|Alston of Odell and Bradwell Abbey|
Sir Edward's younger brother, Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1688), also moved to London. He married the daughter of a Dutch merchant who brought him a dowry of £12,000 and he seems to have developed a variety of business and property interests in the capital which increased his fortune. In the 1650s he acquired from the estate of the Countess of Devonshire the house at Chelsea then known as Shrewsbury House (and later as Alston House), and in 1666 he bought and modernised Bradwell Abbey in Buckinghamshire as a country estate. He lived to an advanced age and his son and successor died only a few months after his father, so it was the 3rd baronet who was his effective successor. This Sir Joseph Alston (c.1665-1716) married the heiress of a branch of the Evelyn family, and through her acquired the manors of Long Ditton and Thames Ditton in Surrey, with the Evelyn manor house at Long Ditton. He and his wife produced no less than seventeen children, although only seven of them survived to adulthood. Their baptisms and burials make it clear that the family divided its time between Long Ditton and Bradwell Abbey. This was probably the generation of the family which enjoyed the greatest prosperity.
Sir Joseph Alston (1691-1718), 4th bt., survived his father by only two years, but seems to have sold Bradwell Abbey in that time. He died without issue and his next brother, Sir Evelyn Alston (1692-1750), 5th bt., inherited the title and the Long Ditton estate. Sir Evelyn's career would appear to conform fairly closely to Hogarth's rake's progress. As early as 1712, aged 20, he was married in the Fleet Liberty in London to a 17-year old girl called Sarah George; the marriage presumably needed to be clandestine because both parties were under age and one or both sets of parents disapproved; they had probably eloped. Indeed Sarah's parentage is not recorded so it was probably a social misalliance too. For all that, the marriage appears to have been successfully and they had six known children over nearly 20 years; there were probably others who died young. In about 1720 the Long Ditton estate was sold, suggesting the young couple were rapidly accumulating debts, and they moved to a smaller property at Reigate (Surrey). In the 1730s, Sir Evelyn was recorded as being fond of the bottle and as disappearing to London at intervals on extended benders. By the time of his death it is clear that very little of the wealth he inherited was left. He was unable to provide dowries for his daughters, and the only one who married wedded a carpenter. His eldest son and namesake produced only one son, who went to sea and was drowned in the 1770s, and in 1783 the title passed to his brother, Sir William Alston (1722-1801), 7th bt., who after a rackety youth (he too was married in the Fleet Liberty in 1745), had become a horse-breeder in Surrey.
It is only with Sir William Alston (1745-1819), the 8th and last baronet, that something like respectability returns to the family. He was evidently a more sober man than his immediate forebears, and devoted himself to farming in Surrey, gradually building up freehold property around Lingfield. Tragically, his only son died a few months before he inherited the baronetcy leaving only daughters, and Sir William seems never to have used the title, feeling perhaps that he did not have the means to support the dignity, or that it was tainted by the activities of his predecessors. His daughters married reasonably well into lesser gentry families of Surrey and Sussex, but the Alston name died with him, or perhaps more accurately with his daughter-in-law, who lived on to 1855.
Many of the standard works on the peerage and baronetage regard the title as having become extinct with the death of Sir Evelyn Alston in 1750 or his elder son in 1783. The existence of the 7th and 8th baronets was only brought to notice in 1905.
Shrewsbury House (alias Alston House), Chelsea, Middlesex
|Shrewsbury House, Chelsea.|
Descent: George Talbot (1468-1538), 4th Earl of Shrewsbury; to Francis Talbot (1500-60), 5th Earl of Shrewsbury; to George Talbot (1528-90), 6th Earl of Shrewsbury; to widow, Elizabeth ("Bess of Hardwicke") (d. 1607); to son, William Cavendish (1552-1626), 1st Earl of Devonshire; to widow, Elizabeth (d. 1643), Countess of Devonshire; sold after her death to Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1688), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1688/9), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Joseph Alston (c.1665-1716), 3rd bt., who sold 1694 to Robert Butler, who let the house as a school, after which date it was continuously let until demolished.
