Woodcote House

premises originally called Downer's otherwise Downewards late the Dog House or Dagghouse

Woodcote House
Woodcote House in February 2012
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2012

English Heritage Listed Grade II, 22 March 1974: -
"Built by Sir Edward Northey. Attorney General to William III, Queen Anne and George I, but the existing house is apparently of early nineteenth century date. Three storeys, cemented, 2 - 1 - 2 sash windows, Ionic porch in antis with cornice over. Ends of elevation slightly project Cornice and blocking course One-storey pedimented flanking pavilions. NGR: TQ2057659671"
As explained in a piece about The Dog House "The Chertsey Cartulary contains references from 1596 to freehold property - 'one garden called Downers lying in the Woodcote, lately of John Downer' and 'a cottage and 1 croft lying at Woodcott...formerly of John Downer'. Later corrupted to 'Downewards', these holdings had become 50 years later a location for 'The Dog House'. The latter name could suggest that a pack of hounds had sometime been kept there and specific reference to a dog kennel is found in 1755.

Sir Robert Coke (1586 - 1653), owner from 1647

An article about Durdans mentions 'Sir Robert Coke also acquired a building on the estate known as the Dogghouse (Dagghouse), probably from John and Thomas Hewett. He fitted this as a library for any of the Ministers of the county of Surrey to use on week-days between sun-rising and sun-setting. He had inherited the books, which included some Greek and other manuscripts, from his father Sir Edward Coke. These remained at Durdans until 1682 when they were given to Sion College"

Sir Robert Coke purchased the premises neighbouring Durdans from John Hewitt and his wife Elena, & Thomas Hewitt and his wife Margery, for £60, in 1647. This real estate comprised one house, one barn, one stable, one garden, one orchard, 40 acres of land and 4 acres of pasture with appurtenances in Epsom.[National Archives CP25/2/496/23 Chas.1 Trin.]

In the Hilary term [beginning] of 1653, Sir Robert Coke and Theophila Coke, by a Fine for an unspecified sum, conveyed to Edward Wenyeve one messuage one garden one orchard fourteen acres of land & eight acres of pasture with the appurtenances in Ebisham.[National Archives CP25/2/601/1653/4 Hil.]

Sir Robert Coke died on l0 July, 1653 (interred Epsom 19 July) leaving a will, dated 7 December, 1652, with an undated codicil, proved on 2nd August, 1653, by his 'lovinge and faithfull friend' Edward Wenyeve Esq., of Brettenham, Suffolk, the sole Executor. Amongst other things, including the proposed establishment of of a library at the Doghouse, the codicil provided-
"And then what shall remaine of my said Personall Estate I desire my said Executor may injoy with quietnesse And I wish it were more for his long and constant fidelitie love and assistance toward me And I give to my dear Nephew George Berkeley Esquire and his heyres my house called Durdans with all the houses lands Archchards Gardens Lands Pastures and Underwoods to the same belonging and Scituat and being in Epsham in the County of Surrey and now in my owne occupacon."

Edward Wenyeve, owner from 1653

The family of Wenyeves had long resided at Brettenham in Suffolk. Edward Wenyeve, Esq. was son of Sir George Wenyeve, by Christian daughter of Sir Dudley North, afterwards Lord North in the time of Charles II. Edward Wenyeve, who was a Justice of the Peace by 1650 and High Sheriff for the county of Suffolk in 1653/4, was elected for the county,in the second Protectorate Parliament, though he was excluded from the House in 1656. He died 8 September 1659. A mural tablet inscribed in Latin to commemorate Edward Wenyeve, Esq. , was placed in the chancel of Brettenham church as reported in Vol. IX of Proc. Of the Suffolk Inst. Of Arch. & Nat. Hist. 9 (1895-7) pp135-6:
"The next mural Tablet, surmounted by the coat of Arms above described [' Argent, between a chevron, vert, engrailed sable, three escallop shells sable,or possibly proper, for the colour is a little uncertain.'], is that of Edward Wenyeve (now the eldest) son of Mr. Geo. Wenyeve, whose character is thus glowingly set forth [in the Latin inscription].

