I have quite a number of Huguenot forebears, among them the Champion de Crespignys and Fonnereaus. Recently, pottering about in a different branch of the family, I came across several more, including a group of gunpowder manufacturers.
One of my 3rd great grandmothers was Charlotte Champion Crespigny née Dana. Her great grandfather was an Irish cleric, the Rev. Dr Grueber. Tracing his family led me to Huguenot refugees from Zurich to merchant bankers of Lyons, and from these to gunpowder manufacturers, with factories near London and in Ireland.
Thus through the Dana line, my eighth great grandfather was a Frenchman called Daniel Grueber, the son of Jean Henry Grueber (1585 – 1683), a merchant banker of Lyons and Anne Grueber née Theze. Jean Henry was the son of Jean Grueber, described as ‘Marchand banquier allemand à Lyon, Bourgeois de Zurich’, who married Jeanne Barrian in Lyons on 22 May 1576.
At Lyons on 3 December 1657 Daniel Grueber married Suzanne de Montginot. Their children, all born in Lyons, were:
Francis Grueber 1658–1730
Anne Grueber 1660–
Suzanne Grueber 1661– 1737
Daniel Grueber 1664–1670
Jean Henry Grueber 1666–
Francoise Grueber 1669–
Marguerite Grueber 1669–
Nicholas Grueber 1671–1743 (my seventh great grandfather)
On 21 November 1682 Daniel Grueber, Susanne his wife, their sons Francis, John Henry and Nicholas, and their daughters Susanna, Margarita and Frances, received formal letters of ‘denization‘, conferring on them the status of ‘denizen’. This was similar to present-day permanent residency. A denizen was neither a subject (with nationality) nor an alien, but had the important right to own land. On the same date Philip le Chenevix and his sister Magdaelena Chenevix also received letters of denization; Philip Chenevix married Suzanne Grueber in 1693.
From 1684 Daniel Grueber was leasing both gunpowder and leather mills along Faversham Creek in Kent, 48 miles east of London. Explosives had been manufactured at Faversham since at least the 1570s. There is a connection between gunpowder and leather: considerable quantities of leather were needed to protect the gunpowder from accidental detonation during its production, transportation and storage.
Daniel had possibly gained experience in gunpowder manufacture in Lyons though his immediate relatives, including his father, seem to have been merchants and bankers, not manufacturers.
Daniel had a contract to provide gunpowder to the British government’s Board of Ordnance, in partnership with James Tiphaine, another Huguenot refugee. Besides those at Faversham, Daniel had mills at Ospringe and Preston, both places within a mile of Faversham.
Daniel Grueber was naturalised on 2 July 1685 together with his three sons. Daniel was described as born at Lyons in France, son of John Henry Grueber by Anna These, his wife. ‘Naturalisation’, requiring an act of parliament be passed, granted all the legal rights of English citizenship except political rights (for example, the right to hold political office).
Daniel Grueber died in 1692 and his will was probated 15 February 1693 by his sons Francis and Nicholas. Francis continued the gunpowder business in Kent. In 1745 his son went bankrupt and eventually the mills were purchased by the Ordnance Board in 1759.
Nicholas Grueber emigrated to Ireland and had arrived by Michaelmas 1698 when he became a Freeman of Dublin under the terms of the 1661 Act of Parliament to encourage Protestants to settle in Ireland.
Nicholas Grueber’s occupation on his arrival was merchant. However, in 1717 he was awarded a 21-year contract to supply gunpowder to the government. In 1719 he established Dublin’s first large-scale gunpowder manufacturing business at Corkagh in south Dublin.
On 19 May 1703 Nicholas Grueber (the record has ‘Grubert’) married Marguerite Moore at L’Eglise Française de St Patrick (part of St Patrick’s Cathedral set aside for the use of Huguenots).
Nicholas was a merchant, son of Mr. Grubert and Madle Monginot, Marguerite was the daughter of the Reverend Moore, a minister of the English church.
Nicholas Grueber and his wife Marguerite had six children baptised at the Nouvelle Église de Ste Marie:
Nicholas Grueber 1704–1705
Elizabeth Grueber 1706–
Susana Maria Grueber 1707–
Nicholas Francis Grueber 1709–
Arthur Grueber 1713–1802 (my 6th great grandfather)
William Grueber 1720–
Of the four sons of Nicholas, one died in infancy, one followed him into business and the other two attended university and became clergymen in the Protestant Church of Ireland.
My sixth great grandfather Arthur Grueber was a pupil of the Anglican divine Thomas Sheridan, one of Jonathan Swift’s friends. Grueber studied at Trinity College, Dublin, gaining his MA in 1737 and DD in 1757. He was ordained as a deacon in 1736.
