Home History of Rode Houses Trowbridge Road

Trowbridge Road

(also known as Rode Common)

Extracts from “History of Some of the Old Buildings in Rode” by Dawna Pine, second edition

12 Rode Common. An abstract of title of Anne Ledyard, widow of Thomas Whitaker Ledyard of Rode Hill House, records that John Dunford purchased Lots 1 and 2 at a sale in 1836. The 1839 map shows John Dunford as owner and occupier of a house and garden here together with an adjoining field called the Plantation. He was also occupying the brickyard on the opposite side of the A361, which was owned by Mrs. Emily Noad of Southfield House and in the 1841 census, he was listed as a brickmaker, aged 40. In Kelly’s Post Office Directory for 1861, John Dunford is listed as “brickmaker & beer retailer”. It appears as if the Brickworks were in trouble by this time and that Dunford needed to supplement his income with other business.

On 30th August 1866, John Dunford applied for a licence for his beer house at Rode Common and it was allowed. The property was called the Lawyers Arms and Dunford ran an alehouse here. The 1872 Morris’s Directory of Somerset & Bristol gives “Dunford, John, brickmaker, Lawyers’ Arms inn, Rode Common”. At a Petty Session on 16 Oct 1873, the license of the Lawyer’s Arms transferred to Mr. J. T. Dunford, the grandson of John Dunford who had recently died. In 1882, the Lawyer’s Arms was put up for sale. (It was located at what is today 12 Rode Common). It was described at that time as a roadside public house with stable, coach house, pig sty, outbuildings and large garden. There was also a close of pasture land and two cottages with their own gardens. The Inn had two beer cellars and a brewery and malt room. J. T. Dunford lived at the inn and the two cottages were occupied by Henry Pike and Job Moon. By 1889, William Sants was listed as brickmaker and beer retailer.

Above: Section of Ordnance Survey map (1899) showing location of Brick Works

Extract from “A History of Brewing in Rode” by Sidney Fussell and Brian Foyston, 2006

The Lawyer’s/Brickyard Arms:

  • There was a flourishing brickyard at the junction of the foot of Rode Hill and what has become the modern A361. From very early days until the early years after World War I and around the brickyard, its owner John Dunford and various members of his family, a busy little community grew up, which had its own Pub. The ‘Link’ of April 1976 records this as the “Brickyard Arms”, but the Record of Justices’ Licences for the Frome area, kept at the County Records Office at Taunton gives it the name “Lawyer’s Arms”. We take this as the authoritative version. From 1837 John Dunford made three entries to the local Excise Comptroller (See again Para. 16 above), the first on 13th September of that year in which he declared one room in his house for the storing of Tobacco for sale, this being his bar facing the street. On 21st September 1840 he added a room “for the storing of Beer and Cider for sale…” but on l3th May 1841 he revoked his previous entries and substituted a Brewhouse with Mash Tun, a room for storing of Malt and Hops, a Cellar and three rooms for consuming beer “to be dranked (sic) in the Premises”, with a further one for storing of Tobacco for Sale. Various local and national Directories between 1861 and 1877 record “John Dunford, Brick maker and retailer of beer”, but Morris in 1872 has “John Dunford, Lawyer’s Arms”.
  • Records of Frome Petty Sessions show that on 30th August 1866 a licence was applied for in respect of Dunford’s Beer House at Road Common. Through Counsel, Mr. H. Saunders of the Bell Inn opposed this application on the grounds of proximity of other licensed premises, which he claimed were sufficient for the current requirements of the village. His Lordship asked if this was the only reason for objecting and on receiving an answer in the affirmative, told Mr. Saunders’ counsel that he need not trouble to prove his statement as they would take it for granted – and allow Dunford a Licence”! Despite all this the Post Office Directory of 1875 describes Dunford again, as formerly, “Retailer of Beer”. Perhaps a Pub with a Full Licence at that spot was not really viable. In November 1881 Dunford sold off 80,000 bricks and a rick of hay, perhaps reflecting that things were not going well for him; on 30th October 1882 Dunford sold up completely. Lot 1of the sale comprised “All that INN and DWELLING-HOUSE called the Lawyer’s Arms with the two Beer Cellars, Brewery, Malt Room, Stable, Coach House, outbuildings, and Garden and Paddock” whilst the second Lot was two adjacent cottages and gardens occupied by Henry Pike and Job Moon. It would appear that things were still not well for Dunford, for records tell us that it was not until September 1883 that he was able to have a family called Lister evicted from the premises and their goods sold. As a happier post-script (Ref. 5) a Mr. Ivan Dunford, a farmer and rail-road worker from Northern Alberta visited his relatives in Rode and elsewhere in l948 and confided that not only had he been born at the Lawyer’s Arms, but that it had been built by his great-grandfather!
  • The owners of 12, Rode Common can show clear evidence that this building is the former Lawyer’s Arms (Photo. 3). The property was extended after World War II and the former Inn is the south-westerly part though there is no sign of there ever having been a cellar there. Interestingly the January 2000 edition of-the Wiltshire Family History Society tells us that on 3rd April 1941 bombs fell on Rode Common and a cottage near the old Inn was one of the buildings destroyed (perhaps another of that stick was responsible for destroying the little cottage beyond what is now the Lodge in Monkley Lane). In neither case were there any casualties.
  • Between the World Wars the disused brickyard filled with water and until 1955 there was a single storey building on the site (an old brick-drying shed), which was used by Fussells for storing farm machinery. The firm used the part of the pond nearest to Rode Hill as a dumping ground for ‘cullet’ (broken glass bottles) etc. Incidentally, prior to the bringing of piped water supplies to Rode in 1936, water from the brickyard was pumped up to a reservoir constructed in the mid to late 1920s at the junction of the Bradford Road and Rode Hill (in the corner of the large triangular field), whence it was illowed to flow down by gravity to the Brewery at times when the supplies from the Brewery’s own well were inadequate. This pump, later sited at Rockabella, was, as we will see in due course, used to boost water supply from the dry rising main from the river once the Brewery extensions of the mid 1930s were done (see Para. 151 et seq.). We will discuss the provision of water for brewing later in this history (See Paras. 80 and 94) but this brickyard water was, however, only ever used for bottle washing or other cleaning purposes, never for brewing.

More extracts from “History of Some of the Old Buildings in Rode” by Dawna Pine, second edition

The farmhouse at Rode (Common) Farm on the Trowbridge Road across Rode Common is a detached Somerset Long House believed to date back in part to the 17th century. It is built of random stone with mullion windows.

Peckerwood (Now called The Lodge). According to the previous owners, this cottage in Monkley Lane is reputed to date from 1706, though written evidence puts it at late 18th. It was a labourer’s cottage to Rode Farm (then Rode Common Farm). In 1839, it was owned by James Beaven and lived in by James Pike. In 1966 Henry John Henderson bought Nun’s Cottage, as it was then known. He was a great music enthusiast and probably named it Peckerwood after Auntie Mame’s boyfriend’s house. When Henderson bought the cottage, the upper story was almost all gone and the rest of the house was derelict. He restored it and it was extended further in 1981, 1986/7 and 1999 when it was renamed The Lodge. Monkley Lane was originally a packhorse road which went all the way through to Rudge. There used to be a small community on Monkley Lane. Down the lane from Peckerwood, there was a very old thatched cottage which had an incendiary bomb dropped on it during WWII. The land on which it stood has been bequeathed to Rode Parish Council.

1836 Further abstract of the title of Mrs Ledyard to Lot 2 purchased by Mr Jn Dunford for

87£ & for Lot 1 for 153£

Wickham, Frome

Further Abstract of the Title of Mrs Ledyard to Lot 2 purchased by Mr Jn ? Dunford

for 87 £ …

11th June 1800 By Indre of 4 parts of this date between Wm Sheppard Gentn / since deced / of the 1st part Anne Sheppard one of the daughters of the Sd William Sheppard / of the 2d part the said Thomas Whitaker Ledyard of the 3d part & William

Text Box: Settlement of Mrs
Ledyard with the late
? ? Ledyard
Sheppard Clothier Thomas Sheppard Factor / two of the sons of the first named William Sheppard / & Edward Phillips Clothier of the 4th part Being the Settlement made previously to & in contemplation of the marriage of the said Thos Whitaker Ledyard with the said Anne Sheppard which was afterwards had & solemnised. The said Thomas Whitaker Ledyard covenanted with the said Wm Sheppard the son Thomas Sheppard & Edward Phillips their exors & admors That the heirs exors & admors of him the said Thomas Whitaker Ledyard should within 3 calendar months next after his decease pay unto the said Trustees etc – £10,000

