Woodcote Place. Chalk Lane, Epsom
later known as Woodcote Hotel, then Westgate House
Woodcote Place Date and source not known
The official records
English Heritage Listed Grade II : -
"Late C17. (Dated 1684 on staircase ceiling). Three storeys and attic,painted stucco, five modern sash windows, each brought forward to frill height with plain architraves, cornices and panelled aprons. Central Doric columned portico. Dentilled eaves cornice brought forward over windows. Steep pitched flat topped slate roof with C19 round headed dormer windows. Rear elevation of late C18 character. ? mathematical tiles. Central Venetian window 1st floor. Pedimented doorcase. Interior gutted."
Surrey Historic Environment Record HER 16624: -
"The original house was built in the 17th century and rebuilt in the 18th century. It has suffered fires and has been rebuilt more than once. Sales particulars dated 1889 describe the estate of 13.5 acres, consisting of a mansion house, modern stables, two cottages and a farmery. The grounds consist of well timbered pleasure grounds with a large lawn, shady shrubbery walks and flower beds, separated from the paddocks by a ha-ha. The estate was being sold in two plots, the northern section with the possible building potential. Today the stables are mews cottages and very little remains of the estate, only the beautiful brick walls along Madans Walk and Worple Road."
A local historian's report
Cloudesley S. Willis, writing of Old Houses in Epsom Ewell and Cuddington
, in SAC Vol. 5, 1950, mentions Woodcote Hotel, Chalk Lane: -
Behind the stucco front that it shows to the south-west is a very interesting house formerly called Woodcote Place. It was originally built of red brick in three storeys and a cellar in the reign of Charles II. The hall is panelled; and there is a small, panelled room at the north back with bolection mouldings and wooden cornice. Opposite the front door door is the staircase well, which has a richly undercut plaster ceiling panelled with a circular wreath,and a floral cornice with cherub's heads and two shields of arms and dated 1681 In the middle of the 18th century a new staircase with open string, carved brackets on the ends of the treads and turned balusters was put in, and a Venetian window inserted to light the staircase. At the same time north and south wings were built on to the house. That on the south side contains a pleasant parlour on the ground floor. The north wing is occupied to its full height by a Palladian drawing-room which has round- headed windows, lofty doors of eight panels, and overdoors having cornices with cushion friezes decorated with C scroll ornament. Above the main cornice of the room rises a coved ceiling panelled in the centre with a vine wreath, the spandrels being treated with rococo ornament. The original chimney -piece of marble with trusses has been painted.
The carriage sweep in front is enclosed by Georgian wrought-iron railings and gates with cast-iron vases."
Mr Willis had already provided a more detailed description of the ironwork in SAC Vol. 48, 1942/3.
Phase 1, 1677 - 1755
The history of this estate, as detailed by H. L. Lehmann in The Residential Copyholds of Epsom
at 14A2, 14B2 & 14C2, is complicated, all the more so because elements were enfranchised at different times and references to the freehold parts are scarce. The story begins with a tenement held by Robert Rogers, yeoman, of Worcester Park in 1665 which he had been licensed to let. Elsewhere Rogers is stated to have been a carpenter which could suggest that originally his building was erected in timber. On 17 September 1677, he sold this property to Right Hon. George, Lord Berkeley. The latter was the 1st Earl Berkeley (1626/7-1698) and in the manorial survey of 1680 he is shown as holding here: - one messuage, one barn, one stable, one garden, one orchard, one backside and one parcel of meadow inclosed now an orchard, 3 roods, adjoining to Ebbisham common field... George Berkeley already owned Durdans
and, whilst that house was about to be rebuilt, it is unclear why he made the acquisition. John Parsloe, in Chapter 8 of Woodcote Green House
, however, identifies this property as the White House and what became Woodcote Place as being erected on the adjoining plot [Lehmann 14A3 & 14B3] which was sold by John Maund of Epsom to Anthony Stephens of London, gentleman, and Margareta his wife, on 23 October 1682. Cloudesley Willis dated the plaster ceiling to 1681, which would have been during the Earl's ownership of one plot and Maund's possession of the second, but described the shields of arms, mentioned above, as 'one [showing] a chevron between two demi lions, the other three ragged staves.' Since 'neither has an indication of tinctures' it was impossible to identify their owners [Mr Willis' date may, however, be incorrect and there seems to be a connection to the Stephens family*]. The tenant of the White House from 1665 had remained Thomas Fox, glazier, at least until Lord Berkeley re-sold on 26 June 1683.
