The Pillars of Larkhall, Bath

What is the origin and purpose of the elegant stone pillars around St Saviour’s Church in Larkhall, Bath? This article describes the pillars in detail and examines their connection to the development and improvement of roads in 19th century Larkhall.

Walking along St Saviour’s Terrace and Road today, one first notices the elegant stone pillars, walls and railings of St Saviour’s Church. Then, particularly on the northerly side, other stone pillars can also be seen bordering the pavements. The pillars are connected by stone wall, showing the stubs of railings that have now been removed.

While walls, railings and paired entrance pillars are common in Bath, ornamental pillars are much less so. This article attempts to answer questions on the pillars (and their associated walls) in Larkhall. Why, when and by whom were they commissioned and built?

The Pillars

The locations of the pillars are marked on the map (Fig. 1) below. The first pillar (abbreviated P1) is located beside the pavement just below Eastville. David Crellin and Alec Wood have told to me that this pillar was originally much taller (perhaps 8 ft or so), until some 20 years ago when the middle section was removed after repeated impacts from commercial vehicles.

The second pillar (P2) is at the corner of 1 Grosvenor Villas, Claremont Road with St Saviour’s Terrace, and is now barely visible under vegetation. This pillar and the next four pillars (P3 to P6) are also located on the north side of the present St Saviour’s Terrace and St Saviour’s Road. As shown in the early photograph (Fig. 2, below), pillars P2 to P5 are in line.

The third pillar (P3) is at the southern corner of Holland Road with St Saviour’s Road and opposite the church. The fourth pillar (P4) is at the northern corner of Wallace Road with St Saviour’s Road. The fifth pillar (P5) is at the northern corner of The Havory with St Saviour’s Road (and obviously predates the post-1950 development of these houses). Finally, the sixth pillar (P6) is just to the west of the newsagent McColl’s. This pillar, P6, was not noted by Melluish (1941).1

There are paired ornamental “entrance” pillars at the west and east corners of St Saviour’s Church (C1 and C2), and other pillars at the rear corners.

Finally, there is the “outlying” pillar (S1) at the eastern junction of Beaufort Mews with the south side of St Saviour’s Road, also not noted previously by Melluish. This pillar is embedded in the garden wall of 1 Victoria Place, somewhat obscured by ivy and recessed from the boundary line in St Saviour’s Road.

Fig. 1. Ordnance Survey Map 1951 – pillars are marked with red dots. (Note path to allotment gardens at P6.)
Fig. 2. St Saviour’s Church, Larkhall from the west, c. 1852, showing P3 and P4. (Photo attributed to Frederick C Bird.)

Photographs of the pillars are shown below. All the pillars are of Bath stone and clearly old, but none are marked on Ordnance Survey Maps.

Features of the pillars

Pillars P1, P2, P3, P4 and P5 are all octagonal, but not fluted, and have a single level of gabled buttresses and octagonal pad-tops. Thus, these five pillars appear to be part of a coherent scheme.

In contrast, P6 (though unfluted with a single level of buttresses and an octagonal pad-top) is four-sided, not octagonal. Possibly, P6 was erected at a different time and by other hands than the other pillars.

Pillar S1 is fluted and taller, and in this respect differs from the scheme for P1 to P5. Also, S1 has two levels of gabled buttresses with a pad-top, and so overall it appears identical with the church pillars. The overtly raised plinth makes the pad-top level (horizontal) with the church pillars on the opposite side of the road. The ugly rubble base (rather than solid stone) raises the possibility that this pillar may originally have been lower. Additionally, S1 is recessed back about 1 m. from the wall and railings in front of Victoria Place (and presumed boundary line on St Saviour’s Road).

The Church pillars are octagonal, with two levels of gabled buttresses with trefoil head panels to each facet and an octagonal slab on top. The listing text2 attributes these pillars to John Pinch, Jnr, who also designed St Saviour’s Church. The pillars of the church are listed, but none of the other pillars (P1 to P6 and S1) are.

The walls are horizontal between P2 and P5. The wall and some pillars (P3 and P4, and probably P5) are evident on the north side of St Saviour’s Road in the photograph of 1852 (Fig. 2, above) – P6 being further away and downhill is not visible. The top of the general wall is not at the same level as the front wall of the church. The wall continues today, but with sections removed later to allow entrances to houses. In many places cement mortar replaces the original (and minimal) lime mortar.

Between P1 and P2, the wall slopes markedly downhill in a southerly direction, and is not horizontal.

The walls comprise three ashlar blocks (each about 35 cm high) and have an average height of around 105 cm. The bottom block is inset in the ground or has a low plinth to offset changes in slope. Between P1 and P6 the wall is made of half thickness ashlar (c. 17.5 cm) with a rounded top and no separate coping stone. This contrasts with the church walls of full thickness ashlar blocks (35 cm) and an elegant coping stone.

On the non-church walls, no original railings remain intact. Overgrown hedges often make observation of the top surface of the wall difficult, and sometimes impossible. Nevertheless, a distinct pattern of railing stubs can still be seen: a) between P1 and P2 only round stubs occur; between P5 and P6, also only round railing stubs occur; but b) between P2 and P5, round stubs alternate with square profile stubs in the walls. It is not known whether the square pillars preceded the round, or vice versa. A possible explanation could be that the original railings of P2 to P5 were square, but were replaced with round profile railings some 10 years later, when the Claremont Road railings were first erected. Whatever, the final railings were removed in 1943 during World War Two.

Fig. 12. Round railing stubs on wall in Claremont Road, Larkhall.
Fig. 13. Alternate round and square stubs on wall in St Saviour’s Terrace, Larkhall.

When were the Larkhall pillars built?

Crucially, there is at present no hard evidence to determine the dates when any of the pillars and their associated walls were built. However, some reasonable speculation is still possible if it is assumed that the building of pillars and boundary walls requires the position, width and level of the associated pavement and road to be firmly established. On this basis, the pillars and walls on St Saviour’s Road and on Claremont Road were completed in two separate stages and some 10 years apart (c. 1848, and September 1858).

