Sunday 1 September 2013

(69) Aland and Fortescue-Aland of Nymph Hall and Knolls Hill, Barons Fortescue of Credan

The Aland family owned estates in County Waterford in the 17th century, including Nymph Hall at Dunmore East on the picturesque south coast of Ireland.  Following the death of Jonathan Aland, the last heir male of the family, in 1691, their property passed to his daughter Sarah (d. 1714), wife of John Mason (d. 1737) of the city of Waterford.  After Sarah's death the succession was disputed in the courts by her cousin, Sir John Fortescue-Aland (1670-1746), later 1st Baron Fortescue of Credan, who apparently secured possession of part of the estate, although Nymph Hall seems to have remained with the Masons; when Sir John was ennobled in 1746 he chose the name of another townland on the estate, Creadan, as part of his title.  However, by the 19th century Nymph Hall was once more part of the Fortescue estate and was leased, Somerville House (alias Corballymore) being developed c.1870 as the family's principal residence by the Hon. Dudley Fortescue.  The descent of the Nymph Hall property is complex and obscure in places, and the reconstruction offered below must be regarded as tentative.

Edmond Fortescue (1628-81), the third son of Hugh Fortescue (1592-1661) of Weare Gifford (Devon), moved to London and seems to have leased the manor of Bierton with Hulcott (Bucks), which descended to his sons.  He married Sarah, the daughter of Henry Aland of Nymph Hall, Co. Waterford, through whom the Fortescues acquired an interest in the Aland estates.  In the 1720s and 1730s their second son, John (1670-1746), who took the additional surname Aland, undertook lengthy legal disputes with his Irish relatives in an attempt to prove his title, and seems to have been partially successful.  John had trained as a lawyer at the Inner Temple and in 1714 was appointed Solicitor-General to the Prince of Wales (from 1715, King George I).  In January 1717 he was knighted, and began a judicial career as a Baron of the Exchequer and later a Justice of the Kings Bench, 1719-27.  At the accession of King George II he was dismissed from the bench but was quickly restored and served as a Justice of Common Pleas 1729-46, before retiring with an Irish peerage as Baron Fortescue of Credan, although he died within a few months.  Probably around the time his career took off with the beginning of the Whig ascendancy in 1714, he began buying property at Lambourn and Stapleford Abbots (where he was a near neighbour of the Abdys of Albyns) in Essex, and by 1734 he had extended and improved his house there into a mansion described as ‘a most delightful place’, and laid out terraced gardens.  In 1741 he bought the freehold of his father’s manor in Buckinghamshire, but he seems never to have lived there, and he was buried at Stapleford Abbots in Essex.  At his death, his children by his first marriage having all predeceased him, he was succeeded in the title and estates by his son by his second wife, Dormer Fortescue-Aland, 2nd Baron Fortescue of Credan (c. 1722-80), who died unmarried.  His Essex estate was left to his cousin, Mary Barford, who sold it in 1782; his Buckinghamshire manor was left to his father’s cousin, Dame Anne Tynte, for life, with remainder to John George Parkhurst, and the Irish estates to Lord Fortescue of Castle Hill.

Nymph Hall, Dunmore East, Waterford
A small gentleman's house on the coast, noted by Pocock as 'a pleasant box' and later in the 18th century as 'a handsome seat'.  The house was still in gentry occupation in the 1890s but was not named on the first Ordnance Survey 25" map and may have been demolished soon afterwards. The site is now occupied by Dunmore East Golf Club.  No illustration of the house has been found.

Tentative descent: Henry Aland (d. 1681); to son, Henry Aland (d. 1683); to brother, Jonathan Aland (d. 1691); to daughter, Sarah Aland (d. 1714), wife of John Mason (d. 1737); to son, Henry Mason (d. c.1740); to sister, Jane, wife of Dean Alexander Alcock; to nephew, Henry Alcock (1716-c.1783)...Hugh Fortescue, 2nd Earl Fortescue (1783-1861); to son, Hon. Dudley Francis Fortescue MP (1820-1909), who leased to Luke Murphy, Augustus Power/John Welsh (c. 1855), William C. Jacques (fl. 1870s), and Charles Galgey (fl. 1892).

