In 1922 Rock House was described in an auction catalogue. The house had an entrance lobby and hall, two pantry cupboards, china pantry, dining room, drawing room, wine cellar, WC, kitchen with range, back kitchen with furnace and boiler and a larder. On the first floor a store room, four bedrooms, and a landing. On the second floor two attics, a store room and three bedrooms. The yard contained coal, wood and poultry houses. The garden contained a green house, stabling with two stalls and a coach house with a loft over, a walled fruit and vegetable garden. The document stated the property was let to Mr F. Seward.
In 1841 records show that Rock House was a school. There were rumours that Charles Dickens courted some of the staff at the School. His parents rented Mile End Cottage in the village from 1839 for about four years. Anna Cunningham and Margaret Cunningham were the school mistresses and Lucinder Jenkins was a teacher. The pupils were: Mary Cunningham aged 11; Marrianna Jenkins aged 11; Fanny Lye aged 15; Ethelinda Willing? aged 15; Julia Soosewill? aged 15; Elizabeth Hawkins aged 13; Sophia Lawrence aged 9; Ellen Pitts aged 8. There was one other resident, Charlotte Warren and also Jane Couch a servant.
In 1851 James Marsh a landed proprietor was resident with Mary Ann Lee a housekeeper and Eliza Berry a house servant
In 1871 William R M Griffin a retired surgeon was living at the house with his wife Ellen Griffin. Their children were Catherine B., William N., Ernest M. and Marcus S. Sarah E Halfyard was their cook domestic.
The Griffin Almshouses in Ide Lane were a gift to the village from Catherine Buchan Griffin. She died in 1922 but the almshouses were not built until 1934 when the capital from her estate became available after the death of her brother. Catherine and her father are buried in the village churchyard and there are two Griffin family memorial windows in the church.
In 1881 the residents were George Carrington the eldest son and a journalist, his mother Emily Haywood Carrington and his siblings Mary Carrington, Edith Carrington, Charles Walter Carrington a civil engineer. Their servant
was Rebecca Martin.
Emily Heywood Johns Carrington (1814-1890) was a talented artist and teacher, she married Henry Carrington in 1841 but he died in 1859. Emily retired to Rock House after following a teaching career.
In 1891 the house appears to be uninhabited, probably due to Emily's death in the year before.
In 1911 Francis Seward retired farmer was living at Rock House with his wife Martha Seward. Their general servant was Annie Burgh. Francis Seward had been farming at Eastwood Farm and then Matford Barton Farm in Alphington.
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick