Tuesday 27 September 2016

(231) Atkins of Firville

Atkins of Firville
The Atkins family of Firville in County Cork can be traced back to the second son of Sir Jonathan Atkins, kt., of Grimthorpe (Yorks ER), who was Governor of Guernsey, 1665-70 and of Barbados, 1674-80. Sir Jonathan disinherited his unsatisfactory eldest son and settled his English estates on his third son, John Atkins (c.1653-1733); his second son, Richard Atkins (d. 1710) was given property in Ireland (chiefly in Co. Kerry) which had apparently been granted to Sir Jonathan after 1660. As a young man Richard settled in Ireland and married, but in about 1678 decided to sell up and return to England. His wife, however, is said to have been reluctant to move so far away from her family, and persuaded him at the last moment to reinvest his capital in the purchase of lands in County Cork. These became the Fountainville estate, which descended to his son, Charles Atkins (1675-1732), and then to his son, Robert Atkins (1703-83), whose grandson, William Atkins (1757-1847) pulled the house down in the early 19th century.  

Margaret (b. 1681), the eldest daughter of Richard Atkins (d. 1710), married Richard Chapman of Gurtnagruss (Cork), and her brother John Atkins (1679-1734) married Richard's sister. Although John and Margaret both produced sons, it was presumably as a result of this double connection between the families that Robert Atkins (1703-83) later inherited Gurtnagruss. The estate was left to his youngest son, Maj. Robert Atkins (1749-1827), who renamed it Firville and built the present house there in about 1798. Robert, whose finances were parlous owing to an addiction to horse-racing and breeding, became embarrassed in the 1820s, and Firville had to be let, but his son Robert Atkins (1775-1839) later recovered it and lived there. Robert's eldest son, Rev. Philip Going Atkins (later Atkins-Going) (1804-64) inherited what appears to have been a leasehold interest in Monaquil (Tipperary) on the death of his grandfather in 1820, and later made it his home. By 1840, however, Monaquil was let and Philip perhaps returned to Firville. He had three sons, all of whom died relatively young. The eldest, Robert Going Atkins (1833-69) was temperamentally a soldier, and after a period with the local volunteers went to fight in Italy with Garibaldi's republicans and then joined the Confederate army in the American Civil War. He returned to Ireland when his father became ill in 1863, but by that time his brother Philip (1834-66) had gone to America to fight for the Unionist cause, where he was killed in 1866. The third brother, John Atkins (1840-64), went to join the Confederates shortly after his father died and was killed later that year.

Robert Going Atkins (1833-69) lived at Firville for a few years before deciding in 1869 to return to America permanently. The contents of the house were sold and the house itself leased out, but Robert died of a heart attack during a hunting trip in Arkansas at the end of the year. The family properties passed to his spinster sisters, Henrietta (d. 1908) and Charlotte (d. 1913), and were finally sold after Charlotte's death.

Firville, Mallow, Co. Cork

Firville House: built c.1798 for Robert Atkins.

A good five-by-three bay, two storey house, built in c.1798 for Robert Atkins (1749-1827). The house has an unusually elaborate doorcase with a fine fanlight with spider's web glazing. Unfortunately most of the sash windows are uPVC replacements, but internally more original features survive. 

Firville: entrance hall.

Firville House: the principal staircase

The entrance hall has a good moulded plaster ceiling with eight narrow oval inset paintings of female figures, and leads into the staircase hall, which is dominated by the fine staircase, rising in the centre of the hall in a single flight and returning in two from the half-pace to the upper landing. The drawing room has a white marble chimneypiece and a decorative cornice; and the dining room another, simpler, marble fireplace.

Descent: Built 1798 for Robert Atkins (1749-1827); to son, Robert Atkins (1775-1839); to son, Rev. Philip Going Atkins (later Atkins-Going) (1804-61); to son, Robert Going Atkins (1833-69); to sisters, Charlotte Elizabeth Going Atkins (1838-1913) and Henrietta Louisa Atkins (1845-1908); sold 1914 to Samuel Sheehan;...sold/given 1975 to Paddy (d. 2014) & Ursula Lenahan; for sale, 2016.

Atkins family of Firville

Atkins, Sir Jonathan (c.1610-1702/3), kt. Described on his monument as 'a gentleman of Staffordshire' although his parentage is unknown; he was perhaps born c.1610 as he claimed to be 70 years of age in 1680. An officer in the army from c.1638 (Capt. by 1640; Major, 1643/4; Lt-Col. by 1645; Capt. of Coldstream Guards, 1662); he was a Royalist during the Civil War and commanded the garrison of Naworth Castle (Cumbld) during the first Civil War; he compounded for his estate at Henderskelfe Castle and Grimthorpe Hall in 1649. In 1659 he was charged with treason, which may imply that he was implicated in a Royalist conspiracy. After the Restoration he returned to the army and was then made Governor of Guernsey, 1665-70, Rochester, 1672-73, and Barbados, 1674-80. Knighted, 1668 or 1669. DL for East Riding of Yorkshire by 1674. He married 1st, 1642 (settlement 17 November), Mary (d. 1660), second daughter of Sir William Howard of Naworth Castle (Cumbld) and sister of the 1st Earl of Carlisle, and 2nd, 1661 (licence 8 October), Elizabeth (c.1637-94), daughter of Sir John Baker of Sissinghurst (Kent) and widow of William Anderson (d. c.1660) of Kilnwick Percy (Yorks), and had issue:
(1.1) Charles Atkins (c.1646-1724); educated at Pocklington School (admitted 1656); an officer in the Royal Navy, 1672-76, who was dismissed from the service after allowing HMS Quaker to be captured by the Moors and taken into Algiers without a fight; for the next few years he 'drifted, borrowing money where could... consorting with villains'; in 1678 he was examined in the inquiry into the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, and shortly afterwards he was given a commission in a regiment raised by his brother-in-law, Sir John Fenwick, but this was disbanded some three months later and he seems to have returned to a life of depravity; in 1681 he was disowned by his father and told to go abroad; he eventually obtained some training as a surgeon and by 1700 he was employed in that capacity by the East India Company and based at Gambar Abbas alias Gombroon (Persia), from where he made several expeditions into the Persian interior; he later moved to Madras and Fort St. David (India) before being dismissed, after numerous incidents, in 1705; he may have returned to England briefly before in 1707 he joined the East India Co. militia as a Capt. and surgeon at Fort York, Sumatra; he held this post until 1713, when he was charged with assaulting one Thomas Kingsley and fled to Batavia (now Jakarta) (Indonesia); he then returned to England permanently. He was married in 1685, when he fathered a son, and also in 1713, when he was accompanied by his wife to Jakarta, but the names of his wife or wives are not known; the suggestion that he was the natural father of Jonathan Swift's partner 'Stella' Johnson, or even of Swift himself, seems most unlikely; more probable is the idea that he was the inspiration for 'Lemuel Gulliver', the protagonist of Swift's satirical novel, Gulliver's Travels, and that he was the pseudonymous author of A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, published 1724; his date of death is unknown;
(1.2) Richard Atkins (d. 1710) (q.v.);
(1.3) John Atkins (c.1653-1733), of Grimthorpe and later of the city of York; married 1st, 23 May 1682 at St James, Dukes Place, London, Diana (c.1655-87), daughter of Sir William Humble, 1st bt., of Twickenham (Middx), merchant, and 2nd, Alice (fl. 1733), sister of John Aislabie of Studley Royal (Yorks WR), and had issue one son (Howard Atkins (c.1703-16)); died 31 January and was buried at Great Givendale, 4 February 1732/3; will proved 12 February 1732/3;
(1.4) Mary Atkins (d. 1674); died unmarried and was buried at Grimthorpe, 25 February 1673/4;
(1.5) Jane Atkins (c.1659?-1761); executrix of her brother John's will, 1733; died unmarried at York 'aged upwards of 100', 17 April and was buried at Great Givendale, 20 April 1761; will proved 3 June 1761;
(1.6) Frances Atkins (1660-85), baptised at Great Givendale, 20 March 1659/60; married, c.1679 in Barbados, as his second wife, John Peers (d. 1688) and had issue three daughters; buried at St Michael, Barbados, 5 April 1685;
(2.2) Jonathan Atkins (1662-63), born 23 June and baptised at Great Givendale, 28 July 1662; buried there 4 April 1663;
(2.3) Sarah Atkins (b. 1668), baptised 14 May 1668 at St Peter Port (Guernsey).
He lived at Henderskelfe Castle (Yorks NR), the predecessor of Castle Howard, which was a property of his first wife's family. After her death he lived at Grimthorpe, apparently another Howard property.
He died at Grimthorpe, 8 January 1702/3 and was buried at Great Givendale, where he is commemorated by a monument on which his age at death is given (probably erroneously) as 99. His first wife was buried at Great Givendale, 9 April 1660. His second wife died 4 March 1694/5, aged 57, and was also buried at Great Givendale.

