CHAPTER FOUR 1709 - 1827
There are many gaps in the poor rate records, but the names of John Wellar in 1702 and Howell in 1711 appeared as tenants of the farm after John Matthew. Also next to Howell in 1711 appeared Dr Monroe, who may well have been living at Blackhall. James Monro was the son of a Scottish clergyman, went up to Balliol College in 1699 aged 18, and got his bachelor of Medicine degree in 1709 and his Doctorate in 1722. He was later the physician to Bethlem hospital and to Bridewell, and was known as a pioneer in the humane treatment of lunatics. One of his children was baptised at St Giles' church in 1712.
After 1711 no poor-rate records survive until 1757, when the Trollope family was living at Blackhall. But it is very likely they had been there since before 1718 when the first of many Trollope children was baptised at St Giles' Church. Thomas Trollope was an attorney from a Lincolnshire family whose mother Elizabeth Dewe had lived in Oxford before her marriage and was buried in Oxford at St Peter in the East in 1726. Thomas Trollope married Anne Browne, also of a Lincolnshire family, but their eldest child Thomas was baptised at St Giles' in 1718. Trollope was Under-Sheriff of Oxfordshire for many years around the 1720s. Between 1718 and 1733 seven of his children were baptised at St Giles' and four of them buried there. Thomas, the only surviving son, went to Merton College and then the Inner Temple. His mother Anne was buried at St Giles' in 1740, and when her brother Francis Browne died in 1751, Thomas Trollope junior inherited estates in Lincolnshire and Rutland and went to live there, and in 1758 married Harriot Needham, niece of William Pitt the elder, Prime Minister in 1766. Mary, one of the two surviving Trollope sisters, was married in 1756 aged 34 to Thomas Rowney, aged 63, and Tory Member of Parliament for Oxford from 1722 to 1759, who lived at 16 St Giles', now commonly known as the Judge's Lodgings. This was Rowney's first marriage, and he died without issue in 1759, leaving Mary to enjoy a long widowhood doing good works with her younger sister Jane, who remained a spinster, living with her father Thomas Trollope at Blackhall until he died in 1767. His obituary in Jackson's Oxford Journal said he was 'formerly an attorney of very extensive practice, in which he acquired a plentiful fortune, and has declined business for upwards of twenty years'. He left a legacy to his "faithful housekeeper Sarah Ellis". His sister Bridget, widow of the Rev. Charles Gardiner who died in 1732, lived at 17 St Giles', and died there in 1772 aged 86.
The lease of Blackhall continued in the name of William Collis until his death in 1733. The lease of 1737 was in the name of Fenton Addis, attorney of Cork, and that of 1744 in the name of the Rev. William Collis, son of William Collis and Vicar-General of the Diocese of Ardfert in Ireland. After his death in 1754 the lease finally passed out of the hands of the descendants of Robert Barnes, and in 1758 the property was leased to Nathaniel Hume, who seems to have had no connection with the Collis family. He was the son of James Hume, an apothecary in Oxford High Street, and he graduated from Christ Church in 1756 and was Vicar of Sunbury from 1760 until 1780. The farm of Blackhall stayed with the Howells until 1761. In 1728 Thomas Howell was the tenant, and in Jackson's Oxford Journal for September 1761 Blackhall farm was advertised to let, stating that the late occupant was William Howell, deceased, that the acreage was 133, and that enquiries should be made to Hume in the High Street. Hume paid the poor rate until 1763, so it seems he found no tenant for two years.
From 1764 to 1770 the rate for the farm was in the name of Tinson, presumably the same Charles Tinson who from 1767 lived at 10 St Giles' and operated a carrying trade from there, advertising in 1769 his Burford stage waggons, and moving in 1771 to the White Hart, Great Missenden. Then from 1770 to 1794 the Blackhall farmers were the Wards, who also carried on several other trades. Richard Ward senior traded as a coal merchant from another address in St Giles' in the 1770s. In 1774 one of his servants was killed in the Woodstock Road by slipping off the shafts of a wagon and falling under the wheels. In November 1776 he bought the King's Arms public house on the corner of Holywell Street, and in March 1777 he sold his St Giles' furniture. In December 1777 he installed a landlord, John Sisill, at the King's Arms, and moved to 10 St Giles', where in 1786 he advertised his waggons to London. He died in 1787 and his son Richard carried on the business, advertising waggons in 1789, and in 1790 taking over Joseph Williams' starch and hair powder factory and advertising to take in horses on Cripley. When he died in 1794 the tenancy of Blackhall farm was taken over by Mr Chillingworth.
