Blue plaque installed at Grove House

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:00 10 August 2020

Representatives from Weston Town Council and the civic society at the unveiling of the blue plaque on Grove House.

Representatives from Weston Town Council and the civic society at the unveiling of the blue plaque on Grove House.

Archant

A blue plaque dedicated to a former lord of the manor has been installed in Weston town centre.

The blue plaque for John Hugh Smyth-Pigott.The blue plaque for John Hugh Smyth-Pigott.

Weston Town Council and Weston Civic Society presented a plaque for John Hugh Smyth-Pigott at Grove House.

John inherited the manorial lordship of Weston on Christmas Day 1823, following the death of The Rev Wadham Pigott.

The energetic young squire encouraged village children to plant trees on the hillside, initially to create a private game reserve but, once trees began to mature, he threw this woodland open to the public.

Two of his original gate lodges are still visible today, one in private occupation in Worlebury Hill Road and the other serving food in castellated splendour at the Kewstoke end of the toll road.

He replaced the crumbling Medieval St John’s with a parish church and enlarged his manorial residence at Grove House, most of which was subsequently destroyed during World War Two.

He also established Grove Park as his private front garden, and the woods were his back garden.

With assistance from far-sighted agents he, along with a new breed of local entrepreneurs, began to change Weston from a sleepy village of little consequence into a town of rising middle-class expectation.

Grove House is now the town council’s responsibility and the mayor’s parlour.

John Crockford-Hawley, Weston mayor Mark Canniford and civic society chairman David Agassiz at the unveiling of the latest blue plaque.John Crockford-Hawley, Weston mayor Mark Canniford and civic society chairman David Agassiz at the unveiling of the latest blue plaque.

Mark Canniford, the mayor of Weston, said: “We appreciate the work the town council and civic society do in getting these plaques up.

“They are a fantastic addition to the town because it tells people who don’t have a lot of interest in history what’s gone on.

“We are now starting to see a pathway of plaques round the town.”

An audio tour of all the town’s blue plaques is now on the town council’s website, written and narrated by councillor and local historian John Crockford-Hawley.

People can arrive at a plaque, use their phone to access the page on the website and play the film which gives you the history of the plaque.

This is the first stage of what the town council hopes will become a digital walking audio guided map app.

To listen to the audio tour, click here.


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