|Astor family, Barons Astor of Hever|
John Jacob Astor had only one child, William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919), who was educated as a lawyer and was elected twice to the New York state legislature before being sent as US minister to Italy, 1882-88. Always a man of refined cultural and literary interests, he was entranced by Italian Renaissance art and found himself far more at home in the Old World than the New. 'America', he declared, 'is not a fit place for a gentleman to live', and when his father died in 1890 and left him a fortune of $100m, he decamped with his family to England, where he became a newspaper proprietor. His wealth smoothed his entrée to Society, but he never really fitted into the British establishment, and this no doubt spurred on his long and ultimately successive quest for a peerage. In 1893 he bought Cliveden House from the Duke of Westminster and embarked on a remodelling of the interiors of the already Italianate house to import more of the style and materials of his beloved Italian Renaissance. In 1899 he became a naturalised British citizen, and in 1903 he bought a further slice of British history when he acquired Hever Castle in Kent, then believed to have been the childhood home of Queen Anne Boleyn. Whereas Cliveden had been a relatively new and very grand country house when he bought it, Hever was in a dilapidated condition and gave full rein to the talents of Astor and his architect, Frank Pearson, who set about making it far more Tudor than it had ever been. The satisfactorily romantic exterior was left largely as it was, but a whole series of almost entirely new interiors were created, which Astor filled with tapestries and Tudor portraits and suits of armour to ram home the evocation of Hever's past. The old castle was only large enough to accommodate the principal reception rooms and a few private apartments, so to provide space for the family, guests and service accommodation, Pearson built a new house beyond the moat and linked to the old castle by a bridge. This vast new complex was cunningly designed to look like a Tudor village, huddling around the castle, and is undeniably visually effective. According to Pearson, one reason for this arrangement was that Astor went in fear of his life, and liked to be able to show his guests out of the moated castle at night and raise the drawbridge behind them. Casual sightseers were kept out of the security-patrolled grounds by electrically operated gates (was Hever perhaps the first house in England to have them?), earning Astor the local nickname of William 'Walled-Off' Astor. As a result of his alterations, neither Cliveden nor Hever feels very English. Cliveden feels rather anonymously European; Hever more like an over-the-top Gilded Age mansion strayed from the environs of New York.
In 1906, William Waldorf Astor's eldest son, Waldorf (1879-1952), married the American divorcee, Nancy Langhorne Shaw (1879-1964), and he gave them Cliveden as a wedding present. Waldorf, who had been educated at Eton and Oxford, was far more English than his father would ever be. In 1910 he entered Parliament as MP for Plymouth and by the end of the First World War he was Permanent Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George: a promising beginning to a serious political career. Not surprisingly, therefore, he is said to have been dismayed by his father's decision in 1916 - on which he was not consulted - to accept a peerage, since this meant that on his father's death he would have to leave the House of Commons and join the Lords, where by the 1920s a serious political career was no longer really possible. The blow fell earlier than might have been expected, when his father died in 1919, and he became 2nd Viscount Astor. The suffragettes having won the first stage of their victory in getting women the vote and the right to sit in Parliament the previous year, it was arranged that Waldorf's feisty and highly political wife Nancy should stand in his old Parliamentary seat of Plymouth Sutton at the bye-election that followed his elevation to the Lords. When she was elected, she became the first woman to take her seat in the UK parliament, and she retained it until 1945. In the 1920s and 1930s Lord and Lady Astor made Cliveden a centre of political entertaining where they sought to bring together politicians, journalists and academics of varied views for the cross-fertilization of ideas. Some of those who came were on the far right of the political spectrum, and this led in the late 1930s to allegations that there was a pro-Nazi 'Cliveden Set' which was using its influence with the Government to promote appeasement. This was untrue, although there was some sympathy among the most regular visitors to Cliveden for German resentment at terms of the Versailles Treaty of 1919, and a strong anxiety to avoid another war if at all possible. By 1939, however, it was clear to those involved that Hitler had to be stopped, and any support individual members of the Cliveden set may have given to appeasement melted away.
In 1942 the Astors were among the first families to gift their estate to the National Trust, in return for the right to lease apartments within the house. This right passed to their eldest son, William Waldorf Astor (1907-66), 3rd Viscount Astor, but after his early death and the scandal of the Profumo Affair, the family gave up the occupation of the house, which became first the English campus of an American university and then, in 1984, an hotel.
When William Waldorf Astor died in 1919 he left Hever Castle to his younger son, John Jacob Astor (1886-1971), who joined the army in 1906 and emerged from the First World War with a wooden leg. In 1922 he acquired The Times newspaper, of which he remained owner until 1966, and in the same year he was elected to Parliament for Dover in Kent, a seat which he represented continuously until 1945. He was created 1st Baron Astor of Hever in 1956. His three sons followed him into the worlds of publishing and politics, the eldest, Gavin Astor (1919-84), 2nd Baron Astor of Hever, maintaining a link with The Times until his death in 1984. Gavin inherited Hever Castle, but found it too expensive to run, and in 1983 sold the estate to a company which broke it up and opened the castle to the public as a visitor attraction. The second son, Hugh Waldorf Astor (1920-99), was a director of Hutchinsons from 1959, and lived at Folly Farm, Sulhamstead (Berks), one of Lutyens' finest houses. The youngest son, John Astor (1923-87) was MP for Newbury for ten years, 1964-74 and lived nearby at Kirby House, Inkpen.
The youngest son of the 2nd Viscount Astor, Major Sir John Jacob Astor (1918-2000), kt., joined the Life Guards at the start of the Second World War but was moved into the SAS, with whom he undertook dangerous missions in several European theatres of war and was decorated by several different countries. In 1951 he was elected to Parliament for his mother's former seat of Plymouth Sutton, but his failure to support Anthony Eden during the Suez Crisis spelled the end of his political career, and he turned instead to agricultural improvement and horse-breeding. In 1946 he had bought Hatley Park in Cambridgeshire, and this became the centre of his activities for the next half-century; at his death in 2000 it passed to his son, Michael Astor (b. 1946), who is the present owner.
