Charles Holcombe

Charles Thomas Holcombe bought Valentines Mansion in 1838, moving there with his wife Margaret and their niece Sarah Oakes in 1840. He was then about 46 years old and had previously lived at Old Mill Green House at Ingatestone.

His new home was described in the sale documentation as "a capital family mansion and estate called Valentines, with ornamental park, pleasure grounds, gardens, conservatory, pinery, hot-houses, green-houses, and double coach-house and stables, farm and other out-buildings, with sundry inclosures of arable and pasture land" in all about 175 acres. The price paid was £12,600.

Holcombe was obviously a wealthy man who leased a large plot of land at Greenwich from Morden College. Mary Mills account of Greenwich Marsh, the 300 years before the Dome tells us that in Greenwich directories Holcombe's property on the marsh is given as a "brass foundry, tar and Asfelt works". He is also described as a "refiner of coal tar, spirit, pitch and varnish". So like many others in the 1840s, he was experimenting with gas industry tars for use in paint and varnish. Holcome also developed the site by building a wharf with a road leading to it, with houses and a pub called The Sea Witch on the riverbank. (This was destroyed in 1940).

The Holcombes do not seem to have had any children of their own but had brought up their niece, Sarah Oakes, as her mother died shortly after her birth. Sarah married Clement Ingleby at Ilford in 1850 before moving to live with her husband in his home town of Edgbaston.

Margaret Holcombe died on 25 April 1860 "in the 68th year of her age", and surprisingly the death was registered at Kensington. By this time the Inglebys had four children and Clement had become a Doctor of Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge. At the time of the 1861 census Mrs.Ingleby and the children were at Valentines, while her husband was shown with his mother at Edgbaston. It seems that about this time the family moved back to Valentines to be with "Uncle Charles" who was now a widower approaching seventy.

Charles Thomas Holcombe died 28 September 1870, and is buried with his wife at St.Mary's, the parish church of Great Ilford. He left Valentines to his niece, Mrs. Ingleby, for her life and then to his great-nephew and godson, Holcombe Ingleby.