Sunday 27 October 2013

(84) Alexander (later Cable-Alexander), baronets

William Alexander (d. 1788), the third son of John Alexander of Ballyclose and Gunsland [see my earlier post on the Earls of Caledon], moved to Dublin, where he became a merchant. His elder son, Sir William Alexander, 1st bt. (1743-1822) who was Lord Mayor of Dublin and Lt-Col. of the Royal Dublin Militia, was created a baronet in 1809 at lived at Belcamp, a villa north of Dublin (not to be confused with the nearby and grander seats of Belcamp Park and Belcamp Hall, or with Belcamp Hutchinson). William’s younger son, Robert Alexander (d. 1827), was a banker in Dublin and MP in the Irish parliament for Dingle (Kerry), 1777-83 and Newtown (1797-1800), and lived after 1795 at a house called Seamount (later St. Helen’s) at Booterstown, Dublin. Robert’s younger son, Henry Alexander (1787-1861) was a Director of the East India Company from 1826 and MP for Barnstaple from 1826-30. He rented Battle Abbey from Sir Godfrey Webster in the 1820s and in later life lived at Belmont House, East Barnet, which he bequeathed to his son, Henry Robert Alexander (1811-69), who sold it.

The 1st baronet’s descendants appear to have preferred urban to country living. On the death of the 1st baronet the title passed to his elder son, Sir Robert Alexander, 2nd bt. (1769-1859), and his two sons, Sir William John Alexander, 3rd bt. (1797-1873), attorney-general to HRH The Prince of Wales, and Sir John Wallis Alexander, 4th bt. (1800-88) both died without issue. All three men lived in London, and had no country estate. The 1st baronet’s second son, William John Alexander (later Alexander-Shaw) married his cousin Isabella, a daughter of Robert Alexander of Seamount. Their son, William Alexander-Shaw (later Alexander) (1817-85) lived at Cruisetown (Meath) and the Old Rectory, Stoke, near Guildford (Surrey), and was the father of Sir William Ferdinand Alexander, 5th bt. (1845-96), who inherited the baronetcy in 1888. His son, Sir Lionel Cecil William Alexander, 6th bt. (1885-1956) was the father of Sir Desmond William Lionel Cable-Alexander, 7th bt. (1910-88), who added his mother’s maiden name to his patronymic in 1931 and lived briefly in the 1970s at Downes, Crediton (Devon). His son, Lt-Col. Sir Patrick Desmond William Cable-Alexander, 8th bt. (b. 1936) is the present holder of the title, and was Bursar of Lancing College 1984-88; he lives in Worthing (Sussex).

St. Helens, Booterstown, Dublin

An two storey, five bay Classical house built for Thomas Cooley about 1750-54 but much altered since (alterations are recorded for John Doherty in the 1830s, by John McCurdy in 1863 for Lord Gough).  It was known as Seamount until c.1850.  

St Helen's, Booterstown: the entrance front today. Image: © Brendan Grimes.

St. Helens, Booterstown: the garden front after conversion to an hotel.

It now consists of a centre block with a pediment carried on coupled Corinthian pilasters and lower wings, which are single-storey on one side and two-storey on the other.  The appearance is firmly 19th century, largely due to the casing of Portland stone which was applied c.1900 for Sir John Nutting.  Beyond one wing is an elegant glass conservatory with a curved roof.  The interior has some plasterwork but largely dates from c.1900.  The house is now a hotel and has suffered large and rather tactless additions. 

Descent:  Thomas Cooley MP (fl. 1754); sold 1795 to Robert Alexander (d. 1827); sold after his death to Mrs Wall (fl. 1827-29), who sold to John Doherty MP (1785-1850), Chief Justice of Common Pleas for Ireland; sold to Col. Henry White; who sold 1851 to Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough (1779-1869); to son, George Gough, 2nd Viscount Gough (1815-95); sold after his death to Sir John Nutting, 1st bt. (1852-1918); sold 1925 to Christian Brothers, who sold 1988, and after a period of uncertainty it was sold for conversion to an hotel in 1996.

