Thursday 24 November 2016

(241) Atkinson of Temple Sowerby House and Morland Hall

Atkinson of Morland
According to family tradition, one Jane Atkinson and her son William were granted a lease of property at Temple Sowerby in 1577, but the family emerge into the archival record only at the beginning of the 18th century, with George Atkinson (1675-1723), tanner, of Temple Sowerby, who may have been a great-grandson of the putative 16th century William Atkinson. His son, Matthew Atkinson (1703-56), who was probably also a tanner, seems to have had the status of a prosperous yeoman. He was responsible for building much of the present Temple Sowerby House in the 1720s, but at his death his estate there seems to have been divided, with part, apparently including Temple Sowerby House, passing to his second son Matthew Atkinson (1736-89) and from him to Matthew Atkinson (1778-1852). The youngest Matthew, who was a banker and brewer, became bankrupt in 1840, and his moiety of the Temple Sowerby estate was sold for the benefit of his creditors.

It was the first Matthew's sons who clearly crossed the line into the landed gentry. His eldest son, George Atkinson (1730-81) began his working life as a tanner but turned to bill-broking and was later appointed the Crown's Receiver General for Cumberland and Westmorland. Matthew's third son, Richard Atkinson (1739-85) went to London, where his financial acumen rapidly secured him a partnership in a firm of West India merchants with lucrative Government contracts. The profits from this were invested in shares in the East India Company, of which he eventually became a Director. Through his friendship with John Robinson, Lord North's secretary to the Treasury and political manager, he became involved in Government efforts to reform the administration of the East India Company, and his appointment as a Director was due to his support of the moderate reform proposals of Pitt, and the defeat of the more radical changes sought by Charles James Fox. He also found his way into mainstream British politics, being elected as an MP in 1784, the year before his early death from consumption. At the time of his death, unmarried and without children, the Gentleman's Magazine estimated his wealth at £300,000, and while this was almost certainly a considerable over-estimate, his relatives undoubtedly benefited greatly from the distribution of his wealth around the family.

It was presumably through Richard Atkinson that George Atkinson (1764-1814) and Matthew Atkinson (1769-1830), sons of George Atkinson (1730-81), came to be sent to Jamaica, where George held the post of Island Secretary and Notary Public in the 1790s and Richard was a partner in the firm of Atkinson, Mure & Bogle, merchants.  Both men became plantation owners, and indeed they may have inherited at least some of these interests from Richard. George married the daughter of another plantation owner, but in about 1799 he returned to England, where he had purchased the Morland estate in Westmorland a couple of years earlier. He settled at Newcastle-on-Tyne but at the end of his life moved to a property near Canterbury (Kent), where he died in 1814. Matthew stayed in Jamaica until at least 1802 and became Agent-General to successive Governors of the island. When he returned to England he settled at Carr Hill House near Gateshead, which he bought in 1806, and established an ironworks at Lemington-on-Tyne. Carr Hill was evidently sold after his death in 1830, or possibly after the death of his second son, Isaac, in 1842.

George's son and heir was another George Atkinson (1795-1849), who inherited the Morland estate and one moiety of the Temple Sowerby estate from his father and came of age in 1816. He also inherited his father's Jamaican interests, and he spent much of his life in the island until he retired in 1846. George was unmarried and without issue, and at his death he left his Temple Sowerby property to his nephew, Matthew's son, Richard Atkinson (1812-76), who also spent some twenty years in Jamaica, managing the family's interests there. Morland he left to his younger brother, Francis Baring Atkinson (1805-64), who, after serving briefly in the army, married and settled down to lead the life of a country gentleman at first at Newbiggin (Northbld), and then at Rampsbeck Lodge on the shores of Ullswater, which he bought in 1840 and is said to have altered.
Rampsbeck Lodge
When he inherited the Morland estate he built a new and significantly grander house there, but he died soon after moving in. Morland Hall passed to his eldest son, George Atkinson (1838-74), and when he died unmarried, to his second son, the Rev. Francis Home Atkinson (1840-1901), who let the house and lived chiefly on Jersey in the Channel Islands. At his death in 1901, the property passed to his son, Henry Ernest Atkinson (1871-1926), who sold the estate in 1923; he lived subsequently at his wife's property, Avening House (Glos).

Richard Atkinson (1812-76) had four sons, who pursued careers in business and administration, but for reasons which are obscure he left his Temple Sowerby property to his widow for life, and then to his unmarried daughter, Catherine Annie Atkinson (1860-1932), who lived at Temple Sowerby House with a companion who was the sister of her brother, Sir John Nathaniel Atkinson (1857-1931), kt. When she died, the estate was put up for sale, but presumably in order to keep it in the family it was bought by Sir John's second son, John Littledale Atkinson (1888-1973). His son having predeceased him by a few months, Temple Sowerby House was sold in the mid-1970s and converted into an hotel.

Temple Sowerby House, Westmorland

Temple Sowerby House: the rear elevation hints at a complex building history with elements from the 17th-20th centuries.

The core of the house is a 17th century farmhouse, perhaps built for the Atkinsons, who were reputedly yeomen farmers at Temple Sowerby by 1577. The house was remodelled in the 1720s (a door lintel has the date 1727) for Matthew Atkinson, tanner, and then re-fronted in the early 19th century for another Matthew Atkinson, banker and brewer. The present five bay, two-storey elevation with a hipped roof and dormers was created at that time. By the 1970s the house was in very poor condition and likely to be demolished, but it was rescued and restored as an hotel, which it remains.

Temple Sowerby House: entrance front
Descent: George Atkinson (1675-1723); to son, Matthew Atkinson (1703-56); to son Matthew Atkinson (1736-89); to son, Matthew Atkinson (1778-1852); sold 1841 to John Thompson; sold 1845 to George Gibson...perhaps sold to Richard Atkinson (1812-76); to widow, Elizabeth Catherine Atkinson (1828-98); to daughter, Catherine Annie Atkinson (1860-1932); sold after her death to John Littledale Atkinson (1888-1973); sold as an hotel after his death.

Morland Hall, Westmorland

Hall Farm, Morland: the staircase
The original Morland Hall (now called Hall Farm) is a large H-shaped roughcast farmhouse of the late 17th or early 18th centuries, with a mixture of mullioned and square sash windows, and a rustic porch on the north side. Inside, it preserves an 18th century staircase with turned balusters, moulded strings, and a handrail ramped up at the ends. This house was subdivided into a number of dwellings in 2005.
Morland Hall: the house after restoration in 1999-2001

In 1849 Francis Baring Atkinson (1805-64) inherited the Morland estate from his childless elder brother, and proceeded to built a new house in 1855-61 on a greenfield site rather more than half a mile to the east of the old Hall Farm. Atkinson, who was already living in some style at Rampsbeck Lodge on the shores of Ullswater, built here on a scale and with a grandeur that reflected the increase in his fortune marked by the acquisition of the Morland estate. His architect for the new house is unknown, but it is an irregular L-shaped gabled building, with a distinctive conical-roofed turret in the angle between the two wings. The house was abandoned after hospital use in the Second World War, and fell into complete dereliction after being unroofed in 1948. 
Morland Hall: the house in a derelict condition in the 1990s. Image: Paul Crosby
Remarkably, considering how far gone it had become, it was restored for use as an hotel and wedding venue in 1999-2001, with a completely new interior in keeping with its external appearance.

Descent: Isaac Eeles sold 1797 to George Atkinson (1764-1814); to son, George Atkinson (1795-1849); to brother, Francis Baring Atkinson (1805-64), who built a new Hall; to son, George Atkinson (1838-74); to brother, Rev. Francis Home Atkinson (1840-1901); to son, Henry Ernest Atkinson (1871-1926), who sold it 1923 to George Morland Beck; sold 1927 to W.G. Shorrock; sold 1936 to Commander R.H. Torbock (d. 1992); used as Red Cross Hospital, 1939-45 and abandoned thereafter; sold 1999 to current owner; for sale 2016.

