Tuesday, 14 December 2021

(502) Beadon of Gotton House

Beadon of Gotton House

In the 19th century, this family claimed descent from the Beaudin, Beaudyn or Beadyn family, who were landowners in Devon in the medieval period, but there is little real evidence for any connection except the similarity of the surname. Firmer ground begins in the 17th century, when the Beadons were settled at Brushford and Oakford on either side of the Somerset-Devon border, and tradition says that they built the farmhouse, now known as Higher Langridge Farm, at Brushford in about 1648. It seems more likely, however, that their property in both villages was acquired through their intermarriages with the Radford family, who were significant landowners in both places in the 16th and 17th centuries, and whose pedigree is given in the Visitation of Devon

Richard Beadon (b. 1671) was born at Pinkworthy in Oakford, and married Joan Radford. It seems likely that it was he who stepped across the invisible boundary between yeoman and gentry status, for his younger son, Edward, was sent to Oxford and became a clergyman, while his elder son, Robert Beadon (1699-1759), with whom the genealogy below begins, was a landowner in both Brushford and Oakford. He married the daughter of the rector of Oakford and of their four surviving sons, two became notable clergyman and a third a surgeon in Plymouth. The family property passed mainly to the second son, George Beadon (1733-77), who continued to farm the estate until about 1772 when he seems to have sold up and moved to Marsh Farm, Dunster (Som.), where he was probably a tenant of the Luttrell family. George died young, leaving a widow (who moved to Taunton, where she died in 1816) and a young family. Their eldest son became a solicitor in Taunton and later acquired some land at Corfe (Som.), just outside the town, but their youngest son, William Beadon (1773-1855), who may also have trained initially as a lawyer, married Martha Anna Hammet (1773-1823), the eventual sole heiress of John Hammet of Gotton House, and was able to substantially rebuilt that property in the early 19th century.

William Beadon's eldest son, another William Beadon (1803-64) seems to have trained initially as a surgeon, although there seems little evidence of his practising as such after 1830. He was later an inventor and a leading radical in Taunton. Through his marriage he acquired an estate south of the town at Churchstanton and Otterford, where he greatly enlarged and remodelled the house in the late 1840s, but it was sold after his death. Perhaps because William junior was thus provided for, his father left Gotton House to his second son, John Hammet Beadon (1805-79). He promptly put the estate on the market, but he evidently did not find a buyer, for he was still in possession at the time of his death. His only son, also John Hammet Beadon (1847-1921) at first let the property but evidently sold it c.1920 to Lt-Col. Glynn, the tenant. The sale may have been prompted by the fact that the heir, Lt-Col. Roger Hammet Beadon (1887-1945) was pursuing a successful army career, and saw little prospect of being able to manage a landed estate. Unfortunately, however, he lost a leg as a result of an accident in 1928 and had to retire from the army, and in 1934 he and his sister Dorothy combined the repurchase Gotton House, with financial assistance from their mother. It remained their home until Dorothy's death in 1948, after which it was again sold.

Gotton House (now Gotton Manor), West Monkton, Somerset

Gotton House (now Gotton Manor)
An early 19th century two storey five bay house, with the wider central bay stepped slightly forward. The main block, of roughcast rubble stone, is a double pile, but a service wing at the rear preserves evidence of the earlier, perhaps 17th century, building on the site, including a room with chamfered beams. On the ground floor the windows are now floor length and have lost their original glazing bars. A modern flat-roofed porch on the central bay now conceals the original segmental-headed entrance recess with double doors, side lights and fanlight. Inside, the principal survival is an early 19th century staircase with stick balusters and a mahogany handrail. The house was converted into an old people's home in 1984 and continues to serve this purpose.

Descent: Edward Musgrave (d. 1719); to son, Thomas Musgrave (d. 1760); to daughter, Elizabeth (c.1730-86), wife of Lt. John Hammet (c.1694-1782); to only daughter, Martha Anna (1773-1823), wife of William Beadon (1773-1855); to son, John Hammet Beadon (1805-79); to son, John Hammet Beadon (1847-1921) who perhaps sold c.1920 to his tenant, Lt-Col. Glynn; sold 1934 to Lt-Col. Roger Hammet Beadon (1887-1945) and his sister, Dorothy Beadon (1888-1948); sold 1949 to 'Madame Julian'...sold 1984 for conversion to a care home.

