Saturday 27 September 2014

(142) Andrews of Shaw Place and Donnington Grove, baronets

Andrews of Shaw Place
Although there are some hints that Joseph Andrews (c.1691-1753) could trace an ancestral connection with the Andrews of Charwelton, he himself came from a middle-class if relatively prosperous background. He had a facility for numbers, and somehow came to the attention of Sir Robert Walpole, who secured his appointment to the Army Pay Office, where his accountancy skills were put to effective use.  In the 18th century, fees, perquisites and interest on Government money in their hands made up a significant part of the income of public officers even if they were strictly honest, and many also had great opportunities for peculation and taking bribes.  Joseph Andrews did much to improve the transparency of accounting in the Pay Office and was therefore presumably pretty honest, but even so by the end of his career he had amassed a sufficient fortune to purchase the Shaw Place estate from the executors of the Duchess of Chandos for just over £27,000. It would appear, indeed, that he had already moved into the house some years earlier as a tenant.

Joseph married twice. By his first wife, who died in childbirth, he had an only son, Sir Joseph Andrews (1727-1800), 1st bt.  By the second, who survived him, he produced a second son, James Pettit Andrews (1737-97), and a daughter.  Sir Joseph Andrews succeeded to the Shaw estate in 1753 and seems to have been in fairly easy financial circumstances.  He divided his time between Shaw and London, where he was known as a philanthropist and supporter of humanitarian causes.  Apart from six years as an officer in the Berkshire militia, 1757-63, he does not appear to have held public office, and it is therefore not clear why he was created a baronet in 1766. It may be that he then already knew that he would have no children, as he arranged for a special remainder in the baronetcy patent by which the title would pass on his death to his younger half-brother and his issue. 

James Pettit Andrews (1737-97) lived mainly in London and occupied himself with literary and antiquarian pursuits, which led to a number of publications, including a history of England, that evidenced his wide reading. However, when the new system of police magistrates was established in London in 1792 he was one of the first to be appointed, and until his death five years later he played an active part in the maintenance of law and order in Westminster.  In about 1760 he bought land adjoining the Shaw estate and built there a new Gothick Revival house, Donnington Grove, which he sold in the 1780s, perhaps for financial reasons. He died before his brother, so the baronetcy passed in 1800 to his surviving son, Sir Joseph Andrews (1768-1822), 2nd bt., who was unmarried and would appear to have had a gay relationship with his 'servant, companion and friend', William Kidman (d. 1828). The baronetcy expired on Sir Joseph's death in 1822, and Shaw House passed to his cousin, the Rev. Thomas Penrose.

Shaw Place (now Shaw House), Berkshire

Shaw House: (south) entrance front after the restoration of 2005-08. Image: David Ford.

Shaw House is surprisingly little-known, yet (externally, at least) it is a largely unaltered Elizabethan great house, built on rising ground north of the River Lambourn.  It was built in 1579-81 for Thomas Dolman (d. 1622), the second son and chosen heir of his father, a Newbury clothier, who was later described by Ashmole as 'rich and... little inclined to thrift', and the house was designed to make a confident statement to travellers on the Bath Road, although the growth of woods and later development means this view no longer operates. It was one of the first houses conceived and expressed as a fully symmetrical totality, in which the internal arrangements were not signalled from the outside, giving the occupants a greater sense of privacy. (The perfect symmetry was lost when the sills of some of the windows were lowered in the late 17th century). The name of the architect is not recorded, but there are parallels with Corsham Court (Wilts) and Whittington Court (Glos), and it has been suggested that the designer may have been Thomas Blagrave of Bockhampton Manor, Lambourn, who was related to Dolman and later became Surveyor of the Queen's Works. 

