c Banstead History Research Group - People of Banstead

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Notable People of Banstead

Last updated: 9 Dec 2022

The Buckle family
The Buckle family came to Banstead in 1614, when they bought the Great Burgh Estate. This comprised a Manor House known as Great Burgh near what is now the junction of the Reigate Road with Great Tattenhams plus approximately 400 acres of land. This estate was bounded on the east by the Brighton Road, stretching out to the west as far as Tattenham Corner and extending to the south as far as the edge of Tadworth. They also held the right to appoint the Vicar of All Saints' Church.

In the 18th century the Buckles acquired the Nork Estate. This estate stretched northwards from the Great Burgh Estate a far as Fir Tree Road. The Buckles planted fir trees probably to assert their boundaries of their land.

Christopher Buckle in 1740 built on the recently enclosed Nork Estate a house which became known as Nork Hall. The main drive lead to the Brighton Road, opposite Garratts Lane. This Hall was intended as the residence for Matthew Buckle his youngest son.

Matthew joined the Royal Navy in 1731 when he was thirteen. He served off the West Coast of Africa and in the West Indies. He had a very successful career and was engaged in many battles with the French and Spanish fleets in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, including the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759. He was on continuous active service until 1762 when he resigned as a Captain and came to live at Nork Hall. In 1770 he rejoined the service as a Rear Admiral; became a Vice-Admiral by 1778 and Admiral of the Blue Squadron in 1779. He died at Nork in 1784. His eldest son, another Matthew Buckle, rose to the rank of Admiral and he in turn was the father and grandfather of Admirals.

In 1812 the Nork Estate was sold to Lord Arden of the Perceval family.

Matthew Buckle - Banstead's Naval hero
The life of Matthew Buckle (1718-1784) of the family who for generations owned the Nork and Great Burgh estates might have been the inspiration for the Hornblower and other fictional stories of naval heroism.

Matthew Buckle joined the Navy at the age of 13, was promoted Lieutenant in 1739 and Post Captain in 1745, when he took command.
In October 1747 the Russell sailed from Gibraltar for England. Off Cape St Vincent she met a privateer ship which had recently been badly damaged in battle with a Spanish warship. The Russell, though it was an old ship about to be scrapped, took up the chase. It first came across HMS Dartmouth, which had engaged the enemy, the Glorioso, a ship of 70 guns and 760 crew for two hours. The Dartmouth blew up and the Russell picked up the few survivor and then itself came up alongside the Glorioso and exchanged broadside after broadside with her for five-and-a-half hours, at the end of which the Spanish captain surrendered. Of the Russell's crew of 400, 11 were killed and 10 wounded and the ship was badly damaged.
Admiral Matthew Buckle
The Russell and her prize set out for Lisbon to undergo repairs, and Buckle asked the Admiralty for instructions for disposal of the prize. They ordered him to find a crew for the vessel and sail with it in a convoy to England. The convoy met tremendous gales and the Russell took in so much water that she had to return with the prize to Lisbon for more repairs. In the end it was not until June 1748 that the ships reached England. The Russell then became a hulk. The Glorioso was sold in April 1749 for £12,100, leaving Buckle and his crew little better off after payment of the cost of repairs and crews.

Buckle was almost continually at sea for many years. In 1758 he was in action at Lewisburg in North America, in 1759 off Lagos in Portugal and in the same year as part of the fleet of Admiral Hawke in his decisive defeat of the French off Belle Isle in the Bay of Biscay. He became Rear-Admiral in 1770 and Vice-Admiral in 1778, retiring in 1779. He had married in 1763 and lived at Nork House until his death in 1784.

The Buckle family naval tradition continued as Matthew's son and his grandson both became Admirals.

written by John Sweetman of the Banstead History Research Group

The Colman family
In 1890 Mr F E Colman, Managing Director of the famous mustard firm bought the Nork and Great Burgh Estate. After his death in 1900 his family lived there until it was sold in 1923. The Colman family who lived in Banstead from 1890 to 1923 made very little impact on Banstead village life.Colmans Mustard sign

Hubert de Burgh (c.1170-1243)

Sir Henry Lambert, author of “History of Banstead”, described Hubert
de Burgh as “the greatest subject with whom Banstead can boast a connection in all the centuries of its history”.

England, in Hubert’s day, was ruled by the Plantagenets, King John then Henry III. Their ancestral home was Anjou in western France and its possession was always a source of conflict between the English kings and their French counterparts.

King John’s reign was a troubled one. He lost vast swathes of land in France and persecuted England’s leading magnates all of which culminated in the sealing of Magna Carta and a baronial revolt.

Throughout, despite King John’s failings, Hubert de Burgh remained loyal. He was appointed Justicier of England in 1215, an important position second only to the monarch. In this capacity, together with William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, Hubert was instrumental in securing peace during the minority of Henry III.

Hubert de Burgh however, fell from grace because of his relatively lowly birth and his accumulation of wealth, he was resented by England’s great magnates, in particular by Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester. Hubert’s fall came in 1232 and for many succeeding years he faced persecution. He retired to Banstead, of which he was Lord of the Manor from 1217 and died there in 1243.

Life and Times of Hubert De Burgh Geoff Marshall

This publication was compiled by BHRG member Geoff Marshall and can be purchased through the BHRG publication sales site here.

Edward Gale
Edward Gale was headmaster of the Village School in the High Street and later also became the first headmaster of the school in Picquets Way.
He was a member of the Urban District Council and generally, a well respected man in the local community.
He also had one of the most unusual tasks of the 1914-18 war. In 1917, Epsom District Council offered rewards for killing Sparrows to save the crops. It was agreed that Mr Gale, a Parish councillor at the time, be authorised to pay for sparrows killed and eggs seized in the Parish although these still had to be sent to Epsom by inspection.
In 1927 Edward Gale was appointed chairman of the Parish Council succeeding Mr Garton. In February 1936, Edward Gale became the first headmaster of Banstead Central School in Picquets Way.
Edward Gale

The Garton family
In 1893 Mr Charles H Garton bought the large Banstead Wood Estate, which he held and enlarged until his death in 1934. He and his wife played a significant part in Banstead village affairs.

