Wednesday 18 February 2015

(158) Arblaster of Lysways Hall

Arblaster of Longdon
Arblaster is an occupational name, signifying an archer, and several early records refer to members of the family having that occupation. The connection with Staffordshire seems to have been established by Adam le Arblaster (fl. 1337-58), who was an official of the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield in the mid 14th century and bought property at Longdon.  His son James (fl. 1361-1409), who was appointed one of the rangers of Cannock Chase in 1385, married the heiress of Lysways Hall at Longdon, which remained in the Arblaster family for nearly 400 years.  James's son, Thomas (fl. 1415-33) also married well, and through his wife acquired an estate at Mancetter (Warks) which his descendants retained until c.1547. All three of these men seem to have gradually raised the family up the social scale, and in the next generation Thomas Arblaster (fl. c.1400-60) was repeatedly the MP for the county between 1426 and 1459 and a JP for over twenty years, and had clearly made it into the county elite.  His son, Richard Arblaster (c.1440-1505), married into one of the leading local families, the Bagots. During the 16th century, however, the family seem to have been less prominent, perhaps because a series of owners who held the estates for short periods did not have a chance to establish themselves in the county.  Thomas Arblaster (1561-c.1618) also accumulated significant debts, for which he was imprisoned in 1611-12.  The family was perhaps rescued by his wife's inheritance of her brother's estates in the north of Staffordshire, around Cheddleton.  The family were moderate Royalists in the Civil War, when Edward Arblaster (1589-1657) was briefly imprisoned by the Parliamentarians, but the will of his son, Edward Arblaster (c.1630-91) shows unusually clearly that his sympathies were of the godly or Puritan persuasion.

Over a long period, remarkably few younger sons and daughters of the Arblaster family got married or produced families, and this was particularly the case in the period of the late 17th and early 18th century demographic decline, when mortality was high and fertility low. Edward (c.1630-91) had two sons and four daughters but only the son and heir, Edmund Arblaster (c.1673-1732) married and produced children. He in turn produced three sons and three daughters, of whom, apart from his heir, only one daughter married - and then not until her late 30s.  It was probably Edmund who rebuilt Lysways Hall in the early 18th century. In the next generation, Edward Arblaster (1700-35) produced only one son who survived to adulthood: Edward Arblaster (1733-83), who died without issue.  He sold the family seat of Lysways Hall in 1769, when he was still unmarried, and although he did marry in 1782 he died the following year, leaving his remaining estates around Cheddleton to his widow and her family, the Powyses.  

A cadet branch of the Arblaster family was established at Rugeley by c.1580 and carried the name into the 20th century, but its connection with the family discussed here has not been ascertained. There was also a minor gentry family of Arblasters or Alabasters in Norfolk and Suffolk who appear to trace a common ancestor in the early 14th century or earlier.

Lysways Hall, Longdon, Staffordshire

Although the Arblaster family are fairly well recorded, much less is known about the development of their house at Longdon.  Horovitz speculates that the property, first named in the records in 1167, may once have been owned by Tutbury Priory and have been named after their mother house of Lisieux in northern France. However, by the early 14th century it belonged to the eponymous Liswis family, from whom it passed by marriage to the Legydds and, following the marriage of Margaret Legydd to James Arblaster shortly before 1400, to the Arblasters.  In the 16th and 17th centuries the house was called Arblaster Hall and it is not clear why the old name was reintroduced (it was back in use by 1686). The house seems to have been the main home of the Arblasters down to the mid 18th century, although Thomas Arblaster's second wife, Ann, daughter of Sir Ralph Egerton of Wrinehill, brought an estate at Cheddleton and Rownall into the family, and when Edward Arblaster sold Lysways in 1769 he moved to Rownall Hall.

