Denovan House, Dunipace, Stirlingshire
|Robert Adam's designs for Denovan House, now in the Soane Museum (Adam drawings 23/45). Image RCAHMS|
A two-storey villa with a complex building sequence. It has at its core a mid 18th century house (first recorded on a plan of c.1755-68), which was probably rebuilt or remodelled by Robert Adam for John Johnstone, who acquired the estate in 1773. Adam's designs for the house are in the Soane Museum, but we cannot be completely confident they were executed. However, Johnstone also employed Robert Adam to design mausolea for both his parents (at Westerkirk, Dumfriesshire), 1790 and himself (at Alva, Clackmannanshire), 1789, so it seems likely that the house was built too.
|Denovan House as remodelled in 1843-45. © RCAHMS|
This house was substantially recast in a loosely Italianate style in 1843-45 for James Graham Adam (1800-60), with an entirely new south front and some new interiors. The new work is of cream polished ashlar with channelled rustication on the ground floor and a projecting left-hand bay with canted bow window; the west side has a further projecting bay, and the main entrance is in the angle between the two. The windows are a mix of standard plate glass sashes and tripartite windows. To the right of the south front is a late 19th century conservatory, built on the site of an earlier wing, and at the rear are large harled additions of 1911. Inside there are a staircase hall, drawing room, billiard room and dining room with elaborate Jacobethan decoration.
Mere Old Hall, Knutsford, Cheshire
Escrick Park, Yorkshire (ER)
|Escrick Park in 2008. © Nicholas Kingsley. All rights reserved.|
In 1763 John Carr of York designed the long range on the north front with four bays projecting to either side of the original house; this has two large canted bays, a standard Carr feature. The quadrangular stable block was built by Carr c.1775, although the designs may have been agreed in 1763. Repairs and alterations were carried out c.1835 by Edward Blore, but the plans he drew up for a new south front in the Tudor style c.1839 were not implemented. However a north-west wing was added in 1846-8, and a north-east wing, linking the house to the stables, by 1850. In 1851 the east side was extended to provide an enlarged dining room, an entrance hall and an Ionic portico, and the single-storey bay including the loggia was added to the west side. The exterior is now cement-rendered with stone dressings.
|Escrick Park: staircase. © Nicholas Kingsley. |
All rights reserved
|Escrick Park: staircase ceiling. © Nicholas Kingsley. All rights reserved|
There are several good chimneypieces in Carr style – earlier ones on the first floor (1760s) and later ones on the ground floor (late 1770s). The library on the west side was probably refitted by Blore in the 1830s. The main late 19th century contribution was the so-called Winter Garden, a conservatory constructed behind a screen of giant columns on the first landing of the main stair, which has a large Venetian window filled with stained glass. The Hall was converted into flats in 1935, but has been let to Queen Margaret's School since 1949. Conversion for school use has resulted in some new building, notably a new laboratory block on the north-west, but much of the dormitory and classroom accommodation has been contrived within the old stables and secondary rooms, leaving the principal rooms intact. The grounds were landscaped in the 18th and early 19th centuries. John Carr had laid out a way to the menagerie a mile to the south of the house in the 1760s. Following enclosure in 1781 the church, rectory and 26 houses were demolished, three roads moved, and a small park created. This was enlarged in 1825 when the roads were moved again, and it was seemingly at this date that the Temple north of Menagerie Farm was erected.
Skipwith Hall, Yorkshire (ER)
|Skipwith Hall. © Stephen Richards and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.|
A seven bay, three-storey house of c.1725, built of brown brick with red brick and stone dressings and a hipped slate roof. The plain front is articulated by platbands separating the floors and by the vertical connection of the central doorcase with the window above. To this house, two storey three bay wings were added in 1904 and 1930 by Owen Little, which match the main block perfectly. At the rear is a doorway with a broken segmental pediment added by Little in 1930. The interior has 18th century pilastered panelling and a handsome staircase hall containing an open-well staircase, with a handrail with two carved balusters to each tread. The service wing at the rear has a late closed-string staircase and may be a smaller house built on the site in the late 17th century for Richard Herbert. The house was restored and internally remodelled c.2000.
Descent: Richard Herbert (d. c.1700); to widow Elizabeth, later wife of George Toulson (fl. 1706)... George Toulson (d. 1766); to daughter, Jane (d. 1819), wife of Banastre Walton (d. 1781) and later Robert Hudson (d. 1808); to cousin, John Parker (later Toulson) (d. 1824); to son, John Arthur Parker Toulson (1806-89); to son, J.G. Toulson (fl. 1928) ?let to Mary M. Parker (fl. 1892) and sold 1898 to Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock (1849-1912); to daughter, Irene Constance Lawley (d. 1976), wife of Charles Gurdon Forbes Adam (1889-1982); to third son, Sir Nigel Colin Forbes Adam (b. 1930), 5th bt.; given 1988 to eldest son, Charles David Forbes Adam (b. 1957)
Adam (later Forbes Adam) family of Denovan House, Hankelow Court and later of Escrick Park
(1) Sir Frank Forbes Adam (1846-1926), 1st bt. (q.v.).
