The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Bentham Hill House      Southborough  
Historical records

c 1832BuiltDesigned by Decimus BurtonBentham Hill House

Decimus Burton was born on 30th September 1800 in the parish of St Pancras, London, and christened in Old Church, St Pancras on 18th July 1802, the tenth son of James Haliburton and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Westley). James Haliburton, later Burton, (1761-1837) was one of the most significant builders of Georgian London, responsible for large areas of Bloomsbury, as well as St. Johns Wood and Clapham Common and, in collaboration with John Nash, the development of Regents Park. In 1828 he started building a new seaside town at St. Leonards near Hastings based closely on his experiences at Regents Park. The first four children were christened Haliburton but from 1794 onwards the remaining six children were all christened as Burton. The fourth child, James Haliburton (1788 - 1862), was to have an eminent career as an Egyptologist. After the birth of their last child, Jesse, in 1804, the family moved to Mabledon, Quarry Hill, Tonbridge and Decimus Burton was educated at Tonbridge School followed by several years in the Royal Academy Schools in Somerset House where Sir John Soane was Professor of Architecture.

Through his father's connections, Decimus gained many early commisions in Regents Park in London (including the family residence at The Holme) before gaining the design for his first major public building at the Colosseum in 1823, followed by the Ionic Screen at Hyde Park Corner in 1825, the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner in 1826, Cornwall Terrace in Regents Park, the Athenaeum Club in Pall Mall and Trinity Church, Tunbridge Wells in 1827, Charing Cross Hospital in 1831, Fleetwood, Lancashire in 1836, and, later in 1846, The Palm House at Kew. In 1850 Decimus began the second phase of building at St Leonards on Sea, originally, commenced by his father

In 1826, the 870 acreage Calverley Estate was acquired by John Ward J.P., M.P. (1776-1855). He commisioned Decimus Burton "to erect a number of edifices suitable to the reception of genteel families, and simultaneously with the larger buildings, a number of shops, etc in their immediate neighbourhood, so that residents upon the estate might enjoy the same advantages as those who lived nearer the Springs." By 1839 all the Calverley Park villas were complete and Decimus Burton had taken possesion of No 4. In that same year the Calverley House (previously Mount Pleasant House) had been extensively refurbished and extended by Decimus Burton. In the years that followed his commisions in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area were extensive and included The Grove at Penshurst, Burrswood at Groombridge, Bentham Hill and St Peters Church at Southborough, Hollands at Langton Green and St Marys Church at Riverhead.

In 1832 Decimus Burton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and he continued in practice until 1869. In his later years, he spent his time as a lifelong batchelor between his properties at Gloucester Gardens, Hyde Park and St Leonards in Sussex. He died on 14th December 1881 in his home in London and is buried at Kensal Green cemetery.

For more information about James and Decimus Burton see the Hastings Museum web site

See also


3rd Apr 1881CensusEllen Wells, F, Head, widowed, age 36, born Tonbridge, Kent; occupation Needle womanEllen WellsBentham Hill Lodge1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Annie Wells, F, Daughter, age 2, born Tonbridge, KentAnnie Wells
Ellen Wells, F, Daughter, age 4 m, born Penshurst, KentEllen Wells
Ann Wells, F, Mother in law, widowed, age 75; occupation AnnuitantAnn Wells

3rd Apr 1881CensusJames Neve, M, Head, married, age 31, born Rotherfield, Sussex; occupation: gardenerJames Neeves, gardenerBentham Hill Cottage1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Emma Neve, F, Wife, married, age 29, born St Johns, SussexEmma Neve
Bessie Neve, F, Daughter, age 5, born Withyham, SussexBessie Neve
Ernest Neve, M, Son, age 1, born Speldhurst, KentErnest Neve

3rd Apr 1881CensusFrances Pott, F, Head, widowed, age 68, born Gosport, Northumberland; occupation Private income from dividendsFrances PottBentham Hill House1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Rachel Fairbairn, F, Sister, widowed, age 61, born Gosport, Northumberland; occupation Private income from dividendsRachel Fairbairn
Florence Wailes, F, Visitor, single, age 13, born Christchurch, YorkFlorence Wailes
William H. Pott, M, Grand Nephew, single, age 26, born Paddington, Middlesex; occupation Clerk at Vinegar BreweryWilliam H. Pott
John King, M, Visitor, married, age 64, born Northampton; occupation: private income from propertyJohn King, private income from property
Mary King, F, Visitor's wife, married, age 60, born Mortlake, SurreyMary King
Mary A. Lawson, F, Servant, single, age 51, born Everton, Bedford; occupation: housekeeperMary A. Lawson
Elizabeth Flint, F, Servant, single, age 30, born Pillerton, Warwick; occupation: cookElizabeth Flint
Bertha Tickel, F, Servant, age 26, born Poplar, Middlesex; occupation HousemaidBertha Tickel
Annie Jones, F, Servant, single, age 23, born Wales; occupation: kitchenmaidAnnie Jones
James Winterborn, M, Servant, age 36, born Welwyn, Hertford; occupation ButlerJames Winterborn
Annie Warrington, F, Servant, age 24, born York, York; occupation Lady's maidAnnie Warrington