Lysways Hall in a late 18th century watercolour. © William Salt Library

The earliest architectural record of Lysways is a late 18th century watercolour in the William Salt Library, which is clearly related to the engraving published in Stebbing Shaw's History and Antiquities of Staffordshire in 1801.  This shows a nine by four bay two-storey house with a three bay centre surmounted by a steep pediment containing a round-arched window flanked by two circular windows. Either side of the pediment is a panelled parapet. Stylistically, this house seems likely to date from the early 18th century, but it may well have incorporated elements of its predecessor.  The Staffordshire architect, Richard Trubshaw (c.1689-1745) is recorded to have carried out works at Lysways in 1742 but the nature of this work is not clear: it is not a date when it is likely that major works were undertaken.

Lysways Hall in about 1930
In the early 19th century the house was extended by the addition of a five bay two-storey service wing to the right of the main front; and probably a little later still the main front was altered and given a more Italianate feel with a stucco coating incised with prominent quoins. Little of all this is apparent today, however, for in 1936 the right hand five bays of the nine-bay main block were demolished, leaving two surviving fragments which became separate dwellings: the western end of the main house, and the early 19th century service wing, which has become Lysways House.

The remaining fragments of Lysways Hall in 1961.

Lysways Hall as depicted on the OS 6" map of 1882. Note the surviving lake on the far side of Lysways Lane.
By the time of the watercolour the house stood in a landscaped setting and in 1817 William Pitt described how the house stood "a convenient distance from the turnpike road, with a lawn and meadow in front, through which a serpentine river glides within its banks". The artist has removed from the view all trace of Lysways Lane which separated the house from its pleasure grounds.  Part of the lake survives within the golf course that now occupies most of the grounds of Lysways Hall.  The Hall was home to the South Staffordshire Hunt kennels in the early 20th century.

Descent: James Arblaster (fl. 1400); to son, Thomas Arblaster (fl. c.1415); to son, Thomas Arblaster (fl. c.1400-60); to son, Richard Arblaster (d. 1506); to son, Richard Arblaster (d. c.1510); to brother, Humphrey Arblaster (d. by 1524); to son, Thomas Arblaster; to son, Roland Arblaster (d. 1579); to brother, George Arblaster (d. 1586); to son, Thomas Arblaster (b. 1561); to son, Edward Arblaster (d. 1657); to son, Edward Arblaster (1631-90); to son, Edward Arblaster (d. 1732); to son, Edward Arblaster (d. 1735); to son, Edward Arblaster (fl. 1769) who sold 1769 to Francis Cobb of Lichfield..Austin family; sold 1836 to Charles Smith Forster (1784-1850); to son, Sir Charles Foster (1815-91), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Charles Forster (1841-1914), 2nd bt.; to brother, Sir Francis Villiers Forster (1850-1930), 3rd bt...

Arblaster family of Longdon

Arblaster, Adam (fl. 1337-58). Son of Thomas Arblaster of Cropston (Leics). Attorney for the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield in a suit in 1337; Bailiff of the Bishop, 1345-57, but quarrelled with him in 1358; MP for Staffordshire, 1352. In 1339 he was accused (with others) of the death of John de Wickwar, but seems to have been unpunished after producing sureties from among the county elite. He married Elizabeth, widow of John Davy, and had issue:
(1) James Arblaster (fl. 1361-1409) (q.v.);
(2) Thomas Arblaster; canon of Lichfield Cathedral;
(3) John Arblaster (fl. 1412).
He purchased the manor of Hawkeswellsich and Arblaster Haye at Longdon (Staffs).
He died before 1379/80, when his widow was still living.

Arblaster, James (fl. 1361-1409).  Son of Adam Arblaster (fl. 1351) of Cropston (Leics) and Longdon (Staffs) and his wife Elizabeth.  In the service of the Earl of Stafford as an archer in 1361, and later Bailiff of the Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield in succession to his father; appointed Rider (i.e. Ranger) of Cannock Chase, 1385. He is said to have married, c.1370, Margaret, daughter of John Legydd of Liseways, but the dates suggest he may have married John's widow rather than his daughter; they had issue:
(1) James Arblaster (d. c.1415); died without issue;
(2) Thomas Arblaster (fl. c.1415) (q.v.).
He inherited property at Longdon from his father and inherited Liswis (later Lysways) Hall in right of his wife.
He died after 1409.

