Stoulgrove House


On the 1843 landowners/tithe map Stoulgrove is marked as a House and Gardens and was owned by Catherine Gillam.  The 1841 Census shows no Catherine Gillam living in Woodcroft but there is a Cath Gillam living in Bridge Street, Chepstow. Her occupation was grocer and living with her were her three children, her son Henry was a fisherman.  The Gillam children all subsequently moved into Tidenham houses Henry into Bridge House (Morris 1867) and her daughters Mary Ann Chapman and Elizabeth Gillam into Elm Villa (Census 1881 & 1891).

At the time of the 1841 census Stoulgrove House was the home of William Anderson and his family but just a few weeks later his wife’s death was reported in the Bristol Mercury (August 14th 1841).

 The four children were all born in Tidenham and also three more who died in infancy, so it seems likely that the family were at Stoulgrove from 1829 when Fanny was born. 

William, who is recorded as ‘independent’ in 1841, left Stoulgrove after Maria’s death and in 1851 was living in Plymouth with his four children.

 In 1851 Major James Bedford of the Bengal Military was living in the house, he was a widower aged 63 and living with him was his daughter Jane Helen aged 21 who had been born in the “East Indies”. 

Like the Jenkins family at Beachley James had a long association with the East India Company and had been Deputy General Revenue Surveyor of Bengal with the 48th Native Infantry. Captain Bedford and his wife Jane Helen Troup, whom he married in 1828 in Meerut, India, had at least two other daughters who both died in infancy in India. James also had a son James and daughter Emma before his marriage to Jane Troup, the mother’s name is not listed. 

Jane Helen Troup’s brother Colin was also an officer in the 48th Native Infantry he died at Meerut in 1876.  Jane Helen died in 1836 in Allahabad leaving the major to bring up his daughter alone.  Young Jane may have attended a school in Cadogan Place, Chelsea,  as an eleven year old Jane Bedford (born in “Foreign Parts”) is listed as a pupil there in 1841, other girls on the census return were also born in India.

 James and his daughter had two servants living-in at Stoulgrove in 1851: Emma Selby a cook and Ellen Murphy a housemaid.  Emma was from Hewelsfield but Ellen was from Southwark, London.   .

 In 1861 James and Jane were still residing at Stoulgrove but the two servants had been replaced. The Chepstow Weekly Advertiser throughout the 1860s show Miss Bedford’s successes in local flower shows and also her sponsorship by donating prizes for some categories, so it seems they settled well into life in Tidenham

 James died in 1871, just before the census, and a report in the Birmingham Gazette states that the Colonel was in his 84th year and was the younger son of John Bedford of Fairlawn, Aston, Middlesex.

The census shows that Jane was still in the house but also listed was Arthur J Baker an architect who was “acting for the executors”.  Arthur was married (his wife Fanny was not staying at that time) and like Jane, Arthur had been born in Bengal., his father being a medical practitioner.

In the 1971 census Jane is listed as a ‘lunatic’, and she later seems to have moved to London where in 1887 she died at Peterborough House, Fulham.  Her death certificate was certified by James Robert Hill.  The Hill family were pioneers  in the treatment of the insane in the nineteenth century and they ran private asylums in various areas of London.  James’ father had written a paper in 1839 pioneering the abolition of restraint in the treatment of the insane, and between 1863 and 1878 (his death) he was medical superintendent of Earl’s Court House, a private asylum for about twenty-five female patients. Jane died as a result of heart problems but also listed on her certificate is “several years Syncope”. Syncope is a nervous disorder which causes fainting fits and so it may be that this was her ‘insanity’.

Looking at the deeds Stoulgrove was sold in 1871 to Thomas Henry Morgan, the names of the vendors were Charles Desborough Bedford and George Augustus Bedford, possibly nephews of James.  Charles Desborough was born in 1813 and George Augustus in 1809. Charles was the chief probate clerk at Somerset House

 By 1876 the house was being rented by Mrs Ellen Constance Armstrong who was born in Jersey. Ellen was the daughter of Oliver D’Arcy and his wife Martha, Oliver was a Major in the 65th Regiment of Foot so Ellen had been brought up in a military family.  When she was a young girl the family went to New Zealand with the regiment and it was there that her brother Cecil was born.  Cecil became a member of the Cape Frontier Lighthorse and as John Armstrong was also serving in the army in the Cape at that time it is probable that John and Ellen met there.  Cecil D’Arcy was awarded a Victoria Cross for saving the life of a Trooper in 1879 in the Cape.

