The Baring familyAlthough it is less than three hundred years since Johann Baring (1697-1748) first arrived in England, the Baring family has in that time become deeply embedded in the British establishment. They have accumulated five peerages and two baronetcies, and the ramifying branches of the family tree have owned many country houses for longer or shorter periods. For the purposes of this project, their story has been divided into five parts, the relationship of which is illustrated in the chart below. Sir Francis Baring (1740-1810), the 1st baronet, was the son of Johann Baring, and the lines explored in my articles on this family derive from four of his five sons. The eldest son, Sir Thomas Baring (1772-1848), 2nd bt., lived at Stratton Park (Hants), and was the progenitor of both the Earls of Northbrook, his successors at Stratton, and the Barings of Beaudesert Park, High Beach and Ardington House. The second son, Alexander Baring (1774-1848), was created 1st Baron Ashburton, and he and his successors lived at The Grange (Hants). The third son, Henry Baring (1776-1848) lived at Cromer Hall in Norfolk, although he never owned it, and from him descend the Barons Revelstoke of Membland House and Lambay Castle, and the Earls of Cromer and Barons Howick of Glendale. Finally, Sir Francis' fourth son, William Baring (1779-1820), was the ancestor of the Barings of Norman Court.
|Simplified Baring family tree|
|Baring, Barons Howick of Glendale|
In 1903, at the age of 62, when his sons by his first marriage were already grown men, Lord Cromer unexpectedly became a father for a third time. His youngest son, Evelyn Baring (1903-73), followed in his father's footsteps and became a colonial administrator in India until he was obliged to resign due to ill health in 1934. While recuperating in England he met and married the elder daughter of the 5th Earl Grey of Howick Hall. During the Second World War, being unfit for military service, he went into the Foreign Office, which sent him out to Africa as Governor of Southern Rhodesia and later as High Commissioner in South Africa and Governor of Kenya. In his post-war postings he had to cope with both the emergence of the apartheit regime in South Africa and the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya. He retired in 1959 and was raised to the peerage the following year as Baron Howick of Glendale. In 1963, his wife inherited the Howick Hall estate from her father. Lord Howick was made a Knight of the Garter in 1972, but died from injuries received while rock climbing in 1973. The estate then passed to his son and heir, Charles Evelyn Baring (b. 1937), 2nd Baron Howick of Glendale. He pursued a career in banking, but after the death of his father he restored the west pavilion of Howick Hall as a new family residence and moved there permanently in 1982. Since then, he has developed the interest of the gardens, creating a major new arboretum with trees from around the world, an achievement for which he was awarded the Victoria Medal for Horticulture in 2009. The gardens are now open to the public on a regular basis.
Howick Hall, NorthumberlandThere was a medieval tower house or pele tower at Howick, which belonged in 1415 to Emeric Hering. It was described in 1538 as 'a little pile, a mile from the shore', and seems to have consisted of a roughly square battlemented tower of three storeys above a high basement with an external staircase rising up the basement wall to an entrance on the ground floor. In 1597 the Herings sold their property at Howick to Sir Edward Grey, whose family had owned land in the parish since 1319. By 1759, the tower house had been greatly extended to the east, with a four-storey battlemented block and beyond that a further range with gables or pediments on the south and west sides. A reused doorhead with the date 1714, which is now incorporated into the walling of the middle terrace on the south front, may indicate a date at which building work was undertaken.
|Howick Hall: the predecessor of the present house, recorded in a watercolour of 1776 by J. Thirlwall shortly before demolition. |
Image: Collection of the Duke of Northumberland.
|Howick Hall: painting of 1829 by Tobias Young showing the south front of the hall, from much the same positionas the previous view. |
As first built, the new house was a nine-by-five bay block of three storeys, connected by single-storey straight links to five-by-five bay pavilions of two lower storeys with three-bay pediments and square lanterns. It is built of brick, finished on the outside with a skin of golden sandstone. The entrance was at first on the south side, which has a slightly-projecting three bay pedimented centre, supported on giant engaged unfluted Ionic columns, which rise from the rusticated ground floor. The centre windows of each part of the facade on the first floor are also pedimented. The design of the centre was derived ultimately from the facade of Palladio's Villa Capra, but was perhaps inspired more immediately by Paine's 1766 design of Bywell Hall (Northbld), which both architect and client will have known.
