Sherbourne Villa

Once a large, elegant and detached building, Sherbourne Villa, stood on the corner of Sherbourne Terrace, Clarendon Street and Villiers Street. In 1938, planning permission was obtained to demolish the villa and replace with 4 houses: 17 and 17a Sherbourne Terrace and 2 houses in Villiers Street.


Originally, Sherbourne Villa (later known as Sherbourne Lodge) was set apart from the adjacent Sherbourne Terrace. Its address then changed to 17 Clarendon Street and 17 Sherbourne Terrace. The earliest reference, as Sherbourne Villa, was in 1856. It became the home of 5 families until 1935, when its most famous resident, ‘Leamington’s Grand Old Man’ died.

Mrs Harriet Marsland (1802-1862)

Mrs  Marsland, a widow from Lancashire, made Sherbourne Villa her home between 1856-1859. She received frequent family visits from her children, Harriet, Captain Thomas Edmund Marsland and Frances Sarah Clowes; whilst her son, Major John Marsland eventually settled in Leamington at Huntley Lodge.

The photo (right) shows Harriet with her daughter, Jane, who after her mother’s death, divorced her first husband, Thomas Nott (1866), after he committed adultery and abandoned her. She then married Daniel Francis Morgan in Paris in 1868.

Henry Bacchus, Esquire, (1821-1896)

Henry Bacchus, moved in to Sherbourne Villa between 1859 and 1887, with his wife, Isabella, their 6 children and 5 servants: 2 nurses, a cook, a housemaid and a parlour maid. Described as a landed proprietor, Henry was originally from Norwood and had achieved a BA in 1845 at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He converted to Catholicism, possibly influenced by his future father-in- law, a Chemistry Professor at Cambridge. Henry and Isabella liked their spa towns, having previously lived in Bath and Malvern, before permanently settling in Leamington Priors. Whilst visiting Cheltenham, in 1868, Mrs Bacchus saw an apparition of a deceased gentleman at their lodgings, collaborated by her husband:

Henry Bacchus took 6 summons out in 1861 against individuals who kept swine in Villiers Street. He complained about the great nuisance and smell – even though this was 80 yards away from his Villa. The Bacchus family were  prominent Catholics in the town. They attended the laying of the foundation stone at St Peter’s Catholic Elementary School for girls and infants in Augusta Place in 1879. Only one of their children, married; whilst two entered religious life -one as a Catholic priest, and the other as a sister in the Poor Clares, at Baddesley Clinton. In 1887 the family left for Lillington Manor House.

The Misses F P & E I Currie

Sherbourne Villa was immediately occupied by unmarried sisters, Fanny Pattison Currie (1826-1906) and Elizabeth Isabella Currie (1834-1898), who quickly jumped at the chance of moving across the road from 46 Binswood Avenue. They resided in the property between 1888 to 1894 and had an income “from an interest of money.” They then sold all their ‘first-class household furnishings’ and pianoforte and downsized to nearby Norman Villa, at 33 Sherbourne Place.

Edward Turner (1842-1924)

On retirement from the Indian Civil Service, in 1895, Edward Turner  was the next occupant of  Sherbourne Lodge, 17 Clarendon Street, staying until 1924. Edward came from a Montgomeryshire family and worked in Madras from 1864 as a collector, magistrate and supervisor of the State famine relief operations. It was in Madras that he met and married Georgiana Chase who had been born there, as were most of their children.

As Sherbourne Lodge was so large and their adult children left home, the Turners let some of the back rooms around 1898. The family regularly worshipped at the nearest Anglican church, St Paul’s, in Leicester Street, where Mrs Turner led the Mothers’ Union and their daughter Mary taught at the Sunday School. In fact, Mary married the curate, Reverend Sydney Frances Pilcher, in 1914 in a quiet ceremony at the church. The Turners were supportive of worthy local causes, contributing funds for the new St Paul’s school buildings, the Daily Circular Boys’ Xmas Box, the Local General Fund and WW1 V.A.D. Hospitals (Holmdene and The Warren) and the Infant Health Society. Around town, Mr Turner was active in various official social functions, including attendance at the Leamington Gentleman’s Ball.

Tragically, in 1914, one of their sons, Richard Chase Turner, a Lieutenant- Commander of the Royal Navy, was killed in action in Zanzibar when H.M.S. Pegasus was shelled by a German cruiser. However, the family continued to devote their time to charity work including donating “9 pairs of cuffs, 2 pairs of socks, 9 belts, and 5 scarves” to the North Sea Patrol Flotillas. Support was also given to the military through the Leamington Federation of the CE Men’s Society for ‘Soldiers’ Rest, Recreation and Devotion Huts’ for behind the Firing Line in France, Serbia and the Dardanelles.

Edward became the Honorary Secretary of the Leamington Spa Golf Club with the difficult task of selling off the “golf pavilion on the Campion Hills, rollers [and] mowing machines” in 1898. Locals wondered “after a fitful existence, is it about to die? Is there no hope of reviving the club?”

 “Leamington’s Grand Old Man,” Dr F H Haynes

Sherbourne Lodge’s most famous and well-respected Leamington resident was Dr Frederick Harry Haynes (1845- 1935), MD. FKC.P., M.R.C.S. He established his medical practice at 23 The Parade, where he lived with his wife Henrietta Hiron and 7 children, all born in Leamington. It was only in the year of his golden wedding anniversary,1926, at the age of 81 that Frederick relocated to Sherbourne Lodge, a quieter place than the hustle and bustle of the Parade, in the centre of town.