Declaration & agreement that the said Trustees etc should invest the said £10,000 in their names in or upon Governmt or real or other securities in the names of the sd Trustees & shod stand & be pofsed thereof In trust to pay the interest divids etc into the proper hands of the said Anne Sheppard during her life for her own proper use & benefit. And after her decease In trust to call in the said sum of £10,000 or make sale of the Securities whereon the same shod be then invested & pay & apply the whole money arising by such sale in manner thereinar mentd – namely – Unto any one child or between or amongst any two or more children of the body of the said Thomas Whitaker Ledyard on the body of the said Anne Sheppard his then intended wife to be begotten in such parts shares & proportions at such age or ages days & times & subject to such cond~ons restrictions & limit~ons over/for the benefit of some or one such children/& in such manner & as the said Thomas Whitaker Ledyard at any time or times during his life by any Deed or writing with or without power of revocatn to be by him sealed & delivered in the presence of & attested by two or more credible witnefses or by his last will & Testamt in writing etc- to be by him signed & published in the presence of the like number of witnefses shod direct limit or appoint give or bequeath the same And in default of such direction etc As the said Anne Sheppard / in case she shod survive the said Thomas Whitaker Ledyard / shod after his dec~e by any deed or writing to be by her sealed & delivered as aforesd or by her last will & Testamt in writing etc to be by here signed & published in manner aforesd direct limit or appoint give or bequeath the same But never~lefs so as any appontmt to be made by the said Anne Sheppard alone shod be made during her widowhood And in default of some such appontmt gift or bequest as afsd Upon trust for all & every the children of the said marre equally to be divided between them if more than one share & share alike And if there shod be but one such child then for such one child the shares of Dau~rs to be paid at 21 or days of marriage and the shares of Sons at 21 etc And in default of Ifsue etc Then In trust to pay afs~n & transfer the same after the decease of the said Anne Sheppard unto the Exors Admors or afsns of the said Thos Whitaker Ledyard for their own use & benefits Duly executed & attested

The following section has been deleted;

1836 Indre between the said Anne Ledyard widow of the said Thomas

Text Box: Not to be executedWhitaker Ledyard of the one part & Anna Martha Ledyard spinster eldest Daughter of the said Anne Ledyard of the other part Reciting the above abstracted Settlemt And the death of the Sd Thomas Whitaker Ledyard without having executed any appointt of the said £10,000 either by Deed or will in purs~ce of the power contd in said Settlemt And that the said Anne Ledyard has determd in pursuance of the power of Appointmt now vested in her as such surv~or as afsd to appoint the said sum of £10,00 unto the said Anna Ledyard alone & exclusively of any other child or children of the marre of the said (remainder missing).

Dunford Dated 29th July 1873

Copy Probate of the will of John Dunford deceased; Testator died 23rd September 1873; Will proved 7th November 1873 By James Pike and Charles Pike Moore two of the executors. Power reserved of making the like Grant to John Thomas Dunford the Grandson of the said deceased the other executor named in the said Will in the District Registry at Wells. Geo B Rodway Solr Trowbridge

