From 1701 to 1727, the Rev. Israel Aufrere was minister of the French church in the Savoy Palace, and he then moved to the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace, where he may have remained nominally on the establishment until his death at the age of 91 in 1758. By then he had built a substantial house in Charles St., St. James' which marked the social status of his family. His elder son, Antoine Aufrere (1704-81) was sent to Westminster School and Oxford, and followed his father into the church in 1728. No doubt at Israel's instigation, he was soon afterwards appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the rectory of Heigham in Norfolk, which he served for nearly fifty years until his death. Heigham as a parish embraced the expanding western suburbs of Norwich, and the family remained associated with the city and the county for a century or more.
Israel's younger son, George René Aufrere (1715-1801) was apprenticed to a London mercer, and when he died, to a leading merchant and linen draper, William Smith. George was soon in partnership with his erstwhile master, and he expanded the business into the growing colonial trade, and moved beyond cloth and clothing into arms and ammunition. When Smith died he formed a new partnership with John Sargent (1714-91) in 1754, and the profits from the business made him steadily richer. He moved into other business areas, lending money to the Government and becoming a director of the London Assurance Company. After 1765 he withdrew progressively from the cloth business, and he used his wife's connections with the Earl and Countess of Exeter to get into Parliament for their borough of Stamford. His passion, however, appears to have been art and he became a noted patron and collector, filling the rambling mansion, Walpole House at Chelsea, which be bought in 1759, with what became one of the finest collections of his time.
|Bernini's Neptune, now in the V&A Museum.|
Image: Sailko. Some rights reserved.
|Brocklesby Hall: mausoleum designed in memory of Sophia Anderson Pelham (née Aufrere). Image: Nick Kingsley. Some rights reserved.|
The Rev. Anthony Aufrere (1704-81), George's elder brother, acquired the heavily encumbered Hoveton Old Hall estate through his second marriage to Mary Smith. Mary was the heir of her uncle Giles Cutting, who died in the Fleet Debtors Prison in about 1740. By the time of his death in 1781, Anthony had contrived to pay off the mortgages and other incumbrances on the estate, and his only son, Anthony Aufrere (1730-1814) made his home there after his marriage in 1756. The younger Anthony produced an enormous family of fifteen children, twelve of whom survived to adulthood, but perhaps because of the sheer size of this brood, it is possible that money was always a little tight. Only the two sons who were destined for the church went to University, and his eldest son, Anthony Aufrere (1757-1833) was sent to the Inns of Court and apprenticed to a local attorney. This third Anthony qualified as a barrister in 1782 and may have practised for a few years, but somehow contrived to get himself into financial difficulties so severe that they dogged him at intervals for the rest of his life. It is not clear how these difficulties arose, but his father and grandfather either could not or would not help, and in 1781 his friend, the Rev. William Gunn, paid off some of his debts. It is likely that he was simply incompetent with money, as by 1785 his position was again critical, and he retreated to the Continent, possibly largely to avoid the risk of arrest. Once there, he joined Gunn, who was travelling in Italy, and undertook a belated Grand Tour. He settled for a time in Florence and Pisa before moving to Germany, where he was encouraged to employ his language and literary skills as a translator. In 1791 he was briefly back in England, where he married, but he returned to Germany and lived there until 1802, when he moved with his family to France. Considering that he had four years earlier published two anti-Revolutionary pamphlets, it is no surprise that he was among those English citizens arrested by Napoleon as prisoners of war after the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens in 1803 and held until 1814. During this time he was allowed to live, under a form of house arrest, at Verdun and later at Avignon, so he fared much better than the captured soldiers who were interned in camps at Verdun. His release in 1814 coincided with his father's death and he returned to England to inherit the Hoveton estate.
|Foulsham Old Hall (Norfolk): the surviving fragment of a mid 16th century E-plan house, acquired by Anthony Aufrere as an English pied-a-terre when he sold the Hoveton estate.|
Anthony's son and heir was George Anthony Aufrere (1794-1881), who was brought up in Germany and France, and may have come to England for the first time when he was released by the French authorities as a young man of nineteen or twenty. He immediately joined the army but retired in 1819 and it is not clear how he was occupied in the 1820s, although since was a JP for Norfolk at this time he presumably lived at home and is said to have visited his sister in New York in about 1825. In 1828 he married Caroline Wehrtmann, the daughter of a wealthy and Anglophile German family; the marriage took place in Hamburg, where his cousin, the Rev. Richard Baker, was pastor of the Anglican congregation, of which the Wehrtmanns were members.
|Burnside, Bowness-on-Windermere: the earliest part of the house was built by G.A. Aufrere c.1833. The house is now an hotel.|
|Burnside, Bowness-on-Windermere: this OS 6" map of the 1860s shows|
how the house was one of a string of villas in their own grounds
around the town.
