The Towers Complex
A registered charity that assists in the preservation of the historic buildings collectively known as Buckden Towers, Bugden Towers, Buckden Palace or Bugden Palace in the County of Cambridgeshire, UK
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Copyright © D Thomas 1999

A Booklet by David Thomas BSc
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This Booklet is reproduced on the Friends of Buckden Towers'
Web Site
by kind permission of its author, David Thomas, BSc,
in whom the copyright of the Booklet and these pages of the Web Site
remain vested.
Copyright © David Thomas BSc 1999


Title Page Contents House & Owner
Servants' Quarters Inside the House The Marshall Family
Domestic Staff Marshall's Public Life Huntingdon Brewery
Photographs Birthday Honour A Tragedy
The Final Years After Buckden Towers Acknowledgements


Buckden Towers is situated in the centre of the village of Buckden on the old Great North Road (now by-passed by the A1). The ancient historic buildings, consisting of the 15th Century gatehouses, and the main tower, detract from the interest of the Victorian house, which should be considered as a significant house in its own right. The ownership of the property passed into secular hands for only the second time in its long history, when it was bought by Mr James Marshall to provide a home for his son.

The Victorian House, now known as Buckden Towers was built in 1872 by Arthur Wellington Marshall, who was the third son of James Marshall, the founder owner of Marshall & Snelgrove the high class couturiers. As the first dress shops of any description were founded only at the middle of the nineteenth century, he must have had a considerable entrepreneurial flair which he passed on to Arthur.

It was designed by Robert Edis, (knighted in 1919), the architect of the original Sandringham House, but only slight similarities can now be detected. Either he or Mr Marshall must have been sensitive to the surrounding historic buildings. At the time local buildings were often built of yellow or cream bricks, sometimes with red decorative bands or quoins as a relief. This was in line with other buildings of the time which were often built of bands of contrasting colours of brick or two types of building material for example, red brick and stone. It was also fashionable to build in a neo-gothic style, with arched and pointed windows and decorated pinnacles.

There are many points of similarity between the original ancient buildings and the Victorian house. The bricks of the house are red, which have kept their colour, they are not a complete match of the red brick of the tower and gatehouses. The windows have lintels similar to the tower with relieving arches of brick over each; at intervals there is a band of limestone which is present in the tower; the front door is enclosed in part of a square tower with castellations at the top which reflect the shape of the gatehouse. The shape of the doorway exactly matches the arch of the gatehouse. The chimneys are octagonal, matching the shape of the four corner towers.

One neo-gothic touch we must forgive, on each side of the front entrance there are short columns of green marble. The doorway arch is also decorated.

Some aspects of the house are Victorian, the decorative heraldic stone Salve, (Welcome) above the main door, panders to the contemporary love of elaboration, and the depth of the lower panes of glass were only used in prestigious buildings or the houses of the wealthy. The date of building is shown high above the front door and again on the south side of the tower (facing the ancient tower). The gables, another common feature on Victorian houses, are plain. If he had adhered to copying the gatehouse building, they might have been stepped, as they were when he built the gatehouse lodge in the following year, 1873. The gatehouse lodge is now a bookshop and visitor centre. The brickwork of the ancient tower and gatehouses is a mixture of English bond and random; that of the house is the much more regular Flemish bond.

On the southern side of the house he reminds us again under a neo-gothic arch in the brickwork, that he built the house. He left his monogram here. There are very few other combinations of letters which will form such an easy pattern. He must have been very proud of his handiwork. The first observable use of this monogram is on the gates under the outer gatehouse.

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To the left of the main door of the house, in the corner, is a doorway, which once led into the butler’s quarters. To the left of this door is an arch, somewhat above ground level, which probably led directly to the butler’s cellar. The rest of this side of the house is taken up by the living quarters of the servants. This is in great contrast to most houses of the period, in which the servants were kept hidden away either partly or wholly underground or concealed behind the main house. The arrangement suggests at least some respect for those that looked after the main family. However most of the main bedrooms and the ground floor living rooms look out over the park, so perhaps the other side of the house was regarded as the most important.