In May 1795, at the age of twelve, Rowland Mainwaring (1782 – 1862), my fourth great grandfather, joined the Royal Navy as a ‘young gentleman’, an aspiring officer. He was under the patronage of Admiral Sir John Laforey. His first ship was the Jupiter, a 50-gun fourth-rateship of the line commanded by Captain William Lechmere.
In the same year he became a midshipman on the Scipio, a 64-gun third rater, serving on the West Indies Station. He also served for a short while on the Beaulieu, a 40-gun fifth-ratefrigate, and on the Ganges a 74 gun third-rater. In just over a year Mainwaring had served in four ships, ranging in size from 40 to 74 guns. The Beaulieu had a notional complement of 320 officers and men and the Ganges 590 (naval vessels of the period were usually short-handed).
HMS Majestic under Westcott then joined the Channel Fleet, and was present at the Spithead Mutiny in April and May 1797. The mutiny at Spithead (an anchorage near Portsmouth) lasted from 16 April to 15 May 1797. It was one of two major mutinies in 1797. Sailors on 16 ships in the Channel Fleet protested against the living conditions aboard Royal Navy vessels and demanded a pay rise, better victualling, increased shore leave, and compensation for sickness and injury. During the mutiny the mutineers maintained regular naval routine and discipline aboard their ships (mostly with their regular officers), allowed some ships to leave for convoy escort duty or patrols, and promised to suspend the mutiny and go to sea immediately if French ships were spotted heading for English shores. Because of mistrust, especially over pardons for the mutineers, the negotiations broke down, and minor incidents broke out, with several unpopular officers sent to shore and others treated with signs of deliberate disrespect.
The mutiny ended with an agreement that saw a royal pardon for all crews, reassignment of some of the unpopular officers, a pay raise and abolition of the purser’s pound. Afterwards, the mutiny was to become nicknamed the “breeze at Spithead”.
The Battle of the Nile was fought from 1 to 3 August 1798 at Aboukir Bay, on the Nile Delta, 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Alexandria. The British fleet, led by Nelson, decisively defeated the French under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d’Aigalliers.
At this time Rowland Mainwaring was 15 years old. He never forgot the experience and frequently mentioned the anniversary in his diary entries. In later years he commissioned the marine artist Thomas Luny to paint the battle, himself sketching what he remembered of the scene, in particular the terrible moment when the flagship of the French Navy, L’Orient, was hit by a cannonball in her gunpowder magazine and exploded. The painting by Luny showing the battle at 10 p.m. on 1 August 1798 still hangs in Whitmore Hall.
Although it was late afternoon and the British fleet had no accurate charts of the bay, Nelson ordered an immediate attack on the French who were unprepared and unable to manoeuvre as the British split into two divisions and sailed down either side of the French line, capturing all five ships of the vanguard and engaging the French 120-gun flagship Orient in the centre. At 21:00, Orient caught fire and exploded, killing most of the crew and ending the main combat. Sporadic fighting continued for the next two days, until all of the French ships had been captured, destroyed or had fled; eleven French ships of the line and two frigates were eliminated.
Majestic was towards the rear of the British line, and did not come into action until late in the battle. Together with HMS Bellerophon, Majestic, passed by the melee and advanced on the so far unengaged French centre. In the darkness and smoke Majestic collided with the French ship Heureux and became entangled in her rigging. Majestic then came under heavy fire from the French ship Tonnant. Unable to stop in time, Westcott’s jib boom became entangled with Tonnant‘sshroud. Trapped for several minutes, Majestic suffered heavy casualties. The captain of the Majestic, George Westcott was hit by a musket ball in the throat and killed. Lieutenant Robert Cuthbert took command and was confirmed as acting captain by Nelson the day after the battle.
The Battle of the Nile was a great defeat for the French. The Royal Navy lost 218 killed and 677 wounded; the French losses were 2,000–5,000 killed and wounded, 3,000–3,900 captured, 9 ships of the line captured, and two ships of the line and two frigates destroyed.
The strategic situation between the two nations’ forces in the Mediterranean was reversed, and the Royal Navy gained a dominant position that it retained for the rest of the war.
A medal was issued for those who took part in the Battle of the Nile. Rowland Mainwaring claimed his medal only in 1847 and received it in 1850 with a medal for the Siege of Copenhagen. I am not sure why he left it so late to claim these honours.
In 1826 the English poetess Mrs Felicia Hemans wrote her well-known ‘Casabianca‘, which begins:
The boy stood on the burning deck Whence all but him had fled; The flame that lit the battle's wreck Shone round him o'er the dead.
The poem commemorates the young son of the commander of the French ship L’Orient who refused to desert his post without orders from his father.
