Virtual tour of Hapgood houses in Marksbury, Somerset

At the start of 2020, I made some tentative plans to add a small side trip on a business trip, and to Marksbury Somerset, to see where the Hapgoods came from in the 1860s. If the covid pandemic hadn’t closed all international air travel from Australia, I would have been leaving on a Qantas flight to the UK today. I had some exciting plans in Marksbury, which I was holding back from the blog so that I could post my own photos – but as travel to the UK seems years away, I decided to take a virtual trip to Marksbury today instead.

Google Maps location of Marksbury (red pin) between Bath and Bristol, in Somerset, England.

First, where is Marksbury? Its about 7km west of Bath in England. In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales [1] described Marksbury like this:

MARKSBURY, a village and a parish in Keynsham district, Somerset. The village stands 3½ miles S of Keynsham r. station, and 5½ WSW of Bath…. Acres, 1,277. Pop., 307. Houses, 65. The property is divided among a few….. The church is ancient but good; and consists of nave and chancel, with porch and tower. There are a Wesleyan chapel and a national school.

John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales [1]

The 1817 Ordinance Map shows Marksbury as a small village

1817 Map of Somerset showing Marksbury (highlight added for this blog) [2] This work is based on data provided through www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Copyright (c) 2004-2015 of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

By 1884, Marksbury was still quite a small rural village, with three main farms: Court Farm, Witcombe Farm, and Church Farm.

Marksbury Somerset 1884. Source: https://maps.nls.uk/view/101460529

Even in 2020, Google maps shows the town of Marksbury is clearly recognisable and still about the same size as in the 1800s, with some minor suburban estate growth around the south side. Presumably, the growth was somewhat restricted because the A39 freeway goes past the town, and there is no room for development.

Google maps satelite image of Marksbury, 2020

Previous blog posts have gone over how John Hapgood and Elizabeth Shore were married in St Peters Church Marksbury in 1814, and had 10 children, including Thomas and George Hapgood, who emigrated to NSW Australia in 1854, and Susannah Dando (nee Hapgood) who emigrated to Victoria in 1853.

The earliest census record that I can find John Hapgood and Elizabeth (nee Shore) listed in Marksbury is the 1841 census which is just a list of names and no addresses. In the 1851 census there is a bit more detail but frustratingly it doesn’t give street names or numbers – they are just listed as being at “21” in Marksbury in 1851. All the census entries are like this, in all years, and I initially assumed that these were randomly numbered houses by the census taker back in 1851, and differently again in 1861, 1871 etc – which would make the houses very hard to track. On ancestry.com it just transcribes the address of the Hapgoods below as “21 Marksbury” but on http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk they list this as “21 Court Farm. Marksbury”, because several pages earlier the “street name” column says “Court Farm” and they read this as all of the following entries being part of Court Farm. So its a little uncertain what the census taker meant in 1851.

1851 Census for Marksbury, showing John Hapgood (labourer aged 60, born Wiltshire, Aldbourne) and Elizabeth Hapgood aged 59, born Somerset Marksbury, with their 13 year old son Edward Hapgood, all living at number “21” Marksbury.

In summary, John and Elizabeth Hapgood lived at “21” Marksbury in 1851 while their son George is living at “29” and their married daughter Susannah Dando is living at “33” with her husband. In the 1861, John and Elizabeth are living at “46” (and most of their children have emigrated to Australia, USA or Wales).