This is the last Will and Testament of me John Dunford of Road in the county of Somerset Brick and Tile manufacturer I direct all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses to be paid as soon as conveniently can be after my decease and subject thereto I Give to my daughter Mercy Hawkins Five hundred pounds Two hundred and fifty pounds being money lent by me to her and her husband and Two hundred and fifty pounds to be paid to her six months after my decease for her own absolute use I Give to the children of my said daughter Mercy Hawkins Five hundred pounds to be paid to them on their respectively attaining the age twenty one years in equal shares including as well those living at my death as any that may be born after my death And I hereby direct my trustees hereinafter named to pay the respective shares or legacies given by me to the children of my said daughter Mercy Hawkins without interest as and when the same shall become payable I direct my Trustees to pay to my daughter in Law Susan Dunford the sum of five shillings a week to commence from the day of my death and to be continued until her youngest child not living shall attain the age of twenty one years I Give to my housekeeper Mary Jane Doel fifty pounds and it is my wish that she shall remain with my Grandson John Thomas Dunford until he attains the age of twenty one; All the rest residue and remainder of my Estate real and personal of whatsoever kind and wheresoever situate I Give devise and bequeath to my Grandson the said John Thomas Dunford To hold the same to the said John Thomas Dunford his heirs executors administrators and assigns according to the respective natures and qualities thereof Subject nevertheless to the payment of Five hundred pounds viz Two hundred and fifty pounds to each of my Grandchildren the brother and sister of the said grandson John Thomas Dunford to be paid to them on their respectively attaining the age of twenty one years and the aforesaid legacies to my said grandchildren to be paid without interest when the same shall by this my will become payable and I hereby direct my friend James Pike of Beckington in the said county of Somerset gentleman and Charles Pike Moore of North Bradley in the county of Wilts Malster to see that the trusts of this my will are carried out in accordance with my wishes and for this purpose I hereby direct them to act in relation thereto jointly with my said Grandson for the parties interested under this my Will as they in their discretion shall think best And I also direct them to assist my said Grandson in carrying on my business until he shall attain the age of twenty one years And I hereby direct them if they shall think it desirable so to do to advance any part of the share of any or either of my Grandchildren not exceeding one half thereof towards their his or her advancement in life And I hereby declare that all receipts given by my said Trustees or Trustee acting in the execution of the trusts herein contained shall be discharges and exonerate the parties taking the same from all responsibility with respect to the application misapplication or non application of the monies therein expressed to be received And I hereby authorise the acting Trustees or Trustee of this my will by any instrument in writing to substitute any person to be a Trustee in the stead of any Trustee who shall die continue to reside abroad disclaim neglect or effuse or become incapable to act in the Trusts aforesaid and all be the said trust estates or premises shall forthwith be transferred so as to vest the same in such new Trustee or Trustees either jointly with the surviving or continuing Trustee or Trustees or solely as the case may be and such new Trustee as well before as after such transfer shall have the same powers as if originally appointed a Trustee by this my Will And I declare that the Trustees for the time being of this my Will shall respectively be chargeable only with such monies as they respectively shall actually receive and shall not be answerable for each other for any Banker Broker or other person in whose hands any of the trust funds shall be placed nor for the insufficiency or deficiency of any stocks funds shares or securities nor otherwise for involuntary losses And I appoint the said James Pike Charles Pike Moore and my Grandson the said John Thomas Dunford Trustees and executors of this my Will and give to them the sum of five pounds each for the trouble they may have in the execution of the trusts of this my Will In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 29th day of July 1873 the interlineations between the thirtieth and thirty first line of the first page having been first inserted John Dunford Signed by the said testator as and for his Last Will and testament in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses___________ Geoff Rodway North Bradley_____________ Job Moon Road Labourer

10 Rode Common

The summary of the deeds has a gap of ownership between 1873 and 1916. The following is an attempt to look at the Dunford family, to see who, if anybody might have inherited it from John Thomas Dunford, and the Stokes family to see who might have bequeathed it to Emily Louisa Stokes.

The Dunford Family

Working forward from 1836:

1837 John DUNFORD applied for licence to store and sell tobacco

1840 John applied for licence to store and sell tobacco, beer and cider

1841 John applied for licence to run a brew house with mash tun

1853 John Thomas DUNFORD was baptised, son of Simon and Susan Elizabeth, who were living in Road, Somerset. Simon was in his father’s business as a brick maker

1860 John remarried

1861 Kelly’s Directory listed John DUNFORD as brickmaker and beer retailer

1866 John applied for a licence for Dunford’s beer house at Road Common

1872 Morris Directory listed Dunford John, brickmaker, Lawyer’s Arms inn, Road Common

1873 John died, his grandson John T inherits the property and the licence for the Lawyer’s Arms was transferred to him. His brother received £250

1875 Kelly’s Directory listed John T as brickmaker and beer retailer

1878 John T recorded as running the brick and tile making business

c1880 John T married Priscilla Sophia (nee ?)

c1881 William John is born to John T and Priscilla Sophia

1882 30th October, the Lawyer’s Arms, two cottages and attached land were put up for sale despite John T living in the inn

1882 12th November, owner of the brickyard land, Arthur Mayne Noad, died and his estate, passed to his great nephew, Charles Humphrey Carden Noad (who was living in London)

1883 Kelly’s Directory listed John T as brickmaker and beer retailer (info. possibly gathered in 1882)

1889 Kelly’s Directory listed William SANTS as brickmaker and beer retailer, suggesting that John T did sell his businesses

