A walk to the Pittville Pump Room. Some history on three Luminaries including a Colclough.
This week, reflecting a bit of freedom for Eva, to let her have a run about off the lead.
We walk from the Racecourse towards Cheltenham and a park we had noticed on another day.
Leaving the racecourse, we headed south to the A 435 Evesham Road. The first place of interest before we headed down the hill was Rosehill, UCAS the university clearing organisation now. It is a substantial building, surrounded by a substantial wall. In 1911 it was a 23 roomed house, the home of William Alexander Baring Bingham, he was living off private means, aged 52, born in Canterbury, Kent and married to Annie Elizabeth she was 47 and had been born in London, they had had no children. They had nine servants living there with them including a cook and kitchen maid. (The National Archive. 1911)
With family history and genealogy, sometimes a name just jumps out, Baring is certainly one of those. William Alexander Baring Bingham is relatively easy to find. Described as a generous benefactor to Nazareth House Cheltenham (Richard Barton (1988). Blog. St Gregory’s Convent n.d.). The son of William de Lotbiniere Bingham (1832-1864) and Helen Pemberton. He was the grandson of William Bingham (1800-1852) and Marie Charlotte De Lotbiniere. Anna Louisa Bingham the sister of William Bingham (1800-1852) married Alexander Baring of the banking family. (2021 n.d.) and that’s where the naming pattern arose. A note on the Bingham family; William Bingham (March 8, 1752 – February 7, 1804) the great grandfather of Rosehill’s 1911 owner, was an American statesman (and privateer) from Philadelphia. He was a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788 and served in the United States Senate from 1795 to 1801. Bingham was one of the wealthiest men in the United States during his lifetime and was considered to be the richest person in the U.S. in 1780. (Wikipedia 2021)Extended-Family-Chart-for-William-Alexander-Baring-Bingham
The PDF shows a basic Bingham family tree.
Down the hill and a left turn off the Evesham Road and there is the Pittville Pump Room.
The Pump Room was the brainchild of Joseph Pitt, he came from a small place on the Gloucester Wiltshire border, was one of the few first generation self-made men to enter Parliament during the early nineteenth century. His paternal grandfather, Joseph Pitt of Brokenborough, married Elizabeth Brown at Malmesbury, 16 Sept. 1723. Their son Joseph, who was baptized 7 Oct. 1724, married Ann Golding and moved to Little Witcombe in the parish of Badgeworth, where they had four sons: John (d. 1 May 1776, aged 22); Isaac (d. 6 May 1808, aged 52); Joseph (d. 12 Feb. 1758, aged 14 days); and Joseph of the Pump Room, who was baptized in late 1759. This Joseph Pitt’s first two wives died soon after their marriages, the second from swallowing some loose hairs from her toothbrush while pregnant. His third wife died, 11 July 1819, in Clarges Street, where he occasionally resided when in London. His friend the Rev. Francis Witts wrote in 1825 that Pitt was
‘one of those fortunate members of the legal profession, whom great sagacity, lucky opportunity and the skill of seizing on favourable circumstances have elevated from a very humble to a very prosperous situation in life. His enterprises as attorney, banker, speculator in land, and many other ways of gaining or losing fortunes, have been eminently successful.’
