Monday 18 December 2017

(313) Bagot of Levens Hall, baronets

Bagot of Levens Hall
The family considered here is a cadet branch of the Bagots of Blithfield, Barons Bagot, considered in my last post. It begins with the Hon. Sir Charles Bagot (1781-1843), kt., fourth son of the 1st Baron Bagot. A 'very handsome and lively' young man with 'a very good understanding', he had been a friend of George Canning and his circle at Oxford, and probably at Canning's suggestion, he entered Parliament in March 1807 as Tory MP for Castle Rising, a rotten borough in the gift of his uncle, Richard Howard. A few months later, a vacancy arose in the Foreign Office as Canning's Under-Secretary, and despite his lack of experience and French he was appointed. Owing to the ‘daily and constant’ devotion to business required by his office, Canning advised him to give up his seat in Parliament, which he did in January 1808, but in 1809 he resigned from office with Canning. In 1806 he had married Mary Wellesley-Pole, a niece of the future Duke of Wellington, and it was Wellington's intervention that secured him diplomatic posts in France in 1814 and America, 1815-19. By the time of his return from Washington he had established himself as a diplomat on his own merits, and he was knighted in 1820 and subsequently served in several of the European capitals. When Canning became Prime Minister in 1827 he proposed to send Sir Charles to Bengal as Governor-General (a post which his wife's uncle, Lord Mornington, had held), but Bagot turned down the offer in 1828. He was recalled from the Hague by Lord Grey's Whig Government in 1831 and was not sent abroad again until the Tories returned to power in 1841, when he was made Governor-General of Canada; he died shortly after resigning from office in 1843.

Sir Charles and his wife seem never to have had a country house in England, perhaps because they were abroad so much and needed to be in London when at home, and perhaps also because they could stay with Sir Charles' brother at Blithfield when they so wished. Sir Charles' eldest son, Charles Bagot (1808-81), was a career soldier in the early part of his career and from 1858 was tied to the royal court as Assistant Master of Ceremonies to Queen Victoria; service for which he is reputed to have declined a peerage. He too, therefore, lived in London. Charles' younger brothers, George Talbot Bagot (1820-1907) and Col. Alexander Bagot (1822-74) both lived abroad for much of their lives.

Col. Charles Bagot's eldest son, Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913), was a young officer in the Grenadier Guards, acting as aide-de-camp to the Governor-General of Canada, when he inherited the Levens Hall estate in 1883. His benefactor was Mary Howard (1785-1877), who inherited the Ashtead Park, Castle Rising, Elford Hall and Levens Hall estates - together some 14,900 acres - and at her death bequeathed them to four different distant male relatives who were not likely to inherit other estates. The Levens estate passed first to her nephew, Gen. the Hon. Arthur Upton (d. 1883), who had looked after the property for her for many years, and then on his death without issue, to Josceline Bagot, who was Mary Howard's first cousin twice removed. Josceline returned to England to take up his inheritance and in 1885 retired from the army. After a further short spell in Canada in his old post in 1888-89, he entered Parliament and was MP for South Westmorland (later Kendal) from 1892-1906 and 1910-13, and a member of the Government from 1897-1900, although for part of this time he was in South Africa, acting as chief press censor during the Boer War. At the beginning of 1913, it was announced that he was to be made a baronet, but he died on 1 March that year, before his patent could pass the great seal, and the honour was therefore conferred on his only son, Sir Alan Desmond Bagot (1896-1920), 1st bt. To modern eyes, distanced by half a century from the routine award of hereditary honours, this looks faintly bizarre, but there are comparable instances from the early 20th century. It is also worth noting that according to Josceline's brother Richard, in a speech at a public meeting reported verbatim in the Yorkshire Post, the baronetcy was not a political award by the Government of the day (which was Liberal) but a personal award by King Edward VII, and recognised not just Josceline's parliamentary service but also the service of his father at Court. The intention was to honour the family's public service by enhancing their status in the stable hierarchy of the landed gentry and aristocracy. On the eve of the First World War, it was perhaps the last moment at which such a gesture could have been made as a matter of course.

