House History

I have been gathering together all of the historical information about the house in order to include a summary of it in the time capsule. This is what I have so far:

Brief history of ‘Mostyn’, an Edwardian house in Leicester

History of the land

The land on which this house sits was formerly part of the farmland owned by the Powys Kecks of the nearby country house Stoughton Grange. The village of Stoughton was originally an Anglo-Saxon settlement overlooking the Roman road called Via Devana (now Gartree Road). Roman, Iron Age and medieval pottery fragments have all been found in the village.

Harry Leycester Powys Keck, the High Sheriff of Leicestershire, was the last in the family line to live at Stoughton Grange, which dates back to the time of Edward the Confessor. Stoughton Grange passed through the hands of the Earls of Leicester and was then given to Leicester Abbey in 1157. In 1538 the estate was seized by King Henry VIII and passed to John Harington, a treasurer for the king. It was then purchased by Thomas Farnham, Queen Elizabeth I’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. Stoughton Grange was inherited by Farnham’s descendants the Beaumonts, the Powyses and the Kecks.

The creation of the D’Oyley Estate

This land was part of a residential subdivision created to meet the demand for middle class housing in the late 19th century. Harry Leycester Powys Keck gradually sold off his land and Stoughton Grange was abandoned in 1913 and demolished in 1936.

On 29th September 1897 there was an indenture made between Jane D’Oyley, James Ingram, Cecil Henry Thomas, H J Thomas, Mary Elizabeth Thomas and Sir Israel Hart (four times Mayor of Leicester) forming a syndicate to purchase the land for subdivision. On the 8th July 1898 there was a conveyance of land between Harry Leycester Powys Keck (vendor) and the Hon Montagu Curzon, Thomas Henry Burroughes and Sir Israel Hart (purchasers) which contained restrictive covenants: within six months of land sale kerbs, sewers and channels must be constructed, fences erected, and so on. There were restrictions on the type of house to be constructed and there was to be no digging or brickmaking on the land.

This plot of land became Lot 82 of the Plan of the Grange and D’Oyley Building Estates.

The sale of the plot and building of the house

On the 29th September 1898, there was an indenture made between Sir Israel Hart and William Elliot, a butcher. Elliot sold the land on quite quickly. In 1900 there was a conveyance between William Elliot and William Henry Simpson, architect and surveyor (later to become the first District Valuer for Leicestershire). The document is dated the 6th of January 1900. The property is described as a ‘piece of land’ measuring 666 square yards and was sold for £333. The measurements of the land indicate that this plot was still unified with the land of the adjacent house, on which the matching semi-detached residence would be built. It is likely that William Henry Simpson designed and built the houses but there is no further documentary evidence. The 1902 Ordnance Survey Map for the area does not show the house, which means it was built between 1903 and 1905.

Subsequent owners and residents

The property was sold on 21st July 1905 to Robert Lawton (Managing Director of Albion Clay Company, a large brickworks).

In the 1911 Census John William Pendleton lived in this house. As he is not mentioned in any sale deeds, it implies that he rented the property from Robert Lawton. Aged 51, Pendleton was a Boot Manufacturer born in Leicester. In the Census he states that he has been married for 30 years, though his wife and children live at a different address, which suggests the marriage has broken down. Pendleton had two servants: a housekeeper Ethel May Deverell, aged 25, and the 20 year old Sarah Elizabeth Hudson, a Cook/General Servant.

On the 25th March 1919 Robert Lawton sold the house to Thomas Cawdell, a draper residing at London House, High Street, Leicester. The conveyance was for “a piece of land and two houses” indicating that the Mostyn and the neighbouring house were still owned jointly.

Thomas Cawdell only owned the house for six months. On the 26th September 1919 he sold this house to John Harrison Jr, a seed merchant (Harrison and Sons, Royal Midland Seed Warehouse, Welford Road, Leicester) and he took out a mortgage of £1000 (the house being purchased for a total sum of £1440). The 1916 Kelly’s Directory for Leicestershire and Rutland shows John Harrison Jr. living in this house three years before he purchased it, so he must have been renting the property from Lawton and then Cawdell. When Harrison bought the house in 1919 he was 41, his wife Elsie was 42 and their children were Margaret, 12, Rosemary, 10, and Kenneth, 7.

The Harrisons lived in the house throughout the 1920s. On the 16th March 1931 Harrison sold the house to yarn merchant heir Ronald Beresford Weston-Webb Esq. (of Holly Lodge Queniborough,). The house sold for £1450 with a mortgage of £1000. At the time, Weston-Webb was married to Pamela Antonia Hart and they had a two year-old son, Anthony Patrick Weston-Webb. Ronald and Pamela’s marriage came to an end when he petitioned for divorce in 1935.

On the 18th May 1935 the house was bought by Martha Baxter, widow, of “Glen Mona” Swithland Lane, Rothley, for £1000. Her late husband was a Licentiate Dental Surgeon called Campbell Hossack Baxter, who died in 1932, (leaving effects of £13,800).

On the 30th of December 1945 Martha Baxter sold the house to her daughter-in-law Mary Elizabeth Baxter, wife of her son Campbell John Baxter, of the same address for £1500. Mary Elizabeth took out a £1200 mortgage.

By the early 1950s Mary Elizabeth Baxter was widowed. Her husband Campbell John, whose occupation was a hosiery buyer, died of lung cancer in the house at the age of 48. He left effects of £4185.

On the 11th December 1952 the house was purchased by Mark Rutherford, a school master, of Aldborough Grange, Boroughbridge, Yorkshire. The house sold for £2500, with a mortgage of £2000. Mark Rutherford was married to Annie Gwendoline Lyversage and they had two children, Andrew and Richenda, who were 12 and 6 respectively at the time the house was bought.

On the 28th August 1958 the house was purchased by George Sutherland Fraser, a poet and university lecturer and his wife Eileen Lucy (‘Paddy’) Fraser for £2500. They had three children under ten years old: Helen, Katie, and George. This house became an unofficial centre for Leicester’s literary life during the nineteen-sixties and seventies. The famous sociologist Richard Hoggart described this house in his autobiography, A Measured Life, as “the nearest thing in the area to a literary salon”. After G S Fraser’s death in 1980, Paddy continued to live here until her death in 2013.

Following Paddy Fraser’s death, the house was purchased by Scott and Mark, who undertook a full renovation of the house over 2014 and 2015.

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7 thoughts on “House History

  1. That is very comprehensive and of course must be placed in any time capsule. But what is it with brickmaking? Our 1940s Glen Iris house had covenant on the title that we were to not make bricks on the land. Maybe there was clay very deep down, but it would be hard to make bricks from the considerable depth of sandy loam.

      • It sometimes reflected a desire to protect the business or livelihood of the people selling the land or of other local businesses; brick-making was a common ‘on the side’ industry of landholders, especially in areas where they were keen to hold and sell land for the erection of houses (out of bricks!). It certainly would have reflected a desire to guard amenity; it also further protected the desire for the site to be a basis for a permanent building and not simply be ‘farmed’ for clay.

  2. This is great. Almost brought a tear to my eye. Houses are so much more than bricks and mortar. All the life that’s happened within. And now you’re starting a whole new chapter!

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