Monday 18 May 2015

(168) Archibald of Rusland Hall

Archibald of Rusland Hall
The Archibalds are unusual in two respects: firstly because they rose to prominence in the colonies and then successfully emigrated to England and married into the English elite; and secondly because having acquired a country house, successive generations seem not really to have known what to do with it, and let it out. Perhaps this was a family in which the Protestant work ethic ran so strongly that the life of ease associated with the country house was intolerable; or perhaps it was just a family in which the income was never adequate to support that lifestyle.

The Archibalds were no doubt originally Scottish Protestant settlers who moved to Ulster in the 17th century, but about 1750 four brothers migrated from the parish of Maghra (Co. Derry) to New Hampshire on the east coast of America, and from there moved north, in 1762, to Truro, Nova Scotia (Canada), where they were amongst the earliest settlers. All four brothers left numerous descendants in Nova Scotia, but it was the eldest brother, Major David Archibald (1717-95) whose descendants are considered below. David was the first JP in Truro, and its first representative in the provincial assembly, and his son Samuel (1742-79), a shipowner, held the same offices and was also Town Clerk. Samuel died young, and left his widow and father to bring up his three sons and two daughters. His youngest son was born Samuel George Washington Archibald (1777-1846), a name which tells us something of his father's political views, though the Washington was later dropped in favour of the less inflammatory William. Samuel junior was handsome, talented, witty and eloquent, and he had a rapid rise in both the legal profession and provincial politics. From two marriages he produced at least eighteen children, although only just over half of them survived to maturity, and several of them had careers as successful as their father. His eldest son, Charles Dickson Archibald (1802-68), was bred to the law and politics but took to neither and moved to England in 1831, where he soon married Bridget Walker, heiress to the Rusland Hall estate in what is now Cumbria but was then the Furness district of Lancashire. When the couple got possession of the Hall on the death of Bridget's mother in 1848, they added wings to it and built a new stable block, and presumably intended to live there, but whether because Charles' income as a railway promoter and inventor fluctuated wildly or because the location of the house in a remote corner of England was incompatible with his wheeler-dealer lifestyle, there is little evidence of them occupying it, and they lived mainly in London, Cheltenham and Leamington Spa. After Charles died in 1868, Bridget did retire to her family home, but after she died in 1880 it was let again, the tenants in the 1880s including Richard Potter, whose daughter (later Beatrice Webb) became an important social reformer.

Bridget's heir was her eldest son, Charles William Archibald (1838-93), who was an engineer and lived in London. He left Rusland to his widow, Isabel Archibald (1838-1926) who does seem to have moved to the house, and was perhaps the member of the family most closely involved with the estate. Her only son, Charles Falcon Archibald (1866-1936) was a lecturer in agriculture at Leeds University and only moved to Rusland after his mother died. His three younger children made homes on the estate, but his heir, Myles Falcon Downes Archibald (1898-1961) was again a lawyer like so many of his forbears, and spent most of his life as a barrister and later a judge on the north-eastern circuit. He inherited Rusland shortly before the Second World War.  As a busy professional with a life and home in Yorkshire, and with no wife or family, he had no use for the Hall, and in 1940 he leased it to a girls' school which had been evacuated from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, near Middlesborough.  After the War it became a children's home, but the family retained the freehold of the estate until the late 1960s, by which time the house was in poor condition.  It was taken on by John and Norma Birkby, who restored the house and grounds and made it a visitor attraction as a museum of mechanical music, with exotic white peacocks patrolling the terraces. The museum closed in 1987 and the house has had a number of private owners since then.

Rusland Hall, Lancashire [now Cumbria]

Rusland Hall in 2014. Image: Martin & Jean Norgate

The house began as a plain five bay, three storey Classical house built about 1720 for the Rawlinson family whose main seat was at Graythwaite nearby. To this were added two symmetrical slightly recessed two-storey wings in a similar style. They probably date from about the same time as the stables which are dated 1850, and are believed to have been designed by Miles Thompson, successor to George Webster.  The elegant 18th century front door has Tuscan columns and a triglyph frieze.  Inside, there is an 18th century staircase but most of the rooms were refitted plainly in the early Victorian period, presumably when the wings were added. The house was restored in the 1970s after decades of institutional use and was opened to the public as a museum of mechanical music until 1987; it has since been a private house again.

The house stands well on a slight rise overlooking a beautiful valley with some 400 acres of predominantly beech woodland clothing the sides. The grounds were also restored in the 1970s.

