Sidney Hill

Simon Sidney Hill (1 October 1829 – 3 March 1908) was an English philanthropist, merchant, gentleman farmer, and justice of the peace. From beginnings as a linen merchant, he made his fortune as a colonial and general merchant trading from South Africa. He supported and endowed almshouses in Churchill and Lower Langford, and manses for Methodist clergy at Banwell and Cheddar. He founded Methodist churches at Port Elizabeth, Sandford, Shipham and Blagdon besides the Wesley Methodist church and school at Churchill. Many of his charitable foundations still survive.

Sidney Hill
Black and white photograph of Sidney Hill riding his horse in front of Langford House.
Hill riding his horse — circa 1890s
Born
Simon Sidney Hill

(1829-10-01)1 October 1829
Berkeley Place, Clifton, Bristol, England
Died3 March 1908(1908-03-03) (aged 78)
Langford House, Lower Langford, North Somerset, England
NationalityBritish
Occupation
Spouse(s)
Mary Ann Bobbett
(m. 1864; died 1874)

Early lifeEdit

 
St James' Priory, Bristol, where Hill was baptised

Sidney was born on (1829-10-01)1 October 1829, at Berkeley Place in Clifton, Bristol,[1][2] the fifth and youngest son of Thomas Hill (1778–1846), a former master sweep and soot merchant, and Elizabeth (1783–1857), née James.[3]:351–352[a] He was baptised at St James' Priory, Bristol, on 1 November 1829,[4] and educated at Portway House boarding school, located between Victoria Park and Partis College, in Weston, Bath.[5][6]

His father was apprenticed as a climbing boy from the age of eight, serving from 1787 to 1798, before joining the Royal Marines at Devonport, Plymouth. He left the navy after four years, returned to sweeping, but left it again to earn a living as a labourer in Devonport Dockyard. He returned to sweeping again in 1811 and followed it until his retirement.[7] He was also a foreman to the Clifton Norwich Union Fire Insurance Office for twelve years, until one of his other sons took over the role.[b] Thomas died on 7 October 1846(1846-10-07) (aged 68) when Sidney was just seventeen years old.[9][c]

In September 1847, Sidney joined Sunday Methodist society classes, led by William Bobbett, at the Old Market Street chapel in Bristol, where he converted to Methodism.[11] Hill would later dedicate Shipham Methodist Chapel to the memory of William.[1][d]

Life as a merchantEdit

Early yearsEdit

 
Main Street in Port Elizabeth where Savage & Hill had premises

Described as a delicate boy, Sidney Hill did not follow in his father's soot business, although two of his brothers did. When he came of age, he inherited money from his father's estate that he used to open a small linen draper shop at Berkeley Place, Clifton.[2][e] The business grew and he moved to larger premises at 7 Byron Place, Lower Berkeley Place, Clifton.[15][2] However, by 1856 he was not in good health and his doctor advised him to travel to a country with a warmer climate.[1] Hill sold the drapery business and embarked on a sea voyage to New Zealand, but when the ship berthed at Algoa Bay in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, he decided to remain there.[16] The first letter he received there informed him of the death of his mother on 31 March 1857(1857-03-31) (aged 73), which left him bereaved.[17]:15[18][f]

In 1857, Hill opened a dry goods store at Port Elizabeth,[2] and in 1859, went into partnership with William Savage. Savage was the son of a former paper maker and stationer in Lewes, East Sussex. He had arrived in Port Elizabeth around 1849 and started a business selling stationery and hardware. Their partnership, Savage & Hill, Colonial and General Merchants, began trading commodities from 95 and 97 Main Street (southern side) in Port Elizabeth.[20][21][22] They traded in anything from household hardware, refined sugar, ammunition, minerals, to ostrich feathers for the fashion trade and haberdashery industry.[23]:44[g] The bulk of their trade was transacted from Port Elizabeth, but as the business prospered, branches were opened in the principal towns of the Cape Colony and in the Colony of Natal.[21]

MarriageEdit

 
Hill married Mary Ann Bobbett in 1864.