I spent some time working out where to stay in Marksbury (there are several lovely looking cottages available in Marksbury to stay in – The Forge, The Hay Barn, The Stables, Oak Tree Barn, The Chapel, Mill Lane Cottage — I think The Forge was my pick given Susannah Hapgoods husband Edward Dando was a blacksmith and may have worked there…). So you can imagine my surprise when late one night, I typed “21 Marksbury” into Google and up popped an actual location! Not only a location, but a magnificent looking historical cottage, from the right era, called “Crispin Cottage”. After more investigation, it appears that Marksbury still does not really have street names, and that all the houses are still just a series of house numbers, up and down the laneways, in Marksbury! Systematic searching in Google shows that not all of the old numbers still exist, but #21 is Crispin Cottage and #33 is Bybrook Cottage, and they both still exist below…

I really dont know if the numbers are random, or if the census taker took a consistent route from year to year, but given the streets are still un-named to this day and these two (pretty!) houses exist, lets take a look…

21 Marksbury – Crispin Cottage – Home of John & Elizabeth Hapgood 1851

“21 Marksbury”, known as Crispin Cottage. Image from Google Streetview. John and Elizabeth Hapgood lived here in 1851

Crispin Cottage is heritage listed Grade 2, and the heritage details are:

House. Mid/late C17. Rubble, pantile roofs with raised coped verges. 2 storeys, 3 windows, all casements with ovolo moulded mullions and lintels under drips, 3-light below, 2-light above, central gabled side-entry C20 porch.

21 Marksbury, Crispin Cottage, Grade 2 Heritage listing details [3]

This house looks to be a bit fancy to me for the Hapgoods, who I dont think were rich enough to own their own house, and 10 years later they are at “46”, so its possible this is not the place they were living, but for now, this is my working theory.

33 Marksbury “Bybrook Cottage” – home of Edward & Susannah Dando 1851

33 Marksbury, now known as Bybrook Cottage. Edward Dando and his wife Susannah (nee Hapgood) lived her in 1851

Numbers 31 & 33 Marksbury is also Grade 2 Heritage listed, and the information on the property is as follows:

Pair of cottages. Mid/late C17, raised, extended and dated J/RL/1801. Coursed rubble, double roman tile roofs with raised coped verges. Two storeys, 4 windows, ground floor has 2 or 3 light ovolo-moulded mullion casements under continuous string punctuated by 2 doors with edge moulded lintels and jambs under flat hoods on brackets, at far right a plain plank door in chamfered frame, first floor has 2-light windows with edge-moulded mullions. Interior not inspected.

31 & 33 Marksbury, Grade 2 Heritage listing details [4]

Bybrook Cottage is shown for sale in the google maps image, but I havent been able to locate any online listing pictures of the inside. There is a description at https://www.zoopla.co.uk/property-history/33-marksbury/bath/ba2-9hr/22480962 which I will put at the end of this post.

I still hope to visit Marksbury in person one day, stay a few nights and wander through the laneways, look at the historic cottages, and visit St Peters Church and the graveyard. Maybe 2021!

If you know more about the history of Marksbury, tips on interpretting the census, or history of these two houses, please let me know by either leaving a comment, or emailing me at karenhapgood [at] gmail.com

Sources:

[1] John Marius Wilson, The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)

[2] Oridinance map 1817 showing Marksbury. This work is based on data provided through www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Copyright (c) 2004-2015 of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

[3] 21 Marksbury, “Crispin Cottage”, Grade 2 Heritage Listing Details, https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1136484

[4] 31 & 33 Marksbury, Grade 2 Heritage Listing Details, https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1136494

33 Marksbury, “ByBroook Cottage” Property Descrtiption by Davies & Way, 2012.

Previously listed for sale on 7th Feb 2012 £250,000 – 2 bed property

https://www.zoopla.co.uk/property-history/33-marksbury/bath/ba2-9hr/22480962

A delightful Grade 2 listed semi detached cottage with much charm and character in a delightful location set on a no through road overlooking a babbling brook with a beautiful landscaped rear garden with excellent country views.

* Sought after village location * character features including inglenook fireplace, beamed ceiling, ledged and braced doors, mullion windows etc * open planned sitting room and kitchen/dining room * utility room * two double bedrooms * bathroom with white suite * unrestricted on street parking * approximately 53ft x 30ft rear garden with superb decked terrace * internal viewing highly recommended *

directions: Travelling on the A37 in the direction of Marksbury continue along the dual carriageway and on entering the village take the first turning right. Proceed past the village primary school and take the 2nd turning on the right hand side. The cottage will be found on the right recognised by the for sale board.

