Sherborne School acquired Newell Grange in 1988, thanks to a generous bequest made by Charles and Louisa Bow.  By their wills, Charles and Louisa Bow bequeathed to the Governors of Sherborne School all their freehold property at Newell, comprising approximately 5 acres and including Newell Grange and St Emerenciana’s chapel.  They hoped that the Governors would not find it necessary to sell the property but use and care for it for the purposes of the School.

Louisa & Charlie Bow relaxing in the garden, c.1930.

Following extensive building work carried out at Newell Grange under architect Timothy MacBean, the International Study Centre (now Sherborne International) opened at Newell Grange in September 1991.  The International Study Centre was originally based at Greenhill House (now The Green) but by 1991 it had outgrown these premises.  To accommodate the International Study Centre at Newell Grange the premises were extended to include a boarding house (the King’s House) and Nethercombe Farmhouse was converted for use as the Principal’s residence.  Additional buildings have been added since, including Greenfield Hall in 2014, and in 2018/2019 additional and improved accommodation will be provided at King’s House.

Building works at Newell Grange, April 1991.

The Newell Spring, St Emerenciana’s Chapel and the Conduit Head

St Emerenciana’s chapel.

The Newell Spring which rises on the hillside behind Newell Grange may have given Sherborne its Saxon name ‘Scireburn’, meaning clear stream.   This source of clean, fresh water made the site very important and it was probably for this reason that a chapel dedicated to St Emerenciana was built nearby.  This appears to be the only church in the country dedicated to the 4th century saint whose feast day (23 January) is included in the Sherborne Missal.  Joseph Fowler suggests in Mediaeval Sherborne that it was because of this plentiful supply of water from the Combe valley and the Newell Spring to the north of Sherborne that the Benedictine monks placed the monastery buildings on the north side of Sherborne Abbey and not, as was the general rule, on the south side.  In about the 12th century the monks built an open stone channel (or conduit) to divert the water from the Newell Spring down to the Abbey precincts.  When John Leland visited Sherborne in 1540 he described in his Itinerary ‘the fair castel’ or Conduit House (built c.1520 by Abbot Meere) in the Abbey Cloister (now the lawned area to the east of the School library) where the monks washed their hands and faces before going into the refectory for meals.

The Conduit Head (Hutchins’ History of Sherborne, 1815).

After the dissolution of Sherborne monastery in 1539, Sir John Horsey of Clifton Maybank (a royal Councillor and Steward of the Monastery) bought the Abbey, the monastery buildings and estates.  In 1554, he leased the Conduit House and its water supply to Sherborne Almshouse, and from 1559 it was leased to Sherborne School.   In about 1560 the Conduit House was moved to The Parade for the use of the local inhabitants, with lead pipes carrying the Newell Spring water to a cistern and stop cock at the east of the Abbey Gate.  In 1928, thanks to the insistence of the Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society, the Conduit House was scheduled as an Ancient Monument.  The School had purchased the Conduit House and water supply from the Almshouse in 1629 and in 1933 they gave it to Sherborne Town Council.  It is a Grade 1 listed building.

In 1884, the School Governors obtained permission from the local Board of Health to use the Newell Spring water to supply the School’s open-air swimming pool (now the site of the School’s Pilkington Laboratories), which had been opened by Headmaster Hugo Harper in 1873.  Despite this pupils reported that the stream supplying the water was ‘open to the headmaster’s ducks and they made the most of it, with the result that we often bathed in what looked like cafe au lait.’  Attempts were made to clean the water, but in 1912 a potent mixture of chemicals added to the swimming pool resulting in the death of a large number of fish downstream in the Pageant Gardens.   Sherborne residents were permitted to use the outdoor pool during the School holidays, with ‘Gentlemen, tradesmen and others’ being admitted between 6 am and 6 pm and ‘respectable artisans’ before 6 am or after 6 pm.  The outdoor pool was eventually closed, and in September 1976 an indoor swimming pool was officially opened by Headmaster Robin Macnaghten in the School’s new Sports Centre.

The outdoor swimming pool at Sherborne School, 1970s.

Newell Grange Farm and Tannery

Newell Grange farmhouse was originally owned by the Digby family of Sherborne Castle.  It is a Grade II listed building and is said to date from the 17th to 18th century.  From at least 1804 to 1868 there was a tannery at Newell Grange, where the plentiful supply of water from the Newell Spring made it the ideal location for such a business.

Percy’s map, 1834. Showing Newell Grange, tan yard, & orchard (nos. 383, 384) occupied by Robert Hellyer.