Bradwell Abbey, Buckinghamshire
|Bradwell Abbey Farm. Image: Jenny McLellan|
Bradwell Priory was founded in 1154 as a dependency of the Benedictine Luffield Priory at Newport Pagnell, but became independent before 1189. It was one of a small group of monastic houses suppressed in 1524, ahead of the main Dissolution of the Monasteries, because of their dwindling numbers or poor standards, the revenues of which were used to support Cardinal Wolsey's new college at Oxford, later Christ Church. Following its closure, the buildings were surveyed and included "the houses of the inner court, the outer court, the gate-house, the hall (55 ft. by 24 ft.), the chamber called the King's Chamber, the prior's chamber, four low parlours, a dorter with five cells, chapter-house, cloisters, and 'a little chapel without the church'. Most of the buildings were cleared, but the former pilgramage chapel at the west of the church was retained as a parochial chapel and the prior's lodging was converted into a house.
|Bradwell Abbey Farm. Image: Katie Leroux|
Sir Joseph Alston made additions to the house after he bought it in 1666 and it was altered again in the 18th and 19th centuries. The long south range has medieval masonry and a small two-light window with hollow-chamfered mouldings. The south end of the range was refronted in the 17th century. Behind the house, which became a farm in the 18th century, there are extensive barns, including five bays of a medieval cruck-framed barn. The house is now Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre.
Descent: Crown granted 1543 to Arthur Longville (d. 1557); to younger son, Arthur Longville (d. 1594); to son, Thomas Longville (d. 1600); to son, Arthur Longville (d. 1631); to son, Sir Thomas Longville, kt., who sold 1650 to John Lawrence, who sold 1666 to Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1688), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1689), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1716), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Joseph Alston (1691-1718), 4th bt., who sold to John Fuller, who sold 1723 to Edward Owen, who sold 1730 to Sir Charles Gounter Nicoll (d. 1733); to mother, Judith Nicoll (d. 1737); to daughter, Catherine (d. 1744), wife of Sir Henry Maynard bt.; to son, Sir William Maynard bt.; sold 1755 to William Legge (d. 1801), 2nd Earl of Dartmouth; to son, George Legge (d. 1810), 3rd Earl of Dartmouth; to son, William Heneage Legge (d. 1853), 4th Earl of Dartmouth; to son, William Walter Legge (d. 1891), 5th Earl of Dartmouth, who sold 1862 to the Mercers' Company.
Alston family of Bradwell Abbey
Alston, Thomas (c.1554-1614) of Newton (Suffolk). Second son of Edward Alston of Sayham Hall (Suffolk) [for whom see the forthcoming post on the Alstons of Odell Castle], born about 1554. Yeoman farmer. He married 1st, about 1573, Dorothy (d. 1579), daughter and co-heir of Henry Holmsted esq. of Maplestead (Essex) and 2nd, 15 November 1579, Susan Gosse (d. 1626), and had issue:
(1.1) Thomas Alston (d. 1604); married and had issue two sons and four daughters; died 14 July 1604;
(1.2) Edward Alston (d. 1651) (q.v.);
(1.3) Alice Alston (fl. 1591); probably died unmarried before 1614;
(1.4) Elizabeth Alston (c.1572-1609); buried at Newton, 8 May 1609, when she was pregnant but unmarried;
(2.1) Thomas Alston (1580-1611); married Elizabeth (b. 1586), daughter of Thomas West of London and had issue one son; died 29 September 1611;
(2.2) Abraham Alston (d. 1624/5); married Margaret Cooke of Ipswich (Suffolk) and had issue a daughter; buried 3 February 1624/5; will proved 26 April 1625;
(2.3) Isaac Alston (d. 1625); married, 20 April 1619, Susanna Knopp (fl. 1631) (who m.2, [forename unknown] Weatherall); died 22 June 1625; buried at Newton, 25 June 1625;
(2.4) Samuel Alston (d. 1631); married Rose, daughter of Thomas Gardener of Shimpling, but died without issue; buried 11 May 1631; will proved 19 May 1631;
(2.5) William Alston (d. 1648) of Water Belchamp (Essex); married Mary, daughter of Robert Parke and had issue three sons and five daughters; administration of his estate granted 15 August 1648;
(2.6) Edmond Alston (d. 1640); married c.1608 Rachel Alston and had issue; died 21 July 1640;
(2.7) Susan Alston (fl. 1626); married, 20 November 1602, Joseph Mann and had issue;
(2.8) Amy Alston (fl. 1648); married John Cord of Sudbury (Suffolk) and had issue;
(2.9) Dorothy Alston (b. 1596; fl. 1626), baptised 24 January 1596; married, 30 November 1626, Thomas Edwards;
He lived at Newton and Edwardstone (Suffolk).