Atkins, Richard (d. 1710). Second son (or perhaps, if the ages on his tombstone are correct, the younger brother) of Sir Jonathan Atkins (c.1610-1703), kt. and his first wife, Mary, daughter of Sir William Howard of Naworth Castle (Cumbld). He married, presumably in Ireland, Barbara (d. 1710), daughter of [forename unknown] Fuller of the Sandbanks (Cork), and had issue:
(1) William Atkins (b. 1674) of Rossagh (Cork), born 1674; married, 1702, Margaret (nee Nolan??), widow of John Raines, and had issue;
(2) Charles Atkins (1675-1732) (q.v.);
(3) John Atkins (1679-1734) of Ballyandrew (Cork), born at Mallow (Cork), 1679; married, Elizabeth, daughter of John Chapman of Milebush, Mallow and sister of Richard Chapman of Gurtnagruss (later Firville), Mallow, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 21 November 1734;
(4) Margaret Atkins (b. 1681), born at Mallow (Cork), 1681; married Richard Chapman of Gurtnagruss (now Firville) and had issue two sons;
(5) Barbara Atkins (b. 1683), born at Fountainville, 1683; married Richard Purcell of Kilbrin (later Temple Mary) (Cork), and had issue several sons and one daughter;
(6) Thomas Atkins (b. 1685), born at Mallow, 1685; died without issue;
(7) Richard Atkins (b. 1687), born at Mallow, 1687; died without issue;
(8) Robert Atkins (b. 1689) of Waterpark (Cork), born at Mallow, 1689; sheriff of Cork, 1722; mayor of Cork city, 1726; married and had issue two daughters;
(9) Samuel Atkins (b. 1691), born at Fountainville, 1691; lived in the parish of St Clement Danes, London; married c.1730 in London, Susannah [surname unknown], and had issue four sons and two daughters.
He settled in Ireland, where his father had received a grant of lands in Co. Kerry, which he afterwards sold. In 1678 he purchased an estate in Co. Cork which he called Fountainville, midway between Mallow, Buttevant and Doneraile.
He died 10 December 1710 and was buried at Doneraile (Cork). His wife died 16 May 1710, and was also buried at Doneraile; according to their tombstone, he was 91 and she was 74, but this would make her thirty-eight when their first child was born and fifty-five when their last child was born, so the ages are probably not to be trusted.

Atkins, Charles (1675-1732). Second (but eldest surviving?) son of Richard Atkins (1645-1710) of Fountainville (Cork) and his wife Barbara Fuller, born at Fountainville, 1675. Sheriff of Limerick, 1694. He married 1st, 1694, [forename unknown], daughter of John Westropp of Cahirdowgan (Cork) and 2nd, 26 February 1699, Hannah (1682-1762), eldest daughter of Robert Minnitt (d. 1709) of Knygh Castle, Blackfort and Annabeg (Tipperary), and had issue:
(2.1) Robert Atkins (1703-83) (q.v.);
(2.2) John Atkins; died unmarried and without issue;
(2.3) Thomas Atkins; settled in Virginia (USA);  married and had issue two sons; in a letter home he stated his wife and one son had died, and that having disposed of his lands for £36,000, which had invested in the British funds, he intended returning to Ireland and named the ship on which his passage had been booked, but neither he nor his remaining son were ever heard of again;
(2.4) Barbara Atkins (b. 1708); married [forename unknown] Barnes.
He inherited Fountainville (Cork) from his father in 1710, together with other properties near Dunmanway in western Cork. In 1709 he inherited in right of his wife his father-in-law's estates in Tipperary.
He died at Limerick in 1732. His first wife died before 1699. His widow died 26 August 1762.

Atkins, Robert (1703-83). Eldest son of Charles Atkins (1675-1732) and his second wife Hannah, eldest daughter of Robert Minnitt of Knygh Castle and Annabeg (Tipperary), born at Mallow, 1 June 1703. He married, 1728, Elizabeth (1706-88), only child of Jacob Ringrose, and granddaughter of Col. Richard Ringrose of Moynoe House (Clare), and had issue:
(1) Charles Atkins (1729-62) (q.v.); 
(2) Margaret Atkins (c.1732-1816), born 1 January 1732/3?; married, 1751, William Devereux of Deerpark (Clare), and had issue two sons and six daughters (one of whom married her cousin, Richard Atkins (d. 1797?), see below); died in 1816 and was buried at Buttevant (Cork);
(3) Ringrose Atkins (1737-89) of Prospect Hill, Mallow (Cork), born 1737; JP for Co. Cork; married 1st, 1769, Catherine Brookes, who died without issue, and 2nd, 1770, Elizabeth Baker (d. 1824) and had issue four sons and four daughters; died 24 February 1789;
(4) Thomas Atkins (b. 1738), born 1738; merchant in Jamaica; died unmarried;
(5) Mary Atkins (1739-1817), born 1739; married, 5 November 1757, John Atkins (1729-88), son of Richard Atkins (d. 1738) of Ballyandrew (Cork), and had issue three sons and five daughters; died 31 October 1817;
(6) Jacob Atkins (1741-1812), born 1741; port surveyor at Baltimore (Cork); married, 1772, Pheobe Dodds and had one son and one daughter; died at Baltimore (Cork), 1812;
(7) Elizabeth Atkins (b. 1747), born at Fountainville, 1 May 1747; married, 1763, Henry Franks of Gortnavidera (Tipperary) and Moorestown (Limerick), and had issue two sons;
(8) Maj. Robert Atkins (1749-1827) (q.v.).
He inherited Fountainville (Cork) from his father in 1732 and lived there and at Copstown.
He died 17 May 1783 at Mallow and was buried at Buttevant (Cork), 19 May 1783, aged 79. His widow died at Cloyne, 10 August 1788; her will was proved 16 August 1788.

Atkins, Charles (1729-62). Eldest son of Robert Atkins (1703-83) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Ringrose, born at Mallow, 13 October 1729. He married, 2 May 1754, Elizabeth (b. 1730), only child (and co-heir with her half-sisters) of William Beere (d. 1773) of Ballyboy (Tipperary) and Dromana (Waterford), and had issue;
(1) William Atkins (1757-1847) (q.v.);
(2) Richard Atkins (d. 1797?); married, as her second husband, Eleanor, daughter of William Devereux and widow of Rev. Robert Minnitt (1723-85) of Blackfort (Tipperary), and had issue two sons; perhaps the man of this name from Mallow who died in Cork, Sept/Oct 1797.
He died in the lifetime of his father, 22 May 1762; will proved at Cloyne, 3 August 1762. His widow was living in 1773.

