Monday 29 July 2013

(58) Agnew of Rougham Hall and Great Stanhope St., London, baronets

Agnew of Rougham, baronets
Thomas Agnew (1794-1871), print seller and art dealer of Manchester and later London, was mayor of Salford in 1851 and founder of the famous gallery of Thomas Agnew & Sons.  He claimed descent from the Agnews of Sheuchan, a cadet branch of the Agnew family of Lochnaw, and the family was long settled at Clendry on the Lochnaw estate.

Thomas was followed into the business by his two eldest sons, William and Thomas, who opened a branch of the business to London, where it grew rapidly.  Sir William Agnew, 1st bt. (1825-1910) as he became in 1895, was a Liberal MP in the 1880s, and his son, Sir George William Agnew, 2nd bt. (1852-1941) bought the Rougham Hall estate (Suffolk) in 1904-05.  Rougham Hall itself was bombed in 1940 and never restored; the ruins remain on the estate, which still belongs to the current baronet.  Members of the family live in farmhouses on the estate.

Rougham Hall, Suffolk

Rougham Hall, Suffolk: the late 17th or early 18th century house
Rougham Hall in Suffolk is perhaps now one of the most atmospheric and romantic ruins in England. The first house here of which anything is known was perhaps built for Sir Robert Davers (d. c.1688), 1st baronet, who made a fortune in Barbados, or for his son, Sir Robert Davers (d. 1722), 2nd bt. This is known only from a late 18th or early 19th century drawing which makes it clear that there had been later alterations. The original house probably had a nine bay front of two storeys with a hipped roof and dormers, a central doorcase with a segmental pediment, prominent keystones over the ground-floor windows, and giant pilasters at the ends and flanking the three-bay centre. Later in the 18th century, a further three bays in matching style were added to the right of the original elevation, and a full-height semi-circular bay was added to the end elevation, the ground floor of which seems to have been open and carried on Ionic pillars. This may have formed a porch to a new entrance.

Rougham Hall: the mid 19th century house built for Philip Bennet. Image: Charles Hind Postcard Collection.
Around 1705-10, Sir Robert Davers sold Rougham to his son-in-law, Clement Corrance (d. 1724). It passed through several hands in the 18th century, ending up with Edward Bouverie of Delapre Abbey (Northants), who sold it in 1792 to the Rev. Roger Kedington (d. 1818). His daughter, Jane Judith, carried the house in marriage to Philip Bennet (1771-1853), who built a large new mansion in c.1821-27 in the Tudor and Gothic styles, on a new site a little to the north of its predecessor. His architect was Thomas Hopper, who was remarkably busy in Suffolk at this time. The old house was burned down shortly after its successor was completed. The new house had irregular picturesquely composed elevations, with square and octagonal towers linked by lower two-storey ranges, oriels and pinnacles. The interiors were essentially classical, and some rooms which were recorded to have had heavy wooden ceilings may have been a later alteration.

Philip Bennet (1862-1913), the great-grandson of the builder, sold the house and part of the estate in the 1890s to Edwin James Johnstone (b. 1872), who was heir to a newspaper fortune. He extended the house by the addition of a substantial wing linking the rear of the building to the stable court. In 1904/5 the estate was acquired by Sir George Agnew, 2nd bt. and it remains the property of his descendant, Sir George Agnew (b. 1953), 7th bt. The house, however, was requsitioned for military use during the Second World War, and was bombed by the enemy in September 1940, and has never been restored. The west tower was demolished in 1975 as being in a dangerous condition, but the ruins of the rest of the house still stand in a derelict state, and are occasionally shown to the public in their present state. 
For images of the house in its present condition, see here.

Descent: Sir Robert Davers, 1st bt. (d. c.1688), who made a fortune in Barbados and perhaps built the first house; to son, Sir Robert Davers, 2nd bt. (d. 1722); sold c.1705-10  to son-in-law Clement Corrance (d. 1724); to son John Corrance (1711-42); to daughter, Anne Corrance (1737-47); to kinsman William Castle; to daughter Catherine, wife of Edward Bouverie of Delapre Abbey, who sold 1792 to Rev. Roger Kedington (d. 1818); to daughter, Jane Judith Kedington, wife of Philip Bennet (1771-1853), who rebuilt the house; to son, Philip Bennet (1795-1866); to son, Philip Bennet (1827-75); to son, Philip Bennet (1862-1913), who sold the house (while retaining part of the estate) to Edwin James Johnstone (b. 1872), son of the editor of the ‘Standard’; who sold 1904/5 to Sir George William Agnew, 2nd bt. (1852-1941); to son, Sir John Stuart Agnew, 3rd bt. (1879-1957); to son, Sir (John) Anthony Stuart Agnew, 4th bt. (1914-93); to brother, Sir George Keith Agnew, 5th bt. (1916-94); to son, Sir John Keith Agnew, 6th bt. (1950-2011); to brother, Sir George Anthony Agnew, 7th bt. (b. 1953), the present owner.

