The Mead Tea Gardens
(Historical) Website

Reminisce and share your memories!

The eight pink cherries at their peak in 1980s. Planted in September 1937
The eight pink cherries at their peak in the 1980s. Planted in September 1937 by Evelyn on buying the Mead with its Tea Gardens, five acre market garden & cottages. Another seven were planted around the new Tea Garden when Evelyn had the pavilion moved, in 1947, from the house garden down to its 'Wind in the Willows' setting beside St. Catherine's Brook.

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Introduction

Established by Mr. JAMES Wilson and his wife Mrs. ANNIE DOW WILSON of Stirling and Dunfermilne, Scotland, in 1923 within the existing market garden due to so many people visiting St. Catherine's Court and Church half a mile further up the valley.

Described by Arthur Mee in his book SOMERSET, "It is incomparable, we have seen nothing in our ten thousand villages more like the spirit of Old England, tender, enduring and altogether lovely".

Idyllic place, hard work, wonderful times & much loved.
An estimated 84,000 customers 1923 - 1937
Over 100,000 customers 1937 - 1950
156,000 more came 1970 - 1992
Record Day: Glorious Sunday May l0th. l990, 425 customers!
And over £23,000 made for charity 1970 - 2010

(from many Parish Harvest Suppers and dozens of Parish Whist Drives and Charity Teas held at The Mead and of late The Buttles).

Dec. 3rd. 2012 Update! 4th. Anniversary of this website to-day! 9000th. seperate visitor to it last week!
Running total raised for charities is now £25,750!
Sept. 2011, 7 days and 280 old friends back and £1500 raised and this September 1-5 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of Ma Evelyn buying The Mead property in September 1937 (and sadly the 20th anniversary of my closing down in September 1992). With the nearest and dearest in 5 days we enjoyed 160 happy reunions and £750 raised.
In the 3 boxes were £375 for Save The Children(international); £195 for Help for Heroes(national) £180 for Batheaston New Village Hall(local).

Jonathan Metcalfe

Original deeds Deeds signature
James and his wife Annie Dow Wilson bought The Mead property 26 March 1921...... Started the TEA GARDENS in 1923 within the 5 acre market garden. He passed on whilst in Scotland a few days after attending his father's funeral at Kippen, Stirlingshire, and died at his wife's former home, Castleblair Lane, Dunfermilne, Fife 22 Jan. 1933. ANNIE his widow was so distressed, she sold The Mead 23 June 1933. Annie lived on in Bath and died Autumn 1964, aged 80.
The Mead as St. Catherine's Farm The Mead as St. Catherine's Farm
The Mead, as St. Catherine's Farm 1682-1908 when gables were demolished.

1923 - 1950

Original Brochure

Come to the Mead for Tea!

THE TEA GARDENS AT THE MEAD, ST. CATHERINE'S, Near BATH.

The Delights of St. Catherine's Valley.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in the garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

DOROTHY FRANCES GURNEY

The tiny village of St. Catherine's, one of Somerset's sweetest beauty spots, is becoming every year an increasingly popular place of resort with all who love the unspoilt countryside.

Citizens of Bath have long revelled in its beauty at all seasons, and, thanks to the motor coaches from Bristol, which pass through Cold Ashton on their way to Marshfield and Chippenham, residents in the "Sister City" have now discovered that St. Catherine's, with its well-known Tea Gardens at The Mead, offers a delightful and convenient "halfway house" on a round trip which they may accomplish by combining a healthful walk and the swifter and less arduous pleasures of riding.

Main photo of the Mead Tea Gardens from the 1923 to 1947 Original Brochure

Dainty Teas In the Garden

The reason why The Mead Tea Garden has become so favourite a rendezvous is not far to seek.

"It is not only" (says the "Bath Chronicle," June 25th, 1923) "that the house is a picturesque old place, that its extensive gardens are aglow with sweet-scented flowers, that the scenery all around is of wondrous beauty, but, over and above all this, the actual teas provided are a sheer delight.

"There are all sorts of Scottish home-made dainties, including girdle cakes and shortbread, besides, in season (June and July), luscious strawberries and raspberries fresh culled from the garden, with ample supplies of cream.


The Wishing Well

"After tea you may stand before the quaint old Wishing Well in the Garden, with its never-failing spring of the clearest, coldest water, and legend says that if you carry out certain mystical rites while wishing, your desires will be fulfilled.

"If the unexpected desire of the 'well-wishers' is for a delightful walk to follow the tea it will certainly come true and that right speedily."

For the better accommodation of visitors a bungalow has now been installed, with a wide verandah, on which teas are served (as well as at the tables on the lawns), while ample room is provided within the bungalow in case of cold or inclement weather.

Teas are served both weekdays and Sundays, and parties are especially catered for. When large parties are arranging a visit a postcard intimating the fact will be much appreciated.

Fresh Fruit and Flowers may be purchased at The Mead. Tomatoes a speciality.


How to Get There.

Main map showing how to get to the Mead Tea Gardens from the 1923 to 1947 Original Brochure

The best way of approach from Bath is to take the Bathford tramcar as far as the "Lamb and Flag" at Batheaston, turning to the left at that familiar inn, whence St. Catherine's is reached in the course of half an hour's walk along a country lane which commands on either side extensive vistas of magnificent scenery.

The Round Trip From Bristol

Visitors from Bristol take the motor 'bus as far as the cross roads at Cold Ashton, where they turn south along the lane which winds through the beautiful Valley traversed by the little trout stream known as St. Catherine's Brook. Monkswood Reservoir and the stately St. Catherine's Court are passed on the way and an hour's delightful walk brings St. Catherine's into view.

Geting home again is a pleasant task in the cool of the evening, the stroll to Batheaston, the ride in the tram beside the Avon, passing Bathampton Weirs (beloved of the artist) and then the wondrous view of the myriad lights of the Queen City of the West climbing almost mountain resort high to meet the stars, being an exquisite experience with which to round off a happy day. Often it is difficult to decide where the lights of the City end and those of Heaven begin.

From Bath the G.W.R. provide an excellent service of trains to Bristol, or, if road travel be preferred, there are two motor-'bus lines, both starting from Queen's Parade Place (Gay Street Corner), which afford a ten minutes' service. The route of one passes through Saltford, Keynsham and Brislington to the Centre; the other goes to Bristol Old Market by way of Kelston, Bitton, Willsbridge and Hanham.

Over Bannerdown To Hunter's Hall

An Alternative route to St. Catherine's from Bath is to walk (or take the afternoon Castle Combe 'bus) over Bannerdown as far as Hunter's Hall, and then stroll along the shady by-road which brings you down into St. Catherine's past a tiny reservoir—Oakford (note the diving birds on it). When you join the main road again turn to the right and climb a ahort steep hill; The Mead lies just beyond it.

Visitors from Bath usually either walk on after tea, past the Court and Monkswood Reservoir, returning to Bath along the Gloucester Road, or take the lane to Hunter's Hall, thence reaching Bath via Bannersdown, passing, on the way, the Three Shire Stones. Many, however, now walk to Cold Ashton and catch the motor 'bus to Bristol, completing the round trip by train or motor 'bus as their fancy dictates.


Notes of Interest

TO ST. CATHERINE'S FOR TEA.

(From the "Bath Chronicle and Herald," Whitsuntide, 1931)

Better than the motor-car, better than the train,
Just an idle saunter in a lovely English lane;
Just a walk, a friendly talk, with time to pause awhile,
Time to stay, and time to play, or linger by the stile.
Sunny hours, and scented flowers, and, when it's time for tea,
You'll find it waiting at The Mead, for folk like you and me.
Here's a tip for Whitsuntide, for Jack and Jill, and Jane,
Stroll out to St. Catherine's; you'll want to go again.

MR. & MRS. WILSON.
THE MEAD,
ST. CATHERINE'S.
NEAR BATH & BRISTOL.

ST. CATHERINE was the patron saint of Bath, and the freemen of the City, in their ancient oath, swore to observe "S. KATERN'S DAY." Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries the priors of Bath had a Grange at St. Catherine's, the manor having been in their possession time out of mind.

ST. CATHERINE'S COURT. — One of the most picturesque houses in Somerset, the residence of Mr. Strutt, a kinsman of Lord Rayleigh. The terraced gardens are charming, and there is a quaint "Adam and Eve" bathing pool at the back of them. The house was rebuilt by Prior John Cantlow, of Bath, circa 1499. Note the lovely view across the valley referred to by the author of "John Halifax" in "My Mother and I."

ST. CATHERINE'S CHURCH. — A tiny building with square embattled tower adjacent to The Court. Portions are late Norman or Early English. Rebuilt by Prior Cantlow in 1499. Features are the tower, the chancel arches, the fine font, the colours of the carved pulpit, some precious stained glass, and the monument with figures to William Blanchard and his wife (1631). Near the Church is a cruciform tithe barn.

