Saturday 29 June 2013

(52) Agar (later Agar-Ellis) of Gowran Castle, Viscounts Clifden

Agar of Gowran Castle
Charles Agar (d. 1696), who moved from Yorkshire to Co. Kilkenny and purchased the Gowran Castle estate, may have been connected to the Agars of Brockfield Hall (see the previous post).  His son James (1672-1733), rebuilt the castle as a modern house in 1713, and it descended in his family until 1899.  James's heir, Henry Agar (c.1705-46) was MP for Gowran in the Irish Parliament from 1727-46.  His brother, James Agar (1713-69), purchased the Callan estate from the Cuffes, Earls of Dysart, and his son became the 1st and only Baron Callan.  On Lord Callan's death in 1815, the Callan estate was added to the Kilkenny estates of the senior branch of the family.  Ellis Agar (1709-89) who married the 7th Earl of Mayo and later the 18th Baron Athenry, and who was reputedly the mistress of King George II, was the daughter of James Agar (d. 1733).  She was created Countess Brandon for life in 1758.  

Henry Agar's son, another James (1734-89) was made a peer as 1st Baron Clifden in 1776 and elevated to be 1st Viscount in 1781.  He and his son, Henry, 2nd Viscount Clifden (1761-1836), were active in politics in both England and Ireland, but the 2nd Viscount largely left Ireland for England after taking a prominent part in the suppression of the 1798 rebellion in Ireland.  In 1802, he inherited the GB peerage title of Baron Mendip on the death of his maternal uncle (whereupon he added Ellis to his surname), and also inherited his uncle’s house at Twickenham (Middx), Pope’s Villa, which he sold in 1807, buying Holdenby House in Northamptonshire from his father-in-law, the Duke of Marlborough, as a replacement English seat.  He remodelled or rebuilt Gowran Castle in 1817-19, but it was probably not much used by the family in the early 19th century.  

The 2nd Viscount’s younger brother, Charles Bagenal Agar (1769-1811) married the heiress of the Lanhydrock (Cornwall) estate, and it was to this branch of the family that the viscountcy passed when the 2nd Viscount’s male line failed in 1899 [see Agar-Robartes, Viscounts Clifden].  The 2nd Viscount’s only son, who was created 1st Baron Dover in 1830, predeceased his father, and left his barony and the lease of Dover House in Whitehall to his son Henry Agar-Ellis, who became 3rd Viscount Clifden on his grandfather’s death in 1836.  He further extended Gowran Castle c.1840 but died in 1866 leaving a young family.  During the long minority of his son, the 4th Viscount, family trustees rebuilt Holdenby House as a new English seat for the family, but when the 4th Viscount died unmarried in 1895, and the family titles passed to his uncle, Leopold, 5th Viscount Clifden (1829-99), and the Holdenby and Gowran estates to his sister, the wife of the 3rd Baron Annaly.  When the 5th Viscount died without surviving male issue the family titles, except the barony of Dover, which became extinct, passed to his cousin, Thomas Charles Agar-Robertes, 2nd Baron Robartes.  The history of the Agar-Robertes family of Lanhydrock is reserved for a future post.

Gowran Castle, Kilkenny

The original Gowran Castle was built in the late 14th century by the Earls of Ormonde.  It was badly damaged in the Cromwellian wars and was all but a ruin when Charles Agar acquired a lease of it about 1660.  His son James carried out much repair work to make it habitable again, but there was a fire in 1713.  Either this, or his acquisition of the freehold, encouraged him to rebuild it.

Gowran Castle, as rebuilt in 1713, depicted in a drawing of c.1810 by Robert Gibbs.
As recorded in a drawing of c.1810 by Robert Gibbs, the new house seems to have been a seven by three bay house of two storeys above a basement, with an elaborately panelled parapet and a curious pierced shaped gable over the centre.  Some of the more classical features of the house are likely to have been later additions or alterations: by 1810 the first floor windows had alternately segmental and triangular pediments and the central doorcase a broken scrolled pediment.  

Gowran Castle as rebuilt in 1817-19, showing the wing of c.1840 removed in 1902.
The house was again remodelled or rebuilt, rather on the same lines but perhaps rather smaller, for the 2nd Viscount Clifden in 1817-19, probably to the designs of William Robertson (1770-1850).  His design is much plainer, with a central pediment, a three bay Tuscan porch (later enclosed), a cut limestone facing to the ground floor (with render above), windows without architraves and plain inset panels over the ground floor windows.  A five bay two storey service range was added to the left of the entrance front before 1840 but removed after the house was sold in 1902.  

James Fraser (1793-1863) made landscaping proposals for extending the park in 1829, and William George Murray (1822-71) designed a Forester’s Lodge in Elizabethan style for the 3rd Viscount in 1858.  

Gowran Castle in a derelict state, before the fire of 2010.  Image: Leanne Fagan
The house became derelict after it was bought by a development company in 1998, and there are press reports of a major fire in 2010 which caused the internal floors to collapse, although the roof remained intact.  

Gowran Castle is now a major restoration challenge. Image: Christie's International Real Estate
The house is currently for sale, although the sale particulars suggest that more of the interior survives, albeit in a derelict condition, than is consistent with such a devastating fire.  At all events, it is a particularly shocking example of neglect which it is to be hoped a new owner can and will address seriously.

Previous owners:  leased to Charles Agar (d. 1696); to son, James Agar (1672-1733), who bought freehold; to son, Henry Agar (c.1705-46); to son, James Agar, 1st Viscount Clifden (1734-89); to son, Henry Welbore Agar (later Agar-Ellis), 2nd Viscount Clifden (1761-1836); to grandson, Henry Agar-Ellis, 3rd Viscount Clifden (1825-66); to son, Henry George Agar-Ellis, 4th Viscount Clifden (1863-95); to sister, Liliah Georgiana Augusta Constance Agar-Ellis (d. 1944), wife of Luke White, 3rd Baron Annaly (d. 1922); to son, Luke Henry White, 4th Baron Annaly (1885-1970); sold 1955 to James & Mary Moran, who sold 1998 to Jackson Group.

Pope's Villa, Twickenham, Middlesex

In 1719 the poet Alexander Pope moved to Twickenham and rented three small cottages by the river.  He demolished one and lived in another while a Palladian villa was built facing the river.  

Pope's Villa in 1749.

This was a five-bay house raised on a high basement, with a two and a half storey three bay centre and lower two-storey wings.  The wings were subsequently extended on both sides by additional blocks with three windowed canted bows on the river side.  

Pope's Villa as extended in the later 18th century
The site having only a small garden which was open to the river, Pope rented some more land on the other side of the river and created a more private garden there which he linked to the house by a tunnel, which he decorated as a grotto, with the help of William Kent and others who provided advice and materials.  The grotto was refashioned more than once during Pope’s lifetime.  

Pope's Villa: 18th century plan of the gardens

Pope's Grotto today.  Image: The Londonphile
Beyond the tunnel was a Shell Temple, which had a small porch decorated with shells, ore, and flints. A spring was found during the excavations, and so he was able to furnish his grotto with small water features.  After Pope died his leases fell in, the house was sold to Sir William Stanhope and extended, and his gardens were built over.  Stanhope obtained a design for a fashionable Gothick gate house in 1751, which may not have been executed.  In the early 19th century Lady Howe got fed up with constant stream of visitors and demolished the house, but the grotto survived and was indeed lengthened several times to accommodate road widening.  

Lady Howe's House, built c.1808 to replace Pope's Villa
In place of Pope’s villa she built a rambling partly Gothick house known as Lady Howe’s House, which was itself demolished c.1840.  In 1842 a new and much smaller villa was built on the site of the grotto by Thomas Young, a tea merchant, which has subsequently been much enlarged as a school. 

William Young's house of 1842 on the site of Pope's Villa

William Young's house is now incorporated into the buildings of a school
Descent: Alexander Pope (d. 1744); sold to Hon. Sir William Stanhope; to daughter Elizabeth (d. 1761), first wife of Welbore Ellis, 1st Baron Mendip (1713-1802); to nephew, Henry Welbore Agar (later Agar-Ellis), 2nd Viscount Clifden and 2nd Baron Mendip (1761-1836); sold 1807 to Sophia Charlotte Curzon, 2nd Baroness Howe of Langar, who demolished c.1808; sold c.1840 to William Young.

Holdenby House, Northamptonshire

Sir Christopher Hatton, a court favourite of Queen Elizabeth who became Lord Chancellor in 1587, began building a large new house at Holdenby in 1571.  Building took about ten years, and when it was finished the double-courtyard house is said to have been bigger than any other private house in England.  Work was sufficiently advanced in 1579 for Lord Burghley to walk through it on a visit, and the gardens are shown on a map of 1580.  The surviving forecourt gateways were built in 1583 and a large deer park was enclosed by 1587.  The village of Holdenby was demolished except for the church as part of the preparation of the site.  When ownership of the house passed to the Crown in 1607 the house was refitted as a royal palace.  Although very little of the fabric survives, it is possible to reconstruct the appearance on the basis of a series of 18th century drawings and engravings of the ruins and a ground plan drawn by John Thorpe in the early 17th century.

