Not all of the research fitted into the chronological format of the “chapters” on this site. These are instead listed below as notes.
Next Door’s Timeline (1874-1955)
2nd October 1874 – Leigh Woods Land Company indenture to a David MacIver
12th April 1878 – Stuart Coleman purchases from David MacIver and a Dr John Watson keeps the plot next door.
3rd June 1878 – Stuart Coleman buys Dr John Watson’s plot (plot 23).
16th October 1883 – Rev Thomas Hincks FRS purchases house
Hincks was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1872 for noteworthy contributions to natural history. Hincks named 24 families, 52 genera and 360 species and subspecies of invertebrates. His important bryozoan and hydroid collections are in the Natural History Museum, London. At least six genera and 13 species of invertebrates are named in his honour.
25th January 1899 – Rev Thomas Hincks dies, leaving the house to his wife, Elizabeth.
8th January 1916 – Elizabeth Hincks dies
23rd February 1916 – John Kenrick Champion (and a Charles Muller) becomes owner via probate
17th May 1916 – William Ernest Fursier purchases the house
He dies on 5th February 1940 and it appears the property ends up in probate to William Leonard Samuel Vassall. He assents for the property to go to a Nellie Blair Fursier. William Fursier was a “warehouseman”?
5th February 1940 – W E Fursier died at Northwoods, Bristol
27th May 1953 – Nellie Fursier purchases the grass verge in front of the house from the Leigh Woods Land Company
21st March 1955 – N B Fursier dies at the property
1955 – John Esmond Cyril Clarke purchases house
Secretary of the Commercial Rooms (formerly a private members’ club, latterly a Wetherspoons) in 1948.
He was later Master (1956) and Treasurer (1969–1982) of the Merchant Venturers, also Chairman of the Clifton Club (1960-64). A tree opposite Merchants Hall commemorates his life.
A Smelly Present from the University of Bristol
Walter Melville Wills built what is arguably the area’s most distinctive property, Bracken Hill House, in 1886 and, along with Burwalls House near the bridge, the family gave the property and its grounds to the University of Bristol. From 1959 to the early 2000s, Bracken Hill House was the site of the university’s botanical garden (now in Stoke Bishop).
One legacy of this era still quite literally lives on at the main property we are concerned with. In 2003, a dead horse arum appeared and flowered. This is a large and dramatic flower which is not native to the UK and lures in flies by raising its own temperature and mimicking the smell of dead carrion.
I confirmed the university’s staff that the arum had almost certainly come from the Bracken Hill site as they had cultivated specimens there. Prior to 2003, the house had a gardener from the university so it was determined that the seeds had made their way to the house from compost at Bracken Hill. The dead horse arum no longer appears but voodoo lilies (dragon arum) – presumable also from the university’s compost – have started appearing inside a laurel hedge.
Bird species observed at the property 2020-2022
Marsh Tit (red listed, new in 2022)*
Chaffinch (comes to base of feeder)
Bullfinch (red listed, seen once in last 15 years, formally very common in front of property)
Mistle thrush (red listed)
Great Spotted Woodpecker*
(both species bring young to garden)
Great black backed gull
Nuthatch (mostly in the oak tree, goes to feeders)*
Mallard (brought chicks to garden)
Sparrowhawk (went for the feeder)
Treecreeper (seen once)
Swift (above property)
Buzzard (above property)