Atkins, William (1757-1847). Elder son of Charles Atkins (1729-62) and his wife Elizabeth, only child of William Beere of Ballyboy (Tipperary), born 1 May 1757. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1773; BA 1778). By the 1820s his affairs had become embarrassed and he was charged with forgery of a bill, but acquitted. He married, 6 May 1782 at Passage (Cork), his relative, Mary (b. c.1755), daughter of John Roberts of Ardmore House (Cork) and had issue:
(1) Sarah Atkins (c.1783-1854); married, 1804, her cousin, Dr. Ringrose Atkins, MD (1783-1818), son of Ringrose Atkins (1737-89) and had issue five sons and four daughters; died 1854;
(2) William Atkins (1787-1811); educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1806); died unmarried, 1811;
(3) Elizabeth Atkins (d. 1830); died unmarried at Mallow, May 1830;
(4) Anne Atkins (d. 1820); died unmarried at Mallow, 4 January 1820;
(5) Mary Atkins; perhaps died young;
(6) Harriette Atkins; perhaps died young;
(7) Frances Atkins (c.1802-85); married, 20 October 1819, William Lysaght (1800-38) of Hazlewood (Cork), and had issue four sons and five daughters; moved to England after her husband's death and before 1851; died at Stoke Bishop (Glos), 17 May 1885, aged 83.
He inherited Fountainville (Cork) from his grandfather in 1783 but let it and later demolished the house there; he is recorded living at several addresses, chiefly in Mallow.
He died in 1847. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Atkins, Maj. Robert (1749-1827). Youngest son of Robert Atkins (1703-83) of Fountainville and his wife Elizabeth, only child of Jacob Ringrose, and granddaughter of Col. Richard Ringrose of Moynoe House (Clare), born at Firville, 1 August 1749. JP for Co. Cork; Major in Mallow Cavalry. A keen owner, breeder and trainer of racehorses. He married, 9 September 1773, Mary (1756-1841), daughter of George Hastings and sister and sole heiress of her brother, Stephen Hastings JP of Fort Henry (Tipperary), and had issue:
(1) Robert Atkins (1775-1839) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Atkins (1780-1813), born at Mallow (Cork), 1780; married, 10 October 1796 at Fort Henry (Tipperary), Thomas Lidwell (1778-1822) of Cormackstown (Tipperary), and had issue two sons and six daughters; died at Johnstown (Cork?), 20 June 1813;
(3) Anne Atkins (1781-1856), born at Mallow, 1781; married, 16 July 1808 at Mallow, Richard Harding Wigmore (1785-1844) of Ballynona House, Dungourney (Cork) and Brookdale (Cork), and had issue four sons and six daughters (of whom two died young); died at Ballynona House, 1856;
(4) Elizabeth Atkins (1782-1865), born at Mallow, 1782; married, 7 June 1804 at Cork, Robert Twiss JP (1777-1851) of Cordel House (Kerry), and had issue three sons and five daughters; died 27 January 1865;
(5) Hannah Atkins (1784-1881?), born at Mallow, 1784; married, November 1820, as his second wife, William Fitzgerald of Blackfort (Tipperary) and Adrival (Kerry), barrister-at-law, and had issue one son and two daughters; perhaps the person of this name who died 4 December 1881 at London, Ontario (Canada), aged 97;
(6) Robert Hastings Atkins (b. 1785); died young;
(7) Margaret Atkins (1788-1863), born at Mallow, 1788; married, 1811, Arthur Ormsby (1765-1846) of Kilcomenty (Tipperary), but had no issue; died at Nenagh (Tipperary), 22 August 1863;
(8) Henrietta Atkins (1791-1864), born at Mallow, 1791; married 1st, 24 October 1817 at Cork, Rev. Warham Leader (1795-1818), rector of Shandon (Cork), second son of William Leader of Mount Leader (Cork), but had no issue; married 2nd, Jan/Feb 1821, Rev. Matthew Moore (1796-1867), and had issue two daughters; died 22 March 1864 at Cahirconlish parsonage (Limerick);
(9) Stephen Hastings Atkins (1793-1870), born 29 March 1793; JP for Tipperary, Clare and Limerick; emigrated to Australia in 1847 and lived there (mainly in Tasmania?) until c.1865, although he evidently also had interests in British Columbia (Canada) and New York (USA) as well as his property in Ireland; married 1st, 20 December 1815 at Stoke Damerel (Devon), Elizabeth (1795-1816), eldest daughter of Myles O'Reilly, and had issue one son; married 2nd, 19 August 1825 at Swords (Dublin), Mary Anne (1808-1903), eldest daughter of Maj. William Greene, and had issue five sons and four daughters; died at the home of his eldest son at Tullylish (Down), 23 May 1870;
(10) George Atkins (1796-1813), born 6 February and baptised at Mallow, 18 February 1796; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1812), and died unmarried while a student there, 1813;
(11) John Willington Atkins (b. & d. 1799), born 15 January and baptised at Mallow, 20 January 1799; died in infancy.
He inherited Firville from his father in 1783 and built a new house there c.1798. The estate was let from 1822 until after his death.
He died at Killaloe (Clare) in 1827. His widow died at Cork, 18 March 1841, aged 85.

Atkins, Robert (1775-1839). Eldest son of Robert Atkins (1749-1827) of Firville, and his wife Mary, daughter of George Hastings, born 21 January 1775. He married 1st, 31 December 1798 at Monaquil (Tipperary), Charlotte Elizabeth (1775-1812), second daughter and co-heir of Philip Going of Monaquil, and 2nd, 31 October 1816, Catherine (c.1790-1851), daughter of John Ridley of Hawthorn (Durham) and eventually co-heir of her brother John Frederick Ridley of Hawthorn, Mallow (Cork), and had issue:
(1.1) Charlotte Elizabeth Atkins (1800-82), born at Firville, 1800; married, 17 October 1844, James Robert Davis (1806-91), solicitor, son of James Thomas Davis, and had issue one son and one daughter; died in Dublin, Oct-Dec 1882;
(1.2) Mary Willington Atkins (b. 1801), baptised at Mallow, 15 March 1801; died young;
(1.3) Robert Atkins (1802-12), born at Firville, 1802; died young at Firville, 1812;
(1.4) Rev. Philip Going Atkins (1804-61) (q.v.);
(1.5) Hastings Atkins (1807-72), born at Firville, 5 March 1807; inherited the properties of Coolrea and Garry Kennedy under entail; timber merchant in New Zealand, c.1854-71; died unmarried in Paris (France), 1872;
(1.6) Thomas Atkins (1808-28), born at Firville, 22 April 1808; an officer in the army (Lt. in 19th Foot); died of a fever, unmarried, at Demerara (Guyana), 24 January 1828;
(1.7) Rev. John Bennett Robert Atkins (1812-40), born at Firville, 30 October 1812; educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1830; BA 1835); curate at Mallow (Cork), 1837-40; died unmarried at Firville, 30 September 1840.
He inherited Firville from his father in 1827.
He died 13 September 1839 and was buried at Firville, 18 September 1839. His first wife died 30 October 1812. His widow died at Cork, 23 May 1851.

Atkins (later Atkins-Going), Rev. Philip Going (1804-64). Second but eldest surviving son of Robert Atkins (1775-1839) of Firville and his first wife Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Philip Going of Monaquil (Tipperary), born at Firville, 21 June 1804. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (admitted 1823; BA 1828). Ordained deacon, 1831. He assumed the name of Going after Atkins in accordance with the will of his maternal grandfather on the death of the latter's widow, Grace. He married, 16 August 1830 at Blackrock (Cork), Jane (c.1803-83), second daughter of Alderman Rowland Morrison of Cork, and had issue:
(1) Robert Going Atkins (1833-69) (q.v.); 
(2) Philip Atkins (1834-66), born at Mallow, 1834; emigrated to the USA and is reputed to have served as a surgeon with the Unionist forces in the American Civil War; he remained abroad when the war ended and was out of touch with his family when he was killed at Camp Cady, California (USA), 29 July 1866; administration of his goods granted to his sister, Henrietta Louisa Atkins, 14 December 1877 (effects under £100);
(3) Marie Jane Atkins (1837-50), born at Firville, April 1837; died young at Firville, 6 January 1850;
(4) Charlotte Elizabeth Going Atkins (1838-1913) (q.v.);
(5) John Atkins (1840-64), baptised at Mallow, 7 September 1840; followed his eldest brother's example and fought on the Confederate side in the American Civil War, March-October 1864; died unmarried when he was killed at Upperville, Virginia (USA), 29 October 1864; administration of his goods granted to his sister, Henrietta, 8 November 1877 (effects under £1,500);
(6) Henrietta Louisa Atkins (1845-1908), born at Mallow, 20 December 1845; lived at Mistletoe Lodge, Youghal (Cork); died unmarried, 9 May 1908; administration of goods granted to her sister, 25 August 1908 (effects £381).
He inherited Monaquil (Tipperary) from his grandmother in 1812 and came of age in 1825. He inherited Firville from his father in 1839. 
He died in Dublin 13 January 1864; administration of his goods was granted to his widow, 5 May 1864 (effects under £600). His widow died in Dublin, 12 May 1883, aged 80.