Otterhead House, Churchstanton, Devon

The estate was developed by William Oliver and his son-in-law, William Beadon (1803-64) around the nucleus of Week Farm until it comprised 1700 acres in Churchstanton and Otterford (Som.). The original farmhouse was extended in the late 1840s into a long low irregular two- and three-storey L-shaped house, with few architectural pretensions. Its most prominent features were the gabled dormers breaking through the roof line and a bell turret. In its final form the house contained four reception rooms and eleven bedrooms. It was sold after William Beadon's death in 1864 and subsequent owners developed the steep sided Otter valley into an ornamental landscape from the 1880s, with gardens and a chain of lakes.

Otterhead House, from the sale particulars of 1919.

The estate was broken up in 1919, when many of the estate farms were bought by their tenants. The main house failed to sell and remained a tenanted property until 1938, when it was bought with the remainder of the estate by Taunton Corporation for use as a water catchment. The house was used for storage purposes during the Second World War, but fell into disrepair and was labelled 'unfit for habitation' as early as 1947. The Council's intention to demolish it was announced at that time, but demolition apparently did not take place until 1951 or 1952. The upper parts of the valley are now leased to the Forestry Commission, while the lower sections are leased to the Otterhead Estate Trust, which manages the site as a nature reserve.

Descent: built c.1850 for William Beadon (1803-64); sold after his death to John Mellor; sold 1893 to Robert Lewis-Lloyd; sold 1938 to Taunton Corporation and thence by transfer of responsibilities to Wessex Water. The house was let to tenants from 1905, and was occupied by Sir William Goschen (1870-1943) from 1917-38.

Beadon family of Gotton House

Beadon, Robert (1699-1759). Son of Richard Beadon (b. 1671) and his wife Joan, daughter and co-heir of John Radford of Oakford (Devon), baptised at Brushford, 15 September 1699. Gentleman farmer at Brushford and Oakford. He married, 30 May 1728 at Oakford, Mary (1703-96), daughter of Rev. Dr. Edward Squire, rector of Oakford (and niece of Dr. Samuel Squire, Bishop of St. Davids, 1761-66), and had issue:
(1) Rev. Edwards Beadon (1729-1810), baptised at Brushford (Som.), 29 April 1729; educated at Bampton (Devon) and St John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1744; BA 1748; MA 1751); Fellow of St John's College, 1749-60; ordained deacon, 1751 and priest, 1754; perpetual curate of Strood (Kent), 1755-91; vicar of Minting (Lincs), 1755-1810 and Higham (Kent), 1759-62; rector of North Stoneham (Hants), 1761-1810 and domestic chaplain to Lord Bute and to King George III, 1760; married, 27 September 1762 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), Mary (c.1739-1825), daughter of Sir William Watson MD, and had issue three sons and three daughters; buried at North Stoneham, 17 December 1810;
(2) Sarah Beadon (1730-76), baptised at Brushford (Som.), 12 September 1730; married, 17 January 1753 at Clayhanger (Devon), Richard Buller of Nether Stowey (Som.), and had issue two sons and six daughters; buried at Nether Stowey, 22 April 1776;
(3) Mary Beadon (1732-69), baptised at Oakford, 15 March 1731/2; married, 16 January 1753 at Oakford, George Turner of Cadbury (Devon), and had issue six sons and three daughters; buried at Cadbury, 11 April 1769; 
(4) George Beadon (1733-77) (q.v.);
(5) Robert Beadon (b. 1734; fl. 1758), baptised at Oakford, 9 December 1734; apprenticed to Robert Mudge of Plymouth, surgeon, 1749; living in 1758 but said to have died unmarried when the Prince George packet burnt in Plymouth Sound (the date of this event has not been traced);
(6) Susanna Beadon (1735-38), baptised at Oakford, 8 December 1735; died young and was buried at Oakford, February 1737/8;
(7) Rt. Rev. Richard Beadon (1737-1824), baptised at Oakford, 15 April 1737; educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton and St John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1754; BA 1758; MA 1761; BD 1769; DD 1780); ordained deacon, 1760 and priest, 1761; Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, 1760-73; Chaplain to Bishop of St. Davids (his great-uncle) and Chancellor of St. David's diocese, 1763; preacher at Whitehall, 1763; Cambridge University Orator, 1768-78; domestic chaplain to Bishop of London, 1771; rector of Little Burstead (Essex), 1771-75; prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, 1771-1802; rector of Stansted Rivers (Essex) and Orsett (Essex), 1775-1802; Archdeacon of London, 1775-89; Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, 1781-89; Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, 1781-82; Bishop of Gloucester, 1789-1802 and of Bath & Wells, 1802-24; married, 18/19 August 1778 at Fen Ditton (Cambs), Rachel (1757-1839), daughter and co-heir of Rev. John Gooch, prebendary of Ely, son of Rt. Rev. Sir Thomas Gooch, 2nd bt., bishop of Ely 1748-54, and had issue one son; died 21 April 1824 and was buried in Wells Cathedral, where he is commemorated by a monument;
(8) Susanna Beadon (1741-1826), baptised at Oakford, 9 December 1741; married, 28 April 1763 at Oakford, John Oatway (c.1740-98) of Nettlecombe (Som.), but had no issue; buried at Nettlecombe, 8 March 1826;
(9) John Beadon (b. & d. 1743), baptised at Oakford, 2 February 1742/3; died in infancy and was buried at Oakford, 5 February 1742/3;
(10) Agnes Beadon (1745-1806?), baptised at Oakford, 5 April 1745; married, 11 June 1777 at Oakford, Rev. John Blake (1747-1801) of South Molton (Devon), vicar of St Leonard, Shoreditch (Middx), (which he rarely visited, leading to his trial for non-residence), and had issue; perhaps the woman of this name buried at the church of King Charles the Martyr, Plymouth, 21 February 1806.
He lived at first at Langridge, Brushford (Som.), and later at Oakford (Devon).
He was buried at Oakford, 12 January 1759; his will was proved in the PCC, 18 November 1760. His widow died 28 December 1796 and was buried at Nettlecombe (Som.), where she is commemorated by a monument.

