John Dunkin's Residences

Around 1792 John Dunkin moved into one of the spacious homes in the Paragon (picture to the right; see page on Paragon Place for more on this residence). His success as a cornfactor and with his farms earned him considerable wealth, which, as his succession of large city and country homes reveals, he did not suffer to decline during this lifetime.

In 1779-80, Dr. John Lettsom built his beautiful home and grounds at Grove Hill, near Camberwell Green. Up the road along Denmark Hill development would soon begin at Champion Hill, a section of Camberwell devoted to large homes, one of the first being no. 23, built in 1791 by John Searles, the same architect who built the Paragon in Walworth (also in 1791) where John Dunkin lived previously and who would later build the Paragon in Blackheath where John Hays would live for a time. It appears the Dunkins and the Hays families knew Searles and approved of his housing developments, for Nathaniel Palmer, who married Dunkin's daughter, Joanna, lived for a time in Surrey Square not long after it was built by Searles in 1795. 

The homes in Champion Hill (second and third photos to the right, and map at bottom) were among the most palatial in all of South London at that time, including the Platanes (pictured to the left, built in the early 1880s and now part of King's College University of London) and the Terrace (pictured below to the left, dating from the 1850s), both of which still stand to this day, as well as many other homes dating from the early part of the eighteenth century. 

In 1804, John Dunkin left South London (where he had lived all his life) for a country estate at Woodham Mortimer Lodge in Essex. It is located about 3 three miles from Maldon, Essex, where relations of Crabb Robinson and John Towill Rutt would join with the Dunkin family; many of his daughters were married in the Maldon church. In fact, Crabb Robinson's cousin, Thomas Isaac (b. 1767) was a previous owner of the estate (see Robinson's Reminiscences, "Family), possibly the owner immediately prior to Dunkin, which further expands the connections that existed by 1804 between Hays's extended family and that of Crabb Robinson. Woodham Mortimer Lodge is a an eighteenth-century Grade II Listed Building; the two-story home (pictured above) has a current value of over three million pounds.

   Taplow Hall, Buckinghamshire, or most likely, Taplow House (fourth picture to the right), is located in the small village of Taplow, a little over a mile from Maidenhead and situated along the Thames. Taplow House was purchased in 1794 by a Mr. Grenfell (d. 1838), who enlarged and remodeled the house. In 1839 it was purchased by the Marquis of Thomond. Other homes of similar nature in Taplow were Taplow Court, Taplow Lodge, and Taplow Hill (James Joseph Sheahan, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire [London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862], 852).  Taplow House is a Tudor mansion, and was once used to house Princess Elizabeth by Queen Mary prior to Elizabeth’s becoming Queen in 1558. In 1811 it belonged to the Earl of Orkney, who also owned Clivedon House nearby. The house is situated along the Thames with views of Windsor Castle and Eton College. At the time Dunkin lived there (c. 1822), it would have looked something like the picture to the right, with the smokestacks from the house just visible above the tree line   (picture taken from William Bernard Cooke, The Thames; or, Graphic Illustrations of Seats, Villas, Public Buildings, and Picturesque Scenery, on the Banks of the noble River [London: Vernor and Hood, 1811], vol. 1, n.p.). 

Woodhill Place, Bath, is a five-bedroom estate home and gardens, built c. 1810, situated near the top of Bathwick Hill, a little over a mile from the city centre. Its present condition is very much as it was in its original state. As his obituary in the Morning Post for 10 November 1827 noted, John Dunkin died at his residence at Woodhill Place, Bath, on 5 November, aged 74.