The American Revolution: my Dana connection

Our house in Ballarat is two blocks from Dana street, named after Henry Edmund Pulteney Dana (1820-1852), commander of the native police corps in Victoria, who was responsible for collecting the first gold licence fees in Ballarat in 1851. Henry Dana was the brother of my third great grandmother Charlotte Champion Crespigny née Dana; he was my fourth great uncle.

The Dana family is a notable American family, and when in 1989 Greg and I spent a few days in Massachusetts, we visited some places there connected with my Dana forebears.

This was through the kindness of my great aunt Nancy Movius née Champion de Crespigny (1910 – 2003), sister of my paternal grandfather. Nancy, born in Australia, had married an American and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

My great aunt Nancy, her dachshund Cobber and me being licked on the nose. Cobber means friend or mate in Australian English and Cobber the dachshund was indeed a very dear friend.

Some of our Dana forebears lived in this area, from as early as 1640. Nancy shared my interest in our family history, and during our visit she drove us to the nearby town of Concord, where, it is said, “the shot heard round the world”, the first shot of the American Revolutionary War, rang out on 19 April 1775. 

Actually, there is some dispute as to whether the first shot of the Revolution was fired in Lexington or in Concord.  In the centenary celebrations of the beginning of the Revolution at Lexington on 19 April 1875, Richard Henry Dana (1815 – 1882 my second cousin five times removed) claimed that “the first shots fired back by our troops at theirs” were fired on the Green at Lexington.

The battle of Lexington, April 19th. 1775. Plate I.” In: “The Doolittle engravings of the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775.” The first of four engravings by Amos Doolittle from 1775. Doolittle visited the battle sites and interviewed soldiers and witnesses. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

As they neared Lexington, the report came to them that some five hundred men were under arms; and I am not disinclined to reconcile their testimony with the facts, by the consideration that they heard the roll of our drums, and perhaps saw the flash or heard the report of our signal-guns, intended to call our men together, and thought them a defiance ; and perhaps officers in the centre or rear might have thought them hostile shots. But the front knew they had not been fired upon, and saw the short, thin line of sixty men with arms at rest. Pitcairn, when he rode up to them, and ordered them to surrender their arms and disperse, knew they had not fired. He was not the man to talk after hostile shots. Pitcairn has had the fate which befalls many men who carry out orders that afterwards prove fatally ill-judged. When he ordered our men to surrender their arms and disperse, he was executing the orders of his commander-in-chief and of his King. If Britain was in the right, Pitcairn was in the right. Twice they were ordered to surrender their arms and disperse; and twice they refused to obey, and stood their ground. Then came the fatal fire; and why not? General Gage had been authorized to use the troops for this very purpose. He was authorized to fire upon the people, if necessary to enforce the new laws, without waiting for the civil magistrate. He had resolved to do so. Had that volley subdued the resistance of Massachusetts, Pitcairn would have been the hero of the drama. Was he to leave a military array behind him, and not attempt to disarm and disband them? If they refused, was he to give it up? I have never thought it just or generous to throw upon the brave, rough soldier, who fell while mounting the breastworks at Bunker Hill, the fault which lay on the King, the Parliament, the Ministry, and the commander-in-chief. The truth is, the issue was inevitable. The first force of that kind which the King’s troops found in martial array was to be disarmed and disbanded; and, if they refused to obey, they were to be fired upon. Both sides knew this, and were prepared for it.

Hudson, Charles & Lexington Historical Society (Mass.) (1913). History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1868. Boston and New York Houghton Mifflin company. pp. 284-5 retrieved from
The Battle of Lexington, 19 April 1775, Oil on canvas by William Barns Wollen, 1910. National Army Museum, London. Retrieved through Wikimedia Commons.

I have a further Dana connection to the beginning Revolutionary War.

One of Richard Henry Dana’s cousins (and my first cousin seven times removed) was George Dana (1742 – 1787), a Sergeant in Captain Jonathon Gates’ Company of Minutemen, which marched from Ashburnham on the Lexington Alarm of 19 April 1775.

The Lexington Minuteman. Photograph by user Daderot CC BY-SA 3.0 retrieved from Wikimedia Commons


  • Edward Tabor Linenthal (1991). Sacred Ground: Americans and Their Battlefields. University of Illinois Press. p. 36.
  • Dana, Elizabeth Ellery (1956). The Dana Family in America. Wright & Potter Printing Company, 32 Derne Street, Boston. p. 482.
  • Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War volume 4 page 388 retrieved through
  • Stearns, Ezra S (1887). History of Ashburnham, Massachusetts, from the grant of Dorchester Canada to the present time, 1734-1886 : with a genealogical register of Ashburnham families. Pub. by the town, Ashburnham, Mass. pp 139 – 145 – retrieved through Hathitrust and p. 674 retrieved through Hathitrust

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George III: my part in his downfall

Tomorrow, 4 July, is Independence Day in the United States. I am proud to say that I have a family connection to the events it celebrates.

My eighth great grandfather Richard Dana, born in England – quite possibly in Manchester – in 1617, crossed the Atlantic about 1640 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Around 1648 he married an American girl named Anne Bullard (1626 – 1711), who was born in Massachusetts. Between 1649 and 1670 they had eleven children. I am descended from Richard’s son Daniel (1663 – 1749) and grandson Richard (1700 – 1772).

My sixth great grandfather Richard Dana appears to have been the first of the family to graduate from a university – Harvard. He became a notable lawyer and politician, a magistrate, and a leading figure in the agitation against British imperial government. He was a founding member the Sons of Liberty, and led Massachusetts opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765.

The bloody massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Regt. Engraving by Paul Revere. Image retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. Richard Dana served as a member of the committee that investigated the Boston Massacre in 1770.

I have written several times about Richard’s oldest son, my 5th great grandfather Edmund Dana (1739 – 1823).  As a young man he travelled to Edinburgh to study. He married in Edinburgh in 1765 and became a clergyman in England with the support of his wife’s family. He did not return to America

On July 4, 1776, the 13 American colonies claimed independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on Independence Day, the fourth of July, Americans celebrate this historic event.

Edmund Dana’s brother Francis (1743-1811) has a prominent place in this period of American history. In 1773 he married Elizabeth (1751 – 1807), daughter of William Ellery, who became one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.

John Trumbull’s 1819 painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the five-man drafting committee presenting the Declaration of Independence to Congress. Image retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. Among those depicted is William Ellery. The image can be found on the back of the U.S. $2 bill designed in 1976. The original painting hangs in the US Capitol rotunda.

Francis Dana became a leading lawyer and a close associate of George Washington. In 1775 the Continental Congress sent Francis Dana to England in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the differences leading to the Revolutionary War. He returned the following year and reported to General Washington that a friendly settlement of the dispute was impossible. Dana’s opinion helped influence the adoption of the 1776 Declaration of Independence. He was elected a delegate to the Second Continental Congress on 10 December 1776, where he signed the Articles of Confederation in 1778. He was sent as Ambassador to Russia in 1780. The future President John Quincy Adams served as his secretary. Again a member of Congress in 1784 and a leader of the Federalist Party, Francis Dana later joined the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, where he served as Chief Justice from 1791 to 1806.

Some of the signatures on the Articles of Confederation including Francis Dana who was one of six who signed on behalf of Massachusetts Bay and Francis’s father in law William Ellery who was one of three who signed on behalf of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. John Hancock also signed on behalf of Massachusetts; Hancock is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term “John Hancock” has become a synonym in the United States for signature.


with apologies to Spike Milligan

  • Dana, Elizabeth Ellery (1956). The Dana Family in America. Wright & Potter Printing Company, 32 Derne Street, Boston

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Remembering my paternal grandmother on her birthday

My grandmother Kathleen Cavenagh Cudmore was born 27 June 1908, 112 years ago today. She was the second daughter and second child of Arthur Murray Cudmore (1870-1951) and his wife Kathleen Mary née Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1874-1951).

My father wrote in a memoir of his mother:

Kathleen was always most attached to her father, who was a considerable sportsman: he played Australian football as a young man at league club level, his family background made him a good horseman and a good shot, and he was a talented golfer. Kathleen played golf from an early age, rode horses in competition, and also learnt fencing and played hockey. She remarked in a later interview that when she was young she would often play golf in the morning and go riding in the afternoon – or riding in the morning and golf in the afternoon. … She played regularly with the professional, Willie Harvey, at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.

Various sporting photos (1929, December 14). The Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 – 1931), p. 20. Retrieved June 27, 2020, from
THE SPORTS GIRL. (1930, March 15). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 16. Retrieved June 27, 2020, from
“ASSOCIATES from the Kooyonga and Royal Adelaide Golf Clubs held their annual competition for the Cudmore Challenge Cup at Seaton yesterday.Some of the competitors photographed daring the match. Left:—Mrs. G. de Crespigny driving off” from (1934, June 2). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), p. 20. Retrieved from

In 1934 Kathleen won the South Australian Women’s Golf Championship.

Ladies Golf Championship of South Australia: cup won by Kathleen Champion de Crespigny 1934
Adelaide’s Attractive Young Matrons … No. 3 (1935, October 15). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved June 27, 2020, from
FOURSOMES TO MESDAMES ASTLEY—DE CRESPIGNY (1938, June 9). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), p. 11. Retrieved June 27, 2020, from WALKING TO THE EIGHTH TEE-The finalists In the women’s foursomes golf championship of Australia, who met over 36 holes at, Seaton today. They are (from left), Mrs. F. Monfries and Miss May Douglas, who were opposed to Mrs. G. de Crespigny and Mrs. J. F. Astley.
Kathleen playing golf with her friend May Douglas (1904 – 1999)

Kathleen still played golf socially when I was a child and I remember playing with her at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club at Seaton in the 1970s.

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Two Gordons

The nineteenth-century English-born Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon
(1833 – 1870)
, is scarcely read now, and if he is remembered at all, it is not for his poetry. The best of Gordon’s verse rises very little above his over-quoted quatrain:

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.

Gordon’s main interest was horse-racing, not poetry, and it shows.

Drawing of Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon riding in a steeplechase. Drawing by Eugene Montagu Scott about 1865 in the collection of the State Library of Victoria.

Gordon’s biographer says that in his youth he caused his father ‘anxiety’. The strength of this euphemism may be judged by what he did about it, which was to boot his son out at the age of twenty on a one-way trip to the colony of South Australia with a letter of introduction to the governor and a bit of advice: join the police force. For the next few years he received ‘financial assistance’ from his father, that is, regular remittances on the condition that he stayed away.

For a while Gordon ran a livery stable behind one of Ballarat’s large hotels, conveniently placed, for he was a great drinker. We live in Ballarat and we also have enjoyed a glass or two at Craig’s, so I suppose we may be said to have a connection with Adam Lindsay Gordon.

I can claim an even closer connection. My third great grandfather Gordon Mainwaring (1817 – 1872), like Adam Lindsay Gordon banished to the colonies and living on remittances sent from home, knew him in Adelaide. Both Gordons joined the colonial police, and both drank to excess.  An 1891 newspaper article claimed Gordon Mainwaring was “on very friendly terms” with Adam Lindsay Gordon “who was also with the police force”.

The ‘with’ in this formula is rather a stretch. Gazetted as a constable on 23 August 1852, Mainwaring lasted only six weeks. On 14 October he was absent from the barracks without leave and returned drunk; he was dismissed.

Gordon Mainwaring, though not Adam Lindsay Gordon, also had a military career, rather less than glorious, rising to the rank of corporal in No. 2 Company of the 1st Battalion, Royal South Australian Volunteer militia.

In 1854, at the time of the Crimean war and the Russian Scare, Mainwaring spoke at a meeting in Walkerville urging men to join the militia, bending the truth in a worthy cause:

Mr. Mainwaring said he had been a soldier for twenty years, and was the first man who drilled the police in this colony. He had served for ten years in India ; he trusted he might say with credit. He had now settled at Walkerville, and purchased a house for £700. He respected the villagers as his friends and neighbours, and would not only volunteer, but gladly teach them their exercise either as artillerymen or infantry, being equally au fait at both. But it must be understood that he would take no additional pay for such extra services. (Cheers.)

Within a year this sketch of himself had become a little tarnished, when he was found in contempt of court, for having “been confined for drunken and disorderly conduct, but liberated on bail, [he] did not appear to his recognizances when called on to answer for his misconduct.”

Adam Lindsay Gordon, unhappy and half-mad, shot himself on Brighton beach Melbourne in 1870, 150 years ago today. Our Gordon, Gordon Mainwaring, married, bought a small farm and had seven children. He lasted until 1872.

The grave and column memorial of Adam Lindsay Gordon, poet, located at the Brighton (Victoria) General Cemetery. Image from the State Library of South Australia.
Photograph of Gordon Mainwaring from “Whitmore Hall : from 1066 to Waltzing Matilda” by Christine Cavenagh-Mainwaring. Adelaide Peacock Publications, 2013. page 103.


