Sunday 27 April 2014

(120) Ames of Bristol

Ames family of Bristol
The Ames family were among the "merchant princes" of Bristol, who prospered greatly from the city's involvement in the triangular Atlantic trade, and thus ultimately from slavery.  Their substantial wealth supported large families and enabled younger sons as well as their eldest brothers to have country houses and establish cadet branches of the family.  As a result this post is more complicated than most, and there are many houses to notice, although none remained in the family for more than about three generations.

In the 17th century the Ames family were yeomen farmers in Somerset.  Roger Ames (1635-1700) began their advancement when he bought and rebuilt Charlton House in the parish of Shepton Mallet in about 1668. His eldest son, Levi Ames (d. 1727) established connections with Bristol, and sent his younger sons into trade there. His youngest son, Jeremiah (or Jeremy) Ames (c.1706-76), was apprenticed to his elder brother as a grocer, but later moved into the manufacture of gunpowder at Littleton Mill in Somerset and became involved in the triangular Atlantic trade, sending guns and gunpowder to Africa on boats that sold their cargoes in the west African ports, took consignments of slaves to the West Indies and American colonies, and then brought sugar and tobacco back to England.  He became one of the leading citizens of Bristol and was mayor of the city in 1759. His children married into other Bristol commercial families, and his eldest surviving son, Levi Ames (1739-1820) moved into shipowning and banking, as one of the founding partners in Cave, Ames & Cave (later the Bristol Bank). Like his father, he was a Unitarian and played an active part in the civic life of Bristol, serving as mayor in 1789 and becoming the longest-serving member of the corporation.  At some point in the 18th century, he bought Clifton Wood House in the growing suburbs of Bristol, and there brought up his large family of ten children; he sold Charlton House in 1804.

Clifton Wood House.
When Levi Ames died in 1820, he left a fortune of £120,000 and six sons.  His eldest son, Lionel Ames (1775-1851) was trained as a barrister and inherited the Ayot House estate in Hertfordshire from his mother's uncle, Sir Lionel Lyde, in 1806. He subsequently took the name Lyde, but as he died unmarried and without issue, the Ayot House estate passed to his youngest brother, George Henry Ames (1786-1873). 

The third son of Levi Ames, his namesake Levi Ames junior (1778-1846), continued the family traditions of banking, shipowning, the West Indies trade, Unitarianism and civic leadership, but also began to shift his focus from Bristol to London.  He maintained a town house in London and his children made socially advantageous metropolitan marriages.  When he retired in the late 1820s, he leased Lamer Park in Hertfordshire as a country seat and in 1835 he bought an estate called The Hyde near Luton in Bedfordshire for his eldest son, Lionel Ames (1809-73). With Lionel the transition to the full-time landed gentry was complete; he seems never to have worked in business but had a commission in the 17th Lancers and was later Colonel of the Hertfordshire Militia. Levi junior's younger son, William Metcalfe Ames (1820-74), married a lady from the Northumberland county gentry and bought Linden Hall in 1861. His son, Louis Eric Ames (1855-1933) found the restrained classicism of Linden Hall less to his taste and built a new neo-Jacobean house nearby, which he called Ghyllheugh, and sold Linden Hall in 1904. Ghyllheugh remained the property of his descendants until the late 1950s.

Lionel Ames (1809-73) was succeeded in The Hyde by his son Lionel Neville Frederick Ames-Lyde (1850-83), who also inherited Ayot House from his great-uncle, George Henry Ames (1786-1873), the youngest of Levi Ames' children. George had inherited Ayot House in 1851 but it was something of a white elephant for a man whose interests were centred around Bristol, and it no doubt made sense to bequeath it away from his own children to a great-nephew who had other property in the area.

The next of Levi Ames' sons to require notice is John Ames (1784-1867), who seems to have been the most financially astute of his generation and in 1838 retired from business in Bristol to a house near Lyme Regis which he rebuilt and called Clevelands, although it has since reverted to its former name of Pinhay House.  He left a vast fortune of around £500,000 which was divided among his nieces and nephews, as he was unmarried and childless.  His nephew, Edward Levi Ames (1832-92) also inherited Clevelands, but although he left children it was sold after his death to the Allhusen family.

The youngest of Levi Ames' sons was George Henry Ames (1786-1873), who bought the very pretty Gothick Cote House near Bristol in about 1825.  He had a large family. His eldest son married the daughter of a German count and predeceased him; his second son made money in the Indian civil service and built a country house at Remenham in Berkshire; his third son inherited Clevelands from his uncle in 1867, and so it was his fourth son, Henry St. Vincent Ames (1833-1901), who inherited Cote House.  Henry, who had spent an adventurous youth working as a photographer in Canada, was married but died childless, so Cote House passed to his widow (d. 1917) and was later sold and tragically demolished.  

Thus a family whose wealth was astronomical in the 19th century have left no permanent legacy of country house ownership. Charlton House was bought in 1668 and sold in 1804; Ayot House was inherited in 1806 and sold in 1912; Cote House was bought in 1825 and sold in 1922; The Hyde was bought in 1835 and sold in 1920; Clevelands was bought in 1838 and sold in 1892; Linden Hall was bought in 1861 and sold in 1904 and Ghyllheugh was built in 1900-03 and sold in the late 1950s.

Charlton House, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Charlton House: rear elevation showing some evidence of the original 17th century building. Image: Trip Advisor

Charlton House, Shepton Mallet. Image: Sarah Smith.

A 17th century house, said to have been built for the Ames family after they bought the estate in 1668, which was given a smart new six-bay front in about 1810-11. The debased Italianate porch is of c.1850, and the glazing bars of the windows were no doubt removed at the same time. The house was converted into a hotel and restaurant after 1965.

Descent: Roger Ames (d. 1700); to son, Levi Ames (d. 1727); to son, Jeremiah Ames of Bristol (d. 1776); to son, Levi Ames of Clifton Wood (d. 1820); sold 1804 to Rev. Provis Wickham, who remodelled the house; sold 1847 to Col. Leckonby Phipps; sold 1882 to Col. Clerk; sold 1919 to Charles Brunell (d. 1959); sold after his death to Mr. Hughes; sold 1960 to Mr. Dix of All Hallows School; sold 1965 to Mr & Mrs Seaton who converted it to a hotel-restaurant; sold 1996 to Roger & Monty Saul.