In 1864, Hill returned to London to direct the firm's large shipping interests from their offices at 41 Bow Lane, Cheapside, London, moving later to offices at 42 Palmerston Buildings in Bishopsgate Street.[16][25] On 15 June 1864, he married Mary Ann Bobbett at the Wesleyan chapel, Churchill, Somerset.[26] The Reverend William Shaw Caldecott was Hill's best man, and later, the author of Mary Ann Hill's memorial sketch.[26][h]

Bobbett was born on (1839-03-06)6 March 1839, the eldest daughter of John Winter and Frances Bobbett.[17]:3–4 John Winter Bobbett was a baker and corn and flour dealer, in partnership with his brother, and Hill's close friend, William Bobbett, at W. and J. W. Bobbett, on West Street, Old Market, Bristol.[28] In 1849, Bobbett was sent to school; first to the Quaker Friends' Boarding School at Sidcot, near the village of Winscombe, Somerset, and then to a finishing school, the Quaker Mount School in York.[17]:5–6 She was away from home for five years, and when she returned to Bristol, she became a housekeeper for her uncle, William Bobbett, at West Street, Bristol.[17]:5–6[16] Hill had met her before their marriage, when he had been invited to Sunday tea at Bristol, and then at Sidney Villa in Dinghurst, Churchill,[i] after William Bobbett had moved there in 1859, following his retirement on 2 July 1859.[17]:9–10[30][28] Bobbett and Sidney Hill shared a staunch belief in the work of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and this would influence much of their life, particularly Hill's later years after he purchased the Langford estate.[23]:44

Life in South AfricaEdit

A very intelligent, thorough businessman, a zealous Wesleyan Christian.

William Taylor, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church for Africa, after meeting Hill at his home in Port Elizabeth on 21 April 1866.[31]

The Hills spent six months in London before Sidney's business took them back to South Africa, departing England on 10 February 1865 for a month long voyage to Port Elizabeth.[17]:17 Savage & Hill prospered after the growth of trade at Port Elizabeth following the discovery of diamonds at Griqualand West in 1870, and the subsequent completion of the railway to Kimberley, Northern Cape, in 1873.[32][21][j] With the rapid expansion of the Cape Colony's railway network to the interior over the following years, the harbour of Port Elizabeth became the focus for serving import and export needs of a large area of the Cape's hinterland.[33] The rapid economic development around the port, which followed the railway construction, caused Port Elizabeth to be nicknamed "the Liverpool of South Africa", after the major British city and port.[34]

Despite being engaged in an expanding business, Hill found time for furthering the work of the Wesleyan Methodist church at Port Elizabeth, occupying the offices of superintendent of the Sunday school, class leader, and chapel and circuit steward.[1] In April 1870, Hill gave £550 (equivalent to £53,013 in 2019) towards the construction of the original Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Russell Road, Port Elizabeth.[35][36][k]

Death of Mary Ann HillEdit

Around 1870, Mary Ann Hill was diagnosed with tuberculosis in her left lung.[17]:48 With her health failing they left South Africa for England on 8 April 1874.[17]:62 They decided to winter in Bournemouth due to the mild climate there, but after only five weeks' residence, she died in the evening of 7 December 1874.[17]:63[37] She was buried at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol.[38]:213 In 1881, her remains were removed from Arnos Vale and reinterred at the Wesleyan Methodist church, Churchill, that was built in her memory in 1880.[1][23]:47[l]

Later lifeEdit

Return to EnglandEdit

 
Langford Estate with Langford House in the distance

In mourning after Mary Ann's death, Hill returned to South Africa, but could not settle, and in June 1876, he decided to find somewhere to live near Churchill, close to his friend William Bobbett.[1] In mid-1877, Langford House, Lower Langford, came on to the market after the owner, William Turner, a partner of a ship and marine insurance broker company in Bristol, died on 13 November 1876.[40][41] Hill purchased the estate and took up residence at the end of October 1877.[1][m] The estate included 35 acres (14 hectares) of parkland, 8 acres (3.2 hectares) of orchards, 4 acres (1.6 hectares) of arable land, stabling, and two adjacent, semi-detached houses in Langford village, known as Mendip Villa and Richmond House.[43][n]

