|Baber of Chew and Regilbury|
When Francis Baber died in 1643 his heir was his eldest surviving son, Francis Baber (1600-69), who was an advocate in the Court of Arches and Chancellor of the Diocese of Gloucester. His legal duties kept him in London or Gloucester for most of the time, although after the suspension of diocesan governance in the Church of England in the 1640s he may have spent more time on his estates. In 1654 he is said to have moved from Chew Court to Regilbury Court, a move which may have marked a reduction in his income, as he complained in 1660 of the diminution of his estate. Francis Baber outlived his elder son, John Baber (1636-68) by a few months, so at his death his heir was his young grandson, Francis Baber (1662-78), a hopeful youth who became a student at Oxford at the exceptionally early age of 12, but who died before coming of age. His brother, Edward Baber (1664-1711) thus come into the estates. He came of age in 1684, bringing to an end a long minority of some fifteen years, during which his trustees had evidently been able to accrue some capital, for Edward quickly embarked on the rebuilding of Regilbury Court as quite a grand five bay, two-storey, gabled house, of a form typical of gentry houses of this period in the West Country. Edward married in 1687, but sadly had no children to inherit the new house, or to carry on the Baber name. He left the estates to his widow and when she died in 1714 they passed to his young kinsman, Sir Halswell Tynte (1705-30), 3rd bt., with whose descendants they remained until the 19th century. Both Chew Court and Regilbury Court fell out of gentry use as the Tyntes were more grandly accommodated at Halswell Court (Somerset), and Regilbury Court was in ruins by the early 19th century. However, Chew Court survived to be remodelled and returned to gentry occupation in the 1850s.
Chew Court, Chew Magna, Somerset
According to Collinson's History of Somerset, the manor of Chew Magna belonged to the bishops of Bath & Wells from some 500 years until in 1548 Bishop Barlow sold it to the Duke of Somerset, on whose execution and attainder in 1552 it escheated to the Crown. The manorial estate was later subdivided, and deeds surviving among the papers of the Kemeys-Tynte family, suggest a complex series of transactions, as a result of which the bishops' manor house may not have come into the hands of the Baber family until 1593. The Pophams retained the manorial rights until the 18th century, and may have built the first house on the site of the present Chew Magna Manor House as a centre for their estate. The original manor house of the bishops (now Chew Court) was largely rebuilt in about 1600, presumably for Francis Baber. As a result, the house became an L-shaped building consisting of a main north range and a shorter east wing, at the southern end of which the 14th century gatehouse of the bishop's house was retained, albeit with new windows on its upper floor.
|Chew Court: the surviving 14th century gatehouse belonging to the manor house of the bishops of Bath & Wells. Image: Historic England|
|Chew Court: the house consists of the 14th century gatehouse (on the right) and an L-shaped range of c.1600, much altered in 1856-57 for John Colthurst. Image: Historic England.|
Descent: Bishops of Bath & Wells; sold 1548 to Edward Seymour (d. 1552), 1st Duke of Somerset; escheated to Crown, 1552; granted 1565 to John Lumley (d. 1609), 1st Baron Lumley; sold 1566 to Edward Baber (1531-78) and Francis Popham (the house itself may have been acquired from Popham in 1593); to son, Francis Baber (1566-1643); to son, Francis Baber (1600-69); to grandson, Francis Baber (1662-78); to brother, Edward Baber (1664-1711); to widow, Florence Baber (d. 1715) and then to Sir Halswell Tynte (1705-30), 3rd bt; to brother, Rev. Sir John Tynte (1707-40), 4th bt; to brother, Sir Charles Kemeys Tynte (1710-85), 5th bt; to niece, Jane Hassell, wife of Col. John Johnson (later Kemeys-Tynte) (d. 1807); to son, Charles Kemeys Kemeys-Tynte (1778-1860), who let to tenants including Richard Mullins (fl. 1820-44); sold before 1856 to John Colthurst, surgeon (1811-95); to daughter, Ellen Rebecca Colthurst; sold c.1897 to T.B. Curtis; sold to Robert Saxby (d. 1910); to Maj. McNulty (fl. 1918-21); sold c.1922...; sold c.1928 to Richard Ashley Hall (1902-82)...Mr. & Mrs P. Oliphant (fl. 2011).