Ayot House, Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire

An early 18th century house with segmented-headed windows and the characteristic vertical strips and window trim of rubbed bricks. It was probably built for Thomas Lewis (d. 1718), who bought the estate in 1714, or his son of the same name, who sold it again in 1723. The main front was originally of three storeys and three bays, with a longer five-bay side elevation facing the garden. The purchaser in 1723 was Cornelius Lyde, a Bristol merchant, who bequeathed it to his daughter Rachel, who was married to her cousin, Sir Lionel Lyde (d. 1791), 1st bt., a tobacco merchant. He added the porch and the projecting service wing in 1765, and also created a drawing room decorated in the Adam style.

Ayot House: entrance front c.1800, from a watercolour by Samuel Davis. Image: Yale Center for British Art.

Ayot House: the entrance and garden fronts in about 1850. Image: Government Art Collection. Licenced under the Open Government Licence.
The Lydes had no children and on Sir Lionel's death it passed to his brother Samuel and then to their nephew, Sir Lionel Poole, who took the name Lyde. His nephew, Lionel Ames (1775-1851), who also took the name Lyde, left it to his brother, George Henry Ames (1786-1873), who was no doubt responsible for additions of c.1850, which included the addition of an off-centre canted bay to the five-bay front, and increasing the height of the service wing. George left the estate to his grandson, Lionel Neville Frederick (d. 1883), who took the name Lyde, and on his death it passed to his brother, Lt-Col. Gerard Vivian Ames (d. 1899). Col. Ames' son, Lionel Gerard Ames sold the estate in 1912 to Sir Frank Cecil Meyer (d. 1935), 2nd bt., for whom further single-storey additions were made in 1933. After his death it was sold to the Brocket estate, which let it during the Second World War to ex-King Michael of Roumania. After the war it used as a silk farm before being divided into apartments.

Ayot House in 1905

Ayot House in 2013.
In 1778-9 the owner of the house, Sir Lionel Lyde, paid for a new church, partly intended as an eyecatcher from the house. It was designed by Nicholas Revett using elements of the Greek Revival style which was just beginning to be fashionable in the wake of the publication of Stuart & Revett’s Antiquities of Athens, 1762, but the overall composition, with its side colonnades and little outer aedicules is still Palladian.

Ayot St Lawrence: the eyecatcher church, built in 1778-79 for Sir Lionel Lyde. Image: Diamond Geezer. Some rights reserved.

Descent: Crown granted 1543 to Nicholas Bristowe (d. 1585); to son Nicholas Bristowe (d. 1616); to son Nicholas Bristowe; to son Nicholas Bristowe; to brother Richard Bristowe (fl. 1661); to son, William Bristowe; to widow, ? Bristowe, who sold 1714 to Thomas Lewis (d. 1718); to son Thomas Lewis who sold 1723 to Cornelius Lyde, a Bristol merchant; to daughter Rachel, wife of her cousin Sir Lionel Lyde, 1st baronet (d. 1791), tobacco merchant; to brother Samuel Lyde (fl. 1799); to nephew Sir Lionel Poole (later Lyde); to nephew Lionel Ames (later Lyde) (1775-1851); to brother George Henry Ames (1786-1873); to grandson Lionel Neville Frederick (later Lyde) (d. 1883); to brother, Lt-Col. Gerard Vivian Ames (d. 1899); to son Lionel Gerard Ames (fl. 1912), who sold to Sir Frank Cecil Meyer, 2nd baronet (d. 1935). It was later sold to the Brocket estate and let to ex-King Michael of Roumania (b. 1921) before being divided into apartments.

Cote House, Westbury-on-Trym, Gloucestershire

When the heights of Durdham Down became a fashionable suburban retreat for Bristol merchants in the 18th century, a number of handsome villas sprang up along the road to Westbury‑on‑Trym. The largest and most interesting of these was Cote House, which incorporated an existing Jacobean building. In 1825, indeed, it was described as 'a fine, spacious and well‑preserved mansion built in the 17th century', but by 1779, when Rudder called the house “turreted and embattled” it had probably been given a delightful Gothick exterior. The earliest views of the house in its Gothicised form are by S.H. Grimm, who was sketching in the Bristol area in 1788-90, and the young J.M.W. Turner, who it is thought visited Bristol in the summer of 1791 and filled a sketchbook with drawings of local views and houses.  His view of Cote House was later worked up into a more finished watercolour.

J.M.W. Turner, Cote House.  Image: Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford

Neither the patron nor the architect of this transformation can be identified with certainty. In 1745 the house belonged to William Phelps, from whose widow it passed after 1760 to John Thomas. He sold it in about 1775 to Captain John Webb, M.P. for the City of Gloucester, and it continued to change hands rapidly, belonging to a Captain Fowler at the time of Turner’s view and being owned by John Wedgwood between 1797 and 1803, before passing in 1825 to the Ames family, who held it until 1923. The style of the Gothick work, with the persistent use of ogee‑headed windows with broad flat mouldings, recalls the remodelling of nearby Stoke Bishop House, apparently done c.1765‑73 for Robert Cann Jeffries, and it is perhaps most likely that Cote was altered at much the same time for John Thomas, although 
Professor Mowl suggests the Gothicisation was done a little earlier, c.1759, for William Phelps.

Cote House, from an engraving of 1825.