Hill retired from commercial life after dissolving the Savage & Hill partnership on 1 November 1881.[50][51] By that point, he had accumulated considerable wealth, and consequently, was able to spend a substantial amount of money making improvements to Langford House. He re-modelled the house, added a belvedere tower in Italianate style,[o] and decorated the interior in typical Victorian style with dark paint and panelling.[38]:209[p] In 1891, a clock tower was built above the coach house and a gilt turret clock and carillon installed in November of that year.[38]:209[54][q] He installed a conservatory and greenhouses, constructed in teak by Foster and Pearson of Beeston, Nottinghamshire, to provide the bedding and house plants for the estate.[23]:44[56]

Livestock breedingEdit

 
Wesley Methodist church in Front Street, Churchill, built in memory of Mary Ann Hill

Hill took up a new life as a gentleman farmer, adding stables to the estate, a dairy and "Langford Bullock Palaces" for his prized Red Scotch Shorthorn cattle.[23]:44[57][r] He was well known as a breeder of pedigree shorthorn cattle, Southdown sheep, hackney and shire horses. In 1881, he laid the foundation for his herd by purchasing two pedigree Dairy Shorthorns cows, Minerva and Irony, and the pedigree bull Oswald 50118, from Richard Stratton of Duffryn, Newport. However, by 1892 the herd had outgrown their accommodation, and they were sold at auction.[58] Between 1897 and 1898, Hill purchased six cows, that included the pedigree cow Lavender Gem, and her heifer calf Lavender Wreath.[59] The two cows had offspring that were show prize winners.[60] The whole of the herd was of Scottish origin, apart from shorthorns purchased from Joseph Dean Willis of Bapton on 30 July 1897.[61] The herd was dispersed shortly after Hill's death, in an auction held at Langford House on 10 September 1908.[60][s]

Work for the Methodist ChurchEdit

Hill did much to further the work of the Methodist church in Somerset and help those in need.[16] In memory of Mary Ann Hill, he founded the Memorial Wesley Methodist church and schoolroom at Churchill. He also vested in trustees a large sum of money to provide an income for the maintenance of the chapel and schoolroom. In 1887, he founded Victoria Jubilee Homes, and gifted a farm and lands at Congresbury, to provide for repairs and maintenance. From the 1890s, Methodists had come from the North of England to be employed at the paper mills in Redcliffe Street, Cheddar, and from South Wales at the shirt factories located in the Cheddar Gorge.[62] Around the mid-1890s, Methodist society leaders at Cheddar, Somerset, began to see the need for larger and more convenient premises. Hill was approached, and two cottages,[t] and the garden and orchard behind the existing chapel, were purchased. A manse to replace the one at Axbridge, two ministers' houses on the Worle Road, Banwell, and a furnished chapel in Cheddar were all gifted by Hill, including the furnishings for a schoolroom that was created by converting the old chapel. He also funded and endowed twelve Wesleyan Cottage Homes at Churchill.[62][63]

Other charitable actsEdit

 
Stained glass window gifted by Hill to Axbridge parish church after its restoration in 1887[u]

Although a life-long Methodist, Hill helped other Christian institutions such as contributing to Churchill parish church funds, donating £100 to the building of All Saints Church, Sandford, and gifting a stained glass window to Axbridge parish church after its restoration in 1887.[16][67][65] Hill would also help people directly: He would notice those needing help and make enquiries about them. A note would be given to them to take to the post office in Churchill. The two upstairs rooms of the office were full of household items provided by Langford House. Arthur Henry Carter, the owner of the post office, would follow the instructions in the note and supply blankets, boots, food or whatever was required.[38]:214[68] At Christmas, children who attended the Methodist Sunday school were given a set of clothes each and the contents of each parcel were noted so that the same things were not included for the following Christmas.[16][v] Hill was also a long-term supporter of the Bristol Hospital for Sick Children and Women, and would visit the hospital at Christmas, giving money to each patient and nurse.[70][71]

