Tuesday, 9 July 2013

(54) Agard of Foston Hall

Agard of Foston
Agard of Sudbury
The Foston estate in south Derbyshire was granted soon after the Norman Conquest to the de Ferrers family and it seems probable that the Agards were installed here by the Ferrers not much later.  They were certainly here by 1270, and by 1400 they also owned property in nearby Sudbury (Derbys). Interestingly, the name seems to be cognate with Agar (see previous posts) and the coat of arms used by the Agards of Derbyshire and the Agars of Brockfield (Yorks) was very similar, but no specific connection between the two families has been traced.  In the early 15th century the estates were divided between two brothers, with the elder, John Agard (b. c.1401), receiving Sudbury and the younger, Thomas Agard (b. c.1403) receiving Foston.  Their descendants formed two distinct families through seven generations, although the close connections between them are emphasised by the way in which an (unidentified) estate at Newborough in Hanbury (Staffs) was held at different times by members of both branches of the family.  When the Foston line failed in the mid 17th century with the death unmarried of Sir Henry Agard (c.1581-1635) and his brother John Agard (c.1583-c.1655), their property was sold to the other branch of the family.  However this line did not last much longer as a gentry family: the purchaser, Charles Agard (c.1618-80) mismanaged the estate and by his will of 1678 placed his estates in the hands of trustees for the payment of his debts.  His will provided for properties that had not been liquidated for this purpose to descend to his son, John (b. c.1648), but the debts proving greater than expected, all the estates appear to have been sold, ending the family's connection with Foston after more than four hundred years.  Foston itself was sold to Richard Bate of London, merchant, in 1679.

Thomas Agard (c.1499-1549), a younger son of Ralph Agard (c.1461-c.1516) of Foston, became a Crown servant in Ireland under Henry VIII, holding offices including Treasurer of the Irish Mint and farmer of the customs of the Irish ports which offered significant opportunities for financial gain.  He held land in Derbyshire and Staffordshire that probably included an estate inherited through his mother at Kings Bromley (Staffs).  He also had a house in Hackney (Middx) where he probably lived when in England.  His son, Francis Agard (1529-77) was described as 'of Kings Bromley, Foston and Grange Gorman (Dublin)' and lived mainly at the latter seat, although he continued to purchase land around Kings Bromley and Yoxall.  He was a member of the Privy Council for Ireland, Receiver of Irish Revenues and Governor of Wexford.  Francis Agard left three daughters, one of whom married her cousin, William Agard (b. c.1538) of Foston.  Grange Gorman passed to his daughter Cecilia, wife of Sir Henry Harrington.

While the Agards of Foston appear to have developed Foston Hall as their main residence and to have lived there consistently across the generations, allowing it to develop as a country house, Sudbury was just a stepping stone for the other branch of the family.  John Agard (c.1470-c.1532) appears to have acquired what was later known as the Old Hall Farm estate at Dunstall in Tatenhill (Staffs), but nothing is known of this house in the Agards' time, as it was rebuilt in 1652, shortly after it was sold following the death of Henry Agard (fl. 1629).  The John Agard who bought Dunstall had two sons; the elder, Nicholas Agard (d. 1569) inherited Dunstall while the younger, Ralph Agard (b. c.1511) apparently held the Newborough estate mentioned above and was later described as 'of Tong' (Shropshire).   His descendants had a property at Osleston in Sutton-on-the-Hill (Derbys).  Although the Sudbury/Dunstall/Osleston branch of the family were armigerous and described as 'gentleman', none of their houses is known to have been grand enough for consideration as a country seat.

An amusing epitaph for one George Agard was composed by Thomas Bancroft (1600-58) and published in his First Book of Epigrammes, 1639.  Bancroft, who came from Swarkestone (Derbys) and mixed with local society in the east Staffordshire and south Derbyshire areas, would have known both branches of the Agard family, but he was probably writing about George Agard, the younger son of Henry Agard (c.1569-1623) of Dunstall:


An Epitaph on George Agard, Gent. 

