Research of Sarah Tanner


The Rundell Family

The following information was accumulated whilst researching London goldsmiths,  and,  as it  was not relevant for  inclusion in the addendum to the third edition of London Goldsmiths’ 1697-1837 Their Marks and Lives by Arthur Grimwade, published in 1990, it was decided to include  the material in the following  short history of the Rundell families who lived in and around  Norton St. Philip and Frome in Somerset from the late 17th Century.

Philip Rundell (1746-1827) was the senior partner in the firm of Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, of Ludgate Hill in the City of London. However, when he was made Free of the City of London in 1772[1] the relevant documents give conflicting  information  concerning his parentage.

It had always been assumed (correctly as it turned out) that he was the son of Richard Rundell (1709-1776) from Norton  St. Philip, but on his Freedom paper the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court had written: “Son of Francis of Rolvenden in Kent Officer of Excise”.  After research in the Customs and Excise records at The National Archives at Kew, and examination of the parish records for Rolvenden at The Centre for Kentish Studies at Maidstone this entry was eventually proved incorrect[2].

In January 1772 a Henry Metcalf was Free by Redemption of the Glovers’ Company and the City of London, and his freedom paper followed that of Philip Rundell’s in the 1772 bundle.  Obviously the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court had made an error in writing  the name of Henry Metcalf’s father, Francis[3],  on Philip Rundell’s indenture paper.

The surviving parish records for Norton St. Philip and Frome[4] were consulted subsequently,  and this produced a great deal of information regarding the  history of the family which  had not been published hitherto.

There were two branches of the Rundell family living in Norton St. Philip from the 17th century, the families of Edward Rundell the Clockmaker and Philip Rundell the goldsmith. It is likely that Philip Rundell’s great grandfather and Edward’s father were brothers but it has not been possible to positively confirm the relationship between the two families, since some of the mid 17th century parish registers are missing.

      No record of apprenticeship has been found for Edward Rundell as a clockmaker, although he is recorded as such in an Indenture Tripartite dated 14 October 1702.  This was concerned  with the sale of the tenure of leasehold of a field called Ten Acres, for one thousand years. This field had been part of the farm or grange at Norton St. Philip, and was formerly in the tenure  and  occupation  of  Edward   Rundell’s father, also Edward, who died during November 1695.  The Rundells had first leased the land in 1687 and it is mentioned again in the following entry in a damaged Tithe Book dated 1753-1770[5].

“Thos. Pearce had the vicarage and one acre in ten acres belonging to Mrs Rundal, and  Richard Greenland, a coal driver, rented ‘Marlpit’ worth £6 a year from her”.  On another sheet she is shown as Widow Rundel paying a tithe for arable ground at Pearl and  Marlpit and ground adjoining the vicarage.

Amongst the records there are several references made to rates and tithes being paid for  land called ‘Rundels’, which presumably had belonged to the family in earlier times.

The name Edward Rundell appeared several times in the parish records and it proved difficult to decide the identity of all the individuals concerned.

Edward Rundell the clockmaker was baptised on the 18 December 1671[6] at Norton St. Philip. He married there Elizabeth Cottrell on 16 September 1700 and seven of their children were baptised at the church between 1701 and 1720. Their only son, Edward, was baptised on the 22 September 1709. An Edward Rundell was listed as a Churchwarden in 1710,  1720/21, 1729 and 1731.

Edwd  Rundell, brother of Richard (1682-1718), Philip’s grandfather,  and Lavinia his wife from Road (Rode) appear in a parish book of inhabitant’s examinations dated 1718[7].  These examinations were carried out by the parish officers to ascertain the entitlement of individuals  to settle within a Parish.  As Edward had been both baptised and married at Norton St. Philip the couple appear to have been successful in their application, since both their deaths are recorded in the church registers, Edward in 1745 and Lavinia in 1763.  However, there are no baptismal entries for  any children.  It is possible that Edward had gone to Rode to enter into an apprenticeship about 1700 and subsequently settled there or elsewhere.