Descent: William Rawlinson sold 1762 to Thomas Walker (d. 1805); to son, Myles Walker (c.1749-1813); to daughter, Bridget (1811-80), wife of Charles Dickson Archibald (1802-68); to son, Charles William Archibald (1838-93), who leased it in the 1880s to Richard Potter (the father of Beatrice Webb); to widow, Isabel Archibald (1838-1926); to son, Charles Falcon Archibald (1866-1936); to son, Myles Falcon Downes Archibald (1898-1961), who leased it after WW2 as a girls' school and children's home; sold in the late 1960s; sold 1970 to John & Norma Birkby who sold 1987; sold 1995 to Ramsden family; sold 2002... Michael Dwan (b. c.1960).

Archibald family of Rusland Hall

Samuel Archibald
Archibald, Hon. Samuel George William (1777-1846). Youngest son of Samuel Archibald (1742-79) of Truro, Nova Scotia (Canada) and his wife Rachel Todd Duncan of Haverhill, Massachusetts (USA), and grandson of Maj. David Archibald (1717-95), who emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1762 and was one of the founders of Truro; born in Nova Scotia, as Samuel George Washington Archibald, 5 February 1777; he apparently changed his last forename to improve his chances of advancement. Educated at Haverhill and Andover, Massachusetts (USA), 1792-96 and studied law with Simon Bradstreet Robie of Truro from 1800; admitted to practice as an attorney and barrister, 1805 (KC 1817). Protonotary of the Supreme Court and clerk of the peace for the district of Colchester, 1796-1800; appointed probate judge of Colchester and Pictou districts, 1804; surrogate general of Vice-Admiral's Court of Nova Scotia, 1818; by 1817 he was the leading barrister of Nova Scotia and was appointed the province's first KC and for the next decade he participated in most of the leading trials in the province; he established an oat mill in Truro, 1822; served as Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island, 1824-28 (although he never lived there); Solicitor General for Nova Scotia, 1826-30; Acting Attorney General for Nova Scotia, 1830.  He was a member of the House of Assembly for Halifax county, 1805-41 and Speaker, 1824-41; he suffered a stroke in 1836 which left him with temporary facial paralysis and difficulty in speaking, but recovered and was appointed Master of the Rolls in Nova Scotia, 1841-46. As a child, he was known for his love of fun and his mischievous pranks, a forerunner of the irrepressible merriment which would let him “all through life, mingle work with play”. He was remembered as “a more than ordinarily handsome man, of great suavity of manner, with a melodious voice, fascinating address, and a thorough knowledge of human nature,” who spoke “with great ease, elegance, and fluency, his periods rhythmic, and the flow of his language . . . sparkling.” He married 1st, 16 March 1802, Elizabeth (d. 1830), daughter of Charles Dickson of Onslow, Nova Scotia, and 2nd, 15 August 1832, Joanna, daughter of John Allen and widow of William Birch Brinley (c.1771-1812), and had issue:
(1.1) Charles Dickson Archibald (1802-68) (q.v.);
(1.2) John Duncan Archibald (1804-30), born 27 March 1804; married, January 1830, Annie Mitchell, but died without issue at Truro, Nova Scotia, 27 July 1830;
(1.3) Foster Hutchinson Archibald (1806-17), born 24 December 1806; died young, 1817;
(1.4) George William Archibald (1808-22), born 9 October 1808; died young, 16 March 1822;
(1.5) Sir Edward Mortimer Archibald (1810-84), KCMG CB, born 10 May 1810; Chief Clerk and Registrar of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, 1832; Attorney General and member of the Executive and Legislative Councils, 1846; Advocate-General, 1847; Judge of the Mixed Court, 1862 and British Consul-General at New York, 1857-83; kinighted, 26 August 1882; married, 10 September 1834, Catherine Elizabeth, daughter of A. Richardson of Halifax, Nova Scotia and had issue two sons and four daughters; died of pneumonia in Brighton (Sussex), 8 February 1884; his will was proved 3 July 1884 (effects in England £744);
(1.6) Elizabeth Archibald (1812-31), born 19 July 1812; died unmarried, 24 October 1831;
(1.7) Mary Archibald (1814-38), born 1 January 1814; married, 29 August 1833 at Truro, Nova Scotia, George Hill, son of Robert Hill and had issue a daughter; died 23 April 1838;
(1.8) Rachel Dickson Archibald (1815-18), born 22 April 1815; died young, 1818; 
(1.9) Sir Thomas Dickson Archibald (1817-76), kt., born 23 August 1817; educated at Pictou Academy (where he initially studied medicine but switched to law); qualified as a solicitor and barrister, 1837; moved to England as a condition of his father-in-law's consent to his marriage, c.1840; admitted to Middle Temple, 1840 (called to bar 1852); barrister-at-law on Northern and late the Home Circuit; junior counsel to Treasury, 1868-72; Serjeant-at-law in Queen's Bench, 1872-73; knighted, 5 February 1873; judge of Court of Common Pleas, 1873-75 and last Chief Justice of the County Palatine of Lancaster; judge of High Court, 1875-76; married, 20 July 1841, Sarah (d. 1907), only daughter of Richard Smith of Dudley Priory (Worcs) and had issue three sons and one daughter; died in London, 18 October 1876; will proved 30 October 1876 (effects under £7,000);
(1.10) Sampson Salter Blowers Archibald (1819-93), born 1 April 1819; married 1st, 1839, Anovie, daughter of William Corbett and had issue two daughters; married 2nd, 1870 at Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, Margaret, daughter of Alexander Campbell; died 1 July 1893;
(1.11) Peter Suther Archibald (1820-77), born 9 September 1820; died unmarried, 8 April 1877;
(1.12) William George Archibald (b. 1822), born 14 April 1822;
(1.13) Richard Archibald (1823-24), born 9 September 1823; died in infancy, June 1824;
(1.14) Jane Amelia Archibald (1826-38), born 12 August 1826; died young, 4 October 1838;
(1.15) Robert Dickson Archibald (b. 1828), born 17 February 1828; died unmarried, before 1870;
(2.1) Elizabeth Archibald (1834-35), born 24 March 1834; died in infancy, 10 April 1835;
(2.2) Sarah Maria Archibald (1836-63), born 15 October 1836; died in Putney (Surrey), 6 June 1863;
(2.3) Georgina Archibald (1838-64), born 14 October 1838; married, 25 August 1858 at St John's Wood (Middx), Sir Charles Edward Pollock (1823-97), a Baron of the Exchequer; died in Putney (Surrey), 24 April 1864.
He died of a stroke, 26 January 1846 and was buried in Camp Hill Cemetery. His first wife died in May 1830. His widow died in Pisa (Italy), 15 January 1862.

