Page 5



Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada

Date; January 9,2014


Henry Guy Inskipp was born 1840 in Battle, Sussex, one of several children born to Henry Inskipp(1812-1867), a druggist, and later an innkeeper of the George Hotel in Dover. He received his early education in Battle, Sussex (photo opposite)and during the early 1850’s he lived with his parents and siblings in rooms at the George Inn/Hotel  on Snargate Street in Dover.

In the 1860’s, while working as a warehouseman, H.G. Inskipp decided to make photography his career, and was operating from premises on the High Street in Sevenoaks,Kent. In the early 1870’s his photographic work was conducted from premises in Southborough,but by the late 1870’s established a photographic studio at 13 Calverley Road,Tunbridge Wells. It was  throughout the period of 1871 to 1878 that he was most active in showing his photographs at the exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society. Henry had entered photography at the time of the magic lantern, for which he made and sold glass plates. He expanded his business to include stereographic views, postcards, and carde-de-visites.

Henry was both a studio photographer, where his subjects came finely dressed and were posed with the assistance of interesting props to achieve the most complimentary image of his subjects, as well as a field photographer of important buildings, street scenes, and the English countryside, many of which he produced as postcards.

Where Henry lived and worked can be traced by the locale of his photographic images for, apart from his studio work, tended to photograph local views, however examples of his work from further afield can also be found, indicating that he often went on photographic excursions. All of his images however are confined to England.

Henry left Tunbridge Wells by 1885 and from that year, until his death in 1888 he lived and worked in Steyning ,Sussex.

This article reports on the life and career of Henry Guy Inskipp with a particular emphasis on the time he spent while in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area. Shown above are two labelled stereoscopic views by Henry.


The name of “Inskipp” and its variations of “Inskip” and “Inskeep” originates from the village of Inskip near Preston,Lancashire. Most of those with the surname of Inskip are found in or originate from Lancashire and other northern parts of England. Those with the surname of Inshipp are clustered in the county of Sussex, or have their ancestral roots there, as is the case with Henry Guy Inskipp, the central figure in this article.  On the internet can be found various websites dedicated to one name studies of the name Inskip and its variations  and a review of them. Those who have studied their Inskip/Inskipp family history have discovered, as it relates to photography, several men who engaged in this career in Scarborough, Sheffield,Lancashire and many other parts of England. Although photographers do not dominate the list of Inskip careers, they certainly are well represented.

The family line of interest for my purposes begins with Henry Inskipp (1812-1867), the father of Henry Guy Inskipp (1840-1888), the photographer. Henry Inskipp had been born 1813 in Battle, Sussex, a town in which there was a large presence of Inskipp’s. He was baptised April 4,1813 at Saint Andrew Holborn.Henry was one of a number of children born to William and Mary  Inskipp  of Sussex. On July 10,1839 Henry married Louisa Cooke at Crowhurst,Sussex. Louisa had been born 1819 at Ashburnham,Sussex, one of several children born to Joseph Cooke.Henry Inskipp became a druggist and is found in the 1840 trade directory as a druggust in Battle,Sussex. Shown above is a photo of Battle, Sussex.

The 1841 census, taken at Battle,Sussex recorded Henry Inskipp as born 1812 Sussex, a druggist, who operated his shop on High Street. At these premises was also his wife Louisa, age 22 and his son Henry Guy Inskipp, age 7 months. Also present were two druggist assistants by the name of Frederick Cooke,age 14 and his brother James Cooke, age 12, who were related to Henry’s wife. Also present was one domestic servant.

It is believed by the researcher that Henry had at least two brothers. The first was  Charles Inskipp, born 1813 Battle,Sussex who in 1851 was living at Lower Lake, Battle,Sussex with his wife Elizabeth; six of his children and five lodgers. Charles was a cabinet maker. The second brother was Alfred Inskipp born 1815 at Battle, Sussex who had a wife Maria and four children and who in 1861 was living in Surrey and in 1881 in Camberwell , where he worked as a commercial traveller.

A trade directory of 1850 shows that by that date Henry had moved to Dover,Kent, and took over as the licensed victualler of the George Inn, also referred to as the George Commercial Inn and at times the George Hotel. Shown below  are two views of the George Inn. The one on the left shows the inn in the middle (it’s the large building with the flagpole on the roof), and the one on right shows it near the water’s edge just to the right of the ship on which has been placed “XX”  to mark its location. This inn was located at 86 Snargate Street, and for anyone interested in the history of this inn I can recommend visiting the Dover pubs website. From this website it is noted that a Stephen Philpot was the licensed victualler from 1844 to 1850, after which Henry Inskipp worked there from 1850 to at least 1857 for in 1858 the inn was taken over by Thomas Currie. A directory of 1851 gave “Henry Inskipp, George Cimmercial Inn, Snargate Street, and Strand Street”. An 1852 directory recorded Henry at Snargate Street.

The 1851 census, taken at the George Inn, in Dover, Kent, records Henry Inskipp as the innkeeper. With him in rooms above the inn, was his wife Louisa and his children Henry Guy, age 10; Loiusa, age 8; Maria, age 7; Elizabeth,age 5 and Ellen ,age 3. All of the children had been born in Battle,Sussex.

The 1861 census, taken at No. 4 Crown Terrace in Lambeth,Surrey, did not record the presence of Henry Inskipp, but it did give his wife Louisa as married and with her were her children Henry Guy Inskipp, age 20, a warehosueman and assistant, as well as her daughters Maria, age 17, a dressmaker; Elizabeth, age 15, a dressmaker, and Ellen, age 13, of no occupation.

It was during the 1860’s that Henry’s son Henry Guy Inskipp began to work in Lambeth,Surrey as a photographer, details of which are given in the next section of this article. To conclude with his father Henry Inskipp died in June 1867 at St Olave, Southwark,London and was buried June 10,1867 in the Norwood Cemetery on Nortwood Road in Lambeth. Henry had died at Guys Hospital. His funeral service was conducted by J.P. Menge of the parish church. What happed to his wife was not investigated.

Above the photos of the George Inn are two images by H. G. Inskipp while he was a photographer in Sevenoaks. The first is a view of High Street in Battle Sussex and the second is a view of the Church in Battle,Sussex. As Battle Sussex was his hometown, he no doubt frequently visited the town to see relatives, and while took a few photos of the place. As you will see Henry signed his name on the front of the street scene in the bottom right corner as “H.G. Inskipp”. His name is also on the church photo in the bottom left corner but is difficult to see due to the dark shading.


The last census record for Henry with his parents and siblings was 1861 at Lambeth Surrey, where in that year is occupation was given as warehouseman and assistant in the census.

The University of Texas has in their collection an  album containing 61 photographic images dating from the period of 1860 to 1865 in which are photos by various photographers. Among them are four images by H.G. Inskipp. The album shows views of England, Scotland and New Hampshire (USA). There is also an album published in 1860 with photos by various photographers such as James Valenine, George Washington Wilson, Francis Smith, Silverster parry and H.G. Inskipp. This album was recently offered for sale in bound form on the internet.

From a repository of “The Carlyle Letters” is a letter from Jane W. Carlyle to Charlotte Southam of Addiscombe Farm in Croydon and the website, which gave the contents of this letter, gave with it an image of Charlotte Southam by “H.G. Inkskipp of Ipswich”. The letter was dated May 8,1858 but no date was given for the photograph. Presumably this photographer was the same H.G. Inskipp, who is the subject of this article. This image is shown top right.

There is a photo of Amelia Joanna Beaumont, nee Simkin from the early 1860’s. On the back of this photo is “Photographic Artist, H.G. Inskipp, High Street”. This image (not available to show here) was taken in Sevenoaks, where Henry had moved to in the 1860’s. A Historical Dictionary of Sevenoaks, by the Sevenoaks Historical Society had in this extensive work, a section on photographers of Sevenoaks in which they make reference to the fact that there were several photographers working there and gives a list of those present in 1855. Henry is not among those on the list but the dictionary refers to H.G. Inskipp operating in Sevenoaks “later” meaning sometime after 1855. All of the examples of Henry’s work from Sevenoaks all date from the 1860’s with the address of his premises given as High Street. Since Henry was given in the 1861 census as being in Lambeth,Surrey then of course he must have moved from Lambeth to Sevenoaks circa 1862.