A reconstruction of the design of Sir Christopher Hatton's palace at Holdenby.
The house was mostly demolished in 1651 by Capt. Adam Baynes, who bought it during the Commonwealth period, and who retained only the forecourt gateways and one end of one wing (originally the kitchen and bakehouse) which he converted into a residence more appropriate in scale to his needs.  At the Restoration the house was recovered by the Crown but in 1709 it was sold to the Duke of Marlborough.  The 18th and early 19th century owners all had principal estates elsewhere and therefore had no need of a larger house at Holdenby, and it was not until the 4th Viscount Clifden inherited at the age of three in 1866 that there was a foreseeable need for it to become a principal seat once more.

Holdenby House: garden front, incorporating a fragment of the Tudor palace.  Image: Matt Beale
Accordingly, a new house was built for Lord Clifden's trusteesincorporating the small domestic block which survived the demolition, by R.H. Carpenter & William Slater in 1873-75 and extended to the designs of William Mills in 1887-88.  The old house is now represented by windows 3, 4 and 5 of an eight-windowed range with two and four-light mullioned windows. The 2 window ranges to left, set back, are c.1887-8, the remainder of the house mainly 1873-5. The projecting porch has double pilasters flanking arched entrance at ground floor and detached twin columns at first floor level flanking a 3-light stone mullion window, also reputedly from Holdenby Palace and re-erected from elsewhere. Some of the tall circular ashlar chimneystacks with linked caps are probably Elizabethan too.  

Holdenby House: the 19th century entrance front.
The north front with projecting wings is wholly 19th century, and has a central porch similar to that on the south front; the carriage arch into the north courtyard has a datestone 1659.  Inside, the entrance hall in the centre of the north front has 19th century panelling and a marble fireplace but probably an Elizabethan structure; the billiard room and boudoir to the left have 19th century moulded cornices; the marble fireplace in the boudoir is decorated with musical instruments. The ballroom on the south front has a large marble fireplace with swags of grapes, and again incorporates part of the original structure. The garden hall on the south front has a 19th century stair with a turned balustrade. The library of c.1583 has the original panelling re-set.  

Holdenby House: an early 19th century watercolour of the forecourt arches.  Image: Mark Hill
In the grounds are two impressive Elizabethan gate arches from the original setting of the house, and the earthwork remains of the gardens themselves, which have been surveyed by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments.

Descent: William Hatton (d. 1546); to son, Sir Christopher Hatton (c.1540-91); to Sir William Newport (later Hatton) (d. 1597), to Sir Christopher Hatton II, who sold 1607 to King James I; to son, King Charles I; confiscated by Parliament during Civil War and sold to Adam Baynes; recovered by Crown, 1660; sold 1709 to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722); to daughter, Henrietta Churchill, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough (1681-1733); to nephew, Charles Spencer, 5th Earl of Sunderland and 3rd Duke of Marlborough (1706-58); to son, George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough (1739-1817); sold 1802 to Henry Welbore Ellis (né Agar), 2nd Viscount Clifden (1761-1836); to grandson, Henry Agar-Ellis, 3rd Viscount Clifden (1825-66); to son,  Henry George Agar-Ellis, 4th Viscount Clifden (1863-95); to sister, Liliah Georgiana Augusta Constance Agar-Ellis (d. 1944), wife of Luke White, 3rd Baron Annaly (d. 1922); to daughter, Hon. Lilah Charlotte Sarah White, wife of Capt. John George Lowther...James and Karen Lowther (fl. 2013).

Agar (later Agar-Ellis) family of Gowran Castle

Agar, Charles (d. 1696) of Gowran Castle.  Reputedly a soldier in the Parliamentarian Army.  In the troubled years of 1689-90 he initially supported the Jacobites but switched sides to support King William.  He served as portreeve (mayor) of Gowran in 1690-91, and stood unsuccessfully for the Irish parliament in the borough of Gowran in 1692.  He married Ellis (d. 1703), daughter of Peter Blancheville of Rathgarven and Rathcash, Co. Kilkenny and had issue:
(1) James Agar (c.1671-1733) (q.v.)
(2) Peter Agar (c.1682-1716);
(1) Elizabeth Agar, m. September 1692, Samuel Bradstreet and had issue;
(4) Margaret Agar.
He moved from Yorkshire to Ireland in the early years of the Cromwellian Government, probably as a trooper in the army, and later settled at Gowran (Kilkenny), where he bought and leased a number of fairly small properties. He unsuccessfully claimed ownership of the Blanchville estates at Rathgarven in right of his wife, but some of these lands (near Gowran) were purchased by subsequent generations of the family.  He leased the castle and some lands at Gowran before 1692.
He died 14 February 1696.  His widow died 10 October 1703.

Agar, James (c.1671-1733) of Gowran Castle.  Son of Charles Agar (d. 1696) and his wife Ellis, daughter of Peter Blancheville of Co. Kilkenny.  High Sheriff of Kilkenny, 1702-03; Mayor of Kilkenny, 1715; MP in the Irish Parliament for Old Leighlin (Carlow), 1703-13, Gowran, 1713-14, Callan (Kilkenny), 1715-27 and St. Canice (Kilkenny), 1727-33; he was a Tory until 1715 but like many moderate Irish Tories transferred his allegiance to the Whigs after the Jacobite rebellion of that year.  He married 1st, 10 January 1692, Susannah, daughter of James Alexander and had issue, all of whom died young; and 2nd, c.1706, Mary (d. 1771, reputedly aged 106), eldest daughter of Sir Henry Wemyss of Danesfort (Kilkenny) and had issue:
(2.1) Henry Agar (1707-46) (q.v.);
(2.2) Ellis Agar (later Bourke then Bermingham) (1708-89), Countess of Brandon (q.v.)
(2.3) Mary Agar (b. 1709?) m. 1742 James Smyth (d. 1771) MP of Tinny Park (Wicklow), younger son of Rt. Rev. Dr Edward Smyth, Bishop of Down & Connor and had issue one son and three daughters;
(2.4) James Agar (1713-69) (q.v.).
He inherited a lease of Gowran Castle from his father in 1696, bought the freehold from a Dublin merchant, Lewis Chaigneau, and rebuilt it in 1713.  He greatly expanded the family's estate, buying some 1,700 acres around Gowran from Chaigneau and the Dukes of Ormonde, 3,800 acres near Castlecomer, and 14,000 acres around Graiguenamanagh and Thomastown. In 1718 he bought an estate called The Rower in south-east Kilkenny, which included the income from ferry operations across the R. Barrow at Mountgarret near New Ross.
He died in 1733.

Bermingham (née Agar, then Bourke), Ellis (1709-89), Countess of Brandon.  
Ellis, Countess of Brandon
by Philip Hussey
Elder daughter of James Agar (c.1671-1733) and his second wife Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Wemyss of Danesfort, born 1709.  She was reputedly a mistress of King George II, and was described as having 'genuine wit, elegance of taste, dignity of manners, and superior understanding'.  She was created Countess of Brandon for life, 15 September 1758: a peerage which is hard to account for except by exceptional royal favour.  She married 1st, March 1726, Theobald Bourke, 7th Earl of Mayo (d. 1742) and 2nd, 7 August 1745, Francis, 18th Baron Athenry (1692-1750); but died without issue.
She died in Dublin, 11 March 1789, aged 80, and the earldom became extinct on her death.  A monument designed by Edward Smyth was erected to her memory in Gowran church by her nephew, the 1st Viscount, to whom she bequeathed a legacy, specifying that £300 should be spent on the monument.

