|Advertising image for Cleator Flax Mills c.1900|
The Flosh passed to his eldest son, David Ainsworth (1842-1906), who became MP for West Cumberland, 1880-85 and Egremont 1892-95. However in 1898 David purchased Wray Castle, Hawkshead (Lancs) and this became his main seat for the last decade of his life. He had no children and Wray Castle seems to have been sold after his death, while The Flosh passed to his younger brother, John Stirling Ainsworth (1844-1923), who was trained as a lawyer. He used his share of his father’s estate to buy and substantially rebuild Harecroft Hall at Gosforth (Cumberland) and to purchase and update Ardanaiseig in Argyllshire. Harecroft was near to his family’s business interests in Cumberland and may at first have been his main home, as he was High Sheriff of Cumberland in 1891 and Lt-Col. of the 3rd volunteer battalion of the Border Regiment in 1898-1902. Later his interests may have shifted more to Scotland, where he became Liberal MP for Argyllshire in 1903-18; following his retirement was created a baronet.
|Engraving of Backbarrow Mills published in 1860. Image: Old Cumbria Gazetteer|
The Flosh, Cleator Moor, Cumberland
|The Flosh from an old postcard of c.1905.|
Wray Castle, Hawskhead, Lancashire (now Cumbria)
|Wray Castle. Image James@hopgrove. Licenced under a Creative Commons 3.0 licence.|
|Wray Castle: looking up into the central lantern tower from the inner hall|
Ardanaiseig, Kilchrenan, Argyllshire
|Ardanaiseig House: the garden front|
|Ardanaiseig House: drawing room|
Harecroft Hall, Gosforth, Cumberland
|Harecroft Hall. Image: Grisdale's Estate Agents, Cockermouth|
A rather low early 19th century house enlarged in 1881 with gables, slate hanging, timber framing and diamond shaped chimneys for Sir John Stirling Ainsworth (1844-1933). It was used as a prep school in the late 20th and early 21st century but was for sale in 2012.
The Ainsworths of Backbarrow, The Flosh, Ardanaiseig and Harecroft Hall
Ainsworth, Thomas (d. 1785), of Backbarrow. Cotton manufacturer at Backbarrow (Lancs). He married 1769, Sarah (d. 1796), daughter of David Barton and had issue:
(2) David Ainsworth (d. 1819) (q.v.);
(3) Thomas Ainsworth (d. 1853) (q.v.).
He lived at Blackburn (Lancs) and later at Backbarrow (Lancs).
He died in 1785.
Ainsworth, Thomas (c.1777-1853), of Preston and Backbarrow. Youngest son of Thomas Ainsworth (d. 1785) and his wife Sarah, daughter of David Barton. Cotton manufacturer at Backbarrow (Lancs); in partnership with William Ainsworth of Preston to 1852. He married Lydia Wells, daughter of Rev. William McQuhae of St. Quivox, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and had issue including:
(1) Thomas Ainsworth (c.1807-75) (q.v.);
(2) William Ainsworth (c.1808-62) of Preston, cotton spinner and manufacturer; JP; in partnership with his elder brother until 1852; died unmarried, 22 March 1862; will proved 4 June 1862 (estate under £16,000);
(3) Elizabeth Ainsworth (b. c.1811); died unmarried;
(2) Lt-Col. David Ainsworth (1823-1907) (q.v.)
He inherited the house and mill at Backbarrow from his father and rebuilt the mill in 1823.
He died in 1853.
Ainsworth, Thomas (c.1807-75), of Backbarrow. Elder son of Thomas Ainsworth (d. 1853) and his wife Sarah, daughter of David Barton; born about 1807. Cotton manufacturer at Backbarrow; bankrupt 1874. He married, 21 July 1851, Mary McDowal of Maybole (Ayrshire) and had issue:
(1) Mary Bonella Ainsworth (1854-1946), m. 3 May 1876, Francis Janvrin (1851-91), son of Thomas Ashton Hodgson Dickson of Abbots Reading, Haverthwaite (Lancs) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 3 July 1946; will proved 4 September 1946 (estate £3,662);
(2) Lydia Anne Ainsworth (b. c.1856); unmarried and working as a secretary in London, 1891;
(3) Florence Elizabeth Ainsworth (c.1857-1934); died unmarried, 6 April 1934; will proved 12 June 1934 (estate £2871).