Another doorway along this front has the same shape of doorway as the gatehouse. While we are looking at the servants’ wing look at the number of chimneys, most of which must have been from their private rooms; they were evidently able to keep themselves warm without resort to the kitchen fire, or the communal servant's sitting room. Their bedrooms, which also had fireplaces, were also directly above their living area. Normal design for the time was a series of attic bedrooms above the main house.

At the time of building the Victorian House some of the gatehouse buildings, already in poor repair, had been knocked down, and a clear view of most of the new house was probably visible from the outer gatehouse. No doubt any visitors or the Marshall’s were promptly attended to when they arrived at the front door. The footman would have had good warning of their approach.

A book, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Biographies of the 20th Century, published in 1912 depicts an east facing view of the house. This picture shows the south wall as having no bay window, (at present in the conference room). The brickwork does not indicate a later addition to the house, it was possibly a late addition to the original plans and the picture, though looking like a photograph, is probably an artist’s impression.

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The house is the private home of the priests and brothers who are members of a Roman Catholic religious community called the Claretian Missionaries. They allow the ground floor rooms to be used by local organisations by arrangement. To that extent this part of the house can be seen.

Notice the boot scrapers in the doorway. An indication of the lack of modern surfaces in the surrounds and roads leading to the house. It is also another possible indicator that the Marshall’s had consideration for their employees. In other houses the housemaids might have to clean up a trail of mud.

On entering the very solid oak door, hung on decorative but very substantial hinges, we enter a small vestibule or outer hall, which is still used for the purpose for which it may have been intended, a cloak room. Leading off from this room to the left is a small room, which is presently used as an office. This may well have been its original purpose. It has access from the servants’ areas and to the passage leading to the back door, so that instructions could be given to both indoor and outdoor staff. It may well have served either Mr Marshall or his wife as an office for any other business.

The stained glass at the top of the windows suggests an observant and educated man with some imagination. The form of the design is a play on hunting, no doubt from Huntingdonshire, and is also an adaptation of Bishop Russell’s coat of arms, which can be seen on the inside and end walls of the gatehouse. The main shield is argent, stags heads gules between chevrons azure. It is surrounded in one by a hound hunting a stag, and in the other by a stag caught by the hound. The story is underlined by the Latin motto Finem Respice, "Keep the End in Sight". Another possible use for this room might have been a hunting room, with the bootjacks and storage for boots, crops and other equipment.

Into the vestibule again, and through the double stained glass doors and we find ourselves in the hall.

The hall is lit by a large roof window on the first floor, from which the light diffuses to the ground floor. On the left is a wide staircase of polished oak. The outer string of the stairs is relief carved in a tasteful repeat pattern. This pattern has bee used as the basis of a frieze in the modern decorations. The wide handrail is supported by turned balusters, and the newel posts are moderately decorated. At the joint of the hand rail and the newel post, the Arthur Marshall monogram is to be found again on three sides, it is repeated at the turn of the stairs and landing newel posts. The oak staircase reflects the change in taste from the earlier Victorian period, when cast iron was often the preferred material for balusters.

At the top of the stairs, the space between the rafters is now white, but under this modern covering there is a stencilled pattern.

Beneath the turn of the stairs the hall is partitioned from the servants’ quarters by oak panels and doors in which stained glass is set. The door lights are not an exact match; Arthur Marshall’s monogram is on one door but the letters CM are in the other panel. This is the only place where Constance, Mr Marshall’s wife has her own monogram; it possibly is a indication that from this point Mrs Marshall has at least equal power in the running of the house.

The Fireplace is the main incongruity in the house. It appears to be built on top of the original hearth of red patterned tiles but does not have the elegance of the fireplaces in the other rooms. It may be an early twentieth century replacement, possibly during the period when the house was used by the Lovat Scouts convalescing during the Great War. The hearth is similar in pattern to the hearth in another large room just through the double doors to the kitchen and servants' area.