Agar, Henry (1707-46), of Gowran Castle.  Elder son of James Agar (c.1671-1733) and his second wife Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Wemyss of Danesfort (Kilkenny).  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1724).  MP for Gowran in the Irish Parliament, 1727-46.  He married, 29 May 1733, Anne (1707-65), daughter of Rt. Rev. Welbore Ellis, Bishop of Meath and sister of Welbore Ellis, 1st Baron Mendip (whose title passed by special remainder to the heirs of the first three sons of this marriage), and had issue:
(1) James Agar (1734-89), 1st Viscount Clifden (q.v.); 
(2) Welbore Ellis Agar (1735-1805), educated at Westminster School; a Commissioner of Customs, 1776-1805, and Deputy Muster-Master of England; a great collector of pictures, whose collection included works by Van Dyck and Rubens and eight paintings by Claude - the collection was sold to Lord Grosvenor after his death; m. 21 October 1762, Gertrude (d. 1780), daughter of Sir Charles Hotham, 4th bt. but died without legitimate issue, 30 October 1805; buried in St George's, Hanover Square, London, 6 November 1805; left two illegitimate sons (Welbore Felix Agar (d. 1836) and Sir Emanuel Felix Agar (1781-1866)) who were principal beneficiaries of his will, proved 2 November 1805;
(3) Most Rev. Charles Agar (1736-1809), Archbishop of Cashel and later of Dublin; 1st Earl of Normanton (see next post); 
(4) Rev. Henry Agar (1743-98), educated at Westminster School, Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1761; BA 1765) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1761); ordained deacon, 1766 and priest, 1767; rector of Aghabullogue and prebendary of Inishcarra (Cork) in the diocese of Cloyne from 1768; 'led a life of dissipation and scandalised his family and parishioners', culminating in an unproven accusation of attempted incest with one of his own daughters; he was apparently mentally ill, and was probably explicitly excluded on that account from the succession to the barony of Mendip and from Lord Mendip's will; eventually withdrawn from active ministry on the instructions of his brother, the Archbishop; m. Mary, daughter of Benjamin Tyrrell of Oxford and had issue three sons (the eldest of whom was apparently also mentally incapacitated) and a daughter; died 14 May 1798;
(5) Diana Agar (1746-1814); born posthumously; died unmarried in Bristol, July 1814.
He inherited the Gowran Castle estate from his father in 1733.  As a result of his marriage he acquired an interest in the Ellis family's Dublin property on the R. Liffey between Arran Quay and Pheonix Park; this property later passed into the Agar family.
He died 18 November 1746.  His widow married 2nd, 20 January 1753, George Dunbar of Co. Fermanagh, and died 14 April 1765; she was buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 17 April 1765.  Administration of her effects was granted by the Prerogative Court of Armagh to her second husband, 11 September 1765.

Agar, James (1713-69). Second son of James Agar (c.1671-1733) and his second wife Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Wemyss of Danesfort (Kilkenny), born 7 September 1713.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1729/30).  MP in the Irish Parliament for Gowran, 1747-60 and Tulsk (Roscommon), 1768-69.  He married, 6 July 1741, Rebecca (d. 1789), only daughter of William Flower, 1st Baron Castle Durrow (1685-1746) and had issue:
(1) Mary Agar (b. 1743), m. 30 August 1760, Philip Savage; died before 1790;
(2) George Agar (1751-1815), 1st Baron Callan (q.v.); 
(3) Ven. Charles Agar  (1755-89), born 28 May 1755; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1775) and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1776; BA 1779); archdeacon of Emly, died unmarried and without issue, 5 May 1789.
He inherited The Rower estate and town property in Kilkenny and Waterford from his father in 1733; he changed the name of The Rower to Ringwood, and this became his principal seat.  He purchased the Callan (Kilkenny) estate from the Cuffes, Earls of Dysart, in 1765 for £17,000, which was largely financed by borrowing.
He was killed in a duel with a political rival, Henry Flood, that resulted from competition between them for the parliamentary representation of Callan, 25 August 1769, and buried at Gowran, 30 August 1769. His widow died 3 March 1789.

Agar, George (1751-1815), 1st Baron Callan of Kilmurry and later Westcourt House.  Elder son of James Agar (1713-69) and his wife Rebecca, daughter of William Flower, 1st Baron Castle Durrow, born 4 December 1751.  Educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge; MP for Callan in the Irish House of Commons, 1776-90; admitted to Irish Privy Council, 1789; created 1st Baron Callan, 6 June 1790; elected to UK House of Lords as one of the first 28 representative Irish peers, 1800.  He died unmarried and without legitimate issue, although he left sixteen illegitimate children by two London mistresses, one of them an actress.  He provided for the education of his children in his will and left each of them £1000 when they came of age.
He inherited the Callan and Ringwood estates from his father in 1769.  He never lived at Callan after his father's murder, but rented Kilmurry near Thomastown (about halfway between his two estates) from the Bushe family.  After 1790 he leased Westcourt Castle in Callan from the Ormondes and in 1794 he bought the freehold, pulled down the castle and built a mansion called Westcourt House.  After his death, Westcourt, Callan and Ringwood all passed to the 2nd Viscount Clifden.
He died 29 October 1815, when his peerage became extinct.  His will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

Agar, James (1734-89), 1st Viscount Clifden, of Gowran Castle.  Eldest son of Henry Agar (1707-46) and his wife Anne, daughter of Rt. Rev. Welbore Ellis, Bishop of Meath and sister of Welbore Ellis, 1st Baron Mendip (q.v.), born 25 March 1734.  Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1752); MP in the Irish Parliament for Gowran 1753-60, Co. Kilkenny, 1761-76 and for Gowran again, 1776-77; Commissioner of the Revenue, 1771-85; Commissioner of Excise, 1776-85; appointed to the Irish Privy Council, 1784;  joint Postmaster-General (Ireland), 1784-89; Col. of the Gowran volunteers, 1779; created 1st Baron Clifden in the Peerage of Ireland, 27 July 1776, and 1st Viscount Clifden, also in the Peerage of Ireland, 12 January 1781 (Clifden was the new name the family gave to the Rathgarvan estate).  He married, 20 March 1760, Lucinda (known as Lucia) (c.1732-1802), eldest daughter of Col. John Martin and widow of the Hon. Henry Boyle-Walsingham, 2nd son of Henry, Earl of Shannon, and had issue: 
(1) Henry Welbore Agar (later Ellis) (1761-1836), 2nd Viscount Clifden and 2nd Baron Mendip (q.v.); 
(2) Hon. & Rev. John Ellis Agar (1764-97), born 31 December 1764; educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1784; BA 1788; MA 1791); ordained deacon and priest, 1789; rector of Duntrileague (Limerick), 1789; prebendary of Emly, 1789; rector of St. George, Dublin; Precentor of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 1796; m. 11 March 1792, Harriet (d. 1813) (who m.2, 20 July 1798, Pryse Loveden-Pryse MP), daughter of William Flower, 2nd Viscount Ashbrook; but died without issue, 3 January 1797;
(3) Hon. Charles Bagenal Agar (1769-1811), born 13 August 1769; educated at Westminster School, Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1788; BA 1792; MA 1795); and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1788; called to bar, 1796); barrister-at-law; a Commissioner of Bankrupts, 1799; Deputy Recorder of Oxford, 1801; High Sheriff of Cornwall, 1809; married 15 November 1804 Anna Maria (d. 1861), daughter and co-heir of Thomas Hunt of Mollington Hall (Cheshire) and sole heir to the Robartes estates in Cornwall, and had issue (this branch of the family will be the subject of a future post under the title of Robartes (later Agar-Robartes) of Lanhydrock, Earls of Radnor, Barons Robartes and Viscounts Clifden); died 16 June 1811;
(4) Anne Agar, died unmarried.
He inherited the Gowran Castle estate from his father in 1746.  In 1773 he purchased Dunbell and Maddoxtown from the Knaresborough family. He left debts of £48,000.
He died in Ireland, 1 January 1789, aged 54, and was buried at Gowran, where he is commemorated by a monument designed by Edward Smyth.  His widow died at Pope's Villa, Twickenham, 26 July 1802 aged 70, and was buried at Twickenham, 29 July 1802.

Ellis, Welbore (1713-1802), 1st Baron Mendip, of Pope's Villa.  Only surviving son of Rt. Rev. Welbore Ellis, Bishop of Meath, and his wife Diana, daughter of Sir John Briscoe of Amberley Castle (Sussex), born at Kildare, 15 December 1713.  Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1732; BA 1736; DCL 1773).  MP for Cricklade 1741-47, Weymouth & Melcombe Regis 1747-54, 1774-90, Aylesbury 1761-68, and Petersfield 1768-74,  1791-94; a Lord of the Admiralty, 1747-55; Joint Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, 1756-62, 1765-66, 1770-77; Secretary at War 1762-65; Treasurer of the Navy 1777-82; Secretary of State for America and the Colonies, Feb-Mar, 1782; appointed to Privy Council, 1760.  Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, 1745.  He was created 1st Baron Mendip in the peerage of Great Britain, 13 August 1794, with remainder to the three elder sons of his sister, Anne, wife of Henry Agar of Gowran.  He married 1st, 18 November 1747 Elizabeth (d. 1761), only daughter and heir of Hon. Sir William Stanhope KB, and 2nd, 20 July 1765, Anna (d. 1803), daughter of George Stanley of Paulton Park (Hants) and sister and heir of Rt. Hon. Hans Stanley, but died without issue.
He acquired Pope's Villa at Twickenham through his first marriage in 1747 and a life interest in Paultons Park (Hampshire) in 1780 through his second wife.  At his death Pope's Villa passed with his title to 2nd Viscount Clifden.
He died 2 February 1802, aged 88, when his barony devolved upon his great-nephew, Henry Welbore Agar (1761-1836), 2nd Viscount Clifden (q.v.).  He was buried in Westminster Abbey, 7 February 1802.  His widow died at Twickenham, 7 December 1803 and was buried with her husband, 12 December 1803.  His will was proved in January 1804.