Sadly, Sir Alan Bagot was not destined to found a dynasty of baronets at Levens Hall, for he died unmarried of double pneumonia in January 1920; the baronetcy died with him. Levens passed to his uncle, Richard Bagot (1860-1921), a popular Italophile author and Roman Catholic convert, whose main home had been in Italy since the 1890s; and when he died the following year, to Sir Alan's nephew, (Oliver) Robin Gaskell (1914-2000), the second son of his sister Dolly and her husband, Henry Melville Gaskell of Kiddington Hall (Oxon). Robin Gaskell took the name Bagot in 1936 on coming of age, and took possession of the hall (which had been let during his minority) in 1946. He began the process of restoration which has been continued by his son, Hal Bagot (b. 1946), who took over the house in 1975, and his grandson, Richard Bagot (b. 1981), to whom it was handed on in 2014. Remarkably, this is the first time the house has passed in orderly succession from father to son through three generations since it was bought by Col. James Graham in 1689.

Levens Hall, Westmorland (now Cumbria)

There has been a house on the site of Levens Hall in Westmorland (now Cumbria) since at least the mid 14th century, but the house as it exists today is essentially the creation of three later owners: James Bellingham (1560-1641), who largely rebuilt the main block and created the principal interiors; Col. James Graham (c.1650-1730), who bought Levens in 1689, built the south range and laid out the gardens over the next two decades; and Col. the Hon. Fulke Greville Howard, whose wife Mary inherited the estate in 1818, and who made many tactful improvements to heighten the authentic Jacobean character of the house. The overlays of each successive period make it a complex house to unpick, and there are some remaining mysteries about its development.

Levens Hall: aerial view of the house and gardens, 2015
The medieval house still dictates the basic ground plan of a hall with two cross-wings, the eastern of which has a vaulted undercroft and was probably originally a tower-wing. It is also clear that the 14th century hall had the normal medieval arrangement, with entry via a screens passage across the lower end, service accommodation beyond the screens passage, and family rooms in the eastern cross-wing.

Sir Alan Bellingham purchased Levens Hall in 1562, but not until 1580 did his son, James, gain vacant possession. James came of age in 1581 and was married by 1584, and work was in progress on remodelling the medieval house by 1586 (the date on the dining room chimneypiece). The process of fitting out the house continued over decades, as the drawing room chimneypiece is dated 1595 and some of the pretty leaded glazing in the windows is taken from patterns in a book published as late as 1615.

Levens Hall: the north front in the early 20th century.

The tall main block of the house faces north across an entrance court, and was originally lime plastered and whitewashed. The north front has a big embattled tower built in front of the lower end of the hall, with one gabled bay to its right and two to its left. The tower is in the right position to have been a porch-cum-staircase tower, such as is found in several houses in nearby north Lancashire. But although it contains a spiral staircase (which changes direction part way up), there is little sign of there ever having been a main entrance into the tower, either at ground level or at the level of the present hall. The gable immediately to the left of the tower is partly supported on a massive timber beam above a dark recess. This is an awkward and unattractive arrangement and one wonders why and when it was contrived. There is little sign of disturbance in the masonry to suggest alterations, but could the bay to the left of the entrance originally have had a narrower gable like those on the east front?

Levens Hall: the hall c.1930.

The present main entrance is now set into the recess below the gable, with a doorcase and flight of steps leading to it of c.1690. Was this an arrangement newly contrived in the 1690s, and if so, where was the original main entrance? One reason for thinking that the main entrance may not always have been in the present location is that it brings one into the middle of the hall, which would be an extremely advanced conception for the 1580s in this remote corner of England. But this can never have been a traditionally arranged hall, since there are reception rooms at both ends of the hall and the service accommodation was always in the basement. So I am inclined to think that the hall entrance was always in its present position. The hall itself is a magnificent room, with late 16th century panelling, a plaster ceiling with interlocked quatrefoils, and a deep plaster frieze divided into bays by short pilasters. The decoration is primarily heraldic: the royal arms of Queen Elizabeth over the fireplace, the various quarterings of the Bellingham arms around the frieze, and the arms of the family's connections and alliances celebrated in the painted glass in the windows.

Levens Hall: plan of principal floor published in 1936. The work labelled as 'modern' dates from c.1820!

Levens Hall: the east front and Howard tower in 2007. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved

Levens Hall: Joseph Nash's engraving of the drawing room, c.1840.

