The Walronds, 6 Fore Street

The Walronds is the most important town house of its age in the South West and has long been Cullompton’s most significant private dwelling. Its situation, fronting an extensive burgage plot on Fore Street, has also made it highly visible. Cullompton had a destructive fire in 1602 and this probably caused The Walronds to be rebuilt over the following three years by John Peter of Marldon. It is remains a largely early seventeenth-century building both in its structure and fittings but it is additionally distinctive because most other comparative buildings were destroyed by a subsequent fire in 1839.

The overmantle which records the building of the house and details of the family.

Peter had married Emmeline Parys and The Walronds was part of her inheritance. Their marriage was commemorated in an over-mantel decorated with their heraldry and the year 1605. There are three ornate plaster ceilings of this date and these appear to have been the craftmanship of plasterers who worked in other nearby high status houses. The name of the house was acquired after the Civil War when it was leased for about a century to the Walrond family. By 1839 two cloth merchants each leased half of the building. It passed through various owners (Portman, Baker, Sydenham, Burrow, Yeoman) until it was acquired by June Severn. She left it to the Cullompton Walronds Preservation Trust in 2004.

Merchant Life

Sketch of The Walronds

Humphrey Parys, a merchant, purchased a substantial building, later known as The Walronds, in 1564 and his daughter, Emmeline, later brought ownership of it to her marriage with John Petre. Petre had the building rebuilt in about 1605 and it survived largely intact for over 400 years.

Thirteen decades later, in 1739, The Walronds was divided by the owner, Edmund Walrond of Silverton. Half was occupied by William Bidwell and the other part by John Fowler. Both were serge-makers and Cullompton men. Bidwell was a Quaker and lived in The Walronds with his second wife, Sarah Hill of Bridport. His first wife, Elizabeth Collier, was from a well-established Quaker family of Plymouth and Topsham. Other Quakers in Cullompton were also serge-makers including the family of Elizabeth’s sister-in-law Ann. Her maiden name was Were and it was that family firm that was the forerunner of Fox Brothers.

John Fowler, who lived in the other half of The Walronds in 1739, also came from a cloth background. Generations of Fowler’s family were involved in Cullompton’s cloth trade including his father Ralph who was one of the earliest local men to be insured with the Sun Fire Company and it was John Fowler who established a serge-making business incorporating his father’s woolcombing. In 1744 he insured 12 dwellings that became known as Fowler’s Sergemakers’ Cottages. Thirteen years later the number of cottages had grown to 16 and their occupants included the serge-weavers John Short, John Mitchell, William Dickson, John Bathing, John Dyer, Thomas Maunder, and George Taylor; and wool-combers John Woodrow and Samuel Ash. A later John Fowler, described in his will of 9th April 1800 as a clothier of Cullompton, invested in Bradfield Mill with the clothier William Brown of Cullompton and John Bowden Creswell, an Exeter merchant who had connections with the Walrond family.

Timeline

DateOccupantsSource
1844Sydenham Miss Frances,Pigot
1851 CensusJohn P Sydenham, widower, 47, County Magistrate House & Railway proprietor, born Cullompton
Frances, sister, unmarried, 54, born Cullompton
Margaret, sister, 53, born Cullompton
Mary, sister, 45, born Cullompton
Philip JW, son, 7, scholar, born Bickleigh
Richard Grant, servant, 20, house, servant, born Bickleigh
Eliza Sanford, 35, house, servant, born somewhere in Devon
Matilda Potter, 19, house, servant, born Kentisbeare; Sarah, painter, 16, house, servant, born somewhere in Devon
1861 CensusJohn Phillip Sydenham, 57, justice of the peace, clergyman, born Cullompton
Mary Elizabeth, wife, 53, born Reading, Berkshire
John George, 25, clergyman, born in Devon; Elizabeth Bussell, 85, visitor, born Exeter
Ellen Law, 16, visitor, born Barnstaple
William Mitchell, 29, groom, born Willand
Richard ?, 14, page, born Uffculme
Jane ?, 28, Cook, born Silverton
Ann Lee, 22, housemaid, born Bickleigh
1871 CensusJohn P Sydenham, 67, magistrate and Rector of Willand, born Cullompton
Mary, 63, born Burnham Lodge, near Reading in Berks
Tryphena? Saunders, 37, general domestic servant, born Bradninch
Ann?, 18, domestic servant, born Culmstock
William Johnson, 18, general stick servant, born Willand
1881 CensusJohn G Sydenham, 45, clerk in holy orders, born Cullompton
Mary Hooper Sydenham, 44, born Devon
Beida W P?, Daughter, 14, scholar, born Shebbear
Frances Dora, daughter, 10, scholar, born Barmouth
Adelaide Rutley, 19, domestic servant
 
1889Burrow Frederic LL.D. solicitor ; coroner for the Crediton district ; clerk to the magistrates for the division of Cullompton; clerk to the burial board & to feoffees of charities; commissioner to administer oaths in supreme court; & perpetual commissioner for taking acknowledgments for DevonKellys
1891 CensusFrederic Burrow, 49, solicitor and County Coroner, born Cullompton
Charlotte Beale Burrow, 50, born Cullompton
Raymond Burrow, 19, articles clerk in solicitor’s office
Florence Burrow, daughter, 18, born Cullompton
Mary Bindon, 33, cook domestic servant, born Falmouth in Cornwall
Elizabeth Glass, 31, housemaid domestic servant, born Cullompton
Louisa Membrey, 18, housemaid domestic servant, born Cullompton
 
1914Holmden Maj. Frank Alfred, Amphlett, D.S.O.. Private ResidentKellys
1939Our Lady of Dolours Convent School, preparatory school for girls & small boys (Rev. Mother Superior, principal),Kellys