Public lifeEdit

On 11 June 1885, Hill was elected a fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute, and by May 1886, he was a steward of the Infant Orphanage Asylum.[72][73] He was a Liberal in politics and was selected as a vice-president of the Wells Liberal Association on 20 May 1886.[74] On 19 October 1886, he was made a justice of the peace for Somerset and served on the Axbridge bench for over 20 years.[75][w] From 1887, he served as the vice-president of the Weston‑super‑Mare and East Somerset horticultural society, and in January of the following year, he accepted the office of president of the society.[76][77] By January 1890, he had been elected to the Council of the Imperial Federation League.[78] He took lead positions amongst the Wesleyans of the Bristol and Bath district, representing the district at church synods and conferences.[1]

Hill also undertook parish responsibilities such as being president of the Churchill football and cricket clubs. He lent a field free of charge for their use in Langford House grounds and contributed to the finances of each club. He was an organiser for the Jubilee and Coronation celebrations that were hosted in the grounds of Langford House.[1] On 7 February 1899, he was elected vice-president of the Wrington and District Fanciers' Association.[79]

Death and funeralEdit

 
The grave of Sidney Hill at the Methodist church in Churchill, Somerset
The chief thing that dominated him was his religion. It was not something that entered into his life, it was his life, governing, influencing all his thinking, all his planning, all his actions, all his conversation.

The Reverend William Perkins at Hill's funeral.[80]

After returning from church on 26 January 1908, at about 4:00 pm, Hill slipped while walking across the Langford House hallway, fracturing his thigh.[81][1] After four weeks, his thigh seemed to be healing, and the splints were removed.[38]:215 However, more serious complications developed; influenza followed by pneumonia, and he died at 11:45 am on 3 March 1908, aged 78.[1] The funeral was held at the Wesleyan Methodist church, Churchill, on 10 March 1908, at 2:00 pm. Despite the cold and windy weather that day, hundreds of people attended from Churchill, Langford, Wrington, and other villages; there were so many mourners that the service had to be held outside the Methodist chapel. The outdoor staff of the Langford House estate, which including nine gardeners, headed the funeral's foot procession.[82] The coffin bore the inscription "Simon Sidney Hill, born 1 October 1829, died 3 March 1908" and he was interred in the same grave as Mary Ann Hill.[38]:216 A memorial service was held at the Methodist chapel, Cheddar, in the evening of 15 March 1908, and was conducted by Henry John Stockbridge.[83]

LegacyEdit

Langford House was later left to Hill's nephew Thomas James Hill, but he only lived there for four years before his death on 9 February 1912. The terms of the will were that the next beneficiary was James Alfred Hill, another nephew, but he had died at Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa, on 27 January 1910(1910-01-27) (aged 60),[84] so the occupancy was taken up by Thomas Sidney Hill (known as the "second Sidney Hill"), a great-nephew, and the eldest son of Thomas James Hill.[38]:217–218 Thomas Sidney Hill died on 25 September 1944(1944-09-25) (aged 70), and two years later, the Commissioners of Crown Land bought Langford House. In 1948, the University of Bristol founded the School of Veterinary Science there.[23]:51 Many of Hill's other charitable works still survive today; Victoria Jubilee Langford Homes and the Sidney Hill Churchill Wesleyan Cottage Homes are registered charities providing housing for local people in need.[85][86]

Hill's memory lives on in the legacy of buildings that he founded, but he meant more than this to some of his neighbours.[24]:234 The late Ronald Henry Bailey, a former editor of The Weston & Somerset Mercury newspaper, and an authority on Mendip folklore and other antiquarian matters,[87] described Hill as:[16]

An exceptional man, among the last of the old school of benefactors who, in the days before National Pensions and State Health Services, made life tolerable for unfortunate neighbours when they fell by the wayside. He died just as the social pattern was changing for the better.

