About this blog, and what's coming next

About this blog

In this blog I am making my researches in the architectural and family history of British and Irish landed families and their country houses available in the hope that others will find them interesting and useful: the usage of the site by more than 40,000 readers a month from all round the world is most encouraging and suggests that others share my interests.  I want in particular to show how the history of the houses reflects the history of the families who owned them, and to enable those interested in particular houses to trace the kinship networks of their owners, which so often shaped the patronage choices which owners made. The approach has been developed on the basis of my previous research on Gloucestershire country houses, where I was able to visit almost every surviving house and personally inspect all the surviving archival evidence.  However that one county study took me 20 years, and in scaling up to a national canvas I am inevitably largely dependent on the original research of others.

The research which supports this blog is therefore primarily derived from secondary sources, online catalogues of archives, and digitised original sources, although I am also drawing on a lifetime of country house and church visiting, which means that over the years I have been to quite a lot of the places described, including many that are not open to the public.  The secondary sources - and especially the Internet sources - for genealogy, and indeed for the architectural history of country houses, are notoriously full of inaccuracies and wish-fulfillment, and I hope that as an archivist I bring to bear on this material over 35 years of experience in evaluating and testing the evidence they provide, so as to offer in the blog as factual an account as I can.  However, while the information provided is as accurate as I can make it while maintaining a reasonable output, I am far from infallible in both my discovery of sources and my assessment of them, and I will be genuinely grateful for additional information and corrections supplied by readers, and especially by the current owners of the houses and by descendants of the families discussed, who may have personal archives containing information not otherwise available.  I make updates and corrections to past posts on a regular basis, so trustworthy information supplied will be incorporated within a few days. I include at the end of each account a note of when it was first published and subsequently amended, so that readers who refer to the site at intervals can see at a glance whether an account has been updated since their last visit.

I have been asked how I select families and houses for inclusion.  My rule of thumb is that a family should have owned and occupied at least one country house continuously for over half a century and more than one generation, and should have used it as a country house (not as a farm or a furniture store!).  Most of the families included will be found in the pages of one or more editions of Burke's Landed Gentry or Peerage & Baronetage, though not all. Impressively comprehensive though those works are, some families do seem to have slipped through their net, and of course some families died out before John Burke began publishing in the 1820s and 1830s, such as the Ackloms of Wiseton Hall or the Agards of Foston Hall.  I have also been asked about which families I have considered for inclusion, but rejected as not meeting these criteria; a list of these is given below. It will be seen that many of the families which are included in one or more editions of Burke's publications do not meet my criteria. (If you think any of these families did meet the criteria, please let me know!)

Saying that a family is selected for inclusion on the basis of owning a country house of course begs the question of what is a country house, which is interesting and tricky to define. My best effort is that it is a residential building which at the time it was built was in a rural setting and exhibited the characteristics that suggested gentry or aristocratic status to contemporaries.  Those characteristics changed over time, with the varying social and economic significance of land ownership and changing architectural and landscaping fashions. Houses that were built as country houses could - and did - decline in status; others that had been simple farms over centuries could be refashioned and redecorated and lived in in a different way, and become country houses almost overnight.  Those are the principles of selection, but I reserve the right to bend the rules to write about any family or house that interests me, and indeed to exclude the terminally dull!

I am well aware that a topic as large as the Landed Families of Britain and Ireland can really only be tackled collaboratively (I have a list of over 13,000 families for potential inclusion), and so I hope that the regular publication of information here will encourage others who share my interests to send me images or information which can be included in future posts. I give below an indication of which families and houses the next few posts will cover. If you can help with any of these, please contact me through the Contact Form at the top of the right-hand side-bar on the blog or through Twitter or Facebook. I endeavour to respond to all genuine messages within a week or so.

I have already received very generous help of various kinds with the project from Sir William Arbuthnot, bt., Catherine Beale, Matthew Beckett, Peter Bell, Chris Bennett, Martin Deacon, Charles Hind, Gareth Hughes, Thomas Lloyd, the National Trust, Chris Pickford, Liz Rees, Rob Wheeler, Chris Whittick and Sue Wood.