Cliveden House, Buckinghamshire
|Cliveden from the River Thames|
In 1687 the Duke died intestate and without a clear heir, and the trustees in whom his property had all been vested since 1671 for political reasons sold off his estates. Cliveden was sold in 1696 to George Hamilton (1666-1737), 1st Earl of Orkney, fifth son of the redoubtable Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, and a soldier who rose to be one of Marlborough's most trusted generals, and the husband of King William III's only English mistress, Elizabeth Villiers. A lifetime spent fighting the French did not prevent Lord Orkney from creating gardens at Cliveden in the most advanced French fashion, but in architecture his preference lay more with Italian precedents. Improvements to the house and gardens at Cliveden seem to have been almost continuously under consideration throughout Lord Orkney's ownership, perhaps because, as a younger son, he never had enough money to do things as quickly or as grandly as he wished. By November 1705 he had consulted 'several of the chiefe men in England' about alterations to the house and received 'several projects' for its remodelling 'but nothing [is] concluded'. 'The rooms are so high that I don't like it, for there is 3 storys they tell me 18 foot high besides Garetts. We think of tacking away the Garetts and lowering the next story... and building a sort of wings like [Burley-on-the-Hill (Rutland)] for offices'. One of those consulted was Thomas Archer, a group of whose designs survive in "The Cliveden Album" of material relating to the house put together by Lord Astor in the early 20th century. These designs are so close to what was actually built that almost certainly Thomas Archer was the architect finally given the commission to reduce the height of the William Winde house by removing the hipped roof and attic storey, and building wings either side of the entrance forecourt, linked to the main block by quadrant colonnades; work on these changes was complete by the end of 1712. The appearance of the house at this point was recorded in an engraving published in Vitruvius Britannicus in 1717.
|Cliveden: the south front, from Vitruvius Britannicus, 1717.|
|Cliveden: north front, from Vitruvius Britannicus, 1717|
|Cliveden: plan, from Vitruvius Britannicus, 1717|
|Blenheim Temple at Cliveden, by Giacomo Leoni, c.1727|
|Octagonal Temple at Cliveden, by Giacomo Leoni, c.1735.|
Image: WyrdLight.com. Some rights reserved.
|Cliveden House: view from the north, perhaps a proposal for remodelling the house,, by Thomas Sandby, n.d..|
Image: British Museum 1904,0819.405
|Cliveden House: an undated mid 18th century engraving of the north front shows the house little altered |
from its appearance in Vitruvius Britannicus.
|Cliveden House: a drawing of the south front c.1759|
|Cliveden House: the ruins after the fire of 1795. Image: National Trust Images|
|Section and vaulting plan of tea house, Cliveden|
from Nicholson's Architectural Dictionary, 1819.
|Spring Cottage, Cliveden, as reconstructed by Devey|
From about 1816 efforts were made to sell the estate by private treaty, and it was eventually sold at auction in 1821 to Sir George Warrender, bt. Some parts of the estate were then excluded from the sale, and were acquired separately in 1824. Sir George rebuilt the main block to the designs of William Burn in 1827-30. The house was 'in early Georgian style' and occupied the footprint of its predecessor, but had only two storeys. The Burn house is so elusive because, in 1849, only a few months after the house had been sold to the Duke of Sutherland, it too was completely destroyed by fire, and Archer's colonnades were pulled down to stop the flames reaching the two wings.
|Cliveden: William Burn's 1827 design for his new house at Cliveden.|
|Cliveden from the south, as rebuilt by Barry and altered by Clutton,|
|Cliveden House as rebuilt by Sir Charles Barry, above the surviving 17th century terrace. Image: Peter Goodearl|
The present house rose from the ashes of the old in 1850-51 to the designs of Sir Charles Barry, who at this time was the preferred architect of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland. It occupies very much the same footprint as its predecessor, and may indeed incorporate some of its structure. In style it is Italianate, which answers well the grandeur of Winde's terrace and the majesty of its position above the Thames, looking down the Cliveden reach. Archer's surviving pavilion wings were incorporated into the house and faced with stucco to match the new house. Once work had been completed on the house, the Duke turned his attention to the gardens, where a new formal layout of the parterre to the south of the house was designed by John Fleming in 1852. A little later, the Sutherlands commissioned Henry Clutton to build a new stable courtyard and clock tower on the west side of the forecourt (in 1861), and F.P. Cockerell to design the terrace pavilion, immediately to the left of the garden front of the house.
|Henry Clutton's clock tower of 1861, |
with the loggias added after 1869.
In 1869, after the Duchess of Sutherland's death, her sons sold Cliveden to her son-in-law, the 1st Duke of Westminster, who again employed Clutton to add the large porte-cochere to the entrance front of Barry's house, the open loggias flanking the clock tower, and the stone piers and ironwork at the entrance to the forecourt. Inside the house, he brought in Crace brothers, the decorators, to remodel much of the interior. In 1886 the Duke entirely rebuilt Archer's east pavilion wing in a hideous French Renaissance style to the designs of Col. R.W. Edis. Fortunately, after the house was sold to William Waldorf Astor in 1893, one of his first acts was to return this wing more or less to its original appearance.
