THE MIDDLEZOY BOWN HOUSES
As well as the old house on
1: Langacre, 1mile north of Middlezoy.
2: Townsend, Pound road, Middlezoy. (Pound road or more recently Main Road)
3: Coronation Cottage, Pound or Main Road.
The Bown line that we are following here is
William Bown1724 > William Bown1751 > John Bown1775 > Charles Bown1815 > Walter Bown1843 > James Bown1873>
Last updated 20th Nov 2013
1) The Bown House at Langacre, 1 mile north of Middlezoy.
Deeds from 1823-1838, held by the Somerset Records Office, a copy in my possession, refer to a house, garden and orchard containing together about half an acre, situated in Langacre, belonging to a William Bown the elder who had sons William Junior, John & Thomas. We can identify him in the line above as William Bown1751. The sons were William Bown 1774, John Bown 1775 and Thomas Bown1779. After William1751 died in 1829, Thomas1779 was living in the house. The deed dated 23rd July 1830 is the first to mention that the property was at Langacre.
According to OS maps of around 1888 & 1900, there was still a group of dwellings in an area called Langacre, which was about 1 mile north of Middlezoy, just ¼ mile south east of Burdenham Farm, which is ½ mile east of Westonzoyland. The site was just beyond the eastern end of the old runway.
British History Online states that Langacre,
on the edge of the marsh north of the village, was recorded with one cottage in
1609. There were six houses in the 1780s. It grew to eight in 1851, but had
begun to shrink by 1871, and was abandoned in the early 20th century.( 'Middlezoy', A History of the
OS1900 maps clearly show the settlement http://www.somerset.gov.uk/archives/maps/os62htm/6202.htm
Google Maps Satellite imagery shows some remains in the area.
Occupants(determined from the Deeds):
1822 William Bown1751 & Hannah1750 when Hannah died in 1822
1823 William Bown1751 sold the house to his sons, William1774, John1775 and Thomas1779.
1829 William Bown1751 lived there till his death in 1829
1830 Thomas Bown1779 was already living there in July 1830 when he became sole owner of the property. He took out a £40 mortgage with Nicholas Broadmead of Eastover Langport, to buy out William1774 and John1775 of their shares for £30, presumably £15 each.
1838 Thomas Bown1779 owed £59 to Broadmead, who repossessed the house, then sold it to a George Edington for £62. Broadmead got his £59, Thomas got £3.
1838 Edington sold it for £80 to a Samuel Stuckey, making a profit of £18.
It is known that George Edington emigrated to
Walter C Bown recalled in 2008 that there were at least 4 cottages at Langacre, with one family belonging to Horace Frampton.
In The London Gazette on 8th March 1881, a certain Charles Lynham Jenkins, farmer & Hay dealer of Langacre, was mentioned in connection with bankruptcy.
In The London Gazette on 19th May 1922, Florence Ellen Coombs of Langacre, was mentioned as having died on 9th March 1922.
2) The Bown House, Townsend, Pound Road, Middlezoy.
British History Online states about Middlezoy …By the 1820s it had also spread east towards the Bridgwater road, an area known as Townsend. So, it seems likely that the old house in the village may only have been built towards the end of the 1700’s or the early part of the 1800’s.
For some time, and certainly around 1936 when Eliza died, the house was
still referred to as Townsend,
Demands for rent by the Lord of Middlezoy Manor, Arthur Macdonald , referred to the two houses as Tithe No’s 364 & 365.
James Bown had been paying £32 yearly rent for Coronation cottage. A valuation for Probate, carried out by Frank Keirl, Auctioneer & valuer, when Eliza Jane Bown died in 1936, valued Townsend at £235, and Coronation cottage at £100.There was a mortgage or loan of £100 at 5% per year which was paid at the rate of £2.10s per 6months. The houses were Tithe no's 364 & 365, and the Lords rent for 1932 was 1s.5d.
Many generations of Bown’s lived in the house
John Bown (1775-1859) He was listed in the 1841 & 1851 census records as an agricultural labourer.
Charles Bown (1815-1881). Listed in Kellys directory as a Farmer in the 1875 edition.
Walter Bown (1843-1910). Listed in Kellys directory as a Tailor in the 1875/1883/1889/1894/1897/1902/1906/1910 editions.
In 1859, when he was 16, he wrote out a list of bills paid and goods purchased. These were mainly clothing materials so was he possibly in training as a tailor at that time? This handwritten document mentions many local names. WBownBills.htm
The Bridgwater Mercury contains accounts of the meetings of the Temperance Society which held meetings on at least three occasions in 1882,1883 & 1901 in Mr Walter Bowns Barton or premises. The barton would have been the large barn adjoining the house.
James Bown (1874-1966). Listed in Kellys Directorys as a Grocer in the 1897/1902/1906/1910/1914/1919/1923 editions.
Initially he and his wife occupied Coronation Cottage.
He and his wife Annie
ran a shop that he built onto the side of his father’s old house,
Townsend. The address people used was 'The Stores',
Annie Bown’s shop book which covered the period 1903- 1937 contained a list of transactions with many local folk mentioned. As many people were quite poor they often had to buy on ‘tick’ until they had some money, which meant that Mrs Bown had to keep accurate records of who owed what. anniesbook.htm
There are a few people still around who have fond memories of Mrs Bown’s shop… A memory contributed by Mr Tony Ethridge reads as follows: ‘ We used to regularly go into Mrs. Bown's shop and buy a bottle of Tizer and a penny's worth of broken biscuits. Mrs. Bown sold biscuits loose in them days from large tins with glass tops, and she would sell us a huge bag of broken biscuits for a penny and if she didn't have enough broken ones she would break some to fill the bag up. Dear old Mrs. Bown certainly contributed to our happy days in the village. We would head off with our 'supplies' and have a feast out in the fields under our tent made out of a couple of sticks and an old army blanket, or go to one of our many 'dens' that we had around the village such as the lofts of remote old barns and farm out-buildings.’
The Stores or Townsend, with Coronation Cottage just visible. The house from the front.
Looking towards Townsend. A Frith Photo shows the shop on the end of the house.
Pictures from in the yard.
The old mowing machine built by WC Bown.
James Bown with one of his One of the horses
Horse tied up in the yard, haymaking time.
James Bown in the back field with his white Wyandotte chickens.
James Bown with his greenhouse made from old glass photography plates.
3) Coronation Cottage.
James & Annie Bown lived here after their marriage in 1907, and all three of their children were born here, Doris Bown in 1908, Walter Bown in 1920 and Joan Bown.
The yearly rates on Coronation cottage in the 1930’s was £1.10s.2d.
James Bown had been paying £32 yearly rent for Coronation cottage. A valuation for Probate, carried out by Frank Keirl Auctioneer & valuer, when Eliza Jane Bown died in 1936, valued Townsend at £235, and Coronation cottage at £100.
James Bown with daughter Doris in front of Coronation Cottage in around 1912.
View from the road with Joan Bown sitting on the wall with dog, Doris Bown standing next to her, and Annie Bown watching from the path.
Coronation Cottage in 2006. It’s the white cottage set back from the road after the bungalow on the left.