Mayfield 1874 – aka Jackwood House

On the terrace of the former Mayfield and Jackwood House
On the terrace of the former Mayfield and Jackwood House

I returned to the maps room at the British Library this week to have a second look at the volume of Victorian house sales literature where I discovered the 1873 description of Shrewsbury House. This time I opened the heavy volume at the pages describing the estate and house called Mayfield, though it was also at one time known as Jackwood House. I’ve included the full transcript of the estate description at the end of this post,  though again without  trying to reproduce all the different font styles and sizes of the original. The brochure includes three pictures: of the mansion house; its library and the lodge house. The house itself is in a style that would now probably be known as mock Tudor, with half timbered upper floors,  but was then known as the Old English style. It was demolished in 1927, but the lodge remains as do one of the garden terraces, the walled “Mysterious P” garden, and some of the ancillary buildings. The latter are now used as council offices, but still retain some of  the style of the mansion house though nowhere near as elaborate.

Former ancillary building to Mayfield
Former ancillary building to Mayfield

The drawing of the lodge in the sales brochure shows a pretty little, ivy-clad, thatched cottage, identical  to the building in the picture on the left below, which is a scan of a photograph in Greenwich Heritage Centre‘s Shooters Hill collection. On the right is the lodge as it is today; no longer thatched and with an extension on the right hand side.

Mayfield House Lodge ?
Mayfield House Lodge ?
Jackwood Lodge now
Jackwood Lodge now











The plan of the estate includes the layout of the gardens and grounds. The terrace that survives today was to the west of the house, as you can see in the snippet from Alan Godfrey Maps‘ reprint of the 1894 Ordnance Survey map of Shooters Hill below. The semi-circular fountain in the photograph at the top of this post  is marked at the centre of the terrace, and the L shaped ancillary building and the lodge also appear on the map.

However the estate plan shows several features that aren’t on the OS map. The plan shows the 130,000 gallon reservoir in the arrow-head shaped area of land to the north of the lodge – in the fork between where Crown Woods Lane and Kenilworth Gardens are now. The gardens south of the mansion included what looks like a woodland walk and a circular “Rosary”. Presumably this was where Lord Penzance pursued his passion for rose growing. There’s no trace of  the woodland walk and rosary now – the area is completely covered with trees and undergrowth.

1894 OS Map showing Jackwood House
Snippet from 1894 OS Map showing Jackwood House

I wrote about Lord Penzance, who is mentioned as the seller of the house and estate, in a previous post about Jackwood House and its Mysterious P. Lord Penzance was James Wilde before he was raised to the peerage, and he married Lady Mary, daughter of William Pleydell-Bouverie, 3rd Earl of Radnor, in 1860. I mention this because it led me down a wrong path in trying to decipher the words engraved on the basin of the fountain on the terrace:


It’s a long time since I took Latin “O” Level, and even then I needed two attempts to pass, so it took a while to work out what this meant. I found D.D. quite easily – it stands for De Dato meaning This Day. IACOBUS can be Jacob or James – must be James Wilde I thought. COMES was more difficult; the online Latin dictionary gave comes comitis : companion, friend, comrade / count, though the only usage I saw fitted the latter translation better. RADNOR, I assumed, referred to his wife’s family association with the Earldom of Radnor. So it could be commemorating James Wilde’s companionship with Mary of Radnor… then I noticed that successive Earls of Radnor are alternately called William and Jacob, and that Mary’s brother was called Jacob, so the inscription could be referring to Jacob, the 4th Earl of Radnor. Why? I didn’t know.

Bagnold had the answer. He gives the names of the various owners of the estate, mentioning:

The house was in first instance called “Jack’s Wood,” probably in contraction of “Jack’s Hill Wood”; that name was soon changed to “Mayfield” and later to “Jackwood”. It is said that the architectural details of the house were largely taken from the historic Haddon Hall in Derbyshire.

Lord Penzance did not long continue to occupy “Jackwood House” for his lease, granted in 1863, was assigned to Viscount Folkestone and the Hon. G.W. Fitzgerald in 1874 or earlier, and in 1875 to Mr John Harvey who, in 1877, put the place up to auction.

And in a typed footnote, disappearing off the frayed bottom of the page:

Apparently, Viscount Folkestone succeeded to the Earldom of Radnor during his tenure of Jackwood House for, on the basin of the fountain on the terrace is the inscription – “D.D. IACOBUS COMES DE RADNOR 1873”

This fits in with the wkipedia entry on Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie which says that he was called Viscount Folkestone from 1828 until 1869.

The one thing that’s still not clear to me is whether there was another house on the site before Lord Penzance took out his lease in 1862. Partly this is because Margherita Arlina Hamm’s  “Eminent Actors in Their Homes” claims that “the homestead dates from the fourteenth century”, and also the different shapes of the mansion house in the 1866 and 1894 OS maps. It could be that Margherita was fooled by the Old English style of the house, and that the 1866 map was based on an old or incomplete design of the mansion which may still have been being built when the map was compiled. But that question will have to wait for another day.