Views of the house suggest that its Gothick façades were true stage scenery pasteboard work, surrounding a fundamentally 17th‑century house. The main front was composed around a four‑storey tower with a vertically set oval window of the late 17th century in the top storey and the main doorway on the ground floor. To either side were two bays of three storeys, and beyond this lower, slightly projecting wings with broad canted bay windows. On the south end of the house rose a semicircular three‑storey tower, economically providing the requisite touch of asymmetry and the castle air. A large wing, also Gothick, projected on the west of the house, making it a very considerable size.  It is not known whether there were any Gothick interiors, although it seems very probable. The house retained a rather fine mid 17th-century open‑well staircase with tapered balusters, a little like the one at Wick Court. The architect of the 18th‑century work is not recorded, although Andrew Foyle has suggested that Thomas and James Paty were probably responsible for most of the Gothick work in the Bristol area. This is not a suggestion that has received support from the recent biographer of the Paty family, and the stylistic evidence perhaps suggests a more complex picture. One would like to know the designer’s name, however, for at Cote he succeeded miraculously in capturing the cheerful, light­hearted spirit of the best Gothick. 

Cote House in about 1913: unchanged, except for the growth of ivy. Image courtesy of Matthew Beckett.

Sadly, having survived the 19th century largely unaltered, Cote House was demolished in 1925 to make way for a hospital known as St Monica's Home.

Descent: William Phelps (fl. 1745); to widow; sold after 1760 to John Thomas; sold c.1775 to Capt. John Webb MP... Capt. Fowler (fl. 1790); sold 1797 to John Wedgwood; sold 1803... sold c.1825 to George Henry Ames (1786-1873); to son, Henry St. Vincent Ames (1833-1901); to widow, Charlotte Henrietta Ames (d. 1917); sold 1923 and demolished 1925.

The Hyde, Luton, Bedfordshire

A five by three bay, two-storey early 18th century house, believed to have been built for Philadelphia, Lady Cotton, after the death of her husband in 1715. The house is of red brick, with segmental-headed windows throughout, except for a Venetian window on the east front lighting the staircase. The house was considerably extended and given an attic storey in the 19th century but these accretions were removed and the house was restored in 1952-53. At the same time, the entrance was moved from the south to the north front, and the house was given a flat roof behind a parapet with balustraded sections over each window. There is a thatched lodge by Richardson & Gill, of 1930.

The Hyde: south front in 1967, after removal of 19th century additions.
 Descent: Philadelphia, Lady Cotton, widow of Sir Thomas Cotton (d. 1715), who built the house... John Bettesworth (d. 1779)... Robert Hibbert (fl. 1806)... sold 1835 to Levi Ames (1778-1846); given 1835 to son Col. Lionel Ames (d. 1873); to son, Neville Frederick Ames (d. 1883); to brother,  Lt-Col. Gerard Vivian Ames (1852-99); to son, Lionel Gerard Ames (b. 1889), who sold 1920 to Sir John Harrington (d. 1925); sold to Charles Thomas Hambro (d. 1933); to son, John Henry Hambro (d. 1965); to son, David Jocelyn Jersey Hambro (b. 1936). The house was let between 1873 and 1920.

Pinhay House (alias Pinney House or Clevelands), Uplyme, Devon

Pinhay House: the south front facing the sea views.
The house is set on the cliffs above an area of active landslip activity on the Jurassic coast near Lyme Regis, and was rebuilt in the Italianate style for John Ames after he bought the estate in 1838, and further remodelled and extended in the 1890s.  The house is of two storeys and is built of ashlar with a low pitched slate roof, moulded stone eaves cornice and a panelled frieze and band at first floor level. The south front, of five irregular bays, overlooks the terrace and the sea beyond, and has a low three-storey belvedere tower with a bracketed eaves cornice, three light round headed window and a stone balcony on brackets above a broad ground floor canted bay. To the left of this is a loggia with an elliptical arch flanked by small round arches on composite columns, with a recessed balcony above with a segmental vaulted ceiling. The right hand three bays, two of which project, is said to be a late 19th century addition. The west elevation of four bays has a wider right-hand bay with an open pediment over a round-headed window with fluted tympanum and broad canted bay window below. The entrance front on the north has a large square porch with pilasters and a round-headed doorway.  The house became a nursing home in the late 20th century.

The grounds were landscaped, probably in the 1840s, when John Ames was involved in a landmark legal dispute about a public right of way along the coast which he attempted to close; in the end a compromise was reached by which the path remained open but was enclosed between eight-foot walls where it passed through his grounds.

Descent: Mrs. Edye (fl. 1830); sold 1838 to John Ames (1784-1867); to nephew, Edward Levi Ames (1832-92); sold after his death to Christian Wilton Allhusen (1840-1924); to son, Major Ormsby Allhusen (1888-1964); to widow, Katharine Dracaena Allhusen (d. 2005); to son, who let it as a nursing home.

Linden Hall, Longhorsley, Northumberland

Linden Hall, Longhorsley.  Image:

A very plain and beautifully ashlared five bay two storey house designed in 1812 by Sir Charles Monck of Belsay for Charles William Bigge.  The central bay is much wider than the rest and has an extremely heavy and severe four-column porch with unfluted Greek Doric columns.  Inside there is an oblong central hall in which the staircase rises along three walls, under an oval roof lantern.  The house is now an hotel, and the stable block and outbuildings were converted to domestic accommodation in the 1980s by Ainsworth Spark.

Descent:  Charles William Bigge (d. 1849)... sold 1861 to Henry Metcalf Ames; to son, Louis Eric Ames, who sold 1903 to Lawrence William Adamson (1829-1911); to son, Lt-Col. John George Adamson (1855-1932); to daughters Muriel Adamson (1884-1963) and Eve Adamson (b. 1890), who sold 1963 to John M. Liddell; who sold 1978 for conversion to hotel.

Ghyllheugh, Longhorsley, Northumberland

Ghyllheugh in 2013.

Ghyllheugh: entrance front in 2013
A somewhat eclectic neo-Jacobean sandstone house with a Cumberland slate roof, built on a greenfield site on the banks of the River Coquet by J.T. Carse of Amble in 1900-03 for Louis Ames. 

Carse was essentially a builder and it is not clear whether the house was built to his own designs or whether another architect was involved. In addition to constructing the main house, Carse also built the stables, garden house, estate workshops and outbuildings. 

The interiors retain some original decorative features but have been substantially modernised in an unsympathetic style, no doubt improving livability at the expense of authenticity. The house was for sale in 2013.