Shown above is an early 1900’s views of High Street, Sevenoaks by an unidentified photographer. As one can see High Street was a thriving commercial area and Henry Guy Inskipp has his studio in one of the buidlings shown. He no doubt did a good trade, but as noted by the Sevenoaks Historical Society there was no shortage of phographers operating in the town and so competition was still. This fact may well have led to Henry deciding to leave Sevenoaks and set up shop in Southborough and later in the town of Tunbridge Wells.

Shown opposite is an albumen  carde-de-visite by Henry Guy Inskipp dated November 1865 which shows Emily Harriet Stanhope (nee Kerrison), Countess Stanhope. This image is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Apart from the general public Henry was noted for taking good photos of the gentry and other notable people and was considered in the photographic community to be a skilled photographic artist. There is also a photo (not shown here) by H.G. Inskipp of Hight Street, Sevenoaks dated 1866 of “the Honorable Constance Primrose, 2nd daughter of the late Lord Dalmeny” which is held by The Royal Collection Trust.

The image to the left is a stereoscopic view of a grave by Henry.  The last image below right is a CDV with his stamp on the back, taken in his studio. The stamp shows in a circle a belt with buckle, on which is printed Photographic Artist and in the centre of which is printed “H.G. Inksipp High Street Sevenoaks”.

The National Archives has a number of images by Henry and makes reference to some dated 1860 and onwards held by the English Heritage Archive and among a list of photos relating to Irene Days and family there is a photo by “photographic artist, H.G.Inskipp, High Street, Sevenoaks No. 316 in which Henry advertised “ Duplicates of this portrait can be had at any time by quoting name and number”.


When exactly Henry took up residence in Southborough is not known but an 1868 electoral record have him at “3 Park View Tunbridge Wells’, which most likely is a reference to his residence on Park Road in Southborough.  Park Road was a residential area and it appears that Henry operated his business from his home. No information was found indicating that he had a studio in the commercial area of Southborough.

The records of the Royal Photographic Society (1870-1915) record that although Henry Guy Inskipp was not a member of the society , his photographic work was frequently included in their annual exhibitions. The earliest record is for the 1871 exhibition in which Henry had twelve photos. The titles of these images were (1) Bayham Abbey 294 (2) Bayham Abbey 298 (3) The Old Bridge, Bayam Abbey 300 (4) Scotney Castle 301 (5) Tunbridge Wells Common 302 (6) On Rusthall Common 303 (7) Bayham across the lake 304 (8) Old Southborough Common 316 (9) On Southborough Common 317 (10) Hursmonceux Castle 318 (11) Penshurst 324 (12) Hurstmonceux Castle.

Shown below left is a postcard view of Rusthall Church labelled on the front right side as being by “H.G. Inskipp Photo Tunbridge Wells”. Shown to the right of it is a stereographic image of the same church by “ H.G. Inksipp,Southborough,Tunbridge Wells”. Although not shown here there can be found on the internet an image of Beachy Head near Eastbourne,Sussex “by H.H. Inskipp, photographer, Southborough,Tunbridge Wells”. The studio photo shown opposite was taken at his studio in Southborough.

Shown below left is a photo by Henry of Penshurst Castle and to the right is a view of his of Hawkhurst Old Church.

In the 1872 exhibition he  had exhibit 28 entitled Chiddingstone, Kent and other views. In 1873 he had two photos, one of Hop picking in Kent and the other Bruke and Bramble. In 1878, the last year there is record for him, he showed two images namely Views in the Grounds of Grove Spa,Tunbridge Wells, and Views-Shakespeare Cliff-Folkestone Harbour and Dover Harbour. The address given for Henry in the exhibition catalogue was of Southboroug,Tunbridge Wells , except for 1878 where he is given at Tunbridge Wells. This suggests that Henry worked and lived in Southborough in the early 1870s circa 1871 to 1877 but by 1878 he had moved to Tunbridge Wells, where he established a studio at 13 Calverley Road.

Shown above is an advertisement for “Inskipp’s Rapid Dry Plates” by Henry while operating in Tunbridge Wells. Henry made and sold these glass plates for use in Magic Lanterns, and received rave reviews, not only in the testimonials from satisfied customers in the advertisement but elsewhere. This advertisement appeared in a very comprehensive book entitled ‘The Magic Lantern Manual’ by W.J. Charwick, published in 1878.In this same book is a description of “the Dry Process used by Inskipp which is certainly preferred by the amateur as the whole of the operations- printing, preparing plates, and developing, can be performed during the evening with no dark room being necessary”. Shown opposite is a CDV given as circa 1870 offered for sale for about 5 pounds on an online auction site by H. G. Inskipp entitled “ On the Common” which on the front had “H.G. Inskipp. Photo. Tunbridge Wells”

Shown here are two stereo views by Henry while working in Tubnridge Wells. The one opposite is entitled ‘View of The Rocks on the Commons dated September 1875, and below it is  St James Church, Ferndale, of the same date.

The British Journal of Photography of November 8,1878 gave a report on a photographic exhibition in which “several views in the grounds of Grove Spa (250) and others exhibited by Mr. H. G. Inskipp, attest the quality of his dry plates”. The Photographic News of 1878 reported on the same exhibition and referred to Henry’s dry plates, by stating “ These image were produced on his new rapid dry plates. These are very good, but from some cause-chief over printing, one thinks-they suggest under exposure”. The Illustrated Photographer of March 25,1870 gave a report on a visit of a delegation to the Liverpool Dry Palte Manufactory at which they looked at examples of images on this companys plates. They stated “ Amongst the smaller specimens shown, I was particularly pleased with some half dozen or so by Mr H.G. Inskipp of Tunbridge Wells. Nothing could be finer, had but for some unlucky fault, due possibly to a bad lens or carless focussing, a want of crisp definition.In tone, gradation, and general photographic technical excellence they would bear comparison with Mr G. Wilson’s very best…”

In the 3rd qtr of 1870 Henry married Frances Elizabeth Pope Lye (1848-1934) in Tunbridge Wells. Frances was one of seven children born to Robert Bevan Lye (1811-1896), who in 1851 was a linen daraper and in 1861 was a general dealer, and Catherine Elizabeth Pope (1809-1855). Frances had  been born in the 4th qtr of 1848 in Hastings,Sussex and prior to her marriage she was living with her parents in Hastings. After the death of Henry she moved to Hendon, Middlesex as did many of her children, she is found in directories at Hendon from 1921 onwards, and she died in Hendon in the 1st qtr of 1934.

Henry and his wife had the following children (1) Frances Helen (1872-1953) (2) Ruth (born 1873) (3) Mary (1874-1956) (4) Robert Henry (1876-1942) (5) Grace Emily (1878-1937) (6) Annie (1880-1964). A brief overview  of the lives of Henry’s children are given in the last section of this article.

The 1871 census, taken at No. 2 Sheffield Place.Tonbridge, refers to his residence in Southborough on Sheffield Road, just east off of London Road. In this census, Henry is given as a photographer. Living with him was his wife Frances and one domestic servant. Shown above is a postcard view of “an unidentified church” with the name on the front of “H.G. Inskipp, photo, Southborough,Tunbridge Wells” in red ink.

The Photographic Journal of October 8,1877 listed lot 261 being “views of Shalkespeare Cliffs; Folkdestone Harbour and Dover Harbour (Insskipps Rapid Dry Plates) by H. G. Inskipp”.

The 1881 census, taken at 13 Calverley Road,Tunbridge Wells, was the address of his studio and it is to be expected that he and his family resided in the apartment above the shop. Present in this census was Henry, a photographer; his wife Frances and his children Ruth,age 7, Mary, age 6 and Frances, age 9, all born in Southborough. Also present were the following children born in Tunbridge Wells ; Robert,age 4, Grace,age 2 and Annie,age 10 months. Also present was Louisa, age 64, widowed mother in law, born 1817 Ashburnham,Sussex and one domestic servant. Shown opposite is a photo of the part of Calverley Road when Henry had his studio, although this image dates from circa 1910. It can be determined from this census that Henry and his family were living in Southborough between the years of at least 1871 to at least 1875 and in Tunbridge Wells from at least 1877 until at least 1881. It is known from records pertaining to Brighton Sussex that Henry was in Brighton from 1885 to 1888 and so the researcher has concluded that Henry left Tunbridge Wells after the 1881 census.

