Tuesday 5 March 2013

(9) Abney (later Abney-Hastings) of Willesley Hall

Abney of Willesley
The Abney family came into their estate at Willesley (then in Derbyshire, now Leicestershire) by marriage in the early 15th century, and it passed from father to son until the death of Thomas Abney (1725-90), whose daughter Parnell Abney inherited.  James Abney, who was Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1656, was probably responsible for building the core of the later house, and his son, Sir Edward Abney (d. 1731), for altering it in the early 18th century.   The family are notable for the exceptional longevity of several individuals in the 16th and 17th centuries, a time when life expectancy, even for the gentry, was a great deal lower than today.

Parnell Abney married General Sir Charles Hastings (d. 1823), 1st baronet, an illegitimate son of the  10th Earl of Huntingdon, and their eldest son took the surname Abney-Hastings.  He made radical alterations to Willesley Hall in 1840-45.  At his death in 1858, he bequeathed the Willesley estate to his second cousin, Charles Frederick Clifton, on condition that he took the name Abney-Hastings.  In 1868, on the death of her brother, the 4th Marquess of Hastings, his wife became Countess of Loudoun in her own right, and inherited his estate of Donington Hall and Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle.  She then planted an avenue of trees of Willesley Hall to Ashby Castle.  At her death in 1874 Willesley passed to her son, the 11th Earl of Loudoun (1855-1920), who sold it in 1919.  His niece, another Edith Maud, 12th Countess of Loudoun (1883-1960), sold the family papers in 1927.

Sir Thomas Abney, Lord Mayor of London in 1700, was a younger brother of Sir Edward Abney and acquired by marriage Abney House at Stoke Newington (Middx) which was begun by his father-in-law, John Gunston.  

Willesley Hall (Derbyshire, now Leicestershire)

Willesley Hall in 1831, from A descriptive and historical guide to Ashby-de-la-Zouch and the neighbourhood
Willesley Hall (historically Derbyshire, now Leicestershire) was an important, vanished house which belonged to the Abney family and their descendants from about 1424, when they married an heiress of the Ingewardby family, until 1919. In the mid to late 17th century, James Abney (1600-93) or his son, Sir Edward Abney (1631-1728), kt. rebuilt the house with a dramatic, completely rusticated, eleven bay hipped-roofed south front with a recessed centre and central doorway with a broken segmental pediment framed by giant pilasters. The facade was crowned by shaped gables – big ones over the three-bay projecting ends and small ones in the middle, the latter known to be an addition of 1840-45. Perhaps the most likely sequence is that the house was built for James Abney in the mid 17th century with the shaped gables over the wings, and that the rustication and the pilasters of the recessed centre were changes made for Sir Edward Abney after he inherited in 1693.  

Willesley Hall in the late 19th century, showing the additions of the 1840s.  Picture courtesy of Matthew Beckett
Sir Edward Abney, who was MP for Leicester in the 1690s, was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas Abney (1691-1750), who rose to eminence as a judge and was also of note as a Derbyshire antiquarian. His son, Thomas Abney (1725-90), had no son to inherit the estate and left it to his only daughter, Parnell, the wife of General Sir Charles Hastings (d. 1823), 1st bt., who took the name Abney-Hastings on coming into the inheritance. He committed suicide in 1823 and the estate passed to his elder son, Sir Charles Abney-Hastings (1792-1858), 2nd bt., for whom the house was altered in 1840-45, probably to the designs of Edward Blore. This was when the small shaped gables over the centre were added, and at the same time the east and west fronts were rebuilt, the latter repeating the motifs of the south front in brick and with mullioned and transomed windows and quoins. The west front was extended by a lower wing to link to the church, which was given a tower at this time. On the north side, between the wings of the old house, was built an extraordinary tall block with a flat balustraded top and four slim square ogee-capped turrets rising above the roof line of the entire house; Tudor-style chimneystacks were liberally sprinkled across the whole building.

On Sir Charles' death in 1858 the estate passed to his kinswoman, Edith Maud Clifton (1833-74), 10th Countess of Loudoun in her own right, who took the name Abney-Hastings in lieu of Clifton. Her son, Charles Edward (1855-1920), 11th Earl of Loudoun, again changed his name (to Rawdon-Hastings), and in 1919 sold the house to a Nottingham solicitor, Major Ashworth, who made the house into an hotel and sold the park in 1921 to the local golf club, which retains it. The hotel closed in 1936, and the house then stood empty and decaying until it was finally pulled down in 1953. The park of 155 acres was laid out in the late 18th century, and included a majestic serpentine lake of 24 acres which reputedly drowned the former village of Willesley. The church, the facade of the stables and the lake still exist, and a statue of Diana still stands near the ninth hole of the golf course.

