|Ash of Packwood|
Alfred's only son, and the heir to the family's interests in Ash & Lacy, Graham Baron Ash (1889-1980) was very different to his forebears. He was an educated, precise and fastidious man, with a keen interest in history, literature and the arts; it is said to have been he, at the tender age of fifteen, who persuaded his father to buy Packwood House.
|Joseph, Alfred and Baron Ash at Packwood c.1905|
Image: National Trust images
After leaving Packwood, Baron Ash (as he liked to be known) took a lease on another historic house, Wingfield Castle in Suffolk, which he also restored, and where he continued to live a bachelor existence until his death, aged 91, in 1980.
Packwood House, Warwickshire
|Packwood House: entrance front and the stable range to the north. Image: National Trust|
|Packwood House from the south-east across the walled garden. Image: National Trust.|
|Packwood House: the Great Hall from an early postcard view|
In addition to restoring the structure, a new staircase was installed and a long gallery built to link the house with a new 'great hall' or music room, created out of a cow byre in the yard in 1925-27; the entrance hall was completely remodelled in 1931. Removal of the external plaster was apparently contemplated, but never realised, perhaps because very little of the original timber frame survives on the ground floor. By the end of the 1930s, Baron Ash was satisfied with the house he had created, and he gave the house to the National Trust with an endowment and a large part of his collection. He wanted nothing changed after his departure, and Packwood remains as he left it: not a home, but a carefully considered work of art. For Baron Ash it was a perfect evocation of a 17th century gentry house, but to modern eyes it is clamantly a creation of the inter-war years. Those who denigrate as 'pastiche' work in historical styles and say we should build something 'of our own time' should perhaps reflect on that fact.
|Packwood House: the long gallery created in 1925-27. Image: National Trust.|
|Packwood House: the 'Sermon on the Mount' yew garden. Image: Robert Moore.|
Ash family of Packwood House
Ash, Thomas (1796-1866) of Ashted, Birmingham. Only son of Joseph Ash of Burton-on-Trent (Staffs) and his first wife, Elizabeth Aldritt, baptised at Burton-on-Trent, 20 January 1796. Originally a grocer, tea dealer and druggist in Birmingham; he established a zinc coating and galvanised iron business c.1840 and was subsequently described as druggist and zinc manufacturer. He married, 14 October 1821, Eliza (c.1804-75), daughter of Thomas Freer of Birmingham, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Freer Ash (1823-1909), born 10 February and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 7 March 1823; railway agent in Scotland in the 1850s and 1860s and later a manufacturer in Birmingham; lived at "Rookwood", Erdington (Warks); paid for the provision of new pews in Erdington church, 1887; married 1st, Oct-Dec. 1846 at West Bromwich (Staffs), Harriet Hands (c.1820-87) but had no issue; married 2nd, 9 November 1889 at St George's Hanover Square, London, Emma (d. 1941), daughter of John Jackson of Bayswater (Middx) and widow of (Francis Philip) Adolphe Vicarino (d. 1876) of London and Paris, clock and watch importer; died 29 March and was buried at Erdington, 1 April 1909; will proved 15 May 1909 (estate £28,944);(2) Joseph Ash (1824-1915) (q.v.);(3) Sophia Ash (1826-1917), born 9 April 1826 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 15 June 1829; married, 20 June 1849 at Aston (Warks), William Scott Goodger of Burton-on-Trent, grocer, and had issue; died 6 April 1917 aged 90; will proved 17 May 1917 (estate £1,256);(4) James Freer Ash (1828-93), born 17 April 1828 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 15 June 1829; pharmaceutical