The frontage tax of 1772 dispels any confusion the researcher may have as to which property is which. Jane Trollope's house and garden took 17 yards 1 foot and 4 inches (from the wall with 20 St Giles' to the north end of the four-storey building). Richard Ward's house and yard took 20 yards and 2 feet (from there to what is now called 'the barn'). Then came Jane Trollope's coach house and stable with 8 yards and then Richard Ward's stable with 5 yards 1 foot and 8 inches (together making up the length of 'the barn').
In 1776 Jane Trollope moved in to 16 St Giles' with her widowed sister Mary Rowney, and Blackhall was advertised in Jackson's Oxford Journal, the agent being Thomas Plater, druggist of Ship Street. "To let, a genteel house with two-stall stable and garden which opens into the parks. No person need apply with design to let the rooms into lodgings, as the house is more adapted for a genteel family." By 1778 a tenant was found, Dr Martin Wall, physician of the Radcliffe Infirmary, and Professor of Chemistry, then a very trendy subject. Printed copies of his inaugural address on chemistry survive. His daughter Mary was received at St Giles' church after private baptism in 1779.
A glimpse of the lives and characters of Mary Rowney and Jane Trollope can be got from the letters of Mary Rowney's relations, the Noels and the Milbankes. Elizabeth, a sister of Mary Rowney's husband Thomas, had married Sir Clobery Noel in 1714. Their daughter Mary Noel was left an orphan and went to live in the house of her uncle Thomas Rowney. "He was a Batchelor, a violent Tory (perhaps in heart a Jacobite as many were in those days) and thought he promoted the Cause by making himself and those about him drunk on all occasions in his power. This situation, together with the famous contested Election for Oxfordshire in which he took a very active part, brought a vast concourese of people to his house - no female resident in it but his Niece, who was constantly subjected from sixteen, to this motley drunken society.." When her brother Edward, who later became Viscount Wentworth, was married she went to live in his house, but his wife died young and his children were left in the care of their aunt Mary. By 1777 they were grown up, and the daughters all married, and Mary Noel stayed with various friends and relations, including her aunt Mary Rowney at Oxford. In one letter to her niece Judith Milbanke she described the daily routine; "We go on here as usual, walk in the Morning eat & Drink & play at 3 penny Quadrill by a Warm Fire, which I am so Vulgar as to like very well for a little while." Another time she read the sisters a letter from her niece who was travelling abroad. "My good Aunt wondered how anybody that had money enough to live in England should venture to take such long Voyages & run into such great dangers when they can have everything comfortable at home. Mrs Trollope thinks it would be very fine to visit foreign parts, but fears there is nothing for Christians to eat, & that she should be quite Starved, & the Bruges Sale à manger has quite cured her goût for travels." (The niece had described the dining room at the inn at Bruges, "which having a certain convenient Palace at one corner Stinks like Poison".) Another time Anna Noel, the sixteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of the 2nd Viscount Wentworth, was at Mary Rowney's in Mary Noel's care, and she "went to one Ball at the Races drest in a beautiful hat & feathers which my Ld sent her, & look'd extremely well, but there was so much ill-humour & scolding before she went that she begg'd almost upon her knees not to go. However when she came down drest and looking very smart, the old Lady came on a sudden into the best humour possible, and staid out with her till near three o'clock that she might have as much dancing as she wished." More than once "the old Lady" Mary Rowney made a present of 30 guineas to Mary Noel, who had "but £280 per An." After Judith Milbanke had spent two hours at Cheltenham conversing privately with the Royal family, she wrote "Aunt Rowney looks on me as the greatest of all people & asked me the other day 'Do you now tell us what place you are to have. Jenny and I have been talking of it - can ye be Lady of the Bedchamber!!? Well to be sure you will have some great place, Do ye now tell us what it is to be?' I in vain assured them I expected and indeed could have nothing - they thought it was only secresy and that I would not tell them."
