Notable Occupants of the Grand Houses of Abbots Langley

Web site researched and maintained by Lesley and Tim Brooks, Abbots Langley.

contact link


Rosehill Photograph
Tiffin the gardener at Rosehill, Abbots Langley.

Originally Greenhill Farm. Built in 1820 by William Goodwin. Demolished c1956.

Rosehill and its gardens and paddock stood at the corner where Gallows Hill turned uphill into Upper Highway, where the Gade View flats are today. There was no continuation of Gallows Hill from there to Hunton Bridge at that time.

Another view of Rosehill.
Rosehill Photograph 2
Map showing location of RoseHill.
Rosehill Location map

The Notable Occupants of Rosehill

In 1815 the Coningham family moved in, their son....

William Coningham (1815-1884).

British Liberal politician and art collector.

Occupant, Rosehill, 1820-1836.

William Coningham Photograph

Portrait of William Coningham (1815-1884) by John Linnel (1792-1882) Public Domain.

William was the Coninghams' only child to survive infancy. His foster-brother was James Fitzjames, one of the leaders of the doomed Franklin Expedition; the parents treated James Fitzjames as if he was their own son and William regarded him as a brother.

Read more about William Coningham here on Wikipedia.

James Fitzjames.

was Captain of “Erebus” for the ill-fated Franklin expedition to find a North-West Passage, following a prestigious career in the Royal Navy.

Occupant, Rosehill, 1820-1827.

James Fitzjames Photograph

There is a good account of the circumstances under which these daguerreotype imges were taken on the Scott Polar Institute web site.

William Battersby, Banker, Archeologist and Author, had been researching the life of James Fitzjames, and published his fascinating biography "James Fitzjames: The Mystery Man of the Franklin Expedition" in 2010.

Fitzjames packed a great deal into his thirty-two years. He had sailed an iron paddle steamer down the River Euphrates and fought with spectacular bravery in wars in Syria and China. But Fitzjames was not what he seemed. He concealed several secrets, including the scandal of his birth, the source of his influence and his plans for after the Franklin Expedition.

This biography includes speculation regarding the parentage of James Fitzjames, concluding that James’s natural father was Sir James Gambier (1772-1844). It was less clear who his natural mother might be.

William had intimated that since publication of his book he had received further information regarding James' natural mother, and that this would be revealed in a second edition. Sadly William was killed in an accident while piloting his own light aorcraft, so we may never know!

Drawing on Battersby's book, Lesley Brooks wrote a short article for the Outlook magazine in March 2019, describing James Fitzjames' connection with Abbots Langley.

George Turnbull (1809- March 2nd 1889).


Occupant, Rosehill, 1875-1877.

George Turnbull Photograph

Photograph from privately printed biography of George Turnbull. UK Copyright holder, if any, unknown.

George Turnbull was a British engineer responsible from 1851 to 1863 for construction of the first railway line from Calcutta to Benares, some 965 km (600 mi) – later extended to Delhi. Turnbull was acclaimed by the Indian government as the "first railway engineer of India".

In 1885 In retirement at Rosehill he gave advice to Vicar Gee to sort out the sewers, drainage and water supply in Abbots Langley, writing the prospectus for the ‘Abbots Langley Water Company’.

Read more about George Turnbull here in Wikipedia.

There is also a short biography of George Turnbull, "Luncarty's Engineer" by John Andrews (who himself visited Abbots Langley while doing his research) published in 2018 under the auspices of the West Stormont Historical Society.

Fanny Turnbull, nee Thomas (1830 - Aug 19th 1903).

Second wife of George Turnbull.

Occupant, Rosehill, 1875-1903.

Fanny Turnbull Photograph

The village church includes a stained-glass memorial window[15] with the inscription "To the Glory of God in memory of George Turnbull C.E. born 1809 died 1889." It was donated by his widow Fanny.

Copyright. These web pages © Lesley Brooks. Where images and text are drawn from other sources, copyright is acknowledged whenever known, and links to those sources provided where required or appropriate.

Any use of this material, for any purpose, must be credited, with due reference, including the URL, and a link provided back to these pages when online.

contact link