Thursday 9 July 2015

(175) Arkwright of Willersley Castle and Hatton House

Arkwright of Willersley
The Arkwrights are notable because the scale of the fortune amassed by Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-92), kt. and his son was so great that it not only founded four landed dynasties but ensured the cash wealth of his numerous descendants into the third and even the fourth generation. In recent posts I have traced the history of three branches of the family which were founded by sons of Richard Arkwright (1755-1843), all of whom were set up in landed estates by their father. This post considers the origins of the family fortune, Richard's own seat at Willersley Castle in Derbyshire, which passed to his third son, Peter Arkwright (1784-1866), and the other properties owned by Peter's descendants. 

Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-92), kt. was the archetypal self-made man of the Industrial Revolution. After 20 years as a struggling barber, wig-maker and publican, he stumbled upon a technical improvement in cotton manufacturing and saw its potential. He was ruthless enough in the borrowing of ideas and capital from others to make the idea into a successful business, although his development of the factory system of mass production was as significant as the technical developments his mills exploited to his future prosperityFor twenty-two years his mills worked around the clock churning out cotton fabrics, and at the same time making Arkwright a substantial fortune. For Lord Torrington their appearance at night, captured in Joseph Wright's magnificent landscape, was as ‘a first rate man of war’. 
Cromford Mills by night, by Joseph Wright of Derby
Image: Derby Museum & Art Gallery
Another innovation was that Arkwright built decent quality housing for his workers so that it was possible to attract a workforce to the remote rural location. The surviving houses in North Street, Cromford were designed to accommodate weaving workshops in the attics so that the men of the families (the factories employed mainly women and children) could be gainfully employed.

Although Sir Richard never lost a certain awkwardness in the company of his social superiors, his increasing wealth gave him a position in the county that led to his being knighted in 1786 and made High Sheriff the following year. In the 1780s he decided to invest some of his wealth in the building of a new mansion house at Cromford, although because of a catastrophic fire that destroyed the interiors while they were still being finished, it was not completed until after his death.

Sir Richard's only son, Richard Arkwright (1755-1843) had grown up in the years of his father's early business struggles, and inherited much of his business acumen. In 1783 he set up as a cotton-spinner on his own account, but after his father died he decided to diversify his business interests to achieve greater resilience in the face of a cyclical economy. He sold some of the cotton-spinning operations and invested in banking, Government stocks, and above all in landed property, which throughout the period of the Napoleonic wars produced a handsome return. The profits of cotton-spinning and later of banking fuelled further estate purchases and by the 1820s each of his sons was established as the manager of a landed estate. At the time of his death, aged 87, in 1843, he was reputedly the richest commoner in England, with a total wealth estimated at £3.25m, and substantial landholdings in seven counties.

At his death, each of his surviving sons received a large cash legacy as well as the estate on which they were established, and four of them - Robert, John, Peter and Joseph - passed on their property to their descendants. Peter Arkwright (1784-1866), the third son, who was a partner in the Arkwright bank, inherited the core Willersley Castle estate, and also much of his father's remaining cotton-spinning interests. Following in the family tradition he produced an enormous family of sixteen children, all but three of whom survived to maturity. At his death in 1866, he was worth an estimated £800,000, which was distributed among his surviving children and grandchildren. Willersley Castle passed to his eldest son, Frederic Arkwright (1806-74) and subsequently descended to Frederic's son, Frederick Charles Arkwright (1853-1923) and to his son, Richard Alleyne Arkwright (1884-1965). The latter chose not to move into the house, and sold it in 1927 to a consortium of Midlands businessmen who opened it as a Methodist hotel and holiday home. Richard had previously bought a smaller and more modern house in Gloucestershire called Willersey House. Is it fanciful to imagine that he was attracted to it because of the similarity of its name to his ancestral seat? Willersey House was left to his son, Col. Peter Arkwright (1913-87) and only sold after the latter's death.

The Hatton estate in Warwickshire was apparently purchased by Peter Arkwright (1784-1866) in 1830 for his second son, Edward Arkwright (1808-50), and a new house was probably built there after his marriage in 1845. When Edward died young in 1850, Hatton became the home of his youngest surviving brother, John Thomas Arkwright (1823-1906); another unmarried brother, Ferdinand William Arkwright (1814-95) may also have lived there. John Thomas Arkwright left the estate to his son, John Peter Arkwright (1864-1931), whose heir, John Brassey Arkwright (1912-41) was killed in action in the Second World War. The estate was taken on by his younger brother, Percy Frederic Arkwright (1915-89), and was handed over to his son, Andrew John Arkwright (b. 1953) in 1982. Mr. Arkwright and his wife have developed the redundant farm buildings on the estate in a number of business ventures, including a craft centre and a farm park (now Hatton Adventure World) that are now a popular visitor attraction.

Willersley Castle, Cromford, Derbyshire

The descent of the Willersley estate can be traced in outline from the medieval period, but there seems not to have been a gentry house here of any significance before the present building was constructed. This was built for Sir Richard Arkwright in 1786-91 on a greenfield site, perched on a narrow ledge in the spectacular Derwent valley which is partly an artificial platform cut out of the hillside. Although the setting is Picturesque and gentified, Willersley is in essence a millowner's house, set only a few hundred yards from his Masson Mills.

