Postillions / Church House Hastings Road

 

The house known as Postillions , Church House,  Manchester House, St Peter’s Place and Wilmotts  –   at   2 Hastings Road.

Church House from the village green    c1909

 

The following chronological table was originally compiled by Kathryn Frankin, with later additions by Tony Nicholls.

Some entries in italics chart the movements of residents before or after their stay at Church House.

Some directory dates and references may seem to be conflicting.  Directory entries often lagged behind events by a year or two when annual data was not always updated correctly along with annual publication.  Some entries may indicate a change in tenant while the owner (not mentioned) has not changed.  Spellings may vary for the same person!

For a while in the mid to late 1800s various directory entries indicated business activities at this address – grocers, drapers, etc.
The house has a cellar with steps up to street level – now blocked off.  It is assumed the cellar was used as a shop.

 

 

 Year

   Occupant , Owner  or Use

1637    Wilmotts – a house & croft to south of Copping Crouch Green owned by Pritchard Amherst  (owner of Bayhall)
1841    ??  No Census entry
1840    Tithe   391 – Owner Camden, tenant Alfred T(h)ompsett – house, shop & yard, tog with two meadows (392 & 393)
….Numbers refer to plot numbers on the Tithe Map – see below this table.   (Camden acquired the Bayhall estate in 1799)
1840     Piggott’s Directory has no mention on Tompsett – the only village grocers are Austen and Manwaring
1851    Census – Upper Green – occupier Alfred Tompsett (35), grocer & draper
1855    Alfred Tomsett  – shopkeeper and agent to the Legal & Manchester Fire & Life Co.  No location.   1855 Post Office Dir
1858    Alfred Tomsett   shopkeeper, agent to the Manchester Fire and Life Office   – 1858 Melville’s Dir
1861    Census – St Peter’s Place – occupier Alfred Tompsett (45), grocer. House known as St Peter’s Place at this time.
1865    Alfred Tompsett still there
1869    James Godfrey Guest,   draper & grocer (poss there in 1867)
1871    Census – Manchester House – occupier James Godfrey Guest (26), draper & grocer, employing 3 men.
.  .The Manchester House name may have originated from the agency for the Manchester Fire & Life company.
 …Alfred Thompsett retired and living in Tunbridge Wells
1878    James Guest, draper & grocer – location not specified – Post Office Directory
  1881    Census – assumed Church House, occupier James Godfrey Guest (35)
.    .1891 Census-  although no address is specified (the entry is actually lumped together with the Almshouses) it is
.    .definitely Church House.
.    .The sequence along Hastings Rd is as follows:
.      .(1)  A house – Harcourt House (again no actual address)
.      .(2)  Almshouses
.      .(3)  A house – Church House
.      .(4)  Hill View – the houses up the private side road on the right past the vicarage drive.
  1882    James Godfrey Guest – grocer & draper – location not specified, assumed Church House –  Kelly’s Dir
1886    Church House – James Godfrey Guest, draper & grocer – Kelly’s Dir.      First mention of Church House in Kelly’s
1889    James Godfrey Guest, draper & grocer – location not specified   – Kelly’s Dir
  1891    Census – (no address, but next Almshouses) – Alfred Chapman (50), grocer
1892    Alfred Chapman, draper & grocer – location not specified – assumed Church House   – Kelly’s Dir
 1898    Alfred Chapman, draper & grocer – location not specified – assumed Church House   – Kelly’s Dir
   Dr Crawford residing at Trohork Cottage, working at Tonbridge Workhouse  – Kelly’s Dir  –  (location of Trohork Cottage ????)
  1901    Census – Church House – Alfred Chapman (60), grocer & draper
 1903    Alfred Chapman, grocer & draper  – location not specified  –  Kelly’s
   James Godfey Guest –  farmer at Pastheap  –  residing at Stanton House   –  Kelly’s
   Dr Crawford residing at The Spring  1903 – 1907  –  Kelly’s    (The Spring- Tonbridge Road, between the hospital and hotel)
   Robert St-John Matthews residing at Stanton House  –  Kelly’s
 1904    Alfred Chapman, grocer & draper  – location not specified  –  Kelly’s
   James Godfey Guest – farmer at Pastheap – residing at  Stanton House  – Kelly’s
   Robert St-John Matthews residing at Stanton House  –  Kelly’s
   Dr Crawford residing at The Spring  1903 – 1907  –  Kelly’s
  1905   Church House – Robert St-John Matthews
  1906   Alfred Chapman died
 1907   Church House – Mrs Chapman,  grocer, draper  (Peltons Dir  1907)   (Mrs Chapman – possible tenant only for shop)
   Dr Crawford residing at The Spring   –  Peltons
JG Guest  residing at  Stanton House  – Pelton’s
 1909   Church House – Dr Crawford  – Kelly’s
 1911   Church House – Dr Cyril Rodney Holtz Crawford – Kelly’s
   James Godfey Guest farmer at Pastheap,    residing at Stanton House – Kelly’s
 1914   Church House – Dr Crawford – Kelly’s (Residential section)
working at Tonbridge Rural District Infecteous Diseases Hospital.  – Kelly’s Dir (Commercial section)
    James Godfey Guest farmer at Pastheap – Kelly’s (Commercial section)
….James Godfey Guest residing at Stanton House – Kelly’s (Residential section)

 1916   Church House  – Cyril Rodney Holtz Crawford   MRCS  LRCP  Physician & surgeon & medical officer Tonbridge Workhouse
Church House – Miss Wetherell – Kelly’s (Residents section)
  JG Guest same as 1914
 1919   As 1916         JG Guest same as 1914/16  – last mention
Church House – Miss Wetherell – Kelly’s (Residents section)
 1924   Church House – Sir Frederick Manley Glubb  – Kelly’s
 1938   Church House – Sir Frederick Glubb died, son Sir John inherited house.
 1940 . .See page “Wartime Constructions” for details of machine-gun pillbox built in the garden.
 1950   Church House – Sir John Glubb sold to Maj-Gen Pip Roberts.
 1951   Postillions –  Roberts family lived here for 21 years – leaving c1972.     Simon Roberts’ notes recorded elsewhere.
Name changed from Church House to Postillions by Mrs Roberts as an acknowledgement of the Old Coach Road near the house.

Definition of Postillion –
“a person who rides the leading nearside (left-hand side) horse of a team or pair drawing a coach or carriage, especially when there is no coachman”
or
“A postilion or postillion guides a horse-drawn coach or post chaise mounted on the horse or one of a pair of horses. A coachman is on the vehicle”.

 1972   Postillions –  unknown owner or residents.

 

Above:   part of the 1840 Tithe Map showing the house close to plot 391.     North is not ‘up’ as normal.
The gated ‘Old Coach Road’ can be seen opposite the Almshouses (plot 389).
No Upper St Peter’s Church at this time so it’s not “Church House”.

 

Above:  1909 OS map of Hastings Road highlighting Church House.
New shape suggests a rear extension was added since 1840.

 

Above:  1963 OS map of Hastings Road highlighting Postillions
Wartime pillbox shown in red.

For more on the pillbox see the Wartime Structures page under Buildings and Landmarks.


This is a copy of a piece of paper found buried in the walls of Postillions.   Dated  Sept 4  1908  – Sometime between Mrs Chapman and Dr Crawford.

It appears to be describing “Harris Carpenter” stating that he “Did not eat shag, but he smoked Players Navy Cut and they both used to drink 4d ale at the Black Horse”.

Please report any more enlightening interpretations of this script.

 

 

 

Tony Nicholls 2018