St Saviour’s Road

From the photograph of St Saviour’s Road, the pillars P3, P4 (and probably P5) with associated walls were already in position by 1852. Indeed, the location of P3 and P4 at the corners of the roads beside the church, suggests they were built with firm knowledge of the church plans, or after 1832 when the church was finally erected. In June 1848,3 the parishioners of St Saviour’s Church considered a proposal to improve the roadway leading from St Saviour’s Church to the road near Beaufort House (for which purpose ground had been generously offered by Mr. F. Dowding). This need for land (probably opposite Victoria Place) suggests the proposed improvement probably involved widening (and straightening) the existing carriage road. In turn, this would have allowed pillars and walls to then be erected with confidence.

Claremont Road

A newspaper account in 18594 mentions vandalism to the top of a stone pillar in the new road leading from St Saviour’s Church to Beacon Hill, belonging to Messrs Dowding (i.e. the lower part of Claremont Road). If this was pillar P1, rather than P2, then this suggests a build date before 1859.

A plan to widen and level the road from Camden Place to St Saviour’s Church had been mooted in 1836, but little or nothing happened. When the proposed new road was discussed at a parish meeting in April 1845, the existing road was described as “a little dirty crooked lane about 6 feet wide (on and over which Sir Henry Rivers would construct a road 30 ft in width). In June 18485 it was stated at a parish meeting of St Saviour’s that F. Dowding, Esq., had generously offered ground for the purpose (presumably on the east side of Claremont Road), but another 10 years passed before success was achieved. The necessity for constructing a road from St Saviour’s towards Lansdown and Camden Place was raised at a meeting of the Bath City Act Committee in 1858.6. A week later, the Surveyor said the City Act Committee would take on the work, which he thought could be done for £129, but the committee would still have to decide whether the improved road would have a kerbed footpath and pitched gutter on each side. Finally, in September 1858, the Bath Chronicle recorded7 that the road from near St Saviour’s Church to Bay Farm (on the road to Lansdown) was at last completed and was a public road.

The mention of Mr. F. Dowding in this latter newspaper account makes it likely that lower Claremont Road (bordered on the east by P1 and P2) was also widened at that time. Consequently, it would seem to have only been prudent and practical to erect the pillar P1 and the wall down to P2 in 1858.

Attention has been previously drawn to pillars P6 and S1 – on account of their atypical features (and position in the case of S1). Unfortunately, there is no evidence available to determine their actual build-dates. P6 is out of line from P2 to P5, is not on a corner, and is unrelated to the site of the church. Also, P6 does not mark the extreme easterly boundary of the land of Upper Furlong.

S1 is the only pillar on the south side of St Saviour’s Road, and was not identified by Melluish. As noted earlier, its fluted design very closely resembles the fluted (but much less weathered) pillars of St. Saviour’s Church. The plinth is raised on poorly maintained rubble blocks. The original height of this pillar might well have been lower, and it might also be older than the pillars of the northerly side of St Saviour’s Road.

Functions of the pillars and walls

There are several possibilities:

Firstly, the position of many, but not all, of the pillars appears predictable. Thus, P1 was the north-western boundary of Dowding’s substantial holding of land (some 12 acres) in the Upper Furlong, while P2 to P4 marked corners of roads (or embryo roads) on the southerly boundary of much but not all of the Upper Furlong (see Fig. 14, below).


Fig. 14. Thomas Thorpe Map (1740). Upper and Lower Furlongs coloured green. Both parcels were acquired by Charles Gunning and Daniel Tanner in 1792, later by John Tanner (1767-1823), penultimately by his sister Ann Tanner (1775-1837), who finally bequeathed them to Frederick Dowding (1796-1861). Roads in yellow.

Overall, the ornamental nature of the pillars may reflect the important civic status of the landowner, Alderman (later Mayor) Frederick Dowding. The likely date of the erection of many of the pillars along St Saviour’s Road just preceded Dowding’s election as Mayor of Bath.

Walls are used traditionally to mark land boundaries. They also allow soil retention, which has been particularly important in controlling the sloping ground down to St Saviour’s Road, so preventing erosion and land slippage onto the improved new pavement and road. A retaining wall also allows better and safer use of the retained land.

However, this suggestion also requires P5, P6 and S1 to be accounted for:

  • Perhaps P5 (at the later-built Havory) was only ever intended to enhance the view, particularly from Victoria Place opposite. Unusually, the rear elevations of nos. 8 to 17 Beaufort West are all or mostly ashlar, suggesting the aesthetic appearance of St Saviour’s Road was important.
  • P6 might originally have defined the boundary for commercial and non-domestic developments in St Saviour’s Road near the Larkhall crossroads. Indeed, this area for future commercial development is delineated in the Harcourt Masters Map of 1795,8 so P6 could have marked a boundary from an early date. These non-domestic developments were a linear building (perhaps a workshop and the initial parish school), and the shops and pub of Lambridge Buildings. Indeed, No. 1 Lambridge Buildings (aka the White Lion Inn) was built and licensed before 1832.
  • Pillar S1 is the only one on the south side of St Saviour’s Road. As noted earlier, its fluted design very closely resembles the fluted (but less weathered) pillars of St. Saviour’s Church. a) If, as I favour, S1 was built earlier than the church, it would presumably have been by one of the Tanner family. Such a pillar might have had symbolic and/or practical significance c.f. Beaufort House (built c. 1798), where a pair of ceremonial pillars at the rear was erected by the then Commissioners. Also, S1 might have marked a significant stage in the building of Beaufort East and provided a template for the subsequent church pillars. However, while the weathering of S1 is compatible with an earlier date, it could also just reflect poorer quality stone. b) If built after 1832, the fact that S1 is directly opposite the church and matches one of its entrance pillars may have been of aesthetic significance in terms of giving more visual prominence to the church.