Willersley Castle: seen from Cromford Hill opposite. Image: Christoph Doppelhofer.
The architect of the seven bay, two-and-a-half storey central block with lower recessed wings was William Thomas, a Pembrokeshire man practising in London, who in 1783 had published a volume of Original Designs in Architecture, very much in the style of Robert Adam. Willersley Castle, for which his drawings are in the Bodleian Library, was his most ambitious executed building. It is built of the local sandstone, and was essentially neo-classical in concept, but romanticised by battlements and semi-circular turrets framing the central bay and the service wing. To modern eyes he was clearly copying Robert Adam's castle style, and Max Craven has recently suggested that Arkwright may initially have approached Adam for a design, been put off by his fees, and looked around for somebody cheaper who could work in the same style; Thomas Gardner of Uttoxeter also supplied designs. Max Craven has also pointed out the similarity of the house to Adam's Dalquharran (Ayrshire), which was built at almost exactly the same time, and speculated about whether there was some connection between Adam and Thomas which gave the latter access to Adam's designs or enabled him to visit Dalquharran or another of Adam's castle-style houses in Scotland at this time. Contemporaries were ambivalent in their assessment of Thomas's achievement: Lord Torrington, who visited in 1790, rather snobbishly called it 'an effort of inconvenient ill taste', but may have been responding more to the nouveau riche owner than his house. 

Willersley Castle: an engraving of 1792 after a perspective drawing by William Thomas. The drawing betrays no awareness of the local topography and must have been made before Thomas visited the site.

Willersley Castle: the east wing altered by Gardner, showing also the angled porch added by Edward Blore in 1843 and the single-storey addition on the east front. Image: J147. Some rights reserved.

The plan of Willersley as originally intended was much simpler and more traditional than the plan of Dalquharran, which had rooms of an astonishing variety of different shapes within a regular exterior. At Willersley, spatial inventiveness was confined to a top-lit oval staircase, which must have been quite steep. None of Thomas' interiors survive, however, as on the night of 8th August 1791, before work was quite finished or the family had moved in, the interior was burned out in a fire which started in an over-heated stove. By then, William Thomas had already been dismissed in a dispute over the costs of the building, which led him to take legal action against Arkwright for his fees.

The reinstatement of the interior, carried out in 1793-95, was therefore entrusted to Thomas Gardner of Uttoxeter, whose designs for a classical house at Willersley had been rejected in the 1780s. Gardner's client was in practice Sir Richard's son, who inherited Willesley in 1792 before work had begun. He simplified the decoration of the interiors, removing the 'gee-gaw fretwork' ceilings criticised by Lord Torrington, and moved the staircase from the oval central hall (which was retained as a circulation space) to a gloomy adjoining space where he made a remorselessly plain one with straight flights, looking remarkably like a service stair. He also formed a new entrance in the east wing, facing the approach to the house along a natural terrace on the hillside. The finest room is still the oval hall in the centre of the house with galleries on both upper storeys and a domed skylight; other rooms are less striking, but several of them preserve good fireplaces and cornices. Gardner also built the stables and entrance gates. 

Willersley Castle: the oval hall, looking up to the skylight. Image: Peter Barr. Some rights reserved.

The house was altered again about 1843 by Edward Blore, who created a new entrance in the angle between the central block and the right-hand wing; something that was needed because a single-storey room was added to the east wing in front of the entrance created there by Gardner.

The grounds were landscaped by John Webb in the 1790s. Webb may well have been suggested to Arkwright by Thomas Gardner, since the two men had been assistants to their respective masters William Emes and Joseph Pickford in work at Etruria Hall in 1769-72 and had been among the leading practitioners in their respective fields in the north Midlands since then. In this naturally dramatic spot Webb did not have to work very hard to create the desired Picturesque setting. He cleared away a jumble of buildings around the bridge at Cromford to improve the prospect of the house and to provide an appropriate setting for a new classical chapel (later Cromford parish church and since altered) which was probably designed by Gardner in 1795-97.  Webb also planted some 350,000 trees across the estate and up the gorge to Matlock Bath before 1802.

In 1927 the house was sold to a group of Methodist businessmen, who opened it as a hotel and holiday centre aimed at young Methodists. In the 1930s the single-storey extension on the east side of the castle was enlarged to create the "Music Room". After wartime use as a maternity home, the house reverted to its pre-war function, and it continues to be operated as an hotel by the Christian Guild.

Descent: Hon. Henry Talbot; to daughter, Gertrude, wife of Robert Pierrepont, 1st Earl of Kingston; to son, William Pierrepont; to widow, who gave it to her kinsman, Sir Darcy Dawes, bt.; to daughter, wife of Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood; sold 1778 to Edmund Hodgkinson of Overton Hall, Ashover; sold c.1779 to Thomas Hallett Hughes, who sold 1782 to Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-92); to son, Richard Arkwright (1755-1843); to son, Peter Arkwright (1784-1866); to son, Frederic Arkwright (1806-74); to son, Frederic Charles Arkwright (1853-1923); to son, Richard Alleyne Arkwright (1884-1965), who sold 1927 to Sir Albert Ball and others; given to Methodist Guild as a Christian hotel and holiday centre.

Hatton House, Warwickshire

Hatton House: entrance front with service wing to its right. Image: Harry Arkwright
 A two-storey, five by eight bay, early 19th century classical house of red brick and stone dressings, with a low pitched slate hipped roof behind a parapet. Although the date of construction is not certain, there was no house on the site in 1814 and it was probably built soon after Edward Arkwright married in 1845. The shorter entrance front of five bays has a stone cornice, rusticated quoins, plinth and moulded window architraves, and a central Doric porch with stone columns and a heavy entablature; a lower service wing projects to the right. 

Hatton House: garden front

To the left, the longer garden front is of eight bays, with two-bay units at either end projecting a little from the plane of the wall. The house sits in a small park-like setting, sandwiched between the Hockley Road and the Grand Union Canal, which was no doubt laid out when the house was built.

Descent: sold 1830 to Peter Arkwright (1784-1866) for his son, Edward Arkwright (1808-50); to brother, John Thomas Arkwright (1823-1906); to son, John Peter Arkwright (1864-1931); to son, John Brassey Arkwright (1912-41); to brother, Percy Frederic Arkwright (1915-89); given 1982 to son, Andrew John Arkwright (b. 1953).