(I will write separately about the rest of Rowland Mainwaring’s career.)
Parallels with the fictional Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey
Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey are fictional Royal Navy officers of the Napoleonic war years. Hornblower is the protagonist of a series of novels and stories by C. S. Forester published 1937 to 1967; Jack Aubrey is a fictional character in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick O’Brian published 1969 to 2004. Hornblower and Aubrey are both a little older than Rowland Mainwaring.
In Forester’s novel ‘Mr. Midshipman Hornblower‘ his hero has that rank between 1794 and 1799. In his fictional career Hornblower served under the famous admiral Sir Edward Pellew; Mainwaring also served under Pellew, evidently with respect and admiration, for he christened his second son ‘Edward Pellew’.
In ‘Master and Commander‘ O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey, at the time lieutenant on HMS Leander, earns a silver Nile medal. The medal is mentioned every time Aubrey puts on his dress uniform.
Sources and notes
O’Byrne, William R. A Naval Biographical Dictionary: Comprising the Life and Services of Every Living Officer in Her Majesty’s Navy, from the Rank of Admiral of the Fleet to that of Lieutenant, Inclusive. 1849. Page 711. Retrieved through archive.org.
Marshall, John. Royal Naval Biography : Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired-captains, Post-captains, and Commanders, Whose Names Appeared on the Admiralty List of Sea Officers at the Commencement of the Present Year, Or who Have Since Been Promoted, Illustrated by a Series of Historical and Explanatory Notes … with Copious Addenda: Captains. Commanders. 1832. Pages 126 – 130. Retrieved through Google Books.
Cavenagh-Mainwaring, James Gordon. 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. Pages 104, 114, and 115. Retrieved through archive.org
Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Christine and Britton, Heather, (editor.) Whitmore Hall : from 1066 to Waltzing Matilda. Adelaide Peacock Publications, 2013. Page 82.
Note: Although the birthdate of my fourth great grandfather Rowland Mainwaring is usually given as 31 December 1783, he was baptised at St George, Hanover Square London on 18 January 1783 and thus his date of birth is actually 31 December 1782. [City of Westminster Archives Centre; London, England; Westminster Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: SJSS/PR/5/16 retrieved through ancestry.com]
The genealogy company MyHeritage recently announced it had refreshed the data for its ‘Theory of Family Relativity™’, a tool that computes hypothetical family relationships from historical records and DNA matches. It does this by ‘…incorporating genealogical information from [its] collections of nearly 10 billion historical records and family tree profiles, to offer theories on how you and your DNA Matches might be related.
In yesterday’s webinar I looked at a MyHeritage theory of the relationship between my husband Greg and his cousin Pearl. MyHeritage suggests that Pearl is Greg’s second cousin once removed. This is confirmed by the historical records. Greg and Pearl have well-developed and reliable family trees, so it wasn’t difficult to calculate the relationship.
It’s hard to say what’s new in MyHeritage’s new Theory. It’s possible that new ways of massaging the data have been developed, but it seems more likely that, with larger volumes of data being processed to develop Theories, ‘new’ simply means more, as in ‘newly-added’.
Anyway, I thought I’d give it a try.
MyHeritage’s announcement included a note advising users that ‘If we have found new theories for you in this update, you’ll see a banner about the Theory of Family Relativity™ at the top of your DNA Matches page. Click “View theories” to see all the theories we’ve found, both old and new.’
I couldn’t find this banner, but I eventually found my way to the filters on the DNA results page where by using the “All tree details” filter, I could select “Has Theory of Family Relativity™”
My husband Greg has 14 matches with theories. Back in March 2019 I counted 7 matches with theories so I looked at this list of matches again to see if I can learn anything new. In March 2019 Greg had 4313 DNA matches at MyHeritage. Now he has 6399, 50% more.
Several of the 14 matches in the list were matches I had not previously reviewed. I decided to look at S, whose DNA kit is managed by T from Canada.
Greg and S share 35 centimorgans across 1 segment. MyHeritage estimates them to be 3rd to 5th cousins. S appears in a family tree with 250 people. S is the 4th cousin of Greg according to the Theory of Family Relativity™. Ancestral surnames appearing in both trees include Dawe; Daw and Smith. Ancestral places common to Greg and S include Great Britain and Ireland.
I clicked on View Theory which I have highlighted with the green arrow.
There are three paths to support the theory that Greg and S are 4th cousins.
The first path uses 3 websites: my tree, a tree by B R from Australia and the third website the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S. MyHeritage states “This path is based on 3 MyHeritage family trees, with 55% confidence”
The link is William Smith Dawe (1810-1977), Greg’s third great grandfather. I have on my tree that he is married to Mary Way (1811 – 1861). B R’s tree has William’s dates (1819 – 1877) and has William’s wife as Elizabeth Hocken 1821 – 1884 and the daughter of William and Elizabeth as Thirza Dawe 1824 – 1891. Thirza is the great great grandmother of S.