Aspice hoc saxum Viator et ipse marmor fias
Lachrymis indurescens
Et dum Talia defles, Nihil fleas.
Hic jacet saeculi hujus
Dum vixit decus, quod vixit desiderium
Quern tamen vixisse laborabit Posterorum fides
Edvardus Wenyeve, Armiger
Honestis ortus natalibus sed ipse suis
Praemissa retro nobilitas
In quo morum gravitas et Vitae probitas
Conspiraverunt feliciter
Etiamnum felicius
Nisi sorta conspiraverant
Ingenii acie acutus, Eloquii suada perpolitus
Candore mentis simplex animi prudentia multiplex.
Orphanis pater, Viduis maritus
Qui bono amicorum vixit, damnum patriae decessit
Priusquam bissena lustra compleverat
Festina Viator, atque ut ditescas sis Illi haeres
Dum coelum animum capit
Terra corpus
Tu capias memoriam

[Look on this stone, Stranger, and you, like the marble itself, will weep though hardened: and, while you regret such a loss, you mourn but a shade. Here lies one who, living, was the ornament of his age, and dead, its irremediable loss - a man whom generations to come after his death will scarcely credit ever to have lived.
Sir Edward Wenyeve, though born of plain stock, himself conferred on his ancestors the lustre of nobility not through descent but by reflection. He was one in whom sobriety of manners combined smoothly with integrity of life, a smoothness marred when the Fates themselves combined against it. Bright with the sharpness of wit and polished with the force of eloquence, he was both open in the candour of his mind and magnanimous in the prudence of his soul. To the orphan he was a father and to the widow a support; as he lived for the good of his friends, so did his country suffer loss by his death, which came before he had completed the round of six decades.
Hasten, Stranger, and if you seek profit, then make yourself his heir; for while Heaven receives his soul and earth his body, you inherit his memory.
Died September 8th 1658.
Translation kindly provided by Jeremy Harte, Curator, Bourne Hall Museum]

Immediately beneath remains the blue grave stone, 6 ft. 6in. x 2 ft. 4 in., having a deeply cut shield of his arms with name Edward Wenyeve, and underneath the words 'Quod tibi non vis alteri ne fieris.' [presumably, quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris - do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself ]
The Topographer and Genealogist, Vol. 2, 1853, records the MI at Brettenham as 'Mural, black and white marble Edvardus Wenyeve Arm. Ob. 8 September 1659'.

By his Will, mentioned earlier, Sir Robert Coke left Edward Wenyeve a house or tenement in Epsom called the Doghouse with all the houses yards orchards Lands and pastures which he had lately purchased with their appurtenances, 'now in my occupation or my assigns' - although earlier conveyed to the named beneficiary.

No Will has been traced for Wenyeve and one cannot say how he or his heirs disposed of the property.

George, 1st Earl of Berkeley (1628 - 1698), owner after 1659

In the 1680 manorial Survey, however, 'the Right Honble George Berkeley, Lord Berkeley Mowbray Segrave and Bruce, Baron of Berkeley Castle, Viscount Dursly, and Earle of Berkeley Claymes to hold by free deed - And also one Messuage called Doghouse one Barne or stable one orchard and one close of pasture thereto Adjoyning conteyning three Acres Abutting on Gills Lane on the South west part...'

A room was never set aside at the Doghouse for the the library desired by Sir Robert Coke. Most of the books were retained at Durdans for the rest of the 1st Earl of Berkeley's life before being gifted to Sion College in 1682. During November 1689 various Berkeley properties had been mortgaged to Sir William Turner of London.

Charles 2nd Earl of Berkeley (1649 - 1710), owner from 1698 - 1702

On George Berkeley's death, 10 October 1698, the real estate passed to Charles, 2nd Earl Berkeley, but he sold Durdans with the Dog House in 1702 to Charles Turner of Kirkleatham, Cleveland, Yorkshire.

Charles Turner of Kirkleatham (1651 - 1719), owner from 1702 - 1710

Turner re-sold Durdans, 1708, whilst retaining the Dogghouse or Dogghouse Farm.