In 1779 Jane Trollope took over the lease of Blackhall from Nathaniel Hume. In 1780 the poor rate recorded a new tenant, Mr Skipp, and then from 1781 to 1788 Mr Henry Broderick. On the 5th June 1784 Jackson's Oxford Journal reported that "Yesterday, at six o'clock in the evening, an Air Balloon, of a singular construction, was launched from Mr Broderick's garden, in St Giles', by the Right Honourable the Marquis of Blandford. The machine, extremely elegant in its form, was stained with a transparent sky colour, richly ornamented with a great variety of curious Embellishments, with the following Inscription round the Circumference: A ... viamque affectat Olympo. During its Ascent, while exposed to the Sun's Rays, the Machine appeared remarkably beautiful: It continued perfectly visible for more than fifteen Minutes, then it directed its course towards the North-west, till it gradually disappeared." The next issue of the paper told its readers that "The Air-Balloon launched from hence on Friday the 4th Instant, by the Right Hon. the Marquis of Blandford, was discovered the next morning at Weston, near Stratford-on-Avon, about 40 miles from this place. There appeared a Rent in one of the Seams, which occasioned its Fall; otherwise it would have gone to a more considerable Distance." This event was somewhat eclipsed by the triumphs of James Sadler, a laboratory technician in the University department of Chemistry, who had launched a balloon that went as far as Kent earlier that year, and who that October at Oxford made the first English manned balloon flight. In April 1785 the local paper carried an advert, "Wanted: a sober, orderly young man, who can attend well at table, understands the care of horses, and can work in a garden. His character must bear the strictest enquiry. Application to be made to Henry Brodrick esq. St Giles Oxford. N.B. No person need apply who has lived in Oxford."
The next tenant was the Rev. Thomas Rayne, who moved in aged 72 in 1788 and died the following year. His widow remained at Blackhall until 1797, when Mary Rowney died, and Jane Trollope moved back into Blackhall, while Mrs Rayne took over 16 St Giles'. Mary Rowney left £2000 to Viscount Wentworth, £500 to Mary Noel, £500 to the Radcliffe Infirmary, and to her servants Philip Margetts £200, Susannah Ellis £100, Thomas Betts £100 and Mary Bunce 10 guineas. For the next thirty years there was no change at Blackhall. Jane Trollope held the lease, lived there and let the farm to John Chillingworth. On Saturday 10th February 1827 a local paper announced "Yesterday died in her 99th year Mrs Jane Trollope of St Giles in this city. This lady, whose kindness and charity were extended to all whose distresses were communicated to her, was the daughter of Thomas Trollope Esq. barrister-at-law, who died many years since. Her sister was married to the late Thomas Rowney Esq., in several successive Parliaments the representative of this City. Mrs Trollope died in the mansion-house in which she was born, and her memory is engraven on the hearts of her friends, her domestics, and the numerous persons who constantly partook of her benevolence." She left bequests to several servants, of whom two, Thomas Betts and Mary Bunce who featured in her sister's will, had obviously been with her at least thirty years. The others were Edward Grace, Sarah Isles and Samuel Print. She also left a bequest to Philip Margotts, servant to Mary Rowney.
Matthew Trollope, youngest son of Sir Thomas Trollope, 1st baronet, of Casewick, Lincs.