Regilbury Court, Nempnett Thrubwell, Somerset
Regilbury Court was a grange of Flaxley Abbey (Glos) until the dissolution of the monasteries. The site was granted in 1537 to Sir Anthony Kingston, the chief commissioner for the dissolution in Gloucestershire, whose grandson sold it in 1565. The following year it was bought by Edward Baber (d. 1578) of Chew Magna (Somerset), whose family may have been tenants here under successive owners since monastic times; already by 1575 there was a house here of sufficient consequence to be marked on Saxton's map of Somerset, though we know nothing of its appearance.
Like Baber's property at Chew, Regilbury descended to his son Francis (1566-1643) and grandson, Francis (1600-69), and the latter is said to have made his home at Regilbury in about 1654 (earlier members of the family had resided at Chew Court). A letter of 1660 records that Francis' estate was 'much diminished' since his father's time, presumably on account of fines or loss of income during the Civil War, so it seems unlikely that he found the resources for new building at Regilbury before moving in. When he died in 1669, the property passed in turn to his grandsons, Francis Baber (1662-78) and his brother, Edward Baber (1663-1711), who came of age in 1684. The long minority of Francis and Edward Baber probably provided an opportunity for his trustees to recover the fortunes of the estate, and Edward seems to have rebuilt or remodelled the Elizabethan house at Regilbury soon after coming into his inheritance.
|Regilbury Court: an early 18th century view of the house|
|Regilbury Court: the ruins in 1846.|
Baber family of Chew Court and Regilbury Court
Baber, Edward (1531-78). Son of John Baber (d. 1559) of Chew Stoke (Somerset) and his wife, Agnes or Mary Willett, born 1531. Educated at Lincoln's Inn (admitted, 1553; called to bar, 1560; bencher, 1570; pensioner & steward, 1570; autumn reader, 1570, 1571; Governor, 1573; Treasurer, 1569-70). Barrister-at-law; Recorder of Bath by 1571; Serjeant-at-Law, 1577; MP for Bath, 1571-72. JP for Somerset by 1570 and for Middlesex by 1574. He married, Catherine (d. 1601), third daughter of Sir Thomas Leigh of Stoneleigh (Warks), and had issue:
(1) Francis Baber (1565/6-1643) (q.v.);
(2) Robert Baber (1567?-1640), reputedly born 13 December 1567; inherited the manor of Aldwick in Blagdon (Somerset) from his father; married 1st, 13 December 1599 at St Mildred, Poultry, London, Cicely Smith (d. 1606) and had issue three sons and two daughters, and 2nd, 10 August 1607 at Corston (Somerset), Priscilla Holbyn (d. 1644); buried 11 May 1640 in Bath Abbey; will proved 12 June 1640;
(3) Alice Baber (b. & d. 1571), baptised 26 January 1570/1 at St James, Clerkenwell (Middx); died in infancy and was buried at St James, Clerkenwell, 7 February 1570/1;
(4) Elizabeth Baber (b. 1572), baptised 18 February 1572 at St James, Clerkenwell; married, 11 October 1589 at Chew Magna, George Tynte of Chelvey Court (Somerset) and had issue three sons;
(5) William Baber (b. 1573), baptised 10 September 1573 at St James, Clerkenwell; inherited Hillhouse, Blagdon (Somerset) from his father;
(6) Mary Baber (d. 1644), born after 1572; married 1st, Jan 1599/1600, Sir Roger Wilbraham (1553-1616), kt. of Dorfold (Cheshire), Master of Requests, and had issue three daughters; married 2nd, Sir Thomas Delves (1571-1658), 1st bt.; buried at Wybunbury (Cheshire), 6 January 1644;
(7) Edward Baber (1576-1655) of Sutton Court, Stowey, baptised at Chew Magna, 8 July 1576; citizen and draper of London; married 1st, 3 February 1611 at St Pancras (Middx), Mary, daughter of Thomas Paradine of London, merchant, and had issue; 2nd, 17 October 1616 at Enfield (Middx), Frances Harrison (née Edington) of Enfield, by whom he had issue one son and three daughters; and 3rd, after 1630, Elizabeth Strachey (née Crosse, then Jupp); died 21 April 1655;
(8) Katherine Baber (b. 1578), baptised at Chew Magna, 14 August 1578; married, 19 February 1600/1 at Chew Magna, William Snowe, and had issue.
