Robert William DALLAS

Robert William Dallas

Robert DALLAS entered the army in 1808. 

He was severely wounded in the Peninsular War at St Jean de Luz in 1814. 1817  became a major in the 1st West India Regiment.

His father’s family inherited money from an estate in Grenada, WI

Married Lucy DAVIDSON, daughter of Henry, in 1818 in London

Robert's Grave

The grave is located in the cemetery in plot B8. The inscription on the gravestone is quite worn.

The inscription is “Sacred/to the memory of/Robert William DALLAS Esq/who departed this life/the 11th September 1849/in the 60th year/of his age/and—his wife/Lucy DALLAS/died 16th Sept 1870/aged 71 years.”

He married Lucy DAVIDSON, daughter of Henry, in 1818 in London

Mural Tablet in Trinity Church

Tablet inscription is “Robert William DALLAS, only son of the late Right Honourable Lord Chief Justice DALLAS, Major in the 9th Regiment of Foot, served Walcheren and Peninsular, died 11th September 1849, in his 60th year, at Tunbridge Wells, erected by his widow.”

Location of tablet within the church is currently unknown and would only be visible by special arrangement as this area is not normally open to visitors.

Isabella Louisa Parry 1801-1839

Wife of Rear Admiral William Edward Parry

Isabella Louisa Parry (nee Stanley) was born in 1801, fourth daughter of Sir John Stanley, first Baron Stanley of Alderley, a Whig politician and member of the Royal Society. 

She met naval officer and explorer William Edward Parry (1790–1855) in 1824, shortly before Parry departed on his third outing as commander of an expedition tasked with locating the North West Passage. 

They married following his return from this voyage, in October 1826, at which time Parry was working in the comparatively lowly capacity of hydrographer to the Admiralty. He ventured to the Arctic again in April 1827 in an attempt to reach the North Pole. Though ultimately unsuccessful, in the course of this journey he attained the latitude of 83° 45’ N, setting a record that wasn’t bettered for 50 years. 

He was knighted, along with his friend John Franklin, in 1829 and the same year accepted the position of commissioner for the Australian Agricultural Company, which had been formed in 1824 to develop wool and other commodities for export to Britain. 

He and Isabella arrived in Sydney in December in 1829; Isabella remained a guest of Ralph and Eliza Darling at Government House until March 1830, when she and her newborn twins travelled to Parry’s base, Tahlee, on the northern shore of Port Stephens. 

There, in addition to attending to a growing family (two more children were born in the colony, in 1831 and 1833), Isabella concerned herself with the education and morality of the Company’s employees and the local community. 

She established a school for children, and one for adult convicts who wished to read and write; started a lending library; took an interest in the welfare of the local Aboriginal people; and designed the chapel (St. John’s) that the Australian Agricultural Company built at Stroud in 1833. She and her husband had earlier instituted the observation of regular Sunday church services at Tahlee and nearby settlements. 

Like her friend Eliza Darling, Isabella took a keen interest in her surroundings and was an accomplished amateur artist. She collected botanical and natural history specimens (including a substantial collection of insects and butterflies that was later eaten by mice) as well as Aboriginal artefacts; and made sketches of and around her home, in Sydney, and of other scenes of interest. 

The Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University holds sixteen examples of her work, including her plan for St. John’s, several views of Tahlee, and a sketch of the coal works at Newcastle. 

Isabella returned to England with Parry following the expiration of his commission in March 1834. They settled initially in Norfolk, where Parry worked as assistant poor law commissioner, and then in London on his appointment to another position with the Admiralty. 

‘Deeply impressed with the sense of the benefits which she conferred on the community’, the Australian Agricultural Company erected a monument to her outside St. John’s at Stroud. 

An island in Nunavut, Canada, is named after her. 

Tahlee remained the residence of the Company’s commissioner until 1849. The original house was destroyed by fire in 1860; later rebuilt, the property is now a bible college and religious retreat.

They had four surviving children – twins Edward and Isabella born in 1830, Lucy born in 1831 and Charles born in 1833. 

The family went down in whooping cough in 1839 and came to Tunbridge Wells for better air and her husband rented Mount Edgecumbe House. There is a brown plaque on the house commemorating the visit.

Isabella died in May 1839 at Tunbridge Wells two days after giving birth prematurely to twin boys who did not survive. 


Isabella's Grave

The grave is located in the cemetery in plot C8. The inscription on the gravestone is very worn.

The inscription is “Sacred/to the memory of/the (Hon.) Isabella Louisa PARRY/wife of/SIR William Edward PARRY/REMAINDER illegible”—moss in most of the letters.

There is a watercolour painting in the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge showing Isabella’s grave in the cemetery. More can be found out about Isabella at the SPRI here.  