In the “second month of 1729[8]” Edward Rundell  attended a  vestry meeting convened to discuss the removal of one Edw. Holloway.  Subsequently he was  paid 2s 6d expenses for the part he played in the removal.  Presumably Mr Holloway had been found to lack the necessary qualifications for residence within the parish at an inhabitants examination In 1730 and 1731 an Edward Rundell paid rates of 2s 2d, and for land called Hunts 4s 2d.

      The appointment of Edward Rundell as Tythingman on the 20 April 1731 led to an entry in Tithe papers dated January 10 1762[9].

      “I have been defrauded of the Tythe of Little Pennil Ground since I came into the Living,  Wheat Close also very probably. For Edwd Rundel, commonly called Nunile Ned told Mr Arch-Deacon Wichsted who told me, that when he drew the Conveyance of that Estate of Little Norton from  Merchant Mr Pigot’s Grandson to Mr Harding .........”.

Edward Rundell also appears as a Surveyor of the Highways in 1736[10].

In an Account Book of Parish Deeds and writings for Norton St. Philip[11] the Parish officer had written the following on the inside leaf: “In or about the year 1732 or 33, while I was looking over the old Church and Poor Books, to trace out who had the last handling of the Dole Money, Edward Rundell, formerly Druggetmaker[12], came to me in Mr Harding’s name for the Old Poor Book, which I immediately delivered to him.  Edward Rundell soon returned with the Book, when I told him that I had done with it and that I desired him to carry’t back, together with the Old Church Book (which I had by me) to Mr Harding, he being to the best of my remembrance Church Warden.  So I deliverd both the books into Rundell’s hands.  The said Poor Book has appeared ever since at Church in the hands of Mr Edward Rundell, Clock-Maker, who said that he had receiv’d it of Mr Harding, and that he would deliver it to him again.  But the old Church Book has not (as I heard of) been seen in public since.   “Wm. Barber”.                                    

It is not possible to determine from the surviving records where Edward the clockmaker resided. However, Brian Greenslade, a local historian interested in Somerset clockmakers, considers it likely that his business and workshop were situated at what is now a private house in North Street, known as Knoyle Cottage. 

He made a musical grandfather clock circa 1710 and is listed as a clockmaker of Norton St. Philip at that date[13].  Several other clocks made by him are known to survive. The one  in  the village school mentioned in a letter circa 1860[14], was still there when I visited the school during 1989.

      There is no evidence in the parish registers that his son, Edward, married and had children, or  that clock making  continued  in Norton St. Philip after Edward the clockmaker’s death during 1738/9.    His son’s death is recorded on

7 May 1738 and there is a memorial tablet to  his family at the base of the tower in the church[15].

The lineage of the family of Philip Rundell the goldsmith (see below) is also unclear since it is difficult to ascertain precisely to which individual the surviving parish records and other documents refer. His great grandfather Richard died in February 1718/19 and his grandfather, also Richard,  had died during the previous October. A Richard Rundell was appointed church-warden in 1710 and the name appears in the 1714 Poll Book.

Richard, son of Richard deceased,   (probably  Philip’s    father  who   was   baptised 7 August 1709), was apprenticed to Jeff Hunt of Batheaston, barber, in the sum of £10 in 1720[16]. On his marriage to Ann Ditcher on 26 January 1729/30  he is described as a victualler, and during 1735 he was  appointed a constable at Norton St. Philip.

The family appears to have moved to Frome sometime after 1736 as four of their children were baptised there.  Richard is listed as paying Town Tithing Stock[17] in Frome in 1739. Town Tithes were paid by those in business in a town who were usually tenants, not landowners, and consequently they paid only the poor rate against the value of their stock.

Another branch of the Rundell family, with the christian names William, Robert and Richard, also appear in the Frome records. Their relationship with either Edward the clockmaker or with the forebears of Philip the goldsmith has not yet been established but details of their existence is summarised here as they are part of the  Rundell clan which was living in the area in the 17th and 18th century.

