• Reference
  • Title
    Chaundler of Biggleswade, solicitors
  • Creator
  • Admin/biog history
    CHAUNDLER & SON 1885 - 1985 by A R Bennett, 1985 On Tuesday the 24th February 1885 Mr. Henry Chaundler of Bromley, Kent entered into partnership with Mr. William Thomas Chapman in Biggleswade. Prior to that date the Solicitors practice had been carried on by Mr. William Thomas Chapman who apparently was admitted in 1835 and succeeded his father William Chapman who in 1802 editions of the Law Lists was described as Solicitor to the Biggleswade and Bedford Association for the Prosecution of Felons and to the Biggleswade Provident Society. This appointment of William Chapman is significant in view of the trial condemnation and execution of one James Walker in the year 1827 for the theft of Mr. Chapman's horse which is evidenced by a press sheet in our possession. When compiling the history of a firm such as Chaundler and Son one is inclined to let ones's imagination run away with one. Although we are now celebrating 100 years of the name ""Chaundler"" it may be interesting to our readers to see the items mentioned in the firms diaries for the week commencing the 21st September 1835. This was the year when William Thomas Chapman was admitted a Solicitor and commenced to practice in Biggleswade. It will be noted that ""W.T.C."" went to Potton on three occasions during that particular week, and it can only be assumed that the firm at that date had a branch office in Potton. An entry regarding Henry Chaundler,s practising life indicated that the firm had an office at Potton in his name between 1885 and 1912. There is an entry in the firm,s 1885 diary regarding the Partnership Deed between William Thomas Chapman and Henry Chaundler. The Law List entries of 1905 concerning Mr. Henry Chaundler states that he was then Clerk to the Biggleswade Rural District Council, Biggleswade Urban District Council, and the Burial, Water and Joint Hospital Boards serving the Biggleswade area. These appointments he held until his death on the 29th August 1933. Prior to 1885 the firms name was W.T. Chapman. This name was altered to Chapman and Chaundler after February 1885 and so it remained until 1914 when Mr. Henry Chaundler practised in his own name. Mr. Henry Chaundler's son, Mr. Philip Robert Chaundler having served with distinction in the 1914-18 War was admitted as a Solicitor in 1919. Mr. Philip Chaundler become a partner with his father in 1921 and the firm name was then changed to Chaundler and Son, which name has continued to this day notwithstanding numerous alterations in the partners. Any history of a firm must of course have regard to the situation of the office accomodation and also to the staff who have served the practise with loyalty over many years. These two matters are dealt with in another part of this history. Mr. Philip Chaundler succeeded his father as the Clerk to the Local Authorities and the Water and Hospital Boards, and these appointments were held on a part time basis until his death on the 3rd July 1949. Mr. Phil Chaundler's daughter Anne then completed her Articles with Mr. Bennett to become a Solicitor in the family tradition. After her admission as a solicitor in June 1952 she practised in London. (Miss. Chaundler is now the Lady Anne Comyn the wife of Sir James Comyn one of Her Majesty's Judges of the Queens Bench Division). After the death of Mr. Philip Chaundler Mr. Arthur Kilpin Brookes became the Clerk of the Biggleswade Rural Districy Council, and the Biggleswade Water Board, whilst Mr. Alan R. Bennett bacame the Clerk of the Biggleswade Urban District Cuncil. Mr. A.K. Brookes died on the 10th April 1960, and Mr. Bennett ceased to be Clerk of the Local Authority on Local Government reorganization in 1974. The firm name of Chaundler & Son has been continued to this day. Mr. Alan R. Bennett became a partner with Mr. Philip Robert Chaundler in April 1949, and succeeded to the whole of the practice on Mr. Chaundler's death on the 3rd July 1949. Mr. Bennett was joined by Mr. John Nevil Peacock as a partner in 1960. In September 1975 the firm combined with Balderston Warren & Co of Letchworth and Baldock, a firm who can trace its history back to the 18th Century although it was not until the last century that Alexander Balderston took as a partner his nephew Herbert Warren. Balderston Warren & Co were involved in 1903 in setting up the Letchworth Garden City and now act for Letchworth Garden City