Astor's restoration of the wing was part of a general programme of renovation and improvement carried out in 1893-97. He was keen on Italian and French taste, and in his years on the continent had amassed a collection of architectural fragments and garden ornaments, as well as the contacts from which to acquire more. With Frank Pearson as his architect, he made important changes to the interior of the house, and in the main rooms it is predominantly his decoration (restored and in places adapted for hotel use by Rupert Lord in the 1980s) which the visitor sees today.
|Cliveden House: the hall in Lord Astor's time.|
|Cliveden: the hall today, in use as the main hotel lounge.|
The main reception rooms are all large and quite different from one another in character. The Hall was created out of three former spaces (Barry's hall, morning room and staircase) and is 82 feet long. It was intended to be an informal entertaining room in which a large house party could assemble. Astor wanted an Italianate room to remind him of his time as US minister in Italy, and the reddish oak ceiling at least responds to this brief. On the walls are a set of Brussels tapestries made for Cliveden in 1715, which must have been rescued from the fires of 1795 and 1849 (although press reports in 1795 stated that they had been destroyed). Frank Pearson's other interiors were the little study (dated 1893) and the library, panelled in Sebicu wood from South Africa in Louis XIII style: Nancy Astor described it as like 'being inside a cigar box'. For the other two main rooms, the Rococo dining room and the former drawing room, Astor went to the Parisian decorators, Allard. Their Rococo dining room is a tour-de-force of mid 18th century French Rococo design, and incorporates original boiseries of 1750 from the Château d'Asnières outside Paris, with exceptionally finely carved hunting trophies.
|The Rococo dining room, decorated by Allard of Paris in 1895.|
The grounds were liberally decorated with Lord Astor's collection of Roman sarcophagi and Greek and Italian statuary, including the famous Renaissance balustrade from the Villa Borghese in Rome, which was re-erected below Winde's terrace on the south front. Another, but contemporary, import was the Shell Fountain by Ralph Waldo Story, made for its position at the northern end of the main avenue. Lord Astor also laid out the Long Garden with 18th century Venetian statues and the Water Garden, with a Chinese pavilion made for the Paris Exhibition of 1867.
|Cliveden House: the shell fountain by R.W. Story, at the end of the main drive. © National Trust Images/David Watson|
After she took over as chatelaine of the house in 1906, Nancy Astor refreshed the decoration to make the house less gloomy and removed a lot of the classical statuary from the gardens. Cliveden was given to the National Trust with a large endowment in 1942, but continued to be a home of the Astors until 1968. From 1969-84 it was let to Stanford University in California as an English campus, but it was then restored and converted into a luxury hotel; a purpose which it continues to serve. The gardens and grounds are regularly open to the public, and there is also some public access to the house, as a condition of the hotel's lease.
Descent: sold c.1664 to George Villiers (1628-87), 2nd Duke of Buckingham; his Trustees sold 1696 to Gen. George Hamilton (1666-1737), 1st Earl of Orkney; to daughter, Anne (d. 1756), 2nd Countess of Orkney, wife of William O'Brien (d. 1777), 4th Earl of Inchiquin, who leased the estate to Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1738-51; to deaf-and-dumb daughter Mary (c.1721-91), 3rd Countess of Orkney, wife of her cousin, Murrough O'Brien (1726-1808), 5th Earl of Inchiquin and later 1st Marquess of Thomond; to daughter, Mary (1755-1831), 4th Countess of Orkney, wife of Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice (d. 1793); burnt 1795; sold 1821-24 to Sir George Warrender (1782-1849), 4th bt., who rebuilt the house; sold 1849 to George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (1786-1861), 2nd Duke of Sutherland, who rebuilt again after a fire in 1849, in which year he gave the estate to his wife, Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland (d. 1869); sold after her death to Hugh Lupus Grosvenor (1825-99), 3rd Marquess and later 1st Duke of Westminster; sold 1893 to William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919), later 1st Baron and 1st Viscount Astor; given 1906 to son, Waldorf Astor (1879-1952), 2nd Viscount Astor, who gave 1942 to The National Trust, subject to a leasehold interest which was given up after the 3rd Viscount's death; the Trust then leased to Stanford University, 1969-84, and as an hotel from 1984.
Hever Castle, Kent
|Hever Castle in 1778 from Hasted's History of Kent|
|Hever Castle from the south-west. Image: Charlesdrakew|
Sir John de Cobham had licence to crenellate his house at Hever in 1384, and the moated square sandstone house he built still stands, externally rather little altered. It is really a semi-fortified house rather than a castle, with the defensive elements being primarily for show, although the moat, drawbridge and stone gatehouse would have offered some protection from casual raiding parties, if not from a determined assault.
|Hever Castle from the south-east, prior to the restoration of 1903-07.|
|Hever Castle: the south-facing entrance front. Image: Charlesdrakew|
The south-facing entrance front has battlements and square angle-turrets with arrow-loops and gunloops at four levels, and in between a massive rectangular three-storey gatehouse, with the entrance arch reinforced by buttresses, a portcullis and deep machicolations at the top, and a row of quatrefoils and trefoil-headed panels for decoration. The large windows to the left of the entrance with hoodmoulds and cinquefoiled lights are 15th century insertions, and the smaller windows in the recessed walling adjoining the turrets are 16th century, like most of the others around the castle. The whole house is battlemented, but there are no other turrets, and on the west and north sides chimney-breasts project, topped by Tudor carved brick chimneystacks. The gatehouse leads into a small courtyard which reveals that the west, north and east ranges are timber-framed for all the impressive stone external face.
The hall window, on the north face of the castle, is of two talled arched lights with a transom, and beside it is an octagonal turret, with a projecting bay to the right. This has three storeys of four-light windows, with a row of quatrefoils under the upper two, and the date 1584 in the top row, which may imply that the first major modernisation of the castle took place for the Waldegrave family at that time. The panelled long gallery on the top floor of the north range must be of about the same date, and there are three late 16th century chimneypieces in upper rooms.
|Hever Castle: a painting of the entrance hall in 1909.|
|Hever Castle: the long gallery in 1907, with panelling of 1586 and a ceiling of 1904.|
When he purchased the castle in 1903, William Waldrof Astor embarked on a major reconstruction, under the direction of Frank L. Pearson, and with W.S. Frith as principal carver, which lasted from 1903-07. He changed very little on the exterior faces of the house, but inside was another matter. All the timbers of the north, east and west ranges were renewed and the gables on the north range were reinstated, having been lost over the years. The interiors became a display of virtuoso woodwork by Frith in an early Renaissance style that was supposed to capture a romantic's vision of what the house would have been like when Anne Boleyn was growing up here. There are a few genuine pieces, mostly brought from elsewhere, including some moulded beams in 'Henry VIII's Room', the stone chimneypiece with caryatids in the morning room and the overmantel above it, which is dated 1603 and comes from Sparrowe's House in Ipswich. A rustic overmantel in the withdrawing room comes from a house in Devon, and the foreign-looking wood reliefs of scenes from Genesis in 'Viscount Rochford's Room' are also old.