Secondly, Crellin has suggested (personal communication) that the non-church pillars and their associated walls in Larkhall relate essentially to St Saviour’s Gardens (the undeveloped land left when the Worcester Square project was abandoned). Thus, St Saviour’s Gardens began after the church was built in 1832, and continued as an ever decreasing area of land until at least 1946. Indeed, the OS map of 1886 suggests a pillar at the position of P6 would have marked a major entrance to the Gardens from St Saviour’s Road. However, this suggestion does not specifically account for the position of P5, or the position and function of S1.

Thirdly, Melluish originally suggested that the pillars and walls of Larkhall marked the boundaries of the planned but never built Worcester Square scheme. P1 and P2 and their connecting walls are on the line of Claremont Road, and mark the western boundary of both the original Upper Furlong fields and of the intended Worcester Square. However, as a specific purpose, the association with Worcester Square may be a coincidence in view of a) the late build-dates (discussed above); and b) the general impracticality of building pillars and walls before roads and boundaries have been finalised. In particular, erecting P1 and walls in Claremont Road for a building project that never started seems unlikely, impractical and imprudent, as there was initially no road, and later a narrow and dirty lane until 1858. However, P1 is still a general boundary marker both for the extreme north-west corner of the original land of Upper Furlong as shown in Fig. 14, above, and P2 is a natural corner. Also, P3 and P4 which mark the corners of the culs de sac beside St Saviour’s (embryos for the later Wallace and Holland Roads) seem unlikely to have been erected at these sites, decades before St Saviour’s Church was conceived. Melluish had suggested that P3 and P4 marked the proposed entrance to Worcester Square (estimated to be some 28 yards from Harcourt Masters’ map of 1795), but the actual measured distance between P3 and P4 is some 78 yards. This seems too large to have marked an intended but never built grand entrance from St Saviour’s Road. Any connection may be a coincidence. It seems unlikely that any of the pillars and walls of Larkhall were specifically intended to mark the intended, but unbuilt, Worcester Square.

Sources and Notes

  1. J. G. Melluish (1941) Grosvenor might have been different – Worcester Square project. Bath Chronicle, 27 Sept, page 8. The relevant text reads: As originally planned, this block of buildings, known as Worcester Square, was to have had a grand entrance leading up to it from the centre of Grosvenor Place. In that event, the erection of Beaufort Buildings, both east and west, would not have taken place. The boundaries of the proposed ‘Worcester Square’ were outlined, as may be seen to-day. The land its roadway edges was enclosed by walls and railings, and at its corners pillars were erected. These stand at the top corner at Deatsville [P1], the lower corner of Grosvenor Villas [P2] and opposite Beaufort Place [P5] towards the Larkhall end of St Saviour’s Road. The entrance pillars [to Worcester Square] were erected at the end of St. Saviour’s Terrace [P3] and continued on the farther side of the church at the corner of Ellenborough Villa [P4].
    St. Saviour’s Church – – Its situation appears to have been the entrance to the suggested Square, which was to have led up to it from the centre of Grosvenor Place.
  2. Listing details for St Saviour’s Church wall, piers and railings (15 October 2010, Source ID: 1394887, English Heritage Legacy ID: 5102960).
  3. Meeting of St Saviour’s Parish to consider a plan to improve the roadway from St Saviour’s Church to the road near Beaufort House. Bath Chronicle, 29 June 1848. St. Saviour’s Parish.—The text reads: Yesterday evening, a meeting of the parishioners was held at the National School-room, Larkhall, for the purpose of considering a proposal to carry into effect a plan for improving the roadway leading from St. Saviour’s Church to the road near Beaufort House. The Rev. Mr. Campbell, curate of the parish, was in the chair.
    Mr. Sims, – – – stated that F. Dowding, Esq., had generously offered the ground for the purpose. Mr. Sims also said that the Commissioners would contribute the sum of £20 towards the expenses; and that about £40 more, raised by subscription, would probably be sufficient to meet the whole cost of the improvement, which would be a great public accommodation. A committee was accordingly appointed to collect subscriptions, and to see the proposal carried out. On the motion of G. Adams, Esq., a vote of thanks was unanimously passed to Mr. Dowding for the gift of the ground, and other acts of liberality to the parish.
  4. Vandalism of stone pillar in new road (Claremont Road) belonging to Mr. Dowding. Bath Chronicle 28 July 1959.
  5. Improving the road from St Saviour’s Church to the road near Beaufort House, London Road – St Saviour’s Church Parish Meeting, Bath Chronicle. 29 June 1848.
  6. Improving the road from St Saviour’s Church to Camden Place and Lansdown. Bath Chronicle, 22 April 1858. The text reads in part: –BATH CITY ACT COMMITTEE – Mr. Dallaway stated that, at present there was only a dirty lane leading from St. Saviour’s to Lansdown; – – – In the discussion which ensued, it was stated that the Committee had surveyed the road sometime since, and had come to the conclusion that they had no objection to take it as soon as it was put in proper order. — – another amendment was carried on the motion of Mr.Cox to the effect that the services of the Surveyor be allowed to the gentlemen interested in the road, with a view to its being properly constructed.
  7. New Road from near St. Saviour’s Church to Camden Place and Lansdown. Bath Chronicle, 23 September 1858. The text reads – The perseverance and liberality of a few gentlemen at Grosvenor, aided by Sir James Rivers and Mr. F. Dowding, have last completed and thrown open to the public one of the most interesting roads that have been formed in Bath for many years, leading from near St. Saviour’s Church to Bay Farm, on the road to Lansdown, and the Town Council having accepted it on the part of the public, it will be free for ever. We now hope Sir James Rivers will extend his liberality, by continuing what has been done to the extent of his property at Tything Lane, which will open up some of the most charming scenery in the neighbourhood of Bath.
  8. “Plan of the City of Bath” by C. Harcourt Masters (1795).
  9. The land of Upper and Lower Furlong was for many generations owned by the Hayne family, and then inherited by John Bragge, Esq., of Ladborow, Devon (nephew of James Hayne). In February 1791, John Bragge’s son and heir (another John Bragge) sold the land to Charles Gunning, a gentleman of Bath and Daniel Tanner, a master builder of Bath. At that point, development became possible. After Charles Gunning’s death, Daniel Tanner acquired sole title, and after Daniel Tanner’s death in 1802, his son John (1760-1823) acquired Upper and Lower Furlongs. In turn, after John’s death, John’s youngest sister Ann Tanner (1774-1837) inherited the land, and her Will left her land interests to Frederick Dowding (1795-1861). He was a Bath solicitor, J.P., Alderman and Mayor of Bath in 1849 and 1850.After Ann Tanner’s death, Dowding and his Trustees developed the domestic housing on Upper Furlong. However, the commercial development at the easterly tip of Upper Furlong (Lambridge Buildings) started in Ann Tanner’s time and after her death in 1837, was continued by her heir, Frederick Dowding.

