Sunday 19 March 2017

(254) Austen of Horsmonden, Kippington House and Capel Manor

Austen of Horsmonden
Austen is a common name in Kent, and a great deal of ink has been expended on trying to disentangle the origins of this family from other contemporary people of the same name. The effort has been made chiefly because in the 18th century a junior branch of the family produced one of England's greatest novelists, Jane Austen (1775-1817). Fortunately, for our purposes we need go back no further than John Austen (1560-1621), who was a yeoman and clothier at Goudhurst and Horsmonden in mid Kent. He seems to have been the member of the family who acquired the house called Broad Ford (or Broadford) at Horsmonden, and there is evidence in the Quarter Sessions records that he was living there by 1602. It probably passed at his death to his eldest son, John Austen (1585-1650), who was apparently unmarried and died without issue. He left as his principal heir his next surviving brother, Francis Austen (1600-88), also a clothier, who had acquired a landed estate of several manors around Horsmonden, including the small manor house called Grovehurst, where he actually lived.
Grovehurst, Horsmonden.
Since Broad Ford was evidently substantially extended and remodelled in the third quarter of the 17th century, it may well be that Francis made this property available to his eldest son, John Austen (1629-1705), who coincidentally came of age in the year when Francis acquired it, and who was married in 1654.

John Austen (d. 1705) had only one son who survived to maturity, another John Austen (1657-1704). He seems to have been something of a spendthrift, inclined to borrow against the security of his expectations from his father. Unfortunately he died before his father, leaving his widow very little except debts, and when his father followed him to the grave later in 1705 his substantial property was transferred to trustees until his children should come of age. For reasons which are not now clear, the trustees seem to have been unwilling to support John junior's family in the style to which they were accustomed, and his widow was obliged to take a post as housekeeper to the master of Sevenoaks school, where her six sons became pupils. Her eldest son, John Austen (1696-1728) came into his inheritance from his grandfather in 1717; four of his brothers, with smaller portions, were apprenticed to suitable trades and professions: Francis Austen (1698-1791) as a lawyer; Thomas Austen (1699-1772) as an apothecary; William Austen (1700-37) as a surgeon; and Stephen Austen (1704-51) as a bookseller; Robert Austen (1702-28) apparently died before embarking on a career.

The Broad Ford and Grovehurst properties descended from John Austen (1696-1728) to his son, John Austen (1726-1807), and after his widow died in 1811, passed to a younger grandson of Francis Austen (1698-1791), the Rev. John Austen (1777-1851).

Francis Austen (1698-1791), the second son of John Austen (1657-1704), was responsible for the next step up in the family fortunes. In 1722 he began practice as an attorney in Sevenoaks 'with £800 and a bundle of pens' as he put it. He became a specialist in land law, and in due course also had chambers in Cliffords Inn in London, where he was consulted on the strict settlement of estates by many of the leading families in the land. Alongside this, he became an increasingly important figure in the local government of Kent, and from 1753-73 he was Clerk of the Peace for the county, an office which he then handed over to his son, Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815). From his busy and extensive practice, he became fairly wealthy, and when his nephew George Austen (1731-1805) and his sisters were orphaned in 1737 he was happy to take responsibility for their upbringing, including paying for George to attend university, and after he had taken holy orders, to help him acquire a comfortable living. Not surprisingly, therefore, Francis remained close to George and his family in later years, and in 1788 he was visited at Sevenoaks by George's two daughters, Cassandra (1773-1845) and Jane (1775-1817). It is thought that the places and people with whom Jane Austen became familiar during this visit at least informed some of the characters and settings in her novels, even if they are not portrayed directly.

When Francis Austen died in 1791 the heir to his practice and property was Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815), the only child of his first marriage. Whereas his father comes across from the records and his portrait as shrewd but avuncular, F.M. Austen seems to have been more grasping and litigious.
Court Lodge, Lamberhurst in 1809.
In his father's lifetime, he rented Court Lodge at Lamberhurst on the Kent/Sussex border from the Morland family (whose descendants still own it), but in the mid 1790s he foreclosed on a mortgage on the Kippington House estate near Sevenoaks and evicted the Farnaby family, whose home it had been since the 17th century, and installed his own family in this rather grander house. His eldest son and heir apparent, Francis Lucius Austen (c.1773-1815) became mentally unstable in the last few years of his life, and although he was never certified, it may have been a considerable relief to the family when he died a couple of months before his father. The Kippington House estate went first to F.M. Austen's widow, and when she died in 1817, to their second son, Col. Thomas Austen (1775-1859), who had forged a successful military career that culminated in a period as Governor of the Algarve during the Peninsular War. Colonel Austen married twice but had no children, and when he died in 1859 his property passed to a nephew, John Francis Austen (1817-93), the son of his brother, the Rev. John Austen (1777-1851), who as we saw earlier, had inherited the family's property at Horsmonden.

John Francis Austen thus acquired both his family's ancient estates around Horsmonden, including Grovehurst and Broad Ford from his father in 1851, and the Kippington estate from his uncle in 1859. He sold Kippington in 1865, by which time he had built a new house called Capel Manor at Horsmonden, to the designs of T.H. Wyatt. This was an Italian Gothic style building with eclectic interiors, which stood on a completely new site close to Broad Ford. It is said that Austen exerted a substantial influence on the design, and that may account for the curious inconsistency of the building. Capel Manor became the family home until J.F. Austen died in 1893, and his widow remained in occupation until her death in 1931. Within two years, the last of J.F. Austen's children had also died, and Capel Manor appears to have been sold by his trustees, although the ownership history of the property is unclear until the late 1960s. After military use and neglect during the Second World War, the house itself was pulled down either in the 1950s or in 1966, having stood for barely a century. The family's older homes are fortunately all still standing.