Ellis (né Agar), Henry Welbore (1761-1836), 2nd Viscount Clifden and 2nd Baron Mendip.  Eldest son of James Agar (1734-89), 1st Viscount Clifden and his wife Lucia, eldest daughter of Col. John Martin and widow of the Hon. Henry Boyle-Walsingham, born 22 January 1761.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1778; BA 1782).  Travelled to Rome in 1783 and to Bologna in 1787-88, where he was regarded as a 'Dilettanti' by one commentator and bought pictures.  He succeeded his father as 2nd Viscount Clifden, 1 January 1789 and his uncle as 2nd Baron Mendip, 2 February 1802, whereupon he took the sole surname of Ellis.  Clerk of the Privy Council of Ireland, 1775-1817; MP for Co. Kilkenny in the Irish Parliament, 1783-89 and for Heytesbury (Wilts) in the UK Parliament, 1793-1802: as an Irish peer who was not one of the 28 elected representative Irish peers he did not have a seat in the UK House of Lords until he inherited the Barony of Mendip in 1802.  In politics, a supporter of Pitt, but after Pitt's death in 1806 reverted to the Whigs, whom he had supported in the Irish House of Commons before the French Revolution.  Commander of a yeomanry troop in Ireland during the 1798 rebellion; after the Union he spent most of his time in England.  Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, 1803.  He married, 10/19 March 1792 at Syon House (Middx), Lady Caroline Spencer (1763-1813), eldest daughter of 4th Duke of Marlborough KG and had issue:
(1) George James Welbore Agar-Ellis (1797-1833), 1st Baron Dover (q.v.); 
(2) Hon. Caroline Anne Agar-Ellis (d. 1814); died unmarried and without issue. 
He inherited the Gowran Castle estate from his father in 1789, along with debts of £48,000.  In 1800 he received about £30,000 compensation from the Government for the disenfranchisement of the boroughs of Gowran and Thomastown. In 1802, he inherited Pope's Villa from Lord Mendip, but this was sold in 1807.  In 1802 he purchased the Holdenby House estate (Northants) from his father-in-law, the Duke of Marlborough.  In 1815 he inherited the Westcourt, Callan and Ringwood estates from his cousin, Lord Callan.  In 1817-19 he rebuilt Gowran Castle.
He died 13 July 1836, and was succeeded in his title and estates by his grandson.  He was buried at Twickenham, 31 July 1836.  His wife died at Blenheim Palace, 23 November 1813, and was buried there, 29 November 1813

Agar-Ellis, George James Welbore (1797-1833), 1st Baron Dover.  
1st Baron Dover, by
Sir Thomas Lawrence (det.)
Only son of Henry Welbore Ellis (né Agar) (1761-1836), 2nd Viscount Clifden and 2nd Baron Mendip, and his wife, Lady Caroline Spencer, eldest daughter of 4th Duke of Marlborough KG, born 17 January 1797.  Educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford (BA 1816; MA 1819); MP for Heytesbury, 1818, Seaford, 1820, Ludgershall 1826, Okehampton, 1830; Chief Commissioner of Woods & Forests, 1830 (for 2 months); trustee of the British Museum and of the National Gallery, a commissioner of the public records; President of Royal Society of Literature, 1832; published various works on art and history, including the letters of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann (1833) and the Ellis correspondence (1829); formed an important collection of works by English painters.  Fellow of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries.  Created 1st Baron Dover, 20 June 1831.  He married, 7 March 1822, Lady Georgiana Howard (1804-60), daughter of 6th Earl of Carlisle KG, and had issue:
(1) Henry Agar-Ellis (1825-66), 2nd Baron Dover and 3rd Viscount Clifden (q.v.);
(2) Hon. Lucia Caroline Elizabeth Agar-Ellis (1827-95), m. 13 August 1851 3rd Baron Bagot (d. 1887) and had issue;
(3) Hon. Caroline Anne Harriett Agar-Ellis (1828-46); died unmarried and without issue;
(4) Leopold George Frederick Agar-Ellis (1829-99), 5th Viscount Clifden (q.v.);
(5) Hon. George Victor Agar-Ellis (1830-53); christened 27 May 1830; served in the Army; died unmarried and without issue;
(6) Hon. Diana Mary Blanche Georgiana Agar-Ellis (1832-90), m. 5 August 1851, Hon. Edward Coke (d. 1889) but died without issue, 18 July 1890;
(7) Hon. George James Welbore Agar-Ellis (1833-72); served in HM Diplomatic Service at British legation in Athens; died unmarried at Ticehurst (Sussex), 31 December 1872; will proved 11 March 1873 (estate under £25,000).
In 1830 he bought a lease of Melbourne House, Whitehall, London and renamed it Dover House.
He died in the lifetime of his father, 10 July 1833, and his will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 31 July 1833.  His widow died 17 March 1860 and administration of her estate was granted 30 April 1860 (estate under £25,000).

Agar-Ellis, Henry (1825-66), 2nd Baron Dover and 3rd Viscount Clifden, of Gowran Castle.  Elder son of George James Welbore Agar-Ellis (1797-1833), 1st Baron Dover, and his wife Lady Georgiana Howard, daughter of 6th Earl of Carlisle, born 25 February 1825.  Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford (BA 1845); Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince Consort, 1846-52.  A Liberal in politics.  He inherited the barony of Dover from his father in 1833 and the barony of Mendip and viscountcy of Clifden from his grandfather in 1836.  He married, 23 September 1861, Eliza Horatia Frederica (1833-96), daughter of Frederick Charles William Seymour and great-granddaughter of 1st Marquess of Hertford, a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria (who m2, 1875, Col. Sir Walter George Stirling, 3rd bt (d. 1934)), and had issue: 
(1) twin, Hon. Liliah Georgiana Augusta Constance Agar-Ellis (1862-1944), born 6 August 1862; m. 1884 Luke White, 3rd Baron Annaly (d. 1922) and had issue; died 27 January 1944; will proved 16 May 1945 (estate £144,141);
(2) twin, Hon. Lucia Georgiana Mary Agar-Ellis (1862-64), born 6 August 1862; died 20 October 1864;
(3) Henry George Agar-Ellis (1863-95), 4th Viscount Clifden (q.v.).
He inherited Dover House, Whitehall, London from his father in 1833 and Holdenby House and Gowran Castle from his grandfather in 1836.  At his death his widow acquired a life interest in Dover House, which she retained until 1885, when the lease was surrendered to the Crown.  Dover House subsequently became the Scottish Office.
He died 'of softening of the brain' at Dover House, Whitehall, 20 February 1866, aged 40; will proved 13 March 1866 (estate under £70,000).  His widow died 23 April 1896 at Burr's Wood and was buried at Groombridge (Kent).

Agar-Ellis, Henry George (1863-95), 4th Viscount Clifden, of Gowran Castle.  Only son of Henry Agar-Ellis (1825-66), 3rd Viscount Clifden, and his wife Eliza Horatia Frederica, daughter of Frederick Charles William Seymour, born 2 September 1863 at Dover House, Whitehall.  He inherited the baronies of Mendip and Dover and the viscountcy of Clifden from his father in 1866.  Educated at Eton.  He was a Liberal in politics until 1886 and thereafter a Liberal Unionist.  He died unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Gowran Castle and Holdenby House from his father in 1866, and his trustees rebuilt the house at Holdenby c.1872-75; he carried out further works in 1887-88 after coming into his inheritance.  According to Bateman, in 1883 he owned 4,774 acres in Northamptonshire, 2,976 acres in Buckinghamshire; 2,537 acres in Somerset; 1,107 acres in Oxfordshire, 36 acres in Middlesex; 35,288 acres in Kilkenny; 821 acres in Dublin; 978 acres in Kildare and 500 acres in Meath.  At his death his estates passed to his sister, Lady Annaly, but the Gowran estate was broken up under the Land Acts shortly afterwards.
He died at 7 Carlton Gardens, London, of pneumonia, 28 March 1895, aged 31, and was buried at Holdenby (Northants).  Administration of his estate was granted 5 August 1895 (estate £251,726).