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The Civil War window in the Church of St Chad at Farndon in Cheshire


by Rafe de Crespigny June 2020

Photo © Mike Searle (cc-by-sa/2.0)

William Barnston (1592-1665) of Churton, a village some seven miles/twelve kilometres south of Chester, was among the royalist defenders of that city against the attacks of parliamentary forces and the final siege of 1645-1646.[1] He was imprisoned for a time after the Civil War and was obliged to pay a fine to the Interregnum government before he could return to his estates.[2] The area had suffered heavy damage during the war, but soon after the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 Barnston was able to rebuild his parish church of St Chad at nearby Farndon, and he added a chapel with a memorial panel to his experience of the war and a window commemorating his comrades of Chester.[3]

After general conflict in Cheshire between royalists and parliamentarians, the parliamentarian forces under Sir William Brereton (1604-1661) established supremacy in the county. Chester, held out as a royalist stronghold, however, and was important as an entry-port for troops from Wales and Ireland. After some early attacks in 1643 and 1644, full siege was laid in September 1645. The city held out for several months, repelling many assaults, but as supply lines were cut the people were faced with starvation, and the garrison surrendered in February of the following year.

After three and a half centuries it is not surprising that the Farndon window has suffered damage and decay: one panel at the top is missing and many details are blurred. By good fortune, however, a coloured copy was made in the early nineteenth century and an engraving of it was published in Ormerod’s History of Cheshire:[4]

In the Barnston chancel …[is] a curious historical subject, which was rescued from a state of extreme decay, and repaired at the expence of the late dean of Chester. It is represented in the attached engraving, on a scale reduced about two-thirds from a fac-simile drawing, which was executed under the inspection of the dean, when the glass was in his possession.

The Dean of Chester was Hugh Cholmondeley (1773-1815), who held that office at Chester Cathedral from 1806 until his death, four years before Ormerod published his History. In the engraving, the blank panel at the top is occupied by a title sheet with an attribution to his patronage.[5]

The engraving is presented on a two-page spread-sheet. It is certainly clearer than the photographs, and given that it was prepared under supervision we may accept it as a fair reproduction. A full copy appears at the end; details are used for comparison and clarification in this essay.

The window is divided into four registers, with four larger panels in the centre, four each across the top and bottom, and four each again in column on either side. Since the overall measurement is no more than 28 inches/72 centimetres high and 18 inches/46 centimetres wide, the twenty pictures are all quite small.

The four central panels have a display of arms, armour and other equipment, and the one in the upper left also shows an officer standing outside a tent and carrying a baton of command. From the shield part-hidden behind him: or, three mallets sable [yellow, with three black wooden hammers], he can be identified as Sir Francis Gammul (1606-1654). A former mayor of Chester, when King Charles raised his standard at Nottingham and issued a call to arms in August 1642 he raised troops in the city and brought a contingent to join him. He played a leading role in the defence of the city and was made a baronet in 1644.[6]

Sir Francis Gamull
central pictures, top left hand and on the right in the engraving from the Cholmondeley copy. The shield of Sir Francis, with a baronet’s insignia, is shown in the middle,
with a more detailed illustration of the insignia – a red [gules] left hand – below

Eight small pictures on either side of the window show figures of armoured infantrymen with muskets and pikes, and in four larger pictures across the base there are a pikeman, a junior officer bearing a flag, a flute-player and a drummer.[7] In his discussion of the window, Colonel Field notes that the figures are based upon contemporary drawings published in France by the engraver and water-colourist Abraham Bosse (c.1604-1676): styles were the same on both sides of the Channel.

Like Sir Francis Gamull, the flag-bearer can be identified by the shield in the corner of his picture: the shield is black, with three white greyhounds, surrounded by a white border [sable, three greyhounds courant argent, within a bordure of the last]. This was the insignia of the Berington family of Cheshire, and the top of the shield has a “label of three points” – a bar with three pendants – indicating that he is an eldest son whose father is still living.

Ensign Hugh [?] Berington
Lowest register, third from left and to the right is the image from the Cholmondley copy. In the centre is the shield of Hugh Berington.

The senior lineage of the Berington family had held the estates of Bradwall and Moores-barrow, a short distance southeast of Middlewich in Cheshire, but they passed by marriage to the Oldfield family in the late sixteenth century. A cadet branch, however, still held property at Warmingham, some five kilometres/three miles south of Middlewich, and Hugh Berington was baptised there in 1626.[8] In 1644 Hugh would have been eighteen, and Ensign – equivalent to a second lieutenant at the present day – was an appropriate rank for a young gentleman.

Of the four larger pictures at the top of the window, the one on the left has been destroyed, and there is no way to tell whom or what it may have shown. The three remaining have images of Sir Richard Grosvenor, Sir William Mainwaring, and William Barnston the sponsor of the window itself.

The upper register of the window:
above: from a modern photograph of the original window [Photo © Mike Searle (cc-by-sa/2.0)];
below: from the Cholmondeley copy in volume II of Ormerod, History.
Flanked by armoured pikeman, the three officers are identified by their shields:
Richard Grosvenor              Sir William Mainwaring     William Barnston
  • The shield of the Grosvenor family, blue with a yellow sheaf of grain [azure, a garb or] is marked at the top by a label of three points, indicating that – like Ensign Berington above – Richard Grosvenor is the eldest son and his father is living.
  • A label also appears on the shield of William Mainwaring. In his case, however, his father Edmund was a second son, so the family shield of two red bars on a white ground [argent, two bars gules] is also differenced by a crescent for cadency.
  • The Barnston shield is complex: blue with an indented bar of speckled with black across the centre, and six complex yellow crosses [azure, a fess dancettée ermine between six cross-crosslets or (ermine is a formulaic rendering of the animal’s fur)]. It does not, however, have any marks of difference, so William Barnston was the head of his family.

The colours in the window have been affected by age and in several places they are uncertain. Where the Cholmondeley copy, for example, has sashes in differing colours and Gamull and Grosvenor with yellow coats, Field argues that all the sashes and the senior officers’ jackets were originally red.[9] With the handsome headgear, this was parade dress; Barnston, however, was wearing the long, close-fitting “buff coat” of heavy leather, often made from buffalo- or ox-hide, which gave basic protection in combat.            

As pictured in the side columns of the window, some pikemen bore half-armour of metal plate over the leather. Such corselets, however, were heavy to wear and were going out of use, while musketeers had sufficient problems with their weapons. Two shown in the side panels are holding “matchlocks,” dangerous and erratic and requiring a pole to rest upon, but even the new, lighter “firelocks” shown in the other pictures were awkward to manage. Horsemen, like William Mainwaring’s cousin Philip, carried pistols and swords and were often armoured, but the soldiers in the Farndon window were defending a city and had no use for cavalry.[10]

The upper right panel in the centre of the window displays some items of armour, and the photograph shows a suit of the period, thought to have been worn by Philip Mainwaring; it is now in his tomb chapel at the church of St Lawrence in Over Peover.
Photo © Mike Searle (cc-by-sa/2.0)

William Barnston, who had the Farndon window made in the early 1660s, has already been discussed, while nothing more is known of Ensign Berington – even his identification as the Hugh Berington baptised at Warmingham in 1626 is uncertain. We can, however, offer a brief account of the other officers shown in the window:

  • Following the surrender of Chester in 1646, Sir Francis Gamull was able to compound for his estates, but in 1654 he joined a rising against the newly-established Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The rebellion was defeated and Francis Gamull was executed. He left no sons, and the baronetcy was extinguished.
  • The Grosvenor family of Eaton Hall in Eccleston, just to the south of Chester, were leading gentry of the county. As a member of Parliament in the 1620s, Sir Richard Grosvenor (1585-1645) had been a strong supporter of the royal interest, and he had been made a baronet by King Charles in 1622. His son, also Richard Grosvenor (c.1604-1665) was High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1643 and raised troops in the royal cause.

Richard Grosvenor succeeded to the baronetcy at his father’s death in 1645, and later generations of the family became increasingly successful and prosperous. The present-day Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, one of the wealthiest men in England, is a direct descendant, and Eaton Hall in Cheshire is his country house.

  • William Mainwaring (c.1616-1645) had been a Sergeant-Major of the troop brought by Sir Francis Gamull to join the king’s forces when he raised his standard at Nottingham in 1642. William took part in the campaign which led to the battle of Edgehill on 23 October, first engagement of the civil war, and he was knighted by the king at Oxford in January of the following year.

William’s father Edmund (1579-c.1650) was a younger son of Sir Randle Mainwaring of Over Peover (d.1612), some fifty kilometres/thirty miles east of Chester. While many gentlemen of the time determined their allegiance in the war through family interest and local alliances rather than by any political or religious conviction, the Mainwarings were divided. Philip Mainwaring of Over Peover, whose armour is shown above, was a son of Sir Randle and first cousin of William, but as William defended Chester for the king Philip was commanding a troop of cavalry in the parliamentary army.

Sir William Mainwaring was killed in October 1645, fighting on the walls of Chester. It was reported that he had been wounded by musket-shot under the arm and died on the following day. His widow Hester was left with two daughters and an infant son, who died a few months later. The elder daughter Hester had no children, but Judith married John Busby, who was knighted by Charles II in recognition of the service given by his father-in-law, and their daughter Hester married Thomas Egerton of Tatton Park near Knutsford in Cheshire; her descendants became barons and earls.

Engraved copy of the Civil War window prepared for the Very Reverend Hugh Cholmondeley, Dean of Chester, in the early nineteenth century; reproduced in Ormerod, History, volume II, between pages 408 and 409.

[1]       There is a general history of the war in Cheshire in The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester: compiled from original evidences in public offices, the Harleian and Cottonian mss., parochial registers, private muniments, unpublished ms. collections of successive Cheshire antiquaries, and a personal survey of every township in the county; incorporated with a republication of King’s Vale Royal, and Leycester’s Cheshire Antiquities, by George Ormerod (1785-1873), 3 volumes, Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor and Jones, London 1819 [] Ormerod, History I, xxxv-xxxviii, and a modern account in “Early Modern Chester 1550-1762: the civil war and interregnum, 1642-60,” 115-125; digitised by British History Online [BHO] from A History of the County of Chester, Volume 5 Part 1 “The City of Chester: General History and Topography,” published by Victoria County History, London 2003; online at

[2]       After the victory of Parliament in the civil war, gentlemen who had fought on the royalist side did not suffer a direct confiscation of their estates, but had to pay in order to keep them. The process was known as “compounding.”

[3]       The window is discussed, with photographs, at the following websites:;;

              and feature/.

There is also an article on “Army Uniforms in a Stained Glass Window in Farndon Church, Cheshire – temp Charles I,” by Colonel C Field, in Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research V.22, 174-177 [].

There is an account of William Barnston at 2020/01/403-barnston-of-churton-hall-and-crewe.html.

I also acknowledge the most impressive and helpful site, described as “A web site dedicated to the art and science of heraldry in the County Palatine of Chester.” It provides a quantity of information, with excellent sources, and has impressive illustrations.

[4]       Ormerod, History II, page 408. This introductory paragraph is followed by another with a description of the contents, which has been drawn upon for some of the discussion which follows.

[5]       His dates of appointment are given by Ormerod, History I, 221. Reproductions from the engraving are referred to below as the Cholmondeley copy.

[6]       Ormerod notes disagreement whether Sir Francis received a baronetcy or only a knighthood, and the shield in the window is unclear, but the Cholmondeley copy shows the red hand, insignia of baronetcy, in the centre of his shield.

[7]       Field, “Army Uniforms,” 176.

[8] eventyear=1644&eventyear_offset=20&sourcecounty=england.

[9]       “Army Uniforms,” 175.  He suggests that five bars [Gamull and Grosvenor] may have indicated a colonel, four [Mainwaring] a lieutenant-colonel, and three [Barnston]

[10]      “… two men of Captain Mainwaring:” Alice Thornton, quoted in Roger Hudson [editor], The Grand Quarrel: from the Civil War memoirs of Mrs Lucy Hutchison; Mrs Alice Thornton; Ann, Lady Fanshawe; Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle; Anne, Lady Halkett, & the letters of Brilliana, Lady Harley, Folio Society, London 1993, page 92.

[11]      Summary accounts of weapons, armour and tactics at this time appear in Austin Woolrych, Battles of the English Civil War, published first by Batsford, London 1961, then by Pan 1966, at 100-101; and William Seymour, Battles in Britain and their political background, volume 2 (1642-1746), Sidgwick and Jackson, London 1975 and Book Club Associates 1976, at 26-27.

Related post:

Following the clues

Shortly before GeneticAffairs was asked to stop offering the AutoCluster analyses that employed Ancestry data, I ran Greg’s AncestryDNA matches through their autoclustering tool. AncestryDNA allows you to gather the same information, but I and many other users found the organisation and visual presentation offered by GeneticAffairs very useful.

I was looking at one of the smaller clusters – cluster 21 on the chart – and the associated notes, when I noticed that there was a small family tree of 22 people attached to one of the matches. Looking at the tree I noticed the Bell surname, which matched what I knew of the rest of the cluster. There was also a match with the Darby surname. Although I did not recognise Henrietta, the Darby surname did seem to fit the tree of the other shared matches where I did know how we are related, namely the trees of my Sullivan cousins.

small tree from Greg’s DNA match with a clue linking the match to the Darby family

This was exciting. Perhaps I had found a link to the elusive John Narroway Darby who I wrote about earlier this year.

I contacted Greg’s second cousin LB on Facebook to share the discovery, saying, “I have had a look at the tree [of SK]. She has a Bell marrying a Darby. Her tree has no details but I ran Vic BDM and found two births and the marriage.”