|Hever Castle: plan of the main building as restored by F.L.Pearson, 1906|
|Hever Castle: the 'Tudor Village' built as an extension to the house to provide guest and service accommodation and linked to the main building by a bridge across the moat. Image: Got my reservations|
The 14th century castle was relatively small, and even as adapted by Astor could not contain all the accommodation he required. Pearson therefore built a complex of stone and half-timbered offices and guest cottages north of the moat. These are arranged around a series of courtyards, but visually are designed to give the appearance of a Tudor village huddling close to the protective walls of the castle. In the south-east corner, adjoining the bridge over the moat to the castle, was a suite of Astor family rooms, culminating in a timber-vaulted billiard room, with a monumental black marble chimneypiece at one end.
|Hever Castle: aerial view, showing the relationship between the main castle building and the Tudor village to its rear.|
In the gardens, Astor abandoned the Tudor for the Italian Renaissance. First comes a semicircular bagnio, backed by a yew hedge with porphyry columns standing in niches cut in the greenery, and beyond that is the Italian Garden, with a rustic loggia on the south and a series of rustic alcoves on the north in which some important Roman and Italian Renaissance sculptures are displayed. At the end is a stone classical loggia with twin domes, designed by F.L. Pearson in 1907-08, with a fountain and marble nymphs carved by Frith, and a 45-acre lake.
Descent: John de Cobham (fl. 1384); sold 1399 to Sir Stephen Scrope (d. 1408); to widow, later wife of Sir John Fastolf, guardian of Scrope's heir, who sold on coming of age to Sir Roger Fiennes; sold to his brother, James Fiennes, 1st Baron Saye and Sele; to heir, 2nd Baron Saye & Sele, who sold 1462 to Sir Geoffrey Boleyn; to son, Sir William Boleyn; to son, Sir Thomas Boleyn (d. 1538), 1st Earl of Wiltshire & Ormonde (father of Queen Anne Boleyn); to Crown; granted 1540 to Queen Anne of Cleves (d. 1557); granted 1557 to Sir Edward Waldegrave (d. 1561); to son, Sir Charles Waldegrave; to son, Sir Edward Waldegrave, 1st bt.; to grandson, Sir Henry Waldegrave (fl. 1688), 1st Baron Waldegrave; to son, James Waldegrave (fl. 1729), 1st Earl Waldegrave, who sold 1715 to Sir William Humfrys (d. 1735), 1st bt; to son, Sir Orlando Humfrys (d. 1737), 2nd bt, whose daughters and co-heirs sold 1745 to Sir Timothy Waldo (d. 1786), kt; to widow, then to daughter Jane (d. 1829), wife of George Medley of Buxted (Sussex); to cousin, Jane Waldo (d. 1841); to kinsman, Edmund Wakefield Meade-Waldo (1792-1858), who leased it to farming tenants; to son, Edmund Waldo Meade-Waldo (1829-96); to son, Edmund Gustavus Bloomfield Meade-Waldo (1855-1934), who sold 1903 to William Waldorf Aston (1848-1919), later 1st Baron and 1st Viscount Astor; to younger son, John Jacob Astor (1886-1971), 1st Baron Astor of Hever; to son, Gavin Astor (1918-84), 2nd Baron Astor of Hever, who sold 1983 to Broadland Properties, which broke up the 3,145 acre estate into 108 lots and resold, mostly to tenants, while retaining the castle and immediate grounds.
Hatley Park, Hatley St. George, Cambridgeshire
|Hatley Park: elevation of south front and plan showing phases of development proposed in 1968.|
Image: RCHME/Crown Copyright. Licenced under the Open Government Licence.
|Hatley Park: detail of engraving by John Kip, 1707, showing the house as enlarged for Sir Robert Cotton.|
I conjecture that when the wings were built c.1750 they were not flush with the central block as now, but were set back; and that Quintin demolished the front part of the central block and constructed a new seven-bay front with large sash windows in line with the wings. This would account both for why the north front of the central block is now of seven bays rather than nine, and also why it is apparently less deep on plan than the house Kip shows. These changes would not have affected the back of the house, which continues to reflect its earlier development as proposed above, although even here there are two late 18th century rainwater heads. Inside, the only feature now attributable to Quintin's time is the late 18th century staircase with its fine wrought-iron balustrade. Other contemporary fittings must have been replaced when the interior was lavishly refitted around 1900 for Sir Charles Hamilton, 1st bt. He was responsible for the Adam-style plasterwork in the drawing room, and for the import of some genuine 18th century chimneypieces and other fittings. There have been other 20th century internal changes too, and Victorian and Edwardian additions at the east and west ends of the house were demolished before 1977.
|Hatley Park: north front, 2012. Image: John by Stargoose and Hanglands.|
Kirby House, Inkpen, Berkshire
|Kirby House, Inkpen: the entrance front of 1733. Image: Stephen Richards. Some rights reserved.|
The earliest part of the house is the east front, dated 1733 on the rainwater heads, which was built, probably as an addition to an earlier house that has since been demolished, for Francis Brickendon and his wife Eleanora, and which is approached from the east by a short formal drive. The handsome elevation of five bays and two storeys in brown brick with blue headers and red dressings, has segment-headed windows, raised brick quoins, a modillion cornice of brick and a hipped roof partly hidden by a parapet, which rises in the centre to a pedimental gable. The Ionic porch, with an arched hood, looks late 19th or early 20th century, and presumably replaced the original wooden doorcase with Corinthian columns and a segmental pediment when this was moved to the north front to provide a new entrance. Inside, the staircase of 1733 with turned balusters and carved tread-ends is preserved, although it is probably not in its original location. In 1761 a substantial hipped-roofed extension was built for Admiral Sir Thomas Frankland, overlooking the parkland to the west; and the pre-1733 may have been demolished at this time. Frankland's west front has five bays too, but a facade of grey and red brick, with widely-spaced windows. The mid 18th century stable block, with a Diocletian window under a pediment over the central archway, is probably of much the same date. On the south side is a 20th century neo-Georgian extension, replacing an octagonal 19th century tower.
