Building in Plantation Terrace was first started 1819,
house was built for John Henry Ley 1770-1850 (later
Sir) First Clerk of the House of Commons in 1833. He was from Kenton and
also owned the
last house Kia Ora (now Plantation Lodge). He lived here naming his
house Plantation House then later Ley House. After his death, his
widow and married daughter (to a Mr Plantagenet Somerse!) seem to have
lived there until its sale around 1875.
This was when Dr Francis Cann the renowned surgeon from London bought
it, having been living in Walton
House next door since his marriage to a Miss Holt around 1866. He
bought the house and sometime later, in 1878, after backing
the winner, Sefton, in the Epsom Derby, Peter Hoare of Luscombe
suggested changing the name to Sefton.
At Epsom, Sefton started at odds of 100/12 in a field of twenty-two.
Insulaire, was made favourite ahead of Bonnie Scotland. The weather was
miserable. Ridden by Henry Constable, Sefton was sent to the front after
a furlong and never headed. In the straight he held off the challenges
of Childeric and the fast-finishing Insulaire to win by one and a half
lengths and won prize money of £5,850.
Wikipedia: Hand-coloured engraving of Sefton and Henry Constable.
Dr Cann was considered quite a wag, riding round the town in his hunting
Pinks, offering his patients a swig from his hip flask. He argued with
other doctors, causing a split with some going with him to run one
hospital and the others to another hospital. However, he was the one who
helped build the Cottage Hospital around 1900. It was rumoured that his
wife had 17 children but only 3 survived. His son Mark Francis was also
a doctor but hated his father due to the way he treated his mother. One
time, his father came home hot from hunting, demanding the fire in the
hearth be put out and, when refused, he got a jug of water to throw over
the fire. Mark later lived in Ilex House nearby dying in the 1940s.
Dr. Cann senior left his wife and went off with his 'nurse'/mistress
living in Putney until his death in 1929 but he is buried in Dawlish
Cemetery (the first large above ground tomb at the entrance (he was an
anti-vivisectionist). In his will, he left some money to the vicar to
take care of this grave and any money left over was to be given to a
dozen Dawlish poor but only if they took flowers to his grave.
So, the house was again sold in the 1930s and it became a hotel run by
Mrs Peters, until the 1940s, when it was taken over by the Coventry and
Warwickshire Hospital Fund together with another house, Lanherne - one
for men the other for women. It seems in 1966 the adjoining house was
combined to accommodate more patients. This house had been a boarding
school in the 1880s.
Since then Sefton has always been used as a convalescent home by various