On March 1680 John Champneys leased land to William Rundell cardmaker, of Welwood, Joan Rundell and Robert Rundell, and on 21 May 1701 there was a counterpart to the said lease between John Champneys and Robert Rundell for “99 years if 3 lives or either of them live so long”[18].  In the next generation William Randol (sic) of Welwood married Elizabeth Rucker at Frome 25 February 1724/5 and the baptisms of their four children are recorded: Sarah on 14 November 1731, William on 5 October 1733, Richard on 10 June 1739, Betty on 24 January 1740/41.  Robert Randol (sic) of Wells married Hannah Dyer  of Frome 27 September 1726 and their son John was baptised on 16 June 1728.  In the Frome Tithe Book dated 22 August 1735[19] Robt Rundell paid for four tenements and oatground, and William Rundell for Barringtons and Callway and a House on Katharine Hill.  There is also an entry in the 1785 Frome Census[20]: Owner Rd. Rundell, farmer. Occupier Mr.Tucker 3 males, 3 females and 22 cows.

 Richard and Ann Rundell, Philip’s parents,  had apparently returned to Norton St. Philip by mid 1745, since their tenth child, Eleanora, was baptised there.  Richard appears in the tithe books from 1746-1764, and he was appointed an overseer of the poor in 1748 and 1750[21]

From the records it is not possible to ascertain exactly where in Norton St. Philip the Rundell family lived, however, the following extract from The Times, dated 27 January 1849, regarding the George Inn gives an indication.

“The adjoining house, too, has its historic record.  In this humble dwelling, though it has a bell-tower like its massive neighbour, was born the late Mr Rundell, the wealthy goldsmith, of Ludgate-Hill, who furnished the crown and table of many a sovereign, and died a MILLIONAIRE”. The adjoining house referred to was the Malt House, which is  very substantial and not  at all  humble!

                Richard Rundell was shown as a victualler, when his eldest daughter Elizabeth was apprenticed[22]to her uncle Francis Bennett[23] of Bath, linen-draper, on 24 June 1748.  In the Memoirs of the late Philip Rundell Esq.[24] Richard is referred to as a maltster, and certainly he paid some of his tithes in malt and     hops during 1755[25].



By 27 October 1766 he was a yeoman of Lyncombe and Widcombe, when his youngest son Francis was apprenticed to another relative, Philip Ditcher of Bath, surgeon[26].

Richard Rundell was buried at Norton St. Philip on 19 January 1776. His tombstone was recorded in the churchyard during the 1950s and at the time  was said to be  badly defaced. I was  unable to locate the site of the grave during 1989.

The Land Tax Assessment records[27] show that the family continued to have land in the village, and their association with Norton St. Philip continued  into the 19th Century as the main beneficiary of Philip Rundell’s will,    funded a charity school there  in 1827.

Thos. Rundell, Philip’s eldest brother, is listed in 1780 and 1782 as the owner of land  occupied by a Jo. Printer.  Between 1826 and 1832 Thomas’ son Edmund is shown as paying rates on ‘land’.   Edmund, in his will executed in 1857,[28]  left  his nephew Thomas Bigge “a field in Norton St. Philip in the County of Somerset, being the only property I have inherited from my father”.

Possible this field was the ten acres formerly owned by the clockmaking Rundell  since his widow died after both her husband and only son and it is conceivable that she left the field to her husband’s relative Richard Rundell.

Philip Rundell the goldsmith was baptised on the 8 February 1746 at Norton St. Philip and according to the Memoirs24 was educated at Bath. However, there is no evidence to suggest where.  King Edward’s School, North Road, was in existence at that time, although no early school records survive.

He is next recorded on the 10 May 1760[29] when he was apprenticed to William Rogers[30] of Bath, jeweller. There appears to have been a link between the Rogers and Rundell families, as Francis Rogers (William’s uncle) of Frome-Selwood, wire-drawer, was bondsman at the marriage between Margaret Rundel and Gabriel Pinsent on 8 September 1715.

Philip Rundell, having served his apprenticeship, started his working career in London during 1769 as shopman for Theed and Picket on Ludgate Hill[31].

