About Philip Meadows Martineau

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Born in 1752, Philip Meadows Martineau was a member of a notable Norwich family of Huguenot descent and was an active member of the French community in Norwich.

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Martineau was different from the other land tax commissioners investigated by the history detectives, - a medical professional rather than someone actively engaged in public life. However his professional standing meant that he was nevertheless typical of many of the commissioners appointed by the 1821 Act. The detectives' research demonstrated that some of Martineau's property transactions linked him to his fellow commissioners, Elisha De Hague and William Herring.

Medical career

Unlike most of the other land tax commissioners investigated by the detectives he was not involved in the civic life of the city, and his reputation rested upon his medical career for which he was widely respected.

Martineau worked as a surgeon at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital where he served on the board of governors, attending weekly meetings. The detectives examined the minutes of one of these meetings at Norfolk Record Office. Martineau was able to communicate his medical expertise to a wider audience through contributions to the transactions of the Royal Society.

Country gentleman

Martineau's professional success enabled him to acquire the trappings of a gentleman, with a country seat on the edge of Norwich called Bracondale Lodge. The grounds of the estate were landscaped by Humphrey Repton. The detectives were intrigued to discover that Norfolk Record Office occupies land that was once part of the estate, although the lodge was demolished in the 1960s.

At the Parliamentary Archives the detectives found a reference to Martineau's property in a book of reference relating to the successful 1827 scheme to build a waterway from Norwich to Lowestoft and using the reference numbers were able to locate the property in Carrow on the accompanying plan.

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Find out how the Norwich history detectives followed the trail of 5 commissioners named on the Land Tax Roll of 1821.