The Mead Tea Gardens
(Historical) Website

Reminisce and share your memories!

The eight pink cherries at their peak in 1980s. Planted in September 1937
The eight pink cherries at their peak in the 1980s. Planted in September 1937 by Evelyn on buying the Mead with its Tea Gardens, five acre market garden & cottages. Another seven were planted around the new Tea Garden when Evelyn had the pavilion moved, in 1947, from the house garden down to its 'Wind in the Willows' setting beside St. Catherine's Brook.

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Introduction

Established by Mr. JAMES Wilson and his wife Mrs. ANNIE DOW WILSON (nee Stephenson) of Stirling and Dunfermilne, Scotland, in 1923 within the existing market garden due to so many people visiting St. Catherine's Court and Church half a mile further up the valley.

Described by Arthur Mee in his book SOMERSET, "It is incomparable, we have seen nothing in our ten thousand villages more like the spirit of Old England, tender, enduring and altogether lovely".

Idyllic place, hard work, wonderful times & much loved.
An estimated 84,000 customers 1923 - 1937
Over 100,000 customers 1937 - 1950
156,000 more came 1970 - 1992
Record Day: Glorious Sunday May l0th. l990, 425 customers!
And over £23,000 made for charity 1970 - 2010

(from many Parish Harvest Suppers and dozens of Parish Whist Drives and Charity Teas held at The Mead and of late The Buttles).

Dec. 3rd. 2012 Update! 4th. Anniversary of this website to-day! 9000th. seperate visitor to it last week!
Running total raised for charities is now £25,750!
Sept. 2011, 7 days and 280 old friends back and £1500 raised and this September 1-5 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of Ma Evelyn buying The Mead property in September 1937 (and sadly the 20th anniversary of my closing down in September 1992). With the nearest and dearest in 5 days we enjoyed 160 happy reunions and £750 raised.
In the 3 boxes were £375 for Save The Children(international); £195 for Help for Heroes(national) £180 for Batheaston New Village Hall(local).
In September 2017 we held a Saturday tea gardens event and made £200 for Bath's homeless Julian House; £200 for St. Catherine's Church maintenance and £200 for Batheaston's new Village Hall. This £600 means we have now raised a grand total of £30,000 since the tea gardens re-opened and charity fund raising began back in 1970.

Jonathan Metcalfe

Original deeds Deeds signature
James and his wife Annie Dow Wilson bought The Mead property 26 March 1921...... Started the TEA GARDENS in 1923 within the 5 acre market garden. He passed on whilst in Scotland a few days after attending his father's funeral at Kippen, Stirlingshire, and died at his wife's former home, Castleblair Lane, Dunfermilne, Fife 22 Jan. 1933. ANNIE his widow was so distressed, she sold The Mead 23 June 1933. Annie lived on in Bath and died Autumn 1964, aged 80.
The Mead as St. Catherine's Farm The Mead as St. Catherine's Farm
The Mead, as St. Catherine's Farm 1682-1908 when gables were demolished.

1923 - 1950

Original Brochure

Come to the Mead for Tea!

THE TEA GARDENS AT THE MEAD, ST. CATHERINE'S, Near BATH.

The Delights of St. Catherine's Valley.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in the garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

DOROTHY FRANCES GURNEY

The tiny village of St. Catherine's, one of Somerset's sweetest beauty spots, is becoming every year an increasingly popular place of resort with all who love the unspoilt countryside.

Citizens of Bath have long revelled in its beauty at all seasons, and, thanks to the motor coaches from Bristol, which pass through Cold Ashton on their way to Marshfield and Chippenham, residents in the "Sister City" have now discovered that St. Catherine's, with its well-known Tea Gardens at The Mead, offers a delightful and convenient "halfway house" on a round trip which they may accomplish by combining a healthful walk and the swifter and less arduous pleasures of riding.

Main photo of the Mead Tea Gardens from the 1923 to 1947 Original Brochure

Dainty Teas In the Garden

The reason why The Mead Tea Garden has become so favourite a rendezvous is not far to seek.

"It is not only" (says the "Bath Chronicle," June 25th, 1923) "that the house is a picturesque old place, that its extensive gardens are aglow with sweet-scented flowers, that the scenery all around is of wondrous beauty, but, over and above all this, the actual teas provided are a sheer delight.

"There are all sorts of Scottish home-made dainties, including girdle cakes and shortbread, besides, in season (June and July), luscious strawberries and raspberries fresh culled from the garden, with ample supplies of cream.


The Wishing Well

"After tea you may stand before the quaint old Wishing Well in the Garden, with its never-failing spring of the clearest, coldest water, and legend says that if you carry out certain mystical rites while wishing, your desires will be fulfilled.

"If the unexpected desire of the 'well-wishers' is for a delightful walk to follow the tea it will certainly come true and that right speedily."

For the better accommodation of visitors a bungalow has now been installed, with a wide verandah, on which teas are served (as well as at the tables on the lawns), while ample room is provided within the bungalow in case of cold or inclement weather.

Teas are served both weekdays and Sundays, and parties are especially catered for. When large parties are arranging a visit a postcard intimating the fact will be much appreciated.

Fresh Fruit and Flowers may be purchased at The Mead. Tomatoes a speciality.


How to Get There.