He died 6 June 1614; his will was proved 30 June 1614. His first wife died 3 April 1579. His widow died 28 January 1625/6; her will was proved 20 April 1626.
Alston, Edward (d. 1651) of Edwardstone (Suffolk). Only son of Thomas Alston (fl. c.1600) and his first wife, Dorothy, daughter of Henry Holmsted esq. of Maplestead (Essex). He married 1st, 1596, Margaret (b. 1565), daughter and heir of Arthur Penning esq. of Kettleburgh (Suffolk) and 2nd, Frances Chauncey, and had issue:
(1.1) Arthur Alston (fl. 1625); probably predeceased his father;
(1.2) Thomas Alston (d. before 1648/9); married and had issue two sons;
(1.3) Abraham Alston (d. before 1648/9); married Deborah [surname unknown] (who married 2nd, Mr. Steele) and had issue two sons and two daughters;
(1.1) Sir Edward Alston (1597-1669), kt., of London (q.v.);
(1.4) Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1688), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(1.5) Penning Alston (d. 1668), of London; grocer; Warden of the Grocer's Company, 1662; Alderman of City of London, 1664; married, 2 January 1636/7, Judith Williams (d. 1683), and had issue one son and one daughter; will proved 14 May 1668;
(1.6) Elizabeth Alston (fl. 1669); married [forename unknown] Gilbert and had issue two daughters;
(1.7) Margaret Alston (d. before 1648/9); married [forename unknown] Skynner and had issue two sons and one daughter;
He inherited Edwardstone Hall from his father.
His will was proved 12 May 1651.
Alston, Sir Edward (1597-1669), kt., of London. Eldest son of Edward Alston (d. c.1651) and his wife Margaret, daughter of Arthur Penning of Kettleburgh (Suffolk), born 24 June 1597. Educated at St. John's College, Cambridge (admitted 1612; BA 1616; MA 1619; MD 1626); licenced to practice medicine, 1620 and became a leading London physician; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, 1631-69 (Treasurer, 1649-54; President 1655-66, finally being dismissed for acting high-handedly in seeking to negotiate a new site for the College after the Great Fire of London); knighted, 3 September 1660. He was a presbyterian, being an elder of St Mary-at-Hill in 1646 and a regular attender at classis meetings. He married, 1624, Susan (1592-1670), daughter of Christopher Hudson esq. of Norwich and widow of Jasper Hussey of London, fishmonger, and had issue:
(1) Susan Alston (d. 1627); buried 13 August 1627 at St Clement Eastcheap, London;
(2) Mary Alston (1627-60), baptised 29 March 1627; married, 8 December 1647, Sir John Langham (1621-99), 2nd bt. of Cottesbrooke (Northants) and had issue three sons and three daughters, of whom only one daughter (later Mary, Countess of Warrington) survived to adulthood; buried 12 September 1660;
(3) Rebecca Alston (1628-30), baptised 6 May 1628; died young and was buried 20 September 1630;
(4) Susan Alston (1629-30), baptised 8 September 1629; died in infancy and was buried 15 February 1629/30;
(5) Sarah Alston (1631-92), baptised 6 March 1630/1; married 1st, 1652, George (d. 1655), eldest son of Sir Harbottle Grimston, 2nd bt; 2nd, 1661, John Seymour (d. 1675), 4th Duke of Somerset; and 3rd, July 1682 (sep.), Henry Hare (1636-1708), 2nd Baron Coleraine, but died without issue, 25 October 1692; buried in Westminster Abbey, 2 November 1692, where she was commemorated by a fine monument.