The house is H-shaped, with two full storeys above a concealed basement, and another storey in the gabled attics. It is built of a mellow orange-red brick with stone dressings, and a strong horizontality is provided by the continuous stone string-courses above each of the principal floors.  This is offset by the vertical accents of the big chimneystacks on the inside face of the projecting wings, and the central porch. The south porch is faced in stone, and the doorway is framed by Ionic pilasters with an entablature and pediment: on the friezes are carved inscriptions (in Greek and Latin) reading "Let no envious man enter" and "The toothless man envies the teeth of those who eat, and the mole despises the eyes of the stags".  Since Dolman withdrew assets from his clothing business in order to build the house and threw many Newbury spinners out of work as a consequence, perhaps there was some insecurity underlying the outward display of confidence after all.

Shaw House: the east front

The east elevation is little-altered (except for the lowered window in the centre of the first floor), and has three broad gables, canted bay windows at either end, and an unusually correct pedimented doorcase in the centre.  The west front is similar in character, but simpler, without the bay windows.  The north front, originally as severe and symmetrical as the entrance front, has been altered more, for in the mid 19th century the Elizabethan porch was flanked by a round-arched loggia (subsequently glazed) with a gallery or corridor above.

The interior of Shaw House has been altered much more than the exterior, no doubt partly as a result of the need to repair damage done during the Civil War, when the house was briefly besieged and later sacked, but the original Tudor arrangement is still fairly clear. The porches on the two main fronts led into either end of a screens passage, with service accommodation and informal family rooms to the west and the hall and reception rooms to the east. The external fenestration suggests strongly that the hall was always a single-storey room, and if so it was one of the earliest examples of this, but it is possible that it was originally two-storeyed, and that the first floor was not inserted until the late 17th century, when the screen was removed and the hall redecorated, with a handsome pedimented stone chimneypiece and a pedimented doorway at the east end.  This door leads into the staircase hall in the centre of the east wing, which now contains a late 17th century wooden staircase with twisted balusters, and has mid 18th century Rococo plasterwork on the ceiling, but it is more or less on the site of the Elizabethan stair. In the south-east corner of the house was the Elizabethan parlour, remodelled as a dining room by Edward Shepherd in 1730, with a Kentian stone chimneypiece and Chinese wallpaper in the panels (now replaced by replicas).

The major Elizabethan rooms were on the first floor: an inventory of 1622 mentions the 'King's Chamber' in the west wing and the 'Queen's Chamber' in the east wing. The names probably derive from a visit by King James I and Queen Anne in 1603, although Queen Elizabeth also stayed here in 1594. It seems probable that the 'King's Chamber' was actually the family's best bedroom, given its situation above the service end of the house, while the 'Queen's Room' at the east end represented the state apartment, reserved for royal and important visitors. Sophisticated and correct classical chimneypieces survive in two rooms in the east wing: the more elaborate is in the room over the dining room which was presumably the 'Queen's Chamber'. Both rooms also have re-used Elizabethan panelling. In the late 17th century, the first-floor rooms over the hall were fitted out as a baroque principal apartment, with doors en enfilade, and a stone fireplace copied from Isaac Ware's Designs of Inigo Jones and William Kent in the main room. Some of the rooms in the wings were then reorganised as lesser apartments, and corner chimneypieces were introduced into some of the smaller rooms and closets.  The attics seem to have contained a long gallery, now subdivided.

The house was originally complemented by formal gardens, which were perhaps first formed at the same time as the house was built, for a memoir describing the Second Battle of Newbury in the Civil War mentions a raised walk in the garden.  The layout as recorded on a map of 1729 was however evidently of the late 17th century, and was altered in the 1730s by the Duke of Chandos, who removed two of the three parterres and employed the local canal engineer, John Hore, to make a double canal into a single one. Sir Joseph Andrews planned changes to the gardens but little seems to have been done to his designs except for laying out a new drive to the house from the London road. The gates south of the entrance front were erected in their present position in 1907 but incorporate 18th century ironwork and obelisk-topped finials to the brick piers.