Main map showing how to get to the Mead Tea Gardens from the 1923 to 1947 Original Brochure

The best way of approach from Bath is to take the Bathford tramcar as far as the "Lamb and Flag" at Batheaston, turning to the left at that familiar inn, whence St. Catherine's is reached in the course of half an hour's walk along a country lane which commands on either side extensive vistas of magnificent scenery.

The Round Trip From Bristol

Visitors from Bristol take the motor 'bus as far as the cross roads at Cold Ashton, where they turn south along the lane which winds through the beautiful Valley traversed by the little trout stream known as St. Catherine's Brook. Monkswood Reservoir and the stately St. Catherine's Court are passed on the way and an hour's delightful walk brings St. Catherine's into view.

Geting home again is a pleasant task in the cool of the evening, the stroll to Batheaston, the ride in the tram beside the Avon, passing Bathampton Weirs (beloved of the artist) and then the wondrous view of the myriad lights of the Queen City of the West climbing almost mountain resort high to meet the stars, being an exquisite experience with which to round off a happy day. Often it is difficult to decide where the lights of the City end and those of Heaven begin.

From Bath the G.W.R. provide an excellent service of trains to Bristol, or, if road travel be preferred, there are two motor-'bus lines, both starting from Queen's Parade Place (Gay Street Corner), which afford a ten minutes' service. The route of one passes through Saltford, Keynsham and Brislington to the Centre; the other goes to Bristol Old Market by way of Kelston, Bitton, Willsbridge and Hanham.

Over Bannerdown To Hunter's Hall

An Alternative route to St. Catherine's from Bath is to walk (or take the afternoon Castle Combe 'bus) over Bannerdown as far as Hunter's Hall, and then stroll along the shady by-road which brings you down into St. Catherine's past a tiny reservoir—Oakford (note the diving birds on it). When you join the main road again turn to the right and climb a ahort steep hill; The Mead lies just beyond it.

Visitors from Bath usually either walk on after tea, past the Court and Monkswood Reservoir, returning to Bath along the Gloucester Road, or take the lane to Hunter's Hall, thence reaching Bath via Bannersdown, passing, on the way, the Three Shire Stones. Many, however, now walk to Cold Ashton and catch the motor 'bus to Bristol, completing the round trip by train or motor 'bus as their fancy dictates.


Notes of Interest

TO ST. CATHERINE'S FOR TEA.

(From the "Bath Chronicle and Herald," Whitsuntide, 1931)

Better than the motor-car, better than the train,
Just an idle saunter in a lovely English lane;
Just a walk, a friendly talk, with time to pause awhile,
Time to stay, and time to play, or linger by the stile.
Sunny hours, and scented flowers, and, when it's time for tea,
You'll find it waiting at The Mead, for folk like you and me.
Here's a tip for Whitsuntide, for Jack and Jill, and Jane,
Stroll out to St. Catherine's; you'll want to go again.

MR. & MRS. WILSON.
THE MEAD,
ST. CATHERINE'S.
NEAR BATH & BRISTOL.

ST. CATHERINE was the patron saint of Bath, and the freemen of the City, in their ancient oath, swore to observe "S. KATERN'S DAY." Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries the priors of Bath had a Grange at St. Catherine's, the manor having been in their possession time out of mind.

ST. CATHERINE'S COURT. — One of the most picturesque houses in Somerset, the residence of Mr. Strutt, a kinsman of Lord Rayleigh. The terraced gardens are charming, and there is a quaint "Adam and Eve" bathing pool at the back of them. The house was rebuilt by Prior John Cantlow, of Bath, circa 1499. Note the lovely view across the valley referred to by the author of "John Halifax" in "My Mother and I."

ST. CATHERINE'S CHURCH. — A tiny building with square embattled tower adjacent to The Court. Portions are late Norman or Early English. Rebuilt by Prior Cantlow in 1499. Features are the tower, the chancel arches, the fine font, the colours of the carved pulpit, some precious stained glass, and the monument with figures to William Blanchard and his wife (1631). Near the Church is a cruciform tithe barn.

HUNTER'S HALL INN. — A farmhouse on Bannerdown. It ceased to be an inn sixty or seventy years ago, but in its heyday was a noted rendezvous of Bath and Bristol sportsmen for cockfighting, prize-fighting, pigeon-shooting and pony-racing. Over 600 feet above sea level, it commands a glorious view over Colerne, Ditteridge and the Wiltshire Downs.

MONKSWOOD RESERVOIR. — The main source of Bath's water supply and the headquarters of the little trout stream known as St. Catherine's brook. It is believed that, in the Bronze Age, there was a lake village built on piles around a lake on the site of the present reservoir.

EAGLE HOUSE. — Once the country residence of John Wood the elder, the famous architect, who came to Bath from Yorkshire in 1727 and, with his son, "changed Bath from a mean-looking town to the most beautiful in England."

THE THREE SHIRE STONES. — On Bannerdown, in a little alcove beside the road. They mark the junction of Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. A favourite "snap" for photographers, with three persons mounted on the Stones, one in each county.

A GRIM RELIC. —The tablet inscribed "E.R. 1761," in the wall on Bannerdown about forty yards on the Bath side of the lodge of The Rocks, marks the spot where Edward Roach, of Marshfield, was robbed and murdered. His gravestone is in Marshfield Churchyard.

