|Aucher of Otterden |
and Bourne Place, baronets
|Losenham, Newenden, Kent, in the 19th century.|
Sir Anthony's heir at Otterden and Bishopsbourne was his eldest son John Aucher, but he died soon afterwards, leaving only one child, his daughter Anne, who was probably under ten. By the terms of a settlement of 1552 which was confirmed by Sir Anthony's will, the Otterden estate could pass to her, but the Bishopsbourne property was entailed on male heirs, and so passed to John's next brother, Edward Aucher (d. 1568). Anne later married the adventurer, Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1537-83), kt., who sold the Otterden estate to help finance his voyages of exploration and discovery. On the early death of Edward Aucher, the Bishopsbourne estate descended to his son, Anthony Aucher (1562-1610), whose son, Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1586-1637), kt., seems to have had quite a lot in common with his grand-grandfather and namesake, in that he was pretty good at making money but even better at spending it. By the 1620s his habit of borrowing to fund a lavish lifestyle had caught up with him, and along with his friend and neighbour, Sir Thomas Hardres, kt., he illegally conveyed his estates to a group of his friends as feoffees, and fled abroad to avoid arrest. Although he quickly returned to England he spent the rest of his life fighting legal and parliamentary battles to avoid his creditors seizing his estates to recover their loans. In the last result he was unsuccessful, and in 1635 he was outlawed for debt and some of his property was seized by the Crown.
The heir to the entailed estates (which could not be seized by Sir Anthony's creditors) was his son, another Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1614-92), who was knighted in 1641 and created a baronet in 1666. He was an active Royalist during the Civil War, briefly in exile after 1648, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Restoration in 1660. By his first wife, who died in 1648, he had nine children, but none of them survived him. At the age of 63 he married again, and produced a further two sons and two daughters. When he died in 1692, his elder son of this second marriage was his heir, but he died only three years later while still a minor, and the baronetcy and estates therefore passed to his younger son, Sir Hewitt Aucher (1687-1726), 3rd bt. During the 3rd baronet's long minority, his mother acted as his guardian and her husband's executor, and patiently put the family finances, which had again become somewhat embarrassed, back on a sounder footing. In addition to paying off debts, she invested in rebuilding farmhouses and estate buildings, using not only estate income, but also legacies which she and her son had received from her brother. By 1704 the dilapidated state of the family house at Bishopsbourne was giving cause for concern, and to ensure that her son had a home to be proud of, she built a new seat called Bourne Place (and now Bourne Park), agreeing the model with her son, but keeping control of the building process, while her son, now finally approaching his majority, studied at Cambridge. Unfortunately, while at Cambridge he came under the influence of Dr. John Corbett, a lawyer who emerges from the pages of a fascinating Chancery dispute as what can only be called a designing villain. Corbett seems to have wormed his way into the confidence of the young Sir Hewitt and to have sewn a suspicion in the young man's mind that his mother had exceeded her authority and spent his inheritance. When Sir Hewitt came of age and found just how little money there was in the family, this appeared to be confirmed, and he gave Corbett, who soon after married his sister Elizabeth, his full authority to pursue the matter. By a combination of bullying and withholding her allowance from the estate, Corbett reduced Lady Aucher to penury. It was only after her younger daughter Hester married a prebendary of Canterbury that she found the support and strength to resist Corbett's tactics, and brought a suit against him and her son in Chancery. The court completely vindicated her management of the estate during Sir Hewitt's minority and in 1716 ordered him to pay over £24,000 compensation to his mother. When this was not forthcoming, the Court put in a receiver, effectively attaching his income. Sir Hewitt died unmarried in 1726, and far from being reconciled to his mother (who survived him until 1738) he arranged his affairs so that the Bourne Place estate passed to his elder sister and her husband, John Corbett. His younger sister, who with her husband had helped her mother, was cut out entirely. So John Corbett lost the battle but won the war, and ended up with the estate: one does wonder whether that is just what he set out to achieve twenty years before.
If Fate took a scunner to John Corbett (1679-1736), as she well might, she dealt him two shrewd blows. One was the exceptionally long life of Elizabeth, Lady Aucher (1652-1738), which ensured that she survived long enough to milk most if not all of her compensation payment from the estate. The other was that his marriage to her daughter produced no sons to carry on his name, but only seven daughters, of whom five survived to maturity to be co-heirs to the estate. Catherine, the eldest, married Stephen Beckingham (1697-1756) as his second wife, and in 1751 he bought the remaining four-fifths of the estate from her sisters and their husbands. He died soon afterwards, leaving Catherine a widow with small children and a life interest in the house (which expired on her death in 1763 or 1766). The arrangement he made for the inheritance of the estate is, however, unclear. Late 18th century sources all name his son by his first wife, Stephen Beckingham junior (1729-1813) as the owner, and Stephen had certainly been educated for the role, being sent not just to Oxford and Lincoln's Inn but to Leipzig University and on the Grand Tour as well. But Stephen junior never lived in the house, which was let, and it may be that his half-brother, the Rev. John Charles Beckingham (1755-1807) had an interest in the property from the beginning.
|Upper Hardres Rectory (later Manor House)|
Otterden Place, Kent
Nothing is known about the manor house which the Aucher family had here in the 15th and 16th centuries. The earliest part of the present building is the north range, which represents one wing of a two storey later 16th century house that was probably built for William Lewin after he bought the estate in the 1570s. It is thought that this house formed a U-plan, with the courtyard open to the west. The Tudor work is identifiable by the smaller and brighter red bricks laid in English bond of which it is constructed, which lap around the corners onto the east and west faces of the house too. All the Tudor windows have, however, long since been replaced, with sash windows on the ground floor and early 19th century mullioned and transomed windows above. At the west end of the range is a polygonal turret carried a storey higher than the rest, and close to this are two early chimney-breasts, one rising to octagonal stacks with raised criss-cross patterns in moulded brick.
|Otterden Place: the house from the north-east, with the 16th century range|
on the right and new work of 1802-04 to the left. Image: Historic England AA54/1413.
