Friday 2 October 2015

(186) Arnold of Milton Hall, Gravesend

This family are said to have originated at Framfield in Sussex in the 14th century, but later settled at Gravesend (Kent), where a John Arnold died in 1568. His descendant, Anthony Arnold, was mayor of the town in 1760, and was the father of George Arnold (d. 1816), a baker who made large profits from the manufacture of ship's biscuits for the merchant navy and was mayor three times, in 1796-97, 1806 and 1813. George's son, Robert Coles Arnold (1797-1866) was the first of the family to enter the ranks of the landed gentry. Although he was a member of the Gravesend corporation until 1853, he was never mayor, although he did serve as Chamberlain. He left Gravesend in 1856 and moved to a house called Whartons at Framfield in Sussex, where he became a JP for Sussex. He later built Heath House at Barming (Kent), where he died in 1866. 

R.C. Arnold had four surviving sons, who were all distinguished in very different fields. The eldest, George Matthews Arnold (1826-1908) became a solicitor and was the senior partner of a large London legal practice (later Arnold, Fooks, Chadwick & Co. He trumped all his ancestors by being mayor of Gravesend no less than eight times, and built Milton Hall to the designs of George Somers Clarke as a grand new family residence in 1873. Although brought up in the Anglican church, he and his wife converted to Rome in 1859 and he later became legal adviser to successive Catholic Bishops of Southwark and a Knight of St. Gregory. His wide-ranging interests included local history, and he built up a museum of local artefacts which was housed in several buildings in the grounds of his home.  He was succeeded in his legal practice and at Milton Hall by his son, Bernard Arnold (1862-1925), whose interests ran more to botany and drama than to antiquarian pursuits, and who sold off the museum contents in 1911 (many were acquired by Gravesend Library and Maidstone Museum). When Bernard died in 1925 the Milton Hall estate was broken up and sold off, and the house itself was demolished in 1930 to clear the site for building suburban houses. Only the lodge of 1877 survives today, much altered.

Milton Hall, Gravesend, Kent

Milton Hall, from The Building News, 1874
A red brick Gothic Revival house, designed by George Somers Clarke for George Matthew Arnold in 1873. It was written up in The Building News in 1874 and described as containing both a baronial hall and a reception room 40 x 24 feet and 34 feet high.  

Milton Hall, from a 19th century watercolour. Image: Kent County Council. Digitally enhanced.
The watercolour reproduced above depicts the romantic and picturesque house which the Victorians saw, with views over parkland to the River Thames, but photographs and engravings make it appear rather harder-edged. Somers Clarke is always an interesting architect, and he had a unusually broad palette of styles for an architect of his generation. The diapered brickwork on the porch and gables at Milton, giving the house a touch of polychromy, was a signature feature of his work, and can be found, for example, at his Foxbush, Hildenborough (Kent).

Milton Hall in about 1910.

The house was demolished in 1930 and Milton Hall Road was laid out over the site. Pine Avenue marks the line of the drive, and the eponymous pines were only felled in 1984. A much altered lodge, designed by Somers Clarke in 1877, survives on the western side of Pine Avenue.

Descent: built for George Matthews Arnold (1826-1908); to son, Bernard Davies Brithwald Arnold (1862-1925); sold after his death, in 1927, to James Sanders Brown who demolished 1930.