MyHeritage thinks the probability that the two William Smith Dawe’s on my tree and B R’s tree is 100% despite the differing birth dates. MyHeritage thinks the probability that Thirza Daw on B R’s tree is the same Thirza Daw on T’s tree is only 55%. I clicked on the small 55% immediately above the green letter b and got the following pop-up.
There are several problems with this first path of the theory calculated by MyHeritage. I don’t believe our William had two wives and Thirza born 1824 would have been born when William and Elizabeth were extremely young. I know this family does have common names and these are repeated across several generations. There are also several cousin marriages in this branch of the tree.
I looked at the second path to see if it is more plausible. MyHeritage states “This path is based on 4 MyHeritage family trees, with 70% confidence.”
The four trees are mine and the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S plus a tree by JS from Australia and a tree by MT from Australia.
This path goes from Greg’s great grandmother Sarah Jane Way (1863 – 1898) to her mother Sarah Way née Daw (1837 – 1895). The Daw surname sometimes is spelt with an extra e as in the tree by J S. From Sarah Dawe on J S’s tree we go to Sarah Ellen Dawe (1837 – 1895) on the tree by M T. I am not sure where the middle name came from. I don’t recall it on any document. I will check the documents I have.
M T’s tree has the parents of Sarah Ellen Dawe as Betsey Metters 1792 – 1863 and Isaac Smith Dawe 1795 – 1851. From Isaac we link to T’s tree. He shows Isaac Smith Dawe 1797 – 1851 and Betsy Metters (Matters) 1792 – 1863 as the parents of Thirza Daw 1824 – 1891, the great grandmother of S.
This theory seems more plausible to me, but I need to verify this against source documents. At the links between the trees MyHeritage assigns a confidence level. Most of the links are 100% but MyHeritage is only 70% confident that Sarah Dawe in J S’s tree is the same person as Sarah Ellen Dawe in the tree by M T.
I clicked on the 70% and got the popup showing the comparison which gives additional detail from both trees. The difference is that the tree by J S has no parents has no parents but the tree by M T has Sarah Ellen Way’s parents as Isaac Smith Dawe and Betsy Metters. M T’s Sarah Ellen Daw has the same dates and places of birth and death as the Sarah Daw in my tree. I have plenty of documents to back up that sarah’s parents were not Isaac and Betsy but instead Isaac’s brother William Smith Daw.
This theory almost but not quite adds up. The need to go across several surnames is because of the spelling variations between Daw and Dawe. In my tree I have spelled the surname without a final ‘e’. I think MyHeritage has placed too much emphasis on the surname variation and not enough on other variations.
The third path “…is based on one community tree and 4 MyHeritage family trees, with 52% confidence”.
This path uses our tree, the tree by Greg’s cousin Pearl, a tree managed by S R from Great Britain, Family Search Family Tree, and the tree by T who administers the DNA kit for S.
Pearl’s tree provides the link between Sarah Daw on our tree spelt without an e to Sarah Dawe with an e and from there to her father William Dawe – surname with a final e. From there the link is to S R’s tree with William Smith Dawe (1810 – 1877), MyHeritage are only 72% confident they have the right man. William Dawe is not a direct forebear of Pearl and she has not provided many details for him in her tree.
S R shows Thirza Dawe (1824 – 1891) as the daughter of William Smith Dawe. From there the link is to FamilySearch Family Tree but with only 52% confidence. I clicked on the 53% to find out why MyHeritage is not confident they have the same person.
There are some important differences. The dates are the same and the place name variations are minor. FamilySearch, however, has Isaac Smith Dawe as the father of Thirza, not William Smith Dawe.
This path is rated 52% confidence by MyHeritage. The level of confidence is determined by its assessment of the weakest link.
I don’t think this path is correct. S R’s tree shows William Smith Dawe fathering Thirza when he was only 14, which is unlikely.
Of the three paths I think path 2 is most plausible but even then it is not quite right as it relies on the wrong father for Greg’s great great grandmother Sarah Way born Daw and does not fit with known records.
The next step is to review records and update my own tree using those records. After all, the Theory of Family Relativity generated by MyHeritage is meant to be a hint and not a proven conclusion.
I did not have Thirza Daw(e), the great great grandmother of S in my tree.
I have Isaac Smith Dawe (abt 1797 – 1851) and his wife Betsy Metters (1792 – 1863) in my tree. They show as Greg’s 4th great uncle. I have only one daughter showing for that marriage, the forebear of another match. Because Isaac is off to one side I have not researched all that family.