Bybrook cottage is a delightful period property which is listed Grade Two. It has been sympathetically modernised yet retains many period features including an impressive inglenook fireplace in the living area with a wood burning stove, a beautiful beamed ceiling, mullion windows and ledged and braced doors which successfully fuses with a modern kitchen with built in appliances and a first floor bathroom fitted with a classic white suite. The cottage enjoys a most appealing location on a no through road overlooking a brook with country walks immediately on the door step. An attractive feature is the good size rear garden which has a superb decked terrace which provides an ideal area for outdoor entertaining.

Marksbury is a sought after village location with a popular primary school and within the catchment area of Wellsway School at Keynsham. It has a Co operative store and petrol station for day to day shopping while a wider range of amenities are available at the nearby Town of Keynsham. The village is on the edge of the Chew Valley with its renowned recreational facilities and the Cities of Bristol and Bath are within easy commuting distance.

In fuller detail the accommodation comprises (all measurements are approximate)

ground floor

Stable door with exposed wooden lintel leading to

kitchen/dining room: 4.18m x 3.89m (13′ 9″ x 12′ 9″) Beautiful beamed ceiling, mullion window to front aspect with exposed timber lintel, oak flooring, ceiling mounted downlighters. The kitchen is furnished with a range of cream shaker style wall and floor units with beech block work surfaces and tiled surrounds circular stainless steel sink unit with mixer tap, built in four ring hob with stainless steel oven beneath and integrated dishwasher, integrated fridge.

This room is open to the

sitting room: 4.18m x 3.28m (13′ 9″ x 10′ 9″) with an attractive beamed ceiling. Stone inglenook fireplace with timber bressumer beam and wood burning stove, oak flooring, mullion window to front aspect with window seat beneath, open tread staircase rising to first floor.

Utility room: 3.27m x 1.27m (10′ 9″ x 4′ 2″) Old planked stable door from the kitchen area. Tiled floor, door to outside, velux window, furnished with floor units with rolled edge work surfaces and tiled surrounds. Inset one and a quarter bowl sink unit with mixer tap, plumbing for automatic washing machine.

First floor

landing

bedroom one: 4.21m x 2.91m (13′ 10″ x 9′ 7″) Mullion window to front aspect with seat beneath and exposed timber lintel, ledged and braced door with suffolk latch, further window to rear aspect.

Bedroom two: 3.13m x 3.12m (10′ 3″ x 10′ 3″) Mullion window to front aspect with seat beneath and exposed timber lintel, attractive period fireplace, access to roof space, built in cupboard (excluded from measurements) Ledged and braced door with suffolk latch.

Bathroom: Double glazed velux window, tiled floor. White suite with chrome finished fittings comprising low level wc, pedestal wash hand basin with tiled splashback and bath with thermostatic shower head above. Wall mounted electric heater.

Outside

To the front of the property there is an open plan garden comprising a gravelled bed with roses. There is unrestricted on street parking on the no through road.

The rear garden is a delightful feature some 16m (53ft) deep and 9m about (30ft) wide. It has the advantage of a right of way over the neighbouring property and is also accessible from the utility room door. It comprises a superb decked terrace which provides a lovely outdoor entertaining area with rural valley views. Landscaped with local stone walling and a gravel bed as well as a lawn with raised cultivated border and mature trees. At the far end of the plot the cottage has the benefit of a part of a stone built privy (suitable for storage and in the need of renovation)

2 comments

  1. Hi
    I lived in 33 Marksbury a few years ago with my husband Clive Gotley. It was haunted, I was literally thrown / pushed down the staircase by a large dark figure which appeared frequently. that is why I moved. A beautiful, quaint little cottage. I only have 1 photo of the inside but will try to find more.
    If you want to contact me I now live in Byron Bay NSW.

    Like

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