b. about 1650 = (1676) Elizabeth Dewe of Oxford, daughter of Edward Dewe of Islip
d 1693 | d 1726
Mary b 1677 Elizabeth b 1678 Thomas b 1682 Bridget b 1687 Matthew b 1691
= Henry Wise = (1702) Henry d 1767 d 1772 d 1747 Oxford
of Oxford Lasker = Anne b 1687 = Rev. Charles unmarried
d 1740 Gardiner,
daughter of Edward Rector of Trent,
Browne of Gretford, Somerset d. 1732
Lincs, whose son Francis
d. 1751 leaving his estates in Lincs and Rutland to
| his sister's son Thomas Trollope
Thomas Ann Elizabeth Edward Mary Francis Jane
b 1718 b 1719 b 1720 b 1721 b 1722 b 1725 b 1730
d 1770 d 1733 d 1722 d 1721 d 1797 d 1725 d 1827
= Harriot = (1756) unmarried
d 1795, daughter of Robert Needham Thomas Rowney
& his wife Catherine, sister of William b 1693 d 1759 without children
Pitt, Earl of Chatham His sister Elizabeth Rowney
| = (1714) Sir Clobery Noel
Mary d.1839 without children b 1694 d 1733
= (1793) George Fermor, Earl of Pomfret |
Sir Edward Rev. Clobery Thomas Rev. John Mary Rev. Rowney
b 1715 b 1716 b 1717 b 1719 b 1725 b 1726
d 1774 d 1763 d 1756 d 1779 d 1802 d 1786
1st Viscount Capt R.N. Rector of unmarried Dean of Salisbury
Wentworth Steeple Aston = Maria, daughter
= (1744) Judith, daughter of William Lamb of Thomas Boothby
| b 1726 d 1761 Skrimsher
Thomas b 1745 d 1815 Judith b 1751 d 1822 Elizabeth b 1755 d 1779 Sophia
2nd Viscount Wentworth = (1777) Ralph = (1777) James Bland Susanna
who had by his mistress Milbanke b 1747 Burges b 1752 d 1824 b 1758 d 1782
Catherine Vanloo d 1781 | d 1825 = (1777)
Anna Catherine b 1770 Anne Isabella Milbanke b 1792 d 1860 Nathaniel Curzon,
& Rev, Thomas Noel b 1775 = (1815) Lord Byron, the Poet Lord Scarsdale
CHAPTER FIVE 1827 - 1961
Joseph Parker, the bookseller whose family firm retained its premises in Broad Street until the 1970s when they became Blackwell's art bookshop, acquired the lease of Blackhall from Miss Trollope's estate, and in 1828 was granted by St John's a lease of 40 years for £500, under the terms of which he engaged "to repair the dwelling-house in a substantial manner, to erect additional buildings on the North side thereof according to a plan previously submitted by him, and to remove the Farm buildings to a suitable spot upon the land belonging to the property in St Giles' Field." In 1827 the college had a survey of St Giles' parish made by John Allen in preparation for the enclosure of the parish, which was effected in 1832, when the strips of arable land belonging to Blackhall were concentrated on the east side of Banbury Road towards Marston Ferry, and a new farmhouse was built on what is now Charlbury Road. The farm buildings of Blackhall were described in John Allen's survey as "a Barn, Stable, Granary, Fold Yard, Rick Yard &c."
There were two brief tenants of the mansion-house before the changes took place. The first was the Rev. John Hewlett who graduated from Worcester College in 1822 and became curate of Rotherfield Peppard in 1824. While he was at Blackhall his second child Martha by his wife Charlotte was baptised at St Giles' church. Then in 1828 Mary Marlow moved in. She was the widow of Michael Marlow, who had been Vicar of St Giles' from 1789 to 1799, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University from 1798 to 1802, and President of St John's College from 1795 until his death in 1828. By 1830 Joseph Parker had moved into Blackhall. He was a wealthy man, having entered into partnership with the University in 1805 to found the Bible Press, which became a thriving business, and in 1832 he retired.
Parker's alterations to the mansion-house left it much as it is today, with the two-storey extension on the north side as kitchen, offices and servants' rooms, a chimney blocking one of the dormer windows, and a two-storey bay window at the east end (though this was possibly an earlier or later addition). The garden, which had been formal in 1750 (see Davis' map) and presumably remained so in Jane Trollope's lifetime, was recast in romantic style, with curving paths and clumps of trees, taking up all the area of the old farmyard as well, as can be seen in Hoggar's map of 1850. This kind of landscaping was a bit behind the times, having been fashionable for well over fifty years. In the south-east corner of the property, there had previously been a small walled formal garden, perhaps a herbal garden considering how many doctors had lived at Blackhall, and by 1850 a triangular area of kitchen garden was laid out there. John Allen's map of 1827 and Hoggar's of 1850 showed a building tucked away in the corner of that area, where a garden shed now [note 2019; now = 1998 since built over] stands, and it was clearly shown on the very large scale 1876 Ordnance Survey divided into two sections. Excavations I made in 1982 found limestone walls in a rectangle of 10 feet by 5 feet, stretching down 14 feet below ground level, which in the opinion of Brian Durham of the Oxford Archaeological Unit must have been a privy, though surprisingly deep. Various Victorian artefacts showed that it had later been used as a rubbish tip. In the light of Jane Trollope's horror at the continental toilet arrangements, I suspect her of having had this very deep privy dug.