As a young, highly qualified house surgeon recommended by Dr Jephson, Frederick Haynes moved to Leamington. He started his long service to the town at Warneford Hospital in 1869 and lived on the premises. Shortly after arriving, Dr Haynes attended to Henry Masters, a 29-year-old groom who had become entangled on a steam threshing machine, whilst under the influence of drink. At the ensuing inquest, following Masters’ death from gangrene, Haynes had to explain his decision not to amputate his leg, believing the patient would not have survived the operation.

Within 3 years Haynes became honorary physician and later supported the hospital during the war when younger medics were away on active service. He became a consultant in 1919, describing his 50 years of service as the “happiest times of his life.” This was in spite of the primitive facilities at the start, with no anaesthetist and no lifts to the wards, resulting in coal being hauled up to the wards “with the aid of a yoke.” He was also an honorary physician at the Royal Midland Counties Home for Incurables,  with an interest in Provident Dispensary work, scientific medical advances and especially syphilis and its relation to cancer.

Frederick Haynes witnessed a phenomenal rate of medical modernisation between 1869-1932, including an expansion of wards, the addition of an operating theatre and a new out- patients’ department at Warneford. There was also a great increase in medical specialists: two physicians, two surgeons, an ear, nose and throat surgeon; a pathologist, radiologist, dentist, medical and surgical registrars; and an electro- cardiologist and two anaesthetists. The importance of nursing staff was also recognised and increased to 60, with the support of 26 maids. In 1919 he was honoured for 50 years’ service and presented with a portrait painted by Miss Edwards. He was highly regarded and tributes suggested that “no member of the medical profession has rendered more unstinting service to the community over very many years;” and that as an “able and skilled physician” and had the “complete confidence of those for whom he worked.”

As a popular figure about town, he had a finger in many pies. Genuinely concerned for the poor and the vulnerable of society, he was generally outspoken. In 1887, at the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee he proposed that a fitting celebration would be to “erect model dwellings for those obliged to live in slums.” Dr Haynes caused controversy when he suggested that “very few people are aware of the wretched dwellings in which many poor people in Leamington are housed.” Yet, in some quarters there was disbelief that “the cleanest, prettiest town in England” was also a slum, questioning: “is it true that there are any very badly built cottages in the town? Are not the poor people here exceptionally well housed? Is there not an Officer of Health always on the watch for keeping things straight? Surely there never was a well-watered, well- cleaned, lighted, swept, dust-holed, policed a place this, [that] it really cannot be likely that there are any houses unfit for human habitation here!”

Dr Haynes was an inspirational philanthropist and a man of strong opinions. He objected to proposals for raising part of Leamington Parish Church floor in 1898, claiming that this would make the church look like “a pig with one ear!” In 1920, he proposed the building of a Pump Room Annexe for “people to live and sleep, or… a small hotel… built on the opposite side of the river, connected with the baths by a bridge” for patients to be put to bed immediately after treatment. He was a Town Councillor, a Conservative Club member, a Freemason, and a Justice of the Peace – Leamington’s oldest magistrate, in 1932. Even in his eighties, he was actively involved in the Warwickshire British Legion and the Universities Mission to Central Africa. He also became a Gas Company Director from 1914, fighting for employee welfare rights.

A keen sportsman, particularly in shooting, tennis and chess, Frederick had “considerable influence on the development of the games in Leamington.” He was President of the Leamington Chess Club and a member of the first Tennis Club in England – originally called “pelota.” Alastair Robson suggests that he played tennis with Harry Gem, a solicitor, Juan Augurio Perera, a Spanish merchant and another physician from Warneford, Dr Arthur Tompkins, on the lawn of Manor House Hotel.

The family was devastated by four deaths in 1935. Two of their sons died: their eldest, John Frederick Haynes, RN Surgeon Commander passed away in July at the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, aged 44 years, followed by their youngest son, Harold Foster Haynes in October, aged 41. Frederick himself died in August of that year, aged 90, followed by his wife, Henrietta, in November. Frederick left an estate of £20,615, plus a collection of stuffed birds for his offspring to either retain or “present to the town of Leamington.”

Sherbourne Lodge was left unoccupied until Charles Heritage, a retired local farmer, obtained planning permission in April 1938 to demolish the Lodge and build four houses on the site. The new occupants of 17 and 17a  Sherbourne Terrace had moved in by 1939: Charles Edwin Elyard, an office manager at the local brewery, with his family at 17; Harold Sayce, an electrical manufacturer, and his wife at 17a. Both men were voluntary air raid wardens during the war. The two houses built  in the garden became 1 Lower Villiers Street, named “Radford” where Evelyn Green was a housekeeper (1908-1979) for Henry Frank Godfrey, (1896-1995) a young widower who was a Civil Service Clerical Officer for the Ministry of Health (and previously Pensions), who remained in the house until 1985. Next door at no 2 Lower Villiers Street, known as “Rostelen,” was occupied by the family of local Leamingtonian Francis William Gibbons, a railway clerk.

Stella Bolitho. June 2020

Sources: British Medical Journal Obituaries; British Newspaper Archives; Leamington Courier; National Census Returns; The Tablet, London;; Harriet Marsland Photo c. 1858 ; Myers, Human Personality: And Its Survival of Bodily Death. Cambridge University Press, 20 Jan 2011; Robson, Alastair: Unrecognised by the World at Large: A biography of Dr Henry Parsey, Physician to the Hatton Asylum, Warwick: Troubador Publishing Ltd, 10 Oct 2018; Postcard of Sherbourne Lodge sent to Miss Turner when visiting Southport, by her friend Ina, courtesy of Michael Knibb & David Twiddy;