Rous Villa is one of several buildings in Newmarket that have been used by more than one practice as a surgery over time (the others being Cardigan Lodge, Kingston House, Mentmore House and possibly Brackley House and Cheveley House). Rous Villa will be remembered by many as Rous Surgery, which moved to become Oakfield Surgery in Vicarage Road in 1993 (see The Oakfield practice chain and the page on Rous Surgery for full details, and the latter for a picture of the house as Rous Surgery). However, it’s a much lesser known fact that Rous Villa was also used by the predecessors of Orchard House Surgery, from about 1890 for several years, perhaps for as long as a decade (by Drs John Rowland Wright then John Hansby Maund – see the pages on these individuals and The Orchard House practice chain, which has an even earlier common origin with Oakfield explained there as well, the other main connection between these two practices).
The house was built by John Russell Denson, a Cambridge based builder, who was granted a 99 year lease in 1886 by Sir Richard Wallace of Sudbourn Hall, Suffolk (back dated to 1882, which was perhaps when he acquired the land?). Certainly the latter and probably the former never actually lived in Rous Villa though. The building appears to have been sublet to its various occupants until as late as 1948, when the then medical occupant, who’d been there over a decade already by then (Dr Joe Davis) acquired the lease from a Mrs Lonnen, who’d acquired it from John Denson in 1926 (via an estate agent, who’d held it briefly). This passed to Dr Davis’ nephew and partner in practice Dr Walden in 1952, who acquired the freehold as well in 1975 (the freehold had passed through a long and complex list of trustees until that point, down from Richard Wallace). Then from 1975 Rous Villa became a freehold property owned by its occupants.
The 1884/5/6 OS map and town plan of Newmarket have a gap in Rous Road where Rous Villa would have been (see page on Robert Fyson for an image showing the gap), so it must have been constructed in 1885/6. The plans were submitted in 1884, which still exist in the Suffolk County Record Office in Bury St Edmunds. There is nothing about the plans to suggest that there was any intention for Rous Villa to be used as a surgery. Although the first known occupant was a medic, John Rowland Wright, he appears to have lived in the High Street until 1888 at least (see the page on John Rowland Wright for full details). It seems likely therefore that Rous Villa had an unknown occupant for a few years before Dr Wright moved in.
Dr Wright, of the Orchard House practice chain, is shown in Rous Villa with his family on the 1891 census, but he died only 2 years later in 1893. He was succeeded by John Hansby Maund, who gave Rous Villa as his address in the Medical Registers from that point until 1902, when his entry changed to Brackley House, which is at the other end of Rous Road (see image on the right showing Rous Villa marked in red and Brackley House with a small red ‘B’). However, Dr Maund and family had lived at Brackley House from 1894 at least, and probably from his arrival in town to succeed Dr Wright in 1893. It appears perhaps the family lived in Brackley House but Dr Maund practised from Rous Villa, initially at least. However, as early as 1896 he gave Brackley House as his address in the commercial section of a local trade directory, suggesting that perhaps he was practising from there by that stage? Likely he practised from Rous Villa for a time at least though, perhaps to emphasise his continuity with Dr Wright (a privilege he would have paid for). Interestingly however, Dr Wright’s widow continued living in Rous Villa, where she can be seen on the 1901 census, which is presumably why the Maunds lived up the Road, Dr Maund perhaps using just a section of Rous Villa as the surgery for a few years.
However, by the time of the 1911 census Dr Wright’s widow and daughter had moved out, Rous Villa being occupied at that time by a Mrs Moxon and family. The Moxon’s lived there for a few years at least, followed by at least three further known tenants, before Dr Joe Davis of the Oakfield practice chain is first recorded there in 1937. He was definitely still in Kingston House in 1936 (when someone called Horace Kelty was living in Rous Villa).
From 1937, what became known as Rous Surgery operated from Rous Villa for well over half a century, until it moved to Oakfield Surgery in 1993, as mentioned above. Dr Davis acquired a couple of partners in practice before his retirement from Rous Surgery in 1969. From shortly after that point the practice continued as Walden and White for many years, further partners joining in due course (see the page on Rous Surgery for details). The most notable partner from a Rous Villa perspective was Dr Lionel Walden, who as mentioned above took on the lease of Rous Villa from his uncle Joe Davis in 1952. It seems that Dr Walden started living in Rous Villa at that time, with Dr Davis moving out into a residential address elsewhere in Newmarket. By 1975, when Dr Walden bought the freehold, he had a separate residential address elsewhere in Newmarket too, so likely from that stage or some time before it was used purely as a surgery.
Dr Walden died in 1985 whilst still working, and a few years later the ownership of Rous Villa passed from his widow to the then partners (in the interim they leased it from her). In 1993 Rous Villa finally ceased to be used as a surgery when the practice moved to become Oakfield Surgery in Vicarage Road. It’s of note that this was built in the grounds of what was Oakfield House (see an image on the page about Oakfield Surgery), which is visible in the bottom right hand corner of the map above (marked with a red ‘O’). At that point Rous Villa was sold and reverted to use as a private residence, which is still the case to this day.
I seems a strange building to have been used as a surgery for so long (about half the time of its existence at the time of writing), without any apparent initial intention that it be put to such use and with a significant set of steps to the front door.
Image 1: Map of Newmarket. Southampton: Ordnance Survey; 1902 (revised 1901), sheet 42.6 (cropped – red annotations mine); image © Crown Copyright 1902, used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, reproduced with kind permission of the National Library of Scotland and the Ordnance Survey. [Note: click here for the source.]
Image 2: From Peter Norman’s Collection (cropped – red annotations mine); image reproduced with kind permission of Peter Norman. [Note: we have not been able to access the back of this old postcard to ascertain the original publisher, but using the image here seems likely acceptable, especially given the card’s age. Please make contact using the details via the footer below if you know more, for example if further acknowledgements etc. are required.]
Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well.
1884, March: Plans for three new houses for Mr. J. R. Denson, Cambridge, with an accompanying letter from the architect stating that they were to be, ‘erected in the Rous Road, adjoining those already built + called “Denson Terrace”’ describing them filling up the gap shown on the 1886 OS map below to the north of Denson Terrace, and with drawings/plans of the three houses, which are clearly still there today as 9, 11 and 13 Rous Road, i.e. Rous Villa, Blantyre and Fern Villa respectively. Reference: EF506/6/1/A9, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: this packet also contains plans not relating to these houses. There’s nothing on the plans to suggest that Rous Villa was intended for use as a surgery.]
1885: The 1886 map of Newmarket has a gap in Rous Road where Rous Villa (Blantyre and Fern Villa) would be. Reference: EF506/10/31, Ordnance Survey Map 1st Edition (42/6), (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: see the page on Robert Fyson for an image which captures this part of the map – the contemporary 1885 Town Plan shown on the page about the Rous Memorial Hospital also shows this gap, but is out of the shot in the image used on that page – however, there is a reference with click through where it can be seen.]
1886: The original 99 year lease of Rous Villa to John Russell Denson, a builder from Cambridge who had built it, from Sir Richard Wallace of Sudbourn Hall, Suffolk. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners. [Note: it appears that this 99 year lease was back dated to 1882, expiring in 1981. Perhaps 1882 was when John Russell acquired the land?]
1890: ‘WRIGHT, JOHN ROWLAND, High-st, New-market. Cambs – M.R.C.S. Eng. 1871; (St. Mary’s); Act. Asst. Surg. W. Suffolk R.V.; late House Surg. Male Lock Hosp. Lond.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1890. [Note: this was the last year that he mentioned his address as in the High Street, it first having been mentioned in his 1887 entry (before that no address was given). Note however this 1890 entry is marked with a * indicating that it had not been updated from the previous year. In fact it had last been updated in 1888. Oddly, from 1891 onwards his entry is marked as ‘Address uncommunicated’, right up to his last entry in the main section in 1893 (see the page on John Rowland Wright for more details).]
1891, 5th/6th April: John R. Wright, aged 46, ‘General Medical Practitioner’, born in Birmingham, with his wife Edith, aged 41, born in Cannock, Staffordshire, daughter May, aged 14, unmarried sister Josephine, aged 40, born in Leicester, and two servants, living in Rous Villa, Newmarket. Reference: The National Archives, 1891 census. [Note: his son Cecil can be seen age 17 as a ‘pupil’ in the household of a ‘Clerk in Holy Orders’ in Haydor/Heydour, Lincolnshire.]