Acknowledgements

The patience and expert help of the staff in the Bath Record Office in providing maps is gratefully acknowledged. My thanks also to Stella for helpful discussion and patient acceptance of my preoccupation with local history; to Susannah Straughan for commenting on and editing the manuscript; and to Chris Straughan for expert help with image editing and illustrations.

The Development of Beaufort Buildings, Bath

The development of the Beaufort Buildings scheme in Larkhall and Lambridge, Bath, from 1789 to the 1850s.

Entering Bath on the London Road today, one sees on the left (south side) a single long block of terraced and substantial buildings, Grosvenor Place, and then opposite that (on the right or north side) two distinct blocks of terraced buildings – firstly Beaufort (Buildings) East, with a large communal lawn in front, then secondly, and separated by St Saviour’s Way, Beaufort (Buildings) West, with individual front gardens. These are shown below on a modern map.1 The whole Beaufort Buildings scheme is located within a triangular wedge of land (the Lower Furlong) comprising 12 acres and 23 poles. This land, which originally belonged to Bath Abbey before the Reformation, had been owned by Thomas Hayne (or Haine) and his heirs since 1639.

Figure 1. Ordnance Survey map (2013, coloured), showing Beaufort Buildings area.

The first serious attempt to build there seems to have been in 1789 (Figure 2) and preceded the actual land sale, when there was a development plan to view (presumably for Beaufort Buildings). The Mr Evill mentioned in this advertisement was presumably William Evill, goldsmith and jeweller in Bath (b. 1732) who lived at Cedar Lodge (13 Lambridge) from 1788 until his death in 1793, and owned the ground of nos. 11, 12 and 13 Lambridge.

Figure 2. Bath Chronicle, 30 July 1789, page 1.

In 1791, Lower Furlong was purchased by two local Bath developers – Charles Gunning (an attorney in the Vineyards, and a local councillor) and Daniel Tanner (a master builder).2 Charles Gunning died in 1796, so Daniel Tanner and later his eldest son, John,3 managed the scheme for the next 25 years. Their stewardship gave us the present-day Beaufort West and Beaufort East (as well as Beaufort Place and nos. 1–10 Lambridge).

When and how did these buildings develop? The original 1792 Indenture 4 and contemporary maps 5, 6 show the Beaufort Buildings complex was originally intended to consist of three discrete sections or piles: 1) a centre pile (which later became Beaufort East); 2) an eastward pile towards Lambridge (never built as part of the Beaufort Buildings complex, but which became various villas in Lambridge); and 3) a westward pile, originally in two parts separated by a road, Worcester Street. With the abandonment of the plans for Worcester Street ca. 1815, the two westward parts could be combined to form Beaufort West.

This original plan is shown on the Harcourt Masters map of 1795 (Figure 3, below).5 In the centre pile of Beaufort Buildings, nos. 1–6 were empty plots, nos. 7–15 were blacked in (as sold or built) and then finally there were seven empty plots. Altogether some 22 dwellings were intended for the centre pile, but only 15 were finally built. In contrast, the westward wing (divided in two by the proposed Worcester Street) showed no buildings erected at the time of this map. The intended Lambridge wing of Beaufort Buildings showed some seven empty plots before Grove Lodge (or no. 11 Lambridge).

Figure 3. Harcourt Masters (1795, coloured). Worcester Street has been edited here to join London Road – in the original it ended abruptly in front of the western wing of Beaufort Buildings.

By 1810 6 much of the westward side of the centre pile had been completed, and the Lambridge wing was still unbuilt. The westward wing continued to be divided by the proposed Worcester Street, but now has three buildings at its City end (corresponding to nos. 3, 4 and 5 Beaufort West). There were two further buildings at the rear of the plots of nos. 1 and 2 Beaufort West. As with the 1795 map, no termination for Worcester Street in the London Road was shown, although it must have been intended.

Figure 4. Godwin (1810, coloured).

In the original plan of 1792, 4 the centre pile would have ashlar-fronted dwellings four-storeys high above ground, with a basement storey for kitchen and offices (i.e. five storeys in all). The centre pile (and also the intended eastward pile towards Lambridge) were to be between 36 and 50 ft deep. However, the dwellings in the two westward piles (Beaufort West) were to be smaller, between 30 and 36 ft deep. A 22-ft wide road with two 5-ft pavements (the future St Saviour’s Way) would separate the westward pile from the centre pile, while a wider 30-ft road plus pavement (broadly corresponding to the present Beaufort Place) would separate the centre pile from the eastern wing towards Lambridge. The architect for the original Beaufort Buildings scheme was John Eveleigh of Bathwick. He was active in the local area in the early 1790s, also designing the schemes for Grosvenor Place and Lambridge Place, but he went bankrupt in 1793 and left Bath. In 1950, Beaufort East and West were listed Grade II. 7