The Agnews of Rougham Hall

Thomas Agnew (1794-1871), of Salford.  Parentage unknown, baptised as an adult at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 7 January 1816. Carver and gilder, who later became a publisher, printseller and art dealer in Manchester; founder of Thomas Agnew & Son, art dealers. Mayor of Salford, 1851.  He married, 19 February 1823, Jane Garnet (d. 1864), daughter and co-heiress of William Lockett of Manchester and had issue:
(1) Jane Agnew (1824-25), born 25 August and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 26 September 1824; died young and was buried at the same church, 11 January 1825;
(2) Sir William Agnew (1825-1910), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(3) Thomas Agnew (1827-83), m. 1853, Anne Kenworthy;
(4) Charles Agnew (1829-30), born 15 July and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 4 October 1829; died young and was buried at the same church, 8 March 1830;
(5) John Henry Agnew (1830-91) of Drywood Hall, Worsley (Lancs), born 20 November and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 25 December 1830; commission agent; married, 1858, Elizabeth Standring and had issue;
(6) Mary Jane Agnew (b. 1832), born 3 July and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 2 September 1832;
(7) James Agnew (b. & d. 1833), born 21 December and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 22 December 1833; died in infancy and was buried at the same church, 29 December 1833;
(8) Laura Agnew (b. 1834), born 16 November and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 25 December 1834;
(9) Emily Agnew (b. 1835), born 16 December 1835 and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 10 February 1836;
(10) Charles Swain Agnew (b. 1836), born 17 November 1836 and baptised baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 25 December 1837; commission agent;
(11) Alice Ann Agnew (b. 1837);
(12) Albert Agnew (b. 1840), cotton manufacturer;
(13) Jane Emily Agnew (b. 1844).
He lived at Islington House, Salford in the 1830s; Ash Lawn, Pendleton, Salford in 1861 and later at Fairhope, Eccles.
He died 24 March 1871. His will was proved 24 May 1871 (effects under £80,000).

Sir William Agnew (1825-1910), 1st baronet.  Eldest son of Thomas Agnew (1794-1871) and his wife Jane Garnet, daughter and co-heiress of William Lockett of Manchester, born 21 October and baptised at New Jerusalem Temple, Salford, 20 November 1825.  Art dealer of Manchester and London; Liberal MP for South-East Lancashire, 1880-85 and for Stretford, 1885-86.  He was created a baronet in 1895.  He married, 25 March 1851, Mary (d. 1892), eldest daughter of John Pixton Kenworthy of Peel Hall, Astley (Lancs) and had issue:
(1) Sir George William Agnew (1852-1941) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Caroline Agnew (c.1854-88), m. 1878 Arthur Graeme Ogilvie and had issue; died 2 February 1888;
(3) Charles Morland Agnew (1855-1931), born 14 December 1855; m. 22 September 1881, Evelyn Mary (d. 1932), daughter of William Naylor and had issue; died 23 May 1931;
(4) Walter Agnew (1861-1915), born 29 April 1861; m. 17 July 1886 Mabel (d. 1956), daughter of Charles Wilkin and had issue; died 17 April 1915;
(5) Philip Leslie Agnew (1863-1938) of Littlecourt, Farthingstone (Northants), born 30 June 1863; a keen huntsman with the Pytchley, Grafton and Bicester Hunts, he employed Walter Cave to build new stables at Littlecourt; m. 12 November 1889, Alexandra Georgette (d. 1937), daughter of Ewan Christian of Alexandria (Egypt) and had issue; died 5 March 1938;
(6) Florence Agnew (d. 1890), m. 1880 Joseph John Bolton (d. 1928) and had issue; died 2 September 1890.
He lived at Summer Hill, Eccles (Lancs)
He died 31 October 1910.  His will was proved 16 February 1911 (estate £1,353,592).