He was buried at St Helen, Bishopgate, 31 December 1669.
Alston, Sir Joseph (d. 1688), 1st bt., of Bradwell Abbey and Edwardstone. Second son of Edward Alston (d. c.1651) and his wife Margaret, daughter of Arthur Penning of Kettleburgh (Suffolk), born after 1604. Created a baronet, 29 January 1681/2. He married 1st, 5 November 1634/39, Mary (1620-71), daughter and co-heir of Mr. Crookenberg, a Dutch merchant of Bergen-op-Zoom (Holland), who brought him a dowry of £12,000, and 2nd, 5 December 1671, Anne, daughter of William Pheasant, and had issue including:
(1.1) Sir Joseph Alston (c.1640-89), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(1.2) Edward Alston (b. 1650; fl. 1684), born 5 May 1650; married Mary, daughter of Capt. Thompson, and had issue one son;
(1.3) Isaac Alston (b. 1651; fl. c.1670) (q.v.);
(1.4) Benjamin Alston (b. 1659), baptised 14 August 1659;
(1.5) Clare Alston (d. 1669); married, 1664, Sir John Wittewrong (d. 1703) bt. of Rothamsted (Herts); died 12 October 1669; buried at Stantonbury (Bucks);
(1.6) Mary Alston (1661-63), baptised 7 May 1661; buried at Chelsea, 21 June 1663;
(1.7) Mary Alston (1663-1730), baptised 21 June 1663; married James Clayton (d. 1714), Warden of Merton College, Oxford and only son of Sir Thomas Clayton, kt., of La Vache, Chalfont St Giles (Bucks); died without issue, May 1730.
He bought Shrewsbury House (later Alston House), Chelsea (Middx) from the estate of the Countess of Devonshire (d. 1643); and in 1666 bought Bradwell Abbey (Bucks) and enlarged it as his family's principal seat.
He was buried 31 May 1688; his will was proved 12 June 1688. His first wife was buried 7 February 1671. His widow died in 1694 and her will was proved 29 July 1694.
Alston, Sir Joseph (c.1640-89), 2nd bt. of Bradwell Abbey. Eldest son of Sir Joseph Alston (d. 1688) and his wife Mary, daughter and co-heir of [forename unknown] Crookenberg of Bergen-op-Zoom (Holland), born about 1640. High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, 1670; succeeded his father in the baronetcy in 1688. He married, 1662, Elizabeth (d. 1709), daughter of Maurice Thompson esq. (and sister of John Thompson (1648-1710), 1st Baron Haversham), and had issue:
(1) Sir Joseph Alston (c.1665-1716), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Alston (d. 1669/70);
(3) Rev. Edward Alston (c.1668-1710), baptised 2 February 1667/8; educated at Merton College, Oxford (matriculated 1685; BA 1689; MA 1694) and Inner Temple (admitted 1690); rector of Layer Marney (Essex), 1695-98, Wivenhoe (Essex), 1698-1710; married, 1 December 1690, Elizabeth Wells (fl. 1722) and had issue a daughter; died 3 June and was buried at Wivenhoe, 4 June 1710; will proved 31 October 1710;
(4) Isaac Alston (b. 1678), baptised 21 November 1678; died young and was buried 9 February 1689/90;
(5) Maurice Alston (fl. 1684).
He inherited Alston House, Chelsea and Bradwell Abbey from his father in 1688.
He died 14 March 1688/9 and was buried in the chancel of Bradwell Chapel, 21 March 1688/9. His widow died in 1709; her will was proved 8 December 1709.