The architecture of Beaufort East

Building work on the centre pile (Beaufort East) started in 1792, and continued after Eveleigh’s departure the following year. Building was incomplete by 1811 but completed by 1827. Beaufort East is broadly uniform architecturally but with a number of significant variations. Thus, nos. 1–5 have doors to the right, no. 6 has a plain architrave (to avoid visual conflict with the adjacent door of no. 5), and nos. 7–15 have front doors to the left. Figure 5 (below) shows a) the houses lead directly onto the pavement at the front; b) the impressive front door cases with Doric columns and triangular arches over the lintels (except for no. 6); c) the first and second floors have tripartite windows; and d) the highly visible mansard roofs and dormer windows on the fourth floor above ground. In this view, some but not all of the first- and second-floor windows have balconettes with decorative iron railings. The central window of no. 7 (which projects forward from the building line) has a curved arch over, also seen on no. 1, but not seen on the first-floor windows of the other houses.

Figure 5. Beaufort East – front elevations from the east (DWS, 2019).

The front elevations of no. 1 Beaufort East (at the right) are contrasted with no. 17 Beaufort West (at the left) in Figure 6, below. Both end terrace houses are treated as a pavilion, and project forward from the building line. However, no. 1 Beaufort East has a tripartite window and arched centre on the first floor, while 17 Beaufort West has two paired windows in a recessed arch. No. 1 Beaufort East has no balconettes in front of the ground and first floor windows, while no. 17 Beaufort West has a single long decorative balconette on the first floor. The ground storey of this Beaufort West house is rusticated horizontally, as indeed are all the houses nos. 8–17 in the block. This image also shows the decorative iron balconettes on the first floor to be a variable feature, and not present in nos. 1, 2 and 7 Beaufort East.

Figure 6. St Saviour’s Way, flanked by no. 17 Beaufort West and no. 1 Beaufort East (DWS, 2019).

Closer examination shows that in Beaufort East, both end houses (nos. 1 and 15) and the three central houses (nos. 7, 8 and 9) project forward as pavilions with similar features. These only have arches on the first-floor windows.

There is considerable variation between houses in the siting, size and style of the balconettes. Figure 7, below, shows nos. 2 and 3 Beaufort East have decorative ironwork balconettes on both ground and first floors.

Figure 7. Nos. 2 and 3 Beaufort East (DWS, 2019).

Figure 8, below, shows another variation: nos. 12 and 13 Beaufort East have decorative balconettes on the first floor but which now project from a lowered sill (like nos. 14 and 15). These are later-built houses and there are no balconettes on the ground floor.

Figure 8. Nos. 12 and 13 Beaufort East (DWS, 2019).

The architecture of Beaufort West

Within itself, Beaufort West is not architecturally uniform in terms of architectural features, though all the houses are three storeys above ground at the front – a tale of two parts! This is acknowledged by separate listing details for the irregular houses of nos. 1–7 Beaufort West, and then for the very regular houses nos. 8–17 Beaufort West. 7

As stated, nos. 1–7 Beaufort West are not coherent architecturally. At the front, no. 1 was probably built around 1850 and tacked onto the end of the pre-existing no. 2. The present shop front of no. 1 dates from 1874. Nos. 2, 3 and 4 Beaufort West were built before 1800, at a time when the five-storey houses in Beaufort East were also being built. No. 2 has windows arranged in pairs; no. 3 has one tripartite window to the second and third floors; no. 4 is double fronted; and nos. 5, 6 and 7 have a curved arch over the front door. The door frames are plain. The front doors of nos. 3, 5, 6 and 7 are to the left, but this is centrally placed in no. 4. Nos. 6 and 7 both project forward from the building line at the front, though this may reflect the geography of their plots, rather than being a deliberate architectural feature. A few of these features are just evident in Figure 9, below.

Figure 9. Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Beaufort West (DWS, 2019). No. 3 has tripartite windows on first and second floors; no. 4 is double fronted; and no. 6 has a curved door arch, as do nos. 5 and 7 (obscured by the hedge).

In contrast, the other part of Beaufort West, nos. 8–17, is very uniform. This had a delayed start ca. 1818/19 (and some 25 years after Eveleigh’s original scheme). Figure 10, below, shows part of Beaufort West from the east, with a sharp step between the roof lines of the shorter houses, nos. 3–7, and the taller houses, nos. 8–12, though both parts are three storeys above ground at the front.Nos. 8–17 have a string course between the first and second storeys at the front, a feature not seen in the older houses, though no. 5 has a platband. Not shown in this picture is no. 17, which is larger than the other houses to allow the free east wall to be parallel with and facing the west wall of no. 1 Beaufort East (Figure 6, above). Also, the front door of no. 17 is not facing the main London Road, but is on the right return in St Saviour’s Way.

Figure 10. Beaufort West from the east (DWS, 2019).

From the rear, the step between the roof lines of the two parts of Beaufort West is very prominent, as shown in Figure 11, below. This is largely due to no. 7 having three storeys above ground at the rear (like nos 1–6), while no. 8 now has four storeys above ground (like nos. 9–17). Within the rear gardens, inspection shows another difference – nos. 1–7 Beaufort West lack a basement storey, while nos. 8–17 have a basement storey (full depth) and a pair of rear vaults. It is not known whether the original intention in 1792 was for the houses in this part of Beaufort West (now nos. 8–17) to have four or five storeys, as finally transpired.

Figure 11. Part of Beaufort West from the rear (DWS, 2019).

The transition from old-style three-storey houses to the newer four- or five-storey houses seems likely to have required architectural input. If so, the regularity of the execution of nos. 8–17 Beaufort West, and the decorative iron-work balconettes of the front elevations would be compatible with the involvement of John Pinch, Snr. (1769–1827), despite the absence of his trademark “concave ramping”.8 Pinch was working for John Tanner in 1811.10 Also, the front elevation of no. 8 Beaufort West extends forward 6 inches from the general building line, as do nos. 12 and 13, and, again, no. 17 Beaufort West. These pavilion-like features are similar to those in Pinch’s Prior Park Buildings (1826), but are not definitive. Indeed, as noted earlier, similar features occur in Beaufort East, and provide one of the few similarities between Beaufort West and East!