This room, newly decorated to become a conference room, has stained glass windows above the transoms. They depict birds, fruit and flowers. The fireplace is different from others elsewhere in the house in that the tiles have a raised coloured pattern, and have no figures incorporated in the design. Described later as a billiard room, a common feature of many houses of the time. Like all the other rooms on the ground floor it is lofty, about 12 feet 6 inches in height (c.3.75m). It is about 25ft x 18ft. (c7.5m x 6.6m)

There are three very fine oak doors leading from the hall. The first, opposite the door by which we entered, leads into the dining room. The windows face east, and it is likely that the family breakfasted here with the full benefit of the morning sunshine. The light streams through large windows with stained glass inserts above the transoms. The designs are of fruits and flowers, and embedded in each window is the name of the maker, G E Cook. It is the only room where his name appears on the glass.

Opposite the windows is the original fireplace which has a tiled oak surround depicting a number of figures in stylised classical clothes, in scenes which show how different kinds of food and drinks are gathered. Each side of the fireplace has designs which reflect the window patterns. These tiles and the others in the house have the same maker’s name. The door at the far end of the room leads directly to the servants’ area, and as it is a short distance from the kitchen; food got to the table hot. The floor has an oak surround and the central part, which would have been covered, is pine or other softwood. Today the room is papered, with panels of copies of William Morris paper, with a motif of vines and grapes, which is reflected in the frieze, and has its origin on the sideboard of the period at one end of the room. It is about 28ft x 18ft, (approx. 8.4m x 5.4m).

The Marshall family, when they were not entertaining, possibly spent much of their time in the smaller of the two remaining rooms. It is described as a morning room. This is through the door on the right of the entrance from the vestibule. Again we see the large windows, which face south and have sunlight for much of the day. The stained glass above the transoms are of flowers and birds, most of them are exotic but recognisable. There is a hoopoe and a prickly pear cactus in one, this is a modern replacement.

The fireplace has a tile surround, the pre-Raphaelite style pictures, representing the five senses. Have a good look at these, we will see them again. Again the tiles are signed G E Cook, but some are also signed by Cook’s designer F Hart or F V Hart. Its size is about 20ft x 10ft (c6m x 3m).

The last and biggest of the ground floor rooms, now known as the conference room, was the drawing room, and can be entered through double doors from the morning room, is a large well-proportioned room. The large fireplace is less decorative than the others but has a figure formed from two tiles on each side. The figures appear to represent literature and music and are possibly Calliope, goddess of writing, with her laurel crown, and birds, butterflies and plants as background. The other may be Orpheus, the tragic musician. He or she is depicted with a correctly stringed lyre, and surrounded by plants. The fireplace and surrounds have sustained some limited reconstruction.

The east facing window, which looks out on to the park has stained glass which are copies of the five senses, which we saw on the fire surround in the previous room, indicating that the glass and tiles were made by the same company.

The south facing window is in a bay. This is the bay missing from the picture mentioned above. There is no sign of a major alteration in the form of plastering and decoration. The bay opening is wide and recent repairs to the ceiling joists uncovered two large load bearing steel beams to carry the first floor wall. There are indications that the bay was added after the building was started, but probably before it was completely built. There are the remains of the original wall under the floor boards, and well disguised joints in the outside brickwork.

Its stained glass represents scenes from classical mythology. They are open to interpretation but are possibly, Theseus with his distaff of thread, Heracles and the birds of Stymphalos, Narcissus (or Hyacinthus), Jason or Odysseus. All the figures are modelled by the same person. The last window, which looks west, is in a different style and has a different model. It appears to be Persephone. All the windows on the ground floor have wooden shutters, which can be folded neatly out of the way. This last one differs from all the others, it does not cover the stained glass above the transom, but it covers the rest of the window. The model of the glass is a lady’s profile, and is beautiful. One is tempted to believe that the model was very special to Mr. Marshall, and it may have been his wife. If it is, it is very tastefully introduced, in contrast to others at the same period where modern portraits are used inappropriately.