Previous owners: John Abney (c.1476-1505); to son, George Abney (d. 1578); to son, James Abney (d. 1620); to son George Abney (1550-1645); to son, James Abney (1600-93); to son, Sir Edward Abney, kt. (1631-1728); to son, Sir Thomas Abney (1691-1750); to son, Thomas Abney (1725-90); to daughter, Parnell, wife of General Sir Charles Hastings (later Abney-Hastings), 1st bt. (d. 1823); to son, Sir Charles Abney-Hastings, 2nd bt. (1792-1858); to second cousin, Charles Frederick Clifton (later Abney-Hastings); to Charles Edward Rawdon-Hastings, 11th Earl of Loudoun (1855-1920), who sold 1919 to a Nottingham solicitor; park sold 1921 to Willesley Park Golf Club.

Abney House, Stoke Newington

Abney House on the eve of demolition in 1845, from Old & New London
A three storey five bay house with a high basement and single storey two bay wings, begun c.1695 for Thomas Gunston, a London merchant, and finished after 1700 for his sister Mary and her husband, Sir Thomas Abney. 
Watercolour by T.H. Shepherd of workmen removing the panelling
from Dr. Watts' bedchamber during the demolition of Abney House, 1845
One room contained panels with paintings of Ovid's Metamorphoses and paintings of flowers by Isaac Watts, the hymn-writer, who was a friend of the family, on the shutters and door.  The house was rented by the Wesleyan Methodists as the preparatory branch of their theological institute from 1839-43, but then sold to the Abney Park Cemetery Company and demolished.

Descent: Thomas Gunston (d. 1700), who formed the estate from smaller plots; to sister Mary (1676-1750), wife of Sir Thomas Abney (1640-1722); to daughter, Elizabeth Abney (c.1704-82); sold to Jonathan Eade (d. 1811), whose Trustees sold 1814 to James William Freshfield (1774-1864), a London lawyer, who sold 1838 to Abney Park Cemetery Co.

Abney family of Willesley

Abney, John (?1476-1550) of Willesley Hall.  Son of William Abney (b. 1440?). He married Mary d'Ingwardeby, and had issue three sons and three daughters, including:
(1) George Abney (d. 1578) of Willesley Hall (q.v.)
Lived at Willesley Hall.
Died 1 September 1550 and was buried at Willesley, with his wife.

