Philip ALLEN II – GGF7 – 1695-1765 – and Ralph Allen – 1693-1764

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Philip Allen II
Phillip and Jane’s children
Ralph Allen
Bathampton Manor and Priory Park


Jane’s GGF7 – Philip Allen II was born in 1695 at St Columb Major in, Cornwall and died on 15 Oct 1765 in Bath Somerset. His parents were GGF6 Philip Allen I (1667-1728) and Mary Elliot (1665- ).


Window Tax reaction
A window tax was imposed in England, causing many homeowners to brick up non-essential windows to avoid the tax. It would, however, not be repealed for 155 years (1851). It was intended to impose a tax burden that reflected the prosperity of the taxpayer. There was a flat-rate house tax of two shillings and a variable tax for the number of windows. Properties with between ten and twenty windows paid an extra four shillings and those above twenty windows paid an extra eight shillings. Adam Smith declared it as an inoffensive tax because assessment did not require an assessor to enter the residence.

Henry Evry (aka Avery) was an English pirate, reputedly born in Newton Ferrers near Plymouth, He seized the Grand Mughal’s 1600-ton ship Ganj-i-Sawai, assessed as one of the most profitable raids in history. It was an armed dhow, its name meaning ‘Excessive Treasure‘. Evry teamed up with five other pirate ships and took two stragglers from the 25-ship fleet. The escort ship Fateh Muhammed was taken first, yielding treasure worth £50,000-60,000.

The 62-gun Ganj-i-Sawai was a tougher target, it had 400 guards aboard and 600 other passengers. Avery’s frigate Fancy had just 46 guns but a successful broadside took the treasue ship’s main mast. The treasure taken has been estimated as then worth between £325,000 and £600,000, including “some 500,000 gold and silver pieces, plus numerous jeweled baubles and miscellaneous silver cups, trinkets… The Mughal Emperor closed British trading posts at Bombay, Surat, Broach, Agra, and Ahmedabad, insisting that Avery must be caught and executed.

This prompted, perhaps the first worldwide manhunt, with a £500 reward offered. It did lead to the capture of six members of Avery’s crew, who were tried and executed, but Avery himself was never caught. Some reports suggest he took Fancy to Bourbon in Réunion, where his crew were eah given £1,000, plus a quantity of gems, for their silence.


In 1731 Philip Allen II married Jane Bennett (1703-1767) with whom he had four children. Jane was the sister of Philip Bennett of Widcombe Manor, who would shortly become the MP for Shaftesbury.

Mary Allen, Lady Maude (1732-1775)
Cornwallis Maude, 1st Viscount Hawarden (1729-1803)
married 10 Jun 1766
Harriet Maude (1766–1769)
Thomas Ralph Maude (1767–1807)
The Hon Sophia Maria Maude [Dawkins-Pennant] (1769–1812)
Emma Mary Maude [Cartwright] (1774–1808)
Ralph Allen II (1734-1777)
Mary Palmer (1745-1831)
married 14 Jan 1775
Emma Bennett Allen (1778- ), unmarried
GGF6 – Philip Allen III (1736-1785)
Sarah Maria Carteret (1739-1819)
Married 1763
Philip Allen IV (1764–1765)
George Edward Allen (1766–1850)
Matilda Dorothea Allen (1767–1839), unmarried
Ralph Anthony Allen (1769–1813)
James Carteret Allen (1771–1791)
Mariana Allen (1772–1853), unmarried
Henry Edmond (Edmund) Allen (1775–1829)
Philip Allen (1778–1781)
Maria Janetta Allen (1780–1866), unmarried
George Edward Allen (1742- ) unmarried

By 1730 Philip Allen II had been lured to Bath by his elder brother to assst him in his work for the Post Office. By 1734 he was supervising the Bath post office in Lilliput Alley, while living in the Palladian annexe to the office. He later gained control of the Hungerford post office too.

Bathampton Manor

He later moved into Bathampton Manor, when Ralph, his brother, had completed the building of Prior Park for himself.

Philip II became an active governor of Bath General Hospital from its opening in 1742 almost until his death. From 1748-1765 Philip served his community as a Councilman, becoming its Constable for two periods 1748-49 and 1759-60, and its Bailiff from 1750-51 and 1761-62. In 1752 he also became the Bath agent for the Sun Fire Office insurance company.

Philip died on 15 Oct 1765 and was buried at Bathampton on 18 Oct 1765.


Ralph Allen (1693-1764)

Ralph Allen

Philip’s elder brother, Jane’s GGU7 – Ralph Allen was born 24 Jul 1693 at St Columb Major in Cornwall. He too was born to GGF8 – Philip Allen I (1667-1728) and Mary Elliott (1665- ) who had married on 10 Feb 1687. St Columb Major sits close to the Nine Maidens Stone Row (below).

Nine Maidens

His father, Philip I, ran a small inn in the town, variously called The Duke William or The Old Duke at St Blazey Highway. But he often stayed and helped out his grandmother, Gertrude (1639-?), who ran the local post office at St Columb Major. A Government Inspector reporting on the post office made a special note of Ralph’s shrewdness and neat-handedness while still a lad.

In 1708 he moved to Exeter, then In 1710 he took up a position in Bath within the post office and soon rose to the role of deputy-postmaster (1712), and later became its postmaster. He could not understand why a letter destined for say Worcester had to be sent through London.

