Six Houses for Six Sisters in Totnes

Victorian Totnes Developer Built Homes For Six Daughters

Totnes is said to have more listed buildings per head than any other town.  A stroll along the High Street, Fore Street, and around Bridgetown will quickly prove this. There are many well-preserved examples of the town’s long history, social standing and prominence dating back to Norman, Medieval and Tudor times with 66 houses in Totnes dating to before 1700.

In the Victorian era, when all around the UK wealth was spread across society in the wake of the industrial revolution, and with the extension of the railway to Totnes in 1847, a large number of elegant villas and terraces sprang up in the town. Several have interesting stories relating to them – such as Elmfield House, a stunning five bedroom house in Jubilee Road – one of the most prestigious residential roads in Totnes.

Built by well-established local builder, Thomas Brook, Elmfield House is one of six similar properties in Jubilee Road which he built for each of his six daughters. Brook had 12 children in all and he died at only 54 leaving a legacy of elegant Victorian properties in the town. In his 25 years of building, Brook built the new vicarage, the cottage hospital and the Conservative Club, as well as Queens Terrace, facing the railway station, Devon Terrace in Bridgetown, 25 houses at Brooklands and 12 houses at Somerset Place.

Elmfield House is a fine example of Brook’s style and elegance featuring several of the ornate ceilings for which he was particularly renowned. Built in 1892, in an elevated south facing position on a large plot with views across Bridgetown, the river and Totnes itself, the house originally had a tennis court in its grounds. Its ‘sister’ properties, built for Brook’s other daughters include Ashcroft, Anstey House, Pineridge, Craig Goch and Redlands.

Over the years the property has been owned by prominent members of Totnes society including the Mayor Mr H. Symons around 1895, and Mr F.K. Windeatt in 1920. The Totnes Times of 16 November 1895 reported: “The Mayor and Corporation attended church at Totnes on Sunday last proceeding in procession from Elmfield, the residence of The Mayor – Mr H Symons, J.P.”

To research the history of your house the Totnes Museum is the first point of call. In addition The Totnes Image Bank can also prove informative and interesting.

If you are thinking of selling your house and would like to discuss this further, do give our Team a call on 01803 505115.