Abney, George (d. 1578) of Willesley Hall.  Son of John Abney (?1476-1550) (q.v.). He married 1st, Ellen Wolseley (d. 1571) of Wolseley (Staffs) and 2nd, Mary (fl. 1578) and had issue six sons and three daughters including:
(1.1) James Abney (d. 1620) (q.v.);
(1.2) Robert Abney (d. 1603) of Newton Burgoland (q.v.) [for whom see my post on the Abneys of Measham];
(1.3) Edmund Abney (d. 1604), mayor of Leicester in 1599; married, 1587, Catherine Ludlum and had issue two sons and three daughters; died 1 April 1604 and was buried at St Mary-de- Castro, Leicester, where he is commemorated by a later monument; his will was proved in the PCC, 25 June 1604;
(1.4) Ann Abney (fl. 1578); married a Mr. Hawsey and had issue;
(1.5) John Abney (fl. 1609); married, 29 October 1583 at Swepstone (Leics), Elizabeth Trowell, and had issue; living in 1609;
(1.6) Thomas Abney (fl. 1609); living in 1609;
(1.7) Walter Abney (d. 1630); buried at Packington (Leics).
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1550. 
He died 1 March 1578. His first wife died 3 December 1571. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Abney, James (d. 1620) of Willesley Hall.  Eldest son of George Abney (d. 1578) and his wife Ellen Wolseley.  He married Mary Milward and had issue including:
(1) George Abney (c.1565-1645) (q.v.);
(2) Ellen Abney, married Richard Adderley (c.1557-1641) of Coton Hall and had issue three sons and eight daughters;
(3) Susanna Abney (d. 1628); married, before 1600, Rev. John Wilson (d. 1630), rector of St. Nicholas, Guildford (Surrey), 1597-1630, and had issue at least one daughter; buried at St Mary, Guildford, 28 October 1628;
(4) Catherine Abney (d. 1601); married, c.1580, Thomas Farmer alias Warde (d. 1615) of Hugglescote Grange (Leics), and had issue six sons and four daughters; died 22 November 1601.
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1578.
His will was proved 7 April 1620. His wife's date of death is unknown.
Abney, George (c.1565-1645), of Willesley Hall.  Only recorded son of James Abney (d. 1620) of Willesley Hall and his wife Mary (née Milward), born about 1550. Educated at St John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1584), Clement's Inn and the Inner Temple (admitted 1591). Barrister-at-law, in chambers with his brother-in-law, Michael Lowe, and his nephews, Humphrey Lowe and Edward Bromley. He married 1st, c.1591, Margery, daughter of Michael Lowe of Tymore, and 2nd, 1611 at Norton-juxta-Twycross, Anne, daughter of George Staples of Gloucestershire and widow of Humphrey Wightwick of Coventry, and had issue including:
(1.1) Michael Abney (b. 1592), baptised at Elford (Staffs), 2 January 1592/3; died young;
(1.2) Susan Abney (1594-95), baptised at Barton-under-Needwood or Whittington (Staffs), 25 August 1594; died in infancy and was buried at Tatenhill (Staffs), 24 January 1594/5;
(1.3) Philip Abney (d. 1595); buried at Tatenhill, 16 July 1595;
(1.4) James Abney (1601-93) (q.v.);
(1.5) Michael Abney (b. 1603), baptised at Tatenhill, 26 June 1603; educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1619); apparently died in the lifetime of his father;
(1.6) Nathaniel Abney (b. 1605), baptised at Tatenhill, 21 April 1605; apparently died in the lifetime of his father;
(1.7) Elizabeth Abney (fl. 1643); living, unmarried, when her father made his will in 1643;
(1.8) Sarah Abney (fl. 1668); married Rev. Oliver Bromskill (c.1597-1668), a Puritan minister, rector of Loughborough (Leics), 1647-62, and had issue at least four sons and two daughters; living in 1668;
(1.9) John Abney (fl. 1650); merchant in Turkey; appointed treasurer of the British Levant Company in Constantinople (Turkey), 1649, but perhaps died soon afterwards;
(2.1) George Abney (b. c.1613); educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge (admitted 1631) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1635); said to have died in Ireland;
(2.2) Mary Abney (c.1615-50); married, 4 March 1640, Thomas May, and had issue one son; buried at Sutton Cheney (Leics), 19 September 1650.
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1620.
He died in 1645 and his will was proved 19 June 1646. His first wife died about 1610. His second wife's date of death is unknown.