Broad Ford, Horsmonden, Kent

Broad Ford, Horsmonden: the much-altered house has work of every period from the 15th century onwards.

Not a country house, but a substantial village house that became the home of a gentry family of considerable importance. At its core is a 15th century timber-framed house, probably of standard Wealden type. It was altered and extended in each succeeding century, and perhaps especially for John Austen (1629-1705), who may have lived here in his father's lifetime. The main north-facing front is now a jettied timber-framed structure, with three broad jettied gables, which the late 18th or 19th century concealed by a cream-painted roughcast and gave bulls-eye windows in the gables. The rather strange window frames are thought to be 17th century in origin, though in their present form they may have been altered in the 19th or early 20th century. The central porch has an ogee arch and ogee windows on either side, and on the eastern end elevation is a canted bay window with more ogee windows; these must be additions of the late 18th or early 19th century. To the south of the bay window, some 16th or 17th century timber framing is exposed. The right-hand bay of the north front is the earliest part of the house, and belonged at first to a hall house facing east. Inside, it has a mid 16th century hall fireplace with profile roundels and caryatids, and the Austen family crest. An upstairs room has similar work made up into a chimneypiece in the 18th century, and there is also an 18th century staircase and a Rococo chimneypiece in the drawing room. To the west of the house is a nine-bay, late 17th century, one and a half storey stable block of chequered brick with sandstone quoins and a low hipped roof, which was converted into a house in 1947 and the late 20th century.

Descent: John Austen (1560-1621); to son, Francis Austen (1600-88); to son, John Austen (1629-1705); to grandson, John Austen (1696-1728); to son Austen (1726-1807); to first cousin once removed, Rev. John Austen (1777-1851); to son, John Francis Austen (1817-93); to widow, Georgiana Frederica Austen (1843-1931)...

Kippington House, Sevenoaks, Kent

Kippington Hall: the 17th century house, engraved by Kip for Harris' History of Kent, 1719.

Thomas Farnaby bought the estate in 1630 out of the profits of teaching the sons of the gentry and nobility in London, and is said to have built the house here which was engraved for Harris' History of Kent in 1716. However, this view shows an east-facing three-storey front with a deeply recessed three-bay centre and projecting two-storey wings with attics and Dutch gables, which looks more as though it dates from the 1650s or 1660s than from the pre-Civil War period, so perhaps it was Thomas' son Francis who actually built the house. Round the corner to the north was a much longer front, composed of the five-bay side of the late 17th century front block and beyond this a further five less regular bays which may represent the refronted and surviving portion of an earlier house.

Kippington House as rebuilt for Sir Charles Farnaby, from Neale's Views of Seats, 1818. Image: British Library.

The house was largely rebuilt by Sir Charles Farnaby (later Farnaby-Radcliffe), 3rd bt., after he inherited it in 1760, with a plain seven bay east front of two storeys under a parapet, with the central three bays projecting slightly under a pediment. His architect is unknown, but Sir Charles obtained designs for chimneypieces and tables from Robert Adam in 1764-65 and at least the marble chimneypiece in the hall was made according to Adam's design. In 1796, Sir Charles sold the Kippington estate to Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815), who in 1808 sought advice from Humphry Repton on improving the place. Repton recommended adding a portico to the east front, painting the house, and adjusting the planting so as to conceal the town of Sevenoaks and open up views over Montreal Park to the west. The changes Repton proposed to the house were carried out before 1818, when the four-column Greek Doric porch was shown in the print in Neale's Views of Seats.  It therefore seems likely that Repton's landscaping suggestions were heeded too.

Kippington House: entrance front

There is a three-storey range of indeterminate date at right-angles to this front, which occupies a very similar footprint to the rear wing shown in the 1719 engraving of the house, and it seems likely that it is a remodelling of the earlier fabric. The present appearance of the range is however early-to-mid 19th century, but its date remains obscure. The tripartite windows and the full-height arched recesses in which some of the windows are set suggest the early to mid 19th century, but the house is said to have been subject to 'extensive alterations' in 1874. Could the wing in its present form be as late as that? Probably not, as the first Ordnance Survey map of 1868 suggests that the footprint was then very much the same as it was in 1895. It seems more likely that what was done in 1874 was the alteration of the south-facing return elevation of the main block by the addition of a full-height bay window in place of the westernmost two bays, and a glazed verandah.

Kippington House: the long north wing probably incorporates elements of the 17th century house. Image: Trevor Hayman.

In the late 19th century, W.J. Thompson began the suburban development of the Kippington estate, initially by building a few large villas, but almost the whole of the once large park has now been covered by housing. Rather surprisingly, Kippington House itself survives. It was made into a home for the elderly in 1951 and after this closed was restored and divided into flats. At some point in this process the front porch was enclosed and the original Doric columns were altered into their present form. As part of the recent restoration work, the porch is now once more open, and it is to be hoped that the original form of the columns can also be restored.

Descent: sold 1630 to Thomas Farnaby (d. 1647); to son, Francis Farnaby (fl. 1674); to son, Sir Charles Farnaby (1674-1741), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Thomas Farnaby (c.1708-60), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Charles Farnaby (later Farnaby-Radcliffe) (c.1740-98), 3rd bt., who sold 1796 to Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815); to son, Thomas Austen (1775-1859); to nephew, John Francis Austen (1817-93), who leased the house to a Mr Fay and sold 1865 to William James Thompson (1817-1904)...converted to a home for the elderly in 1951...

Capel Manor, Horsmonden, Kent

Capel Manor: the house of 1859-62, demolished in 1966.