The Scientific American of 1884 was a catalogue of some valuable papers  and on the list was “Emusions, rapid, by H.G, Inskipp. On a website entitled “Images of Folkestone” can be found a photo of Hotels Swimming Baths Harbour which was stated to have “a small incomplete embossed photographers stamp on one corner of “H.G. Inskipp of Tunbridge Wells”.


Records of photographers in Brigton show that Henry became a resident of Brighton in 1885 and remained there until his death in 1888.He is given in the records as being of 135 Ditching Rise in Brighton. Dispite this record and one in the previous section from the Scientific American regarding 1884 the Kelly directory for Sussex in 1882 gave “ Henry G. Inskipp, 135 Ditching Rise.Brighton and so obviously this record is more reliable than any other in establishing when Henry left Tunbrdge Wells and moved to Brighton. Shown opposite is a modern view of the homes on Ditching Rise.

Probate records gave Henry Guy Inskipp of 135 Ditching Rise in Brighton, Sussex.He died February 14,1888 at home. The executor of his estate was his wife Elizabeth Pope Inskipp. His death was registered at Steyning ,Sussex in the October qtr of 1888.

The 1891 census, taken at 12 Exeter Street in Preston,Sussex gave Frances Inskipp (given as Inskeep) as a widow, age 42, living on own means. With her are her children Frances, age 19; Ruth,age 17; Mary, age 16; Robert,age 14; grace E,age 12 and Annie, age 10. Her daughter Frances was working as a drapers assistant; Ruth as a photographers assistant; Mary as a drapers assistant, Robert as an upholsterers apprentice with the last two children still attending school.


1)      FRANCES HELEN INSKIPP……..Frances was the eldest child and had been born in Southborough in 1872. In 1891 she was living with her mother and siblings in Preston where she worked as a drapers assistant. In the 2nd qtr of 1896 she married Edward Henry Bennett (1871-1940) and had two children. In 1901 and 1911 she was living with her husband and children at Hornsey,Middlesex. She died June 30,1953 in London.

2)      RUTH INSKIPP………Ruth had been born in Southborough in 1873 In 1891 she was living with her mother and siblings in Preston where she worked as a photographers assistant. It appears she continued to live in Brighton,Sussex but no definitive information is known about her life after 1891.

3)      MARY INSKIPP…….Mary was born in Southborough in the 3rd qtr of 1874. In 1891 she was living with her mother and siblings in Preston where she was working as a drapers assistant. In 1901 she was single and living in Brighton,Sussex. In 1911 she was living in Islignton,London at 681 & 689 HollowayRiad,Upper Holloway and was single.She was living with  Charlotte Ann Parsons and another woman and working as a house keeper. In 1933 she was living at Hendon,Middlesex. She died April 17,1856 at Leigh –on-sea,Essex and was of 43 Woodfiled Riad, a spinster. The executor of her 1,994 pound estate was Frank Edward Bennett, a textile buyer.

4)      ROBERT HENRY INSKIPP………Henry had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1876. In 1891 he was living with his mother and siblings in Preston and working as an upholsters apprentice. In 1901 he was living in Brighton. Records of the London and Brighton and South Coast Railway indicate that he resigned from the railway October 5,1900 and that he had been working as a carman porter. Details about his later life are not known. He died in the 2nd qtr of 1943 in Kensington,London.

5)      GRACE EMILY INSKIPP………Grace was born in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1878. In 1891 she was living with her mother and siblings in Preston where  she was attending school. In 1901 she was a servant at Streatham, London for Albertina Casanova. At the time of 1911 census she was living with the family of Edward henry Bennett who had married her sister Frances. Edward was working at that time as a draper and the family lived in seven rooms.. Grace at that time had the occupation of mothers helper. In the 1930s Grace lived in Hendon,Middlesex. She died November 28,`1937 at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The executor of her 230 pound estate was her spinster sister Annie (Anne).

6)      ANNIE INSSKIPP……….Annie, or Ann, as she is sometimes referred to, was  born in Tunbridge Wells in 1880 and was the youngest child in the family. In 1891 she was living in Preston with her mother and siblings and attending school. In 1933 she was still single and living in Hendon,Middlesex. As noted from the probate of her sister Grace Annie was still a spinster in 1937. She died a spinster while a resident of Thistleberry House, on Keele Road in Newcastle on February 3,1964. The executor of her 888 pound estate was Sarah Helen Norrish, the wife of Reginald Eric Norrish.

It is interesting and perhaps somewhat sad to note that none of Henry’s chidren became photographers, although his daughter Ruth worked as a photographic assistant in 1891. Perhaps even sadder still is no photograph of Henry Guy Inskipp himself has been located, something that occurs all too often with photographs and artists.


Written by; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada

Date: December 29,2014


The two central figures in this article are Alexander Beatson(1759-1830) and Dr Samuel Newington (1814-1882). The two are related by the 1841 marriage of Dr Samuel Newington to Alexander Beatsons’s daughter Georgiana Oakley Malcolm Beatson (1819-1898) in Frant,Sussex.

Alexander Beatson had a distinguished career with the East India Company and had taken up residence at Knole (Knowle) Farm in Frant in 1806, the same year he married Davidson Reid at Kinghorn, Fife,Scotland.While in Frant he took a keen interest in farming techniques. In 1807 however he took a position as the Governor of the island of St Helena, a position he held until his return to Frant,Sussex in November 1813. In 1814 he achieved the rank of Major General and was pensioned off. Throughout the years leading up to his death in 1839 Alexander undertook various experiments in agricultural techniques with a view to increasing efficiency and productivity, practices he had implanted while in St Helena, which he further perfected in Frant. He wrote about this work in a book he had published in 1820. In addition to Knole Farm, Alexander purchased three other contiguous small estates in Sussex and the neighbourhood of Tunbridge Wells, namely Henley, Little Henly and Delvidiere, but it was at Knole Farm that he resided.

The marriage between Dr Samuel Newington, who had been born in Ticehurst, took place in Frant,Sussex in 1841 and from 1847 to 1849 he leased Knole House, in Frant where he established a private mental asylum. Samuel Newington, was decended from a long line of Newington’s  in the medical profession, one of whom Samuel Newington (1739-1811), opened the Ticehurst Asylum in 1792. Decendents of this family, including Dr Samuel Newington (1814-1882), ran the Ticehurst Asylum(photo opposite) , and others, until 1970, when the family sold their interest in the asylum. As you will read later, this asylum continues today and is known as The Priory, Ticehurst House, a mental health facility.

Although the role of  Samuel Newington in the field of mental health is fascinating, of particular interest, for the purposes of this article, is the fact that he took the agricultural interests of his father in law and made them his life- long interest also, so much so that he published a number of books on agricultural practices and took out patents on several types of agricultural implements, which were manufactured and sold by others. It was certainly strange indeed that a man so involved as a medical man would devote so much time to agriculture. Not only was he a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, but also a member of the Royal Agricultural Society. The location of the mental health asylums of the Newingtons’ and their close ties with Dr Mayo of Tunbridge Wells, was all part of a plan to provide mental health facilities to serve the wealthy residents of Tunbridge Wells, and the surrounding area, and work by the Alexander Beatson and Samuel Newington in the field of agriculture did much to improve agricultural practices in Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere in the 19th century.

This article provides family information for the Beatson and  Newingtons and concentrates on the role they played in both agriculture and mental health, as it relates to Tunbridge Wells in particular.


I begin my account with Robert Beatson who was born August 10,1730, who  on September 22,1755 married Jean Reid (1730-1762),at Dundee, the daughter of Alexander Reid, esq., of Torbeg in Angus,Scotland and his wife Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Alexander Wedderburn of Blackheath,Scotland. Jean Reid was one of at least four children born to the couple. Both Robert Beatson and Alexander Reid were listed as merchants in the Dundee records. Robert Beatson was heir to the estate of Kilrie in Kinghorn, Fife. Alexander’s family was related to David Reid of Edinburgh, who was appointed Customs Commissioner for Scotland in 1782 and who is the father of Davidson Reid who married Roberts  son Alexander Beatson(1759-1830) in 1806, details of which are given in the next section of this article.

Robert and Jean had the following children (1) Robert (1758-1833),born at Dundee Scotland October 2,1758 (2) ALEXANDER (1759-1830), one of the central figures in this article, born October 24,1759 at Kilrie county Fife,Scotland (3) John, born November 10,1760 Scotland,  and died unmarried (4) Helena (1762-1839),born in Scotland,  who in 1777 married Sir Charles Oakelet of Shrewsbury, a baronet, and had issue.