Figure 12, below, shows the pavilion feature of 8 Beaufort West in more detail.

Figure 12. Front elevation of no. 8 Beaufort West and adjoining houses (DWS, 2018).

As noted, nos. 8­–17 Beaufort West have three (not four) floors above ground at the front. In consequence, only the slated mansard roofs are visible from the ground. This emphasises the breadth of stonework, and, I suggest, enhances the overall aesthetic appearance of this part of Beaufort West. It contrasts with the prominent mansard and dormer windows of the fourth floor in the houses of Beaufort East.

Dating – general

The 1815 Abstract of Title 9 recited that Charles Gunning and Daniel Tanner had sold tenbuilding plots in Lower Furlong in 1792 (six on 21/22 May and four on 19/20 October). Then, Frances Gunning (widow of Charles Gunning, who had died in 1796) with Daniel Tanner sold four further plots (one on 29/30 March 1798, two on 8/9 April 1800, and one on 20/21 May 1801).

Where were all these plots? Which dwellings were built on them? There are overall deficiencies in our knowledge particularly for the older buildings. However, I suggest the ten building plots of 1792, and the four further plots of 1798–1801, might equate with a total, say, of 11 plots in Beaufort East, and then three plots in Beaufort West (presumably nos. 2–4). Two additional plots were sold between 1801 and 1815, and these might have been distributed as one in Beaufort East and one in Beaufort West (presumably no. 5). Overall, the documents suggest that by 1815 there were a total of 16 building plots – likely distributed as nos. 1–12 Beaufort East, and nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 Beaufort West.

Dating houses in Beaufort East

Only a few deeds are available to shed light on firm dates and position. Thus, the deeds for no. 6 Beaufort East 11 show the land was conveyed by Gunning and Tanner to John Miller in October 1792, and the deed also mentions the westward adjacent plot (no. 5 Beaufort East) contracted to be sold and conveyed to Thomas Young, carpenter. For no. 12 Beaufort East, the builder’s contract 10 with Dr Brodbelt 15 is dated 23 April 1811 (despite an earlier rate book entry for 1809). It has not yet been possible to locate the first occurrence before 1803/04 of any of the older dwellings nos. 4­–10 Beaufort East in the rate books (Table 1).

Dating houses in Beaufort West

Again, there are overall deficiencies in our knowledge particularly for the older buildings.

No. 1 Beaufort West provides interesting dating problems – thus, Figure 4, above, shows a small building at the rear of the plot for no. 1, but not in the front building line. Moses Mills, a baker, is recorded at no. 1 Beaufort West in the 1841 Census, but at a property in Dead Mill Road in the 1851 Census. The position of this property and its enumerator sequence (before Worcester Cottage and Victoria Place) makes it very likely to be the same as the rear-lying building of 1841, i.e. at the rear of no. 1 Beaufort West. Similarly, the 1861 rate book has Moses Mills living at a cottage behind 1 Beaufort West, and an 1864 directory similarly describes Moses Mills as living behind 1 Beaufort West. However, Moses Mills’ probate records him as dying at “1 Beaufort West” on 13 December 1866. The Census suggests the present 1 Beaufort West (which is larger and front aligned c.f. the rear cottage) was erected by 1851. Indeed, the Census that year has George Webb, chemist, recorded at 1 Beaufort West, with Moses Mills living behind.

As to the other early houses, a deed of 1798 9 gave the frontages of three adjoining “lately — built messuages” in Beaufort West. The “hithermost” of these had a frontage of 41 ft (and so can only correspond to no. 4 Beaufort West). The “furthermost” with a frontage of 25 ft 6 inches was presumably no. 3 Beaufort West. The reference to the third building is ambiguous, referring to it not as “intervening” but as “adjoining the last mentioned [i.e. no. 3] on the West side”, thus it can only be no. 2 Beaufort West (which the maps show as a smaller, rear-placed building at that time). The apparent absence of no. 1 Beaufort West in these early references is consistent with a later building date (see above).

The Abstract of Title of 1815 9 mentions three buildings “already erected, built or in the occupation of, or belonging to named persons”. These cannot be identical with the three buildings of 1798, and so presumably refers to nos. 3, 4 and 5 Beaufort West. (A deed of 1818 12 shows Thomas Hobbs was linked to no. 3, John Tanner with no. 4 and John Tyler with no. 5 Beaufort West.) Indeed, there is evidence in the rate books for the Hobbs family owning no. 3, and other evidence for John Tanner’s ownership and occupation of no. 4, while the Bath Preservation Trust links John Tyler with no. 5 Beaufort West.

From the above, the most likely building dates for nos. 2, 3 and 4 Beaufort West are between 1795 and 1799, which is compatible with the Harcourt Masters Map of 1795 showing no houses then in Beaufort West. No. 5 Beaufort West appears to have been built in or after 1800, but in or before Godwin’s map of 1810.6 Nos. 2–5 Beaufort West would then correspond to the four plots sold between those dates by Frances Gunning and Daniel Tanner, cited in a deed of 1804.