I have also received help with particular families and houses from William Acton, John Ainslie, Peter Archdale, Jill Armitage, Anthea Ashfield, James Ashford, Pete & Jackie Bettess, David Bowd-Exworth, David Brown, Nicholas Coleridge, Peter de Loriol, Geoffrey de Wilton, Joanne Eastman, Alison Elliott, David Erskine, Niamh Fitzpatrick, Elisabeth Frankish, Bil Fulton, Clare Hartwell, Stan Hicks, Debbie Hodgson, Marc Hoover, Martyn Howes, Michael Kelly, Felicity Learey, Caroline Magnus, David Martin, Jean F. Milne, Nick Molyneux, Jeremy Musson, Jonathan Myles-Lea, Phil Norris, Lord Norton, Bernard Nurse, Christine Penney, Anthony Ruscoe, Megan Ryan, Bob Scott-Ashe, Colin Varley, John Venning, Chris Webb and Cressida Williams. 

I am also particularly grateful to all those who have generously allowed me to reproduce individual photographs from other online and archival sources in return for nothing more than an acknowledgement, and in particular to Matthew Beckett, Charles Hind, Historic England and National Trust Images: the number and quality of the illustrations I can offer is thereby much enhanced.  The images used are wherever possible my own, rights cleared, or available under a Creative Commons licence or equivalent. For images taken from the Web it has in some cases not been possible to establish or to contact a rights owner; if anyone can show their copyright has been infringed please contact me and I will either add an appropriate credit or take down the image.


Anatomy of the blog

Comments from readers suggest it may be helpful to explain a bit more about how posts on this blog are structured. Each post is in three parts: 

Firstly, a general narrative account of the family from its first rise to gentry status down to its extinction, lapse from gentry status, or the present day, paying particular attention to its fluctuating status and wealth and the acquisition and dispersal of landed estates.
Secondly, accounts of each of the family's country houses, usually in the order they acquired them, and telling - as far as I can discover the information - the whole story of the house, including its development before the family under consideration acquired it, and after they sold it. For each house, there is a narrative history and a list of the owners as far as I have been able to trace it. Some houses which have been owned at different times by several qualifying families may eventually appear in more than one post (e.g. Linden Hall, which features in the posts of the Adamson and Ames families; or Frickley Hall, which features in the posts on the Anne and Warde-Aldam families).
The final section gives summary biographical and genealogical information about the members of the family who actually owned the estate or parts of it, in the sequence of their ownership. The names indexed on the 'Index to Biographical Entries' page are the names which appear in bold in this section, and who were generally the owners of one of the estates of the family, although where estates have passed from a man to his grandson or great-nephew I have included the intervening generations for comprehensibility. For each individual treated, I aim to provide the following information, where known:
  • Parentage, date and place of birth and/or baptism
  • Education, including travels on the Grand Tour
  • Career - employment, official appointments, offices held, honours
  • Personality, where illuminated by memoirs or other evidence, and significant friendships
  • Marriage(s) - date, place, name and parentage of spouse(s)
  • Children - for each, their dates and places of birth, marriage and death, names and parentage of spouse(s), number and sex of children; occupation and career, rank and honours
  • Key property transactions during the lifetime of the owner and responsibility for work on the house or houses of the family
  • Date and place of death and burial; date of probate of will, and value of estate; and similar details for their spouse.

For families with a very complex story, this material may be split over two postings, labelled 'part 1' and 'part 2', as, for example, with the Actons of Aldenham, Barons Acton. Each family has been assigned a number, included in the title of the post, which is used for indexing the content of the blog on the index pages. 


To avoid any confusion, I should make it plain that the counties referred to in describing the location of properties are those in which the property stood immediately prior to the major shake-up of local government in the mid-20th century (in 1965 around London; in 1974 in the rest of England; and in 1975 in Scotland). Earlier minor boundary changes are ignored; thus Alscot Park is in Warwickshire not Gloucestershire, even though it lay in the latter county until 1931.