Alexander Beatson was one of four children and the second eldest son born to Robert Beatson and Jean Beatson, nee Reid. He was born October 24,1759 at Kilrie, County Fife,Scotland. Two images of him are presented in this section, from oil paintings.

I begin my coverage of Alexander with the following account from the Wikipedia website, which is followed with information from my own research and from other sources to round out the story.

Alexander Beatson (1759–1830),was an officer in the East India Company's service, Governor of St. Helena, and an experimental agriculturist.

He was second son of Robert Beatson, Esq., of Kilrie, Fife County, Scotland, and a nephew or cousin of Robert Beatson.He obtained a cadetship in 1775, and was appointed to an ensigncy in the Madras infantry, 21 Nov. 1776. He served as an engineer officer in the war with Hyder Ali, although he appears never to have belonged to the engineers. As lieutenant, he served with the Guides in Lord Cornwallis's campaigns against Tippu Sultan; and eight years after, as a field officer, was surveyor-general with the army under Lieutenant-general Harris, which captured Seringapatam in 1799. He attained the rank of colonel 1 Jan. 1801.

After leaving India, Beatson was governor of St. Helena from 1808 to 1813. The island, which then belonged to the East India Company, was in a very unsatisfactory condition. The scanty population had been nearly swept off by a measles epidemic a short time previously, and, although recruited by emigrants from England and by Chinese coolies, was in a wretched state. The acts of the home authorities in suppressing the spirit traffic and other matters gave rise to great discontent, resulting in a mutiny in 1811, which was put down by the firmness of Beatson, who also introduced a better system of cultivation and many other beneficial measures.

After his return to England, he devoted much attention to experiments in agriculture at Knole farm and Henley in Frant, Sussex, near Tunbridge Wells. He became major-general July 1810, lieutenant-general June 1814, and died 15 October 1830.

Beatson was the author of the following works:

(1)    An Account of the Isles of France and Bourbon, 1794, which was never printed, and remains in manuscript at the British Museum (Add. MS. 13868).

(2)    A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War against Tippoo Sultaun (London, 1800, 4to).

(3)    Tracts relative to the Island of St. Helena, with views (London, 1816, 4to) other smaller works on the island besides contributions to the St. Helena Monthly Register

(4)    A New System of Cultivation without Lime or Dung, or Summer Fallowing, as practised at Knole Farm, Sussex (London, 1820, 8vo); various papers on improvements in agriculture.

Shown opposite is the cover page of Alexanders book entitled ‘A New System of Cultivation without Line, or Dung, or Summer Fallow, as practiced at Knowle Farm, in the County of Sussex’ by Major General Alexander Beaston, late Governor of the Island of St Helena and Honorary member of the Board of Agriculture’, published in London 1820, by W. Bulmer and W. Nicol.A recent sale of a copy of this book stated “This is a  scarce work of horticulture. Featuring four illustrated plates depicting scarifier and horse hoe, a drill machine, clay-kiln, and indian ploughs. Beatson served for many years with the East India Company, and saw action in the campaign against Tippoo Sultaun; he was later appointed governor of St. Helena. After his retirement, he devoted his attention to running Knowle farm near Tunbridge Wells, where he conducted numerous agricultural experiments, as described within this work”.

On January 9,1806 Alexander married Davidson Reid at Kinghorn, Fife,Scotland. The marriage records show that Alexander was at that time a resident of Knowle (Knole, Frant). Davidson Reid was one of several children born to David Reid of Edinburgh,Scotland, and she had been born July 18,1787 at Kinghorn, Fife,Scotland. The Scots Magazine of 1806 reported the marriage of January 9th with Alexander given at that time as a Lieut Colonel and that he was of Knowle and that his wifes father was a Commissioner of Customs. The significance of this announcement is that it places Alexander Beaston at Knole Farm in Frant Sussex in 1806, and that he must have been a resident there for some time earlier. When Alexander left the family home to take up residence in Frant has not been established.

David Reid had been born February 4,1740 at Dysart, Fife,Scotland and married Jean Renny . Jean Reid, nee Renny died August 23,1816 at Great King St, Midliothian,Scotland. The Gentlemans Magazine of 1813 reported that David Reid died December 4,1813 at Edinburgh and that he was one of the Commissioners of the Board of Manufacturers, and the British Herring Fishery, and formerly was one of the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs for Scotland. The announcement stated “ This gentleman filled, for a very long period, several important situations in that department , with the greatest honour and integrity, and advantage to the revenue”.

Alexander Beatson and his wife Davidson Beatson, nee Reid had 14 children between 1807 and 1833, among which, for the purposes of this article was a daughter Georgiana Oaklrey Malcolm Beatson (1819-1898), who went on to marry, in 1841, the second central figure in this article, namely Samuel Newington (1815-1882), for whom details are given in the next section. As I note later Alexander Beatson, died in 1830 in Frant,Sussex and was buried in the St Albans Church yard . After his death his wife eventually returned to Scotland, for in the 1851 census she is found residing at Edinburgh St George, Midlothian,Scotland. In the 1861 census, she was a lodger at Perth Burgh, Perthshire,Scotland, but interestingly her body was buried at St Albans Church in Frant,Sussex.

A second account about Alexander Beatson , given here, is from the Find A Grave website and records that Alexander died October 15,1830 at Frant, East Sussex and that he was buried in the church yard at St Albans in Frant.Shown in relation to this account are two images, namely a photo of his gravesite and one of St Albans Church, both of which I have provided here. The account in some respects repeats some information given in Wikeipedia, but does add some new information. It reads “Major-General, HEICS, and Governor of the island of St. Helena from 1808 to 1813, and an experimental agriculturist. He obtained his cadetship in 1775, and was appointed to an ensigncy in the Madras infantry in 1776, where he carried out local survey work and was present at the siege of Pondicherry in 1777 with the Madras European Regiment. Appointed Engineer at Muslipatam in 1778 and remained there until 1782 when he joined the army in the field for the 2nd Mysore War. In 1786 he was appointed to the Corps of Guides as senior Captain, and succeeded to the command in 1788, and served with distinction during the 3rd Mysore War. From 1792 to 1795 he was Town Major at Madras and returned to Britain 1796-1797. He returned to India in 1798, where he was directed by General Harris to proceed to Calcutta to advise the newly-arrived Governor-General, Sir Richard Wellesley, Lord Mornington, regarding the feasibility of a rapid campaign against Tipu Sultan. He made a highly favourable impression and was subsequently appointed ADC to the Governor-General. Beatson returned to Madras as Surveyor-General to the Army and became one of General Harris' most trusted advisors during the 1799 campaign. He claimed to have been responsible for the selection of the route followed by the Grand Army into Mysore. He participated in the bombardment on the fortress of Seringapatam, which was a success due to his planning of the attack, and was later congratulated by Colonel Sartorius from the Bombay Engineers. After the 1799 campaign, he together with Major Alexander Allan, requested the privilege of conveying the official despatches home to Britain. After agreement with Lord Mornington, they both returned to England in 1800. Later that year Beatson published his personal history of the 4th Mysore War: "A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippo Sultaun." The work remains one of the standard published works on the Seringapatam campaign. It is certainly amongst the most fully documented contemporary accounts.” The death record for Alexander reported in one case that he died at Knole Farm in Frant and in another case at Henley.Essex, but the former is most likely, as Knole Farm was his place of residence. He had a bailiff looking after the farm in Henley.