At the time of the 1841 census Joseph Parker was widowed and living alone at Blackhall with three servants. Nearby at 13 St Giles' lived Mary Bunce, of independent means. Her age was given as 40 but if she was the Mary Bunce mentioned in the wills of both the Trollope sisters she must have been at least 60. She kept a servant, Emma Cowley, who by the 1851 census was aged 27 and employed as a nurse at 15 St Giles', where Joseph Parker's daughter Elizabeth lived with her husband Frederic Morrell, solicitor to the University. They were later to move to Blackhall. Joseph Parker died in 1850 aged 76, and by the 1851 census Blackhall was occupied by his widowed daughter-in-law Jane Lowry Parker. Her husband Charles Lewes Parker was Joseph's second son and was a surgeon living in St Aldate's Oxford who had died in 1848 aged 38. The census showed the same three servants as had been with Parker in 1841, Thomas Wicks the butler, Mary Ann Kerry the cook, and Sarah Tyrell the housemaid. There was also an under-housemaid and two nurses.
By 1854 Frederic and Elizabeth Morrell had moved in to Blackhall, and at the 1861 census they were living there with two sons, four daughters and six servants. None of the 1851 Blackhall servants remained. The housemaid Mary Suck, aged 47, had been with the Morrells at 15 St Giles' in 1851. She remained a spinster and left all her estate, in her will proved 1875, to her master Frederic Morrell. In 1867 Frederic's oldest son Frederic P Morrell, a solicitior in his father's practice, married Harriette, the daughter of Philip Wynter, President of St John's College from 1828 to 1871, and Frederic senior moved out of Blackhall in their favour. At the census of 1871 they were living there with two daughters, a baby son Philip, and five servants, none of whom had been at Blackhall in 1861. At some time between Hoggar's map of 1850 and the Ordnance Survey of 1876 the garden had been remodelled, replacing Parker's now outdated informal style with the rectangular lawn plan which has remained basically unaltered to the present day [note 2019: now built over]. At the 1881 census the Morrells were still at Blackhall, having one more son, Hugh, and a five-year-old nephew in their household, as well as a German governess and five servants, of whom one, Elizabeth Strange, a nurse aged 49, had been with them since 1871. [Mary Elizabeth Strange continued living at Blackhall until at least 1911 and probably until her death aged 89 in 1920. She was the daughter of a Watlington bricklayer, Adam Strange. She had a daughter Catharine who died aged 5 in 1865, whose father was apparently the widowed Watlington millwright Henry Young, who died in a cart accident at night in 1860 aged 42 a few months before the child was born, and who perhaps would otherwise have married her.]
We get another glimpse of the private history of Blackhall after a rather dry run through the nineteenth century thanks to the woman who married Frederick Morrell's son Philip. Lady Ottoline Bentinck of the family of the Dukes of Portland became the colourful patroness and friend of many of the famous political, academic, literary and artistic figures in early twentieth-century England. Philip Morrell had suffered much from illness as a child and in 1891 had a nervous breakdown after three unhappy years at Balliol College. In 1897 he joined the family firm of solicitors to please his father. In 1898 his younger brother Hugh was ordered abroad in disgrace after seducing his commanding officer's wife, and shot himself two days after leaving England, an event which affected Philip deeply. In 1899 he first saw Ottoline cycling down an Oxford street. "She was dressed entirely in white," he wrote, "and her pale face had a set and rather anxious expression as if concentrated on the art of riding a bicycle; but the most striking part of her appearance was the mass of deep copper-coloured hair..." She had enrolled as an out-student at Somerville College, and a few weeks later she called at Blackhall asking to see some of Harriette Morrell's collection of paintings. Later she was invited to dinner at Blackhall and "outshone all the other women in a superb dress of black satin and rows of pearls." Philip was very nervous and insecure and didn't get a word in edgeways, but he met her in London two years later and asked her to come and stay at Blackhall. They discovered they were both secret Liberals in Tory families. Of her visit to Blackhall, Ottoline wrote that Mrs Morrell "was busy making a strong mixture of wax and perfume for pomanders, it was so strong that it made us all feel very sick". Possibly as Ottoline was a strong personality and wished to preserve her freedom it was Philip's very weakness that persuaded her to accept his offers of marriage.