Descent: Thomas Brickendon (1585-1644)... Thomas Francis Brickendon (1694-1777); sold c.1760 to Admiral Sir Thomas Frankland; sold 1771 to James Kirkby (d. 1790); to widow, Sarah Kirkby, who sold 1792 to Joseph Butler (d. 1823) of Wantage and Haslewick, Inkpen; to son, John Butler (d. 1871); to son, Rev. John Butler (d. 1895); to widow, whose executors sold 1901 to Guy Ansdell Leach (d. 1904) and William Harold Leach, who sold 1906 to Basil Edward Peto MP; who sold 1912 to Kathleen Margaret Clementi-Smith (1876-1935) (k/a Lady Clarke-Jervoise), wife of Brig. Hubert Clementi-Smith (1878-1958); sold c.1950 to John Jacob Astor (1886-1971), 1st Baron Astor of Hever, who gave the house in 1950 as a wedding present to his son, Hon, John Astor (1923-87); to son, John Richard Astor (1953-2016).
Astor family of Cliveden, Viscounts Astor
|Johann Jakob Astor|
(1) Magdalen Astor (1788-1832); married 1st, 1807 (div. 1819), Adrian Bentzon, Governor of Santa Cruz in Danish West Indies and had issue a son (who drowned, aged 10) and a daughter (who died in infancy); married 2nd, c.1820, John Bristed, and had issue one son; died 1832;
(2) Sarah Astor (b. & d. 1790); stillborn child;
(3) John Jacob Astor (1791-1869); died insane, 1869;
(4) William Backhouse Astor (1792-1875) (q.v.);
(5) Dorothea Astor (1795-1853); married, c.1813, Col. Walter Langdon and had issue eight children (of whom five daughters survived to adulthood); died 1853;
(6) Henry Astor (1797-99); died in infancy;
(7) Eliza Astor (1801-38); married, 10 December 1825, Count Vincent van Rumpff, Hanseatic League Minister in Paris; died 1838;
(8) An unnamed son (b. & d. 1802); died a few days after being born.
He died 29 March 1848. His wife died in 1832 or 1842.
|William Backhouse Astor |
(1) Emily Astor (1819-41); married, 1838, Sam Ward jr (d. 1884), banker, (who m2, Marie Angeline (k/a Medora) Grymes and had issue two sons) and had issue one son (died in infancy) and one daughter; died in childbirth, 1841 in New York (USA);
(2) John Jacob Astor (1822-90) (q.v.);
(3) Mary Alida Astor (1823-81), born 17 August 1883; married, John Carey (1821-81) and had issue one son; died 25 April 1881 and was buried at Island Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island (USA);
(4) Laura Astor (1824-1902); married, 1844, Franklin Hughes Delano (1813-93), great-uncle of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and died without issue in Geneva (Switzerland), 1902; buried at Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven, Massachusetts (USA);
(5) William Backhouse Astor, jr. (1829-92) of New York (USA), born 12 July 1829; educated at Columbia University (BA 1849); married, 1853, Caroline Webster Schermerhorn (d. 1908), the celebrated 'society queen' of late 19th century New York, and had issue one son and four daughters; died in Paris (France), 25 April 1892 and was buried at Trinity Church Cemetery, Manhattan, New York (USA);
(6) Henry Astor (1830-1918), born 5 July 1830; married, 4 May 1871, Malvina Dinehart (1844-1918), but had no issue; died in Manhattan, 7 July 1918 and was buried at West Copake Cemetery, New York (USA);
(7) Sarah Todd Astor (b. & d. 1832); born 2 January 1832 and died the same day.
He died 24 November 1875 and was buried at Trinity Church Cemetery, Manhattan, New York (USA). His wife died 15 February 1872.
|John Jacob Astor (1822-90)|
(1) William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919), 1st Baron and 1st Viscount Astor (q.v.).
He died 22 February 1890 and was buried in Trinity Chapel Cemetery, Manhattan, New York (USA), where he is commemorated by a monument. His wife died 12 December 1887 and was also buried in Trinity Chapel Cemetery.
|William Waldorf Astor, |
1st Viscount Astor
(1) Waldorf Astor (1879-1952), 2nd Viscount Astor (q.v.);
(2) Pauline Astor (1880-1972), born 1880; JP for Surrey, 1920; married, 29 October 1904, Lt-Col. Herbert Henry Spender Clay CMG MC PC MP (1875-1937) of Ford Manor, Dormansland (Surrey) and had issue three daughters; died at her home in Guernsey, 5 May 1972 and was buried at Dormansland with her husband;
(3) John Rudolph Astor (b. & d. 1881), born 28 November 1881; died in infancy, 27 December 1881 and was buried in the Astor vault, Trinity Church Cemetery, Manhattan, New York (USA);
(4) John Jacob Astor (1886-1971), 1st Baron Astor of Hever [for whom see below, under Astor family of Hever];
(5) Gwendolyn Enid Astor (1892-1902), born 1 April 1892; died of tuberculosis in London, 12 September 1902, and was buried at Trinity Church Cemetery, Manhattan, New York (USA).
He purchased the Cliveden estate (Bucks) from the 1st Duke of Westminster in 1893, for a reputed price of $1.25m, and is said to have spent a further $6m on improvements to the house designed by J.L. Pearson. In 1906 he gave the house to his elder son as a wedding present and moved to Hever Castle in Kent, which he restored and embellished.
He died 18 October 1919 and was buried at Cliveden chapel. His wife died at Cliveden, 22 December 1894 and was buried in Trinity Chapel Cemetery, Manhattan, New York (USA).
|Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor,|
and Nancy, Lady Astor, 1935.