Anthony Stephens, gent., of Epsom and Margaret(a), his wife are named as purchasers of both properties. It would make more sense for these new owners, and occupiers, to have undertaken a make-over of Woodcote Place and possibly re-built in brick if that had not been done previously by John Maund. This would tie in with a date in the plasterwork of 1684, as stated in the official records, rather than three years earlier. Interestingly, the Victoria and Albert Museum collections include a silver gilt with cut-card work chalice and paten, dated to 1675 on loan from the Parochial Church Council of St Andrew, Kingswood, Surrey. Although medieval in form, the chalice is embellished with a fashionable design cut from applied sheet silver. The maker, Jacob Bodendeich, came from north Germany and was one of the leading goldsmiths in Restoration London. The coat of arms is that of the donor, Anthony Stephens of Epsom - * 'a chevron with a label of three points; crest, a man's head affrontee, wreathed, on an esquire's helmet' (Stephens). Anthony Stephens who died in 1695, in his 62nd year, was buried in neighbouring Chipstead Church. Since the original church of St Andrew's, Kingswood, Surrey was not built until 1835 the chalice must have been a later gift - possibly from Ewell or Chipstead.
Kingswood Chalice And Platen
Image Source SAC XIII
Notes and Queries Vol. 65, 1882, mentions that: "From the south wall of the chancel at Chipstead Church, Surrey, hangs a banner bearing the arms of the Stevens family, on a chevron inter three demi-lions ramp., as many crosslets ; above is a helmet surmounted by the crest"
tells us that
"Mrs Steeven has a very pretty neate house and gardens, before the doore is a part railed in as before, only this is Close at Each end wth high wall and seates. In the middle is a gate wch Leads to the gate of the Court, grass walled round, a broad pavement to the house, and round Stepps-4 or 5. You Enter into a passage wch Leads to a little parlour, thence a step or two down to an Entry, wch Leads away to a Little Court or passage, which runs to the streete and back to ye garden [described later in the narrative]."
Margaret(a) is indicated to have died before 2 November 1693 when the property was placed in the hands of trustees. Anthony Stephens took as his second wife Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Rolt.
Portrait of Miss Mary Rolt of Milton Ernest, 1667
Attributed to Simon Pietersz Verelst
Provenance: Hinwick House, Bedfordshire, and by descent
Identification with Mary Rolt later Mrs Anthony Stephens uncertain
St Margaret's, Chipstead is mentioned in Brayley's History of Surrey
'In the east window is a shield of painted glass, or, a chev. gu. A helmet, with a crest surmounting it, hangs from the wall of the chancel, and near is the fragment of a banner [already mentioned above]. *The arms and crest appear to be those of the family of Stephens, of Epsom, of whom there are several memorial slabs in the floor.'
Recorded in its registers appear: -
'1693 Mrs Margaret Stephens, wyfe of Mr Anthony Stephens, of Epsom, was buryed June 10th , who dyed June 7th , and was wrapt in Linen.
1695. Anthony Stephens, Esqre , of Epsom, was buryed May 10 th, and was wrapt in Linen.'
Probate of the Will of Anthony Stephens took place on 16 May 1695 (PROB 11/425). The real estate then passed as a life interest to Mary Stephens, Anthony's relict. Her Will was taken for probate, 6 August 1755 (PROB 11/817), and death was recorded in the Court Rolls on 8 September 1755. In the 1755 survey of the Manor, Mary Stephens, by then deceased, is noted as having had possession of various estates 'for her natural life'.
Phase 2, 1757 - 1820
An earlier reference to a Samuel Smith (1684 - 1751) arose in connection with the purchase and almost immediate re-sale of Whitmores
during 1747. He carried on an extensive business in London and married Elizabeth Cartlich at St Paul's Cathedral on 10 May 1716. This Samuel is described in a deed dated 1716, relating to his marriage settlement (& generally), as a citizen and goldsmith of London . He died in 1751 intestate, when his very large personal property was consequently divided amongst his six surviving children, each receiving as their share as much as £40,000.