"COLERNE DONKEYS." — The people of Colerne, a Wiltshire village (reached by a by-road from Bannerdown), have for generations been playfully termed "donkeys," some of their predecessors being alleged to have buried the vicar's donkey (during his absence) in the churchyard with its feet sticking up in the air and to have kept its hooves polished with sandpaper. Afterwards four big square stones were put on the hooves to keep them down. Antiquarians investigating this queer story declared the stones to be the base of a Saxon Cross around which the parishioners worshipped before the Church was built. The Cross has since been restored.



1964 - 1969

1970 - 1992

The 1970 - 1992 Brochure

The Mead Tea Gardens

Est. 1923

ST CATHERINE'S VALLEY
BATHEASTON, Nr. BATH, SOMERSET

SEASON:
APRIL 1st or GOOD FRIDAY -
1st SUNDAY IN NOVEMBER OR HALLOWEEN
April - October inclusive
OPENING TIMES:
Afternoon Tea 2.30 - 6.30 p.m. daily

Delicious home-made and cream teas are served in pleasant country
surroundings - between April and October.
Parties are welcome and may be arranged in advance.
Wedding Receptions, Morning Coffee, Salad Lunches,
Suppers and Barbecues catered for.
Bed and Breakfast accommodation at "The Mead" c.1682
Dinner and Dinner Parties.
"Strawberry Breakfasts" in June and July
The Mead Tea Gardens Map from the 1970 - 1992 brochure for the Mead Tea Gardens
Map showing the location of The Mead, on the borders of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

THE MEAD TEA GARDENS celebrated its "creamteanery" 50th year in 1973. Our homemade and cream teas have an Irish/Scottish flavour; fresh fruit and cream is a speciality in season. Fresh eggs and greenhouse rose blooms and other produce are available. The setting is ideal for children's birthday and christening parties, rambling and cycling clubs, W.I. and old people's excursions, treasure hunt terminus etc. Invalids can be served at the house. The car park accommodates around 30 cars; both entrances can be used. Coaches are limited to 30 seaters.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
... About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A.E. Houseman

Situated in the prettiest and southernmost Cotswold valley just four miles from beautiful Bath, where St. Catherine's Brook is the ancient boundary with Gloucestershire, this is a renowned Somerset beauty spot. The Cotswold Way and many other footpaths ramble about the old world charm of this sweetest of vales with its birds, butterflies, bees and many wild flowers. The Mead is especially noted for its cherry blossom in spring.

A grateful heart a garden is,
Where there is always room
For every lovely, God-like grace
To come to perfect bloom.

Ethen W. Dennis

In 1982 the tercentenary of the House was celebrated with 20 events during the year, mostly in aid of charity. In 1983, the Diamond jubilee of the tea gardens brought 1,200 people to the Valley over a glorious October weekend and £900 was raised.

In 1987, we hope to celebrate 50 years of one family ownership of The Mead in similar fashion.

The property has featured in 3 B.B.C. films and many famous personalities have visited.


Historical Note

Strings in the earth and air make music sweet;
Strings by the river where the willows meet.
There's music along the river for Love wanders there,
Pale flowers on his mantle, dark leaves on his hair.
All softly playing, with head to the music bent,
And fingers straying upon an instrument.

James Joyce

For centuries, before the dissolution of the monasteries, the Benedictine monks passed by a cottage dwelling on the site of the big wall along the road in front of the house, travelling between their monastic home at auld "Caterne" and Bath Abbey. They possibly took refreshment at the ancient wishing well under the road, which you may visit in the front garden of the house.

The present house faces due south and was built in the reign of Charles II in 1682. The full length, some fireplaces and windows remain and two drawings of the original building, architect's drawings of 1866, are pinned to the Tea Garden wall in the entrance hall.

From 1682 to 1817 the property belonged to the Coates family and then changed hands many times before Mr. and Mrs. James Wilson from Scotland appeared in 1921 and created the Tea Gardens and market garden which became so well known.

I have a garden of my own,
Shining with flowers of every hue;
I loved it dearly while alone,
But I shall love it more with you;
And there the golden bees shall come,
In summer time at break of morn,
And wake us with their busy hum,
Around the Siha's fragrant thorn.

THOMAS MOORE

The Chalet was specially built in 1923 and stood in front of the house. Scottish homemade food was served until 1932 when Mr. Wilson passed on. The Mead was then owned by Mr. and Mrs. Padfield for four years and then the business came into Irish hands with the present ownership. The Tea Garden became a household word between 1937 and 1950 when thousands of people wandered the little lanes of St. Catherine's Valley and called for tea at The Mead ... strawberries and cream in the War years was a main attraction and up to three hundred people would have tea on a weekend afternoon. Due to overwhelming numbers, the Chalet was removed to a new garden alongside the brook in the winter of 1946-7. The ash tree there was planted in 1850 and is the cornerstone of 3 parishes.

From 1937 to 1950 was a heyday period for the Tea Gardens under the ownership of Mrs. Evelyn Smith, whose Irish charm and incredible energy made her one of Bath's personalities. She also owned Jill's Grill in Queen Street for 18 years when it was Bath's most popular restaurant, ran The Mead market garden and a homemade cake business, sat on nine commities, raised money in all directions for charity and used the Chalet as the village hall for St. Catherine's every fortnight during the War effort.

The Tea Garden was closed from 1950 to 1970, but we hope you will enjoy the charm of its rural setting and homemade food once again.


Notable Visitors

THE BISHOP OF BATH & WELLS, Dr. HENDERSON.

*PETER GABRIEL & Crowd ... how proud I was to see him playing at the last Winter Olympics in Northwest Italy where Canadian Jeffrey Buttle won skating medal.