chemist; married, 27 January 1857 at St Paul, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, Frances Elizabeth (c.1829-1912), daughter of F. Slucock, and had issue; lived latterly at Acocks Green, Birmingham; died 18 November 1893; will proved 2 January 1894 (effects £517);(5) Eliza Freer Ash (b. c.1830-1913); married, 29 September 1853 at St Andrew, Montpellier, Bristol, Edwin Throsby (c.1827-1914), shopkeeper and had issue; died at Kings Heath, 7 July 1913; will proved 23 July 1913 (estate £166);(6) Anna Maria Ash (1833-36); buried at St. James, Aston (Warks), 24 May 1836;(7) George Freer Ash (1837-45), born 29 December 1837 and was baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 5 February 1838; died young, Jan-Mar 1845;(8) Lt-Col. Alfred Freer Ash (1841-1921), born 7 August 1841 and baptised at St. Philip, Birmingham, 25 January 1842; clerk to his father and later metal merchant; JP for Birmingham and Warwickshire; Lt-Col. commanding 2nd battn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 1897-98; living at Meriden in 1911; married, Apr-Jun 1867, Matilda (1847-1925), daughter of William Clayton of Saltley, Birmingham, and had issue four children; died 1 June and was buried at Harborne, Birmingham, 3 June 1921; will proved 23 June 1921 (estate £2,709);(9) Louisa Ash (c.1843-1940), born c.1843 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 8 October 1849; married, 1 June 1892, George Henry Machin (c.1842-1921) of Erdington, farmer but had no issue; died 8 April 1940 aged about 96; will proved 1 July 1940 (estate £3,468);(10) Emma Ash (c.1844-64); born c.1844; died unmarried, Apr-Jun 1864.
Ash, Joseph (1824-1915). Son of Thomas Ash (1796-1866) of Birmingham and his wife Eliza, daughter of Thomas Freer of Birmingham, born 30 June 1824 and baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 15 June 1829. He took over his father's zinc coating business and in 1864 went into partnership with John Pierce Lacy as Ash & Lacy; he also set up a separate business, Joseph Ash & Son, to manufacture galvanized roofing and metal storage tanks, and was a director of the Birmingham Wagon Co. He had extensive philanthropic interests in Birmingham, including the Blue Coat School, the General Dispensary, the Blind Asylum, the Deaf Institution, and the Harborne Industrial School. A Conservative in politics. He married, 4 July 1848 at Aston (Warks), Mary Ann (c.1825-1918), daughter of Henry Genders of Walsall (Staffs), office clerk, and had issue:
(1) Sarah Eliza Ash (1849-1928), baptised at St Philip, Birmingham, 8 October 1849; married, Jul-Sep. 1870, Enoch Shufflebotham (1845-1913) of Fiery Hill, Barnt Green, oil and colour merchant and refiner, and had issue two daughters; died 28 May 1928; will proved 3 August 1928 (estate £21,289);(2) Thomas Henry Ash (1851-1917) of The Mount, Richmond Hill Rd., Edgbaston, Birmingham, baptised at St James, Ashted, 11 May 1851; director of Ash & Lacy of Birmingham, zinc manufacturers; JP for Warwickshire; married, 12 February 1880 at West Bromwich (Staffs), Annie Jane (1861-1931), daughter of Josiah Guest and had issue; died 26 September 1917; will proved 24 November 1917 (estate £56,745);(3) Joseph Lathbury Ash (1853-1917), born 23 May 1853 and baptised at St James, Ashted, 17 October 1855; plumber and ironmonger in Birmingham; retired to Minterne Magna (Dorset); married 1st, 31 October 1877 at St Martin, Birmingham, Mary Louisa Jenkins Clark (c.1855-1902), daughter of John Clark, ironmonger, and had issue; married 2nd, Jul-Sep 1907 at Totnes (Devon), Lucy Davis (b. c.1873) but had no further issue; died 21 October and was buried 25 October 1917 at Minterne Magna; will proved 9 February 1918 (estate £1,218);(4) Clara Elizabeth Ash (1855-1939), baptised at St James, Ashted, 17 October 1855; married, 18 October 1903 at St Mark, Leamington (Warks), David Balfour (1839-1914), civil engineer, of Myre Hall, Houghton-le-Spring (Durham), but had no issue; died 9 January 1939; will proved 25 February 1939 (estate £967);(5) Louisa Harriet Ash (1857-), born Apr-Jun 1857 and baptised as an adult at St Martin, Birmingham, 23 April 1876; married, 23 February 1881 at St Mary, Moseley, Birmingham, Ernest Frank Stevens (c.1856-94) of Shifnal (Shropshire), bank manager, son of James Stevens, gent. and had issue eight children of whom two died young; living in 1911;(6) Alfred James Ash (1858-1925) (q.v.);(7) Edward Ash (1860-85), born Oct-Dec 1860; perhaps the person of this name who died Oct-Dec 1885;(8) Laura Ellen Ash (1862-1946), born Jul-Sep 1862 and baptised as an adult at Yardley, 13 February 1882; married, 8 July 1885 at Yardley (Worcs), John Ebenezer Hoskins (1856-1916), of The Grange, Yardley (Worcs), bedstead manufacturer, son of Ebenezer Hoskins, and had issue seven children of whom one died young; died 1 April 1946; will proved 21 August 1946 (estate £7,246);(9) Edith M. Ash (b. c.1865; born about 1865; living in 1881;(10) Ernest Frederick Ash (1866-1949), born 12 July and baptised 18 October 1866; wire netting manufacturer; married, 8 September 1892 at Yardley, Ada Florence (1868-1961), daughter of Charles Joseph Parsons, gent., and had issue two daughters; died in Bournemouth, 4 October 1949; administration (with will annexed) granted, 8 March 1950 (estate £38,856);(11) Amelia Mary Ash (1868-1966), born Apr-Jun 1868 and baptised as an adult, 11 April 1888 at Yardley; married, 4 April 1903 at St Mark, Leamington (Warks), Charles John Astbury (1873-1955), barrister-at-law, son of Frederick James Astbury, chartered accountant; died 28 July 1966 aged 98; will proved 28 October 1966 (estate £3,824).
He died 1 August 1915 aged 91 and was buried at Milverton, 4 August 1915; his will was proved 2 October 1915 (estate £165,503). His widow died 10 February 1918; her will was proved 19 April 1918 (estate £10,293).
|Alfred James Ash|
(1) Graham Baron Ash (1889-1980) (q.v.);(2) Beryl Holroyd Ash (1893-1986), born 9 October 1893 and baptised at Yardley, 20 January 1894; married, 4 January 1917 at Packwood, Capt. John Leslie Mellor OBE (1886-1958) of Lapworth (Warks), director of Ash & Lacy Ltd, son of John Firth Mellor; died 9 April 1986 aged 92; will proved 31 December 1986 (estate £762,095).
He died 19 July 1925; his will was proved 19 August 1925 (estate £100,087). His wife died 8 January 1918; her will was proved 12 March 1918 (estate £1,832).
|Graham Baron Ash,|
from a portrait by D.W. Dring, 1943
He inherited Packwood House from his father in 1925 and remodelled it. In 1941 he donated the house and gardens to The National Trust, although he continued to occupy the house until 1947. From c.1943 until his death he leased Wingfield Castle (Suffolk) from the Adair family.
He died 20 February 1980; his will was proved 18 March 1980 (estate £839,233).
* Baron is here a forename, not a title.
Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, p.63; VCH Warwickshire, vol. 5, 1949, pp. 129-32; Sir. N. Pevsner & A. Wedgwood, The buildings of England: Warwickshire, 1966, pp. 370-71; National Trust guidebook, 1989; M. Hall, 'Packwood House, Warwickshire', Country Life, 19 October 1989, pp. 108-13.
Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive.
Coat of arms
Argent, two chevronels sable, the upper one charged with a cross pattée or.
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 you supply an illustration of Packwood before it was restored in the early 20th century?
- Are you able to fill in any of the gaps in the genealogy of the descendants of Thomas Ash (1796-1866) or Joseph Ash (1824-1915)?
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published on 11 December 2015 and was updated 14 December 2015, 7 March 2022 and 27 June 2023.