Isaac Daw appeared on the 1841 English census as a 40 year old miller living at Newton Mill, Tavistock, Devon. In the same household was Betsy Daw aged 45, and four children Betsy Daw aged 15, Honor aged 9, Jane aged 8, David aged 4.
On the 1851 census Isaac S Daw is a 54 year old miller employing 4 men and 1 boy living at Lumburn, Tavitock. In the same household are his wife Betsy aged 58, a niece aged 15 and a servant, a miller’s labourer, aged 30. All children have left home.
At the time of the 1841 census there may have been other children who had already left home.
Research by another cousin Lorna Henderson which she shared to Wikitree showed “entry in Beer Ferris in Tavistock parish register for 25 Aug 1818 shows Isaac Smith Dawe as sojourner of this parish, and Betsey Metters of this parish spinster, “married in this church by banns with the consent of their parents” by Harry Hobart, Rector. Both signed: Isaac Smith Daw and Betsey Matters. Wit: Humphrey Roberts, Mary Box (neither of whom witnessed other marriages on the page)”. I navigated to the Wikitree entry from MyHeritage when I searched Isaac Smith Dawe (Daw)/Dawe in All Collections. MyHeritage has 13,676,346 results for Isaac Smith Dawe (Daw)/Daw – far too many, the problem with a common name – they would of course be reduced as one narrowed down the search parameters.
I have been in correspondence with Lorna Henderson before and I know she is a most conscientious researcher and that Isaac is her direct forebear. She has a website for her family history at http://LornaHen.com and the details she has researched about Isaac Smith Daw are at http://familytree.lornahen.com/p28.htm . Lorna records there that in his will of 1847, William Smith Daw mentions his daughters: “My Daughters Names are as follows Mary Cook Betsey Bennett, Thirza Daw, Honor Daw and Jane Daw” and also his sons “my too sons Isaac Daw and David Daw”.
I could not find a baptism record for Thirza Daw in the MyHeritage record collections. On Wikitree cousin Lorna recorded that Thirza Daw was baptised 5 APR 1824 Tavistock, Devon, England. I found an image of her baptism in 1825 at FindMyPast. She was the daughter of Isaac Smith and Betsy Daw. Their abode was Newton Mill and Isaac’s occupation was Miller. I have updated Wikitree with the slightly revised date.
I am confident that Thirza is the daughter of Isaac Smith Daw, Greg’s 4th great uncle. Thyrza Daw shows up on the 1841 census as a female servant in another household. She married in 1850.
I traced down to S through English and Canadian censuses and other records. I found that she was Greg’s 5th cousin. S and Greg share 4th great grandparents Isaac Daw(e) 1769 – 1840 and Sarah Daw née Smith 1774 – 1833. Greg is descended from William Smith Daw 1810 – 1877 and S is descended from his brother Isaac Smith Daw 1797 – 1851.
I will update my family tree at MyHeritage. The Theory of Family Relativity won’t update straight away but at least I know that the next time it updates it may use the opportunity to trace a more accurate path.
As mentioned above I feel the algorithms MyHeritage used placed too much emphasis on the variation between Daw and Dawe and not enough emphasis on the parents named in the trees though there was obviously some weighting for variations in parents.
Nothing has changed about the MyHeritage theories particularly that I can see although I had not noticed previous theories that I reviewed making use of the tree at FamilySearch.
The Theories of Family Relativity generated by MyHeritage are just that, theories or hints. But they did point me in the right direction to make the connection between S and Greg and build my tree a little further.
Recently I’ve been doing a bit of research about Greg’s 3rd great grandfather James Cross (c 1791 – 1853). I have been greatly helped by contributions from several of Greg’s cousins who are also interested in their Cross ancestors. Here’s what I’ve turned up.
On 28 December 1819 James Cross married Ann Bailey (1791 – 1860). At the time he was employed as a brewer. He lived at Penketh, about ten miles east of Liverpool.
Between 1820 and 1822 James and Ann had seven children, two girls and five boys:
John Cross 1820–1867
Thomas Bailey Cross 1822–1889
Ellen (Helen) Cross 1824–1840
Ann Jane Cross 1826–1827
James Cross 1828–1882
William Grapel Cross 1832– 1876
Frederick Beswick Cross 1833–1910
James and Ann’s third child, the eldest daughter, was called Ellen. She was born 9 February 1824 and baptised in the Chapelry of Hale on 22 August 1824. The baptism register records James’s occupation as road surveyor and their abode as St Helens. Ellen Cross was Greg’s 3rd great aunt.
On the 1841 census James Cross, occupation farmer, was living with his wife Ann and three of his five sons: Thomas, James and Francis. There is no mention of daughters.