In September 1804, Sherborne tanner John Hellyar the younger (1775-1826) took a 99 year lease on the property, then consisting of a dwelling house, barn, garden, and a close of pasture ground lying behind the house and barn containing 1 acre 3 roods and 12 perches.  John Hellyar paid Edward Earl of Digby a rent of 7 shillings & 6 pence a year.  The property had formerly been in the tenure of John Hoff, Thomas Webb, and then of John Melliar and Ralph Adams.

John Hellyar and his wife Alicia (née Hayne) held the property until 1827, during which time they built a tan yard, and planted an orchard behind the house.  John Hellyar died in May 1826 and on 26 March 1827 the property passed to Robert Hellyer the younger of Buckhorn Weston, a tanner and farmer.  Robert continued to run a tanning business at the premises until 1843 when he went bankrupt and left England with his family to seek a better life in Canada.  However, he died just 5 years later in a logging accident at Walsingham, Ontario.

In 1853, William Dodge a bootmaker of Sherborne took over the lease of Newell Grange.  After William’s death a sale was held in 1868 of the live and dead stock at the premises, this included two Alderney cows in calf, five cart and nag horses, a cider mill and press, 70 oak trees, ten tons of bark, and 100 horse and cow hides, ‘part of which are tanned, others in pits’.

The Glove Factory

In 1871, Adam Stewart (1834-1929) and Henry Blake (1833-1891) went into partnership and established a glove factory at Newell Grange.  Their new business apparently benefitted from the impact of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 (described by Victor Hugo as ‘the terrible year’).  The partnership lasted for 14 years until it was dissolved in 1886, although both men continued manufacturing gloves independently.

OS map showing Newell Grange and the Glove Factory, 1887.

Henry Blake was born at Yeovil in 1833, the son of a Reckleford glove cutter.  Following Henry’s death at Newell Grange on 3 December 1891, the Western Gazette printed an obituary which stated that he had introduced the gloving industry to Sherborne and that his firm had employed over 100 people, although most were probably out-workers.  Henry Blake was described as a ‘zealous member of the Wesleyan community in the town’ and on his death he left a widow, Elizabeth, and twelve children.  Adam Stewart was born at Stobo, Peebleshire, in 1834, but moved to Sherborne in about 1855, working with his brother William in the drapery trade.  He was a staunch nonconformist, an ardent advocate of temperance, a Commissioner of Inland Revenue, and a Justice of the Peace for the county.  He died aged 94 on 14 March 1929.  When interviewed by the Western Gazette in 1924 at the age of 89, Adam Stewart gave his recipe for a long life: ‘If you want to live well don’t eat more than you can digest.  Don’t drink spirituous liquors. Exercise every faculty, but not to excess.  Regulate your hours of sleep and your hours of work, and do everything with method and order.  When you have finished with your daily business throw it off and take some simple amusement or hobby.  Never take your business to bed with you.’

Following the death of Henry Blake’s widow Elizabeth in November 1898, the leasehold of Newell Grange was put up for auction in April 1899.  The property was described as ‘that messuage or dwelling house and outbuildings, together with very productive garden and valuable fruit-producing orchard and rich meadow land, the whole containing 1acre 3 roods 12 perches.’

The Bow Family at Newell Grange & the Barnes family at The Crown

Charlie Bow, c.1910.

On 17 April 1900, Walter Bow (1872-1941), a haulier living at Westbury, married Emily Brown (1875-1933).  The marriage took place in Sherborne Abbey and was conducted by the Rev. Arthur Field.  Walter was the son of Zaccheus Bow (1836-1905), a labourer, and Emily was the daughter of Charles Brown (1838-?), a quarryman.  By 1901, Walter Bow had moved his haulier’s business from Westbury to Newell Grange where, the following year, their first and only child Charles Edward Bow (1902-1984) was born on 1 May 1902.  Charlie, as he was known, was christened at Sherborne Abbey on 7 September 1902 by the Rev. Arthur Field.

Charlie Bow was educated at a dame school and from 1914 to 1916 he was a pupil at the Abbey School (Church of England School for Boys) in Horsecastles.  Meanwhile, the First World War was making its impact felt in Sherborne, with the majority of able-bodied young men having enlisted.  William Henry Hodges of no.17 Simon’s Road had worked as a haulier for Walter Bow but, in April 1915, he had joined up with the Dorset Regiment.  On 30 September 1916, William Hodges died at No.1 General Hospital at Étretat, Normandy from his wounds he had received in action.  On 19 April 1916, aged 14, Charlie had to leave school in order to help with the family business.  In June 1918, Charlie’s father, then aged 44, appeared before a local tribunal for appeals from older men against compulsory conscription.  Walter stated that he was haulage contractor for Sherborne Urban District Council (something he did for 30 years) and that he also farmed 27 acres, 21 acres of which were arable, and had 3/4 of an acre of garden.  He was granted an exemption.