Atkinson family of Temple Sowerby House

Atkinson, Matthew (1703-56). Son of George Atkinson (1675-1723), tanner, of Temple Sowerby, and his wife Jane, daughter of G. Hodgson of Threlkeld (Westmld), born 2 January and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 9 January 1703. Probably a tanner in succession to his father. He married, 10 April 1727 at Temple Sowerby, Margaret (1707-73), daughter of Richard Sutton of Firbank, Kirkby Lonsdale, and had issue:
(1) George Atkinson (1730-81) (q.v.);
(2) Margaret Atkinson (1733-1827), born 13 May and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 7 June 1733; married, 28 September 1758 at Temple Sowerby, George Alderson Taylor (1736-1812) of Mellwaters, Bowes (Co. Durham) and later of Richmond (Yorks NR), and had issue; died 29 September 1827, aged 94;
(3) Matthew Atkinson (1736-89) (q.v.);
(4) Richard Atkinson (1739-85) (q.v.); 
(5) William Atkinson (b. 1741), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 14 November 1741; married, 2 March 1775 at Patterdale (Westmld), Jane (1740-1803), daughter of John Winder of Glenridding (Westmld), and had issue two sons (both died young) and four daughters; his date of death has not been traced.
He inherited an estate at Temple Sowerby from his father in 1723 and remodelled what is now Temple Sowerby House c.1727. He appears to have divided his property between his sons at his death.
He died 15 April 1756. His widow died at Temple Sowerby, 23 February 1773.

Atkinson, Matthew (1736-89). Second son of Matthew Atkinson (1703-56) and his wife Margaret. daughter of Richard Sutton of Firbank, Kirkby Lonsdale, born 22 August and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 29 August 1736. He married, 30 May 1774 at Wetheral (Cumbld), Mary (1749-1800), daughter of Rev. George Gilbanks of Wetheral, and had issue: 
(1) Margaret Atkinson (1775-1844), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 29 June 1775; lived at Temple Sowerby; died unmarried, Oct-Dec 1844; will proved at Carlisle, 1844;
(2) Mary Atkinson (1776-1866), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 15 September 1776; married, 10 May 1802 at Temple Sowerby, Edward Heelis (1761-1829) and had issue five daughters; died Jul-Sep 1866;
(3) Matthew Atkinson (1778-1852) (q.v.);
(4) Jane Atkinson (1779-1817), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 30 December 1779; married, 19 October 1811 at Temple Sowerby, Abraham Levy (b. 1768), and had issue one son and one daughter; died 12 March 1817;
(5) George Atkinson (b. 1781), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 3 June 1781; probably died young;
(6) Julia Atkinson (b. & d. 1783), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 7 August 1783; died in infancy;
(7) Julia Atkinson (1784-1869), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 5 September 1784; married, c.1810, Capt. Thomas Airey (1775-1826) of 39th and 9th Regiments, and had issue six sons and two daughters; died 15 January 1869; will proved 5 March 1869 (effects under £1,500);
(8) twin, Richard Atkinson (1786-1830), born and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 26 March 1786; Capt. in the Royal Westmorland militia; died unmarried at Battlebarrow, Appleby (Westmld), 29 August 1830;
(9) twin, Edmund Atkinson (b. & d. 1786), born and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 26 March 1786; died in infancy;
(10) Edmund Atkinson (b. 1787), born 24 July and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 27 July 1787; perhaps died young;
(11) Bridget Atkinson (1789-1880), born and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 27 March 1789; married, 19 September 1810 at Temple Sowerby, John Ridley (b. 1781) of High Parkend, Simonburn (Northbld) and had issue one son and three daughters; died Oct-Dec 1880, aged 91.
He inherited part of the Temple Sowerby estate, including the house, from his father in 1756.
He died 4 November 1789; his will was proved in the Prerogative Court of York, July 1790. His widow died 1 August 1800.

Atkinson, Matthew (1778-1852). Eldest son of Matthew Atkinson (1736-89) and his wife Mary, daughter of Rev. George Gillbanks of Wetheral (Cumbld), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 21 June 1778. Brewer at Appleby and senior partner in the Penrith Bank, which failed in 1840 after ill-advised dealings by the partners in fields as diverse as stock-fattening and shipping; on the failure of the bank he was bankrupted (discharged 1845). Mayor of Appleby, 1817-18, 1836-37. JP for Cumberland and Westmorland. He married, 8 July 1819 at Melling (Lancs), Mary (1785-1847), daughter of James Parkinson of Lancaster, solicitor, but had no issue.
He inherited part of the Temple Sowerby estate including the house from his father in 1789 and came of age in 1799. It was sold in 1841 following his bankruptcy the previous year, for £26,200 to John Thompson of Crossfield, near Poulton (Lancs) and he moved to Malines near Bruges (Belgium). After his discharge from bankruptcy he lived at Braganza Cottage on Jersey.
He died at Beaumont (Jersey), 2 November 1852. His wife died 6 December 1847.

Richard Atkinson (1739-85)
Atkinson, Richard (1739-85). Third son of Matthew Atkinson (1703-56) and his wife Margaret, daughter of Richard Sutton of Firbank, Kirkby Lonsdale, born 6/10 March 1738/9 and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 5 April 1739. As a young man, he moved to London as ‘a mere adventurer, unsustained by any inheritance, by few family friends of any power, and by no acquisitions which education imparts but common penmanship and arithmetic’; he rose through his own merits to become, by the 1770s, a partner in the firm of Mure, son, and Atkinson, West India merchants, which held contracts for the supply of British forces at Gibraltar and in North America that were so lucrative that he was described as "the most scandalous army contractor of the American War of Independence". He invested the profits in East India Co. stock, becoming a director of the company in 1783 after the failure of Fox's India bill, which he had opposed. In 1784 he stood unsuccessfully for London as a Pittite Tory at the general election, but was elected MP for Romney and the Cinque Ports soon afterwards and held the seat, 1784-85; he spoke frequently but with brevity and gravitas in the house, confining himself to Indian and other affairs of which he had personal knowledge. Alderman of London, 1784-85. H was unmarried and without issue.
He lived in London, but may have acquired property in India and the West Indies which was passed to his heirs.
He died of consumption, 26/28 May 1785; at his death, his wealth was estimated in the Gentleman's Magazine at £300,000;

Atkinson, George (1730-81). Eldest son of Matthew Atkinson (1703-56) and his wife Margaret. daughter of Richard Sutton of Firbank, Kirkby Lonsdale, born 16 August and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 16 September 1730. Tanner turned bill-broker. Receiver-General for Cumberland & Westmorland. He married, 7 January 1758, Bridget (1732-1814), daughter and heiress of Michael Maughan of Wolsingham, and had issue:
(1) Matthew Atkinson (1759-63), born 11 June and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 12 July 1759; died young, 5 September 1763;
(2) Dorothy Atkinson (1761-1827), born 24 February and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 26 March 1761; married, 23 November 1786 at Temple Sowerby, Nathaniel Clayton (1756-1832) of Chesters (Northbld), and had issue six sons and four daughters; died 1 August 1827;
(3) Michael Atkinson (1763-1821) of Mount Mascal (Kent), born 16/18 February and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 17 March 1763; an officer in East India Co. service who is said to have made 'a substantial fortune' in India, from whence he returned to England in May 1804; in 1806 he was fined £1,000 for libel after alleging in a letter he sent to his brother Matthew (who gave evidence against him), that his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Clayton (who was also the family solicitor), had siphoned off money from the estate of Richard Atkinson (1738-85); in a further action in 1821 he tried to have his uncle's will set aside, but he lost this case too; married, 1787, Sophia, daughter and heiress of George Mackereth of London and widow of James Millbourne of Bengal (India), and had issue one daughter; died at his house in Portland Place, London, 13 September and was buried at North Cray (Kent), 21 September 1821; will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 24 October 1821;
(4) George Atkinson (1764-1814) (q.v.);
(5) Margaret Atkinson (1766-68), born 24 January and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 7 February 1766; died in infancy;
(6) Richard Atkinson (1767-93), born 29 August and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 22 October 1767; died unmarried;
(7) Matthew Atkinson (1769-1830) (q.v.);
(8) John Atkinson (b. 1771), born 6 July and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 7 July 1771; probably died young;
(8) Bridget Atkinson (1773-1850), born and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 13 May 1773; married, 5 May 1804 at Temple Sowerby, Henry Tulip (1758-1831) of Brunton Hall, Walwick Hall and Fallowfield (Northbld) and had issue three daughters; died at Heatherton Park, 21 March and was buried at Bradford-on-Tone (Somerset), 26 March 1850;
(9) Jane Atkinson (1775-1855), born 24 February 1775; died unmarried, 2 March 1855; her will was proved in the Prerogative Court of York, February 1856 (effects under £5,000).
He appears to have inherited part of the Temple Sowerby estate from his father in 1756.
He died 12 October 1781. His widow died 27 March 1814, aged 82; her will was proved in the Prerogative Court of York, October 1814 (effects under £12,500).