— Ronald Henry Bailey

Nonetheless, Hill's wealth came from trade with southern Africa and it is not certain to what extent his fortune was amassed at the expense of others. On balance, however, it is thought likely that his business dealings as a merchant were without reproach. Certainly, that whatever his attitudes as a younger man, he later shared his wealth with the less fortunate.[24]:235

Philanthropic worksEdit

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Sidney Hill was prolific in works for the public benefit. He funded and endowed the Queen Victoria Memorial Homes in Langford, to benefit those who could not afford to rent decent and safe accommodation. He founded Wesleyan churches, Sunday schools, and ministers' houses in England and in South Africa, and endowed a house at Homes for Little Boys, a former orphanage near Swanley, Kent. He also donated substantial amounts of money to aid the Wesleyan cause: £500 to help build the Wesleyan chapel at Linden Road, Clevedon, and after his death, Hill's estate donated £1,500 to fund the building of the Wesleyan Mission Hall at Seymour Road, Gloucester.[88][89] His final act to benefit the poor was to fund, furnish, and endow twelve Wesleyan cottage homes at Churchill.[1]

Philanthropic works
Building Location Type Opened Architect Grade II Listing[l 1] Geo-coordinates Image
Wesley Methodist chapel Russell Road, Port Elizabeth Methodist chapel 20 October 1872 John Thornhill Cook Not listed 33°57′38″S 25°36′55″E / 33.960449°S 25.615253°E / -33.960449; 25.615253 (Port Elizabeth Wesley Methodist chapel)  
The original Wesley Methodist chapel at Russell Road, Port Elizabeth, commenced build in 1870, and the foundation stone was laid by Mary Ann Hill.[35] She took an active part in fundraising, and Hill gave the site and contributed about one fifth the entire cost of the schoolroom, chapel, and vestries.[90] The building cost £5,000, and of this, in 1872, when the chapel was completed, only £500 remained to be raised. The Reverend James Fish and Hill then persuaded the other merchants in Main Street to donate, and in hours, the remaining amount was raised.[91] The church was opened on 20 October 1872 and Hill later presented a memorial window to the chapel in memory of Mary Ann Hill.[92] The chapel was closed on 7 December 1969 and demolished for road works. The replacement church, Centenary Methodist Church, designed by Garth Robertson, was opened on 14 December 1969.[92]
Wesley Methodist Memorial church and schoolroom Churchill Methodist church 2 May 1881 Foster and Wood of Bristol 1157925 51°20′04″N 2°48′01″W / 51.334336°N 2.800281°W / 51.334336; -2.800281 (Churchill Wesley Methodist Memorial church and schoolroom)  
The church was built in memory of Mary Ann Hill. He also funded a hall adjacent to the church, where he could hold secular meetings, and appointed Endowment Trustees to run it.[90] A porch, funded by Hill, was added in 1898, designed by Foster and Wood of Bristol, and built by Henry Rose of Churchill.[16]
Mrs Hill Memorial Cottage Port Elizabeth Wesleyan almshouse January 1883 John Thornhill Cook Not listed 33°57′42″S 25°36′29″E / 33.961711°S 25.607974°E / -33.961711; 25.607974 (Mrs Hill Memorial Cottage)  
At Hill's request, and in memory of Mary Ann Hill, the Port Elizabeth Ladies' Benevolent Society funded a small cottage on the Cape Road. Mary Ann Hill had joined the society at the beginning of 1868 and had been active in helping the disadvantaged.[17][x] It was intended as an almshouse where poor women could live rent free. It came with four rooms, a small garden, running water, and was capable of accommodating two people. The cottage no longer exists. [94]
Dame's House Hextable, Swanley Orphanage 20 July 1883 Henry Spalding and Patrick Auld Not listed 51°24′53″N 0°11′00″E / 51.414807°N 0.183234°E / 51.414807; 0.183234 (Swanley Dame's House)  
Hill funded and furnished a dame's house (or mother's house) for Homes for Little Boys, a former orphanage near Swanley, Kent. A dame's home provided accommodation for a member of staff, usually female, and known as a dame, who was responsible for the boys' welfare. Boys were first placed in the dame's house and then proceeded to one of the assistant master's houses, and finally the headmaster's house.[95] The Prince and Princess of Wales travelled by special train to open the homes. The site now houses Broomhill Bank and Furness School, Rowhill Road, Hextable, Swanley, Kent.[96]
Victoria Jubilee Homes Langford Wesleyan almshouse 1891[97] Joseph Wood of Foster and Wood of Bristol.[98] 1320910 51°20′33″N 2°46′19″W / 51.342625°N 2.772076°W / 51.342625; -2.772076 (Victoria Jubilee Langford Homes)  
In commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and in an effort to benefit the poor around him, Hill acquired and cleared land at Langford, and funded six dwellings known as the Victoria Jubilee Langford Homes.[16] Hill laid the foundation stone on 1 October 1887, his fifty-eighth birthday, and invitations to tender for the build were advertised by Foster and Wood on 9 January 1888.[99][100] Rookery Farm with 65 acres (26 hectares) of land, and a further 22 acres (8.9 hectares) at Smallway, both in Congresbury, were purchased as an endowment to provide income for repairs and to pay the residents of each house a sum of £30 per year towards maintenance. The total cost was £14,300 plus a further £1,300 to reinstate Rookery Farm, and from the endowment, rental totalling £229 per annum was secured.[16]
Wesley Methodist chapel Shipham Methodist chapel 3 April 1893 Foster and Wood of Bristol Not listed 51°18′51″N 2°47′52″W / 51.314098°N 2.797838°W / 51.314098; -2.797838 (Shipham Wesley Methodist chapel)  
The chapel was dedicated to the memory of William Bobbett, Hill's Methodist class leader in 1847, life-long friend, and Mary Ann Hill's uncle. It was built by Charles Franks of Ubley and George Simmons of Priddy. The chapel is now a private residence.[101]
Jubilee clock tower Churchill Clock tower 20 June 1897 Joseph Foster Wood FRIBA of Foster and Wood of Bristol.[102][y] 1129198 51°20′02″N 2°47′59″W / 51.333995°N 2.799642°W / 51.333995; -2.799642 (Churchill Jubilee clock tower)  
The clock tower, chimes, and drinking fountain were built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.[z] In 1976, the clock and chimes were refurbished and renovated by the then trust that managed the clock tower.[104] In the following year, for the Queen's Silver Jubilee, the tower was cleaned by a team of volunteers led by Arthur Raymond Millard ("Ray Millard") BEM, former chairman of Churchill Parish Council.[105]
Memorial Jubilee Wesley Methodist chapel Cheddar Methodist chapel 28 September 1897 Foster and Wood of Bristol Not listed 51°16′39″N 2°46′33″W / 51.277531°N 2.775901°W / 51.277531; -2.775901 (Cheddar Memorial Jubilee Wesley Methodist chapel)  
Hill funded and furnished a manse and a new chapel. It was built by the local firms of John Scourse and Son and Isaac Ford and Son. The old chapel was converted to a school.[11] Running around the chancel, beneath the east window, is a brass plate bearing the following inscription:[106]