From his humble beginnings he became a partner in the bank of Pitt, Gardner, Croome, Bowley and Wood, which had branches in Tetbury and Cheltenham, where he was also a partner in the brewery of Gardner, Pitt and Company. Another of his partnerships was in the London bank of Bosanquet, Beachcroft, Pitt and Anderson. Pitt invested speculatively in land, purchasing the manor of Minety, Gloucestershire, from Lord Rivers for £21,000 in 1791, and the neighbouring estate of Eastcourt, which he made his principal residence, from the Earle family for £28,000 in 1807. Both properties were improved by the passage of Enclosure Acts (in 1811 and 1816 respectively), he had done something similar in 1801 at Cheltenham, where in 1800 he acquired a considerable area of agricultural land, known as the Marsh, to the north of the town, from the earl of Essex. His first contribution to the architecture of Cheltenham was the Royal Crescent of 1812, and in the early 1820’s he began to develop his estate there as the new spa of Pittville. (Farrell., pitt-joseph-1759-1842 2021)
Through financial dealings like the above, he was first returned as a member of parliament for Cricklade, at the general election of 1812 and remained so until 1831. “Cricklade described in splendid manner as ‘that villainous hole’, a market town on Wiltshire’s northern border, that ‘certainly, a more rascally place I never set my eyes on’. The countryside around he found pleasant enough, but the people were in a wretched condition, and ‘everything had the air of the most deplorable want’… Pitt owned the lordship of the manor and therefore appointed the bailiff (who acted as returning officer). He had two houses in Cricklade in 1812, increasing to 106 in 1818 and 79 in 1830; with this considerable property, he commanded one seat, which he occupied himself, with ministerial support, from the general election of 1812 onwards. The other seat was generally occupied by a Whig, returned on a loose association of weak aristocratic interests. With the backing of the 15th earl of Suffolk of Charlton Park, near Malmesbury, the choice in 1812 was Thomas Calley of Burderop, who in practice usually sided with the administration of Lord Liverpool. At the general election of 1818, however, he was defeated by another local gentleman, Robert Gordon of Kemble, Member for Wareham. He had successfully enlisted the patronage of a like-minded Whig Lord Folkestone (and eldest son of the 2nd earl of Radnor of Longford Castle) and, through him, of the 3rd Baron Holland, who owned estates near Malmesbury. Pitt came top of the poll that year, amid allegations over the creation of fictitious votes through the purchase of houses in Cricklade, and complaints against the corporators of Malmesbury being allowed to vote by virtue of their jointly owned town lands.” (Farrell, cricklade 2021)
The Pittville Pump Room was the last and largest of the spa buildings to be built in Cheltenham.
The benefits of Cheltenham’s mineral waters had been recognised since 1716, but not until after the arrival of Henry Skillicorne in 1738 did serious exploitation of their potential as an attraction begin. After the visit to Cheltenham in 1788 of King George III, the town became increasingly fashionable, and wells were opened up at several points round the town. Pittville, the vision of Joseph Pitt, was a planned ‘new town’ development of the 1820s, in which the centre-piece was (and remains) a pump-room where the waters of one of the more northerly wells could be taken.
The Pump Room was built by the architect John Forbes between 1825 and 1830. Now it is a Grade I listed building standing at the northern end of Pittville Lawn with landscaped grounds running down to a lake. (Wikipedia 2021)
A gala opening ceremony was held for the Pittville Pump Room, 20 July 1830, but Pitt stayed away, possibly because he was already disillusioned with an enterprise which he later claimed had cost him £40,000. He was elected for Cricklade for the last time at the general election the following month, when he was unable to ‘find an opening’ for Thomas Gladstone. He was listed by ministers among their ‘friends’, but was absent from the division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, which led to their resignation. He was granted a fortnight’s leave because of the disturbed state of his neighbourhood, 25 Nov. 1830, and again, on urgent private business, 16 Feb. 1831. He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831, which precipitated a dissolution. Pitt, who signed the requisition for the return of Lord Robert Edward Henry Somerset* for Gloucestershire, retired at the subsequent dissolution. In an address to the electors, 25 Apr. 1831, he declared that ‘it has required much resolution to make me decline soliciting to be replaced in the honourable situation to which you elevated me, but I find its arduous duties beyond my strength, at my advanced age’. The real reason for his withdrawal was said to be his increasing unpopularity and failing fortunes. However, he put up (and voted for) a supposed opponent of reform, the former Member Thomas Calley, who was elected with the other sitting Member, Robert Gordon, against another reformer after a sharp contest. On 30 May he apparently attended the reform dinner in Malmesbury, where his interest, which was challenged that month, collapsed after the passage of the reform bill the following year. Illness prevented him from presiding at the Wiltshire Society’s annual dinner, 23 June 1831.23 His influence elsewhere had been eclipsed, but he may have retained a partial interest at Cricklade for a few years.
Since the mid-1820s Pitt’s speculative ventures had gone awry, not least because of the success of the rival spas in Cheltenham. Witts noted of the Pittville Pump Room in 1830 that
‘the spirited proprietor and projector … who in the course of a long life has risen from the lowest rank of society to wealth and consequence, must, I fear, find this an unprofitable concern, less advantageous than if the money it has cost had been invested in three per cent annuities.’