Arblaster, Thomas (fl. c.1415-33).  Son of James Arblaster (fl. 1385-1400) and his wife Margaret Legydd of Liswis.  He married Alice, daughter of Leonard Worthyn, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Arblaster (c.1400-c.1460) (q.v.).
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father, and property at Mancetter (Warks) in right of his wife.
He died after 1433.

Arblaster, Thomas (c.1400-c.1460).  Son of Thomas Arblaster (fl. c.1415-33) and his wife Alice, daughter of Leonard Worthin, born about 1400. MP for Staffordshire, 1426, 1432-35, 1439-40, 1445 and 1459.  JP for Staffordshire, 1439-60. He married Alice (fl. 1456), daughter of Thomas Butler of Picklethorn (Bucks) and had issue:
(1) Richard Arblaster (d. 1505) (q.v.);
(2) William Arblaster;
(3) Thomas Arblaster (fl. 1481-83);
(4) Edmund Arblaster.
He inherited the Lysways Hall and Mancetter estates from his father.
He died soon after 1460.

Arblaster, Richard (c.1440-1505). Eldest son of Thomas Arblaster (c.1400-60) and his wife Alice, daughter of Thomas Butler of Picklethorn [Pitstone?] (Bucks).  He married, 1489 (settlement 11 June 1489), Maud, daughter of John Bagot of Blithfield (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) Richard Arblaster (c.1494-c.1510); inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father but died unmarried soon afterwards;
(2) Humphrey Arblaster (d. by 1524) (q.v.).
He inherited the Lysways Hall and Mancetter estates from his father in about 1460. At his death they passed in turn to his two recorded sons.
He died 5 October 1505. 

Arblaster, Humphrey (d. by 1524).  Second son of Richard Arblaster (d. 1505) and his wife Maud, daughter of John Bagot of Blithfield.  He married Catherine, daughter of Thomas Laynham and had issue:
(1) Thomas Arblaster (fl. mid 16th cent.) (q.v.).
He inherited the Lysways Hall and Mancetter estates from his brother in c.1510.
He died before 1524.

Arblaster, Thomas (d. by 1568).  Only recorded son of Humphrey Arblaster (d. by 1524) and his wife Catherine, daughter of Thomas Laynham.  He married 1st, Alice Bagot, and 2nd, Margaret Martyn and had issue:
(1.1) Roland Arblaster (d. 1579); died unmarried and without issue, 1579
(1.2) George Arblaster (d. 1586) (q.v.);
(1.3) Jane Arblaster; married William Holland of Caldwell (Derbys);
(1.4) Frances Arblaster; married Richard Callingwood of Caldwell (Derbys);
(1.5) John Arblaster;
(1.6) Michael Arblaster;
(1.7) Alice Arblaster; married, 1585, William Hill of Longdon.
He inherited the Lysways Hall and Mancetter estates from his father before 1524 but sold the Mancetter (Warks) property c.1547.
He died before 1568.

Arblaster, George (d. 1586). Second son of Thomas Arblaster (d. by 1568) and his first wife, Alice Bagot. He married Maud Bursey (d. 1587) and had issue:
(1) Mary Arblaster (b. 1558).
(2) Richard Arblaster (b. 1559);
(3) Thomas Arblaster (b. 1561) (q.v.);
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father.
He died in 1586.  His widow died in 1586/7.