He died 24 February 1860.
Adam, Sir Frank Forbes (1846-1926), 1st baronet, of Hankelow Court. Son of James Graham Adam (1800-60) and his wife Jane Brown, daughter of Charles McIndoe of Carbeth (Stirlingshire); born 17 June 1846. Educated at Loretto School. Went to India as a merchant in 1872; President of Bombay Chamber of Commerce 1884–89, Trustee Port of Bombay 1884–90, Member of the Legislative Council of Bombay 1884–90, Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire, 1888; returned and settled in Manchester, 1890; knighted (KB) 1890; Chairman of Council, Manchester Univ 1904 (Hon LLD 1908); President of the Bank of Bombay, President of Manchester Chamber of Commerce 1894–99 and 1903–05, Chairman of Manchester and County Bank, 1914; created a baronet, 15 February 1917. He married 31 August 1883, Rose Frances (d. 1944), daughter of Charles Gurdon Kemball, judge of High Court in Bombay and had issue:
(1) General Sir Ronald Forbes Adam (1885-1982) (q.v.);
(2) Eric Graham Forbes Adam (1888-1925) (q.v.);
(3) Colin Gurdon Forbes Adam (1889-1972) (q.v.);
(4) Hetty Reay Clifford Forbes Adam MBE (1896-1977), dsp.
He rented various country houses in Cheshire, including Mere Old Hall, Rostherne, Hankelow Hall and latterly Pownall Hall.
He died 21 December 1926, aged 80. Will proved 10 March 1927 (estate £20,365)
Adam, Sir Ronald Forbes (1885-1982), 2nd baronet, of Hankelow Court. Eldest son of Sir Frank Forbes Adam (1846-1926), 1st bt., and his wife Rose Frances, daughter of Charles Gurdon Kemball; born 30 October 1885. Educated at Eton and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He entered the army in 1905 (served WW1 France and Italy (Despatches) and DSO, 1918; OBE 1919; GSO (1), Staff College 1932–35 and War Office, 1935; T/Brig and Deputy Director of Military Operations 1936, Commander 1st Division, Royal Artillery, 1936–37, T/Maj-Gen and Commandant of Staff College Camberley, 1937, Maj-Gen 1937; Deputy Chief Imperial General Staff from 1938 with local rank of Lt-Gen; Gen 1942; served WW II 1939–41 (despatches); CB (1939); KCB (1941); GCB (1946); , commanded 3rd Corps France, 1939–40; Commander in Chief, Northern Command, 1940, Adjutant-General of the Forces, 1941; Colonel-Commandant Royal Artillery and Army Education Corps 1940; ret 1946); Chairman British Council 1946–54, President, MCC 1946–47; President, British Institute of Adult Education 1948–64, Chairman, National Institute of Industrial Psychology 1947–52, Chairman of Executive Board, UNESCO 1952–54; Chairman of University of London, Institute of Education 1946–67; Chairman of Executive Committee UN Assocation 1956–61; President of UN Association, 1961. He married 7 Jan 1915, Anna Dorothy (d. 1972), daughter of Frederic Islay Pitman of Searlets, Twyford (Berks) and had issue:
(1) Barbara Adam (1917-2002), m. 1953 Sir Philip Dennis Proctor, KCB (d. 1983), son of Sir Philip Bridger Proctor, KBE, of Thursley House, Mayfield, Sussex, having adopted two sons and one daughter;
(2) Margot Forbes Adam (1918-37), d. unmarried;
(3) twin, Col. Bridget Islay Forbes Adam MBE (1927-2013), Col. WRAC, d. unmarried;
(4) twin, Isobel Forbes Adam (b. 1927)
He lived at Hankelow Court in his father's lifetime but later in London.
He died 26 December 1982, aged 97.
Adam, Eric Graham Forbes (1888-1925). Second son of Sir Frank Forbes Adam (1846-1926), 1st bt., and his wife Rose Frances, daughter of Charles Gurdon Kemball; born 3 October 1888. Educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge (BA); First Secretary in the Foreign Office. He married 23 November 1918 Agatha Perrin (d. 1956), eldest daught of Reginald Waltar Macan DLitt, Master of University College, Oxford, and widow of Sidney Spooner, and had issue:
(1) Sir Christopher Eric Forbes Adam (1920-2009) (q.v.)
He died in Constantinople, Turkey, 7 July 1925, aged 36. Grant of administration of effects, 15 September 1925 (effects £1,243).