The Dictionary of National Biograph also has an account for Alexander Beatson, from which, no doubt the above accounts were in part taken. I do not repeat the full account here but made special note of the following. “ After his return to England, he devoted much attention to experiments in agriculture in Knole farm near Tunbridge Wells, and Henley, Essex” and that among the four books he wrote , three were on topics related to St Helena and one, by the name of ‘A New System of Cultivation without Lime or Dung, or Summer Fallowing, as practised at Knole Farm,Sussex’ was published in London in 1820 (8 Vol). A photo of the title page in this book is shown opposite, and as you will note the author of the book was given as Major General Alexander Beatson, late Governor of the Island of St Helena and Honorary member of the Board of Agriculture. In the preface of this book is stated “ It is more than 12 years since he (Alexander) had devoted his attention to the most material branches of rural economy. The result of his practice was some time ago submitted to the consideration of the Board of Agriculture and they asked him to furnish a report upon the progress and management”. Alexander decided not to submit a report but instead had the book published. At the bottom of the ‘Preface’ was given “ Knowle Farm, near Tunbridge Wells, February 1820”. This book is some 99 pages long and can still be seen , read, and purchased on the internet. In chapter 1 of the book Alexander states “ Its upward of 13 years since I first turned my thoughts to farming and I have relied mostly upon my fields for the sort of information I was looking for. I made a beginning of experiments in 1897 but progress was interrupted by my appointment to the Government of St Helena. As I had formerly resided several months on that island I was no unacquainted with the mode of cultivation….When I returned to England in 1813 I hoped I might employ my leasure in retirement, with some prospect of advantage in my farming concerns”. He goes on to explain the details of his experiments at Frant that he “conducted in the past 5 years”. He refers to using artificial fertilizer (Calcium) on his fields and that to make it he constructed four kilns on the farm “which contain 800 cart loads. He continues by referring to the success he had growing 50 acres of wheat on the farm. The book in its entirely deals with the best methods of farming ,based on his experiments and the economic advantages to be obtained by adopting his practices. In addition to these four books he also wrote various papers on the topic of improvements in agriculture.

A book by Philip Gosse entitled ‘St Helena 1502-1938’ refers in part to Alexander Beatson starting a demonstration farm at St Helena with special farm workers sent out from England. A forum on the internet has a number of posts of decendents of people who worked at Beatson’s farm in St Helena and later at Knole Farm. One of these workers was a John Onions who the relative stated  “was employed by Col Beatson on Knowle farm and went with him to St Helena, where he served as his steward at Plantation House. While at St Helena John Onions married another of Beatsons servants, from Knowle Farm, Elizabeth Wicker”. It is known from birth and marriage records of Alexanders children that he was still a resident of Knole Farm in Frant right up to his death in 1830 and that a daughter of his by the name of Dora Isabella Beatson, born 1814 in the West Indies, married John Pryce October 9,1838 in Frant and this couple had 9 children. So obviously, although Alexander died in Frant in 1830 there wer3 still members of his family living in Frant as late as 1838 and no doubt his wife and children continued to live at Knole Farm for some time after his death.

The last account I refer to is the ‘Geneological Account of the Family of Beatson’ in the possession of the National Library of Scotland. In part is states “ After his (Beatsons) return to England, Colonel Beatson purchased four contigueous estates, in the county of Sussex, and neighbourhood of Tunbridge Wells, of the names of Knowle Farm, Henly, Little Henly, and Delvidiere, on the former of which he resided, devoting his attention to the study of agriculture, the results of which were published in his book in 1820 and in a supplement in 1821. Other details are provided which I have already given and towards the end of the account it refers to Alexander being made a Major General and pensioned off with a pension of 856 pounds a year. It is in this account that it is stated that Alexander died October 15,1830 at Henly and that he was buried at Frant.I have already voiced my opinion about the likelihood of him dying at Henly.

DR SAMUEL NEWINGTON (1814-1882)          

Samuel Newington was born 1814 in Ticehurst,Sussex, and was one of seven children born to Dr Charles Newington (1780-1852) and Elizabeth Newington, nee Hayes (1782-1846). Samuel died in Ticehurst July 3,1882. Apart from operating his medical practice at a private asylum at KnoleHouse in Frant for two years in the 1840’s he lived the rest of his life in Ticehurst where he ran the Ticehurst Asylum. Knole House (photo opposite)was a grand mansion located in Knole Park and a newspaper report in the Courier referred to Knole Farm with “grand farm houses and most superior farm premises, about 326 acres of land”.

On February 16,1841 Samuel married Georgiana Oakley Malcolm Beatson (1819-1898), at Frant,Sussex. Georgiana , as I have already explained as the daughter of Alexander Beatson (1759-1830).Georgiana was born in Frant,Sussex and died in Ticehurst,Sussex on May 7,1898, 16 years after the death of her husband.

Samuel and Georgiana had 14 children, among which were 8 sons, all of whom received a university education, with ,most of them ending up in medical or legal professions. Some further information in this regard is given later.

It is believed by the researcher that Alexander and his wife remained in Frant from the time of their marriage in 1841 until 1847. For in 1845 Alexander took a two year on Frant House, in Frant. An image of Frant House is shown above and opposite.

The 1841 census, taken at Ticehurst gave Charles Newington(1780-1852) as the head of the household with the occupation of Surgeon.Living with him was six of his children, including his son Samuel, who was a surgeon, and his son William, also a surgeon. Also present were nine domestic servants.

The 1851 census, taken at 36 Wellington Square in Ticehurst recorded Samuel with his wife Georgiana; eight of his children, and seven servants.

The 1861 census, taken at ‘Ridgeway’ in Ticehurst on the High Street, recorded Samuel and his wife Georgiana along with ten children and two servants. Samuel’s occupation was a surgeon.

The 1871 census, taken at the Ticehurst Asylum, recorded Samuel and his wife Georgiana ; nine children and about 100 others, who were residents of the asylum and a large staff of servants and medical assistants. The 1881 census recorded much the same information as the 1871 census.

In 1882 Samuel Newington passed away. Probate records gave him as late of Ticehurst,Sussex, member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London who died July 3,1882 at Tiicehurst. There were four executors appointed for his under 10,766 pound estate, including two of his sons Campbell (1851-1919)and Theodore (1851-1930).

Some insight into the life and career of Samuel Newington, in his role at the Ticehurst Asylum is given in a thesis dated 1986 by Charlottte Mackenzie, which describes in detail what asylums were like during the 18th and 19th century in general but more specifically the Ticehurst Asylum run by the Newington family. The full thesis can be read online, and for that reason, and for brevity in this article, I have provide here only a few selections from the work as it relates to Samuel Newington and references to Frant and Tunbridge Wells. Charlotte begins with a family tree for Joseph Newignton (1707-1790) of Witherden and his wife Mary Tompsett of Ticehurst who died in 1778 who had 10children, including Samuel Newington (1739-1811) who married Martha Playsted (1740-1831) of Wadhurst, and who founded the Ticehurst Asylum in 1792. As you will read later the running of the asylum in Ticehurst and in other locations was in the hands of Samuel Newinton (1739-1811) and his decendents until 1970.

Within the thesis are several  references to Tunbridge Wells as a spa town with healing waters and a well-to –do population , both seasonal , and permanent and that the Newington asylums were built where they were to serve in part the needs of Tunbridge Wells and Frant .Charlotte states “ The eventual re-shaping of Tunbridge Wells as a gentrified, residential new-town of the Regency period ensured an affluent local clientele for the asylum”. She states “ The Newington family had lived in Ticehurst since the 15th century. Little is known of Samuel Newington’s parental family, except that he was the fifth of ten children.Like William Perfect, Samuel Newington was a village surgeon and apothecary before he became a private-madhouse keeper”. Samuel and Martha had a large family consisting of 5 children ,with four of his sons becoming surgeons,among which was Charles Newington (1781-1852), who married Eliza Hayes (1782-1864) and who had eight children, including one of the central figures in this article, namely Samuel Newington (1814-1882), for whom I have already given details of his family.

A review of admissions to the Ticehurst asylum show ,according to Charlotte, that the percentage of the population admissions represented was far greater for rural parishes than in the towns, with admissions from Frant being ten times that for Brighton, and admissions from Tunbridge Wells, 12 miles from Ticehurst, were far lower than admissions from Tenterden or Yalding. The cost to stay at the asylum was two guineas per week in 1810. When Samuel Newington died in 1811 his sons Charles and Jesse took over but outside medical advice was sometimes consulted, notably from Dr Robert Watts in Cranbrook, and Dr John Mayor (1761-1818) in Tunbridge Wells. As time passed rates at the asylum increased, as Charlotte reports in detail. The Ticehurst asylum was never for the poor, instead it and its rates were set for the well-to do. Charlotte explains that the asylum was well run and those staying there were well treated and afforded good meals, accommodation and recreation facilities so their stay would be a pleasant as possible, yet pricey.

In the 1840s Charlotte states “ The growth and gentrification of Tunbridge Wells in this period is reflected in an increase in the proportion of first admissions who came from there. In April 1840 Samuel Wilmott Newington, Samuel Playsted’s son, opened a small private asylum at Goudhurst in Kent called ‘Tattlebury House (see photo opposite), which henceforth shared the Kentish private asylum clientele”.