|Otterden Place: south front as rebuilt in 1802-04. Image: Historic England AA54/1416|
The estate passed by marriage several times in the late 17th and early 18th century before being bought in 1725 by the Rev. Granville Wheler (1701-70), who is noted for his early experiments on the conduction of electricity, which took place here in the 1720s. His son, Granville Wheler (1732-86) left as his heir a child of six, and the estate passed into the hands of his widow and her second husband, Rev. John Tattersall, who pulled most of the Tudor house down in 1788. When Granville Hastings Wheler (1780-1827) came of age in 1801 he at once commissioned the remodelling and enlargement of the house by William Pilkington. It is said that the designs were based on Wheler's sketches of the 16th century house, made from memory, but it is far from clear that his influence extended beyond mandating the choice of the Tudor style for the new elevations. The new fronts to the south and east, built in 1802-04, are of two storeys with symmetrical window bays and large mullioned and transomed windows. The house seems to have been stuccoed at this time, but this protective coating was later removed to expose the brickwork.
|Otterden Place: the staircase hall, 1802-04. Image: Historic England BB70/5201|
Inside, Pilkington dropped the Tudor style in favour of a simple neo-classical treatment with minimal decoration. The most elaborate feature is the staircase, separated from the entrance hall and the landing above by a screen of columns, Tuscan below and Ionic above. The stair itself rises around three sides of a square well, but has a plain handrail supported on slender cast iron neo-classical balusters. The house has been little altered since the early 19th century, except for the addition of a new service range at the south-west corner, which had been completed by 1871.
Descent: Thomas St. Leger; to daughter, Joan, wife of Henry Aucher (d. c.1432); to son, Henry Aucher (fl. 1450); to son, John Aucher (d. 1502); to son, James Aucher (d. 1509); to son, Sir Anthony Aucher (d. 1558); to son, John Aucher (d. c.1560); to daughter Anne (d. 1631), later wife of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1537-83), kt., who sold to William Lewin (d. 1598); to son, Sir Justinian Lewin (d. 1620); to daughter Elizabeth, wife of Richard Rogers; to daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Charles Cavendish (c.1626-59), Viscount Mansfield and later of Charles Stuart (1640-72), 3rd Duke of Richmond, who sold 1661 to Sir George Curteis (d. 1702), kt.; to son, George Curteis (d. 1710); to daughter Anne, wife of Thomas Wheler (1690-1716) and later of Humphrey Walcot, who sold 1725 to Rev. Granville Wheler (1701-70), brother of her previous husband; to son, Granville Wheler (1732-86); to widow, who married Rev. John Tattersall (fl. 1800) and then to son, Granville Hastings Wheler (1780-1827); to first cousin once removed, Rev. Charles Medhurst (later Wheler) (1795-1877); to son, Charles Wheler Wheler (1834-99); to son, Lt-Col. Sir Granville Charles Hastings Wheler (1872-1927), 1st bt.; to brother, George Bevil Hastings Wheler (1874-1949); to son, Granville Hugh Hastings Wheler (1929-2004); to The Wheler Trust.
Bourne Place (now Park), Bishopsbourne, Kent
|Bourne Park, Kent. Image: BridgeNature.org|
An unusually grand and stately early 18th century house of two storeys above a basement, with a tall hipped roof, big dormers, and symmetrically arranged chimneystacks to offset the horizontality of the composition. It replaced a house which was 'very old and ruinous'. The new house, which was under construction in 1704-07 and cost 'upwards of £3,000', was built by Elizabeth, Lady Aucher for the use of her son, Sir Hewitt Aucher (1687-1726), 3rd bt., before he came of age, although he 'chose the modell' for it. When she handed it over to him on his majority in 1708, the house was 'not quite finished, but boarded and wainscoted and glazed'. It is built of plum and vermilion brick with stone dressings and a wooden dentil cornice.
|Bourne Park: entrance front and side elevation in c.1803.|
|Bourne Park: entrance front.|
The entrance front is of thirteen closely-spaced bays, with the middle five stepped slightly forward under a broad pediment, and a central doorcase which is contemporary with the house but which was imported in the 1920s from the Crutched Friars in London. The side elevations are of four plain bays only; the garden front is almost identical to the entrance side, except for the doorcase.
|Bourne Park: entrance hall.|
The interior is richly decorated with high quality joinery and plasterwork in a taste a thought behind the latest fashion of its date. The entrance hall is a fine room with plain painted panelling, an enriched frieze, a geometrical ceiling, and an early 17th century chimneypiece of black Bethersden marble with incised decoration and the Hewitt crest on the lintel. This was presumably reused from one of Lady Aucher's family homes, as she was a Hewitt by birth.
|Bourne Park: staircase|
|Bourne Park: staircase ceiling.|
The staircase hall has a rich plaster ceiling with a central motif of an oval panel defined by a boldly modelled wreath of fruit, flowers and leaves. This is set within a rectangular panel, with the spandrels decorated with foliage panels. The coved cornice is richest of all, with coats of arms and swags of flowers. The staircase below is grand but comparatively restrained, with carved tread-ends and two chunky fluted balusters per tread which support the handrail on Doric capitals except at the newels where they are Ionic.
|Bourne Park: the richly-decorated ceiling of the south-west room.|
A room at the south-west corner of the house has another rich ceiling with vases of fruit and flowers in the centre, putti in the angles, and palm fronds forming a border at either end. The dining and drawing rooms have panelled walls, enriched cornices and plain ceilings, but whereas the drawing room has a marquetry floor and contemporary chimneypiece, the dining room has a Kentian chimneypiece and overmantel brought from a house at Bramfield (Suffk). A similar chimneypiece, this time without an overmantel, enlivens the study. Are they imports of the 1840s or the 1920s?
|Bourne Park: drawing room.|
The house is said to have been repaired and altered 'somewhat drastically' in 1848-49 by John Shaw for Matthew Bell, but what was done then is by no means apparent from the 1920s photographs reproduced above, except that it seems to have been at this time that the low screen wall was built on the entrance front to conceal the basement. The 18th century landscaped park was altered at the same time by W.A. Nesfield, who formed a large irregular lake to the north-east, designed a classical bridge with pierced parapets, and formed a parterre on the south side of the house. The house was restored and redecorated again later, firstly for Sir John Prestige in the late 1920s and more recently after it was acquired by Lady Juliet Tadgell in the early 1980s.