I would really welcome any suggestions for improvements in the content or presentation.  I am also very keen to receive additional information and images as updates to previous posts, and will incorporate these to ensure that each post remains the most accurate account I can offer of the family and houses concerned. If you are able to help in this way, please post a comment on the relevant post or contact me throught the Contact Form on the blog. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I put a message on Twitter and Facebook as each new post is published.

What's coming next

Over the next few weeks I intend to publish posts on the following families and houses:

  • Austen of Heronden Hall, Hall Place, Bexley and Boxley Abbey (all Kent), baronets [now published]
  • Austen of Horsmonden, Kippington House and Capel Manor (Kent) [now published]
  • Austen (later Godwin-Austen) of Shalford House (Surrey) [now published]
  • Austin of Brandeston Hall (Suffolk) [now published]
  • Austin of Lickey Grange (Worcs), Baron Austin [now published]
  • Awdry of Seend House and Notton House (Wilts) [now published]
  • Aykroyd of Birstwith Hall (Yorks), baronets [now published]
  • Aylmer of Donadea Castle (Kildare) and Walworth Castle (Durham), baronets [now published]
  • Aylmer of Lyons, Courtown, Kerdiffstown (all Kildare) and Ayesha Castle (Dublin) [now published]
  • Aylward (later Toler-Aylward) of Shankill Castle (Kilkenny) [now published]
  • Aytoun (later Sinclair-Aytoun) of Inchdairnie (Fife) [now published]
I shall also be adding a few families which I have omitted from the alphabetical sequence in error or through ignorance, but which I have since realised qualify for inclusion:
  • Abrahall of Abrahall and Ingeston (Herefs) [now published]
  • Agg (later Agg-Gardner) of The Hewletts, Cheltenham (Glos) [now published]
  • Aislabie of Studley Royal (Yorks WR)
That will complete the coverage of families beginning with the letter A and I shall move on to the Bs.



List of families considered for inclusion in the blog but not meeting the criteria