An Italian Gothic style house, designed by T.H. Wyatt in 1859-62 for John Francis Austin (1817-93), who according to Eastlake exerted considerable influence on the design.  Three colours of stone were used, and there was much carving. Inside, the house had a vast square top-lit staircase hall and interiors which mixed classical and Gothic forms eclectically.

Capel Manor, Horsmonden: staircase hall. Image: Historic England.
During the Second World War the house and grounds were a base for many military units and a unit of the National Fire Service, and at the end of the war the house was in poor condition. It was demolished either in the 1950s or in 1966 (perhaps partly at one time and the rest later), leaving only the foundations, an arcaded terrace with balustrades and the shell of the conservatory.

Capel Manor: the Modernist house designed by Michael Manser in 1970. Image: Gyles Portman. Some rights reserved.

In 1969-70 Michael Manser Associates built a small new Modernist house on the site of the Victorian building for John Howard MP (1913-82), an adviser to Edward Heath. Placing the new building - which had no pretensions to country house scale - on this site allowed it to appropriate the gardens and landscaping of its predecessor, but it may also have been a symbolic opportunity for one of the high priests of British Modernism to plant his standard on the ruins of historicist architecture. Manser's Capel Manor is not unpleasing in its own terms, looking back as it does to the pure early Modernism of Mies van der Rohe. Its failing is one of scale and ambition, not of presence. It has a steel frame on a concrete podium clad in dark blue quarry tiles. The windows have bronze-tinted glass in aluminium frames. Inside, the roof is clad in pine boarding and the internal walls are of dark brown brick. A swimming pool was constructed within the ruins of the Victorian conservatory. The original house had only two bedrooms, and a pair of detached guest pavilions, designed by Ewan Cameron Architects of Glasgow, was added to the site in 2011 in a style which echoes the Miesian spirit of the main building without directly copying its forms. 

Descent: built 1859-62 for John Francis Austen (1817-93); to widow, Mrs. Georgiana Frederica Austen (1843-1931); sold after her death but apparently unoccupied until WW2, when requisitioned for military use; after the war there was a nursery in the grounds and the house may have been unoccupied until it was demolished in 1950s/1966; site sold to John Howard MP (1913-82), who built a new house;... sold 1999 to Remy Blumenfeld.

Austen family of Capel Manor

Austen, John (1560-1621). Son of Robert Austen (d. 1603) of Goudhurst and Horsmonden, clothier, and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1608), baptised at Goudhurst, 26 April 1560. Yeoman and clothier. He married, 14 September 1584 at Lydd (Kent), Joan (1568-1604), daughter of Jeffery Berry of Midley (Kent), and had issue:
(1) John Austen (1585-1650), baptised at Horsmonden, 1 August 1585; probably inherited Broad Ford from his father in 1621; died without issue and probably unmarried, and was buried at Horsmonden, 30 September 1650; will proved 26 October 1650;
(2) Jeffery Austen (1588-1636), baptised at Horsmonden, 2 June 1588; married, c.1620, Elizabeth Apsley (d. 1638), and had issue one son and one daughter; buried 19 March 1636;
(3) Benjamin Austen (1591-1637), baptised at Horsmonden, 16 May 1591; clothier at Goudhurst; married, 16 June 1626 at Tonbridge (Kent), Susannah, daughter of Richard Brattle, and had issue four sons and two daughters; buried at Goudhurst, 22 May 1637; will proved 17 May 1637;
(4) Robert Austen (1594-c.1645), baptised at Horsmonden, 22 October 1594; clothier at Brenchley (Kent); married Elizabeth Keyley and had issue two sons and two daughters; his will was proved in 1645;
(5) Joan Austen (b. 1597), baptised at Horsmonden, 10 July 1597; married, before 1619, John Perryn, and had issue two sons and five daughters; died between 1636 and 1650;
(6) Francis Austen (1600-88) (q.v.);
(7) Peter Austen (1602-38), baptised 3 October 1602; married c.1630, Elizabeth [s.u.] and had issue two sons and one daughter; died about 5 May 1638;
(8) twin, Richard Austen (b. 1604), baptised at Horsmonden, 9 December 1604; married (perhaps 15 March 1637 at Rochester (Kent)), Ann (Keylen?) and had issue three sons and two daughters; living in 1650;
(9) twin, Thomas Austen (b. 1604), baptised at Horsmonden, 9 December 1604; apparently lived at Goudhurst; married; and had issue three sons and one daughter; living in 1650.
He was brought up at Goudhurst but after his marriage moved to Horsmonden, where he had acquired Broad Ford by 1602. After his death this property probably passed to his eldest son, John, and when he died in 1650 went to the next surviving brother, Francis Austen (1600-88).
He was buried at Horsmonden, 5 March 1620/1; his will was proved 22 March 1621. His wife died in childbirth, 9 December 1604 and was buried at Horsmonden, where she is commemorated by a monument.