I dithered a little but decided to order the marriage certificate. The image of a Victorian historical certificate costs $20, not cheap, but there’s only so much you can do with just indexes.

1868 marriage James Bell and Henrietta Darby

It was indeed our family. At Creswick on 4 October 1868 Creswick James Bell, a miner, aged 22, married Henrietta Bell, no occupation, aged 24. Both were living at Creswick. They were married by a Wesleyan minister. The witnesses were Alexander and Agnes Pavina [I am not completely confident I am reading this correctly]. Henrietta said she was born in County Down, Ireland and her parents were John N Darby Compositor and Matilda Mograge.

I didn’t have Henrietta on our tree. If she was 24 in 1868 then she was born in about 1844.

I believe she is the child born in New Zealand, one of the two children of John Darby and his wife recorded on the shipping list of the Sir John Franklin, which left Auckland on 12 April 1845 and reached Hobart after what was described as ‘a tedious voyage of 25 days’. The other child was Matilda, who was baptised in Hobart in November 1845. She was born on 14 March 1845, less than a month before they set sail.

shipping list Sir John Franklin 12 April 1845

I had previously found no other record for the other child of John and Matilda Darby and had assumed it had died young.

I do not know why Henrieta said she was born in Ireland. Her parents were from Exeter, England and I am reasonably confident (if she recorded her age correctly) that she was born in New Zealand. Otherwise she was born in Australia. I ordered her death certificate which said she was born in Geelong and had lived all her life in Victoria. In 1896 her age was given as 47, which means she was born about 1849.

1896 death certificate Henrietta Bell

When John Darby married Catherine Murphy in Portland in 1855 he stated that his wife was dead and that he was the father of two children, one of whom had died. In fact, his wife Matilda was still alive and his second marriage was bigamous. I had assumed the living child was his daughter Matilda and that the unnamed child on the voyage had died. I now think that when John and Matilda Darby separated they kept a child each. Matilda junior stayed with her mother and Henrietta remained with her father, hence her knowledge of his name and occupation when she married. Her sister Matilda did not know her father’s name when she married William Sullivan in 1862.

Name John Darby Spouse Name Catherine Murphy Registration Place Victoria Registration Year 1855 Registration Number 2765

Henrietta and James Bell had five children before James’s untimely death
in 1884:

  • Annie Jane Bell 1872–1918
  • Agnes Estella Bell 1875–1961
  • Catherine Elizabeth Bell 1878–1929
  • James Henry William Bell 1879–1928
  • Francis Sinclair Bell 1881–1935

Greg and his cousins share DNA with descendants of Annie and James Henry.

There were several Bell families in Creswick. The family trees I have looked at have different parents and a different death date for James Henry Bell, whose birth was registered as James William Bell. To confirm my suspicion that he was indeed related to Henrietta Darby I ordered his death certificate, and yes, James Henry Bell who in 1904 married Edith Jane Hocking (1884 – 1963) was indeed the son of James Bell and Henrietta nee Darby. I was thus able to resolve several more DNA matches that had puzzled me for some years. James Henry and Edith had seven children. He served in World War I, was wounded and was a prisoner of war.

1928 death certificate James Henry Bell

Yesterday we visited Creswick Cemetery and Long Point. Henrietta and James Bell’s grave is unmarked. Long Point, where they lived, is a pretty area of bushland next to a small settlement just outside Creswick.

Creswick Cemetery Methodist section row 13
Long Point bushland reserve near Creswick

There are still unanswered questions about what became of John Narroway Darby and what Henrietta did before her marriage and how she came to be in Creswick.

I am pleased to have learned a little more about the family though. It’s fun to follow through the clues.

Related posts

Remembering my paternal grandfather on his birthday

My paternal grandfather, Richard Geoffrey Champion de Crespigny, oldest son of Constantine Trent Champion De Crespigny (1882-1952) and Beatrix Champion de Crespigny née Hughes (1884 -1943), was born in Glenthompson, Victoria, on 16 June 1907. He died in Adelaide, South Australia, on 12 February 1966. Today is the 113th anniversary of his birthday.

Geoff’s father was in private medical practice in Glenthompson from 1906 having previously worked for several years in Melbourne hospitals after graduation. In 1909 he took up the position of Superintendant of the Adelaide Hospital and the family moved to Adelaide. Geoff’s sister Nancy was born in Adelaide in 1910.

Frank Beggs and Geoff de Crespigny St Marnocks 1908
Geoff de Crespigny , miniature portrait by his aunt Olive A Chatfield
Geoff de Crespigny with his mother Beatrix about 1912

Geoff attended the Queen’s School, North Adelaide where he won prizes in 1918 and in 1919. He later attended Geelong Church of England Grammar School and is listed as a prizewinner there in 1920. In 1921 he won a form prize and a prize for music. He was again a form prize winner in 1923 and also a prize for music.

Geoff went on to study medicine at Melbourne University and in 1927 he was awarded a Full Blue for rowing. He rowed for the University of Melbourne in the inter-varsity boat race in 1927, 28 and 29.

The Trinity College crew in 1929.  Geoff is number 7
We have two trophy oars as mementoes of my grandfather’s rowing career; one from Trinity College and the other from Melbourne University.

In 1933 Geoff married Kathleen Cudmore. They had one son, Rafe.

WEDDING LINKS ADELAIDE MEDICAL FAMILIES (1933, June 10). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from
A copy of the newspaper image
Geoff with Rafe at Rafe’s christening

In 1939 Geoff enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and served in the Middle East and New Guinea rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. His extended period of nine months in Tobruk, earned the nickname of `The old man of Tobruk’.

Geoff with Rafe and Antonia (Mrs Tone) the dachshund about 1947

After graduating from Melbourne University in 1930 Geoff was a resident medical officer at the Adelaide Hospital from 1931 and then undertook postgraduate studies in England in 1932. On his return to Adelaide he took up general practice. He specialised in paediatrics and was on the Honorary Staff of the Adelaide Childrens’ Hospital from 1936. He was admitted to the Royal Australian College of Physicians in 1938 and made a Fellow in 1953. He gave up private practice in 1960 to take on the role of Medical Director of the Mothers’ and Babies’ Health Association. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1960 and in that year he was President of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Medical Association.

my grandparents Kathleen and Geoff in 1960

In December 1965 he suddenly became ill and died less than two months later on 12 February 1966 of a brain tumour.

Related posts

Great expectations – disappointed

or Would you sell your great grandmother?

by Rafe de Crespigny and Anne Young June 2020

England has so many people waiting for other people to die.”

Kathleen Cavenagh Symes nee Cudmore (1908-2013)

On 4 January 1901 Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny nee Dana, then living at Beaufort in Victoria, wrote to her daughter Ada in Melbourne with news of their English cousins and a letter describing their sad disappointment:

Dearest Ada,

I send you poor Gwen’s letter… I am so sorry for them and it is very hard to lose so much money. Y[ou]r Uncle G[eorge Blicke] thinking Harry provided for by this wealthy man who adopted him, and Harry Trent, his godfather, left him nothing, Georgina getting George’s money.

“Gwen” was Gwendolyn Blanche Champion de Crespigny nee Clarke-Thornhill (1864-1923), who was the wife of George Harrison CdeC (1863-1945), known as Harry; they had married in 1890 and had three children. Harry was the son of George Blicke CdeC (1815-1893), an elder brother of Charlotte Frances’ late husband Philip Robert (1817-1889), so he was Charlotte Frances’ nephew by marriage.

The indication from Charlotte Frances letter is that since Harry CdeC was expected to receive a considerable legacy, his father George Blicke had bequeathed his own property to his daughter Georgina Elizabeth, Harry’s sister. She duly inherited after his death in 1893, but when Harry CdeC’s godfather Harry Trent died in 1899 it turned out that he had left nothing to his godson. So Harry CdeC and Gwen gained nothing from either source.

Gwen’s original letter has now been lost, however, and without its guidance Charlotte Frances’ text is misleading as it stands. The facts were a good deal more complex.

George Blicke ChC (1815-1893) second son of Charles Fox ChC (1785-1875), joined the Twentieth Regiment of Foot in the British army and rose to be Paymaster in the School of Musketry at Hythe in Kent, retiring with the rank of Colonel; he died at neighbouring Folkestone in 1893.[1] In 1851 he had married Elizabeth Jane Buchanan, daughter of a leading lawyer in Montreal, Canada. Of their three children, Julia Constantia was born in 1852 and died in 1876, and Georgina Elizabeth was born in 1856 and died in 1938; neither married. George Harrison was their third child and only son.

In 1890 George Harrison CdeC married Gwendolyn Blanche Clarke-Thornhill. They had one son, George Arthur Oscar (1894-1962), and two daughters: Mildred Frances (1892-1946), who would marry a Major Harold Cartwright; and Gwendolyn Sybil (1900-1967), known as “Guinea,” who never married. Charlotte Frances had received photographs of the two elder children in February 1900, but Gwendolyn Sybil was not born until the following December; the letter from Gwen which Charlotte Frances discusses on 4 January 1901 must have been written in the last weeks of pregnancy.

The godfather of George Harrison CdeC was Harrison Walke John Trent (1830-1899); both godfather and godson were known as Harry.

Harry Trent was the son of Francis Onslow Trent (1797-1846) and the grandson of John Trent (1770-1796) of Dillington House in Somerset. Eliza Julia, wife of Charles Fox ChC, was the daughter of John Trent and the sister of Francis Onslow, so her three sons George Blicke, his elder brother Charles John and his younger brother Philip Robert, were Harry Trent’s first cousins. Harry’s grandfather John Trent had held property in Barbados, both in his own right and through his wife Judith nee Sober, but very little money had passed to later generations: a court case in 1804 found that the Dillington estate had limited value,[2] and when Harry Trent’s grandmother Judith died in 1871 her property was less than £2000.

Harry Trent had joined the Sixty-Eighth Foot – the Durham Light Infantry; he was awarded medals in the New Zealand wars of 1864-66, and became Colonel in command of the School of Musketry where George Blicke ChC had been Paymaster.[3]

Harry Trent did not marry until 1889, when he was aged fifty-nine. His wife Rose nee Plunkett was a sister of Frances the third wife of Charles John CdeC, elder brother of George Blicke, so there was already a family connection.

Rose had previously been married to Anthony Stoughton of Owlpen House in Gloucestershire, a wealthy landowner, Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. He died in 1886, leaving an estate probated at more than £14,000, and his widow received the bulk of that property. When Harry Trent married Rose three years later he obtained royal licence to take the name of Stoughton-Trent – a mark of the importance of the Stoughton inheritance – and when he died in 1899 his personal property was valued at just £1400, with his wife as executor and principal beneficiary. Rose had no children by either marriage, but lived a presumably wealthy widow until 1926.

Since most of the money was his wife’s, it does not appear that Harry Trent had a great deal to leave his godson. There may have been a token of goodwill, but nothing substantial.

While neither the Trent nor the CdeC families were particularly well off at this time, Harry CdeC’s wife Gwendolyn came from a prosperous background.

Gwendolyn’s father, born William Capel Clarke, married the heiress Clara Thornhill in 1855 and added her surname to his own. Their first child, Thomas Bryan, was born in 1857, and five more followed in the next six years. Gwendolyn, the youngest, was born at Eaton Square – a good London address – and her mother Clara died three months after her birth.

William Capel Clarke-Thornhill inherited his wife’s estate, which included the very large Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire with other properties in the country and in London, and he was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. Gwendolyn went to a private school at Brighton, and in the census of 1881 the staff at Rushton Hall numbered eighteen, while two porter’s lodges and other houses on the estate gave accommodation to gardeners, labourers and other servants. The house remained in the family until the 1930s, then became a school and is now a hotel.[4]

Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire
Photograph from Wikimedia Commons by user Daderot

Harry CdeC himself, moreover, may fairly be said to have had great expectations, for he had been adopted by Oscar William Holden Hambrough, the owner of Pipewell Hall, which was close to the Clarke-Thornhills’ property at Rushton Hall in the parish of Desborough.[5] It is not known how Harry became acquainted with his patron, nor why the arrangement was made. It may have been through neighbourly connection, but it happened that the Hambroughs were linked by marriage to the Windsor family which held the earldom of Plymouth – and the baronet lineage of the Champions de Crespigny had also married with the Windsors. Though the connection was distant, Harry CdeC was considered to be a cousin.

A summary table of kinships

Oscar had been born in 1825 on the Isle of Wight, where his father John Hambrough built Steephill Castle in Victorian baronial style.[6] John died in 1863, leaving the castle to the family of his eldest son Arthur, who had died two years earlier, but Oscar received Pipewell Hall. As a leading landholder of Northamptonshire he became a Justice of the Peace and served a term as Deputy Lieutenant of the county.

A postcard of Steephill Castle c.1910
from Project Gutenberg

In 1859 Oscar had married Caroline Mary Hood, daughter of the third Viscount Hood and descended from a noted admiral of the eighteenth century. The couple had no children, and Caroline died in January 1890.

In 1864 Oscar obtained royal licence to take the name of Holden Hambrough.[7] His grandfather John had married Catherine Holden, daughter of a Lancashire family, and combined their surnames, but his son had chosen to drop the addition. Oscar now revived the connection, no doubt in part to distinguish himself from his brother’s lineage.