Here lyes in a dead sleep (unheard and unseene)
Not high George a horse--backe, nor stout Georg a Greene,
But joviall George Agard, made round as a Bowle,
From Taverne to Ale--house the better to rowle.
Who 'mongst witty Clerkes many pounds having spent,
Whipt Petties for pennies, and thus was content
In Schoole to do pennance by paynes--taking great,
That so with his owne rod himselfe he might beat.

Thus casting the flesh downe, his Spirit did even
Mount up at rebound, to drinke Nectar in Heaven.


Foston Hall, Derbyshire


Copy of an 1816 sketch of Foston Hall by Charles Sneyd Edgeworth, made in 1948 by Sir Howard Colvin.

The present house is the latest in a long succession of manor houses on the site.  The medieval hall is said to have been rebuilt c.1636, and this house was extensively repaired in 1686 after falling into decay during the neglectful tenure of Charles Agard.  An inventory of 1689 describes it as having a hall, great parlour and two further parlours downstairs, in addition to the service accommodation, and six chambers upstairs in addition to the attics and garrets, so it was a substantial house.  This 17th century house was replaced around 1810 by a seven by five bay block which could have been designed by the Derby-born architect George Moneypenny junior.  This ‘large and handsome’ house was recorded in a drawing of 1816, but was destroyed by fire in 1830 or 1836 and not replaced until the present loosely neo-Jacobean red brick house was built by T.C. Hine of Nottingham in 1863-68.  


Foston Hall, as rebuilt by T.C. Hine in 1863-66.

The south front is of six bays and two storeys, the end bays projeting forwards and having canted bow windows rising through both floors.  The entrance front is asymmetrical with a prominent chimneystack, a single-storey canted bay and a three-storey tower over the off-centre entrance.  Beyond, a late 18th century rusticated stone archway leading into the service court connects the house to a long lower single-storey range with dormers.  To the north-west stands a stable block of 1905 in late 17th century style designed by Sir Ernest George & Yeates.  The house is now a women’s prison.

Descent: John Agard (c.1430-1516); to grandson, John Agard (b. c.1491); to son, Clement Agard (1515-79); to son William Agard (b. c.1538); to son, Sir Henry Agard (d. 1635); to brother, John Agard (d. c.1657); who gave it in 1650 to his kinsman, Charles Agard (c.1610-75); to son, John Agard (b. c.1646) who sold 1679 to Richard Bate... Brownlow Bate sold 1784 to John Broadhurst, who let to Col. Charles Thorold Wood (fl. 1830); to son, John Broadhurst MP (1778-1861); to widow (d. 1878); to nephew, Admiral Sir Arthur Cumming (1817-93); to son, H.J. Cumming, who shared the house with Hon. George Higginson Allsopp MP (1846-1907); sold before 1905 to Maj. Gerald Holbeck Hardy MFH (fl. early 20th cent.); sold 1953 to Home Office for use as a prison.



The Agards of Foston Hall


Agard, Thomas (b. c.1403) of Foston Hall.  Second son of Thomas Agard (b. c.1370); born about 1403.  Described in some documents as yeoman.  He married and had issue:
(1) Nicholas Agard (c.1428-99) of Newborough and Tatenhill (Staffs); escheator of Staffordshire, 1466-67; JP for Staffordshire and possibly one of the MPs for the county;
(2) John Agard of Foston (c.1430-1516) (q.v.).
He inherited the manor of Foston from his father.
His date of death is unknown.

Agard, John (c.1430-1516) of Foston Hall.  Second son of Thomas Agard (b. c.1403); born about 1430.  Described in some documents as yeoman.  Escheator of Staffordshire, 1483-84.  He married Jane, daughter of Thomas Wolseley (c.1394-1479) of Wolseley in Colwich (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) Ralph Agard (c.1461-c.1516) (q.v.);
(2) Margaret Agard (d. 1500), m. John Rolleston (d. 28 July 1485) of Rolleston (Staffs)
(3) Nicholas Agard (d. c.1508), JP for Staffs, 1496-1508 and MP for Staffordshire, c.1495-1504;
(4) Margery Agard, m. Thomas Kynnardsley of Loxley (d. 1537/8);
(5) Joan Agard, m. John Whittington (b. c.1475) of Newborough in Hanbury (Staffs).
He inherited the manor of Foston from his father.  At his death it passed to his grandson, John Agard (b. c.1491).  In 1515 he founded a chantry at Scropton church (Derbys).
He died in 1516.  His will was proved at Lichfield.