3rd Apr 1881CensusGeorge Frost, M, Head, married, age 42, born Penshurst, Kent; occupation: milkmanGeorge Frost, milkmanBentham Hill Lodge1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Elizabeth Frost, F, Wife, married, age 45, born Speldhurst, KentElizabeth Frost
Emily Frost, F, Daughter, age 20, born Penshurst, KentEmily Frost
George Frost, M, Son, age 19, born Penshurst, KentGeorge Frost
Esther Frost, F, Daughter, age 17, born Penshurst, KentEsther Frost
Harry Frost, M, Son, age 8, born Southboro, KentHarry Frost

3rd Apr 1881CensusJohn Fry, M, Head, married, age 48, born Ashurst, Kent; occupation: farm servantJohn Fry, farm servantBentham Hill Cottage1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Emma Fry, F, Wife, married, age 49, born Penshurst, KentEmma Fry
John Fry, M, Son, single, age 23, born Penshurst, Kent; occupation: farm servantJohn Fry
Annie Fry, F, Daughter, single, age 18, born Putney, Surrey; occupation: general servantAnnie Fry
Emily Fry, F, Daughter, age 15, born Tonbridge, Kent; occupation: general servantEmily Fry
Amelia Fry, F, Daughter, age 11, born Tonbridge, Kent; occupation: scholarFanny Amelia Fry
Harry Fry, M, Son, age 10, born Tonbridge, Kent; occupation: scholarHarry Fry
Sarah Fielder, F, Nursechild, age 7, born Tonbridge, KentSarah Fielder

3rd Apr 1881CensusThomas Crowhurst, M, Head, married, age 55, born Floxton, Middlesex; occupation: coachmanThomas Crowhurst, coachmanBentham Hill Stables1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Martha Crowhurst, F, Wife, married, age 54, born Finsbury, MiddlesexMartha Crowhurst
Arthur Mapelwhite, M, Lodger, single, age 18, born Barford, Wiltshire; occupation: groomArthur Mapelwhite

3rd Apr 1881CensusWilliam Coleman, M, Head, married, age 34, born Pauls Cray, Kent; occupation: head gardener and bailiffWilliam Coleman, head gardener and bailiff2 Bentham Hill Lodge1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Mary Ellen Coleman, F, Wife, married, age 33, born Barnby, LancashireMary Ellen Coleman
William Coleman, M, Son, age 5, born Pilkington, LancashireWilliam Coleman
John Coleman, M, Son, age 4, born Pilkington, LancashireJohn Coleman
James Coleman, M, Son, age 2 m, born Tonbridge, KentJames Coleman

3rd Apr 1881CensusWilliam Godly, M, Head, married, age 37, born Westfield, Sussex, employs 4 men and 1 boy; occupation: farmerWilliam Godly, farmerBentham Hills Mills1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Annie Godly, F, Wife, married, age 32, born Speldhurst, KentAnnie Godly
Katherine Godly, F, Daughter, age 11, born Southboro, Kent; occupation: scholarKatherine Godly
Annie Godly, F, Daughter, age 9, born Southboro, Kent; occupation: scholarAnnie Godly
William Godly, M, Son, age 8, born Southboro, Kent; occupation: scholarWilliam Godly
Charles Godly, M, Son, age 6, born Southboro, Kent; occupation: scholarCharles Godly
Adelaide Butcher, F, Servant, single, age 22, born Southboro, Kent, occupation: general servantAdelaide Butcher
Albert Wilmshurst, M, Servant, single, age 22, born Tun Wells, Kent; occupation Farm ServantAlbert Wilmshurst
Edward Butcher, M, Servant, single, age 18, born Southboro, Kent, occupation: farm servantEdward Butcher
Horace Maktelow, M, Servant, single, age 15, born Bidboro, Kent; occupation: farm servantHorace Maktelow

3rd Apr 1881CensusLiza Skinner, F, Head, single, age 68, born Southboro, Kent; occupation: laundressLiza Skinner, laundressBentham Hill Cottage1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Maria Skinner, F, Sister, single, age 61, born Southboro, Kent; occupation: laundressMaria Skinner
Emma Skinner, F, Sister, single, age 52, born Southboro, Kent; occupation: laundressEmma Skinner
Liza Everest, F, Cousin, age 36, born Bidboro, Kent; occupation: assistant laundressLiza Everest

3rd Apr 1881CensusCharlotte Saxby, F, Head, single, age 52, born Southboro, KentCharlotte Saxby2 Bentham Hill Cottage1881 Census
Southborough, Kent
Ada Smart, F, Boarder, age 8, born LondonAda Smart
Harriett Davis, F, Boarder, age 7, born Horsely Down, SurreyHarriett Davis
Frederick Prior, M, Boarder, age 1, born Pembury, KentFrederick Prior

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