The other show front of the house is to the east, overlooking the late 17th century topiary garden. Here two boldly projecting gabled full-height bay windows give movement to the facade. That on the right is canted and lights the main drawing room, while the one on the left is square and houses a small closet, now known as the Writing Room, off the small drawing room. The larger drawing room, presumably the original Great Chamber, has a ceiling of boldly modelled interlacing ribs with little pendants, and a very grand chimneypiece dated 1595, with tiers of Ionic and Corinthian colonettes in the overmantel and fluted pilasters to either side of the fireplace opening. The small drawing room has a simpler ceiling but an even richer overmantel, with carved scenes depicting the Four Elements and the Four Seasons, surrounded by figures emblematic of the senses and flanked by Samson and Hercules. Anthony Wells-Cole has suggested that this belongs to a group of overmantels carved by a Newcastle workshop in the early 17th century.

Levens Hall: small drawing room chimneypiece, c.1930.
After Col. Graham bought the Levens estate in 1689 a new phase of building began, with the addition of the L-shaped south wing, which was built by Henry Cuthbertson and John Milburne, a mason and joiner from the North Riding of Yorkshire. The wing connected the main block of the house to the 16th century brewhouse, and provided service accommodation on the ground floor and bedrooms above. The addition of this range was followed swiftly by the rebuilding of the main staircase on the south side of the hall in 1717. This has three rather heavy balusters to each tread, and early 18th century panelling and stamped leather on the walls. Next to it is the back staircase, with chunky turned balusters and a continuous string.

Levens Hall: plan of the gardens published in 1936.
Levens Hall: the topiary garden in Edwardian days, from an old postcard.

Col. Graham's other major contribution to the house was to layout the garden. In the 1680s, Graham had been Keeper of the Privy Purse to King James II, who employed Guillaume Beaumont at Hampton Court. Graham brought Beaumont to Levens, where work began in 1692 with diverting the line of the road and building the boundary walls. Walks and borders were laid out in 1694, and planting was in progress in 1697. A decorative lead cistern has the date 1704. East of the house is an intricate topiary garden with fantastic shapes cut in topiary, while to the south there is a long beech-walk with a rond-point and cross-rides. A surviving plan of the grounds from 1750 shows that the layout was originally a little more intricate than today. Much of the detail was probably lost in the later 18th century, when this style of gardening was deeply out of fashion, but the essence of the layout survived to be restored by the Howards in the early 19th century. It has been pointed out that although great claims have been made for the venerability of the yews in the garden at Levens, few if any of them correspond with the placing of the topiary works marked on the 1750 plan. The park across the road to the east is said also to have been landscaped by Beaumont, after a severe storm in 1701, but in its present form appears to have a late 18th or early 19th century form.
In 1849, J.P. Mannex recorded that 'Though the house is no way altered from its original form, great improvements were made in every part by the late Hon. Fulke Greville Howard, he having found it in a state of dilapidation, and laid out many thousands in the purchase of valuable furniture according with the antiquity of the place, besides repairing the waste that time had made'. The Howards occupied Levens (though they also had other houses at Ashtead in Surrey, Elford in Staffordshire and Castle Rising in Norfolk) from the time of their marriage in 1807, although technically they only came into ownership of it when Mrs Howard's mother died in 1818. The work of restoration and enhancement of the Elizabethan interiors was in fact begun by Mary's father, Richard Howard, as early as 1805, when Francis Webster of Kendal was first instructed about alterations. The scale of work increased when Fulke and Mary took over in 1807. Their additions included building the so-called Howard Tower above the angle of the L-shaped south range, giving a picturesque, castellated air to this wing and thus making it more conformable to the main building. It contained a little boudoir from which fine views over the gardens could be obtained, and the modern conveniences of a bath and water closet. The tower was probably designed by Francis Webster before 1815, and was completed by 1822. It seems unlikely that the architect George Webster, who joined his father's firm in 1818, was involved early enough to have had a hand in the design.

