Heysed’s Cottage (Somerset), 13 St Peters Terrace, Willunga

An early cottage possibly built by 1852 when widow Sarah Elizabeth Dawe bought the half-acre lot for £12 from Thomas Smith Kell. Within 6 months she sold it to James Bassett, George Sara and Thomas Atkinson acting as Trustees to manage, lease or rent it for her son Henry’s benefit until he reached 21 years of age.

Sarah was given the right “to occupy and enjoy the property during her lifetime”. She died in 1865 and her son Henry Dawe inherited the property in 1871 as planned and then sold it to Samuel Heysed for £75, with 5 shillings paid to each of the three Trustees.

The cottage was the home of the Heysed family for 60 years from 1871. Samuel was a Devonshire man who married Somerset lass Charlotte Weir in 1861. They came to SA in 1863 with two young children and soon moved to Willunga where Samuel worked in the slate quarries. Three more children were born. Samuel was of a jovial nature and was Secretary of the Oddfellows’ Lodge for a long time and also a steward in the Methodist Church. In his retirement he was a keen gardener. He died in August 1925, aged 90 years.

The name ‘Somerset’ was possibly given to this cottage soon after the Heyseds moved into it, to remind them of their links to Charlotte’s birthplace back in England. The Heysed family also owned the cottage next door (Number 15) which they named ‘Devon’ in honour of Samuel’s birthplace.

These two houses and adjoining land on St Peter’s Tce were offered for sale at auction in 1930 when Samuel’s daughter Amy Heysed left Willunga – the last of the family still living in the town. The nearby bridge across St Peters Terrace was known for some time as Heysed’s Bridge (previously Kell’s Bridge).

From the 1930s to the 1950s the cottage was home to members of the Pointon family. It was bought in 1962 by artists Dora Chapman and James Cant and became their ‘pied a terre’ while painting in the local countryside. When Dora died in 1995 the property was bequeathed to the National Trust of SA and was restored and subsequently returned to private ownership.

This building is on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5521)


Baxendale and F Lush Willunga Walks Willunga National Trust Willunga 2010 (1989)
SAILIS (online) https://sailis.lssa.com.au/ CT610/155; CT611/59; CT 2101/134; CT 4396/649
The Advertiser Wednesday August 19th 1925 page 20.
1925 ‘OBITUARY‘, The Advertiser 19 August, p. 20. , viewed 12 Mar 2024,
1930 ‘Advertising‘, Southern Argus 24 July, p. 2. , viewed 12 Mar 2024,
Stephen Henwood Upholding Heritage: Repair and Restoration of Somerset Cottage held by Willunga National Trust.

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