Belvoir was a farm house built in approximately the 17th Century and was part of the Alphington Estate owned by the Earls of Devon.
It was once known as Pawlings and there were Pawling families in Alphington during the 1600 and 1700s. Records show: Alex Pawling marrying John Silstone on 15th July 1662; John Pawling christened on the 7th February 1683 and his death on 19th February 1684; Francis Pawling christened on 21st July 1687. Other death records are: John Pawling in 1671; Grace Pawling in 1675; John Pawling in 1690 and Ann Pawling in 1774.
In 1861 Pawlings was occupied by Benjamin Horatio Shaw originally from London and a merchant, his wife Blanche Amelia Shaw, Victoria H. Robinson a professor of music and Emma Ford a house servant.
By 1871 Benjamin Horatio Shaw was retired, Blanche Amelia Shaw was 'engaged in tuition'. Other residents were Julia Dick a teacher of French; Elizabeth Bradley, James H. Wade aged 8 a scholar; Harry N. Pierce aged 10 a scholar, Edward C Pierce aged 7 a scholar, John H. Pierce aged 6 a scholar and Emma Tootall a domestic servant.
Benjamin died in 1877 and a record in White's Devonshire 1878-1879 shows Mrs Blanche Shaw as an exor. of Mr Benjamin Horatio Shaw and running a ladies boarding and day school. The cottage was now known as Belvoir.
From records dated 1881 and 1883 for Belvoir Henry Hookins a classical tutor and a widow was resident, his daughters Edith a governess and Ellen a scholar were living with him. Other residents were Henry's sister-in-law Margaret Cockran a governess and Edith Cliff a servant.
Henry Hookins came from St Thomas and first married Amelia Kingswell on the 28th August 1837. He married his second wife, Mary Ann Cockran on 20th August 1853 they had five children. Mary Ann died at Monte le Grande on 23rd December 1868. Henry died on the 7th March 1899 at Loretto House, Homsey Lane, Upper Holloway, Middlesex.
In 1891 records show Thomas A. Padsley residing at Belvoir he was a retired farmer born in Tawton. His wife was Mary J. and their children were: Mary S.; Emma A.; Alice; Annie E.; Thomas A. and Lucy A.
In 1911 Captain Hugh Robert Evans RN retired was residing at Belvoir. His family was recorded as: Esther Louisa wife; their children: Bertha Helen; Margaret Esther; Clara Joan; Douglas Frederick; Leslie Ernest; George D. They had two other sons not recorded in the 1911 records, Thomas Hugh born in 1895 and Robert Henry born in 1897. The staff at Belvoir were: Eliza Beatrice Holwill a general servant; Mary Ann James a nurse; May Penrose a servant and Susan Webster a servant.
Captain Hugh Roberts was born at St Albans in 1853 and married Esther Louisa Jackson of Plymouth in 1894, they moved from Penzance to Belvoir in about 1902.
An advertisement appeared in the Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette dated Friday 3rd September 1886 advertising the lease of Belvoir. 'To let at Michaelmas all that desirable. Detached desirable residence Belvoir many years in the occupation of Mr Hookings: two sitting rooms on ground floor, kitchen, back kitchen, five bedrooms, excellent wall garden, orchard, stable, outhouses etc. Rent moderate. Cottage at end of house can be let with or without main house'.
Belvoir was sold at auction in 1922 and was described as follows.
'The Freehold Reversion to all that desirable Detached Residence and Grounds, known as Belvoir, Alphington, Substantially built of Stuccoed Stone, with part Thatched and part Slated Roof.
The Residence, with small lawn in front, enclosed by dwarf wall, surmounted by iron railings, contains: On the first floor: five bed and dressing rooms.
On the ground floor: entrance hall, drawing room and dining room (each of good proportions), kitchen with range, larder, scullery with sink, furnace and boiler, coal house and WC.
Adjoining the house is a cottage (now used as a store) containing one bedroom (partitioned into two rooms), living room, etc. At the back of the residence is an outside closet, a stone-built and tiled open shed with loft over, and a cob and tiled barn with loft over.
In addition to the front lawn there is at the back a further lawn, with flower beds and two walled fruit and vegetable gardens, in one of which are two greenhouses. The property, embracing an area of about 1a. 0r. 15p.'
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick