Pyramidal-topped tomb rising on an open arcade having impost course, simple projecting cornice and low parapet. Chest tomb to centre standing on a stone flagged floor with burial vault beneath. Inscription plaques to chest tomb.
Grade II* (England and Wales)
Ralph Allen of Prior Park (1694-1764) was a wealthy philanthropist who played a key part in the development of Bath. He came to Bath from Cornwall at the age of sixteen and made a fortune by introducing a system of cross posts which revolutionised the previously inadequate postal service. He then bought the quarries at Combe Down and built a small railway to carry the stone down to Bath, greatly facilitating the growth of the town. According to Peach, much of his celebrity rested on “his intimacy with, and unostentatious acts of kindness towards men, who, at the outset of their career, needed a friend”. He aided many writers, among them Pope, in whose Satires is found the couplet:
Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.
The designer of the mausoleum was Richard Jones, Allen’s clerk of works, who later became City Surveyor of Bath. In his Reminiscences Jones says that five days before Allen died he “sent for me to bring him the drawings of the burial place”. Allen’s second wife Elizabeth Holder (d.1766), his niece, Gertrude (d.1796) and his great nephew, Alan Tucker (d.1816) were also buried in the vault. Other members of the family are commemorated by plaques attached to the central tomb chest.
Recently restored with monies raised through local fundraising and a grant allocation from the Heritage Lottery Fund (2015).
Information and interpretation plaques erected as part of works.
BoE: North Somerset and Bristol (1958), 168;
H Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects (1995), 562-3;
Richard Jones, Reminiscences (19th century transcript, Bath City Library);
Bath and Wells Diocesan Archive: D/P/Clav 9/3/1; D/P/Clav 3/5/2;
Peach, R E, Rambles about Bath (1876), 134-9;
Pope, A, Epilogue to the Satires, Dialogue 1, 5, 135-6.
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