Willersey House, Gloucestershire

Willersey House: original design proposed by A.N. Prentice, 1907, from The Builder

In 1907, the Arts and Crafts architect, A.N. Prentice exhibited at the Royal Academy a design for a proposed house at Willersey and, from the attached description, it appears that this was intended to be built on the site of the present Willersey House, about halfway up the Cotswold escarpment, overlooking the village and the Vale of Evesham.  However, the house that was finally completed in 1912 for the opera singer, Murray Davey, was not to these designs, although it is in a similar Cotswold style. There is a formal approach from a country lane to a large built-up forecourt, where the main range faces the drive, with the service wing running forward to the left.  At the rear the ballroom wing helps enclose a small west-facing loggia which takes advantage of the view.  Formal gardens are situated beyond the ballroom wing, and adjacent to these is a long lawn terminated by a gazebo.

Willersey House: the house as built in 1912. Image: © Michael Hill & Nicholas Kingsley

The building is traditionally described as a an old farmhouse from the village (Top Farm) re-built and enlarged on a new site.  Examination of the fabric shows that a great deal of old stonework has indeed been re-used, including architectural features such as mullioned windows and doorways.  The characteristic local gables with small single-light windows, further architectural salvage, have been correctly re-set above the main mullioned windows.  Despite its incorporation of so much ancient material, however, the house was in reality not a copy of an old building but was built to a revised design by Prentice.  The structural walls are all brick and only the outer facing is stone, while the roof structure is entirely of 1912.

Internally, the house fails to continue the local vernacular approach.  The flavour of the main ballroom – to the rear of the house – is Wrenaissance, a style that was a particular favourite of Prentice, especially in his interior design work on liners of the Orient Line. Elsewhere, there is a bolection-moulded fireplace in a more sober drawing room, and a reasonably well-crafted oak staircase in a gabled turret.  Otherwise, there is no architectural invention of note, although there is much generous detailing.  Despite this, the house lacked a suitably imposing hall or main staircase, something which was remedied during extensive improvements in 1994-5 by Peter Yiangou for Mr & Mrs George Hacker.  These included the creation of a two-storey entrance hall and a more impressive staircase, giving the house the features that one would have expected of Prentice’s original work. 

Descent: built for Murray Davey (1877-c.1930?); sold c.1922 to Richard Alleyne Arkwright (1884-1965); to son, Peter Arkwright OBE (1913-87); sold after his death to Mr & Mrs George Hacker, who remodelled the house; sold c.2002 to Mr J. Bloor.

Arkwright family of Willersley Castle

Sir Richard Arkwright, by Mather Brown
Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732-92), kt. Younger son of Thomas Arkwright (1691-1753), tailor, and his wife Ellen Hodgkinson (1693-1778), born at Preston (Lancs), 23 December and baptised there 31 December 1732. He received little formal education and was apprenticed to a barber at Kirkham (Lancs) until 1750, when he moved to Bolton (Lancs) to work for a peruke maker called Edward Pollit. By 1755 he was in business as a barber and peruke maker on his own account, and in 1762 he embarked on an new business as a publican at the Black Boy, which failed and left him in low water financially and in low spirits. He returned to his earlier business as a barber and tooth-drawer, but by 1767 he had left off the barber-surgeon side of the business to concentrate on wig-making: ‘I was a barber, but I have left it off, and I and another are going up and down the country buying hair and can make more of it’. He reputedly had a valuable method of dyeing hair for wig-making. At about this time, Arkwright, who had always had 'a genius for Mechanics' and John Kay, a clockmaker who he took into his employment, picked up from one of Kay's neighbours, Thomas Highs of Leigh (Lancs), the idea of spinning cotton yarn using a machine with rollers. They came up with some improvements to the machine, and in 1768 moved to Nottingham, which was an established centre of the textile industry. On 14 May 1768 Arkwright formed a partnership with John Smalley and David Thornley to exploit the machine, and the following year obtained a patent for it; a further patent was obtained by Arkwright alone in 1775. In 1770, needing more capital, they brought into the business Samuel Need, a nonconformist banker, and Jedidiah Strutt, the inventor and businessman. The next couple of years were devoted to perfecting and making factory-sized spinning machines, and not until Christmas 1772 was the firm's horse-powered mill at Nottingham in full operation. By then they had leased land at Cromford for the erection of a water-powered mill (opened in 1776), and by 1773 they had diversified into the manufacture of calicos, the quality and cheapness of which ensured they could sell everything they could make. In the 1770s, the firm expanded rapidly, with new mills opening at Cromford, Birkacre near Chorley (Lancs), Bakewell, Wirksworth, Alport, Litton, Rocester (Staffs), Manchester (Lancs), Belper and Milford. At the same time, Arkwright showed himself to be a robust, arguably an unscrupulous, businessman, who built up his 20% stake in the business through maneouvring out or buying out the interests of his partners. When Samuel Need died in 1782, Arkwright and Strutt, the surviving partners, agreed to go their separate ways, and Strutt took over the Belper and Milford factories, everything else falling to Arkwright's share. 
Willersley Castle and Masson Mills.
Image: Richard Bird. Some rights reserved
In 1780 he bought the land for Masson Mill at Cromford, his largest venture, and he also began licensing other manufacturers to use his machinery. Finding, however, that once his machinery was in other hands the number of unlicensed users proliferated quickly, he instituted a series of prosecutions for breach of his patents. A spirited resistance by the Manchester cotton manufacturers led them to challenge to the originality of his patent, which was eventually struck down by the courts in 1785. Despite this blow, Arkwright had made enormous profits in the 1770s and he was still the country's largest cotton manufacturer, with an estimated annual return on investment of 100%! In the 1780s, he handed over control of many of his mills to his son, retaining only Cromford and Masson, Wirksworth and Nottingham, where he installed a Boulton & Watt steam engine in 1790.* In 1789 he was one of the promoters of the Cromford Canal, which opened in 1794, after his death. His growing wealth brought his social acceptance, and he was knighted on 22 December 1786 after presenting an address from the wapentake of Wirksworth to King George III congratulating the King on his escape from assassination by Margaret Nicholson; he was also Sheriff of Derbyshire, 1787. However his manners and behaviour did not adapt to his changed station in life: Thomas Carlyle described him as "a plain, almost gross, bag-cheeked, pot-bellied Lancashire man, with an air of painful reflection", while according to Wilhelmina Murray, before the King he ‘had no idea of kneeling but crimpt himself up in a very odd posture which I suppose His Majesty took for an easy one so never took the trouble to bid him rise’. At the end of his life he was painted by the American artist, Mather Brown, who captures his sharpness and introspection, and by Joseph Wright of Derby, who depicts a more avuncular figure and who also painted other members of the family. He married 1st, 31 March 1755, Patience (c.1735-56), daughter of Robert Holt of Bolton, schoolmaster, and 2nd, 24 March 1761 at Leigh (Lancs) (sep. c.1779), Margaret Biggens (1723-1811), and had issue:
(1.1) Richard Arkwright (1755-1843) (q.v.);
(2.1) Susannah Arkwright (1756-1835), born 20 December 1761 and baptised at Bank St. Presbyterian Chapel; married Charles Hurt (1758-1834) of Wirksworth (Derbys) and had issue six sons and five daughters; died 4 May 1835;
(2.2) Anne Arkwright (b. & d. 1762); died in infancy;
(2.3) Ellen Arkwright (b. 1764), born 26 February 1764; died in infancy.
He also had a long-term affair with Ada/Ellen Hodgkinson, whom he installed in Derwent House in the grounds of Willersley Castle, and by whom he had:
(X1) William Arkwright alias Hodgkinson (1775-1856), born 1 October 1775 and baptised 8 January 1786 at the age of 10; married, 29 August 1797 at Darley (Derbys), Ann Pidcock and had issue; died at Derby, 12 March 1856.
He bought land at Cromford from 1770 onwards, and made his home at Rock House. He acquired the Willersley estate in 1782 and built a new house there in 1786-91, although it was not finished before his death. In 1788 he also bought 8 Adam Street in the Adelphi in London and furnished it as a home for use during his protracted patent litigation.
He died 3 August 1792 and was buried at Matlock, 10 August 1792; his body was later moved and placed under the altar of Cromford Chapel. His first wife died 6 October 1756 and was buried with her mother; the gravestone erected by her father omitted her married name. His widow died 25 December 1811.
* Arkwright's failure to defend his patents in the 1780s determined Boulton & Watt's approach to patent ligitation a decade later.

