Wednesday 9 November 2016

(239) Atkinson of Lorbottle Hall

Atkinson of Lorbottle
The Atkinsons of Lorbottle and of Angerton (who must have been related although I have not established the connection between them), both maintained the tradition that their ancestors were anciently settled in Northumberland. Burke's Landed Gentry in 1850 noted that one William Atkynson was recorded as the owner of Buckton Tower in 1460, but recorded that 'a fire having occurred at Brankston, which destroyed a number of the family registers, it would be difficult to make a connected history with precision'. 

I have been unable to trace back the line of the Atkinsons of Lorbottle any further than Adam Atkinson (1755-1844), who was born in Northumberland and became an officer in the army, possibly in the Bengal army. He seems to have returned to the county of his birth by 1786 and either inherited or made in India sufficient wealth to enable him to purchase the Lorbottle Hall estate a decade or so later. He built the present house, perhaps to the design of William Newton, who died in 1798 while the house is likely to have been under construction. Adam and his wife Isabella had a large family, but not until 1794 did they produce a surviving son. This was Adam Atkinson (1794-1835), often referred to in the press and records as 'Adam Atkinson junior' to distinguish him from his father. He died in the lifetime of his father, and so it was his son, the third Adam Atkinson (1817-75), who inherited the Lorbottle estate on the death of his grandfather 'in his 90th year' in 1844. This Adam (who confusingly was also referred to as 'Adam Atkinson junior'!) seems to have lived on the estate until about 1857, after which he moved to Cheltenham (Glos) and let Lorbottle. When he died, at a relatively early age, his elder son, Charles John Atkinson (1855-79) was 20 years of age and had just joined the army. He was a popular officer, but was unmarried and without issue when he was killed in the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. Lorbottle accordingly passed to his younger brother, John Eustace Atkinson (1857-96). He had settled at Elm in Cambridgeshire, where he married in 1884, and in about 1886 he sold Lorbottle to the neighbouring Callaly Castle estate.

Lorbottle Hall, Whittingham, Northumberland

Lorbottle Hall: entrance front. Image: Lual

Adam Atkinson of Great Ryle bought the Lorbottle estate from the Duke of Portland in 1796 and built the present house 'in an airy and pleasant situation facing the south, opposite... a range of picturesque crags called the Maiden Chambers'. The new house was a severely plain five bay two storey block, with the centre emphasised by a small pediment, a Venetian doorway and a Venetian window. The architect is unknown, but it could be a late work by William Newton, who died in 1798 while the house was probably being built.

Lorbottle Hall: entrance hall and staircase.
Lorbottle Hall: the Green Room, with hand-painted Chinoiserie wall hangings.
Inside, the flagged entrance hall runs back to an open-well timber staircase with a wrought iron balustrade that occupies the centre of the rear elevation. To either side are the drawing room, with a simple cornice and neo-classical marble chimneypiece, and the Green Room, which is decorated with hand-painted Chinoiserie wall-hangings on canvas. The dining room again has a neo-classical chimneypiece.

Descent: built for Adam Atkinson (1755-1844); to son, Adam Atkinson (1794-1835); to son, Adam Atkinson (1817-75); to son, Charles John Atkinson (1855-79); to brother, John Eustace Atkinson (1857-96); sold c.1886 to Browne family of Callaly Hall and let to Lt-Col. Sir Raleigh Grey (d. 1936); to widow, Mary Isabel, Lady Grey (d. 1936); to Capt. A.C. Straker (fl. 1937-43), Col. F.E. Vining (fl. 1950) and T.H. Elliot (fl. 1954); ... sold to Jean Muir (1928-95), fashion designer and her husband Harry Leuckert (b. 1929); sold 2011 to Jeremy Hosking. The house was let by the Atkinsons from about 1857-86.

