We have traced the history back to the 14th Century, although the Grange was built some 500 years later there are references to a small settlement here - the strangely named 'Pillocs Place' (one would hope that the name had a different meaning then, something to do with great wisdom maybe?)
The 1839 Somerset Tythe map - part of a nationwide survey to show every plot of land and building, shows the site of the Grange to be a 3.5 acre paddock named 'Home Close'. The records show that this paddock was farmed by Mr. George Silke who lived at the adjacent Shepherds Farm, he was a tenant farmer , the land being owned by a local well-to-do family.
The main house was believed built in the 1860's by an Attorney & Solicitor originally from nearby Weston - Mr. Joseph Ruscombe Poole. The 1861 census shows that at that time he lived in Weston with his household which numbered 20 people including servants - he had 5 daughters called Mary so its safe to assume he was a Christian man of his day!
The 1871 census shows that he was living at the Grange, although numbers had dropped to 14 people, with one daughter (a Mary!) gone off to be married.
Joseph Ruscombe Poole was born in 1819 in the village of Rodney Stoke in Somerset. He practiced law in premises at 9 Dampiet St. in Bridgwater, along with his brother Gabriel. The company of J.R.Poole & Son continued right up until the 1960's.
The Ruscombe Poole family originate in the local area, Josephs father was another Joseph Ruscombe Poole, he was on two occasions the Mayor in Bridgwater.
There is some evidence to suggest Joseph jnr.s was a Catholic household, we do know that he donated land for the construction of St.Josephs Catholic church in Weston and there still exists a stained glass memorial window for the family.
At sometime in 1874 The Grange became the home of Revd. Charles Willson Landor and his wife Caroline, together with their daughter Caroline Elizabeth - who was to become the longest occupier to date.
Charles Willson Landor was the nephew of the poet and writer Walter Savage Landor, and the Landor name is synonimous with the Rugeley and Warwick area's - to this day there are almshouses, schools, roads and public buildings carrying their name or memorials.
Charles had for many years been the Vicar of Lindridge in Warwickshire - there is no obvious reason as to why he moved to Somerset on his retirement, there were family connections in Bath but it is hard to imagine it being a convenient journey in Victorian times!
It may well be the case that The Grange, having farmland with it, was attractive not only as a large house but also provided an income, although even by Victorian standards the Landors were particularily wealthy - Caroline also came from a wealthy family background.
After the passing of her parents Caroline Elizabeth remained at The Grange with 5 staff. Her upbringing had been of the tradition that daughters would remain at home to care for parents or Aunts, and so she never married.
She is still remembered by some local people. She earnt herself the nickname 'Lizzie Dripping' - around 1903 at a time of local hardship the children at the local primary school were walked up on a Friday for lunch - apparently bread & dripping!
She remained in occupation up to 1933. In the parish church there is a well maintained brass plaque memorial to her, citing her great benevolence to the church and village school. Her will left much to St.Marys Church, the primary school and Bridgwater Hospital.
Whilst it has not been my intention to research individual family trees I have found it hard to resist with the Landor family - they were very wealthy, owning much land in Bishops Tachbrook, Warwickshire and Rugeley, Staffordshire.
From 1933 until 1936 The Grange was owned by a Louisa Thomas. The Thomas's were farmers who owned the adjacent Grange Farm, I suspect the reason for the purchase was to acquire the 40 or so acres around the house.
A legal transfer dated 15 Jan 1936 shows the property being sold by a Louisa Thomas to a Maud Elizabeth Vernon Wynter.
Little is known of the Wynters, and the property is believed to have been offered for sale again around 1948.
Kellys' Directory of Bridgwater for 1951 shows Major Cecil St. Hall Parlby as being in occupation. He is well remembered by locals still - our neighbour remembers that as a young boy he would often see 'the Major' riding around the village on his horse. Major Hall Parlby is notable in that he was the last of the 'gentlemen' owners of the Grange - his nephew - a baronet - still resides locally.
His occupation continues until 1960 - when on the 21st December 1960 it was offered at auction.
Interestingly, the auctioneers advert describes it as being converted into 3 units (possibly Ruskin Hall, Toad Hall and the Tower).The property did not go to auction ,however, being sold privately prior.
The early 60's show a mix of occupiers with up to 5 units of accomodation, the entry for 1964 including a Nicholas Richards, who was the new owner.
The Grange had a very fortunate escape at this point. Nick Richards was a partner in a local building company (now Persimmon Homes) who would take a large country house, then subdivide it into smaller units. Fortunately for us, he moved into The Grange and lived here as his family home.
A transfer deed from 1970 shows a sale between Nicholas Chirgwin Richards and William Smithies Haworth & Vera Esme Doris Haworth. Indeed a document from 1961 shows Nicholas Richards granting a right of way to Peter & Ann Faun to Grange Lodge - we must assume he sold the Lodge to them at that time although there is no mention of the lodge in the auction details. In 1963 the Yorkes also sold some land back to Joan Winifred Richards, giving the Grange its current layout.
So the Haworth's own the property from 1970. little is known of their time here, and in the early 1980's the Grange is sold to Anthony Smith. It is then that the barns are converted into 3 holiday cottages and the swimming pool is added, with a driveway being added down to a small underground garage - opening up the cellars.
In approx. 1993 the property again changes hands, this time it is purchased by the Gilleys , selling off the Lodge again. We do not know exactly how the Lodge came back into the Grange's ownership, local information tells us that the Smiths bought the properties back in.
The Gilleys put much effort in upgrading the holiday facilities, it was during this period that the swimming pool was enclosed and the original basement games room added. (I am now in contact with Mr.Gilley and hope to confirm exact dates and changes later this year).
The late 1990's saw ownership pass to Mrs D. Hodder-Williams, where it was primarily a family home.
Work is still ongoing to fill in the gaps around the war years, and I have also heard that there may be some artefacts relating to the Landors still in someone's shed, a little bit more detective work still to do yet!
I am immensely grateful to local author David Worthy for his help in relation to Joseph Ruscombe Poole, and also to another well know author, Jean Field, whose help and published works in relation to the Landors have proved invaluable.
The Colton History Society have also helped fill in some puzzling gaps - thank you Dorothy!