Descent: sold 1554 to Thomas Dolman (c.1510-75); to younger son, Thomas Dolman (1542-1622), who built the present house; to son, Humphrey Dolman (1593-1666); to son, Sir Thomas Dolman, kt. (1622-97); to son, Thomas Dolman (1657-1711); to niece, Dorothy Dolman (1698-1724), wife of John Talbot (d. c.1753), who sold 1728 to James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos (d. 1744); to widow, Lydia Catherine, Duchess of Chandos (d. c.1750); sold 1751 to Joseph Andrews (d. 1753); to son, Sir Joseph Andrews (d. 1800), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Joseph Andrews (1768-1822), 2nd bt.; to cousin, Rev. Thomas Penrose (d. 1851); to nephew, Henry Richard Eyre (d. 1876); to widow (d. 1904), who rented the estate; to son, Henry John Andrews Eyre, who sold 1905 to Hon. Mrs. Kathleen Farquhar (1852-1935); to grandson, Sir Peter Walter Farquhar (1904-86), 6th bt., from whom it was requisitioned in WW2; sold 1949 to Berkshire County Council (later West Berkshire Council) and was used as a school until 1985; after two decades of neglect, restored for use as a registry office, training centre and visitor attraction in 2005-08.

Donnington Grove, Berkshire

Donnington Grove: entrance front

A charming early Gothick Revival villa set in the meadows by the River Lambourn, which is here widened to form a lake.  It was designed in 1763 by John Chute for James Pettit Andrews, who bought the land adjoining his brother's estate at Shaw, and whose antiquarian interests clearly influenced the choice of style. Chute, who was a member of Horace Walpole's 'Committee of Taste' for Strawberry Hill, had made unexecuted designs for a Gothick remodelling of his own house, The Vyne (Hants), and some of his designs for Donnington Grove, drawn by the carpenter and builder John Hobcraft, survive there.  There are some similarities between his work at Donnington and his proposals for Strawberry Hill, not least his preference for motifs drawn from the 'Perpendicular' style, but Donnington shows that Chute had a feeling for structure in architecture that rarely appears in his drawings.  

Donnington Grove: design for entrance front by John Chute, drawn by John Hobcraft, 1763. Image: © National Trust

The house is a three-storey building of red and blue brick, three bays square, with a castellated roofline punctuated by pinnacles (which in their current form date from 1946, when H.S. Goodhart-Rendel made minor alterations).  The entrance front, to the south, has a projecting full-height porch, with an oriel window on the first floor and niches for statues on the sides. The house was sympathetically enlarged for William Brummell after 1783, including the addition, below this oriel window, of a charming colonnade of clustered Gothick shafts, straight out of Batty Langley's pattern book.  Unfortunately, the centre of this colonnade was replaced in 1946 by a reused 18th century doorcase with a concave-sided pediment.  The east front has a broad canted bay window, and to the right a plain single-storey addition of the 1780s containing a new dining room. This has sash windows, and some of the other windows were converted to sashes at the same time.

Donnington Grove: east front, with William Brummell's single-storey addition to the right

Donnington Grove: Gothick doorcase in 1978

Donnington Grove: gallery of staircase hall in 1978

Donnington Grove: central panel of the Chinoiserie chimneypiece in former dining room in 1978.
All 1978 images © Nicholas Kingsley and licenced under this Creative Commons licence
Inside, the entrance hall has a plain plaster vault and niches on either side containing seats. The top-lit staircase hall beyond is one of the most dramatic interiors of the early Gothic revival, although on a surprisingly modest scale. The stone stairs lead up to a cantilevered gallery on the top floor with an arcade of thin columns carrying four-centred arches and a quatrefoil frieze above.  The ground and first-floor rooms have further delicate Gothic detailing, including doorcases framed with Rococo-Gothick plasterwork and some Gothick chimneypieces.  The original dining room has a Chinese wallpaper and a wooden chimneypiece with Chinoiserie decoration, but Brummell's new dining room of the 1780s is chastely classical. To the north of this is a former conservatory with Gothick detailing, converted into a cinema in 1946.  The main reception rooms of the original house were upstairs, and the most important of them is the T-shaped drawing room, with an elaborate Rococo Gothick ceiling, echoing the designs of medieval rose windows.  