|Howick Hall: the south front in recent years.|
William Newton began his career as a carpenter, working alongside his father Robert Newton as one of a group of craftsmen executing the designs of Daniel Garrett in north-east England, but by the early 1760s he had established himself as the leading builder-architect in Newcastle. He was one of the first generation of architects, alongside Carr in York, Pickford in Derby, or Keck in Gloucestershire, who made a professional design service available in the provinces. Sir Henry Grey no doubt chose the locally-based Newton rather than a higher-profile national architect like Paine for the building of his new house because he was cheaper and would give more constant attention to the project: indeed, the accounts show that Newton made no less than a hundred visits to the site to supervise construction during the eight years the house was being built.
Because Howick was seriously damaged by fire in 1926, the original interiors have all been lost, and they can be reconstructed only in part from sketches and architectural drawings for later alterations; but it is clear that the house had a central staircase hall approached from the entrance hall through a two-storey columned screen with Ionic pillars on the ground floor and Corinthian pillars on the first floor. The stairs themselves seem to have risen in one flight, which divided into two at the half-pace and turned through a right-angle to reach the first-floor landing. The plasterwork in the hall, drawing room and dining room was supplied by Joseph Rose & Co. of York, who were the finest plasterers in the country at the time.
At the same time as the house was rebuilt, the village of Howick was moved from its original site near the parish church and rebuilt closer to the coast. The land it had occupied became part of the landscaped grounds of the house. The precise date of these works is not known, but they had been completed by 1791, when an estate plan shows the new arrangements. The gardens were further developed by the 2nd Earl Grey in the 1830s and later.
In about 1800, Sir Henry Grey gave Howick to his brother, Charles, 1st Earl Grey, who in turn established his son (later the 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister at the time of the Great Reform Act) there. From about 1806, he began to make changes to the house, starting by moving the entrance to the north front. David Stephenson sent him a design for a circular portico here in 1806 which was evidently rejected, but after the deaths of his father and uncle he obtained designs from George Wyatt (1782-1856), a former pupil (and first cousin once removed) of the more famous James Wyatt. These involved building out a single-storey extension across the whole north side that contained a new entrance hall but was curiously described as 'the conservatory' in a letter of 1808 from Wyatt. Wyatt also enlarged the straight links to the pavilions, so that they appeared as quadrants from the south side although they remained straight-fronted from the north, and new terraces were constructed in front of the south facade, allowing the development of new gardens here.
|Howick Hall: the north front as remodelled in 1809 and reconstructed from 1928 onwards.|
During the First World War, the Grey family made Howick available as an emergency hospital, and themselves took a leading part in its management. At the end of the war the house was advertised to be let, but the family eventually to have returned, until in 1926 the house was badly damaged by a serious fire, which gutted the centre of the house and the top two floors. Reinstatement was carried out from 1928 by Sir Herbert Baker & Scott, who reduced the size of the house by converting the large central staircase hall into a new inner courtyard at first floor level, open to the north through a classical screen of giant Tuscan columns flanked by circular and shoulder-headed windows, beneath a carved pediment which had in fact been added to this facade about twenty years earlier. They retained the early 19th century entrance hall (but reduced it a little in width, so that the big Roman Doric columns against the side walls, which once stood free, now stand close to the walls), and behind it created a new top-lit columned vestibule, the domed roof of which forms the floor of the first-floor courtyard.
After the death of the 5th Earl Grey in 1963, the centre block of the house was abandoned, and in the 1970s the west pavilion of Newton's house was remodelled as a new family home for 2nd Baron Howick. The gardens are open to the public on a regular basis, and although internally derelict, the central block is kept wind and weathertight. The east pavilion is used as a tea room for visitors.