Descent: Thomas Colepeper sold 1545 to Sir Anthony Aucher (d. 1558), kt.; to second son, Edward Aucher (d. 1568); to son, Anthony Aucher (1562-1610); to son, Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1586-1637), kt.; to son, Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1614-92), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Anthony Aucher (1684-95), 2nd bt.; to brother, Sir Hewitt Aucher (1687-1726), 3rd bt.; to sister, Elizabeth (1682-1764), wife of John Corbett (1679-1736); to daughters, including Catherine (1714-63/66), wife of Stephen Beckingham (1697-1756), who purchased the other moieties of the estate; ?to son, Stephen Beckingham (1729-1813), who leased it to Sir Horace Mann and later William Harrison (fl. 1800); ?sold to half-brother, Rev. John Charles Beckingham (1755-1807); to widow, Louisa Beckingham (1761-1844); sold after her death in 1844 to Matthew Bell (1817-1903); to grandson, Matthew Gerald Edward Bell (1871-1926); sold after his death 1927 to Maj. Sir John Prestige; sold 1962 to Richard Neame; sold 1976 to a monastic community; sold to a developer who sold c.1982 to Lady Juliet Wentworth-Fitzwilliam (b. 1935), then wife of Somerset de Chair MP (1911-95) and now of Christopher Tadgell (b. 1939).
Aucher family of Otterden Place and Bourne Park, baronets
Aucher, Henry (d. c.1432). Son of Henry Aucher of Losenham and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Digges of Barham (Kent). He married 1st, Isabella de Towne of Throwleigh (Kent) and 2nd, Joan, daughter and heir of Thomas St. Leger of Otterden (Kent), and had issue:
(1.1) Thomas Aucher of Losenham; married and had issue a son, whose daughter carried the ancestral estate of Losenham to the Colepepers in the reign of King Henry VII;
(1.2) Robert Aucher of Digges Court, Westwell; married and had issue two sons, whose descendants held Digges Court until the end of the 17th century;
(2.1) Henry Aucher (fl. 1453) (q.v.).
He lived at Losenham in Newenden (Kent), and inherited the manors of Otterden, Easthall and Newhall in Minster, Eversley and Emsley (all Kent) in right of his wife in 1418.
He died in about 1432. His first wife's date of death is unknown. His widow died in about 1441.
Aucher, Henry (fl. 1453). Only son of Henry Aucher and his second wife Joan, daughter and heir of Thomas St. Leger of Otterden (Kent). He married, before 1434, Alice, daughter of Geoffrey Boleyn of Salle (Norfk), Lord Mayor of London, and had issue:
(1) John Aucher (d. 1502) (q.v.).
He inherited the Otterden estates from his father in c.1432, but sold Newhall and Emsley to Sir William Cromer in 1433 and Easthall to Humphrey Evans in 1453.
He was living in 1453; his date of death is unknown. His wife's date of death is unknown.
Aucher, John (d. 1502). Only recorded son of Henry Aucher (fl. 1453) and his wife Alicia Boleyn, apparently born before 1446 as he was of age in 1467. He married Margaret Church and had issue:
(1) James Aucher (d. 1509) (q.v.);
(2) William Aucher (fl. 1506); died without issue;
(3) John Aucher (fl. 1509);
(4) Marcus Aucher (fl. 1502); married [forename unknown] Gilbole;
(5) Elizabeth Aucher; married, c.1500, Thomas Berham (b. c.1475) of Berham Court, Teston, Sissinghurst (Kent), and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(6) Jane Aucher; married Thomas Corbet.
He inherited the Otterden estate from his father after 1450.
He died between 12 August and 26 October 1502 and was buried at Otterden church; his will was proved 26 October 1502. His wife's date of death is unknown.
Aucher, James (d. 1509). Eldest son of John Aucher (d. 1502) and his wife Margaret Church. He married Alice, daughter of Thomas Hills esq. of Egerton (Kent) and had issue:
(1) Sir Anthony Aucher (d. 1558), kt. (q.v.);
(2) Susan Aucher; married, before 1505, James Aucher (fl. 1553) of Sweet Arden in Cheriton (Kent).
He inherited the Otterden estate from his father in 1503.
He died 6 January 1508/9 and was buried at Otterden, where he is commemorated by a monumental brass; his will was proved 9 April 1509. His widow married 2nd, James Hardres of Hardres (Kent); her date of death is unknown.
Aucher, Sir Anthony (d. 1558), kt. Only son of James Aucher (d. 1508) and his wife Alice, daughter of Thomas Hills esq. of Egerton (Kent), born before 1508. He rose to prominence at the Tudor court as an administrator, beginning his career before 1535 as the servant, chiefly in Kentish affairs, of Thomas Cromwell. He became Auditor and Surveyor of the Estates of Christ Church Priory, Canterbury in the mid-1530s, and from 1537-50 he held a series of appointments as paymaster and victualler of royal works and garrisons in and around Dover, Boulogne and Le Havre. In 1544 he accompanied the royal army to France as a lieutenant, responsible for aspects of transportation and supplies; and in 1552 he was appointed Marshal of Calais and Governor of Guisnes, a post he held until his death. At court, he was joint Master of the Tents and Pavilions, Master of the Jewel House at the Tower of London, 1545-57, and receiver of Augmentations revenue for Kent, Surrey and Sussex in the Exchequer, 1554-58. He was a JP for Kent, and a commissioner for suppressing Kent’s chantries, 1546-48. He was knighted after the coronation of King Edward VI, 22 February 1547/8. His positions at court and in France meant that large sums of money and much valuable plate passed through his hands, and although he creamed off an even higher proportion than was usual at the time for his personal use, he was not called to account for many years. When his affairs did attract official scrutiny under Queen Mary he was allowed to resign his office at the Tower on a pension, and to write off large sums that were conveniently said to have been lost when the English abandoned Boulogne. His private creditors were less forgiving, and he was forced to sell some of his estates for their benefit. He was an unpopular figure in Kent, and during food shortages in the winter of 1550 he was one of those singled out by protesters as a worthy candidate for hanging. He also attracted unfavourable attention when one of his servants, John Greene, was convicted of complicity in the murder of Thomas Arden of Faversham (later dramatised in a play now attributed to Shakespeare). He married, 1525 (settlement 20 July), Affra (d. 1560?), daughter of William Cornwallis (d. 1519) of Brome (Suffk), and had issue:
(1) John Aucher (d. by 1560) (q.v.);
(2) Edward Aucher (c.1539-68) (q.v.);
(3) Thomas Aucher (fl. 1558); died without issue;
(4) Rev. William Aucher (fl. 1566) of Nonington (Kent); married Alice, daughter of Edward Monins but had no issue; perhaps living in 1590;
(5) Susannah Aucher (fl. 1558).