Agard, Ralph (c.1461-c.1516).  Elder son of John Agard (c.1430-1516) and his wife Jane, daughter of Thomas Wolseley of Wolseley in Colwich (Staffs), born about 1461.  JP for Staffordshire from 1508.  He married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Henry Hussey of Kings Bromley (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) John Agard (b. c.1491) of Foston Hall (q.v.);
(2) Thomas Agard (c.1499-1549) of Hackney (q.v.).
He inherited an estate at Kings Bromley (Staffs) in right of his wife.
He died probably in 1516 but predeceased his father, who died later that year.

Agard, John (b. c.1491) of Foston Hall.  Elder son of Ralph Agard (c.1461-1516) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Henry Hussey of Kings Bromley (Staffs), born about 1491.  He married a Miss Underhill of Ettington (Warks), perhaps a daughter of the John Underhill who had a lease of Ettington from the Shirleys in 1509, and they had issue:
(1) Clement Agard (1515-79) (q.v.).

He inherited the manor of Foston from his grandfather in 1516.
His date of death is unknown.

Agard, Clement (1515-79) of Foston Hall.  Only recorded son of John Agard (b. c.1491) of Foston Hall and his wife (née Underhill), born 1515.  He married Eleanor, daughter of Thomas Middlemore of Edgbaston (Warks) and had issue:
(1) William Agard (b. c.1538) (q.v.);
(2) George (alias Geoffrey?) Agard (c.1539-c.1608) of Newborough in Hanbury (Staffs), m. Katherine (d. 1628), daughter of Nicholas Barber of Yoxall (Staffs) and had issue 6 sons and 5 daughters; died c.1608 and buried at Hanbury (Staffs); administration of goods granted at Lichfield, 1610;
(3) Arthur Agard (1540-1615), educated at Queens College, Cambridge (matriculated 1553); Deputy Chamberlain of the Exchequer, 1570-1615; archivist and antiquary; one of the founders of the original, Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries; married Margaret Butler (d. 1611) but died without issue; died about 23 August 1615 and was buried in Westminster Abbey; will proved in Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 28 August 1615;
(4) Isobel Agard, m. John Stonor of Stonor (Oxon)
(5) Catherine Agard, m. Robert Brooke (1546-97) of Haselor (Warks).
He inherited the manor of Foston from his father.
He died in 1579.

Agard, William (b. c.1538) of Foston Hall.  Eldest son of Clement Agard (1515-79) and his wife Eleanor, daughter of Thomas Middlemore of Edgbaston (Warks), born about 1538.  He married Mabel (d. 1621), daughter of Francis Agard (1529-77) (q.v.) of Grange Gorman, Dublin (who m.2, John King) and had issue:
(1) Mary Agard (b. c.1576), m. Thomas Sprott of Ashmore Brook in Lichfield; living in 1655;
(2) Sir Henry Agard (c. 1581-1635) (q.v.);
(3) Jacquet Agard, m. 1613 John Daniell of Daresbury (d. 1680);
(4) Francis Agard;
(5) John Agard (c.1583- c.1657) (q.v.).
He purchased an estate at Fauld in Hanbury (Staffs) from Lord Mountjoy c.1560 and subsequently purchased additional land there, forming the Fauld Manor estate; he also inherited the manor of Foston from his father in 1579.  
He died about 1607.

Agard, Sir Henry (c.1581-1635) of Foston Hall.  Eldest son of William Agard (b. c.1538) and his wife Mabel, daughter of Francis Agard of Grange Gorman (Dublin), born about 1581.  High Sheriff of Derbyshire, 1616-17; knighted, 1617; Surveyor of Woods for the Honour of Tutbury, 1633-35.  He married Felis/Phaelis ?Milward but died without issue.
He inherited the manor of Foston and the Fauld Manor estate from his father, but sold the Fauld Manor estate to Thomas Astle in 1607.
He died in 1635.  His will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 22 August 1635.