Descent: Sir Edward Grey (d. 1631); to grandson, Edward Grey (d. 1653); to son, Philip Grey (d. 1666); to brother, Edward Grey (d. 1667); to brother, John Grey (d. 1681); to son, John Grey (1670-1710); to son, Sir Henry Grey (1691-1750); to son, Sir Henry Grey (1722-1808); gifted c.1800 to brother, Sir Charles Grey (d. 1807) of Fallodon Hall, 1st Baron Grey of Howick and 1st Earl Grey; to son, Charles Grey (1764-1845), 2nd Earl Grey; to son, Henry Grey (1802-94), 3rd Earl Grey; to nephew, Albert Henry George Grey (1851-1917); to son, Charles Robert Grey (1879-1963), 5th Earl Grey; to daughter, Lady Mary Cecil Grey (1907-2002), wife of Evelyn Baring (1903-73), 1st Baron Howick of Glendale; to son, Charles Evelyn Baring (b. 1937), 2nd Baron Howick of Glendale.
Baring family, Barons Howick of Glendale
|Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer.|
Image: National Portrait Gallery.
Some rights reserved.
(1.1) Rowland Thomas Baring (1877-1958), 2nd Earl of Cromer, born 29 November 1877; suffered from ill health throughout his life after a childhood attack of typhoid; educated at Eton, but left early to study foreign languages; an officer in the diplomatic service, 1900-11 (serving in Cairo, Teheran and St. Petersburg) and subsequently in the Foreign Office (Private Secretary to Principal Under-Secretary, 1907-11); he joined Baring Bros bank briefly as a managing director, 1913-14, but with the outbreak of the First World War joined the special reserve of the Grenadier Guards, 1914-20 (Lt.). He acted as ADC to successive Viceroys of India, 1915-16 and then became Equerry and Asst. Private Secretary to King George V, 1916-20; he acted as Chief of Staff to the Duke of Connaught and the Prince of Wales in India, 1920-22 and then joined the Royal Household as Lord Chamberlain, 1922-38 and a Permanent Lord-in-Waiting, 1938-53; he served as a British Government director of the Suez Canal Company, 1926, and was a director of London & Lancashire Insurance Co., the Marine Insurance Co. (Dep. Chairman, 1938; Chairman, 1939), P&O, British India Steam Navigation Co, the National Provincial Bank, Lloyds, and the National Provincial Foreign Bank; he was Receiver-General of the Order of St. John, 1943-47; vice-president of Gordon Memorial College and President of the MCC, 1934-35; married, 4 April 1908, Lady Ruby Florence Mary GCStJ (1886-1961), second daughter of Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto, and had issue one son (the 3rd Earl) and two daughters; died 13 May 1953; his will was proved 14 July 1953 (estate £52,988);
(1.2) Hon. Windham Baring (1880-1922), born 29 September 1880; managing director of Baring Bros; director of Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway; served in First World War with Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Lt.); married, 10 July 1913, Lady Gweneth Frida JP (1888-1984) (who married 2nd, 4 February 1926, Col. Ralph Henry Voltelin Cavendish CBE MVO DL (d. 1968 and had further issue), daughter of Edward Ponsonby, 8th Earl of Bessborough and had issue three sons; died 28 December 1922; will proved 21 February 1923 (estate £209,733);
(2.1) Evelyn Baring (1903-73), 1st Baron Howick of Glendale (q.v.).
He lived abroad until retiring in 1907, and thereafter in Wimpole St., London.
He died 29 January 1917 and was buried at Bournemouth (Hants); his will was proved 24 April 1917 (estate £117,608). His first wife died in Cairo (Egypt), 16 October 1898 and was buried at Bournemouth; administration of her goods with will annexed was granted 15 December 1898 (estate £1,968). His widow died 4 March 1933; administration of her goods with will annexed was granted to her son, 21 April 1933 (estate £16,656).
|Evelyn Baring (1903-73), 1st Baron Howick of Glendale|
Image: National Portrait Gallery. Some rights reserved.