Atkinson, George (1764-1814). Second son of George Atkinson (1730-81) and his wife Bridget, daughter and heiress of Michael Maughan of Wolsingham, born 17 September and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 18 October 1764. Island Secretary and Notary Public of Jamaica; aide-de-camp (with the rank of Lt-Col.) to 5th Earl of Balcarres as Capt-General of Jamaica, July-August 1795; Agent-General for British land forces in Jamaica and St. Domingo, 1791-1813. His portrait was painted by Lemuel Abbott. He married, 30 July 1794 in Jamaica, Susanna Mackenzie (1777-1830), daughter of Abraham Dunkley of Clarendon (Jamaica) and had issue:
(1) George Atkinson (1795-1849) (q.v.);
(2) Bridget Atkinson (1799-1884), born 16 July and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 11 August 1799; married, 12 February 1816 at Hampstead (Middx), Robert Robertson (1777-1859) of Auchleeks (Perths.) and formerly of Jamaica, who purchased Membland (Devon) in 1827, and had issue five sons and six daughters; died 6 October 1884; will proved 21 November 1884 (effects £7,810);
(3) Capt. Thomas Atkinson (1800-38), born 14 September and baptised at St John, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 24 November 1800; an officer in the 7th and later 13th Light Dragoons (Cornet, 1826; Lt., 1827; Capt., 1830); died unmarried at Badegherry near Tellicherry (now Thalassery) (India), 4 October 1838;
(4) Mary Atkinson (1802-33), born 1 August and baptised at St John, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 16 September 1802; married, 20 May 1824 in Florence (Italy), Alexander Turnbull (1792-1876), British consul at Marseilles (France) 1815-58, and had issue; died in childbirth at Marseilles, 9 February 1833;
(5) John Atkinson (1803-05), born 14 November 1803 and baptised at St John, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 17 August 1804; died in infancy, 10 March 1805;
(6) Francis Baring Atkinson (1805-64) [see below, Atkinson family of Morland Hall]
(7) Jane Atkinson (1807-75), born 25 October 1807 and baptised at St John, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 5 January 1808; married, 29 October 1828 at Warden (Northbld.), Lt-Col. Edward Johnson DL (1798-1885) of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and The Deanery, Chester-le-Street (Durham), but had no issue; died February 1875;
(8) Rev. William Atkinson (later Atkinson-Clark) (1809-80), born 13 June and baptised at St John, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 17 July 1809; educated at University College, Oxford (BA 1831); ordained deacon, 1834 and priest, 1835; rector of Gateshead Fell (Durham), 1838-70; Hon. Canon of Durham Cathedral, 1854-80; assumed the additional surname of Clark in 1870 when he inherited the Belford estate from his brother-in-law; married, 2 July 1833 at Belford (Northbld), Jane Margaret (1806-78), daughter of William Clark of Belford Hall, and had issue three sons and one daughter, from whom descend the Atkinson-Clark family of Belford Hall (who will be the subject of a future post); died 30 December 1880; will proved 22 February 1881 (effects under £70,000);
(9) Harriet Eliza Atkinson (1811-78), born at Lee (Kent), 16 February 1811; married, 17 June 1828, Alexander Adair (1791-1863) of Heatherton Park (Somerset) and had issue five sons and two daughters; died 18 August 1878; will proved 26 September 1878 (effects under £1,500);
(10) Richard Atkinson (1813-62), born 5 August and baptised at Lee (Kent), 1 September 1813; married, 7 October 1834 at Aberford (Yorks WR), Caroline (c.1812-83), daughter of Rev. J. Landon, rector of Aberford, but had no issue, and was apparently separated from his wife by 1851; died 1862.
He inherited part of the Temple Sowerby estate from his father in 1781 and acquired plantations in Jamaica while working there in the 1790s. He purchased Morland Hall (Westmld) in 1797. He had returned to England by 1799, and lived chiefly at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, although he also owned property at Lee (Kent).
He died 11 May 1814; his will was proved 31 January 1815 (effects under £140,000). His widow died in 1830.

Atkinson, George (1795-1849). Eldest son of George Atkinson (1764-1814) and his wife Susanna Mackenzie, daughter of Abraham Dunkley of Clarendon (Jamaica), born 6 June 1795 and baptised at St Catherine (Jamaica). A partner in the Jamaica firm of Atkinson, Hozier & Co. (from 1844 Atkinson, McGregor) until his retirement in 1846; in 1824 he held the contract for victualling the Royal Navy West Indies squadron with beef and in 1831 he was appointed to act as local representative of his cousins George Clayton Atkinson and Isaac Atkinson in winding up the affairs of their father, Matthew Atkinson (1769-1830). JP for Westmorland, 1845. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Morland and Temple Sowerby estates from his father in 1814. At his death he left Temple Sowerby to his nephew, Richard Atkinson (1812-76) and Morland to his brother, Francis Baring Atkinson (1805-64). At his death he was described as 'formerly of Kingston in the Island of Jamaica and late of Morland'.
He died 29 March 1849; his will was proved in the Prerogative Court of York, August 1849 (effects under £35,000).

Atkinson, Matthew (1769-1830). Third son of George Atkinson (1730-81) and his wife Bridget, daughter and heiress of Michael Maughan of Wolsingham, born 1 September and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 8 October 1769. Sugar planter in Jamaica, and a partner in the firm of Atkinson, Mure & Bogle, which purchased a lease of the post of Commissary General and Island Secretary in Jamaica from the patentee, the Hon. Charles Wyndham; Collector of the Port of Kingston (Jamaica); Agent-General to successive Governors of Jamaica (Lord Balcarres and Lt-Gen. Nugent), 1799-1802. After his return to England he established an ironworks at Lemington-on-Tyne. DL for Co. Durham, 1816. He married, 1 December 1806 at Whitehaven (Cumbld.), Anne (d. 1828), daughter of Isaac Littledale of Whitehaven, and had issue: 
(1) George Clayton Atkinson (c.1808-77) of West Denton and later of Wylam Hall (Northbld), born 1808; an amateur artist, keen naturalist and one of the founder members of the Northumberland & Durham Natural History Society; he undertook a series of journeys to the Outer Hebrides, the Shetlands, St. Kilda, the Faroe Islands and Iceland in 1831-33, which he recorded in journals published in 2001; published A sketch of the life and works of the late Thomas Bewick, 1831; an officer in the Northumberland Yeomanry Cavalry (cornet, 1831); High Sheriff of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1835; married 1st, 10 November 1840 at Knaith (Lincs), Sophia (1803-50), daughter of William Hutton of Gate Burton (Lincs) and had issue one son (Matthew Hutton Atkinson (1843-1917), engineer); married 2nd, 21 April 1852 at St Cuthbert, Edinburgh, Elizabeth (c.1806-77), daughter of George Carr; lived at Wylam Hall, 1853-73; died in Newcastle-on-Tyne, 14 April 1877; will proved 26 April 1877 (estate under £14,000);
(2) Isaac Atkinson (1809-42), born 25 October and baptised at Heworth (Durham), 25 November 1809; married, 12 September 1824 at Houghton-le-Spring (Durham), Mary Dixon (c.1806-66) and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 27 December 1842;
(3) Mary Anne Atkinson (1811-37), born 7 March and baptised at Heworth (Durham), 4 April 1811; married, 24 August 1829, John Dobson, esq., of Hobart, Tasmania (Australia), and had issue; died in childbirth and was buried at Hobart, 2 April 1837;
(4) Richard Atkinson (1812-76) (q.v.);
(5) Anne Atkinson (b. 1815), baptised at Heworth (Durham), 16 March 1815.
After he returned to England from Jamaica he purchased Carr Hill House, Co. Durham in 1806, which had been built between 1766 and 1770 as a private lunatic asylum. The house was sold either after his death or that of his son Isaac.
He died 24 December 1830. His wife died 10 October 1828.