He inherited the Otterden estate from his father in 1508. He was one of the major purchasers of former monastic and chantry lands in Kent, but some of his purchases were sold in the 1550s (a list of his acquisitions is given in the article in the Home Counties Magazine - see 'Sources' below). He bought the manors of Bishopsbourne and Hautsborne in Kent from Thomas Colepeper in 1548 and East Hall in 1552. He settled much of his property on his son John in 1552, with remainder to his younger sons; some of his property was divided among them according to the Kentish custom of gavelkind.
He died intestate of wounds received during the French siege of Calais, 9 January 1557/8; an inquisition post mortem was taken 15 May 1558 and administration of his goods was granted to his second son, Edward, 12 May 1560. His widow may have died in 1560.
Aucher, John (d. by 1560). Eldest son of Sir Anthony Aucher (d. 1558), kt., and his wife Affra, daughter of William Cornwallis. He married Anne, reputedly a daughter of Sir William Kellaway, kt. and had issue:
(1) Anne Aucher (d. 1631); married 1st, 1570, Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1537-83), kt., of Compton (Devon) the celebrated soldier, adventurer and explorer, and half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, and had issue six sons and one daughter; married 2nd, 27 August 1585 at Kingsnorth (Kent), John Mitchell; died 6 May and was buried at Compton (Devon), 11 May 1631.
He inherited the Otterden and Bishopsbourne estates from his father. At his death Bishopsbourne passed under a settlement of 1552 to his younger brother, Edward, while Otterden passed to his daughter, whose husband sold it to William Lewin, LLD.
He died soon after his father, and was presumably dead when administration of his father's estate was granted to his younger brother in 1560. His wife's date of death is unknown.
Aucher, Edward (c. 1539-68). Second son of Sir Anthony Aucher (d. 1558), kt., and his wife Affra, daughter of William Cornwallis, born about 1539. He married, 14 July 1560 at St Peter Cornhill, London, Mabel (c.1541-79), daughter of Sir Thomas Wroth, kt. of Durants in Enfield (Middx), and had issue:
(1) Anthony Aucher (c.1562-1610) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Aucher (c.1564-1627); married, c.1580/81, Sir William Lovelace (1561-1629), kt., of Bethersden (Kent) and had issue two sons and one daughter; buried in Canterbury Cathedral, 3 December 1627.
He inherited the Bishopsbourne estate from his elder brother in about 1560.
He died 14 February and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 18 February 1567/8; an inquisition post mortem was held 15 May 1568. His widow married 2nd, before 1571, Richard Hardres (d. 1612) of Hardres Court (Kent) and had further issue; she died 8 August 1579 and was buried at Upper Hardres, where she is commemorated by a monumental brass.
Aucher, Anthony (1562-1610). Only son of Edward Aucher and his wife Mabel, daughter of Sir Thomas Wroth, kt., born in late 1562. He was a minor at the time of his father's death and his wardship was purchased by his maternal grandfather. He married 1st*, c.1584, Margaret (1566-90), daughter of the Rt. Rev. Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, and 2nd, 18 August 1608 at Farnborough (Kent), Joan Collett (d. 1630), and had issue:
(1.1) Margaret Aucher (d. 1662); married, 30 January 1610/11 at St. Dunstan in the East, London, Sir Roger James (1589-1636), kt. of Reigate (Surrey), and had issue two sons and three daughters; died April 1662;
(1.2) Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1586-1637), kt. (q.v.);
(1.3) Edwin Aucher (d. 1661), of Willesborough; educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (BA 1608/9); married, 4 April 1611 at Kingston (Kent), Mary (d. 1679), daughter of John Gibbon, and had a numerous issue (inc. Rev. John Aucher DD, prebendary of Canterbury); died September 1661 and was buried at Willesborough;
(1.4) Elizabeth Aucher (1589-1665), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 2 March 1588/9; married 1st, before 1607, Sir William Hammond (c.1579-1615), kt., of St. Albans Court (Kent) and had issue three sons and five daughters; married 2nd, 20 September 1624 at Bishopsbourne, Very Rev. Walter Balcanquall DD (d. 1645), Dean of Rochester and later of Durham; buried at Nonington (Kent), 11 March 1665.
He inherited the Bishopsbourne estate from his father in 1568 and came of age in 1583.
He died 13 January 1609/10; his will was proved 22 March 1609/10. His first wife was buried at Bishopsbourne, 13 October 1590. His widow was buried at Bishopsbourne, 20 July 1630.
* An earlier marriage, to a Miss Berham, is mentioned in several sources, but I have found no evidence for it.