Beadon, George (1733-77). Second son of Robert Beadon (1699-1759) and his wife Mary, daughter of Rev. Dr. Edward Squire, baptised at Oakford (Devon), 23 July 1733. Gentleman farmer at Oakford and Brushford until c.1772, and subsequently at Dunster (Som.). He married, 19 March 1760 at Oakford, Rebecca (1735-1816), eldest daughter of William Leigh of Bardon, St. Decumans (Som.), and had issue:
(1) Robert Beadon (1761-1845), of Taunton and Corfe (Som.), baptised at Oakford, 4 March 1761; solicitor in Taunton; married, 8 October 1795 at Pitminster (Som.), Hannah (d. 1808), daughter of Hugh Petten, and had issue three sons and three daughters; died August 1845; will proved in the PCC, 1 December 1845;
(2) Rebecca Beadon (b. 1762), baptised at Oakford, 23 September 1762; probably died young as she was not named among her father's surviving children in 1778;
(3) George Beadon (1764-1840), baptised at Oakford, 15 June 1764; married, 4 May 1793 at Cullompton (Devon), Charlotte (1762-1840), daughter of Rev. James Griffiths, and had issue one son and two daughters; buried at Crowcombe (Som.), 17 June 1840;
(4) Mary Anne Beadon (1765-1846), baptised at Oakford, 15 November 1765; married, 3 November 1813 at Bedminster (Som.), Robert Franklin (1758-1830), but had no issue; died 8 March and was buried at St Mary, Taunton, 16 March 1846; will proved in the PCC, 11 June 1846;
(5) Frances Beadon (1767-82), baptised at Oakford, 5 November 1767; died young and was buried at Dunster, 21 July 1782;
(6) Richard Beadon (1769-73), baptised at Oakford, 19 June 1769; died young and was buried at Oakford, 21 January 1773;
(7) Susanna Beadon (b. 1771), baptised at Oakford, 7 June 1771; evidently died young as she was not named among her father's surviving children in 1778;
(8) William Beadon (1773-1855) (q.v.);
(9) Sarah Beadon (1775-76), baptised at Dunster (Som.), 14 May 1775; died in infancy and was buried at Dunster, 27 January 1776.
He lived at Oakford (Devon) until c.1772, when he moved to Marsh Farm, Dunster (Som.).
He was buried at Dunster, 12 July 1777; administration of his goods (with will annexed) was granted in the PCC, 20 January 1778. His widow was buried at St Mary Magdalene, Taunton, 12 April 1816.