In Chapter 3 Charlotte gave the following with regards to Samuel Newinton (1814-1882). In 1842 Charles Hayes Newington returned to Ticehurst and succeeded Robert Hervey as male superintendent of the asylum. Two years later (1844), Samuel Newignton settled  with his young family near his mother-in-law’s estate in Frant (the Beatson family)…In 1847, Samuel Newington’s own home, Knole House, was licensed for two years as a private asylum.Perhaps partly with the income derived from this source, he was able to build humself a new house, Ridgeway, which itself eventually became incorporated into Ticehurst. The proliferation of houses run by the Newingtons at Frant and Goudhurst was not without precedent…”  In the eighteen months preceding the death of Charles Newington (1781-1852) he gradually yielded the full control of Ticehurst to his two eldest sons (one of them being Samuel Newington (1814-1881).

In April 1852 the asylum at Ticehurst caught fire and the centre of the building was gutted.Although no patients or staff were injured in the fire, only the two wings built by Charles Newinton in the early 1830s remained standing. As a result temporary arrangements were made until the damage could be repaired and the asylum brought back to normal operation.

When Charles Hayes Newington died in January 1863 his brother Samuel Newington (1814-1882) took over and it was he who made the most impact on the asylum. Charlotte states “ Like his father-in-law, Samuel Newignton was a keen experimental agriculturalist and horticulturalist. He won a medal at the Great Ehibition in 1851 for an implement he had designed to sow artificial manure; and an alpine rockery he constructed at Ticehurst was copied at Kew Gardens. Throughout the 1850s,Samuel published several pamphlets under the pseudonym ‘Sigma’ popularizing a planter and other gardening implements which he had invented and patented. In 1857, he suggested the reason he remained anonymous was that the demands of his profession left him insufficient time to answer the correspondence which would inevitably result from his name becoming known,Whilst this was no doubt a genuine anxiety, it seems likely that his decision could also have been influenced by concern that Ticehurst’s reputation as a discreet private asylum might be compromised by a notoriety which he feared would bring visitors as well as correspondents.Just as David Roberts has argued that the Sussex Agricultural Express contained some of the clearest statements of Victorian paternalism as a social and political philosophy, Samuel Newington’s agricultural pamphlets were also a vehicle through which he articulated socially conservative and paternalist beliefs. In 1858 he argues that:’ Till all labour be carried on by steam, to teach the poor the elegancies of life is to lift him up above his sphere, and make him discontented with his lot’.However, he also emphasized that the privileges of the upper classes entailed responsibility for the welfare of the lower classes…Despite the belief in scientific progress Samuel Newington expressed in his agricultural pamphlets, his interest in therapeutic experimentation was more tentative. 

In 1865 Samuel Newington’s article on the sedative properties of mustard baths was published in the Lancet and was described at some length in the Report on the Progress of Psycholigical Medicine.

After Charles Hayes Newingtons death,Samuel appointed an assistant physician to help with the care of patients in the form of Arthur Wellesley Edis (1840-1893) who had taken a course in agriculture and veterinary surgery before studying medicine. Samuel was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and in the early 1840’s was also listed as member of the Royal Agricultural Society. He regularly attended meetings of both organizations. In 1866 Thomas Bowerman Belgrtave replaced Mr Edis as Samuels assistant. At the time of Charles Hayes Newingtons death the annual income for the asylum was some 14,000 pounds, but six years later this had more than doubled. Most of these profits were reinvested in the fabric of the asylum with many projects undertaken in the following years to enlarge and improve upon the facility.

As noted by Charlotte “ From the late 1860’s patients of both sexes began to spend some time in convalescence at St Leonards, in two houses rented by Samul Newington. In 1872 the building was enlarged and vineyards provided, with further additions made in 1877.

After the death of Charles Hayes Newington, Samuel was the only medically qualified Newington to be involved in the running of the Ticehurst asylum although two other members of the family worked full-time at the asylum.Samuel’s bother Alexander Thurlow Newington, who had trained as a solicitor, managed the asylum’s books and legal work as secretary to the asylum, and one of Charles Newingtons cousins Elizabeth, who had worked as Elia Newington’s companion until her death in 1864, was employed as female superintendent in the asylum.In 1875 one of Charels Hayes Newingtons sons, Herbert Francis Hayes Newington, who was medically qualified, returned to Ticehurst to assist his uncle Samuel; and by 1880 two of Samuels sons, Alexander Samuel  Lysaught and Theodore, both of whom were also medically qualified, moved back to Ticehurst, effectively taking over from Samuel before his death in 1882.

Samuel and his wife Georgiana were well off financially, and were able to send four of their sons to Cambridge in the late 1860’s-early 1870’s and eventually three of them worked at the Ticehurst asylum.

Further details about the Ticehurst Asylum are given in the last section of this article and with this I now return to present information about the agricultural work of Dr. Samuel Newington.

Samuels interest in agriculture and horticulture was in interesting and rather novel persuit for a medical man,. His interest in this field was not begun until his association with Alexander Beatson and his daughter Georgiana in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s. Samuel obviously took a great interest in the agricultural experiments being carried out by his father in law and took what he had observed and learned and decided to take it a step further.

Samuel became and inventor of agricultural implements for which he held at least six patents, of which are the following;

1)      Eight depositor hand dibble

2)      Hand cultivator and frill hoe

3)      Single horse subsoil plough

4)      Hand drill dibble

5)      Horse dibble drill

6)      Single horse cultivator.

A detailed description of the above items were reported on in the Descriptive Catalogue of the Great Exhibition 1851, and reference is given in this account that “Dr S. Newington was the inventor and patentee, and that Dufaur, Harry & Co, 21 Red Lion Square, London were the proprietors of the company that sold these impliments. Patent No. 2748 by Samuel Newington is dated 1858 and it appears that he began to file for patents throughout the period of the late 1840’s to about 1860.

The Mechanics Magazine and Journal of Science, Art etc dated June 1849 referred to Dr Newington “of Knole Park,Frant,Tunbridge Wells-the inventor and proprietor, a distinguished amateur agriculturalist and inventor of the patent hand lever dibble and various other instruments”. The same magazine makes reference to Dr Newingtons Hand Row Hoe and Cultivator.

The Gardeners Chronicle of 1850 reported “Dr S. Newingtons agricultural inventions-An illustrated catalogue together with a lecture on the seeding of grain and crops. On application to Messres Dufaur and Co., 21 Red Lion Square”.

The Dictionary of the Farm 1853-1855 refered to Dr Newingtons Hand machine for sewing artificial manuers , and another source stated that the principals of this implement was approved at the Exeter meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society, of which Samuel had been a member from at least 1848.

The Farmers Guide to Scientific and Practical Agrucultue of 1862 reported “ In 1849 Dr Newignton of Knole Park,near Tunbridge Wells, the inventor of the dibble, fig 292, introduced to public notice a how which he names a cultivator, for weeding and stirring the ground between the rows of corn…The inventor affirms that a man  can do 2 acres a day with great ease, that is to say stir and hoe one acre, from 3-4” deep 5 times for 5s, much more efficiently than by the present mode of hand hoeing, and at one fifth the expense”.

If one looks on the internet you will find many other publications mentioning the implements invented by Dr Newington. It should perhaps be obvious that Samuel was the inventor and patent holder and not the manufacturer of these items, for he derived income from his inventions by way of licensing agreements with others.One of these was a Mr Powell, referred to in the Farmers Magazine of 1860 where “Mr Powell of Ticehurst,Susses, agent of ‘Sigma’…offers for sale the following. The Gardeners Chronicle of Horticulture  and Trade of 1850 also refers to Mr Powell of Ticehurst as the seller of “sigma-well known implements. As I have noted earlier “Sigma” was the name Dr Newington used to hide behind for privacy. Other accounts refer to these implements being exhibited  “at the show” by Mr Powell of Ticehurst, new Huntgreen,Sussex. It appears that Mr Powell was both the manufacturer and the seller of these implements as book gave “Sigma Depositor Dibble for manure made by Charles Powell of Ticehurst,Sussex”.

The Farmers Almanac of 1852 gave an advertisement for “Dr. S. Newington’s patented agricultural implements” where it was stated that they “are sold only by Mr Gabriel, Surrey Chambers,Arundel Street, Strand. London. Illustrated catalogues and Dr. Newington lecture sent gratis”.