Levens Hall: the smoking room (now library) fireplace, c.1930. This fireplace, and much of the Elizabethan panelling in the house, was created, improved and extended by Francis Webster and his firm between 1805 and 1840.
In the 1820s and 1830s, all the main bedrooms and dressing rooms at Levens were repanelled or hung with old leather, and received new plasterwork decoration in the Tudor style, which represented a serious attempt to match the old patterns. These ceilings were apparently executed by Taylor & Rushton of Lancaster, who were paid for '2 years plaistering' at Levens in 1830. The gilded leather hangings that were installed at this time are genuine late 17th century work, but mostly Dutch and probably imported in the 19th century. The panelling that was installed was also partly old work reused: the agent reported to Col. Howard in 1833 that the panelling accumulated for the Bishop's Room would be enough to also panel the room over the dining room. The improvements also extended to the main 17th century interiors: an extra window was inserted into the dining room in 1831 to make the room lighter, and the smoking room (now library) chimneypiece is a 19th century confection.
There have been few architectural additions to Levens Hall since 1820, but a major campaign of restoration since the Second World War, first under Robin Bagot (1914-2000) and since 1975 under his son, Hal Bagot (b. 1946) and grandson, Richard Bagot (b. 1981). The property has been regularly open to the public for many years, and growing numbers of visitors have led the family to create a new café and visitor facilities in 2016-17. These are discreetly sited away from the house and close to the car park, where the unsympathetic design by Mawson Kerr of Newcastle with glazed timber-framed walls and a spiky origami zinc roof can be mercifully ignored.
Descent: sold 1562 to Alan Bellingham (d. 1577); to son, James Bellingham (1560-1641); to son, Sir Henry Bellingham (c.1594-1650), 1st bt; to son, Sir James Bellingham (d. 1650), 2nd bt.; to kinsman, James Bellingham (d. 1680); to son, Alan Bellingham (1656-93), who placed his affairs in the hands of trustees in 1686; they sold 1689 to his kinsman, Col. James Graham (1649-1730); to daughter, Catherine (1694-1762), wife of Henry Bowes Howard (1686-1757), 11th Earl of Suffolk & 4th Earl of Berkshire; to grandson, Henry Howard (d. 1779), 12th Earl of Suffolk & 5th Earl of Berkshire; to son, Henry Howard (b. & d. 1779), 13th Earl of Suffolk & 6th Earl of Berkshire, who was born posthumously and died aged 2 days; to aunt, Frances (c.1768-1818), wife of Richard Bagot (later Howard) (1733-1819); to daughter, Mary (1785-1877), wife of Col. the Hon. Fulke Greville Upton (later Howard) (d. 1846); to nephew, Gen. the Hon. Arthur Upton (d. 1883); to kinsman, Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913); to son, Sir Alan Desmond Bagot (1896-1920), 1st bt.; to nephew, Oliver Robin Gaskell (later Bagot) (1914-2000); given 1975 to son, Charles Henry (Hal) Bagot (b. 1946); given c.2015 to son, Richard Bagot (b. 1981).