JONI MITCHELL ... his partner on an Amnesty International tour.

LADY VALENTINE THYNNE, sister-in-law of the Marquis of Bath.

*LORD DAVID BEATTY, wrote history of his great grandfather who lived just 5 miles from my Buttle Victorian business great grandfather in Co. Wexford ... WW1 Naval Admiral, given the title.

DAVID SOLE, Scotland rugby captain and Bath player.

MICK DOYLE, Irish rugby forward and later team coach.

JANE SEYMOUR's husband and sister ANNIE whose great friend BARRY MASON stayed at The Mead, writer of hit song "Love grows where my Rosemary goes...".

ANN WIDDECOMBE lived at The Mead 1957-60 when her father was my Mother's tenant of the house & garden, (we were back in Ireland).

*SCYLD BERRY, Cricket Correspondent of The Observer/Telegraph/Wisden chose The Mead with his wife for his wedding reception esp as the tea pavilion had a cricket pavilion atmosphere and MIKE BRIERLEY England and Middlesex was one of the guests.

*PETER BLAKE, Somerset artist and member of the Brotherhood of Ruralists, filmed by the BBC in the Tea Gardens, also designed Sergeant Pepper's Beatles LP sleeve and became SIR PETER.

*BEL MOONEY, author, and Mrs. Dimbleby.

LYN REDGRAVE whilst in a play at our famous Bath Theatre Royal.

ROGER REES, actor. Filmed at The Mead in a Peter Ustinov film.

and some of Bath's TEARS FOR FEARS pop group.

*GUY JENKIN, lived 1 mile south of The Mead in Batheaston, script writer of BBC's "Week Ending", "Drop The Dead Donkey", and more recently "Outnumbered" on BBC television.

*BERNARD KEEFE, and his wife Denise, always stayed at The Mead when he was introducing classical music programmes from BBC Bristol.

RICHARD HOLMES, Director of BBC TV Gardeners World (Richard's Dad, Brian, in Staffordshire, made an excellent video of The Mead in action which we have).

AL HUNTER ASHTON, playright and actor of many parts, including London's Burning and Jeckyl (see Jonathan's Corner for Mead Xmas pic. of him).

HAVE I LEFT YOU OUT?!....... Did world famous Bath & Sherborne Soprano EMMA KIRKBY ever come to tea....... Does anybody know?

*returning customers who loved the Tea Gardens.











1998 - 2016

Buttle Family Histories

BUTTLE list of Places,
Properties & Firms

Buttle Lake, Vancouver island (Yorks ER)
The Buttle Trust for Orphans, UK. (Yorks ER)
Buttle & Wilson, Stockbrokers, (Yorks ER) Auckland, New Zealand.
S.R. Buttle. chain of 130 shops Sydney, NSW. (Co. Wexford).
Buttles Barley Fed Bacon Co, (1866-1966) Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.
Buttles Farm Machinery, Ballinahoun, Co. Wexford.
Buttles Timber Co. (Essex), St. Albans, Hertfordshire.
The Buttle Arms (Inn), Ferns, Co. Wexford.
Buttle Lane, Snaith, Yorks ER.
Buttle Lane, Churchstanton, Blackdown Hills, Somerset.
Buttle Lane, Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset
Battle(Buttle) Street, Clayhidon, Devon.
Buttles Farm, Compton Basset, nr Calne, Wiltshire.
Buttles (Farm), Churchstanton, Blackdown Hills, Somerset.
Buttles (Farm) nr. Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales. (formerly Buddle).
Buttles (Cottage), Churchstanton, Blackdown Hills, Somerset.
Buttles (Cottage), Tor Street, Wells, Somerset.
Buttles & Buttles Cottages, High Easter, Essex.
The Buttles, Hatch Beauchamp, Somerset.
The Buttles, St. Catherine's Valley, nr Bath, Somerset.
Buttles Mead, south Dorset.
Buttles Island, River Slaney
Buttles Island, River Shannon west of Limerick City.
Buttles Field, Craan, Ferns, Co. Wexford.
Buttle, 900 year old parish, Gotland, Sweden. Baltic Sea.
Buttlegate, Downderry, east Cornwall coast. (formerly Buddle).
Buttlejork, goldmines, Victoria, Australia.
Buittle, ancient parish in Dumfrieshire, Scotland

*There are around 20 place names with BUTTEL in them in Germany.

Clans

Co. WEXFORD BUTTLE and Co. TIPPERARY BEETLE. (from Rhineland 1709)