Descent: Louis Eric Ames (1855-1933); to son, John Louis Metcalfe Ames (1882-1945); to widow, Eva Varina Bevis Ames (d. 1955); sold after her death...

Ames family of Linden Hall and Ghyllheugh

Ames, Roger (1635-1700), of Charlton House.  Elder son of Matthew or Matthias Ames (d. c.1651) of Doulting (Somerset) and his wife Mabel Short, baptised at Wedmore (Somerset). 20 December 1635. Farmer, landowner and hosier. He married, 15/16 June 1657, Mary Dory (d. 1702) and had issue including:
(1) Levi Ames (d. 1727) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Ames; married 2 January 1687/8, William Symes (d. 1691) of Shepton Mallet;
(3) John Ames (b. 1664), baptised 11 April 1664; married and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(3) Thomas Ames (b. 1665), baptised 28 December 1665; died in infancy;
(4) Thomas Ames (b. 1667), baptised 9 January 1667
(5) Jeremiah Ames (b. 1669), baptised 28 October 1669; died in infancy;
(6) Jonathan Ames (b. 1670), baptised at Shepton Mallet, 8 March 1670;
(7) Jeremiah Ames (b. 1674), baptised at Shepton Mallet, 19 July 1674;
(8) Sarah Ames (b. 1677), baptised at Shepton Mallet, 30 March 1677
He farmed at Jenkins and Charlton in Shepton Mallet and Doulting (Somerset) and bought and rebuilt Charlton House in 1668.
He died on 27 May 1700 and was buried at Doulting, 1 June 1700; his will was proved 23 August 1700. His widow died 1 July and was buried at Doulting, 4 July 1702.

Ames, Levi (d. 1727), of Charlton House.  Eldest son of Roger Ames (1635-1700) and his wife Mary Dory. Farmer, landowner and hosier. He married 1st, Hannah (d. 1711), daughter of John Watts of Bodden in Doulting (Somerset), 2nd Margaret Godwin (d. 1718), 3rd, 3 February 1718/9, Austace Court (d. 1737) and had issue:
(1.1) Roger Ames (d. 1765); clothier; married, 28 September 1724, Grace (d. 1741), daughter of William Tucker of Shepton Mallet and had issue two sons and two daughters; buried at Doulting, 1765; will proved 2 December 1765;
(1.2) Mary Ames (fl. 1709); married, 1709, as his third wife, Edward Goldney (d. 1713/4) of Bristol;
(1.3) Hannah Ames (d. 1760); married, 1724, as his second wife, Jonathan Byrt of Downside, Midsomer Norton (Somerset); died without issue, 24 Mary 1760 and was buried at Doulting;
(1.4) Levi Ames (d. 1723); apprenticed to William Hendy of Bristol, grocer, 1711 and subsequently pursued that trade; married 28 August 1718 at Bristol Cathedral, Sarah, daughter of Benjamin Gwyn of Bristol and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 1723; will proved 25 June 1723;
(1.5) Elizabeth Ames; married, 24 October 1727 at Temple Church, Bristol, Edward Webb and had issue;
(1.6) Mabel Ames (d. 1706); died 14 November 1706; buried at Doulting, where she is commemorated by a monumental inscription;
(1.7) Samuel Ames (d. 1729) of Bristol, merchant and mariner; died unmarried and was buried at Doulting, 28 November 1729; will proved, 13 June 1730;
(1.8) Jeremiah Ames (c.1706-76) (q.v.);
(2.1) Margaret Ames (fl. 1788); married John Goddard of Bruton (Somerset).
He inherited Charlton House from his father in 1700 and acquired land at Evercreech (Somerset).
He was buried 25 March 1727.  His first wife was buried 15 March 1711.  His second wife died in 1718. His widow was buried 28 March 1737.

Ames, Jeremiah (alias Jeremy) (1706-76), of Bristol.  Youngest son of Levi Ames (d. 1727) and his first wife Hannah, daughter of John Watts of Shepton Mallet and Bodden, born 20 July 1706. Apprenticed to his brother, Levi Ames (d. 1723) as a grocer at Bristol, 1719. In addition to his core business as a grocer, he diversified into sugar baking and refining, the manufacture of snuff and tobacco, gunpowder making, and dealing in iron goods; and also had extensive interests in shipping. In 1769 he was one of the founders of Harford's Bank, Bristol, as a natural extension of his commercial interests. He was a member of the City Council (alderman 1765-76, sheriff, 1742-43 and mayor, 1759-60). He married at Ilminster (Somerset), 2 March 1730/1, Pheobe (c.1706-79), daughter of Robert Collins of Horton (Somerset) and had issue:
(1) Mary Ames (1731-88), baptised 24 March 1731; married at St James', Bristol, 14 June 1768, as his second wife, John Olive of Oporto (Portugal) and later of London, wine merchant; died April 1788 and was buried in Unitarian cemetery, Brunswick Square, Bristol; will proved 9 May 1788;
(2) Hannah Ames (1733-85), baptised 27 December 1733; "a lady of true piety"; married, 26 July 1774, Dr. John Wright (1732-94) of Bristol, the philanthropist, Unitarian preacher and later doctor of medicine; died without issue, September 1785;
(3) William Ames (1737-41?), baptised 22 November 1737; probably died young and was buried 14 April 1741;
(4) Levi Ames (1739-1820) (q.v.);
(5) Sarah Ames (1741-1801), baptised 1 April 1741; married at St James', Bristol, 10 May 1763, Gregory Olive (d. 1779) of London, merchant and had issue; died 2 April 1801;
(6) John Ames (1742-1824), baptised 11 October 1742; died unmarried, 25 June 1824 and was buried in Unitarian cemetery, Brunswick Square, Bristol; will proved 14 July 1824;
(7) Joseph Ames (1745-1808), baptised 6 January 1745; died unmarried and was buried at Bridport (Dorset), 12 February 1808.
He inherited Charlton House from his father in 1727, but lived at 17 Lower Maudlin Lane in Bristol.
He died 3 April 1776 and was buried in the Unitarian cemetery, Brunswick Square, Bristol; his will was proved 27 July 1779.  His widow died 26 October 1779, aged 73, and was buried in the Unitarian cemetery, Brunswick Square, Bristol.

