Sir Charles Raymond (about 1713 – 1788) bought Valentine House in the mid-18thCentury. He was a captain in the East India Company before becoming a highly successful shipowner and later a founding partner in the bank Raymond, Williams, Vere, Lowe & Fletcher, which went on to become part of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Raymond was originally from Devon from a seafaring family. By the time he was born his three older brothers had died and by 13, his father, John Raymond, was also deceased. At the age of 16 he made his first voyage with one of his uncles, a sea captain, to the East India Company’s fort at Madras. He took to it immediately and was a captain of his own ship by 21, becoming a managing owner on more than 100 voyages. With the vast wealth he amassed he was able to set up his own private bank. After marrying Sarah Webster, an illegitimate daughter of John Webster of Bromley, Kent, and his mistress Judith Cooke, in 1743, the couple lived at Wellclose Square, Wapping, formerly the home of his uncle Hugh Raymond. By 1750 he had moved to Upton, near West Ham, and in 1754 bought Valentines House, Ilford. The new house came with a substantial estate, but he extended his land holdings and on one part he built Highlands House, which he leased to his brother-in-law Captain William Webber. In 1771 he served as high sheriff of Essex and created a baronet in 1774. He laid out new gardens at Valentines, where he kept a menagerie. Describing the house at the time, one magazine said “it may, with great propriety, be called a Cabinet of Curiosities”.
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