Agar-Ellis, Leopold George Frederick (1829-99), 5th Viscount Clifden, of Gowran Castle.  Second son of George James Welbore Agar-Ellis (1797-1833), 1st Baron Dover, and his wife Lady Georgiana Howard, daughter of 6th Earl of Carlisle, born 13 May 1829.  Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (MA 1852); Inner Temple (called to bar 1854). DL & JP, Kilkenny.  Major, Kilkenny Militia; ADC to Earl of Carlisle while Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1855-58, 1859-64; Liberal MP for Co. Kilkenny, 1857-74.  He inherited the baronies of Mendip and Dover, and the viscountcy of Clifden from his nephew in 1895; the barony of Dover became extinct on his death.  He married, 8 February 1864, Harriet (1836-1914), sixth daughter of Thomas Stonor, 3rd Baron Camoys, and had issue:
(1) George Robert Agar-Ellis (1864-72), born 8 November 1864; died 30 March 1872;
(2) Caroline Agar-Ellis (1866-91), married 20 October 1888, Lt.-Col. James Farish Malcolm Fawcett of Peckleton House, Hinckley (Leics); died without issue, 28 January 1891;
(3) Hon. Harriet Agar-Ellis (1867-1928), m. 24 February 1897, Thomas Granville Knox and had issue; died 4 July 1928;
(4) Hon. Evelyn Mary Agar-Ellis (c.1869-1952), m. 27 June 1896, Hon. Edward Henry Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone (d. 1903), son of 1st Baron Derwent, and had issue; died 8 June 1952.
He lived in London and at Gowran Castle, which was owned by his father and later his elder brother.
He died 10 September 1899, when the barony of Mendip and the viscountcy of Clifden passed to his cousin, Thomas Charles Agar-Robartes (1844-1930), 2nd Baron Robartes, of Lanhydrock (Cornwall); he and subsequent generations will be the subject of a future post.  He was buried 14 September 1899 at Brompton Cemetery.  His will was proved 21 October 1899 (estate £4,334).


Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, successive editions; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn, 1988, p. 144; J. Heward & R. Taylor, The country houses of Northamptonshire, 1996, pp. 235-238; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy, 1701-1800, 1997, p.10; A. Beckles Wilson, ‘Alexander Pope’s grotto in Twickenham’, Garden History, (26:1), 1998, pp. 31-59; A.P.W. Malcolmson, Archbishop Charles Agar, 2002; A. Kavanagh, Agar of Gowran and Blunden of Castleblunden, 2013;

Where are their papers?

Agar-Ellis family, Viscounts Clifden: Gowran estate papers, 1840-1901 (National Archives of Ireland); Irish estate papers 1746-1828  (Northants RO Annaly)
Agar-Ellis, George James Welbore (1797-1833), 1st Baron Dover: diaries, correspondence and papers, 1811-33 (Northants RO)

Revised 11th January 2014

Saturday 22 June 2013

(51) Agar of Brockfield Hall, Stockton-on-the-Forest (Yorks)

Agar of Brockfield
Lawrence Agar (d. 1583) was an established landowner at Stockton near York in the 16th century, and his property seems to have descended through five generations to Thomas Agar, who flourished in the early 18th century, although there was no gentry house associated with the property at this period.  Several members of the family were lawyers in York or London.  Thomas’ son, Andrew Agar, was alive in 1762 but the estate passed later to his unmarried sisters, Margaret and Mary Agar.  When the survivor of them died in 1786 the estate passed to her great-great-nephew, Benjamin Preston (b. 1772), who changed his name to Agar in accordance with the terms of her will.  (Thomas Agar’s daughter Elizabeth married Rev. Benjamin Wilson.  Their daughter Anne (1723-1808) married Thomas Preston of York as her first husband, and their son Thomas Preston (fl. 1771) was the father of Benjamin Preston; she subsequently married the Rev. John Buxton, rector of Carleton Rode (Norfolk) and was buried at Stockton-on-the-Forest in 1808).  In 1804-07, Benjamin Agar employed Peter Atkinson of York to design and build Brockfield Hall, which passed on his death c.1852 to his son John Agar (d. 1871).  John’s daughter, Harriet Elizabeth Agar (d. 1906) bequeathed the property to an extremely distant relation, William Talbot Agar (1844-1910), whose father, William Talbot Agar (1814-1906) of Elm Lodge, Islington and later of Milford House, Milford-on-Sea (Hants), claimed descent from Seth Agar, the brother of John Agar II in the 17th century.  In 1910 the estate passed to his son Charles Talbot Agar (1872-1941) of Cobham Court (Surrey), who seems to have continued to live in Surrey, where he was probably responsible for remodelling Cobham Court in c.1900-10.  The Brockfield estate was eventually sold to Lord Martin Fitzalan-Howard in 1951, and now belongs to his daughter and her husband, Mr & Mrs Simon Wood.

Brockfield Hall, Stockton-on-the-Forest, Yorkshire

Brockfield Hall.  Image: Robin on a Wire
A plain brick house, designed by Peter Atkinson (1735-1805) for Benjamin Agar (né Preston) in 1804-07 and completed after the architect’s death by his son of the same name.  It is of three bays and two storeys, with a lower two-storey service wing.  The entrance side has a projecting pilastered porch with above a wrought iron balcony in front of a Venetian window.  The garden side has a full-height three windowed bow.  

Brockfield Hall: staircase hall.  Image: Robin on a Wire
Inside, the porch leads into a very handsome domed circular entrance hall in which the elegant flying staircase with iron balustrade rises so that the entrance is under a half-pace landing. The house is open to the public in August each year: see here for details.

Brockfield Hall: the understated front door.  Image: Robin on a Wire

Descent: Lawrence Agar (d. 1583); to younger son, John Agar (d. 1636); to son, John Agar; to son, John Agar (fl. 1679); to younger son, John Agar (fl. 1681); to ?son, Thomas Agar; to son, Andrew Agar (fl. 1750-62); to sisters, Margaret Agar and Mary Agar (d. 1786?); to great-great-nephew, Benjamin Preston (later Agar) (1772-c.1857); to son, John Agar (d. 1871); to daughter, Harriet Elizabeth Agar (d. 1906); to distant kinsman, William Talbot Agar (d. 1910); to son, Charles Talbot Agar (1873-1937); sold 1923 to Mary Ellison, who sold 1925 to Herbert Murgatroyd, who sold 1951 to Lord Martin Fitzalan-Howard (1922-2003); to daughter Clare, wife of Simon Wood (fl. 2012).

Agar family of Brockfield Hall

Agar (né Preston), Benjamin (1772-c.1852), of Brockfield Hall.  Elder son of Thomas Preston (b. c.1750) and his wife Mary Driffield, born 11 May and baptised 9 June 1772.  JP and DL for North Yorkshire.  He changed his name to Agar in 1786, on inheriting the estate of his great-aunt.  He married, 23 September 1793 at Kilmoremoy (Mayo), Beatrice Susanna, daughter of Lewis Francis Irwin of Tanragoe (Sligo) and had issue:
(1) John Agar (c.1798-1871); 
(2) Elizabeth Agar (c.1797-1883) of Silver How, Grasmere (Westmorland); died unmarried, 10 March 1883; will proved 14 April 1883 (estate £19,602).
He inherited lands at Brockfield, Stockton-on-the-Forest (Yorks NR) from his great-great-aunt, Mary  Agar, in 1786, and built Brockfield Hall in 1804.
He died in about 1852.  His will has not been traced.

Agar, John (c.1798-1871), of Brockfield Hall.  Son of Benjamin Agar (né Preston) (1772-c.1852) and his wife Beatrice Susanna, daughter of Lewis Francis Irwin of Tanragoe (Sligo), born c.1798.  He married, 25 June 1829, Harriet Maria (d. 1885), daughter of Thomas Swann esq.  and had issue:
(1) Mary Anne Agar (1831-1900); m. Capt. Lewis Barstow RN (d. 1900), but died without issue, 28 August 1900; will proved 28 December 1900 (estate £36,914)
(2) Harriet Elizabeth Agar (1832-1904) (q.v.);
(3) John Lewis Agar (1838-54), died unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Brockfield Hall from his father in c.1850.
He died 28 November 1871.  His will was proved 29 January 1872 (estate under £14,000).

Agar, Harriet Elizabeth (1832-1904) of Brockfield Hall.  Only surviving child of John Agar (c.1798-1871) and his wife Harriet Maria, daughter of Thomas Swann esq., born 1832.  She died unmarried and without issue.
She inherited Brockfield Hall from her father in 1871, and at her death bequeathed it to a distant kinsman, William Talbot Agar.
She died 17 October 1904.  Her will was proved 23 February 1905 (estate £87,041).