Battle Abbey, Sussex

Battle Abbey mansion, showing the remains of the cloister.  Image: English Heritage
Battle Abbey was established in fulfilment of a vow by King William I after the Battle of Hastings. Much survives of the medieval buildings apart from the church, largely because soon after the Dissolution the domestic buildings became part of the mansion of Sir Anthony Browne, King Henry VIII’s Master of the Horse. In 1857 Henry Clutton built a large neo-Gothic mansion out of the ruins for Lord Harry Vane (later Duke of Cleveland), and the whole became a school in 1922. There was a serious fire in 1931 but the house was subsequently restored by Sir Harold Brakspear. 

Descent: Battle Abbey to Dissolution; Crown granted to Sir Anthony Browne (d. 1548); to son, Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu (1528-92); to Anthony Maria Browne, 2nd Viscount Montagu (1574-1629); to Francis Browne, 3rd Viscount Montagu (1610-82); to Francis Browne, 4th Viscount Montagu (1638-1708); to brother, Henry Browne, 5th Viscount Montagu (c.1640-1717); to Anthony Browne, 6th Viscount Montagu (1686-1767), who sold 1721 to Sir Thomas Webster, 1st bt. (1677-1751); to son, Sir Whistler Webster, 2nd bt. (c.1699-1779); to brother, Sir Godfrey Webster, 3rd bt. (d. 1780); to son, Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th bt. (1748-1800); to son, Sir Godfrey Vassal Webster, 5th bt. (1781-1836), who leased in 1820s to Henry Alexander (1787-1861); to son, Sir Godfrey Vassal Webster, 6th bt. (1815-53); to brother, Sir Augustus Frederick George Douglas Webster, 7th bt. (1819-86), who sold 1858 to Lord Henry Vane (later 2nd Duke of Cleveland) (1788-1864); to William John Frederick Vane, 3rd Duke of Cleveland (1792-1864); to Harry George Powlett, 4th Duke of Cleveland (1803-91); to widow (d.1900); sold 1901 to Augustus Frederick Walpole Edward Webster, 8th bt. (1864-1923); to daughter, Lucy Webster, who leased as school from 1922 and sold 1976 to Government

Belmont House (alias Mount Pleasant), East Barnet, Hertfordshire

The estate which afterwards became known as Mount Pleasant was held in the sixteenth century by a member of the Rolfe family. There were originally two houses on the site, one of which was held early in the seventeenth century by William, son of Lord William Howard. These two houses were converted into one capital messuage called Mount Pleasant before 1636. The house was apparently rebuilt in the early 18th century as a seven bay three storey house with a rusticated ground floor and a giant order articulating the upper two floors, with coupled pilasters at either end and a pilaster between each window. The name was changed to Belmont about 1750. It was much altered and enlarged in the 19th century and after it became a school in the 1890s.  
Heddon Court School as John Betjeman knew it, from a postcard c.1917.  Image:  Barnet Council.

In the 1920s Heddon Court Prep School was moved there from Hampstead. John Betjeman taught there briefly in 1929-30, but it closed in 1933 when it was merged with Horton Preparatory School at Ickwell Bury (Beds), and the house was demolished to make way for the suburban development which began following the arrival of the Piccadilly Line railway. Heddon Court Avenue is now on the site.

Descent: William Green (fl. 1636) who leased to Elias Ashmole, antiquary; to daughter Grace, wife of William Pecke.... William Westbrooke Richardson (fl. 1758); sold after his death to Sir William Henry Ashhurst; sold 1786 to William Franks; sold 1790 to William Wroughton; sold 1796 to John Henry Warre; to widow, who sold after 1800 to John Kingston of Oakhill; sold 1813 to Thomas Harvey (d. 1819); sold after his death to Mr. Goodhart; sold to Job Raikes, who sold 1826 to David Bevan (d. 1846) of Fosbury (Wilts); to son, Robert Cooper Lee Bevan; sold to Henry Alexander (d. 1861); sold after his death to Charles Addington Hanbury; sold as school 1890s... sold 1927 to John Humphrey Hope (schoolmaster), who sold 1933 for demolition.