Adam, Sir Christopher Eric Forbes (1920-2009), 3rd baronet. Only son of Eric Graham Forbes Adam (1888-1925) and his wife Agatha Perrin, daughter of Reginald Walter Macan of University College, Oxford; born 12 February 1920. Educated at Abinger Hill School, Surrey and privately; journalist on Yorkshire Post. He succeeded his uncle as 3rd bt., 1982. He married, 17 September 1957, Patricia Anne, younger daughter of John Neville Wreford Brown of Maltings, Abberton (Essex) and adopted a daughter:
(A1) Sarah Anne (b. 1960), m. Andrew J. Allen (formerly Eden), son of Prof. Alec Eden and had issue 1 son and 1 daughter.
He lived in London.
He died 17 January 2009, aged 88.
Adam, Colin Gurdon Forbes (1889-1982), of Escrick Park. Third son of Sir Frank Forbes Adam (1846-1926), 1st bt., and his wife Rose Frances, daughter of Charles Gurdon Kemball; born 18 December 1889. Educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge. Entered Indian Civil Service, 1912 (Assistant Collector and Magistrate, 1913-18; served in WW1 as Temp. Lieutenant with Indian Expeditionary Force to Mesopotamia and Palestine; Under-Secretary to Governor of Bombay, 1919; Private Secretary to Governor of Bombay, 1920-24; Companion of the Order of the Star of India, 1924; JP for East Riding of Yorkshire, 1936; DL for Hull, 1958-66; Chairman of Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd; published Life of Lord Lloyd, 1948. He married 3 December 1920, The Hon. Irene Lawley (1889-1976), daughter of Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock of Escrick Park (Yorks) and had issue:
(1) Rev. Sir (Stephen) Timothy Beilby Forbes Adam (b. 1923), 4th bt. (q.v.);
(2) Desmond Francis Adam (1926-58), m. 1949, Vivien Elizabeth (1921-2002), daughter of Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th bt. and had issue 1 son and 2 daughters; died in a motor accident, January 1958;
(3) Sir Nigel Colin Forbes Adam (1930-2022) (q.v.);
(4) Virginia Mary Adam (1922-2012), m. 1948 Capt Hugo Francis Guy Charteris (1922-70) and had issue 2 sons and 3 daughters
His wife inherited the Escrick Park estate from her father in 1912. It was converted into flats in 1935 and used as a school from 1949. On his wife's death the estate passed to their third son.
He died 12 November 1982, aged 92.
Forbes Adam, Rev. Sir (Stephen) Timothy Beilby (1923-2019), 4th bt. Eldest son of Colin Gurdon Forbes Adam (1889-1982) and his wife, the Hon. Irene, daughter of 3rd Baron Wenlock, of Escrick Park, born in Bombay (India), 19 November 1923. Educated at Eton, Balliol College, Oxford, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and Chichester Theological College. Served in WW2 as Capt, Rifle Brigade, 1942-47. Ordained 1962; rector of Barton-in-Fabis with Thrumpton (Notts), 1964-70; priest-in-charge, Southstoke, 1974-84. He married 28 September 1954, the actress Penelope (sep. and later div.), daughter of George Campbell Munday MC of Leverington Hall (Cambs) and was later the partner of Mary Rose Blacker (née O'Neill) (d. 2016). He and his wife had issue:
(1) Anna Victoria Forbes Adam (b. 1955);
(2) Catherine Mary Forbes Adam (1956-2018), m. 1991 StoneKristan, son of Stanley Stone; died 2018;
(3) (Teresa) Lucy Forbes Adam (b. 1960);
(4) Sonia Clare Forbes Adam (b. 1966); married the actor, James Nesbitt.
He lived on the Escrick estate.
He died 22 March 2019, aged 95.
Forbes Adam, Sir Nigel Colin (1930-2022), 5th bt. Third son of Colin Gurdon Forbes Adam (1889-1982) and his wife, the Hon. Irene, daughter of 3rd Baron Wenlock, of Escrick Park, born 7 December 1930. Educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge. Captain in Yorkshire Hussars. High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, 1976. Heir apparent to his brother's baronetcy. He married 1st, 7 May 1954, Teresa Hermione Idena (known as Toppet) (d. 2005), daughter of Commander David Lambert Robertson RN and 2nd, 1987, (Mildred) Malise Hare, daughter of Col. George Armitage and formerly wife of David Ropner, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Charles David Forbes Adam (b. 1957), 6th bt. (q.v.);
(1.3) Julian Nigel Peregrine Forbes Adam (b. 1961), m. 1986 Christina Maria (d. 1999), daughter of Colin Woodiwiss and had issue one son;
(1.4) Harry Crispin Forbes Adam (b. 1962).
He inherited the Escrick Park estate from his mother in 1976, but gave it to his eldest son in 1988. He lives at Brook House, Byland Abbey, North Yorkshire.
He died 8 January 2022. His first wife died in 2005. His widow is now living.
Location of archives
Coat of armsArgent a mullet azure pierced of the field between three cross crosslets fitchée gules with a bordure of the last
Revision & Acknowledgements
This account was first published on 20 April 2013 and was revised 2 May 2015, 31 March and 12 June 2019, and 6 February 2022. I am grateful for Pamela Gadston for additional information.