Their home was "a revelation of what hospitality can be, a power-house of refreshment and recreation". They also entertained the Oxford University crew for a weekend of relaxation before the Boat Race. Many people found a refuge there. It was a very Christian household.

The children of the village at this time give different accounts of the way in which the villagers regarded Mr s Garton. Some spoke of her as having taken the part of a great lady, insisting that the boys doff their caps and the girls curtsey when she passed by. Others say how kind she had been and gave accounts of her good works which she had done for the villagers.

Mr Garton took on the patriarchal role which had been played by the Buckles and the Lamberts. Around 1910 he became Chairman of the Parish Council, holding this position for seventeen years. He gave land to the Parish for the recreation ground in Garratts Lane, which is named after him.

Henry Knibbs (1842-1908)
Became Master of the Banstead Village School in 1862 at the young age of twenty, assisted by his sister until 1864, then by his wife and by paid monitors or pupil teachers. He encouraged outside activities by the children - gardening, cricket, etc. Also arranged social events, lectures and meetings for the villagers in the school building. He played a major part in the community. Worked as an insurance agent, Clerk of the Parish, rate collector, etc.

Retired from school in 1904. Developer of houses in Court Road.

A small book called 'Village School - Banstead and Henry Knibbs' was published by BHRG in 1981.
Henry Knibbs headmaster - Village school Banstead
photo supplied by Don Knibbs

The Lamberts and the Wilmots
The Lambert family's connection with Banstead began in 1515, when John Lambert bought Perrotts Manor and Well Farm. The first John Lambert was a sheep farmer, who made the most of the popularity of Banstead lamb and wool. The Wilmot property in the 17th century included Well House. There was much inter-marriage between the Lambert and the Wilmot families.

The two families were inextricably associated in trade with Spain as importers of wines and textiles. However, the Wilmot line seems to have died out, whereas the prolific and prosperous Lamberts, with much Wilmot blood in their veins, took over both businesses and properties.

The most famous person of the family was Sir Daniel Lambert, who lived at Well House. He was born in 1685 and became a noted City merchant. He was elected co-Sheriff for London and Middlesex for the year 1733-34. He was elected Alderman of Tower Ward in 1737 and, following the death of the current Lord Mayor in the course of his year of office, Daniel Lambert became Lord Mayor of London from March to October 1741. He became a Member of Parliament for the City of London in May 1741 and retained this office until 1747. He received a knighthood in 1744 for loyal service. Sir Daniel died of 'gaol fever' in 1750 after carrying out his duties as an Alderman by attending the Old Bailey .

For many generations Sir Daniel Lambert's descendants continued to own Well House and the Manor of Perrotts.

Mention must be made of Henry Thomas Lambert and his successors who lived at Buff House in the High Street and John Lambert of Garratts Hall and his family.

The Lambert coat-of-arms can be seen on the Lodges at the junctions of Holly Lane with Garratts Lane and Shrubland Road with Garratts Lane. It can also be seen on the Lodge of St Anne's Roman Catholic School and on the main School building. In All Saints' Church there are memorial tablets to many members of the family, as well as inscriptions indicating family gifts to the church.

Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac)

18 November 1897 - 1 June 1967

Memories of Uncle Mac from Wendy Henningsson.

Derek McCulloch was a familiar figure in Banstead High Street during the 1940s. One could see him slowly climbing out of his car, his crutch handy and with one eye covered by a patch. He had lost his left leg in a road traffic accident in 1938 having already been badly wounded during the first World War. His familiar voice accompanied our tea-time every day when he presented Childrens' Hour, calling himself Uncle Mac. He also read the voice of Larry the Lamb in the daily serial "Toytown" which I loved as a child, while my father sat through suffering in silence, as he found Larry's voice irritating.

Banstead's Uncle Mac Uncle Mac would sign off the programme every day saying "Goodnight children everywhere" and the cosy hour would close, to be followed by the dire 6 o'clock news.

The annual flower show held in the Church Institute was a welcome event. One year my sister picked some blackberries in our hedge, arranged them on a platter decorated with leaves and entered them in my name. It was an exciting moment to have my name called out and to climb up on the stage to receive a prize from the hands of Uncle Mac. Half-a-crown in an envelope, what a trophy!

And from Peter Denton - I remember Derek McCulloch, too. He lived in Tumblewood Road, and as a child I would sometimes see him at the nearby Wheatsheaf bus stop, where he waited for the 711 Green Line (which stopped outside Broadcasting House in London – perfect for him!). Because of his facial injury, he seemed a ferocious-looking man to this young child – but as children everywhere knew from his broadcasts, he had a soothing voice. In later childhood, I went to his house with an autograph book, and he gave me a fulsome dedication and signature, which he wrote in black fountain pen ink. It looked very grand – and I remember his handwriting being very neat.

Derek McCulloch married Eileen Hilda Barry in 1931 and they had two daughters, Judith and Crystal. He was awarded an OBE in 1964.

Henry Smith (1546-1625)
Alderman of the City of London and philanthropist.

Remembered as 'Dog Smith' because a story in 17th century (quoted by John Evelyn) related that, dressed as a tramp and with his dog, he visited villages and towns and according to the treatment he received there, it was said that he later rewarded them or not.

He gave, both in his lifetime and by his will, very large sums to towns and villages throughout Surrey and Sussex for the relief of the poor.

Banstead still benefits from this.