As noted earlier Samuel Newington authored a number of pamphlets on agriculture. He also authored a number of books including the one shown above that was published in 1857 and entitled ‘The New Method of Planting,Setting or Dibbling Grain,Pulse,Mangold etc, with a description of an invention to carry put the system by Sigma”. Some other books of his were (1) The corn planter, by Sigma, 4th edition 1857 (2) Progress in Agriculture, with a description of the mutum in parvo and other impotant impliments by Sigma, Samuel Newington 1858 (3) A Handbook of Political Economy,Samuel Newington 1858. 

Ticehurst House Hospital was opened as a private lunatic asylum at Ticehurst, East Sussex, in 1792. The founder was Samuel Newington (1739-1811), who was already in practice at Ticehurst as a surgeon and apothecary. The asylum remained in the ownership of his descendants until recent times, and they continued to serve as its medical superintendents until the death of Herbert Francis Hayes Newington (1847-1917).

At first the hospital admitted a number of pauper patients as well as its more numerous private clients. However no pauper patients were admitted after 1838, and the clientèle became increasingly upper class as the century progressed. Already in the 1820s a prospectus was issued with impressive illustrations of the asylum and its grounds, which included a pagoda, a gothic summer house and an aviary for gold and silver pheasants. Later, in 1882, a newspaper report described the Ticehurst establishment as ducal, with horses and carriages, valets and liveried servants, hothouses, greenhouses, and its own pack of harriers. In keeping with this rise in social status, patients were increasingly drawn not only from Sussex, Kent, and the Home Counties, but from the whole of Great Britain and even from overseas.

In addition to Ticehurst House itself (known in the early years of the Hospital as The Establishment), the Newington family acquired a number of other properties in the vicinity for the accommodation of patients and staff. By 1827 the Hospital consisted of Ticehurst House itself, and two nearby houses, The Vineyard and The Highlands, set in pleasure grounds amounting to over forty acres. The acquisition of Brick Kiln Farm and other properties brought the total land holding to over three hundred acres by 1900.

Following the death of Herbert Francis Hayes Newington, the ownership and management structure of the Hospital was formalised by the registration of 'The Doctors Newington' in 1918 as a private unlimited company. The share capital of the company was divided equally between four trusts representing the various branches of the family: the Hayes Newington Family Trust Ltd; the Alexander Newington Trust Ltd; the Samuel Newington Family Trust Ltd; and the Herbert Newington Trust Ltd. The Hospital was run by a Board of Directors on which each of the Trusts was represented. Day to day management was the responsibility of two employees, the Secretary and, with respect to patient care, the Medical Superintendent. The dominant figure, however, until at least the 1950s, was the Chairman of the Board, Herbert Archer Hayes Newington.

In 1918 when 'The Doctors Newington' was registered as a company, its purposes were stated to be not only the management of the asylum, but also farming. The estate continued to be extensive until 1951, when it consisted of 311 acres. However a series of sales in the decade which followed, which included the disposal of Brick Kiln Farm, The Gables, Quarry Villa, and a substantial part of the land of Broomden Farm, brought a large reduction in the land holding, and the return of the Hospital to its original single function of psychiatric patient care.

The company was re-incorporated in 1967 as 'Ticehurst House Private Clinic Ltd.'. It became part of Nestor Nursing Homes Ltd. in 1974. Following this it was acquired by Westminster Healthcare and became part of the Priory Healthcare group in 2000.

The Priory Hospital Ticehurst (formerly the Priory Ticehurst House) is an independent hospital, specialising in the management and treatment of mental health problems. Founded over 215 years ago the hospital stands in 48 acres of gardens and parkland, providing a calming and therapeutic environment for our patients. In 1792 Samuel Newington opened The Priory Ticehurst House (then known as Ticehurst House) near Wadhurst as a place dedicated to the care and treatment of psychiatric illness

The hospital has established an excellent reputation for providing the highest standards of care, together with an extensive range of mental health services. The hospital has residential facilities for 69 patients, as well as offering outpatient services. Our highly experienced team includes consultant psychiatrists, therapists, nurses and support staff.

As part of the Priory Group, Ticehurst is a leading private hospital specialising in psychological medicine.  Specialist units, headed by leading psychiatrists and health care specialists, offer a broad based range of support for problems in the cases of depression, addictions, anxiety and stress, fatigue syndromes, personality disorders, schizophrenia, traumatic stress disorder, sexual and relationship difficulties, adolescent mental health and enduring mental health problems.

The Priory Ticehurst House is elegantly proportioned with a tranquil atmosphere.  There are 50 beds for adult and adolescent patients.

When Ticehurst House was first opened in 1792 it coincided with a stirring of public interest in the care of the mentally ill, sparked off by King George III’s ‘insanity’.  The unfortunate monarch had been confined to a palace room for the duration of his ‘treatment’. Dr Samuel Newington did not approve of this.  He opened Ticehurst House as an asylum. It should be remembered that the original meaning of asylum was ‘sanctuary’ or ‘place of refuge’.

The role of the asylums until then had been largely custodial, with extensive use made of mechanical means of restraint, such as manacles and chains

Samuel Newington had been the Ticehurst village surgeon and apothecary. His patients were initially drawn from local Sussex and Kent county parishes within a 13-mile radius of Ticehurst.  The records of one set of admissions at the time showed eleven clergymen, one admiral, one ships captain, one merchant, one surgeon, one druggist and one clerk from India House.  The preponderance of clergyman may reflect pressures on younger sons to enter the church should they have been unsuited for the army or the ‘professions’. Those unblessed with a sense of vocation could have found themselves depressingly isolated in a country living. Old records also show that treatment at Ticehurst was a benevolent affair.  Patients were allowed pipes, tobacco and snuff; delicacies such as gingerbread, candy and oranges, wine and port, together with books and magazines.   Treatment must have been a success - the average stay was just a few months.  Country pursuits provided relaxation: evidenced by bills for fishing tackle. One patient was even permitted to ride and use his gun­! 

From relatively modest beginnings, Ticehurst developed during the 19th  century into a grandiose estate covering around 500 acres. It attracted an affluent clientele, including aristocratic and prominent society figures. Some patients, who came with a regime of servants, took up residence in one of the villas within the grounds. Theatrical and musical entertainment was a regular occurrence, with weekly dances in the winter months. Patients also played cricket and other games within the estate.

Two home farms supplied the Ticehurst estate with meat, dairy products and fruit.  Vegetables came from the magnificent walled kitchen garden, while an elaborate system of coke boilersand pipes provided heat to the hot houses.  Luxury fruits such as peaches and early strawberries were cultivated here.

Men demobilised after the Battle of Waterloo landscaped over 40 acres of grounds. Two miles of footpaths were laid out through estate plantations, orchards and grounds.The therapeutic walks circumnavigated three summerhouses - one fashionably gothic - two pheasantries, a moss-house, pagoda, hermitage and bowling green.  The result is said to have been the model for Kew Gardens. Ticehurst developed a fine reputation during the 19th century, for the empathetic and effective quality of its medical treatment as well as for good living. The enthusiasm of the Dr Newington then in charge at Ticehurst is shown in a patients amusing tongue in cheek letter to a friend. Describing Newingtons’ view of the place as a ‘paradise on earth’, the letter goes on to ‘wonder that everyone does not rush to be confined’.

However, in the mid-twentieth century, the army of staff - including thirty gardeners - meant that fees charged no longer covered expenses and in 1970 the Newington family finally sold their shares in the hospital.

Under the ownership of Nestor Medical services Ticehurst underwent radical changes to become a leading modern mental health service provider.  In 1995, managers and directors within Nestor undertook a management buy-out to become Libra Health Ltd.  In 1997 Libra Healthcare was purchased by Westminster Health Care Ltd, who in turn purchased Priory Healthcare in 2000.  This is when the hospital name changed from Ticehurst House Hospital to The Priory Ticehurst House.  Westminster Healthcare divided in 2002 with Westminster Healthcare undergoing a management buy out in March, and Priory Healthcare undergoing a management buy out 3 months later. Priory Healthcare has once again changed its name, and is now the Priory Group.  The hospital is one of 16 independent psychiatric hospitals, 23 specialist schools, 4 secure units and 6 Grange units within Priory Group.  Services at The Priory Ticehurst House include adult General Psychiatry, a specialist addiction unit, adult trauma services, adolescent acute psychiatry, including services for those with more complex needs and service for adults with enduring mental health issues (The Priory Grange Ticehurst House).  In-patient, day care and out-patient services are available.



Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada

Date: November 4,2014


John Harrison Spencer was born 1843 in Lambeth,Surrey,the son of John Spencer, a solicitors managing clerk. John began his training as a hosier shopman in the 1870’s in Kensington,London. In 1872 he married Ann Elizabeth Joyce, the daughter of Thomas Joyce, a last merchant. After their marriage in London, John  was ,by 1881 ,running his own hosier and glovers shop in London. Sometime before 1891 John and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells where he set up his hosiers shop at No. 2 Pantiles, right at the corner of Nevill Street and the entrance to the Pantiles, in a building attached to the Bath House building occupied by the porcelain and glass shop of James Luck.

Early postcard views of King Charles the Martyr Church show his shop on the west side of London Road  near the church at the intersection of Nevill Street and London Road. He later left this location and took over the business of W.H. Davies who in 1876 advertised as a hosier, glover and shirt maker at Pelham House . Parade. An advertisement for the business of J. H. Spencer from a 1884 directory gave him “late Davies” of Pelham House, 2 Parade.

John remained at this location throughout his working career, and his shop was still there in 1922.When John retired from business has not been established but the 1930 Kelly directory records that his premises had been taken over by the Pantiles branch of Barclays Bank Ltd, a bank which is still at this location today. Although John did not pass away until 1931 in Tunbridge Wells  his only son John Francis Spencer, who had worked with his father in the shop, died in 1914 and in 1915 John’s wife Ann Elizabeth passed away at the families shop.

At the time of John’s death he and his spinster daughters were living in a 2 sty terrace home at 55 Mount Sion. After the death of John the two sisters continued to live there until their death s in the 1950’s. This article reports on the history of the Spencer family and the business at No. 2 Pantiles. 


John Harrison Spencer was born 1843 at Lambeth,Surrey, one of  several children born to John Spencer and Sarah Roberts  Spencer. He was baptised march 17,1843 at Lambeth St Mary Church.John Spencer had been born 1817 in Middlesex and took up the profession of being a solicitors clerk. His wife Sarah had been born 1814 at Warthamstow,Essex.

Moving ahead in time to 1871, the census ,taken that year at 2 St Annes Road in Kensington,London recorded John Spencer,age 54, a solicitors managing clerk. Living with him was his wife Sarah R. age 57 and their three children John Harrrison,age 28, who was working as a hosier shopman; Elizabeth A Spencer who was born 1849 in London and Edward F spencer, born 1853 in London, who was working as a builders apprentice.

On September 17,1872 John Harrison Spencer married Ann Elizabeth Joyce at St Peter Notting Hill,London. John was given as a hosier living at 2 Devonshire Terrace and his wife was a spinster living at 131 Cornwall Road. Johns father was given as a solicitors clerk and Ann’s father Thomas Joyce was a last merchant. After the marriage John and his wife continued to live at Notting Hill.

John and Ann had the following children (1) Annie Louise (1874-1955) (2) John Francis (1877-1914) (3) Elizabeth Rosa (1879-1959). All three children were born at Notting Hill.

The 1881 census,taken at 2 Devonshire Terrace in Kensington London, recorded John as a hosier and glover running his own shop. With him was his wife Ann and his three children as well as one domestic servant.

Soon after the 1881 census John and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells where John started up his shirtmaking business from premises on the west side of London Road near the intersection of London Road and Nevill Street. An advertisement for his business in a 1884 directory (image below)shows he had taken over the hosier, glover, shirtmakers business of W.H. Davies of Pelham House, No. 2 Parade(image above) which shop was located right on the corner of Nevill Street and the entrance to the Pantiles, in a building attached to,or forming part of the well -known landmark The Bath House, occupied at that time by the porcelain and glass shop of James Luck.

The 1891 census, taken at 2 the Pantiles shows John H. Spencer as the proprietor of a hosier, hatters, habidashers shop employing others. With him was his wife Anne; their three children, and one domestic servant. The only child shown as attending school was his son John Francis Spencer, age 14. There is no indication in the census record that John’s two daughters were attending school.

The Kelly directories of 1899,1903,,1918 and 1922 all record Johns shop at 2 The Paantiles, and the 1903 Kelly gave him as a hosier, hatter and shirt maker.

The publication ‘ Pictorial Views of Tunbridge Wells and District’,published in 1892, from which the photo in the “Overview” was obtained gave the following. “ Mr. J.H. Spencer, Hosier,Glover etc-The Pantiles- This important outfitting establishment has been carried on successfully for a number of years by Mr. J.H. Spencer, the present proprietor, by whom the trade has greatly developed and the connection considerably extended. The premises occupied are well situated at the corner of Nevill Street and the Pantiles- being in close proximity to the General Post Office-and comprise a handsome double-fronted ship with imposing windows, in which are tastefully arranged and displayed to great advantage a varied selection of gentlemen’s hosiery,cravats,hats etc in the latest and most fashionable styles; whilst the interior is arranged with a similarly fine display of goods, including gloves,unbrellas,portmanteausmshirts etc-the latter is a specialty at his house, and the fit, work and material are guaranteed. A well-merited reputation is enjoyed by the proprietor for the general superiority of his goods. He numbers among his customers many of the best classes, and fairly lays claim to mention as the owner of one of the most commendable hosiery and outfitting establishments in Tunbridge Wells . His motto is “ Optimum quodque”- the best of everything”.

The 1901 census, taken at No. 2 Pantiles recorded John as a hosier. Living with him was his wife Anne and their spinster daughter Elizabeth Rosa. Also present was one domestic servant.

The 1911 census records John with is hosiers etc shop at No. 2 Pantiles. With him was his wife Ann and children John Francis and Elizabeth Rosa. Also present was a nurse attendant and a general servant. Johns son ,John Francis Spencer, was given as a hosier, hatter, retail employer, suggesting that since his father was given with the same occupation that  perhaps he was a partner in the business with his father. The census also recorded that their premises consisted of 8 rooms; that the couple had been married 38 years, and that all three of their children were still living.

In 1914 John was deeply saddened by the death of his only son John Francis Spencer. Probate records gave him of 2 The Pantiles when he died on September 11,1914 at the General Hospital in Tunbridge Wells. He died as a single gentleman leaving his estate of 1,052 pounds to his executor, his father John Harrison Spencer. John was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on September 11,1914.The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 18,1914 gave only a brief notice of death for him, with no additional information given.

In 1915 tragedy struck John once more when his wife Ann passes away. Probate records gave Ann  Elizabeth Spencer of 2 The Pantiles (wife of John Harrison Spencer) died April 3,1915. He husband was the executor of her 219 pound estate. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on April 6th.

Despite the terrible loss of his loved ones John Harrison Spencer carried on with his business, until at least 1922, the year in which the researcher found the last listing, before the next directory of 1930, in which the Pantiles branch of Barclays Bank Ltd had taken over the occupancy of No, 2 Pantiles, which bank is still at that location in 2014. In 1930 Alex Webb Perkins was the manager of the bank. A recent photo of the bank building is shown opposite. In 1930 the hosiers and glovers  business of the Fox Brothers was operating from premises at  8 & 10 Pantiles and would have picked up the trade from Spencers shop when it closed.

Probate records give John Harrison Spencer of 55 Mount Sion (photo opposite) died December 13,1931. The executor of his 749 pound estate was William Robert Hobbs, builder. John was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on December 16th.

Shown opposite is a recent photograph of 55 Mount Sion, a two stry white stucco terrace house, forming part of a long row of virtually identical homes. After Johns death his two spinster daughters continued to live at this residence and they had lived with their father since he took up residence there.

Probate records gave Annie Louisa Spencer of 55 Mount Sion,Tunbridge Wells, died October 20,1955 at the Kent & Sussex Hospital. The executor of her 2,762 pound estate was her spinster sister Elizabeth Rosa Spencer. Annie was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium  October 23rd.

Probate records gave Elizabeth Rosa Spencer of 55 Mount Sion,spinster, died September 28,1959 at the Kent & Sussex Hospital. The executors of her 15,273 pound estate were Albert Jeffery Mitchell, retired solicitor, and Murial Fairhall,spinster. Elizabeth was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium on October 1st.



                                            PLEASE COME BACK AGAIN NEXT MONTH








Web Hosting Companies