Oxted Place was built circa 1830 as the rectory for the parish church of St Mary’s in Oxted; it replaced the old rectory which was the medieval house in Broadham Green now known as ‘Mulberry Cottage’. The house was built for Rev William Pyne who was appointed rector in 1828. The first information we have on the occupants of the new rectory comes from the 1841 census where the occupants are listed as:
William Pyne, Head of household, age 35, of independent means
Marian Pyne, age 15
George Pyne, age 8
Mary Pyne, age 6
William Pennyfather, age 15, in the Army
Mary Watman, age 55
Louisa King, age 25
Sarah Felden, age 30
The 1841 census was the first census in England and the information it contains is somewhat sparse; regrettably the relationships of the house’s occupants to the head of the household were not included on the census return. The given ages are also not always accurate. It would seem from later census returns that Marian was in fact William’s wife but George and Mary, while related, could not have been their children.
William Pyne was brought up at Ballyvolane near Cork in Ireland, the house is now an hotel. William’ Pyne’s cousin Thomas Pennefeather (Pennyfather) was responsible for laying out the gardens and planting the specimen trees at Ballyvolane. We know from the 1941 census that Thomas’ son William Pennefeather visited Oxted Place and it would seem possible that Thomas did too at around that time (perhaps to attend William Pyne’s 2nd marriage in April 1841). If so perhaps Thomas Pennefeather had a hand in the planting of the Oxted Place cedars of Lebanon and the Wellingtonias; they appear to be of similar age to those he planted at Ballyvolane.
In the 1851 census the occupants of the Rectory were listed as:
Rev William Masters Pyne, Head of household, age 49, Rector
Marian Pyne, age 28, Rector’s wife
Arthur Pyne, age 7, son
William Beynham Pyne, age 6, son
Dorothea Louisa Pyne, age 4, daughter
Jasper Douglas Pyne, age 3, son
Charles Frank Pyne, age 1, son
Charles Tamplin, age 38, Butler
Mary A P Holloway, age 36, Cook
Jane Staines, age 39, Nursery servant
Jane Earwaker, age 18, Under nurse maid
Jane Mackford, age 15, Servant
By the 1861 census Marian has died and Rev Pyne is noted as a widower; the house’s occupants are listed as:
Rev William Masters Pyne, Head of household, age 59, Rector of Oxted
George Masters Pyne, age 27, son
Mary Elizabeth Pyne, age 25, daughter
Dorothea Louisa Pyne, age 14, daughter
Jasper Douglas Pyne, age 13, son
Charles Frank Pyne, age 11, son
Isabella Phillips, age 65, widow, visitor and cousin of the Rector
Dorothea Pyne, age 61, sister of Rector
George Foultion, age 21, Servant
Mary Ann Smith, age 40, Cook
Mary Ann Jupp, age 24, Housemaid
Ann Cliffen, age 14, Kitchen maid
There is a plaque to Rev William Pyne’s memory in the chancel of St Mary’s church in Oxted which records his remarkable 41 year tenure as rector of the parish from 1828 to 1869. After stepping down as rector he returned with his family to Ballyvolane which he had inherited following his father’s death.
Rev Pyne’s son, Jasper Douglas Pyne, went on to become MP for Cork. He was clearly a colourful character passionately advocating the causes of land reform and home rule. At one stage he was convicted for inciting a riot. He evaded prison by besieging himself in Lisfinney Castle. In 1888 he disappeared from a ferry crossing the Irish Sea. A bit like Lord Lucan it was never established whether he drowned by accident or took his own life or whether he managed to survive and disappear. More detail on Jasper Pyne can be found here.
A number of Rev Pyne’s children and other relatives emigrated to Christchurch in New Zealand where several married cousins from the O’Callaghan family. One of their descendants, Sarah Hewitt, has researched these families extensively, her blog can be found here.