Alston, Sir Joseph (c.1665-1716), 3rd bt., of Bradwell Abbey. Elder son of Sir Joseph Alston (c.1640-89), 2nd bt., and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Maurice Thompson esq., born about 1665. Succeeded his father in the baronetcy, 1688/9; Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, 1701; High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, 1702. He married 1st, 23 January 1690, Penelope (1672-1714), daughter and co-heir of Sir Edward Evelyn, 1st bt. of Long Ditton (Surrey) and 2nd, 1715, Charlotte (1660-c.1719), daughter of John Mordaunt, 1st Viscount Mordaunt of Avalon, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Joseph Alston (1691-1718), 4th bt., baptised 15 September 1691; married, 1718, Lucy (c.1701-28), only daughter of Richard Thursby esq. of Abington (Northants) and Hanslope (Bucks), but died intestate and without issue; grant of administration of his goods, 3 December 1718;
(1.2) Sir Evelyn Alston (1692-1750), 5th bt. (q.v.);
(1.3) Penelope Alston (b. 1694), baptised 4 April 1694; died before 1702;
(1.4) Edward Alston (b. & d. 1696); born 6 and baptised 9 March 1695/6; died in infancy and was buried 18 April 1696;
(1.5) Mary Alston (1697-1710), baptised 16 July 1697; buried 7 October 1710;
(1.6) Cornelius Alston (1698-1769?), baptised 2 December 1698; apprenticed to John Werry of London, mariner, 1715; possibly the 'Cornelius Halstone', mariner, whose will was proved in PCC, 17 November 1769; his will mentions no spouse, children or relatives;
(1.7) Sophia Alston (1699-1711/12), baptised 10 December 1699; buried 18 January 1711/2;
(1.8) Elizabeth Alston (b. 1701; fl. 1717); baptised 16 March 170o/1; married Robert Chase;
(1.9) Penelope Alston (1702-94), baptised 28 June 1702; died 'in the utmost penury' and was buried 16 October 1794
(1.10) Anne Alston (1702-03), baptised 28 June 1702; died in infancy and was buried 31 March 1703;
(1.11) Theodosia Alston (fl. 1717); probably died unmarried;
(1.12) Eleanor Alston (d. 1708); buried 15 July 1708;
(1.13) Die Patris Alston (b. 1705; fl. 1717), baptised 25 June 1705; so named from being born on her father's birthday
(1.14) Edward Alston (b. 1706), baptised 4 September 1706; died before 1714;
(1.15) Katherine Alston (1708-09), baptised 29 January 1708; buried 31 January 1708/9;
(1.16) William Alston (1710-12), born 11 November and baptised 15 December 1710; buried 1 January 1711/12;
(1.17) Mary Alston (1712-14), born 14 June and baptised 11 July 1712; buried 18 May 1714.
He inherited Alston House, Chelsea and Bradwell Abbey from his father in 1689 and acquired the manor of Long Ditton (Surrey) through his marriage. He sold Alston House in about 1694. At his death his remaining estates passed to his eldest son, who sold Bradwell Abbey.
He died in Bath (Somerset) and was buried at Long Ditton, 29 January 1715/6. His first wife was buried, 28 June 1714. His widow died in 1719 and her will was proved 3 February 1719/20.
Alston, Sir Evelyn (1692-1750), 5th bt., of Bradwell Abbey. Second son of Sir Joseph Alston (c.1665-1716), 3rd bt., and his wife Penelope, daughter and co-heir of Sir Edward Evelyn, bt. of Long Ditton (Surrey), born 12 and baptised 14 November 1692. He married (in the Fleet, London), 11 January or 3 June 1712, Sarah George (1695-1764), and had issue, probably among others:
(1) Sir Evelyn Alston (1713-83), 6th bt. (q.v.);
(2) Penelope Alston (b. 1718; fl. 1783); baptised 16 July 1718; died unmarried;
(3) Joseph Alston (1719-24), born 19 February 1719; buried 24 January 1723/4;
(4) Sir William Alston (1722-1801), 7th bt. (q.v.);
(5) Sarah Alston (b. 1727/8; fl. 1783), born 20 January and baptised 14 February 1727/8; married William Attree of Redhill (Surrey), carpenter;
(6) George Alston (b. 1730/1), born 28 December 1730 and baptised 20 January 1730/1; possibly to be identified with the person of that name who was found drowned in the River Thames and buried at Woolwich, 19 August 1736.