HUNTER'S HALL INN. — A farmhouse on Bannerdown. It ceased to be an inn sixty or seventy years ago, but in its heyday was a noted rendezvous of Bath and Bristol sportsmen for cockfighting, prize-fighting, pigeon-shooting and pony-racing. Over 600 feet above sea level, it commands a glorious view over Colerne, Ditteridge and the Wiltshire Downs.

MONKSWOOD RESERVOIR. — The main source of Bath's water supply and the headquarters of the little trout stream known as St. Catherine's brook. It is believed that, in the Bronze Age, there was a lake village built on piles around a lake on the site of the present reservoir.

EAGLE HOUSE. — Once the country residence of John Wood the elder, the famous architect, who came to Bath from Yorkshire in 1727 and, with his son, "changed Bath from a mean-looking town to the most beautiful in England."

THE THREE SHIRE STONES. — On Bannerdown, in a little alcove beside the road. They mark the junction of Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. A favourite "snap" for photographers, with three persons mounted on the Stones, one in each county.

A GRIM RELIC. —The tablet inscribed "E.R. 1761," in the wall on Bannerdown about forty yards on the Bath side of the lodge of The Rocks, marks the spot where Edward Roach, of Marshfield, was robbed and murdered. His gravestone is in Marshfield Churchyard.

"COLERNE DONKEYS." — The people of Colerne, a Wiltshire village (reached by a by-road from Bannerdown), have for generations been playfully termed "donkeys," some of their predecessors being alleged to have buried the vicar's donkey (during his absence) in the churchyard with its feet sticking up in the air and to have kept its hooves polished with sandpaper. Afterwards four big square stones were put on the hooves to keep them down. Antiquarians investigating this queer story declared the stones to be the base of a Saxon Cross around which the parishioners worshipped before the Church was built. The Cross has since been restored.



1964 - 1969

1970 - 1992

The 1970 - 1992 Brochure

The Mead Tea Gardens

Est. 1923

ST CATHERINE'S VALLEY
BATHEASTON, Nr. BATH, SOMERSET

SEASON:
APRIL 1st or GOOD FRIDAY -
1st SUNDAY IN NOVEMBER OR HALLOWEEN
April - October inclusive
OPENING TIMES:
Afternoon Tea 2.30 - 6.30 p.m. daily

Delicious home-made and cream teas are served in pleasant country
surroundings - between April and October.
Parties are welcome and may be arranged in advance.
Wedding Receptions, Morning Coffee, Salad Lunches,
Suppers and Barbecues catered for.
Bed and Breakfast accommodation at "The Mead" c.1682
Dinner and Dinner Parties.
"Strawberry Breakfasts" in June and July
The Mead Tea Gardens Map from the 1970 - 1992 brochure for the Mead Tea Gardens
Map showing the location of The Mead, on the borders of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

THE MEAD TEA GARDENS celebrated its "creamteanery" 50th year in 1973. Our homemade and cream teas have an Irish/Scottish flavour; fresh fruit and cream is a speciality in season. Fresh eggs and greenhouse rose blooms and other produce are available. The setting is ideal for children's birthday and christening parties, rambling and cycling clubs, W.I. and old people's excursions, treasure hunt terminus etc. Invalids can be served at the house. The car park accommodates around 30 cars; both entrances can be used. Coaches are limited to 30 seaters.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
... About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A.E. Houseman

Situated in the prettiest and southernmost Cotswold valley just four miles from beautiful Bath, where St. Catherine's Brook is the ancient boundary with Gloucestershire, this is a renowned Somerset beauty spot. The Cotswold Way and many other footpaths ramble about the old world charm of this sweetest of vales with its birds, butterflies, bees and many wild flowers. The Mead is especially noted for its cherry blossom in spring.

A grateful heart a garden is,
Where there is always room
For every lovely, God-like grace
To come to perfect bloom.

Ethen W. Dennis

In 1982 the tercentenary of the House was celebrated with 20 events during the year, mostly in aid of charity. In 1983, the Diamond jubilee of the tea gardens brought 1,200 people to the Valley over a glorious October weekend and £900 was raised.

In 1987, we hope to celebrate 50 years of one family ownership of The Mead in similar fashion.

The property has featured in 3 B.B.C. films and many famous personalities have visited.


Historical Note

Strings in the earth and air make music sweet;
Strings by the river where the willows meet.
There's music along the river for Love wanders there,
Pale flowers on his mantle, dark leaves on his hair.
All softly playing, with head to the music bent,
And fingers straying upon an instrument.

James Joyce

For centuries, before the dissolution of the monasteries, the Benedictine monks passed by a cottage dwelling on the site of the big wall along the road in front of the house, travelling between their monastic home at auld "Caterne" and Bath Abbey. They possibly took refreshment at the ancient wishing well under the road, which you may visit in the front garden of the house.

The present house faces due south and was built in the reign of Charles II in 1682. The full length, some fireplaces and windows remain and two drawings of the original building, architect's drawings of 1866, are pinned to the Tea Garden wall in the entrance hall.

From 1682 to 1817 the property belonged to the Coates family and then changed hands many times before Mr. and Mrs. James Wilson from Scotland appeared in 1921 and created the Tea Gardens and market garden which became so well known.

I have a garden of my own,
Shining with flowers of every hue;
I loved it dearly while alone,
But I shall love it more with you;
And there the golden bees shall come,
In summer time at break of morn,
And wake us with their busy hum,
Around the Siha's fragrant thorn.

THOMAS MOORE

The Chalet was specially built in 1923 and stood in front of the house. Scottish homemade food was served until 1932 when Mr. Wilson passed on. The Mead was then owned by Mr. and Mrs. Padfield for four years and then the business came into Irish hands with the present ownership. The Tea Garden became a household word between 1937 and 1950 when thousands of people wandered the little lanes of St. Catherine's Valley and called for tea at The Mead ... strawberries and cream in the War years was a main attraction and up to three hundred people would have tea on a weekend afternoon. Due to overwhelming numbers, the Chalet was removed to a new garden alongside the brook in the winter of 1946-7. The ash tree there was planted in 1850 and is the cornerstone of 3 parishes.

From 1937 to 1950 was a heyday period for the Tea Gardens under the ownership of Mrs. Evelyn Smith, whose Irish charm and incredible energy made her one of Bath's personalities. She also owned Jill's Grill in Queen Street for 18 years when it was Bath's most popular restaurant, ran The Mead market garden and a homemade cake business, sat on nine commities, raised money in all directions for charity and used the Chalet as the village hall for St. Catherine's every fortnight during the War effort.

The Tea Garden was closed from 1950 to 1970, but we hope you will enjoy the charm of its rural setting and homemade food once again.


Notable Visitors

THE BISHOP OF BATH & WELLS, Dr. HENDERSON.

*PETER GABRIEL & Crowd ... how proud I was to see him playing at the last Winter Olympics in Northwest Italy where Canadian Jeffrey Buttle won skating medal.

JONI MITCHELL ... his partner on an Amnesty International tour.

LADY VALENTINE THYNNE, sister-in-law of the Marquis of Bath.

*LORD DAVID BEATTY, wrote history of his great grandfather who lived just 5 miles from my Buttle Victorian business great grandfather in Co. Wexford ... WW1 Naval Admiral, given the title.

DAVID SOLE, Scotland rugby captain and Bath player.

MICK DOYLE, Irish rugby forward and later team coach.

JANE SEYMOUR's husband and sister ANNIE whose great friend BARRY MASON stayed at The Mead, writer of hit song "Love grows where my Rosemary goes...".

ANN WIDDECOMBE lived at The Mead 1957-60 when her father was my Mother's tenant of the house & garden, (we were back in Ireland).

*SCYLD BERRY, Cricket Correspondent of The Observer/Telegraph/Wisden chose The Mead with his wife for his wedding reception esp as the tea pavilion had a cricket pavilion atmosphere and MIKE BRIERLEY England and Middlesex was one of the guests.

*PETER BLAKE, Somerset artist and member of the Brotherhood of Ruralists, filmed by the BBC in the Tea Gardens, also designed Sergeant Pepper's Beatles LP sleeve and became SIR PETER.

*BEL MOONEY, author, and Mrs. Dimbleby.

LYN REDGRAVE whilst in a play at our famous Bath Theatre Royal.

ROGER REES, actor. Filmed at The Mead in a Peter Ustinov film.

and some of Bath's TEARS FOR FEARS pop group.

*GUY JENKIN, lived 1 mile south of The Mead in Batheaston, script writer of BBC's "Week Ending", "Drop The Dead Donkey", and more recently "Outnumbered" on BBC television.