Hoveton Old Hall, Norfolk
In essence this is a 16th century manor house, reputedly of 1567, but the main seven bay south range is a remodelling or rebuilding of c.1680-1700, and the long service wing which projects at the rear was much altered and made symmetrical later in the 18th century. The service wing stands at right-angles to, and is complemented by, a fine brick barn with pilasters at the angles, also of c.1700, which was made into a separate house in 1981. On the side facing the house, the ground floor of the barn has original upright oval windows alternating with arched two-light windows of the 1980s.
|Hoveton Old Hall: south front, 2015|
Inside the house, the entrance hall has a large stone fireplace and a simple plaster cornice, and the drawing room has a plaster ceiling with an oval panel. The room to the right of the hall has large-framed panelling, and a room in the rear wing has close-panelling of c.1600. The house was extensively modernised internally (recessed lighting, fitted kitchen, insertion of five bathrooms etc) after 2003, with a resulting loss of historic character.
Descent: Giles Cutting (d. c.1740); to niece, Mary, wife of Rev. Anthony Aufrere (1704-81); to son, Anthony Aufrere (1730-1814); to son, Anthony Aufrere (1757-1833), who sold 1828 to Christabell Burroughes of Hoveton Hall. The house thereafter remained part of the Hoveton Hall estate and was let as a farmhouse to the Ling family for several generations.
Walpole House, Chelsea, Middlesex
In 1690 the Crown granted to William Jephson, Secretary to the Treasury, a lease of 4½ acres known as Great Sweed Court, west and south of the outbuildings of the Royal Hospital, which contained an old brick tenement which Jephson intended demolishing and replacing with a house and garden. He died the following year before he could build, and left the estate to his widow Mary, who in 1696 with her second husband Sir John Aubrey, 2nd bt., assigned the residue of the lease to Charles Hopson, the hospital's Clerk of Works. Hopson in turn assigned the lease to Edward Russell, Earl of Orford, whose ownership was confirmed by a private Act of Parliament in 1708. When Orford acquired the estate there was no house on it, and he requested permission to occupy Hopson's rooms in the stable court, which bordered the leasehold estate. Hopson retained a small house at the north-west corner of the stables (which remained the Clerk of Works' house into the 19th century, when it was enlarged by Sir John Soane) while Lord Orford took possession of the rooms in the south-west angle of the courtyard. He enlarged the accommodation at the Hospital's expense, and laid out a large garden on the leasehold estate, with a gazebo on the riverbank. In 1703 the Royal Hospital Board unexpectedly assigned the lodgings which Orford had adapted to the new Treasurer of the Hospital, the previous Treasurer's house having been retained by Lord Ranelagh. Orford tried in 1708 to lease the rooms back, claiming that the land he had acquired from Jephson's executors was too small for a house, but the Board refused, and the house, now referred to as the Treasurer's Lodgings, passed in 1714 to Sir Robert Walpole (later the Prime Minister) on his appointment as Paymaster-General of the Hospital.
|Walpole House, Chelsea: the bold lines show the extent of the house, and the stippled outline the extent of the Soane hospital infirmary. |
Image: Survey of London, based on a drawing in the Soane Museum.
|Walpole House, Chelsea: drawing room, preserved as Ward 7 of the Royal Hospital Infirmary in 1909.|
Image: Survey of London.