He inherited the manor of Long Ditton from his elder brother in 1718, but sold it in 1721. He lived subsequently at a house called Redstones, Reigate (Surrey).
He was buried at Reigate (Surrey) 15 April 1750; his widow was buried there 17 August 1764.
Alston, Sir Evelyn (1713-83), 6th bt. Eldest son of Sir Evelyn Alston (1692-1750), 5th bt. and his wife Sarah George, born 13 and baptised 20 October 1713. He married 1st [name unknown] and 2nd, 13 March 1766, Mrs Elizabeth May (1730-83) of Marylebone, and had issue:
(1.1) A son (d. 1775); reputedly died at sea;
(1.2) Mary Ann Alston (b. 1751), born 12 March 1750/1 and baptised 8 April 1751; dead before 1783.
He lived at Reigate (Surrey) and later at Stepney (Middx)
He was buried at Stepney, February 1783; his will was proved in PCC, 8 March 1783 (estate about £400). His widow died in June 1783 and her will was proved in PCC, 19 September 1783.
Alston, Sir William (1722-1801), 7th bt. Younger son of Sir Evelyn Alston (1691-1750), 5th bt., and his wife, born 10 and baptised 14 April 1722. Reputedly a horse breeder. He married in the Fleet Chapel, London, 10 September 1745, Elizabeth Weare (1721-1800), and had issue:
(1) Sir William Alston (1745-1819), 8th bt.;
(2) Evelyn Alston (1747-99), baptised 13 October 1747; married Mary [surname unknown] and had issue a daughter; buried 12 April 1799
(3) Sarah Alston (1749-70), baptised 25 September 1749; died unmarried, 7 November 1770;
(4) George Alston (1754-1806), born 19 January and baptised 10 February 1754; died without issue, 13 March and was buried 17 March 1806.
He died in November 1801.
Alston, Sir William (1745-1819), 8th bt. Son of Sir William Alston (1722-1801), 7th bt. and his wife, baptised at Lingfield (Surrey), 14 November 1745. He inherited the title from his father in 1801, but seems not to have used it, probably because he lacked the means to support the dignity. He married 1st, 18 December 1770, Mary Rose (1749-73), and 2nd, Ann [surname unknown] (d. 1820) and had issue:
(1.1) William Alston (1770-1802); married 10 September 1793 Elizabeth (1773-1855), daughter of John Brister, and had issue three daughters; died 23 March 1802;
(1.2) Sarah Alston (d. 1858); married John Head (d. 1831) and had issue three sons and one daughter; buried 23 April 1858;
(1.3) Elizabeth Alston; married, about 1800, John Dives and had issue three sons and two daughters.
He died 6 March 1819, and is probably to be identified with the "Mr William Alston" who was buried at Lingfield (Surrey), 11 March 1819, aged 73.
Alston, Isaac (b. 1651), of Edwardstone. Third son of Sir Joseph Alston, 1st bt., and his wife Mary, daughter and co-heir of Mr. Crookenberg of Bergen-op-Zoom (Holland). He married, before 1684, Mary, daughter and co-heire of Henry Seile of London, and had issue:
(1) Joseph Alston of Edwardstone; married Laurentia, only daughter and heir of Rev. Charles Trumbull LLD and neice of Sir William Trumbull, kt., secretary of state to King William III and had issue one son and three daughters.
His date of death is unknown.
Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 1841, p. 7; L. Cresswell, Stemmata Alstoniana, 1905; W.H. Godfrey, Survey of London, vol. 2: Chelsea, part 1, 1909, pp. 76-81; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Radcliffe, The buildings of England: Suffolk, 2nd edn., 1974, p. 197; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, 2nd edn., 1994, pp. 512-14.
Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive.
Coat of arms
Azure, ten etoiles or, four, three, two and one.