He proved to have good timing because in 1711 the Acts controlling the functions of the Post Office were completely redesigned. Principal deputy postmasters were then empowered to erect cross-posts or stages so that all parts of the country would have an equal advantage so far as possible.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Cornwall had been an area where many Jacobites were resident, supporters of a return of the Catholic Stuarts, initially in support of the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart, and subsequently, his son, Bonnie Prince Charlie.

In c1715 Ralph is claimed to have intercepted and opened letters between Jacobite consprators that led to the arrest of James Paynter and others. This (illegal?) act won Ralph the support of General George Wade, a prominent anti-Jacobite.

Soon after, Ralph married Jane Earl, Wade’s illegitimate daughter (one of four of Wade’s illegitimate children). He would later shuffle her off to another man he judged would make her happier (she married John Mason in 1728, though he died in 1729). There are no official documents for this marriage and its dissolution, except a reference made by Ralph’s Clerk of the Works, Richard Jones, who wrote in his diary ‘Married Wade’s bastard daughter’. They had no issue.

Ralph helped to devise the cross-country postal service for England and Wales and created the first such system. When the Post Office ‘farmed’ out these cross-country services, he was financially supported by General Wade to take a strong position in this business. It has been mentioned that Edmund Prideaux MP was a fellow West Countryman (Devonian) who also earned a great deal from the Post Office, for a time as Post-Master General.

Ralph paid £6,000 per annum for the right to ‘farm’ the post, while his brother Philip came in time to manage the Bath post office itself. This made him rich. Between 16 Apr 1720, and his death in 1764, he earned an average £12,000 pa from this postal service, that’s over half a million pounds – less his £6k overhead, it’s the equivalent of £6m in profits today! (Source: Her Majesty’s Mails, William Lewins, pp104-112).

This is a simplistic look because the fees and revenues varied across the period. However, Home Office Papers of 1761 outlined how involved Ralph was in the management of the by-way and cross-road posts, and how this had been the instrument of increasing the revenue and encouraging the commerce of this kingdom. It is estimated that he saved the Post Office £1,500,000 over a 40-year period.

Combe Down Quarries

Ralph applied his wealth to aquiring two quarries, Combe Down and Bathampton, where the honey-coloured limestone, aka Oolithic or ‘Bath Stone’, was worked to build many of the larger properties of Bath. The masons had previously produced rough-hewn (known as rubble) and irregular sized bricks. Ralph developed new approaches to provide more useful and uniform stone.

[ASIDE: A few years ago I did the research for a natural stone exhibition and learned that the stuff in a quarry is ‘rock’, when it is cut out it becomes stone’.]

On 26 Apr 1721 he married Elizabeth Buckeridge (1690-1736) at the Charterhouse Chapel in Finsbury, London. His residence was next to the post office between York Street and Liliput Alley (now North Parade Passage). In 1727 he extended and refaced this building in Bath Stone,this he called his ‘Town House’.

Ralph developed an innovative railroad to deliver the limestone blocks to a nearby canal wharf. The stone was used locally on new buildings in Bath, or shipped downstream to London via the Avon Navigation.

Buckingham Palace used Bath Stone. The architect John Wood the Elder extensively used Bath Stone in the redevelopment of Georgian Bath. Today the quarries are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its importance as a hibernation site for several species of bat, including the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe.


Bathampton Manor and Priory Park

George Edward Allen‘s plans for Bathampton Manor, dated 1794

On 24 Mar 1736 Ralph married his third wife, Elizabeth Holder (1898-1766), at Saint Martin In The Fields, Westminster, London, England. He had three wives and no issue, though some accounts suggest that Elizabeth bore him a son, named Ralph, but there is no confidence placed in this elsewhere. Elizabeth’s brother Charles had financial difficulties that prompted Ralph to settle his debts and acquire Bathampton Manor from him.

Henry Fielding used Allen as the model for Squire Allworthy in his novel Tom Jones.

In 1738 Ralph gave money and the stone for the building of the Mineral Water Hospital in central Bath. A marble bust of Allen stood within the Mineral Water Hospital (later the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases), the statue was moved to the hospital’s new building at Combe Park in 2019.

Bath stone was extensively used in the Georgian buildings of Weymouth. Ralph had a summer home built there in Trinity Street, facing the Customs House. He lived here for three months each year. It bears a plaque commemorating it as Allen’s residence. He had a villa at Bathampton that he used as an escape and is also claimed to have had a London home and yet another at Maidenhead.

In 1742 Ralph Allen served only a single term as the Mayor of Bath, though he practically guided the affairs of that city as it pleased him, as a result he became caricatured as ‘The One-headed Corporation.’

Prior Park looking to the house

Prior Park looking from the house

Back in 1736, Ralph Allen commissioned John Wood to build him a Neo-Palladian mansion, though some decribe it as Corinthian. This was Prior Park at Widcombe, built on a hill overlooking the city, ‘To see all Bath, and for all Bath to see‘.

It is built on the seat of an old monastic establishment, three or four miles out of Bath to the south-east, near to the Combe Down quarries, and at four hundred feet above sea-level it commands fine views. He erected a statue of General Wade and placed it directly outside Prior Park. Allen also left him £1,000 in his will, stating he was ‘the best of friends as well as the most upright and ablest of Ministers that has adorned our country‘.

Prior Park was completed in 1743, and Ralph moved there in 1745. It enabled him to offer great hospitality towards those of rank, learning, or distinction when they visited Bath.

Ralph’s mausoleum

After his death, Ralph was buried in a pyramid-topped tomb in Claverton churchyard (Wiltshire). The mausoleum bears his name, dates and the comment ‘full hopes of everlasting happiness in another state‘.

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