Richard Arkwright junior
Arkwright, Richard (1755-1843). Only child of Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-92), kt., and his first wife, Patience, daughter of Robert Holt of Bolton (Lancs), born 19 December 1755 and baptised at Bank St. Presbyterian Chapel, Bolton. From 1783 he was established in business as a cotton spinner on his own account, but when he inherited his father's cotton spinning empire he sold some of the operations and invested in Government securities and landed property, which he saw as offering more stable and in the long term greater returns. In the cotton spinning mills which he retained, his failure to innovate in production methods led to their ceasing to be profitable after 1820. He moved into banking and established Richard Arkwright & Co. of Wirksworth, which became the main source of his rapidly increasing wealth. A Conservative in politics, although he rejected suggestions that he should stand for Parliament. JP and DL for Derbyshire; High Sheriff of Derbyshire, 1801. He married, apparently against his father's wishes, 1 May 1780 at Bonsall (Derbys), Mary (1755-1827), daughter of Adam Simpson of Bonsall and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Arkwright (1780-1838), born 29 May 1780 (just a month after her parents' wedding); married, 27 October 1802 at Matlock, Francis Edward Hurt (1781-1854) of Alderwasley (Derbys) and had issue one son and seven daughters; died 30 January 1838;
(2) Richard Arkwright (1781-1832) [see my post on the Arkwrights of Sutton Scarsdale];
(3) Robert Arkwright (1783-1859) [see my post on the Arkwrights of Sutton Scarsdale];
(4) Peter Arkwright (1784-1866) (q.v.);
(5) John Arkwright (1785-1858) [see my post on the Arkwrights of Hampton Court];
(6) Charles Arkwright (1786-1850) of Dunstall Hall (Staffs), born 22 November 1786; educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (did not matriculate). JP for Staffordshire; High Sheriff of Staffordshire, 1849; married, 12 December 1811 at Morley (Derbys), Mary (1786-1858), daughter of Edward Sacheverell Wilmot-Sitwell of Stainsby but had no issue; died 28 December 1850 and was buried at Cromford; will proved 18 February 1851;
(7) Mary Arkwright (1788-1803), born 2 August 1788; died young, 9 June 1803;
(8) Rev. Joseph Arkwright (1791-1864) [see my post on the Arkwrights of Mark Hall];
(9) Anne Arkwright (1793-1844); married, 24 December 1818, Rt. Hon. Sir James Wigram (d. 1866), kt., vice-chancellor of the Court of Chancery, 1841-50 and third son of Sir Robert Wigram, 1st bt., and had issue four sons and five daughters; died 3 February 1844;
(10) Frances Arkwright (1796-1863), born 28 August 1796; an invalid who died unmarried, 4 November 1863;
(11) Harriet Arkwright (1798-1815), born 9 February 1798; died unmarried, 7 November 1815.
He inherited the Willersley Castle estate from his father in 1792 and acquired the Normanton Turville (Leics) estate in 1796; Hampton Court (Herefs) in 1810; Dunstall Hall (Staffs) in 1814, Mark Hall (Essex) in 1819 and Sutton Scarsdale (Derbys) in 1824. After his death his estates were divided among his surviving sons: Robert received Sutton Scarsdale; Peter, Willersley Castle; John, Hampton Court; Charles, Dunstall Hall; and Joseph, Mark Hall and Normanton Turville. Dunstall Hall was sold after Charles' death, as he had no children.
He died 23 April 1843; his will was proved 24 May 1843; his wealth at death was published as "over £1,000,000" (that being the threshold for the highest level of estate duty) but is estimated to have been some £3,250,000, and he was described as "the richest commoner in England". His wife died 23 February 1827.