|Walpole House, Chelsea: watercolour of the greenhouse on the terrace, by Elizabeth Guston, 1830. |
Image: Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Libraries [Chelsea Print Room B1073]
|Walpole House, Chelsea: interior of Lady Walpole's grotto. Image: Historic England.|
Aufrere family of Hoveton Old Hall and Walpole House, Chelsea
Aufrere, Antoine (c.1625-1701), Marquis de Colville. Son of Antoine Aufrere, Marquis de Colville, and his wife Marie Prevôt, born about 1625. Hereditary 'Procureur du Roi' (equivalent to Solicitor General) at the French Court. He was a Protestant and foreseeing the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 he disposed of as much of his property in Paris and Normandy as he dared and sent the proceeds (about 225,000 livres) to safety in Holland, before following with his family in 1685; they lived in the Netherlands until 1700, when he settled finally in London and was naturalised. He married, 11 November 1664, Antoinette Gervaise, and had issue:
(1) Rev. Israel Antoine Aufrere (1667-1758) (q.v.);
(2) Noel Daniel Aufrere, who retained his French style of Chevalier de Corville; "a thoughtless, dissipated man of pleasure, very burthensome to his father and brother"; married, 3 May 1703 in a 'clandestine' ceremony 'near the Spread Eagle', London, Katherine Spaan, "a low woman, by whom he had two daughters who were entirely supported by the different branches of the family".
He held property in Paris and Normandy, much of which was sold in the 1680s in preparation for his flight to Holland and later England.
He died in London, 7 September 1701. His wife's date of death is unknown.
|Rev. Israel Antoine Aufrere|
(1667-1758). Image: NPG.
(1) Jeanne Aufrere (1701-47), born 17 July 1701; married, 1720 (licence 23 February 1719/20), Rev. Dr. Balthasar Regis (d. 1757), a French protestant refugee who was rector of Adisham (Kent) and later canon of Windsor, and had issue six daughters; buried at Paddington (Middx), 27 March 1747;
(2) Magdalene Aufrere (1703-29), born 8 May 1703; married, 14 February 1721, Samuel Grove of Antigua, barrister-at-law (who m2, 1731, Martha de Charmes) but had no issue; died 29 March 1729;
(3) Rev. Anthony Aufrere (1704-81) (q.v.);
(4) Marianne Aufrere (b. 1707), born 15 September and baptised at St James, Piccadilly, 1 October 1707; married, 25 June 1731 at St James, Piccadilly, Dr. Philip Du Val (d. 1768), a French refugee physician, and had issue six sons and one daughter;
(5) George Rene Aufrere (1715-1801) (q.v.).
He lived in London, where he built a house in Charles St., St. James' Square.
He died 4 March 1758 and was buried at Paddington, 10 March 1758; his will was proved 20 April 1758. His wife was buried at Paddington, 23 April 1754.
|Rev. Anthony Aufrere (1704-81),|
painted by Charles Hayter.
(1.1) Catherine Aufrere (1729-38); died aged eight, 3 May 1738 and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, where she is commemorated on a monument;
(1.2) Anthony Aufrere (1730-1814) (q.v.).
He inherited Hoveton Old Hall in right of his second wife on the death of her uncle, Giles Cutting. The property was severely incumbered (Cutting died in the Fleet prison) but he succeeded in clearing it of debt.
He died 22 May and was buried at Hoveton St Peter (Norfk), 25 May 1781; his will was proved 27 June 1781. His first wife was buried at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), 10 December 1731. His second wife died 19 February 1750/1 and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, where she is commemorated by a monument; her will was proved 12 April 1751.
|Anthony Aufrere (1730-1814), painted|
by Gervase Spencer, 1756.