Aucher, Sir Anthony (c.1586-1637), kt. Elder son of Anthony Aucher (1562-1610) and his second wife Margaret, daughter of the Rt. Rev. Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York. He was knighted at Chatham, 4 July 1604, and accompanied the Earl of Northampton to Windsor in the following year for the Earl's investiture as a Knight of the Garter. A member of the Virginia Company, 1609-24 (Committee Member, c.1613-19) and East India Company (c.1624-27). High Sheriff of Kent, 1613-14. Freeman of Rochester, 1614 and elected MP for that town in the same year, but was prevented from serving as he was Sheriff. JP for Kent, c.1619-24. By the mid 1620s he was chronically indebted, apparently as a result of borrowing to fund current expenditure over a number of years, and he and his neighbour and associate Sir Thomas Hardres conveyed their estates to a group of friends as feoffees, and fled abroad to escape arrest. They soon returned and there followed many years of increasingly desperate legal wrangling. In 1631 he obtained a temporary reprieve in the form of a royal protection from arrest for debt, but this was not renewed in 1633 and in April 1635 Aucher was outlawed for debt, with the result that the Crown seized several of his properties, including the rectory of Lyminge which had been controlled by his family since 1546. He married, 18 June 1605, Hester (d. 1637), daughter and co-heir of Peter Collett of London and Loughton (Essex), merchant taylor, and had issue:
(1) Collett Aucher (d. 1618); died young and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 17 October 1618;
(2) Hester Aucher (1611-65), baptised (as Hester Agar), 4 November 1611; a noted beauty, known as 'The Star in the East', who was painted by Cornelius Janssens; married, probably c.1639, Sir Edmond Bowyer (1613-81) (who m2, Martha [surname unknown] and had further issue one son and two daughters), son of Benjamin Bowyer of Camberwell (Surrey) and had issue three sons and four daughters; died 10 December 1665 and was buried at Camberwell, where she was commemorated by a monument;
(3) Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1614-92), 1st bt. (q.v.).
He inherited Bishopsbourne and three other manors from his father in 1610 and later also purchased the manor of Kingston (Kent) from his younger brother for £1,400. Through his marriage he acquired manors at Edmonton (Middx) and Hornchurch (Essex). A significant part of his unentailed property was sold to meet his debts or seized by the Crown in 1635.
He died intestate, 3 July 1637 and was buried at Bishopsbourne; an inquisition post mortem was held, 13 Charles I. His widow was buried 4 December 1637.
Aucher, Sir Anthony (c.1614-92), 1st bt. Only surviving son of Sir Anthony Aucher (d. 1637), kt., and his wife Hester, daughter and co-heir of Peter Collet of London, born about 1614*. Educated at Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1632). He was an ardent Royalist during the Civil War, and was imprisoned in Winchester House for nine months for his part in the Kentish petition in 1643. His estate was sequestrated and he was obliged to pay a fine of £700 to recover his property. In 1648, after the failure of the Kentish rebellion, he fled to Holland; after he returned to England he remained inactive until 1659, when he helped to organize a Cavalier rising. MP for Canterbury, 1660. JP (1660-92) and DL (1660-89) for Kent. An officer in the Kent foot militia (Capt., 1660). High Steward of St. Augustine's Court, Canterbury, 1663-92; Alderman of Canterbury, 1684-88 and was elected Mayor in 1686, but his appointment was disallowed by the Privy Council. He was knighted, 4 July 1641 and created a baronet, 4 July 1666. He married 1st, c.1635, Elizabeth (d. 1648), daughter of Col. Robert Hatton of Oswalds in Bishopsbourne, and 2nd, 10 October 1681 at St Bride, Fleet St., London (but the licence was dated 13 Oct), Elizabeth (1652-1738), daughter of Sir Thomas Hewitt, kt., and had issue:
(1.1) Edwin Aucher (d. 1657); died young, 1657;
(1.2) James Aucher (d. 1660); died young, 1660;
(1.3) Anthony Aucher (1639-73), born 19 April and baptised at Bishopsbourne, 24 April 1639; educated at King's College, Cambridge (admitted 1655) and Wadham College, Oxford (matriculated 1656/7); married, 1665, Elizabeth (d. 1684), daughter of Thomas Biggs of Fordwich (Kent) but had no issue; buried at Bishopsbourne, 12 September 1673;
(1.4) Hatton Aucher (c.1640-91); educated at Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1654; BA 1660) and Grays Inn (admitted 1658); Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 1662-90; buried at Bishopsbourne, 4 September 1691;
(1.5) Elizabeth Aucher (1642-74), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 1 December 1642; died unmarried, 6 December and was buried at St Mary Aldermary, London, 9 December 1674;
(1.6) Rev. Robert Aucher (1644-81), baptised at Bishopsbourne, born 21 January and baptised 22 January 1643/4; educated at Queen's College, Oxford (matriculated 1664; BA 1668; MA 1670/1); rector of Kingston (Kent), 1672-81; died 1681;
(1.7) George Aucher (1645-50), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 11 July 1645; died young and was buried at Bishopsbourne, January 1649/50;
(1.8) Collett Aucher (b. 1646), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 29 November 1646; died in the lifetime of his father;
(1.9) Hester Aucher (b. 1648), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 29 January 1647/8; probably died in the lifetime of her father;
(2.1) Elizabeth Aucher (1682-1764) (q.v.), baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Canterbury (Kent), 14 December 1682; married, without her mother's permission, 25 May 1710 at St Stephen Walbrook, London, John Corbett, LLD (1679-1736) (q.v.), the lawyer who gained the confidence of her brother and turned him against their mother; they had issue seven daughters; buried at Bishopsbourne, 8 October 1764, aged 82; her will was proved 3 November 1764;
(2.2) Sir Anthony Aucher (1684-95), 2nd bt., baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, 28 December 1684; succeeded his father as 2nd baronet, May 1692, but died young and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 14 March 1694/5;
(2.3) Sir Hewitt Aucher (1687-1726), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(2.4) Hester Aucher (1689-1761?), baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, 20 November 1689; married, 23 October 1707 at St Lawrence Jewry, London, Rev. Dr. Ralph Blomer DD (d. 1732), prebendary of Canterbury and had issue two sons and five daughters; living in 1757 and perhaps died in 1761.
He inherited the Bishopsbourne estate from his father in 1637, but was obliged to sell the manors of Kingston and Lympne to pay his sequestration fine. By 1664 he had recovered the Restwold estate at Oakington (Cambs) which had been sequestered from his first wife's grandfather during the Civil War: this property was probably sold as its subsequent history has not been traced. After his death the Bishopsbourne estate passed in turn to his two sons by his second wife, the elder of whom did not long survive him.