Abney, James (1601-93), of Willesley Hall.  Son of George Abney (c.1565-1645) (q.v.) and his first wife Margery, daughter of Michael Lowe of Tymore, baptised at Tatenhill, 31 January 1600/1. Educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1616) and Inner Temple (admitted 1619). Participated in the Royalist defence of Ashby Castle, 1642-46, but later favoured Parliament and served as a county commissioner for sequestrated estates and as High Sheriff of Derbyshire 1655-56.  He married, 8 August 1625, Jane (d. c.1645), daughter of Edward Mainwaring (1577-1647) of Whitmore (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) James Abney (b. 1626), baptised at Whitmore, 8 October 1626; died young;
(2) Jane Abney (b. 1628), baptised at Whitmore, February 1627/8; probably died young;
(3) George Abney (1629-62), baptised at Norton-juxta-Twycross (Leics), 4 March 1629; died without issue in the lifetime of his father, 1662;
(4) Sarah Abney (d. 1647); buried at Whitmore (Staffs), 10 March 1647;
(5) Sir Edward Abney (1631-1728) (q.v.);
(6) Sir Thomas Abney (1640-1722) (q.v.);
(7) Abigail Abney (c.1641-83), said to have been born about 1641; married, 14 September 1669 at Stretton-en-le-Field (Leics), Ralph Cotton (d. 1663) of Bellaport (Salop), and had issue one son; buried at Wybunbury (Ches.), 12 May 1683;
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1645, and was probably responsible for the original building of the later house.
He was buried at Willesley, 1 June 1693, aged 92. His wife died about 1645.
Abney, Sir Edward (1631-1728), kt., of Willesley Hall, lawyer.  Son of James Abney of Willesley Hall (1601-93) and his wife Jane, daughter of Edward Mainwaring of Whitmore (Staffs), born 6 February 1630/1.  He received a Presbyterian upbringing, and was educated at Ashby School, Measham School and Christs College, Cambridge (BA 1652/3; MA 1656; LLD 1661); Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, 1655-61, 1669-70.  One of the six Clerks in Chancery 1670-82; Commissioner of Public Accounts, 1694-95. He was knighted at Whitehall, 2 April 1673 and made a freeman of Leicester in 1690, and of London in 1696.  He stood for election to Parliament for Leicestershire in 1685 and was defeated, but subsequently was MP for Leicester Borough 1690-98. Initially viewed as a Whig, he became a Court supporter, and was appointed one of the seven commissioners for the public accounts 1694-95.  In letters to his father about his proposed marriage, Abney comes across as earnest and expansive.  He is bold and often direct on “this business, which has caused the greatest trouble and perplexity of mind to me”. Earnestness turns to despair as his father seems to dither over the question of consent and he emphasises the social and intellectual qualities of his proposed bride, “a very comely and descreet person neither hath she any of the too common defects of lameness or crookedness” and “who has been piously educated”. He got his way and married 1st, 20 July 1661 in London, Damaris (d. 1687), daughter of Thomas Andrewes, Fellow of Christs College, and 2nd, 18 December 1688 at St Peter-le-Poer, London, Judith, daughter and co-heir of Peter Barr of London, merchant and had issue:
(1.1) James Abney (1662-64?), born 2 October and baptised at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, 22 October 1662; died young and was perhaps the Abney buried at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, 11 May 1664;
(1.2) Damaris Abney (1664-77), born 3 November and baptised at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, 9 October 1664; died young and was buried at Willesley, 30 October 1677;
(1.3) Frances Abney (b. 1667), baptised at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, 13 April 1667; married 1st, 15 July 1686, Sir John Parker (c.1655-96), kt., of Fermoyle (Co. Longford) and had issue three sons; married 2nd, 1696 (licence  23 March) in Co. Carlow, James Butler (d. by 1723), son of Sir Thomas Butler, 3rd bt., and had further issue two sons; living in 1699 but date of death not traced;
(1.4) Anne Abney (1672-92), baptised at St. Andrew the Great, Cambridge, 12 July 1672;  died unmarried and was buried at Willesley, 1 December 1692;
(2.1) Edward Barre Abney (1690-1731?), baptised 5 June 1690; declared a lunatic, 1719; said to have died in 1731;

(2.2) Sir Thomas Abney (1691-1750) (q.v.).
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1693 and was probably responsible for remodelling the house with a new rusticated entrance front.
He died 3 January and was buried at Willesley, 9 January 1727/8, aged 96, having been blind for the last twenty years of his life; his will was proved 22 January 1727/8. His first wife was buried at Willesley, 9 June 1687. His second wife died 23 January 1718.

Abney, Sir Thomas (1691-1750), of Willesley Hall, barrister and judge.  Younger son of Sir Edward Abney (1631-1728) and his second wife, Judith, daughter of Peter Barr, baptised at Willesley, 3 April 1691.  Educated at Wadham College, Oxford (matriculated 1707) and Inner Temple (admitted 1707; called 1713). Barrister-at-law (KC 1733), with chambers in the Inner Temple. He settled in Middlesex and was appointed Chairman of Middlesex Quarter Sessions, 1731; Attorney General of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1733; Judge of Marshalsea Court, 1735; Baron of the Exchequer 1740-43; Judge of Common Pleas, 1743-50. He was knighted, 23 December 1735. As an antiquarian, in the 1720s Abney made substantial additions to the text of William Woolley's manuscript history of Derbyshire.  He married Frances (d. 1761), daughter of Joshua Burton of Brackley (Northants) and had issue:
(1) Thomas Abney (1726-91) (q.v.)
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1731 and also had a home in Middlesex.
He contracted gaol fever at the 'Black Sessions' held at the Old Bailey in May 1750, which killed several of the judges, counsel and jurors assembled there; he died 19 May and was buried at Willesley, 29 May 1750; his will was proved in the PCC, 18 September 1750. His widow was buried at Willesley, 7 April 1761; her will was proved 19 May 1761.