Austen, Francis (1600-88). Fifth son of John Austen (1560-1621) of Broad Ford, Horsmonden, and his wife Joan, daughter of Jeffery Berry of Midley, baptised at Horsmonden, 11 May 1600. Clothier. He married, c.1620, Ellen [surname unknown], and had issue:
(1) John Austen (1629-1705) (q.v.);
(2) Eleanor Austen (1631-1719?), baptised at Horsmonden, August 1631; married, 23 June 1657 at Cranbrook (Kent), John Springett of Brenchley (Kent) and had issue two sons and four daughters; perhaps the woman of this name buried at Boxley (Kent), 16 December 1719;
(3) Francis Austen (b. 1633), baptised at Goudhurst; died young;
(4) Mary Austen (b. 1635), baptised at Goudhurst, 6 December 1635; married, 24 April 1654 at Cranbook (and apparently also 1 May 1654 at Horsmonden), Stephen Cunney (b. 1627);
(5) Thomas Austen (b. 1637), baptised at Goudhurst, 21 January 1637;
(6) Anne Austen (b. 1641); baptised at Goudhurst, 7 November 1641; married, 23 December 1661 at Hawkhurst (Kent), Nathaniel Pix (b. c.1636) and had issue one son and two daughters;
(7) Francis Austen (b. 1644), baptised at Goudhurst, 28 April 1644; probably the man of this name who married, 22 October 1667 at Horsmonden, Elizabeth (1647-90), daughter of John Curtis, and had issue; 
(8) Elizabeth Austen (b. 1646), baptised at Goudhurst, 25 January 1645/6; married, 14 February 1662/3 at Hawkhurst, John Maule (b. 1639) and had issue two daughters;
(9) Samuel Austen (b. 1648), baptised at Goudhurst, 20 August 1648; living in 1663.
He is said to have purchased the manors of Grovehurst, Hoathe, Smeeth and Capel, and probably inherited Broad Ford from his elder brother in 1650. He lived at Grovehurst.
He was buried at Horsmonden, 15 March 1687/8; his will was proved 11 April 1688. His wife's date of death is unknown.

John Austen (1629-1705)
Austen, John (1629-1705). Only son and heir of Francis Austen (1600-88) of Broad Ford and Grovehurst, Horsmonden, and his wife Ellen, born 1629. He married, 1654, Jane (1639-86), daughter of John Atkins of Brightling (Sussex), and had issue:
(1) Jane alias Joan Austen (1655-1725), born 21 November 1655; married, 11 May 1680 at Goudhurst, Stephen Stringer (d. 1717) of Goudhurst and had issue five daughters; buried at Goudhurst, 27 November 1725;
(2) John Austen (1657-1704) (q.v.);
(3) William Austen (b. c.1659); died in infancy;
(4) Ellen Austen (b. c.1661); married, 8 December 1687, Edward Osborne (1657-1716) of Horsmonden, but had no issue; died before 1690, when her husband married again;
(5) Anne Austen (d. 1742), born either c.1663 or c.1669; married, 7 November 1688 at Horsmonden, John Holman (b. c.1660) of Tenterden (Kent) and had issue one son and nine daughters; died 5 February 1742.
He inherited Broad Ford and Grovehurst, Horsmonden from his father in 1688. At his death in 1705 he was succeeded by his grandson, John Austen (1696-1728).
He died 13 July 1705 and was buried at Horsmonden, where he is commemorated by an inscription; his will was proved 24 November 1705. His wife was buried at Horsmonden, 2 March 1685/6.

Austen, John (1657-1704). Only son of John Austen (1629-1705) and his wife Jane Atkins, born at Broad Ford, 1657. He seems to have been a careless, easy-going man, who thought frugality unnecessary, as he would succeed to the estate on his father's death, but he predeceased his father and died leaving substantial debts, which it fell to his widow to clear. He married, 19 January 1693 at Tonbridge (Kent), Elizabeth (1671-1721), daughter of Thomas Weller, and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Austen (b. 1695), born 16 June and baptised at Horsmonden, 30 June 1695; married, George Hooper (1691-1752) of Tonbridge, attorney at law, and had issue two sons and three daughters; 
(2) John Austen (1696-1728) (q.v.);
(3) Francis Austen (1698-1791) (q.v.);
(4) Thomas Austen (1699-1772), born 13 October and baptised 23 October 1699; educated at Sevenoaks School; apothecary at Tonbridge; married Elizabeth Burgess and had issue one son; died 1772; will proved 10 April 1772;
(5) William Austen (1700-37), born 3 February and baptised at Horsmonden, 18 February 1700; educated at Sevenoaks School; surgeon in Tonbridge; married 1st, 12 January 1727 in London, Rebecca Walter (c.1695-1733) and had issue one son (Rev. George Austen, the father of Jane Austen, the novelist) and three daughters; married 2nd, 20 May 1736, Susannah Kelp (1688-1766) but had no further issue; died 7 December and was buried at Tonbridge, 12 December 1737;
(6) Robert Austen (1702-28), born 16 September and baptised at Horsmonden, 30 September 1702; educated at Sevenoaks School; died unmarried of smallpox, 27 January 1727/8 and was buried at Tenterden, where he is commemorated by a ledger stone;
(7) Stephen Austen (1704-51), born 27 January and baptised at Horsmonden, 11 February 1703/4; educated at Sevenoaks School; bookseller at Newgate St., London; married Elizabeth [surname unknown] and was buried at Horsmonden, 7 January 1750/1; his will was proved 24 January 1750/1.
He died of consumption, 21 September 1704, in his father's lifetime, and was buried at Horsmonden, where he is commemorated by a ledger stone; his will was proved 19 January 1704/5. After his death, his widow took employment as housekeeper to the headmaster of Sevenoaks School; she died in Tonbridge in 1720/1.