The eldest son, John, was a surgeon’s apprentice on the 1841 census living with Thomas Gaskill surgeon in Prescott.
James and Ann’s son William Grapel Cross was possibly at school. He was then about ten years old but ten years later he was with the family on the 1851 census. There is a William Cross at a grammar school in Whalley in 1841. The age and Lancashire location seem to fit, and the fact that he later got a job as an Admiralty clerk indicates he was well educated.
Ellen and her sister Ann Jane who was born in 1826 were not with the family.
Ann Jane Cross was born 28 June 1826 and baptised 16 July 1826 at St Helens, Lancashire. There is a burial on 14 May 1827 at St Mary, Hale, Lancashire, England of an Anne Jane Cross with Age: 1 Abode: St Helens. She seems likely to have been Anne the daughter of James and Ann.
There is a marriage of Ellen Cross daughter of James Cross, husbandman of Eccleston, in 1842. Ellen was a minor and this is consistent with the 1824 birth-date as she would then have been 18. A husbandman’s status was inferior to that of a yeoman. The latter owned land; the former did not.
Ellen could not sign her name, nor could her husband and the witnesses. From what I know of the family of James and Ann Cross it seems unlikely that Ellen could not sign her own name. I am also not able to identify the witness Elizabeth Cross.
I found an 1840 burial at St Thomas Eccleston for a Helen Cross. Her age is given as 16. This is consistent with Ellen’s 1824 year of birth. Her abode is recorded as Eccleston. There are no other clues to suggest that this Helen Cross was indeed Ellen the daughter of James and Ann Cross.
To confirm my hunch that Ellen daughter of James and Ann was Helen who was buried at Ecclestone in 1840, I ordered the death certificate of Helen Cross from the UK General Register Office.
Helen Cross, aged 16 years 2 months, daughter of James Cross, clerk, died of consumption on 10 April 1840 at Eccleston. This Helen’s age matches that of Ellen born February 1824.
Different documents give different occupations for James Cross, but I believe that for each of the instances that it is the same person.
Consumption, now more commonly known as tuberculosis, is an infectious bacterial disease, usually affecting the lungs. A common symptom is a persistent cough, which in later stages brings up blood. The patient, with no appetite, loses weight. Other symptoms include a high temperature, night sweats, and extreme tiredness. Tuberculosis was usually a slow killer; patients could waste away for years.
An 1840 study attributed one fifth of deaths in England to consumption. It has been claimed “Tuberculosis was so prevalent in Europe and the United States during the period comprising the end of the 18th century through the first half of the 19th century that almost every family on the two continents was affected in some way by the disease.”
In 1838 the death rate in England and Wales from tuberculosis was around 4,000 deaths per 1 million people; it fell to around 3,000 per million in 1850. The improvements in the death rate have been attributed to improvements in food supplies and nutrition as the improvements are before knowledge of the cause of the disease or any treatment was available.
The World Health Organisation reports that today tuberculosis is still one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent. Worldwide 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018; over 95% of cases and deaths are in developing countries. The WHO estimated 58 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2018 and the WHO hopes to eliminate TB by 2030.
Scrimshaw, Nevin S. Integrating nutrition into programmes of primary health care, Food and Nutrition Bulletin Volume 10, Number 4, 1988 (United Nations University Press, 1988, 74 p.) retrieved from http://preview.tinyurl.com/lyodwzf
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. 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. 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.
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:
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
 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 [archive.org] 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 british-history.ac.uk/vch/ches/vol5/pt1/pp115-125.
 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.”
 The window is discussed, with photographs, at the following websites:
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 [https://www.jstor.org/stable/44227597].
I also acknowledge the most impressive and helpful site cheshire-heraldry.org.uk, 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.
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.
 His dates of appointment are given by Ormerod, History I, 221. Reproductions from the engraving are referred to below as the Cholmondeley copy.
 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.
 “Army Uniforms,” 175. He suggests that five bars [Gamull and Grosvenor] may have indicated a colonel, four [Mainwaring] a lieutenant-colonel, and three [Barnston]
 “… 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.
 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.
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:
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. 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, 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.
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.
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. 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.
Oscar had been born in 1825 on the Isle of Wight, where his father John Hambrough built Steephill Castle in Victorian baronial style. 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.
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. 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:
…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.
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.
When Oscar died in 1900, however, the provisions of his will were somewhat unexpected. They were summarised by the Northampton Mercury:
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.
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.
So – with a little help from Harry’s great-grandmother – all ended well.
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”.
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.
 His obituary was published by the Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser on 8 July.
 His obituary was published by the Bristol Times and Mirror on 5 August 1899.
 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.
 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 round-the-island.co.uk.
 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.
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 ofCheshire 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.