A 1708 Deed, mentions the 'messuage or tenement.. [known as]... Dogghouse or Dogghouse ffarme' as lying near to the mansion house called Durdens. Cholmley Turner and the Administrator under the Will of Sir William Turner (died 9 February 1692), sold what was evidently the Doghouse, occupied by William George, to Sir Edward Northey on 23 February 1709/10. The indenture mentioned that there had been a bargain and sale, immediately previously, between Charles Turner, Cholmley Turner, son and heir apparent of Charles, and Sir Robert Beddingfield, Administrator of the late Sir William Turner.

Sir Edward Northey (1652 - 1723), owner from 1710 - 1723

Edward Northey married Ann Jolliffe at St Martin Outwich, City of London, on 6 December 1687. Her late father, John Jolliffe (1613 - 1680), merchant, had a home in that parish, as well as at Woodcote Green, which could explain why the Northeys came to live in Epsom much later.

The Cistern
The Cistern
Image courtesy of Jeremy Harte, Curator, Bourne Hall Museum

The initials on the cistern are presumed to be those of Sir Edward Northey, and wife, Anne, builder of Woodcote House, Woodcote Green, and it is reputed to have graced the stables of his London home on Essex Street

A full description of the tank is: -
"1706. Lead. Oblong, with slightly bowed ends. Moulded plinth and cornice. Relief decoration on 2 short and 1 long sides, consisting of a band of foliage with small closed coronets and armorial goats above, and large cartouches below (2 on long side, 1 each on short), each with shouldered corners, scrolled sides, cornucopia above, Borrominesque grotesque masks below, and husk festoons, putti, and marine creatures within. Between the cartouches are the date 1706, the initials EAN, a fleur-de-lys, and a leaping fish."
Toland, writing in 1711 remarks: -
'Several persons, who have chosen this sweet place of Epsom for their constant abode, arc distinguished from the rest by their habitations, as they are either by their birth or fortunes. As Sir John Ward's house on Clay-hill, Sir Edward Northey's on Woodcote-green,...'
During 1682 the Berkeley family had been riven by an affair between Lady Henrietta Berkeley and Ford, Lord Grey of Warke who deserted his wife, Henrietta's sister Mary. It is possible that George, Earl of Berkeley and Elizabeth, his wife, had a new house erected in which their daughter could live after estrangement from her husband. Certainly, before 1686, Lady Mary Grey had taken up residence in a newly-erected residence 'near the house called or known by the name of the Doghouse'. Ford Grey eventually returned to England before he became Earl of Tankerville in 1695: since Mary automatically became Countess of Tankerville, one cannot say whether there was a reconciliation with her husband. Nevertheless, for that or some other reason, Mary gave up use of the Messuage to her brother, Lord Clifford. He in turn was succeeded by a tenant called Dupas [Samuel Du Pass of Epsom, First Clerk in Secretary of State's Office] before, in October 1695, it was sold with two acres to Edward Northey described as in the Parish of Epsom 'near to a Messuage there sometimes called Downwards alias Downers or Doghouse and now or lately called Doghouse in the occupation of [William] George'.

The 1695 acquisition of 'the newly erected messuage' on New Inn Lane (Dorking Road) represents Sir Edward Northey's arrival in Epsom. This property appears to have been retained until his death on 16 August 1723 after which it became Epsom's Poorhouse.

John Burke writes in A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, 1838: - Sir Edward Northey died16th August,1723, and was buried at Epsom, where the following beautiful inscription records his memory: - [As recorded for Epsom Monuments on Large Altar Tomb 291] South side

"H.S.E. [Hic sepultus est]