A number of the Woodcote Place copyholds were enfranchised on 31 October 1757 and subsequently sold to Samuel Smith of London, merchant - seemingly, 'silkman', of Aldermanbury and Epsom, born 27 February 1722. The new wings, staircase, and Venetian or Palladian window (Serliana) are thought to have been commissioned by this Samuel Smith II.
Before 1780, Samuel Smith had also acquired Woodcote Green House and Chapter 4 in Mr Parsloe's book is devoted to this Smith family. Woodcote Place was let to a Mr Norman(d) from 1787 to 1789.
Samuel Smith, the younger, died on 4 December 1789 to be succeeded by his eldest son, Samuel III born 19 March 1755. The latter had married, 28 November 1777, Mary Lockyer of Mapperton, Som., and on his father's death became principal of the banking house Samuel Smith of Aldermanbury. Shortly before his own demise, 15 June 1793, he had became a partner in the newly-established London and Middlesex Bank.
The Companion from London to Brighthelmstone
of 1792 describes Woodcote Place: -
"Opposite to the last [Woodcote Green House] on the north side of the road, is a large handsome house, likewise the property of Samuel Smith, Esq., rented and occupied by Richard Norman Esq., on the east are good gardens, enclosed with fruit walls, and, in the north front of the house is a large green plat, skirted with shrubberies, from whence is an agreeable prospect of the adjacent fields."
The Epsom Court Roll records that on 2 November 1795 Samuel III's son Thomas, an infant 16 years of age, was admitted to 'all and singular' pieces of the family's copyhold land.
On 29 march 1802, 'for divers good causes and reasons', Thomas Smith of Binfield Lodge, Wokingham, surrendered the real estate to George Smith of Epsom, Esquire (a younger son, born 6 March 1764, of Samuel II - 1722 to 1789). The latter had married Frances Sawyer of Heywood Lodge, Berks, 12 June 1797. The death of George Smith (25 January 1811) is recorded on 6 May 1811 - will dated 6 July 1809 proved 7 February 1811 [PROB 11/1519].
From 1790 to 1798 Woodcote Place was tenanted by Mrs Graham, succeeded during 1799 by Mr Webb, who stayed there for next two years. George Smith is recorded as occupying the property himself from 1801 to 1807. In 1808, the tenant appears to have been George Abercrombie Robinson, a director of the East India Company.
By 1809, however, the premises had been let out to Henry Bridges who married Frances (Fanny) Dalrymple at Ewell on 6 December 1808. Their first son, William Henry, born 4 December 1809, and second, Alexander Henry Bridges, born 9 December 1811, were both delivered at Woodcote Place, and christened together in St Martin's, Epsom, on 2 April 1812. Their father, having been High Sheriff of Surrey, was knighted in 1814.
Mr Ladbroke rented the premises from 1813 to 1817
On 29 March 1820, after Woodcote House had been left standing empty for a couple of years, Frances Smith, late of Woodcote Green, Epsom, but then of Upper Berkeley Street in the parish of St Mary le bone, sold her copyhold estate to James Elmslie.
Phase 3, 1820 - 1868
About 9 acres of freehold land comprised in the Woodcote Place estate had previously been sold to James Elmslie, by deed, on 4 March 1820. James Elmslie of London had married Mary , daughter of James Calder of Aberdeen at Chesterton, Cambs, in 1811.
Henry Pownall, writing in Some particulars relating to the history of Epsom
, 1825, remarked: -
"Beyond Garlands, towards Woodcote Green, is a large house, formerly the residence of Sir John Jackson, Bart.; but now the property of James Elmslie, Esq., who has resided here for some years. Mr. Elmslie has considerably improved this estate, and displayed much judgement, in the distribution of the grounds. The house is a handsome edifice, but too near the road in front; from the back (which is less confined) a good view is obtained of the town and neighbouring fields."
The London Gazette recorded that on 30 June 1832 James Elmslie withdrew from a partnership between himself, Thomas Stooks and John Linblad of Gibraltar, Merchants, trading as Robert Anderson and Co.
James Elmslie died on 29 January 1833, interred at St Martin's 7 February 1833 aged 70, to be succeeded by his relict Mary nee Calder. Mary Elmslie was listed as both owner and occupier for the1843 Tithe Award and she enfranchised the remaining parts held copyhold on 24 July 1845. C J Swete describes Mrs Elmslie's residence in 1860. The widow lived on there until she was 88 - buried St Martins, 14 November 1868 (reg. Epsom 12/1868).
