Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


Planters, St Edmunds Lane




This property, built in the style of an Ceylonese Plantation house
is located along St Edmunds Lane in Bures.
There is no public access to this property, although it can clearly be seen from various vantage points.

Original Sri Lanka Tea Planters House
Note the simulatory in design.

Aerial View of Planters


Set amongst a picturesque garden of 2.5acres, Planters is an authentic Ceylonese Plantation house.
In 1897, Charles Thomas Scowen a local Bures man retired at the age of 45yrs after working In Ceylon.

Although the local Census describes him as a Tea Planter, his main occupation was photography
see Wikipedia entry

Charles Scowen Early Life:-
Charles born 1852 in Middlesex
Charles Scowen arrived in Ceylon around 1873 and was initially an assistant to R. Edley, the Commission Agent in Kandy before opening a photographic studio around 1876.
By 1885 his photography firm had studios in Colombo and Kandy.
In the early 1890s the firm was being run by Mortimer Scowen, brother Charles Scowen.
By about 1894 the firm’s stock of negatives had been acquired by the ‘Colombo Apothecaries Co Ltd’.

(Mortimer b1863, death registered in Sudbury 1935, but no record of him being at Bures)

After retiring possibly in the early 1890`s, Charles then spent the next 4 years constructing Planters using authentic materials.
The house is of a pitch pine timber framed construction, clad painted in heavy duty corrugated iron.
The property features a covered verandah on the ground floor and a loggia balcony on the first floo

Charles occupied the property until his death in 1948.

This London Gazette Nov 1948 entry reads:-
Charles Thomas Scowen, died 24th November 1948. Charles was a respected Sri Lanka photographer
Address given as "Hill House" St Edmunds Lane, Bures

As you can see, the property was then known as Hill House and not Planters as we know it today.
Charles probate record, also confirmed that his address was Hill View, St Edmunds Lane.

After is death the property was left to his executors, Agnes Diggins and Mabel Wilson were both housekeepers to Charles.
Now did Agnes or Mabel rename the house - that question to date remains unanswered.

This 1892 - 1905 map shows Planters, marked in Red
To the top right of the property are two sheds.

However the land is also amarked with the name "Prospect Cottage" - but there doesn`t appear to be any other building on that land.
So was Planters at one time Prospect Cottage - more research required ?


Essex Records Office holds a catalogue by "Strutt and Parker" for the sale of the Planters in 1966
This may have been the time when Mary Wilson (Executor) sold the property to Michael Fox

Look at this link for further information

Property Image courtesy of Strutt and Parker sale brochure

Updated 24/01/2016 with the Greg Scowen Information
updated 29/01/2016

updated 30/1/2016 with grave photo
updated 02/02/2016 Charles Time Line

update with new photos and revised text 25/02/2015
updated Mortimer facts 20/06/2016