At first she got on well with Philip's family, and wrote that he "was devoted to his mother, who was a most gifted and an unusually charming person, lively, witty, critical, with immense artistic ability, especially in decoration and embroidery. Her nature was that of a very enchanting child, loving all things beautiful and gay. She had been an important figure in Oxford, very much more remarkable in taste and in entertaining than any other woman there. She had gathered round her in her beautiful house many interesting people, who found her a delightful and witty friend and hostess," But Ottoline wanted to "strengthen and improve" Philip and she plotted to get him involved with politics. As luck would have it, he was adopted as Liberal candidate for South Oxfordshire, where many of his relations and his father's clients lived, all solid Tories. In the 1906 election he won the seat, and his father decided that a Liberal MP was a liability to his firm's name and ordered his son to resign. Visits to Blackhall became more and more strained over the years, as Harriette concluded that Ottoline was a bad mother to her daughter Julian and learned that she was having an affair with Bertrand Russell. In 1908 Frederick Morrell died, and soon afterwards Harriette converted to Catholicism, which had always been an important part of Ottoline's life.
On the 3rd August 1914, the day before Britain declared war on Germany, Philip Morrell addressed the House of Commons, while Ottoline watched from the Ladies' Gallery, on the need to remain neutral. Nearly the whole house was shouting at him to sit down, and his speech was greeted with howls of scorn. Ottoline pruned the warmongers from her social life, and her lover Bertrand Russell wrote "But for her, I should have been at first completely solitary, but she never wavered either in her hatred of war, or in her refusal to accept the myths and falsehoods with which the world was inundated." In 1915 Philip and Ottoline moved to Garsington Manor near Oxford, which became a haven for pacifists. That year she went to Harriette Morrell's fête at Blackhall and wrote "There were crowds of Oxford people there. I found I disliked them violently - their ideas so conventional and cruel and inhuman. They are filled with hatred to the Germans or to anyone else who is not extremely warlike. I felt like a white moth amongst them all. The little Catholic children's dancing though was lovely, they danced a ballet taught to them by an old nun. What was her past, I wonder? She was the only nice, sympathetic person there. One could see that she still vibrated to the rhythm of the music, and that underneath her voluminous black cloth habit her limbs still danced the old steps. She seemed very happy."
In November 1924 Harriette Morrell died of pneumonia. The Times wrote "For nearly sixty years she lived in the same fine old Jacobean house in St Giles', which had been for several generations the house of her husband's family. Year after year she added to the treasures it already contained, alike by selection and by her own creation - for she was an artist of gift and taste, and, indeed, genius, both of the eye and of the hand - till it became, under her spell, a dwelling of exceptional beauty, the original, some said, but if so it was more than that, of her friend Henry James's 'Spoils of Poynton'." She was buried at St Aloysius Catholic Church in the Woodstock Road.
Philip Morrell wanted to move to Blackhall and Ottoline did not. They agreed to try living there for a few months and to help arrange an exhibition of his mother's needlework, the screens, fans and chairs which she had worked in seventeenth-century designs. The housekeeper, Miss Ada Tombs, stayed on till the end of January, and Charles J Bell worked in the West Room on behalf of the Bodleian and the Ashmolean, examining the treasures and manuscripts in the house. In February the house was put on public exhibition, and 472 people paid one shilling entrance, the money going to the Roman Catholic schools. In March the collection was sold by public auction, as Philip's sisters wanted to sell their share, and Philip used much of his legacy to buy it back. The catalogue of the 4-day sale is in the Bodleian Library, a remarkable echo of the inventories of Robert and Ann Barnes. The rooms in the four-storey seventeenth-century part of the building were, on the ground floor, dining room west and morning room east; on the first floor a library and a drawing-room, on the second floor a sitting room and a bedroom. In the garage was a 23hp four-cylinder Sunbeam landaulette car and a 15hp 1913 Daimler landaulette car. The Bodleian obtained several valuable manuscripts and prints. Philip and Ottoline's daughter Julian was seriously upset at the thought of living at Blackhall, as she hated her grandmother for getting her sent to a convent school, and that decided them to move back to Garsington in March.