Austen, John (1696-1728). Eldest son of John Austen (1657-1704) and his wife Elizabeth Weller, born 14 August and baptised at Horsmonden, 20 August 1696. Educated at Sevenoaks School. Farmer and landowner at Horsmonden and East Guldeford (Sussex). He married, c.1720, his cousin, Mary (1699-1759), daughter of Stephen Stringer, and had issue:
(1) Jane Austen (c.1723-70); died unmarried, 6 September and was buried at Horsmonden, 11 September 1770;
(2) Elizabeth Austen (1724-1800), baptised at Sevenoaks, 7 April 1724; married, 1746, Rev. John Fermor alias Boorder (1719-73), rector of Crayford (Kent), and had issue two sons (who both predeceased her); buried at Sevenoaks, 5 September 1800;
(3) John Austen (1726-1807) (q.v.).
He inherited Broad Ford and Grovehurst, Horsmonden, from his grandfather in 1705 and came of age in 1717.
He was buried at Horsmonden, 17 September 1728; his will was proved 3 March 1728/9. His widow was buried at Horsmonden, 17 October 1759.

Austen, John (1726-1807). Only son of John Austen (1696-1728) and his wife Mary Stringer, born 1726.  Farmer and landowner at Horsmonden and East Guldeford (Sussex). He married, 1759, Joanna Weekes (1739-1811), and had issue:
(1) Mary Austen (1760-1803), born 1760; died unmarried and was buried at Horsmonden, 28 March 1803.
He inherited Broad Ford and Grovehurst, Horsmonden, from his father in 1728 and came of age in 1747. At his death his property passed to his widow for life and then to his first cousin, once removed, the Rev. John Austen (1777-1851) of Chevening.
He died in January 1807 and was buried at Horsmonden, 3 February 1807; his will was proved 18 March 1807. His widow died 9 July and was buried at Horsmonden, 16 July 1811; her will was proved 17 August 1811.

Francis Austen (1698-1791)
Austen, Francis (1698-1791). Second son of John Austen (1657-1704) and his wife Elizabeth Weller, born 25 February and baptised at Horsmonden, 15 March 1697/8. Educated at Sevenoaks School. Established a legal practice in Sevenoaks 'with £800 and a bundle of pens' in 1722; became a specialist in land law, with a practice in Clifford's Inn, of which he was at one time Principal, in addition to his firm in Sevenoaks; Under-Sheriff for Kent from 1733; Clerk of the Peace for Kent, 1753-73; Governor of Sevenoaks School; trustee of eleven turnpike trusts and many similar posts in Kent. After the death of his brother William, he acted almost as a surrogate father for his nephew, Rev. George Austen (father of the novelist, Jane Austen), paying for him to attend University, and he continued to take a keen interest in his nephew's career and family; his second wife acted as one of Jane Austen's godparents at her christening in 1776, and Jane and her sister were taken to stay with him at Sevenoaks in 1788. He married 1st, 2 January 1746/7 at Tonbridge, Anne, daughter and heiress of Thomas Motley, and 2nd, 19 August 1758 at St Dunstan in the West, London, Jane (c.1715-82), the daughter of [forename unknown] Chadwick and widow of Samuel Lennard of West Wickham (Kent), and had issue:
(1.1) Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815) (q.v.);
(2.1) Rev. Sackville Austen (1759-86), baptised at Sevenoaks, 10 July 1759; educated at Queens' College, Cambridge (matriculated 1778; BA 1781; MA 1785); ordained deacon, 1783 and priest, 1784; rector of West Wickham (Kent), 1784-86 and of Horsted Keynes (Sussex), 1785-86; married, 18 January 1785, Anne (1759-1826), daughter of Thomas Lambard of Sevenoaks, but had no issue; died 3 July 1786;
(2.2) Maj. John Austen (1761-1831), born at Sevenoaks, 1761; an officer in 36th Foot (Capt. by 1789; Maj., 1794; retired 1796); DL for Kent; married, 8 August 1793 at Lamberhurst (Sussex), Harriet (d. 1811), daughter of Thomas Hussey of Burwash (Sussex) and Ashford (Kent), and had issue two sons and one daughter; died at Hastings, 8 February 1831.
He lived at the Red House, High St., Sevenoaks. He amassed considerable wealth during his long career in the law, much of which was invested in property in Kent and Sussex, but he seems never to have bought a country house.
He died in 1791; his will was proved in the PCC, 6 July 1791. His first wife was buried at St Swithin, Walcot, Bath (Somerset), 11 November 1755. His second wife died in 1782.

Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815)
Austen, Francis Motley (1747-1815). Only child of Francis Austen (1698-1791) and his first wife Anne, daughter and heiress of Thomas Motley, born 7 November and baptised at Beckenham (Kent), 11 November 1747. Educated at Hertford College, Oxford (matriculated 1765) and Middle Temple (admitted 1764), he followed his father into the legal profession and had chambers in the Middle Temple; Clerk of the Peace for Kent, 1773-1808; Governor of Sevenoaks School; a trustee of several turnpike trusts etc. An officer in the Holmsdale Volunteers (Maj., 1803). He married, 11 June 1772 at St. Anne, Soho, London, Elizabeth (1751-1817), daughter of Sir Thomas Wilson of West Wickham (Kent), and had issue:
(1) Francis Lucius Austen (c.1773-1815), born in London, about 1773; an officer in the Kent Militia (Ensign, 1796; Lt., 1797; Capt., 1798; Maj., 1803); DL for Kent, 1802; lived at Wilmington (Kent); married, 7 February 1805 at St Marylebone (Middx), Penelope (1783-1833), daughter of Montague Cholmeley of Easton (Lincs) and had issue four daughters; became mentally unstable in about 1813; died 19 February 1815; will proved 13 May 1815;
(2) Col. Thomas Austen (1775-1859) (q.v.);
(3) Jane Austen (c.1776-1857), born in London about 1776; married, 10 January 1797 at St George, Hanover Square, London, William Campion (1770-1855) of Danny Park (Sussex), son of Henry Courthope Campion of Danny, and had issue nine children; died 10 March 1857;
(4) Rev. John Austen (1777-1851) (q.v.);
(5) Lt-Col. Henry Austen (1779-1850), born 14 May and baptised at Wilmington (Kent), 17 July 1779; an officer in the army (Capt., 1798; Maj., 1807; Lt-Col., 1813); died unmarried at Bellevue, Sevenoaks, 27 September 1850;
(6) Elizabeth Austen (1780-1858), born 10 July and baptised at St James, Westminster, 17 July 1780; died unmarried, 1858;
(7) Marianne Austen (1781-96), baptised at Lamberhurst, 29 September 1781; died young, 1796;
(8) George Lennard Austen (1782-1844), baptised at Lamberhurst, 22 October 1782; an officer in the Kent (Sevenoaks & Bromley) Militia (Capt., 1801); articled to Thomas Clarke of London, attorney, 1801; solicitor at Sevenoaks, in partnership with William Francis Holcroft; married, 6 August 1814 at Sevenoaks, Harriet Hughes, but had no issue; died at Sevenoaks, 8 November 1844, and was buried there; will proved 17 January 1845;
(9) Frances Austen (b. c. 1783), born about 1783; probably died young;
(10) Edward Austen (1785-1815), baptised at Lamberhurst, 15 February 1785; died unmarried, 1815;
(11) Rev. William Austen (1787-1854), baptised at Lamberhurst, 24 December 1787; educated at Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1806; BA 1809); ordained priest, 1812; rector of Horsted Keynes (Sussex), 1815-40; married, 15 December 1814, Elizabeth Matilda, daughter of John Butler Harrison, and had issue; died at Southampton, 5 April 1854; will proved 28 August 1854.
He lived at Court Lodge, Lamberhurst (a property owned by the Morland family) until he foreclosed on a mortgage on the Kippington House estate near Sevenoaks in 1796 and moved there.
He died 14 April 1815 and was buried at Sevenoaks; his will was proved in the PCC, 13 May 1815. His widow died in 1817 and was buried at Sevenoaks.

Col. Thomas Austen (1775-1859)
Austen, Col. Thomas (1775-1859). Second son of Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Wilson of West Wickham (Kent), born 1775. Educated at St John's College, Cambridge (admitted 1793), but entered the army, 1794 (Capt., 1796; Maj., 1801; Lt-Col., 1805; Col., 1813). He was Governor of the Algarve during the Peninsula Wars, and later Chief Aide to Charles Whitworth, 1st Earl Whitworth, as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1813-17. High Sheriff of Kent, 1823-24; MP for West Kent, 1846-47. He was a second cousin of the novelist Jane Austen, and a friend of Jane's brother, Edward Knight; both men played cricket for the Duke of Dorset's team, The Gentlemen of Kent. He married 1st, 30 April 1803 at St Swithin, Walcot, Bath (Somerset), Margaretta (1777-1825), daughter of Thomas Morland of Court Lodge, Lamberhurst (Sussex), and 2nd, 5 July 1826 at St Mary, Bryanston Square, London, Caroline Catherine (1801-94), daughter of William Manning, but had no issue.
He inherited the Kippington House estate from his father in 1815 and gained possession on the death of his mother in 1817. At his death it passed to his nephew, John Francis Austen (1817-93).
He died at Kippington, 23 July 1859. His first wife died at Sevenoaks, January 1825, and was buried there. His widow died 1 January 1894; her will was proved 19 February 1894 (effects £17,683).

Austen, Rev. John (1777-1851). Third son of Francis Motley Austen (1747-1815) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Wilson of West Wickham (Kent), born 6 June and baptised at Wilmington (Kent), 17 July 1777. Educated at Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1794; BA 1799; MA 1803). Ordained deacon, 1800 and priest, 1801. Rector of Crayford (Kent), 1806-13 and of Chevening (Kent), 1813-51; domestic chaplain to 4th Duke of Dorset at Knole, 1806 and to 4th Earl Stanhope at Chevening, 1817. He married, 7 September 1813 at Seal (Kent), Harriet (1785-1873), daughter of Thomas Lane of Bradbourne (Kent), and had issue:
(1) John Francis Austen (1817-93) (q.v.);
(2) Lt-Col. Charles Wilson Austen (1818-63), baptised at Chevening, 20 September 1818; an officer in the infantry (Ensign, 1838; Lt., 1840; Capt., 1848; Maj., 1856; Lt-Col., 1858); married, c.1852, Elizabeth (b. 1825), daughter of Thomas Tiesdell Killick, and had issue one son and one daughter; died 7 December 1863 from wounds received in action in New Zealand; will proved 8 April 1865 (effects under £5,000);
(3) Elizabeth Austen (1820-96), baptised at Chevening, 11 July 1820; married, 11 September 1856 at Sevenoaks, Maj-Gen. Henry Terrick FitzHugh JP (1827-1910), second son of Rev. W.A. FitzHugh, rector of Street (Sussex); died 23 August 1896; will proved 11 September 1896 (effects £102);
(4) Catherine Frances Austen (1821-1907), baptised at Chevening, 19 August 1821; lived at The Old House, Sevenoaks; died unmarried, 4 October 1907; will proved 31 October 1907 (estate £26,087);
(5) Rev. Henry Morland Austen (1823-1904), baptised at Chevening, 6 March 1823; educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1841; BA 1845; MA 1849); ordained deacon, 1847 and priest, 1848; rector of Crayford (Kent), 1851-73; married, 15 September 1853 at Sturminster Marshall (Dorset), Mary, daughter of William Parke of Sturminster Marshall and 'The Thickets', Jamaica, but had no issue; died 4 May 1904; will proved 2 June 1904 (estate £14,857);
(6) Henrietta Louisa Austen (b. 1824), baptised at Chevening, 30 May 1824; probably died young;
(7) Marianne Austen (1825-92), baptised at Chevening, 31 October 1825; lived with her sister Catherine at The Old House, Sevenoaks; died 31 March 1892; will proved 29 April 1892 (estate £9,989).
He lived at Chevening. In 1807 he seems to have inherited the family property at Horsmonden under the will of his first cousin once removed, John Austen (1726-1807).
He died at Chevening Rectory, 22 September 1851; his will was proved 6 October 1851. His widow died 9 January 1873; her will was proved 14 February 1873 (effects under £2,000).