Atkins, Robert Going (1833-69). Eldest son of Rev. Philip Going Atkins (1804-64) and his wife Jane Morrison, born 1833. A soldier by inclination, he became an officer in the Royal Cork City Artillery in the 1850s; in 1860 he joined the British Legion and went to Italy to serve with Garibaldi's Republicans. There he met Chatham Roberdeau Wheat, who took him to America to be one of the officers (Capt.) in the Confederate regiment he established, the 1st Louisana Special Battalion (the Louisiana Tigers); after seeing some action with the regiment he became aide de camp to Maj-Gen. Arnold Elzey, and in 1863 he returned to Ireland for personal reasons (presumably because his father was ailing); he resigned his commission in February 1864. He returned to America, intending to live there permanently, in 1869.
He inherited Firville from his father in 1864, but let the house and sold the contents before going to reside in America in 1869.
He died of a heart attack while on a hunting trip in Arkansas (USA), 21 December 1869; administration of his goods was granted to his mother, 2 August 1871 (effects under £800);

Atkins, Charlotte Elizabeth Going (1838-1913). Eldest daughter of Rev. Philip Going Atkins (1804-64) and his wife Jane Morrison, born 13 September 1838. She was unmarried and without issue.
She and her sister inherited Firville from their brother in 1869, but lived at Youghal (Cork) and the house was let; it was sold after her death.
She died 14 January 1913; her will was proved 3 February 1913 (effects £511).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1850, pp. 33-35; G, Harris, Treasure and Intrigue: the legacy of Capt. Kidd, 2002; http://members.iinet.net.au/~atkinsrj/index.htm; https://irishamericancivilwar.com/2012/06/09/a-louisiana-tiger-and-mosby-ranger-in-ireland/; http://cgca.org.uk/downloads/imperialengineer_issue5_full_gulliver.pdf

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Argent, on a chevron sable, three unicorns' heads, erased, of the field.

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.

  • The genealogical details given here are more reliant upon secondary and online sources than I would wish. While plausible, I have not been able to verify all the details given. If anyone is able to provide additional or corrected information from original sources I should be very pleased to hear from them.
  • Fountainville was demolished in the early 19th century and I have not been able to find a visual record or description of it; if anyone knows of such a record, I should be very pleased to hear from them.
  • Can anyone provide additional information about the descent of Firville after its purchase by Samuel Sheehan in 1914?
  • If anyone can provide portraits of any members of this family whose names are given in bold in the text, I should be most grateful.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 27 September 2016 and was updated 28 November and 8 December 2016 and 15 April 2018. I am grateful to Myles T. Shortall and Professor Jenny Shaw for additional information about this family.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

(230) Atkins of Clapham, baronets

Atkins of Clapham
The Atkins family are one of the few gentry families which owe their rise to fame and fortune to the financial and social success of a member of the medical profession; in this case to Dr. Henry Atkins, who was three times President of the Royal College of Physicians and for more than thirty years one of the Physicians in Ordinary to the king. He seems to have come from Hertfordshire yeoman stock, but his father was sufficiently affluent to send him Oxford, where he completed the usual arts degree (perhaps with a view to entering the church) and then to study medicine on the continent. By 1586 he was back in England and licenced to practice, and over a long life he developed a lucrative and successful practice based at his home in Warwick Court near Grays Inn in London. He combined professional success with the confidence of King James I, for whom he was more than a mere medical adviser. When James came south to claim the English crown in 1603 his younger son, the infant Prince Charles, was too weak to travel and remained in Scotland. Atkins was sent north and not only effected a speedy improvement in the Prince's condition but personally brought him south to join the king. There is evidence that James subsequently consulted him on non-medical issues and also recommended his services to other courtiers. In 1611 he was offered the honour of being made the first baronet, and although he declined this, he accepted a number of financial gifts from the king which allowed him to purchase estates at Tickford near Newport Pagnell (Bucks) and Clapham (Surrey), where he acquired a large U-plan manor house. For a time he also owned the rectory estate at Cheshunt (Herts) and it seems this was his favoured country retreat, as it was where he chose to be buried.

His only son and heir was Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638), kt., who before his father's death had purchased the Bedwell Park estate at Essendon (Herts) as a residence, and who also seems to have managed his father's Clapham estate. At Clapham he does not seem to have respected the long-established symbiotic relationship between the manorial lords and their tenants, and earned the reputation of being an exploitative landlord. By 1628 he had diverted the water from the spring under the church to serve the manor and water its gardens. As a result, the village community, whose water supply it had long been, had to walk half a mile to an alternative spring. Before his death in 1638 he had also felled the 70 acre Stockwood for conversion to farmland, so that the villagers lost rights of pannage and perhaps valuable rights to firewood too. It is hardly surprising that the Atkins family acquired the lasting dislike of the Clapham community.

After Sir Henry died in 1638 his widow married again, to Edward Dacres (d. 1659). Sir Henry had left Bedwell Park to her for life (and she and her second husband eventually settled it on her youngest son, Thomas Atkins, who remodelled the house in the late 17th century), but his other properties were apparently entailed and so passed to his eldest surviving son, Richard Atkins (1625-89), who was made a ward of the king until he came of age in 1646. Either as a result of the start of the Civil War or because of some disruption in his home circumstances, Richard seems to have missed out on an education at University or the Inns of Court. Nor is he known to have travelled abroad or to have taken an active part in the Civil War. Apart from serving as Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1650 - which indicates that he was acceptable to the Parliamentarian authorities - he is invisible in the historical record until the Restoration, when he was among the first to be honoured with a baronetcy by King Charles II in 1660. The reasons for this are quite unclear, but he must have had some claim on the king's gratitude, perhaps in recognition of past services by his relatives. One action Sir Richard may have undertaken in the 1650s was to reduce the size of the manor house at Clapham by the demolition of two of the three wings of the house, but this could have taken place later.

Alone among Dr. Atkins' successors at Clapham, Sir Richard Atkins, lived a natural lifespan. His eldest son and two eldest daughters all died fairly young, but the rest of his large family all fared better and married well. His heir, Sir Richard Atkins (1654-96), 2nd bt., was educated at the Inns of Court and in 1679 went abroad, either for a Grand Tour or just possibly as a soldier: in 1694 he was made a Colonel of Foot, and so is likely to have had military experience at some point in his career. The second Sir Richard seems initially to have been a Tory in politics, but by the time he inherited the title and estates from his father in 1689 he was a Whig and active in his support for William of Orange's invasion. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1689 and 1690, but was returned unopposed in 1695 as one of the county members for Buckinghamshire. His parliamentary career was brief because of his early death in 1696, and his most prominent appearance in the Commons journals concerns an intervention by the Speaker to defuse a row with another member. The details of the case reveal him as having the hasty temper and delicate sense of honour which made a duellist, and when allegations that his wife was unfaithful surfaced in 1695 he fought three duels in a short period with her putative lovers. Finding, however, that she was linked with many more men, he wisely recognised that discretion was the better part of valour and pursued a separation instead. According to his monument, these 'domestic troubles' 'hastened his end', and he died aged 42.

His son and heir, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt., was a youth of thirteen when he came into the title, and only came of age in about 1704. He was married in that year to his cousin, Rebecca Dixie, but they produced only one son and one surviving daughter before he died in 1712. The increasingly short lifespans of many members of the family, including successive baronets, in the late 17th and early 18th century makes me wonder whether tuberculosis was endemic in the family. Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt., certainly died of it, but by dint of an exceptionally early marriage he had contrived to father two sons and a daughter before his death. His elder son, Sir Henry Atkins (1726-42), 5th bt., died at the age of sixteen, and it was the younger, Sir Richard Atkins (1728-56), 6th and last baronet, to whom the 4th baronet's trustees handed over the family estates when he came of age in 1749. He seems to have been a young man of some promise (the Oxford authorities were moved to award him an honorary degree in 1749), but he has gone down in history as one of those known to have bought the services of the leading courtesan Kitty Fisher (probably the real-life model for Fanny Hill). He is also known to have accumulated debts and it is hard not to see him as the classic young man-about-town. But if he lived fast, he also died young - and unmarried, and with his death the family finally ran out of male heirs. The baronetcy expired, the Tickford estates were sold to pay off his debts, and the Clapham property passed to his sister, Lady Rivers, and eventually to his godson. In 1814, when the aisle of Clapham church that the family had long appropriated for their funerary monuments was pulled down, their monuments were broken up and shovelled into the vaults beneath as hard core: the people of Clapham were clearly happy to forget the Atkins family. 