Agnew, Sir George William (1852-1941), 2nd baronet, of Rougham Hall.  Eldest son of Sir William Agnew (1825-1910), 1st bt., and his wife Mary, daughter of John Pixton Kenworthy of Peel Hall, Astley (Lancs), born 19 January 1852.  Educated at Rugby and St. John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1870; BA 1874; MA 1879).  Partner in the firm of Thomas Agnew and Sons, Art Publishers, of London, Manchester and Liverpool.  President of the Printsellers' Association. J.P. for Lancashire and West Suffolk. M.P. for West Salford, 1906-18. High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1922. He married, 2 October 1878, Fanny (d. 1937), younger daughter of John Stuart Bolton of Oulton Hall, Aylsham (Norfolk), and had issue:
(1) Sir John Stuart Agnew (1879-1957), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(2) twin, Mary Emily Agnew (1880-1983), born 1 October 1880; m. 17 March 1904, William Burn Anderson, son of John MacVicar Anderson, architect; died 14 June 1983, aged 102;
(3) twin, Fanny Isobel Agnew (1880-1967), born 1 October 1880; m. 4 March 1919, Brig-Gen. Oswald Kesteven Chance CMG DSO (d. 1935), son of William Edward Chance, and had issue; died 4 July 1967;
(4) Colin George (sometimes given as George Colin) Agnew (1882-1975); born 28 October 1882; served in WW1 but invalided out of services; partner in Thomas Agnew & Sons; died Oct-Dec 1975;
(5) Dorothy Agnew (1885-1940); m. 4 July 1906 Hinton Arthur Stewart (d. 1956), son of Hinton Daniell Stewart, but died without issue, 24 March 1940; will proved 6 June 1940 (estate £18,325);
(6) twin, Sybil Alice Agnew (1891-1949), m. Maj-Gen. John Talbot Wentworth Reeve, son of Charles Sydney Wentworth Reeve of Livermere Park (Suffolk) and had issue; died 17 August 1949; will proved 28 December 1949 (estate £26,121);
(7) twin, Cicely Agnew (1891-1979), born 19 April 1891; m. 10 June 1920 Norman Froggatt Kingzett (d. 1947), elder son of Charles Thomas Kingzett and had issue; died Apr-Jun 1979.
He purchased the Rougham Hall estate in 1904/5 and lived there until the house was requisitioned in WW2. 
He died at Thurston Grange (Suffolk), 19 December 1941.  His will was proved in Manchester, 24 July 1942 (estate £294,716)

Agnew, Sir John Stuart (1879-1957), 3rd baronet, of Rougham Hall.  Eldest son of Sir George William Agnew (1852-1941), 2nd bt., and his wife Fanny, younger daughter of John Stuart Bolton of Oulton Hall, Aylsham (Norfolk), born 16 September 1879.  Educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1898).  Major in Suffolk Yeomanry; fought in WW1; TD.  JP and DL for West Suffolk.  Land Agent.  He married, 14 April 1910, Kathleen (d. 1971), daughter of Isaac William Hewitt White of Leeds, civil engineer, and had issue:
(1) Sir (John) Anthony Stuart Agnew (1914-93), 4th baronet; born 25 July 1914; died unmarried, 6 February 1993;
(2) Sir George Keith Agnew (1916-94), 5th bt. (q.v.);
(3) Stephen William Agnew (1921-2001), born 31 July 1921; m.1, 28 June 1947 (div. 1966), Elizabeth, daughter James Brooks Close of Aldeburgh (Suffolk) and had issue, and m.2, Mrs. Adene Leona, daughter of Vincent John Brady and formerly wife of John Cookson; lived in Australia.  His eldest son is now heir presumptive to the title.
He inherited the Rougham Hall estate from his father in 1941.  
He died 27 August 1957, aged 77.  His will was proved 13 February and 15 May 1958 (estate £94,411).  His widow died 5 May 1971.

Agnew, Sir (John) Anthony Stuart (1914-93), 4th baronet, of Rougham.  Eldest son of Sir John Stuart Agnew (1879-1957) and his wife Kathleen, daughter of Isaac William Hewitt White; born 25 July 1914.  
He inherited the Rougham Hall estate from his father in 1957.  At his death, it passed to his nephew, Sir John Keith Agnew.
He died unmarried, 6 February 1993.

Agnew, Sir George Keith (1916-94), 5th baronet, of Rougham.  Second son of Sir John Stuart Agnew (1879-1957) and his wife Kathleen, daughter of Isaac William Hewitt White; born 25 November 1916.  He married, 10 July 1948, Baroness Anne Merete Louise, younger daughter of Baron Johann Schaffalitzky de Muckadell (1924-2005) of Rødkilde, Fyn, Denmark and had issue:
(1) Sir John Keith Agnew (1950-2011), 6th baronet of Rougham, born 19 December 1950; educated at Gresham's School, Holt and the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester; died unmarried, 22 June 2011;
(2) Sir George Anthony Agnew (b. 1953), 7th baronet, of Rougham, born 18 August 1953; educated at Gresham's School and the University of East Anglia.
He died 12 April 1994.  His widow died in the first quarter of 2005.


Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, successive editions; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1925, pp. 115-16; J. Kenworthy-Browne et al., Burke’s & Savill’s Guide to Country Houses: vol. 3, East Anglia, 1981, p.259; W.M. Roberts, Lost country houses of Suffolk, 2010, pp. 135-36; J. Bettley & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Suffolk - West, 2015, pp. 473-74.

Location of archives

Thomas Agnew & Sons: business archive, including some personal diaries and papers, 19th-20th cents [National Gallery, London].
Some additional family papers are understood to be retained by the family.

Coat of arms

Per saltire Argent and Gules in pale two fraises and in fess two saltires couped all counterchanged. An Ulster Baronet's badge for difference.

Revision and acknowledgements

This account was first published 29 July 2013, and was revised 7 February 2015, 21 January 2017, 23 September 2018, 4 February 2021 and 22 October 2023. 

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