The landscaping of the grounds (now largely occupied by a golf course) seems to have been undertaken largely in the 1780s for William Brummell, but the substantial crenellated stable block is presumably earlier.  There are also a plain classical pavilion (no doubt of the Brummell period) and a pretty Gothick fishing temple built of flint.  The main drive to the house passes over a three-arched, balustraded bridge which is a 20th century stone replacement for an original timber structure.

Descent: built 1763 for James Pettit Andrews; sold 1783 to William Brummell (father of 'Beau' Brummell of Bath fame); sold in 1795 after his death to John Bebb (d. 1830); to widow (d. 1850); sold after her death to Head Pottinger Best (1808-87); to son, Marmaduke Head Best (1847-1912); to widow, Mary Leigh Best (née Bennett) (d. 1926); to nephew, Henry Wolley Leigh-Bennett (1880-1951), who sold 1936 to Mrs. Amy Swithinbank; requisitioned 1940 and sold c.1945 to Hon. Reginald Fellowes (1884-1953) and his wife Daisy Fellowes (1887-1962); to daughter, Rosamond Daisy Fellowes (1921-98), divorced wife of Tadeusz Maria Wiszniewski (1917-2005) , who sold 1991 to Shi-tennoji International; restored it as a golf and country club in 1993.

Andrews family of Shaw House, baronets

Andrews, Joseph (c.1691-1753) of Shaw House.  Son of Daniel Andrews (1660-1734) of London and his wife Susannah Blick, born about 1691. He is said to have applied himself with exceptional diligence to the study of mathematics, and to have had the good fortune to be 'protected and encouraged' by Sir Robert Walpole, who placed him in the Pay Office, and secured his appointment as Paymaster of the forces serving in Scotland in 1715 at the tender age of 24; having given satisfaction in that role he was appointed to oversee and regularise the accounts of the Pay Office, c.1722.  His success in this earned him the thanks of Spencer Compton (later Lord Wilmington), who was then able to take on the office of Paymaster General with confidence, and who presented him with a bank-note for £1,000 in a gold box (Compton reputedly made £100,000 from the office in eight years). He was a freemason and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He married 1st, 18 July 1723 in Lincoln's Inn Chapel, Elizabeth (1692-1727), daughter of Samuel Beard esq. of Newcastle-under-Lyme (Staffs) and 2nd, 21 March 1734/5 in St Paul's Cathedral, London, Elizabeth (d. 1760), daughter of John Pettit of St Botolph, Aldgate, London, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Joseph Andrews (1727-1800), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(2.1) James Pettit Andrews (1737-97) (q.v.);
(2.2) Elizabeth Andrews (d. 1761).
He purchased the Shaw House estate in 1751 for just over £27,000.
He died in April 1753, aged 62, and was buried at St John's church, Hampstead (Middx), 1 May 1753; his will was proved in the PCC, 3 May 1753. His widow was buried at Hampstead, 16th October 1760.

Andrews, Sir Joseph (1727-1800), 1st bt. of Shaw House.  Son of Joseph Andrews (c. 1691-1753) and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Beard, born 30 October 1727. Officer in Berkshire Militia, 1757-63 (Captain, 1757; Major, 1759). He was a significant supporter of charitable and humanitarian causes in London, and was a vice-president of the Marine and Royal Humane Societies and the Literary Fund; he had an extensive literary acquaintance and his epitaph was written by the Poet Laureate, Henry James Pye. He was created a baronet in 1766 with remainder to his half-brother and his issue. He married, 4 May 1762 at St Gregory by St Paul's, London, Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Phillips esq. of Tarrington (Herefs) but had no children.
He inherited the Shaw House estate from his father in 1753.
He died 29 December 1800 and was buried at Shaw, 7 January 1801.  His widow married 2nd, 29 July 1803 at Barnes (Surrey), Col. William Dalrymple (d. 1832) of Chessington Hall (Surrey); her date of death has not been found.