Archibald, Charles Dickson (1802-68) of Rusland Hall. Eldest son of Samuel George William Archibald (1777-1846) and his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Dickson of Onslow, Nova Scotia, born at Truro, Nova Scotia, 31 October 1802. Educated at Pictou Academy, Nova Scotia and later studied law in his father's office. Elected to the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly to represent Truro, 1826, but tired of political life and stood down in 1830; Chief Clerk and Registrar of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, 1830-31. He moved to England in 1831 but retained business interests in Canada and the USA, and divided his time between England, New York and Nova Scotia. He was an inventor who filed numerous patents and was a Fellow of the Royal Society from 1840, and he was an active promoter of railway building in the 1840s. Author of A look toward the future of the British colonies: two letters addressed to the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Clarendon, 1854, promoting closer ties with Britain in the face of American expansionism. Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. DL and JP for Lancashire from 1836. He married, 16 September 1832, Bridget (1811-80), only child and heiress of Myles Walker of Rusland Hall (Lancs), and had issue:
(1) Charles William Archibald (1838-93) (q.v.);
(2) Edward Stanley Fitzgerald Archibald (1846-59), born 5 December 1846 and baptised 11 January 1847; died young, and was buried at Cheltenham, 19 December 1859;
(3) Clarence Holford Archibald (1847-1915) of Milton Lodge, Twickenham (Middx), born 12 November and baptised 8 December 1847; civil servant in Treasury; married, Jan-Mar 1880, Edith Louisa (1854-1936), daughter of Francis Field of Oxford and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 30 September 1915 and was buried at Twickenham, 4 October 1915; will proved 23 December 1915 (estate £8,489);
(4) Alfred George Archibald (1849-54), born 6 August and baptised 15 October 1849; died young, 29 September 1854;
(5) Elizabeth Jane Archibald (1834-1915), born 29 October and baptised 24 November 1834; lived at Leamington Spa (Warks); died unmarried, 21 January 1915; will proved 13 March 1915 (estate £16,498);
(6) Florence Mary Archibald (1842-58), baptised 6 July 1842; died unmarried in Cheltenham, Jan-Mar 1858;
(7) Juliet Augusta Archibald (1843-71), baptised 16 August 1843; died unmarried in Norwood (Surrey), 10 March 1871 and was buried at Norwood Cemetery, 14 March 1871;
(8) Clara Susanna Archibald (1845-1921), born 17 March and baptised 14 April 1845; died unmarried in Leamington Spa (Warks), 9 December 1921; her will was proved 9 February 1921 (estate £24,179).
His wife inherited Rusland Hall from her father in 1813 and brought it to him on their marriage in 1832; they extended the house after gaining possession on the death of her mother in 1848, but seem normally to have lived in London, Cheltenham or Leamington Spa.
He died 12 September and was buried at Kensal Green (Middx), 16 September 1868. His widow died 27 November 1880; administration of her estate was granted, 3 February 1881 (effects under £10,000).