1889 to 1893 – John T recorded as a labourer (interesting change of job from 1882/3)

1891 census recorded John T as a labourer in Iron? Foundry living on Road Common

1892 John T recorded as assistant in the (Fussell’s) brewery

1892 John T’s mother Susan died in Road

1898 John T recorded as an assistant brewer

1900 to 1905 – John T recorded as a brewer

1901 census recorded John T and family (including William J) living in parish of Road Hill

1902 Ivan William Noel born to William John and Harriet Louise and said by him “in the Lawyer’s Arms, built by my great-grandfather”. Ivan’s great-grandfather would have been Simon

1927 John T died in Frome (St. Lawrence graveyard records)

It appears that John T had some major changes in his life c1882. He married in 1880, he had a son in 1881, the owner of the land on which John T had his brick-making business died in 1882, John T tried to sell his properties in 1882, later in 1889 he had sold his businesses and was working as a labourer. He moved from Rode Common between 1891 and 1901. In contradiction to this, in 1948, his grandson Ivan W N says he was born in The Lawyers Arms in 1902. There is no evidence that any Dunfords were living at Road Common in 1901.

The Stokes family

Emily Louisa, wife of Henry Thomas STOKES, was owner of Rose Cottage when she died in 1916. The1901 Census recorded Henry, Emily and 3 children, Percival 7, Mary 4, and James 2 (Sidney not born) living at Road Common. The St. Lawrence marriage register recorded that Henry Thomas STOKES married Emily Louisa (nee ROSE) in 1892. (Is this the origin of the name Rose Cottage?)

Some options for her gaining possession are:

She earned enough money to buy it. Unlikely, few married women had jobs outside the home.
Her husband, Henry, earned enough money to buy property or inherited property and passed it to Emily.
She was given/inherited the property/enough money to buy it from her father, a grandfather or other relative.

St. Lawrence baptism records indicate that Henry and Emily moved to Road Common between 1893 and 1899, and were still there in 1904

Henry Thomas STOKES was a carpenter when he married in 1892 and was described as a carpenter & joiner in 1904 at the baptism of his son, Sidney. It is possible that he made sufficient money before 1916 to buy a house. However, I think it was unusual for a husband to give property to his wife except in his will.

Henry’s father, William STOKES, was a labourer from 1856 to 1864, a dyer from 1869 to 1873 and a labourer again when Henry married in 1892. I think it is unlikely that he was sufficiently well off to buy his son a house. Henry’s grandfathers, James STOKES and John SHORT were labourers when his father, William, married in 1851. I have no evidence to suggest they were sufficiently well off to have left money or property to family members.

Emily’s father, Aaron ROSE, was a carter in 1892 when she married. It is unlikely that he was sufficiently well off to have given her the property when she married. However, as Emily outlived her father and mother, she may have inherited the property from them.

Emily’s paternal grandfather, William ROSE, was a servant in 1854. He worked for Henry Batten POOLL, the majority land owner in Road, who lived at Northfield House (later Road Manor). H B POOLL died in 1861 and he bequeathed over £40,000 to various people/organisations, in addition to leaving most of his real estate to his 11 year old great nephew, R P H BATTEN POOLL. William ROSE was left 19 guineas (if he was still in the employ of H B POOLL at his death). Could he have saved sufficient money in his lifetime to buy Rose Cottage? Perhaps he was taken on by H B POOLL’s two surviving sisters, Martha POOLL and widow Ann BAILEY, living at Merfield and received further legacies from them when they died in 1874 and 1879. Alternatively, he may have been given an important position at Northfield while it was being let out prior to R P H BATTEN POOLL taking up residence in 1879. Contrary to this is the St. Lawrence graveyard register which records William’s wife Harriet died in the Frome Union workhouse in 1885 at the age of 73. This suggests they were not sufficiently well off to have left money or property to family members.

Emily’s maternal grandfather, Henry SADLER, was a labourer in 1834. He died at Lullington in 1886 and his wife Louisa in 1890. I have no evidence to suggest they were sufficiently well off to have left money

Above: Map from 1948 conveyance

The Firs

Extract from Dawna Pine’s book: “The Firs: Rode Common, on the A361. In October 1954, the property was up for sale and it was described as an early XVIIth century cottage-type residence, together with adjoining cottage known as Fir Cottage.”

28 July 2023
Last Updated
16 January 2024