Arnold family of Milton Hall

Robert Coles Arnold
Arnold, Robert Coles (1797-1866). Son of George Arnold (d. 1816), and his wife Anne, baptised 11 April 1797. He inherited his father's bakery business, but also had a farm at Southchurch Wick in Essex. JP for Sussex in the 1850s. He married, 16 July 1822 at Hawkwell (Essex), Sarah (1802-89), daughter of Daniel Pizzey* of The Beeches, Rayleigh (Essex) and had issue:
(1) George Matthews Arnold (1826-1908) (q.v.);
(2) Alfred John Arnold (1829-35), baptised 11 March 1829; died young, 22 March 1835;
(3) Sir Edwin Lester Arnold (1832-1904), KCIE CSI, of Jacques Hall, Bradfield (Essex), born 10 June 1832; educated at Rochester Grammar School, Kings College, London and University College, Oxford (admitted 1851, BA 1854; MA 1856); principal of Deccan Sanskrit College, Poona (India), 1857-61; journalist on The Daily Telegraph from 1861 (chief editor 1873-89), poet, journalist and orientalist; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; author of The Light of Asia and many other poetical and literary works; married 1st, 4 January 1855 at Taunton (Somerset), Catherine Elizabeth (d. 1864), daughter of Rev. Theophilus Biddulph of Bristol, and had issue three sons and two daughters; married 2nd, 3 August 1868, Fanny Maria Adelaide (d. 1889), daughter of Rev. W.H. Channing, and 3rd, 1893, Tama Kurokawa of Japan; died in London, 24 March 1904; will proved 21 April 1904 (estate £6,417);
(4) Sir (Robert) Arthur Arnold (1833-1902) of Hyde Hill, Dartmouth (Devon), born 28 May 1833; educated at home and trained as a surveyor and land agent; a radical Liberal in politics, being a supporter of Irish Home Rule and women's suffrage; author of A history of the Lancashire cotton famine, 1864; editor of The Echo, 1868-75; social reformer; MP for Salford (Lancs), 1880-85; Alderman of London County Council, 1889-1902 (Chairman, 1895-97); JP and DL; knighted, 18 July 1895; awarded Hon. LL.D by Cambridge University, 1897; married, 1867, Amelia Elizabeth, only daughter of Capt. H.B. Hyde of Castle Hyde (Cork), who founded a scholarship at Girton College, Cambridge in his memory; died 20 May 1902; will proved 23 June 1902 (estate £26,999);
(5) Augustus Alfred Arnold (1835-1932) of Cobham (Kent), born 4 March 1835 and baptised 8 March 1837; solicitor; Chapter Clerk to Rochester Cathedral; Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London; married, 19 April 1862 in Cheltenham (Glos), Anne (1836-1914), daughter of William Haggett Richards of Axminster (Devon) and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 13 June 1932, aged 97; will proved 30 July 1932 (estate £70,241);
(6) Laura Elizabeth Arnold (1837-72), born 8 February and baptised 8 March 1837; married, 29 April 1858 at Framfield (Sussex), John Henry Biddulph Pinchard of Shrapnel's, Taunton, and had issue three sons and three daughters; died 9 March 1872;
(7) Emma Ann Arnold (b. 1839), born Jul-Sep 1839; lived latterly in a flat in Prince of Wales Road, Battersea (London); died unmarried after 1911;
(8) Sarah Ann Arnold (1844-53), baptised 7 February 1844; died young, June 1853.
He lived at Whartons, Framfield, Sussex and Heath House, Barming, Kent.
He died 14 May 1866; will proved 16 June 1866 (effects under £10,000). His widow died in Brentford (Middx), Jan-Mar 1889, aged 87.
*The name is also found spelled Pizzi and Pissey.

George Matthews Arnold in 1894
Arnold, George Matthews (1826-1908) of Milton Hall. Eldest son of Robert Coles Arnold (1797-1866) and his wife Sarah, daughter of Daniel Pizzey of The Beeches, Rayleigh (Essex), born 4 July 1826. Solicitor, 1847-89; an auditor for the Poor Law Board for more than 30 years and legal adviser to successive RC Bishops of Southwark. JP, DL and County Alderman (1889-1908) for Kent; Mayor of Gravesend (Kent), 1890-92, 1896-97, 1904-06 and a benefactor to the town; Chairman of Kent CC Education Committee, 1903-05; Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a keen local historian; he amassed a museum of local antiquities which occupied a series of buildings on the estate and which was dispersed by auction in 1911; and he also rebuilt the derelict church at Denton and the chapels at St. Catherine, Shorne and Dode. He was born into the Church of England but converted to Rome with his wife in 1859; Knight of St Gregory the Great. He married, 31 May 1847 at St Botolph Aldgate, London, Elizabeth Cotton (1828-1906), daughter of George Essell JP of Rochester, and had issue with two other children who presumably died in infancy as no record of them has been found:
(1) Alice Maude Arnold (1849-1923), baptised 26 October 1849; married, 27 October 1869, Thomas FitzGerald Callaghan CMG (d. 1881), Governor of the Bahamas, but died without issue, 1 August 1923; will proved 27 September 1923 (estate £30,294);
(2) Mabel Catherine Arnold (1854-1940), baptised 25 May 1854; educated at All Souls Convent School, Hastings; married, 1878, Charles Chadwick (d. 1913) of Pipes Place, Shorne (Kent), solicitor and had issue one son and five daughters; died 27 June 1940; will proved 3 September 1940 (estate £25,921);
(3) Beatrice Emmeline Arnold (1856-1933), baptised 25 September 1856; married, 13 July 1876, Edward John Fooks (1851-1920) of Langton House, Langton Green, nr. Tunbridge Wells (Kent) and had issue one son; died 29 April 1933; will proved 16 June 1933 (estate £28,322);
(4) George Charles Arnold (1859-66), born Oct-Dec 1859; died young, Jan-Mar 1866; 
(5) Bernard Davies Brithwald Arnold (1862-1925) (q.v.);
(6) Mary Chantal/Chante Elizabeth Arnold (1864-1949); married, 1886, Louis Chadwick (1861-1922) of The Mount, Gravesend and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 26 March 1949; will proved 22 July 1949 (estate £34,163);
(7) Irene Anne Dolores Arnold (1868-1957), of St. Catherine's, and later Mill House, Shorne (Kent); she gave the chapels of St. Catherines, Shore and Dode restored by her father to the R.C. church; died unmarried, 6 June 1957; will proved 23 August 1957 (estate £27,081);
(8) Magdalene Anne Mary Arnold (1870-1901), born Jul-Sep 1870; married, 6 September 1894, Humphrey Edward de Trafford (d. 1905) of Littlebourne, Dover (Kent) and had issue one son and two daughters; died 2 January 1901;
(9) Wulfhad Leslie Joseph Arnold (1873-1906), born 24 July 1873; died unmarried, 8 November 1906.
He lived in Gravesend until he built Milton Hall, Gravesend (Kent) to the designs of George Somers Clarke in 1873.
He died 28 May 1908; his will was proved 14 July 1908 (estate £176,892). His wife died in May 1906.