Levi Ames in 1789
Ames, Levi (1739-1820), of Clifton Wood House, Bristol.  Son of Jeremiah Ames (c.1706-76) of Bristol and his wife Pheobe, daughter of Robert Collins of Horton (Somerset), baptised 2 April 1739. Drysalter and banker in Bristol; founding partner in the Bristol Bank (Ames, Cave & Co.), 1786-1820; a Whig in politics; member of Bristol City Council 1771-1820 (alderman, 1792-1820; sheriff, 1771-72; mayor, 1788-89). A Unitarian in religion.  He married 1st,19 April 1770 at St Giles Cripplegate, London, Anna Maria (d. 1792), only daughter of Chauncey Poole of Bristol and London and niece of Sir Lionel Lyde (1724-91) of Ayot St. Lawrence (Herts), 1st bt., and 2nd, 14 July 1796 at St Swithin, Walcot, Bath (Som.), Elizabeth Wraxall (c.1746-1843) of Clifton (Glos), and had issue:
(1.1) Anna Maria Ames (1771-1851), born 9 May and baptised 4 June 1771; married at Clifton, 14 January 1800, Richard Llewellin (d. 1825) of Tregwynt (Pembs) and Holmwood, Westbury-on-Trym (Glos) and had issue; died 4 January 1851;
(1.2) Sarah Ames (1772-1815), born 3 and baptised at Lewins Mead Chapel, Bristol, 10 July 1772; married at Clifton, 6 May 1796, her cousin John Olive (1773-1815) of The Ton (Monmouths) and had issue two sons (of whom the Rev. John Olive (1804-74) was later rector of Ayot St. Lawrence); died 18 July 1815 and was buried in porch of St Paul, Bristol, 23 July 1815;
(1.3) Pheobe Ames (1774-1841), born 20 February and baptised 18 March 1774; married, 14 July 1800, her cousin, Rev. James Olive of Cloakham House, Axminster (Devon), vicar of St Paul, Bristol, and had issue four sons and one daughter; died 2 August 1841 and was buried in porch of St Paul, Bristol, 10 August 1841l;
(1.4) Lionel Ames (later Lyde) (1775-1851) (q.v.);
(1.5) Jeremiah Ames (1776-1820), born 8 December 1776 and baptised 9 January 1777; West India merchant in Bristol; married at St Augustine, Bristol, 10 April 1806, Mary (d. 1878), youngest daughter of John Pinney of Bristol; died without issue, 24 March 1820 and was buried at St Paul, Bristol; will proved 25 August 1820;
(1.6) Levi Ames (1778-1846) (q.v.);
(1.7) Harriett Ames (1780-1800), born 6 and baptised 31 August 1780; died unmarried, 26 March 1800 and was buried in Unitarian cemetery, Brunswick Square, Bristol;
(1.8) Charles Ames (1782-1803), born 4 February and baptised 11 March 1782; died unmarried, 26 July 1803 and was buried in Unitarian cemetery, Brunswick Square, Bristol;
(1.9) John Ames (1784-1867) of Clevelands, Uplyme (Devon), born 25 May and baptised 23 June 1784; shipowner and West India merchant in Bristol; bought and rebuilt Clevelands (later Pinhay House), 1838; died unmarried, 16 November 1867 and was buried at Uplyme (Devon), 26 November 1867; will proved 10 January 1868 (estate under £500,000);
(1.10) George Henry Ames (1786-1873) (q.v.);
He inherited Charlton House from his father in 1776, but sold it in 1804 and lived at Clifton Wood in the suburbs of Bristol.
He died 16 December 1820 and was buried in the Unitarian cemetery at Brunswick Square, Bristol; his will was proved 23 February 1821 (wealth at death £120,000). His first wife died 1 September 1792. His widow died 7 November 1843, aged 97.

Lyde (né Ames), Lionel (1775-1851), of Ayot House. Eldest son of Levi Ames (1739-1820) and his wife Anna Maria, only daughter of Chauncey Poole of Bristol and niece of Sir Lionel Lyde, 1st bt., of Ayot St. Lawrence, born 6 September 1775 and baptised at Lewins Mead Chapel, Bristol, 12 October 1775.  Educated at Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1795; BA 1799) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1799; called to bar 1807). Barrister-at-law. He took the surname and arms of Lyde by royal licence, 1806. He was unmarried.
He inherited the estates of his great-uncle, Sir Lionel Lyde, at Ayot St. Lawrence (Herts) in 1806. At his death, the estate passed to his younger brother, George Henry Ames.
He died 22 January 1851 and was buried at East Hyde, 30 January 1851; his will was proved 21 February 1851.