EDVARDUS NORTHEY Eques auratus serenissimis principibus GULIELMO Tertio, ANNAE, GEORGIO, Procuratoris in Causis Generalis functus munere, iterato toties honori non impar, sine fastu sustinuit, sine querela reliquit, interpres legum fidus et indefessus. Tam lubricam provinciam ea gessit felicitate, ut nec subditis grave ius regium, nec regibus subditorum viderentur privilegia. Titulos non semel ampliores, eadem solicitudine qua alii ambiunt oblatos recusavit; non tamen otio indulgens inhonesto, non animi viribus diffisus, sed officiorom satur et dignitatis. Famam boni civis, patroni strenui, viri probi, amici simplicis, non affectatam meritis reportavit; patrem, maritum, herum gravissimo cum luctu desiderant liberi, uxor, famuli: beneficium meminerint isti, quorum inopiae sublevandae proventus universi decimam quot annis erogavit. Unicam uxorem duxit ANNAM filiam JOHANNIS JOLLIFF, Patricii Londiniensis, familia apud Staffordienses antiquissima generosa,ipse inter Essexienses stirpe oriundus: liberos GULIELMUM, EDWARDUM, ELIZABETHAM, et REBECCAM, reliquit superstites. ANNAM, ROBERTO RAYMOND Eq. aurato nuptam, immatura morte praereptam deflevit. Obiit XVI die Augusti, A.D. MDCCXXIII, LXXII annos natus. Patri optimo GULIELMO primogenitus H.M.P. [hoc monumentum posuit]."
The writer is grateful to Jeremy Harte, Curator, Bourne Hall Museum, who kindly rendered rendered the following translation:-
"Here lies Sir Edward Northey, who held the office of Attorney-General successively to their highnesses William the third, Anne, and George, and was not unequal to that often repeated honour, which as he maintained it without pride, so he resigned it without complaint, a faithful and tireless interpreter of the law. That delicate office he held with such equipoise that the authority of the Crown never grated on subjects nor the rights of subjects on the Crown. Offered posts still more elevated, he turned them down with the same assiduity as was shown by others zealous to acquire them; not that he indulged himself in private idleness, nor that he lacked any confidence in the powers of his mind, but that he had enough of duties and of rank. To merit, not pretence, he owed the name of a good citizen, a diligent magistrate, an upright man, and an open-hearted friend; it is with profound grief that his children miss a father, his wife a husband, and his household a master. They will remember that benefit, though the increase of their heavy loss is but a tenth of what was laid out in years. He married but once, his wife being Anne daughter of John Jolliff, Alderman of London, of an ancient and distinguished family of Staffordshire; himself he came of Essex stock. He is survived by his children William, Edward, Elizabeth and Rebecca. He daughter Anne married Sir Robert Raymond but was alas snatched by untimely death. He died 16th August, 1723, aged 72. To the best of fathers this monument was raised by William his first-born son."
Swete's A Handbook of Epsom, 1860) reports: -
"There is a handsome tomb surrounded by a massive railing, on the sides of which are inserted shields of pure white marble. This is the family vault of the Northey family; here are placed the remains, as the inscriptions detail, of Sir Edward Northey, Attorney General of England, in the reigns of William the Third, Queen Anne and George the First. Also of his son Edward, who died, A.D. 1738, and resided at Woodcote Green; which has at times been honoured by the visits of various members of the Royal Family. 'Sic transit gloria mundi'."
Northey Family Tomb
Close-up of Northey Family Tomb
Northey Family Tomb
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2012

Anne, nee Jolliffe, relict of Sir Edward Northey, life tenant 1723 - 1743

By his Will dated 19 January 1721/2, with a codicil, [PROB 11/592] Sir Edward left to his Affectionate wife Anne Northey, for life, "all my Lands and Houses ffreehold and Copyhold in the Parish of Epsom aforesaid with power to Lease the same respective Premises at the best Rent She can gett for the same without ffine for Seven Years or less time.

Dame Anne survived her late husband until 13 August 1743 - St Martin's churchyard Tomb 291 'Dom[ina] ANNA NORTHEY Obiit die Augusti XIII Anno Domini MDCCXLIII Aetates LXXIII'.