Other people who subsequently purchased land from John Tanner to build houses were Richard Harris for no. 7 Beaufort West (and conceivably also for no. 6, with which it is paired); John Misson for nos. 8 and 9 Beaufort West; and James F. Keeling for the adjacent no. 10 Beaufort West.A lease dated 28 February 1820 showed James Keeling was also the first owner of no. 15 Beaufort West (which he sold in 1833 to Richard Bennet, Gent.). At the time of her death in 1837, Ann Tanner (sister and heir of John Tanner) owned no. 17 Beaufort West and the adjacent Worcester Cottage (now no. 18 Beaufort West). 13 After an annuity to her servant, Ann Tanner left all her property and land interests (real estate) and hereditaments to her solicitor, Frederick Dowding (1796–1861) of Bath.14 This was a generous act, as Dowding and his heirs thereby inherited the significant annual fee farm dues on developed land in Lower Furlong (Balustrade, Beaufort West, Beaufort East, nos. 1–10 Lambridge, Beaufort Place, etc.), as well as on all the future development of Upper Furlong and its buildings (Lambridge Buildings), and also on some properties in Bath city.14

Rate Books for Walcot Parish

Information on first occupation (and hence likely construction dates) might in theory be inferred from the Poor Rate Books for Walcot Parish, but only when the ratepayer and the house can be identified unequivocally. Between 1798 and 1800, all the dwellings in what we know as Beaufort West were included with Beaufort East and Lambridge under the generic “North East side of London Road” (Lambridge Place and Davards Buildings were separately identified). By 1801, the generic “Lambridge – Beaufort Buildings” was used, and by August 1802 the more specific generic “Beaufort Buildings”. The various properties in Beaufort West were not numbered until 1813, but can be broadly distinguished from what became Beaufort East (numbered in 1806) (see Table 2). The phrase “Beaufort Buildings West” was first used in a deed of 1818, but the rate books did not use this term until October 1820. The rate books suggest that by 1818/1819, nos. 3–5 Beaufort West had been completed and were occupied. The rate books also suggest the three-storey houses nos. 6 and 7 Beaufort West were built and occupied by late 1818, only just ahead of the neighbouring five-storey houses nos. 8 and 9 Beaufort West in 1819.

Tithe liability in Walcot parish

The Tithe map for Walcot and accompanying assessment table16 showed some of the buildings on the north side of the London Road (i.e. Beaufort Buildings West and East, and Beaufort Place) were unnumbered and tithe exempt, in contrast to Grosvenor Place on the south side. Similarly, nos. 1–10 Lambridge were also tithe exempt, unlike the more eastward properties (tithe no. 135 or 11 Lambridge or Grove Lodge) and nos. 12–14 Lambridge. The more westward properties from no. 7 St Saviour’s Road and Victoria Place were also tithe exempt, but Lambridge Place was not.

Figure 13. Tithe Map (1841), showing part of Walcot parish.

The tithe-exempt properties correspond to Lower Furlong, and their junction with tithe-liable areas was the boundary of Tanner’s property holding. (The tithe exemption may stem from the fact that both Lower and Upper Furlong were originally held by Bath Abbey).

Overview of the architecture of Beaufort Buildings

Originally, Beaufort Buildings was an architect-inspired scheme. Thus, one might have expected some common features and themes between Beaufort East, the presumed “centre piece”, and the two parts of the western wing (Beaufort West).

However, from the above account, no overall conformity is evident between Beaufort East and Beaufort West:

  • In Beaufort East, all the houses share a common lawn in front, while nos. 3–17 Beaufort West have separate front gardens.
  • Beaufort East has a wide pavement in front, overlying the vaults, while Beaufort West nos. 8–17 do not have a front pavement next to the house (and their vaults are at the rear).
  • In Beaufort East nearly all the door cases are of stone with elegant Doric pediments, while those in Beaufort West are plain and unornamented. Three of the older houses, nos. 5, 6 and 7 Beaufort West, have a curved arch rather than a straight lintel over the front door.
  • In Beaufort East, the windows are tripartite, while in most of the Beaufort West houses (except no. 3) the windows are in pairs, albeit with different spacing.
  • The Beaufort East houses are very inconsistent in their possession of ornamental iron balconettes before the ground- and first-floor front windows. In contrast, nos. 8–17 Beaufort West are highly consistent.
  • In Beaufort East, there is no rustication on the front elevations, while in nos. 8–17 Beaufort West, the fronts of the ground storey are rusticated.

The simplest explanation for these differences is that all three groups – Beaufort East, nos. 3–7 Beaufort West, and nos. 8–17 Beaufort West – were probably designed by different hands.

  • For Beaufort East, broad conformity with Eveleigh’s plan seems to have been maintained by the developer after 1793. However, one can speculate whether Eveleigh’s departure from Bath led to the stylistic differences noted above.
  • The older houses of Beaufort West, built between 1795 and 1800 (nos. 2, 3 and 4 Beaufort West, and then no. 5) show little uniformity, each house appearing to be essentially builder-designed. With the building of no. 5 Beaufort West and then the abandonment of Worcester Street, the two parts of the western wing could be joined to form Beaufort West, but this required an aesthetic solution if larger and taller houses were to be built.
  • The later houses in Beaufort West (nos. 8–17) are very uniform.

References and additional notes

1 Map of Bath. Along the front, Beaufort East has 15 dwellings and nos. 2–17 Beaufort West comprise 16 more. Beaufort East runs parallel to the main London Road. Beaufort West runs parallel to the former Dead Mill Road to Larkhall Square (now called St Saviour’s Terrace & Road), but is at an angle to the London Road (so the front gardens get longer going north-eastward.

2 Lease and Release (23 & 24 February 1791) for sale of Upper and Lower Furlong, by John Bragge of Sadborow to Charles Gunning of Bath, gent., and Daniel Tanner of Bath, master builder, &c. [Acc 28/421].Charles Gunning, gentleman, lived from 1737 to 1796. His wife was Frances, née Purlewent.

3 Daniel Tanner (1734–1802), master builder and his wife Mary had four children (John (1767–1823), Elizabeth (Eliza) (1770–1807), Daniel (1772–1839), and Ann (1775–1837). By his death in 1802, Daniel Tanner bequeathed the freehold of the adjoining house (probably no. 7 Beaufort East) to his daughter Elizabeth (who had married George Hulbert, plumber, in 1794) and her heirs. It is not known presently when the property returned to John Tanner, and how (by purchase or on her death without issue). John Tanner was baptised at Walcot St Swithin’s on 1 November 1767. Daniel Tanner, Jnr., was baptised at Walcot St Swithin’s on 12 September 1772, and declared insane in 1811. Ann Tanner was baptised at Walcot St Swithin’s on 11 April 1775.