Corporation. Notwithstanding the merger with Balderston Warren, the firm's name of Chaundler & Son has remained. Mr. Bennett retired as a partner and became a Consultant on the 1st January 1979. Mr. Peacock, unfortunately due to illhealth, retired in September 1984. From a perusal of the firms diaries from 1885 onwards, the partnership dealt with every kind of matter; Debt collecting, Mortgage arranging, Conveyancing, probate and Litigation. Mr. Henry Chaundler combined his private practice with his local Government appointments and up to the 1930's he was no mean advocate. He appeared regularly in the Local County and Magistrates Court. Mr. Henry Chaundler and his family lived at "" Boddington "" London Road, Biggleswade. The Town Hall Company was one of his many outside interests. The combination of private practice with Local Government appointment continued until 1974. With the increase in the number of partners and the consequent enlargement of staff and office accomodation the firm continues to serve the public in the Biggleswade area. OFFICES From enquiries itr would appear that the practice of Chapman & Chaundler was carried on in premises known as "" Stratton House"" and it was from that house that the Horse, Saddle and Bridle was stolen in the year 1827. William Thomas Chapman purchased Stratton House on the 3rd November 1840 for £1,900, and after Mr. Chapman's death Intestate, at the age of 82, on the 7th April 1886, the property was sold by his personal representatives to Mr. E.B. Winch on the 9th Novenber 1900. The Strongroom of the Solicitors practise still exists at Stratton House. In 1951 Stratton House became the Council Ofices of the Biggleswade Urban District Council, was later sold by the Mid Bedfordshire District Council and is now known as Stratton House Hotel.On the sale of Stratton House to Mr. Winch in 1900 Mr. Henry Chaundler moved his offices across the road to Number 2 London Road, Biggleswade, then known as ""Stratton Cottage"" which he purchased on the 15th April 1909. Number 2 London Road passed to Mr. Philip Chaundler on his father's death on the 29th August 1933, and the property was ultimately sold by Mr. Chaundler's personal representatives to Mr. A.R. Bennett and Mr. J.N. Peacock on the 5th July 1961. STAFF The present partners wish to record their appreciation of the very long and loyal service of the members of their staff over the years. Examples of long service become apparent when investigating the firm's history. Names that come to mind are Mr. Arthur Brookes who was the Managing Clerk of Chapman & Chaundler for a considerable number of years. Mr. Arthur Brookes died in March 1943 aged 87, and right up to his death kept a great interest in the running of the firm. His son Arthur Kilpin Brookes, joined the firm at the age of 16 years in 1895, and only left the firm's full emplyment to become Clerk to the Rural District Council and Biggleswade Water Board in 1949. Another name which must be brought to mind is that of Thomas Moon who joined the firm in 1926, and after 26 years was seconded to the full-time staff of the Biggleswade Urban District Council. Miss Ivy Muriel Vincent joined the firm in 1925, and with untiring service to Mr. Philip TRobert Chaundler during the 1939-45 War Years, retired in 1968. Miss Vincent was succeeded as Personal and Private Secretary to the partners by Mrs Shirley Mayes, who had joined the firm from school in 1952, and is still happily with the firm. The present Consultant Mr. Alan R. Bennett joined the firm on the 16 January 1930, and after being articled to Mr. Philip Robert Chaundler was admitted in February 1938, and became a partner in April 1949. PARTNERS 1835 - William Thomas Chapman 1885 - 1933 - Henry Chaundler 1921 - 1949 - Philip Robert Chaundler 1960 - 1984 - John Nevil Peacock 1949 - 1978 - Alan Rutherford Bennett ( now consultant at Biggleswade) 1975 - to date - M.E. Gardiner 1975 - to date - G. Coad 1975 - to date - D.E. King 1975 - to date - V.R.H. Garling 1975 - to date - R.J. Butcher 1975 - to date - A.J. Nickels 1976 - to date - G. Balsam 1978 - to date - G. Dinwoodie 1979 - to date - R.J. Clling ( resident Biggleswade Partner) 1981 - to date- A.J.H. Laing 1982 - to date - Catherine J. Tribe 1984 - to date - C.M. Hussey ( resident Biggleswade Partner) 1984 - to date - T.P.B rain ( resident Biggleswade Partner)
  • Scope and Content
    Mainly deeds but with some wills and copyhold records.
  • Level of description