This memorial jubilee church is erected to the glory of God by Sidney Hill, J.P., of Langford House, Langford, to record the donor's introduction into Methodism, September, 1847, also in memory of one of the most excellent of women, for ten years the partner of his life.

Memorial Centenary Wesley Methodist chapel Sandford Methodist chapel 11 October 1900 Foster and Wood of Bristol 1320686 51°19′47″N 2°50′02″W / 51.329686°N 2.833811°W / 51.329686; -2.833811 (Sandford Memorial Centenary Wesley Methodist chapel)  
The chapel was designed in Perpendicular Gothic style and built of Rowberrow stone with Doulting freestone dressings. Hill gifted the chapel on condition that the old chapel was converted into a school. It was built by Thomas Ford, John Scourse, and John Coles, builders and masons at Cheddar.[107]
Wesley Methodist Centenary chapel and schoolroom Blagdon Methodist chapel 12 June 1907 Sir Frank William Wills Not listed 51°19′37″N 2°43′09″W / 51.327079°N 2.719054°W / 51.327079; -2.719054 (Blagdon Wesley Methodist Memorial chapel and schoolroom)  
The chapel was dedicated to the memory of Thomas Francis Christopher May, a lifelong friend of Hill. The foundation stone was laid on 19 October 1906 by May's widow, Ann Reece, née Bowyer.[13] Hill had given £1,500 to fund the building of the chapel. The chapel and school was opened by Hill and a caretaker's cottage was also completed at a later date.[14] The chapel and school are now private residences.
Sidney Hill Cottage Homes Churchill Wesleyan almshouse December 1907 Silcock and Reay of Bath and London 1129199 51°20′07″N 2°48′17″W / 51.335258°N 2.804740°W / 51.335258; -2.804740 (Churchill Sidney Hill Cottage Homes)  