Agard, John (c.1583-c.1657) of Foston Hall.  Youngest son of William Agard (b. c.1538) and his wife Mabel, daughter of Francis Agard of Grange Gorman (Dublin), born about 1583.  He married Mary Adderley, probably the daughter of Richard Adderley  (c.1557-1641) of Coton Hall (Staffs) (although by some accounts of his brother, John Adderley), but died without issue.
He inherited the manor of Foston from his elder brother, Sir Henry Agard, in 1635, but made it over to his kinsman, Charles Agard (q.v.) in 1650.  He also owned the manor of Grange Gorman in Ireland and property in Kings Bromley, Armitage, Handsacre and Ridware (Staffs).  At his death, Grange Gorman was left to his nephew, Francis Pryce.
He died about the beginning of 1657.  His widow married 2ndly, 1659, Thomas Povey (1613/4-c.1705), the friend of Samuel Pepys and William Blathwayt. 

Agard, Thomas (c.1499-1549) of Hackney.  Younger son of Ralph Agard (c.1461-c.1516) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Henry Hussey of Kings Bromley (Staffs). He was among a group of royal officials sent to Ireland to re-establish order and good government following the murder of the Archbishop of Dublin in 1532, and held office as  Controller of the Treasury, Treasurer of the Irish Mint and farmer of the customs of the Irish ports: offices which allowed plenty of scope for lining his pocket.  His tenure of office coincided with the dissolution of the monasteries, and he appears to have invested some of the profits of office in buying or leasing Irish monastic lands.  He was described as 'a sour and honest puritan inclined to Protestantism'.  He married and had issue:
(1) Francis Agard (1529-77) (q.v.);
(2) Clare Agard (d. 1590), m.1, 1555, Sir Anthony Colclough (c.1518-84) of Tintern Abbey (Wexford) and m.2, Sir Thomas Williams kt. (d. c.1587).
He inherited his mother's estate at Kings Bromley (Staffs) and acquired a leasehold interest in Grange Gorman on the outskirts of Dublin from the newly constituted Dean and Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin c.1540.  He also briefly owned Bective Abbey (Meath).  He owned a mansion in Hackney which passed at his death to her daughter and her husband.
He died at his house in Hackney in August 1549.

Agard, Francis (1529-77) of Kings Bromley, Foston and Grange Gorman.  Only son of Thomas Agard (c.1499-1549) of Hackney, born 1529. Like his father, he was a Crown official in Ireland, serving as Receiver of Irish Revenues and Governor of Wexford.  He was a member of the Privy Council for Ireland.  He married and had issue:
(1) Mabel Agard (d. 1621), m.1 William Agard (b. c.1538) (q.v.) of Foston and had issue, and m.2 John King;
(2) Cecily Agard, m. Sir Henry Harrington;
(3) Mary Agard, m.1 Henry Moore of Mellefont (Louth) (who died without issue) and m.2 William Makewy (c.1550-1636) of Ballyneskeagh (Meath) and had issue.
He inherited his father's properties at Kings Bromley and Grange Gorman in 1549, and apparently lived mainly in Ireland.
He died in 1577 and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, where he is commemorated by a monument erected by Sir Henry Harrington.


The Agards of Sudbury and Dunstall



Agard, John (b. c.1401), of Sudbury.  Elder son of Thomas Agard (b. c.1370); born about 1401.  He married and had issue:
(1) John Agard (b. c.1435) (q.v.) of Sudbury.
He inherited an estate at Sudbury (Derbys) from his father.
His date of death is unknown.

Agard, John (b. c.1435), of Sudbury.  Only recorded son of John Agard (b. c.1401), born after 1435.  He married and had issue:
(1) John Agard (c.1470-c.1532) (q.v.of Tatenhill;
(2) Edmund Agard (c.1475-c.1545) of Newborough in Hanbury (Staffs), m.1 Catherine [surname unknown] and m.2 Alice [surname unknown] and had issue, probably including a son, Thomas (d. 1557) who inherited Newborough; will proved at Lichfield, 26 May 1545.
He inherited an estate at Sudbury (Derbys) from his father.
His date of death is unknown.

