John Cossins of Redland Court

August 24 2018

Caroline Bateson, former head of Redland High School for Girls has discovered new information about the Cossins family since the publication of her fascinating book about John Cossins, the original builder and owner of Redland Court, which she reveals to the Bishopston Voice:

Within weeks of publication I received orders from many members of the Cossins family throughout the UK and one particular family member who has completed extensive research of the early origins of the Cossins family in Crewkerne in Somerset; John Cossins had not featured centrally in his research but he provided more information on John’s background which I have subsequently explored. 

John’s grandfather moved the family from Somerset to London in the 16th century and became a goldsmith and a Member of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in the City of London; one of his sons also became a goldsmith and another son, John’s father Roger, entered the Worshipful Company of Bowyers. John followed his father in business and this is referenced in my book.

I was also contacted by a direct descendant of one of Martha Cossins’ brothers. Fascinating information emerged about the Innys family history. This enabled me, decisively, to prove the existence of John Cossins’ grocery business in St Paul’s Churchyard in the early18th century; something I had not been able to prove with physical evidence of the actual shop when writing the book. 

I have now found three small, flimsy paper receipts for the sale of groceries at Cossins shop in December and January 1728 and 1729 (four years before he moved to Bristol and began building Redland Court).These were stored among the papers of a Sussex landowner and these seemingly unimportant fragments of ephemera have proved to be decisive as they confirm the shop’s location, the fact that Cossins was in a business partnership at this point with his in laws and that Martha played her part in the business too. Martha’s signature is very clearly seen on the receipts. Given that her future home at Redland Court was later occupied for 133 years by a girls’ school it is very gratifying to see her playing a role in the business.The receipts state the business in 1728 was called Cossins and Innys and was located at Ye 3 Sugar Loaves at YeWest end of St Paul’s. 

Further discoveries I have made have proved that by the time of John Cossins death in April 1759 he had passed ownership of his three shops in the St. Paul’s Churchyard, the West End of St. Paul’s and Fleet Street area to his apprentices, Thornhill and Wilson, whom I write about in my book. By 1759 John Cossins and Martha were well settled in retirement in their splendid mansion at Redland Court and and the beautiful gardens and landscape he had designed were beginning to flourish. 

Copies of John Cossins of Redland Court are available to order for £6.50 including p&p details from carolinepbateson@gmail.com