The Cable-Alexander baronets

Alexander, John (d. 1747), of Gunsland.  Only son of Capt. Alexander Alexander (b. c.1640) and his second wife.  He married Anne, daughter of John White of Cady Hill (Derry) and had issue:
(1) John Alexander (1689-1766); married Sarah, daughter of Alexander Macaulay of Co. Antrim, and had issue; ancestor of the Alexanders of Milford;
(2) Nathaniel Alexander (1689-1761); married 
Elizabeth, second daughter of William McClintock of Dunmore (Donegal) and had issue; ancestor of the Alexanders of Caledon, Earls of Caledon
(3) William Alexander (d. 1778) (q.v.); 
(4) Martha Alexander; married Alexander Kellie.
He inherited his father's estates in Donegal and Derry and in 1717 bought the Gunsland estate in Donegal.
He died 12 March 1747.

Alexander, William (d. 1778/1788).  Third son of John Alexander (d. 1747) of Gunsland and his wife Anne, daughter of John White of Cady Hill (Derry).  He married Mary Porter of Vicardale (Monaghan) and had issue:
(1) Sir William Alexander (1743-1822), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(2) Robert Alexander (d. 1827) (q.v.);
(3) Mary Alexander; m. William Jocelyn Shaw of Kentstown (Meath);
(4) Anne Alexander; m. 1764 Sir Richard Johnstone (1743-95), 1st bt. of Gilford (Down) and had issue;
(5) Elizabeth Alexander;
(6) Sarah Alexander;
(7) Jane Alexander; died unmarried.
He died in 1778 or possibly 1788.

Alexander, Sir William (1743-1822), 1st bt. of Belcamp (Dublin).  Elder son of William Alexander (d. 1778/88) and his wife Mary Porter of Vicardale (Monaghan), born 3 March 1743.  Provision merchant and banker in Dublin; Lt. Col. of Royal Dublin Militia; Sheriff of the City of Dublin, 1776 and Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1787; created a baronet, 11 December 1809; commissioner of the State Lottery from before 1818 until the time of his death.  He married, 20 July 1764, Catherine, daughter and heiress of John Folie Malpas of Rochestown (Dublin), barrister at law, and had issue:
(1) Sir Robert Alexander (1769-1859), 2nd bt. (q.v.); 
(2) William John Alexander (later Alexander-Shaw) (d. 1856) (q.v.); 
(3) Catherine Alexander, married Robert Hamilton, of Clonsilla, fifth son of James Hamilton and had issue five sons and three daughters; 
(4) Eliza Alexander, married John Hamilton of Hacketstown, third son of James Hamilton.
He purchased Belcamp, Co. Dublin, which appears to have been sold and rebuilt after his death.
He died in 1822.

Alexander, Sir Robert (1769-1859), 2nd bt.  Elder son of Sir William Alexander (1743-1822) and his wife Catherine, daughter of John Folie Malpas of Rochestown (Dublin), born 16 December 1769.  A director of the Bank of Ireland.  He married, 17 June 1796, Elisa (d. 1844), daughter and heiress of John Wallis of Dublin, barrister, and had issue:
(1) Sir William John Alexander (1797-1873), 3rd bt., born 1 April 1797; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1813; BA 1817), Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1824), and Lincolns Inn (admitted, 1822; called to the bar, 1825); barrister on the Oxford circuit; QC, 1844; bencher of Middle Temple, 1844; attorney-general to HRH The Prince of Wales, 1853-73; lived in London; died unmarried and without issue, 31 March 1873; will proved, 26 April 1873 (estate under £120,000);
(2) Sir John Wallis Alexander (1800-88), 4th bt., born in Dublin, 1 October 1800; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1817); barrister-at-law; married 1st, 18 May 1857, Lady Lepel Charlotte (1806-69), daughter of Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave; and married 2nd, 22 August 1877, Mary Kathleen (c.1849-1934), daughter of Rev. John Dreaper of Northampton, but died without issue, 25 October 1888; by his will, proved 3 December 1888 (estate £77,931), he endowed The Pilgrim's Home at Chalfont St. Peter; 
(3) Robert Du Pre Alexander (1802-74), born in Jamaica, February 1802; clerk in Exchequer Office; married at Chalfont St Peter, 17 September 1833, Eliza (1802-50), daughter of Ballard Beckford Nembhard of Jamaica and had issue; died 16 November 1874; buried in Old Cemetery, Chalfont St Peter (Bucks); will proved 16 December 1874 (estate under £10,000);
(4) Thomas Shaw Alexander; died young;
(5) Jane Anne Alexander (c.1809-91), married, 6 August 1833, Maj. John Nembhard Hibbert (1797-1886) of Chalfont Park, son of Robert Hibbert of Birtles Hall (Cheshire) and Chalfont Park (Bucks); died 21 November 1891; will proved 17 December 1891 (estate £26,577) by which she endowed several charitable causes at Chalfont St Peter.
He died 1 December 1859; his will was proved 29 December 1859 (estate under £600).