He inherited the house and mill at Backbarrow from his father in 1853, but in 1871 sold the house and mills; in 1874 the firm of T. & W. Ainsworth was liquidated for the benefit of the creditors.
He died at Torquay, 25 April 1875, aged 68; will proved 27 May 1876 (estate under £100).
Ainsworth, Lt-Col. David (1823-1907), of Backbarrow. Third son of Thomas Ainsworth (d. 1853), born 21 August 1823. Educated at Rugby, Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1842; Civil Law Tripos, 1st Class, 1847; LL.B. 1864); and the Inner Temple (admitted 1843; called to the bar, 1849); special pleader; an income tax commissioner; JP and DL for Lancashire; Major in 4th battn, Lancashire militia 1874-81; Lt-Col. commanding 1st volunteer battn. King's Own (Royal Lancaster) regiment. He married, 28 June 1860, Mary Jane Leigh, second daughter of William Clare, late of Hindley House (Lancs) but was without issue.
In 1880-91 he rented Broughton Hall, Grange in Cartmel. He may have bought Backbarrow House when it was auctioned in 1871, but if so he seems never to have occupied it.
He died 7 April 1907 at Boscombe (Hants) and his will was proved 28 May 1907 (estate £10,571).
Ainsworth, David (c.1773-1819), of Preston. Second son of Thomas Ainsworth (d. 1785) and his wife Sarah, daughter of David Barton. Capt-Lieutenant in the Loyal Preston Volunteers, 1801. Cotton spinner and machinery manufacturer; bankrupted in 1807-08 by the failure of both businesses (Watson Ainsworth & Co. and Watson, Kay, Catterall & Ainsworth), but discharged later the same year; later a partner in Ainsworth, Catterall & Co of Backbarrow and Church Street Mill, Preston, which in 1816 became the second factory in Preston to be lit by gas. He married, 11 February 1801, Alice (1788-1827), daughter of Richard Hatton of Park Lane (Lancs) and had issue:
(1) Thomas Ainsworth (1804-81) (q.v.);
(2) Anne Barton Ainsworth (b. 1806) of Leamington Spa; died unmarried, 10 October 1865; will proved 9 July 1866 (estate under £10,000);
(3) Sarah Ainsworth (b. 1808) of Leamington Spa; died unmarried, 12 June 1875; will proved 17 July 1875 (estate under £18,000);
(4) A daughter, died young.
He died 13 May 1819. His will was proved in the Deanery Court of Amounderness, 17 January 1820.
Ainsworth, Thomas (1804-81), of The Flosh. Only son of David Ainsworth (d. 1819) of Preston and his wife Alice, daughter of Richard Hatton of Park Lane (Lancs), born 21 March 1804. Linen manufacturer and iron master; in partnership with Alfred Holt from 1852 as part-owners of the Blue Funnel shipping line. High Sheriff of Cumberland, 1861; Income Tax Commissioner and member of Whitehaven Board of Guardians; a Liberal in politics. President of Manchester New College, 1860-63. He married, 24 May 1836, Mary Laurie (1808-67), daughter of Rev. John Stirling DD of Craigie (Ayrshire) and had issue:
(1) David Ainsworth (1842-1906) of Wray Castle (q.v.);
(2) Sir John Stirling Ainsworth (1844-1923), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(3) Thomas Hamilton Ainsworth (1845-47); died in infancy;
(4) Rev. William Macquhae Ainsworth (1848-91); born 20 December 1848; educated at University of London and Lincoln's Inn; Unitarian minister at Lancaster, 1877-83 and Brixton, 1884-91; disappeared and supposed to have accidentally drowned near Constantinople, 27 May 1891, during a visit to the Middle East; a memorial collection of his sermons, prayers and travel letters was published in 1891;
(5) Mary Alice Ainsworth (1850-96), m. 1877, Dr. Thomas Sutton Townsend MD (c.1847-1918) and had issue; died 19 April 1896; will proved in London, 8 June 1896 (estate £1951).
