A History of Thorneyfield

When we (Carole and Andrew) took on Thorneyfield Guest House we found this historical narrative about our new home on the old website and thought we’d share it with you.
If you know more about the history of Thorneyfield, please do get in touch.



As Thorneyfield dates back to Victorian times, we have been trying to discover some at some of its fascinating history. We were help in this by Canadian gentleman Mr Raymond Shirritt-Beaumont, whose family owned the house in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.


This is what he was able to tell us about that use the house at that time and confirmed that it had been the same name for well over 100 years! Sadly we still don’t know why it got the name though:


“Over 100 years ago my great-great-aunts, Ruth, Clara and Isa Beaumont had a thriving dressmaking business in Ambleside at Thorneyfield. In 1988, I interviewed a cousin, Jean Irthing Whiting, who was raised by the ‘old aunts’ after her mother (their sister Agnes) died in South Africa. Jean was able to describe the layout of the house in some detail, when she lived there circa 1900 to 1919. Here is a brief summary of what she told me. Aunt Ruth had a fitting room on the main floor at the front of the house. Behind that were two rooms, to which one gained access by a hall. One was a kitchen and the other utility room was some kind that had a gas stove in it, with a wash-basin in one corner that was heated by a wood fire underneath. Periodically, the laundress would come and do the laundry in that corner washer. This kitchen was used by the aunts for preparing their meals. Apparently, there was a landing at the front door, and a few steps up, off the stairs there was a bathroom and then the stairs continued up to the second floor.


“On the second floor, Clara and an assistant had a room facing the front street. This is where they made the skirts for the dresses and added pleats, embroidery, etc. This was a smaller room, but there was a larger room either behind or alongside that one that was supervised by Aunt Isa. Here they were between perhaps a dozen young women from the neighbouring districts who worked as seamstresses. (She must have been a taskmaster because my Aunt Alice Beaumont worked there as a girl, and she didn’t like it at all!). Apparently, the girls arrived in the morning and enter the house by a side door into the basement where they changed into their working clothes. It was not clear just how they got to the second floor, but there was undoubtedly a flight of stairs up to the main floor connecting to the stairs going up to the second. At the back of the second floor was the private living room of the Beaumont sisters it overlooked the back garden. It was quite a good sized room. From it was a set of stairs that went up to the third floor, where there were three bedrooms. The smallest was reserved for Jean. Clara had the next bedroom, and Ruth and Isa shared the largest bedroom.”


The only other source of information we have come from a land registry search which is uncovered the following:


“A conveyance of land in the title dated 30 May 1891 made between Robert Crewsdon and Thompson Harrison contains the following covenants:


“The said Thompson Harrison here by covenants with the said Robert Crewsdon that he will for ever hereafter keep in repair so much the land hereby conveyed to him and also that no steam engine or machine for sawing wood or stone shall be erected nor shall any noisesome noisy or offensive trade or occupation creating a nuisance be carried on upon any part of the said premises AND ALSO that no building be erected shall be higher than those forming any other portion of Compston Parrock(?) and that no such building shall be used or occupied as a licensed victuallers public house or beer shop.”


We promised that we have kept to this and don’t have a steam engine or a machine for cutting stone or wood nor do we have a beer shop we don’t yet know who either Robert Crewsdon or Thompson Harrison are but would welcome any information on them and anything that might pre-date 1891.