*BERNARD KEEFE, and his wife Denise, always stayed at The Mead when he was introducing classical music programmes from BBC Bristol.

RICHARD HOLMES, Director of BBC TV Gardeners World (Richard's Dad, Brian, in Staffordshire, made an excellent video of The Mead in action which we have).

AL HUNTER ASHTON, playright and actor of many parts, including London's Burning and Jeckyl (see Jonathan's Corner for Mead Xmas pic. of him).

HAVE I LEFT YOU OUT?!....... Did world famous Bath & Sherborne Soprano EMMA KIRKBY ever come to tea....... Does anybody know?

*returning customers who loved the Tea Gardens.











1998 - 2008

Buttle Family Histories

Clans

Co. WEXFORD BUTTLE and Co. TIPPERARY BEETLE. (from Rhineland 1709)

BUTTLE of County Wexford and BEETLE of County Tipperary, Ireland. The descendants of Hans Wilhelm BITTEL who came from the Rhineland. Palatinate(Pzalz) in Summer of 1709 with 13.000 via Rotterdam to London. Most went direct to new British colonies in Eastern America but some 213 families were sent in September to Dublin to become tenant farmers under British landlords in S. Ireland. John William Bittel is found in Youghal, Co. Cork 1712/14 with a son baptised there and on Palatine lists. The Co. Wexford BUTTLE family have records starting in 1736 in south Co. Wicklow with John Buttle at Coolefancy near Tinahely....then his younger brother Henry Buttle near Ferns at Coolatore etc. who took many farms. John jun. of Coolefancy then takes Kilmichael a 200 acre farm in north Co. Wexford where this line stays for just 200 years. Younger sons Henry, Benjamin and John take off for Ontario in May 1852 and the former settle near Cobden on farms, the latter in Hamilton. Another son Thomas returns to Co. Wexford and his line are now well established there in business and farms.Henry's lines of Coolatore and Ballinacoola further south around Ferns include the Clologue family with 9 children in 1808-1827 period which include Samuel jun and William and Thomas who all leave for USA. Eldest son John is the father of John & Samuel who found Enniscorthy businesses, Buttles Bacon Co. etc 1870 - 1920. Many of these descendants are now in Ireland, Australia & N. Zealand. We have records and family trees of all of these lines but are looking "out there" for further descendants! In 2004 it was discovered by pure chance that the original German must have had a son left in Munster and a colony of the BEETLE family was found living since 1795 at Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary with its stunning view across to Slievemanon mountain. Descendants now with the spellings Beetel in USA and Beatty locally have been located. They are now 8th. cousins to their Buttle kin of Co. Wexford.  We are in touch with many of this Clan but if you are one of the Irish Buttles/Beetles please contact! (Jonathan Buttle F. Metcalfe who has researched since 1966!)

ESSEX BUTTLE and BUTTELL, BOWTELL, BOUTEL. (from Normandy 1066)

The surname has various spellings in Essex such at Bowtell, Boutel, Buttle, Buttell, Battle and is historically the oldest in England and may well be the forerunner to all the English county Clans and people with our name ie Jonathan Buttall the Blue Boy! We now have substantial family trees or branches out of Hempstead; one Bowtell line out of Thaxted which became the major epicentre of the Essex Clan and with many of that spelling now in South Africa; Boutell of Aspall Hall, Suffolk; Little Easton; West Ham; Little Sampford; Haverhill; Alphamstone(of Revd. Leslie Buttle who lived to be 100 and out of Yeoman farmers there) and Stifford in south Essex. There is very little doubt that the progenitor in Essex was in 1066 with William the Conqueror from Normandy and from a hamlet (hameau) just 16 miles south of our farm there now....Walter de Botteville DeBetuile....Botteville has ancient manor and church near Ste. Mere Eglise & Valognes and just 4 miles from Utah Beach of 1944....the massive invasion going the other way to that of 1066 from Barfleur which is on the same Cotentin peninsula! He was given the manor and lands of Ongar in Essex after the victory in 1066. His son was Sir Humphrey deBattell, his son Thomas DeBattaile and his son Sir Richard who held Bataylee Hall in Essex. There is no doubt they were early barons as part of the Norman Conquest to control England. And records show the family holding the manor & castle at Ongar much later on in the 1400 & 1500s. (Chipping Ongar). Out of this lineage came the strong Yorkshire East Riding Clan with its important lines to the New World and at home. The Little Easton branch has produced Jeffrey Buttle in Ontario world ice skating champion and son of Peter Buttle who is a 4th. cousin of Peter Buttle & Family who own Buttles Timber Co. of London & St. Albans. With excellent contacts with more than 25 members of this illustrious Clan in their respective branches, research continues.......

BUTTLE, BATTLE, BATTELL of Yorkshire, East Riding.

This very large Clan is centred on the parishes of Howden and Eastrington in the flat loam lands just north of the wide Humber river to the east of Hull. They are also well established back into the 1500s in adjoining Bubwith, Seaton Ross, Holme upon Spalding Moor, Aughton, Ellerton and district. Sir Robert Buttle, priest, was vicar of Hemsworth in 1540s as are church wardens recorded then....as well as Wills and witnesses of Buttles as far back as the early 1500s. This Clan is reputedly out of the Essex original Norman Clan and descend from the 1066 baron of Chipping Ongar, created by William the Conqueror to control England. Three branches have made their mark: The Buttle Trust based in London, founded by Revd. Prebendary William Buttle for children in need. ..and his brother Prof. Gladwin Buttle. The Buttle Stockbrokers of New Zealand who own White Island there and include the mayor of Auckland Sir Keith Buttle,1950s. Buttle Lane in Snaith is left behind by this family that lived there and went to New Zealand in 1840, the founding year of that new country. Revd. George Buttle, Methodist missionary in that year was born here in 1810. Expeditionary Kew Gardens botanist from 1865 John Buttle was given his name for the most beautiful lake in the centre of Vancouver Island, British Colombia. There is a Utah Mormon branch here and a link with San Francisco's university. I am in touch with descendants of these families and have been good friends ever since the extensive research. Many of this large Clan now reside in the cities of Hull and York. 80% will have the spelling Buttle, 20% the spelling Battle/Battell.

COTSWOLD BUTTLE and BUTTELL (1540)

We have ancient records back as far as mid 1500s in this world famous area of picturesque stone villages. In Winchcombe at the time of Catherine Parr whose family bought Sudeley Castle there at that period....she being one of Henry VIII's wives. We have one large family tree linking 5 present day Buttle families as 5th. cousins to each other and dating from 1780. These include Paul Buttle, Lake district author and the Isle of Man branch of Buttell. Ancient records of the Clan are found in Guiting Power where the name is BUTTOLPH 1690s, Temple Guiting, Notgrove, Snowshill 1608, Saintbury, Stanway, Salperton, Hatherop, Turkdean, Naunton.... and Buttells on war memorials at Hayles Abbey church and Buttles at Hampton beside Evesham where they still reside as at ancient Guiting Power.

NORFOLK BUTTLE

Lots of records of this ancient name are found in registers and Wills in many scattered parishes out from and some in Norwich in the 1500s and probably earlier. Carleton Rode had a very substantial family there from at least 1560 - 1730 and with in 1575, the Scandinavian names Christian and Elsaborg! Much later on in 1800s Lyng parish had a strong family. The black sailed wherries plying coal on the broads had captains or owners Harry, Benjamin and Jonas Buttle around 1838 period. The fishing ports of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft may have been the origin of Quebec Gaspe's fishingboats Capt. William Wentworth Buttle born c1813 in England. Amner, East, South and West Raynham, Bunton, Gt.Yarmouth Helhoughton, Rockland Tofts and many other parishes all feature. Steve Buttle footballer with Ipswich Town & Seattle Sounders and Greg Buttle, very famous with New York Jets both hail from the Norfolk Clan. I have 5 family trees as a result of contacts of recent times around the world. There may well be across over with BUTTOLPH of Norfolk but this is not proved.

NORFOLK BUTTOLPH (1300s)

This extremely ancient Clan is peculiar to the county of Norfolk. But its origins lie in the historic town of BOSTON, Lincolnshire which is a corruption of St. Botolphstown or stone, where St. Botolph the 7th. century saint preached/dwelled and gave his name to the place with its magnificent church..... the Boston Stump. So the surname is a place name toponymic. Earliest records have in the 1300s ...Thomas Buttolph a master at old grammar school in Norwich and Revd. John Botolf rector of Sharenton parish. The Buttolphs are scattered about the county in Gt. Bardfield, Lowestoft, Gt. Yarmouth, and then we have a family tree in Wymondham with it huge old abbey dating from 1830 .... Dr. Michael Buttolph, London School of Economics and others descend. In 1630 on the ship Abigail, Thomas Buttolph and wife Ann arrived in Boston, Massachussettes.....I am in touch with this historic family in America and one branch changed their name to BUTTLES in 1700s Many held important positions in Norfolk life. Revd. Thomas Buttolph was Dean of Raphoe, Co. Donegal and there is a plaque to him in Dublin's St. Patrick's cathedral!

