One of the best known houses in Timsbury is known as Parish’s House built in 1816. It was a massive extension of a smaller house and is a Grade II listed building fronted by an ornate balustrade and includes a stable block from the same date. The building has been described as an ‘exquisite miniature of regency design’. Indeed, its design has been ascribed to Thomas Baldwin who designed the Guild Hall in Bath.
Another tradition is that the original owner, Captain John Parish of the Royal Navy, extended the house in about 1816 from his share of the bounty money he acquired from participating in the capture of a Spanish treasure ship, the Pamona in 1806 in the West Indies. He was Senior Lieutenant of the Arethusa which captured the Pamona and he was also involved in the conquest of Curacoa. He fought with Nelson at the Battle of the Nile. However, part of the house predates Captain Parish. There is an 18th century building lying behind the present front entrance that was known as Honeylands. This must have been built after 1784 as the parish map of that date shows it still as a pasture field. It came to Captain Parish as part of a bequest to his wife Mary Crang, the only daughter of John Crang of Pitfour House, who he married in 1815. The name Honeylands may have come from an adjacent field of the same name. Captain Parish died in 1837, but his wife carried on living there until her death in 1877, with various cousins and at least five servants.
In 1877, Francis R Philps, who was a physician at St Lukes Hospital, London, bought the house for his son Francis Lamb Philps. Francis Lamb Philps was a captain in the 2nd Dragoons and married Mary Eliza Ellen Browne in 1874. He chose to change the name of the house to Pendogget, and this name survives today as the title given by some locals in the area near the house. The name was taken from the village of Pendogget, the area of Cornwall that the Philps family came from.
By 1894 Montgomerie and Constance Boyle owned the house. He was a major in the South West Mounted Brigade, Royal Army Service Corps. In 1906 George Barton Scobell was in the house.
Then by 1910 Henry Newcomen Cooper was there. In 1911 he is described as a coin merchant. By 1923 he was succeeded by Captain Charles Sherrif and his wife and step-daughter, Betty Allgood, and then by Major Addington. It is interesting to note the number of owners with military titles. Captain Sherrif was thought to be one of the best cricketers that Timsbury ever had and that he attracted large crowds to watch. It is interesting that his groom, George Ford, was the father of the present Ford Oil family. Captain Sherrif’s baby son is buried in the old churchyard, there is a little angel over his tomb.
Major Addington and his wife lived in Parish’s House in the 1930s. They did much to revive the British Legion in the village. After Major Addington came Lady Ponsonby who took the house just before the Second World War. She was the widow of Lord Ponsonby, Keeper of the King’s Purse and Equerry to Queen Mary who visited her at the house. During Lady Ponsonby’s occupation the house was completely restored. She employed a London architect, Sir Gerald Wellsley, and she also installed modern electrical wiring. She is remebered as a very tall elegant woman.
By 1944 there was another owner, Lady Mount Temple, who set out to restore the gardens which had been a great feature of the house. Her daughter, the then Duchess of Westminster, visited her in Timsbury. Lady Mountbatten (born Edwina Ashley) was her step-daughter.
After the Second World War, Major B G S Cayzer lived there until his death in 1981. He was a great benefactor to Timsbury and assisted in several major projects including the Conygre Hall, the Youth Club and the cricket clubroom. One of the rooms in Greenhill House is named Parish’s in recognition of Major Cayzer’s donation towards the new East and West wings. Major Cayzer built the covered heated swimming pool and laid out the present rose gardens. In the spring the grounds were a blaze of daffodils and he used to throw the gardens open to the public at this time in aid of charities. In 1981 Greenhill House held its fete there on Easter Sunday.
Major Cayzer was himself the son of a sea captain and he re-introduced the name ‘Parish’s House’ by which it is now known. He was the second son of the Union Castle Shipping Line family.
A more recent owner was Mr McGreavey who originally owned the Great Mills DIY Centre (Now Focus).
Reproduced from ‘The Timsbury Book’ by kind permission of Timsbury Parish Council.