Gatwick House and Residents


Gatwick House

Photo: Kindly reproduced by permission of the Cater Museum, Billericay

Photo: Kindly reproduced by permission of the Cater Museum, Billericay

Gatwick House is a Grade II listed building, situated just off Southend Road.

A building has existed on this site since 1593, however the building we see today dates from 1745. This date is carved into a floor timber and a brick in the chimney dating the rear part of the house. The inscription ‘PAD 1767’ on a rainwater head confirms later work took place to the front of the house, possibly with the addition of a brick façade.

In the early days Gatwick House was referred to as Mill Hill House. Ownership of Mill Meadows has been strongly linked to Gatwick House since at least the mid eighteenth century, possibly longer.

In 1767 the house was owned by Philip Davies who was minister of the Old Meeting in Chapel Street, now the United Reformed Church. It is not clear when he left, but at some point the house passed into the ownership of John Price.

In 1808 John Ward, a wealthy businessman, bought Gatwick House from John Price. Following tradition it was then passed down to his eldest son, first to Henry Ward in 1849 then to John Henry Ward in 1872 where it remained until 1961. Read more about John Ward and The Gatwick Estate.

There is no evidence that any of the Ward family were permanently resident at Gatwick during this period. Instead it was occupied by a whole succession of residents: wealthy people accompanied by servants, some of whom were housed in Greens Farm Cottages and Mill Cottages.

In a 1910-1915 valuation survey Gatwick House was described as brick and tiled, fairly old and in very good repair. On the first floor were two bedrooms and dressing rooms, two servants’ bedrooms, a bathroom with an enamel bath and hot and cold water and two toilets. On the second floor were four servants’ bedrooms and box room.

On the ground floor was a small hall, drawing room, smoking room, dining room, brush room, butler’s pantry, kitchen with range, dresser and cupboard, servant’s hall, scullery, two larders, cellars, detached wooden game larger, bottle house and two outside toilets.

In 1962 Gatwick House was sold along with the land to the Metro Railway Company Estates (MRCE) for development, and during the 1960s spent some time as a dental surgery.  In 1970 the MRCE sold Gatwick House and 10 acres of land to Mr Neil Watson who still lives there today.

Residents of Gatwick House

  • 1828 - Colonel Bruce

  • 1832 - Rev Charles Landon, Rector of Vange

  • 1841 - Henry Arundel of “independent means” At the time of the 1841 census Henry Arundel (35) was resident with his wife Elizabeth (30), one daughter aged 5, three sons ages 4, 3 and 2 months and six female servants (aged between 15 and 35)

  • 1861 - Edmund Buckley, Captain of the Militia. At the time of the 1861 census Edmund Buckley (28) was resident with his wife Mary Buckley (25), two sons aged 1 and less than one month old, his mother in law (52) and four servants: a cook (20), housemaid (19), nurse (20) and monthly nurse (midwife)(45)

  • 1871 - Mrs Julie Scurr, clergyman’s widow. At the time of the 1871 census Julia Scurr (68) was resident with William Douglas (80) who was a widower and retired tailor, a butler (25) and three domestic servants (aged between 16 and 48) They were visited by Alexander Ward (18), Engineer

  • Resident in one of Greens Farm Cottages in 1871 was a gardener, Frederick Sorrel with his wife and son, serving Mrs Scurr at Gatwick House. A coachman with his wife lived in the other cottage.

  • 20 October 1879 - Harman Grisewood was born at Gatwick House. We do not know if his family were resident or visiting.

  • 1881–1891- Patrick Carnegie, “owner of land” and Master of Essex Union Foxhounds (1880-98). At the time of the 1881 census Patrick Carnegie (45) was resident with his wife Elizabeth (40), his sister in law Margaret Davidson (27) and eight servants: a housekeeper (31), two ladies maids (24 and 40), a kitchen maid, (22), housemaid (21), laundry maid (45), scullery maid (18) and footman (25)

  • 1881 - Resident in one of Greens Farmhouse cottages were the servants to the Carnegie family. A gardener Samson Bird (29) with his wife, Caroline (45), 12 year old son described as an Errand Boy, and three daughters (age 9, 7 and 4). In the cottage next year was another gardener, Charles White (52) with his wife, Ann (54) and son Charles (22), a labourer, daughter, Emma (14) and grandson, Arthur (2)

  • 1891 - Patrick Carnegie (55) was resident still with his wife Elizabeth (49), his niece Ida Chetwynd (21) and five servants: a ladies maid (50), laundry maid (55), housemaid (23), cook (26), and a kitchen maid (20). Only the laundry maid (Anna McKay, 55) remained on the staff from 1881.