Image: NPG/Bassano Ltd. Some rights reserved
(1) William Waldorf Astor (1907-66), 3rd Viscount Astor (q.v.);
(2) Hon. (Nancy) Phyllis (k/a Wissie) Louise Astor (1909-75), born 22 March 1909; married, 27 July 1933, Sir Gilbert James Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 3rd Earl of Ancaster and had issue one son (who died in the lifetime of his father) and one daughter; died 2 March 1975;
(3) (Francis) David Langhorne Astor CH (1912-2001) of Sutton Courtenay Manor House (Berks), born 5 March 1912; educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford; served in Second World War as a Captain in Royal Marines and was awarded the Croix de Guerre, 1944; journalist on The Yorkshire Post; foreign editor of The Observer, 1945-48; owner and editor of The Observer, 1948-75 (and a director to 1981); appointed a Companion of Honour, 1993; married 1st, 1 August 1945 (div. 1951), Melanie Mathilda Elena, daughter of Philip Hauser of Berne (Switzerland) and had issue one daughter; married 2nd, 28 February 1952, Bridget Aphra (1927-2019), eldest daughter of Maj. Cyril Wreford of Yew Tree House, Goosey (Berks) and had issue two sons and three daughters; died 6 December 2001; will proved 18 April 2002;
(4) Michael Langhorne Astor (1916-80) of Red Brick House, Bruern (Oxon), born 10 April 1916; educated at Eton and New College, Oxford; served in Second World War with Berkshire Yeomanry and as a Captain in the Royal Artillery; Conservative MP for Surrey East, 1945-51; appointed to the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1968; author of an autobiography, Tribal Feeling, 1963, and a novel, Brand, 1968; Chairman of the London Library; married 1st, 28 February 1942 (div. 1961), Barbara Mary Colonsay (d. 1980), daughter of Col. Ronald Frank Rous McNeill of London and had issue two sons and two daughters; married 2nd, 12 July 1961 (div. 1968), (Patricia David) Pandora (d. 1988), second daughter of Hon. Sir Bede Edmund Clifford KCMG CB of Jacob's Well, Guildford (Surrey) and formerly wife of Timothy Angus Jones, but had no issue by her; married 3rd, 1970, Judith Caroline Traill, daughter of Paul Innes and formerly wife of John Moynihan, and had issue one daughter and adopted his stepson, who was an illegitimate son of Lord Kagan; died 28 February 1980; will proved 12 September 1980 (estate £3,794,442);
(5) Sir John Jacob (k/a Jakie) Astor (1918-2000) [for whom see below, under Astor of Hatley Park].
He was given the Cliveden estate as a wedding present by his father in 1906, but gave it to The National Trust in 1942, while retaining the right to family apartments in the house.
He died 30 September 1952; his ashes were interred at Cliveden chapel. His widow died 2 May 1964 and her ashes were also interred at Cliveden chapel.
|William Waldorf Astor,|
3rd Viscount Astor
(1.1) William Waldorf Astor (b. 1951), 4th Viscount Astor (q.v.);
(2.1) Hon. Emily Mary Astor (b. 1956) of Aberfeldy (Aberdeens.), born 9 June 1956; photographer; married 1st, 1984, Alan M.C.L. Gregory, elder son of Donald Gregory of San Francisco, California (USA); married 2nd, 1988 (div. 1995), James Ian Anderson (b. 1952), insurance broker, son of Capt. John Murray Anderson, and had issue two sons and two daughters;
(3.1) Hon. Janet Elizabeth Astor (b. 1961) of Goodwood House (Sussex), born 1 December 1961; educated at New College, Oxford (BA) and Kings College, London (MA); married, 1991, as his second wife, Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March & Kinrara, only son of 10th Duke of Richmond & Gordon and had issue three sons and one daughter;
(3.2) Hon. Pauline Marian Astor (b. 1964) of Turville Lodge (Oxon), born 26 March 1964; married, 1990, George Christopher Vaughan Case, son of Denis Case of Marlow (Bucks) and had issue three daughters.
He inherited the lease of family apartments in Cliveden House from his father in 1952, but this was given up after his death.
He died at Nassau, Bahama Islands, 7 March 1966, aged 58; his will was proved 22 April 1966 (estate £661,672). His first wife married 2nd, 1953 (div. 1965), Lt-Col. Thomas Michael Baring, and died 4 February 2013; her will was proved 14 June 2013. His second wife died 20 June 2005; her will was proved 27 April 2007. His widow died 28 December 2017.
|William Waldorf Astor,|
4th Viscount Astor
(1) Hon. Flora Catherine Astor (b. 1976), born 7 June 1976; married, 2006, Alexander Theophilus Rycroft (b. 1975), son of Henry David Rycroft, and has issue one son and one daughter;
(2) Hon. William Waldorf Astor (b. 1979), born 18 January 1979; director of an asset management company; married, 5 September 2009 at East Hendred (Berks), Lohralee (b. 1980), daughter of Serge-Alain Stutz, and has issue one son and one daughter;
(3) Hon. James Jacob Astor (b. 1981), born 4 March 1981; educated at Eton and Oxford; investment analyst in Hong Kong; married, 13 September 2014 at Northington (Hants), Victoria L., daughter of Lt-Col. Patrick Hargreaves, and has issue three daughters;
He lives at Ginge Manor (Berks).
Astor family of Hever, Barons Astor of Hever
|John Jacob Astor, |
1st Baron Astor of Hever
(1) Gavin Astor (1918-84), 2nd Baron Astor of Hever (q.v.);
(2) Hon. Hugh Waldorf Astor (1920-99) of Folly Farm, Sulhamstead (Berks), born 20 November 1920; educated at Eton and New College, Oxford; served in Second World War as Lt-Col. in Intelligence Corps; joined staff of The Times, 1947 (Director, 1956; Deputy Chairman, 1959-66; Chairman of The Times Bookshop, 1960-67); a director of Hutchinson Ltd, 1959-78, Winterbottom Trust Ltd, Hambros Bank Ltd, Pheonix Assurance and Olympia Ltd. (Deputy Chairman, 1971-73); Chairman of the Air League; High Sheriff of Berkshire, 1963-64; Trustee of Trust House Forte (Chairman 1971); Deputy Chairman of Middlesex Hospital, 1962-64; Chairman of King Edward's Hospital Fund for London, 1983-88; Governor of Bradfield and Gresham's Schools; Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, 1976-77; Knight Commander of the Star of Ethiopia; married, 8 November 1950, Emily Lucy (1930-2013), eldest daughter of Sir Alexander Davenport Kinloch, 12th bt. of Gilmerton, and had issue two sons and three daughters; died 7 June 1999; his will was proved 20 July 1999;
(3) Hon. John Astor (1923-87) (for whom see below, Astor of Kirby House, Inkpen).