Ames, Levi (1778-1846),of The Hyde.  Third son of Levi Ames (1739-1820) and his wife Anna Maria, only daughter of Chauncey Poole of Bristol and niece of Sir Lionel Lyde, 1st bt., of Ayot St. Lawrence, born 30 November 1778 and baptised 1 January 1779 at Lewins Mead Unitarian meeting house, Bristol.  Bristol merchant, shipowner and banker. Sheriff of Bristol, 1804; Trustee of the Trinity Hospital, Bristol; member of Bristol Corporation, 1804-35; JP for Beds and Herts and DL for Herts; High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, 1839. He married at Clifton, 13 June 1808, Anne Bird (d. 1853), daughter and heir of Henry Metcalfe of Murton and Seatonville (Northbld), and had issue:
(1) Lionel Ames (1809-73) (q.v.);
(2) Emily Anne Ames (1811-56), born 31 October 1811; married at St George's, Hanover Square, London, 11 July 1843, as his second wife, Rev. Edward Sullivan (d. 1873), rector of Kimpton (Herts); died without issue 25 April 1856; will proved 24 June 1856;
(3) Mary Ames (1814-98), born 22 December 1814; Woman of the Bedchamber to HM Queen Victoria; married at St George's, Hanover Square, London, 7 May 1836, Gen. Sir William John Codrington GCB (1804-84) and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 28 June 1898; will proved 11 August 1898 (estate £108,596);
(4) Margaret Rose Ames (1817-93), born 8 October 1817; married, 2 June 1845, Col. Robert Blane CB (d. 1871), 2nd Life Guards, military attaché at St. Petersburg; died without issue, 20 May 1893; will proved 21 August 1893 (estate £26,829);
(5) Levi Ames (1818-20), born 18 May 1818; died in infancy, 13 January 1820;
(6) Henry Metcalfe Ames (1820-74) (q.v.);
(7) Harriett Elizabeth Ames (1822-91), born February 1822; married, 2 June 1846, Lt-Col. Charles Sedley Burdett JP (d. 1880), Coldstream Guards, of Shrubhurst (Surrey) and had issue; died 12 February 1891; will proved 18 March 1891 (estate £7,720).
In the early 19th century he lived at Rodney Place, Clifton; he later leased 14 Hereford Street, London and Lamer Park (Herts). He purchased the estate of The Hyde, Luton (Beds) in 1835 and gave it to his son Lionel two years later.
He died 26 December 1846 and was buried at East Hyde; his will was proved in PCC, 13 February 1847 (wealth at death £50,000). His widow died in Oct-Dec. 1853 and was buried at East Hyde.

Ames, Lt-Col. Lionel (1809-73) of The Hyde. Elder son of Levi Ames (1778-1846) of The Hyde and his wife Anne Bird, daughter of Henry Metcalfe of Murton and Seatonville (Northbld), born 13 July 1809. JP and DL for Hertfordshire; JP for Bedfordshire; High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, 1866. Capt. in 17th Lancers; Lt-Col. of Hertfordshire Militia.  He married at St Luke's, Chelsea (Middx), 10 June 1848, Augusta Percy (d. 1902), daughter of Col. Sir John Morillyon Wilson CB KH and had issue:
(1) Capt. Lionel Neville Frederick Ames (later Ames-Lyde) (1850-83), born 21 February 1850; Capt. in Grenadier Guards; married, 27 August 1873, Edith Eliza (d. 1914), daughter and heiress of Maj. William Hogge of Thornham (Norfolk); died without issue, 17 January 1883 and was buried at Hyde, 23 January 1883; will proved 19 April 1883 (estate £24,326);
(2) Percy George Ames (1851-58), born 7 May 1851; died young, 16 April 1858;
(3) Lt-Col. Gerard Vivian Ames (1852-99) (q.v.);
(4) Edith Mary Ames (1854-1914); born 13 June 1854; died unmarried, 27 May 1914; will proved 2 July 1914 (estate £26,125);
(5) Ernest Fitzroy Ames (1855-1920), born 29 August 1855; married 1st, 3 January 1895, Mary Frances (d. 1914), daughter of Rev. Patrick Leslie Miller of Dalawinton (Dumfries) and 2nd, Blanche Mary, daughter of Maj. Cyril Wilson and widow of Capt. Herbert Dawson; died without issue, 6 February 1920; will proved 12 May 1920 (estate £16,452);
(6) Victor Charles Ames (1859-1934), born 9 February 1859; married, 29 April 1893, Violet Emily, only daughter of Arundel Berkeley Napier and had issue one son and one daughter; died 8 November 1934; will proved 13 March 1935 (estate £16,317);
(7) Lt-Col. Oswald Henry Ames (1862-1937), of Thornham Manor House (Norfolk) and Dunsfold Manor (Surrey), born 3 January 1862; Lt-Col. commanding 2nd Life Guards Reserve Regiment from 1914; married, 5 September 1901, Violet Dorothea (d. 1953), daughter of Lord Francis Horace Pierrepont Cecil (who m.2, 1 September 1942, Sir Maurice Bromley-Wilson, 7th bt., of Dallam Tower (Westmld)) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 6 November 1937;
(8) Hugh (known as Hugo) Laurenson Ames (1868-1943), born 23 April 1866; educated at Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1884); journalist and author; emigrated to America and became a naturalised American citizen, 1910; charged with bigamy after obtaining a divorce in America from his first wife which was not valid in England, 1912 and sentenced to six months in the second division; married 1st, 1890 (div. 1910 (in America) and 1912), Kate, daughter of A. Villiers Palmer and had issue two sons, and 2nd, 29 January 1910 (in Oakland, California), 27 January 1911 (in Chelsea (Middx), and 5 February 1914, Flora Matilda, daughter of Col. Charles Hayter CB and former wife of Col. Arthur Forbes Montenero; died Oct-Dec. 1943.
He was given The Hyde, Luton (Beds) by his father in 1837. At his death the estate passed to his eldest son, who bequeathed it to his brother Gerard.
He died 20 February 1873 and was buried at East Hyde; his will was proved 9 April 1873 (estate under £160,000). His widow died 14 July 1902; her will was proved 17 October 1902 (estate £18,240).

Ames, Lt-Col. Gerard Vivian (1852-99) of Ayot House and The Hyde.  Third son of Lt-Col. Lionel Ames (1809-73) and his wife Augusta Percy, daughter of Col. Sir John Morillyon Wilson CB KH, born 7 August 1852. JP for Bedfordshire. Lt-Col. of 1st Royal Dragoons. He married at the British Embassy in Paris, 20 February 1889, Alice Katherine (c.1851-1926), eldest daughter of Sir Philip John William Miles, 2nd bt. of Leigh Court, Abbotsleigh (Somerset) and widow of George Duppa of Hollingbourne House (Kent), and had issue:
(1) Capt. Lionel Gerard Ames (1889-1971) of Ayot House and The Hyde, Captain in Grenadier Guards and Royal Engineers; inherited Ayot House from his father but sold it c.1912 and lived subsequently at the smaller house known as Amesbury, Ayot St. Lawrence; married 1st, Oct-Dec. 1919 (div.), Doreen Mary Lea, daughter of Cmdr. George Leigh King RN, and 2nd, 1926, Monica Virginie Clarke, but died without issue;
(2) Eve Marjorie Ames (b. 1891), born 5 September 1891; married 1st, Jan-March 1917, Wilfrid A. Compton (d. before 1921) and 2nd, Jan-March 1937, Ronald Davies.
He inherited Ayot House and The Hyde from his elder brother in 1883, but let The Hyde. At his death it passed to his son, but his widow had a life interest in the house and it continued to be let. It was sold in 1920. Ayot House passed to his son in 1899 and was sold about 1912.
He died in Paris, 27 April 1899; his will was proved 8 June 1899 (estate £6,810). His widow died 3 April 1926; her will was proved 11 June 1926 and 4 March 1927 (estate £67,398).