While we are in this room we might look at some of the fittings which have been present in the others. The central boss above the light, is not moulded plaster, as it may appear to be at first sight, but is of moulded metal. Mr. Marshall almost certainly installed gas lighting when he built the house. The pipes of galvanised iron run between the ceiling joists, and above the first floor ceiling in the roof space. There seems to be no record of town gas being supplied from Huntingdon, which had a gasworks at this time. He probably installed a small plant of his own, and it may have been a carbide to acetylene plant. The light from gas gradually improved, though the incandescent mantle was not invented until the next decade (1888). Their one drawback was the amount of heat generated.

The finger plates on the doors are very decorative and made of heavy brass. This is the largest room at this level and is about 31ft x 24ft 6 inches into the bays. (c 9.3m x 7.5)

The servants’ wing was built to a high specification. The floors are, like the rest of the house, oak and screwed to the joists. The kitchen is large and well lit, the connecting passages are tiled, but have decorated tile inserts. The butler’s pantry had a wine cellar incorporated in it. A servants’ staircase is still in place in the house.

Upstairs there are two rooms which have bell pulls, possibly the nurseries.

Almost certainly there were WC’s flushed to a private septic tank somewhere in the grounds. There was a bathroom for the family to use, but apparently none for the servants. Water came from a well, the covering of which can still be seen. The property is described in the later letting notices, as having a plentiful supply of water and modern drainage. No mention is made of the need to pump the water up!

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James Marshall, Arthur’s father, lived at Cricklewood when he was first married to Catherine, daughter of Charles Morrison of Thurso in the far north of Scotland. They had at least four sons the third one of which was Arthur Wellington Marshall. He was born on 18th July 1841. He was educated at St. John’s school, now located at Leatherhead, but at that time at St. John’s Wood, London. It was a school founded in 1851 to educate sons of the clergy. By this time the Marshall family had moved to 30 Upper Hyde Park Gardens, Bayswater, a prestigious address, opposite the park and with a mews attached to the property at the back. No doubt Arthur and his brothers learned to ride in the park. Arthur subsequently went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he matriculated, but left without a degree in 1859.

In 1865 James Marshall purchased Huntingdon Brewery, including maltings, from Mr Dennis Herbert, for Arthur and his younger brother, Charles. Arthur seems to have been the driving force behind the business. The brewery itself had been established in 1792 and possibly even then it was one hundred years old. Its main entrance was onto Huntingdon High Street, and small parts of the buildings have been incorporated into the present modern development.

Arthur married Constance Desborough on May 8th 1867. She was the daughter of William Henry Desborough who had married Constance Maule, daughter of a solicitor. The Desboroughs were bankers (Veasey & Desborough) and subsequently sold to Barclays. Their descent can be traced from a sister of Oliver Cromwell. James Marshall is described as a silk mercer. Charles Marshall witnessed the wedding. Contemporary biographies stressed the importance of being a member of old county families. Arthur no doubt was regarded as an upstart, as none of Constance’s family witnessed the wedding.

The couple lived at Huntingdon, where Arthur Charles was born almost exactly one year after the wedding (May 12th). James was born the following year, then Charles was christened in December 1870 when the couple had moved to Little Paxton.

James Marshall senior purchased Buckden Towers for Arthur in 1869 with the intention that the ancient buildings could be adapted to make a home, but Arthur decided to build an entirely new house, which was finished in 1872 or 1873.

Constance Ivy was the last of the Marshall’s children, she was born at Buckden, and was christened in August 1875. A Californian Redwood, Sequoiadendron giganteum, (Wellingtonia), was planted between the two gatehouses at about that date, maybe it marks the birth of Constance.

When Arthur came to live at Buckden, the main tower was in a ruinous state with no roof, and Ivy growing inside and out. The north end of the inner gatehouse was also very dilapidated and he completed its destruction leaving the inner gatehouse tower intact.