Agar, William Talbot (1844-1910) of Brockfield Hall.  Son of William Talbot Agar (1814-1906), of Milford Lodge, Lymington (Hants), barrister, and his first wife, Leonora Matilda (d. 1858), daughter of William and Sarah Reed, born 1844.  Educated at Brighton College, Trinity College Cambridge (admitted, 1862; BA, 1866) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1865, called to bar 1868); secretary to the Institute of Bankers 1881-1904.  He married 1871 Ethel Headington (d. 1944), daughter of Clement Dale of Bartley Lodge (Hants) and had issue including:
(1) Charles Talbot Agar (1872-1941) (q.v.);
(2) Ida Margaret Frances Agar (1874-1953), m. 1901, Elliot Ridgeway Fawcett Brunskill (c.1875-1933), son of William Fawcett Brunskill, and had issue; died 10 June 1953; will proved 17 July 1953 (estate £4,930);
(3) Harold Evelyn Talbot Agar (1876-1962), born 14 August 1876 and baptised 22 September 1876 at Weybridge; educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1894); member of London Stock Exchange from 1911; served in WW1 in Royal Engineers (Major, 1916; twice mentioned in despatches); married 1904 Beatrice Frances, daughter of Charles William Jervis Smith of Brocksford Hall, Doveridge (Derbys); died at his home in France, 18 June 1962; will proved 17 July 1962 (estate in England £14,511).
He lived at St Mary's Lodge, Weybridge, Surrey, but inherited Brockfield Hall from his distant kinswoman, Harriet Elizabeth Agar, in 1906. (He claimed descent from Seth Agar, brother of John Agar II in the 17th century through William Agar (fl. 1724); William Agar II (fl. 1755); William Agar III (fl. 1797) and his father William Agar IV.)
He died 19 January 1910.  His widow died 24 June 1944 in London.

Agar, Charles Talbot (1872-1941) of Brockfield Hall.  Son of William Talbot Agar (1844-1910) and his wife Ethel Headington, daughter of Clement Dale of Bartley Lodge (Hants), born 2 December 1872.  Educated at Westminster School, Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated, 1891; rowing blue, 1893; BA 1897), and Lincolns Inn (called to bar 1909); served in Great War (Sub-Lt., RNVR 1915-16, Lt., RGA 1916-19).  He married, 17 April 1907, Beatrice Sibyl (1883-1975), daughter of Herbert Renny Duke, and had issue:
(1) Sibyl Louisa Talbot Agar (1909-55); died 4 March 1955; will proved 21 October 1955 (estate £4101);
(2) Mary (known as Molly) Talbot Agar (1910-41), died 5 June 1941 at Pau (France), of blood poisoning and pneumonia;
(3) Joan Talbot Agar (1913-18); born 12 April 1913; buried at Cobham (Surrey), 24 May 1918;
(3) William Talbot Agar (1917-91); born 24 August 1917; company director; married 17 July 1952 the former wife of Felipe Benavides of Peru; died February 1991.
He inherited Brockfield Hall from his father in 1910, but was described at his death as of Wilmington Lodge, Sussex.  After his death the Brockfield estate was sold to Lord Martin Fitzalan-Howard. 
He died at Pau, 9 July 1941.  His will was proved 6 October and 2 December 1941 (estate £7,900)


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1850, p.8; VCH North Yorkshire, ii, p. 192; Sir H.M. Colvin, A biographical dictionary of British architects 1600-1840, 4th edn., 2008, p. 77;

Where are their papers?

Agar of Brockfield Hall (Yorks NR): deeds, estate and legal papers, 14th-19th cents. (North Yorks RO ZSG; York City Archives YL/Agar)

Revision and Acknowledgements

This post was first published 22 June 2013 and was revised 1 July 2014, 22 April 2018 and 14 May 2019. I am grateful to Sue Jones for additional information and to Shelby Smith for correcting an error.

Friday 21 June 2013

(50) Affleck of Dalham Hall, baronets

Affleck of Dalham Hall coat of arms
In 1714 John Affleck (c.1651-1718) purchased the Dalham estate previously owned by the Stuteville family (1416-1702), on which the Rt. Rev. Simon Patrick, Bishop of Ely, had recently built a new Dalham Hall.  One of his younger grandsons, Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Affleck (1725-88) was created a baronet in 1782.  The title passed by special remainder to his nephew, Sir Gilbert Affleck (1740-1808), and thereafter descended with the estate.  In 1901 Sir Robert Affleck (1852-1919) sold Dalham Hall, reputedly after being defrauded by his solicitor of as much as £10,000.  At the time of the sale, Affleck had commissioned new terraced gardens from T.H. Mawson and C.E. Mallows, and the plans were handed over to the purchaser, Cecil Rhodes, the South African diamond magnate, who, however, died before he could occupy it or lay out the gardens; it was later sold to the 1st Baron Milford.  At Sir Robert’s death, the title passed to his cousin, Sir Frederick Danby James Affleck (1856-1939), a Queensland fruit farmer.  He had two sons, who were both in jail in Brisbane at the time for a particularly sordid blackmailing operation (see here for details, towards the bottom of the page), and the baronetcy was never claimed and is regarded as having died out in 1939.  The Australian press at the time, however, credited the elder son with the title, and Sir Frederick James Siddartha Affleck (1905-75) was probably the last of his line; his younger brother is not heard of after 1941 and presumably predeceased him.

Dalham Hall, Suffolk

Dalham Hall before the fire in 1954, after which the top storey was removed.
Dalham Hall in Suffolk is a seven bay red brick house, originally of three full storeys with a hipped roof, with white painted quoins at the angles and no pediment. The ground floor on the entrance front has lost its glazing bars and now has an early 19th century doorway. It was built for Simon Patrick (1626-1707), Bishop of Ely in 1704-05, who bought the estate from the Stuteville family in 1702. Early photographs show that the house had richly carved panelled interiors.

Dalham Hall: a fine carved wood overmantel recorded in the house c.1900. Image: Historic England

Patrick's widow sold the house in 1714 to John Affleck (c.1651-1718), and it descended in this family to Sir Robert Affleck, 7th bt. (1852-1919). In 1901, Affleck obtained plans from C.E. Mallows for remodelling the house and raising the 19th century service wing to three storeys, and for the layout of formal gardens to the design of T.H. Mawson. In that year, however, he discovered that he had been defrauded by his solicitors, and was forced to sell the estate to repay loans taken out for estate improvements. 

The purchaser was the colonial administrator, Cecil Rhodes (d. 1902), who died before he could move in. His executors abandoned the plans for altering the house, but brought in Lutyens to propose changes to the main house, which also remained unexecuted, apart from a new lodge of 1903, and perhaps some alterations of 1906 to the fine ten-bay stable block.

In 1928 Rhodes sold the estate to Sir Laurence Philipps, 1st bt. and later 1st Baron Milford (1874-1962), who established a racing stud here. He remodelled the Victorian service wing c.1927-28, possibly to the designs of H.S. Goodhart-Rendel. The interior of the main block was remodelled at the same time, including much rather lightweight new panelling and moulded plasterwork in 18th century style. In 1954 there was a serious fire, and when the house was restored the top floor was removed, completely altering the proportions of the design. Between the 1920s remodelling and the fire, most of the original woodwork in the interior seems to have been lost.

Dalham Hall as rebuilt after the fire. Image: Bob Jones.  Licenced under a Creative Commons licence.
Lord Milford left Dalham to his third son, Maj. The Hon. James Philipps (1905-84); he established a family trust which sold the estate in 2009 to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of UAE), who had bought the racing stud in 1981. The sale agreement allowed Charles Philipps and his family to continue to live in the house for a further five years, and the house was let after he moved out.

The house has a fine large walled front garden, long avenues in several directions, and an informal yew avenue leading to the church.  There are also the remains of a garden canal, possibly later in date than the house, although it is tempting to see in it the influence of the Dutch wife of John Affleck (d. 1718).

Descent: Stuteville family from 1416; sold 1702 to Simon Patrick (1626-1707), Bishop of Ely; to widow, Penelope Patrick (d. 1725) who sold 1714 to John Affleck (c.1651-1718); to son, Gilbert Affleck (c.1684-1764); to son, John Affleck (1710-74); to son, Sir Gilbert Affleck, 2nd bt. (1740-1808); to cousin, Lt-Gen. Sir James Affleck, 3rd bt. (1759-1838); to brother, Rev. Sir Robert Affleck, 4th bt. (1765-1851); to son, Sir Gilbert Affleck, 5th bt. (1804-54); to brother, Sir Robert Affleck, 6th bt. (1805-82); to son, Sir Robert Affleck, 7th bt. (1852-1919), who sold the estate in 1901 to Cecil Rhodes (d. 1902); to nephew, Col. Francis William Rhodes (1898-1938), who sold 1928 to Sir Laurence Philipps, 1st bt. and later 1st Baron Milford (1874-1962), who established a racing stud here; to third son, Maj. James Philipps (1905-84); to family trust which sold 2009 to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of UAE), who had bought the racing stud in 1981.  The sale allowed Charles Philipps and his family to continue to live in the house for five years.