Abbey of Redlynch House (Wilts), formerly of Sussex
White Abbott of Cowick Barton (Devon)
Abel of Whitehall Court, London
Abell of Foxcote Manor (Glos)
Abercrombie of Edinburgh, baronets
Abraham of Aughnacloy (Tyrone)
Ackroyd of Birkenshaw (Yorks)
Ackroyd of Dewsbury (Yorks), baronets
Adams, Baron Adams
Adams of Annagurra (Limerick)
Adams of Clifton (Glos)
Coode-Adams of Sampford Grange (Essex)
Phythian-Adams of Kent
Adamson of Rushton Park (Sussex)
Addis of Whiteford (Cornwall)
Addison, Viscounts Addison
Addison of Chilton (Suffolk)
Adie of Brook House (Worcs)
Adrian, Barons Adrian
Shelton-Agar of Melmerby Hall (Cumberland)
Agnew-Somerville, baronets
Aikenhead of Otterington Hall (Yorks)
Ainsworth of Spotland Gate (Lancs)
Aird of London, baronets
Airey of The Grange, Leatherhead (Surrey), Baron Airey
Aitken of Gleneske (Midlothian)
Aizlewood of Whirlow Grange (Yorkshire)
Akroyd of Buckinghamshire
Akroyd of Bank Field
Albu of Johannesburg, baronets
Aldous of Fressingfield (Essex)
Aldworth of Frilford (Berks)
Alexander of Ahilly (Donegal)
Alexander of Blackwall Lodge (Yorks), Barons Cobham
Alexander of Edgehill, Connecticut
Alexander, Earls Alexander of Hillsborough
Alexander of Langshaw, formerly of Redbraes (Dumfries)
Alexander of Sundridge Park (Kent)
Alford of Westonzoyland (Somerset)
Alison of Possil House (Lanarkshire), baronets
Alkin of Bonehill, Tamworth (Staffordshire)
Alkin of Hunton Court (Kent)
Allan of Beacon Hill (Aberdeens)
Allan of Kingsgate (Kent), baronet
Allason of Isle of Wight
Allday of Halford (Warks)
Allanson of Middleton Quernhow (Yorks) and formerly of Adlington (Lancs)
Allen of Allenton, Tallaght (Co. Dublin)
Allen of Clifford Priory (Herefordshire)
Allen of Hoyland (Yorkshire WR)
Allen of Hurtwood House (Surrey), Baron Allen of Hurtwood
Allen of Marlow (Bucks), baronets
Allen of South Molton (Devon)
Allen of Southfield Grange (Yorkshire WR)
Allen of The Rhydd (Worcs)
Allen of Totteridge, baronets
Allen of Upton Bishop (Herefordshire)
Alleyne of Bermuda, baronets
Alleyne of Whitehall (Cork)
Allison of Scaleby Hall (Cumbld)
Allport of Littleover (Derbys)
Allsebrook of Scropton (Derbys/Staffs)
Alston of Hill House, Newbury (Berks)
Murray-Alston of Ireland
Aman, Barons Marley
Ambler of Lawkland Hall (Yorks WR)
Amery of Park House, Stourbridge (Worcs)
Ammon, Baron Ammon
Amorie of Yate (Glos), Barons D'Amorie
Amos of St. Ibbs (Herts)
Anderson, Viscounts Waverley
Anderson (formerly Wood) of Bilton Park and Efford Park
Anderson of Ardtaraig, baronets
Anderson of Ballyhossett (Down)
Anderson of Ballyowan House
Anderson of Fermoy (Cork), baronets
Anderson of Glen Etive
Anderson of Harrold Priory (Beds), baronet
Anderson of Havering Grange (Essex)
Anderson of Mill Hill (Middx), baronets
Anderson of Mill House, Isfield (Sussex)
Anderson of Moorcross House
Anderson of Old Dunbell (Kilkenny)
Anderson of Old Surrey Hall (Surrey)
Anderson of Mullaghmore House (Monaghan) & Parkmount
Anderson of Standen Manor (Berks)
Anderson of Wallsworth House (Glos)
Anderson of Tullichewan (Dumbartons)
Anderton of Spaynes Hall (Essex)
Anderton of Vaila (Shetland)
André of Southampton, baronets
Andrews of Bantony (Sussex)
Andrews of The Down House
Ervine-Andrews of Inish (Cavan)
Andrus of Scadbury Manor (Kent)
Angell of Northey Island (Essex)
Angus of Ravenstone (Northumberland)
Anley of Ryecroft House, Bolney (Sussex)
Annand of Auchter Ellon (Aberdeenshire)
Annand of Springwell House (Durham)
Ansell of Cors-y-gedol (Merioneths)
Anson of Birch Hall (Lancashire), baronets
Anthony of Knight's Close
ApAdam, Barons ApAdam
Aplin (later Alexander) of Woodlands, Budleigh Salterton (Devon)
Appleton of Gaddon House, Uffculme (Devon)
Appleton of Kettlebaston (Suffolk)