Edward Northey (1691 - 1774), owner 1743 - 1774

After Anne's demise, the reversion passed to her younger son Edward, in accordance with a provision in the late Sir Edward Northey's Will:-
"Whereas great Sums of Money have been laid out Upon my House and Outhouses at Epsom great part whereof will be lost if the same should be sold and my Son William having a large House in the Country and I having Settled on him all my Houses in London and thereby am Disabled to give my Son Edward any other House fit for his habitation and that my Dwelling House at Epsom may probably be continued in my family and not Sold I give and Devise unto my Son Edward and the heirs male of his body. Remainder to my Son William and the Heirs male of his body. Remainder in ffee to my Right Heirs the Revertion after the Death of my Wife of all my Lands and Houses Copyhold and ffreehold in the Parish of Epsom aforesaid on Condition and charged with Rebuilding the wall of the Garden on the South part of my Dwelling House there on the Request of my wife if Rebuilding of the same or part thereof shall be necessary during her Life".
The reference above to substantial expenditure on the property could imply that The Doghouse had been substantially re-built following Sir Edward Northey's acquisition of the premises in 1710. John Parsloe reports, on page 126 in
Woodcote Green House... , that when stucco had been removed from around central basement windows the originals were discovered to be ocular, or oculus ,[circular] set in English Bond [alternative courses of headers and stretchers; one header placed centrally above each stretcher] brickwork. This style of brick-laying went out of fashion early in the 18th century. The original Woodcote House is believed to have remained a five bay building on two storeys with three dormer windows to which east and west pavilions were only added in 1823 - see paintings by J Hassell (1767-1825) below. According to the late E G V Northey, '[Sir Edward] bought land near Epsom where he built Woodcote House in a beautiful park. The house was originally typically Queen Anne [reigned 1702-1714] and built in lovely red brick as were the stables. Sadly, later in Victorian days, it was made bigger and much less beautiful."
The manorial Survey of 1755 described Woodcote House which Edward Northey of Ebbisham Esq. claimed by free deed as:-
"a messuage or tenement, coach houses, stables, dog kennel and many other outhouses, gardens and orchards and land containing together in the whole about twelve acres abutting on lower woodcote green on the north part on upper woodcott green on the south part on other estates of the said Edwr. Northey on the east part and on the lane leading from upper to lower woodcott green called Gills lane on the west part.."
A Court Roll for 26 October 1761 recorded the conveyance of Woodcote Green to Edward Northey by the Lord of the Manor.[SHCOL_4073]

William Northey (1736-1808), owner 1774-1808

William died on 9 March 1808, aged 72 , to be buried at St Martin's the following 15 March - Tomb 291 East Side 'WILLIAM NORTHEY Esqr. Obiit March 9th 1808, Aetat 72.'
Having left no issue, the Woodcote Estate passed across to a male descendant of Sir Edward Northey's elder son William (1690 - 1738) of Compton Bassett, Wilts.

In 1777, Arthur Cuthbert had acquired Woodcote Park but immediately sold off two areas of the estate land - 61a 0r 12p abutting Gills or Clay Lane to Charles For(e)man. This area, which became known as Woodcote Little Park subsequently passed to the Northeys to be annexed to Woodcote House [SHCOL_3636/Box9].

Rev Jonathan Boucher, tenant 1786 /1788

During 1786 Boucher wrote to make a proposal of marriage to Miss Mary Elizabeth Foreman, daughter of Charles Foreman, a lady of about his own age (48) who had devoted herself to looking after two sick and elderly maiden aunts recently deceased. She accepted the offer and, in anticipation of their union, Jonathan rented from Northey a large house on Woodcote Green [Woodcote House] for £100 p.a., purchased a coach and four horse, hired seven servants etc. to set up an establishment in a "dear but genteel neighbourhood". On 17 September 1788, Mrs Boucher died and by the following Christmas her widower was back in the Vicarage. Their brief tenure is reflected in Companion from London to Brighthelmstone, published in 1792: -
"Description of Woodcot Green ... Opposite [Stone House]is a handsome house, situated on a slight eminence, which appears to be built in the modern taste, and adorned with shrubberies, on the verge of some small paddocks, lying on the summit of a pleasant eminence towards the south, which, is in great part surrounded with a road, the property of William Northey, Esq., and now rented and occupied by the Rev. Mr. Boucher."

William Northey (1752 -1826), 'Wicked Billy', of Box, Wilts., owner 1808 to 1826

This great-grandson of Sir Edward Northey married Mary Huntington of Bedford Square, London, in 18 July 1795 but produced no legitimate heirs. It appears from the following images that enlargement of Woodcote House in 1823 had been commissioned by this proprietor.

This image is just marked 'Epsom, Northey' and signed by J. Hassell 1823 but is the thought to be of the main Woodcote House building
This image is just marked 'Epsom, Northey' and signed by J. Hassell 1823
but is the thought to be of the main Woodcote House building
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

A similar image also dated to 1823 but showing two wings is held by Surrey History Centre reference SHBAR_641.