4 Indenture of Four Parts made 20th October 1792 between Charles Gunning & Daniel Tanner of the First part; William Purlewent of the Second part; John Bragge of the Third Part & John Miller of the Fourth part. [Somerset Archive Catalogue A\DUI\1 cc 2013/414].

5 “Plan of the City of Bath” by C. Harcourt Masters (1795).

6 “A New and Correct Plan of the City of Bath”, from a recent survey by B. Donne, published by H. Godwin, bookseller ca. 1810 – also known as “Godwin’s Map”.

7 Listing texts – a) Nos. 1–15 (Consec), Beaufort East, Listing date 12 June 1950, Listing NGR ST76071663; b) 8–17 Beaufort West, Listing date 12 June 1950, Source ID 1394432, English Heritage Legacy ID: 509832; c) 1–7, Beaufort West, Listing Date 11 August 1972, Source ID: 1394395, English Heritage Legacy ID: 509804.

8 Bennett, R., “The last of the Georgian Architects of Bath, etc”, Bath History IX, 2002, page 87.

9 Abstract of the Title of Mr John Tanner to Two Closes of Ground – Upper and Lower Furlong – (1815). [Bath Record Office 0570/1]. In a cited Lease & Release of 4 parts between i) Frances Gunning; ii) William Purlewent; iii) Daniel Tanner; and iv) John Fielder [dated 25 & 26 May 1801], it mentions the sale of ten building plots in 1792 and a further two in 1798. A recited Release and Extinguishment of 20 April 1815 mentions 16 dwelling houses as erected since 1791. Frances Gunning was the widow of Charles Gunning.

10 Contract for purchase of House in Beaufort Buildings near Bath, 23 April 1811 between 1) John Park of Walcot, builder and 2) Francis Rigby Brodbelt of Batheaston Villa, Doctor of Physick [Bath Record Office, 0851/2/25]. Page 6 reads “… in case of differences between the said John Park [builder] and the said Francis Rigby Brodbelt – the same shall be referred to John Pinch of Bath, architect (whose determination shall be final) –”. Page 7 has an attached Schedule with particulars for finishing no. 12 centre pile, Beaufort Buildings. It has unusually good details of the interior finishes for this Regency house. The latter included use of proper glazed wallpaper at 9d per yard in the drawing room storey, and at 6d per yard in the attic storey; and two marble chimney pieces in the drawing room storey to the value of £20 each. The difference between a proper water closet with a force pump, etc, and a common water closet was £40.

11 Deed of 20 October 1792, whereby Charles Gunning of Bath, gentleman, and Daniel Tanner of Bath, master builder & others, conveyed to John Miller of Bath, carpenter, a plot of land and messuage at Beaufort Buildings [this was actually 6 centre pile Beaufort Buildings or Beaufort East], with a perpetual rent charge. Somerset Archive Catalogue A|DUI/1.

12 Copy Deed of Covenant 25th May 1818 between John Tanner of the First part, Thomas Hobbs & John Tyler of the Second part; and Richard Harris & others of the Third part [B&NES Record Office 0570/2],

13 Miss Tanner was named for no. 6 Beaufort East in an 1812 Deed. John Tanner lived there prior to moving to no. 4 Beaufort West in 1806. Ann Tanner moved to no. 4 Beaufort West after her brother John’s death in 1823, and she lived there until her death in 1837. She was also buried at Weston, and her will showed, inter alia, ownership of both no. 17 Beaufort West and the nearby Worcester Cottage (now no. 18 Beaufort West). After an annuity to her servant, Ann Tanner left all her property and land interests (real estate) and hereditaments to her solicitor, Frederick Dowding of Bath. (1796–1861).

14 A decade after his death, Frederick Dowding’s effects were revalued at £45,000 (some £5.2 million today). A not inconsiderable sum, to which Miss Tanner’s legacy would appear to have contributed significantly. An advertisement in the Bath Chronicle (6 March 1879) showed Dowding (or his Trustees) offering for sale, inter alia, nos. 4, 17 and 18 Beaufort West, and also nos. 6 and 7 Beaufort East. In the poor rate book for Walcot of 1880, all these properties were owned by Dowding’s trustees, and so were probably acquired via Ann Tanner. The two properties in Beaufort East probably came to Ann Tanner on the death of her brother John in 1823. Originally, no. 7 Beaufort East had been left by Daniel Tanner to his married daughter Elizabeth Hulbert.

15 Dr Francis Rigby Brodbelt MD (Edin.) MRCS (1771–1827) came to Bath from Jamaica via Edinburgh. He lived at Batheaston Villa, but purchased no. 12 Beaufort East for his widowed mother Anne née Penoyre (1751–1827). As a condition for a very substantial inheritance from his godfather Thomas Stallard Penoyre, Dr Brodbelt took the additional surnames of Stallard Penoyre in 1824, and moved to an estate The Moor, Hardwick, Hereford. He left landed property and personalty valued at £120,000 in England (about £12 million today), as well as land and personalty in Jamaica.

16 J. H. Cotterell and Cooper, (1841) Tithe Map of Walcot Parish (Somerset). National Record Office IR 30/30/435.

Table 1. The apparent first dates for named occupants paying rates in Beaufort East:

Table 2. The apparent first dates for named occupants paying rates in Beaufort West:

Acknowledgements

The expert help and patience of the staff in the Bath Record Office in providing access to historic maps of Bath, and to other records, is gratefully acknowledged. The help of the Bath Preservation Trust in providing access to their records is also acknowledged. Sincere thank to my wife, Stella, for helpful discussions and for accepting my preoccupation with local history. The help and expertise of Susannah Straughan in editing, and of Chris Straughan for illustrations, is also gratefully acknowledged.

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