Remembering a stonemason who has left his mark on Leamington - and also played a major part in the town's development

Fictional book based on historical fact records William Gascoyne's rise from humble stonemason to in-demand architect and influential local politician

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:05 am
The front cover of The Ambitious Stonemason by Kevin Hunt.
The front cover of The Ambitious Stonemason by Kevin Hunt.

A fictional book based around an important Leamington stonemason came to fruition after the author moved into his old house and wanted to know more about him.

This move 40 years ago by surveyor Kevin Hunt was the catalyst for him to become a master’s graduate in history - and then to research the man who had helped build the house he still lives in.

Kevin hopes his fictional story based around facts, titled 'The Ambitious Stonemason', will preserve the legacy of Victorian stonemason, architect and politician William Gascoyne.

Kevin Hunt.

The 72-year-old grandfather said: “My research on the Victorian house that I had moved into with my young family led me to study history as a mature student gaining an MA.

“I have continued to research and gather information about the life and times of William Gascoyne; and wrote my book in the last two years using extensive research of many historical documents.

“It is common practice to learn about prominent national figures from our past, but all too often we allow people who had an important role in creating the town where we live, to fall into historical obscurity.

“I want people to know who had a major part to play in the development of Leamington Spa.”

The front cover of The Ambitious Stonemason by Kevin Hunt.

The Ambitious Stonemason follows the fascinating rise of William Gascoyne from humble stonemason to in-demand architect and influential local politician.

After moving to Leamington he worked his way up to running a successful building company employing more than 100 workers.

His legacy can still be seen all over the picturesque town, which grew rapidly during the 19th century.

But The Ambitious Stonemason doesn’t shy away from financial problems which plagued Gascoyne’s later life.

Kevin added: “The novel traces William Gascoyne’s life, from his early days in Stony Stratford, his apprenticeship as a stonemason and his adult life in the building trade.

“I also explain how financial difficulties during his later life, led William to move to Beckenham in Kent.

“William was only a child when he was sent away from home to serve an apprenticeship with a stonemason in 19th century London.

“There, he develops a reputation as a capable craftsman and establishes important connections with renowned architects before joining family who had settled in Royal Leamington Spa.

“The Ambitious Stonemason shows how developers influenced the growth of this town and how William became a significant figure in its business, political and social life.”

Kevin worked as a surveyor in Leamington before retraining to become a special needs teacher before his retirement.

The father of four still lives in the house designed and built by William Gascoyne.

For more details, visit Amazon and search for Kevin Hunt, where the paperback and Kindle formats of The Ambitious Stonemason are both available.