Atkinson family of Lorbottle Hall

Adam Atkinson, by A.W. Devis.
Image: British Library
Atkinson, Adam (1755-1844). Parentage unknown, born in Northumberland, 1755. An officer in the army, whose portrait was painted by Arthur William Devis in Calcutta, reputedly in 1789 but more probably a few years earlier as he appears to have returned to England in 1786*. JP for Northumberland. He married, 5 October 1780 at Eglingham (Northbld), Isabel alias Isabella, eldest daughter of Robert Curry, and had issue:
(1) Anne Atkinson (b. c.1781), presumably born in India, c.1781; married, 17 August 1801 at Whittingham, Anthony Marshall of Allenton (Northbld), and had issue four sons and five daughters;
(2) Elizabeth Atkinson (d. 1810); presumably born in India; died unmarried in 1810;
(3) Catherine Atkinson (d. 1814); presumably born in India; died unmarried in 1814;
(4) Robert Atkinson (b. 1786), born 7 May and baptised at Glanton Presbyterian Church, 9 May 1786; probably died young;
(5) Isabella Atkinson (b. 1787), born 29 May and baptised at Glanton Presbyterian Church (Northbld), 9 June 1787; died in infancy;
(6) Mary Atkinson (b. 1788), born 12 July 1788 and baptised at Glenton Presbyterian Church the same day; died in infancy;
(7) Isabella Atkinson (1790-1819), born 23 April 1790 and baptised at Glanton Presbyterian Church the same day; died at Alnwick (Northbld), 15 February 1819;
(8) Mary Atkinson (b. 1792), born 3 March and baptised at Glanton Presbyterian Church, 5 March 1792; married, 8 July 1812 at Whittingham, George Wilson of Alnwick, surgeon;
(9) Adam Atkinson (1794-1835) (q.v.);
(10) John Atkinson (1796-1811), born 6 April and baptised at Glanton Presbyterian Church, 12 April 1796; died 1811;
(11) Christian Atkinson (b. 1797), born 19 September and baptised at Glanton Presbyterian Church, 6 October 1797.
After returning from India, he lived at Great Ryle, Whittingham until he purchased the Lorbottle Hall estate in 1796 and built the present house. In 1807 he and his son-in-law, Anthony Marshall, rented 'the Great Sheep Tenement' at Lairg (Sutherland) from the Marquess and Marchioness of Stafford, a vast tract of land some 12 miles by 15 miles in extent.
He died 15 July 1844; his will was proved in the Prerogative Court of York in December 1844 (effects under £14,000). His wife's date of death is unknown.
* Devis arrived in Calcutta in 1784, which provides a terminus post quem.

Atkinson, Adam (1794-1835). Elder son of Adam Atkinson (1755-1844) and his wife Isabella, eldest daughter of Robert Curry, born 1 May and baptised at Glanton Presbyterian Church (Northbld), 4 May 1794. JP for Northumberland. Major commanding Coquetdale Rangers Yeomanry Cavalry (Maj., 1821). He married, 25 June 1816 at Alnwick (Northbld), Eleanor, fourth daughter of Nathaniel Davidson, British Consul at Nice and later Algiers, and had issue:
(1) Adam Atkinson (1817-75) (q.v.);
(2) Margaret Atkinson (1818-76), baptised at Rothbury (Northbld), 21 July 1818; married, 11 June 1845 at St Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, Canon David Bruce (1811-88), vicar of Kirk Merrington (Co. Durham), second son of Thomas Bruce of Arnot (Kinross-shire), and had issue four sons and two daughters; buried at Kirk Merrington, 1876;
(3) Isabella Eliza Cook Atkinson (1820-96), baptised at Bolam (Northbld), 16 June 1820; married, 9 June 1847 at St John's chapel, Edinburgh, Maj. Thomas Renny-Tailyour of Pubton House near Montrose (Angus), eldest son of Alexander Renny Tailyour of Barrowfield (Angus), and had issue; died 16 September 1896 and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery, 21 September 1896; will proved in Forfar Sheriff Court, 20 November 1896 and sealed in London, 25 November 1896;
(4) twin, Rev. Nathaniel Atkinson (1822-74), born 30 April and baptised at Bolam (Northbld), 18 June 1822; educated at Durham University (MA 1846); ordained deacon, 1845 and priest, 1846; perpetual curate of Horton (Northbld), 1847-55; curate of Great & Little Hampton near Evesham (Worcs), 1855-74; died unmarried in Cheltenham (Glos), 19 May 1874;
(5) twin, Eleanor Atkinson (1822-1903), baptised at Bolam, 18 June 1822; married, 28 November 1855 at Lesbury (Northbld), Rev. Henry Howes (1814-88), rector of Spixworth (Norfk) and had issue five daughters; died 18 December 1903 and was buried at Spixworth;
(6) Louisa Elizabeth Atkinson (1825-53), baptised at Whittingham, 18 March 1825; died unmarried in Edinburgh, 14 April 1853;
(7) Maj. John Atkinson (1829-61), born 12 April and baptised at Whittingham, 11 May 1829; an officer in the 89th Foot (Ensign, 1847; Lt., 1851; Capt., 1854; Major, 1858); married, 28 August 1856 at St Peter, Dublin, Catherine Anne (1833-66), youngest daughter of George B. Rochfort of Claremont Mansion (Dublin) and Woodville (Westmeath), and had issue one daughter; died six weeks after arriving in India with his regiment at Ambala, Haryana (India), 22 April 1861, and was buried there.
He died in the lifetime of his father, 'after a lingering illness', 20 June 1835; administration of his goods was granted at Durham, 9 April 1839. His widow died at Kirk Merrington, 18 May 1867.