Atkinson, Richard (1812-76). Youngest son of Matthew Atkinson (1769-1827) of Carr Hill (Co. Durham) and his wife Anne Littledale, born 7 July and baptised at Heworth near Jarrow (Durham), 5 August 1812. He was a plantation owner in Jamaica, and succeeded his uncle George as a partner in the firm of Atkinson, McGregor & Co there. He married, c.1849 and presumably in Jamaica, Elizabeth Catherine (1828-98), daughter of Rev. John Rhodes Pitter of Black River (Jamaica), and had issue including:
(1) Elizabeth Atkinson (b. 1850), baptised in Jamaica, 1850; married, 28 July 1869 at Temple Sowerby, Maj. Christopher Wilson Braithwaite-Wilson (1843-98), JP and barrister-at-law, of Plumtree Hall (Westmld), son of Garnett Braithwaite of Plumtree Hall, but had no issue; she survived her husband but her date of death has not been traced;
(2) Jane Ann Atkinson (c.1853-69), born in Jamaica, c.1853; died unmarried, Jan-Mar 1869;
(3) Richard Atkinson (c.1854-1923), baptised in Kingston (Jamaica), 1854; corn merchant in Liverpool; married, 6 February 1884 at Seaforth (Lancs), Margaret, daughter of William Hunter of Liverpool, gent., and had issue; died 1923;
(4) Sir John Nathaniel Atkinson (1857-1931) (q.v.);
(5) Catherine Annie Atkinson (1860-1932) (q.v.);
(6) Marian Harriet Atkinson (1861-1931), born 23 December 1861 and baptised at Temple Sowerby, 22 February 1862; married, 3 November 1886 at St Margaret, Westminster, Thomas Alfred Royds Littledale (1850-1938), Olympic sailor, and had issue one daughter; died 12 July 1931; will proved 10 October 1931 (estate £17,043);
(7) William Henry Atkinson (b. 1864), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 27 July 1864; clerk in his brother Richard's office in 1881; perhaps died young or emigrated;
(8) George Alfred Atkinson (1867-98), baptised at Temple Sowerby, 22 April 1867; printer; married, 19 September 1891 at St Thomas, Hammersmith (Middx), Jane, daughter of Thomas Martin, gent.; died in London, 2 March, and was cremated at Woking (Surrey), 5 March 1898; will proved 24 March 1898 (effects £2,258).
He inherited his father's interests in Jamaica in 1830, came of age in 1833, and lived at Kingston (Jamaica) until the mid 1850s, when his Jamaican interests appear to have been sold. He inherited property at Temple Sowerby from his uncle George Atkinson in 1849 and moved there about 1855, living at Winderwath House until he bought back Temple Sowerby House. At his death he left his Temple Sowerby estate to his widow and it then passed to his daughter Catherine Annie Atkinson (1860-1932).
He died at Temple Sowerby, 18 January 1876; his will was proved 25 March 1876 (effects under £30,000). His widow died 17 August 1898; her will was proved 14 October 1898 (effects £5,128).

Atkinson, Catherine Annie (1860-1932). Daughter of Richard Atkinson (d. 1876) and his wife Elizabeth Catherine, daughter of Rev. John Rhodes Pitter, baptised 5 May 1860. She lived at home until her mother's death and later with a companion (Mary Caroline Banks (c.1850-1929), elder sister of Sir J.N. Atkinson's wife), and was unmarried and without issue. 
She inherited the Temple Sowerby estate from her mother in 1898; it was sold after her death to her nephew, John Littledale Atkinson (1888-1973) (q.v.). 
She died 9 January 1932; administration of her goods was granted 5 July 1932 to her nephew, Michael Hunter Atkinson (1888-1966), teacher, son of Richard Atkinson (c.1854-1923).

Sir J.N. Atkinson, kt.
Atkinson, Sir John Nathaniel (1857-1931), kt. Son of Richard Atkinson (d. 1876) and his wife Elizabeth Catherine, daughter of Rev. John Rhodes Pitter, born at Temple Sowerby, 16 May and baptised there 4 July 1857. Educated at Marlborough. Joined Indian Civil Service, 1876; Collector and Magistrate, 1894; an additional member of the Legislative Council of Madras, 1901, 1903, 1905; a member of the Board of Revenue of Madras, 1903; member of Council of Government of Madras, 1909-14. Appointed CSI, 1908 and KCSI, 1912. He married, 8 July 1885 at Cocanada, Madras (India), Constance (1860-1947), daughter of Rev. Robert J. Banks of Doncaster (Yorks WR), and had issue:
(1) George Richard Atkinson (1886-1932) of Pennington Lodge, Lymington (Hants), born 5 March 1886; married, 4 April 1923 in Madras (India), Mary Eleanor Finnie (b. 1900) (who married 2nd, 24 May 1934 in Bombay (India), Alan Linley Bishop (b. 1901)), but had no issue; died 18 September 1932 at Hubli (India) and was buried there the following day; will proved 8 December 1932 (estate £3,092);
(2) John Littledale Atkinson (1888-1973) (q.v.);
(3) Mary Bridget (k/a Biddy) Atkinson (b. 1891), born 13 June and baptised in Madras (India), 18 October 1891; served in Women's Royal Air Force, 1918; married, 21 October 1914 at Llandrindod Wells (Radnors.), Lt-Col. Edward Leyborne-Popham (b. 1876), son of Rev. E. Leyborne-Popham, and had issue.
He lived after retirement at Holybourne Lodge, Alton (Hants).
He died 2 March 1931; his will was proved 5 May 1931 (estate £20,684). His widow died 20 June 1947 and was buried at Pennington (Hants), 24 June 1947; her will was proved 8 September 1947 (estate £2,201).

Atkinson, John Littledale (1888-1973). Younger son of Sir John Nathaniel Atkinson (1857-1931) and his wife Constance, daughter of Rev. Robert J. Banks of Doncaster (Yorks WR), born at Madras (India), 7 February 1888. Educated at Marlborough College and Downing College, Cambridge (matriculated 1907; BA 1912; MA 1919). He served for three years as a trooper in King Edward's Horse. He qualified as a barrister, but in 1914 he emigrated to Canada where he worked as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia and later Montreal, and served as an officer in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (Lt., 1915). He married, 30 April 1930 at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Quebec (Canada), Evelyn Hay (1892-1976), daughter of Archibald Hay Cook and widow of [forename unknown] De Castaneda, and had issue:
(1) John Richard Evelyn Atkinson (1934-73) (q.v.)
He purchased Temple Sowerby House, probably in 1932. It was sold after his death.
He died 26 May 1973; his will was proved 22 November 1973 (estate £37,982). His widow died in Petersfield (Hants), 8 November 1976; her will was proved 4 February 1977 (estate £7,493).