The Affleck family of Dalham Hall

Affleck, John (c.1651-1718), of Dalham Hall.  Son of Thomas Affleck and his wife Ann, daughter of Matthias Petersen of Ocland (Sweden), born c.1651.  He married Neeltje (1663-1729), daughter of Gilbert Schape of Amsterdam, merchant, and had issue including:
(1) Gilbert Affleck (c.1684-1764) (q.v.).
He purchased the Dalham Hall estate in 1714.
He died 26 March 1718, aged 67.  His will was proved 9 April 1718.  His widow died in 1729.  They are both commemorated by a monument in Dalham church.

Affleck, Gilbert (c.1684-1764), of Dalham Hall.  Son of John Affleck (c.1651-1718) and his wife Neeltje, daughter of Gilbert Schape, born c.1684. MP for Cambridge, 1722-27, 1737-41.  He married, 3 November 1705 in Westminster Abbey, Anne (d. 1744), daughter of John Dolben MP of Finedon (Northants), and had issue (with five other children who did not survive infancy):
(1) John Affleck (1710-74) (q.v.);
(2) Rev. Gilbert Affleck (1711-63), born 15 November 1711; educated at Rugby and Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1731; BA 1734/5; MA 1738); ordained deacon, 1735/6 and priest, 1736; rector of Dalham; m. 1740, Elizabeth (1721-75), daughter of Richard Clopton and had issue two daughters; died 24 April 1763;
(3) Charles Affleck (1712-31); born 6 December 1712; died unmarried 10 October 1731;
(4) Thomas Affleck (1715-29); born 13 April 1715; died unmarried, 25 December 1729;
(5) Rev. James Affleck (1716-84) (q.v.);
(6) Rev. William Affleck (1717-1806); born 30 October 1717; educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (admitted 1733; BA 1736/7; MA 1740; BD 1747); ordained deacon, 1742 and priest, 1744; Fellow of Emmanuel College, 1737; Junior Proctor, 1745/6; rector of North Luffenham (Rutland), 1755-1806; m. Catherine, daughter of Richard Dalton and had issue two sons and three daughters; died 8 September 1806;
(7) Samuel Affleck (1721-47); born 11 August 1721; died unmarried in Bengal, 25 January 1747;
(8) Robert Affleck (1722-35); born 26 August 1722; died unmarried, 9 March 1735;
(9) Sir Edmund Affleck (1725-88), MP, 1st. bt. (q.v.);
(10) Admiral Philip Affleck (1726-99), born 2 May 1726; joined East India Company but soon transferred to Navy (Lt., 1755, Commander, 1759, Captain, 1759, Rear-Admiral, 1787, Vice-Admiral, 1792, Admiral, 1795; retired 1796); Commander-in-Chief of the Jamaica station, 1790-92; a Lord of the Admiralty, 1793-96; died unmarried and without issue, 21/26 December 1799; will proved 11 January 1800;
(11) Jermyn Affleck (1729-43); born 26 March 1729; died unmarried, April 1743;
(12) Anne Affleck (d. 1794); died unmarried;
(13) Elizabeth Affleck (d. by 1748), m.1 16 March 1737, Robert Trefusis (1708-42) of Trefusis (Cornwall) and had issue one son and one daughter, and m.2 Charles Charleton of Kensington Gravel Pits;
(14) Catherine Affleck (d. 1760), m. 1733, William Metcalfe of Fordham Abbey (Cambs); died May 1760;
(15) Mary Affleck (c.1724-73), m. Rev. Dr. William Danby of Swinton Park and had issue; buried at Masham (Yorks NR), 8 July 1773;
(16) Louisa Affleck (d. 1737); died unmarried;
(17) Charlotte Affleck (d. 1820), m.1 John Scotchmer (d. 1786) of Troston Hall (Suffolk) and m.2, 14 October 1789, Sir William Dolben bt. of Findon.
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate from his father in 1718.  
He died 12 November 1764.  His wife died in December 1744 when she fell into an open fire at Dalham Hall, apparently after having a stroke.

Affleck, John (1710-74), of Dalham Hall.  Eldest surviving son of Gilbert Affleck (c.1684-1764) and his wife Anne, daughter of John Dolben MP, born 12 February 1710.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1727).  MP for Suffolk, 1743-61 and Amersham, 1767-68.  He married Sarah (d. 1776), daughter of James Metcalfe of Roxton (Beds) and had issue:
(1) Sir Gilbert Affleck, 2nd bt. (1740-1808) (q.v.);
(2) Rev. John Affleck (1744-81); born 22 January 1743/44; educated at Bury St Edmunds Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (admitted 1763; BA 1767; MA 1776); ordained deacon, 1767 and priest, 1768; rector of St. Columb Major (Cornwall), 1776-81; died unmarried;
(3) Capt. William Affleck RN (d. 1792); served in Royal Navy (Captain, 1774); m. Harriet/Henrietta Anne Crawley (b. 1752) but died without issue, 21 December 1792; commemorated by a monument in the porch of St Mary, Bryanston Square, London.
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate from his father in 1764.
He died 5 March 1774.  His widow died 17 February 1776.

Affleck, Sir Edmund (1725-88), 1st bt.  
Sir Edmund Affleck, 1st bt.
Son of Gilbert Affleck (fl. 1705-41) and his wife Anne, daughter of John Dolben MP, born 19 April 1725.  Entered the Navy, c.1740 (Lt. 1745; Capt. 1757); given command of HMS Bedford, 1778; served at relief of Gibraltar, Battle of St. Vincent, 1780; promoted Commodore, 1781; created 1st baronet of Dalham Hall, 10 July 1782, with special remainder to the heirs of his father; retired as Rear-Admiral, 1784; MP for Colchester, 1782-88.  He married 1st, Esther (d. 1787), daughter of John Ruth and widow of Peter Creffield of Ardleigh Hall (Essex), and 2nd, 14 May 1788, Margaret, daughter of Mr. Burgess of New York and widow of Rev. William Smithers of Colchester (who m.3, 1792, Major John MacKinnon).
He lived at Fingringhoe Hall (Essex).
He died without issue, 19 November 1788, when his title passed under the special remainder to his nephew, Sir Gilbert Affleck (1740-1808), 2nd bt. (q.v.).  His will was proved 24 November 1788.

Affleck, Sir Gilbert (1740-1808), 2nd bt., of Dalham Hall.  Eldest son of John Affleck (1710-74) of Dalham Hall and his wife Sarah, daughter of James Metcalfe of Roxton (Beds), born 24 December 1740.  Educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (admitted 1759).  He married, 18 July 1796, Mary (1748-1835), daughter of Thomas Clark of New York and widow of Richard Vassall of Jamaica and London, but had no issue.
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate from his father in 1774 and the baronetcy from his uncle in 1788.  At his death, the title and estates passed to his cousin, Lt-Gen. Sir James Affleck (1759-1838), 3rd bt. (q.v.).
He died 17 July 1808.  His will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 7 October 1808.  His widow died in 1835; her will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 23 March 1835.

Affleck, Rev. James (1716-84).  Fifth son of Gilbert Affleck (fl. 1705-41) and his wife Anne, daughter of John Dolben MP, born 18 August 1716.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1735; BA 1739; MA 1742).  Rector of Finedon (Northants) and a prebendary of Southwell Minster and York Minster.  He married, 1757, Mary Procter (d. 1772) of Clay Coton and had issue:
(1) Lt-Gen. Sir James Affleck (1759-1838), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Capt. Thomas Affleck (1762-1805), RN; born 21 August 1762; died unmarried;
(3) Rev. Sir Robert Affleck (1765-1851), 4th bt. (q.v.);
(4) Capt. Edmund Affleck (d. 1795), died unmarried;
(5) Mary Affleck (d. 1773); died unmarried;
(6) Anne Affleck (d. 1832); died unmarried;
(7) Philippa/Penelope Affleck (d. 1851), m. Sir Digby Mackworth, 3rd bt. (1766-1838) as his second wife but died without issue.
He died 21 November 1784.  His will was proved 19 January 1785.

Affleck, General Sir James (1759-1833), 3rd bt., of Dalham Hall.  Eldest son of Rev. James Affleck (1716-84) of Finedon (Northants) and his wife Mary Procter of Clay Coton, born 29 April 1759.  Entered the Army, 1776 (Captain, 1778; Lt-Col., 1795; Col., 1798; Brig-Gen., 1803; Maj-Gen., 1805; Lt-Gen., 1811; General, 1825); Colonel of 16th Dragoons, 1795-1833.  
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate and the baronetcy from his first cousin, Sir Gilbert Affleck, 2nd bt., in 1808.
He died unmarried and without issue, 10 August 1833.  His will was proved 25 September 1833. For a portrait, see here.