Knolls Hill, Stapleford Abbots, Essex
A house at the centre of a small freehold estate of about 300 acres was acquired and improved by Sir John Fortescue-Aland (1670-1746), making it ‘a most delightful place’.  He expanded the estate by buying manors and lands in Lambourne (Essex), and later owners made Bishops Hall at Lambourne the centre of the estate.  
Ordnance Survey drawing, 1799, showing the location of 'Knowles Hill' in relation to Lambourne and Stapleford Abbots.
Image: British Library OSD 138 pt. 1.

By 1835 part of the house had become a farmhouse, but it still contained family portraits in one room.  It was demolished in the mid 19th century and the bricks reused to build two cottages, later converted into a house for the owner of Knolls Hill Farm.  In 1925 traces of the terraced gardens could still be seen.  No illustration of the house has been found.

Previous owners: Francis Stoner (d. 1604); to son, Clement Stoner (d. 1612); to son, Francis Stoner; to daughter, Amy Stoner (d. 1712), wife of George Waldron (d. 1690); sold c.1715 to Sir John Fortescue-Aland, later 1st Baron Fortescue of Credan (1670-1746); to son, Dormer Fortescue-Aland, 2nd Baron Fortescue of Credan (d. 1781); to cousin, Mary, widow of Dr. Richard Barford DD of Titchmarsh (Northants), who sold 1782 to Rev. Edward Lockwood, rector of St Peter, Northampton (d. 1802); to second son, Edward Lockwood-Percival (d. 1804); to son, Edward Lockwood-Percival (d. 1842); to cousin, William J. Lockwood of Dews Hall, Lambourne; to son, Lt-Gen. William M. Wood (d. 1883); to son, Amelius R.M. Lockwood MP, 1st Baron Lambourne (d. 1928); estate sold and broken up 1929.

The Fortescue-Alands of Knolls Hill
Although some facts about the family are fairly well-attested, it has proved remarkably difficult to construct an internally consistent genealogy.  The following account, especially as it concerns the Mason family and their relationships is extremely tentative and will I hope be revised and improved in the future as further evidence comes to hand.  Any additional information from readers will, needless to say, be extremely welcome.

Aland, Henry (d. 1681) of Nymph Hall.  He was perhaps the Henry Aland of Jamaica whose decorated 17th century tortoiseshell comb is preserved in the Victoria & Albert Museum. He married and had issue, possibly amongst others:
(1) Henry Aland (d. 1683), probably the man of that name who m. 1670 in Dublin, Urith Shadcott; died without issue, 31 July 1683;
(2) Jonathan Aland (d. 1691) (q.v.);
(3) Sarah Aland (b. c.1640), m. c.1666 Edmond Fortescue (1628-81) (q.v.) and had issue three sons;
(4) Jane Aland, m. Sir John Mason (fl. 1698-1710), kt., (q.v.) and had issue one son and three daughters.
He inherited or acquired Nymph Hall and other property at Dunmore East (Co. Waterford); at his death it passed in turn to his two sons.
He died 31 August 1681.

Aland, Jonathan (d. 1691) of Nymph Hall.  Second son of Henry Aland of Nymph Hall (d. 1681).  He interested himself in solving the problem of measuring longitude at sea, and gave a paper to the Royal Society in Dublin in 1685 in which he claimed to have established a method, which was subsequently disproved.  He married, 26 November 1680 at St Michael, Barbados, Mary Watson (who m.2, Robert Mason of Masonbrook) and had issue:
(1) Sarah Aland (d. 1714) (q.v.), m. John Mason (d. 1737) (q.v.), son of Sir John Mason, kt. and MP, and had issue one son.
He inherited the Nymph Hall estate from his elder brother in 1683.
He died 21 August 1691.