James Elmslie Tomb In St Martin's Epsom
Photographed by LR James in 1968
Memorial Inscriptions St Martin's of Tours, Epsom, Tomb 445
North Side (This has recently - 1966 - been re-cut)
Sacred to the Memory of JAMES ELMSLIE Esq. of Woodcote Place who departed this Life 29th Jany. 1835 Aged 70 Years.
Also of MARY, Relict of the above and daughter of ALEXANDER CALDER of Aberdeen
who died 9th Novr. 1868 in her 89th year.
In the Year 1840 Mrs. Elmslie built and endowed the Aberdeen Female Orphan Asylum, and in the year 1889 this Asylum was merged in the Aberdeen Educational Trust.
Here Rest The remains of ANNE Youngest Daughter of JAMES CALDER Esqr. of ABERDEEN
Died the 5th of July 1835.Aged 17 years.
Beneath are deposited the remains of ALEXANDER CALDER, Esqr. sometime of Aberdeen, Scotland, afterwards of Upper Woburn Place, London, where he died the 8th day of August, 1867 Aged 82 years.
In this Tomb rest the remains of EDWARD CALDER Esqr. of London who died at WOODCOTE PLACE the 1st day of August 1861 Aged 67 Years.
Phase 4, last quarter 18th century to present
Woodcote Hotel, 1 Chalk Lane
Photographed by LR James in April 1970
Once it became wholly freehold, records of the later history of this property are fragmentary.
Mary Elmslie's Will became the subject of a case in Chancery, Dicey V Forbes.
SHSAL_3002 Sale Particulars 4 October 1882: -
"Woodcote Place, Epsom:freehold detached house comprising 7 bedrooms, offices, outbuildings, gardeners cottage comprising 4 rooms, cottage comprising 4 rooms, and 13.50 acres of land."
The estate came up for sale again by auction on 9 August 1889.
Sales Particulars For Woodcote Place subsequently Woodcote Hotel and now Westgate House
Plan from Sales Particulars
In 1900 the house was owned by W G Langlands, the local Auctioneer and Surveyor, who had let it to Alfred Ernest Harter from Harrogate. Harter was listed as occupier from 1895 to 1902 but later lived at Ingleside, Downs Road, Epsom
Henry John Farmer Atkinson died at Woodcote Place 3 March 1913, aged 84 [reg. Epsom 3/1913]- Obituary in The Times [WIKI].
A. E Harter passed away there in June 1915 in his 72nd year [reg. Epsom 9/1915].
By the early 1920's these premises had been converted into an hotel - Avenel William Cragg Addis (who had retired as acting Chief Engineer, Bengal and North Western Railway in 1919) withdrew from a partnership with Laura Barton at Woodcote Place Hotel on 20 December 1923. [A W C Addis died at Surbiton, 2 May 1945, aged 81 - reg. Surrey N E 6/1945.] During 1930 W C Slater was the proprietor but another partnership between Frederick Richard Tuck and Norman Slater, as the hotel's proprietors, was dissolved on 31 December 1932 with Tuck remaining sole trader. F R & E Tuck traded as the hoteliers, 1938. The business continued into the 1960's: the building was gutted by fire in 1966, stood partly derelict, losing much of the lead from its roof by theft, in 1968 and was then converted into offices.
Woodcote Hotel, 1 Chalk Lane
Photographed by LR James in in April 1968
Woodcote Hotel, 1 Chalk Lane
Photographed by LR James in in August 1968
The property had been re-named Westgate House when Nairn & Pevsner wrote about it in 1971-
'It looks early c.19 from the outside, with its Tuscan porch, but the coved ceiling of the staircase was dated 1684. The ceiling, and the staircase itself, which may have been early c.18 (it had turned balusters and carved tread-ends), have now gone. At the back, the staircase was lit by a Venetian window.'
The property was ruined by an arson attack in the early 1990's. Eventually, Portsmere Ltd were commissioned to extend and refurbish this 17th century building providing 10 apartments and 1 new build house, a contract valued at £1.75million. A residents' property management company, established on 16 June 2010, is Westgate House (Epsom) Ltd.