He purchased The Flosh and the Cleator Linen Mills in Cumberland in 1837. The Flosh was remodelled c.1840 and extended in 1866.
He died 28 June 1881 and his will was proved 12 November 1881 (estate £55,862). An obituary was published in the Whitehaven News. His wife died 1 February 1867.
Ainsworth, David (1842-1906), of Wray Castle Eldest son of Thomas Ainsworth (1804-81) and his wife Mary Laurie, daughter of Rev. Dr. John Stirling of Craigie (Ayrshire), born 2 March 1842. Flax manufacturer and ironmaster; director of local railway companies in Cumberland. Educated at University College London and Manchester New College (matriculated 1861), and Lincoln's Inn (called to the bar, 1870, but did not practice); Liberal MP for West Cumberland 1880-85, Egremont 1892-95. He was an active Unitarian and with his brother William visited American Unitarian congregations in 1872; President of the British & Foreign Unitarian Association, 1881-83; Treasurer 1874-91 and President 1896-1900 of Manchester New College. He married, Apr-June (or according to one source, 16 September) 1874, Margaret (1838-1920), daughter of Henry McConnel, cotton spinner, of Cressford (Derbys) but had no issue.
He inherited The Flosh from his father in 1881, and purchased Wray Castle (Lancs) in 1898, but the latter was sold after his widow's death. He also maintained a London household in Pont Street, Chelsea.
He died 21 February 1906 and his will was proved 23 May 1906 (estate £155,118); he left £20,000 to his 'devoted friend', Miss Maud Smith. His widow died 25 April 1920 and her will was proved 13 July 1920 (estate £20,909).
Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling (1844-1923) of Ardanaiseig, 1st bt. Second son of Thomas Ainsworth (1804-81) and his wife Mary Laurie, daughter of Rev. Dr. John Stirling of Craigie (Ayrshire), born 30 January 1844. Educated at University College School and UCL (BA 1864, LLB 1866, MA 1868); High Sheriff of Cumberland 1891; Lt-Col. of 3rd vol. bttn. Border Regiment 1898-1902; MP for Argyllshire 1903-18; JP for Cumberland and Argyllshire. He married, 4 November 1879, Margaret Catherine (c.1855-1918), daughter of Robert Reid Macreadie of New South Wales and had issue:
(1) Janet Mary Ainsworth (b. & d. 1880); died in infancy;
(2) Jean Barbara Ainsworth (1883-1937), born 3 December 1883; m. 16 February 1905, Algernon William John Clotworthy Skeffington (1873-1956), 12th Viscount Massareene & Ferrard of Antrim Castle (Antrim) (who m.2, 1940, Mrs Florence Clementina Vere Vere-Laurie), and had issue one son and one daughter;
(3) Sir Thomas Ainsworth (1886-1971), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(4) Margaret Louise Ainsworth (1887-1946), born 18 June 1887; m.1, 5 November 1912 Arthur George Murray Smith (1886-1914, died of wounds received in action), son of George Murray Smith of Gumley Hall (Leics) and had issue one son, and m.2, 26 November 1924, John Pollock (d. 1966) of Mountainstown, Navan, Meath and had further issue; she died 5 July 1946, aged 59; her will was proved 13 September 1947 (estate £14,280 in England)
(5) John Stirling Ainsworth (1889-1914); born Oct-Dec 1889; killed in action, 13 October 1914.
He purchased Harecroft Hall, Gosforth (Cumbld) and Ardanaiseig (Argylls) c. 1881. He rebuild the former and altered the latter. He inherited The Flosh (Cumbld) from his elder brother in 1906.
He died 24 May 1923 at Harecroft Hall and his will was proved 18 December 1923 (estate £105,134). His wife died 8 October 1918.