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Arthur had sufficient income to live the life of a gentleman, he was, however, a hard worker, both at his business and in public life. In 1881 there were nine servants who lived in the house, listed in the census. They are listed in order of their status within the hierarchy of the servant class. Mrs Marshall appears to have been her own housekeeper. The coachman lived in the newly built gatehouse cottage. There were other outside staff who lived elsewhere in the village.

By 1891 the nursemaid and under nursemaid had gone and all the rest of the staff had changed. Many of the staff had come from far afield, including Sussex, Northumberland, and Devon.

He hunted with the Fitzwilliam and Cambridgeshire packs of hounds three or four times a week, which must have brought him to the notice of leading people of the county.

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The first major public office which Arthur held was Mayor of Huntingdon in 1878, a year after election to the first Huntingdon Council, an office which he filled again in 1882, 1892 and 1900.

He became High Sheriff for the counties of Huntingdon and Cambridge in 1890 and a Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Huntingdonshire. He became an officer of the 5th Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (the Huntingdonshire Militia). In those days a potentially important post as the regular army was engaged in India and South Africa, and there were memories of recent revolution and war on the European continent. He rose to be their Lieutenant-Colonel and commanding officer. He retired from its command in 1898.

He was president of the Huntingdonshire Conservative Association for many years and an active supporter of Huntingdonshire Agricultural Society.

He was also active in Buckden village life. He was a founding member, and first president of the Buckden and Diddington Horticultural Society. The first show was held in the Towers grounds in 1893. He was a church warden of St Mary’s parish church, to which he made several gifts. His obituaries say he reseated the church, but he was one of many subscribers to a fund for this purpose and gave generously to it. The project was completed in 1909. The seats replaced the dilapidated deal and boxed seats and were carved by Thompson & Co of Peterborough. The oak block floor was also installed at the same time.

I can find little mention of Mr Marshall’s wife, Constance or other members of the family. Mrs Marshall and Mrs Linton (Stirtloe House) jointly provided the prizes at the first show in the five needlework classes. His daughter Constance Ivy, showed a "cage of pretty white rabbits with young" (not entered in the show) and took a first in the Yellow Canary class.

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When Arthur and Charles Marshall took over Huntingdon Brewery it occupied a large area on the east side of Huntingdon High Street. Most of the buildings have been demolished but the remnants of some can be seen behind the present shops of Chequers Court and the High Street. The altered buildings have to be sought for at each end of the old buildings. A full inventory was made in 1884, and from that we get a picture of a thriving business.

The brewing vessel was made of copper, as some are today, and heated by steam, produced from coal. Well water or piped water was used. Thermometers and saccharometers were used in the process. There were ten horses in the stables which were lit by gas. These were needed to haul the beer to the retail outlets, and fed on beans and oats. There were 80 tied houses, in an area bounded by Folksworth, Yaxley. Ramsey, Witcham, St. Neots and Brington. There were three in Buckden, The George, The Beehive (Lucks Lane) and the White Horse (Silver Street). At that time there were nearly twenty alehouses or inns in the village.

As well as brewing, the brothers made mineral water, bottled wine and had a spirit store. The wines were imported into a bonded warehouse at the West India dock, London. They included Port, Claret, Brandy, St Emilion, Hock, Chablis, Sherry, Burgundy, Sauterne, and also Irish Whiskey of three different ages.

They were also agents for Ind Coope, the expanding national brewers.

The whole was valued at nearly £50,000, a fraction of present day values.

Arthur expanded the business, so that in 1899 they needed twenty horses for delivery to 200 tied houses, as well as buying Great Staughton brewery which had 25 tied houses. By then their speciality was India Pale ale, so called because it was a type of beer popular in India to which it was shipped. It probably was a well-hopped beer which travelled well.

Week by week they had a large advertisement on the front of the Huntingdonshire Post, which included Celebrated family ales at 1/- (5p) per gallon, and mineral water "of unrivalled excellence". Later on the advertisement included a named Scottish Whisky distillers, but whether it was owned by the Marshall’s or just had a trading agreement is not clear.