Alexander, Robert (1752-1827).  Second son of William Alexander (d. 1778/88) and his wife Mary Porter of Vicardale (Monaghan), born 1752.  Banker in Dublin; MP in the Irish Parliament for Dingle 1777-83, Newtown(ards) (Down), 1797-1801.  He married, 14 May 1785, Henrietta (d. 1839), daughter of Henry Quin MD of Dublin and had issue: 
(1) William John Alexander; 
(2) Henry Alexander (1787-1861) (q.v.);
(3) Robert Alexander;
(4) Charles Richard Alexander;
(5) John Alexander;
(6) Edward Alexander;
(7) Anne Alexander;
(8) Isabella Alexander (1795-1834), married 1 March 1815, William John Alexander (later Alexander-Shaw) (d. 1856), son of Sir William Alexander, 1st bt. and had issue four sons and three daughters [see below]; died 19 May 1834;
(9) Mary Henrietta Alexander;
(10) Jane Alexander.
He lived at Seamount (later St. Helen's), Booterstown (Dublin), which he purchased in 1795.
He died 14 July 1827.  His widow died in January 1839.

Alexander, Henry (1787-1861).  Second son of Robert Alexander (d. 1827) and his wife Henrietta, daughter of Henry Quin MD of Dublin, baptised 9 April 1787.  Entered the service of the East India Company, 1802 (writer, Bengal, 1802; 2nd asst to export warehouse keeper, 1805; deputy appraiser of piece goods at custom house, Calcutta, 1806; private merchant 1807-18; director 1826-53); commissioner of lieutenancy, City of London, 1831-61; MP for Barnstaple 1826-30.  He married 1st, 15 October 1808, Eliza Leonora (d. 1840), daughter of Joseph Pringle, consul-general at Madeira; and 2nd, 4 January 1843, Sabina Hester (c.1801-85), daughter of Thomas Taylor of Sevenoaks (Kent) and had issue, with two other sons and three daughters by his first marriage: 
(1.1) Henry Robert Alexander (1811-69), Bengal Civil Service; married, 13 August 1834 at Calcutta, Elizabeth Charlotte (c.1811-80), daughter of James Young of Calcutta (India); died 24 May 1869; will proved 6 July 1869 (estate under £1000).
In the 1820s he rented Battle Abbey House in Sussex from Sir Godfrey Webster; about 1850 he bought Belmont House, East Barnet (Middx), which was sold after his death.
He died 14 January 1861; his will was proved 1 February 1861 (estate under £70,000).  His widow died 25 April 1885; her will was proved 18 May 1885 (estate £12,373).