(1) Hon. Katherine Mary Alice Baring (b. 1936), born 30 March 1936; married, December 1974, as his third wife, Sir (Edward) Humphrey Tyrell Wakefield (b. 1936), 2nd bt., of Chillingham Castle (Northbld.), and had issue one son and one daughter;
(2) Charles Evelyn Baring (b. 1937), 2nd Baron Howick of Glendale (q.v.);
(3) Hon. Elizabeth Beatrice Baring (b. 1940), born 10 January 1940; married, 15 January 1962, Capt. Nicholas Albany Gibbs (d. 1984) of 9th Royal Lancers, and had issue one son and two daughters;
His wife inherited her ancestral seat of Howick Hall from her father in 1963, but they did not live in the house, preferring the dower house of Howick Grange.
He died as a result of fall while rock climbing, 10 March 1973; his will was proved 5 July 1973 (estate £249,880). His widow died 21 March 2002.
Baring, Charles Evelyn (b. 1937), 2nd Baron Howick of Glendale. Only son of Evelyn Baring (1903-73), 1st Baron Howick of Glendale, and his wife Lady Mary Cecil, elder daughter of Charles Robert Grey, 5th Earl Grey, of Howick Hall (Northbld.), born 30 December 1937. Educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. A director of Barings Bank, 1969-82 and Northern Rock plc, 1987-2001. He served as a member of the executive committee of the National Art Collections Fund. A keen botanist, he was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society for his work in developing the arboretum at Howick Hall into 'the largest private collection of wild trees in Britain'. He married, 11 April 1964, Clare Nicolette, younger daughter of Col. Cyril Darby MC of Kemerton Court (Worcs), and had issue:
(1) Hon. Rachel Monica Baring (b. 1967), born 29 June 1967; married, 1989, Capt. (George Charles) Nicholas Lane Fox, son of George Lane Fox of Bramham Park (Yorks WR) and had issue four sons and one daughter;
(2) Hon. Jessica Mary Clare Baring (b. 1969), born 8 October 1969; married, 2 September 1995, Marcus Laithwaite of Sydney (Australia), eldest son of Paul Laithwaite of Deeside House, Chester, and had issue one son and two daughters;
(3) Hon. Alice Olivia Baring (b. 1971), born 17 March 1971; married, 2000, Christian Rupert Francis Ward Thomas of The Lodge, Bradfield St. Clare (Suffk), and had issue three sons;
(4) Hon. David Evelyn Charles Baring (b. 1975), born 26 March 1975; lives at Howick Grange; married, Apr-Jun 2003, Victoria Jane Sutherland (b. 1974), only daughter of Owen Sutherland, and had issue two sons.
After the death of his father in 1973, he converted the west wing of Howick Hall into a new family home, and moved there in 1982. Since then he has developed the gardens and arboretum into a significant tourist attraction.
Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 2003, pp. 981-82, 1990; Northumberland County History Committee, A history of Northumberland, vol. 2, 1893, pp. 345-59; F. Graham, The old halls, houses and inns of Northumberland, 1977, pp. 155-57; Sir N. Pevsner, I. Richmond et al., The buildings of England: Northumberland, 2nd edn., 1992, p. 352; R. Pears, 'William Newton (1730-1798) and the Development of the Architectural Profession in North-East England', PhD thesis, Newcastle Univ., 2013; R. Pears, 'Building Howick Hall', Georgian Group Journal, 2016, pp. 117-34; ODNB entries on 1st & 2nd Earls of Cromer and 1st Baron Howick of Glendale.
Location of archives
Baring, Evelyn (1841-1917), 1st Earl of Cromer: correspondence and papers, 1863-1917 [The National Archives, FO633]; drafts of Modern Egypt and related papers, early 20th cent. [The British Library, Manuscript Collections, Add MSS 44903-11]
Baring, Sir Evelyn (1903-73), 1st Baron Howick of Glendale: personal and political notebooks, correspondence and papers, 1926-72 [Durham University Library, Special Collections, GRE-1]
Coat of arms
Azure, a fess or charged with an eastern crown azure, as a mark of difference in chief a boar's head couped proper, muzzled and ringed or.
Can you help?
- Can anyone provide an image of the north front of Howick Hall prior to the 1926 fire?
- As always, any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated.
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 30 April 2019 and was updated 14 May 2019.