Annandale is a Grade 2 listed building on The Hill in Langport, the first of a row of three properties on the north side at the top of the road from Cheapside.
This part of The Hill was known as Upstreet until the mid-19th century. Unless they were owned by prominent figures, such as Vincent Stuckey’s Hill House (later St Gildas Convent), most of the houses on The Hill were not named, or at least their names were not recorded, until the late 19th century. T
Even by browsing the census records, it’s not usually possible to pinpoint a particular house, particularly in a residential street. Nevertheless, searchable online resources have yielded some facts and reports which give a flavour of Annandale’s life through the years.
Historic England’s listed building text states that the house was built in the 18th century, and extended in the 19th century. However, our story starts with the 1840 tithe map of Langport, with its apportionment, which records John Samuel Warren as living in the house now known as Annandale. Tithe maps and their apportionments are available online on the website of the Somerset Historic Environment Record, https://www.somersetheritage.org.uk/# .
The map was drawn up by J F H Warren, a Langport surveyor, who was John Samuel’s brother. The 1841 census shows John Samuel Warren living in ‘Up Street’ with his wife Ann, someone called Mary Warren, and three servants. Next door to them are his sister Sarah and brother James.
John Samuel Warren was a prominent local solicitor, and was Langport Town Clerk for nearly 30 years, from 1818 until his death in 1846. In his will he left his dwelling house to his sister Sarah for her lifetime, and the residue of his estate, including all his lands, tenements etc, to his brother James Frederick Horatio Warren. In the 1851 census Sarah and James are both recorded as living side by side on The Hill, although there’s no telling which house is which. Sarah died in 1858, but James is recorded as living on The Hill at every census until 1881. He was also a solicitor, and followed his brother as Town Clerk until he died in 1884.
Where does the name Annandale come from?
The first specific mention of the name Annandale seems to be in The Medical Directory for 1895, when James Pierce Johnstone, physician and surgeon, cites it as his address. We may assume that he used the house as his surgery as well as his home. He’s an interesting character. He was born in 1859 in Demerara, British Guiana (now Guyana), where his father (John Maxwell Johnstone), who was also a physician and surgeon, was the Health Officer for the port of Georgetown. His father’s job was to inspect incoming vessels for the existence of disease and to report on the condition of the ‘immigrants’ from Africa – i.e. slaves. In 1848 he gave evidence on the subject to a House of Commons Committee inquiring into the state of the West India Colonies. He died in Bath in 1866.
James Pierce Johnstone studied medicine in Edinburgh, graduating in 1881. The following year he set up practice in Dundee, but in April 1883 he turned up in Langport, marrying Evelyne Brooke, the daughter of Dr Thomas Brooke, a physician and surgeon who lived in Cheapside. In the 1891 census he’s recorded as a ‘registered medical practitioner’ at Cheapside House, Cheapside, only a couple of doors down from his father-in-law.
From at least 1895 James Pierce Johnstone lived at Annandale. It is surely not a coincidence that Johnstone is the family name of the Earls of Annandale. The Johnstones of Annandale are a Scottish clan whose name comes from lands that the family has owned in Annandale, Dumfries & Galloway, since ancient times. It is possible that James was descended from the Earls of Annandale, and gave his house the family name.
Annandale becomes a doctor's surgery
James Pierce Johnstone was a doctor and a surgeon, and he also held a number of public positions. His entry from the Langport section in the 1897 Kelly’s Directory of Somerset describes him as “physician and surgeon, medical officer and public vaccinator No. 1a district, Langport Union, certifying factory surgeon & surgeon to the Great Western Railway Co”.
The census of 1911 records him living in Annandale with his wife Evelyne, a boarder and three servants. It states that they had no children. He died suddenly in 1914. His estate was worth less than £2,000, and his wife evidently felt she had to sell up. The contents advertised for auction give a glimpse of what their life had been like. They included two oak grandfather clocks, two pianos, several dog kennels and a horse and carriage.
In the following year, 1915, a new resident arrived in Annandale. Robert Percy Hosford was also a physician and surgeon. Perhaps the house was already suitably arranged for a practising doctor. He evidently stayed for a few years, and held most of the same public offices as his predecessor
At some stage between 1920 and 1923 he moved to another property elsewhere on The Hill, because the Kelly’s Directory entry in 1923 shows that Annandale was occupied by William Charrott Lodwidge, yet another physician and surgeon.
William Charrott Lodgwidge was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire in 1864. He trained as a surgeon, and served as a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the First World War. His first wife, Sarah, died in 1917, and he married again in December 1918 in Brest, France. His second wife, Lisette, was thirty years younger, and gave birth to a daughter in July 1919. They came back to Langport after the war and lived in Ashley Lodge, in The Avenue, before moving to Annandale in the early 1920s. where William died in 1929.
The 1939 electoral register shows that the family living next door to Mrs Louise Lodwidge is that of Herbert T Brown, a corn and seed merchant, and his wife Sybil. The house name is not recorded. However, Herbert T Brown died at Annandale in 1961, according to a lengthy account of his funeral in the Taunton Courier of 18 November 1961.
The report of his funeral mentions that he was a director of John Browne & Co of Bridgwater for over 40 years, and also that he owned withy beds and orchards near Stoke St Gregory. He was evidently well off, since his effects were valued at just over £77,000. His widow Sybil continued to live at Annandale until her death in 1967, which is where this story ends.
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