Mural Tablet in Trinity Church

There is a tablet within Trinity Church, alongside the stage, which mentions her and her twins. This is only visible by special arrangement as this area is not normally open to visitors. There is more information about Isabella on this page.

Thomas Thomson 1776-1853

Thomas Thomson

Thomas Thomson was a medical doctor and military physician. He became a Deputy, then rose to an Inspector General of Hospitals in 1830. He was also ‘Physician Extraordinaire’ to the Duke of York.

Dr Thomas Thomson lived at Belvedere, on what we currently call the “cinema site” (For anyone not familiar with Tunbridge Wells, this is on the corner of Church Road and Mount Pleasant Road. The cinema was knocked down several years ago and there is an empty space surrounded by billboards). This is directly opposite Trinity Cemetery.

Tunbridge Wells Civic Society published an article about Thomas in one of their newsletters in 2016. Details are shown below. David Bushell described Thomas’s life before and after coming to Tunbridge Wells.


His original title was: ‘Dr Thomas Thomson of Belvedere, Tunbridge Wells (1776 – 1853): an outline of his life, including extracts from his commonplace notebook’

Thomas Thomson had a successful career as a military physician. He served against Napoleon in the West Indies and the Peninsula, and against the United States at the battle of New Orleans.

After this he came to Tunbridge Wells, where he lived in Belvedere House, today the site of the former cinema, and practiced his profession here for many years.

He was born in Kent in 1776, but little is known of his early life and parentage. At 21 he was an Assistant Surgeon at Chatham Barracks, and in 1800 became Surgeon to the 25th Foot (the Sussex Regiment).

His uncle (and future father in-law), Frederick Thomson, was a naval surgeon, but Thomas did not obtain formal medical qualifications until 1816 – a doctorate from the University of Paris. In 1810 while serving in the West Indies he was made Deputy Inspector of (military) Hospitals.

He was promoted to Brevet (acting) Inspector of Hospitals in 1825, though by this time he had been retired on half pay for some years. With his final promotion to Inspector of Hospitals in 1830 came full retirement from army service.

Thomson kept a commonplace book and diary, now lodged with the Wellcome Library. While entries are intermittent and mostly record scientific observations, they do provide a small window into his thoughts and activities.

Post War life in London

After the war Thomson practised as a physician in London. He lived at 62 Conduit St in the West End. In 1817 he married his cousin, Louisa Thomson. Their only child – Arthur Dyott Thomson – was baptised in 1821 at St George’s, Hanover Square.

Arthur was not a robust child yet graduated from Oxford and was called to The Bar though he did not practice. He wrote a number of religious books.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, lived at 12 Pembridge Villas in Kensington. Thomson’s commonplace book records the death – in January 1820 – of his mother: a few minutes before Midnight my respected mother expired after a fortnight’s confinement to bed – advising which she suffered little pain – her resignation was most perfect – “sic mihi contingat mori”.

Belvedere, Tunbridge Wells

Belvedere stood on the former cinema site in Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, opposite Holy Trinity Church. The extensive grounds included today’s Lonsdale and Clanricarde Gardens. It is not clear exactly when Thomas Thomson acquired Belvedere, but it must have been by 1824 as papers of John Ward (builder of the new Calverley estate) note that Thomson refused to sell Belvedere to Ward. Thomson was also a member of the 1824 committee setting up the new parish of Holy Trinity, donating £50 to the building fund. Also in 1824, he bought one and a half acres on the north side of Jordan’s Lane (now Church Road), eventually being the site of Trinity Church and the Priory Houses*.

Belvedere was known as “Dr Thomson’s house” and people only started to refer to it as Belvedere from 1851. The estate was originally known as Little Mount Pleasant.

Thomas’s Diaries

Later travels in England and Europe Thomson recorded travels in England and Europe in the proceeding decades: 1831 – left Tunbridge Wells on 9th May; left London on 14th July on a tour to the Isle of Wight; arrived Brighton on 5th August and placed Arthur at Mr Allpie’s school; 24th September left Brighton and took possession of 34 Halfmoon Street (Mayfair) on 29th. 1832 – left Tunbridge Wells June 19th for Oxford; 23rd, left Kensington and arrived at Oxford without the sympathy of religious or political connection a residence is most irksome after a certain time. Thomson then travelled to Leamington, Warwick Castle and Kenilworth. 25 July – left Malvern and arrived at Cheltenham; 28th at Oxford; 29th London; August 2nd Tunbridge Wells; 3rd placed Arthur at Mr Allpie’s; 9th took possession of No 1 Priory (Tunbridge Wells). 1834 – Thomson holidayed in Italy, recording visits to Genoa, Pisa, Lucia, Tuscany, Siena and Rome. He then set down this advice for men/ husbands: Keep on good terms with wife, stomach and conscience.