In his spare time, Charlie was scorer for Sherborne Cricket Club and evidently enjoyed life.  In July 1922, then aged 20, he was charged with being drunk and disorderly having been seen by a local policeman in Half Moon Street being held up by two men.  He was taken home but kept shouting and refused to go indoors.  Charlie admitted being drunk but not disorderly and Colonel J.R.P. Goodden, the chairman of Sherborne Petty Sessions, said that Charlie would not be prosecuted if he promised to keep away from drink.  Despite living next door to a pub, Charlie obviously kept to his promise.

Sherborne Cricket Club, c.1920. Standing (left to right): E. Hill (umpire), A. Baker, E. Davidge, A. Coombs, D. Brown, S.H. Wingfield Digby, E. Paine, Charlie Bow (scorer). Seated: P. Davidge, E. Maidment, F. Trevett (captain), F. Cooke, W. Russell. Sitting on the ground: R. Ponsford, R. Muss.

In 1913, the tenancy of The Crown, the pub next door to Newell Grange, was taken over by John William Barnes (1875-?).  John Barnes was born in Kensington in 1875.  His parents, James and Mary Ann Barnes, ran a livery stable at Russell Garden Mews until James Barnes’ early death aged 40 in January 1881.  In 1904, John Barnes married Mary Ann Fielder (1879-1942) and on 16 August 1905 their eldest daughter, Louisa Barnes (1905-1988), was born at no.8 Garden Terrace, Harlow in Essex.  By April 1911, the family had moved to Lower Zeals in Wiltshire, where John was employed as a groom. Their second daughter, Olga Mary Barnes (1911-1958), was born on 27 December 1911 and christened in Wincanton on 20 January 1912.

Louisa Barnes, Mary Ann Barnes and Olga Mary Barnes, 1912.

Louisa Barnes was about 8 years old when her father took over the tenancy of The Crown.  Louisa and her sister both attended the Abbey School for Girls’ in Sherborne, and in September 1916 Louisa was admitted to Lord Digby’s School as a day scholar.  By this time, Louisa’ father had enlisted as a Private in the Army Service Corps and in December 1916 an application was made to temporarily transfer the licence of The Crown to Mary Ann Barnes on account of her husband being away on active service.

Despite all the family upheaval caused by the First World War, Louisa flourished at Lord Digby’s School.  During her time there she passed the Cambridge Senior exam in 1921, the London Matriculation in 1923, and was awarded the gold medal for gymnastics in 1923.  She was also sub-editor of Lord Digby’s School magazine committee, captain of the hockey 1st XI, and Head Girl for two years (1921-1923).  At the end of her two year tenure as Head Girl it was stated in the school magazine that ‘It was hard to imagine anyone doing as well as she had done the hundred and one things which seem to be the Head Girl’s responsibility’.

Lord Digby’s School hockey team, c.1923.
Louisa Barnes is seated on the far right in the front row.

Louisa remained at Lord Digby’s for an extra year (1923-1924) as a student teacher and then spent two further years (1924-1926) at Salisbury Teacher Training College, where she was also Head Girl and in 1926 was awarded the botany prize.  On leaving Salisbury, Louisa was appointed to a resident teaching post at Knowle Hill Approved School for Girls at Kenilworth.  The School had opened in November 1906 and there had been a riot there in 1923, but Louisa reported to Lord Digby’s School magazine that she was very happy there. Quite how long Louisa spent at Knowle Hill Approved School we don’t know, but on 11 September 1930 she returned to Sherborne and married Charles Edward Bow at Sherborne Abbey.  Photographs of their wedding day in a photograph album kept by Louisa show the happy couple celebrating their marriage at a wedding reception held in the garden of The Crown.  Louisa had known Charlie since about the age of 8 and her marriage to ‘the boy next door’ was evidently a very happy one.  Their courting had been done over the garden wall between Newell Grange and The Crown and they had had their first date in August 1922 when Charlie took Louisa on a ten shillings aeroplane flight over Sherborne.  Louisa said in 1982 “I took off that day and my feet have not touched the ground since.”

Charlie & Louisa Bow with John & Olga Barnes on their wedding day on 11 September 1930.

On 18 January 1933, Charlie’s mother Emily Bow died at Newell Grange at the age of 58.  Charlie’s father was remarried in 1935 to Frances Cuff (1886-1981), but in 1937 he retired from the business due to ill-health and died on 5 January 1941 leaving to Frances ‘all my real & personal property, & capital stock in trade & live & dead stock in the business of Haulier & Contractor carried on by me with my son under the name of ‘Walter Bow & Son’ at Newell, Sherborne’.