For his part, George Harrison CdeC was listed with the surname Champion de Crespigny in census records until 1881, but when he married Gwendolyn Clarke-Thornhill at Rushton on 18 December 1890 the parish recorded his surname as Champion Holden de Crespigny. We may assume that the adoptive relationship had been established in the course of that year, and George Harrison took the additional surname – albeit in curious and clumsy fashion – as acknowledgement of his new patron. Harry and Gwen’s only son, born in 1894, was christened George Arthur Oscar with the surname Champion-Holden de Crespigny.

A newspaper entry of 1893 summarises the situation, commencing with Dudley Arthur, the son of Oscar’s elder brother:[8]

…Mr Dudley Arthur Hambrough … represents the elder branch of the Hambroughs of Steephill Castle, Isle of Wight, and Pipewell Hall, near Kettering, Northants. Mr D A Hambrough’s great-grandfather [John (1754-1831)] married into the good old Lancashire family, the Holdens of Holden, and added their surname to his own; but this distinction was dropped by Mr Hambrough’s grandfather [John (1793-1863)]. The latter, however, bequeathed the Pipewell property to his younger son, who revived the double patronymic, and still survives as Mr Oscar William Holden-Hambrough. He is married to the only daughter of the late Viscount Hood and sister of the present peer, and, having no issue, he is understood to have adopted as his heir Mr George Champion de Crespigny, a remote cousin of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, the Essex baronet.

Oscar Holden Hambrough had properties in London and elsewhere, and in the census taken on 5 April 1891 Harry and Gwen are recorded at Pipewell Hall with the surname Champion Holden de Crespigny. There were five servants in the house: a butler, a lady’s maid, a cook and two housemaids, with other workers on the estate housed separately. Though adequate for a new family, this was a much smaller establishment than the one maintained by Oscar Holden Hambrough ten years before: the census of 1881 had listed a staff of fourteen, including kitchen, laundry and scullery maids supervised by a house-keeper, together with footmen, a coachman and grooms – almost as many as the complement of eighteen at Rushton Hall.

Pipewell Hall; now a wedding centre
Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, photograph by user Maypm – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Some time later, Oscar returned to Pipewell, and Harry and Gwen moved to the Manor House in Desborough itself. Now known as the Old Manor House, it is a substantial building of the seventeenth century, and though smaller than their previous accommodation it was not inappropriate to their needs and could be regarded as a place in waiting for the future residents of Pipewell Hall.[9]

The Old Manor House at 47 Gold Street, Desborough,
now owned by the local council
from Google street view March 2009

When Oscar died in 1900, however, the provisions of his will were somewhat unexpected. They were summarised by the Northampton Mercury:

Northampton Mercury 2 November 1900 page 8 [10]

Whereas Harry and Gwen had evidently believed that he would be the chief legatee, he now received only a life interest in some furniture – whatever that may have meant in practical terms – and a pension from the income of the lands at Desborough. It was not ungenerous, but it was not what they had hoped for and – allowing for the time that letters took to reach Australia by ship – Gwen was writing to Charlotte Frances quite soon after the provisions of the will were known.

The will itself must have been prepared some time earlier, for Oscar’s younger brother Windsor Edward, a clergyman, had died in November 1899. He was not wealthy – his estate was probated at just £156 – so the pension of £1 a week was not generous, while it appears that Oscar had no interest in his two nephews and a niece.

At the same time, the appointment of Otho as residuary legatee was a reasonable balance between Oscar’s obligations to his adoptive son and to his natural family. Otho was the fourth son of Oscar’s brother Albert John, but two older brothers were dead; by this means, once the life interest and trust had expired, all property would revert to the Hambrough lineage. In the event, Otho died in 1925, leaving no children, but George Harrison CdeC lived until 1945.

In immediate terms, the will must have been a disappointment: a life pension and a collection of furniture is not the same as full ownership of a large house with extensive grounds. Two further blows came at much the same time. Harry’s godfather Harry Trent died in August 1899, one month before Oscar Holden Hambrough, and he too left no substantial legacy – he had, as we have seen, limited money of his own; and Gwen’s father William Capel Clarke-Thornhill had died in June the year before, leaving an estate valued for probate at more than £100,000. Most of that property was real estate and the principal legatee and executor was naturally his eldest son Thomas Bryan; Gwen would already have received a marriage settlement, which meant she had small claim to more – and Harry’s expectations would have meant that her father, like Harry’s, felt there was no need. It must nonetheless have been galling to see her family home so near and yet so far removed.

On the other side of the family, when Harry’s father George Blicke CdeC died in 1893, his estate was passed for probate with a value of just £25; one must assume he had already passed most of his property to Harry’s sister Georgina. She died unmarried in 1938, with rather more than £11,000, and the major beneficiaries were her two nieces, Mildred Frances and Gwendolyn Sibyl, the daughters of Harry and Gwendolyn.

So Gwen and Harry had not done badly, but their immediate situation was disappointing. When the census was held on 31 March 1901, six months after the death of Oscar Holden Hambrough, the family was living at a house in Kettering named Bryher on a street named Headlands: husband and wife, three children – one aged three months – and three servants: a cook, a parlourmaid and a nurse for the baby. This was surely not the accommodation or the circumstances which they had expected. Not entirely surprisingly, the surname has reverted to Champion de Crespigny, without the Holden, while the six-year-old boy is listed as George A, with no mention of his first baptised name of Oscar; he would later be known as Arthur.

At the same time, however, by one route or another – possibly as a non-valued item in his father’s deceased estate – Harry had obtained the portrait of Dorothy nee Scott, mother of Charles Fox CdeC, which had been painted by the noted artist George Romney in 1790, and on 27 April 1901 the painting was sold at Christies for £5,880. Such an amount would have purchased a large house and land, and the proceeds were used to lease the Hall at Burton Latimer, a fine Elizabethan building in a village just east of Kettering. In another letter, written on Boxing Day 1902, Charlotte Frances expressed surprise that Harry had sold [the portrait of] his great-grandmother, but she admired the photograph of their house.

Portrait of Mrs. Champion de Crespigny [née Dorothy Scott] by George Romney
now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The staff now included a proper complement of servants, including a butler, a governess, a cook and maidservants, and three gardeners to keep the grounds in trim. Harry was a justice of the peace and an honorary colonel in the local militia, while Gwen – short and stout, with a formidable personality – was an energetic lady of the manor, holding garden parties for the aristocracy and gentry and quarrelling with the vicar of the local church.[12]

The Hall at Burton Latimer, 1905
from the Burton Latimer Heritage Society

So – with a little help from Harry’s great-grandmother – all ended well.

The Hall at Burton Latimer 1914
from the Burton Latimer Heritage Society

Extracts from Some Residents of Burton Latimer Hall Adapted from “Ladies of the Hall,” an original article by Douglas Ashby, transcribed by Sarah Gilbert retrieved from

After the departure from Burton Latimer of the Villiers about 1904, the Hall was leased to Colonel and Mrs. George Harrison Champion de Crespigny who had three children, Arthur, Mildred and Gwendoline.

Col de C, a tall handsome man with a distinguished military bearing, was later appointed a magistrate for the Kettering bench.  His wife was a short stout lady of very strong character who had been born a Clark-Thornhill of Rushton Hall.

Life at the Hall in those days was kept up in style, with a butler, two cooks and several house and parlour maids.  Three gardeners maintained the grounds in a beautiful state – the lawns velvet smooth, the yew hedges clipped and the long herbaceous borders a riot of colour.  The gardens were often opened for parties and charitable events.

Arthur was a Lieutenant in the Northamptonshire Regiment during the first world war and at home he had a favourite King Charles spaniel named “Pincher”.

Left: Mildred at her marriage to Captain Cartwright in 1913.
Right: Lt Arthur Champion de Crespigny with his favourite dog Pincher in 1917.
Photographs from the Burton Latimer Heritage Society

Mildred was very fond of painting and about 1907 a well known artist, a Mr. Stannard stayed at the Hall to give lessons to the young ladies: some of their friends were also invited to join them at classes, and one was Mabel Talbutt the baker’s daughter from Church Street.  Several of their paintings have survived, also Mildred’s easel.

Mrs. De C had her own little buggy or trap drawn by a brown pony which would take her into Burton or Kettering .  Canon G.L. Richardson (Rector 1911-1920) incurred Mrs. De C’s displeasure one Sunday morning at Matins when he criticised in his sermon, people who preferred to be in their potting sheds rather than at church.

Col de C was fond of plants and also was not a regular churchgoer – so his wife took this as a personal slight – standing up in her pew she glared at the Rector and marched out of the church to the surprise and awe no doubt of the congregation.

Another unfortunate occasion in church – Mrs. De C arrived for service and was very annoyed to see a strange woman sitting in her pew.  Not saying a word she sat very close to the unsuspecting visitor, but every time it was necessary to stand up to sing or kneel to pray, the “interloper” was gradually eased out into the aisle, until she had to find herself somewhere else to sit.  

The great blizzard of March 1916 brought Mrs. De C out of doors on foot to make a call in Church Street, being heavily clad in furs and a cape, not to mention the large hat, she was probably not easily recognisable to the cheeky young machinists at Hart and Levy’s factory in Bakehouse Lane, who called out of the windows and poked fun at her.  But the furious lady stopped in her tracks and let forth such language that the windows were hastily closed.

[1]             His obituary was published by the Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser on 8 July.

[2]             See, for example, the account of Dillington House by Ewen J H Cameron (first written February 1998, updated September 2008), posted by Anne Young on 2 April 2012 at person/19294193127/media/58ac0135-c236-4f46-8412-cd3f5ae0f8e9, citing Trent & al v Hanning & al, determined by the Court of Common Pleas on 24 November 1804.

[3]             His obituary was published by the Bristol Times and Mirror on 5 August 1899.

[4]             Wikipedia mentions a claim that Charles Dickens was a friend of Clare Clarke-Thornhill, that he visited Rushton Hall on several occasions, and that it became the model of Satis House, the residence of Miss Havisham in his novel Great Expectations.

However, since Dickens was born in 1812, he was twenty-four years older than Clara, and she was married at the age of nineteen. It is doubtful that her wifely and motherly duties would have allowed her much time to make his acquaintance, so the story is unlikely. Restoration House in Rochester, Kent, is a more convincing candidate for the original model.

[5]             Wikipedia has an entry on Pipewell Hall.

[6]             The house was demolished in the early 1960s and the land is now a housing estate: see Wikipedia and also “The Forgotten Castle” by David Paul (originally published in Wight Life, August/September 1973) at

[7]             The name appears sometimes with a hyphen – as Holden-Hambrough – and sometimes without: e.g. Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, 1898 edition at 717; and Kelly’s Directory of the same year, cited in note 9.

[8]             From the Wigtown Advertiser of Scotland, 16 September 1893 [from FindMyPast]. The article relates to the death of Dudley Arthur Hambrough’s son Windsor Dudley Cecil Hambrough, who was killed by gunshot in most suspicious circumstances at Ardlamont in Argyle: see the Wikipedia entry for the Ardlamont Murder.

Wigtown is over two hundred kilometres from Ardlamont, but the case was widely reported and the quasi-local newspaper was providing some background to the story.

[9]             Kelly’s Directory of Northamptonshire 1898: Desborough has an account of the situation at that time:

[10]            Issue of 2 November at page 8;

[11]            Personalty refers to personal and/or moveable property, distinguished from real property, which relates to houses and land.

[12]            On the Hall at Burton Latimer, see the site of the local Heritage Society at, and notably the articles by Douglas Ashby on the Hall and on its residents.

The Mainwaring Memorial in Chester Cathedral


by Rafe de Crespigny and Anne Young June 2020

By the western door of Chester Cathedral there is a memorial relating to the Mainwaring family. It is described rather unkindly by Ormerod’s History of Cheshire as “ornamented with twisted pillars, weeping figures, and foliage in bad taste, but much laboured…” but it has a complex and quite touching story to tell of the English Civil War.1 2


The text may be transcribed as follows:

To the Perpetual Memory

of the Eminently Loyal Sir W[illia]m MAINWARING K[nigh]t

Eldest son of EDMUND MAINWARING Esqr

Chancellor of the County Palatine of Chester;

of the Ancient Family of the MAINWARINGS

of Peover in the said County.

He died in the Service of his Prince and Country

in the Defence of the City of Chester,

Wherein he merited singular honour for his

Fidelity, Courage and Conduct.

He left by HESTER his Lady (Daughter and

heiress unto CHRISTOPHER WASE in the County

of Bucks [Buckingham] Esqr) Four Sons and two Daughters.

His eldest daughter Judith married unto Sir JNo [John]

BUSBY of Addington in the County of Bucks K[nigh]t.

His youngest Daughter HESTER unto Sir

THOMAS GROBHAM HOW of Kempley in the

County of Glocester [Gloucestershire] K[nigh]t.

He died honourably but immaturely in the

Twenty-ninth year of his age Octobr 9 1644.

His Lady Relict erected this Monument

of Her everlasting Love and his neverdying


Octr 25th 1671

The shield at the top of the memorial is divided in two, with similar but different designs. The left has a white ground with two red bars; the formal blazon would be argent two bars gules, for cadency a crescent. The right hand side has six bars alternately white and red, blazoned as barry of six, argent and gules.