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The only two photographs which are in existence are both of Mr Marshall. The first is as a member of the town council, at the time of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was taken outside Hinchingbrooke House. The Earl of Sandwich was the town's leading citizen, and is shown seated. Mr. Marshall is in the back row, where he is shown to be a tall erect man. He is wearing the gown of an alderman.

The other photograph is of Mr Marshall alone taken at about the same time. He was an austere looking man, with a luxurious moustache and the stiff winged collar of the day.

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In 1898, the year after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, Arthur Marshall's public work was recognised and he was knighted, the announcement coming on 28th of May. He was the only knight in Huntingdonshire.

The honour was recognised in Huntingdon by two dinners with Sir Arthur as the guest of honour.

The first, reported in the Hunts Post on July 23rd, was given by the local aristocracy, the MP for Huntingdon, Archbishop Veasey, The Rev. Roxby (vicar of Buckden) and many others. The dinner took place at the Shire Hall and the host was Mr Emms of the Fountain Inn, which stood where Woolworth's is today. There was a musical entertainment by Huntingdon String Band.

It is perhaps from the speeches that we gain something of the character of Sir Arthur.

Lord de Ramsey was Chairman and in his introduction, he said that when he was a boy he knew Sir Arthur and was always guided by him especially in matters agricultural. He paid tribute to Lady Marshall, with whom he played, noting that she was a Desborough and a member of an old Huntingdonshire family, saying that she was a "very pretty little girl".

In reply Sir Arthur referred to the help he had had from his wife. He referred to the County Council being nine years old and that there was concord and good feeling between various religious and political opinions.

Lord Sandwich, the Lord Lieutenant of the county, followed, saying that Mr Marshall was a high minded, honourable and most generous gentleman.

The following week, the second celebratory dinner was given by mainly small business people, professional people and relatives. In other words the second rank in society. Richard Brown. and William Stoneham were two of the guests from Buckden. It was presided over by G Thackray. Mr Emms was again the host, and the banquet was held in the Corn Exchange.

There had been a public collection which paid for an illuminated address worded:

We the undersigned are desired to express to you on behalf of the inhabitants of the Town and County of Huntingdon generally their warm Appreciation of the Honor (sic) conferred upon you by Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria on the occasion of the anniversary of Her Majesty’s 79th Birthday.

During the lengthened period that you have resided amongst us your energies have been devoted to the welfare and interests of all classes especially the poor and we heartily welcome Her Majesty’s recognition of your eminent services in our Town and County.

That long life and happiness may be vouchsafed by almighty God to yourself and Lady Marshall is the earnest wish of us all.

Thos. A Clark Chairman

Wm. Trench Smith Treasurer


Mr. Frank Clark
Mr John White
Mr George Brown
Mr Charles Bryant
Mr A Yeomans
Mr Frederick Hawley
Mr O G Bywater
Mr A Campbell
Mr Wm Howard
Mr Hezekiah Peacock
Mr W D Storey
Robert Measures Secretary

The spoken tributes at this dinner were not so restrained as in the previous week. Again the speakers stressed his generosity, his hard work and there was an appreciative word about his wife. His last act as mayor (1893) had been to demolish the insanitary and dilapidated cottages of Queens Head Passage, Huntingdon, and making the whole into "ship-shape" condition and making a footpath to The Walks. (The process was completed when the Queens Head, the cinema and the remaining cottages were demolished to make way for the range of shops including Waitrose and Boots and the other amenities in the early 1970’s. Queens Head Passage is still signed off Huntingdon High Street.). An instance of individual generosity was cited.

In reply to the speakers, he said he had made it a practice to attend council and committee meetings regularly. He supported efforts in religion and education for the betterment of his poorer neighbours. He thanked his wife for her support. and said he had taken his example of work from his father, who was never later than 8.15 at his office. He mentioned a short period when he rose at 5.30 to attend the brewery at 6 am.

He then went on to his philosophy of life. "I cannot believe that happiness consists of having, and in getting, and in being served by others, but rather in giving and helping and serving others".

Mr E J Rust concluded the speeches and noted that Sir Arthur was as proud of his wife as he himself was of his. The assembled company would know that they were sisters.