 

The homes were intended to provide comfortable and furnished homes for the "deserving poor", and a fund was set aside to produce an income of £400 a year for their maintenance.[108] Twelve cottages were built, arranged on three sides of a quadrangle, about 37 metres (120 feet) square, with landscaped gardens.[16] The third, or south side, was enclosed by a low terrace wall with wrought iron gates. A large stone sundial, with a spreading base, was placed in the centre of the quadrangle. Each house had a living room, with a small scullery, larder, coal house, and one bedroom with a large storeroom.

The cost of the buildings, including the furniture, the trustees' room, a cottage for the matron, a small, but fully equipped, laundry and other out-buildings, amounted to just under £13,000, with the gardens and planting costing £900.[109] The sundial and matron's cottage are listed separately by Historic England.[110][111] The architect's coloured drawing of the homes was sufficiently well thought of to be included in the 1906 Royal Academy Exhibition.[108] It was said to be inspired by the painting "Harbour of Refuge", painted in 1872 by Frederick Walker, and now in the Tate Gallery.[112][113][114]

Notes
  1. ^ The "Listing Number" is a unique number assigned to each listed building and scheduled monument by Historic England.

ArmsEdit

 
Hill's coat of arms over the entrance to Victoria Jubilee Langford Homes

Arms were granted to Hill and confirmed in 1882.[115] According to Fox‑Davies in Armorial Families, Hill bore:[116]

Arms: Azure, a chevron nebuly argent, charged with three pallets gules, between two fleurs‑de‑lis in chief and a talbot's head erased in base of the second. Upon the escutcheon is placed a helmet befitting his degree, with a mantling azure and argent.

Crest: Upon a wreath of the colours, a talbot's head couped argent, charged with a chevron nebuly, and holding in the mouth a fleur‑de‑lis azme.

Motto: "Omne bonum Dei donum".

Stone, in The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations, translates the motto, Omne bonum Dei donum, as "Every good thing is a gift of God",[117] and is taken from James, chapter 1, verse 17.[118][aa]