On the 15 May 1771 he was made Free of the Drapers’ Company by redemption[32], when he was described as a jeweller of 32 Ludgate Hill.  His subsequent Freedom of the City of London is unusual.  He appears in the City minute book on the 11 June 1771, although his Redemption paper was dated 29 October and he did not take up the Freedom until January 1772[33].  He is listed on the Livery of the Drapers’ Company from the 17 June 1772-1791.

Philip Rundell must have had substantial financial and influential backing to gain both his Freedom and Livery of the Drapers’ Company so soon after starting his career, although there is no record in the archives of the Draper’s Company of the identity of his sponsor or sponsors.

The following extract dated Monday 6th August 1792 appears  in the Drapers’ Company Minute Book: “Mr Philip Rundell being a nomination for Junior Warden of this Company (with others) ....and each of them having signified their desire to be excused serving the said offices on paying the usual fine of £20 were excused”.

Even though he declined to take up this office, he was admitted to the Court of the Drapers’ Company in 1792 and remained thereon until 1826. He was fined a second time during 1807 when he refused to become Master.

In 1822 the Drapers’ Company purchased a salver from Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, which they subsequently presented to one of their surveyors, Jessie Gibson, and the instruction to order this can be found in the Court Minute Book for that year.

Philip Rundell took only two apprentices through the Company - the first was his nephew Samuel Goldney, son of his sister Eleanora, on the 24 November 1784, when he was a goldsmith of Ludgate Hill in the Parish of St. Martin’s.   The consideration was £210 which was a very substantial  sum at that time.          Samuel Goldney was made free of the Drapers’ Company on 24 November 1791 when he was shown as a jeweller of Ludgate Hill, and was presumably working in Philip Rundell’s business.  However, he is listed in the Drapers’ Company records at the Stock Exchange from 1802-1826, and at 25 Sloane Street from 1827-1842.  Unlike his uncle he was active in the Drapers’ Company. He was on the Livery from 1802-26 and was a member of the Court from 1827 until 1842 when, most probably, he retired.  He was Warden 3, Warden 2  Warden 1 and Master  in 1827, 1839, 1840 and 1841 respectively.

Philip’s other apprentice was obviously one of convenience.  Thomas Wadd was bound for no consideration on 5 November 1795, and was turned over the same day to his father Solomon, a surgeon, citizen and musician, of Basinghall Street in the City of London.  Thomas Wadd  was made  Free on 5 November 1802 when a Surgeon of Basinghall Street where he is listed until 1856.  He appears on the Livery  from 1808-41, the  Court from 1842-56, he was Warden 4, Warden 2, Warden 1  and Master in  1842, 1851, 1852 and 1853 respectively.

Although there is little evidence in the Drapers’ Company records that Philip Rundell played an active role in their affairs there is the following extract in his will: “I give and bequeath unto the Master and Wardens and the several persons constituting the Court of Assistants of the Drapers’ Company at the time of my death, and to Edward Lawford, Esq., their clerk and Solicitor, a mourning ring a piece, of the value of five guineas each”.

  As a result,  the following entry appears in the Court Minute Book on Thursday 10 April 1827: “A motion is made and seconded that the Clerk is requested to address a letter to the Executors of the late Philip Rundell Esq., late a worthy Member of this Court expressive of the Court’s sense of the good will entertained towards this Court by Mr Rundell’s remem­brance of them individually testified by his having left to each of them a diamond ring and also expressive of regret at the loss of so old a Friend and Member - which on being put to the vote is carried unanimously”.

Philip Rundell never married.  When he died in 1827 he left the bulk of his fortune to Joseph Neeld, the grandson of his sister Susanna.  Later that year Joseph built the new school at Norton St. Philip at a total cost of £2,084. (ground £500, school building £l,404 and other expenses £120[34]).

Correspondence regarding the village school, deposited in the Somerset Record Office, shows Samuel Goldney was dealing with Philip Rundell’s affairs after his death and that he was also involved with the setting up of the  school[35].