Clapham Manor House, Surrey (later London)

The 12th and 15th century manor houses of Clapham stood within a moated site close to the present-day junction of Turret Grove and Rectory Grove. The 15th century house was replaced in 1580 for Benjamin Clerke, Dean of the Court of Arches, who purchased the manor in 1583 but may have been leasing it earlier. His new house was on a site outside the moat but immediately to its south and recent archaeological evidence has confirmed it was a U-plan house of typical Elizabethan form. It was described in 1628 as 'a faire mansion house of brick with a faire hall, parler, dining chamber well wainscotted, a good kitchen, brewhouse, washhouse served with water in leaden pipes, a larder, a good seleridge and other convenient houses of Office'. No contemporary plans or illustrations of it are known to survive, but in the late 18th and early 19th centuries the then surviving north wing of the house became the object of antiquarian admiration and was depicted many times. 

Clapham Manor House: the surviving north wing in 1798.

These drawings, of varying degrees of accomplishment and topographical accuracy, show that the house was of two storeys with gabled attics and had a remarkably ornate octagonal prospect tower with an ogee-shaped cap at the outer end of the wing. On the ground floor, this formed a bay window illuminating a large room. By the time the earliest drawings were made, the rest of the house - comprising a hall range facing east and a south wing, no doubt with a matching prospect tower - had been demolished. It is thought possible that this reduction in the size of the house could have taken place as early as the 1650s, when the Royalist Atkins family were in financial difficulties, but a later date is also possible. By 1800 the remaining fragment of the house was in use as a girls' boarding school and between 1804 and 1813 the octagonal prospect tower was taken down above the second or third storey, presumably because it had become unsafe.  The rest of the house was demolished in 1837 and the street of villas known as Turret Grove was subsequently laid out on the site.

Descent: built for Bartholomew Clerke (d. 1590); to son, Francis Clerke, who sold 1611 to Edmund Lynde and Henry Fisher; sold 1614 to John Haulsey; sold 1616/7 to Sir Thomas Vachell and Dr. Henry Atkins (c.1555-1635), who bought out Vachell's interest; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638), kt.; to son, Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt.; to son, Col. Sir Richard Atkins (1654-96), 2nd bt.; to widow, Elizabeth, Lady Atkins (d. 1711); to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (1726-42), 5th bt.; to brother, Sir Richard Atkins (1728-56), 6th bt.; to sister, Penelope (1724-95), wife of George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers, for life and then to Richard Bowyer (later Atkins) (1745-1820), who sold a life interest to his banker, John Thornton and emigrated to Australia, where he became a judge; to Henry Atkins-Bowyer (1805-71), who probably demolished the house.

Tickford Abbey, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire

The house stands on the site of Tickford Priory, an alien priory established in the early 12th century by Fulk Paynel for Benedictine monks from Marmoutier in France. It survived the suppression of alien houses by King Henry V but was finally surrendered in 1524. In about 1531-32 Anthony Cave, the Crown's tenant, renovated the prior's lodging, kitchen and outhouses before moving in c.1550 to Chicheley Hall. According to the Victoria County History, 'some fragments of the priory buildings, ranging in date from the 12th to the 15th century, have been reset in the walls of the modern mansion and its outhouses' but while archaeological investigations in the grounds have recovered the plan of the church, painted window glass and human remains, no detailed work has been done on the fabric of the house. In 1731 the antiquary Browne Willis saw remains of the gatehouse and church, but in 1767 it was reported that 'Mr Hooton has lately built a neat square house of stone upon the ruins of the older house which was built out of the remains of the convent'. 

Tickford Abbey: an early 20th century photograph
Mr. Hooton's 'neat square house' is essentially the present building; it has an entrance front of five bays and three storeys, although the castellated canted bays, central oriel and present fenestration are 19th century alterations. There is also a later 19th century single-storey wing. An Elizabethan-style bay window on the north-west side of the house could actually be 16th century, and a section of garden wall nearby has a moulded four-centered arch. The back of the house is irregular and probably at least partly of the Tudor period. Inside there are late 19th century columns which were no doubt meant to be taken for part of the priory. The grounds contain a brick gazebo and an obelisk of the 1760s, marking the site of the Hootons' burial vault. The house is now a care home.

Descent: Crown sold 1600 to Henry Atkins MD (c.1555-1635); to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638); to son, Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt.; to son, Col. Sir Richard Atkins (1654-96), 2nd bt.; to widow, Elizabeth (d. 1711); to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (1726-42), 5th bt.; to brother, Sir Richard Atkins (1728-56), 6th bt.; sold after his death to John Hooton (d. 1761); to son, John Hooton (d. 1764); to brother, Thomas Hooton (d. 1804); to daughter, Sarah (d. 1831), wife of Philip Hoddle Ward; sold before 1847 to William Powell; sold before 1869 to Oliver Massey; to widow; sold to P. Butler (d. 1898); to son, Col. William John Chesshyre Butler (b. 1864; fl. 1927)... Greensleeves plc.

Bedwell Park, Essendon, Hertfordshire

The manor house here is first recorded in 1388, when it was granted to John Norbury, and takes its name from the deer park of 800 acres which he was licenced to create in 1406. The house was evidently altered or rebuilt in about 1470 for Sir John Say, who in that year was bringing 'the tiles called brick' from Hatfield. In the early 16th century the house was grand enough for a royal visit, and it was in the Crown's hands between 1539 and 1547. It was then one of several Hertfordshire estates granted to Sir Anthony Denny (d. 1549), a leading courtier, and his descendants held it until 1601. It was bought by Sir Henry Atkins in about 1620.

Bedwell Park, as engraved by Jan Drapentier for Chauncy's History of Hertfordshire, 1700.

The estate was settled in 1651 on Thomas Atkins (1631-1701), who may have been responsible for remodelling the old house. The doorway, cupola and diagonal chimneystacks depicted by Chauncy were all of the late 17th century and modify an earlier bay-windowed east front. Chauncy, however, says only that he 'much adorned this seat with pleasant Gardens'. To the right of the main block is what may be an older service wing, crowned by a pedimented curvilinear gable. As Atkins had no children to inherited Bedwell, it was sold after his death, but his will left certain fittings to his nephew, Sir Henry Atkins, 3rd bt., including the cast iron chimney backs and the metal rim-locks.

After the house was sold, it stood empty for a time, and an estate map of 1765 shows that its appearance had changed very little, except for some enlargement of the service accommodation at the north end of the house and possibly the addition of a north-west wing. Soon afterwards, however, Samuel Whitbread refronted the house, although he retained its tripartite division. In 1807 the house was described as 'not modern, but convenient' and 'kept in a perfect state of repair'. It contained an entrance hall, good staircase, and four principal rooms on the ground floor; a drawing room and five main bedrooms on the first floor, besides several smaller apartments and a WC; the servants' bedrooms were in the attic. Repairs were carried out in 1827-28 for Sir Culling Smith, 2nd bt.

Bedwell Park: the east side of the house after the drastic rebuilding of 1861.

Bedwell Park: the west front as rebuilt in 1861 and altered later.
The house was extensively rebuilt in 1861 for Sir Culling Eardley Smith, 3rd bt and completely reoriented, so that the west side became the entrance front. The central tower on the west front, which is squeezed in awkwardly, must be later still and was presumably added for Robert Culling-Hanbury after 1865. After the Second World War the house passed into institutional use and it has since been converted into flats.

Crown granted 1539 & 1547 to Sir Anthony Denny (d. 1549); to younger son, Charles Denny; to brother, Henry Denny (d. 1574); to son, Robert Denny (d. 1576); to brother, Sir Edward Denny, who sold 1601 to William Potter; sold c.1620 to Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638), kt.; to widow, Annabella (1599-1674), later wife of Edward Dacres (d. 1659) who settled it in 1651 on her younger son, Thomas Atkins (1631-1701); sold after his death to Richard Wynne MP (d. 1719)... sold 1765 to Samuel Whitbread (1720-96); to son, Samuel Whitbread (1764-1815), who sold 1807 to Sir Culling Smith (1730-1812), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Culling Smith (1769-1829), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Culling Eardley Smith (later Eardley) (1805-63), 3rd bt.; to daughter, Frances Selina Eardley (1833-1916), later the wife of Robert Hanbury (later Culling-Hanbury) MP; to brother-in-law, Very. Rev. William Fremantle (1831-1916)... sold 1946 to Royal Victoria Patriotic School, which closed 1972...