Archibald, Charles William (1838-93) of Rusland Hall. Eldest son of Charles Dickson Archibald (1802-68) and his wife Bridget, only child of Myles Walker of Rusland Hall, born 20 July 1838 in Canada. Educated at Harrow, 1851-53 and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1855 but did not reside). JP for Lancashire; Member of Institute of Civil Engineers. He married, 7 April 1864, Isabel (1838-1926), second daughter of Robert Falcon MD of Whitehaven (Cumbld) and had issue:
(1) Charles Falcon Archibald (1866-1936) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Maud Archibald (1874-1928), born 25 December 1874; married, 15 September 1903, George Wilson Clarke (b. 1874), son of William Wood Clarke of Bishophill House, York and had issue two sons; died 17 June 1928.
He inherited Rusland Hall from his mother in 1880, and at his death left it to his widow, but he lived in London and rented Rusland out.
He died in London, 3 March 1893; his will was proved 5 July and 10 August 1893 (effects £7,660). His widow died 2 June 1926; her will was proved 13 November 1926 and 24 June 1929 (estate £25,399).

Archibald, Charles Falcon (1866-1936) of Rusland Hall. Only son of Charles William Archibald (1838-93) and his wife Isabel, daughter of Robert Falcon MD of Whitehaven (Cumbld), born 25 February 1866 and baptised 25 April 1866. Educated at Harrow, 1880-84 and Downton (Wilts) Agricultural College, 1884-86; 1st Senior Prize of Royal Agricultural Society, 1887. Lecturer in Agricultural Chemistry at University College, Bangor, 1891-93; Lecturer in Agriculture at Leeds University, 1893-1923. Ornithologist. He married, 18 June 1895, Harriet Mary (1867-1918), second daughter of John Downes of the Court House, Richard's Castle (Shropshire) and had issue:
(1) Myles Falcon Downes Archibald (1898-1961) (q.v.);
(2) Madeline Violet Archibald (1901-81), born 8/10 May 1901; lived on the estate with her sister; died unmarried, 29 November 1981; will proved 22 February 1982 (estate £115,768);
(3) Roger Campbell Archibald (1903-78), born 8/10 January 1903; educated at Oundle; engineer; lived latterly at Ulverston; married, 26 March 1932, Alice May, daughter of Capt. Algernon H. Hartigan, and had issue two sons; died 18 October 1978; will proved 5 March and 22 May 1979 (estate £164,354);
(4) Phyllis Mary Archibald (1905-92), born 30 October 1905; lived on the estate with her sister; died unmarried, 13 April 1992; will proved 15 July 1992 (estate £582,179).
He lived in Headingley, Leeds until he inherited Rusland Hall from his mother in 1926.
He died 5 January 1936 and was buried at Rusland; his will was proved 6 July 1936 (estate £29,094). His wife died 26 September 1918; her will was proved 21 July 1919 (estate £660).

Myles Archibald
Archibald, Myles Falcon Downes (1898-1961) of Rusland Hall. Elder son of Charles Falcon Archibald (1866-1936) of Rusland Hall and his wife Harriet Mary, daughter of John Downes of Court House, Richard's Castle (Salop), born 8 April 1898. Educated at Oundle School, then served as 2nd Lt. in Royal Field Artillery in WW1 before continuing his education at Leeds University (LLB); admitted as a solicitor, 1923, and practiced in Sheffield, 1923-33 before retraining as a barrister at the Inner Temple (called to bar, 1935); barrister on the North-Eastern Circuit, 1935-52; JP for East Riding of Yorkshire (Deputy Chairman of Quarter Sessions, 1950-56; Chairman, 1956-61); Chairman of Agricultural Land Tribunal for Lancashire and Yorkshire, 1948-52; a County Court Judge, 1952-58. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Rusland Hall from his father in 1936 but let it for use as a girls' school in 1940 and later as a children's home. It was sold a few years after his death. He lived in chambers in Leeds.
He died at The Retreat, York, 14 March 1961; his will was proved 24 May and 12 July 1961 (estate £34,004).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, pp. 50-51; F.G. Halpenny, Dictionary of Canadian biography, vol. 7, pp. 21-25; J.M. Robinson, A guide to the country houses of the north-west, 1991, p. 232; A. Taylor, The Websters of Kendal, 2004, p. 123; M. Hyde & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cumbria, 2010, p. 593; 

Location of archives

Archibald family of Rusland Hall: deeds and estate papers, 1545-1927 [Lancashire Archives, DDAR]

Coat of arms

Argent, on a bend azure between two estoiles of the last, three crescents of the first, all within a bordure invected sable, charged with three mullets or.


This post was first published 18th May 2015 and updated 26th June 2015.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I am looking for an the Archibald brother who built a large house on Archibald Avenue in North Sydney in 1899, later sold to the McClenan family, barristers. I believe it must have been T.D. Archibald's brother, Blowers? Thanks very much.


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