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.
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
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 ancestry.com 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
Their first son, Christopher Wase [?] was born at Holloway, Islington, in July 1640, and died there in May 1642.30
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
… 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.
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
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.
1The 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 [archive.org], 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 archive.org]; 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
3The 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 [archive.org: 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. [TheDictionary of National Biography states that Francis Waldron was the author of all the biographies: wikisource.org/wiki/Waldron,_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.
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: british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas1/1641-3/pp517-553 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 [archive.org; 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.
On William’s age at admission, compare notes 8 above and 24 below.
10London, 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 findagrave.com/memorial/185934914 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: 199retrieved from ancestry.com . 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.
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.
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 TheOxford 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 TheOxford 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.
26Biographical 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.
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.
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 british-history.ac.uk/vch/ches/vol5/pt1/pp115-125.
“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 archive.org., at 65-67; also historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1660-1690/member/mainwaring-edward-i-1603-75.
40 Photograph by David Schenk at findagrave.com/memorial/81535564; information from AHistory 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.
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.
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.
48 Note 3 above gives the site of the will at ancestry.com (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 whpara.org.uk/history/.
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.
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.
52English 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.
57The 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.
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.
61Biographical 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.
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.
The shield at the base of the memorial has the arms of Busby in the centre and those of his two wives’ families on either side. The design for Judith nee Mainwaring has six red and six white bars: the Mainwarings normally had just two red bars on white, but a variant with multiple bars was also used.
On Saturday 25 May we drove east from Lewes to Hastings and on to Kent.
We did not visit the battlefield of 1066, because, said Charlotte, “It wasn’t National Trust, and there would have been an entrance fee”. My reasons were different. We had already been to a few battlefields on this trip. They make me sad, and anyway, just visiting the scene of the carnage doesn’t help me to understand its place in history.
We went to Hastings‘s seaside promenade instead, parking opposite a villa with a blue plaque which commemorated Thomas Carlyle’s stay there in 1864. At the time he was working on his twenty-two volume life of Frederick the Great, and doubtless his walks along the seafront aided his reflections. Or perhaps not. His biography has been called a “mythopoeic effort”, which I guess means he strayed from the facts; maybe he was distracted by the ladies in their bathing machines.
Carlyle lived here
From Hastings we went on to Rye and Rye Harbour, once important sea-ports but silted up over the centuries by strong tidal flows. In the north-west of Western Australia we have ten-metre tides and there’s not a medieval harbour in sight. Without suitable local ports an Australian prime minister named Robert Menzies was obliged to get himself appointed Lord Warden of the English Cinque Ports.
After Rye we visited the church of St Mary in the Marsh near New Romney. The author Edith Nesbit, whose children’s books I greatly enjoyed as a girl, is buried there.
Edith Nesbitt’s grave marker
En route to Hythe we stopped to walk on the sea wall near Dymchurch. There has been a sea wall there since Roman times but the new sea defences were built in 2011.
In Hythe after a bit of searching we found Hay House, where my 3rd great grandfather James Gordon Cavenagh (1770-1844) lived for ten years or so from 1830. He seems to have had quite a temper. There was a gate in the fence between his house and the Royal Staff Corps Barracks next door. In 1830 the Royal Staff Corps decided to remove the gate and close up the fence. Cavenagh took exception to this, and drawing his sword, threatened the men removing the gate. “I’ll run the first man through the body that attempts to touch the palings”. There was a brawl but eventually a fence was erected and the gate removed. When the matter went to court a jury found against Cavenagh and awarded 10 pounds damages. The barracks has since gone and Hay House is all that remains of the site. Now subdivided into flats, it looks a bit run down.
We attempted to visit the local parish church of St Leonard where my great great grandfather Wentworth Cavenagh and his siblings were baptised, but a wedding was about to begin and we couldn’t get in. It seems to have been a fashionable occasion and the narrow lanes and Einbahnstraßen around the church were choked with well-dressed Poms in Range Rovers trying to find a place to park. We somehow got caught up in the tangle, our fat black Mercedes further disrupting the traffic and Anglo-German relations, until we finally shot out of the mess and promptly got lost. Being lost feels better than knowing where you are and not wanting to be there.
Lunch we had in the garden of the Riverside Inn at Ashford. Low clouds threatening rain made it a dismal meal. Charlotte had scampi and Peter had a burger; the cider was warm, flat, and sour but not unpleasant. The inn had a few forlorn gum trees, a reminder of home. You had to imagine the strong bright sunshine and cold beer.
cider on tap
gum trees far from home
We spent the afternoon at Sissinghurst, where the gardens were just as beautiful as we remembered them from our 1989 visit. Greg had predicted that the intervening thirty years of tourism would have ruined Sissinghurst. I’m glad to say he was quite wrong.