In July 1925 a new tenant moved in, having paid £3000 for a 14-year lease. She was Agnes Dorothea Rathbone of 18 Norham Gardens, Oxford, daughter of John Rankin, a Liverpool banker and shipowner, and wife of Major William Rathbone who married her in 1904 and died in 1941. She died in 1945 but only lived at Blackhall until 1930. In 1931 Henry Sessions Souttar, surgeon, moved in. His wife was Catherine, daughter of R.B.Clifton, Professor of Physics at Oxford, and they had one son and one daughter. In 1934 Henry Souttar published a book on radium and cancer. He got St John's permission to put up a doctor's plate and consult at Blackhall, and he complained to the college that the exterior walls and boundary wall were decayed and dilapidated, and that "the electric wiring, for example, was actually dangerous and the central heating almost useless from bad workmanship."
Features of the early twentieth-century garden since lost were a line of urns along the wall at the west end of the main lawn, some of which were offered for sale in 1925, complete with plants. A graceful cedar tree stood at the corner of the lawn near the french windows at the east end of the four-storey building. There were flower beds set in the main lawn, two on each side, the two on the south side remaining into the 1980s. At the north-east corner of the main lawn stood a dovecot; behind it near the back gate was a magnificent holm oak, probably dating back to Joseph Parker's day, which survived into the 1980s. Where the modern buildings of Queen Elizabeth House now [note 2019; now = 1998 since built over] stand, there were greenhouses along the north wall, and at the east end a square herb garden with a sundial in the centre, which now [note 2019; now = 1998 since built over] stands precariously on the lawn. A visitor who had worked at Blackhall in the 1940s told me of grapes from the greenhouse being taken to the Radcliffe Infirmary.
With the second World War the lease of Blackhall was taken by Earl Dudley and later his son Viscount Ednam, and it became the Midlands HQ of Civil Defence. After the war it passed to the British Council and was also used by the United Nations Association, until 1956 when Queen Elizabeth House took over, with plans for a new building by R.E.Enthoven which was finally built in 1961.
[note 2019; The gardens and buildings (apart from the Blackhall mansion house) of Queen Elizabeth House were erased by the building of the Kendrew Quadrangle in 2010, which centres round the beautiful copper beech which stood in the garden of no. 20 St Giles' which was also part of my responsibility as gardener there in the early 1980s. Whether the buliding work disturbed the treecreepers who then lived in this tree I haven't learned. The most interesting discovery of the 2008 excavations was that the ditch of a large 3000 BC henge mostly beneath Keble College ran through the Blackhall gardens and in it were found bones from about 1000 AD perhaps those of the Danes burnt to death by the Saxons when they took refuge in the church where Oxford's cathedral in Christ Church college now stands.]
I would be grateful for any information that could make this history more complete.
Joseph Parker = Sarah, daughter of Rev. Thomas Hayes, Precentor of Durham
b 1774 d 1850 | b 1775 d 1840
Sarah b 1804 Rev. Edward Charles Lewes Elizabeth Maria
= (1824) John Golden b 1809 d 1887 b 1810 d 1848 b 1816 = (1834)
Canon of = Jane Lowry Frederic Morrell
Peterborugh | |
Charles Lewes Harriet Frederick Richard George Eleanor |
Perrott Barnwell Jane Perrott Lowry Sackville Susanna |
b 1838 b 1839 b 1841 b 1843 b 1844 b 1846 b 1848 |
Rector of |
Colton, Staffs |
Frederick P Mary Ann M Louisa A Edward Arthur Helen
b 1839 d 1908 Sophia b 1845 b 1846 b 1849 b 1852 b 1855
= (1867) b 1843
| b 1845 d 1924
Margaret C L Frederica H Philip Edward Hugh
b 1868 b 1869 b 1870 d 1943 b 1872 d 1898
= Edward Warren = John Douglas = (1902) Lady Ottoline
| architect Peel Violet Anne Bentinck
| solicitor | b 1873 d 1938
b 1906 d 1906 b 1906 d 1989