Monday 18 March 2013

(16) Palmer-Acland (later Fuller-Palmer-Acland) of Fairfield, baronets

Arthur Palmer Acland (1726-71), second son of Sir Hugh Acland of Killerton (1697-1728) inherited the Fairfield estate at Stogursey on the death of his cousin Peregrine Palmer in 1762.  The Palmers had held the estate since the 16th century, and Peregrine's father, Thomas, had married Elizabeth Wroth, whose sister Cicely Wroth was Arthur's mother.  In 1771 the estate passed to Arthur’s eldest son, John Palmer Acland (1756-1823), who remodelled the Elizabethan house c.1780 and employed Richard Carver to make further alterations in 1815.  John took the additional surname Palmer in 1818 and was created a baronet in the same year.   He married Elizabeth Fuller, daughter of Rev. Henry Fuller of Parkgate, Catsfield (Sussex), in 1781, and was succeeded by his only surviving son, Sir Peregrine Palmer Palmer-Acland (1789-1871), 2nd bt., in 1823.  Sir Peregrine took the additional surname Fuller on inheriting the Sussex estates of his mother’s family in 1834 and 1835; all the Sussex lands were subsequently sold in 1842 and 1864-65.  His own marriage to Fanny Leader (1797-1844) produced only one surviving daughter, Isabel Harriet (1832-1903), who married in 1849 Sir Alexander Acland-Hood MP (1819-92), who also took the additional surname Fuller.  On her death, the Fairfield estate passed to their eldest son, Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood, 1st Baron St. Audries, of St. Audries.  The baronetcy expired on the death of Sir Peregrine Fuller-Palmer-Acland in 1871.

Fairfield, Stogursey (Somerset)

Fairfield House in c.1770.  © British Library.

Fairfield House in 2011. © Nicholas Kingsley All rights reserved.
A manor house probably existed here by 1166 and has passed by inheritance continuously to the present day.  In 1288 a chapel was built and an endowment given for a chaplain; this was rebuilt in the 15th century but was long gone by 1791. In 1472/3 the owner, William Verney, was granted a licence to fortify the house with a wall and seven round towers and to make a park of c.200 acres; three of the towers were recorded on a map of 1733 and excavations around the house in 2005-09 recovered evidence of the fortifying wall and one tower.  It seems likely he also rebuilt the house as the western half of the current building preserves a number of medieval features, including the roof of the south-west wing and a doorway in the screens passage.  In 1589 a further partial rebuilding was carried out by Elizabeth Verney and her husband William Palmer, creating the present large symmetrical Elizabethan E-plan house facing south-east, dated 1589 on the three-storey porch (which was originally a storey higher), and regularising the fenestration throughout the house, with large mullioned and transomed windows and canted bay windows on the ends of the wings.  The lower back court had service rooms on the south-west and north-east, and the stables on the north-west side may have been contemporary with the remodelling, but are more likely to have been a 17th-century addition.  Work on the house was said to be unfinished in 1633, and progress may have been halted by two long minorities in the early 17th century.  For a plan of the house see here.

Fairfield House, showing the 18th century entrance into one wing. © Nicholas Kingsley All rights reserved.
Either Nathaniel Palmer (d. 1718) or more probably his son Thomas (d. 1734) moved the main entrance to the north-east side of the house and added new doorcases on the east and west sides; he also altered the interior, adding new staircases in each main wing. The quality of that to the south-west, at the service end of the house, suggests that the rooms here were being converted for family use.  On the north-east side of the house these windows are a reconversion from 18th century fenestration.  The house was altered and updated in c.1780 for Sir John Palmer-Acland, who gave the house its present parapet and Georgianised some of the windows, demolished the medieval kitchen to the west, created additional service accommodation in the back court, installed the present vaulted plaster ceiling in the hall and the simple cornices and other decoration in most other rooms.  At the end of his life Sir John retired to Bath and remarried, handing over Fairfield to his son Peregrine, for whom further minor works were carried out in 1815 by Richard Carver.  The park was landscaped before 1791 and extended in 1806, when a road was moved to allow the expansion of the grounds.  The 19th century east lodge is constructed of tufa blocks in grotto style.  The present yew-hedged forecourt was formed in c.1928.