Amongst the letters and papers there is one setting out the Founders’ intentions:

For the purpose of maintaining and supporting a School for children of poor parents of the Parish of Norton St. Philip on the principles exclusively of the Church of England as by law established.  Lasting provision for teaching the inhabitants of the Parish of Norton St. Philip to read and write and for teaching them up in the doctrines of the established Church and instructing in the Liturgy thereof.  It is further declared and agreed that the school and the instruction and Liturgy thereof and the Church catechism shall be taught therein, and shall be under the inspection and control of the Master and Mistress thereof and shall at all times be conducted in accordance with the doctrines of the Church.  They shall be appointed and removed at the discretion of the owner of Grittleton House or heir at law of Jos. Neeld and the incumbent of Norton for the time being or the latter solely as the case may be.  The rules of the school forbid any child attending who does not attend the service of the Church”.

Joseph Neeld had no legitimate heir when he died in 1856 and his fortune and estate passed to his brother Sir John Neeld Bt[36]. 

Unfortunately Joseph never endowed the school at Norton St. Philip, although according to correspondence from the Rev. R. Palairet, who was the incumbent at Norton St .Philip when the school was built and subsequently a trustee,  it was always his intention so to do.   The school therefore lacked income and this occasioned much correspondence during the period 1840-1880[37] between both the trustees of Joseph’s will, Col. Inigo W. Jones and the Rev. J. E. Jackson of Leigh Delamere, and  various incumbents.  The problem seemed to have arisen as the school was paid £50 a year from the rent of Wick Farm, but the farm had  been sold by the trustees  and  the income was no longer available. It was not clear how the problem was resolved, or if it ever was. 

Following Philip Rundell’s death there were several accounts written about him, each with conflicting views of his personality.  George Fox jnr,[38]  employed by the firm since the early 1800s, wrote that Rundell was a mean, bad tempered and rather unpleasant man, and this account seems to be the one most quoted by later authors[39]. However, “An  account of the Life of  Philip Rundell”  published in 1828[40] gives a more balanced view of his character, and suggests that the unknown author knew him on a more personal footing.  Certainly he did not enjoy good health in the last few years of his life and this could perhaps have been the cause of some of the ill-temper remembered by Fox.

In another book, Fruits of Experience[41], Joseph Brasbridge wrote flatteringly  of him: “There cannot be a person whose character I respect more than Mr. Rundell’s, the immense wealth which he has amassed by his own industry, he dispenses with the utmost munificence: one of his nieces was married two years go, he presented her with L7000.  I have been told, and give credit to much greater acts of kindness on Mr Rundell’s part than this, and I have no doubt that whenever his Will shall be opened it will be found fraught with benevolent remembrances of those workmen, the prime of whose days may have been passed in his services”.

Brasbridge’s view may well be correct for in his will Rundell was very generous to many members of his family and made several bequests, one of which was to George Fox’s father, but not to George Fox himself!

      Philip Rundell was obviously a very astute business man, with a certain amount of charisma. He took over the firm of Theed and Picket which then became Rundell and Bridge,  which having purchased the old-established business of John Duval Sons & Co. in 1798, became the Crown Jewellers. Later as Rundell, Bridge and Rundell[42] it became one of the leading retail outlets of the time, which, through association or apprenticeship, created the framework from which a large proportion of the silver manufacturing and retail trade of the late Georgian and the Victorian era was founded.

London Metropolitan Archive: LMA

Somerset Record Office, Taunton:  SRO

Devon Record Office: DRO

The National Archive: TNA


[1] LMA: Ref: CF1/988/15

[2] Sarah Tanner A Man who never was  published in The  Silver Society Journal - Winter 1991 No 2. pp.89-90

[3]In the Excise minute book dated 8 August 1757 Francis Metcalf was appointed Hop Officer in Rochester and he was subsequently mentioned annually in the minute books regarding the collections held each year, and the following entry appears on Wednesday 7 November 1764:

“Matthew Merridith appointed Cyder Officer in Surry Collection, having declined the employment, ordered that Francis Metcalf be Cyder Officer there in his stead”

“Notice at Rolvenden Nr.Cranbrook”.

