Portrait of Charles Whitcomb

Name: Charles Whitcomb

Burial Number: 1781

Gender: Male

Occupation: Chairman and Director of Potter Bailey & Co Ltd

Distinction: Hospital Benefactor

Born: 11/10/1861

Died: 13/05/1944

Buried: 17/05/1944


Heene Hallmark

Charles Whitcomb 1861 – 1944

Charles was born in Petworth, the son of Charles and Eliza. He was baptised in the local church on 8th November 1861. His father was a master builder and had helped to restore St Mary’s Church, Petworth and St Peter ad Vincula at Wisborough Green.  By 1881, the family were living in Pound Street and Charles had joined Potter Bailey & Co as a grocer’s assistant. On 2nd June 1886, Charles married Mary Smith at Broadwater Church in Worthing. The couple moved into rooms above Potter Bailey’s shop at 102 Montague Street. In 1891, they were sharing the rooms with Mary’s widowed mother and three other grocer’s assistants.


By 1901, Charles was running the shop and gaining promotion eventually becoming Chairman of Potter Bailey & Co Ltd in 1919.





In 1911, Charles and Mary celebrated their silver wedding anniversary at Mitchell’s restaurant in Chapel Road with eighty guests. By then, they had moved into “Claytonhurst”, a large house in Richmond Road. Mary died on 14th July 1931. In 1938, Charles presented a new operating table, a shadowless light and bone operating instruments to Worthing Hospital. He and his late wife had always shown an interest in supporting Worthing’s elderly population and in 1943, Charles donated 4 Church Walk to Worthing Social Services for use as an old people’s home. Charles was a regular worshipper and church warden at St Andrew’s Church in Clifton Road although in his final years, he was often seen in a wheelchair at St John’s Church in Ripley Road. Charles died on 13th May 1944 and was buried beside Mary. Probate was granted on 31st July to Ronald Henry William Pearless solicitor, Bernard James Blaker retired builder and Alfred henry Lipscombe accountant’s clerk. Effects £41888 17s 8d. (see below for details of will bequests).

Researcher: Carol Sullivan

The Grave

Photograph of headstone for Charles Whitcomb

Location in Cemetery

Area: WB Row: 1 Plot: 41

Exact Location (what3words): dices.frames.shop

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


"Jesu Mercy" Mary beloved wife of Charles Whitcomb passed peacefully away on July 14th 1931 "Rest eternal grant her O Lord, light perpetual shine upon her" Also of Charles Whitcomb who passed into the nearer presence May 13th 1944 aged 82 R.I.P.

Further Information


Name: Charles Whitcomb

Gender: Male

Born: 11/10/1861

Town: Petworth

County: Sussex

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: 2/6/1886

Spouse First Name: Mary

Spouse Last Name: Smith

Town of Marriage: Broadwater

County of Marriage: Sussex

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 13/05/1944

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: "Claytonhurst"

Address line 2: Richmond Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


The Herald, Friday May 19th 1944


The death of Mr Charles Whitcomb robs Worthing of one of its kindest, gentlest residents.

He would not wish a “fuss” made about his passing. He was too shy and reserved ever , even in long talks beside the fire or in the pretty garden at Claytonhurst in Richmond Road, to talk much about himself. Of his helpfulness to all in trouble; of his generosity, and above all, of his anxiety to use his money to the best service of those less fortunate than himself, there is not need to write.

It was typical of him that he seized with alacrity on the opportunity of setting up a home for old people before his death rather than, as he had intended, I believe, to make provision for something of this nature in his will.

The Worthing Council of Social Service’s scheme met with his ready acceptance. It was one of his regrets that ill-health prevented him paying more than one or two visits to the lovely home he made possible at 4 Church Walk.

He hated publicity: he loved nothing better than having his friends around him at his home. He would talk for hours about old Worthing and of men and women of his generation who, in the town’s business and civic life, and in humbler spheres, helped make the town what it is today.

But above all, those who knew him well will cherish for long years a memory of great kindliness, and a warm friendliness that seemed to spring from a native courtesy and a deep understanding of his fellowmen. Life will be poorer now that Charles Whitcomb is no longer with us.

To his niece, Mrs Brooker, will go deep sympathy in her loss.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £41888 17 s 8 d

Current value of effects: £1489216.00

Census Information


Egremont Row, Petworth

Charles aged 46, master builder employing 16 men and 3 boys. Eliza aged 45. Frederick aged 18, bricklayer. George aged 16, plumber and painter. Felix aged 13. Eliza aged 11. Charles aged 9. Ernest aged 4 months. Plus 1 servant


Pound Street, Petworth.

Charles aged 56, famer and builder employing 3 men, 2 boys on farm, 13 men building. Using 75 acres. Eliza aged 55. Charles aged 19, grocer’s assistant. Ernest aged 10


102 Montague Street, Worthing

Charles aged 29, grocer’s assistant. Mary aged 28. Hannah Smith aged 64, mother-in-law, widow, dressmaker. Austen Bowes aged 23, boarder, grocer’s assistant. George Leigh aged 21, boarder, grocer’s assistant. Harry Wilmshurst aged 20, boarder, grocer’s assistant. Plus 1 servant


“Claytonhurst” Richmond Road, Worthing

Charles aged 39, grocer. Mary aged 38. Hannah Smith aged 74, widow, retired dressmaker.


“Claytonhurst” Richmond Road, Worthing.

Charles aged 49, grocer. Mary aged 48. Plus 1 servant.



Living at Claytonhurst, Richmond Road, Worthing, Sussex.

First name(s) Last name Relationship to head Sex Birth year Age in years Birth place Occupation Employer
Charles Whitcomb
Male 1861 59 Petworth, Sussex, England Grocer Director Potter Bailey & Co Ltd
Mary Whitcomb
Female 1863 58 Clayton, Sussex, England
Fanny Eliza Scott
Female 1885 36 Bognor, Sussex, England Servant Private


“Claytonhurst” 62 Richmond Road, Worthing

Charles, director, grocer. Lucy Brooker, unpaid domestic duties. Fanny Scott, domestic service. Mary Turner, incapacitated, blind.

(Lucy Brooker was Charles’s niece and Mary Turner was a long term servant).


Miscellaneous Information

The Herald, Friday October 20th 1944

Mr Charles Whitcomb’s Big Bequests to Poor

Mr Charles Whitcomb, of Claytonhurst, Richmond Road, Worthing, Chairman of Potter, Bailey & Co. Ltd., wholesale and retail grocers, Worthing, who died on May 13 last, aged 82 years, left £41,883.17s.3d. gross, with net personality £25,352.8s.1d. (Duty paid £6,243) He left:

Premises 4, Church Walk, Worthing to Worthing Council of Social Service, for an Old People’s Home (already given).

£2000 upon trust for poor residents of Worthing.
£1000 upon trust for ladies in reduced circumstances of Worthing.
£500 to Worthing Hospital.
£200 to the Cottage Hospital, Petworth.
£100 each to St Monica’s Home, Worthing, Worthing and District Nursing Association, Broadwater and Sompting Nursing Association, the Queen Alexandra Hospital home, Worthing, and St Andrew’s Church, Worthing.
£50 to the Home of the Holy Rood, Findon
£50 to Alfred H. Lipscombe, Accountants Clerk, “in appreciation of assistance in connection with income tax”
£500 for division among employees of Potter, Bailey & Co. Ltd.
£500 Fanny Scott, maid, and £400 upon trust to her.