He inherited Hever Castle from his father in 1919. He lived latterly at Terres Blanches, Pegomas (France).
He died 19 July 1971; administration of his goods with will annexed was granted 13 March 1972 (estate £416,135). His wife died 3 January 1965; her will was proved 12 March 1965 (estate £121,475).
|Gavin Astor, |
2nd Baron Astor of Hever
(1) John Jacob Astor (b. 1946), 3rd Baron Astor of Hever (q.v.);
(2) Hon. Bridget Mary Astor (b. 1948), born 16 February 1948; married 1st, 1980 (div. 1986), Count Arthur Tarnowski (d. 2012), younger son of Count Hieronim Tarnowski of Poland, and had issue two sons; married 2nd, 1989, Geoffrey Richard Smith, fourth son of James William Smith of Eywood House, Titley (Herefs) and had issue one daughter;
(3) Hon. (Elizabeth) Louise Astor (b. 1951), of Withcote (Leics), born 1 March 1951; married 1st, 1979 (div. 1981), David John Shelton Herring; married 2nd, 1985, David Joseph Ward FRCS MB BS, son of Joseph Ward FRCOG, MRCP, LRCP of Fordwich (Kent) and had issue one son and one daughter;
(4) Hon. Sarah Violet Astor (b. 1953) of Gnaton Hall, Yealmton (Devon), born 30 September 1953; High Sheriff of Devon, 2011-12; married, 22 February 1975, Hon. George Edward Lopes, younger son of Massey Henry Edgcumbe Lopes, 2nd Baron Roborough, and had issue one son;
(5) Hon. Philip Douglas Paul Astor (b. 1959) of Tillypronie, Tarland (Aberdeens.), born 4 April 1959; educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford and Inner Temple (called to bar, 1989); barrister-at-law; married, July 2012, Justine H. (b. 1964), editor of Harper's Bazaar, elder daughter of Michael Picardie.
He inherited the Hever Castle estate from his father in 1971, sold some of the principal contents in 1982, and the remaining contents, the house and the estate in 1983.
He died of cancer, 28 June 1984. His widow died in 2001.
|John Jacob Astor,|
3rd Baron Astor of Hever
(1.1) Hon. Camilla Fiona Astor (b. 1974), born 8 May 1974; married, 2006, Dominic M. Trusted and has issue one son and two daughters;
(1.2) Hon. Tania Jentie Astor (b. 1978), born 18 April 1978; therapist with Conscious Psychology Ltd; married, 2012, Alex Howard and has issue two daughters (one born before the marriage);
(1.3) Hon. Violet Magdalene Astor (b. 1980), born Jul-Sep. 1980;
(2.1) Hon. Charles Gavin John Astor (b. 1990), born 10 November 1990; educated at Bristol University; founded Sharky and George, childrens' entertainers, 2003; married, 17 June 2019 at Guignicourt-sur-Vence (Ardennes, France), Princess Eliane Marie Ghislaine de Merode (b. 1990), only daughter of Prince Léonel Amaury Marie Ghislain de Merode, of Westerlo, Belgium;
(2.2) Hon. Olivia Alexandra Elizabeth Astor (b. 1992), born 21 August 1992; autistic; educated at Homefield College (Leics).
He lives at French Street House, Westerham (Kent).
Astor of Hatley Park, Hatley St. George
Astor, Major Sir John Jacob (k/a Jakie) (1918-2000), kt. Fourth and youngest son of Waldorf Astor (1879-1952), 2nd Viscount Astor, and his wife Nancy Witcher CH MP, daughter of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne of Mirador, Greenwood, Virginia (USA) and former wife of Robert Gould Shaw, born 29 August 1918. Educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. Served in Second World War as a Major in Life Guards and the SAS; in action in Italy, France, Germany and Norway and was awarded the Legion d'honneur and the Croix de Guerre and appointed MBE, 1945. Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton, 1951-59; Parliamentary Private Secretary to Financial Secretary to Treasury, 1951-53; his political career was ended when he was one of six Conservative MPs who refused to support the 1956 invasion of Suez. Farmer and racehorse breeder; Chairman of National Institute for Agricultural Engineering, 1963-68, Agricultural Research Council, 1968-78 and National Economic Development Council for Agriculture, 1973-78; member of Horserace Betting Levy Board, 1976-80 and Totalisator Board, 1983-85; Steward of the Jockey Club, 1968-71, 1983-85; President of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association. JP (1960-74) and DL (1962) for Cambridgeshire; High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, 1967; knighted, 1978. He married 1st, 1944 (div. 1972), Ana Inez (d. 1992), younger daughter of Dr. Don Miguel Angel Carcano KCMG KBE, Argentine ambassador to the UK, 2nd, 1976 (div. 1985), Mrs Susan Sheppard (d. 1997), daughter of Maj. Michael Eveleigh of Lyddington (Leics); and 3rd, 1988, Marcia (fl. 2013), daughter of John Ernest McCallum and former wife of Peter John de Savary, and had issue:
(1.1) Michael Ramon Langhorne Astor (b. 1946) (q.v.);
(1.2) Stella Inez Astor (b. 1949), born 18 May 1949; married 1974 (div. 1989), Martin George Anthony Wilkinson of Cwm Hall, Clunton (Shropshire), son of Martin Wilkinson of Thornton Hall, Banbury (Oxon) and had issue one son and one daughter; reverted to her maiden name after her divorce;
(1.3) John William Astor (1962-63), born 29 November 1962; died in infancy, 9 March 1963.