He purchased the Regilbury Court estate (which his grandfather had leased) in 1565, and part of the former episcopal estate at Chew Magna in 1566. He also leased Sutton Court, Stowey from Bess of Hardwick, and Aldwick Manor House (Somerset); at his death the was described as of Aldwick.
He died 23 September and was buried at Chew Magna 2 October 1578, where he is commemorated by a large monument erected by his eldest son in the 17th century; his will was proved 10 February 1578/9. His widow died 10 March 1601 and was buried at Chew Magna, where she is commemorated on her husband's monument.
Baber, Francis (1565/6-1643). Eldest son of Edward Baber (1531-78) and his wife Catherine, daughter of Thomas Leigh of Stoneleigh (Warks), born 25 August 1565 or 1566. Educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1582) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1586). He married, 24 July 1595, Ann (c.1582-1650), daughter of William Whitmore of Balmes, Hackney (Middx), and had issue:
(1) Edward Baber (1597-1633), baptised at Chew Magna, 7 February 1596/7; educated at Westminster School, Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1614; BA 1616) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1618); his will refers to legal proceedings against his parents reflecting no credit on either party; married, 2 July 1629 at St Gregory by St Pauls, London, Elizabeth Pratt, and had issue one son and one daughter; died June 1633; will proved 20 June 1633;
(2) Elizabeth Baber (1598-1636), baptised at Chew Magna, 8 January 1597/8; married 1st, 12 August 1623 at Chew Magna, Sir Richard Hill (1557-1627), kt. of Redland (Glos), and 2nd, John Hodges; buried at Bath Abbey, 12 July 1636;
(3) William Baber (1599-1600), baptised at Chew Magna, 19 February 1598/9; died in infancy and was buried at Chew Magna, 13 April 1600;
(4) Francis Baber (1600-69) (q.v.);
(5) Ann Baber (1603-62), baptised at Chew Magna, 11 August 1603; married, 21 February 1627/8 at Chew Magna, William Blanchard (d. 1644), son of William Blanchard of St. Catherine's (Somerset), and had issue seven sons; buried at Batheaston (Somerset), 1662;
(6) Henry Baber (b. & d. 1606), baptised at Chew Magna, October 1606; died in infancy and was buried at Chew Magna, 13 November 1606;
(7) John Baber (1607-19), baptised at Chew Magna, 14 October 1607; died young and was buried at Chew Magna, 11 November 1619;
(8) Mary Baber (1610-69?), baptised at Chew Magna, 7 May 1610; married, 10 August 1631 at Wishford (Wilts), Sir Robert Hyde (1595-1665), kt., Chief Justice of Common Pleas, but had no issue; buried in Salisbury Cathedral, 2 August 1669;
(9) James Baber (1611-86), baptised at Chew Magna, 13 July 1611; merchant adventurer at Hamburg (Germany); died, apparently unmarried and without issue, about May 1686; will proved 28 May 1686;
(10) Jane Baber (1613-92), baptised at Chew Magna, 21 March 1612/3; married, 21 August 1639, Lawrence St. Loe (1604-58) of Broad Chalke (Wilts), and had issue one son and one daughter; buried at Broad Chalke, 1692; will proved 18 June 1692.
He inherited the Regilbury Court and Chew Magna estates, together with property at Wrington (Somerset) from his father in 1578 and came of age in 1587. He apparently acquired Chew Court from the Popham family in 1593 and rebuilt it soon afterwards. He continued to expand the estate through the purchase of small parcels of land until the 1620s.
He died 9 September and was buried at Chew Magna, 10 September 1643. His widow died 30 December 1650 and was buried in Bath Abbey, 7 January 1650/1; her will was proved 23 April 1651.