Austen, John Francis (1817-93). Eldest son of Rev. John Austen (1777-1851) and his wife Harriet, daughter of Thomas Lane of Bradbourne (Kent), born 13 September and baptised at Chevening, 15 September 1817. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1836; BA 1840) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1840). JP for Kent from 1867. He married 1st, 21 July 1855 at Sturminster Newton (Dorset), Charlotte (c.1820-62), only child of William Tucker of Lower Henbury, Sturminster Marshall (Dorset), and 2nd, 27 June 1868 at Old Windsor (Berks), Georgiana Frederica (1843-1931), eldest daughter of Charles Pearse of London, and had issue:
(1.1) Charlotte Marianne Austen (1857-1910), born 31 October and baptised at St Paul, Knightsbridge (Middx), 2 December 1857; married, 19 April 1887 at All Saints, Knightsbridge (Middx), as his first wife, Sir William Smith-Marriott (1865-1943), 8th bt., eldest son of John Bosworth Smith-Marriott of The Grove (Kent), and had issue one daughter; died 23 March 1910; will proved 15 June 1910 (estate £13,670);
(1.2) Roma Catherine Mary Austen (1859-1932), born in London, 20 February 1859; musician and charity worker; married*, 5 September 1925 in Marylebone (Middx), Henry Hugo Meyer (1873-1931) of Roehampton (Surrey), private detective; died 7 April 1932; will proved 9 July 1932 (estate £11,353);
(2.1) Georgina Catherine Florence Austen (1870-85), born in London, 9 April 1870; died young, 23 May 1885;
(2.2) Frances Elizabeth Margaret Austen (1880-1930), born in London, 6 October 1880; died unmarried at Capel Manor, 1 July 1930; will proved 26 August 1930 (estate £7,816).
He lived in London. He inherited the Kippington House estate from his uncle in 1859 but let it and then sold it in 1865. He built Capel Manor at Horsmonden in 1859-62. After his death Capel Manor was occupied by his widow and her surviving unmarried daughter.
He died 27 October and was buried at Horsmonden, 1 November 1893; his will was proved 16 December 1893 (effects £77,389). His first wife died 19 December and was buried at Horsmonden, 26 December 1862. His widow died 22 May 1931; her will was proved 24 July 1931 (estate £7,139).
* This may have been her second marriage as press reports of it give her maiden name and add "(Mrs Webster)"; there is no trace of a Webster marriage in England and it may have taken place in South Africa, where she evidently had links.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1925, p. 51; G. Carter, P. Goode & K. Laurie, Humphry Repton: landscape gardener, 1752-1818, 1982, p. 155; D. Le Faye, A Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family: 1700-2000, 2006, passimJ. Newman, The buildings of England: Kent - West and The Weald, 4th edn., 2012, pp. 307, 531-32; H. Dyke, 'Jane Austen's family and Court Lodge', Austentations, 2013;

Location of archives

Austen family of Horsmonden & Kippington: deeds and estate papers, c.1600-1930 [East Sussex Record Office, Acc. 8293]

Coat of arms

Or, on a chevron between three lions' gambs erect, erased sable, as many plates.

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 explain the ownership history of Capel Manor and Broad Ford after 1931? J.F. Austen's trustees sold the contents of Capel Manor in 1931 but I cannot find any record of the sale of the estate or of its subsequent owners until the 1960s.
  • Can anyone explain the ownership history and use of Kippington House after 1904?
  • Can anyone provide more information about the careers and marriages of the children of Francis Austen (1600-88)?
  • Can anyone tell me more about the life and career of Roma Catherine Mary Austen (1859-1932)? In addition to extensive good works and musical interests, she was a member of the Roentgen Society. She may have spent some time in South Africa in the 1890s or 1900s and was perhaps briefly married to a Mr. Webster, but later reverted to her maiden name and was living in London by 1910. In 1925 she married H.H. Meyer, a London private detective.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 19 March and updated 11 December 2017, 28 November 2018, 1 November 2019 and 20 August 2020. I am grateful to Elizabeth Cairns for drawing my attention to Repton's involvement at Kippington.


  1. Sir,

    Regarding Kippington House at Sevenoaks, I came across a marriage notice in 'The Aeroplane' magazine, vol. 37 (1929) stating the following: 'VIGERS - VIGERS. - On Aug. 10 at St Mary's Church, Kippington, Capt. Arthur W. Vigers, M.C., D.F.C., youngest son of Mr and Mrs Vigers of Montville, Guernsey, to Marjorie Frances, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Chas. H. Vigers, of Kippington House, Sevenoaks.'

    Regarding the Vigers family, a T. W. Vigers of Montville, St Peter Port, Guernsey, had a daughter, Margaret, who was mother (by her husband, Maj.-Gen. Noel Warren Napier-Clavering, C.B., C.B.E.) of Diana Margaret, who m. Lt John Evelyn Gray Todd, R.N. Thomas William Vigers, of Isleworth, Middx., later of Caterham, Surrey, was in the timber trade, retiring to Guernsey, and was later of Swansea, dying there in 1942. His son, Capt. Arthur Whitehair Vigers (his marriage mentioned above), was awarded the M.C. and D.F.C. Thomas William and Charles Herbert Vigers were brothers, according to census records- sons of Thomas Vigers, an undertaker, of Buckingham Palace Road.

