Whilst Timsbury and Radford Mill made it into the Domesday Book, our house wasn’t on the scene and welcoming visitors until the early 1800’s. Owned by members of a prominent local family, it became so popular with guests that an extension had to be added during the popular party time of the Regency period.
Radford Villa is a fine Georgian country home built circa 1805, with a handsome Regency extension, which was added during the 1830’s.
William James and Sarah Collins were tenant farmers and millers at the neighbouring Radford Mill. They had eight children. The Collins family were well established in Radford and were quite enterprising. Their jobs, ranged from tallow makers, herdsmen, tanners, brewers and there was even an acclaimed artist – James Edgell Collins.
John, their fourth child had been given the plot of land known as ‘Mill Meadow’ which was adjacent to the Mill, from his parents and he built a small farmhouse – Radford Villa. Attached to the house but set back and wrapping round into the courtyard, he constructed the ‘brewery’ and across from the house, he built the malt house.
Radford Mill was prospering and the hops for the brewery were grown in the fields. The nearby Somerset Coalfields were producing high grade coal which was in great demand. The expansion of the pits meant thirsty work for more miners, and many colliery workers were great supporters of the local ale as were the bargemen who transported the coal on the nearby canal. As a result the brewery went from strength to strength.
In 1812 John married a local young lady, Anne Kelson. Over the years she developed an interest and liking for entertaining. In order to host her impressive parties she encouraged her husband to extend Radford Villa, hence the large extension was designed and built.
The Radford Brewery was sold off in subsequent years to the Rossiters, relations of the Collins family. They transformed Radford Villa into a very successful market garden specialising in carnations, which were packaged and sent to Badminton for displays at ‘meetings’ and also sold to florists in Bath and London for hotels and hospitality events.