In heraldry, the left hand side – right from the point of view of the wearer – is referred to as dexter and is the more important. It was standard practice for a married couple to display a shield divided vertically in two [“per pale“], with the husband’s insignia on the left/dexter and his wife’s on the right/sinister. So the arms of white with two red bars are those of the husband, and they are impaled with those of the family of the wife.

In the seventeenth century the manor of Over Peover had been held by the Mainwaring family since the time of the Domesday Book of William the Conqueror in 1087. That male line of descent was extinguished in the early nineteenth century, and the main lineage of the family is now maintained by the Cavenagh-Mainwarings of Whitmore near Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire. The traditional shield of the family is white with two red bars, so the left hand side of the shield displayed here is that of Mainwaring. The small crescent in the centre is a mark of cadency indicating a second son. Though William was the eldest son of his father Edmund, Edmund was a second son: his elder brother Sir Randle was head of the family and when he died in 1632 the estate at Over Peover passed to his son Philip3

As to the right-hand half of the shield, the comprehensive list of coats of arms provided by The British Herald of Thomas Robson records several families named Wase or similar, and though they are in different counties there is a common base of six white and red bars. In the extract below, the name of the family in Buckinghamshire is given as Wasse or Washe; the link, however, is clear and such variant spelling is quite common at this time – Shakespeare spelt his surname in several different ways. And it is no more than coincidence that the shield of the Wase family has the same colours and a similar design to that of the Mainwarings.

From The British herald; or, Cabinet of armorial bearings of the nobility & gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, from the earliest to the present time; with a complete glossary of heraldic terms: to which is prefixed a History of heraldry, collected and arranged … by Thomas Robson, printed for the author by Turner & Marwood, Sunderland, 1830 [Hathi Trust: digitised by Google], volume 2 [unpaginated].

The Mainwarings of Over Peover were among the leading families of Cheshire at this time,4 and though William’s father Edmund inherited no major property, he had matriculated into Brasenose College at Oxford University in 1594, took his Master’s degree through All Souls in 1600 and graduated as Bachelor of Civil Laws in 1605. He held substantial legal office in the archdiocese of York and was Deputy-Secretary to the Council of the North, chief agency of the king for the government of northern England.5 In 1629 he received the degree of Doctor of Civil Laws from Oxford, and in 1634 he was named Chancellor of Chester, head of the Consistory Court of the diocese, with authority over all matters of ecclesiastical law: accusations of heresy and witchcraft; failure to attend church; and the distribution of tithes; while he also held jurisdiction over claims of defamation and civil disputes regarding marriage, wills and inheritance.6

Edmund’s younger brother Philip – uncle to William – had an even more dramatic career. Born in 1589, he took his Bachelor’s degree from Oxford and then became a student at Gray’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court which provided qualification in law. Under the patronage of Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and a favoured courtier of James I, and of Sir Thomas Wentworth, a leading minister under Charles I, Philip did very well.7 In 1609, at the age of twenty, Philip received a salaried appointment at court; in 1624 he became a Member of Parliament; and in 1634 he was appointed Secretary of State for Ireland, being knighted at Dublin in that same year.

Sir Thomas Wentworth, with his secretary Philip Mainwaring
From a copy of a portrait by Anthony van Dyke. The original was painted in 1636;
the copy, of unknown date and origin, is now at Whitmore Hall, Staffs.
The Consistory Court in Chester Cathedral: the seat of the Chancellor.
The Chancellor sat on a raised bench above the court, shielded by a canopy.
The Consistory Court in Chester Cathedral: detail of the Chancellor’s canopy.
The wooden canopy constructed for Edmund Mainwaring shows his personal insignia with others related to the county of Cheshire and the diocese of Chester. From right to left:
Fragment of Edmund’s name and office (Latin: Can[cellarius]); the balance was lost when the canopy was moved from its original position.
The Mainwaring crest: a donkey’s head emerging from a ducal coronet.
The shield of Edmund Mainwaring as Chancellor: the Mainwaring arms are quartered with those of Cheshire: azure, three garbs or [a blue field with three yellow sheaves of wheat].
There is a red crescent for the cadency of a second son on the Mainwaring crest and in the centre of Edmund’s shield.
The shield of the see of Chester: gules, three mitres or.
The shield of Hugh d’Avranches (c. 1047-1101), also known as Hugh the Wolf (Latin: Hugo Lupus], Earl of Chester under William the Conqueror: azure, a wolf’s head erased.
The shield on the far left, partly obscured, is that of John Bridgeman, who was Bishop of Chester from 1619 to 1652. 

Though his father had taken his degree at Oxford, William went to Cambridge, matriculating as a Fellow-Commoner of King’s College in the Michaelmas term at the end of 1629. He is described in the cathedral memorial as being in his twenty-ninth year when he died, so he was born about 1616 and entered the university when he was thirteen years old; this was not unusual for the time.8 He graduated as Master of Arts in 1632, and in the following year he became a student at Gray’s Inn.9

On 24 September 1639 William Mainwaring married Hester Wase in the church of St Mary at Islington, Middlesex.10 He was in his early twenties, Hester was fifteen.11

Islington, some five kilometres/three miles north of Charing Cross, is now part of inner London but was countryside at the time. Hester’s father Christopher held property there at Upper Holloway and also in Buckinghamshire; his wife Judith was a daughter of Sir John Gore, a member of the Company of Merchant Taylors who had been Sheriff and then Lord Mayor of London; and Hester was named for her maternal grandmother, the mother of Judith: her father was Sir Thomas Cambell, who had been a member of the Company of Ironmongers, a Governor of the East India Company, and likewise Sheriff and Lord Mayor of London.12So the family was well-connected and prosperous, and Christopher Wase gave his new son-in-law a marriage portion of £1,500.13

Record of the marriage of William Mainwaring with Hester Wase at St Mary, Islington.
The writing is difficult to read, and some sources transcribe the wife’s given name as Hoster, while it is unclear whether her surname is spelt with a c, a single s or with the Germanic Eszett [ß], indicating a double s. Her father’s will, however, has the surname as Wase: note 10.
Etching of a portrait of Sir William Mainwaring
Item mw131991 in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London
Stipple engraving by Schenecker, published by Edward Harding, London 1792
The engraving is said to have been taken from the original owned by the Reverend George Lefroy of Ashe in Hampshire; Isaac Peter George Lefroy, Vicar of Ashe, was the son of Anthony Lefroy of Livorno, Italy, known as a celebrated collector: see the Wikipedia article on George Lefroy’s wife Anne Brydges Lefroy.
The original picture now appears to be lost, and there is no mention of the name of the painter. The engraver is known only as Schenecker, without personal name or any other detail. Eleven samples of his work are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, ten dated between 1791 and 1793, one to 1808.
It is possible that the original was one of a pair of marriage portraits, matching that of Hester by Cornelis Janssens/Cornelius Johnson and made by the same artist: the two figures would have faced one another, and the oval frame follows a similar style: see below. 

By the time William married Hester, however, the political situation had become confused and dangerous. King Charles had managed to rule without calling Parliament since 1629, maintaining government finances by levies such as Ship Money. Early in 1639, however, a rebellion in Scotland proved so successful and dangerous that Parliament had to be recalled in hope it would approve the funds required to deal with the war. The “Short Parliament,” however, gave a platform to those who opposed the royal regime. It was swiftly dissolved, but by November 1640 the king was obliged to recall a new assembly, which would be known as the Long Parliament. This proved even more hostile to the king and his officials: Sir Philip Mainwaring’s patron Thomas Wentworth, lately enfeoffed as Earl of Strafford, was charged under a bill of attainder and executed in May 1641.14 

Soon after their wedding, however, William and Hester had travelled north to take up residence at Chester, and in March of 1640 William sent a most agreeable letter to his mother-in-law Judith,15 with compliments and suitable courtesies to her husband Christopher; to Hester’s younger sister – also Judith – who had been born in 1635 and was not yet five years old; to Hester’s aunt Abigail, who had married Robert Busby in 1633;16 and to a cousin known here only as Kitt, short for Christopher.

It is clear from the letter that Hester is pregnant, and that there are plans for her to have her first child at her family home in Holloway. Indeed, their first son was baptised at Islington St Mary on 7 July 1640, and named in honour of his grandfather Christopher Wase.17

This letter of March, however, suggests that Hester was suffering from morning sickness, an affliction which normally affects women only in the first three months of pregnancy, so it is possible that the infant was premature, and he may have been sickly. In any event, it appears that he died shortly before his second birthday, and was buried at the Church of St Mary on 10 May 1642. He may well have been considered too frail to travel to his parents’ home in Chester, and stayed in the care of his maternal grandparents.18

After that first pregnancy, however, the following children were born at Chester: the baptism of Edmund the second son was recorded at Holy Trinity Church on 22 May 1641;19 he was followed by his sister Judith, born in 1642, probably in July; and then by William, who was christened in August 1643 but died in November just three months later.20

By the time Judith was born, however, England was on the verge of civil war. After months of uncertainty and negotiations, as Parliament applied increasing pressure to his royal authority and power, King Charles raised his standard at Nottingham on 22 August 1642 and issued a call to arms. The immediate response was not impressive, but Francis Gamull, a former Mayor and Member of Parliament, raised a troop at Chester and brought volunteers to join the assembly. William Mainwaring accompanied him as a Sergeant-Major, and one of his letters, written to Hester at that time, survived to be copied and printed in The Biographical Mirrour:21


Some notes may be offered:

  • Both from the address and from the enquiry about the journey it is clear that Hester had lately moved with the children from Chester to her father’s property at Islington. Edmund was just over twelve months old – he would die in the following year – and Judith had been born only a couple of months before. It may well have been felt that Hester would be more comfortable with her father and mother than in the north.
  • In the fourth paragraph, William says that he believes “all will end in a bonfire.” One might assume this anticipates the conflagration of war, but in this context – confirmed by his confidence of peace at the beginning of the final paragraph – he seems to expect that the trouble will blow over and that there will be negotiations and agreement and celebrations. He was, of course, mistaken.22
  • In similar fashion, despite the threat of war, neither he nor Hester appear to have been particularly concerned about any difficulty or danger of travel for a woman and small children. This is discussed further below.

Samuel Tuke (c.1615-1674), a gentleman from Essex almost the same age as William Mainwaring and also a member of Gray’s Inn, was obviously a personal enemy: they did not exchange a word but glared at one another; and William is pleased at Tuke’s financial embarrassment. There is no way to tell the reason for their hostility.

Samuel Tuke had a moderately successful war in the king’s service and later accompanied the prince, future Charles II, during his exile overseas. Known for his wit, he was a favourite at court after the Restoration and was made a knight and then a baronet. He was a founding member of the Royal Society, and his successful play The Adventures of Five Hours was thought by Samuel Pepys to be better than Shakespeare’s Othello.23

Paul Neile (1613-1686), son of Richard, Archbishop of York, had been at Cambridge with William Mainwaring.24 A courtier of King Charles, he was knighted in 1633 and was a member of the Short Parliament of 1640. He became a distinguished astronomer and was a founding member of the Royal Society.

On 13 September, a few days after William wrote to Hester, the king left Nottingham for Shrewsbury, further to the west, where he received reinforcements, and a few weeks later he began a march towards London. He was opposed by the Earl of Essex with a Parliamentary army and they met at Edgehill, northwest of Banbury in Warwickshire, on 23 October.25 The forces were evenly matched – some fifteen thousand on each side – and the result was effectively a draw, but most of the men and their leaders were unaccustomed to war, discipline was weak, and the deaths and other casualties came as a shock. Though Charles continued his advance, he was faced near Reading by a powerful array from London and was obliged to withdraw. On 23 November the royal court and headquarters were established at Oxford.

The “Memoirs of Sir William Mainwaring” record that he “was knighted at Oxford, Jan 9, 1643, by the description of ‘Sir William Mainwaring, of West Chester.'”26 The accolade was surely granted by King Charles himself, and it was a notable honour for a comparatively junior officer: Francis Gamull, commander of the troop in which William served, was awarded a title only in the following year; so William had distinguished himself in some way, presumably on the campaign or at the battle of Edgehill.

Since Hester and William’s third child, William, was baptised in Holy Trinity Church at Chester on 3 August, Hester and the children must have joined William at Oxford and returned with him there soon afterwards. Civilian travel was possible, though it was neither easy nor secure:

Alice Thornton, whose royalist father Christopher Wandesford had been a close friend and associate of the Earl of Strafford, described how her mother travelled from Chester to the family home in Yorkshire at that time. At an early stage of the journey,

With these and several servants and tenants, though with much difficulty, by reason of the interchange of the king’s armies and the Parliament’s, she was brought into the town of Warrington [in Lancashire]…: she finding more favour by reason of the captain’s civility and by a pass from Colonel Shuttleworth [of Gawthorpe Hall] than usual.27

Gawthorpe Hall near Burnley is now a National Trust property, but it was at that time the seat of the Shuttleworth family, and Colonel Richard Shuttleworth was a member of the Long Parliament which had demanded Strafford’s execution. Though they were on opposite sides in politics and Burnley is sixty kilometres/thirty-five miles from Warrington, Shuttleworth was prepared to assist a gentlewoman and her family and his influence extended far enough to be effective.