Atkinson, Adam (1817-75). Eldest son of Adam Atkinson (1794-1835) and his wife Eleanor, fourth daughter of Nathaniel Davidson, British Consul at Nice and later Algiers, born 7 April 1817. Educated at Shrewsbury School and Middle Temple (admitted 1844). JP for Northumberland. An officer in the Northumberland Light Infantry Militia (Capt., 1846) and in the Newcastle & Northumberland Yeomanry Cavalry (Cornet, 1839; Lt., 1846). He married, 4 June 1850 at St George's, Hanover Square, London, Charlotte Eustatia (1827-69), only child of John Collett esq. of Upper Belgrave St., London and formerly MP for Athlone, and had issue:
(1) Louisa Edith Atkinson (1851-98), baptised at Whittingham (Northbld), 13 November 1851; married, 22 August 1876 at Montrose (Angus), Henry Thomas Grubb (c.1836-1902), eldest son of Thomas Grubb FRS of Dublin, but had no issue; died 17 March 1898; her will was proved in Dublin, 30 June 1898 (effects in Ireland, £2,276) and sealed in London, 5 February 1910 (effects in England, £1,910);
(2) Gertrude Atkinson (1853-54), baptised at Whittingham, 30 January 1853; died in infancy, 24 July 1854;
(3) Charles John Atkinson (1855-79) (q.v.);
(4) John Eustace Atkinson (1857-96) (q.v.);
(5) Charlotte Eleanor Atkinson (1859-1900), born 29 March and baptised at Cheltenham (Glos), 11 May 1859; married, 24 March 1883 at Cheltenham, Thomas William Berry of Kingstown (Dublin), son of Very Rev. Edward Fleetwood Berry (1850-1910), archdeacon of Meath, but had no issue; died 23 July 1900; will proved 9 March 1904 (estate £76);
(6) Emma Lucy Hercy Atkinson (1860-95), baptised at Cheltenham, 21 July 1860; married, 30 July 1887 in Dublin, John Traill Tisdall; died 19 November 1895; administration of her goods was granted in Dublin, 18 November 1895 (effects in Ireland, £25) and sealed in London, 24 December 1896 (effects in England, £13).
He inherited Lorbottle Hall from his grandfather in 1844 but leased it out after c.1857 and thereafter lived in Cheltenham (Glos).
He died 6 June 1875; his will was proved 5 July 1875 (effects under £8,000). His wife died 2 August and was buried at Cheltenham, 5 August 1869; administration of her goods was granted 5 November 1869 (effects under £300).

C.J. Atkinson (1855-79)
Atkinson, Charles John (1855-79). Elder son of Adam Atkinson (1817-75) and his wife Charlotte Eustatia, only child of John Collet of Upper Belgrave St., London, born 27 May and baptised at Lesbury (Northbld), 28 June 1855. Educated at Eton. An officer in the 24th Regiment (2nd Lt., 1874; Lt., 1875). He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Lorbottle Hall from his father in 1875 and came of age the following year; he continued to let Lorbottle Hall. 
He was killed at the Battle of Isandlwana (South Africa) in the Anglo-Zulu war, 22 January 1879 and was buried on the battlefield; he died intestate and administration of his goods was granted 27 July 1880 (effects under £2,000).

Atkinson, John Eustace (1857-96). Younger son of Adam Atkinson (1817-75) and his wife Charlotte Eustatia, only child of John Collet of Upper Belgrave St., London, born 13 January and baptised at Lesbury (Northbld), 5 March 1857. JP for Northumberland. He married, 9 September 1884 at Friday Bridge (Cambs), Juliet (1850-1909), youngest daughter of John Donald Catling of Elm (Cambs), farmer, but had no issue.
He inherited Lorbottle Hall from his elder brother in 1879, but continued to let it until c.1886, when it was sold to the Callaly estate. He lived at Lorbottle House, Elm (Cambs).
He died 9 February 1896 and was buried at Elm (Cambs), 14 February 1896; his will was proved 5 December 1896 (effects £1,971). His widow died 31 May 1909; her will was proved 23 August 1909 (estate £4,802).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1886, vol. 1, pp. 54-55; F. Graham, The old halls, houses and inns of Northumberland, 1977, p. 178; Sir N. Pevsner, I. Richmond et al, The buildings of England: Northumberland, 2nd edn., 1992, p. 210;

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Ermine, a fess sable between three pheons 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 information about the ownership or occupation of Lorbottle Hall in the late 20th century?
  • Can anyone explain the connection between the Atkinsons of Lorbottle and those of Angerton Hall, or provide information about the parentage of Adam Atkinson (1755-1844)?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 9 November 2016 and was updated 30 July 2018 and 18 May 2020. I am grateful to Malcolm Bangor-Jones for additional information.


  1. Claire Rodgers19 May 2023 at 07:06

    I lived at Lorbottle Hall from 1954 until I believe, 1957 and have many memories of my time there. My father was Major Thomas Elliott.

    1. Are you able to throw any light on the ownership history after 1957, which I have not been able to discover?


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.