Agard, John (c.1470-c.1532), of Tatenhill (Staffs).  Elder son of John Agard (b. c.1435), born about 1470.  He married Jane [surname unknown] and had issue:
(1) Nicholas Agard (d. 1569) (q.v.) of Dunstall (Staffs);
(2) Ralph Agard (b. c.1511) (q.v.of Tong (Shropshire).
He inherited an estate at Sudbury (Derbys) from his father, and bought the Old Hall Farm, Dunstall estate in the early 16th century.
He died about 1532.

Agard, Nicholas (d. 1569) of Dunstall (Staffs).  Elder son of John Agard (c.1470-c.1532) and his wife Jane; born before 1511.  He married twice and by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Ferrers of Walton had issue:
(1) William Agard (c.1533-85) of Dunstall (q.v.);
(2) Nicholas Agard;
(3) Margaret Agard;
(4) Mary Agard;
(5) Dorothy Agard; living in 1585;
(6) Isobel Agard; living in 1585;
(7) Catherine Agard, born after 1546.
He inherited an estate at Dunstall in Tatenhill (Staffs) and Sudbury (Derbys) from his father and acquired land at Newborough and Agardsley in Hanbury (Staffs).
He died in 1569, and his will was proved at Lichfield the same year.  His will directs that he be buried at Tatenhill (Staffs), alongside his second wife.

Agard, William (c.1533-85) of Dunstall (Staffs).  Elder son of Nicholas Agard (d. 1569) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Ferrers of Walton, born about 1533.  He married 1st [name unknown] and 2nd, Margerie Clarke of Alrewas, and had issue, with another legitimate son and daughter:
(1) illegitimate, Elizabeth Agard;
(2) Henry Agard (c.1569-1623) (q.v.).
He inherited an estate at Dunstall in Tatenhill (Staffs) and Sudbury (Derbys) from his father in 1569.
He died in 1585.  His will was proved at Lichfield, 6 September 1585 (inventory valued at £382).

Agard, Henry (c.1569-1623) of Dunstall (Staffs).  Elder son of William Agard (c.1533-85) and his second wife, Margerie Clarke of Alrewas, born about 1569.  He married Catherine (d. 1618), daughter of William Avery of Fillongley (Warks) and had issue:
(1) Henry Agard (fl. 1629) 
(q.v.);
(2) George Agard; probably the subject of the epitaph quoted above;
(3) Catherine Agard;
(4) Agnes Agard.
He inherited estates at Dunstall in Tatenhill (Staffs) and Sudbury (Derbys) from his father in 1585.
He died in 1623.  His will was proved 30 September 1623 in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

Agard, Henry (fl. 1629-45) of Dunstall (Staffs).  Elder son of Henry Agard (c.1569-1623) and his wife Catherine, daughter of William Avery of Fillongley (Warks), born about 1600.  Clerk of the Staffordshire Parliamentary Committee during the Civil War.  He married 3 October 1629 at Tatenhill (Staffs), Elizabeth Chippingdale, but died without issue.
He inherited an estate at Dunstall in Tatenhill (Staffs) and Sudbury (Derbys) from his father in 1623.
His date of death is unknown, but he may have been the Henry Agard of Brereton near Rugeley (Staffs) whose will was proved at Lichfield in 1661.

Agard, Ralph (b. c.1511), of Tong (Shropshire).  Younger son of John Agard (c.1470-c.1532) of Tatenhill  and his wife Jane, born about 1511.  JP for Staffordshire and possibly also one of the MPs for the county.  He married Elizabeth (surname unknown) and had issue:
(1) Charles Agard (c.1543-after 1611) (q.v.);
(2) Richard Agard;
(3) Thomas Agard;
(4) Ann Agard, m. Mr. Allen.
He may have lived at Newborough in Hanbury, and was later 'of Tong'.
His date of death is unknown.