Lewes: navigating that twitten again – no paint lost thanks to warnings
Kelmarsh Hall was once owned by George Granville Lancaster (1853-1907) and Cicely Lancaster née Champion de Crespigny (1874-1946). Cicely was a daughter of the fourth baronet, Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1847-1935) and his wife Georgiana (1849-1935). George and Cicely Lancaster had two children, Claude and Valencia. Between 1948 and 1953 Claude was married to Nancy Keene Perkins (1897-1994), whose first
husband was Ronald Tree (1897-1976). The Trees rented Kelmarsh in the 1920s and Nancy, who became a noted interior designer, redecorated the Hall. Neither Claude nor Valencia had children. In 1982 to help conserve Kelmarsh Hall Valencia in accordance with her brother’s wishes set up a trust, called the Kelmarsh Trust.
My cousin Stephen Champion de Crespigny (1930 – 2019), an enthusiastic researcher of Champion de Crespigny family history, was a director of the Kelmarsh Trust, and for some years he lived at the Hall in the Coachmans Cottage and served as a volunteer guide. We had hoped to call on Stephen when we were in England. Sadly, in poor health for some time, he died on 18 May.
Kelmarsh Hall and its gardens looked lovely in the bright spring sunshine. Though I had seen reproductions of the family portraits I was very pleased to see the originals. The guides were friendly and helpful.
In the afternoon visited Houghton Mill, a restored National Trust flour mill on the Great Ouse near Cambridge. One of Greg’s ancestors was a miller. It was fun to learn about milling, and I now know why people with the surname ‘Miller’ often have ‘Dusty’ for a nickname.
We drove into Bury St Edmunds for dinner. The Abbeygrounds has a very pretty park. The town has no famous lichenologist, and has to do with Messenger Monsey, ‘a man notorious in London society for his bad manners’.
Abbey ruins now form a setting for gardens
West Front, Bury St Edmunds The historic conversion is now complete of the medieval remains of the flint coTimber-framed houses were constructed within the walls in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Sutton Hoo, the early-medieval ship burial site near Ipswich, was only an hour or so from where we were staying, but it was closed so we took ourselves off to Cambridge instead.
Cambridge had fewer tourists than Oxford, but there was no shortage – in fact our arrival increased the total by four. A solution to the crowding, one that seems to have been put into effect at King’s College Chapel, was an entrance fee so high that the punters would self-ration their sightseeing. Greg says he remembers crying poor and rationing himself out of the tour entirely to take a free rest in the sunshine outside. Peter, Charlotte, and I paid up. The magnificent carving, fan vaulting and stained-glass windows were worth it, of course, and Greg’s memory, possibly still scarred by the shock of the entrance charge, is completely wrong. He did pay, did wander awe-struck around the Chapel with us, and was, with us, overwhelmed by its magnificence.
Former Fosters’ Bank. Sidney Street, Cambridge
Kings College Chapel
Greg can be spotted gazing at the fan vaulting, carvings and stained glass
Arms of Henry VII with supporters of th red dragon of Wales for his Tudor fayjer and greyhound for his Beaufort mother
Adoration of the Magi by Rubens
very worn step
St Margaret – defaced probably by Puritan reformers
After the Chapel we went for a stroll through the Backs (a bit of geographical name dropping for you: open parkland where several of the Colleges back on to the River Cam). The flowers growing against the sunny wall at Clare College looked particularly wonderful.
Cambridge Clare College garden wall
Cambridge Clare College garden wall
For lunch, after a couple of false starts we ended up at a Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant. The verdict was edible enough but not very interesting. Oliver’s restaurant chain went into receivership one day later; perhaps other customers shared our opinion. On the whole, however, English food seemed very much better than it was thirty years previously. There had been plenty of upside potential…
On the way home we took a slight detour to visit Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust property with a Jacobean(ish) house, quiet gardens, and a working watermill. Our favourite room was the library, and there is wonderful collection of clocks.
Anglesey Abbey library
Anglesey Abbey library
Anglesey Abbey dining room
Anglesey Abbey kitchen
Anglesey Abbey garden
Anglesey Abbey garden
Anglesey Abbey garden
Anglesey Abbey garden
Anglesey Abbey garden
[How innocent this all seems in retrospect. A year after our visit the Anglesea Abbey website is warning people to stay away: ‘All our houses, gardens, parks, toilets, cafes, shops and car parks are now closed to further restrict the spread of coronavirus. Anglesey Abbey, Gardens & Lode Mill are closed, please do not travel.’]
We had dinner at Ixworth, a pretty Suffolk village, home, apparently, of the Ixworth chicken. Peter ordered steak and kidney pudding.