Descent: William Verney (d. 1489); to son John Verney (d. 1507); to son Robert Verney (d. 1547); to son John Verney (d. 1551); to son, Hugh Verney (d. 1556); to daughter, Elizabeth Verney (d. 1592), wife of William Palmer; to son, Thomas Palmer (d. 1605); to son William Palmer (d. 1652); to brother Peregrine Palmer (d. 1684); to son, Nathaniel Palmer (d. 1718); to son Thomas Palmer (d. 1734); to widow, Elizabeth Palmer (née Wroth) (d. 1737); to brother-in-law, Peregrine Palmer (1703?-62) and then to her nephew, Arthur Palmer Acland (1726-71); to son, Sir John Palmer Acland (later Palmer-Acland) 1st bt. (1756-1823); to son, Sir Peregrine Palmer Palmer-Acland (later Fuller-Palmer-Acland) 2nd bt. (1789-1871); to daughter, Isabel Harriet Fuller-Palmer-Acland (1832-1903), wife of Sir Alexander Bateman Periam Acland-Hood (later Fuller-Acland-Hood) MP (1819-92); to son, Alexander Fuller-Acland-Hood, 1st Baron St. Audries (1853-1917); to son, Alexander Peregrine Fuller-Acland-Hood, 2nd Baron St. Audries (1893-1971); to niece, Elizabeth Periam Fuller-Acland-Hood, Lady Gass (b. 1940, fl. 2013), widow of Sir Michael David Irving Gass (1916-83).

Parkgate, Catsfield, Sussex

The estate was home to a branch of the Fuller family established by Thomas Fuller (d. 1692).  Nothing is known about the house in this early period and no illustration of it has been found.  The estate passed on the death of John Fuller in 1810 to his nephew, John Fuller (d. 1832), and then to his nephew, Sir Peregrine Fuller-Palmer-Acland, who sold it in 1864-65 to Thomas Brassey (1805-70), the railway contractor.  The present “Queen Anne style” red brick quadrangular house with gables and tall chimneys was probably built mainly after that date, although parts of the earlier house may have been incorporated.  Brassey also built a new house at Catsfield (Normanhurst), burned in 1908, to which Parkgate may have formed a dower house.

Descent: Thomas Fuller (d. 1692); to son, Thomas Fuller (d. 1720); to brother, Richard Fuller; to son, Thomas Fuller (d. 1734); to widow (d. c.1760); to son, John Fuller (c.1725-1810); to nephew, John Fuller (d. 1832); to nephew, Sir Peregrine Fuller-Palmer-Acland, 2nd bt. (1789-1871), who sold 1864 to Thomas Brassey.

The Palmer-Aclands of Fairfield

Acland, Arthur (1726-71).  Baptised at Broadclyst, 9 July 1726, the second son of Sir Hugh Acland (1697-1728), 2nd and 6th bt. (see previous post) and his wife Cicely, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Wrothe of Petherton Park (Somerset).  He married 1752 Elizabeth, daughter of William Oxenham of South Tawton (Devon) and had issue:
(1) Thomas Acland (1753-61), born 15 January 1753; d. unmarried and without issue, 6 August 1761;
(2) Hugh Acland (1754-68), born 17 August 1754; d. unmarried and without issue, August 1768;
(3) Sir John Palmer Acland (later Palmer-Acland) (1756-1831) (q.v.)
(4) Anne Acland (1757-75), born 10 April 1757; d. unmarried and without issue, 5 August 1775;
(5) Elizabeth Acland (1758-1843), born 8 July 1758; m. Charles Grove MD of Salisbury; 
(6) Arthur Acland (1759-65), born 13 October 1759; d. unmarried and without issue, 10 April 1765;
(7) Frances Acland (b. 1761), born 29 January 1761; m. 30 April 1796 Maj-Gen. Richard Stovin (1761-1826) and had issue 2 daughters; 
(8) Richard Acland (1762-63), born 3 April 1762; d. unmarried and without issue, 27 March 1763;
(9) Peregrine Acland (1764-73), born 18 June 1764; d. unmarried and without issue, 17 October 1773;
(10) Maria Palmer Acland (1766-1845), m. 1784 Sir Henry Hugh Hoare (1762-1841), 3rd bt. of Stourhead and had issue 16 children of whom 4 sons and 3 daughters survived to adulthood; 
(11) Thomas Acland of Little Bray (1768-1843), dsp; 
(12) Lt-Gen. Sir Wrothe Palmer Acland (1770-1816), KCB; died unmarried and without issue, 8 March 1816; commemorated by a monument in Bath Abbey.
He inherited Fairfield House from his cousin, Peregrine Palmer, in 1762.
He died in 1771.

