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Tag Archives: Weston

Villa Rosa and the Shrubbery Estate, Weston-super-Mare

From the 1850s a number of suburban housing estates of elegant villas were built around Weston-super-Mare for middle class people looking for peace and privacy away from the bustle of the seafront and the town centre, for example The Shrubbery, The Grove, Montpelier and Ellenborough Park. Their roads were private and they were sometimes protected by gatekeepers’ lodges.  The villas all had servants’ quarters and private gardens.  Some of the estates, including The Shrubbery, also had communal gardens for the sole use of the residents. However there were no shops or public houses. Goods were delivered to the houses from the shops in the town centre by donkey or horse.

Weston-super-Mare, Shrubbery Lodge
The Lodge, Shrubbery Road
Weston-super-Mare, Houses on Shrubbery Avenue
Houses on Shrubbery Avenue

Richard Parsley and William Cox became the owners of the land on which the Shrubbery Estate now stands in 1815 when the area was enclosed by Act of Parliament. Parsley and Cox subsequently quarrelled and in the 1830s Cox let or sold his half of the land to a formidable lady called Sophia Rooke, who built mansion on it, which she called Villa Rosa.  The house was Italian in style with a tower and it was built in pink limestone, hence its name.  It was surrounded by large grounds, which at one time contained a private zoo.

In the 1850s the villas of the Shrubbery Estate were built on part of the grounds of Villa Rosa.  An ornamental footbridge was constructed over the access road to the Shrubbery Estate to reconnect the remaining grounds with the house.  This bridge is still in existence today.  Most of the villas were built of local limestone quarried from the Town Quarry nearby.  Bath Stone was used around the doors and windows and for decorative ornamentation.

Shrubbery Ornamental Bridge Weston-super Mare
Ornamental Bridge over Shrubbery Road

The Shrubbery Estate and Villa Rosa had their own well and water tower, which was disguised as an octagonal mock castle with battlements, arrow slit windows and gargoyles.  This building has been converted into a house more recently.

Weston-super-Mare, Shrubbery Water Tower
Water Tower, now a dwelling

Villa Rosa was demolished in the early 1970s and replaced with two blocks of flats.

History and Archaeology Walk in Weston

Join the first walk on 12 November, led by professional field archaeologist Shuan McConnachie, BA, pgCerts (Landscape archaeology, Classics) and member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

Easy walk from Birnbeck, along the front and ending at the Museum.Dog friendly and good access for people with mobility issues on this one.

Looking at the history and some of the archaeology, of Weston. From the ancient geological past (Weston was once a rain-forest), to the builders of Worlebury Hill Fort and the Roman shrine on Brean Down. 
Also looking at the Regency beginnings of Weston and the town we recognise today. There’s so much more…and learn about the secret of Rusty, the Iron Age dog you can see in the museum….

No fee, as such, but contributions welcome (£3 suggested minimum). Carers and helpers for people with mobility issues free, as do children under 12.   See more details here.