The terrace at Jackwood
The terrace at Jackwood

Transcript of the 1874 sales description:










About two miles from Eltham Station on the North Kent Loop Line, and a pleasant drive of about

eight miles from London on the main Dover Road; and within short driving distance of “The

Crays,” Erith on the River Thames, and other of the most interesting parts of the county.

The Particulars, Plans, Views and Conditions of Sale

Of the exceedingly attractive





Exquisitely Finished Family Mansion,

Forming a perfect specimen of the

Old English Style of Architecture


Stabling, Entrance Lodge, Picturesque Grounds, and Ornamental

Woodlands, in all

21A. 2R. 25P.   OR 44A. 0R. 25P.

For Sale with Possession by Messrs.


At the Mart, Tokenhouse Yard, near the Bank of England, in the City of London,

ON TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 1874,

At Two o’clock punctually (unless an acceptable offer be previously made).

By order of the Right Honourable Lord Penzance (who has no further need of a residence near London)


Particulars, with Plans and Views, may be had of Messrs. WILDE, BERGER, MOORE, & WILDE,

Solicitors, 21 College Hill, E.C.; and of Messrs. DEBENHAM, TEWSON & FARMER, Auctioneers and Land




N.B. Messrs. DEBENHAM, TEWSON & FARMER’S, Sales for the above date will include several

other properties; intending Purchasers and others who are interested therein are invited to refer to

The Times of Monday, June 29th, in which the “Order of Sale” will be published




Charming Residential Estate



Most pleasantly situate


Commanding a fine panoramic view of the lovely scenery for which this part of the country is so

celebrated, overlooking the Eltham Valley, the Elmstead Woods and Heights near Chiselhurst, and

extending to the Kent and Surrey ranges of hills.


A particularly well built and exquisitely finished


Standing upon a soil of gravel and sand, built in the Old English style for the occupation of the


Every detail has been elaborately wrought out, and no expense spared to render the residence one

of the most perfect of its kind, replete with every comfort and convenience. It has South and West

aspects, and occupies a singularly picturesque spot in a Wood of Oak Trees and Fern; which places

it in a position of perfect rural seclusion. The Carriage Drive winds through the thickly timbered

grounds, which are protected by a pretty Thatched Rustic Lodge.



Contains the following accommodation:-

On the UPPER FLOOR — Five Servants’ Bedrooms, four having fire places, and a Housemaid’s

                        Closet; two large principal Bedchambers, one measuring 28ft. by 21ft., the walls of

                        one heavily panelled, and moulded and decorated yellow and white, and the other

                        similarly panelled, and decorated blue and white, the ceilings of both Rooms being

                        most beautifully moulded and ornamented. These rooms have deeply recessed

                        windows, fitted with lockers, forming window seats, and commanding delightful views

                        over a wide expanse of country; a Dressing Room, two Store Closets, and a hanging

                        Wardrobe. There  is a Box Room in the roof, fitted with large hot and cold water

                        cisterns; a spacious Landing, tastefully finished,  panelled and heavily moulded in

                        pitch pine with a dado, a handsome balustrade and handrail, with massive newels and

                        carved finials; a coil of hot water pipes. a w.c., &c.

On the FIRST FLOOR:–    A large Landing from main Staircase (forming a gallery), with handsome

                        balustrade and handrail, massive newels and carved finials, all exquisitely finished

                        in pitch pine. There is a book recess on this Landing. Two principal Bedchambers,

                        measuring respectively 22ft. by 18ft. and 20ft. by 28ft., both having paneled and

                        heavily moulded walls, and ornamental ceilings, finished in pitch pine. There are

                        Dressing Rooms to each of these Bedchambers, large enough for Bedrooms, if

                        required; the whole are fitted with register stoves, with beautiful carved and moulded

                        pitch pine chimney pieces.


                        is of truly noble dimensions; the walls entirely paneled, heavily moulded, and fitted

                        in Brown Oak, with large and massive bookcases, and lockers forming window seats

                        to the two deep bay windows; a very elaborately worked caved Brown Oak chimney

                        piece, with stone hearth and inner mantel, and a richly paneled and elaborately

                        ornamented ceiling.  It opens onto the Terraces through a pair of folding

                        doors. There is a private staircase winding to the Study below. It is fitted with

                        hot water pipes for warmth in winter. Gas is laid on in all the passages, which are

                        also furnished with a set of hydrants in connexion with a large reservoir, constructed

                        on high ground for the water supply of the premises, and as a security against fire.

                        There is also on this Floor a Housemaid’s Closet, with water laid on, and a w.c.

On the GROUND FLOOR – A glazed Outer Porch, leading to a lofty Hall, measuring about 26ft.