BUTTLE of County Wexford and BEETLE of County Tipperary, Ireland. The descendants of Hans Wilhelm BITTEL who came from the Rhineland. Palatinate(Pzalz) in Summer of 1709 with 13.000 via Rotterdam to London. Most went direct to new British colonies in Eastern America but some 213 families were sent in September to Dublin to become tenant farmers under British landlords in S. Ireland. John William Bittel is found in Youghal, Co. Cork 1712/14 with a son baptised there and on Palatine lists. The Co. Wexford BUTTLE family have records starting in 1736 in south Co. Wicklow with John Buttle at Coolefancy near Tinahely....then his younger brother Henry Buttle near Ferns at Coolatore etc. who took many farms. John jun. of Coolefancy then takes Kilmichael a 200 acre farm in north Co. Wexford where this line stays for just 200 years. Younger sons Henry, Benjamin and John take off for Ontario in May 1852 and the former settle near Cobden on farms, the latter in Hamilton. Another son Thomas returns to Co. Wexford and his line are now well established there in business and farms.Henry's lines of Coolatore and Ballinacoola further south around Ferns include the Clologue family with 9 children in 1808-1827 period which include Samuel jun and William and Thomas who all leave for USA. Eldest son John is the father of John & Samuel who found Enniscorthy businesses, Buttles Bacon Co. etc 1870 - 1920. Many of these descendants are now in Ireland, Australia & N. Zealand. We have records and family trees of all of these lines but are looking "out there" for further descendants! In 2004 it was discovered by pure chance that the original German must have had a son left in Munster and a colony of the BEETLE family was found living since 1795 at Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary with its stunning view across to Slievemanon mountain. Descendants now with the spellings Beetel in USA and Beatty locally have been located. They are now 8th. cousins to their Buttle kin of Co. Wexford.  We are in touch with many of this Clan but if you are one of the Irish Buttles/Beetles please contact! (Jonathan Buttle F. Metcalfe who has researched since 1966!)

ESSEX BUTTLE and BUTTELL, BOWTELL, BOUTEL. (from Normandy 1066)

The surname has various spellings in Essex such at Bowtell, Boutel, Buttle, Buttell, Battle and is historically the oldest in England and may well be the forerunner to all the English county Clans and people with our name ie Jonathan Buttall the Blue Boy! We now have substantial family trees or branches out of Hempstead; one Bowtell line out of Thaxted which became the major epicentre of the Essex Clan and with many of that spelling now in South Africa; Boutell of Aspall Hall, Suffolk; Little Easton; West Ham; Little Sampford; Haverhill; Alphamstone(of Revd. Leslie Buttle who lived to be 100 and out of Yeoman farmers there) and Stifford in south Essex. There is very little doubt that the progenitor in Essex was in 1066 with William the Conqueror from Normandy and from a hamlet (hameau) just 16 miles south of our farm there now....Walter de Botteville DeBetuile....Botteville has ancient manor and church near Ste. Mere Eglise & Valognes and just 4 miles from Utah Beach of 1944....the massive invasion going the other way to that of 1066 from Barfleur which is on the same Cotentin peninsula! He was given the manor and lands of Ongar in Essex after the victory in 1066. His son was Sir Humphrey deBattell, his son Thomas DeBattaile and his son Sir Richard who held Bataylee Hall in Essex. There is no doubt they were early barons as part of the Norman Conquest to control England. And records show the family holding the manor & castle at Ongar much later on in the 1400 & 1500s. (Chipping Ongar). Out of this lineage came the strong Yorkshire East Riding Clan with its important lines to the New World and at home. The Little Easton branch has produced Jeffrey Buttle in Ontario world ice skating champion and son of Peter Buttle who is a 4th. cousin of Peter Buttle & Family who own Buttles Timber Co. of London & St. Albans. With excellent contacts with more than 25 members of this illustrious Clan in their respective branches, research continues.......

BUTTLE, BATTLE, BATTELL of Yorkshire, East Riding.

This very large Clan is centred on the parishes of Howden and Eastrington in the flat loam lands just north of the wide Humber river to the east of Hull. They are also well established back into the 1500s in adjoining Bubwith, Seaton Ross, Holme upon Spalding Moor, Aughton, Ellerton and district. Sir Robert Buttle, priest, was vicar of Hemsworth in 1540s as are church wardens recorded then....as well as Wills and witnesses of Buttles as far back as the early 1500s. This Clan is reputedly out of the Essex original Norman Clan and descend from the 1066 baron of Chipping Ongar, created by William the Conqueror to control England. Three branches have made their mark: The Buttle Trust based in London, founded by Revd. Prebendary William Buttle for children in need. ..and his brother Prof. Gladwin Buttle. The Buttle Stockbrokers of New Zealand who own White Island there and include the mayor of Auckland Sir Keith Buttle,1950s. Buttle Lane in Snaith is left behind by this family that lived there and went to New Zealand in 1840, the founding year of that new country. Revd. George Buttle, Methodist missionary in that year was born here in 1810. Expeditionary Kew Gardens botanist from 1865 John Buttle was given his name for the most beautiful lake in the centre of Vancouver Island, British Colombia. There is a Utah Mormon branch here and a link with San Francisco's university. I am in touch with descendants of these families and have been good friends ever since the extensive research. Many of this large Clan now reside in the cities of Hull and York. 80% will have the spelling Buttle, 20% the spelling Battle/Battell.

COTSWOLD BUTTLE and BUTTELL (1540)

We have ancient records back as far as mid 1500s in this world famous area of picturesque stone villages. In Winchcombe at the time of Catherine Parr whose family bought Sudeley Castle there at that period....she being one of Henry VIII's wives. We have one large family tree linking 5 present day Buttle families as 5th. cousins to each other and dating from 1780. These include Paul Buttle, Lake district author and the Isle of Man branch of Buttell. Ancient records of the Clan are found in Guiting Power where the name is BUTTOLPH 1690s, Temple Guiting, Notgrove, Snowshill 1608, Saintbury, Stanway, Salperton, Hatherop, Turkdean, Naunton.... and Buttells on war memorials at Hayles Abbey church and Buttles at Hampton beside Evesham where they still reside as at ancient Guiting Power.