Sir Arthur was mayor for his last term in 1900, after which he faded from public life, the last mention is of him chairing a meeting in support of the Unionist Candidate in the election of 1908. (He had three times been asked to offer himself as MP in the 80’s and 90’s).

His obituary notice infers that he probably spent more time travelling abroad.

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Arthur Marshall, the eldest son emigrated to USA sometime after 1891. He was thrown from a horse and killed while hunting at Richmond, Virginia in December 1907. He had lived at Welbourne Va and made his living by horse breeding. He had paid a visit to this country once about 1900-1. He was married but had no children.

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At the end of 1910, or early 1911 the Marshalls moved to 15 Trinity Gardens Folkestone. Sir Arthur’s health was failing and necessitated a move to the south coast.

Lady Marshall died at the end of September 1915 after a long illness. Her obituary noted that she took a prominent part in the social life of the Huntingdon district where she was greatly esteemed.

Sir Arthur died on 6th December 1918, 77 years old.

In the obituary notice his generosity was again mentioned and also his fluency in public speaking. He had warned repeatedly about Germany’s designs on England before the Great War.

Sir Arthur left the surprisingly small amount of £44,315 (£32,469 net), though no doubt he had disposed of most of the brewery assets to his sons as he withdrew from active life. His jewellery he left to James, Constance Ivy was left some furniture and effects and £500 and interest in a life policy and shares in the Brewery and for her issue. Charles was left with £400 as a charge from property occupied by Marshall & Snelgrove Ltd, which was left to him under his late father’s will. James was left the residue.

Although the brewery shares left to Constance could not be sold it is unlikely that she married. In 1909 Miss Constance and her brother donated a pair of candlesticks to the church in memory of her brother. She was then 34 years old.

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The house was offered to let in July 1911 in Country Life. It had 15 or 17 bed or dressing rooms and a bathroom. There was stabling for eleven horses and a laundry cottage. The grounds offered a rockery, a very fine tennis lawn for 3 or 4 full-sized courts, and a croquet lawn. It was advertised again in the following year. Subsequent to one of these advertisements it became a school, but during the Great War it became a convalescent hospital for the Lovat Scouts. Each of the nurses who worked there was given a gold ring probably by Mrs Linton with the Towers engraved on the outside and 1914-18 inscribed on the inside.

When Sir Arthur died it was offered for sale by auction. It passed into Dr. R Holmes Edelston’s hands. He was more interested in the ancient buildings, as he was Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He kept the house habitable however, even though he spent little time in it, and entertained many distinguished guests. One was the plenipotentiary of Afghanistan in 1922, another was the Archbishop of Westminster in 1925. He often had his guests laying token stones in his restoration work.

Dr Edelston left it to his aged catholic spinster sister, who did not need the property. She in turn gave it to the Bishop of Northampton in whose diocese it was. He in turn passed it to the Claretian Missionaries in 1956 to form a seminary.

It remains in their hands and the Victorian house has been repaired and maintained in good order.

We are fortunate that since 1918 none of the owners have been modernisers of the original house. Except for modern heating and lighting and decoration, the house remains substantially as Sir Arthur built it.

The brewery remained in the hands of the family until the early years of the 1930’s. It was sold to the other big brewing firm in Huntingdon, who later sold to one of the big national brewing companies in the 50's. It was closed down soon after.

None of the family distinguished themselves locally and appear to have left no heirs, a hand written note in the margin of a document in the Huntingdon Record Office, states that Captain Marshall (late of Alconbury) occupied Hartford Cottage in the early part of World War II.

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Even a comparatively short study such as this has been the result of help from others and I would like to thank the following for their part in the investigation.

First the Claretian Missionaries for the permission to pry into places where one would not normally go, especially Fr Chris Newman, and all the community living and working at the Towers.

The Huntingdon County library staff and the Huntingdon Record Office, and Mr Bob Burn-Murdoch of the Norris Museum, St Ives.