Palmer-Acland (ne Acland), Sir John Palmer (1756-1831), 1st baronet. Born 11 February 1756, eldest surviving son of Arthur Acland (1726-71) and his wife Elizabeth, dau of William Oxenham of Oxenham.  Educated at Eton and University College, Oxford; MP for Bridgwater 1781-84; created a baronet, 9 December 1818 and assumed the additional surname of Palmer in the same year.  He married 1st, 12 July 1781 in London, Elizabeth (1751-1815), daughter of Rev. Henry Fuller of Parkgate, Catsfield (Sussex) and 2nd, at Bath, 5 November 1818, Sarah Maria Knipe (1775-1853), and had issue:
(1.1) Maria Palmer Palmer Acland (b. 1782); 
(1.2) Harriet Palmer Palmer Acland (1783-1803); 
(1.3) Frances Anne Palmer Acland (1784-1804), dsp; 
(1.4) Hugh Palmer Acland (1788-1810) dsp; 
(1.5) Sir Peregrine Palmer Palmer-Acland (later Fuller-Palmer-Acland) (1789-1871), 2nd bt. (q.v.); 
(1.6) Arthur Acland Palmer Acland (1791-1810), dsp.
He inherited the Fairfield House estate from his father in 1771, and remodelled the house there c.1780 and in 1815. He also inherited Newhouse, Mamhead (Devon) from his mother's family, but this declined into a farmhouse during the early 19th century.
He died in Bath, 23 February 1831, aged 75, and was buried 2 March 1831.  Will proved 25 July 1831 in Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

Fuller-Palmer-Acland (ne Acland), Sir Peregrine Palmer (1789-1871), 2nd baronet. Born 10 November 1789, second son of Sir John Palmer-Acland (1756-1831) and his first wife, Elizabeth (1751-1815), daughter of Rev. Henry Fuller of Parkgate, Catsfield (Sussex); christened 13 November 1789 at Stogursey.  He married 7 November 1815 Fanny Leader (1797-1844), daughter of William Leader of Putney Hill, and had issue:
(1) Frances Elizabeth Palmer-Acland (b. 1830), died in infancy;
(2) Isabel Harriet Palmer-Acland (1832-1903), m. 1849, Sir Alexander Bateman Periam Acland-Hood, 3rd bt., MP (1819-92); 
(3) Peregrine John Fuller Palmer Acland (b. 1834), died in infancy.
He inherited the Fairfield House estate from his father in 1831, and the Sussex estates of his mother's family in 1834 and 1835.  He sold the latter in 1842 and 1864-65.
He died 25 October 1871, aged 81 and the baronetcy became extinct on his death.


J. Collinson, History and Antiquities of Somerset, vol. 1, 1791, p. 254; Debrett, Baronetage of England, 1835; Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Somerset – South and West, 1958, p. 169; VCH Somerset vol. 6, pp. 137-45; VCH Sussex, vol. 9, pp. 242-45.

Where are their papers?

Fuller-Palmer-Acland family, baronets: deeds, family and estate papers, 13th-19th cents.: Somerset Heritage Centre DD\AH; deeds and estate papers of Sussex estates of Fuller family, 14th-19th cents: East Sussex Record Office, SAU.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 18 March 2013 and updated 1 April 2016. I am grateful to Chris Hoess for his corrections.


  1. There's a slight error in the chain of descent here. According to the History of Parliament series, when Thomas Palmer died on 16 March 1734/5, he left Fairfield to his widow Elizabeth, nee Wroth. She died in 1737, leaving it to Thomas's brother (not son) Peregrine; he died without issue in 1762, the last of the Palmers, and it went to Elizabeth's nephew Arthur (Palmer) Acland, the son of her sister Cicely or Cecily.

    1. Thank you for this. I have edited the text accordingly.

  2. There is an error regarding the husband of Elizabeth Verney. In the disposition of the will of William Palmer of Parham it states:

    WILLIAM PALMER, esq. Vol. 214, No. 234.

    Arundel Feb. 28 1587. Died 24 Dec. 1586 at Parham.

    Heir, son Thomas Palmer, aged 12 on 24 June last.

    Lands. Manors of Kingston Weeke, Parham Wiggonholt, Gretham, Bargham, Preston, Donyngton, etc., etc., and made will 23 Dec. 1586 to Thomas. Palmer, son and heir, a minor wife Elizabeth.

    1. I am afraid I am not quite sure what the error is that you are pointing out here. At this time any property left to Elizabeth would have passed during her marriage would have been held by her husband and as Thomas was then a minor the Crown would have appointed a guardian, who might have been his mother but could well have been the highest bidder. Does that cover it?

    2. Can you please add any additional information regarding the decent to the Aclands of Killerton Estates Devon.

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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