NORFOLK BUTTLE

Lots of records of this ancient name are found in registers and Wills in many scattered parishes out from and some in Norwich in the 1500s and probably earlier. Carleton Rode had a very substantial family there from at least 1560 - 1730 and with in 1575, the Scandinavian names Christian and Elsaborg! Much later on in 1800s Lyng parish had a strong family. The black sailed wherries plying coal on the broads had captains or owners Harry, Benjamin and Jonas Buttle around 1838 period. The fishing ports of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft may have been the origin of Quebec Gaspe's fishingboats Capt. William Wentworth Buttle born c1813 in England. Amner, East, South and West Raynham, Bunton, Gt.Yarmouth Helhoughton, Rockland Tofts and many other parishes all feature. Steve Buttle footballer with Ipswich Town & Seattle Sounders and Greg Buttle, very famous with New York Jets both hail from the Norfolk Clan. I have 5 family trees as a result of contacts of recent times around the world. There may well be across over with BUTTOLPH of Norfolk but this is not proved.

NORFOLK BUTTOLPH (1300s)

This extremely ancient Clan is peculiar to the county of Norfolk. But its origins lie in the historic town of BOSTON, Lincolnshire which is a corruption of St. Botolphstown or stone, where St. Botolph the 7th. century saint preached/dwelled and gave his name to the place with its magnificent church..... the Boston Stump. So the surname is a place name toponymic. Earliest records have in the 1300s ...Thomas Buttolph a master at old grammar school in Norwich and Revd. John Botolf rector of Sharenton parish. The Buttolphs are scattered about the county in Gt. Bardfield, Lowestoft, Gt. Yarmouth, and then we have a family tree in Wymondham with it huge old abbey dating from 1830 .... Dr. Michael Buttolph, London School of Economics and others descend. In 1630 on the ship Abigail, Thomas Buttolph and wife Ann arrived in Boston, Massachussettes.....I am in touch with this historic family in America and one branch changed their name to BUTTLES in 1700s Many held important positions in Norfolk life. Revd. Thomas Buttolph was Dean of Raphoe, Co. Donegal and there is a plaque to him in Dublin's St. Patrick's cathedral!

SOMERSET BUTTLE, BUTTEL and BATTLE (1579)

The earliest record found is 1579 and this is a very ancient settlement in the still delightful unspoilt upland Blackdown Hills straddling the Somerset/Devon border. The two parishes concerned are Clayhidon & Churchstanton. Clayhidon has the earliest records and a cottage property called Buttles as well as Battle road. They then move and multiply in much larger Churchstanton, a parish with over 60 Buttles buried from 1620 onwards at the fine church and Buttles farm in Buttles lane dating from 1720s. Buttle changes to Buttolph for 30 years and back again around this time(!) I have a huge family tree of over 75feet containing 29 named branches, one spelt Buttel! Two of our Clan gatherings have been held here(see pics). Ralph Buttle of Wellington branch who wrote his book, Cyril Buttle of Tavistock branch was Somerset county cricket head groundsman, Brian Buttle of Bridgwater branch famous throughout Somerset's Musical Societies and Ida Prins Buttle of Calstock branch musicologist (she lived in Bathford and was head of music at Kingswood school in Bath) have all made their mark. Her father Methodist Revd. Jacob Buttle founded the London Cornishmens Society. Curry Rivel, Pitminster, Exeter, Yeovil, Ilminster, Tiverton, Wandsworth & Buckland St. Mary are some of the other branches. Surname BATTLE is found in the 1800s in mid Somerset and Shepton Beauchamp has Buttles Lane and Close and in Hatch Beauchamp the palladian gate lodge and wood around it on the Hatch Park estate of the Gore-Langton family are called The Buttles & Buttles Plantation from Samuel Buttle 1870s of Ilminster branch. In Tor Street Wells we find Buttles Cottage with fabulous view of the cathedral.

LANCASHIRE BUTTLE (1540)

This small Clan has a first record in the 1560s in north Lancashire in the beautiful Trough of Bowland at a still very rural parish called TATHAM. Here we find brothers Richard and Robert Buttle having children. This small branch then migrate into the historic and georgian port of Lancaster where they become well established 1700 & 1800s. The spelling Buttle remains throughout. Very few descendants remain and I am in touch with just two of them.

BOITELLE

A name found in the Netherlands esp. around Venlo and Maastrict. The name is French and came to Venlo with a Napoleanic soldier abt. 1810.

BUTEL

This name belongs to the Cotentin peninsular where we now have a Normandy farm! It may well belong to the pre 1066 Family of Buittelle and vars. which originates just 16 miles south of us in the tiny ancient hamlet of BOUTTEVILLE which prob. gave the family its name(?). Has ancient manor/manoir and/et church/eglise! Butels have emigrated to Jersey-Cornwall & are in London 18th. c and Huguenot records in Dublin 1685 onwards and famous in Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand via a Belgian family.

BITEL

This name occurs in London and Sydney and came from Russia with huge Jewish migration into London and New York from the Czarist persecusions of late 1800s

BITTEL/BUTTEL

Produced the S. Irish Buttles & Beetles in 1709 from the Rhineland Pfalz massive emigration to London 13,000 people left via invitation from Queen Anne Govt. via Rhine to Rotterdam.....after vicious winters and 30 years of French Catholic persecution. These two spellings are of same origin and are found scattered in Germany to-day from several place names like Brunsbuttel and Wolfenbuttel ....buttel being very ancient Saxon meaning a big house.