(1) Anthony Aufrere (1757-1833) (q.v.);
(2) twin, John Aufrere (1758-59), born 16 September* and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 9 November 1758; died in infancy, 28 February 1759 and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, 2 March 1759;
(3) twin, George Aufrere (b. & d. 1758), born 16 September 1758; died in infancy, 29 September 1758 and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, 1 October 1758;
(4) Anna Aufrere (1759-1824), born 3 October 1759 and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 2 January 1760; died unmarried at Bracondale (Norfk), 11 May and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, 17 May 1824; will proved 6 November 1824;
(5) Susannah Aufrere (1761-68), born 29 January and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 1 February 1761; died young, 19 May and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, 20 May 1768;
(6) Sophia Aufrere (1763-1845), born 14 January and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 16 January 1763; described as 'beautiful and ambitious, as well as being something of a snob'; she was frequently invited to Windsor Castle to play cards with George III and Queen Caroline, but always declined to play on a Sunday; married, May 1787, her second cousin, William Dawson (1755-1829), and had issue three sons and five daughters; died in London, 17 July 1845; will proved 18 November 1845;
(7) Caroline Aufrere (1764-1838), born 21 June and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 2 July** 1764; married, 10 April 1802 at St. Marylebone (Middx), Rev. Josiah Webb Flavell (c.1772-1848), rector of Stody (Norfk), and had issue three sons and one daughter; buried at Stody, 10 January 1838;
(8) Harriet Aufrere (1765-1846), born 6 December and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 8 December 1765; married, 16 December 1788 at St George, Bloomsbury (Middx), Sir Robert Baker (1762-1840), kt., barrister-at-law, and had issue six sons and seven daughters; buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, 25 September 1846;
(9) Louisa Aufrere (1767-1829), born 29 December 1767 and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 4 January 1768; married, 4 August 1798 at Hoveton St. Peter, George Rowland Minshull (1762-1840), barrister-at-law and Bow Street magistrate, and had issue one child; died 8 December 1829 and was buried at Aston Clinton (Bucks);
(10) Rev. George John Aufrere (1769-1853), born 19 September and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 22 September 1769; educated at Norwich and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (admitted 1788; BA 1793); ordained deacon, 1792 and priest, 1793; curate of Ridlington and East Ruston (Norfk), 1792-94 and vicar there, 1794-1836; also vicar of Bacton (Norfk), 1810-23; in 1836 he was tried and acquitted of shooting his maidservant (while drunk) with intent to endanger her life, but fortunately she was only slightly injured in the shoulder; he retired shortly afterwards and lived latterly at Ridlington; died 30 January 1853 and was buried at Ridlington;
(11) Charles Gastine Aufrere (1770-99), born 18 December and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 23 December 1770; an officer in the Royal Navy (Lt. 1793); died unmarried when HMS Lutine*** sank off the Dutch coast while conveying a cargo of gold bullion to Hamburg, 9 October 1799;
(12) Amelia Jane Aufrere (1772-1855), born 29 March and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 1 April 1772; lived with her elder sister Anna; died unmarried and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, 23 March 1855; will proved 5 May 1855;
(13) Thomas Norris Aufrere (1773-1835), born 5 November and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 8 November 1773; a writer with the East India Co. 1792-99 and a District judge in India, 1800-12, when he retired to England; having "acquired a very affluent fortune in the civil service of the East India Company... and never having married nor indulged in expensive habits for his own gratification... his principal happiness was to distribute his superabundance in deeds of kindness and liberality towards those connections to whom they were most useful"; died in London and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, 11 March 1835; will proved 30 March 1835;
(14) Rev. Philip Du Val Aufrere (1776-1848), born 7 April and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 9 April 1776; educated at Norwich and Pembroke College, Cambridge (admitted 1795; BA 1800); ordained deacon and priest, 1800; curate of Smallburgh, 1800; rector of Eccles St Mary by the Sea, 1806-08 and vicar of Bacton, 1806-10; rector and vicar of Scarning (Norfk), 1808-48 and rector of Bawdeswell, 1810-48; married 1st, 25 November 1802 at Smallburgh (Norfk), Mary (1779-1818), daughter of John Beevor MD of Norwich, but had no issue; married 2nd, 29 June 1819 at Wells-next-the-Sea, Ann Margaret (1783-1848), daughter of Rev. Marmaduke Smith of Wells and had issue one son; died at Mundsley (Norfk), 4 June 1848; will proved 1 July 1848;
(15) Maria Aufrere (1779-1822), born 20 April and baptised at Hoveton St. Peter, 25 April 1779; married, 13 December 1820 at St Giles, Norwich (Norfk), Paul Squires of Norwich, chemist and druggist, but had no issue; buried at St. Saviour, Norwich, 3 February 1822.
He inherited Hoveton Old Hall from his father in 1781.
He died at Hoveton, 11 September and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, 17 September 1814; his will was proved 19 October 1814. His widow died 11 April and was buried at Hoveton St. Peter, 18 April 1816; her will was proved 4 May 1816.
* The parish register says 16 October, but must be in error, as his twin brother was buried on 1 October.