Arkwright, Peter (1784-1866). Third son of Richard Arkwright (1755-1843) and his wife Mary, daughter of Adam Simpson of Bonsall (Derbys), born at Bakewell (Derbys), 17 April 1784. Educated at Eton. Cotton-spinner, in partnership with his father, 1806-12 and later his brother Robert, 1812-32, after which Robert withdrew from the business to concentrate on running his estates. From the 1820s changes in demand, a failure to modernise the machinery, and a reduction in the water supply to Cromford Mills meant that the concerns ceased to be profitable and in the 1840s all his mills except Masson Mill closed. From 1829 he was also a partner in his father's bank, Richard Arkwright & Co., and he also had shares in the Cromford Canal. Captain in the Derbyshire Militia, 1803; JP and DL for Derbyshire; High Sheriff of Derbyshire, 1855. He married, 2 September 1805, Mary Anne (1786-1872), daughter of Charles Hurt of Wirksworth, and had issue:
(1) Frederic Arkwright (1806-74) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Anne Arkwright (1807-91), born 26 September 1807 and baptised 27 April 1808; married, 11 July 1850 at Matlock, Robert Strange MD (1797-1872), a Scottish doctor, but had no issue; died in Brighton (Sussex), 10 March 1891 and was buried at Matlock Bath, 14 March 1891; her will was proved 8 May 1891 (effects £75,768);
(3) Edward Arkwright (1808-50) (q.v.); 
(4) Francis Arkwright (1809-12), born 17 December 1809; died young, 12 June 1812;
(5) Rev. Henry Arkwright (1811-89), born 26 March 1811; educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1831; BA 1835; MA 1838); ordained deacon, 1836 and priest, 1837; vicar of Bodenham (Herefs), 1842-88 and chaplain of Coningsby Hospital, Hereford; married 1st, 20 September 1838, Henrietta (d. 1844), daughter of Rev. Charles Thorneycroft of Thorneycroft (Ches.) and had issue one son and three daughters; married 2nd, 1 July 1847, Ellen (d. 1883), daughter of Capt. John Home Purves of Coldingham (Berwicks) and had issue three sons and five daughters; died 13 January 1889; will proved 28 March 1889 (effects £134,421);
(6) Alfred Arkwright (1812-87) of The Gate House, Wirksworth and later of Scarborough (Yorks), born 19 June and baptised 25 June 1812; banker; JP and DL for Derbyshire; married, 13 March 1845, Elizabeth (1814-85), daughter of Col. George Henry Crutchley of Sunninghill Park (Berks) and had issue two daughters; died 19 January 1887; will proved 28 March 1887 (effects £165,106);
(7) James Charles Arkwright (1813-96), born 1 October and baptised 23 December 1813; married 1st, 29 June 1854, Isabel (1825-55), daughter of Col. William Leigh Clowes of Broughton Hall (Lancs) and 2nd, 28 April 1864, Mary Esther (1825-1918), eldest daughter of William Brodhurst of The Friary, Newark (Notts), but had no issue; died 16 May 1896; will proved 7 July 1896 (effects £352,514);
(8) Ferdinand William Arkwright (1814-95), baptised 10 December 1814; an officer in the army, 1833-37 (Lt., 1837); JP and DL for Warwickshire; died unmarried in London, 4 February and was buried at Hatton, 8 February 1895; will proved 3 April 1895 (effects £74,213);
(9) Susan Maria Arkwright (1816-64), born 11 February 1816; married, 12 February 1839, Rt. Rev. Joseph Cotton Wigram DD (d. 1867), bishop of Rochester and had issue; died 27 June 1864 at Mark Hall; administration of goods granted 26 January 1889 (effects £480);
(10) Fanny Jane Arkwright (1817-94), born 30 August 1817; married, 21 January 1873, Darwin Galton (1814-1903) of Claverdon Leys (Warks), eldest son of Samuel Tertius Galton, but had no issue; died 9 November and was buried at Wootton Wawen (Warks), 13 November 1894; will proved 19 February 1903 (estate £57,439);
(11) Margaret Helen Arkwright (1819-83), born 8 January 1819; married, 31 July 1845 at Matlock, her first cousin, James Richard Wigram (1819-92), eldest son of Sir James Wigram, kt., and had issue four sons and two daughters; died 5 November 1883; administration of goods granted 28 December 1888 (effects £480);
(12) Cmdr. Augustus Peter Arkwright (1821-87), born 2 March 1821; an officer in the Royal Navy (Commander; retired in 1850s); MP for North Derbyshire, 1868-80; died unmarried, 6 October 1887;
(13) Octavius Arkwright (1822-23), born 20 July 1822; died in infancy, 9 April 1823;
(14) John Thomas Arkwright (1823-1906) (q.v.); 
(15) Caroline Elizabeth Arkwright (1825-1907), born 7 March 1825; married, 22 January 1852, John Clowes (1823-1909), son of William Leigh Clowes of Broughton Hall (Lancs), and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 20 October 1907; will proved 7 February 1908 (estate £765);
(16) Arthur Arkwright (b. & d. 1827), born 2 January 1827; died in infancy, 20 June 1827.
He lived at Rock House, Cromford (which he enlarged to accommodate his large family) until he inherited Willersley Castle from his father in 1843.
He died 19 September 1866 and was buried at Cromford; his will was proved 5 November 1866 (effects under £800,000). His widow died 6 September 1872 and was buried at Cromford; her will was proved 11 October 1872 (effects under £25,000).

