The Times 25 of August 1856, page 6, mentions that Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales and Prince Arthur, who were staying at Osborne on the Isle of Wight, came over to Stokes Bay in the Fairy steam yacht and, having landed, drove in carriages the 3/4 mile to Browndown to inspect the British German Legion encamped there. After that they went to look round 'Gomer Fort' which was under construction, then returned to Osborne in the Fairy.
Another visit was made by Prince Albert to inspect the line of forts being built between Elson and Gomer (The Times 11 December 1857 page 10). Afterwards Albert, with Queen Victoria, dined at Alverbank, then they re-embarked onto the Fairy 'from Alverstoke Beach' and returned to Osborne.
There are other references, some apocryphal, to Prince Alfred Ernest, Duke of Edinburgh visiting Bay House. One relates that Captain Arthur Embling, Captain of the Rothschild Yacht, whilst he was a young waterman carried the future King ashore pig-a-back fashion, smoking a large cigar.
Victoria often used the landing stage inside Clarence Yard for her visits to and from the Isle of Wight and on at least two occasions used the station at Stokes Bay.
|Queen Victoria's landing stage at Gosport
||Clarence Yard Royal Station 1891
More on Gosport's Royal Station
1784-85: A large swathe of land along Stokes Bay, from Fort Monckton to Browndown, was acquired by the Board of Ordnance. The only buildings acquired were Old Bay House and Gomer House.
|Old Bay House (late 18th Century)
Ivy House with the little River Alver flowing eastwards along the Bay and the Stokes Bay Brick Kilns
|Referred to in a painting by Capt. Durrant as Ivy House, the home of Lieutenant Williams.
Old Bay House was south of the site on which Lord Ashburton built his Bay House in 1840.
A plan of 1832 shows two groups of houses referred to as Old Bay House and New Bay House.
Old and New Bay Houses 1832
||Confusingly, Yet another plan refers to the eastern house as Stokes Bay House.
|Stokes Bay House on a plan dated 1832
1788: A brickworks was established, with another added in 1806, these had ceased operating by 1820 when the old one was demolished; The other had gone by 1832. Each of the brickworks had a pier into the Solent, the eastern one survived until c1839; in 1840 it was described as derelict.
A coastguard house was built (before 1820) on the beach between Old Bay House and the eastern pier.
By 1818 New Bay House (a pub) had been built on the beach further to the east - closer to Stoke village.
1839: The Ordnance declared the northern strip of its land between Marsh Lane (now Anglesey Road) and Gomer 'surplus to requirements' and put it up for auction. Lord Ashburton (Alexander Baring), John Wilson Croker, John Brett Purvis, Joseph Paddon and Dr Henry Burney all bought portions; the land was conveyed to them in March 1840; Ashburton had Old Bay House demolished to improve his view.
Ashburton built Bay House (1840-42); Croker built Alverbank House (1840); Purvis, of Bury Hall, added the land to his farm; likewise Paddon added the land to Alvercliffe; Burney's purchase included Gomer House; Compigne's land, at the western end of the Bay, was advertised for sale as building plots.
|Burney's Cottage, Lord Ashburton's House and Mr Croker's House on a plan dated 1847
Between 1848 and 1861 the Board of Ordnance / War Department repurchased 180 acres paying over £53,000 for land which they sold for about £3,900 in 1840 (although Bay House and Gomerina had been built on the land in the meantime).
After Fort Gomer was built, Gomer House & Gomerina (acquired by War Dept 1857 from John Leveson-Gower pronounced 'Looson-Gore') were demolished; number 2 battery is on the site of Gomerina
Sometime between 1862 and 1871 Alvercliffe was acquired and used as the residence of the Commanding Royal Engineer.
The following persons are shown:
Samuel Burton 50 Publican
Jane Burton 49
Caroline Burton 20
Jane Burton 19
Chas Burton 15 Carpenter
Owen Burton 13
Joseph Wyatt 32 Mason
John Hinsman 25 Mason
Chas Turner 24 Mason
Frederick Saper 20 Labourer
Ann Hulett 45 Servant
Eliza Hulett 12
Edward Sheath 30 Labourer
Eliza Sheath 45
James Churcher 35 Beach guard (Coast Guard)
Nancy Churcher 35
William Churcher 9
Edwin Churcher 5
William Walsh 40 Beach Guard (Coast Guard)
Catharine Walsh 40
Robert Walsh 12
Thos Clarke 35 Beach Guard (Coast Guard)
Jane Clarke 30
Henry Clarke 2
John Clarke 2 MO
Martha Syred 15
Robert Synge 29 Ret? or RN?