He was buried at Bishopsbourne, 31 May 1692. His first wife died in Calais but was buried at Bishopsbourne, 19 September 1648. His second wife married 2nd, 21 January 1694/5 at Canterbury Cathedral, her husband's former steward, Thomas Hunt (d. 1701) but reverted to the name Aucher after his death; she was buried at Ashford (Kent), 27 November 1738.
* According to his memorial plaque in Bishopsbourne church he was born 1 March 1617/8. However, this plaque was installed many years later and appears to have confused his birth with the baptism of his cousin, Anthony Aucher, son of Edwin Aucher, which took place on that date at Bishopsbourne.
Aucher, Sir Hewitt (1687-1726), 3rd bt. Younger son of Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1614-92), 1st bt., and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Hewitt, kt., born 1687. He succeeded his brother as 3rd baronet, March 1694/5. Educated privately and at St. John's College, Cambridge (admitted 1700 aged 13 and studied there until 1707/8). He was a delicate child, and possibly also of rather weak character. At Cambridge, he came under the influence of John Corbett LLD, who seems to have stirred up a dispute between Hewitt and his mother over the management of the estate and the building of the new house. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Bourne Park estate from his elder brother in 1694 and came of age in 1708. His mother was his trustee until he came of age, and rebuilt the house, although it was noted in 1715 that he 'chose the modell' for the new building. As a result of the dispute with his mother, however, most of the profits of the estate were directed to her support between 1718 and her death. At his death, the estate passed to his elder sister and her husband.
He died 26 May 1726, when the baronetcy expired, and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 4 June 1726.
Corbett, John (1679-1736). Younger son of Edward Corbett (d. 1719) of Blakelands (Staffs), baptised at Bobbington (Staffs), 25 March 1680. Educated at Pattingham (Staffs) and Sidney Sussex College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (admitted 1697; LLB, 1702; LLD 1707). Lawyer; admitted as an advocate in the Court of Arches, 1707. At Cambridge, he befriended Sir Hewitt Aucher, 3rd bt. (q.v.) and persuaded him that his estate was being badly administered by his mother and trustee, Elizabeth, Lady Aucher. Having extracted from his friend authority to act on his behalf in pursuing these claims, Corbett brought pressure on Dame Elizabeth to hand over the account books, suggesting that the re-building of Bourne Place had been unnecessary; claiming that Dame Elizabeth owed her son not less than £10,000; and asserting that the annuity of £660 per annum which she received from the estate by her husband's bequest was no longer valid and should be reduced to £160 per annum. Lady Aucher tried to have an unbiased party examine the accounts but Corbett refused, saying that he had the sole right to decide the issue. Under extreme pressure she was persuaded to sign deeds drawn up by Corbett agreeing to the lower income from the estate, but even the reduced amount was soon being paid irregularly and she was reduced to penury. In 1712, having received no money from the estate for a year, she went to Bourne Park for accommodation and subsistence, but was badly treated by her son and, by her account, only survived by the kindness of the servants and the local rector, who secretly fed her. In 1713 she went to live with her newly-married younger daughter, Hester, in Canterbury, and with the support of her son-in-law, petitioned Chancery for for the restoration of her husband's bequest and for compensation for her ill treatment by her son, daughter and John Corbett. The case was heard over three days in 1715 at the end of which the Lord Chancellor remarked on Corbett's ill conduct to Dame Elizabeth, saying that he had been partial and unfair, had treated her harshly, not kept proper accounts, and had threatened and terrified her. He further said the new manor house had been built in agreement with Sir Hewitt and that Dame Elizabeth had no interest in it except on behalf of her son; that she had signed the deed agreeing to the reduction of her husband's bequest under duress; and had not received even that agreed amount. He decreed that the accounts were to be examined by the Master of the Court and that recompense be made to Dame Elizabeth; the amount was later fixed was £24,695. When in 1717 this had not been paid, the case again came before the Lord Chancellor who appointed a Receiver to receive all the rents and profits from the estate until the amount settled had been paid. Corbett and Sir Hewitt appealed to the House of Lords but their case was dismissed in 1718. He married, 25 May 1710 at St Stephen Walbrook, London, Elizabeth (1682-1764), daughter of Sir Anthony Aucher, 1st bt., and had issue:
(1) Margaret Anne Corbett (1712-24), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 12 September 1712; died young and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 31 May 1724;
(2) Catherine Corbett (1714-63/66), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 28 March 1714; married, 13 October 1739 at Bishopsbourne, as his second wife, Stephen Beckingham (1697-1756) (q.v.) and had issue two sons and two daughters; buried at Bishopsbourne, 3 October 1763 or 18 September 1766*;
(3) Elizabeth Corbett (1715-1807), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 18 December 1715; married, 24 August 1765 at Wootton (Kent), Rev. Thomas Denward (c.1738-84) of Wingham (Kent), but had no issue; as a widow lived at Hardres Court and later at Chaddesley Corbett, where she devoted herself to charitable causes; died aged 91 and was buried at Chaddesley Corbett (Worcs), 26 April 1807; will proved 6 May 1807;
(4) Frances Corbett (1717-83), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 18 June 1717; married, 20 April 1744 at St Paul, Canterbury (Kent), Sir William Hardres (1718-64), 5th bt. of Hardres Court (Kent), but had no issue; died at Walmer (Kent), and was buried 24 March 1783;
(5) Antonina Corbett (b. 1720), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 17 June 1720; married, 6 June 1747 at Scarborough (Yorks), Ignatius Geoghegan esq. (c. 1711-97) of London and Castletown Geoghegan (Westmeath) (which he sold) and had issue one son and two daughters; died after 1752;
(6) Affra Corbett (1722-23), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 26 June 1722; died in infancy and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 27 April 1723;
(7) Margaret Hannah Roberta Corbett (1724-55), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 31 December 1724; married, 26 October 1744 at Canterbury Cathedral, William Hougham (1721-1802) of Barton Court, and had issue one son and two daughters; died 28 September and was buried at St Martin, Canterbury, 5 October 1755.
His inherited the Bourne Place estate in right of his wife on her brother's death in 1726. She lived latterly at Charlton, Greenwich (Kent).