Agard, Charles (c.1543-c.1611) of Osleston in Sutton-on-the-Hill (Derbys).  Eldest son of Ralph Agard (b. c.1511) of Tong and his wife Elizabeth, born about 1543.  He married Dorothy Kinnersley of Brailsford (Derbys) and had issue:
(1) John Agard (b. c.1580) of Osleston (q.v.).
He acquired a small estate at Osleston.
He died after 1611.

Agard, John (b. c.1580) of Osleston in Sutton-on-the-Hill (Derbys).  Only recorded son of Charles Agard (c.1543-c.1611) and his wife Dorothy Kinnersley of Brailsford (Derbys), born about 1580. He married c.1605 Florence, daughter of Thomas Hull of Godalming and had issue:
(1) Charles Agard (c.1618-c.1680) of Foston Hall (q.v.);
(2) Dorothy Agard, m. Rev. John Haigh, rector of Croxall (Staffs), but died without issue;
(3) Francis Agard;
(4) Ralph Agard;
(5) George Agard;
(6) Andrew Agard;
(7) Thomas Agard;
(8) John Agard;
(9) Grace Agard, died without issue;
(10) Florence Agard, died without issue;
(11) Maria Agard, died without issue;
(12) Elizabeth Agard, died without issue;
(13) Sarah Agard, died without issue.
He inherited a small estate at Osleston from his father after 1611.
His date of death is unknown.

Agard, Charles (c.1618-79) of Foston Hall.  Eldest son of John Agard (b. c.1580) of Osleston in Sutton-on-the-Hill and his wife Florence, daughter of Thomas Hull of Godalming, born about 1618.  JP for Staffordshire from 1642; High Sheriff of Staffordshire, 1640-41 and 1661.  He married twice, secondly c.1656/7 to Lucy, daughter of Thomas Brudenell of Stanton Wyville (Leics) and had issue:
(1) John Agard (b. c.1648); educated at Lincoln College, Oxford (matriculated 1665) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1667); alive in 1680
(2) Dorothy Agard (b. c.1647), m. John Stanhope of Elvaston and had issue; living in 1680;
(3) Charles Agard (c.1649-74); educated at Lincoln College, Oxford (matriculated 1665) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1667); died in 1674; will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 9 March 1674;
(4) Francis Agard, died young;
(5) Thomas Agard, died young.
(6) Katherine Agard, living in 1680
(7) Vere Agard, living in 1680
He purchased the Kings Bromley estate and Foston Hall from his cousins in 1647, but by his will of 1678 settled them on Trustees for the payment of his debts.
He died in 1679.  His will proved in Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 22 May 1680.  



Sources


Rev. S. Shaw, History of Staffordshire, vol. 1, passim; M. Craven & M. Stanley, The Derbyshire country house, 2001, vol. 2, p. 274; M. Craven & M. Stanley, The lost houses of Derbyshire, 2002, p. 51; J.T. Shawcross, The arms of the family, 2004, pp. 51-54; VCH Staffordshire vol. 10, pp. 185, 264; H.J. Grainger, The architecture of Sir Ernest George, 2011, p. 430; http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/zwrk/agard1.phphttp://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/206http://genforum.genealogy.com/agard/messages/27.html.  I am most grateful to Barbara Foster for drawing the epitaph for George Agard to my attention.


Family papers


Agard family of Foston and Sudbury: deeds, estate and family papers, 1536-1675 (Derbyshire RO D940)
Agard, Francis, of Kings Bromley (Staffs) and Grange Gorman (Dublin): cartulary of estates in Armitage, Handsacre and Maevesyn Ridware (all Staffs), (1479)-1565 (Birmingham Archives & Heritage MS 3069/330728)

Revision
This account was last revised 20 July 2014.

2 comments:

  1. PS on Geo Agard - given the dates quoted probably the son of Henry of Dunstall but Thomas Bancroft mixed with the gentry in South and West of Derby and in East Staffs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for drawing the epitaph to my attention. As you will see, rather than publish the comment I have incorporated it into the body of the post and included a credit to you in the 'Sources' paragraph.

      Delete

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