1892: ‘Wright John Rowland, surgeon & acting surgeon to the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Suffolk Regiment (H co.), Rous road’ listed in Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of Cambridgeshire… London: Kelly & Co.; 1892, pg 133 (126-133 Newmarket section). [Note: Fyson Ernest Last, Fyson Robert, Gray Clement Frederick, Hutchinson Walter, Mead George Borwick, and Mead George Owen are listed separately.]
1893, 2nd March: ‘DEATH OF DR. WRIGHT.– Our readers will regret to hear of the death of Dr. J. R. Wright, which took place at his residence, on Thursday afternoon, after a painful illness…’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Mar 4 1893: 5. [Note: see the page on John Rowland Wright for more details.]
1893, 17th April: ‘SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A STABLE LAD.– On Monday morning last… the animal he was riding reared and threw him to the ground, the result being that one of his legs was broken. He was conveyed to the Rous Memorial Hospital, and was seen by several medical men, who arrived at the conclusion that there was no alternative but to amputate the injured part of the leg, the fracture being a very serious one. The operation was skilfully performed by Dr. Maunde [sic] (Dr. Wright’s successor), and the lad is now making satisfactory progress towards recovery.’ Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Saturday Apr 22 1893: 5. [Note: ‘Mr. J. H. Maund, surgeon, Newmarket’, also attended a patient who’d been accidentally hit by a train at Kennett on 20th April. Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Apr 29 1893: 6.]
1894: ‘MAUND, John Hansby… Rous Villa, Newmarket…’ Reference: The Medical Register. London: General Medical Council; 1894. [Note: this continued to be his address in the Medical Register until 1902, when it changed to Brackley House (see below).], [Note also, before this he was in London.], [Note also, it appears that John Maund lived in Brackley House but practised from Rous Villa for a few years (with John Wright’s widow and daughter still living there – see 1901 census below) – see the pages on Brackley House and John Hansby Maund also.], [Note also, John Maund did not give his address other than Newmarket in the Medical Directory until 1910, when he moved to Grosvenor House.]
1896: ‘Maund John Hansby L.R.C.P.Lond. physician & surgeon, & certifying factory surgeon, Brackley house’ listed in the Newmarket Commercial section of Kelly’s Directory, and ‘Maund John Hansby, Brackley house’ in the private residents section. Reference: Kelly’s directory of Cambridgeshire… London: Kelly & Co. Limited; 1896, pgs 137-145 Newmarket section. [Note: Fyson Ernest Last, Grieves Jas. Percy, Gray Clement Frederick, Hutchinson Walter, Mead George Borthwick, and Mead George Owen are listed separately.]
1901, 31st March / 1st April: Edith Wright, aged 51, born in Cannock, Staffordshire, shown living in Rous Villa with her unmarried daughter May aged 24, and a servant. Reference: The National Archives, 1901 census.
1901, 31st March / 1st April: John H Maund, born in Ty Mawr Clydach, Breconshire, aged 37, occupation only partly legible but includes his medical qualifications MRCS and LRCP, living at Brackley House, with his wife Clare, aged 35 (interestingly born in Trinidad, West Indies), together with two young children and various servants. Reference: The National Archives, 1901 census.
1902: ‘MAUND, John Hansby… Brackley house, Newmarket, Cambs.’ Reference: The Medical Register. London: General Medical Council; 1902. [Note: this continued to be his address in the Medical Register until 1910, when it changed to Grosvenor House (see the page on John Hansby Maund for details).]
1904: ‘Bourne George, Rous villa, Rous road’ listed in the Private Residents section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of Cambridgeshire. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1904, pgs 184-192 Newmarket section. [Note: George Bourne is listed as a Draper in the High Street in the Commercial Section.]
1911, 2nd/3rd April: Maud Mary Moxon, aged 45, widow of private means, living at Rous Villa with her two daughters and a servant. Reference: The National Archives, 1911 census. [Note: John Wright’s widow Edith can be seen living at Mill Hill on this census (see the page on John Wright for more details), and John Maund in Grosvenor House (see the page on John Hansby Maund for more deatils.]
1916: ‘Moxon Mrs, Rous villa, Rous road’ listed in the Private Residents section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of the counties of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1916, pg 193. [Note: see the 1911 census above also.]
1922: ‘Littlejohn Rev. Jas. Crombie (curate of All Saints’), Rous villa, Rous Rd’ listed in the Private Residents section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of the counties of Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1922, pg 193.