SOMERSET BUTTLE, BUTTEL and BATTLE (1579)

The earliest record found is 1579 and this is a very ancient settlement in the still delightful unspoilt upland Blackdown Hills straddling the Somerset/Devon border. The two parishes concerned are Clayhidon & Churchstanton. Clayhidon has the earliest records and a cottage property called Buttles as well as Battle road. They then move and multiply in much larger Churchstanton, a parish with over 60 Buttles buried from 1620 onwards at the fine church and Buttles farm in Buttles lane dating from 1720s. Buttle changes to Buttolph for 30 years and back again around this time(!) I have a huge family tree of over 75feet containing 29 named branches, one spelt Buttel! Two of our Clan gatherings have been held here(see pics). Ralph Buttle of Wellington branch who wrote his book, Cyril Buttle of Tavistock branch was Somerset county cricket head groundsman, Brian Buttle of Bridgwater branch famous throughout Somerset's Musical Societies and Ida Prins Buttle of Calstock branch musicologist (she lived in Bathford and was head of music at Kingswood school in Bath) have all made their mark. Her father Methodist Revd. Jacob Buttle founded the London Cornishmens Society. Curry Rivel, Pitminster, Exeter, Yeovil, Ilminster, Tiverton, Wandsworth & Buckland St. Mary are some of the other branches. Surname BATTLE is found in the 1800s in mid Somerset and Shepton Beauchamp has Buttles Lane and Close and in Hatch Beauchamp the palladian gate lodge and wood around it on the Hatch Park estate of the Gore-Langton family are called The Buttles & Buttles Plantation from Samuel Buttle 1870s of Ilminster branch. In Tor Street Wells we find Buttles Cottage with fabulous view of the cathedral.

LANCASHIRE BUTTLE (1540)

This small Clan has a first record in the 1560s in north Lancashire in the beautiful Trough of Bowland at a still very rural parish called TATHAM. Here we find brothers Richard and Robert Buttle having children. This small branch then migrate into the historic and georgian port of Lancaster where they become well established 1700 & 1800s. The spelling Buttle remains throughout. Very few descendants remain and I am in touch with just two of them.

BOITELLE

A name found in the Netherlands esp. around Venlo and Maastrict. The name is French and came to Venlo with a Napoleanic soldier abt. 1810.

BUTEL

This name belongs to the Cotentin peninsular where we now have a Normandy farm! It may well belong to the pre 1066 Family of Buittelle and vars. which originates just 16 miles south of us in the tiny ancient hamlet of BOUTTEVILLE which prob. gave the family its name(?). Has ancient manor/manoir and/et church/eglise! Butels have emigrated to Jersey-Cornwall & are in London 18th. c and Huguenot records in Dublin 1685 onwards and famous in Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand via a Belgian family.

BITEL

This name occurs in London and Sydney and came from Russia with huge Jewish migration into London and New York from the Czarist persecusions of late 1800s

BITTEL/BUTTEL

Produced the S. Irish Buttles & Beetles in 1709 from the Rhineland Pfalz massive emigration to London 13,000 people left via invitation from Queen Anne Govt. via Rhine to Rotterdam.....after vicious winters and 30 years of French Catholic persecution. These two spellings are of same origin and are found scattered in Germany to-day from several place names like Brunsbuttel and Wolfenbuttel ....buttel being very ancient Saxon meaning a big house.

BITTLE/BITTLES

This surname is found in small numbers in Ulster and Cornwall with some Navy associations. The earliest date in Co. Down, Ulster is in 1775 at Seaforde. The landed Forde family of here also had an estate just north of Gorey, Co. Wexford and one wonders if there is a Bittel Rhineland - Buttle connection with my Clan? Most Bittles to-day are in Belfast, ex Newry & Newtownards both Co. Down. In Cornwall there are sparse records of the name, the earliest is at Probus in 1686.

BUTTLE of ULSTER

This very small landed family of Buttle date from the Revd. David Buttle from Scotland who became the first Presbyterian Minister of Ballymena from 1627-1662 and commemorated on a memorial in the church there. Randall, grandson David and George followed, the latter inheriting the Conyngham estate and Springhill House, now National Trust and changing his name to Conyngham. He built the new large village of Coagh, Co. Tyrone beside Springhill. This family were also lessees of Glenarm, Co. Antrim, Sovereigns of Belfast, High Sherrifs of Cos. Tyrone & Derry, Importers and owned properties in Dublin.

BOTTLE of Somerset

This very small enclave is centred on Wincanton and Penselwood in south east Somerset and is reputedly of French Huguenot stock as is the Hoddinott Clan in the same area. The earliest date so far is of Thomas Bottle a tailor in Wincanton in the late 1700s. (Of course this could be a name change from Buttle of the Blackdown Hills Clan further to the south west and dating back to the 1580s.)

GASPE, Quebec BUTTLE

A Capt. William Buttle born abt 1817 in England is the founder of this loyalist coastal fishing family in 1838 when he married Mary Flowers. His origins are still not found but I visited them on this lonely seashore in 1974 thinking they may be of my Co. Wexford stock. We have a full family tree from the Anglican church records there and I have met many of the families, sisters having come to The Mead for one of the Buttle gatherings. Origin could be out of Norfolk or Lancashire seafarers (?), and Buttles are still living on Chaleur Bay and now dotted all over Canada & USA.

BUTTALL.

This very interesting branch has never been connected to any other county Clans....but the spelling is pronounced the same as Buttle. In the mid 1600s we find them in Wrexham, NE Wales where as Quakers the head of the family was in gaol as a dissenter. They were steel makers (and may have come from the ancient Essex Clan and Cutlers Green there?).....a branch later went to Soho as ironmongers where JONATHAN BUTTALL was painted by Gainsborough and is the BLUE BOY. Another branch went to Topsham, ancient Roman seaport in Devon for Exeter and were sea captains, one ship manned by Capt. Benjamin Buttell sailed out in 1779 and was never heard of again. This family tree is complete back to 1600s.

ST. BOTOLPH

Lived c620 - 680 was a Saxon abbot of Iken in Suffolk and Boston, Lincolnshire.....which took his name, it is corrupted from St. Botolphstone or town. Boston, USA follows! He had a brother Adulph and they were from a noble family. Educated in the Benedictine rule in Belgium, his fame spread abroad and over 70 churches in East Anglia and 3 in London are dedicated to him, as well as around the Baltic Sea. His feast day is 17 JUNE ....which I adopted as our Buttles etc. day with its connecting Buttolph & Buttle surnames in various records. It was in the middle ages the largest fair day in many parts of England.



Epilogues

James and his wife Annie Dow Wilson bought The Mead property 26 March 1921...... Started the TEA GARDENS in 1923. He passed on whilst in Scotland attending his father's funeral, and died at Norwood Castle, Blain, Dunfermilne, Fife 22 Jan. 1933. ANNIE his widow was so distressed, she sold The Mead 23 June 1933.

In September 1937, the PADFIELDS sold up to my mother on her birthday, Mr. Padfield couldn't cope with the 5 acre market garden having another profession in Bath and Mrs. Padfield who was also a JP was suffering from ill health and didn't manage the tea gardens.

Sadly the Tea Gardens shut down in 1950 following a burglary in 1948 whilst my parents were at the theatre in Bristol and again in 1992 after another burglary at The Mead whilst I was on holiday in Tenerife in February 1991. Both were "inside jobs" and had a bad effect, and both my Mother and myself returned to the County Wexford seashore and the farming country of our BUTTLE ancestry in South East Ireland.

This is why the Tea Gardens "disappeared" on both occasions when "in full flow" — we had our all time record day on a glorious 10 May 1990 with a total of 425 customers! 300 was a regular occurence both in the War Years and the 1980s - hectic & happy & terrific teamwork in idyllic St. Catherine's Valley!

Do get in touch and leave a message and if you have any photographs or memories please post them on this site!

Jonathan Metcalfe

Pension Birthday in The Tea Gardens Car Park on 1970 seat
Pension Birthday in the Tea Gardens car park on 1970 seat. "Official" photograph by photographer and friend James Davies of Weymouth, Bath and Chippenham.

Where Are You Now?

WHERE ARE YOU NOW? Please contact JONATHAN at or leave a message on the Guestbook please!