Atkinson, John Richard Evelyn (1934-73). Son of John Atkinson (fl. 1934-73) and his wife, born 8 March 1934. An officer in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (2nd Lt., 1953). Author of Community or Chaos, 1965. He married, 22 October 1966, Jane (b. 1935), daughter of Alfred Drewett Chaytor of London, barrister, and had issue:
(1) Richard Matthew Clervaux Atkinson (b. 1968), born 30 June 1968; married, Apr-Jun 2000, Susan Dorothy Gilkes;
(2) Dr. Harriet R. Atkinson (b. 1972), born 1972; married, 2002, Valerian Bernard Freyberg (b. 1970), 3rd Baron Freyberg, of Munstead House (Surrey), sculptor and elected member of the House of Lords, and had issue one son and two daughters.
He died in the lifetime of his father, 24 February 1973 and was buried at Temple Sowerby; his will was proved 28 August 1973 (estate £15,058). 

Atkinson family of Morland Hall

Atkinson, Francis Baring (1805-64). Third son of George Atkinson (1764-1814) and his wife Susanna Mackenzie, daughter of Abraham. Dunkley of Clarendon (Jamaica), born 30 December 1805 and baptised at St John, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1 May 1806. Educated at Harrow. An officer in 73rd Foot (Lt.). He went on a honeymoon tour of Italy and Malta after his first marriage, 1832. JP for Cumberland, 1845 and Westmorland; DL for Cumberland; Chairman of the Finance Committee of Cumberland Quarter Sessions, 1851-59; High Sheriff of Cumberland, 1853. He married 1st, 26 December 1831, probably in Malta, Mary Ann (d. 1832), daughter of Sir John Stoddart, Chief Justice of Malta, and 2nd, 3 August 1837 at Stoke Damerel (Devon), Ellen Frances (d. 1870), daughter of John Home RN of Edgbaston, Birmingham (Warks), and had issue:
(2.1) George Atkinson (1838-74) (q.v.);
(2.2) Rev. Francis Home Atkinson (1840-1901) (q.v.);
(2.3) Capt. Thomas Atkinson (1841-1906), born 2 August 1841; an officer in 1st Royal Regiment of Infantry, 1858-71 (Ensign, 1858; Lt., 1863; Capt., 1868); lived latterly at Naval & Military Club, London; died unmarried at Moffat (Dumfriess.), 13 October 1906 and was buried at Lockerbie (Dumfriess.), 16 October 1906; will proved 30 November 1906 (estate £11,164);
(2.4) Ellen Frances Atkinson (1843-1920), born 11 August and baptised at Watermillock (Cumbld), 14 October 1843; married, 1 January 1873 at Morland, Joseph George Miles Parker Ranalow (1844-1920) of Kingstown (Dublin), and had issue one son and three daughters; died in Wandsworth Common, London, 6 November 1920; will proved 23 December 1920 (estate £980);
(2.5) twin, William Atkinson (1844-1919), born 18 October 1844; educated at University of London; unmarried; probably the person of this name who died 23 September 1919 at The Priory Mental Hospital, Roehampton (Surrey); administration of goods granted 16 December 1919 (estate £3,821);
(2.6) twin, Richard Clayton Atkinson (1844-95), born 18 October and baptised 20 November 1844; educated at Rossall School and University of London (admitted 1870); died unmarried in London, 17 September 1895; administration (with will annexed) of goods granted, 4 December 1895 (effects £2,246) and new grant made 30 October 1901;
(2.7) Capt. Alexander Henry Atkinson (1846-1920), born 16 August and baptised at Watermillock, 18 October 1846; an officer in the 55th and later 29th Regiment, 1866-85 (Ensign, 1866; Lt., 1871; Capt., 1881); imprisoned for four months (with hard labour) for indecent assault, 1893; married, 17 November 1875 at Mussowrie, Bengal (India), Amy Harriett (1855-1922), only daughter of Capt. Frederick James Alexander of 8th Bengal Cavalry, and had issue three sons; died at St. Margaret's (Middx), 27 November 1920; administration of goods granted to his widow, 25 January 1921 (estate £127);
(2.8) Robert Septimus Atkinson (1848-1920), born 15 February 1848; probably the person of this name who was an ensign in the Liverpool Press Guard Rifle Volunteers, 1867; tea planter and 'student of music'; lived after retirement at Morland, College Road, Epsom (Surrey); died unmarried, 19 May 1920; his will was proved 19 July 1920 (estate £3,878);
(2.9) Mary Jane Atkinson (1849-72), born 10 May 1849; died unmarried, 6 September 1872;
(2.10) Edward Atkinson (1850-1900), born 19 July 1950; married, 21 May 1878, Margaret Isabel (b. 1855; fl. 1911), daughter of Benjamin Longridge Barnett of Leytonstone (Essex), and had issue two sons; lived at West Dulwich, London; died 15 January 1900; administration of his goods granted to his widow, 12 March 1900 (estate £233);
(2.11) Bridget Harriet Atkinson (1854-1930); married, 17 January 1883, Thomas Swynfen Parker Jervis (1853-1936), son of Rev. Edward Swynfen Parker Jervis of Little Aston Hall (Staffs), and had issue three sons and three daughters; died 27 January 1930; administration of her goods granted to her husband, 20 March 1930 (estate £198).
He was living at Newbiggin House, Newburn (Northbld.) in 1840 but had moved to Rampsbeck Lodge, Ullswater (which he purchased in 1840) by 1841; when the sale of the house was advertised in 1861 it was said he had 'much enlarged and improved' it. He inherited the Morland estate from his brother George in 1849 and built a new house on the estate between 1855 and 1861, to which he moved c.1863.
He died 25 November 1864; his will was proved 22 December 1864 (effects under £40,000). His first wife died in childbirth, November 1832, probably in Italy or Malta. His widow died at St. Leonards-on-Sea, 10 May 1870, and was buried there; her will was proved 19 August 1870 (effects under £1,000).

Atkinson, George (1838-74). Eldest son of Francis Baring Atkinson (1805-64) and his second wife, Ellen Frances, daughter of John Home RN, born 24 November 1838. Educated at Harrow, University College, Oxford (BA 1859) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1858). Captain in Royal Westmorland Militia; JP (from 1868) and DL for Westmorland. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Morland Hall estate from his father in 1864.
He died at San Remo (Italy), 3 March 1874, and was buried there; his will was proved 28 March 1874 (effects under £6,000).

