad vestige is the Grade II wall between the new No. 79 and the corner of Whitmores Close "C18th red brick. S shaped bend".

Brian Bouchard © 2010
Member of Leatherhead and District Local History Society

* His grandfather seems to have been Henry Whitmore HARRISON of London, merchant, son of William HARRISON of 92 Westbourne Terrace, by Charlotte his wife, daughter of William WHITMORE of the Apley family. Died 17 June 1866. Buried at Datchet.

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