THE MEAD

Baldwin 1950-3. Donevein 1954-6. Widdecombe 1957-9. Eedle 1960-63. Roger Perks. Ravi Rao. Alan Pearce. Stuart Galloway. Jan Newman (Westinghouse 5). Charles (Westinghouse). John & Jane Puttock. Roger James. Mary Snell. Mike Fryer. Lance Free. Brian Watson. Dick Rode. Dentist & Solicitor. Robin Wynne Lloyd. Judith Pilsworth. Denis Fry. Mike Rosser(Bath rugby). John & Judy Hanlon. Stuart Bowie. John Humphries.

WAYSIDE COTTAGE

Andrea Cutler. Aberdeen Couple. Paul & Mary Toynton. Nick Cooper & Liz. Mike & Pam Twohig & Apple. Pembrokeshire lass from Spittal. Iris Irving & David. Brian Watson & Mary Fay. Jane Devlin. Jane(horses). David & Julia. Matt & Kate. Ernie Everest. Gilly & Iain Davidson. Lucy. Captain Jason Small R.N.

GARDEN COTTAGE

Terry & Celia Emery & Sue. Mr. Haig. Antell. Daryle & Ann. Sam Williams. Jim & Jenny Pryce. Iris Irving, David & Sambo 1970-1994. Steve Cox. Jenny Gibson. Stuart. Natasha & Jack. Kate & Matt. Cheryl Martin. Stuart Bowditch. Ernie Everest. Sam Williams & Anne.

THE CHALET

Daryle & Anne. Colin & Olive Britton.

WEDDINGS

Honey. Richardson. Kate & Damon Moore (Oxfordshire). Scylde Berry(cricket). Angela Gillies. Kate & Frank Roach(Scotland). ROBERT & HILARY EYLEY 1984. and also RICHARD & ROSIE LISTER.......and many many more.....

HELPERS

Valerie. Tony Stukes. Budge Brothers who named "chocolate gunge". Lynne Palmer. Mrs. Nicholson. Emma, Melanie & Tamsin Eedle. Little Babs Flynn. & Son. Annie. Nutgeons Family. June, Michael & Tim Coffey. Mary Earle. Mavis, Sally, Suzanne Newman. Robin Wynne-Lloyd. Gladys Hardy. Elsie Hollindale. Pam Lane. Alan Street. Angela Godwin-Brown. Jane Anderson. Nick Love (printed 'The Meadia' - menus). Kay Bishop. Jane Devlin. Zoe. Shane. "Beefburger Nick".......

and hundreds of Guests at the house and thousands of customers for teas including........'Marko'. 'Mrs. Marshfield' Fishponds Cyclists. Richard Williams. Richard Seccombe. Richard Griffiths.

AND THE SAME APPLIES to YOU! OUR HUNDREDS of guests and THOUSANDS of tea customers 1970 - 1992!

"A Tale of Two Cities Big Houses"

which led to a) THE MEAD TEA GARDENS and b) BUTTLE Family research!

Neither The Mead Tea Gardens or BUTTLE Family history would have come into being but for ST. CATHERINE'S COURT 5 miles to the north east of Bath on the one hand and CAHORE CASTLE on its headland Cahore Point on the County Wexford east facing coast, on the other.

St. Catherine's Court became the property of the Benedictine monks of Bath Abbey through Lady Matilda giving the northern portion of her manor of Batheaston to them around 1238. There was possibly earlier a Roman villa on this fine site, as this is a spring line settlement coming out of the Cotswold limestone along the little road of the idyllic valley. The monks gave it its name St. Catherine, very much in vogue at the time, and lasted for 300 years until disollution in 1538. Sir John Harrington, the Blanchards and others owned the Court which had fallen into decay when in 1840 the hon. Richard Strutt son of Lord Rayleigh bought the property.

By 1920 gardens and house had been restored to Elizabethan beauty and were open to the public, huge numbers visiting. On hot summer days there were strong complaints that people were gasping for tea and so when the industrious WILSONS from Stirling area of Scotland bought the Mead, cottages and 5 acre market garden in 1922... they seized on the idea of teas in their garden.

A large marquee was used in the front of the house before, in 1923, the tea pavilion was erected by Edgells of Radstock. The rest is history. Hence The Mead Tea Gardens was BECAUSE of ST. CATHERINE'S COURT.

Likewise... my BUTTLE/BUTTOLPH/BOWTELL etc Family research which started in 1966 at The Mead was based on my mother returning to S. Ireland in 1948 and buying the Victorian mansion, built 1861, on Co. Wexford seashore as a hotel. Stories abounded of her Co. Wexford BUTTLE family, Victorian Grandfather who with his brother built a huge business empire, even having their own ships to London from their successful bacon company in Enniscorthy and other ventures. This lasted from 1870 until 1920. We were also handed down that the southern Irish Buttles were farmers around Co. Wexford, had come from Germany and had been Jewish a long way back. All this has transpired with a history of the Palatines of late and of the 13,000 who left the Rhineland Pfalz, only 200 families of that exodus in 1709 went to S. Ireland, all the rest went to the new American colonies by invitation of the U.K. Govt. The Rhinelanders celebrated 300 years in Autumn 2009 with Church services and television programmes.

And in 1994 on my 60th. birthday visit back to S. Ireland, and absolutely by chance, I discovered a colony of BEETLES living in the south Co. Tipperary hills for at least 220 years who are the Wexford Buttles 8th. cousins and all descend from Hans(John) Wilhelm(William) BITTEL in the emigrant parties of summer 1709.  

Therefore my huge interest in this subject and then all English Buttles was BECAUSE of finding ourselves in this wonderful property, as a small boy straight from The Mead from age 4 onwards, surrounded by our Buttle farming ancestry. Hence Buttle Family History was BECAUSE of Cahore Castle.

Castle by the sea Article about St. Catherine's Court


Sign the Guestbook!

Click on the link to the right to leave your nostalgic message and any photographs!

THE MEAD TEA GARDENS Guestbook!
Thanks for visiting my website. Please leave your comments...
Total Entries: 71   Entries Viewed Per Page: 100
[1]
Name Comments
71) Michele Chivers...nee Gibbons 
Location:
Box Wiltshire Location
Sunday, 11 May 2014 08:54 PM

The Mead holds a very special place in my mind. I visited many times in the 80's with numerous friends, where we enjoyed the rustic charm of teas on wonky tables as we fought off the wasps. A party down by the brook one night... Chocolate gunge, strawberry teas. The Mead is a magical and almost mythical place in my memory. I wish I could turn the clock back to any one of those visits. Best wishes
Michele
70) Amias Channer 
Location:
United Kingdom Location
Thursday, 23 January 2014 06:08 PM

I have many happy memories of childhood visits to the mead tea gardens. It was a wonderland for a young boy with all sorts of lovely and magical things to play with while my parents nattered.

In fact it was here that i met a truly magical creature, my wife Rose Popay. I don't remember all that much of the encounter but i do remember being scared of her.
Maybe i was too young to understand love.

Some 30 years later we met again and after a whirlwind romance we now have a lovely daughter for whom i am eternally in your debt.

Thankyou mead tea gardens and you wonderful keepers , your work is very much appreciated
69) Erica Pease 
Location:
Bath Location
Thursday, 23 January 2014 05:11 PM

Oh I have such happy memories of the Mead Tea gardens throughout the 80's when many a Birthday party was spent batting wasps away form our cream teas! To this day the smell of wild garlic takes me right back to the tea gardens. I remember one Birthday in particular when my friends Thalia's dad invested all his powers of persuasion in trying to make us believe the pink elephants lived at the tea gardens! Happy happy times x
68) Rod 
Location:
Wiltshire Location
Friday, 15 November 2013 04:16 PM

The Mead Tea Gardens changed my life. On a glorious summers day in 1982 I was supposed to be driving to Loughborough in the afternoon to see my girlfriends degree show presentation. She had made it clear that this was A BIG DEAL. In the morning I had been out cycling with some friends and we stopped off on the way back to Bath at the Tea Gardens. It was idyllic and we drifted into a contented snooze. Needless to say I eventually arrived in Loughborough as they locked the doors at 7.00 p.m. and the lovely Sara never spoke to me again.
67) Kim Barnsdale 
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada Location
Friday, 15 November 2013 04:27 AM

I have been working on my family tree and my great grandmother was a Buttle. I believe they are from the Essex Buttle clan. Not sure if anyone else is part of that grouping but I would love to hear from you. :) I have been able to trace them back to Samuel Buttle (b. 1799) in Alphamstone, Essex. This is a fascinating website and you all sound like a lovely group of people.
66) kay 
Location:
huddersfield Location
Tuesday, 5 November 2013 10:00 AM