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ He styled himself as Sidney Hill and was commonly known by that name in later life.[1]
  2. ^ Amongst other duties, a foreman would supervise house and chimney fire extinguishment.[8]
  3. ^ Thomas Hill died at his home in Berkeley Place, Clifton, and was buried at St Andrew's Church, Clifton, on 14 October 1846.[10]
  4. ^ Thomas Francis Christopher May attended the same classes as Hill and became a life-long friend. He was later a senior partner of May and Hassall, timber merchants, in the Cumberland Basin, Bristol. He died on 9 August 1905(1905-08-09) (aged 74) and the Blagdon Methodist Memorial Chapel and School Room was later dedicated to him.[12][13][14]
  5. ^ Sidney inherited a considerable sum of money and his father's gold watch. Master sweeps could become relatively wealthy if they were able to agree contracts to sweep large estates and public buildings.[3]:352[8]
  6. ^ Elizabeth Hill died at Byron Place, Clifton, Bristol, and was buried at St Andrew's Church, Clifton, on 7 April 1857.[19]
  7. ^ Ostrich feathers were in great demand from the Victorian millinery industry and haberdashers.[24]:236
  8. ^ Edgar Wallace married Ivy Maud Caldecott, the third daughter of Reverend Caldecott, and in his autobiography, described Caldecott as "a bearded giant of a man, an autocrat of autocrats, a brilliant scholar and the author of books on the Temples of Ezekiel and Solomon".[27]
  9. ^ 51°19′59″N 2°48′12″W / 51.333108°N 2.803435°W / 51.333108; -2.803435 (Sidney Villa, Dinghurst, Churchill). Close to the old Methodist chapel in Churchill and opposite The Drive, Dinghurst. It was renamed Bay Tree House when the Millward family purchased the house from the Richard Stuart Turner Westlake estate in 1984.[29]
  10. ^ In one year, Hill would report a net profit of £60,000.[2]
  11. ^ See Port Elizabeth Methodist chapel under §Philanthropic works.
  12. ^ Mary Ann Hill's younger brother, and John Winter Bobbett's third son, Walter, died within weeks of her death, on 22 December 1874, having also returned recently from South Africa.[39]
  13. ^ Hill was living at William Bobbett's home, Sidney Villa in Dinghurst, Churchill, until he moved into Langford House.[42]
  14. ^ Both houses are Grade II listed. Mendip Villa is now known as St Mary's House.[44]:192[45][46] Mendip Villa was let to Hill's sister, Elizabeth Tapscott, and her daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth, and Richmond House was let to Mary Jane Stone, Elizabeth Tapscott's elder daughter.[44]:201[47][48] Mary Jane was the widow of Alfred Stone, the first choirmaster of the Bristol Musical Festival, and also the compiler of the The Bristol Tune-Book.[49]
  15. ^ Erected before August 1890. Hill was the superintendent for the Sunday school at the Methodist schoolroom in Churchill. He would issue regular invitations to the school children and their teachers to take afternoon tea at Langford House. The house and gardens would be "thrown open", and this would include taking the view from the tower.[52]
  16. ^ Nikolaus Pevsner described Langford House as "an ambitious Italianate villa of circa 1850, with the indispensable asymmetrically placed tower; wings were added later". Langford house is Grade II Listed by Historic England.[53]
  17. ^ The clock chimed the quarter hours and played All Things Bright and Beautiful on the hour. The clock and carillon were supplied and fixed by M. Michiels of Mélins, Belgium. The eight toned peal of bells weighed 102 kilograms (2 hundredweight) in total, and were made and installed by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough.[23]:44[54][55]
  18. ^ The sheds that housed the Shorthorns were called "Bullock Palaces" as each animal had a dormer window and other modern conveniences.[38]:210
  19. ^ There is a memorial stone at the southern end of the lawn at Langford House. It remembers Hill's first cow, named Crummy, "a docile creature and good milker", who died in 1888 aged eleven. The stone also records four much-loved dogs, namely Lion, Leo, Glen and Captain.[23]:47
  20. ^ One of the cottages stood where the chapel entrance gates are now.[62]
  21. ^ The church of St John the Baptist, Axbridge, re-opened after its restoration on 24 June 1887 (Midsummer's Day). The stained glass window is set in the east end of the church and was made by Messrs. Bell & Sons, of Bristol. The four lights represent respectively the Nativity, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Feed my Lambs, the divisions of the tracery being occupied by figures of the Four Evangelists, with their symbols, and Moses and Elijah, a central division containing the "Agnus Dei" emblem of St John the Baptist and arms of the town.[64][65] The Rector of Axbridge, Reverend Henry Toft, selected the design.[66]
  22. ^ On 21 December 1885, Langford House was "besieged" by hundreds of people receiving gifts of bread, tea, and sugar. In addition, parcels of clothing and bedding were sent to a large number of people in the parish.[69]
  23. ^ After imposing a heavy fine as an example to others, he would often pay it himself, on condition that the accused promised to reform, abstain from alcohol, and from time to time, report to the police.[1]
  24. ^ The Port Elizabeth Ladies' Benevolent Society, formerly the Dorcas society, was founded to "relieve cases of distress and destitution ... and especially to assist aged and infirm persons with young children".[93]
  25. ^ Joseph Foster Wood was the son and nephew of the founders of Foster & Wood.[103]
  26. ^ The following is inscribed around the tower: "June 20, 1897 this tower & clock was erected by Sidney Hill JP of Langford House in this parish to commemorate the sixty years of the beneficent reign of her most gracious majesty Queen Victoria".
  27. ^ For an image of the Hill arms, see Armorial Families, page 1265, image 5, plate 92.

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

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