With a small escort and some assistance from local gentry, therefore, a lady could make her way; but it was often difficult and certainly risky.

The memorial inscription composed by William’s widow Hester says that they had four sons and two daughters, but names only the daughters Hester and Judith. Familysearch, whose entry for Edmund is cited above, has just three other children,28 and while some family trees on give six names, the information is erratic, few original sources are cited, and some names and dates are clearly mistaken; in most cases, one table does no more than copy another. On the basis of sources currently available, the children of William and Hester can be identified as follows:29

  1. Their first son, Christopher Wase [?] was born at Holloway, Islington, in July 1640, and died there in May 1642.30
  2. Edmund was born in 1641 and baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Chester, on 22 May; he died in 1643 and was buried on 10 August.
  3. Judith was born in 1642 and baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Chester, on 23 May; as below, she married John Busby in 1658 and died in 1661.
  4. William was born in 1643 and baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Chester, on 3 August 1643; he died just three months later and was buried on 6 November.
  5. Hester was born in 1644 and baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Chester, on 10 July; as below, she married first Sir Thomas Grobham How and later the Hon Robert Paston; she died about 1688.
  6. William, second of that name, was born in September 1645, just before his father was killed at Chester; he died at London in the following year, and was buried on 29 July at the chapel of St Michael, Highgate, some three miles/five kilometres northwest of Holloway.31

We may note further that

  • Some sites identify children born in 1634. Since William and Hester married in 1639, however, when Hester was only fifteen, they cannot have had children so early.
  • Some sites list a child named Horo, but there is no evidence for any person of that name; it may be a corruption of Hester, but the reference cannot be usefully used.
  • Some sites list a son named Thomas, born in 1634. As above, the date must be mistaken, while there is no record of a son of that name born to William and Hester. There was a Thomas Mainwaring who became a baronet, but he was the son of William’s cousin Philip, son of Sir Randle of Over Peover.32

So none of William and Hester’s sons survived into manhood; it was no doubt for this reason that the memorial mentions only the number and gives no names.

It is a large number of children born in not many years, but Hester was evidently well able to manage physically, and she and her husband were surely fond of each other.

The two references to William as “Chancellor’s Son” in the death entries of Holy Trinity recognise the position of his father Edmund as Chancellor of the diocese,33 but William himself already held a leading position in the community of Chester. The city was important to King Charles, for it controlled access to north Wales, where much of his support could be found, and it also provided a port through which royalist troops might be brought from Ireland. Late in September 1642 the king visited Chester from his base at Shrewsbury and urged that its fortifications be strengthened.34 William Mainwaring had probably been a member of his escort at that time, but when he returned in the following year his recent award of knighthood gave him a position of authority among the defenders of the city.

Sir William Brereton had been appointed to command the Parliamentary forces in the county, and in March 1643 a substantial victory at Middlewich established his ascendancy over the royalists.35 Establishing his headquarters at Nantwich, some thirty kilometres/twenty miles southeast of Chester, he came to attack the city in July. Alice Thornton has an anecdote:

The wars falling out hot at the time, being we were beleaguered in Chester by Sir William Brereton’s forces for the Parliament, there happened a strange accident which raised that siege, July 19th, 1643. As I was informed, there were three granadoes shot into the town, but, through Providence, hurt nobody. The first, being shot into the sconce [earthwork] of our soldiers within, two men of Captain Mainwaring, having an oxhide ready, clapped it thereon, and it smothering away in [its] shells did not spread but went out.

The second light[ed] short of the city, in ditch within a pasture amongst a company of women milking, but was quenched without doing them harm at all, praised be the Lord our God. The last fell amongst their own horse, short of the town, slaying many of them, and by that means the siege was raised.36

Besides this account of men under William Mainwaring’s command, Ormerod’s History has two further references. In December 1643 he is listed as a member of the council approving the despatch of troops to assist an attack on Hawarden castle in Wales, and in March 1644 he is identified as a senior commissioner, required by the king’s general Prince Maurice of the Rhine to enforce an oath of allegiance to the royal cause from all within the city.37

We may note at this point that members of the Mainwaring family were on opposing sides of the civil war. In many parts of England, the choice of allegiance to the king or to Parliament was determined by family interest and local alliances rather than by any political or religious conviction,38 but in this instance circumstances divided the family. Very likely through the interest of his uncle Sir Philip, former associate of the Earl of Strafford and now in difficulties for his royalist connections, William supported the cause of King Charles. His cousin Philip, however, son of the late Sir Randle and now squire of Over Peover, was firmly for Parliament and commanded a troop of horse in the local army under Sir William Brereton.39

The tomb of Philip Mainwaring (c.1600-1647) and his wife Ellen nee Minshull.40
The ornate tomb is in the North Chapel of the church, constructed at Ellen’s orders following Philip’s death in 1647. Her own effigy lies beside his, and among the family shields the lower one in the centre has the arms of Mainwaring impaled with those of Minshull – azure, an etoile of eight points out of a crescent of the last [a blue ground with a white star and crescent].
Philip’s effigy is wearing armour, and his helmeted head is resting, not on a pillow, but on the head of a donkey – a reference to the family crest. A suit of mail of the period which he is believed to have worn hangs on the end wall of the chapel.
The inscription on the body of the tomb states that Philip had been Deputy Lieutenant of the county and Captain of the Horse, and that he and Ellen had six sons and one daughter.

Though the inscription of the memorial in Chester Cathedral states that Sir William Mainwaring died “honourably but immaturely” on 9 October 1644, it gives no detail of the circumstances, and the date is mistaken.

A royal army had come to Cheshire in November 1643 and gained initial success against the Parliamentary forces under Sir William Brereton, but he was soon afterwards reinforced, and he defeated the invaders at Nantwich in January 1644.41 He made another attack on Chester in late October of that year, but the threat from royalist troops in April caused him to withdraw once more and the summer of 1645 was comparatively peaceful.

The full assault on the city of Chester began on 20 September, when a Parliamentarian assault over-ran part of the eastern defences. King Charles himself brought an army to aid the defence, but on 24 September he saw his troops defeated at Rowton Heath, just outside the walls. As the failed relief force withdrew, the city was left to its own resources, and was subjected to a long siege with constant attacks. The final surrender on 3 February 1646 was compelled by starvation.42

Before this, however, during the summer of comparative inactivity in 1645, Hester and the children moved south to Holloway. Her father Christopher had died in October 1643, but her mother had inherited his estates. Though London was firmly in Parliamentary hands it is unlikely that too many questions were asked of women living quietly in the country, and it was certainly more secure than Chester. By 13 September William was writing to Hester at Holloway, and it appears they have been parted for some weeks:43

Much of the letter is self-explanatory, though it may be helpful to say that the “two Judes” are William and Hester’s daughter Judith, three years old, and Hester’s sister Judith Wase, who was now ten; Hester’s mother, of course, was also named Judith. The “old people heare” refers to William’s own parents, Edmund and his wife Jane nee Pickering. Boughton is a neighbourhood just to the east of the city of Chester, but there is no further information about the little girl William mentions.

Two days later, William wrote again, on this occasion from Holt Castle, a stronghold near Wrexham in Wales, some fifteen kilometres/ten miles south of Chester.44 

From the reference to “your delivery,” it appears that Hester had just lately given birth to their sixth child William, second of that name: the news must have reached Cheshire between this letter and the preceding one, dated two days before. In both letters, William expresses interest and hope for a position which will allow them to be together, while he appears confident that although Hester is in an area under Parliamentary control and Oxford is held for the king she can nonetheless travel safely there and back.

In his letter of 13 September, William spoke clearly of his wish

that wee may but live together, our being asunder being (next never seeing one another againe whiche God of Heaven forbid) the greatest curse and vexation can happen to mee.

But the worst did happen: William was killed just one month later, fighting on the city wall, and they never saw one another again.

Some three weeks after the event a friend named Thomas Gardener sent an account of the death to Hester’s mother Judith Wase, with a postscript explaining that he had delayed writing until he had confirmation of the “sad sertenty:”45

3 November 1645 was a Friday, so the Friday three weeks before, which Thomas Gardener indicates as the day of William’s death, was 13 October. The memorial in Chester Cathedral has miswritten the year as 1644, and the date as 9 October. Since the text of the inscription was composed in 1671, twenty-five years after the event, Hester’s memory may have been at fault, but is also quite likely that the engraver misread her text and she was not there to check. If the latter is the case, then we may suspect that the day of William’s death was actually Friday 6 October: the single digit 6 is more easily confused with 9 than with the doublet 13; and Gardener perhaps delayed writing a few days longer than he says.

Correspondence was in any case erratic, and Hester and her family may have heard the news before Thomas Gardener’s report reached them. Ten days earlier, on 24 October, William’s parents Edmund and Jane nee Pickering had also written to Judith Wase, enclosing a more detailed report – now lost – with the request that she pass on the news to Hester. Given the “straite” [tight] siege to which Chester was subject and the general confusion and difficulty of the time, it is not possible to judge when the letters arrived or in what order. It is appears, however, that William had been dead some weeks before Hester learned of his fate.46

Sir William Mainwaring in a commemorative glass painting
from a photograph by Mike Searle (cc-by-sa/2.0)
William Barnston (1592-1665), squire of Churton, a village some twelve kilometres/seven miles south of Chester, was among the royalist defenders of the city during the siege of 1643-1645. Early in the 1660s, soon after the Restoration of Charles II, he restored his parish church of St Chad at Farndon, including a chapel to commemorate his experience of the war, with a window honouring his former comrades. Just over seventy centimetres high, the window has painted panels showing armed men and their equipment, with images of their
. One of the leaders is Sir William Mainwaring, identified by his shield – white with two bars and a crescent. He holds a baton, symbol of command, with a sash and bars at his knees to show his rank. The picture is small, and William was long dead by this time, so there is no reason to believe it is a close likeness, but it is a kind acknowledgement.

Hester was in a sad and difficult position: a widow of twenty-one with several small children in a time of war. Three sons, Christopher, Edmund and William, had already died, in 1642 or 1643, so she was accompanied by two daughters and her youngest child, a second William. This William had been born at Holloway just a few days before his father’s death. He died in July of the following year,47  and Hester was left with just her daughters, Judith aged four and Hester two years old.

The will composed by Hester’s father Christopher Wase left his property in first instance to his wife Judith nee Gore, with the estate to be divided between his daughters after her death: Hester should then receive his properties in Buckinghamshire and Judith his holdings in Islington, these last amounting to some fifty acres with a “Mansion House built of brick.” Though he died in 1643, probate was not granted until 5 February 1647.48

We may assume that Hester stayed with her mother and sister at Upper Holloway: it was her original home, and a young widow with small children would be glad of any support they could offer. A little over two years from the death of her husband William, Hester married Sir Henry Blount; the wedding took place in the church of St Michael Paternoster Royal on 23 December 1647.49

Portrait of Hester Blount nee Wase, widow of Sir William Mainwaring
by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen [Cornelius Johnson] (1593-1661)
now in the National Portrait Gallery, London
Dating is difficult, but the picture may have been painted when Hester was married to William Mainwaring. Cornelis Janssens was a notable portraitist in England during the time of Charles I, and though he returned to the Netherlands at the beginning of the civil war, he visited England on occasion thereafter. The “fictive” oval frame on panel is typical of his earlier work, however, and the inscription at the top is surely a later addition.
It is possible that this was one of a pair of marriage portraits, made at the time of Hester’s wedding to William. See his engraved portrait above.

Born in 1602, Henry Blount was more than twenty years older than Hester.50 A graduate of Oxford and of Gray’s Inn, he had travelled widely in the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt and his Voyage to the Levant was widely circulated. Knighted by Charles I in 1640, he fought at Edgehill and attended the royal court at Oxford, but was later a commissioner on a number of enquiries during the Interregnum.

Henry Blount’s contemporary John Aubrey has an entry for him in his Brief Lives, and tells how he came back to London and

… walked into Westminster Hall with his sword by his side; the parliamentarians all stared upon him as a Cavalier, knowing that he had been with the king; was called before the House of Commons, where he remonstrated to them that he only did his duty, and so they acquitted him.51

It is not known when or how Hester met Sir Henry Blount, but after their marriage they evidently lived at Hornsey, just three kilometres/two miles north of Holloway, and Sir Henry may already have established himself as the resident of a neighbouring property.52 When his elder brother died in 1654, he inherited the family estate, including the manor of Tittenhanger or Tyttenhanger at Ridge, south of St Albans in Hertfordshire, and built a large new house there. He was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1661 and later served again as a commissioner for trade.

The first child of Hester and Henry Blount was a daughter, Frances (1648-1699), and she was followed by seven sons, three of whom died in infancy – the youngest, Ulysses (1664-1704), was born when Hester was forty years old.53 The eldest son, baptised Thomas Pope (1649-1697), became a noted scholar and a Member of Parliament, and was made a baronet by Charles II.54

There was still contact with William’s parents in Chester, and one kind and courteous letter survives from Edmund to his former daughter-in-law.55


Born in 1579, Edmund was now over seventy, and it is likely that his wife Jane was already dead: she had signed the letter of October 1645 but not this one, and the privations of the siege would not have been good for her health; so we are not certain who the Jane is mentioned by Edmund in his postscript. Sir Philip Mainwaring, Edmund’s younger brother, was the former assistant to the late Lord Strafford, now in an enforced retirement.56 Lady Brerewood was the wife of Sir Robert Brerewood, member of a leading family of Cheshire; his first wife was Edmund’s sister Anna nee Mainwaring, but she died in 1630 and this was the second Lady Brerewood, Katherine nee Lee.