Atkinson, Rev. Francis Home Atkinson (1840-1901). Second son of Francis Baring Atkinson (1805-64) and his second wife, Ellen Frances, daughter of John Home RN, born at Newbiggin House, 2 March 1840. Educated at Rossall School and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (admitted, 1858; BA 1862; MA 1865). He was a close friend of Lewis Carroll and stayed with him at Oxford. Ordained deacon, 1864 and priest, 1865; curate of East Dereham (Norfk), 1864-65, Freshwater (IoW), 1867-68 (when he acted as private tutor to the family of Alfred, Lord Tennyson) and Withycombe Raleigh (Devon), 1869-72; Vicar of Frocester (Glos), 1872-73, Minley (Hants), 1874-80 and St Paul, Jersey, 1880-83; curate of All Saints, Jersey, 1887-92. He married, 17 April 1869, Edith Mary (d. 1933), daughter of Henry Vatcher of Rosemount, St. Helier (Jersey), and had issue:
(1) Henry Ernest Atkinson (1871-1926) (q.v.);
(2) Edith Gertrude Dickson Atkinson (1873-1924), born 2 November 1873; married, 25 April 1894, Col. Reginald Hawkins Hall-Dempster DSO (1854-1922) of Dunnichen (Angus) and had issue one daughter; died 23 May 1924;
(3) Francis George Atkinson (1875-1902), born 15 September 1875; died unmarried, 6 December 1902;
(4) Lt-Col. John Clayton Atkinson (1877-1957), born 10 July 1877; an officer in the Norfolk Regt., 1897-1919, 1921-22 (2nd Lt, 1897; Lt., 1899; Capt., 1905; Maj., 1915; Lt-Col., 1922); he fought in the South African War, 1900-02 and First World War, 1914-18 (mentioned in despatches); on half pay due to ill health, 1919-21; Norfolk County Army Welfare Officer, 1940-45; married, 9 January 1912 at St Stephen, East Twickenham (Middx), Elizabeth Gwendolen OBE (d. 1939), elder daughter of Cuthbert A. Brereton of Meadowbank, Twickenham (Middx) and Brinton Hall (Norfk) and had issue one son and two daughters; died in Cheltenham (Glos), 22 February 1957 and was buried with his wife at Sheringham (Norfk); will proved 1 May 1957 (estate £15,649);
(5) Dorothy Home Atkinson (1887-1962), born 12 June 1887; married, 26 July 1909, Lt-Col. Sefton Dulany Brancker CB (1875-1960) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 25 February 1962; her will was proved 31 July 1962 (estate £71,834).
He inherited the Morland Hall estate from his brother in 1874 but mostly let it. His widow lived at The Croft, Crowborough (Sussex).
He died at St Helier (Jersey), 23 March 1901; his will was proved 23 May 1901 (estate £24,314). His widow died at Crowborough (Sussex), 24 June 1933; her will was proved 8 September 1933 (estate £35,049).

Atkinson, Henry Ernest (1871-1926). Eldest son of Rev. Francis Home Atkinson (1840-1901) and his wife Edith Mary, daughter of Henry Vatcher of Rosemount, St. Helier (Jersey), born at Exmouth (Devon), 21 July 1871. Educated at Victoria College, Jersey and Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1890; BA 1894). He married, 11 October 1922, Lady Eleanor Mabel (1873-1945), daughter of Henry Charles Howard, 18th Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire, and widow of Maj. the Hon. Lionel Francis George Byng (1858-1915), of Avening House (Glos), but had no issue.
He inherited the Morland Hall estate from his father in 1901 but seems to have lived in Jersey with his mother and let the house. After he married he sold the 725-acre estate in 1923. He lived later at Avening House (Glos), which his wife had inherited on the death of her first husband.
He died 3 October and was buried at Minchinhampton (Glos), 5 October 1926; his will was proved 4 January 1927 (estate £85,693). His widow died 9 March 1945; her will was proved (under the name Lady Eleanor Mabel Byng), 4 September 1945 (estate £18,372).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1969, pp. 24-25; The Times, 7 March 1806, p. 3; Carlisle Journal, 3 May 1845, p. 3; C.R. Hudleston & R.S. Boumphrey, Cumberland families and heraldry, 1978, pp. 8-10; J.M. Robinson, The country houses of the north-west, 1991, p. 282; M. Hyde & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cumbria, 2010, pp. 533, 633; ODNB article on Richard Atkinson MP (1739-85);

Location of archives

Atkinson of Morland & Temple Sowerby: deeds and wills, 1693-1894 [Cumbria Archives Service, Kendal, WDX 82]; deeds, 1748-1947 [Cumbria Archives Service, Kendal, WDX 1208]

Coat of arms

Gules, an eagle displayed with two heads argent, on a chief of the second three mullets of the first.

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.

  • Any information about children mentioned above whose careers and families have not been traced would be gratefully received.
  • Can anyone supply portraits or photographs of members of the family whose names appear in bold above and who are not already illustrated?
  • My account above of the descent of the family's chief Temple Sowerby properties is reconstructed from information in newspapers and parish records and is likely to be incomplete and possibly not wholly accurate. It is apparent from some sources that the Atkinsons of Temple Sowerby were part of a much wider clan of that name with properties elsewhere, and that there were other, probably distantly-related Atkinsons, who owned property in Temple Sowerby. I should be very pleased to hear from anyone who can improve on my account.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 24 November 2016 and updated 4 December 2016. Some information was removed at the request of a data subject, 2 September 2018.

Sunday 13 November 2016

(240) Atkinson of Stowell

Atkinson of Stowell
The fortunes of this family appear to have been founded by Richard Atkinson (d. 1574) of Oxford, draper, who was a leading citizen of the town in the mid 16th century and five times mayor between 1549 and 1559. His family may have been related to the Atkinsons of Temple Sowerby (Westmld) or those of Yorkshire, but his parentage is unknown. He and his first wife produced eleven children, of whom Robert Atkinson (c.1535-1607) was perhaps the eldest and only surviving son. Robert was trained as a lawyer at the Inner Temple in the 1550s and was elected to the Common Council of the city of Oxford and became its legal adviser in 1560. Three years later he was MP for Appleby (which may suggest a connection with the Atkinsons of Westmorland) and in 1566 he was appointed Recorder of Oxford. By the end of the decade, however, he was in difficulties with the authorities over his religious beliefs. His wife was an avowed Catholic, and he admitted to seldom attending Anglican divine service, although he claimed not to have attended any other services. In 1569 he was given a year to demonstrate his conformity and in 1570 when he had not done so the authorities of the Inner Temple excluded him and barred him from practising. He was still excluded in 1577 but would appear to have been quietly allowed to resume his profession sometime after that, as by 1590 he was in practice once more from his house in Chancery Lane. The curious thing is that his exclusion seems not to have affected his position as Recorder of Oxford, even though the city was then controlled by the Puritan faction. His father died in 1574 and it may have been his father's prestige which preserved his position in Oxford, and his wealth which enabled him to purchase the Stowell estate in 1577.

Robert and his wife Joyce produced two sons and five daughters. The two sons inherited Stowell and Robert's other property in Gloucestershire (at Little Taynton and Kilcot) in turn. The elder, Henry Atkinson, seems to have died in 1631, but the younger, John Atkinson, survived until 1662. In 1627, when it was probably clear that both the brothers were likely to die childless, Henry executed a settlement in favour of his nephew Thomas Wentworth, the son of his sister Anne (who had died in 1611) and her husband William Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse (Yorks WR). Thomas, who became a prominent supporter of King Charles I during the years of his personal rule, and who was Lord Deputy of Ireland, 1632-40, was made Baron Wentworth and later 1st Earl of Strafford. However, in 1641 he was attainted by Parliament for his high-handed conduct in Ireland and condemned to death. With much reluctance, Charles I signed his death-warrant and he was duly executed on Tower Hill on 12 May 1641.

When Henry Atkinson died, probably in June or July 1631, his Gloucestershire estates passed to his younger brother John, who was educated at Oxford and perhaps later at one of the inns of court. In his father's will he was left a house in Chancery Lane and his father's books, so it seems probable he was a lawyer. Like Lord Strafford, he was a supporter of the Crown and a Royalist during the Civil War. Nothing seems to be recorded of his activities in the war, and I have not found a record of his estate being sequestered, but in the 1650s he was still of concern to the Commonwealth authorities. In 1658, when he was perhaps ailing, he had licence to travel to Spa (Belgium), and he was officially pardoned by the Commonwealth the following year. When King Charles II was restored to the throne the following year, he was knighted, perhaps as a token reward for his support or privations in the preceding decades. He had sold his property at Kilcot in 1653 and Little Taynton in 1656, which may imply that he was in straightened circumstances. He died in 1662, and under the terms of the 1627 settlement the Stowell estate passed to his great-nephew, William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1626-95), who sold it in 1689.