His financial affairs became more and more encumbered, with crippling debts being only partially offset by the sale of some of his properties, for example of the manor of Malmesbury to Joseph Neeld in 1840. He died in February 1842, ‘highly respected by all who knew him’. He was buried at Crudwell, where his monument bore the arms of the celebrated family of Pitt, to whom he was not known to be related. It was estimated that he owed £150,000 and that the interest payments on his mortgages came to £6,000 a year, compared to the mere £4,000 he received in revenue from the properties. Another Joseph Pitt, a fox-hunting parson, who was the only son of Pitt’s estranged first son Cornelius (1787-1840), vicar of Rendcomb, began a suit in chancery, on behalf of himself and others, for the settlement of their claims against the estate. Though most had received substantial gifts during their father’s lifetime, there was to be nothing more for Pitt’s surviving sons: his heir Joseph (1796-1869), an attorney; William Gregson (1798-1846), the manager of the County of Gloucester Bank at Cheltenham, into which his father’s bank had been merged; Charles (1803-74), vicar of Malmesbury; and George Hicks, an Indian judge. A ruling was eventually given in favour of the main claimants, especially Mullings, who had lent Pitt over £50,000, and thereby came to purchase and live at Eastcourt. Other properties were sold at auction in 1843 and 1845, Neeld purchasing the manor of Cricklade. The ill-fated Pittville Pump Room, never a great commercial success, was acquired by the town council of Cheltenham in 1890. (Farrell, pitt-joseph-1759-1842 2021)
Our walk had encountered two of Cheltenham’s ‘great and good’ not that Eva was interested!
We spent a few warm few hours in the park and let the little dog run around and around, before walking back to the racecourse and the motorhome.
As we walked back, I considered it would have been remis of me to have gone to Cheltenham and not nodded at my own long distant relative, the grandly named Caesar Colclough. I wondered if he and Joseph Pitt knew each other, I suspect they knew of each other at the very least. They were Parliamentary contemporaries. Because the Colclough family had represented the county of Wexford in Ireland off and on throughout the 18th century as MPs, and Caesar might have expected to follow suit, but had his prospects blighted by an impoverished scapegrace father the wonderful ‘Sir’ Vesey, of whom Caesar wrote:
‘I was forced on my coming of age to run off from examination in Trinity College to avoid being arrested for my schooling, diet, lodging and clothing [costs], persecuted by my improvident father to join him to raise money to furnish aliment for his profligate life with a servant maid, his mistress, and her children, whilst my brother, self and mother were pensioners of her five brothers … Many a day, a penny cake … furnished my dinner, and counting the trees … my dessert. ’Twas then I learned independence and frugality, which now in opulence I still practise in my 71st year.’
In 1791 Cesar escaped to London for a legal education, but while on a visit in Paris 1792 he was arrested and made a ‘prisoner of state’. He escaped to Lausanne and although he had meanwhile succeeded to his encumbered estate, decided to remain on the Continent, leaving his brother John Colclough (killed later in a duel) to manage and remit him £600 p.a., while he dabbled in ‘mechanical experiments’ for future redemption, and perambulated central Europe.
In December 1804 Cesar’s brother John applied to him to come home and stand on the ‘popular’ interest for Wexford: a year later he agreed to do so. His decision turned out to be ‘the greatest misfortune that ever befell me’. No sooner was he returned in absentia, after a contested by-election in which he received the support of the Grenville ministry, in May 1806, than he was taken hostage by Buonaparte. He was therefore unable to take his seat. At the ensuing general election his brother John, who had been his election manager, was returned in his place, only to be shot dead defending his seat at the election of 1807.
