The Farncombs of Ebor House – Pt 3 in the Ebor House series

For a moment, I’d forgotten that I was lost.

Questions flew through my mind as I sat in my car, gawking at a huge house on a country road.

“Who would have built such a grand home?” I wondered.

Blog Photo - Ebor House

Frederick Farncomb would have.

And he did.

**

1867 was a great year. After years of debate, Canada’s separate parts became one country under God and queen.

Robert Harris painting, via wikipedia

Robert Harris painting, via wikipedia

East, west, north and south.

Former adversaries. Aboriginal, French and English. Different languages. Different back-stories.  Different customs and beliefs.

Starting in 1867, confederation brought these parts together under one national ‘roof’.

And the glory of that moment inspired many Canadians to reach higher, dream bigger.

Some of Canada’s finest residences were built in the period just before, during and after 1867.

Ravenscrag Photo Built in 1860's

Shaughnessy House in Montreal

At the Bond Head Harbour, east of Toronto,  a customs officer named Frederick Farncomb had ambitions for a roof of his own. But not just any roof.

Orphaned at 7 years of age, Frederick left England for Canada as a young man. He married Jane Robson, also of British background.  Together they had 7 children.

Blog Photo - Ebor House and Bond Head harbour

Bond Head Harbour (also called Port Newcastle) thrived,  as ships plied their trade with various cities in North America.

Cargoes of wheat, oats, flour and lumber sailed across Lake Ontario.

Frederick’s uncle Thomas Farncomb, the wealthy Lord Mayor of London, England, was also a merchant and ship owner. After he died (in 1865) Frederick inherited a large amount of money from his estate. In 1867, Frederick hired a Toronto architect to design a house for his large family on land he already owned and within 18 months, the 17-room house was completed.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Entrance and Stairs

Some of the furniture was from Jacques & Hay, who made furniture for Canada’s wealthiest citizens and even royalty.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Dining Room full

York, England, had special significance for the Farncomb family and they called their home Ebor House. In Latin, “Ebor” means “York”.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Gates

Frederick was influential in his community and church.  When local Anglicans built St. George’s Church, Newcastle, (just up the road from Bond Head) it was “patterned from a church near Leeds, England, the old parish church of Frederick Farncomb, a member of the building committee and an avid supporter of the new church.

Blog Photo - Ebor House and Church Entrance

“When the design was accepted and the building commenced, money was raised from far and near. Even the Lord Mayor of London, Mr. Farncomb’s uncle, contributed generously to the fund.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House and Church Steeple

Blog Photo - Ebor House and Wide shot of Church

The Farncombs were undoubtedly one of the most prominent families in the Bond Head-Newcastle area.  When son Alfred  became a doctor  and John became “Reverend Canon John Farncomb” at St. George’s Church, their influence grew even more.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Living Room

One of the biggest symbols of the Farncombs’ success was their beautiful lakeside home. With its stately rooms and beautiful grounds, Ebor House was the perfect setting for family weddings, dinner parties, picnics and important social events.

**

Next: Joyful Times at Ebor House.

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22 Comments

Filed under A Good Home, Bond Head Harbour, Country Homes, Frederick Farncomb, John Farncomb, St. George's Anglican Church in Newcastle Ontario, The Farncombs of Bond Head

22 responses to “The Farncombs of Ebor House – Pt 3 in the Ebor House series

  1. Oh, it’s still a cliff hanger……

  2. I’m with Gallivanta! Keep them coming, Cynthia.

  3. Such wonderful history and what a story this house has…

  4. It probably still is the perfect setting for family weddings, dinner parties, picnics and important social events, by the looks of it. A good slice of history!

  5. Myno Van Dyke

    Great Job!

    • That means a lot coming from you, Myno.
      I should tell everyone that you are the president of the Newcastle Village and District Historical Society,. which does phenomenal work at documenting the history of the area. Thanks very much to you for answering my questions, especially during your holidays at your cottage! You may be sure I will be bothering you again very soon (no good deed goes unpunished, Myno…)

  6. Thanks for the tour! I will be in Toronto next year, I’ll have to check this out.

    • Toronto has many, many beautiful old homes. Glad to hear you’re coming to Toronto – hope it isn’t in the winter! We were getting better winters till last year’s ice storm.

  7. Love this place. It’s wonderful. Remarkable how similar Victorian design is across the world. Some striking similarities to grand homes we have here in Australia.

  8. Pingback: Joyful Times at Ebor House – Pt. 4 in the Series | Cynthia Reyes

  9. I love this, Cynthia. Knowing the history behind the family that built the house makes it even more enchanting. Can’t wait to hear more. To know that Mr. Farncombs was orphaned at 7 and became so successful is a delight.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. I can’t possibly do this family justice on a blog: their story just keeps getting better and better. But I’m trying really hard to not let them down in the telling of their story.

  10. Pingback: A Man in Love With a House – Pt. 2 in a Series | Cynthia Reyes

  11. Pingback: This, That and The Ebor | Cynthia Reyes

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