Despite the good will and good wishes, it is unlikely that Edmund Mainwaring saw his grand-children again.

Etching of a portrait of Hester, Lady Blount, widow of Sir William Mainwaring
Item mw134531 in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London
Stipple engraving by Schenecker, published by Edward Harding, London 1792
In the same fashion as the picture of her late husband Sir William Mainwaring, shown and discussed above, this said to have been taken from the original owned by the Reverend George Lefroy of Ashe in Hampshire, the son of a celebrated collector. The original picture now appears to be lost, the engraver is known only as Schenecker, and there is no mention of the name of the painter.
While the format is similar to the etching of Sir William Mainwaring, it is unlikely that the original was one of a pair commemorating their wedding. Hester nee Wase was only fifteen when she married William, but this picture shows a mature woman.

Hester’s mother Judith Wase nee Gore died in the 1660s. Hester’s sister Judith nee Wase married George Master, a lawyer of Lincoln’s Inn, in 1660 and died after childbirth in 1669. She was buried with her father Christopher in the church of St Mary at Islington, where a memorial set up by her husband recorded that:

… during their ten year intermarriage, she was ever a most affectionate and observant wife, a real and judicious friend, by whom she had many children; but left him with only one son.57

Hester herself died in 1678; she was buried in the Blount family vault of St Margaret’s Church at Ridge in Hertfordshire on 6 November.58


Hester’s eldest daughter, Hester nee Mainwaring, married Sir Thomas Grobham Howe of Kempley in Gloucestershire and later, after his death,59 the Hon Robert Paston, a son of the Earl of Yarmouth who was a Member of Parliament for Norwich.60 She died about 1688, with no children by either husband.

The younger daughter, Judith nee Mainwaring, born in 1642, married John Busby of Addington in Buckinghamshire; the wedding was held in St Margaret’s church at Ridge on 15 February 1658. Born in 1635, John was the son of Robert Busby and Abigail nee Gore the sister of Judith Wase nee Gore, so husband and wife were first cousins once removed. On 5 June 1661 John Busby was knighted by King Charles II, and the Biographical Mirrour quotes from Kennett’s Register:61

This morning his Majesty was graciously pleased in his bed-chamber to confer the honour of knighthood on John Busby, of Addington, in the county of Bucks, Esq, which gracious favour had an honourable reflection upon the memory of that valiant knight Sir William Mainwaring, slain in the defence of Chester, whose daughter Sir John married.

So William Mainwaring was still remembered, and his service was recognised in the honour granted to his posthumous son-in-law.

Six months later, on 7 December, Judith gave birth to a daughter, Hester, but she herself died just three weeks later, no doubt from the after-effects of the birth. Birth and death took place at Tittenhanger House at Ridge in Hertfordshire, now the home of her mother Hester, Lady Blount, and Judith was buried at St Margaret’s Church in Ridge.62 She had previously borne a son, most likely in 1659, but it appears that he died young, and there is no further information about him, not even his name.63

Portrait of Judith nee Mainwaring, Lady Busby, with her child
by an unknown artist, ascribed to British (English) School, now at the National Trust property of Tatton Park []
This is inscribed in te top right hand corner as being a portrait of Judith Busby nee Mainwaring with her infant daughter Hester, who would marry Thomas Egerton. Tatton Park, near Knutsford in Cheshire, was formerly the home of the Egerton family, so the picture appears relevant.
In fact, however, Judith Busby nee Mainwaring died three weeks after giving birth to Hester, and the child here is very much older than three weeks. It is probable that the child is not Hester but her elder brother. If he had been born in 1659 and the portrait was painted in 1661 he would have been about two years old, and the clothing of young children at that time did not distinguish between boys and girls.

In 1705, more than forty years after the death of Judith Busby nee Mainwaring, the Reverend Thomas Busby, son of Sir John by his second wife Mary nee Dormer, had a memorial set up to his father’s memory in the church of St Mary at Addington:

Near this place resteth in Hope to Rise

in the glory the body of the learned SIR JOHN

BUSBY Kt, late Deputy Lieut[enant] and Colonel

of the Militia of the County, deceased

the 7th January 1700 Age 65.

He had by his first lady JUDITH daughter of Sir

Wm MAINWARING Kt, Governor of West

Chester, a son and a daughter.

By his second lady MARY eldest daughter of

JOHN DORMER of Lee Grange Esq five sons

and nine daughters whereof most are

gone before. May the rest prepare to follow him. 

To whose pious memory THOMAS BUSBY

D[octor] of Laws his son and heir consecrates 

this Monument Anno 1705.63

So an enquiry which began with a memorial to Sir William’s death concludes with another which remembers his daughter.


1 The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester: compiled from original evidences in public offices, the Harleian and Cottonian mss., parochial registers, private muniments, unpublished ms. collections of successive Cheshire antiquaries, and a personal survey of every township in the county; incorporated with a republication of King’s Vale Royal, and Leycester’s Cheshire Antiquities, by George Ormerod (1785-1873), Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor and Jones, London 1819 [], at 245.

The two works incorporated are The Vale Royal of England: or, the county palatine of Chester illustrated, by Thomas Hughes (1822-1896) and Daniel King (d. 1664?), J G Bell, London 1852 [online at]; and Historical antiquities in two books; the first treating in general of Great Britain and Ireland; the second containing particular remarks concerning Cheshire, and chiefly of the Bucklow hundred. Whereunto is annexed a transcript of Domesday-Book, so far as it concerneth Cheshire, by Sir Peter Leycester (1614-1678); first published in 1673, it is often cited as Historical antiquities or, as above by Ormerod, extracted as Cheshire Antiquities.

2 Major sources on the general political and military history of the period discussed in this essay, leading up to and including the civil war, are C V Wedgewood, The King’s Peace 1637-1641 and The King’s War 1641-1647, both published first by Collins, London 1958, then by Penguin 1983; also Austin Woolrych, Battles of the English Civil War, published first by Batsford, London 1961, then by Pan 1966; and William Seymour, Battles in Britain and their political background, volume 2 (1642-1746), Sidgwick and Jackson, London 1975 and Book Club Associates 1976

3 The Biographical Mirrour: comprising a series of ancient and modern English portraits, of eminent and Ddstinguished persons, from original pictures and drawings, compiled by Francis Godolphin Waldron and Sylvester Harding, published at London by S[ylvester] and E[dward] Harding 1795-98 [ Google], Volume 1 at 19-22, has “Memoirs of Sir William Mainwaring, of West-Chester, Knt, Ob Oct 1645,” followed immediately by an account of his widow Hester. [The Dictionary of National Biography states that Francis Waldron was the author of all the biographies:,_Francis_Godolphin_(DNB00)]

The “Memoirs” include a brief account of the Mainwaring family, including William’s father Edmund. The Christian name of his grandfather and his uncle, both styled Sir Randle, may also appear as Randolf and other variants. The uncertainty on the date of William’s death is discussed below.

On Philip Mainwaring of Over Peover, see further below at note 39.

4 There is a general discussion of the family at

5 Alumni Oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714; their parentage, birthplace, and year of birth, with a record of their degrees, compiled by Joseph Foster; Parker and Co, Oxford and London 1891 [], Early Series volume III, 960 (all alumni of the Mainwaring surname are listed at 959-960).

Edmund’s appointment to the Council of the North is discussed by Ronald A Marchant, The Church under the Law: justice administration and discipline in the diocese of York 1560-1640, Cambridge UP 1969 [Google], 47 and 250..

6 Marchant, The Church under the Law, 47, says that Edmund Mainwaring was appointed Chancellor of the diocese in 1634, but that he appointed deputies to act for him in that office until 1638. The List of Chancellors in Ormerod, History, 87 at item 6, says that Edmund Mainwaring LlD is described by the antiquarian Sir Peter Leycester [in his Cheshire Antiquities (see note 1 above)] as being chancellor of Chester 1642, but “his patent is not in the office.” It is probable that he was appointed in 1634 but then took up full responsibility in 1638: the certificate of his appointment was evidently missing from the archives.

In 1635 Edmund heard a case concerning the distribution of tithes and other revenues from the parish of Whalley in Lancashire. In 1644, when William Laud the Archbishop of Canterbury was point of trial by Parliament, it was at one point claimed that he had interfered in Edmund’s decision: at 50. [The trial ended without a verdict, but – like the Earl of Strafford as below – Laud was later impeached and executed.]

The memorial to his son William Mainwaring describes Edmund as Chancellor of the County Palatine of Chester, but this is incorrect: his office was in the diocese of Chester, not in the county of Cheshire. England had three county palatinates, so-called because they occupied marcher territories close to the borders of Wales and Scotland. The county palatinates of Lancaster and Durham were administered by chancellors – and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is still maintained as a cabinet minister in the present-day United Kingdom. Cheshire was also a palatinate county, but the administration was headed by a Chamberlain: see, for example, “The rights and jurisdiction of the county palatine of Chester, the earls palatine, the chamberlain, and other officers; and disputes concerning the jurisdiction of the Court of exchequer with the city of Chester, &c., now first printed from the original manuscript in the possession of the editor,” by Joseph Brooks Yates [editor], in Remains, historical & literary, connected with the palatine counties of Lancaster and Chester, XXXVII; The Chetham Society, Manchester 1856 [; Google]. Edmund Mainwaring’s legal offices and membership of the Council of the North were important, but he was not the Chamberlain of the County Palatine of Cheshire.

7 On Thomas Wentworth, later Earl of Strafford, see C V Wedgewood, Strafford, Jonathan Cape, London 1953.

8 His father Edmund had been fifteen when he entered Brasenose College at Oxford: Alumnii Oxoniensis and Marchant, Church under Law cited in note 5 above.

9 Alumni cantabrigienses; a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900; compiled by John Venn and John Archibald Venn; Cambridge University Press [; Microsoft], Part I [From the Earliest Times to 1751] volume 3 (1924), 127 (all alumni of the Mainwaring surname are listed on this page).

On William’s age at admission, compare notes 8 above and 24 below.

10 London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 for Islington St Mary, Islington 1557-1649; Hester’s name appears to be either wrongly or badly written as “Hoster.”

As in the discussion of the shield at the top of the memorial, her maiden surname is found in many different forms: Wace, Wasse, Waste etc. The will of her father Christopher, however, has the form Wase, and this seems preferable.

11 notes that Hester’s gravestone of 1678 states that she was born in 1620; other sources suggest 1617.

London, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, however, records the wedding of Christopher Wase and Judith nee Goare at Holy Trinity the Less in the City of London on 10 February 1623/4 [modern 1624: see immediately below in this note]. Since there is no account of any previous marriage of Christopher Wase and it is most unlikely that Hester was born out of wedlock, while Judith nee Gore is regularly referred to as her mother in family correspondence below, Hester can have been born no earlier than 1624.

The official year in England at this time began on 25 March – it was not recognised as 1 January until 1752. The date of the marriage of Christopher Wase and Judith nee Gore is therefore recorded as 10 February 1624; here and in other such cases, however, we adjust to the modern form.

12 Sir John Gore and Sir Thomas Cambell have entries in Wikipedia and citations elsewhere.

The surname Gore appears also as Goare, and the surname Cambell, though well attested, is obviously a variant of the more common Campbell.

13 In his will of 18 October 1643, Christopher Wase mentions the marriage portion, then divides his estate between Hester and her younger sister Judith. Hester received his property in Buckinghamshire and Judith his holdings in Islington. His wife Judith nee Gore was named as executor. On the division of property, however, see further below.

Christopher died a few days after signing the will, and he was buried at St Mary, Islington, on 25 October: London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812.

The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 199 retrieved from . On its probate, see below at note 48.

14 The process is described by Wedgewood, Strafford, 277-341.

William Laud the Archbishop of Canterbury suffered the same fate early in the following year, with some implication for William’s father Edmund Mainwaring: note 6 above.

15 The letter is the first of six collected by the journal The Topographer andpublished in volume I, number 2 of May 1789 [Google Books], pages 68-74; there is an introduction at 68 and Letter I is at 69-70.

The date is given as 20 March 1639. As in note 11 above, however, the official new year did not begin until 15 March, so the year was 1640 by modern reckoning.

16 The wedding is recorded at the church of Holy Trinity the Less in the City of London on 12 April 1633. The church was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. On a later connection to the Busby/Busbye family, see below.

17 On the possible confusion of names, see note 18 immediately below.

18 The record of baptism at Islington St Mary gives the Christian name of the child as Wase, which is most unusual. A record of burial in the same church almost two years later has the name as Christopher and the surname is transcribed as “Mankinge.” Both records very likely relate to the same person: the baptismal name was miswritten as Wase rather than as Christopher, while the surname Mainwaring appears in several different guises and is often scrawled.