Beadon, William (1773-1855). Fourth and youngest son of George Beadon (1733-77) of Oakford (Devon) and his wife Rebecca, eldest daughter of William Leigh of Bardon (Som.), baptised at Dunster (Som.), 6 August 1773. JP for Somerset. Clerk to Chilton Common Inclosure Commissioners, 1798. An officer in the Taunton Loyal Volunteers Infantry (2nd Lt., 1801). He married 1st, 24 August 1802 at Lyme Regis (Dorset), Martha Anna (1773-1823), only child of Lt. John Hammet RN of Gotton House (Som.), and 2nd, 10 November 1827 at Bathwick (Som.), Lucy (1784-1872), daughter of James Jackson and widow of Major Thomas Gartside (c.1752-1818), and had issue:
(1.1) William Beadon (1803-64), of Taunton (Som.), Wyke (Devon) and Otterhead House, Churchstanton (Devon), born November and baptised at Taunton, 15 December 1803; surgeon at Taunton and Somerset Hospital from 1828; inventor of a patent eaves gutter tile exhibited at the Great Exhibition, 1851; JP for Devon (from 1858) and Somerset; a radical Liberal in politics, he stood unsuccessfully for the borough of Taunton at the parliamentary election, 1859; married, 1 June 1827 at Taunton, Anne (c.1806-47), eldest daughter of William Oliver of Hope Corner (Som.), and had issue three sons and four daughters; died 20 February, and was buried at West Monkton, 26 February 1864; will proved 30 April 1864 (effects under £3,000);
(1.2) John Hammet Beadon (1805-79) (q.v.);
(1.3) Mary Beadon (1808-26), born 8 August and baptised at West Monkton, 2 September 1808; died unmarried, 3 March, and was buried at West Monkton, 9 March 1826;
(1.4) George Beadon (1810-89), of Creechbarrow, West Monkton, born 25 February and baptised at West Monkton, 23 April 1810; an officer in the Royal Navy, 1825-42 (Midshipman, 1826; Lt., 1831; Cdr., 1841; retired 1842); married, 17 October 1833 at St James, Taunton, Sarah (d. 1880), youngest daughter of William Oliver of Hope Corner, and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 1 February 1889 and was buried at West Monkton; will proved 23 April 1890 (effects £10,536);
(1.5) Edward Beadon; said to have died in infancy.
He inherited Gotton House in right of his wife, and was probably responsible for rebuilding it.
He died 17 December and was buried at West Monkton, 24 December 1855; his will was proved in the PCC, 13 February 1856. His first wife was buried at West Monkton, 4 June 1823. His widow died 2 May 1872; her will was proved 12 June 1872 (effects under £5,000).

Beadon, John Hammet (1805-79). Second son of William Beadon and his wife Martha Anna, only child of Lt. John Hammet RN of Gotton House (Som.), born 8 June and baptised at St Mary, Taunton, 24 August 1805. An officer in the 1st Somerset Militia (Capt., 1831). He married, 23 September 1845 at Carshalton (Surrey), Emma Harriet (d. 1895), only daughter of James Whiting of Monkton House, West Monkton (Som.) and The Grove, Carshalton, and had issue:
(1) John Hammet Beadon (1847-1921) (q.v.);
(2) Emma Alice Beadon (1846-1938), born 5 July 1846; died unmarried aged 92 on 30 August 1938.
He inherited Gotton House from his father and advertised it for sale in 1856, but he was still in possession at his death.
He died 3 February 1879 and was buried in the churchyard at West Monkton; his will was proved 1 July 1879 (effects under £1,500). His widow died at Reading (Berks), 29 November 1895.