I have the most wonderful memories of lazy Sundays,and overnight stays at The Mead Tea Gardens, there was and still is no place quite like it. My friends and i would gather for delightful quirky english teas, cups didn't match saucers, teapot lids didn't match teapots. It was magical!!!!!!! I now have my own business which has been completely inspired by this wonderful place. Thank you.
65) Patrick Kehoe 
Location:
Bristol Location
Tuesday, 3 September 2013 12:08 AM

Hi Jonathan, quick question to ask if the email address above is still active and/or you check your emails regularly - have sent you a message a few weeks back but was worried it had gone astray!
Fantastic site with some pictures of my Aunts and Uncles (Buttles of Wexford).
best wishes
Pat
64) l durban 
Location:
Greece Location
Saturday, 4 May 2013 01:33 PM

Have the most wonderful memories of a group of celebrating in the garden with the fantastic strawberry breakfast in the most fantastic location, food and atmosphere created by the family. 1985 I think.
63) Sarah Wright 
Location:
Norfolk Location
Thursday, 25 April 2013 05:50 PM

Very interested to see your information that the original farmhouse was built by the Coates family. We have been researching this family, and actually visited the lovely St Catherine valley and church a few years ago, without realising this farmhouse was where they lived! Thank you for your site and pictures!
62) Carole Buttle Santa 
Location:
Rigaud, Quebec, Canada Location
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 05:57 PM

Wonderful site! Sorry I have never visited but I do believe I saw 2 of my aunts from the Gaspe in Quebec at a reunion in 1989. I have just recently developed an interest in genealogy and seem to have descended from the Devon/Somerset Buttles. Is it possible to buy your book?
61) DAVE MASSEY 
Location:
BRISTOL Location
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 11:28 AM

i came across this brilliant trip down memory lane and HAD to post. i was first introduced to the charms and delights of the Mead in 1982 by a girfriend who lived in Bath. it became a mainstay for sundays on a regular basis for the next 10 years!

the location was enchanting (apart from the drone of motorbikes!), the food and tea (when i drank tea) was lovely, and the service always had a delicious 'englishness' to it.

now i've moved back to the area from london i'm on the look-out for somewhere that might even vaguely match up. all those photos and memorabilia on here brought back so much

i hope you're enjoying your retirement, jonathan, as you absolutely deserve it!
60) Robert John Beetel 
Location:
California, USA Location
Thursday, 7 February 2013 07:43 PM

The family has been looking long and hard for roots and relatives and I happened upon this page! I think we may have finally cracked the mystery! Would love to get in contact with other Beetel/Buttle/Beetles/Battles.
59) Strony internetowe londyn 
Saturday, 12 January 2013 07:30 PM

You have officially inspired me to create a bog portfolio site. thank you. that is all
Love your design on your page
58) Chris Edwards aka Hippy Chris 
Location:
Marshfield Location
Saturday, 25 August 2012 08:09 PM

I remember visiting many times in the 80's when, with 4 others, I lived in a shared house in Nearby Thickwood. Most especially I remember cycling to the Mead on the way to work in Bath and enjoying a champagne and strawberry breakfast (supply your own champagne). The ideal way to start the day. And those wonderfully rickety chairs!
57) Robbie Polley 
Location:
Hackney, London Location
Friday, 13 April 2012 11:31 PM

What a delight to find this site. I was beginning to think I had made up the many hours I spent in the early 80's. I would drive there from Corsham and sit peacefully with fellow art students in the gardens sipping tea. It was dreamy and perfect, even in the rain. The summer pudding was especially memorable, great to see it on the menu again, a vivid flashback moment.
I had often wished I'd had a few photos to prove how idyllic it was to my friends who never had the chance to enjoy this wonderful place, and now I do, thanks. If you do open again, please let me know.
56) Annabelle 
Location:
London Location
Saturday, 7 April 2012 09:11 AM

I am so hoping that you will again be having your charity tea this year (2012). I love the site - it is so nostalgic.
55) Cliff Pink 
Location:
Buttle's Mead/Les Rosiers Location
Thursday, 27 October 2011 12:47 PM

Had a amazing time doing charity teas this August once again, it was great fun
meeting up with your old customers and friends. I know what a huge effort this is to organise. Well done Jonathan!!!
54) Helen Harwood 
Location:
Cambridgeshire Location
Sunday, 21 August 2011 03:10 PM

Thank you for putting up this site. The Mead has a fond place in my memory.
In 1981 we lived in Larkhall, and all summer we would cross the horribly busy A46, go up Bailbrook Lane, climb up Solsbury Hill, and on, over the top and down to St Catherine’s and the Mead. It was a glorious vivid summer, with the occasional sight of a green woodpecker or a red fox stopping to stare as we passed. And the absolute highlight, of course, was the impossible choice between strawberries and cream and raspberries and cream with our pot of tea when we arrived. I remember sitting in a shaggy orchard in glorious sunshine, and a greenhouse full of enormous cabbage roses. Well the Mead has gone, and the walk to Little Solsbury has been spoilt by the bypass. But at least the memories are there.
53) Sue Bean nee Cooper 
Location:
Box, Wiltshire Location
Sunday, 14 August 2011 08:07 PM

Hullo - what a great piece of work forwarded on to me by my brother NICK COOPER. Harriot Beazley's 19th birthday party comes to mind, April 1984? Inside the house, Bill Bailey played the piano in a 'Les Dawson' style. The photos of the cherry trees... I remember I remember! Confirms my long held opinion that the St Catherine's Valley is one of the finest spots in the world. Do you remember spoiling my 16th birthday party with a spoof phone call? Best wishes to you. Sue
52) Richard McTaggart 
Location:
Rowde/Wilts Location
Friday, 12 August 2011 12:03 PM

(52) Johnathan! remember me? your site bought back some lovely memories* what happened to the Anderson's? Orchard -farm! please e/mail!
kind regards*
and thanks*
Richard*
51) John Pritchett 
Location:
Keynsham Location
Sunday, 10 July 2011 06:29 PM

The car that you asked me to identify is not an Austin. It is a Morris 8hp Saloon of about 1935/5
50) liz rodrigo 
Location:
leicester Location
Saturday, 28 May 2011 06:53 PM

I read your site with both sadness and happy memories . WE used to live in Bristol when we had 2 small children and remember outings to the gardens in summer and winter as a treat . Somehwere wher we didn't worry about the children had great food and felt like being at my mothers (who is Irish !) Have since lived all over the UL and in New Zealnd and still spoke about those teas and cakes everywhere we went . I am visiting Bristol and basth this year and was planning a visit so am sad that the tea gardens will not be there . Hope that life is treating you well and that the sun rises on you each morning ,
49) Emily LeQuesne 
Location:
bristol Location
Monday, 2 May 2011 01:29 PM

I remember my 6th birthday breakfast party at the mead tea in 1978. Down by the brook,toast, cake and laughing children. Or walking from Marshfield a year or 2 later,it felt like such a long way for me but the cream tea and egg and soldiers was reward enough.How lovely to be reminded of some of my happiest childhood memories.
48) Chris Kausman 
Location:
Chiang Mai ,Thailand Location
Monday, 2 May 2011 12:35 PM

(48) This is a photo of me, and an unknown dog taken at 'THE MEAD' quite a few years ago!(the dog is the one on the right!)
If anyone remembers me,or the dogs owner, or who owned me (actually it was a very pretty lady called Jo Fletcher at the time!)
Going to 'THE MEAD' was like going back in time ,--to a place of peace and tranquility--an unrepeatable experience.
47) Annie McGann 
Location:
Bristol Location
Monday, 2 May 2011 12:12 PM

So many beautiful days spent at The Mead. We have a lovely video of the babies playing on a blanket in the garden in Spring 89. Unique place and lovely people. X
46) Mal Sainsbury 
Location:
Bristol Location
Sunday, 1 May 2011 05:55 PM

Many happy memories of teas enjoyed in this idyllic place where it always seemed to be summer. It was a word-of-mouth secret to share with only good friends... seeing this lovely site has brought back happy, sunny days of being young again - thanks!
45) Austin Guest 
Location:
St Albans Location
Friday, 25 February 2011 10:18 PM

Had some very happy stays at the Mead in the mid 1980s. There have been times in my life since then when I have pined for a Mead Tea! Very pleased to have found this site and will look out for future events at The Mead. Wish you well.
44) Marion Crawford 
Location:
New Zealand Location
Friday, 11 February 2011 04:30 AM

Greetings
A friend of mine (James) was interested in finding out more of his family and I said that I would get him started. While searching the Internet I found your website that included the Devereux and Buttle families. James was delighted to receive reference to your Website which included some of his family.
This record that you have of your families is wonderful.
Regards Marion
43) Lizzy Gayton 
Location:
Back in Batheaston Location
Monday, 7 February 2011 10:39 PM