** The parish register says 2 June, but is probably in error.
*** This was the vessel whose famous salvaged bell is used for ceremonial purposes at Lloyds of London. The bell was recovered in 1858, but most of the ship's cargo of bullion has never been found.
|Anthony Aufrere (1757-1833)|
(1) Louisa Ann Matilda Aufrere (1792-1868), born 17 November 1792; married, 8 December 1818 at Cheltenham (Glos), George Cornwell Barclay of New York (USA) and had issue one daughter; died 15 February, and was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, 18 February 1868;
(2) George Anthony Aufrere (1794-1881) (q.v.).
He inherited Hoveton Old Hall from his father in 1814, but mortgaged part of the estate in 1817 and sold it in 1828. Thereafter he lived at Foulsham Old Hall (Norfk) when in England, although he spent much of his last years at Bagni di Lucca in Tuscany.
He died in Pisa (Italy), 29 November 1833, and was buried in the old British cemetery at Livorno (Italy), 3 December 1833; his will was proved in the PCC, 27 August 1835. His widow died in Edinburgh, 14 September 1850; her will was confirmed in Edinburgh Sheriff Court, 9 February 1851.
|George Anthony Aufrere |
He inherited Foulsham Old Hall from his father but after his marriage moved to Bowness-on-Windermere (Westmld), where the house called Bowness was first built for him in the early 1830s (it was 'recently erected' in 1834) and later enlarged into a substantial villa.
He died at Burneside Hall, 6 May 1881 and was buried at Brathay; his will proved 5 October 1881 (effects £59,614). His widow died 25 May 1885; her will was proved 15 July 1885 (effects £5,199).
|George Rene Aufrere (1715-1801)|
by Nollekens (Courtauld Inst.)
(1) Sophia Aufrere (1749-86), baptised at St James, Westminster, 27 July 1749; married, 21 July 1770 at St Luke, Chelsea, Charles Anderson Pelham (1749-1823) of Brocklesby (Lincs), later 1st Baron Yarborough, and had issue two sons and six daughters; died 25 January 1786 and was buried at Brocklesby, where she is commemorated by the spectacular mausoleum designed by James Wyatt to her memory.
In 1759 he purchased the lease of Walpole House, Chelsea. He made this over to his son-in-law in 1796 but retained the right to live in the house for the lifetime of himself and his wife.
He died at Chelsea, 7 January and was buried at Brocklesby, 20 January 1801; his will was proved 21 January 1801. His widow died at Chelsea, 1 September 1804.
Burke's Landed Gentry, 1850, ii, supplement, p.10; Survey of London, vol. 2: Chelsea, part 1, 1909, pp. 3-7; G. Lockhart Rives, Genealogical Notes, 1914, esp. p.50 ff.; VCH Middlesex, vol. 12, 2004, pp. 41-47, 123-45; Donald Insall Associates, Gordon House - Historic Buildings Report, 2014. This account also draws heavily on an analysis of the Soane drawings relating to the Chelsea Royal Hospital Infirmary, which can be view online.
Location of archives
Aufrere, Rev. Israel Antoine (1667-1758): personal and family correspondence and papers, 18th cent. [Huguenot Library, F Af; F St]
Aufrere family: misc family, estate and genealogical papers, 18th-19th cent. [Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia (USA) Rives-Barclay papers, acc. 37776]
Coat of arms
Argent, a chevron gules between, in chief two bunches of grapes proper, and and in base a lion rampant of the second.
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 have photographs of Hoveton Old Hall before its restoration after 2003?
- Can anyone provide a drawing or engraving of Walpole House, Chelsea, before its alteration and partial demolition by Soane, c.1810?
- Does anyone know the date of death of the wife of Antoine Aufrere (d. 1701)?
- Does anyone know what career George Anthony Aufrere followed between leaving the army in 1819 and building Burnside in the Lake District in the early 1830s?
- Anthony Aufrere (d. 1833) left a substantial sum of money in his will to Charles Anthony Sinclair (c.1816-93), then a schoolboy in Liege, but later a British diplomat in China. Aufrere's widow and son also left bequests to Sinclair. Does anyone know why? One might assume he was Aufrere's illegitimate son, but on his marriage certificate he names his father as Charles Sinclair, esquire. And it seems less likely that his widow and son would also have made bequests to him if that were the case. Can anyone throw light on his relationship with Aufrere?
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 27 February 2017 and was updated 6 & 22 April 2017 and 7-9 February 2022. I am most grateful for additional information about George Anthony Aufrere received from Alexander Scheutzow.