BITTLE/BITTLES

This surname is found in small numbers in Ulster and Cornwall with some Navy associations. The earliest date in Co. Down, Ulster is in 1775 at Seaforde. The landed Forde family of here also had an estate just north of Gorey, Co. Wexford and one wonders if there is a Bittel Rhineland - Buttle connection with my Clan? Most Bittles to-day are in Belfast, ex Newry & Newtownards both Co. Down. In Cornwall there are sparse records of the name, the earliest is at Probus in 1686.

BUTTLE of ULSTER

This very small landed family of Buttle date from the Revd. David Buttle from Scotland who became the first Presbyterian Minister of Ballymena from 1627-1662 and commemorated on a memorial in the church there. Randall, grandson David and George followed, the latter inheriting the Conyngham estate and Springhill House, now National Trust and changing his name to Conyngham. He built the new large village of Coagh, Co. Tyrone beside Springhill. This family were also lessees of Glenarm, Co. Antrim, Sovereigns of Belfast, High Sherrifs of Cos. Tyrone & Derry, Importers and owned properties in Dublin.

BOTTLE of Somerset

This very small enclave is centred on Wincanton and Penselwood in south east Somerset and is reputedly of French Huguenot stock as is the Hoddinott Clan in the same area. The earliest date so far is of Thomas Bottle a tailor in Wincanton in the late 1700s. (Of course this could be a name change from Buttle of the Blackdown Hills Clan further to the south west and dating back to the 1580s.)

GASPE, Quebec BUTTLE

A Capt. William Buttle born abt 1817 in England is the founder of this loyalist coastal fishing family in 1838 when he married Mary Flowers. His origins are still not found but I visited them on this lonely seashore in 1974 thinking they may be of my Co. Wexford stock. We have a full family tree from the Anglican church records there and I have met many of the families, sisters having come to The Mead for one of the Buttle gatherings. Origin could be out of Norfolk or Lancashire seafarers (?), and Buttles are still living on Chaleur Bay and now dotted all over Canada & USA.

BUTTALL.

This very interesting branch has never been connected to any other county Clans....but the spelling is pronounced the same as Buttle. In the mid 1600s we find them in Wrexham, NE Wales where as Quakers the head of the family was in gaol as a dissenter. They were steel makers (and may have come from the ancient Essex Clan and Cutlers Green there?).....a branch later went to Soho as ironmongers where JONATHAN BUTTALL was painted by Gainsborough and is the BLUE BOY. Another branch went to Topsham, ancient Roman seaport in Devon for Exeter and were sea captains, one ship manned by Capt. Benjamin Buttell sailed out in 1779 and was never heard of again. This family tree is complete back to 1600s.

ST. BOTOLPH

Lived c620 - 680 was a Saxon abbot of Iken in Suffolk and Boston, Lincolnshire.....which took his name, it is corrupted from St. Botolphstone or town. Boston, USA follows! He had a brother Adulph and they were from a noble family. Educated in the Benedictine rule in Belgium, his fame spread abroad and over 70 churches in East Anglia and 3 in London are dedicated to him, as well as around the Baltic Sea. His feast day is 17 JUNE ....which I adopted as our Buttles etc. day with its connecting Buttolph & Buttle surnames in various records. It was in the middle ages the largest fair day in many parts of England.



Epilogues

James and his wife Annie Dow Wilson bought The Mead property 26 March 1921...... Started the TEA GARDENS in 1923. He passed on whilst in Scotland attending his father's funeral, and died at Norwood Castle, Blain, Dunfermilne, Fife 22 Jan. 1933. ANNIE his widow was so distressed, she sold The Mead 23 June 1933.

In September 1937, the PADFIELDS sold up to my mother on her birthday, Mr. Padfield couldn't cope with the 5 acre market garden having another profession in Bath and Mrs. Padfield who was also a JP was suffering from ill health and didn't manage the tea gardens.

Sadly the Tea Gardens shut down in 1950 following a burglary in 1948 whilst my parents were at the theatre in Bristol and again in 1992 after another burglary at The Mead whilst I was on holiday in Tenerife in February 1991. Both were "inside jobs" and had a bad effect, and both my Mother and myself returned to the County Wexford seashore and the farming country of our BUTTLE ancestry in South East Ireland.

This is why the Tea Gardens "disappeared" on both occasions when "in full flow" — we had our all time record day on a glorious 10 May 1990 with a total of 425 customers! 300 was a regular occurence both in the War Years and the 1980s - hectic & happy & terrific teamwork in idyllic St. Catherine's Valley!

Do get in touch and leave a message and if you have any photographs or memories please post them on this site!

Jonathan Metcalfe

Pension Birthday in The Tea Gardens Car Park on 1970 seat
Pension Birthday in the Tea Gardens car park on 1970 seat. "Official" photograph by photographer and friend James Davies of Weymouth, Bath and Chippenham.

Where Are You Now?

WHERE ARE YOU NOW? Please contact JONATHAN at or leave a message on the Guestbook please!

THE MEAD

Baldwin 1950-3. Donevein 1954-6. Widdecombe 1957-9. Eedle 1960-63. Roger Perks. Ravi Rao. Alan Pearce. Stuart Galloway. Jan Newman (Westinghouse 5). Charles (Westinghouse). John & Jane Puttock. Roger James. Mary Snell. Mike Fryer. Lance Free. Brian Watson. Dick Rode. Dentist & Solicitor. Robin Wynne Lloyd. Judith Pilsworth. Denis Fry. Mike Rosser(Bath rugby). John & Judy Hanlon. Stuart Bowie. John Humphries.

