Chester House, Wimbledon: Home of John Horne Tooke
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|Notes / History
|One of the oldest surviving buildings in the area, Chester House was built during the 1690s. Between 1792 and 1812, it was the home of John Horne Tooke, a radical politician and reformist. The household included a large Tom-cat, which Tooke fussed and hand-fed titbits each day after dinner.
Tooke’s reformist policies and sympathy with the French Revolution aroused government suspicions and in 1794, he was arrested and sent to the Tower, charged with treason. Throughout his imprisonment the cat failed to appear for its customary feed, however following Tooke’s release, the animal quickly re-emerged. Having sighted Tooke in his usual place at the head of the table, it immediately climbed on to his shoulder and purred happily throughout the rest of the meal.
In recent years the property has been converted to commercial use. It now has Grade II listed status.