Corsham’s Alexander House (pictured) and Alexander Terrace have long been attributed to Richard Alexander a surgeon.
There were two Richard Alexanders: Richard Hayward, and his son Richard Chandler. Richard H was baptised at All Cannings Church in 1788, and married Mary Prior in 1808 at Lewisham, presumably her home town. By 1818 they were recorded as living in Corsham. Richard H is described as Esq, living in Corsham through 1818, 1833, and 1842. There were 3 children, Richard b.1809, George and Mary Anne b.1813. His will confirms these family names and the various bequests made to them, including various plots of land. He died in 1843.
Richard C is subsequently recorded as living in Middlesex, he is listed as Esq, MD. In 1851 he is described as a non practising MD, he is unmarried. In 1851 Richard C changed his surname, and is then known as Richard Chandler Alexander Prior (his mothers maiden name). All subsequent entries are shown as RCA Prior. Richard died in 1902. Probate was granted in 1903 to Sir Gabriel Goldney, his brother in law. Another interesting aspect of Richard Hayward’s life was that he was recognised as a botanist. He was briefly Curator of the Fielding Herbarium, Oxford, and collected widely. His British Herbarium was acquired by the British Museum. He sent material from Jamacia to Grisebach who named the genus ‘Priora Griseb’ in his honour.
George became an architect, and was involved locally in proposals for repairs and improvements to St Bart’s in 1816/17, not all of which were taken up. He died in 1885. His sister, Mary Anne, married Gabriel Goldney in 1839. She died in 1898.
By 1861 the Census records a 90-year-old Mary Alexander living in the High Street, described as a Fund Holder – obviously a lady of private means. She died in 1866 aged 96.
There is a monument in St Bart’s church dedicated to Richard Hayward Alexander and his wife Mary. Both are buried at Kensal Green cemetery.
see also Alexander House, High Street, Corsham