Baber, Francis (1600-69). Eldest surviving son of Francis Baber (1566-1643) and his wife Ann, daughter of William Whitmore of Balmes, Hackney (Middx), baptised at Chew Magna, 5 July 1600. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1616; BA 1620; MA 1622; BCL 1624; DCL 1628); advocate in the Court of Arches; Chancellor of the Diocese of Gloucester, 1629-69; Commissioner of Militia for Somerset, 1660 and for levying a royal aid, 1664-65. He married, 9 April 1634 at South Mimms (Middx), Elizabeth (1610-73), daughter of John Adderley, and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Baber (d. 1641); died young and was buried at Gloucester Cathedral, 19 March 1641;
(2) twin, John Baber (1636-68) (q.v.);
(3) twin, Ann Baber (1636-39), baptised at Chew Magna, 8 May 1636; died young and was buried in Gloucester Cathedral, 1639;
(4) Francis Baber (1637-40); died young and was buried in Gloucester Cathedral, 3 September 1640;
(5) James Baber (d. c.1672); a clerk in the Cursitor's Office, Chancery Lane; died unmarried; will proved 12 April 1672;
(6) Mary Baber (d. 1656); buried at Nempnett Thrubwell, 12 May 1656.
He inherited the Chew Court and Regilbury Court estates from his father in 1643 and moved his residence from the former to the latter in about 1654.
He died 17 June 1669 and was buried on the south side of the choir of Gloucester Cathedral. His widow was buried at Gloucester Cathedral, 9 January 1672/3; her will was proved 23 June 1674.
Baber, John (1636-68). Eldest son of Francis Baber (1600-69) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Adderley, baptised at Chew Magna, 8 May 1636. Educated at Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1657). He married, 18 April 1661 at Chelvey (Somerset), Anne (1642-67), daughter of John Tynte of Chelvey Court, and had issue:
(1) Francis Baber (1662-78), born 22 May and baptised at Chelvey, 29 May 1662; educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matriculated 1674) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1678); inherited the Chew Court and Regilbury Court estates from his grandfather in 1669 but died before coming of age, about 3 September 1678; will proved 2 November 1678; [not to be confused with another Francis Baber (1657-78), son of John Baber of London, who was educated at Christ Church, Oxford and Lincoln's Inn];
(2) Edward Baber (1664-1711) (q.v.).
He died in the lifetime of his father, and was buried 5 January 1667/8. His wife was buried at Chew Magna, 12 July 1667.
Baber, Edward (1664-1711). Younger son of John Baber (1636-68) and his wife Anne or Barbara Tynte, baptised 20 January 1663/4. Educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (matriculated 1680) and Middle Temple (admitted 1682). He is said to have 'dwelt [at Regilbury] in great splendour'. He married, 24 June 1687 at St Vedast, Foster Lane, London, Florence (d. 1715), daughter of Roger Bourne of Gothelney Hall, Charlinch (Somerset), but had no issue.
He inherited the Chew Court and Regilbury Court estates from his elder brother in 1678 and came of age in 1684. He rebuilt or remodelled Regilbury Court soon after inheriting. At his death he left his estates to his widow, who bequeathed them to his kinsman, Sir Halswell Tynte (1705-30), 3rd bt. and her own property to Thomas Bourne of Sandford.
He was buried at Chew Magna, 10 April 1711; his will was proved 5 May 1711. His widow was buried at Chew Magna, 13 September 1714; her will was proved 7 September 1715.
Rev. J. Collinson, The history and antiquities of the county of Somerset, 1791, vol. 2 (mispaginated), s.v. Chew Magna, Nemnet; J. Rutter, Delineations of the north-west division of the county of Somerset, 1829, pp. 200-05; F.A. Wood, Collections for a parochial history of Chew Magna, 1903, passim, but especially pp. 140-54; A. Foyle & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Somerset - North and Bristol, 2011, pp. 446-47; http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/WAM/doc/BackGround%20Papers-667865.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=667865&location=VOLUME2&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=1&appid=1001.
Location of archives
No substantial archive is known to survive, but many deeds and manorial records are among the papers of the successor Kemeys-Tynte family of Halswell House at Somerset Heritage Centre.
Coat of arms
Argent, on a fess gules, three hawks' heads erased of the first.
Can you help?
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- Can anyone provide fuller information about the 20th century ownership of Chew Court or Regilbury Court?
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 6 July 2017 and was updated 25 April 2022.