Beadon, John Hammet (1847-1921). Son of John Hammet Beadon (1805-79) and his wife Emma Harriet, only daughter of James Whiting of Monkton House, West Monkton (Som.), born 11 July 1847 and baptised at West Monkton, 13 October 1848. Educated at Sherborne School. An officer in the Somerset Regiment of Militia (Lt., 1871); JP for Somerset (from 1900) and Devon. He married, 1 January 1884 at St Stephen, Paddington (Middx), Harriette Richards (1851-1939), second daughter of William Kaye of Saxham Hall (Suffk), and had issue:
(1) Musgrave Hammet Beadon (1885-1901), born 10 March and baptised at Great Saxham (Suffk), 21 May 1885; educated at Clifton College and Seafield Park College (Hants); died young, 29 July and was buried at West Monkton, 3 August 1901, where he is commemorated by a stained glass window;
(2) Lt-Col. Roger Hammet Beadon (1887-1945) (q.v.);
(3) Dorothy Beadon (1888-1948), born 12 October and baptised at St Philip, Kensington, 21 December 1888; dog breeder; lived at Gotton House; died unmarried, 25 February 1948; will proved 21 July 1948 (estate £45,174).
He inherited Gotton House from his father in 1879 but seems to have let it and later sold it. He lived latterly at Blackerton House, East Anstey (Som.).
He died 15 June 1921 and was buried at West Monkton, where he is commemorated by a mural tablet; his will was proved 6 October 1921 (estate £9,627). His widow died 8 February 1939; her will was proved 3 April 1939 (estate £1,625).

Beadon, Lt-Col. Roger Hammet (1887-1945). Younger son of John Hammet Beadon (1847-1921) and his wife Harriette, second daughter of William Kaye of Saxham Hall (Suffk), born 16 January 1887. Educated at Clifton College. An officer in the Devon Royal Garrison Artillery (2nd Lt., 1905; Lt., 1907) and later the Royal Army Service Corps (2nd Lt., 1907; Lt., 1910; Capt., 1914; Maj., 1915; Lt-Col., 1920; retired 1928), on General Staff from 1915 and was with the Supreme War Council, Versailles, 1917-18 and a member of the British delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference, 1918-21. He graduated from the Staff College at Camberley in 1922 and was sent to Iraq, where he helped to organise the army, 1925-28; his service was unfortunately terminated by an accident in which he lost a leg. He was appointed CBE, 1919 and awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (USA), 1919 and Legion d'honneur (1920); he was also an officer of the Order of Leopold (Belgium), Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy; and held the Iraqi Order of El Rafidain. After leaving the army he became a historian, and was author of a history of The Royal Army Service Corps (with John Fortescue, 1931) and Some memories of the [Versailles] Peace Conference (1933). He married, 20 February 1913 at Newcastle, Natal (South Africa), Eleanor (1885-1948), daughter of J. Crumley of Ardara (Co. Donegal), but had no issue.
He and his sister repurchased Gotton House in 1934.
He died 14 December 1945; his will was proved 13 April 1946 (estate £55,171). His widow died 8 June 1948; administration of her goods was granted 12 December 1949 (estate £3,570).

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1850, vol. 2, supplement, pp. 13-17; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1937, p. 125;  https://otterheadestate.org/history

Location of archives

Beadon of Otterhead and West Monkton: photograph albums, 1870-1900 [Somerset Heritage Centre, A\AAG]
Beadon, Col. Roger Hammet (1887-1945): journal of service with Supreme War Council at Versailles, 1918 [Imperial War Museum]

Coat of arms

Azure, a chevron between three martlets or.

Can you help?

  • Can anyone provide more information about the burning of the 'Prince George' packet boat in Plymouth Sound, in which Robert Beadon (b. 1734), surgeon, lost his life, or the accident in Iraq in 1928 in which Lt-Col. R.H. Beadon was injured?
  • I should be most grateful if anyone can provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above.
  • If anyone can offer further information or corrections I should be most grateful. I am always particularly pleased to hear from current owners or the descendants of families associated with a property who can supply information from their own research or personal knowledge for inclusion.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 14 December 2021.

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