Arblaster, Thomas (1561-c.1618). Second son of George Arblaster (d. 1586) and his wife Maud Bursey, born 1561.  Escheator for Staffordshire, 1607. He had financial difficulties, probably occasioned by lending money to his second father-in-law and later to his brother-in-law, and sold land to pay his debts. He was imprisoned for debt in 1611-12. He married 1st, Maud Wolferstan (d. 1587) of Statfold (Staffs) and 2nd, 1588, Ann, daughter of Sir Ralph Egerton of Wrinehill and had issue:
(1.1) Bridget Arblaster (d. 1584);
(1.2) Richard Arblaster;
(1.3) George Arblaster (1586/7-88); died in infancy;
(2.1) Edward Arblaster (1589-1657) (q.v.);
(2.2) Francis Arblaster; died unmarried;
(2.3) Walter Arblaster (b. 1590);
(2.6) Ann Arblaster (b. 1592); married 1st, Edward Westcote; 2nd, David Edwards; and 3rd, Philip Markey;
(2.7) Mary Arblaster (b. 1593); married 1st, Aubrey Bevon and 2nd [forename unknown] Smith;
(2.8) Joyce Arblaster (b. 1598); married 1st, Thomas Barlow; 2nd, John Owens; and 3rd John Lewis;
(2.4) George Arblaster (b. 1599); died without issue;
(2.5) Thomas Arblaster.
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father in 1586, but reduced it by a series of land sales 1592-1601. His second wife eventually inherited her father's estates at Chedderton, Rownall, Butterton, Ford and Oncot. 
He died about 1617 or 1618. His first wife died in 1587.

Arblaster, Edward (1589-1657). Eldest son of Thomas Arblaster (1561-c.1618) and his second wife, Ann, daughter of Sir Ralph Egerton of Wrinehill, baptised 16 November 1589.  A Royalist in the Civil War, he was imprisoned briefly on the orders of Parliament in January 1643/4. He married Anne, daughter of [forename unknown] Markey of Alton (Herefs) and perhaps widow of [forename unknown] Franklin, and had issue:
(1) Francis Arblaster; died unmarried;
(2) Walter Arblaster; a Royalist in the Civil War, he compounded for his delinquency during the Commonwealth;
(3) George Arblaster (d. 1666); died unmarried and was buried at Longdon, 26 March 1666;
(4) Charles Arblaster; died young;
(5) Edward Arblaster (c.1631-90) (q.v.);
(6) Anne Arblaster; died unmarried;
(7) Mary Arblaster; married, 21 January 1655 at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Robert Cooper of Ravenshall.
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father in c.1617-18.
He died in February 1657.

Arblaster, Edward (c.1631-90).  Fifth but only surviving son of Edward Arblaster (d. 1657) and his wife Anne, daughter of Anne Markey of Alton (Herefs), born 1630/31. He married, 1662 at St Mary, Lichfield, Anne (d. 1694), daughter of Francis Wolferstan of Stotfold (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) Frances Arblaster (1663-1722) of Handsacre (Staffs), born 6 September and baptised 31 October 1663; died unmarried and was buried 31 December 1722;
(2) Edward Arblaster (1666-70), baptised 5 June 1666; died young and was buried at Longdon, 8 May 1670;
(3) Ann Arblaster (d. 1734); died unmarried and was buried 3 August 1734;
(4) Edmund Arblaster (c.1673-1732) (q.v.);
(5) Mary Arblaster (1674-1713), baptised 19 August 1674; died unmarried, September 1713;
(6) Grace Arblaster (d. 1732), of Hanch Hall; died unmarried and was buried 3 March 1731/2; her will proved 21 August 1732.
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father in 1657.
He died 28 March 1690; his will was proved in the PCC, 2 October 1691. His widow died 22 February and was buried at Longdon, 24 February 1693/4; her will was proved at Lichfield, 14 February 1695/6.

