Sunday, 29 April 2012

Thomas Ivall (1781-1835), yeoman of Bray

Thomas Ivall was my great great great grandfather, the line of descent being through his son David Ivall (1816-67), to his son George Ivall (1853-1932), to his son George William Ivall (1880-1934), to his daughter Grace Evelyn Taylor nee Ivall (1922-2006), my mother. This profile of Thomas contains information from research done by Dennis Endean Ivall.

Thomas Ivall was born during 1781 in the Hampshire village of Wield (which is about 12 miles NE of Winchester), the fifth of the six children of James Ivall (a wheelwright and farmer who was born in nearby Bentworth) and Dinah Ivall nee Camies (also from Bentworth). Thomas was baptised on 23 November 1781 at Wield. His father died in February 1809.

On 11 November 1809, Thomas married Jane Smith (from Copford, near Colchester in Essex) at St James Church, Piccadilly. He was 28 and she 29. The marriage register states that both were “of this parish”. St James is an impressive Wren church in what is now (and was then) an affluent area. The church was famous for its fashionable and eminent congregations.

The children of Thomas and Jane were Georgiana Jane (born 1810), Robert Thomas (born 1812 in East Sheen, Surrey), Louisa (born 1814 in Bray, Berkshire) and David (born 1816 in Bray) Ivall.

Thomas was left one sixth of the estate of his aunt Rebecca Ivall following her death in 1811. This amounted to £510 (about £17,300 in modern day terms) on which death duties of £12 15s (2.5%) were paid.

The baptism records of Thomas’s children Louisa (in 1814) and David (in 1816) give Thomas’s occupation as a gardener and his address as Down Place, Bray. This was a landed estate about 2 miles SE of the village of Bray in Berkshire. Down Place house was built in about 1750. The estate was the property of Henry Harford in 1816. Thomas’s wife Jane, when widowed described herself as “formerly a gentleman’s steward’s wife”.

Down Place 

Down Place is still standing - it is on the banks of the Thames, just north of the A308 from Maidenhead to Windsor. There is a good view of the house from the footpath on the opposite side of the river. It is part of the Bray Film Studios, which were used by Hammer Film Productions to make “horror” films between 1951 to 1966. A wing of the house has been renamed “Toad Hall” and converted into residences. The approach road is still called Down Place. Bray is now a fashionable village with expensive houses. It has two Michelin-starred restaurants, the Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn.

Dinah, Thomas’s mother, died in 1819. On her death Thomas inherited ¼ of the trust fund set up for her under the will of James Ivall, her husband. Thomas’s daughter Georgiana Jane died aged 10 in 1821.

The Middlesex Deeds Register (held at the London Metropolitan Archives) contains an indenture dated 29th October 1822 made between William Wilson of Tottenham Court Road, Coach and Harness Maker of the one part and David Ivall then of the Coal Yard, Drury Lane, Coach Maker and Thomas Ivall of Bray, Gentleman of the other part. It is a lease of No 158 on the east side of Tottenham Court Road and premises behind, then in the occupation of William Wilson. A plan shows a house 17 feet wide fronting Tottenham Court Road. Behind this is a yard, workshops (with sawpit) and stable, in total 59 feet wide and going back 144 feet. The term of the lease was 46 years at the yearly rent of £170 15s, payable quarterly. David Ivall (1795-1850) was Thomas’s younger brother whose coachmaking business was very successful and who died a wealthy man. Thomas’s son David Ivall (1816-67), my great great grandfather, was later employed by his uncle David and worked at 158 Tottenham Court Road.

In 1830, the London Gazette printed a notice stating that the partnership between David Ivall and Thomas Ivall of 158 Tottenham Court Road was dissolved by mutual consent  on 17th August 1830. The notice stated that the business would continue to be operated from the same premises by David Ivall.

Thomas Ivall died on 6 June 1835 aged 53 and was buried on 13 June 1835 at St Michael’s Church in Bray. A list of the monumental inscriptions in the churchyard records that his gravestone said
“Sacred to the memory of Thomas Ivall who departed this life 6 June 1835 in the 54th year of his age. Here also are interred the remains of Georgiana Jane Ivall who departed this life 5 March 1821 aged 10 years.”
I wasn’t able to locate the gravestone myself.

St Michael's Church, Bray

The will (dated 5 May 1835) of Thomas describes him as “Yeoman of Down Place”. A yeoman is someone holding and cultivating a small landed estate. He could not have owned Down Place, but may have acquired property nearby. The estate duty record of his will values his estate at £4,000, which equates to about £200,000 in current terms so he was reasonably well off (presumably most of Thomas’s wealth came from the coachmaking business he owned in partnership with his brother David). The will left £50 immediately to his wife Jane and each of his three surviving children. His children were also left £500 each when they reached 21 with the residue to be invested to provide an income for his wife until her death or remarriage when the remaining funds were to divided between Thomas‘s children. If any of them were dead at this time then their share would go to their children. The executors of the will were Jane Ivall and Robert Thomas Ivall. Jane died in 1866 (intestate) and Robert Thomas in 1865. David Ivall, who was the only child of Thomas still alive in 1866, took over the administration of the will when Jane died. The probate records state that the remaining amount in 1866 was “less than £1,000”.      

Phil Taylor

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