I have had help from Mrs Joyce Miller who inspired me to make a start, The late Mr Alfred Carpenter, Mr William Dawson, Mr L R Button, Mr B Jobling, Mr K Loakes, Mr G Basson, The Librarian of Trinity College, Cambridge and others.

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Appendix 1.   A transcript of the 1881 census of the household of the Towers, it shows the domestic hierarchy, and the distance from which staff were obtained.

Appendix 2.   The menu of the celebratory dinner on the occasion of the knighting of Arthur Marshall, given by the local gentry, 1898.

Appendix 3.   The menu of the celebratory dinner on the occasion of the knighting of Arthur Marshall, given by the local business men, 1898.

Appendix 4.   A short note about the tiles and glass.

Appendix 5.   A biographical note on a signatory to the illuminated address.

Appendix 6  A rough sketch of the illuminated address given at the latter dinner.

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Appendix 1 - Extract from 1881 Census

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Arthur W Marshall
  Brewer & Maltster Cricklewood
Constance Marshall
Wife   Boulogne
James Marshall
Son   Huntingdon
Charles Marshall
Son   Lt Paxton
Constance Ivy
Daughter   Buckden
Catherine Seaman
Widow Sister Annuitant Middlesex London
Jane Rich
Single Cook Domestic Charlwood Sussex
Mary Hine
Single Lady’s Maid Huntingdon
Rosa Denton
Single Nurse Maid Bedford
Sarah A Baines
Single Housemaid Edith Morton Rutland
Sarah Smith
Single Housemaid Duddington Northumberland
Lucy H Wifford
Married Kitchen Maid Teston Rutland
Elizabeth Perrin
Single Under Nurse Maid Buckden
Richard J Carr
Married Butler Chelsea Middlesex
Thomas Ash
Single Footman Tiverton Devon
39 High Street        
James Rowell
Married Coachman Old Fletton

39 High Street is the Gate lodge.

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Appendix 2 - Menu of the first banquet

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Consomme a la Jardiniere
Puree Holandaise
Blanchaille a le Diable
Cotelette de Saumon en Aspic
Cailles farcie en Caissees
Chaudfroid de Cotelettes
Hanche de Venison
Agneau rotie Sauce Menthe
Jambon de York Sauce Madere
Porche a la Romaine Rot
Careton rotis Sauce Groselle
Poulet printemps rotis
Charlotte russe
Meringue glace
Poudin a la Merchekoff
Poudin Glace
Dessert - - Café

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Appendix 3 - Menu of the second banquet

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Roast Beef
Boiled Beef
Roast Mutton
Boiled Mutton

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Appendix 4 - A short note about the tiles and glass

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G E Cook who made most of the tiles and glass in the fireplaces and windows was one of many firms operating from the Gower Street area of London.  The most well-known was William Morris.  Many of the others made quality tiles and stained glass but much of their work has disappeared with changing fashion.  The Towers are lucky to have so much survive.  Some of the tiles are signed by F V Hart.  He was a designer used not only by Cook but also other tile and stained glass makers and possibly by Morris.  Cook moved out of the Gower Street area but had to return to have the tiles and glass fired in kilns which operated on a commission basis.

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Appendix 5 - A biographical note on a signatory to the illuminated address

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Signatory of the illuminated address.

O G Bywater was Mr Marshall's manager at the brewery.  In 1899 he was reported as having worked fifty years at the brewey.  His career can be partly followed.   In 1871 he had three children baptised.  Multiple baptisms were not uncommon at the time, presumably it was an expense which could be put off until finances allowed.  On the baptism certificate he described himself as a Brewers Clerk.  In 1873 he had a fourth child baptised.  On that certificate he had had a promotion to Brewers Manager.


Appendix 6 - A rough sketch of the illuminated address given at the latter dinner

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The Illuminated address which exists as a moderatley preserved, but still readable, glass negative plate in monchrome, in the Huntingdon Record Office.  It is 27.5 cms by 21.5 cms.

Illuminated Address

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Last Updated: 28-Jul-2012