Arblaster, Edmund (c.1673-1732). Only surviving son of Edward Arblaster (1631-90) and his wife Anne, daughter of Francis Wolferstan of Stotfold (Staffs), born about 1673. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1691) and Inner Temple (admitted 1693). High Sheriff of Staffordshire, 1709-10. He married, 3 March 1697 at Penkridge (Staffs), Mary Littleton (d. 1739) of Pillaton Hall (Staffs), and had issue:
(1) Susannah Arblaster (1698-1741), baptised 22 December 1698; died unmarried and was buried 7 March 1740/1; will proved at Lichfield, 1740/1;
(2) Edward Arblaster (1700-35) (q.v.);
(3) Edmund Arblaster (1701-43); baptised 29 January 1701; there are some indications that he may have been mentally deficient; died unmarried and was buried at Caverswall (Staffs), 25 June 1743;
(4) Theophilus Arblaster (1704-21), baptised 20 March 1703/4; died young and was buried 24 October 1721;
(5) Ann Arblaster (1705-72), baptised 15 July 1705; married, 12 August 1742 at St Benet's, Pauls Wharf, London, Francis Eld (1691-1760), a Master in Chancery; buried at Longdon, 3 February 1772, where she and her relations are commemorated by a monument;
(6) Mary Arblaster (1709-41), born 20 September and baptised 17 October 1709; died unmarried and was buried at Longdon, 1 November 1741; will proved at Lichfield, 2 February 1741/2.
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father in 1690 and was probably responsible for rebuilding the house in the early 18th century.
He was buried at Longdon, 19 December 1732; his will was proved in the PCC, 3 September 1734. His widow was buried 21 February 1738/9.

Arblaster, Edward (1700-35).  Eldest son of Edward Arblaster (d. 1732) and his wife Mary Littleton of Pillaton Hall, born 4 and baptised 16 January 1699/1700. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1717) and had antiquarian interests. He married, 9 June 1729 at Holy Cross, Shrewsbury, Bridget, daughter of Thomas Powis of Berwick, Shrewsbury and had issue:
(1) Penelope Arblaster (1730-34), born 20 June and baptised 16 July 1730; died young and was buried at St Julian, Shrewsbury8 September 1734;
(2) Frances Arblaster (b. & d. 1732), baptised 24 March 1732; died in infancy and was buried at St Julian, Shrewsbury, 2 April 1732;
(3) Edward Arblaster (1733-83) (q.v.);
(4) Frances Arblaster (b. & d. 1735); born 12 February and baptised 10 March 1734/5; died in infancy and was buried at St Julian, Shrewsbury, 11 April 1735;
(5) Henry Arblaster (b. & d. 1736), baptised 15 March 1735/6; died in infancy and was buried at St Julian, Shrewsbury, 12 April 1736.
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father in 1732 but in 1735 was living at the Abbey House, Shrewsbury.
He was buried at Longdon, 27 December 1735; his will was proved in the PCC 29 January 1736. His widow married 2nd, c.1738, John Whitfield of Shrewsbury, surgeon, and had further issue; she was buried at St Julian's, Shrewsbury, 4 June 1769.

Arblaster, Edward (1733-83) of Rownall Hall. Only surviving child of Edward Arblaster (1700-35) and his wife Bridget Powis of Shrewsbury, born 12 and baptised at Holy Cross, Shrewsbury, 29 October 1733.  Educated at Fulham, Middle Temple (admitted 1747) and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1750/1). Cornet in the Inniskilling Dragoons, 1754. He married, 1 August 1782 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, his first cousin, Martha, daughter of Edward Powys of Morton Hall (Cheshire) and widow of [forename unknown] Turner, but had no issue.
He inherited the Lysways Hall estate from his father in 1735 but sold it in 1769. He lived latterly at Rownall Hall, Cheddleton.
He died 8 February and was buried at Cheddleton, 19 February 1783, where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 7 March 1783.


D. Horovitz, "A survey and analysis of the place-names of Staffordshire", Nottingham Univ. Ph.D thesis, 2003, vol. 2, p. 434; W. Fowler Carter, "Notes on Staffordshire families - Arblaster", Staffordshire Historical Collections, 3rd series, 1925, pp. 1-24;

Location of archives

No substantial archive is known to survive. However, a small group of Arblaster deeds and settlements survives among the papers of the Littleton family of Teddesley and Hatherton, Barons Hatherton [Staffordshire Record Office, D260]

Coat of arms

Ermine, a crossbow bent palewise gules, stringed or.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.