Arkwright, Frederic (1806-74). Eldest son of Peter Arkwright (1784-1866) and his wife Mary Anne, daughter of Charles Hurt of Wirksworth, born 16 August 1806. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (BA 1828; MA 1831). He married, 21 October 1845* at Sible Hedingham (Essex), Susan Sabrina (1818-74), daughter of Ven. Charles Parr Burney, archdeacon of St. Albans, and had issue:
(1) Ellen Mary Arkwright (1847-1933), born 3 April 1847; married, 29 July 1868 at Belper (Derbys), Rev. Frederick Fawkes (1833-1900) of Farnley Hall (Yorks), rector of Escrick (Yorks), second son of Rev. Ayscough Fawkes of Farnley and had issue five sons and four daughters; died 18 December 1933; will proved 19 January 1934 (estate £13,227);
(2) Susan Alice Arkwright (1851-1900), baptised 24 July 1851; married, 17 February 1897 at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx), Maj. Edward Levett (1833-99) of 10th Hussars but had no issue; died at Pau (France), 4 April 1900 and was buried at Rowsley (Derbys); will proved 3 July 1900 (estate £31,795);
(3) Frederic Charles Arkwright (1853-1923) (q.v.).
He lived at Spondon Hall (Derbys) until he inherited Willersley Castle from his father in 1866.
He died 6 December 1874 and was buried at Cromford; his will was proved 19 February 1875 (effects under £140,000). His wife died 7 October 1874 and was also buried at Cromford; administration of her goods was granted 8 May 1878 (effects under £200).
* Some genealogies say 4 November 1845.

Arkwright, Frederic Charles (1853-1923). Only son of Frederic Arkwright (1806-74) and his wife Susan Sabrina, daughter of Ven. Charles Parr Burney, archdeacon of St. Albans, born 7 November 1853. JP and DL for Derbyshire; High Sheriff of Derbyshire, 1887; Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, 1916-21. He married, 7 November 1883, Rebecca Olton (1860-1944), third daughter of Sir John Gay Newton Alleyne, 3rd bt. of Chevin (Derbys) and had issue:
(1) Richard Alleyne Arkwright (1884-1965) (q.v.);
(2) Frederic George Alleyne Arkwright (1885-1915), born 23 October 1885; educated at Eton and Sandhurst; an officer of 11th Hussars (2nd Lt., 1905; Lt., 1906; Capt., 1914), with whom he served in France in WW1 (wounded) before being attached to the Royal Flying Corps; killed in a flying accident in Scotland while on duty, 14 October 1915 and was buried at Cromford;
(3) Kathleen Rebecca Arkwright (1890-1943), born 16 July 1890; married, 18 October 1911, Capt. Guy Bonham-Carter (1885-1915), son of Alfred Bonham-Carter and had issue one son and one daughter; died 26 May 1943; will proved 17 July 1943 (estate £65,854).
He inherited Willersley Castle from his father in 1874.
He died 18 July 1923 and was buried at Cromford; his will was proved 1 November 1923 (estate £284,351). His widow died 9 March 1944; her will was proved 30 August 1944 (estate £3,606).

Arkwright, Richard Alleyne (1884-1965). Elder and only surviving son of Frederic Charles Arkwright (1853-1923) and his wife Rebecca Olton, daughter of Sir John Gay Newton Alleyne of Chevin (Derbys), born 1 September 1884. Educated at Eton and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. An officer in the Coldstream Guards, 1904-19 (2nd Lt., 1904; Lt., 1906; Capt., 1914; Adjutant, Reserve Brigade, 1917); ADC to Governor of Trinidad & Tobago, 1909-10. JP for Derbyshire. He married, 16 April 1912, Marjorie (1888-1965), second daughter of Frank Hardcastle MP and had issue:
(1) Col. Peter Arkwright OBE (1913-87) (q.v.);
(2) Maj. Michael Richard Arkwright MBE (1915-2001) of Cloneen, Delgany (Wicklow), born 5 October 1915 and baptised at St George's Chapel, Windsor, November 1915; educated at Eton and Royal Military College, Sandhurst; an officer in the 1st King's Dragoons (2nd Lt., 1935; Major; retired 1948); married, 2 June 1951, Pamela Emily Mary (b. 1922), daughter of Capt. Evan Lloyd and had issue; died 26 July 2001 and was buried at Delgany;
(3) Ann Marjorie Arkwright (b. 1919), born 1 March 1919; served in WW2 with Special Operations Executive; married, 3 January 1946, Lt-Col. Harold Covernton Selby MC (1912-95), second son of Dr. John S.E. Selby of Bozeat (Northants) and had issue one son and two daughters.
He inherited Willersley Castle from his father in 1923 but sold it in 1927. He lived from c.1922 at Willersey House in Gloucestershire.
He died 29 April 1965; his will was proved 24 June 1965 (estate £69,731). His wife died 15 February 1965; her will was proved 26 April 1965 (estate £22,311).