  2. Dear Mr. Kingsly,

    The dates for the Rev. Henry Austen, 1726-1807, the first cousin of the author's father, Rev. George, are the same for John Austen, only son of John Austen (1696-1728) and his wife Mary Stringer noted above. Is that a mistake or a coincidence. I am trying to find the parents of Dinah Austen, "single woman of Silchester" who married Thorpe Brown of Reading, Berks., in 1769.

    A great many thanks.

    1. I think that is a coincidence. I am afraid I have not come across Dinah Austen, although I can see the marriage you mean on FindMyPast. At that date, the witnesses to the marriage should be recorded in the register: do they help at all? Her father or mother, if living, might well have been among them.

  3. This is my 3rd attempt to get back to you. Checking the scanned marriage registers I've come across on to date, I've not seen any that included witnesses. Any other suggestions? I'd be enormously grateful. Thanks again!

    1. This link sets out the requirements for marriage registration between 1754 and 1837: I have come across non-compliant registers, but I think it would be worth ordering a copy of the marriage entry from the Berkshire Record Office to see what information it gives.

  4. I am writing an historical fiction novel, in which one of the real-life characters is Elizabeth Weller Austen (1671-1720/21) who was married to John Austen IV and lived at Broadford during their marriage. Your blog has been extremely helpful, but I wonder where you found the portrait of her father-in-law John Austen III. Also, any additional information or pictures you have of Broadford during the years 1693-1705 would be extremely helpful.

    1. I am afraid I have no views of Broadford as early as 1693-1705, although I do have a series of views of the house in recent times (from sale particulars) - if these would be of interest please let me have your email address and I will send them through. I think the portrait of John Austen III is in the collection of Heather Dyke at Court Lodge, Lamberhurst.

  5. According to New Zealand newspapers, Lt-Col. Charles Wilson Austen died in 1863.

  6. Ancestry has a Goudhurst baptism of a Mary Austen 6/12/1635 born to Frances Austen and Ellen. This would fill a childbirth gap between Francis junior and Thomas.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out - not sure how I missed it! Have now incorporated it above (and also her marriage).

  7. My family tree shows Peter Hobbs marrying Mary Austen 1668-1739 and then later, William Hobbs married a Mary Anne Austen 1832-1898. Both of these Gentlemen were Blacksmiths in Horsmonden/Brenchley. Is there any idea where they fit in the Austen family tree???

    1. Yes: Ancestry shows Mary Austen (1668-1739) as the daughter of Francis and Elizabeth Austen. They are no doubt Francis Austin and Elizabeth Curtis, married at Horsmonden in 1667. It seems likely that this Francis is the Francis Austen (b. 1644), son of Francis and Ellen Austen, who was baptised at Goudhurst in 1644, and who appears above. I have not been able to identify Mary Anne Austen (1832-98) securely as there are too many women of that name in Kent born in that year. Hope this helps.

    2. Thank you very much for this information it is much appreciated

    3. Hello again and further to previous messages where you were unable to identify Mary Anne Austen 1832-98, I have now found out her parents were Edward Austen born 21.04.1794 or 5 and Mary Ann, or Elizabeth Barrow Born 1811. Is it possible to trace which branch of the Austen family Edwarc belongs to??

    4. A family tree on Ancestry suggests that Edward Austen came from Wye (Kent) and was the son of William Austen of the same place and Elizabeth Dryland. I am not sure how reliable this is as there are some evident problems with other 'facts' recorded in the tree, but it may be a starting point for you.

    5. Thank you very much indeed. This is very welcome news.

  8. I would be grateful if you could tell me if you know where the portraits of the above Austen men are located, i.e. Francis Austen 1698-1791 ? I would love to buy a print. Francis was the Grt Uncle of Jane Austen.

    I live between Horsmonden and Goudhurst in the grounds of the former Capel Manor, built by John Austen 1817-1893 which was very sadly pulled down in about 1962-1964.

    Grovehurst House and Broadford are a stone's throw away and it appears that Francis Austen was born at one of those houses and christened presumably at St Margaret's Church.

    Look forward to hearing you.

  9. As far as I can recall, I derived them from this post: The author provides an email contact address at the end; she may know where the originals are now.

  10. Hello. I am an author living in the US. As a fan of Jane Austen, I am currently working on a novel based on the lives of her great grandmother Elizabeth Weller Austen (1671-1720), unfortunate widow of John Austen IV (1657-1704) and their seven children.I believe all 7 children were born at Broadford. Francis Austen (1698-1791) would have been Jane's great-uncle. (When she was 23, she visited him in Seven Oaks.)
    To anonymous:I don't know where the original portraits are located. But could you help me out by telling me the approximate distance between Broadford and Grove Hurst? Is it walkable? Is it flat or must one climb a hill to get from one to the other? I tried using Google Earth, but too many trees shade the scene. Although my book is fictional, I would like the historical detail to be as accurate as possible.

    Thanks for your help.

    I have never had the pleasure of visiting Horsmonden and rely on internet research. Nick Kingsleys landed families blogspot has been a great help. My book will be available early next year, in case you are interested.

  11. I am the great grandson of mary austen 1832-1898 and William Samuel Edwzrd Hobbs. Can anyone advise which branch of the Austen family I should trace for my family tree. He was a Blacksmith with forge in Brenchley, Kent.


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.