Appleton of South Benfleet (Essex)
Appleyard of Burstwick Garth (Yorks)
Apsey of Corfe Mullen (Dorset)
Apsley of Thakeham (Sussex)
Arabin of Beech House or Arabin House, Beech Hill (Essex)
Arbuthnot of Edinburgh, baronets
Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster, baronets
Archer of Salcombe Hill (Devon)
Archer of The Market Place, Ely (Cambs)
Archibald, Barons Archibald
Arden of Hawnes (Beds)
Arden of Watford (Northants)
Arderne of Chichester (Sussex)
Arderne of Elford (Staffs)
Ardes of Sherington (Bucks)
Argall of Low Hall, Walthamstow and Much Baddow (Essex)
Argenti of Picts Hill, Turvey (Beds)
Argles of Eversley, Heversham (Westmld)
Arkinstall of Wilbraham (Cambs)
Armeston of Burbage (Leics)
Armiger of North Creake (Norfolk)
Armitage of Longstone Grange (Derbys)
Armitstead of Buttestone House, Dunkeld (Perths), Baron Armitstead
Armitstead of Leeds (Yorks WR)
Armorer of Belford (Northbld)
Armstrong of Gellidochlithe (Glamorgans)
Armstrong of Lismother (Clare)
Armstrong of London, baronets
Savage-Armstrong of Corratinner (Cavan)
Arnold, Baron Arnold
Arnold of Little Missenden Abbey (Bucks)
Arnot of Arnot Tower (Fife), baronets
Arnott of Baily, Dublin, baronets
Arnould of Broadbridge Mill (Sussex)
Arragh of Arragh, baronets
Arrowsmith of Huntingfield Hall (Suffolk)
Ashenhurst of Ashenhurst Hall (Staffs)
Ashfield of Chesham Bury (Bucks)
Ashman of Stoke Bishop (Glos), baronets
Ashton of Darwen (Lancs) and Abberley Hall (Worcs)
Ashton of Delrow (Herts) and Lichford Hall (Lancs)
Ashton of Scotsgrove House (Oxon)
Ashton of Soulton Hall (Shropshire)
Ashton of Welston Court (Pembs)
Ashworth of Ashworth, Elland Bank (Yorks WR) and Hall Carr (Lancs)
Ashworth of Staghills (Lancs)
Aske of Aughton and Owsthorpe, baronets
Askwith of Ripon (Yorks WR), Baron Askwith
Atkin of Fernhill (Cork), Baron Atkin
Atkin of Leadington (Cork)
Atkins of Pouldrew (Waterford)
Atkins of Stretton House (Leics)
Atkins of Waterpark (Cork)
Atkinson of Ballynewry (Down)
Atkinson of Fanthorpe Hall (Lincs)
Atkinson of Little Cattall (Yorks)
Atkinson of London and Maidenhead (Berks)
Atkinson of Melbury (Suffk)
Atkinson of Rehins (alias Rahans) and Glencastle (Mayo)
Atkinson of Whitecroft, Wellington
Atkinson of Woburn Daincourt (Bucks)
Atkinson of Woolley Grange (Wilts)
Atmore of Bray-in-the-Wold (Oxon)
Atslow of Downham (Essex)
Attlee, Earls Attlee
Atwill of Mamhead (Devon)
Atwood of Aspall (Suffk)
Aubertin of West Meon (Hants)
Aubrey of Clehonger (Herefs) and Broom Hall (Shrops)
Strachan-Audas of Elloughton House (Yorks ER)
Auden of Horninglow (Staffs)
Audland of Ackenthwaite (Westmld)
Audley of Walden Abbey, Baron Audley of Walden (Essex)
Aungier of East Clandon (Surrey) and Longford (Co. Longford), Earls of Longford
Austen of Derhams, South Mimms (Herts), baronets
Austin of Hollin Hall (Cheshire)
Austin of Roundwood
Austin of Shelford (Cambs)
Austin of Welbury (Yorks WR), baronets
Aveling of Estover (Cambs) and Rochester (Kent)
Avenell of Norfolk
Averey of Fillongley (Warks)
Avery of Mells (Somerset)
Avery of Oakley Court, Bray (Berks)
Aykroyd of Cliffe Hall and Lightcliffe (Yorks)
Aylesbury of London, baronets
Aylesbury of Packwood (Warks)
Aylesbury of Wiveton Hall (Notts)
Ayliffe of Brinkworth (Wilts)
Aylmer of Balrath (Kildare), baronets and Barons Aylmer
Ayloffe of Great Braxted (Essex), baronets
Aylwen of London, baronets
Aylworth of Aylworth (Glos)
Aylworth of Trefford and Lewes (Sussex)
Aynscombe of Aylwins, Mayfield (Sussex)
Murray-Aynsley of Hall Court (Hants)
Ayre of Ely (Cambs)
Ayre of The Limes (Derbys)
Ayre of Yorkshire
Ayscough of Blyborough and Ayscoughfee Hall (Lincs) and Nuttall (Notts)
Ayshcombe of Lyford (Berks), baronets
Ayshford of Wonwell Court (Devon)