Stowell Park, Gloucestershire

Stowell must be one of the least-known large country houses in the Cotswolds, due largely to its isolated position in the empty country south of Northleach. It incorporates a late medieval stone house, which was extended and refronted in the 17th century and refitted, redecorated and enlarged by Sir John Belcher for the 3rd Earl of Eldon in 1886-98.

Stowell Park: north front. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.
The Stowell estate was acquired by Robert Atkinson (d.1607) in 1577, but although the house is traditionally said to date from c.1600, it looks considerably later. The medieval core of the house lies at its northern end, and was probably a rectangular block with a wing projecting on the south to make an L-shape, but nothing of its 15th or 16th century exterior is recognisable. The north front of the house is now of five bays, of which the end ones project as two-storey bay windows, each surmounted by ball finials on the parapet. The western bay window may represent the hall bay of the previous house. The windows are all mullion-and-transom crosses with straight drip-moulds over, placed so close together that the drip-moulds almost form a continuous string course, and the use of such windows inclines me to date this front to the 1620s or later. 

Stowell Park: west front. Image: Nicholas Kingsley.  Some rights reserved.

Stowell Park: window on the west front.
Image: Nicholas Kingsley  Some rights reserved.
The window details of the west front are almost identical, but whereas the north front has a convincingly Jacobean flavour, the west front seems too poised and cool for the early date usually assigned to it. If one thinks away the battlements and the projecting crenellated summerhouse added later, and imagines instead the hipped roof with dormers which the battlements partly obscure, the façade has an almost post-Restoration sophistication, yet the dripstones over the mullioned and transomed cross windows and the simple stone doorcase with its Atkinson family crest are fairly old-fashioned. The most likely sequence of development is perhaps that work was begun on the north front by Henry Atkinson in the 1620s, and then resumed some years later with the west front under his brother John in the 1630s. The block plan of the house shown on an estate map of 1812 agrees closely with the form of the north and west fronts today. Inside the house, there is now relatively little to recall the pre-Victorian period; the best feature is some dado-height panelling with arched panels having cherubs on the keystones and tiers of Doric and Ionic pilasters, moved from the drawing room to the library in the later 20th century.

In January 1685, the Duke of Ormonde was contemplating leasing Stowell as a residence, and sent Colonel Edward Vernon to look at it. Colonel Vernon reported disparagingly, though not perhaps disinterestedly, that:
“I now remember the place, but never took notice of the house, but it is a very little one; one Mr Stevens dwelt in it, and I fear much too little for your Grace ... The rooms are very little, all but the parlour and hall, which are fit for a country gentleman ... I wish it were your Grace's inheritance, for it is a very fine country and a very fine site to build upon ...”
In about 1689 the 2nd Earl of Strafford sold the estate to John Howe, who was born about 1660, and was then MP for Cirencester. He became one of the members for Gloucestershire in 1698-1705. As a strong Tory, Howe was made a privy councillor in 1702 and was joint paymaster-general from 1703-14. His son, who inherited the Chedworth, Withington and Cassey Compton estates from his cousin, Sir Richard Howe, in 1730, was created Lord Chedworth in 1741. Cassey Compton seems at first to have become the family seat, but the first three Lords Chedworth used Stowell when they were not in London. After the 3rd Baron died at Stowell in 1781, however, the 4th and last Lord Chedworth (d.1804), who disliked his Gloucestershire property, lived in Suffolk. All the household goods were offered for sale in 1782 and, when the whole estate of over 7,600 acres was put on the market in 1811, Stowell was described as 'an ancient mansion, now a farmhouse', and the park was said to contain 'several beautiful sites for building upon'.

The purchaser of 1812 was Sir William Scott, judge of the Admiralty Court and MP for Oxford University. In 1821 he was raised to the peerage as Lord Stowell, but following his death in 1836 and that of his daughter, Lady Sidmouth, in 1842, the estate passed to his nephew, the Earl of Eldon. Like the last Lord Chedworth, Lord Stowell and the Earls of Eldon let Stowell for most of the 19th century, but the 3rd Earl (who came of age in 1866, having inherited at the age of nine) preferred Stowell to the family seat of Encombe in Dorset, and employed Sir John Belcher to carry out a considerable enlargement of the house in 1886-98.

Stowell Park: Sir John Belcher's new south-west range.
Belcher’s key alteration was to change the approach and entrance to the house. Originally, a drive approached from the north and curved round to a main entrance on the west front. Belcher laid out new terraces before this façade, making it the principal garden front, and created a fairly large new south wing in a Cotswold vernacular style, which incorporated a new entrance next to an impressive ogee-capped tower. The change to the entrance arrangements and the addition of the new wing required radical alterations to the interior of the house, including the remodelling of the 17th century staircase. Most of the interiors were heavily panelled in dark oak, and the entrance hall had stained glass with the coats of arms of the families which have owned Stowell. The work was mainly carried out in 1886-89, but changes continued until 1898 and, when it was completed, Stowell possessed all the accommodation a Victorian gentleman required: porch, outer hall, lounge hall with open timber roof and stone fireplace, study with gun room, side door and private cloakroom adjacent; drawing room, dining room, library, smoking room and nineteen bedrooms and dressing rooms, plus twenty servants’ bedrooms. The richest interior was the drawing room or ‘Tapestry Room’, hung with four panels of Flemish verdure tapestry, where the chimneypiece was framed by an archway supported on blue onyx columns with marble capitals. Additional service accommodation was also created, to the east of the main building, where a new courtyard called the ‘Green Court’ was planned, surrounded by single-storey corridor links and two-storey vernacular buildings, and on the south-west, where the servants’ hall and kitchen lay.
Stowell Park: the design for the Green Court, published in The Builder, 1887.
Belcher made the most of the need to create a new approach to the house by flanking the drive with a fine pair of gatepiers, linked to pyramidally-roofed gatehouses set at an angle of 45° which originally doubled as summer houses. He also created extensive new balustraded and paved terraces around the lawn to the south of the house, and built a grand new stable block with a tower at one corner. The old stables, north of the house and facing the north front of the house at fairly close quarters, were converted into a splendid ballroom and a badminton court in 1913 by Sidney Tatchell, who also made further additions to the house in 1918-20.

In 1923, however, the ageing Earl of Eldon decided that he could not afford to maintain two full-scale country houses, and since his surviving sons were all comfortably settled in smaller properties, determined to sell off his Gloucestershire estate, leaving Encombe to be inherited by his grandson and heir. Despite expectations that the estate would be broken up, as so many others were at that time, the house and 2,379 acres were sold by private treaty to the Hon. Samuel Vestey in September 1923. Much of the remaining 4,000 acres of the estate was sold at auction, chiefly to the occupiers of the properties concerned, but Lord Vestey (as he became on the death of his father in 1940) subsequently bought some of them 
back, including the strategically placed Cassey Compton. The estate, which now belongs to the present Lord Vestey, comprises some 6,000 acres and is in excellent heart.

Stowell Park: the house as reduced in size by Christopher Buxton for Lord Vestey c.1981.
Image: Nicholas Kingsley.  Some rights reserved.
The very Victorian ambience of Stowell, and its excessive provision of service accommodation, meant that it was always likely to be subjected to further alterations, and in about 1981 the house was reduced in size by Christopher Buxton. The main loss was the majority of the south-west wing added by Belcher, although his porch and tower were spared. The new elevations devised to tidy up the south-west corner of the house after the demolitions are unfortunately not to up to the standard of those they replace. Inside the house, the removal of much of the dark and heavy 17th and 19th century panelling was more successful, since the house is now lighter and more cheerful than before.