Abney, Thomas (1726-91), of Willesley Hall.  Only child of Sir Thomas Abney (1691-1750) and his wife Frances, daughter of Joshua Burton of Brackley (Northants), born 2 January and baptised at Willesley, 18 January 1725/6.  He married, 11 May 1754 at St Clement Danes, London, Parnell (1718-98), daughter of George Villiers of Hanbury (Staffs), and had issue:
(1) Parnell Abney (1760-1834) (q.v.).
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1750.
He died 15 August, and was buried at Willesley, 26 August 1791. His widow was buried at Willesley, 29 May 1798.

Abney, Parnell (1760-1834). Only child of Thomas Abney (1726-91) of Willesley Hall and his wife Parnell, daughter of George Villiers of Hanbury (Staffs), born 29 January and baptised at Willesley, 30 January 1760. She married, 2 June 1788 at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), Gen. Sir Charles Hastings GCH (1752-1823), 1st bt., (created a baronet in 1806 and took the name Abney-Hastings), illegitimate son of Francis Hastings (1729-89), 10th Earl of Huntingdon, and had issue:
(1) Selina Hastings (1790-95?). born 22 August and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), 30 August 1790; died young, reputedly in 1795;
(2) Sir Charles Abney-Hastings (1792-1858), 2nd bt. (q.v.);

(3) Frank Abney-Hastings (1794-1828), born 6 February at Willesley and baptised at St. George, Hanover Sq, Westminster (Middx), 26 February 1794; an officer in the Royal Navy, who as a cadet was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, but who was later dismissed from the service for challenging his captain to a duel, 1820; in 1822 he joined the Greek navy and in 1824 made far-sighted proposals for transforming its efficiency and effectiveness; frustrated by Greek corruption, he used his own money to purchase a steamer and employ fifty men to demonstrate the effectiveness of his proposals, taking part in several actions against the Turks in 1827; he was severely wounded in the attack on Anatolikon, 25 May 1828, and died unmarried of his wounds in the harbour at Zante, 1 June 1828; he was buried at Poros where he is commemorated by a monument erected on the centenary of his death; will proved in the PCC, 29 November 1828.
She and her husband inherited Willesley Hall from her father in 1791.
She died at Willesley, 11 February 1834. Her husband committed suicide, 30 September 1823.

Abney-Hastings, Sir Charles (1792-1858), 2nd bt. Elder son of Sir Charles Abney-Hastings (1752-1823), 1st bt., and his wife Parnell, daughter of Thomas Abney, born 1 October 1792. Educated at Eton. An officer in the army (Cornet, 1808; Lt., 1808; Capt., 1811; ret. 1814); served at ADC to Sir John Doyle, Lt-Governor of Guernsey, c.1814. In 1814 he fell out with his father over planned landscaping improvements at Willesley, and went abroad until they were reconciled in 1815. Poor health led him to travel abroad again in 1819. He succeeded his father as 2nd bt. in 1823.  MP for Leicester 1826-31. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Willesley Hall from his father in 1823, and maintained a London house at 6 Cavendish Square. At his death the Willesley estate passed to Lady Edith Maud Clifton (later Abney-Hastings), who became Countess of Loudoun in her own right, but property he had inherited from the Hastings family was bequeathed to her brother, the 4th Marquess of Hastings.
He died unmarried and without issue, 30 July 1858, when the baronetcy became extinct; his will was proved 17 August 1858 (effects under £120,000).

Abney family of Abney House, Stoke Newington (Middx)

