In 1850, Samuel Jones Loyd was Commissioner for the Great Exhibition and Senator of London University. He sold Wickham Park, Spring Park farm, Eden farm and the Rising Sun with its cottages to his cousin Lewis in 1853 and in 1861 he had a new house built in Northants called Overstone Park at the wish of his wife, Harriet. His wife died just over three years later and from then he preferred to live with his daughter at Lockinge or in London in Carlton Gardens. He was declared in 1865 as one of the wealthiest people in the world with a fortune of five million pounds.
The Dower House remains something of a mystery. The 1851 census shows Wickham Park to be a house of considerable size but the Dower House described in the 1920 Monks Orchard sale is much smaller with only two bedrooms. Perhaps Lewis Loyd had the old house replaced by a house more suitable for his wife than his Monks Orchard mansion upon his death. Hence the name “Dower” House although Lewis’s widow was still living at the mansion according to the 1901 census. The present Dower House was built in about 1929 but is likely to disappear with the proposed extension of the hospital. Let us hope that the tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipa, in the garden survives the upheaval.
Lewis also had a house in town at 20 Hyde Park Gardens, SW7.
Although only a few garden balustrades remain of the Monks Orchard mansion, his father Edward’s residence, Coombe House, is still in existence. Named after a Croydon MP, Geoffrey Harris, it is now used as a Day Centre by the Croydon Health Authority. It was a costly venture to save the eighteenth century building but English Heritage advised on the remedial works to conserve it as a Grade II house. Its icehouse in the grounds is similarly Grade II listed and consists of a domed circular storage chamber half sunk into the ground.
Another historic building close by is Coombe Wood house, now the restaurant, Chateau Napoleon, built by Arthur Lloyd in 1898. There were three Lloyd brothers although they are not related to the Loyds. Arthur has a striking memorial at St John’s church in a graveyard full of impressive gravestones. There is also Coombe Farm off Oaks Rd, now a hostel, consisting of a Tudor building with 19th century additions by Herbert Lloyd. To complete the trio there was Frank Lloyd, newspaper magnate who bought Coombe House in 1892 and discovered the Pilgrims Well in the grounds. Lloyds Park owes its name to these Lloyd brothers.
Since Lewis and Frances had no children of their own, his heir was his brother Edward’s eldest son, Frederic Edward Loyd of Amwell Grove, Ware, Hertfordshire. In the 1920 sale of the Monks Orchard Estate by Frederic, the true extent of the Loyd’s estate can be realised. There were forty six lots which stretched as far as Long Lane in the west, to Spring Park Woods in the south and down past Oak Lodge along Upper Elmers End Rd to Elmers End. You can see the 1,538 acres listed in the table.