He purchased Hatley Park, Hatley St. George (Cambs) in 1946 and lived there until his death.
He died 10 September 2000; will proved 4 January 2001. His first wife died in 1982. His second wife died in 1997. His third wife was living in 2003.
Astor, Michael Ramon Langhorne (b. 1946). Elder and only surviving son of Sir John Jacob Astor (1918-2000) and his first wife, Ana Inez, younger daughter of Dr. Don Miguel Angel Carcano KCMG KBE, Argentine ambassador to the UK, born 29 September 1946. Educated at Eton. He married, 1979, Daphne, daughter of Edward Mortimer Morris Warburg of Westport, Connecticut (USA), and has issue:
(1) Jessica Nancy Astor;
(2) Luke Langhorne Astor;
(3) Heloise Mary Astor.
From an earlier relationship with Pauline Murray-Jones he has one son:
(X1) James Edward Astor (b. 1976), born 10 January 1976; educated at Marlborough College; he has, from a relationship with Suzanne Lundgren Lloyd, one daughter.
He inherited Hatley Park from his father in 2000.
Astor family of Kirby House, Inkpen
Astor, Hon. John (1923-87). Third and youngest son of John Jacob Astor (1886-1971), 1st Baron Astor of Hever, and his wife Lady Violet Mary, youngest daughter of Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto and widow of Lord Charles George Francis Mercer Nairne MVO, born 26 September 1923. Educated at Eton. Served in Second World War as F/Lt. in RAF Volunteer Reserve, 1942-46; Conservative MP for Newbury, 1964-74; PPS to Minister of Overseas Development, 1970; member of Berkshire County Council, 1953-60 (Alderman, 1960-74). He married 1st, 19 July 1950, Diana Kathleen (1926-82), fourth daughter of George Henry Drummond of Mount Rule, Isle of Man and 2nd, 1982, Penelope Eve (1940-2006), daughter of Cmdr. George Francis Norton Bradford RN and formerly wife of David Rolt, and had issue:
(1.1) Elizabeth Kathleen Astor (b. 1951), born 22 July 1951; lives at Inkpen (Berks);
(1.2) (John) Richard Astor (1953-2016) (q.v.);
(1.3) (George) David Astor (b. 1958), born 8 July 1958; lives at Ashbury (Berks); married, 1983, Marianne Piroska Julia, only daughter of John Hurleston Leche of Carden (Cheshire) and had issue one son and one daughter.
He was given Kirby House, Inkpen as a wedding present in 1950.
He died 27 December 1987; his will was proved 8 July 1988 (estate £2,525,393). His widow married 3rd, 12 July 1995, George John Charles Mercer Nairne Petty-Fitzmaurice (1912-99), 8th Marquess of Lansdowne, and died in 2006.
Astor, (John) Richard (1953-2016). Elder son of Hon. John Astor (1923-87) of Kirby House, Inkpen (Berks) and his first wife, Diana Kathleen, fourth daughter of George Henry Drummond of Mount Rule, Isle of Man, born 20 November 1953. Educated at Eton and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He married, 7 July 1977, Katherine Mary (b. 1954), elder daughter of Brig. Sir Jeffrey Lionel Darell, 8th bt., MC, and had issue:
(1) Emily Mary Astor (b. 1980); married, 2011, Capt. Henry A. Willi;
(2) Charles John Astor (b. 1982), born September 1982; educated at Eton;
(3) Tamara Sarah Diana Astor (b. 1989); actress.
He inherited Kirby House, Inkpen from his father in 1987.
He died 4 February 2016. His widow is now living.
Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 2003, pp. 170-74; G. Jackson-Stops, 'The Cliveden album', Architectural History, 1976, pp. 5-16; G. Jackson-Stops, 'Cliveden, Buckinghamshire', Country Life, 24 February & 3 March 1977; C. Aslet, 'Hever Castle, Kent', Country Life, 1-8 January 1981; M. Hanson, 'Heading for another break-up?', Country Life, 12 May 1983; R. Haslam, 'Cliveden, Buckinghamshire', Country Life, 10 April 1986; The National Trust, Cliveden guidebook, 1990; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, 2nd edn., 1994, pp. 253-58; W. Hitchmough, 'Tales from the riverbank', Country Life, 10 February 2000; J. Crathorne, Cliveden: the place and the people, 2nd edn., 2001; P. Willis, Charles Bridgeman and the English landscape garden, 2002, pp. 427; G. Tyack, S. Bradley & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Berkshire, 2010, pp. 340-41; J. Newman, The buildings of England: Kent - West and the Weald, 3rd edn., 2012, pp. 292-95; N. Livingstone, The mistresses of Cliveden, 2015; A. Tinniswood, The long weekend, 2016, pp. 74-75.
Location of archives
Astor family of New York (USA): correspondence and legal papers, 1792-1916 [New York Public Library, MSS Col. 141]; estate correspondence and papers, n.d. [New York Historical Society].
Astor, Waldorf (1879-1952), 2nd Viscount Astor: correspondence and papers, 1902-52 [Reading University Library, MS1066]; parliamentary correspondence and papers, 20th cent. [Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, Acc. 186]
Astor, Nancy (1879-1964), Viscountess Astor: political and family correspondence, diaries and papers, 1900-64 [Reading University Library, MS1416; MS3748]; parliamentary correspondence and papers, 20th cent. [Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, Acc. 186]; miscellaneous correspondence and papers [Virginia Historical Society]
Astor, William Waldorf (1907-66), 3rd Viscount Astor: correspondence and papers, 1930s-60s [Reading University Library, MS5513]
Astor: John Jacob (1886-1971), 1st Baron Astor of Hever: papers, 20th cent. [News UK Archive]
Coat of arms
Astor, Viscounts Astor: Or, a falcon resting on a dexter hand couped at the wrist proper and gauntleted gules; in chief two fleurs-de-lys of the last.
Astor, Barons Astor of Hever: Argent, eight barrulets sable overall resting on a dexter hand couped at the wrist proper, gauntleted gules, a falcon also gules; in chief two fleurs-de-lys of the last