Ticehurst Lunatic Asylum

Apart from practising as a family doctor, Thomson served for ten years as the Visiting Physician to the Ticehurst Private (Lunatic) Asylum, following the resignation of Thomas Mayo in 1836. Ticehurst was an institution for the wealthy (today’s Priory Hospital is situated on part of the old Asylum’s grounds). His appointment was not without rival. The visiting justices had to decide between Thomson and the much younger Dr John Bramston Wilmot. The justices concluded that though an old man might not be wiser than a young one, an old physician might have the most experience so Dr Thomson was elected. When he himself resigned ten years later, Dr Wilmot was elected in his place.

Death and Burial

On 26 April 1844 Thomson records the death of his wife: lost my beloved Louisa who was interred on 3rd May. 5th May left home for Bath and returned on the 10th accompanied by Arthur from Piccadilly.

Louisa was buried across the road from her Tunbridge Wells home, in Holy Trinity churchyard.

As for Thomas, the following year he became seriously ill, as he recorded: 29th October – a serious and sudden attack of illness which confined me for some weeks but now which by the blessing of God I have recovered and I believe with improved constitution. The commonplace book then falls silent until recording what was probably his final illness: 16th August 1852 – was attacked in this morning with a similar affliction to that of October 29th 1845, nearly seven years since.

Thomson died of heart disease on 4 August 1853, with a funeral service and burial at Holy Trinity.

Arthur inherited all his father’s personal effects and assets except the real estate which was held in trust by the executors for his, and any heir’s, benefit.

The Will also granted small bequests to a number of female Thomson relatives, including Eliza Thomson and Amelia Dingley, daughters of his uncle Frederick. They lived in Tunbridge Wells, at No. 1, Priory, Church Road. The 1861 census records Amelia as a widow aged 61: she had previously married Captain William Augustus Dingley RA. Her sister, Eliza Thomson, was four years older.

Belvedere after the death of Thomas Thomson Arthur and Elizabeth Thomson lived in Belvedere after Thomas’ death, until 1865 when Elizabeth died, aged 55. She was buried in Trinity, the officiating minister being Edward Hoare.

The Tunbridge Wells Gazette (22 December) noted that she was ‘deeply lamented by all who knew her’. Arthur then left Tunbridge Wells to settle in his London home, 12 Pembridge Villas. He died in London in October 1892 but was buried with his wife and parents back in Holy Trinity. There is a memorial stone to the family in one of the upper meeting rooms. Their bodies were interred in the graveyard attaching to the church (recorded as in rows 30 and 33). In his Will, Arthur left his personal assets to his housekeeper and her family, any real estate reverting to the Thomson family.

His father’s medical qualification certificates and official appointment documents were auctioned by Sotheby’s in June 1908 for £13.50 and are now in the archives of the Wellcome Library, alongside his commonplace notebook and diary.

Subsequent occupiers of Belvedere were also doctors. By 1901 the site had been acquired by Dr Francis Bisshopp after which he proceeded to have the house demolished and a new one built – Parham House – itself dismantled (and rebuilt as Frant End, now 142 Forest Road, Tunbridge Wells) to make way for the new Ritz cinema which was opened in December 1934.”

Memorial at Trinity

In one of the upper rooms in Trinity Church there is a memorial plaque to Thomas, Louisa and Elizabeth Thomson

The memorial reads “Louisa THOMSON, died 26th April 1844, Thomas THOMSON, MD of Belvedere, Tunbridge Wells, Inspector General of Hospitals, husband of the above, died 4th August 1853, also Elizabeth, wife of Arthur Dyott THOMSON, of Belvedere, died 16th December 1865″


Thomas, Louisa, Elizabeth and Arthur Thomson are all buried in the same grave in the churchyard.

North face

North face – Sacred to the memory of Louisa/wife of Thomas THOMSON Esq. M.D./of Tunbridge Wells/who died after a long & painful illness/April 26th 1844/also of the above/Thomas THOMSON. Esq. M. D./Inspector General of Hospitals/who died August 4th 1853

South face

South face – Sacred to the memory of/Elizabeth/wife of Arthur THOMSON ESQ./of Belvedere /died December(–)/WHOLE LINE MISSING/Also of——-/who died —-/aged 71. Although the words are not visible on the gravestone we know what they say from Arthur’s probate record and other searches. Elizabeth died in December 1865 and Arthur Dyott Thomson died 2 December 1892.

Grave Location

Family Crest

The Thomson family crest is shown on three houses facing the Town Hall called Dyott Terrace. This is just around the corner from the cemetery.

Tunbridge Wells Water

Thomas wrote a book about the medicinal properties of the water of Tunbridge Wells. It’s stored at the Wellcome Trust and can be accessed here.