Brian Bouchard - © December 2011
1) Stephens Family
Margaret Bolbin, daughter of the late Anthony Bolbin of Portsmouth, married during 1660 Thomas Hide who became a Burgess of Portsmouth. Her first husband had died by 1663 - PROB11/310 & 311. On 30 June 1663, a licence was issued for the marriage of Anthony Stephens, of St Andrew Undershaft, London, Gent., a bachelor aged about 29, to Marg. Hide, widow, of Portsmouth aged 18; at Porchester or Kingston, Southampton. Their son John Stephens arrived in 1665. [Boyd's Citizens of London]
Anthony Stephens became a clerk and later cashier in the Navy Treasury. By about 1671, he was working for the Treasury commissioners. Later he became an assistant auditor, then auditor of the Land Revenues. He had a sister, Margaret, who married John Tippetts [knighted 1 July 1675], Master Shipwright at Portsmouth, Commissary of the Royal Navy under Charles II. and James II. Will dated 13 July 1689; proved 28 July 1692. (P.C.C.)
On 4 October 1694, at St Michael's Highgate, 'Anthony Stephens, Esqe., & M'es Mary Rolt were marryed'. [The bride's father, Sir Thomas Rolt, abt. 50, had been joined in matrimony there to Madam Mary Rolt of St Giles in the fields, widow, abt. 30, on 18 July 1685]
John Aubrey, in The Natural History and Antiquities of Surrey, 1718/9, records Memorial Inscriptions in Chipstead Church: -
a. "Before the Communion Table, under four Steps… Next, on a black Marble Stone, in Capitals -
'Here lyeth interred the body of Anthony Stephens Esq. who after a pious and useful life died ye second of May 1695 in the sixty second year of his age'.
[Stephens was in reality a dissenter attending Hare Court Independent Church in London and what has become Epsom United Reformed Church.]
b. Next the former, on another Grave-Stone, in Capitals - 'Here lyeth interred the body of Margaret, the late beloved wife of Anthony Stephens of London who deceased the seventh day of June 1693 in the 47th year of her age. Here also lyeth by her the remains of the body of John Stephens, her only child who was interred here in June 1667 in the second year of his age'."
Manning and Bray's 19th century History of Surrey includes another: -
c. At the foot of the steps going up to the table - Here lies interred the body of Mrs Mary Stephens, late of Epsom in this County. She was the widow and relict of Anthony Stephens of the same place, deceased, whom she survived 60 years and died the 25th day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty - five.
a. (Or), on a chevron (Gules) between three demi-lions rampant (Sable), three crosses crosslet (Argent) were borne by Stephens/Stevens of Burdropp in Wiltshire and of Kent (Harvey, Visitation of Wiltshire p45; Hasted, Kent 1 p210). Burke's General Armory also includes - Stephens Kroxfield, co. Wilts). Or, on a chev. gu. betw. three demi lions sa. as many crosses crosslet ar. Crest A raven's head erm. betw. two wings expanded or. & Stephens. Or, on a chev. betw. three demi lions ramp. gu. as many crosses crosslet ar. Crest An eagle's head betw. two wings expanded erm.
As shown by the Visitation of London, 1634, a branch of the family had settled in the capital: -
It has not proved possible to establish a positive link between 'Antony' above and the Anthony Stephens who sired the resident in Woodcote place.
Those shown on the chalice are untraced but appear not to relate to the Stephens family.
b. (Tincture unknown), three ragged staves (tincture unknown) do not seem to relate to Mrs Margaret Stephens nee Bolbin. Anthony Stephens' maternal line cannot be traced.
c. Mary Rolt, second wife of Anthony Stephens, - Rolt of Sacombe Park, Burke's General Armory, :- Ar. On a bend sa. Three dolphins embowed of the field. Crest A griffin's head erased sa., beak or. Frederica St. John Orlebar, writing the 'Orlebar Chronicles' in 1930, remarked: - 'Mrs Stephens, at her death in 1755 left to her niece Mary [Rolt] in her will a solid silver cake basket which we still possess, on the handle of which are the Stephens arms on a lozenge, quartered with Rolt. This basket bears the date letter 1730...' Mary Stephens seal in 1746 bore a griffin rampant SHCOL_343/1/4
Rolt. Argent a bend sable with three dolphins argent therein having crowns or.