The house in the high Street formerly known as The Larches and Heatherton, later Sunhill.
Most maps show the estate with two buildings; a large 3 story house to the east and a long thin, single story, annex to the west. The modern roadway “The Mews” now cuts between them.
There is some uncertainty as to the names and when they changed – some of the maps do not show a logical sequence.
The Tithe Schedule of 1844 indicates that plot 354 was owned by John Standen with a tenant of Edward Smith Dakin. Notes by Kathryn Franklin indicate the house was rebuilt around 1850 as ‘The Larches’.
In 2013 Ian Kumekawa from Harvard University made contact enquiring about “The Larches” in Pembury. He was researching the life of an economist A.C. Pigou (1877-1959). The Larches was the childhood home of Pigou and some modern photos of the building were forwarded in 2016. The following text was sent by Ian –
Here’s what I know (which is not very much at all): The Larches was the home for a time of the Pigou family. I know that they moved in at some point between 1878 and 1881 (inclusive). The 1881 census lists the family (father Clarence, mother Nora, children Arthur Cecil (b. 1877); Gerald (b.1878), daughter Kathleen (b.1881), and Nora’s sister) as well as a domestic staff of seven. Clarence was a man of some means and did not work. A.C. Pigou, about whom I am writing, came to be an economist of substantial importance. He went off to Harrow in 1890 and his friends remember returning with him to Pembury, where they would play cricket. Pigou’s mother died in 1902 and his father in 1905; by this time, they had moved out of the house and into London.
To be published in 2017 by Princeton University Press :
The First Serious Optimist: A.C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics by Ian Kumekawa
The following text is a reply by Kathryn Franklin to an enquiry about Sunhill –
At the time of the tithe assessment (1838-44) the land on which Sunhill Place stands was plot 354 and owned by John Standen. He had a house there and a very large garden.
He appears to have sold the entire 15 acres in about 1850 to William Henry Wall, a distinguished solicitor and it would seem to be the same site since Mr Wall built a house called The Larches there. (This is the house now known as Sunhill Place, which clearly dates from about the mid 19th century).
Mr Wall is listed in a directory as living there in 1855 and continued to live there until his death in 1872. His daughter Harriet was married from there in 1877, but his widow subsequently moved to Deal.
The house was still known as The Larches in 1889.
By 1900 Lady Harriet Camila Adair lived there and it was known as Heatherton.
Some of the gaps can be filled in by visiting the reference library at Tunbridge Wells. For example the Censuses for 1881,1891 and 1901 are available, as are a collection of directories which list important residents.
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