Arkwright, Col. Peter (1913-87) OBE. Elder son of Richard Alleyne Arkwright (1884-1965) and his wife Marjorie, daughter of Frank Hardcastle MP, born 2 April 1913. Educated at Eton and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Colonel of 11th Hussars. ADC to the Governor of Bombay, 1937-39; served in WW2, 1939-45; attached to British Army staff in Washington DC (USA), 1941-42; GSO2, HQ Allied Land Forces in SE Asia, 1945; Lt-Col. commanding 11th Hussars, 1952-55; GSO1, British Joint Services Mission, Washington DC, 1956-58; President of War Office Selection Board, 1958-61; Assistant Adjutant General, War Office, 1961-63. He married, 8 May 1958 at St James RC church, Spanish Place, London, (Beatrice) Margeurite, twin daughter of Capt. Francis Reynolds Verdon of Littlefields, Sidbury (Devon) and had issue:
(1) Charles Richard Francis Arkwright (b. 1960); married, 1987, Anne-Louise Marie-Noelle Miranda Josephine (b. 1962), daughter of Bernard Noel David George Terrence Kelly and had issue four daughters;
(2) Martin Peter Verdon Arkwright (b. 1961); served in Royal Armoured Corps, 1981; director of Secura Monde Ltd. and later Managing Director of ShireMoor Engineering; married, Oct-Dec 1992, Amanda J. Hodges and had issue;
(3) Mary Rose M. Arkwright (b. 1964), born 11 August 1964; married, 1990, Jonathan Guy Campion Jackson (b. 1964), son of Geoffrey Laird Jackson of Plas Newydd, Llanfair DC, Ruthin (Denbighs), and had issue one daughter.
He inherited Willersey House from his father in 1965. It was sold after his death to Mr & Mrs George Hacker, who remodelled the house.
He died 16 November 1987; his will was proved 5 February 1988 (estate £2,686,704). His widow married 2nd, 1989, Maj-Gen. David St John Maur Tabor (1922-2004), whose will was proved 5 May 2005.

Arkwright family of Hatton House (Warwickshire)

Arkwright, Edward (1808-50) of Hatton House. Second son of Peter Arkwright (1784-1866) of Willersley Castle (Derbys) and his wife Mary Anne, daughter of Charles Hurt of Wirksworth, born 15 and baptised 18 December 1808. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1827 but did not maticulate). He married, 24 April 1845 at Morley (Derbys), Charlotte (1822-55), daughter of Robert Sacheverell Wilmot-Sitwell of Morley and had issue:
(1) Constance Charlotte Arkwright (1847-1917), born 11 July 1847; married, 20 February 1873 at Cromford, Maj. Francis Fawkes (1837-1919), and had issue one son and seven daughters; died at Cheltenham (Glos), 19 February 1917; adminstration of goods granted to husband, 19 April 1917 (effects £1,043);
(2) Edith Anne Arkwright (1849-1929), born 22 February 1849; married, 19 April 1870 at Bakewell (Derbys), Richard Digby Cleasby (1839-1905) but had no issue; died 7 February 1929; will proved 28 March 1929 (estate £122,244);
(3) Mary Anne Arkwright (1850-1949), born 3 August 1850; married, 10 October 1871, Rev. Sir Richard Fitzherbert (1846-1906), 5th bt., and had issue four sons and three daughters; died 17 January 1949, aged 98; will proved 19 March 1949 (estate £2,777).
He purchased the Hatton House estate in 1830 and built a new house there, probably after his marriage in 1845.
He died 18 December and was buried at Hatton (Warks), 26 December 1850; his will has not been traced. His widow died in 1855; her will was proved 1 November 1855.

Arkwright, John Thomas (1823-1906) of Hatton House. Youngest surviving son of Peter Arkwright (1784-1866) of Willersley Castle (Derbys) and his wife Mary Anne, daughter of Charles Hurt of Wirksworth, born 22 November 1823 and baptised 17 September 1824 at Cromford. JP and DL for Warwickshire; High Sheriff of Warwickshire, 1871; Capt. in Warwickshire Yeomanry; Secretary of the North Warwickshire Hunt. He married, 3 April 1856 at Offchurch (Warks), Laura (c.1830-86), daughter of Rev. Edward Willes of Hamstall Ridware (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) Laura Jane Arkwright (1857-1934), born Apr-Jun 1857; married, 6 August 1877 at Hatton, James Broughton Dugdale (1855-1927) but had no issue; died 11 September 1934; will proved 10 January 1935 (estate £25,891);
(2) Emmeline Louisa Arkwright (1858-1929), born 29 August and baptised 28 September 1858; married, 23 January 1890 at Hatton, Capt. Frederick Ernest Arundell Hunter (1854-1906), son of Frederick Ernest Hunter, and had issue one daughter; died 15 April 1929; will proved 27 May 1929 (estate £18,120);
(3) Edward John Arkwright (1862-63), baptised 2 September 1862; died in infancy, January 1863, aged 5 months;
(4) John Peter Arkwright (1864-1931) (q.v.); 
(5) Ferdinand George Arkwright (1867-1939) of The Elms, Dunchurch (Warks), born 1 April and baptised 2 June 1867; educated at Eton; married, 30 July 1899 at Burrough-on-the-Hill (Leics), Charlotte Elizabeth Evelyn Peake (1878-1962) and had issue two daughters; died 28 March 1939; will proved 15 June 1939 (estate £83,933).
He inherited Hatton House from his elder brother, Edward Arkwright, in 1850.
He died 12 February 1906 and was buried at Hatton, 16 February 1906; his will was proved 22 March 1906 (estate £121,125). His wife died in 1886.