I remember family walks up the valley and teas in the Mead as a child in the 1970's and have vague memories of a drunken party there which must have been in the 80's.
I just chanced upon the website but it brought back memories especially chair legs disappearing between floorboards!
I still walk past every now and then and wish you were still open. If you have a charity day again do let me know and I'll bring all those friends who've heard me say "there used to be a wonderful tea garden there, but it's gone now" and then had to walk home to get a cup of tea.
Great site - thanks
Lizzy
42) Yvonne & Barry Parfett 
Location:
Sidcup, Kent Location
Sunday, 2 January 2011 12:57 AM

We first went to The Mead for our honeymoon in 1983 and returned (with a succession of guide dogs and our children) most years after that until it closed. Have also been back for several of the charity teas. Have very many happy memories of our times there and will sort out some photos - expecially ones of the boys, dogs and Digby Jr xx
41) Michael Devereux 
Location:
Christchurch New Zealand Location
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 06:21 AM

Ive just had a look at your web sight Jonathan its fantastic. I visited you at the mead in 1984 my god that was so long ago. I had a fantastic time i will definitely be back.
From Cousin Michael
40) Brian Jones 
Location:
Abingdon, Oxon Location
Thursday, 16 December 2010 06:17 PM

Intrigued by the messages from Granny Parrish. I'm trying to find a link between the Parrish family (eg Robert Parrish who ran a market garden in Keynsham, died 1929, and Lizzie Parrish, died 1975) and the Corston Harrills. Lizzie was v close to the Harrills but nobody is alive now.

Perhaps Granny Parrish could help?
39) xx kayleigh xx 
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 12:21 PM

i used to work here in my school holidays with my dad cliff!!! me and my sister used to take peoples orders! loved playing in the woods there would be good to go back and do it again one year xx
38) Paul Buttle 
Location:
Keswick, Cumbria Location
Monday, 29 November 2010 04:37 PM

Ba ceart duit cupla focal as Gaeilge ar an suíomh seo.

I'm sure I don't have to translate!

Paul
37) Stuart Galloway 
Location:
Sandy, Bedfordshire Location
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 03:04 PM

Hi Jonathan
Have great memories of being at the Mead with Ravi, Roger, Charles etc. when we worked at Westinghouse. You and I used to do quite a bit of running together on Sunday mornings and meeting up for music sessions. You introduced me to the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. We left The Mead in about 1969 to go to Corsham from where I moved to Trowbridge and got married. Lyn and I moved to Sandy in Bedfordshire in 1974 and we have lived here ever since. I worked at British Aerospace until early retirement in 2000.
Hope you are well and plan to pop in to see you when we are next in the area
best regards
Stuart Galloway
PS - will send you some pictures if you give me your e-mail address
36) Stuart Bowie 
Location:
Cumbria Location
Friday, 10 September 2010 07:40 PM

I remember the Mead with great affection and spent a very happy year in the flat in 1971/72, sharing with Yan and Lance. I think Brian with his open topped Triumph Herald lived in one of the cottages.
I move to Bath for a year to work between university courses and borrowed a flat in Snow Hill for the first couple of weeks. Taking a Sunday walk with then girl friend Alison we came down into St Catherine’s valley and I remember saying that it would be a wonderful place to live. On Monday I answered a flat share ad which turned out to be at the Mead. It was meant to be!
I had one of the top floor rooms overlooking the cherry trees. Lots of great memories; strawberries from the small holding opposite; Minty the cat; John’s dogs; collecting cider in old bottles which proved undrinkable as they had held liquid soap!; leaving the chip pan on and very nearly burning the Mead down, saved by old towels over the top; having to repaint the kitchen, hall and a bedroom to repair the damage; dinner parties; roses in the old greenhouses, the apple store, strawberry breakfasts; most of all the peace and tranquillity of St Catherine’s valley after a very stressful post grad year in Bristol.
Latterly lived in Bristol for thirty years and came back a couple of times but the tea garden no longer seemed to operate. Glad to hear that it is remembered so affectionately by so many.
35) Ben 
Location:
Herefordshire Location
Monday, 2 August 2010 06:08 PM

I have the fondest memory of the Mead, though it was just one visit, in the summer of 1990. My girlfriend told me there was a place we must go, and so we went. And it was magical. I remember long grass, old tables and boiled eggs. I wish I could go there again.
34) Robert Blanchard 
Location:
Abergavenny Location
Monday, 26 July 2010 09:38 PM

John.. for many years we trained in the gym together at the Bath leisure centre..197!!!s,was looking for a local cream tea experiance for my Fathers Wake,strange request i know, we were very local years ago and all my family are still live in Batheaston and Bathford...
33) Susan Kean 
Location:
Redlands, Southern Califormia Location
Saturday, 17 July 2010 07:44 PM

Jonathan: The web page s fabulous. I have lots of pictures but they are pre-computer and I will have to scan them. The picture of Nicola, Marty and I is fun. I sent it to her...just a little point Nicola was born in 1972 so that picture have been 1972
I will go through my pictures and scan some
Susan
32) Annabelle 
Location:
London Location
Saturday, 17 July 2010 06:03 AM

I have fallen in love with The Mead and so want to go there! Thank you so much for taking the time to put this site together. It has given me so much pleasure.
31) Roger Perks 
Location:
Napier New Zealand Location
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 09:31 AM

I will always remember my time at The Mead.
The great times at the local, "The Northend Inn". The time I took my Morry Thou gear box apart-ball bearings everywhere! Then a long walk to the scrappies for a new one. Then the seemingly much longer walk back with a replacement gearbox on my shoulder. It was the nicest rental that I have ever lived in with greatest people. I am still in touch with several of them.
I discovered this website by accident...WOW!
30) Jo Hanlon-Moores 
Location:
Great Chalfield, Wiltshire Location
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 06:27 PM

Hi, I\'m Jo (Joanne)Hanlon-Moores, daughter of John and Judi Hanlon. I lived at The Mead with them and my brother Tim in 1967-68. And Bonnie the Labrador of course.
Looking at this site has been wonderful; my heart pounding and my breath held until I got to the end. Sally and Sheila! The rose garden! All of it so evocative. Even now it is a place I dream of - magical. I now have a daughter who is the age I was while we lived at The Mead. We live in a very beautiful place, a handful of miles from St Catherines and I hope she has memories of her home that match those I have of The Mead.
Very best wishes to you Jonathan.
Jo
x
29) Rob Laver 
Location:
Corsham Location
Sunday, 11 April 2010 06:07 PM

Quite by chance we got to experience one of Mead Gardens famous afternoon teas today.
It brought back lovely childhood memories of my times spent in St Catherine's valley. Hardly anything has changed.
Lovely to meet you again Jonathan after so long.
Best wishes
Rob Laver
28) steve 
Location:
Bristol Location
Sunday, 11 April 2010 09:57 AM

Is there ever likely to be another tea shop in St Catherine valley? Wish i had discovered this place years ago!
27) Nasher 
Location:
Saquarema, RJ, Brazil Location
Friday, 9 April 2010 03:45 PM

Just got here via a link on Facebook, saw the '91 menu, and the immortal words "Two large eggs boiled to your liking" and have been grinning like a goon for the last half hour. Great memories of chair legs disappearing between floor boards and into the mud, and of mad Walrus and Carpenter related parties, and lovely afternoons with the kids, throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's. Still grinning. Thanks!
26) Nick Buttle 
Location:
Bearsted, Kent Location
Monday, 1 February 2010 04:26 PM

(26) Found the site by accident. Wishing all members of The Buttle Family the very best for 2010
Nick
25) leslie john gibson buttle 
Location:
bideford Location
Saturday, 23 January 2010 02:02 PM

HI just a quick note
Hope all is well with you
We are still at the same place in good old Bideford
Dad is still working he is looking after the tiny church in Saunton he is now 78 and on his own
Hope to hear from you
John and family
24) Davao Cars 
Monday, 4 January 2010 01:11 AM

amazing site interesting
23) Daryle 
Location:
Gunnislake,Cornwall. Location
Thursday, 8 October 2009 12:30 AM

(23) Jonathan remember our dog "Sheena" used to play with sheila and sally and I remember when I fed your dogs whilst you were away I had to wear boots because sheila attacked your legs after you put her food down.