Jessy Synge 30
Jessy Mary Synge 1 MO
Anne Robins 35 Independent
Hannah Gore 30 Servant
Stokes Bay House
Thomas Smith 76 Labourer
Elizabeth Smith 65
John Steward 40 Labourer
Anne Steward 40
Henry Hare 20 Labourer
Ambrose Courtney 10
Godfrey Meynell 60 Independent means
Mary Meynell 50
Harriett Meynell 20
William Meynell 15
Elizabeth Cane 40 Servant
Hannah Day 30 Servant
William Wingfield 24 Servant
Benjamin Smith 30 Bailiff
Elizabeth Smith 35
John Redman 20 Labourer
Charles Marsh 30 Labourer
Mary Marsh 78
Sarah Marsh 40
William Marsh 9
The following persons are shown:
Stokes Bay, House
Samuel Burton 63 Licensed Victualler
Jane Burton 60
Jane Burton 28
Owen Burton 22
Alver Bank, Stokes Bay,
Henry E Bunbury 72 Baronet ret Lt Gn R.L.B.
Emily L A Bunbury 67
Cecilia C Napier 31 Daught of General Sir G Napier
Mary King 45
Mary Davy 37
Anne Coe 24
Mary A Thomas 24
Richard Sahned 46
James Steward 21
George Dodd 28
Elias Long 18
William Brown 48 Gardener
Elizabeth Brown 43
Watch House, Stokes Bay,
George Toot 29 Coast Guardsman
James Hicks 32 Chief Boatman Coast Guard
Mary J Hicks 26
Rhoda J Hicks 3
John E Hicks 6 MO
Jane Darrah 10
John Motyer 40 Coast Guardsman
Ann Motyer 41
Mary Motyer 14
Benjamin Motyer 11
William Motyer 9
Elizabeth Motyer 5
Lydia Motyer 16
Job B Clark 53 Lt RN? Coastguard
Ann Grant Clark 42
Sarah Boon 24 Servant
Stokes Bay House,
Stephen G Prendergast 29 Captain H.x.x.x
Elizabeth Prendergast 21
Harriett Prendergast 33
Emily Prendergast 31
Henry G Prendergast 1
Mary Braxton 40
Emily Pitt 16
Rene Peret 43
Rene Prendergast 1 MO
Stokes Bay, Gomerina
Robert Mansel 48 Landed and Fund Proprietor
Maria Mansel 43
Lucy Mansel 19
Mary Mansel 16
Charles Bartlett 27
Elizabeth Avery 44
Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Gosport Historian Philip Eley for his contribution to this website, particularly the summary above (and checking the spelling!). Also to Simon Cox for the 1841 and 1851 census lists.
Philip has also kindly supplied the following details concerning land purchase at Stokes Bay:
In March 1840 the Board of Ordnance sold 80 acres of land to Dr Henry Charles Burney of The Royal Academy, Gosport, for £2,015. There were three 'parcels' of land (of 14, 38 and 27.5 acres) The parcel of 27.5 acres had a house called Gomer House on it.
In May 1840 Burney sold 5 acres (part of the grounds of Gomer House) to William Barber of Winchester, gentleman, for £495. In January 1842 The Commissioners of Ordnance had granted Barber permission to throw a "carriage bridge" over the "Main Ditch" onto Ordnance land.
In July 1841 Burney sold the 38 acre parcel to Alexander, Lord Ashburton for £1,200 - this was an addition to the land that Ashburton bought directly from the Board of Ordnance.
In January 1845 Burney sold Gomer House and the remaining 25 acres (arable and pasture land) to William Lindon of Hyde Park Gardens, Middlesex, esquire, for £3,150. Burney had extended and "improved" Gomer House.
Presumably around this time Burney built 'Beach Cottage' on his remaining 14 acres (closest to the beach).
In June 1846 Gomer House and grounds were sold to John Leveson Gower esquire of Bill Hill, Berkshire, for £3,600.
In April 1847 William Barber sold to John Leveson Gower (now "of Gomer House") "the mansion house called Anglesea Lodge ... recently erected, with shrubberies and pleasure grounds" on the 5 acre plot for £2,900. A John Gardner esquire had a tenancy agreement on the house.
In July 1857 all of John Leveson Gower (now "of Bill Hill" again) sold "that capital messuage called Gomer House, with the cottage, barn, stables and outbuildings and 25 acres of land", also the 5 acre piece of land with "the mansion house called Anglesea Lodge or Gomerina with stables (etc)" for £11,535.
|July 6 1857 Deed
So, the land the Ordnance had sold in 1840 for about £750 (it being about a third of the original acreage sold to Burney) cost them 15 times as much to buy back seventeen years later!