Ames, Henry Metcalfe (1820-74) of Linden Hall. Younger son of Levi Ames (1778-1846) of The Hyde and his wife Anne Bird, daughter of Henry Metcalfe of Murton and Seatonville (Northbld), born 21 May and baptised at Clifton, 7 August 1820. Educated at Harrow. DL for Northumberland; High Sheriff of Northumberland, 1864. He married, 9 November 1852, Elizabeth Sarah (1834-68), only daughter of Maj. Hodgson Cadogan of Brinkburn Priory (Northbld) and had issue:
(1) Henrietta Elizabeth Ames (1853-1915), born 3 October 1853; married at St Mary Abbotts, Kensington (Middx), 16 December 1873, Rev. & Hon. William Charles Ellis, rector of Bothalhaugh (Northbld) and had issue five sons and two daughters; died 10 February 1915; will proved 28 October 1915 (estate £5,208);
(2) Louis Eric Ames (1855-1933) of Ghyllheugh (q.v.);
(3) Winifred Rose Ames (1857-1913), born 11 April 1857; married at St George's, Hanover Square, London, 26 July 1883, John Elphinstone Hugh Orr; died 13 October 1913; will proved 9 December 1913 (estate £1,371);
(4) Katharine Mary Ames (1859-1939), born 1 April 1859; married at St Paul, Knightsbridge (Middx), 17 October 1876, Hon. Reginald Parker (d. 1942), sixth son of 6th Earl of Macclesfield, and had issue; died 20 November 1939; will proved 2 May 1940 (estate £1,009);
(5) Felix Lyde Ames (1862-1948), born 17 August and baptised 21 September 1862; educated at Harrow and Merton College, Oxford (matriculated 1881); married, 15 December 1888, Ada (d. 1945), daughter of George Sims and had issue one daughter; died 12 July 1948; will proved 31 December 1948 (estate £23,911);
(6) Laurence Metcalfe Levi Ames (1865-1933), born 8 February 1865; educated at Harrow; married, 10 March 1891, Geraldine Mary (d. 1948), daughter of Richard Smith; died 28 May 1933;
(7) Anne Josephine Moselle Ames (1868-1957), born 28 January 1868; married 1st, 29 December 1888, Sir William Cecil Domville (1849-1904), 4th bt. and had issue, and 2nd, William Henry Harrison (d. 1936) and had further issue; died 30 November 1957; will proved 11 February 1958 (estate £1,668).
He purchased Linden Hall in 1861.
He died 1 May 1874 and was buried at Felton (Northbld); his will was proved 27 June 1874 (estate under £250,000). His wife died 29 February 1868 and was buried at Felton.

Ames, Louis Eric (1855-1933) of Ghyllheugh. Eldest son of Henry Metcalfe Ames (1820-74) of Linden Hall and his wife Elizabeth Sarah, daughter of Maj. Hodgson Cadogan of Brinkburn Priory, born 17 April 1855. Educated at Harrow. Served as Lt. in 2nd Life Guards. JP for Northumberland. He married, 25 April 1881, Margaret Wilhelmina (d. 1915), youngest daughter of William John Hamilton MP and sister of 10th Baron Belhaven & Stenton and had issue:
(1) John Louis Metcalfe Ames (1882-1945) (q.v.);
(2) Lt-Cmdr. Robert Henry Ames RN (1883-1930), born 26 October 1883; married, 28 February 1911, Beatrice, daughter of Gen. Montague Hall and died without issue, 25 August 1930; will proved 28 November 1930 (estate £1,643).
He inherited Linden Hall from his father in 1874. He built Ghyllheugh nearby in 1900-04 and sold Linden Hall in 1903.
He died 3 December 1933; his will was proved 22 January 1934 (estate £98,237). His wife died 4 January 1915; her will was proved 16 December 1915 (estate £1,027).

Ames, John Louis Metcalfe (1882-1945) of Ghyllheugh.  Elder son of Louis Eric Ames (1855-1933) of Ghyllheugh and his wife Margaret Wilhelmina, daughter of William John Hamilton MP, born 12 May 1882. Educated at Oratory School, Birmingham. Served as Lt. in Northumberland Fusiliers. He married 1st, 28 April 1908 (div. 1926), Chrystabel Mary, daughter and heir of John Claude Campbell Hamilton of Sundrum (Ayrs.) and 2nd, 4 October 1934, Eva Varina Bevis (d. 1955) of Dunsters House, Chipping Norton (Oxon), but had no issue.
He inherited Ghyllheugh from his father in 1933. At his death it passed to his widow and was sold after her death.
He died 20 January 1945; his will was proved 24 July 1945 (estate £4,649). His widow died 29 August 1955; her will was proved 1 November 1955 (estate £10,565).