WAYSIDE COTTAGE

Andrea Cutler. Aberdeen Couple. Paul & Mary Toynton. Nick Cooper & Liz. Mike & Pam Twohig & Apple. Pembrokeshire lass from Spittal. Iris Irving & David. Brian Watson & Mary Fay. Jane Devlin. Jane(horses). David & Julia. Matt & Kate. Ernie Everest. Gilly & Iain Davidson. Lucy. Captain Jason Small R.N.

GARDEN COTTAGE

Terry & Celia Emery & Sue. Mr. Haig. Antell. Daryle & Ann. Sam Williams. Jim & Jenny Pryce. Iris Irving, David & Sambo 1970-1994. Steve Cox. Jenny Gibson. Stuart. Natasha & Jack. Kate & Matt. Cheryl Martin. Stuart Bowditch. Ernie Everest. Sam Williams & Anne.

THE CHALET

Daryle & Anne. Colin & Olive Britton.

WEDDINGS

Honey. Richardson. Kate & Damon Moore (Oxfordshire). Scylde Berry(cricket). Angela Gillies. Kate & Frank Roach(Scotland). ROBERT & HILARY EYLEY 1984. and also RICHARD & ROSIE LISTER.......and many many more.....

HELPERS

Valerie. Tony Stukes. Budge Brothers who named "chocolate gunge". Lynne Palmer. Mrs. Nicholson. Emma, Melanie & Tamsin Eedle. Little Babs Flynn. & Son. Annie. Nutgeons Family. June, Michael & Tim Coffey. Mary Earle. Mavis, Sally, Suzanne Newman. Robin Wynne-Lloyd. Gladys Hardy. Elsie Hollindale. Pam Lane. Alan Street. Angela Godwin-Brown. Jane Anderson. Nick Love (printed 'The Meadia' - menus). Kay Bishop. Jane Devlin. Zoe. Shane. "Beefburger Nick".......

and hundreds of Guests at the house and thousands of customers for teas including........'Marko'. 'Mrs. Marshfield' Fishponds Cyclists. Richard Williams. Richard Seccombe. Richard Griffiths.

AND THE SAME APPLIES to YOU! OUR HUNDREDS of guests and THOUSANDS of tea customers 1970 - 1992!

"A Tale of Two Cities Big Houses"

which led to a) THE MEAD TEA GARDENS and b) BUTTLE Family research!

Neither The Mead Tea Gardens or BUTTLE Family history would have come into being but for ST. CATHERINE'S COURT 5 miles to the north east of Bath on the one hand and CAHORE CASTLE on its headland Cahore Point on the County Wexford east facing coast, on the other.

St. Catherine's Court became the property of the Benedictine monks of Bath Abbey through Lady Matilda giving the northern portion of her manor of Batheaston to them around 1238. There was possibly earlier a Roman villa on this fine site, as this is a spring line settlement coming out of the Cotswold limestone along the little road of the idyllic valley. The monks gave it its name St. Catherine, very much in vogue at the time, and lasted for 300 years until disollution in 1538. Sir John Harrington, the Blanchards and others owned the Court which had fallen into decay when in 1840 the hon. Richard Strutt son of Lord Rayleigh bought the property.

By 1920 gardens and house had been restored to Elizabethan beauty and were open to the public, huge numbers visiting. On hot summer days there were strong complaints that people were gasping for tea and so when the industrious WILSONS from Stirling area of Scotland bought the Mead, cottages and 5 acre market garden in 1922... they seized on the idea of teas in their garden.

A large marquee was used in the front of the house before, in 1923, the tea pavilion was erected by Edgells of Radstock. The rest is history. Hence The Mead Tea Gardens was BECAUSE of ST. CATHERINE'S COURT.

Likewise... my BUTTLE/BUTTOLPH/BOWTELL etc Family research which started in 1966 at The Mead was based on my mother returning to S. Ireland in 1948 and buying the Victorian mansion, built 1861, on Co. Wexford seashore as a hotel. Stories abounded of her Co. Wexford BUTTLE family, Victorian Grandfather who with his brother built a huge business empire, even having their own ships to London from their successful bacon company in Enniscorthy and other ventures. This lasted from 1870 until 1920. We were also handed down that the southern Irish Buttles were farmers around Co. Wexford, had come from Germany and had been Jewish a long way back. All this has transpired with a history of the Palatines of late and of the 13,000 who left the Rhineland Pfalz, only 200 families of that exodus in 1709 went to S. Ireland, all the rest went to the new American colonies by invitation of the U.K. Govt. The Rhinelanders celebrated 300 years in Autumn 2009 with Church services and television programmes.

And in 1994 on my 60th. birthday visit back to S. Ireland, and absolutely by chance, I discovered a colony of BEETLES living in the south Co. Tipperary hills for at least 220 years who are the Wexford Buttles 8th. cousins and all descend from Hans(John) Wilhelm(William) BITTEL in the emigrant parties of summer 1709.  

Therefore my huge interest in this subject and then all English Buttles was BECAUSE of finding ourselves in this wonderful property, as a small boy straight from The Mead from age 4 onwards, surrounded by our Buttle farming ancestry. Hence Buttle Family History was BECAUSE of Cahore Castle.

Castle by the sea Article about St. Catherine's Court


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