Abney, Sir Thomas (1640-1722), kt. Fourth son of James Abney (1601-93) and his wife Jane, daughter of Edward Mainwaring of Whitmore (Staffs), born January 1640.  He was educated at Loughborough (Leics) and became a Freeman of the Fishmongers Company in London (freeman 1666; assistant, 1691; prime warden 1704); he served as a Common Councilman of the City of London 1689-90, and was appointed alderman 1692, sheriff of London and Middlesex 1693-94 and Lord Mayor of London 1700; MP for City of London, 1701-02; one of the founders of the Bank of England, 1694 and a Director 1694-1722; president of St. Thomas' Hospital, 1707-22.  He was a Dissenter, and a leading spokesman for the Dissenting interest, but chose not to worship publicly so that he could continue to hold office. He was knighted, 2 November 1693.  He married 1st, 1668 (licence 24 August) in London, Sarah (d. 1698), daughter of the ejected Independent divine Joseph Caryl and 2nd, 21 August 1700 at St Giles in the Fields, Westminster (Middx), Mary (1676-1750), daughter of John Gunston of Stoke Newington (Middx) and had issue including:
(1.1) Sarah Abney (1670-85), born 29 January and baptised at St Peter, Cornhill, 11 February 1669/70; died young and was buried 22 February 1685;
(1.2) James Abney (d. 1675); died young and was buried 29 June 1675;
(1.3) Thomas Abney (d. 1677); died young and was buried 19 January 1676/7;
(1.4) Edward Abney (c.1680-1704), born about 1680; made free of the City of London by the Fishmongers Company, April 1704; died unmarried and was buried at St Peter, Cornhill, London, 25 October 1704;
(1.5) James Abney (d. 1682); died young and was buried 30 March 1682;
(2.1) Thomas Abney (c. 1701-07), born about 1701; died young and was buried at St Peter, Cornhill, London, 12 November 1707;
(2.2) Elizabeth Abney (1704-82), of Tilford House (Surrey); purchased Tilford House (Surrey) in 1760; died 20 August and was buried at Stoke Newington (Middx), 28 August 1782; by her will, proved 23 August 1782, she bequeathed Tilford to her chaplain, Rev. Thomas Tayler;
(2.3) Sarah Abney (d. 1732); died 19 March and was buried at St Peter, Cornhill, London, 29 March 1732;
(2.4) Mary Abney (d. 1737); married, 6 May 1732, Jocelyn Pickard (c.1703-89) (who m2, 11 July 1751 at Lytchett Matravers (Dorset), Henrietta (d. 1787), daughter of George Trenchard of Lytchett Matravers, and had two sons), of Lincoln's Inn and Bloxworth (Dorset), lawyer, but had no issue; died 12 February and was buried at St Peter, Cornhill, London, 20 February 1737/8.
He inherited the manor of Stoke Newington (Middx) in right of his wife in 1701, with a newly built house and grounds (later Abney House), and had a summer retreat at Theobalds (Herts).  At his death Abney House was bequeathed to his surviving daughters, who sold it probably c.1760.
He died at Theobalds, 6 February, and was buried at St Peter, Cornhill, London, 16 February 1722. His first wife died in 1698. His widow died 12 January and was buried at Stoke Newington, 25 January 1749/50; her will was proved in the PCC, 16 February 1749/50.

Principal sources

Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 1924, pp. 1455-57; R. White, 'Records of a disappearing suburb: Stoke Newington, north-east London', Country Life, 8 July 1982, pp. 116-17; M. Craven & M. Stanley, The Derbyshire country house, 2001, vol. 2, pp. 237-39; VCH Middlesex, vol. 8, 1985, pp. 178-84; Country Life, 8 June 2011, pp. 146-47; http://www.captainfrank.co.uk/article/willesley-hall; http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=176-ware1487&cid=-1#-1

Location of archives

Abney-Hastings family of Willesley Hall: deeds, manorial records and estate papers, 12th-19th cents. (Huntington Library, San Marino, California, HU); family executorship and trust papers, 1829-65 (Derbyshire Record Office D2496); family trust papers, 19th-20th cents (Arundel Castle Archives).  In the late 19th century the papers of the Abney-Hastings family became part of the archive of the Hastings family, Earls of Huntingdon, which was dispersed by sale in 1927.  For a complete list of holdings, see the National Register of Archives.

Coat of arms

Or, on a chief gules, a lion passant argent.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 5 March 2013 and was revised 2 January and 22 December 2016, 15 April 2018 and 29-31 August 2022.


  1. I really appreciate the effort you put into these posts. This one in particular mentions my direct male ancestor (1.3) Edmund Abney (d. 1604). You would delight a rather large contingent of American Abney/Abners if you could dig up additional details on his line.

    All the best!

  2. I am descended from Danette Abney. From what I read he did not pursue his inheritance in England as he was now an American. Proud he was. He is our Gateway Ancestor, said to be descended from Saer De Quincy, signer of the Magna Carta, First Earl of Winchester.

    1. I am also descended from Dannett Abney. I am having a little trouble finding the connection between Saer de Quincy and the Abney Family. Can you please point me in the right direction?

  3. We recently stopped at the site if willesley hall which is now a spectacular scout camp, the grounds church is the scout hut and inside is the tombstone of sir Charles abney, his wife and siblings. There is very few remains of there country mansion but I just had to do some research on the Abneys, also to the American s here, there is a enormous giant Redwood tree in the grounds not native to England, this must have been brought back from the US and planted hundreds of years ago maybe by one of your ancestors.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.