Nick Kingsley


Revision


This page was last revised 12 June 2017.

19 comments:

  1. Are the 10 Adair stained glass windows still at Holy Hill house in Strabane? Are there any photos?
    Thank you
    Curtis Adair

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe so, although my information may not be completely up to date. I do not have any photographs.

      Delete
    2. Do you have a contract address or email for the home?
      Thanks.

      Delete
    3. The owner would appear to be Mr. Hamilton Thompson, who bought the house in 1983, and who was still resident in 2012. The house has been open to the public for European Heritage Open Days in September in recent years. An account of the history of the house is given here: http://www.breadyancestry.com/index.php?id=35. I gather Mr Thompson has done interviews for the BBC and lectured on the history to West Tyrone Historical Society, so I suggest you approach him direct. The street address is 78 Ballee Road, Strabane BT82 0AA.

      Delete
  2. i read your blog on the adams family drumelton house and you say that it remained the family seat until 1963 but my research shows that it remained in the family longer and it was elizabeths niece anabel eveline chatterton harvey who went there in 1963 with her husband harold archibald allison
    annabels mother was eveline norcott adams who was elizabeths sister along with lilian welby adams among others could you please double check my findings

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are quite correct and I will amend my account accordingly.

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  4. Firstly I would like to say how impressed I am with your entry on the Tyssen-Amhersts and their occupation and alterations of Didlington and Foulden. I am currently researching the T-A's as part of a biography I am putting together of my grandfather - William (one of many in this particular story) Amherst Cecil killed in 1914 - this story is quite complicated - so your blog puts together quite a few pieces of the jigsaw in a very clear way and was a delight to read! I would just say that we sold Foulden before my father's death which was in 1980. I think it was about 1971 when we sold - since then Foulden has been on the market several times! I just wondered during your researches - did you come across any record of another house or building at Foulden which might have been pulled down and the bricks used to make some of the early alterations at Didlington?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the correction of the date when Foulden was sold: I will amend my account accordingly. I did not come across the tradition you refer to, but is it possible that Foulden Hall itself was partly taken down to provide materials for Didlington? Probably not, as Foulden was originally mostly semi-timbered, but it would explain why an extensive rebuilding was needed later in the Victorian period.

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  5. Hello Nick, I was just reading your information about the Alcock family and have some documents relating to Wilton Castle which my mother gave me. One of them is a booklet about the castle from the Irish Times in 1939 which states that Clogh-na-Kayer was built in the 14th century by Sir Fulke Furlong who held it in custody for the Earl of Pembroke. According to this document it was subsequently acquired by the Butlers. Edward Butler, Baron of Kayer, rebuilt and restored the ancient castle and added a mansion house to it in the year 1599.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I allude to the house of 1599 in the first sentence of my account of Wilton Castle, but unfortunately I have not been able to find an illustration or description of it.

      Delete
  6. I have just found your blogspot quite by accident. How lovely to find something about families, and family trees that is properly researched and that one can actually believe! Many thanks. If I could help I would.

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  7. What a fantastic site. Wish I had discovered it years ago when I was researching landed estates for the Warwickshire Gardens Trust. Did my MA dissertation on the Leigh family of Stoneleigh Abbey so have a lot of information on that family and estate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have done some work on the Leighs of Adlestrop many years ago but would be interested to read anything you have written up about Stoneleigh. If you have anything you are willing to share, send me your email address through the Contact Form in the right-hand panel I will send you mine.

      Delete
  8. Congratulations on a very interesting, informative and thoughfully put together site. I think we share a similar interest in landed familes. My website is www.redbookofscotland.com

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  9. I have just ordered a copy of the Red Book of Perthshire and look forward to seeing how our research compares!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello Nick, I see you included 3 Appleton families in your blog, but I can find no reference to them. My paternal line is Appleton and, judging from their Last Will and Testaments, they were a fairly wealthy family. I have traced back to the 1700's where David Appleton was a Clerk at Somerset House for the RN, having been born in Devonport. His father and grandfather were also Davids. Any ideas please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janet,

      The Appletons are actually in the list of families I have decided don't meet the criteria for inclusion in the blog, so I haven't written about them. You can, however, find out more about the Appletons of South Benfleet in Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, and about the Appletons of Gaddon Uffculme in Burke's Landed Gentry 1969. I hope this is of some help.

      Nick

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  11. Will the Luxford family be discussed? They are listed in Burke's Landed Gentry. I am a descendant of that family and would love to know more about them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I expect so, but it will be some time before I get to them as I am working alphabetically by family.

      Delete

Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.