Alexander-Shaw (né Alexander), William John (d. 1856).  Younger son of Sir William Alexander (1743-1822), 1st bt. and his wife Catherine, daughter of John Folie Malpas of Rochestown (Dublin).  Changed his name and arms by royal licence, 1846.  He married, 1 March 1815, his cousin Isabella (d. 1834), daughter of Robert Alexander of Seamount and had issue: 
(1) Maj. William Alexander-Shaw (later Alexander) (1817-85) (q.v.); 
(2) Robert Henry Alexander (d. 1842), killed in the retreat from Kabul, 1842; 
(3) Henry Alexander (d. 1856); 
(4) Richard Alexander-Shaw (d. 1867), m. and had issue two sons and one daughter; 
(5) Harriet Alexander-Shaw (1817-98), m. 1850 her cousin Rev. Godfrey Edward Alexander (c.1818-1901), rector of Stoke Bliss (Herefs), son of Charles Alexander of Dublin [perhaps the Charles Richard Alexander mentioned above]; 
(6) Elizabeth Alexander (fl. 1893); lived in France;
(7) Anne Catherine Alexander (1833-76), m. 1854 Capt. Edward Barnes (b. 1829) and had issue.
He died 14 May 1856.

Alexander (né Alexander-Shaw), Maj. William (1817-85).  Eldest son of William John Alexander-Shaw (d. 1856) and his wife Isabella, daughter of Robert Alexander of Seamount, born 12 May 1817.  Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1835); Major in the Indian Army.  Dropped the Shaw suffix of his surname by royal licence, 17 June 1876. He married, 10 September 1839, Mary (d. 1897), daughter of Rt. Rev. and Hon. Edward Grey, bishop of Hereford and had issue: 
(1) Sir William Ferdinand Alexander (1845-96), 5th bt. (q.v.); 
(2) Charlotte Elizabeth Alexander (d. 1922), m. 1862 Rev. Thomas Borlase Coulson (d. 1895), vicar of Bramley and canon of Truro; 
(3) Anne Isabella Alexander (d. 1924), m. 1871 Charles Forbes Calland, 98th Regt. (d. 1907) and had issue; 
(4) Mary Alexander (d. 1925), m. 1869 Henry John Goodwin Robinson, 98th Regt. (d. 1916) and had issue;
(5) Fanny Jane Alexander (d. 1942), m. 1882 Cdr. Aston Edward McMurdo RN (d. 1904) and had issue; 
(6) Lucy Alexander (d. 1932), m. 1881 Frank Theodore Bagshawe (d. 1923) and had issue.
He lived at Cruisetown (Meath) and Stoke Old Rectory, nr. Guildford (Surrey).
He died 11 July 1885, aged 68.

Alexander, Sir William Ferdinand (1845-96), 5th bt.  Only son of Maj. William Alexander (1817-85) and his wife Mary, daughter of Rt. Rev. and Hon. Edward Grey, bishop of Hereford, born 15 October 1845.  He marrried, 27 November 1884, Edith (c.1862-1925), younger daughter of George Frederick Heriot La Fargue of Bosworth Hall (Leics) and had issue: 
(1) Sir Lionel Cecil William Alexander (1885-1956), 6th bt. (q.v.); 
(2) Eileen Edith Caledon Alexander (1888-1975), born 18 May 1888; married 1st, 1908 (div. 1918) Lt-Col. Donald Cuthbertson Dennistoun Sword DSO (d. 1954), son of Alexander Bruce Dennistoun Sword of Endon Hall (Staffs) and had issue, and married 2nd, 1919 Lt-Col. Clifford Cyril Scott MC.
He died 13 February 1896, aged 50. His widow married 2nd, 1897, Rev. Frederick William Thurlow and died, 6 January 1925.

Alexander, Sir Lionel Cecil William (1885-1956), 6th bt.  Only son of Sir William Ferdinand Alexander (1845-96), 5th bt. and his wife Edith, daughter of George Frederick Heriot La Fargue of Bosworth Hall (Leics), born 23 September 1885.  Major, 23rd Bttn, London Regt, formerly Grenadier Guards; DSO 1916; Croix de Guerre; High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, 1929.  He married 1st, 5 December 1908 (div. 1924), the Hon. Dawn Noorouz Weston Cable (d. 1969), eldest daughter of 1st Baron Cable; and 2nd, 17 July 1924, Hopeful Merrison Rose (1892-1977), daughter of Capt. George William Hurrell of Aberdeen, and had issue: 
(1.1) Sir Desmond William Lionel Alexander (later Cable-Alexander) (1910-88), 7th bt. (q.v.); 
(2.1) Maj. Nigel William Alexander (1925-2015), educated at Haileybury; served in Grenadier Guards; married, Oct-Dec. 1964, Anna, younger daughter of Bernard Ambrose Wheatley and had issue one son and one daughter; died 15 June 2015;
(2.2) Derek Malcolm Alexander (1932-34).
He lived at Rowan Cottage, Furze Hill, Seale (Surrey).
He died 6 August 1956, aged 70; his will was proved 29 October 1956 (estate £3,548).