                        by 20ft., finished in pitched pine, and having a carved Oak mantel. The Grand

                        Staircase is entirely of pitch pine, with massive newels, moulded finials, and finely

                        turned balusters. the Hall and Landings are also fitted with hot water pipes.

A charming Morning Room

                        About 20ft. by 18ft beautifully finished in pitch pine paneling, a noble chimney

                        piece, two bay windows, and china closets; the ceiling ornamented in plaster.


                        About 20ft. by 16ft., the ceiling exquisitely moulded and embossed in colors; the

                        walls richly paneled and painted; a convenient range of cupboards, and a deed

                        closet; a massive mantel in pitch pine, and a kerbed stone hearth to fire place. The

                        private winding staircase previously mentioned ascends from this Room to the

                        Library above.

A capital Dining Room

                        About 20ft. by 18ft beautifully paneled in pitch pine, the ceiling richly embossed

                        and moulded, and the mantel of pitch pine. There are two deep bayed windows,

                        and china closet.


                        Include – a linen room with store cupboards; a Store Room; a Butler’s Pantry

                        fitted with cupboards, hot and cold water laid on, and Store Room adjoining; a

                        China Closet; a Housekeeper’s Room; Lamp Room; a large, light and lofty Kitchen,

                        fitted with range, hot plate, dressers, &c.; a Scullery, with range, copper, and

                        dressers; Cook’s Pastry Room, Servants Hall, Dairy, Larder, Beer and Wine Cel-

                        lars, Knife House, Coal House, w.c., &c.

                        There is plentiful service of Water from a private reservoir (capable of holding 130,000 gallons),

                        which stands in the grounds at sufficient elevation to ensure a supply of water to any part of the

                        premises; and pipes laid for the purpose of irrigating the Gardens, for the supply of additional

                        Fountains and the Cascade. There is also a Dipping Well of excellent water.

                        The Drainage has been carefully attended to; and gas is laid on to the house and to


                        Which is detached, and comprises accommodation for five Horses, Harness Room, and two Rooms

                        for Coachmen over; large Coach House, with two pairs of folding doors.

                        There is also a Wash House, with gas and water laid on, and three rooms over, suitable for bedrooms

                        for batchelors, or for extra men servants; the largest of these three Rooms was originally intended as

                        a Chemists Laboratory, and has gas and water laid on.

                        The Turret over has an expensive Dial Clock, which chimes the quarters and strikes the hours.

                        There is an excellent range of timber built and tiled Sheds for the storage of wood, &c., a Carpenters’

                        Shop, and a Cart Shed.



Have been laid out with great artistic taste, and disposed in Lawn terraces, commanding

Panoramic Views of almost unrivalled beauty.


Are ornamented with

Trees and Shrubs of most luxuriant growth.


Are enlivened by a great


And afford here and there glimpses of the most charming scenery.

                        The whole (colored Green on Plan) occupies a most enviable site and comprises a total area of

21A.        2R.          25P.

(More or less).

                        And is held from Her Majesty’s Commissioners of Woods and Forests for a term of 99 years from

                        5th April 1862 at an annual Ground Rent of £150, and of £4 per cent. per annum upon such amount

                        as should be expended by Her Majesty’s said Commissioners in the redemption of tithe rent charges.

                        The portion (colored Pink on Plan) comprising 22a. 2r. 0p., is held for a term of 21 years from 24th

                        June, 1864, from the trustees of the late John Blades, esq., at a rent of £50 per annum, and the

                        Vendor’s interest in the lease will, if desired, be assigned to the Purchaser. (See Conditions.)

                        Lord Penzance has occupied 26 Acres of Grass Land which immediately adjoin the Woods.  They

                        were hired of the neighbouring farmer, and no doubt could be so again, if desired.

                        The Estate is so readily accessible from the City and West End, and yet so truly in the Country, as

                        to render it a desirable purchase for a Nobleman or Gentleman requiring a House near London.

Possession on completion of the purchase.

                        All the valuable Fixtures will be included in the Sale; the Blinds, Cornices, gas Fittings, and a

                        few other items, of which an Inventory can be seen at the Auctioneers’ Offices, and will be produced

                        at the time of sale, are to be taken at a Valuation in the usual way.

                        The Purchaser may have the option, to be declared in writing, addressed to the Auctioneers, within 10

                        days of the Sale, of purchasing, as a Valuation, all the very appropriate Furniture and Effects (except

                        some few items, which the vendor will remove, and of which a list will be furnished. Such valuation

                        to be made in the usual manner, by two referees, to be nominated by the respective parties or by

                        their umpire). Should the Purchaser not exercise such option, the Vendor reserves the right to hold

                        a Sale by Auction on the Premises before the completion of the purchase.

One Reply to “Mayfield 1874 – aka Jackwood House”

  1. Myself and my partner took a walk through this area and were wondering about the terrace. Utterly facinating post, you have answered many of our questions. A fantastic read thank you so much, really enjoyed it!

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