Andrews, James Pettit (1737-97), of Donnington Grove. Only son of Joseph Andrews (c.1691-1753) and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of John Pettit of London. Educated by the rector of Shaw. A Lieutenant in the Berkshire Militia, 1757-63, and from 1792 a police magistrate at Queen Square, London. In 1794–6 Andrews published a History of Great Britain in two volumes. He also published a translation from the French of The Savages of Europe (1764), an Appeal on Behalf of Chimney Boys (1788) and Anecdotes, Antient and Modern. He contributed many papers to the Gentleman's Magazine and Archaeologia, and in 1781 edited the poetry of his brother-in-law Thomas Penrose. He also worked with Henry James Pye, the poet laureate, on a translation of a five-act German tragedy, published in 1798 as The Inquisitor. He was a keen if romantic antiquarian, with an extensive library, and he researched the history of Shaw House: he was no doubt responsible for the 18th century brass plaque in the house recording (inaccurately) events during the Civil War siege. He married, 11 December 1767, Anne (d. 1785), daughter of Rev. Thomas Penrose, rector of Newbury, and had issue:
(1) Sir Joseph Andrews (1768-1822), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Anne Andrews (c.1770-1822); married, 16 May 1791 at Kensington (Middx), Charles Henry Hunt (1763-1817), banker of Stratford-on-Avon (Warks) and Goldicote (Worcs), who was bankrupted in 1800; resumed her maiden name by royal license, 1 April 1822 on becoming the senior surviving member of the family; died 13 July 1822;
(3) Charles Grey Andrews (c.1773-91); midshipman in the Royal Navy; died unmarried at Portsmouth, 18 July 1791, aged 18, and was buried there, 21 July 1791.
He lived at Brompton Row, Kensington for many years, but also built Donnington Grove c.1763 on land adjoining the Shaw estate, which he sold in 1783.
He died 6 August 1797 and was buried at Hampstead. His wife died in 1785 and was also buried at Hampstead.

Andrews, Sir Joseph (1768-1822), 2nd bt, of Shaw House.  Elder son of James Pettit Andrews and his wife Anne, daughter of Rev. Thomas Penrose, rector of Newbury, born 22 September 1768. A Lieutenant in the 1st Foot Guards and later commander of the Shaw and Speen Volunteer Company, 1803; JP and DL for Berkshire.  He succeeded his half-uncle in the baronetcy, 29 December 1800. He was unmarried and without issue, but may have had a gay relationship with William Kidman (d. 1828) of Donnington, described in his obituary as 'servant, companion and friend' to the baronet, and to whom he bequeathed a legacy of £200 and an annuity.
He inherited the Shaw House estate from his half-uncle in 1800.  At his death, the estate passed to his cousin, Rev. Thomas Penrose.
He died 27 February 1822, when the baronetcy became extinct; his will was proved 24 April 1822.


Burke's Extinct & Dormant Baronetcies, 1841, p. 12; M. McCarthy, The origins of the Gothick Revival, 1987, pp. 92-95; N. Cooper, The houses of the gentry, 1999, p. 146; G. Tyack, S. Bradley & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Berkshire, 2nd edn., 2010, pp. 275-76, 505-07;

Location of archives

Andrews family of Shaw House: deeds, manorial records, family and estate papers for Shaw House estate, 15th-19th cents. [Berkshire Record Office D/ENm]

Coat of arms

Gules, a saltire argent, surmounted by another sable, charged in the centre with a besant.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 27 September 2014 and was updated 14 October 2018 and 13 November 2023.

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