He was buried at Leebotwood (Shropshire), 3 April 1737, although there is a memorial tablet to him at Bishopsbourne; his will was proved in the PCC, 13 June 1737. His widow was buried at Bishopsbourne, 8 October 1764, aged 82; her will was proved 3 November 1764.
* There are memorial plaques in the church to 'Mary Catherine, the wife of Stephen Beckingham esq. and eldest daughter of Dr. Corbett', buried 3 October 1763 and also to 'Catherine, daughter of John Corbett LLD, baptised 28 March 1714 and buried 18 September 1766' and there are corresponding entries in the registers. See 'Can You Help?' below.
Beckingham, Stephen (1697-1756). Son of Stephen Beckingham (d. 1736) of Grays Inn, born 1697. Educated at Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1717). Barrister at law. JP for Kent. His first marriage was the subject of a painting by William Hogarth. He married 1st, 9 June 1729 at St Benet, Paul's Wharf, London, Mary (d. 1738), daughter of Joseph Cox of Kidderminster (Worcs), and 2nd, 13 October 1739 at Bishopsbourne, Catherine (1714-63/66), daughter of John Corbett LLD, and had issue:
(1.1) Stephen Beckingham (1729-1813) (q.v.);
(2.1) Richard Beckingham (b. 1741), baptised at St George the Martyr, Queen Square, Westminster (Middx), 17 March 1740/1; died young before 1752;
(2.2) Charlotte Beckingham (b. 1744), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 6 January 1744/5; living in 1752; said to have married a Mr. Dillon;
(2.3) Elizabeth Catherine Beckingham (1752-1833), baptised at Bishopsbourne, 21 September 1752; married, 17 June 1773 at St Marylebone (Middx), Daniel Gregory (d. 1819), fourth son of Gregory Gregory of Harlaxton (Lincs), and had issue two sons; died 4 September and was buried at Lower Hardres (Kent), 10 September 1833; will proved 20 September 1833;
(2.4) Rev. John Charles Beckingham (1755-1807) (q.v.).
His second wife was co-heir to the Bourne Place estate, and her share came into his possession on their marriage; in 1752 he bought out the other co-heirs. After his death his widow probably had a life interest, but following her death the descent is unclear: for a time both his sons seem to have had an interest in the property, but by 1806 his younger son was sole owner.
He died 5 October, and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 6 October 1756; his will was proved 13 October 1756. His first wife died at Kidderminster, 4 October 1738. His widow was buried at Bishopsbourne, 3 October 1763 or 18 September 1766.
|Stephen Beckingham (1729-1813)|
by Pompeo Batoni.
(1) Dorothy Charlotte Beckingham (1766-1821), born 7 February 1766; married, 2 March 1790, the Hon. John George Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbrooke (1767-90) but had no issue; died 10 August 1821.
He seems to have inherited the Bourne Place estate after the death of his stepmother in 1763 or 1766, but his half-brother may always have had an interest in the estate and by 1800 appears to have been sole owner. He apparently never lived at Bourne, but rather in London and later with his widowed daughter at Ivy House, Hampton Court (Middx). Bourne Park was let to Horace Walpole's friend, Sir Horace Mann (1744-1814), 2nd bt., and others.
He died at Tunbridge Wells (Kent), 12 October 1813 and was buried at Bishopsbourne; his will was proved 3 November 1813. His wife was buried at Bishopsbourne, 6 March 1797.
Beckingham, Rev. John Charles (1755-1807). Only surviving son of Stephen Beckingham and his second wife, Catherine, daughter of John Corbett LLD, born 9 February and baptised at Bishopsbourne, 12 February 1755. Educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (matriculated 1782; LLB 1788). Ordained deacon, 1784 and priest, 1785; curate of Lympne & Burmarsh (Kent), 1784-90 and of Upper Hardres and Stelling (Kent), 1790-94; rector (and patron) of Upper Hardres & Stelling, 1794-1807. He married, 2 August 1785 at St. Leonard, Shoreditch (Middx), Louisa (1761-1844), daughter of Daniel Mesman of Norton Folgate (Middx), and had issue:
(1) Louisa Beckingham (b. 1786) (q.v.).
He may have inherited an interest in the Bourne Place estate from his parents, but came of age only in 1776. In 1783 he inherited a share in Hardres Court on the death of his aunt, Lady Hardres, and in 1799 he inherited Blakelands, Bobbington (Staffs) from a cousin, which he sold in 1801 to Sherrington Sparks of Bridgnorth, farmer. It may be that these windfalls allowed him to purchased Bourne Park from his half-brother, and by 1800 he was sole owner of the estate. At his death it passed to his widow for life, and he gave her power to appoint its subsequent apportionment between their grandchildren.
He died 14 October and was buried at Bishopsbourne, 21 October 1807; his will was proved at Canterbury, 25 November 1807. His widow was buried at Bishopsbourne, 29 March 1844; her will was proved in the PCC, 18 May 1844.