Ainsworth, Sir Thomas (1886-1971), 2nd bt. Elder and only surviving son of Sir John Stirling Ainsworth (1844-1923), 1st bt. and his wife Margaret Catherine, daughter of Robert Reid Macreadie of New South Wales, born 8 February 1886. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (BA); served as Lt., 11th Hussars, Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry; Steward of INHS Ctee, Jt-MFH and Huntsman Meath 1922–25, MFH and Huntsman Co Galway 1925–26, Kildare 1926–27 and Tipperary 1928–32; JP for Cumberland and Argyllshire. He married 1st, 9 February 1911 (divorce 1925), Lady Edina Dorothy Hope (1888-1964), daughter of Henry Francis Conyngham, 4th Marquess Conyngham (who m.2, 27 October 1925, Hans Wellesley Hamilton (1886-1942), 2nd Baron Holm Patrick), and married 2nd, 10 September 1925, Marie Eleanor (May) (1898-1969), daughter of Compton Charles Domvile and formerly wife of Evelyn Wentworth Hope-Johnstone, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir John Francis Ainsworth (1912-81), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(1.2) Iris Helen Hersey Ainsworth (b. 1916), m. 22 April 1939, Nicholas St. Vigor Fox of Lough Park House, Castlepollard (Westmeath) and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(2.1) Sir (Thomas) David Ainsworth (1926-99), 4th bt. (q.v.).
He inherited The Flosh, Harecroft Hall and Ardanaiseig from his father but sold them all in the late 1930s and rented seats in hunting country including Braunston Manor (Leics), Ballinakill, Kilfinny (Limerick) and Ballyneale House (Limerick).
He died 1 March 1971.
Ainsworth, Sir John Francis (1912-81), 3rd bt. Only son of Sir Thomas Ainsworth (1886-1971), 2nd bt., and his first wife, Lady Edine Dorothy Hope-Conyngham, daughter of 4th Marquess Conyngham, born 4 January 1912. Educated Eton and Trinity College Cambridge (BA 1933, MA 1937); FRHistS; General Editor, British Record Society, 1937-40; Inspector of Manuscripts, Irish Historical Manuscripts Commission, 1943-50; on the staff of the National Library of Ireland 1950-c.1975; External Lecturer in Palaeography and Medieval History, University College, Cork 1966–81; District Commissioner, Kildare Branch of the Irish Pony Club 1959-62, Chairman of Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1965-66 (V-Chm 1963-65 and 1966-67), Jt Huntsman Curragh Beagles 1964–81. He married 1st, 26 August 1938 (div. 1946), Josephine, daughter of Cdr. Walter Randolph Bernard RN and 2nd, 19 February 1946, Anita Margaret Ann, daughter of Harold Arthur Lett of Kilgibbon and Ballynadara, Enniscorthy (Wexford) but had no issue.
He lived at Carraphuca, Shankill, Dublin in 1972.
He died 30 April 1981.
Ainsworth, Sir (Thomas) David (1926-99), 4th bt. Only son of Sir Thomas Ainsworth (1886-1971), 2nd bt., and his second wife, Marie Eleanor (May), daughter of Compton Charles Domvile, born 22 August 1926. Educated Eton; served as Lieutenant, 11th Hussars; merchant banker. He married, 6 May 1957, Sarah Mary (fl. 2003), daughter of Lt-Col. Hugh Carr Walford and had issue:
(1) Serena Mary Ainsworth (b. 1958), born 13 March 1958; m. 1987 Stelios Peratinos of Corfu and had issue two sons;
(2) Tessa Jane Ainsworth (b. 1959), born 6 August 1959; m. 1986 Nicholas Cecil John Fortescue (b. 1953) and had issue twin daughters;
(3) Sir Anthony Thomas Hugh Ainsworth (b. 1962), 5th bt.; born 30 March 1962; educated at Harrow; Lt. in Royal Hussars, 1982-85; director of Richard Glynn Consultants since 2000; m. 2003 Anong Pradith and has issue a daughter; lives in Bangkok (Thailand);
(4) Charles David Ainsworth (b. 1966); born 24 August 1966; educated at Harrow; company director.
He died 24 November 1999.
Location of archives
Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling (1844-1923), 1st bt.: grant of baronetcy, 1917 (Lancashire Record Office, DDX 1039)
Ainsworth, Sir Thomas (1886-1971), 2nd bt.: hunting diaries, 1906-12 (National Library of Ireland, MSS. 23567-23569)