Atkins family of Clapham, baronets

Atkins, Dr. Henry (c.1555-1635). Son of Richard Atkins of Great Berkhamsted (Herts), born about 1555. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1574 'aged 19'; BA 1575; MA 1577/8) and University of Nantes (D. Med.). Physician in London. Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians from 1586 (Fellow, 1588; President, 1606-08, 1616-17 and 1624-25). In 1597 he sailed as physician to the Earl of Essex in the Spanish expedition, but was so seasick that he had to be put on shore and replaced. Physician in Ordinary to King James I and later to King Charles I, 1604-35. He is said to have received gifts amounting to £6,000 from the King after successfully treating Prince Charles for an illness in 1604, and he was offered the honour of becoming the first baronet when the order was instituted, but declined it. He married, 15 November 1591 at St Lawrence Jewry, London, Mary (1567-1624), daughter of Thomas Pigott of Doddershall (Bucks) and had issue:
(1) Sir Henry Atkins, kt. (c.1594-1638) (q.v.).
He lived in Warwick Court, London. He purchased the manors of Tickford (Bucks) in 1600 and Clapham (Surrey) in c.1616/7, the latter jointly with Sir Thomas Vachell, whose interest he subsequently bought out. In 1620 he also bought the deer park at Tickford with a lodge known as Tickford Park which later became a farmhouse. He purchased the rectory of Cheshunt (Herts) before 1612 but sold it again in 1632 after receiving £700 from the Crown for the redemption of the tithes on Theobalds Great Park.
He died in London 'aged 77' and was buried at Cheshunt (Herts), 2 October 1634, where he and his wife were commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 7 September 1634. His wife was buried at Cheshunt, 24 March 1623/4.

Atkins, Sir Henry (c.1594-1638), kt. Only child of Dr. Henry Atkins (c.1555-1635) and his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Pigott of Doddershall (Bucks), born about 1594. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1609; BA 1610/11) and Middle Temple (admitted 1608). Knighted by King Charles I, September 1630 or 1632. He married, c.1620, Annabella (1599-1674), daughter and heiress of John Hawkins esq. of Chiddingstone (Kent) and had issue, perhaps with other children who died in infancy:
(1) Mary Atkins (b. c.1621-93); married 1st, 17 February 1639/40 at Cheshunt, William Halford (c.1615-50) and had issue three sons; married 2nd, after 1650, as his second wife, Sir John Norwich (1612-61), 1st bt., and had issue one further son and two daughters; lived latterly at Lyddington (Rutland); her will was proved 25 October 1693;
(2) John Atkins (c.1623-37); died young and was buried at Clapham, 28 October 1637;
(3) Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(4) Henry Atkins (1629-46), baptised at Cheshunt, 19 March 1628/9; died unmarried and was buried at Clapham, 21 October 1646;
(5) Thomas Atkins (1631-1701), of Bedwell Park (Herts); was granted the Bedwell Park estate and property in Bedfordshire by his mother and stepfather in 1651 and is said to have kept a bountiful table there; married 1st, Elizabeth (c.1641-59), third daughter of Sir John Norwich, 1st bt. of Brampton (Northants) and 2nd, c.1661, Bridget, daughter of Sir William Palmer of Old Warden (Beds), kt., but had no issue; buried at Essendon (Herts), 1 December 1701; will proved 12 March 1701/2.
He purchased the Bedwell Park estate at Essendon (Herts) from William Potter in his father's lifetime. He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1635. At his death Bedwell passed to his widow and ultimately to his youngest son. Tickford and Clapham passed to his eldest surviving son.
He is entered in the parish register as buried at Clapham, 19 July 1638, but is commemorated on his father's monument at Cheshunt, where it is said that he was buried there 'by his own appointment'. His widow married 2nd, 10 September 1639 at St Olave, Hart St., London, Edward Dacres (d. 1659) of Bedwell Park (Herts) and died 6 March 1673/4; she was buried at Cheshunt; her will was proved 24 March 1673/4.

Atkins, Sir Richard (1625-89), 1st bt. Second, but eldest surviving son of Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638), kt. and his wife Annabella, daughter of John Hawkins esq. of Chiddingstone (Kent), baptised at Cheshunt (Herts), 29 September 1625. High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, 1650. He was created a baronet by King Charles II, 13 June 1660. He married, 22 February 1648/9 at St Peter-le-Poer, London, Rebecca (1634-1711), daughter of Sir Edmund Wright, kt., of Swakeleys (Middx), Lord Mayor of London, and had issue:
(1) Annabella Atkins (c.1650-70); died in Paris (France), 1 January 1670, and was commemorated on her parents' monument at Clapham;
(2) Rebecca Atkins (c.1652-61); died aged nine and was buried at Clapham, 20 June 1661; commemorated on her parents' monument at Clapham;
(3) Henry Atkins (1653-78), baptised at Much Hadham (Herts), 9 June 1653; died unmarried, 15 February 1677/8, aged 24, and was buried at Clapham; commemorated on his parents' monument at Clapham;
(4) Col. Sir Richard Atkins (1654-96), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(5) Mary Atkins (b. 1656), baptised at Much Hadham (Herts), 29 January 1655/6; married, 9 July 1682 at St Bride, Fleet St., London, Rt. Rev. William Moreton DD (1641-1715), Bishop of Meath, and had issue one son and one daughter; died in Ireland before 1696;
(6) Agnes Atkins (b. 1657), baptised at Much Hadham (Herts), 14 May 1657; married, 1677 (licence 8 February 1676/7), Edward Atkyns (c.1655-89), son of Sir Robert Atkyns, kt. [see Atkyns of Sapperton and Swell Bowl, forthcoming] and had issue one son and one daughter; 
(7) Elizabeth Atkins (1659-1736), born at Much Hadham (Herts), 28 November and baptised at St John, Clerkenwell (Middx), 30 November 1659; married, c.1677 (licence 19 February 1676/7), Thomas Tooke (b. c.1661) of Wormley (Herts); lived latterly at Chelsea (Middx); buried at Clapham, 8 July 1736; will proved 6 July 1736;
(8) Rebecca Atkins (1666-1744), born at Much Hadham (Herts), 17 April 1666; married, 10 December 1685 at St Clement Danes, London, Sir Wolstan Dixie (1667-1713), 3rd bt. of Market Bosworth (Leics) and had issue two sons and five daughters; lived latterly at Bath; buried at Clapham, 22 December 1744; her will was proved 15 January 1744/5.
He inherited the the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1638 and came of age in 1646.
He died 19 August 1689 and was buried at Clapham, where he and his wife were commemorated by a monument by William Stanton which was dismantled and partly broken up in 1814; the tomb chest is now in the churchyard and the surviving effigies in the church. Administration of his goods was granted 19 September 1689. His widow was buried at Clapham, 13 June 1711; her will was proved in June 1711.

Atkins, Col. Sir Richard (1654-96), 2nd bt. Younger but only surviving son of Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt., and his wife Rebecca, daughter of Sir Edmund Wright, kt., of London, born 22 August and baptised at Hunsdon (Herts), 27 August 1654. Educated at the Middle Temple (admitted 1671). He had a passport for overseas travel in 1679 and may have undertaken a Grand Tour. JP for Buckinghamshire by 1688. He succeeded his father as 2nd baronet, 19 August 1689. In politics he seems initially to have been a Tory, but he stood (unsuccessfully) for Parliament in Buckingham in 1689 and again in 1690 as a Whig. He raised a troop for William of Orange at the Revolution, 1689, and was elected unopposed as Whig MP for Buckinghamshire, 1695-96. He was made a Colonel of Foot in 1694. In the summer of 1695 he fought three duels occasioned by the infidelity of his wife, but finding that he had fifteen men to confront on similar grounds he took the advice of his father-in-law, who 'being sensible of the provocation' agreed that his daughter should reside at Nottingham or in Buckinghamshire, with an allowance of £120 a year; she chose to retire to the parsonage at Tickford. He married, 1682 (licence 2 June) (sep. 1695), Elizabeth (c.1662-1711), daughter of Sir Thomas Byde, kt., of Ware Park (Herts) and had issue including:
(1) Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Richard Atkins; died young;
(3) Thomas Atkins; died young;
(4) John Atkins (fl. 1707); born before 1686; died unmarried after 1707;
(5) Ralph Atkins (fl. 1727); born after 1686;
(6) Richard Atkins (b. 1693?; fl. 1727), perhaps the child of this name baptised at Nottingham, 7 June 1693;
(7) Annabella Atkins (fl. 1727); unmarried in 1727.
He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1689. At his death they (rather surprisingly, in the circumstances) passed to his widow for life and then to his son.
He died 28 November 1696 and was buried at Newport Pagnell (Bucks) where he is commemorated by a monument erected by his mother, which notes that ‘the latter part of his life [was] clouded with some domestic troubles caused by the fault of others, not his own, which ought to be covered with a veil of silence’, although they had ‘hastened his end’. His widow was buried at St Luke, Chelsea, 22 August 1711; her will was proved 22 November 1711.