19 Edmund Mainwaring 1641 – 1643 on FamilySearch

The original Church of the Holy Trinity may have dated from the fourteenth century, but it was substantially altered in the latter part of the seventeenth century and the eighteenth century and was rebuilt in the nineteenth century. It was decommissioned in 1960 and is now – known as the Guildhall – used for secular functions.

20 There is confusion about the identities and the dates of birth of the children of William and Hester; the question is discussed below.

21 Bibliographical details of the “Memoirs” are in note 3 above. The transcript of the letter is on pages 20-21.

22 There is no reference to the phrase “end in a bonfire” in either The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs [compiled by William George Smith with an introduction by Janet E Heseltine; second edition 1948 revised by Sir Paul Harvey], or in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations [third impression 1956].

A bonfire, however, can be both destructive – as a conflagration or a funerary pyre – or, alternatively, a sign of celebration. Both meanings were well attested in William’s time, and he is clearly using the second and more favourable one.

23 Pepys saw the play at its first night on 8 January 1663 and was greatly impressed with it then. His favourable comparison to Othello appears in his Diary entry for 20 August 1666.

24 Alumni cantabrigienses I.3, 236, records his admission in 1627, noting that he was fourteen years old at the time. As above at note 9, William Mainwaring was about thirteen when he was admitted in 1629.

25 The campaign and the battle are described in detail by Seymour, Battles in Britain, 37-51, also by Wedgewood, King’s War, 134-139.

26 Biographical Mirrour, 23. The date would therefore have been recorded as 9 January 1642, but the Mirrour has made the adjustment.

27 Roger Hudson [editor], The Grand Quarrel: from the Civil War memoirs of Mrs Lucy Hutchison; Mrs Alice Thornton; Ann, Lady Fanshawe; Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle; Anne, Lady Halkett, & the letters of Brilliana, Lady Harley, Folio Society, London 1993, 93.

28 Note 19 above. From Besides Edmund, they are Judith, said to have been born in 1636 and to have died in 1661; Hesther [sic] born in 1637; and William, born and died in 1643.

29 A summary of this list appears on the page for Hester Mainwaring nee Gore at

30 See the discussion at note 18 above.

31 In his letter from Holt Castle near Chester, written on 15 September and reprinted below at note 44, William speaks to Hester of “your delivery,” most likely referring to her giving birth. It would appear that the news had only just reached him, for there is no mention of the event in his letter written from Chester on 13 September. Given the military activity at the time, it is not possible to judge how long a letter would have taken, but the child had probably been born a week or two before.

St Mary, Islington, appears to have been the parish of the Wase family: Christopher Wase had been buried there, his daughter Hester had married William Mainwaring there, and up to this time those of their children recorded in London had been baptised or buried there. It is therefore is a little surprising to find William buried at Highgate, but the entry clearly names the parents of the infant as William and Hester Mainwaring. As below, two sons of Hester by Sir William Blount would also be buried there, but that was a few years later: note 52.

32 Philip Mainwaring of Over Peover (c.1600-1647), son of Sir Randle (d.1632), is discussed below; he must be distinguished from Sir Philip (1589-1661), who was his father’s younger brother and uncle to both him and to William: see at note 7 above.

Philip’s son Thomas (1623-1689) became a Member of Parliament for the County of Cheshire in 1660. Though he was not politically active, his tacit support of the new royal government was recognised by a baronetcy in the following year:

33 Above at note 6.

34 Ormerod, History, 203-204, has an account of the king’s visit and the development of the fortifications.

35 Ormerod, History, xxxv-xxxviii, has a general history of the war in Cheshire, and there is a modern account, with a detailed plan of the city’s fortifications, in “Early Modern Chester 1550-1762: the civil war and interregnum, 1642-60,” 115-125; digitised by British History Online [BHO] from A History of the County of Chester, Volume 5 Part 1 “The City of Chester: General History and Topography,” published by Victoria County History, London 2003; online at

Sir William Brereton (1604-1661) was a long-serving Member of Parliament and an energetic Puritan magistrate with a record of opposition to the corporation of the city of Chester. He has a biography at and an entry in Wikipedia.

36 Hudson, Grand Quarrel, 92.

“Granado” is an archaic form of the modern “grenade,” in this case describing a small explosive shell which had been shot – somewhat erratically – against the city defences. Unlike a modern hand-grenade which disintegrates as it explodes, or shrapnel which throws out pieces of metal, early grenades relied upon their explosive force for effect – which could be considerable.

37 Ornerod, History, 205.Prince Maurice was the younger brother to the more celebrated Prince Rupert; they were sons of Princess Elizabeth, elder sister of King Charles and Electress of the Palatinate in the Holy Roman Empire, Germany.

38 See, for example, Alan Everitt, “The Local Community and the Great Rebellion,” in The Historical Association Book of The Stuarts, edited by K H D Haley, Sidgwick and Jackson, London 1973, 74-101 [first published as a Historical Association pamphlet in 1969].

39 A cadet branch of the family had acquired the property of Whitmore Hall in Staffordshire by marriage in the late sixteenth century. There, however, both Edward Mainwaring (1577-1647) and his son, also Edward (1603-1675), supported Parliament, and the Hall was fortified against royalist troops. See J G Cavenagh-Mainwaring, The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford; an account of the family,, and its connections by marriage and descent, with special reference to the manor of Whitmore, with appendices, pedigrees and illustrations, 1934, available through, at 65-67; also

40 Photograph by David Schenk at; information from A History and Guide to the Church of St Lawrence at Over Peover, kindly provided by Ms Vicki Irlam.

Though the guide refers to Sir Philip and to Dame Ellen, there is no evidence that Philip received a knighthood. As in note 32 above, however, Philip and Ellen’s third and eldest surviving son Thomas was made a baronet by King Charles II.

41 Ormerod, History, xxxvii-xxxviii; Wedgewood, King’s War, 493; and Wikipedia entries for the second battle of Middlewich and the battle of Nantwich.

42 Ormerod, History, 206-206; Wedgewood, King’s War, 493-495, 529 and 538; and Wikipedia entries for the Siege of Chester and the battle of Rowton Heath.

43 Letter II published in The Topographer [note 15 above] at 69-70.

44 Letter III published in The Topographer [note 15 above] at 71-72. The wording of the first sentence implies that William had written to Hester also on the day before, 14 September, but that may be an echo of Letter II, which is dated to 13 September.

Holt castle was held by royalist troops for most of the civil war until it was compelled to surrender in 1647; its fortifications were then destroyed and only the foundations now remain.

As background to the items of news that he mentions, we may note that the citizens of Chester resented the Welsh troops who had been brought in to boost the garrison, while Sir Francis Gamull was personally unpopular and William clearly disapproves of his conduct. The Savage family were leading gentry based on Frodsham, some fifteen kilometres/ten miles northeast of Chester.

45 Letter IV published in The Topographer [note 15 above] at 73. The relevant passage is quoted by the “Memoirs of Sir William Mainwaring” in the Biographical Mirrour [note 3 above] at 23, with a footnote referring to The Typographer.

The writer of the letter may have been Sir Thomas Gardiner, a leading royalist who has an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography. There is no recognised place-name Darleston in England; the closest is Darlaston in the south of Staffordshire, now part of the borough of Walsall.

46 Letter V published in The Topographer [note 15 above] at 73-74.

47 Note 31 above.

48 Note 3 above gives the site of the will at (The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 199). The will is in English, while the record of probate – in Latin – is attached at the end. Judith as executor is identified as Christopher’s widow [relicta]. The date is given as 1646, but February is a month before the formal New Year of that time, so it was 1647 on a modern calendar.

Ten years later Hester and her sister Judith – now twenty-one – agreed to a different and apparently more equal division, so that each held property at Holloway and in Buckingham. No doubt with their mother’s approval, the document was endorsed at a “Court Baron” or manorial court in December 1656; it contains a description of the property at Islington, including the “Mansion house:” London Metropolitan Archives, Halliday Collection 169, quoted by WHPRA [The Whitehall Park Area Residents Association] at

49 The church is just north of Southwark Bridge. The building of that time dated from the thirteenth century, but was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. The present-day church was designed by Wren; damaged in the Second World War, it has since been restored. Though the surname in the marriage entry appears as Blunt, but it is generally written as Blount.

50 Henry Blount has an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography: there is an account of him and of his family in The English Baronetage: containing a genealogical and historical account of all the English baronets … illustrated with their coats of arms, III.2, published by Thomas Wotton, London, 1741 [Google Books (as volume 4)] 668-673]. As in note 51 immediately below, there is a contemporary biography in John Aubrey’s Brief Lives.

51 Richard Barber [editor], Brief Lives by John Aubrey: a selection based upon existing contemporary portraits, Folio Society, London 1975, 48-50 at 48-49. Also online at Google Books.

52 English Baronetage at 669-670 says that the couple’s second son, named Henry (1650-1651) and their third, also Henry (1653-1653) were both buried at St Michael’s Chapel, Highgate, in the parish of Hornsey. 

53 As in note 52 immediately above, the first two children were baptised Henry, and a third Henry was born and died in 1657 – it was not a fortunate name.

54 There are biographies of Sir Thomas Pope Blount in the Dictionary of National Biography and at

55 Letter VI published in The Topographer [note 15 above] at 74.

56 See above at note 7.

57 The History, Topography, and Antiquities of the Parish of St. Mary Islington in the County of Middlesex, including biographical sketches of the most eminent and remarkable persons who have been born, or have resided there, by John Nelson, Islington 1811 [Google Books], 298-299 and also at 62.

58 The precise date is given by English Baronetage, 669.

59 The memorial to her father Sir William Mainwaring spells the surname as How, but it appears more commonly as Howe. Grobham was a supplementary personal name held by several members of the family at this time.

Since the memorial to Hester’s father Sir William, composed in 1671, mentions only her marriage to Sir Thomas, we must assume that he died after that time.

60 There is a biography of Robert Paston, with a summary of his marriages, at

Biographical Mirrour, 21, says that her picture was painted by Sir Peter Lely, a Dutchman [Pieter van der Faes] who was most fashionable at the time, and that she appears to have been “most handsome.” The portrait, however, has either not survived or can no longer be identified as hers.

61 Biographical Mirrour, 21.

White Kennett (1660-1728), Bishop of Peterborough, wrote several political and historical works, including his Register and Chronicle, Ecclesiastical and Civil: containing Matters of Fact delivered in the words of the most Authentick Books, Papers, and Records; digested in exact order of time; with papers, notes, and references towards discovering and connecting the true History of England from the Restauration of King Charles II. Only the first volume was actually published, at London in 1728, but it dealt with the period up to the end of 1662; the Mirrour cites page 482. 

62 Hertfordshire Parish Registers retrieved from FindMyPast.

63 The only reference to a son of John and Judith Busby is in the text of the memorial, as immediately follows.

Sir John’s son Thomas, who arranged the memorial and composed the inscription, describes himself as the heir to his father. We must therefore assume that his elder half-brother, the son born to Judith nee Mainwaring in 1659, was already dead; otherwise he would have been the heir.

From the portrait with his mother – in which we believe he has been wrongly identified as his sister Hester – it is probable that the boy was born in 1659, the year after his parents’ marriage. His name was likely William or Roger for one of his grandfathers, or John for his father.

64 FindAGrave Memorial for Sir John Busby died 1701

500th blog post

This is my 500th blog post. I wrote the first eight years ago, on 25 April 2012.

In Australia 25 April is ANZAC Day, the memorial anniversary of the WW1 landings by Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli in Turkey. Looking back it surprises me a little that I did not make this day of remembrance the topic of my first post, for I had written elsewhere at some length about the war and its affect on a small Victorian town. It is an interesting subject and I still had (and have) a lot to say about it.

Nevertheless, my first topic was not ANZAC Day but the blog itself which, I explained, I had established ‘to share the stories I discover while researching my family history’. My blog was to be only indirectly about great historical events and movements. Its real focus was the lives of people with whom I have a family connection.

My second post concerned two distant relatives, my first cousins four times removed George Kinnaird Dana and Augustus Pulteney Dana. This set the pattern for most subsequent posts, and the blog in effect became an online research journal, supplementing with richer detail the bare record of facts – the names, places, and dates of people – in my family tree.

I have continued to move from here to there in my family tree, writing about what takes my fancy. My system, to the extent that I have one, is to tag posts with the surnames and places they concern. In eight years I have accumulated many tags. The surname I have written about most frequently is, perhaps not unexpectedly, the one I was born with, Champion de Crespigny. Most of my place-tags are set at the Australian state or British county (or similar) level, with the most frequent Victoria and Cornwall.

Most of my posts are prompted by my current family history research, but now and then they are written in response to themes suggested elsewhere. For example, every week the Sepia Saturday blogging group publishes an historical image, inviting its members to write an item related to it. The prompt image becomes a launching-pad for all sorts of interesting journeys. Similarly, since 2014 I have participated in an event called the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Every day in April (except on Sundays), with A for 1 April, B for 2 April, and so on, I write a post with the prompt that day’s letter of the alphabet. It is a lot of work but very satisfying. Through these and other blogging communities I have met many family history bloggers in virtual blog-space – sometimes called the blogosphere – and I have been entertained and encouraged by reading their posts and their comments and support of mine.

After 500 posts have I run out of topics? Not at all. I’ve got much more to say and many more posts to research and write.