Sampson Society

House Histories


Family History of Arthur & Blanche Stone, the first owners

Members who came to last years Christmas drinks at Trow Hall may have noticed the finely carved lions at the bottom of the grand staircase. The lions display the initials “AS” and “BS” and it seems likely that Trow Hall was built for this couple. Until recently their identities remained something of a mystery, but we now know that it was Arthur and Blanche Stone who built the house. But where did the money to build such a grand house come from?

As described in ‘Sampson’s Sidmouth’ by Sylvia Brownlee

Fortfield Chambers has the date 1928 on its ironwork and holds the initials RWS in relief to the South above the arched entrance and WH to the North. Originally Mr Sampson owned the ground and first floor on the right of the archway (the South) and Mr Hastings owned the ground and first floor on the left of the archway (the North). Today all four properties are owned by separate people.

A childhood memory of Alastair Gilchrist (Mary’s son) is of Sampson’s partner Mr Dingwall propping architectural drawings up against the walls of the office courtyard. They were framed with sensitive paper behind and left to develop in the sunlight for some hours in a primitive reprographic process. The prints were afterwards coloured by watercolour wash and looked very attractive.