Ames, George Henry (1786-1873) of Cote House. Sixth son of Levi Ames (1739-1820) and his wife Anna Maria, only daughter of Chauncey Poole of Bristol and niece of Sir Lionel Lyde, 1st bt., of Ayot St. Lawrence, born 30 October 1786 and baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian meeting house, Bristol, 7 December 1786. West Indies merchant at Bristol; partner in Baillie, Ames & Baillie and the Great Western Cotton Works, Bristol. Founder member of the Camden Society. He married at Clifton (Glos), 3 August 1826, Anna (c.1804-89), daughter of Gideon Acland of Camberwell (Surrey) and had issue:
(1) George Acland Ames (1827-73), born 10 May 1827 and baptised 22 June at Lewins Mead Unitarian meeting house, Bristol; educated at Eton; served as cornet in Royal Gloucestershire Hussars; married, 13 July 1854 (div. 1869), Clara Henrietta Maria (1835-79), eldest daughter of Maximilian van Hanstein, Count von Poelzig of Saxe-Altenberg (Germany) and had issue two sons and four daughters; died 5 January 1873;
(2) Anna Ames (1828-1903), born 22 October 1828; married at Westbury-on-Trym, 6 October 1857, Maj. Maxwell Reeve (d. 1903), 5th Dragoon Guards, son of Admiral John Reeve; lived at Quinta da Pontinha, Funchal, Madeira; died 9 March 1903 (on the same day and a few hours after her husband); will proved 22 May 1903 (estate £1,026);
(3) Charles Herbert Ames (1830-78) of Remenham Place (Berks), born 14 May 1830; educated at Eton and Haileybury; admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, 1847 but did not reside; served with HEICS, Madras; married at Dyrham (Glos), 20 January 1863, Eliza Scott (d. 1924), daughter of Rev. William Scott Robinson, rector of Dyrham and had issue one son and four daughters; died 19 January and was buried at Remenham, 25 January 1878; will proved 8 March 1878 (estate under £70,000);
(4) Edward Levi Ames (1832-92) of Clevelands, Lyme Regis (Dorset), born 27 January and baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian meeting house, 29 March 1832; educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1849; BA 1854; MA 1857) and Lincolns Inn (admitted, 1854); barrister-at-law; JP for Dorset; member of the Alpine Club; inherited Clevelands from his uncle, John Ames, in 1867; married at St Giles-in-the-Fields, London, 10 August 1859, Emily (d. 1864), daughter of Edward Lawford of Eden Park, Beckenham (Kent) and had issue one son and two daughters; died 7 January 1892; will proved 18 February 1892 (estate £100,116);
(5) Henry St. Vincent Ames (1833-1901) of Cote House (q.v.);
(6) Ellen Ames (1835-1921), born 9 March 1835; married, 29 April 1858, Rev. Thomas Coney (d. 1898), chaplain to the forces and son of Rev. Thomas Boucher Coney, rector of Pucklechurch, and had issue; died Jan-March 1921;
(7) Frederick Ames (1836-1918) of Hawford Lodge, Claines (Worcs), born 17 October 1836; served in Rifle Brigade; JP for Worcestershire; married at Syerston (Notts), 14 March 1865, Letitia (d. 1913), eldest daughter of George Fillingham of Syerston Hall but died without issue, 2 June 1918; will proved 23 July 1918 (estate £59,974);
(8) Alfred Ames (1839-1910), born 4 June 1839; educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1857); Lt. in Rifle Brigade; died unmarried in Paris, 8 April 1910; will proved 28 April 1910 (estate £264,725);
(9) Reginald Ames (1844-91), born 9 May 1844; educated at University College, Oxford (matriculated 1863; BA & MA 1869); died unmarried at Torquay (Devon), 3 December 1891; will proved 3 March 1892 (estate £107,560).
He purchased Cote House in about 1825.  At his death it passed to his fourth son.
He died 20 July 1873; his will was proved 15 August 1873 (estate under £90,000). His widow died 16 February 1889; her will was proved 15 March 1889 (estate £1,279).

H. St. V. Ames (1833-1901)
Ames, Henry St. Vincent (1833-1901) of Cote House. Fourth son of George Henry Ames (1786-1873) of Cote House and his wife Anna, daughter of Gideon Acland of Camberwell (Surrey), born 19 August 1833. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated, 1853; BA 1857; MA 1860); worked as a photographer in Canada in the 1860s. He married at Lurgan (Armagh), 29 April 1875, Charlotte Henrietta (c.1848-1917), daughter of Rev. George Robinson, rector of Tartaragan (Armagh), but had no issue.
He inherited Cote House from his father in 1873.  At his death he left it to his widow; it was sold after her death.
He died 10 March and was buried at Westbury-on-Trym (Glos), 14 March 1901; his will was proved 14 April 1901 (estate £148,639). His widow died 20 October 1917; her will was proved 6 December 1917 (estate £21,364). 


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, p. 35 and 1972, pp. 19-20; Rudder, Glos, 1779, p. 796; Brewer, Delineations of Glos, 1825‑27, p. 110; R. Ames, Genealogical memoranda of the family of Ames, 1889; E. Croft-Murray, ‘An unpublished early Watercolour by J.M.W Turner, Cote House, Bristol’, Burlington Magazine, vol. 90, 1948, pp.107-109, fig.2; Anon, 1250 years at Westbury‑on‑Trym, 1967, p.33; A. Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, London, 1979, pl. 21;  L. & J.F. Stone, An open elite?: England 1540-1880, 1984, p. 193; Pevsner, Richmond et al, The buildings of England: Northumberland, 2nd edn., 1992, p. 377; G. Priest, The Paty family: makers of 18th century Bristol, 2003; A. Foyle, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Bristol, 2004, p. 21; C. O'Brien & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough, 2014, p. 155;

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Argent on a bend cotised between two annulets sable a quatrefoil between two roses of the field.

Revision & Acknowledgements

This post was first published 27 April 2014 and was revised 28 March and 9 July 2015, 16 January 2018, 18-30 April 2020 and 11 October 2021. I am grateful to Elisabeth Frankish for information about the family's involvement in banking in Bristol and to Peter Shirley for corrections and other suggestions.


  1. I am direct descendant of this Ames family. Thank you so much for writing this amazing article! It would have taken me forever to gather this information. :)

  2. Chauncey Poole (not Pole)

    1. I am the son of Ormsby Allhusen. Pinhay was not sold on my mothers death. I still own it and it is let as a retirement home

    2. Thank you for the correction, which I have altered above.

  3. Harold Thomas Jr. Ames1 April 2023 at 02:00

    Thanks for doing this...I'm just becoming aware of my ancestory.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.