Here is Sheena in the garden at the Mead
1966/7.
We loved the place and I started writing in the chalet and when we moved to Plymouth I broadcast on Radio Devon and became know as the "Plymouth Poet" and a lot of that came from the mead and all the beauty in the valley.
All the best
Daryle.
22) Daryle Arkwell-Gay 
Location:
Gunnislake,Cornwall Location
Thursday, 8 October 2009 12:15 AM

(22) The Chalet covered in snow in "APRIL"
1966 I think. I know I had to leave my Motorbike at Batheaston Village and walk the lanes to the Mead because it was so bad.
21) Daryle 
Location:
Gunnislake,Cornwall Location
Thursday, 8 October 2009 12:03 AM

(21) We lived at the Mead in the Tea rooms and then in the Cottage in the mid 1960's
Our daughter Avril was Christened in St Catherine Court.
It was great to see the old photo's and Jonathan with his dog "Sally"
I will look up some old photo's and send them on.
All the best
Ann & Daryle

Photo shows Ann Arkwell-Gay 1966 at the home.
20) Nanny Parrish 
Location:
Seaford, Sussex Location
Thursday, 3 September 2009 10:08 PM

Enjoyed looking at the photos and reading about The Mead. Hope to see you soon. Love and best wishes.
from
Nanny and Nicholas
19) Margaret Donahue 
Location:
Michigan USA Location
Sunday, 19 July 2009 10:26 PM

My mother's maiden name was Buttolph, they were a beautiful, loving, and very honorable family! My grandfather, Thomas Buttolph, born 1603, 10 generations back in 1635, arrived in Boston aboard the "Abigail" with his bride, Ann Harding, daughter of John Harding of Little Baddow, Essex.
I would so much like to know my "cousins" in England! Although I have found a great deal on the ancient Buttolph family in England, I do not have the record of Thomas Buttolph's immediate family in England.
Thomas was connected to Boston by the Puritans as well as St. Botolph, but he had at least one business in London, perhaps a tavern called the Swan, as he had this in Boston, MA in the 1640's, he later sold it and became a glover for fine gentlemen's wear.
Th history of the Buttolph's I have searched is most remarkable and honorable.
I have heard of the Buttal and Gainsborough connection, but wasn't sure how closely related the lad would be, although I have heard of a Samuel Buttal who had 1500 acres in Connecticut.
The family has spelled the name Buttalph, Butolf, Buttal, Buttles, Boston. It can be a little confusing when searching for family!
I would be most delighted with any bit of information you could share. I would be so grateful as I am assembling a family history album! And would very much like to find my grandparents!
Thank you,
Margaret Donahue
18) Phil Buttle 
Location:
Surrey Location
Saturday, 11 July 2009 09:31 PM

My daughter came across this site and I spotted my cousin John and family in one of the pictures! I seem to be missing out on a lot of relations! A very interesting site - thank you. Does the 'Buttle clan' still meet? Can I buy a copy of the book?
17) David Burrows 
Location:
Derbyshire Location
Friday, 26 June 2009 07:27 PM

I spent 18 months at The Mead in 1985/86 as "the phantom lodger", so called because Jonathan hardly ever saw me! I have some lovely memories of that time. The teas were legendary and in a beautiful setting.
16) Francis Buttle 
Location:
Sydney, Australia Location
Friday, 26 June 2009 06:03 PM

I remember finding my way to the Tea Gardens one summer's day in 1990 when I was on a trip home from the USA where my family was then living. Quite by chance Thomas Buttle from the Wexford Clan was there with his wife and children. I recall being amazed at seeing wall after wall papered with pages of the Buttle family tree. Jonathan enthusiastically explained that my family was part of the Somerset Clan. This may have been before the Buttle Book was published. Sadly I didn't get to experience one of the famous cream teas. What a missed opportunity!
15) Misha and Peggy Carder 
Location:
Bath, Somerset Location
Tuesday, 9 June 2009 03:45 PM

...'those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end we'd sing and laugh forever and a day,,,'

Especially loved the grand-piano, the cherry trees and the £3 cream teas!
We even forgive the wasps

Thanks Jonathan
love Misha, Peggy, Richard and family.
14) Niall O'Reilly 
Location:
Brittany, France Location
Sunday, 24 May 2009 12:22 PM

Summer evenings at The Mead were always memorable. Lots of like minded people working together for the benefit of others and having a wonderful fun time into the bargain! What a shame it closed. I think Jonathan should have got a knighthood for being the most hospitable host in England!
13) Shane Coleman 
Location:
gold coast australia Location
Sunday, 17 May 2009 12:29 PM

Shane Coleman I worked for Jonathan 1 summer and had a great time helping out. It was a magical place to be. Thanks Jonathan
12) Elizabeth Robinson 
Location:
Cambridge Location
Thursday, 7 May 2009 09:14 AM

I used to live in Bristol and worked as a young Doctor in Bath - in the 1980s frequently visited the tea rooms for respite and peace and a bit of magic - and lovely cake!
Now my own daughter is to be married and I was so hoping that we could return there for a marriage celebration.
Am I correct in thinking it is no longer is use? Such a pity if true.
11) Valerie 
Location:
Cornwall Location
Wednesday, 1 April 2009 10:04 PM

(11) I have such happy memories of the Mead tea gardens, tucked away in that lovely valley, once found it drew you back. Wandering down the twisty path to the beautiful glade surrounded by trees and flowers; then the gorgeous teas! It was a unique and magical atmosphere. People relaxed completely - I loved working with Jonathan and everyone. Happy birthday, love Valerie
10) Eileen Parish 
Location:
Sussex Coast Location
Saturday, 14 March 2009 02:44 PM

(10) Bath born Nanny Parrish was sad to leave the Mead in 1947 but once Jonathan attended full time kindergarten there was nothing for her to do. The Mead is a lovely country property and his mother was such a very vivacious, generous and hard-working woman.
I went on to live a very full and interesting life and worked for many important families and lived in Africa and Switzerland. I can "drop" names like Rothschild, Schroder, Cavendish and King Hussein of Jordan, and, more recently, Lord Bath.
I have crossed the Bemese Oberland by hot air balloon, driven alone from Zimbabwe to Cape Town in a 21 year old Mini 850, was taken to the cinema by King Hussein, and have experienced other exciting times.
I now live near Eastbourne where I make the most beautiful traditional, smocked dresses for beautiful little girls, to sell at East Dean Market.
9) Ernie Everest 
Location:
Garden Cottage Location
Thursday, 22 January 2009 04:31 PM

A delightful and interesting website,
fascinating photos and history.
I feel privileged to have lived in each
of the two cottages in such a lovely spot.
Well done Jonathan for it all.
Yours,
Ernie.
8) Bill 
Location:
Dorset Location
Thursday, 15 January 2009 08:26 AM

I've heard so much about the tea gardens, but never had a chance to visit. This has really brought the place to life for me. Well done Jonathan.
7) Tamsin McGrath (nee Eedle) 
Location:
Ealing, London Location
Sunday, 11 January 2009 03:10 PM

This website has captured the essence of the best of The Mead.Born at The Mead in 1963, I am forever grateful to have spent my childhood with The Mead as a backdrop. Working in the Tea Gardens and B&B, strawberry breakfasts, Harvest suppers, Christmases, picking huge blackberries for jam-making, hearing rooks in the morning and babbling brook in the quite evenings, smelling tomatoes and sweet peas in the old greenhouses, scones fresh-baked from the oven and warm chocolate coating the crispy gunge; the nature trail and the spookiness of the old wooden chalet at dusk....
6) Gerald 
Location:
South Gloucestershire Location
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 01:46 PM

Good to get a look at the, long awaited, web site.
Well done to all for getting it off the ground.

Good memories of teas in the summer heat and two Christmases spent with friends at the Mead in the mid 80s.
5) Jeff Buttle 
Location:
Toronto, Canada Location
Tuesday, 16 December 2008 09:30 PM

A shout out, from another Buttle.

I never made it to The Mead, but it's a lovely, evocative website.

cheers,
4) Maureen Buttle Possidonio 
Location:
Portugal Location
Saturday, 13 December 2008 01:31 PM

(4) What wonderful memories. A delight to read the history of Evelyn´s tea garden and those wonderful cherry trees.
Time passes but memories linger.
The second Buttle to sign the guest book. Congratulations Jonathan.
3) Ann Groves 
Location:
Celbridge, Co. Kildare Location
Friday, 12 December 2008 03:13 PM

Jonathan, congratulations on getting your site up and running. With mouth-watering menus like this, I am sorry I didn't know you then!
Ann
2) Gill Bailey 
Location:
Dorset Location
Tuesday, 9 December 2008 01:37 PM

Well done Jonathan, recording a bit of British history, never did I think when I drove into Batheaston that day where I was heading.
1) Cliff Pink 
Location:
Normandie, France Location
Friday, 5 December 2008 11:54 AM

I have the fondest memories working along side you Jonathan doing charity teas over several summers.

Nice to see you finally up there on the web. Well done on reaching the 21st Century. I'm sure this will remind people of a slower pace of life.

Maybe I can help to do some charity teas again and rekindle the unique spirit of the Mead.
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