Mason, Sir John (fl. 1698-1710), kt., of Waterford.  His father was an elder son of Christopher Mason, from whom are also descended the Masons of Masonbrook.  Mayor of Waterford; MP for County Waterford, 1695-1715; knighted at Waterford, 20 July 1698.  He married Jane, daughter of Henry Aland (d. 1681) of Nymph Hall, and had issue:
(1) John Mason (d. 1737) (q.v.);
(2) Henry Mason (d. c.1740) of Nymph Hall;
(3) Henrietta Mason, m.1701 William Alcock (1681-1739) and had issue two sons and seven daughters, including Henry Alcock (1716-c.1780) (q.v.);
(4) Elizabeth Mason;
(5) Sarah Mason (b. 1679);
(6) Jane Mason (b. 1680); m. Alexander Alcock (1665-1747), Dean of Lismore and had issue three sons and two daughters;
(7) Susannah Mason.
He lived in Waterford City.
His date of death is not recorded.

Mason, John (d. 1737) of Waterford.  Elder son of Sir John Mason, kt. and MP of Waterford City, 1715-37.  He married Sarah, daughter of Jonathan Aland (d. 1691) of Nymph Hall and had issue:
(1) Aland John Mason (d. 1759), m. 1739 Lady Elizabeth Villiers of Dromana (Co. Waterford) and had issue one son, ancestor of the Stuart-Villiers family of Dromana.
Following the death of his wife in 1714 his son (a minor) inherited the Nymph Hall estate, although the inheritance was disputed by Sir John Fortescue-Aland who seems to have secured possession of part of the property.  John Mason, however, seems to have kept Nymph Hall himself and at his death it probably passed to his brother, Henry Mason (d. c.1740), and then his sister Elizabeth Alcock, and then to his nephew, Henry Alcock.
He died in 1737.

Alcock, Henry (1716-c.1780), of Nymph Hall.  Second son of William Alcock (1681-1739) and his wife Henrietta, daughter of Sir John Mason of Waterford, kt., born 1716.  He married 1748 Jane Sheppard (d. 1806), but died without issue.
He inherited Nymph Hall from his uncle and aunt, Dean Alexander Alcock and his wife Elizabeth, sister of John Mason (d. 1737).  At his death it appears to have devolved upon the 1st Earl Fortescue.
He died between 1779 and 1784.  His will was proved in 1784.

Fortescue, Edmond (1628-81) of London.  Sixth son of Hugh Fortescue (b. 1592) of Filleigh and Weare Gifford (Devon) and his wife Mary, daughter of Samuel Rolle of Heanton Satchville (Devon), baptised 2 June 1628 at Petrockstowe (Devon).  He pursued a career in London, probably as a lawyer.  He married c.1666 Sarah, daughter of Henry Aland of Nymph Hall, Co. Waterford and had issue: 
(1) Edmond Fortescue (later Fortescue-Aland) (c.1668-1704), d. unm.; 
(2) Sir John Fortescue (later Fortescue-Aland) (1670-1746), 1st Baron Fortescue of Credan (q.v.); 
(3) Henry Fortescue (1678-1702), d. unm.
He leased the manor of Bierton (Bucks), which passed after his death to his two elder sons in turn.
He died in 1681.