Atkins, Sir Henry (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt. Eldest surviving son of Col. Sir Richard Atkins (d. 1696), 2nd bt., and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Byde, kt., of Ware Park (Herts), born at Hanwell (Middx) c.1683. Educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (matriculated 1700). He succeeded his father as 3rd baronet, 28 November 1696. He married, 27 June 1704 at Newbold Verdon (Leics), his cousin, Rebecca Maria (d. 1731), eldest daughter of Sir Wolstan Dixie, 3rd bt. and had issue including:
(1) Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt.;
(2) Rebecca Maria Atkins (b. c.1707); died in infancy;
(3) Rebecca Maria Atkins (b. c.1708), born before 1709; married, 2 June 1730, Thomas Fawkes (1704-51) of Farnley Hall (Yorks) and had issue one son, who died in infancy.
He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1696.
He was buried at Clapham, 6 August 1712; his will was proved 1 December 1714. His widow was buried at Clapham, 24 August 1731.

Atkins, Sir Henry (c.1706-28), 4th bt. Only surviving son of Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt., and his wife Rebecca Maria, eldest daughter of Sir Wolstan Dixie, bt., born about 1706.  Educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (matriculated 1722). He succeeded his father as 4th baronet, August 1712. He married, 29 October 1723 at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), Penelope (1707-34), third daughter of Sir John Stonhouse, 3rd bt., of Radley (Berks), and had issue:
(1) Penelope Atkins (1724-95), baptised at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), 19 December 1724; a noted beauty, she was described by Horace Walpole as 'all loveliness, within and without'; married, 4/5 January 1745/6 at Oxford Chapel, Marylebone (Middx), George Pitt (1721-1803) of Stratfield Saye (Hants), 1st Baron Rivers, and had issue one son and two daughters; died at Milan (Italy), 1 January 1795 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery at Leghorn (Livorno) (Italy), where she is commemorated by a monument;
(2) Sir Henry Atkins (1726-42), 5th bt., baptised at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), 24 March 1726; educated at Abingdon Grammar School; succeeded his father as 5th baronet, 29 March 1728 but died before coming of age, 1 September 1742, aged 16, and was buried at Clapham, 9 September 1742; his will was proved 18 September 1742;
(3) Sir Richard Atkins (1728-56), 6th bt. (q.v.);
He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1712.
He died of tuberculosis in France, 29 March and was buried at Clapham, 27 April 1728; his will was proved 13 April 1728. His widow married 2nd, 31 October 1733 at St George, Queen Square, London, as his second wife, John Leveson-Gower (1694-1754), 2nd Baron Gower and later 1st Earl Gower, and had issue one further daughter, who died young; she died at Trentham (Staffs), 19 August and was buried there, 24 August 1734.

Atkins, Sir Richard (1728-56), 6th bt. Younger son of Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt., and his wife Penelope, daughter of Sir John Stonhouse, bt. of Radley (Berks), born 28 February and baptised at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), 22 March 1728. Educated at New College, Oxford (matriculated 1745; DCL 1749). High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, 1750-51. He succeeded his brother at 6th baronet, 1 September 1742. He was unmarried and without issue, but supplies a footnote to the amorous history of the 18th century because he paid for the services of the famous courtesan, Kitty Fisher, with a Bank of England draft for £100 (or £20, accounts vary); feeling that this smacked too much of a commercial transaction or was insufficiently generous, she is said to have placed the draft on a slice of buttered bread and eaten it as a mark of her disdain.
He came of age in 1749 and his father's trustees then conveyed to him the the Tickford and Clapham estates and the manor of Overdean (Beds); he sold the latter in 1752 to Daniel Groombridge of Tonbridge (Kent). At his death his will directed the Tickford estate and his property in Oxfordshire should be sold for payment of his debts and discharge of mortgages on his estate at Clapham. The manor of Clapham passed to his sister for life and then to his godson, Richard Bowyer (later Atkins) (1745-1820), son of Sir William Bowyer of Denham (Bucks) and descended in the Bowyer family.
He died 10 June 1756, when the baronetcy became extinct, and was buried at Holy Trinity, Clapham (Surrey), 17 June 1756; his will was proved 14 June 1756.


Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn., 1841, p.27; G.E. Cokayne, Complete Baronetage, vol. 3, 1903, p. 39; Sir N. Pevsner & B. Cherry, The buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 2nd edn., 1977, p. 141; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, 2nd edn., 1994, p. 580; J.T. Smith, Hertfordshire Houses: selective inventory, 1994, p. 54; M. Green, Historic Clapham, 2008, passim; ODNB article on Dr. Henry Atkins; http://www.claphamsociety.com/Articles/article9.html.

Location of archives

Atkins family of Clapham, baronets: deeds and family papers, 1545-1710 [Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies, 65122-65455]

Coat of arms

Azure, three bars argent, in chief three bezants

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.
  • Does anyone know more about the 20th century ownership of Tickford Abbey or Bedwell Park?
  • Can anyone provide more additional genealogical information for the children of Sir Richard Atkins, 2nd bt. or Sir Henry Atkins, 3rd bt. or portraits of any members of this family?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 20th September 2016.

Saturday 10 September 2016

(229) Athy (alias Lynch-Athy) of Renville

Athy of Renville
The Athy family were settled in Galway from at least the 15th century, and were one of the Catholic merchant families collectively known as the 'tribes of Galway', who ran the town's affairs. In 1639 Francis Athy was sheriff of Galway, and he must have been a Protestant, at least on paper, to have been selected for office. During the Irish rebellion in the 1640s, however, Galway's citizens ejected the Protestant garrison which had been quartered in the town, and it seems probable that Athy's sympathies remained Catholic. In the late 17th century several members of the family emigrated to Maryland (USA) in search of greater religious toleration. It is not quite clear how Edmund Athy, with whom the genealogy below begins, was related to the earlier Athys of Galway. His father, Andrew Athy, lived at Beleek (Mayo), and had been a soldier in the Catholic army of King James II in 1689-90, but he was almost certainly connected to the earlier Athys of Galway. In the early 18th century Edmund married Margaret Lynch, the daughter and heiress of Philip Lynch of Renville Castle at Oranmore, just outside Galway town. The Renville estate passed into the control of the Athy family, and Edmund and Margaret may have been responsible for alterations and additions to the medieval tower-house after they gained possession. The subsequent routine use by their descendants over many generations, of Lynch as a final forename, particularly for the heirs to the estate, led in the 19th century to the surname of the family being commonly given as Lynch-Athy (with or without a hyphen).

The old Renville Castle remained the seat of Edmond's son, Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774) and his grandson, Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1752-1807). In 1807 the estate passed to Philip Edmond Lynch-Athy (c.1778-1840), who built a new three-bay two-storey house on the estate in about 1820. At this time the family seem to have been prominent among the Catholic gentry of the west of Ireland and Philip (d. 1840) joined O'Connell's Catholic Association in 1829. His eldest son having predeceased him, Renville passed in 1840 to his second son, Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75), who was educated at Downside and married an English woman, Margaret Buckle. The family had more English connections after this time, but their focus of attention remained firmly in Ireland: Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch-Athy (1859-1935) was Sheriff of Galway in 1904. The family had over several generations married late and produced only small numbers of surviving children. Edmond's only child was a daughter, Muriel Pauline Annette Lynch-Athy (1883-1943), who married a local farmer, Christopher Crofts (1878-1946) and seems to have lived at Renville. After her death, however, the house would appear to have been abandoned and the estate sold, and the ruins of Renville are today an even more extensively ivy-clad ruin than the medieval castle which it replaced.