1925: ‘Ross David, Rous villa, Rous road’ listed in the Private Residents section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of Suffolk and Essex. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1916, pg 365. [Note: he’s not in the Commercial section.]
1926: ‘Ross, D., Rous Villa’ listed in Rous Road. Reference: Telephone, Street and commercial Directory of Newmarket. Bury St Edmund’s: F.G. Pawsey & Co. Ltd.; 1926, pg 61.
1926: The lease of Rous Villa assigned from John Russell Denson (see 1886 above – now described as of Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex), via Seymour Cole (a Newmarket Estate Agent) to Georgina Bella Lonnen (described as a widow from Newmarket High Street). Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners. [Note: interestingly, in the 1926 Street Directory referenced above, ‘Lonnen, Mrs. G. B, Dal-meny’ is listed in Rous Road on page 61 too – this house still exists and is up the other end of Rous Road on the other side of the road.]
1936: Horace W. Kelty in Rous Villa. Reference: Newmarket & District Annual & Directory. Newmarket: Eastern Counties Supplies Ltd.; 1936-37 edition, pages 120 & 149. [Note: Joe Davis was in Kingston House still – see the pages on Joseph (Joe) Davis and Kingston House for more details.]
1937: ‘Davis Jsph. M.B., B.S.Durh. Physcn. medical officer & public vaccinator to Newmarket Rural District Coun-cil, district No.2, Rous villa, Rous rd. TN 18’ listed in the Newmarket Commercial section of Kelly’s Directory. Reference: Kelly’s directory of the county of Cambridgeshire. London: Kelly’s Directories Ltd.; 1937, pgs 215-223 Newmarket section.
1938: ‘DAVIS, Joseph, Rous Villa, Newmarket (Tel. New-market 18) – M.B., B.S. Durh. 1924; (Durh.); Med. Off. & Pub. Vacc. No. 2 Dist. Newmarket R.D.C.; Mem. B.M.A.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1938. [Note: this was the first year that he mentioned Rous Villa. From 1953 he added Warren Lodge to his address (see the 1952 lease reference below), then from 1965 this changed to Reydon Lodge in Bury Road, then from 1971 he dropped mentioning Rous Villa, signalling his retirement, although apparently he retired from the partnership in 1969, doing locums for a couple of years – see personal correspondence in the general references below, and the page on Joe Davis.], [Note also, his medical register address change lags behind this by some time.]
1939, 29th September: In Rous Villa, Rous Rd, Newmarket, Joseph Davis, born 6th January 1902, Medical Practitioner, presumably his wife Winifred, born 1905, a 16 year old schoolboy John Ridley-Forster (possibly his son John? – see the page on Joe Davis), a couple of servants, and one other. Reference: Online image of the 1939 England and Wales Register held at The National Archives, ancestry.co.uk (accessed 25th May 2018). [Note: on this same register, Lionel Walden (see 1952 below) is recorded at 37 Malvern Street, Newcastle (the address he gave in the 1952 Medical Register), aged 20, a student, in the household of his parents Harold Walden and Sarah born in 1894, consistent with Sarah being Joe Davis’ 17 year old sister on the 1911 census (see the page on Joe Davis) and later reports (see correspondence in the general references below) that he was Joe Davis’ nephew).]
1948: The lease of Rous Villa assigned from Georgina Bella Lonnen (see 1926 above – now described as of Ferndowm, Dorset) to Joseph Davis (described as of Rous Villa – i.e. already living there, presumably as a tenant). Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners.
1952: The lease of Rous Villa assigned from Joseph Davis, described as of Rous Villa, to Lionel Walden, also described as of Rous Villa. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners. [Note: Dr Walden bought the freehold in 1975 – see below.], [Note also, Lionel Walden’s Medical Directory entry records him in Rous Villa in partnership with Dr Davis from 1953, consistent with a move to Newmarket in 1952; however, at his death in 1985 it was said he came to Newmarket in 1948 – see the page on Rous Surgery.], [Note also, from 1953 Joe Davis’ Medical Directory entry records a separate residential address with ‘(surgery)’ next to ‘Rous Villa’ (see comments on 1938 entry above) consistent with the surgery continuing from Rous Villa, with Lionel Walden now living there, and Joe Davis living elsewhere.], [Note also, interestingly, both Drs Davis and Walden gave their occupation as surgeon on this document (see image on the page about Joe Davis), a very late example of GPs calling themselves surgeons (see The history of medical treatments, training qualifications and Regulation for more details.]