Arnold, Bernard (Davies Brithwald) (1862-1925) of Milton Hall. Elder son of George Matthews Arnold (1826-1908) of Milton Hall and his wife Elizabeth Cotton, daughter of George Essell of Rochester (Kent), born 9 January 1862. Solicitor with Arnold, Fooks, Chadwick & Co., 1884-1925. JP for Kent; Fellow of the Linnean Society; President of the Pinero Dramatic Club. He married, 5 May 1886, Mary Catherine (1865-1924), daughter of James Prendergast, and had issue:
(1) George Anthony John Prendergast-Arnold (1887-1944), born 5 February 1887; educated at Beaumont College; solicitor's clerk; served in WW1 as Capt. in King's Royal Rifle Crops; married, 30 July 1913, Gertrude Cholmondeley, second daughter of Rev. Charles Bayfield of Ambrosden (Oxon) and had issue one son; emigrated to Canada, 1929; died 24 April 1944 and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Brantford, Ontario (Canada);
(2) Mary Cecilia Prendergast Arnold (1888-94), born Jul-Sep 1888; died Jul-Sep 1894;
(3) Dolores Veronica Arnold (1890-1931), born Apr-Jun 1890; married, Apr-Jun 1917, John Edward Vernon (1888-1943) of The Grange, Bishopswood (Herefs) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 20 June 1931; will proved 8 October 1931 (estate £5,112);
(4) Bernard William Arnold (1895-1918), born 25 January 1895; educated at Beaumont College and University College, London; served in Royal Field Artillery in WW1 1915-18 (Capt.) and was killed in action at Arras (France), 21 March 1918;
(5) Adrian Joseph Arnold (1896-c.1974), born 3 March 1896; educated at Beaumont College; served in WW1 with Royal Field Artillery (Lt.) and Royal Fusiliers; died about 1974;
(6) Francis Xavier Arthur Arnold (1900-74), born 1 July 1900; educated at Beaumont College; motor engineer of Lion Garage, Gravesend and Arnold Transport; died 25 January 1974; administration of goods with will annexed granted 3 June 1974 (estate £1,815);
(7) Valentine Mabel Catherine Arnold (1908-91), born 14 February 1908; died unmarried, 2 January 1991.
He bought Milton Hall, Gravesend from his father's estate in 1908 for £9,160. After his death the estate was split up and the house sold in 1927 to James Sanders Brown, who demolished it to clear the site for building.
He died 6 May 1925; his will was proved 24 July 1925 (estate £51,897). His wife died 29 January 1924; her will was proved 14 March 1924 (estate £573).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1925, p. 38; obituaries of G.M. Arnold from local publications; ODNB entries on Sir Edwin Arnold and Sir Arthur Arnold;

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive.

Coat of arms

None recorded.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 2nd October 2015.


  1. \the Gravesend Historical Society, has 4 photograph albums + a few individual photographs. One album came directly from George Matthews Arnold, the others came from the Chadwicks who married 2 of Arnold's daughters. Hon. Secretary, Mrs. S. Soder see website for contact details.

  2. The Gravesend Historical Society likes feedback to increase our knowledge.


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