Renville House, Oranmore, Galway

Renville Castle

Renville House in the early 20th century
The Athy family lived in the old Lynch tower at Renville until about 1820, when a new three-bay two-storey big house was built that is typical of so many early 19th century Irish gentry houses. The new Renville was a little less plain than some similar properties, with a rather low (and perhaps later) four-column Ionic porch, and the windows either side set within blind arches. The bays either side of the centre were stepped forward very slightly, creating a subtle movement in the facade. Over the porch was a central tripartite window, and round the side of the house, the ground floor room also had a big tripartite window, set under a relieving arch with a decorated tympanum. The house was occupied into the 1930s, but was abandoned after the estate was sold, and is now a ruin so completely covered in ivy as to be almost unrecognisable. You can see more pictures of the house in its present state here

Renville House: the ruins today
Renville House should not be confused with Renvyle House, also in Galway but miles away on the coast of Connemara, nor with Renville Lodge, which confusingly is now known as Renville House, and which stands just a few fields away from the original Renville House and was built at very much the same time and in a similar style. Renville was sometimes spelt Rinville.

Descent: Philip Lynch; to daughter, Margaret, wife of Edmond Athy; to son, Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774); to son, Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1752-1807); to son, Philip Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1778-1840); to son, Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75); to son, Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch Athy (1859-1935); to daughter, Muriel Pauline Annette (1883-1943), wife of Christopher Charles Walpole Crofts (1878-1946).

Athy family of Renville

Athy, Edmond. Son of Andrew Athy of Beleek (Mayo), a captain in the army of King James II, and his wife Anastacia, daughter of Dominick Joyce of Galway. He married Margaret, daughter and heir of Philip Lynch of Renville, Oranmore (Galway) and had issue:
(1) Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774) (q.v.);
(2) John Athy;
(3) Oliver Athy; doctor of medicine; married, 2 October 1741 at Galway, the eldest daughter of John Skerrett of Ballinduff;
(4) Christopher Athy;
(5) Edmond Athy;
(6) Sarah Athy;
(7) Jane Athy; married John Moore of Ashbrook (Mayo) and had issue three sons and two daughters.
He inherited Renville in right of his wife.
His date of death is unknown.

Athy, Philip Lynch (d. 1774). Eldest son of Edmond Athy of Renville and his wife Margaret, daughter and heir of Philip Lynch of Renville.  He married Eleanor French, a member of one of the 'Tribes of Galway', and had issue:
(1) Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1752-1807) (q.v.);
(2) Andrew Athy;
(3) Katherine Athy;
(4) Jane Athy.
He inherited Renville from his father.
He died 23 August 1774 and was buried at Oranmore (Galway).

Athy, Edmond Lynch (c.1752-1807). Elder son of Philip Lynch Athy (d. 1774) and his wife Eleanor French, born about 1752. He married, 6 February 1777, Honora (c.1755-81), daughter of Peter Nottingham of Fairfield (Galway) and had issue:
(1) Philip Edmond Lynch Athy (c.1778-1840) (q.v.);
(2) Eleanor Athy (b. c.1780); married Henry Edmond Taaffe (d. 1841) of Woodfield (Mayo), banker, and had issue.
He inherited Renville from his father in 1774.
He died 11 November 1807, aged 55, and was buried at Oranmore (Galway). His wife died 20 April 1781, aged 25, and was buried at Oranmore.

Athy, Philip Edmond Lynch (c.1778-1840). Only recorded son of Edmond Lynch Athy (d. c.1808) and his wife Honora, daughter of Peter Nottingham of Fairfield (Galway), born about 1778. Joined the Catholic Association, 1829. He married, 16 December 1809 at St Catherine, Dublin, Bridget Mary (c.1791-1864), daughter of Randal MacDonnell of Fairfield House, Dublin, and had issue including:
(1) Edmond Athy (c.1811-34); died unmarried in London, 16 August 1834;
(2) Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75) (q.v.);
(3) Honora Lynch Athy (c.1815-18); died in infancy and was buried at Oranmore, November 1818;
(3) Elizabeth Mary Athy (1818-63); died unmarried at Islington, 20 April 1863; will proved 7 May 1863 (effects under £800);
(4) Rev. Myles Athy (1819-92), baptised at St Catherine, Dublin, 9 December 1819; emigrated to Australia, 1856, where he became a Roman Catholic priest of the order of St. Benedict and curate of St  James, Forest Lodge in the diocese of Sydney (Australia); died unmarried, October 1892;
(5) Eveline Athy (c.1825-41); died unmarried at Southampton, 4 June 1841, aged 16;
(6) Catherine Athy (1828-70); died unmarried in Galway, 1870.
He inherited Renville from his father in about 1808 and built Renville House. His widow lived after his death at Buckingham House, Islington (Middx), with her unmarried daughters.
He died 18 May 1840, aged 61. His widow died in Islington (Middx), 7 February 1864; her will was proved 1 March 1864 (effects under £100).

Athy, Randal Edmond Lynch (1814-75). Eldest surviving son of Philip Edmond Lynch Athy (d. 1840) and his wife Bridget, daughter of Randal MacDonnell of Fairfield House, Dublin, born 1814. Educated at Downside. JP for Galway; member of the Galway Board of Guardians. He married, 27 April 1858, Margaret (1825-91), daughter of William Hill Buckle of Piers Court, Stinchcombe (Glos) and Chaceley (then Worcs; now Glos), an officer of 14th Regt., and had issue:
(1) Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch Athy (1859-1935) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Elizabeth Athy (c.1863-1944); married, 28 April 1889, Frederick Claude Wright Hounsell (1865-1933), surgeon, and had issue one son; died at Tenterden (Kent), 18 December 1944; will proved 20 August 1945 (estate £285);
(3) Randal William Athy (b & d. 1865); was born and died 13 October 1865; buried at Oranmore (Galway).
He inherited Renville from his father in 1840.
He died at the Imperial Hotel, Dublin, 10 April 1875; his will was proved in Dublin, 19 May 1875 and sealed in London, 15 June 1875 (total effects under £7,000). His widow died in Dublin, 31 March 1891; administration of her effects was granted 26 May 1891 in Dublin (effects £1,643) and 9 June 1891 in London (effects in England £474).

Athy, Edmond Joseph Philip Lynch (1859-1935). Only recorded son of Randal Edmond Lynch Athy (1814-75) and his wife Margaret, daughter of William Hill Buckle of Chaceley (Worcs/Glos), born 2 June and baptised at Oranmore, 4 June 1859. JP for Galway; High Sheriff of Galway, 1904. Capt. in Galway Artillery. He married 1st, 26 October 1881, Annette Frances (c.1856-1923), younger daughter of Richard Gradwell of Dowth Hall (Meath) and Carlanstown (Westmeath), and 2nd, 25 November 1924, Mary Blake, and had issue:
(1.1) Muriel Pauline Annette Lynch-Athy (1883-1943), born 28 April and baptised 16 May 1883; married, Jul-Sep 1922, Christopher Charles Walpole Crofts (1878-1946), farmer; died Oct-Dec 1943 and was buried at St Nicholas, Galway.
He inherited Renville from his father in 1875 and came of age in 1880.
He died 1 March 1935; his will was proved 30 June 1936 (effects in England £nil). His first wife died 14 January 1923; administration of her goods was granted in Dublin, and sealed in London, 26 April 1923 (effects in England £454). His widow died 29 June 1947; her will was proved 15 April 1948 (effects in England £921).


Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1912, pp. 15-16; P. Melvin, Estates and landed society in Galway, 2012, pp. 117, 434;

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Chequy, gules and argent, on a chevron of the first three estoiles 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 anyone supply further images of Renville House before it fell into dereliction, and especially any views of the interior?
  • As a result of the sad incompleteness of Irish genealogical records and in the apparent absence of family papers, the genealogy of this family, particularly for the earlier generations, is unusually incomplete. If anyone can add additional information I should be very pleased to hear from them.
  • Can anyone supply images of portraits or photographs of any of the members of the family whose names are given in bold type above?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 10th September 2016.