Affleck, Rev. Sir Robert (1765-1851), 4th bt., of Dalham Hall.  Second son of Rev. James Affleck (1716-84) of Finedon (Northants) and his wife Mary Procter of Clay Coton, born 27 January 1765.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1783; BA 1787; MA 1790).  Ordained deacon, 1792 and priest, 1793; vicar of Westow, 1796-1833; rector of Tresswell (Notts), 1796; vicar of Doncaster (Yorks), 1807-17 and of Silkstone (Yorks), 1817-35; domestic chaplain to 3rd Earl Harcourt, 1817; prebendary of York Minster, 1802-51.  He married, 16 May 1800, Maria (d. 1825), daughter of Sir Elijah Impey, kt., of Newick Park (Sussex), formerly Chief Justice of Bengal, and had issue:
(1) Sir Gilbert Affleck (1804-54), 5th bt. (q.v.);
(2) Sir Robert Affleck (1805-82), 6th bt. (q.v.);
(3) Rev. James Danby Affleck (1810-62) (q.v.);
(4) John Affleck (1812-69), born 28 April 1812; died unmarried, 17 March 1869;
(5) George Danby Affleck (later Danby) (1818-91) of Swinton Park (Yorks), which he sold 1882;
(6) Mary Philippa Affleck (d. 1887), m. 7 February 1837, Rev. Thomas Francis Hall (1795-1858), vicar of Hatfield Broad Oak (Essex); died 8/9 April 1887; will proved 7 May 1887 (estate £346);
(7) Charlotte Affleck (d. 1880), m. 28 March 1854, Ven. George Glover (d. 1862), archdeacon of Sudbury (Suffolk); died 27 November 1880; administration granted 4 March 1881 (estate under £5,000);
(8) Harriett Elizabeth Affleck (d. 1897), m.1, 1829, John Thomas Bridges (d. 1853) and had issue, and m.2, 31 October 1854, Rev. Dr. J.E.N. Molesworth (d. 1877), vicar of Rochdale (Lancs); died 14 December 1897; will proved 12 February 1898 (estate £3,722);
(9) Marian Affleck (d. 1893), m. 10 November 1846, Rev Samuel Charles MA (d. 1890) and had issue; died 8 December 1893.
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate and the baronetcy from his elder brother in 1838.
He died 7 May 1851.  His will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 23 July 1851.

Affleck, Sir Gilbert (1804-54), 5th bt., of Dalham Hall.  Eldest son of Rev. Sir Robert Affleck (1765-1851), 4th bt., and his wife Maria, daughter of Sir Elijah Impey, kt., of Newick Park (Sussex), born 9 June 1804.  He married, 20 December 1834, Everina Frances (d. 1865), daughter of Francis Elliot of Bath (who m.2, Rev. Dr. William Whewell), but died without issue.
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate and the baronetcy from his father in 1851.
He died in November 1854.

Affleck, Sir Robert (1805-82), 6th bt., of Dalham Hall.  Second son of Rev. Sir Robert Affleck (1765-1851), 4th bt., and his wife Maria, daughter of Sir Elijah Impey, kt., of Newick Park (Sussex), born 28 July 1805.  JP and DL for Suffolk; High Sheriff of Suffolk, 18xx.  He married, 9 April 1850, Maria Emily (c.1825-1902), daughter of Edmund Burton of Churchill (Northants) and had issue:
(1) Katherine Maria Affleck (c.1851-1893), m.1, 1878, Lt-Col. Charles Willaston (d. 1882) and m.2, 1891, Richard Frewen of Innishannon (Cork);
(2) Sir Robert Affleck (1852-1919), 7th bt. (q.v.);
(3) Edmund Affleck (1854-75), RN; born 30 March 1854; died unmarried, 8 May 1875;
(4) Gilbert Affleck (b. & d. 1855); died in infancy, October 1855;
(5) Anna Maria Affleck (c.1857-1924); died unmarried in Germany, 16 June 1924; will proved 10 November 1924 (estate £2,624);
(6) Frances Caroline Affleck (c.1858-1923); died unmarried in Worthing, 3 December 1923; will proved 26 February 1924 (estate £425);
(7) Helen Affleck (1859-1943), born 28 April 1859; m. 1883, Rev. Henry Bruce Pugh, rector of Dalham and rural dean of Thurlow, and had issue; died 13 December 1943; will proved 9 March 1944 (estate £12,194)
(8) John de Linden Affleck (1860-1917), born 18 July 1860; m. Blanche Euphemia, daughter of Alexander A. Robson of Sydney (Australia) but died without issue;
(9) Philip Burton Affleck (1862-1916), born 2 January 1862; died unmarried and without issue, 24 July 1916; will proved 19 September 1916 (estate £1,415);
(10) Mary Elizabeth Harriett Affleck (1863-1921), born 4 June 1863; m. 1893 John William Rudd (d. 1922) of Anerley, London SE and had issue; died 12 September 1921.
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate and the baronetcy from his elder brother in 1854.
He died 9 October 1882.  His will was proved 25 April 1883 (estate £18,179).  His widow died 9 November 1902.

Affleck, Sir Robert (1852-1919), 7th bt., of Dalham Hall. Eldest son of Sir Robert Affleck (1805-82), 6th bt., and his wife Maria Emily, daughter of Edmund Burton of Churchill (Northants), born 4 March 1852.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1871).  JP for Suffolk.  He borrowed heavily to invest in estate improvements at Dalham Hall but was eventually obliged to sell the estate to repay the loans.  He claimed his solicitor had defrauded him of at least £10,000 skimmed from these and other transactions, and in 1903 he was involved in bankruptcy proceedings.  His wife took a situation as a saleswoman in Selfridge's newly-opened store in Oxford Street, London to supplement the family income, initially incognito; see here for an account of this episode.  He married, 9 March 1886 (div. 9 February 1915), Julia Georgina, daughter of John Sampson Prince, but died without issue.
He inherited the Dalham Hall estate and the baronetcy from his father in 1882, but sold the estate to Cecil Rhodes in 1901. He purchased a hunting box at Somerby (Leics) and ran a racing stable there.  
He died 4 December 1919, possibly abroad; no will has been found for him.

Affleck, Rev. James Danby (1810-62).  Younger son of Rev. Sir Robert Affleck (1765-1851), 4th bt., and his wife Maria, daughter of Sir Elijah Impey, kt., of Newick Park (Sussex), born 16 February 1810.  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1828; BA 1832).  Ordained deacon and priest, 1835; rector of Dalham, 1835-62.  He married, 19 April 1853, Sophia, daughter of Edward Dyson of Dalham and had issue:
(1) Sir Frederick Danby James Affleck (1856-1939), 8th bt. (q.v.);
(2) Arthur Edward Highlander Affleck (b. 1857)
(3) Adolphus Reginald Affleck (1862-63), died in infancy;
(4) Eleonora Affleck, died unmarried;
(5) Florence Affleck, died unmarried.
He died 27 December 1862.  His will was proved at Bury St Edmunds, 13 March 1863 (estate under £300).

Affleck, Sir Frederick Danby James (1856-1939), 8th bt.  Eldest son of Rev. James Danby Affleck (1810-62) and his wife Sophia, daughter of Edward Dyson of Dalham, born 3 February 1856.  Emigrated to Australia in the 1880s and became a fruit farmer in Brisbane, Australia.  He married, 1918 and again (after it was discovered that the first marriage was unintentionally bigamous), 21 June 1939, Lilley, daughter of Alfred Quarm Ross and formerly the husband of [name unknown] (d. c.1925) from whom she was legally separated in 1903, by whom he had issue:
(1) Frederick James Siddartha Affleck (1905-75), born 29 March 1905; for newspaper reports of his criminal convictions see here; claimed the baronetcy in 1939 but whose claim was rejected on the grounds of illegitimacy in 1949; died unmarried and without issue;
(2) Dalham Roger Affleck (1906-75?), born 3 May 1906; for newspaper reports of his criminal convictions see here; married and had issue (see comments below);
(3) Pansy Gabrielle Affleck (b. 1909), born 17 January 1909.
He died 24 July 1939. His widow was living in 1949.


Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 1924; Ipswich Journal, 29 December 1744; Grantham Journal, 3 October 1903; J. Kenworthy-Browne et al., Burke’s & Savill’s Guide to Country Houses: vol. 3, East Anglia, 1981, p.227; E. Martin, 'Garden canals in Suffolk' in Harper-Bill, Rawcliffe & Wilson, East Anglia's history, 2002, p. 232;;

Where are their papers?

Affleck family of Dalham Hall: family correspondence and papers, 18th-19th cents (Suffolk RO HD714/1348; Acc. 966/4/2-3); papers of 2nd bt, 18th-19th cents (BL Add MS.51807-08)

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published on 21 June 2013 and revised 1 January 2015, 18 April and 12 October 2016, 27 January 2017 and 3 April 2021. I am grateful for the assistance of Jessamy Carlson with research for this post.