Watercolour of Woodcote House, Epsom, seat of Mr Northey. A large, if simple house of five bays and two storeys with three dormer windows and a central doorway. Two single storey wings project from the left and right sides. J Hassell (1767-1825)

Rev Edward Northey, M A, (1754 - 1828), Canon of Windsor, owner ? 1826 to 1828

The estate should have descended to William's younger brother but, in a history of the Northey Family, Lt Col E G V Northey recorded that 'Rev. Edward never owned it'. The reasons for that remain unclear but Woodcote House could have remained uninhabitable whilst it was further enlarged and stuccoed. This work had been completed before 1830 as evidenced by the Edward Hassell painting below.

Mr Parsloe presents the situation differently: -
"The estate was entailed in tail male. ... William Northey of Box inherited. This William was the grandson of Edward's elder brother Willliam, and a colourful character. Known according to Northeys as 'Wicked Billy', or more kindly in later years as, 'Old Billy', his entertainment of his friends, including the future George IV, at the family estate in Hazelbury was said to be more lively than respectable. His younger brother, The Reverend Edward Northey, Canon of Windsor, and the Canon's son, Edward Richard Northey, apparently made their disapproval plain and as a result William left them as little property as possible. Nevertheless, on William's death in I 826, the Canon inherited Woodcote House although he declined to live there. So strong was his disapproval of his elder brother, that he included a clause in his Will that he was not to be buried within ten miles of Epsom. Unlike other Northeys, therefore, he was not buried in the large family vault in St Martin's which Sir Edward purchased for himself and his descendants. The Canon died two years after his brother in 1828 whereupon his son Edward Richard, the purchaser of Woodcote Green House, inherited".
Burke's Landed Gentry, page 1177, published 1879, includes: -
'The Rev. Edward Northey d. 18 Feb. 1828. Arms- Or., on a fess az. between three panthers statant ppr. semee of estoiles arg. a pansy of the first between two lillies of the third. Crest - A cockatrice, flames issuing from the mouth ppr. Motto - Steady. Seat - Woodcote House, Epsom.'
The Northey Coat of Arms
The Northey Coat of Arms
Or a fesse azure between three panthers standing
and powdered with stars argent with a pansy or
between two lilies argent on the fesse.

Edward Richard Northey (1795 -1878), owner from 1828 to 1878

Having taken possession of the Woodcote House property, E R Northey took steps in 1829 to close up Gills Lane, later known as Clay Lane, which ran from Crockingham Corner, near the pond on Upper Woodcote Green, past the western side of Woodcote House to Lower Woodcote Green - in the face of local opposition.* [SHCOL_QS 5/8/110] Mr Northey had previously entered into occupation of Woodcote Little Park on the west side of the lane but acquired these 62 acres by 'feoffment' from Mrs Mary Foreman, widow, 6 July 1833.

Route of Gills Lane - Click image to enlarge
Route of Gills Lane otherwise Clay Lane marked in red, showing its relationship
to ponds on Upper and Lower Woodcote Greens (Woodcote House and Woodcote Little Park).

Woodcote House
Woodcote House Dated To 1830
By Edward Hassell, son of John, 1811-1852

