No 54 Sydney Buildings

No 36 pre 1902 also known as Rosemont

No 54 today

In June 1821 the Earl of Darlington leased and released a plot of land to Mr Robert Savage, carpenter of Bathwick, with the Earl and his heirs to receive £7 annual rent. [The Release document is missing but the price was probably the £200 subsequently obtained as a mortgage.] In July Mr Thomas Coombes, carpenter of Lyncombe, provided a mortgage of £200 to Robert Savage and the house was built. The architect was John Pinch.

Elevation by architect John Pinch

The property was purchased in 1825 by Charles Priddle , Broker of Bath, for £720. The 1841 census records Charles Priddle, aged 65 as independent, with Susannah Priddle, aged 70, his wife, and their grandchildren John and Susan Parton, aged 7 and 5, and Sophia Cook, 15, a servant.

In 1842 Charles Priddle made a will leaving his wife an annual sum of £100 and trusts for his daughters. This is to be realised by rents from his two freehold properties: 19 Green Street, in the Parish of St Michael Bath and this house [known then as 36 Sydney Buildings]. Charles Milsom of Bath, musician, and his sons-in-law, William Parton, married to his daughter Mary Ann [18 March 1828 at St James’ Church Bath], and Robert Lansdown, husband to his other daughter Ann Angel, are nominated as trustees.

A codicil to this will in 1848 added two more properties: No 37 St James’s Parade Bath and No 49 Pulteney Street Bathwick.

In 1846, the Priddles are no longer in residence. The Post Office Directory lists Captain William C Lindsay.

On 4th March 1849 Charles Priddle died, followed seven days later by his wife. They are both buried in Bathwick Cemetery.


The 1851 census gives Captain Lindsay, aged 58, his wife Mary, aged 49, with two daughters, Mary,14, and Ellen, 11, his sister-in-law Grace Jarvis, 36, together with three servants: Maria Baker, 36, Emma Arthur, 18, and Eliza Pensford. Captain Lindsay remains listed in the directories until 1854/1855.

Captain Lindsay was followed by Captain C J Furlong, listed in the Post Office Directories from 1856 to 1858, and then, in 1860 , by Mr Bennett Wood.

The 1861 census records Mr Bennett Wood, aged 45, with his wife Diana, 31, and five children: William, 9, Ellen, 7, Rosalind, 5, Mary, 2, and baby Alexander, and two house servants, Mary Crier and Ruth Love, both aged 21.

By 1866 the Post Office Directory lists No 36 as Rosemont with a Mrs Moger in residence.

There is no record for No 36 in the 1871 census but in this year two of the trustees of the Charles Priddle Will died: Robert Lansdown on 18 March, followed by William Parton on 30 September. Both are buried at Bathwick Cemetery.

Rev G F Whish then rented the property followed by Henry G Biggs in 1876. The 1880 directory shows the property empty.

In 1878 the only remaining original trustee, Charles Milsom , appointed his son, Charles Milsom the younger, as sole executor to his estate. Charles Milsom senior died in 1880.

The 1881 census recorded the Tyler family in residence: Henry W Tyler, ironmonger aged 30, with his wife Elizabeth, 34, and two children, Henry, aged 4, and Mary, aged 1, with a servant, Emma King, 17, and Albert J Young, 19, an ironmongers assistant.

In 1882 Charles Milsom the younger, a Bath Music Sellor [original spelling], appointed his son Rev Edward Milsom and his friends Frederick Shum and Austin Joseph King, as executors. The property continued to be let.

The 1886 Post Office Directory lists Mrs Emily Symes at No 36 Rosemont but by the 1891 census Hinton J Castle, aged 40 and a Bank Manager, with two servants: Eliza J Johnson, 31, as his housekeeper and Frank W Stokes, 13, listed as a page, are in residence.

On 9 March 1893, Mary Ann Parton, Charles Priddle’s daughter, died. She had 9 children. The remaining trustees from the Priddle estate sold the property to Hinton J Castle, who was renting the property, for £525. The payment to be divided among the trustees. The purchaser was liable for the ongoing annual Fee Farm Rent of £7. Hinton Castle raised a mortgage of £400 from Margaret Kennedy of No 2 Darlington Street, Bath.

Hinton Lewis Castle remained in residence until 1908 when he sold the property, renumbered 54 in 1902, to Miss Ivy Mary Clare Hippisley, of Clare Hall Ston Easton, Somerset, for £600 subject to payment of the £7 perpetual yearly farm rent. A mortgage of £850 was obtained from the Honourable Katharine Annie Thring, of 5 Queens Gate Gardens, South Kensington, London. Miss Hippisley remained in residence until 1911.

[The Hippisley family held a large estate at Ston Easton for nearly 400 years. Ivy Hippisley was recorded on the 1881 census as 17, and living with her parents at Oddgest House Ston Easton. If the census is correct she would have been 44 years old when she purchased No 54. She inherited Clare House on her Mother’s death in 1922 and died in 1947.]

The property was sold in 1911 to George Samuel Brown , a Bank Manager, of No 5 Bathwick Hill, for £450 with the ongoing annual Fee Farm Rent of £7. The Post Office Directories list Harold George Brown, an electrical engineer, as being in residence from 1913. [Harold is probably the son of the owner George Samuel Brown.]

In 1919 George Samuel Brown sold No 54 to Miss Norah Robertson, from No 2 Sydney Buildings, for £475. Norah Robertson obtained a mortgage from The Bath and County Conservative Benefit Building Society for £425. [The 1921 Post Office Directory lists Harold George Brown as living at 12, Lower Oldfield Park. George Samuel Brown died in 1922, aged 74.]


Miss Robertson remained in residence until 1933. Permission had been given in 1932 for 8 houses [No 55 to 62] on the plot on the far side, and these were constructed during the 1930s.

From 1933 to 1961 the Misses Clements were listed in the Post Office Directories. [It is not clear if the Misses Clements purchased the house or were renting. Norah Robertson’s death was registered in the Bath area in 1979. She was 66.]

In 1961 Sheldon & Rutherford of 4 Queen Square Bath, were instructed by Mr and Mrs G E Fane to attend the auction and bid up to £4,500. They obtained the property for their client for £3,300.

The plot on the near side had remained empty but in 1967 planning permission was granted and a block of three flats, to be No 53, was built in sympathetic architectural style to its Georgian neighbours.

1976, No 54 with 53 to the right

The property was sold to Philip and Lyn Read in 1976. They lived there until 1987 with their two daughters, Clemency and Susannah.

The drawing room fireplace in the 1980s

Alexander and Joanna Ritchie purchased the house in 1988. Alexander Ritchie died in 2000. His widow, Joanna, sold the house to the current owners and moved to No 37 Sydney Buildings.

With thanks to the present owners for making their deeds available

And the Read family for their photographs

Neal Kerss

January 2009

Sydney Buildings History Group ©