Charles Welstead 1808 – 1838

Charles Welstead 1808 – 1838

In 1808 Valentines was purchased by Charles Welstead of Leyton Stone Esq. In 1798 he had married Sophia Porter at Wormley in Hertfordshire and she seems to have contributed to the purchase.[1]

The couple made many changes to the house, moving the front entrance from the south side to the north and building the porte cochère.

The elegant curve of the Porte Cochère

They converted the orangery (or conservatory) into the dairy wing and built the kitchen to link it to the main house.

Charles Welstead also made substantial changes to the gardens and he probably created the lake which is now used for boating. The estate as recorded in the ownership of Charles Welstead in the Barking Tithe Award of 1847 covered approx.170 acres. Apart from the formal gardens, the fields nearest to the house were used as meadows, while further south, on either side of the lake, they were arable.

When he married in 1798 Welstead was described as “deputy collector of the customs in the coastal business inwards and outwards”. [2] His memorial says he was “19 years in the service of his Majesty’s Customs in the Port of London” but little more has been discovered about him, so far. He seems to have been a charitable man, involved with the Marine Society which was founded in 1765 by Jonas Hanway to supply young recruits (from the workhouse) and equip them for service in the British Navy.[3] Soon after he came to Ilford Charles Welstead built the “Forest Side school” in Horns Road, Barkingside, but this was closed after his death.[4] He was also nominated for the honour of being Sheriff for the County of Essex shortly before he died in 1832.[5] He was buried with others of his family in the churchyard at St. John’s, Little Leighs, a very quiet spot down a pretty winding lane, off the A131 Chelmsford to Braintree Road.

When he died there was a legal wrangle over his will and although his widow survived until 1847, Valentines was sold in 1838 to Charles Holcombe.

© Georgina Green 13 April 2010

[1] Essex Record Office D/DU 539/1 p. 64

[2] GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE Vol.68 Pt.1 p.255 (1798)

[3] Times 1817

[4] VCH Vol.V p.264

[5] GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE Vol.102 Pt.2 p.655 (1832)

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