A Topographical history of Surrey, Brayley & Britton, 1841: -
"Adjoining Woodcote-Green is the elegant mansion and park of Edward Richard Northey, Esq. The house was built by Sir Edward Northey, attorney-general in the reigns of William the Third, Anne, and George the First, and who made it his residence."
Woodcote Green was considered by the Select Committeee on Open Spaces (Metropolis) on 1 May 1865: -
"The order of the Commissioner says 'that Woodcote Green, which was heretofore portion of the waste of the said Manor of Ebbisham, otherwise Epsom, but which, so far as respects the soil, is, as it is alleged by Edward Richard Northey, esq., now by purchase divided from the said manor, and is claimed by him to be his property, be converted into and used as a regulated pasture, to be stocked and depastured in common by the persons interested therein in proportion to their respective rights and interests as the same shall be determined on the examination of claims, according to the provisions of the 113th section of the Act 8 & 9 Vict. c. 118'."
R J P Jaquet said in evidence: -
"There is part of Woodcote Green Mr Northey's late uncle planted with trees to prevent the youngsters from playing, indeed every impediment has been adopted. *There is a general regret of the inhabitants that they sanctioned the road through Woodcote Park, also over Woodcote Green, to be stopped".
Handbook to the Environs of London, James Thorne, (1876): -
"Woodcote House, by Woodcote Green, is a good old-fashioned mansion built by Sir Edward Northey, Attorney-General to William III, Queen Anne, and George I, now the residence of E. J. Northey, Esq."
Linda Jackson tells us: -
"Edward died on 21 December 1878 at Woodcote House, after several years of declining health. His obituary in the local paper described him thus: 'Sometimes austere and almost harsh, he was generally just. He was distinguished by his urbanity, and a very kindly disposition often showed itself through his bluff manner'. He was buried in Epsom Cemetery. By the terms of Edward's will, Louisa was allowed to remain at Woodcote for six months only and she moved to another of his properties - Downside, Epsom -, where she resided with four maids, and died there on 30 December 1885; she was interred with her husband."

Rev. Edward William Northey , M A , (1832 - 1914), owner 1878 to 1914.

Eldest son of the late E.R. Northey, J.P., D.L., Woodcote House, who died 1878; born in 1832; educated at Eton, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford; B.A., 1855; M.A., 1858. Ordained Deacon, 1856, Priest, 1857, by the Bishop of Lichfield; Vicar of Chaddesden, Derby, 1872-79; Lord of the Manors of Cheam, Ewell and Cuddington, and joint Lord of the Manor of Box, Wilts; Justice of the Peace for the county of Surrey; Chairman of the Epsom Public Elementary School Managers; member of Epsom Board of Guardians; late Alderman Surrey County Council; President of Epsom Town Club, Epsom Cricket Club, and Epsom Choral and Orchestral Society; Commissioner of Taxes. Married, in 1867, Florence Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Honywood, 6th Baronet.

Rev. E R Northey died on 21 October 1914 but his relict Florence Elizabeth, nee Honeywood, remained at Woodcote House, until her demise 18 June 1928.

An obituary appeared in The Times : -
"There has passed away in her 83rd year a great lady in Mrs Northey...[who] had taken a leading part in public and charitable work for the last 50 years. She was the Dame President of the Epsom branch of the Primrose League, and has for some years been deputy chairman of the board of guardians to which she was recently elected at the top of the poll. She was largely instrumental in inaugurating the Cottage Hospital of which she was treasurer. She was a liberal supporter of Church and charitable organisations, greatly respected and beloved. Her kindly smile as she drove through Epsom in her old-fashioned barouche will be sorely missed. She was the last of her generation of a very old family..."
Florence Northey joined her late husband in the family plot at Epsom Cemetery on 20 June 1928.

Woodcote House in the 1920s.
Woodcote House in the 1920s.
Image courtesy of Martin Northey © 2012

Major General Sir Edward Northey (1868 - 1953), owner 1914 to 1941

Following the death of his mother, Florence, in 1928, Sir Edward brought his family to live at Woodcote House. His wife Anna Evangeline, nee Cloete , succumbed after a lengthy battle with cancer in 1941, whereupon Edward sold their home and moved to Berkshire. He survived until Christmas Day 1953.

The Northey family had remained in Woodcote House but sold off most of the surrounding land in three tranches during 1933, 1937 and 1939, for housing to be built on the Woodcote Green Estate by E.G.Harwood & Co. The contractors installed a narrow gauge railway in order to transport materials around the very large large site The development was centred on Cedar Hill, each front garden being planted with two trees to prevent additional building and to preserve the avenue effect. The prices were from £1095 to £2500 and it was one of the last and most expensive of the estates to be built in Epsom.

In 1999 the Harwood family donated a large portion of the remaining woodland including the pond to be held in perpetuity by the Trustees of the Woodcote Millennium Green Trust. The Mayor of Epsom and Ewell officially opened this area, now known as The Woodcote Millennium Green in July 2000.