 Ellen, her husband and four children, Lovel, Mary, Esther and John, had been living in Wye Cottage in 1871; Major General John Armstrong gave his place of birth as Westminster.  John senior died in 1874 and is buried in St Mary’s Tidenham churchyard. By 1881 census there was only one child at home with Ellen, John (Cecil), who had been born in Tidenham in 1870, however  in 1881 a John Edward Lovell Armstrong was at Sandhurst his place of birth being Cape of Good Hope. The two daughters were at the Royal School for Daughters of Officers in Charlcombe, Bath, both of the girls were born in the Cape.  

  Ellen married the Reverend Percy Burd in 1889 who, at the time she was living in Stoulgrove, was vicar of Tidenham and had performed the burial service for her first husband.   

Percy and Ellen lived in Cheltenham until her death in 1912 and the Times newspaper Death notice gives Tidenham as her last resting place.  Percy was also buried in Tidenham in 1924.

Ellen’s son  returned to Tidenham Parish, he lived in Castle View Tutshill and he died here in 1961.

 Ellen and Percy went to live in Cheltenham and by 1885  Kelly’s Directory gives Stanley Callaghan as resident in Stoulgrove. 

Stanley was a banker who had been born in Cork, Ireland. In 1891 he had been living in Chepstow High Street in the Welsh Bank, where he was the manager.  He had four daughters living at home and the three eldest all were born in Chepstow so he had lived in this area for some time.

In the 1891 census Alfred E Mullins a corn merchant was living in the house.   Alfred was the son of a farmer in Alvington and he and his wife, Emmeline had probably been living at the house for a short length of time as their one year old daughter was born in Woolaston.  By 1901 he and his family had moved on to the Old House in Tutshill, now St John’s dormitory.

Richard L Symes another banker was living in the house at the time of the 1901 census.  He was born in 1850 in Paddington to Charlotte and Richard Symes, his father was a surgeon, but also a member of the Catholic Apostolic Church and by 1861 his father had ceased practising as a surgeon and was a preacher for the church living in Somerset.  Young Richard and his sister Sophia were living with their aunt and uncle in Albury, Surrey where the church had a stronghold.  By 1871 however his father stated that he was a surgeon and young Richard was a bank clerk in Hampshire living with his parents.

In 1901 Richard was married to Clarissa and there was one daughter, Mabel, living at home, she was born in Hong Kong so maybe part of Richard’s career had been in the Far East.

 In 1908 Robert de Winton is listed in the Chepstow Weekly Advertiser and in 1914’s Kelly’s directory as being resident in Stoulgrove.  Robert de Winton died in Chepstow in 1915.

From the deeds it seems that the house had belonged to the Morgan family through until 1931 when it was purchased by Percival James Bradley. 

 In 1946 the house was sold again this time to Eric Barnet Ayliffe who converted and then sold the stables. 

 In 1951 the house was purchased by Charles William Henry Salter.


4 thoughts on “Stoulgrove House

  1. Stanton D'Arcy says:

    Ellen was my g-g-aunt and I am filling in gaps left in my mother’s book about the D’Arcy family “Empire Heritage”. I did not know they were buried on Tidenham.

    Also, Rev’d John Armstrong, who was Vicar of Tidenham in 1851 was hand-picked by the Archbishop of Cape Town to be the first Bishop of Grahamstown. He went in 1853, founded St Andrew’s College in 1855. I waited on the then Archbishop in 1955 when we celebrated our Centenary.

    A small world!!

    Stanton D’Arcy

  2. Nathalie Provensal-Mesrouze says:

    I’m french, I would like to contact Stanton d’Arcy. I’m tracing my ancestors, Hugh Mc Donell was the father of Angelica McDonell married with Richard BUCK. They were the parents of Angelica BUCK married with O.B. d’Arcy. I search informations concerning d’Arcy family. Many thanks for your answer.

  3. Stanton D'Arcy says:

    The children of the Armstrongs were John Edward Llovell, Nellie Mary, Ethel Louise and John Cecil.


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