Sir John Fortescue-Aland
Fortescue-Aland (nĂ© Fortescue), Sir John (1670-1746), 1st Baron Fortescue of Credan.  Second son of Edmond Fortescue (1628-81) of London and his wife Sarah, daughter of Henry Aland of Nymph Hall (Co. Waterford), born 7 March 1670. Probably educated at Oxford (DCL 1733), Middle Temple (admitted 1688; called to bar 1695) and Inner Temple (KC 1714, Bencher 1714, Reader 1716, Treasurer 1716-17); Solicitor-General to King George I, 1714-17, being appointed when he was Prince of Wales; as a principal law officer he was brought into Parliament via the Duke of Somerset's interest as Whig MP for Midhurst 1715-16 but was a disappointment: in 1716 Lord Chancellor Cowper wrote of him ‘this gentleman wanting spirit equal to his learning and probity, … the king's business in the House of Commons was not so well sustained’ and a vacancy was found for him on the bench as a Baron of the Exchequer, 1717-18; knighted, 24 January 1717; a Justice of the Kings Bench, 1719-27 but dismissed from office on accession of King George II; a Justice of Common Pleas 1729-46; resigned in June 1746 and was created Baron Fortescue of Credan in the Irish peerage, 15 August 1746; FRS 20 March 1712.  In 1714 he produced as The difference between an absolute and limited monarchy an edition of a manuscript in the Bodleian Library by his ancestor, Sir John Fortescue (c.1394-1480).  This is claimed as the earliest work in English on constitutional history.  Sir John is said to have had one of the strangest noses ever seen: its "shape resembled much the trunk of an elephant"; if so, his engraved portrait was more flattering than it appears.  He changed his name to Fortescue-Aland in 1704 on inheriting his elder brother's Irish estates. He married first, 23 December 1707 at St Bride, Fleet Street, Grace, daughter of Sir John Pratt, Lord Chief Justice of Kings Bench; and second, 29 December 1721, Elizabeth (d. 1748), daughter and co-heiress of Sir Robert Dormer, a Justice of Common Pleas, and had issue: 
(1.1) Hugh Fortescue-Aland (b. c.1709, d. young); 
(1.2) John Fortescue-Aland (1712-43), educated at Hart Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1730/1); and Inner Temple (called to bar, 1734); d. unmarried in Tours (France); 
(1.3) a male child (b. 1714, d. young); 
(1.4) Hugh Fortescue-Aland (b. 1715); died in the lifetime of his father; 
(1.5) ?Sarah Fortescue-Aland (1716-31); 
(2.1) Dormer Fortescue-Aland (1723-81), 2nd Baron Fortescue of Credan (q.v.).
He inherited from his father the lease of the manor of Bierton with Hulcott (Bucks) and from his elder brother (d. 1704) property derived from the Aland estates in Co. Waterford etc. in Ireland, which he fought legal battles to increase at the expense of his Mason cousins; bought Knolls Hill, Stapleford Abbots and other property in Lambourn, Ongar etc. c.1715-34; extended and remodelled Knolls Hill as a mansion with terraced gardens before 1734; bought freehold of manor of Bierton, 1741.
He died 19 December 1746, aged 76; buried at Stapleford Abbots (Essex).  His widow died in the summer of 1748 and was buried beside him at Stapleford Abbots.

Fortescue-Aland, Dormer (1723-81), 2nd Baron Fortescue of Credan. Only surviving son of Sir John Fortescue-Aland (1670-1746), 1st Baron Fortescue of Credan, and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Dormer.  He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited his father's estates in Essex (Knolls Hill), Buckinghamshire and Co. Waterford. At his death the Essex lands passed to a cousin, Mary Barford; the Buckinghamshire manor to his father's cousin, Lady Tynte; and the Irish estates to Lord Fortescue.
He died 9 March 1781, aged 57.


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography;

Location of archives

Aland, Fortescue-Aland and Mason families: deeds and papers, 17th-18th cents (Devon Heritage Centre, D1262); deeds, family and estate papers, 17th-18th cents. (Boole Library, National University of Ireland, Cork, T3131; formerly at Public Record Office of Northern Ireland).

Coat of arms

Azure, a bend engrailed argent between two cottises or.

Revision & Acknowledgements

This account was first published 1 September 2013 and revised 16th August 2014 and 8th June 2015. I am grateful to Peter Lang for additional information.

1 comment:

  1. Uryth Mason, daughter of Sir John Mason, married with Alexander Boyd esq of Waterford and Crooke,and had several children. Alexander Boyd was married first to Ann Hawford in Limerick in 1698,he served in a Dutch regiment and was captain in 1716 when married at St Nicholas in Waterford. He was son of William Boyd, 1st Earl of Kilmarnock.. Andres Valenzuela from Santiago Chile


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