Recently Woodcote House has been refurbished at a cost of £1.85 million to provide 7 'luxury apartments'

Brian Bouchard © March 2012

A footnote to history: the case of Mrs Northey' stockings.

William Northey of Box and Woodcote House, Epsom

In part 3 of Linda Jackson's magnum opus about the Northeys on the Epsom and Ewell History Explorer website, the marriage of William (4) Northey [1752 - 1826], nicknamed 'Wicked Billy' is mentioned.

He had inherited messuages and land in the Manors of Chessington, alias Newhall, and Frerne, on the death of his father in 1770 and these formed a settlement on his union with Mary Huntington of New Store Street, Bedford Square, Middlesex, spinster, on 16/17 July 1795. [Surrey History Centre K84/9/64-65] By licence, the wedding of 'William Northey, of this parish, & Mary Huntington, of St Giles in the Fields ' was celebrated at St George, Hanover Square' 18 July 1795.

On 2 July 1801, 2 Mortimer Street, London, was insured with the Sun Insurance Office by William Tyler, Caroline Street, Bedford Square, and Rees Goring Thomas, Norfolk Street, Esqs, in trust for Mary, the wife of William Northey.

At the Old Bailey on 28 April 1802, Esther Wellington is found indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 12th of October [1801] , a pair of cotton stockings, value 2s. and a towel, value 6d. the property of William Northey, Esq. Evidence was given by Ann Whitaker, servant to William Northey, Esq. at Epsom that the prisoner was a chair-woman [charwoman] at Mr. Northey's town-house, 2, Mortimer-street.Wellington had been chair-woman [charwoman] there three or four years and a great number of articles had been lost from the house. A pawnbroker for whom she also chaired [charred] suspected Esther, and had gone to Whitaker to enquire about the former's character; she had known nothing of the loss of her mistress' things till they were found.

John Morris, brother of the pawnbroker, testified that they had been robbed and suspected their char. He had obtained a search-warrant, and found thirty duplicates [receipts for pledges] in her lodgings, but none of them led to their property although eighteen of them were articles pledged at their shop, among which was the property in the indictment. The stockings and towel were exhibited with an explanation that the stockings had been pledged on the 12 October 1801, by the prisoner, for one shilling.

The stockings with Mr. Northey's name woven in by the maker were undoubtedly his wife's hosiery. Evidently the Northeys remained in a married state at this time.

Having been found guilty, Esther Wellington, aged 29, came to be sentenced to transportation for seven years and disappeared from the records.

By 1806, William Northey had moved in London to 8 Queen Street, Mayfair. No further references to his wife or to Messrs. Tyler and Thomas as trustees of her marriage settlement have been traced and it might be inferred that Mary had died.

The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol.23, 1826, reported the demise of William Northey, Esq. M.P: -
'Jan.19 [1826]. At his house [27] Bruton street,William Northey, Esq. of Box Hall in Wiltshire, for nearly 30 years M. P. for Newport in Cornwall. He was son of William Northey, Esq. of Ivy-house, Wilts, a Groom of his Majesty's Bedchamber, and successively Member for Calne, Maidstone, and Great Bedwin. The deceased sat for Newport in six Parliaments, having been first elected in 1796. His vote was generally given to the Opposition. During the war he commanded the Box Volunteer Infantry, amounting to 80 rank and file'.
William's Will signed on 15 April 1824 makes no mention of a wife but provides for three annuitants: -
  1. Mrs Louisa Wiseman(?), commonly called Louisa Gardner, of [43] Curzon Street, Mayfair, a lump sum of £400 and £400 p.a. for life. [She may only have occupied rooms in a large house with Matthew Gooch's business premises at street level.]
  2. Mrs Ann Bentinct (?) already in receipt of £150 p.a. On her death £50 p.a. for life to be paid the lady's sister Mrs Haddon, widow of the late William Haddon, solicitor of Essex Street in the Strand.
  3. Mrs Mary Watling late of Norfolk, then of Spooner Street, City Road [Clerkenwell], £30 p.a. for life. [National Archives PROB 11/1709/28, proved 4 February 1826.]
He expressed a wish to be interred at Box, Wilts., as had been his father in a family vault at St Thomas à Becket Church.

Brian Bouchard © May 2017

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