On 20 November the same year, he was re-appointed Cyder Officer in Canterbury, 21 July 1768 Hop Officer in Rochester, and the 4 August 1768 he was returned to Canterbury as Hop Officer. TNA: ref: Cust 47

[4] Deposited at Somerset Record Office, Taunton. Most Rundell entries were marked in some way in the registers which would indicate earlier research into the families.

[5] Tithe Book SRO: DPN 3/2/1

[6]Until 1752 the New Year began on 25 March and so from l Jan to 25 March to avoid confusion both year’s dates are included.

[7] Poor Book SRO: DPN 13/2/1

[8] Quote from the Vestry Minutes held at SRO.

[9]  Tithe Papers SRO:DP/nph 3/2/2 

[10] Surveyors Records Deposited SRO

[11]SRO: DP/nph 13/10/1

[12] Possibly the husband of  Lavinia.

[13]List of Watch and Clock Makers by Brian Loomes. J.L.Hobbs Former Clock and Watch Makers of  Somerset lists Rundell, Edward of Norton St. Philip 1705-1710 as being named in the will of Elizabeth widow of Abraham Dymock of Evercreech, died 1705.

[14]SRO :DP 18/5/1

[15] It reads: In Memory of Edward Rundell and Elizabeth his wife : he died March ye 6th 1739 aged 68.  She died Jany ye lst 1759 aged 83.  Also of Edward their sone who died May ye 3rd 1738 aged 28.  Also in Memory of Anne wife of John Turner who died Septr. the 20th 1744 aged 34.  Also near these three lyeth the body of Martha wife of Thomas Pearce who departed this life the 27th day of Dec 1772 aged 68 years.  In Memory of Elizabeth West who departed this Life May ye 9th 1783 aged 81.

[16]TNA Kew: IR 17.33

[17]SRO: Frome Tithe Books 1739

[18]SRO: DD/DU 34 No.7, DD/DU 35 No.33  Frome Leases

[19] Deposited at SRO:

[20]SRO: T/PH/MAS.2

[21]SRO: DPN 3/2/1. DPN 3/2/2

[22]DRO: Bath Freeman’s apprentice roll.

[23] Francis Bennett married Jane Ditcher       

 3 March 1739 at  St. Michael’s Bath.

[24]Memoirs of the late Philip Rundell Esq ... by a gentleman many years connected with the firm,  published in London in 1827, shortly after Philip Rundell’s death, by an unknown author  - copy at Goldsmiths’ Hall.

[25]SRO DP/nph 3/2/3

[26]DRO: Bath Freeman Apprentice Roll.

[27]SRO: Q/REL 37/0

[28]SRO: DP Box 114 C/1358

[29]DRO: Bath Freeman’s Apprentice Roll

[30]William Rogers, son of Richard and Mary (nee Smith)(who married  at Frome on the 21 April 1717), was baptised there 27 December 1717.  He was apprenticed on 5 March 1737/8 to Peter Goullet, jeweller and appears  on the Bath Freeman’s Apprentice Roll as Free of  the

City 20 February 1769  which was after he had started taking apprentices.

[31] 19th Century Silver by John Culme p57.

[32]Drapers Company Archives:  Drapers’ Hall, London

[33] LMA: CF1/988/15

[34] Correspondence at S.R.O

[35]SRO: DP 18/5/1

[36] Story of a Hendon Fortune by George Inram published in Money Milk and Milestones, the publication of the Hendon & District Archaeological Society.

[37] Deposited at Somerset Record Office

[38]Fox MS: Library, V & A, London

[39] Paul Storr by  N.M.Penzer published in 1954.

[40]The Annual Biography and Obituary for the year 1828, published in London by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green in 1828.  Silver Society Journal Winter 1991 No 2 pp 91- 102.

[41] British Library ref: 10826 dd.5.

[42] For more information regarding Rundell Bridge & Rundell see John Culme Nineteenth Century Silver published 1977  chapter 2 p.57 “Rundell’s and the Early Nineteenth Century”.

(Edmund Waller Rundell son of  Thos. late of Hampstead Esq, was made free by Redemption of the Goldsmiths’ Company on 8 March 1803).

Intercambios de enlaces
Copyright Sarah Tanner 2008