Cesar Colclough remained a prisoner of war until 1814, when he returned to Wexford to see to his estate. By the spring of 1817 he had decided to contest the county in conjunction with Lord Carew the sitting opposition Member. They were returned after a bitter and expensive contest. Colclough, evidently not as popular in the county as his late brother, acted with opposition, voting steadily with them from 2 Feb. until 18 May 1819, when he voted for Tierney’s censure motion. He tried unsuccessfully to speak on the Catholic claims, 3 May, and had to be content with voting for them. Next day, in his maiden speech against the ineffectiveness of state lotteries, he described the superiority of continental ones, in what he feared might, from his 25 years’ residence abroad, be a continental accent. Next day he opposed the Irish window tax as a direct cause of disease. He voted for burgh reform on 1 Apr. and 6 May. On 17 May he expressed his fear that gas lighting in London would be a health hazard. No minority votes are recorded for the winter session. In 1820 Colclough could not afford a contest. He continued to live frugally (in Cheltenham!), hoping to recover the properties alienated by his father. He died 23 Aug. 1842. (Jupp 2021)
Here is Caesar in 1841 living with Jane his wife in The Park, Leckhampton, Cheltenham; Caesar Colclough aged 75 born Ireland, Proprietor of Estate, (living frugally?) with Jane Colclough 47, born Ireland. (The National Archive 1841).
He died in Boteler House, Leckhamptom, Cheltenham (Registry. n.d.) was taken back to the family estate, buried at Tintern Abbey in Wexford (Find a Grave n.d.). Probably not blissfully unaware of the lawsuits looking to claim the lands, waiting under starters orders.
He made at least 4 wills between 8th July and 6th August 1842. Here is the last one, I have transcripts of them all:
4th and last will of Caesar Colclough, of Tintern Abbey.
The last will and testament of me, Caesar Colclough of Tintern Abbey in the County of Wexford, and of Boteler House, Cheltenham Esquire. I give and devise all and singular my real and personal estate to my dear wife Jane Stratford Colclough, her heirs, executors, administrators and assignes, to and for her and their own absolute
use and benefit. But as to any estate vested on me, upon trust, or by way of mortgage, subject to the equities affecting the same respectively.
I appoint the said Jane Stratford Colclough, Executrix of this my will, hereby revoking every other will, by me at any time heretofore made. In witness whereof, I have to this my last will set my hand, the 6th August 1842. Caesar Colclough.
Witness present: James Fortnum, Surgeon, G.E.Williams, Solicitor, Cheltenham. Proved by widow in the Arches Court of Canterbury and in the Prerogative Court, Dublin.
The will was set aside by verdict of a special Jury, at Wexford. July 1852. (Colclough 1842)
So, we weren’t too far from a relative, who had left a trail of litigation behind.
2021, Meredith 2018. https://househistree.com/people/william-bingham-1752-1804 : accessed 18 10. n.d.
Colclough. 1842. “Wills.” Colcough Papers. Private Papers in my possession. PDF, 08 06.
Farrell, Stephen. 2021. cricklade. Accessed 10 18, 2021. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/constituencies/cricklade.
—. 2021. pitt-joseph-1759-1842. Accessed 10 18, 2021. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/pitt-joseph-1759-1842.
Farrell., Stephen. n.d. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/constituencies/cricklade .
—. 2021. pitt-joseph-1759-1842. Accessed 10 18, 2021. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/pitt-joseph-1759-1842.
Find a Grave. n.d. Caesar Colclough Tintern. Accessed 10 18, 2021. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/185383311/caesar-colclough.
Jupp, P. J. 2021. colclough-caesar-1766-1842. Accessed 10 18, 2021. http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/member/colclough-caesar-1766-1842.
Registry., Principal Probate. n.d. Colclough, Caesar. 15 Mar 1881. Death 23 Aug 1842. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England.
Richard Barton (1988). Blog. St Gregory’s Convent, Cheltenham. https://btsarnia.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/st-gregorys-convent-cheltenham.pdf : accessed 18 10 2021. n.d.
The National Archive. 1841. “1841 Census. Leckhampton. COLCLOUGH, Caesar.” The Genealogist. 06 06. Accessed 10 18, 2021. www.thegenealogist.co.uk.
The National Archive. 1911. “BINGHAM, William Alexander Baring. 1911. Census records. England. Rosehill, Cheltenham. Gloucesteshire. RG14PN15523 RG78PN946 RD333 SD1 ED6 SN144.” findmypast. 04 02. Accessed 10 18, 2021. www.findmypast.co.uk.
Wikipedia. 2021. Pittville Pump Room. Accessed 10 19, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittville_Pump_Room.
—. 2021. William Bingham. Accessed 10 18, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Bingham.