Cholwell House

Temple Cloud, near Cameley, Somerset

Completed in 1855, for William Rees-Mogg (1815-1909) and his wife, Ann James (1813-1892). William - great-great-grandfather of the ex-Minister for Brexit Opportunities, Jacob Rees-Mogg - had inflated the family coffers through investments in coal facilitated by his position as a partner in Rees-Mogg & Davy, Solicitors & Insurance Agents, in the nearby village of Cameley. He built his new house on the opposite hillside to the old Cholwell House, acquired 130-years before by his mother's family, the Moggs, who owned a local coal mine. The older house was demolished after William moved his family into the new, but its loss was later regretted as the new house possessed, "considerably less charm". It was designed by local architect James Wilson (1816-1900) in the Neo-Jacobean style and was described in 1875 as, "a handsome, modern building, delightfully situated on an eminence at the northern extremity of the village"....

This house is best associated with...

William Wooldridge Rees-Mogg

of Cholwell House; Solicitor, of Rees-Mogg, Son, & Davy at Camely, Somerset


Emily (Savory) Rees-Mogg

Mrs Emily Walcott (Savory) Rees-Mogg


Edmund Fletcher Rees-Mogg

E. Fletcher Rees-Mogg, of Cholwell House, High Sheriff of Somerset


Beatrice (Warren) Rees-Mogg

Mrs Beatrice (Warren) Rees-Mogg, formerly the Actress "Beatrice Warren"


William was joined in the family business by his son, William Wooldridge Rees-Mogg (1848-1913), who died just four years after his father by which time the Cholwell estate encompassed 1,200-acres and a dozen tenanted cottages. In 1920, the younger William's son, Fletcher, met and married a classical American actress, Beatrice Warren, who had come to London to join the Old Vic Company. She was one of the three daughters of the self-made Irish-American businessman, Daniel Warren, of Mamaroneck on Long Island, New York. The influx of American dollars she brought to the marriage allowed Fletcher to live the life of a country gentleman and to dabble in local politics while she became, "a leading West Country figure in the British Red Cross Society". She was also Catholic and it is because of her that the Rees-Moggs now identify themselves as Catholics.

Early on in World War II, their son, William, recalled that, "my parents in Cholwell could see the glow of the fires and heard the bombers passing overhead" from Bristol where he was at Clifton prep school. In 1940, all of the boys at his school were briefly evacuated to Cholwell where they slept on mattresses wherever space could be found. The following year, Cholwell was requisitioned by The Waifs and Strays Society for use as a wartime evacuation home for the children from Wick House Nursery in Brislington. Known as "Cholwell House Home for Babies" it remained in that capacity until 1945.

The Rees-Moggs sold Cholwell sometime after World War II and for a period in the 1950s and 60s it was run as an hotel by a couple from Cornwall called the Tressiders. After the hotel closed, Mrs Tressider went to work as a cook at William Rees-Mogg's new nearby home, Ston Easton Park, and in the meantime Cholwell was repurposed to house offices for the Clutton Rural District Council - of which Fletcher Rees Mogg had been Chairman.

Fletcher Rees-Mogg was remembered locally for, "his interest in the welfare of old people" and when Cholwell was sold in 1985 to a private buyer who converted it into a nursing home (as it remains) it was not coincidental. Today, Cholwell falls within Jacob Rees-Mogg's constituency and he is not an infrequent visitor to his father's old home. However, in stark contrast to his grandfather, Jacob makes no secret of his disdain of the welfare state, an opinion shared by his father in his eye-opening book "The Sovereign Individual".  

You May Also Like...

Contributed by Mark Meredith on 10/01/2022 and last updated on 07/03/2023.
Image Courtesy of Cholwell House Care Home & Maurice Pullin, CC BY-SA 2.0


Be the first to connect to this house. Connect to record your link to this house. or just to show you love it! Connect to Cholwell House →