(1) Mary Louisa Taylor (1803-68), born 25 May and baptised at Patrixbourne, 24 June 1803; married, 25 September 1824 at Paris and again, 13 December 1824 at Hunsdon (Herts), Col. the Hon. John James Knox (1790-1856), fourth son of Thomas Knox, 1st Earl of Ranfurly, and had issue one daughter; died 20 October 1868; will proved 28 October 1868 (effects under £5,000);
(2) Charlotte Elizabeth Taylor (1804-06), born 15 June and baptised at Patrixbourne, 10 July 1804; died in infancy, 30 March and was buried at Patrixbourne, 5 April 1806;
(3) Louisa Charlotte Taylor (1806-73), born 22 March and baptised at Patrixbourne, 20 April 1806; married, 5 July 1828 at British Embassy, Paris, George Cornwall Legh (1804-77) of High Legh (Cheshire) and had issue one son (who died in infancy); died 3 October and was buried at Rosthorne (Cheshire), 9 October 1873;
(4) Herbert Edward Taylor (1807-76), of Roselands (Kent), born 7 November and baptised at Patrixbourne, 28 November 1807; an officer in the 85th Regiment (Ensign, 1824; Lt., 1825; Capt., 1830); married, 23 April 1838 at Lymm (Cheshire), Harriet, fourth daughter of George John Legh of High Legh (Cheshire), and had issue at least three daughters; died 14 May and was buried at Dover, 18 May 1876; will proved 3 July 1876 (effects under £16,000);
(5) Elizabeth Olivia Taylor (1809-11), born 28 January and baptised at Long Ditton (Surrey), 6 February 1809; died young, 5 July and was buried at Long Ditton, 11 July 1811;
(6) Gen. Brook John Taylor (1810-81), born 29 April and baptised at Long Ditton, 30 May 1810; an officer in the Army (Ensign, 1827; Lt., 1830; Capt., 1834; Lt-Col., 1846; Brig-Gen., 1861; Maj-Gen., 1867; General, 1877; retired, 1880); military secretary in Canada, 1841-45; Col. of the 2nd West India Regiment; married, 12 October 1850 at St Peter, Pimlico (Middx), (Harriet) Henrietta, daughter of Sir John Augustus Boyd, but had no issue; died at Hotel des Palmes, Palermo, Sicily (Italy), 20 December 1881; administration of goods granted 2 March 1908 (effects £1,182);
(7) Aucher Beckingham Taylor (1811-79), born 26 November and baptised at Long Ditton, 15 December 1811; said to have been in the Navy; buried at St Thomas on the Bourne, Farnham (Surrey), 31 January 1879;
(8) Emily Octavia Taylor (1813-71), born 2 June and baptised at Patrixbourne, 24 June 1813; married, 30 May 1833, William Deedes MP (1796-1862) of Sandling Park (Kent) and had issue five sons and seven daughters; died 19 February 1871; will proved 29 March 1871 (effects under £3,000);
(9) Bridges Taylor (1815-96), born 27 November and baptised at Patrixbourne, 2 December 1815; a clerk in the Foreign Office by 1836; HM Consul at Elsinore (Denmark) from 1852; married, 6 September 1841 at Celle (Germany), Emily Alice (1819-1909), daughter of Gen. Sir Hugh Halkett GCH CB, and had issue; died 20 December 1896; will proved 26 March and 5 July 1897 (effects £15,100);
(10) Wilbraham Taylor (1816-95), of Hadley Hurst, Barnet (Middx), born 14 December and baptised at Patrixbourne, 29 December 1816; deputy housekeeper of House of Commons by 1843; secretary of the Foreign Conference and Evangelisation Committee of the 1851 Exhibition; Gentleman Usher to Queen Victoria, 1852-92; founder and Capt. of 12th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers, 1859; married, 31 March 1842 at St James Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), Janetta Anne, youngest daughter of Sir William Gosset, serjeant-at-arms to House of Commons, and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 6 May 1895; will proved 25 June 1895 (estate £56,435);
(11) Charlotte Margaret Taylor (b. & d. 1819), born 5 March and baptised at Patrixbourne, 11 March 1819; died in infancy, 11 July and was buried at Patrixbourne, 16 July 1819;
(12) Orlando Charles Henry Taylor (b. & d. 1821), born at Ghent, 4 January 1821; died in infancy, 4 July 1821.
Her husband inherited Bifrons from his father but he and his wife were perennially short of money and were often obliged to let the house and live elsewhere, including a period on the Continent. He finally sold Bifrons to Henry Conyngham, 1st Marquess Conyngham in 1830 for £100,000. The Bourne Park estate passed on the death of her mother in 1844 to her son Brook John Taylor in trust to sell it for the benefit of himself and his siblings; he sold it the same year to Matthew Bell.
She died after 1844, but her death has not been traced. Her husband died in Dover, 22 June 1843.
SourcesBurke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn., 1841, pp. 27-29; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1898, vol. 2, p. 1443; A.L. Noel, 'The history and pedigree of the family of Aucher', Home Counties Magazine, vol. xi, 1909, pp. 222-34; A. Oswald, The country houses of Kent, 1933, pp. 60-61; J. Lees-Milne, 'Otterden Place, Kent', Country Life, 27 August 1970; K. Baetjer, British Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575-1875, 2009, pp. 43-46; J. Newman, The buildings of England: Kent - North East and East, 4th edn, 2013, pp. 126-27, 480; S.R. Evans, Masters of their craft: the art, architecture and garden design of the Nesfields, 2014, p. 170; ODNB entry on Sir Anthony Aucher (c.1500-58); http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1660-1690/member/aucher-sir-anthony-1614-92; http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/corbettonenamestudy/First/People/bourne.htm; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT7/C78/C78no1388/IMG_0643.htm.
Location of archivesNo significant accumulation is known to survive.
Coat of armsErmine, on a chief azure, three lions rampant or.
Can you help?Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
- Can anyone supply a painting or sketch of Otterden Place before it was rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th century?
- There are many unknowns about the genealogy of this family, especially in the 15th and early 16th century. If you have any further information about the family, please do get in touch.
- Can anyone account for the two burial plaques at Bishopsbourne to 'Mary Catherine, the wife of Stephen Beckingham esq. and eldest daughter of Dr. Corbett', buried 3 October 1763 and also to 'Catherine, daughter of John Corbett LLD, baptised 28 March 1714 and buried 18 September 1766'? There are corresponding entries in the burial registers. It is hard to reconcile these plaques with what is known about John Corbett's children, as no baptism for a Mary Catherine has been found anywhere in the country. John Corbett's will, written in 1737, makes reference to five daughters (Catherine, Elizabeth, Frances, Antonina and Hannah), accounting for all the children whose baptisms have been found who were then still alive. His widow's will, made in 1764, also makes reference to five daughters and makes 'my daughter Beckingham' one of her legatees. According to the dates on the memorial plaques 'Mary Catherine', the wife of Stephen Beckingham, was dead by then, whereas Catherine was still living. Stephen Beckingham's will, in 1756, refers to his wife as Catherine only, as does his marriage entry in 1739. Did Mary Catherine really exist? And if so, who was she?
- Can anyone explain how Bourne Park descended after the death of Stephen Beckingham in 1756, and whether I am correct in conjecturing that the Rev. J.C. Beckingham bought out his half-brother towards the end of the 18th century?
- Can anyone supply additional portraits of members of the family whose names appear in bold above?