Descent: Thomas Limerick (d. 1486); to daughter, Agnes, wife of William Tame and later Sir Robert Harcourt (d. by 1504); to son, Thomas Tame (d. c.1545) to widow and then daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Edmund Horne (d. 1553); to daughter Elizabeth, wife of Anthony Bourne, who sold 1577 to Robert Atkinson (c.1535-1607); to son, Henry Atkinson (d. 1631?); to brother, Sir John Atkinson (d. 1662); to great-nephew, William Wentworth (1626-95), 2nd Earl of Strafford, who sold 1689 to John Grubham Howe MP (d. 1722); to son, John Howe (d. 1742), 1st Baron Chedworth; to son, John Thynne Howe (d. 1762), 2nd Baron Chedworth; to brother, Henry Frederick Howe (d. 1781), 3rd Baron Chedworth; to nephew, John Howe (d. 1804), 4th Baron Chedworth; to trustees who sold 1812 to Sir William Scott (1745-1836), 1st Baron Stowell; to daughter, Marianne (d. 1842), wife of Henry Addington (1757-1844), 1st Viscount Sidmouth; to kinsman, John Scott (1805-54), 2nd Earl of Eldon; to son, John Scott (1845-1926), 3rd Earl of Eldon; sold 1923 to Samuel Vestey (1882-1954), 2nd Baron Vestey; to grandson, Samuel George Armstrong Vestey (b. 1941), 3rd Baron Vestey.

Atkinson family of Stowell Park

Atkinson, Richard (c.1500-74). Parentage unknown. A draper in Oxford, who was in business on his own account by 1526 when he took his first recorded apprentice. He was a member of the Common Council from 1530-46 and Alderman, 1546-74; Chamberlain, 1533; Bailiff, 1539; Mayor, 1548-50, 1553-54, 1559-60, 1567-68; Coroner, 1549. He was mayor at the time of Queen Mary's coronation and may have performed the traditional role of the mayor of Oxford as butler at the coronation feast. He married 1st, Agnes [surname unknown] (d. 1569) and 2nd, 3 September 1570 at St Peter-in-the-East, Oxford, Joan Barton, and had issue by his first wife five sons and six daughters, including:
(1) Robert Atkinson (c.1535-1607) (q.v.).
He lived in Oxford, but by 1568 was living in the suburbs of the town.
He died 31 May 1574 and was buried at St. Peter-in-the-East, Oxford, 2 June 1574, where he was commemorated by a marble tomb with a brass inlaid in its top; the brass survives in the church which is now the library of St. Edmund Hall. His first wife was buried at St Peter-in-the-East, 18 May 1569. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Atkinson, Robert (c.1535-1607). Only surviving son of Richard Atkinson (d. 1574) of Oxford, draper, and his first wife Agnes (d. 1569), born about 1535. His father having been mayor of Oxford five times, he was made a freeman of the city in his teens, in 1549. Educated at the Inner Temple (admitted, 1554/5; called to bar, 1561). Barrister at law; A member of the Common Council of the city of Oxford, 1560/61; MP for Appleby (Westmld), 1563. In 1570 he was expelled from the Inner Temple with others who had refused to conform to the Elizabethan religious settlement, and his reinstatement is not recorded but apparently did not take place until after 1577. He continued to be under suspicion of recusant sympathies, perhaps largely because his wife was an avowed Catholic, but he managed to steer a middle line between conscience and conformity, and in his will made his property legacies to his children conditional on their conforming. Mysteriously his exclusion from legal practice in the 1570s does not seem to have affected his position as Recorder of Oxford, which he held 1566-1607 (although he acted by deputy after 1580), even though Oxford was then a Puritan stronghold. As Recorder he also made the official speech of welcome when Queen Elizabeth visited the city in 1592. He married Joyce, daughter of Humphrey Ashfield of Heythrop (Oxon), and had issue:
(1) Anne Atkinson (c.1567-1611); married, 1590, Sir William Wentworth (c.1562-1614), 1st bt. of Wentworth Woodhouse (Yorks WR) and had issue eight sons and three daughters including Thomas Wentworth (1593-1641), 1st Earl of Strafford, whose son inherited the Stowell estate in 1662; died 22 July 1611 and was buried at Wentworth, 23 July 1611;
(2) Mary Atkinson; married, before 1598, Sir Francis Trappes (later Trappes-Byrnand) (1570-1643), kt. of Harrogate and Nidd (Yorks WR) and had issue six sons and ten daughters;
(3) Joyce Atkinson; married 1st, 15 July 1595 at St Dunstan in the West, London, as his second wife, Richard Josselyn (1564-1605) of Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth (Herts) and had issue one son; married 2nd, 30 January 1605/6 at St Olave, Hart St., London, William Bennett; 
(4) Henry Atkinson (d. 1631?) (q.v.);
(5) Eleanor Atkinson (d. c.1605); married, 6 December 1600 at St Dunstan in the West, London, Sir Thomas Bold (d. 1612), kt. of Bold (Lancs) (who married 2nd, 9 April 1607, Bridget, daughter of William Norres of Speke (Lancs)), illegitimate son of Richard Bold of Bold, but had no issue; died before 1607;
(6) Sir John Atkinson (d. 1662), kt. (q.v.);
(7) Elizabeth Atkinson; married, 4 April 1597 at St Dunstan in the West, London, Sir John Leake (fl. 1609), son of Jasper Leake of Wyre Hall, Edmonton (Middx) and had issue two sons and five daughters; died before 1605.
He purchased the Stowell estate in 1577 and the manors of Little Taynton and Kilcot, Newent (Glos) in 1604.
He died before 17 September 1607; his will was proved in the PCC, 10 November 1607. His wife died before 1605.

Atkinson, Henry (d. 1631?). Elder son of Robert Atkinson (d. 1607) of Stowell and his wife Joyce, daughter of Humphrey Ashfield of Heythrop (Oxon). There is a suggestion in his father's will that the two men may not have been on good terms, as provision was made for him to forfeit his inheritance if he disputed the provision made for his siblings. He married Ursula, daughter of Sir Francis Stonor of Stonor Park (Oxon), and had issue:
(1) Robert Atkinson; died in infancy;
(2) Mary Atkinson; died in infancy.
He inherited the Stowell and Little Taynton & Kilcot estates from his father in 1607.
He died in 1630 or 1631, and is probably to be identified with the Henry Atkinson of Drury Lane, London, whose will was proved 8 July 1631 and whose only legacy was to his brother John. His wife probably predeceased him.

Atkinson, Sir John (d. 1662), kt. Younger son of Robert Atkinson (d. 1607) of Stowell and his wife Joyce, daughter of Humphrey Ashfield of Heythrop (Oxon). Educated at St John's College, Oxford (admitted 1603). His father left him his house in Chancery Lane, London, and his books, so he was probably trained as a lawyer, but I have not traced his admission to any of the inns of court. He acted as an arbitrator for the borough of Northleach in 1625 and was later one of the feoffees of the borough. He was evidently a Royalist during the Civil War and remained of concern to the Commonwealth authorities until he was pardoned by Parliament in 1659. This may explain why he was knighted after the Restoration, 22 November 1660. He married [name unknown] but had no issue.
He inherited the Stowell and Little Taynton & Kilcot estates from his brother Henry in about 1631. He sold Kilcot in 1653 to John Bourne and Little Taynton in 1656 to Charles Pitfield of Hoxton (Middx). At his death the estate passed to his great-nephew, William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford.
He was buried at Hampnett (Glos), 3 April 1662. His wife endowed a charity school at Northleach for a limited period.


VCH Gloucestershire, vol. 9, pp. 208-17; vol. 12, pp. 46, 328; Visitation of Glos in 1623, p. 5; E.R. Delderfield, West Country Historic Houses: vol. 3The Cotswolds, 1973, pp. 92-95; N.W. Kingsley, The country houses of Gloucestershire, vol. 1, 1500-1660, 2001, pp. 210-11.

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Azure, a cross patonce between four lions rampant argent.

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  • Can anyone provide further genealogical information about this family from original sources, and in particular the name of the wife of Sir John Atkinson?
  • Can anyone provide a portrait of Robert Atkinson or either of his sons?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 13 November 2016.