1975: Lionel Walden bought the freehold of Rous Villa. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners. [Note: on this document Dr Walden’s address is given as elsewhere in Newmarket; likely by this stage Rous Villa was used purely as a surgery, not a residence.], [Note also, the freehold had passed through a complex list of trustees before this point, when it was held by a London solicitor and ‘Suffolk Gentleman’ from ‘Earl Soham Woodbridge’.]
1983, 10th March: Under the prominent heading ‘RETIRED DOCTOR HAS DIED AGED 81’ a significant report in the Newmarket Journal starts ‘The Newmarket area has lost one of its well known and respected characters in the death of Dr Joe Davis…’ It includes the comment that he ‘started practising in the town in the 1920s and fully retired about 12 years ago.’ It mentions his surgery being in Rous Road for many years and that he was joined by Dr Lionel Walden in the 1950s who continued to practise from there. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Thursday Mar 10 1983: 9. [Note: see the page on Joe Davis for more detail.]
1988: Lionel Walden’s widow (he died in 1985 – see the page on Rous Surgery) sold Rous Villa to the partners in the practice at that time. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners.
1993: The sale of Rous Villa, which subsequently reverted to a private residence. Reference: The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners.
1993, 1st May: Report in ‘The Journal’ regarding a tree planting ceremony that took place on Saturday 1st May to mark the official opening of Oakfield Surgery, including the comment, ‘the town’s Rous Road surgery – which has now moved to the purpose-built premises in Vicarage Road’. The article includes a picture of the tree planting with the surgery’s GPs, who were Drs Arthur, Silverston, White and Griffiths. Reference: The Newmarket Journal. Thursday May 6 1993: 1. [Note: oddly the title of this article is ‘Hospital campaigner has VIP role as surgery opens’ emphasising the VIP hospital campaigner more than the surgery opening. The future of Newmarket Hospital was a hot topic at the time, hence this emphasis – see the page on Newmarket Hospital for more details.]
Shops History Newmarket. http://www.newmarketshops.info/index.html. Specific page on Rous Road: http://www.newmarketshops.info/Rous_Road.html. [Note: at the time of writing (June 2018) this page did not have anything specific on Rous Villa, but had useful background information on Sir Richard Wallace and the history of the Road’s construction, including his heirs, who were in the list of trustees mentioned on the 1975 reference above], [Note also, newmarketshops.info has been supplied with information regarding the medical history of Newmarket by the author of talkingdust.net since August 2013 (see footnotes on some of the pages). Both websites continue to be developed, and in this sense are mutually symbiotic.]
Personal correspondence and discussion with those who have living memory of Rous Surgery, including doctors, staff and patients. In particular this helped to clarify that Dr Kiddle replaced Dr Davis in October 1969, coming into partnership at that time with Dr Sumpton (who worked in Barrow) and Dr Walden (who was Joe Davis’ nephew). Documents in the surgery also confirmed the dates and employment status for Dr Griffiths (see 1993 reference above and the page on Oakfield Surgery for details), and that the surgery was leased for a few years after the death of Dr Walden before the partners bought it.
The Deeds of Rous Villa, kindly lent to me in 2014 by the then owners.
The Medical Directory. London: Churchill. [Note: this publication has been known by various titles over the years. Initially it just covered London, but from 1847 it had a wider remit, being variously known as the London and Provincial Medical Directory, The Medical Directories, The Medical Directory, etc., essentially the same work with minor variations and developments. It is usually referred to as The Medical Directory (as opposed to The Medical Register), so that is how it’s consistently referred to on talkingdust.net.]
The Medical Register. London: General Medical Council.
Note: For published material referenced on this website see the ‘Acknowledgements for resources of published material’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page. The sources used for original unpublished documents are noted after each individual reference. Any census records are referenced directly to The National Archives, since images of these are so ubiquitous on microfilm and as digital images that they almost function like published works. Census records are covered by the ‘Open Government Licence’ as should be other such public records (see the ‘Copyright and related issues’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page for which references constitute public records, and any other copyright issues more generally such as fair dealing/use etc.).