In May 1935, John Barnes gave up the tenancy of The Crown and by 1939 he and his wife were living next door at Newell Grange with Charlie and Louisa Bow.  Following their marriage, Louisa and Charlie Bow set up business as joint partners in ‘L. & C.E. Bow’ and together they ran a successful business supplying coal to homes & businesses in Sherborne for over 40 years.  Louisa organised the business and learnt to drive the lorry in case of an emergency, she also kept hens and did an egg round.

L & C.E. Bow coal lorry.

At 4.40 pm on Monday, 30 September 1940, Sherborne was heavily raided by a force of some 150 German bombers which, having been turned away from Yeovil by fighters, dropped several hundred bombs (about 60 tons) in a straight line from Lenthay to Crackmore.  About 86 buildings were destroyed, including ten houses in Lenthay and Foster’s Infant School in Newland, amazingly though neither the Abbey nor Sherborne School were hit.  Seventeen civilians, including six children, died as a result of the bombings and thirty-one casualties were taken to hospital, one of whom died from his wounds six years later.  In his autobiography More Diamond Gems (2003), Jack Dimond recounts that at the time of the bombing Charlie Bow was delivering coal with his horse and cart at the bottom of North Road.  On hearing the bombs falling, ‘he laid on the pavement under someone’s window when it fell out on him, so he jumped into the front room for cover.  When it was all over he found his horse had been hit by shrapnel and had to be put down.’

On 14 May 1942, Louisa’s mother, Mary Ann Barnes, died at Newell Grange, aged 63.  Her funeral and cremation were attended by Olga Barnes who had followed Louisa to Lord Digby’s School where she was also Head Girl (1929-1930).  Olga went on to study at Bath Domestic Science College and taught for several years in London, which is possibly where she met her future American husband Stephen Fedlock Lohaza (1902-2004).  Olga left England for the USA in December 1946 and in April 1947 was married in Pennsylvania to Stephen.  In May 1952, the couple moved to California, living at 1812 North Kenmore Avenue, Hollywood 90027.  Extracts from a letter written by Olga appeared in Lord Digby’s School magazine in 1952.  In it she described their new home with lawns and palm trees in the front and beds of tropical flowers and shrubs behind.  However, Olga died just six years later on 9 May 1958, aged 46.  An obituary appeared in Lord Digby’s School magazine:

‘It was with deep sorrow that we heard in May of the death of Olga Lohaza (née Barnes) in a Californian hospital after an illness of many months.  The shock was the greater in that she had allowed no hint of her illness to reach her family and friends in England out of her desire to spare them useless anxiety: indeed her last letter of mid-March was as long and cheerful as ever, telling among much else of Mr Powys’s last book “Still the Joy of It” which she had just been reading, of the new blossom breaking on the trees in her garden and of how much she had always loved the coming of spring in Sherborne.  Even then she must have been very ill, though her husband says she bore her pain with uncomplaining fortitude.’

Memorial to Olga Mary Lohaza (née Barnes) (1911-1958) at Sherborne International.

Louisa & Charlie Bow with Olga Barnes on their wedding day.

In September 1982, Charlie and Louisa decided it was time to retire and sold their business to Bradfords, but remained living at Newell Grange. Charlie Bow died on 28 January 1984, aged 81, and Louisa Bow died on 5 September 1988, aged 83.  They both asked to be cremated and for their ashes to be scattered, ‘and that there shall be no mourning or expense in the purchase of flowers for my funeral.’

By her will Louisa left bequests to Olga’s husband Stephen Lohaza, and also to Lord Digby’s School Old Girls Association on behalf of Olga and herself.  Bequests were also left to Sherborne Youth Club, Sherborne Boys Scouts, and the Friends of the Yeatman Hospital.

Although Charlie and Louisa Bow had no children their names live on through the Bow Society founded at Sherborne School in 1988, and through their generous bequest to Sherborne School of Newell Grange which today resounds with the shouts and laughter of young people enjoying studying and living in the beautiful surroundings, fulfilling Charlie and Louisa’s request that it should be used for the purposes of the School.

With grateful thanks to Mr & Mrs Buckley for their generous donation to Sherborne School Archives of Louisa Bow’s photograph albums.

Compiled by Rachel Hassall, June 2018.

Charlie Bow delivering coal in Cheap Street, 1933.

Sources used in this article:
Dorset History Centre
Katherine Barker, Sherborne Camera (1990)
Joseph Fowler, Mediaeval Sherborne (1951)
J.H.P. Gibb, The Book of Sherborne (1981)
J.H.P. Gibb, The Sherborne Conduit (2003)
A.B. Gourlay, A History of Sherborne School (1971)

For further information please contact the School Archivist.

Return to the School Archives homepage.