John Peter Arkwright
Arkwright, John Peter (1864-1931) of Hatton House. Second but elder surviving son of John Thomas Arkwright (1823-1906) and his wife Laura, daughter of Rev. Edward Willes of Hamstall Ridware (Staffs), born 21 May and baptised 26 June 1864. JP for Warwickshire, 1901-31. He was Master of the North Warwickshire Hounds, 1894-1908, 1920-28, President of the Warwickshire Agricultural Society, 1913, a well-known owner and breeder of racehorses, and a director of Warwick Racecourse Syndicate Ltd. He married, 18 October 1906 at Heythrop (Oxon), Violet Catherine Brassey (1879-1963) and had issue:
(1) Rose Emmeline Arkwright (1907-98), baptised 12 January 1908; married, Apr-Jun 1928, Lt-Col. John Patrick Moreton OBE MC (1896-1981), son of Loftus Moreton of Moseley Hall, nr Wolverhampton (Staffs) and had issue; in 1937 they bought Saddell House near Campbeltown (Argyllshire); died 1998;
(2) Susan Bertha Arkwright (1909-2011), baptised 5 December 1909; married 1st, 1954, Col. Percy Leslie Mains Wright, of Haseley House (Warks), son of James Leslie Wright but had no issue; married 2nd, 1981, Maj-Gen. Sir Charles Dunphie (1902-99); died 28 September 2011 aged 101;
(3) John Brassey Arkwright (1912-41), born Oct-Dec 1912; served in WW2 with the Warwickshire Yeomanry; killed in action, 27 August 1941; buried in the Tehran War Cemetery (Iran); will proved 13 September 1941 (estate £16,892);
(4) Percy Frederick Arkwright (1915-89) (q.v.);
(5) Albert Peter Arkwright (1919-40); served in WW2 with 11th Hussars; died of wounds, 24 May 1940; buried at Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery, Pas de Calais (France); will proved 24 October 1940 (estate £2,814).
He inherited Hatton House from his father in 1906. At his death it was left to his widow for life.
He died 18 November 1931 and was buried at Hatton, 21 November 1931; his will was proved 11 February 1932 (estate £68,658). His widow died 20 February 1963; her will was proved 25 April 1963 (estate £82,260).

Arkwright, Percy Frederick (1915-89) of Hatton House. Second son of John Peter Arkwright (1864-1931) and his wife Violet Catherine Brassey, born 24 March 1915. An officer in the army (2nd Lt., 1935; Lt. 1938). Educated at Eton. He married, 18 December 1951 at Guilsborough (Northants), Elizabeth Mary, daughter of Andrew MacIlwaine of Northampton, and had issue:
(1) Andrew John Arkwright (b. 1953) of Hatton House, born Jan-Mar 1953; chartered surveyor; married, 1999, Arabella Marianne Henderson Robb (b. 1967) and had issue one son and one daughter;
(2) Jane Elizabeth Arkwright (b. 1955); married, Apr-Jun 1982, Michael S. Wills and had issue;
(2) Thomas Frederick Arkwright (b. 1958), born Jan-Mar 1958.
He had taken over management of the Hatton House estate from his mother by 1952 and handed it over to his elder son in 1982.
He died 19 December 1989; his will was proved 11 April 1990 (estate £1,461,136).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1965, pp. 22-24; The Builder, 15 June 1907; R.S. Fitton & A.P. Wadsworth, The Strutts and the Arkwrights, 1958; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Derbyshire, 2nd edn., 1978, pp. 157-60; A. Stuart Grey, Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary, 1985, p. 294; R.S. Fitton, The Arkwrights: spinners of fortune, 1989; D. Verey and A. Brooks, The buildings of England: Gloucestershire - The Cotswolds, 1999, p. 725; B. Joyce & D. Buxton, 'Willersley Castle, Cromford', Derwent Valley Mills Research Report, 2011; M. Craven, ‘Willersley: an Adam castle in Derbyshire’, Georgian Group Journal, 2014, pp. 109-22; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography articles on Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-92) and Richard Arkwright (1755-1843).

Location of archives

Arkwright family of Willersley: family and business papers, 17th-20th cent. [Derbyshire Record Office, D7573]
Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732-92): estate papers, 18th cent. [British Library, Add MSS. 6668-97]
Arkwright, Richard (1755-1843):  copies of family and personal correspondence, c.1776-1843 [Derbyshire Record Office, D978]
Sir Richard Arkwright & Co. Ltd., cotton-spinners: business archives, 1782-1815 [Columbia University Libraries Rare Book & Manuscript Library; Derbyshire Record Office, D6907]

Coat of arms

Argent, on a mount vert, a cotton tree, fructed proper, on a chief azure between two bezants, an escutcheon of the field, charge with a bee volant proper.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.

  • Can anyone supply more accurate information about the date of construction of Hatton House? Edward Arkwright seems to have moved into it in about 1849.
  • There are some gaps in the genealogy of the more recent generations of the Arkwright family: can anyone tell me whether Anne Marjorie Selby (b. 1919) is still alive or provide more information about the descendants of her brothers?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 9 July 2015 and was updated 20 November 2017, 1 July 2018 and 25 October 2020. I am most grateful to Harry Arkwright for images of Hatton House.


  1. Hi
    I have some photos of the house but it was knocked down in the 1920s witch i can send to you later; how shall I.

    1. Thank you very much. If you use the comment form in the right hand side bar to contact me, I'll get your email address and can send you mine. I don't want to publish either mine or yours here as it would lead to spamming!

  2. Percy Frderick Arkwright was prisoner of war of Japanese WW11. Was captain in Warwickshire yeomanary. High sherrif of Warwickshire and J.P. Master of North Warwickshire Hunt for many years. His mother ran the estate after being widowed while the three sons were at war (2 died as already recorded). She ran Warwickshire Land Army during WW11 - My late mother was 2nd in command!
    Hatton Estate now run by present Arkwright Believed to have 2 sons from first marriage. Divorced and remarried. He was at Eton and Cambridge before becoming land agent. Has been County High Sherrif.

  3. As an Arkwright from the good old Lancashire Town of Leigh I find this extremely interesting.

  4. Great information, l am a descendant of Sir Richards brother John. Wigan


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.