  • 1891 - Mary Ann Fell (55) lived in Greens Farmhouse cottage with her three sons, Ernest (25) and Philip (18), both gardeners and Daniel (21), a groom, all serving the Carnegie’s.

  • 1891 - Charles and Ann White were both still resident in the cottage next door with their grandson Arthur.

  • 1898 - Edward Thomas Mashiter and wife, Elizabeth. Edward was Master of the Essex Union (1899-1900), Secretary (1878-1891), Magistrate (c1910-17) He died in 1919.

  • 1937–1939 - Alfred Basil Brooks. Alfred Brooks was a founding member of the Antiquarian Horological Society. He died with his wife in an aircraft crash in 1953, at the time of the crash he was living at Burghstead Lodge (now the registry office on Billericay High Street).

  • 1939 onwards - Mr and Mrs Faber. Edward Porter of 2 Mill Cottages was gardener/chauffeur to this family

  • 1970 to present – Neil Watson and family

Harman Grisewood

Harman Joseph Mary Grisewood was born at Gatwick House on the 20th October 1879. His parents were Harman Grisewood and Consettina del Conti Messina who must have been living in or staying at Gatwick House in 1879.

Harman was educated at Downside School and then Christ Church, Oxford. He served in the Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, the Forth Hussars and the 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment and he rose to the ranks of Lt. Colonel. He served as the Aide-de-camp to George Curzon during the Boer War.

In 1909 he became Privy Chamberlain of Sword and Cape to Pope Pius X. He was also, apparently, very handsome!

Alfred Basil Brooks

Alfred Basil Brooks was a tenant of Gatwick House in 1937 before moving to Burghstead Lodge on Billericay High Street (now owned by Essex County Council housing Billericay’s Registration Office).

He was a Justice of the Peace (JP) and very involved with the local ARP (Air Raid Precautions) in Billericay. He was a founding member of the Antiquarian Horological Society in 1953.

A few months after the founding he died, along with his wife, in an aircraft crash. The aircraft was a de Havilland Comet which crashed in the Mediterranean while on its first flight BOAC Flight 781 in an aircraft named Yoke Peter.

View the British Pathe news report about the inquiry into the crash

Edward Thomas Mashiter (was Helme)

Edward Thomas Mashiter was born in 1842 at Bishops Waltham.  He had a brother, George, and two sisters both born in Mountnessing, Essex.  In 1867 he married Augusta and they lived in Hornchurch with 7 servants. He was chairman of Ind, Coope and Company Ltd, brewers of Romford. He was Secretary of the Essex Union Hunt from 1877-1891 and in 1880 was elected master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers. Augusta died in 1895 and by 1898 he is recorded as living at Gatwick House.  On 28 February 1899 a newspaper report (from the London Gazette 7 March 1899) reports his change of name from Helme to Mashiter after an uncle. The family change of surname surname stemmed indirectly from the marriage of Edward's grandfather Robert Helme of Walthamstow to Blandina Mashiter, daughter of William Mashiter of Romford. Edward and his father adopted the name Mashiter under the terms of the will of Thomas's maternal uncle Thomas Mashiter (1779-1862) of Hornchurch Lodge, Hornchurch. However, neither did so immediately, Thomas waiting until 1884 and Edward until 1899 before taking out the royal licence required.  From 1899-1909 he was the Master of the Essex Union Hunt and in 1899 became a JP, acting as chairman of the Billericay bench of magistrates. In the 1901 census he is still recorded as living at Gatwick House. In 1910-1917 he was a magistrate. In 1911 he married his second wife Dorothy Helsham Jones and died on 23 February 1921 at Gatwick House.

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