Cable-Alexander (né Alexander), Sir Desmond William Lionel (1910-88), 7th bt., of Downes.  Only child of Sir Lionel Cecil William Alexander (1885-1956), 6th bt. and his first wife, Hon. Dawn Noorouz Weston Cable, daughter of 1st Baron Cable, born 4 October 1910.  Educated at Harrow and Magdalen College, Oxford; changed his name to Cable-Alexander by deed poll, 1931.  He married 1st, 20 June 1935 (div. 1941), Mary Jane (d. 1994), daughter of James O'Brien JP of Enniskillen (Fermanagh) and 2nd, Jul-Sept 1942, Margaret Mabel (d. 2008), daughter of John Burnett of Dublin and had issue: 
(1.1) Sir Patrick Desmond William Cable-Alexander (b. 1936), 8th bt. (q.v.); 
(2.1) Jacqueline Cable-Alexander (b. 1941), born 16 December 1941; m. 1962 Dillon Godfrey Welchman (d. 1998), son of Brig. Godfrey de Vere Welchman CBE DSO and has issue one son and one daughter; 
(2.2) Susan Cable-Alexander (b. 1948), born 28 May 1948; m. 1970 (div. 1996), Richard Humphrey Hardwicke, younger son of John Hardwicke of Bredan House, Cookham Dean (Berks) and has issue one son and one daughter.
He lived at Downes, Crediton, Devon in 1972.
He died in 1988, aged 77.  His widow died 24 September 2008.

Cable-Alexander, Lt-Col. Sir Patrick Desmond William (b. 1936), 8th bt.  Only child of Sir Desmond William Lionel Cable-Alexander (1910-88), 7th bt. and his first wife, Hon. Dawn Noorouz Weston Cable, daughter of 1st Baron Cable, born 19 April 1936. Educated at Downside and RMA Sandhurst; Lt-Col., Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Germany and Aden; assistant military attache, Saigon, 1968; commanded Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry 1978-80; Chief of Staff HQ NW Division, 1980-83; Bursar and Clerk of Council, Lancing College, 1984-98; Director of Administration, Institute of Optometry, 1999-?.  He married 1st, 9 December 1961 (div. 1976), Diana Frances (who married 2nd, Brig. David Edelsten), eldest daughter of Col. Paul Heberden Rogers of Bushey; and 2nd, 1976, Jane Mary, daughter of Anthony Arthur Gough Lewis MD FRCP of Oxford, and had issue: 
(1.1) Melanie Jane Cable-Alexander (b. 1963), born 14 September 1963; features editor of Country Life, 1992-2002; founder of the 'Slow Furniture' movement and related company, Lapaloosa; has one son by Anthony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones (b. 1930), 1st Earl of Snowdon; married, 24 October 2015, Martin Redwood;
(1.2) Louise Fenella Cable-Alexander (b. 1967), born 17 February 1967; chief of staff, Hyperion Insurance Group; married, 1995, Massimo, son of G. Reina of Milan; 
(2.1) Fergus William Antony Cable-Alexander (b. 1981), born 18 June 1981; heir apparent to baronetcy; marketing executive; married Claire Whiteside and has issue three sons.
Now living.


Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, successive editions; VCH Middlesex, vol 2, 1908, pp. 337-42.

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to exist.

Coat of arms

Per pale argent and sable a chevron between in sinister chief a mullet and in base a crescent both counterchanged; on a canton azure a harp or, stringed argent.

Revision and acknowledgements

This account was first published on 27 October 2013 and was revised 2 April, 23 June and 4 November 2015, 19 August 2017 and 10 February 2020. I am grateful to Brendan Grimes for an additional photograph of St Helen's.

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