Bagot family of Levens Hall

Sir Charles Bagot (1781-1843), kt.
Bagot, The Hon. & Rt. Hon. Sir Charles (1781-1843). Fourth son of Sir William Bagot, 6th bt. and 1st Baron Bagot, of Blithfield Hall (Staffs) and Pool Park (Denbighs.), and his wife, the Hon. Elizabeth Louisa, daughter of John St. John, 2nd Viscount St. John, born 23 September 1781. Educated at Rugby, Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1797; BA 1801; MA 1804), where he was a close friend of Canning, and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1801 but did not proceed to the bar). MP for Castle Rising, 1807-08; Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs under George Canning, 1808-09; sent as Minister to France, 1814; Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, 1815-19; HM Ambassador at St Petersburg, 1820-24 and The Hague, 1824-31; but after the Conservatives lost power was only head of a special embassy to Austria, 1835 until they regained it in 1841 and he was appointed Governor-General of Canada, 1841-43. He was sworn of the Privy Council, 1815 and knighted as GCB, 1820. He married, 22 July 1806 at St George, Hanover Sq., London, Lady Mary Charlotte Anne (c.1785-1845), eldest daughter of William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington and a niece of the 1st Duke of Wellington, and had issue:
(1) Louisa Catherine Bagot (1807-24), born 25 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Square, London, 18 June 1807; died unmarried, 9 June and was buried at St Mary, Lewisham (Surrey), 12 June 1824;
(2) Col. Charles Bagot (1808-81) (q.v.);
(3) Emily Georgiana Bagot (1810-48), born 9 July and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., London, 18 August 1810; married, 15 February 1837 at St George, Hanover Square, London, as his second wife, George William Finch-Hatton (1791-1858), 10th Earl of Winchilsea and 5th Earl of Nottingham, but had no issue; died at Haverholme Priory, 10 June 1848;
(4) Caroline Mary Bagot (1812-87), born 1 June and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 15 July 1812; married, 26 September 1849 at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), John David MD (c.1817-84), youngest son of Edward David of Swansea (Glam.), and had issue one daughter; died in Cheltenham (Glos), 21 March 1887; will proved 22 June 1887 (effects £543);
(5) Arthur Barkley Bagot (1814-25), born 19 March and baptised at St Marylebone, 15 July 1814; died young at Ramsgate (Kent), 20 April 1825;
(6) Henrietta Maria Bagot (1815-44), born September and baptised at Blithfield, 8 October 1815; married, 27 August 1833, as his second wife, Henry Paget (1797-1869), 2nd Marquess of Anglesey, and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 22 March 1844;
(7) Georgiana Augusta Bagot (1818-1851), born 2 September 1818 and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 13 May 1820; married, 21 September 1843 at St George, Hanover Square, London, as his second wife, Lt-Col. Frederick Alexander Mackenzie Fraser (1796-1848), second son of Lt-Gen. Mackenzie Fraser, but had no issue; died in Jersey, 23 June 1851;
(8) George Talbot Bagot (1820-1907), born 14 April and baptised at St. Marylebone (Middx), 13 May 1820; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1838); married, 20 August 1885 at St Andrew, Clevedon (Somerset), Charlotte Margaret (c.1850-97), daughter of William Thomas Blair of the Indian Civil Service, but had no issue; lived latterly at Pau (France); died in Pau, 22 November 1907; administration of goods granted 15 September 1907 (estate £20,122);
(9) Col. Alexander Bagot (1822-74), born 10 June 1822; educated at Westminster and Charterhouse Schools; an officer in the Bengal Civil Service (Cadet, 1840; Lt., 1842; Capt. 1854; brevet Maj., 1854; brevet Lt-Col., 1862; Lt-Col. commanding 38th Native Infantry, 1865; brevet Col., 1871); freemason by 1844; married, 28 October 1852, Gertrude Letitia (1833-98), daughter of Brig-Gen. Robert Dampier Hallifax, and had issue three sons (one died young); died of accidental arsenic poisoning while on a tiger-shooting expedition at Bholan (India), 20 October 1874; will proved 30 April 1875 (effects under £10,000);
(10) Wilhelmina Frederica Bagot  (1826-52), born in the Netherlands, 11 March 1826; married, 17 November 1846 at Blithfield (Staffs), as his first wife, Admiral Henry Bagot RN and had issue one son; died 15 April 1852.
He lived in London when not abroad on diplomatic missions.
He died at Kingston, Ontario (Canada) a few weeks after relinquishing office, 19 May 1843; his body was returned to England and buried at Blithfield, 27 June 1843; his will was proved in the PCC, 26 July 1843. His widow died 2 February 1845.

Bagot, Col. Charles (1808-81). Eldest son of Hon. & Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Bagot (1781-1843) and his wife Lady Mary Charlotte Anne, eldest daughter of William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington, born 20 May 1808 and baptised at St George, Hanover Square, London, 16 January 1809. A page of honour in the Royal Household, 1820-24; an officer in the Grenadier Guards (Ensign, 1824; Lt., 1825; Capt., 1828; Capt. & Lt-Col., 1840; retired 1851) and in 3rd battn., King's Own Staffordshire Militia (Lt-Col. commanding, 1853; Hon. Col., 1858); Assistant Master of Ceremonies to HM Queen Victoria, 1858-81. In 1913, his youngest son claimed that he had declined a peerage. He married, 7 July 1846 at Rickmansworth (Herts), Sophia Louisa (1822-1908), daughter of Vice-Adm. the Hon. Josceline Percy CB, and had issue:
(1) Alice Mary Bagot (1853-1922), born Jan-Mar 1853; lived in London; died unmarried, 22 November 1922; will proved 2 December 1922 (estate £32,421);
(2) Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913) (q.v.);
(3) Alan Charles Bagot (1856-85), born at Elford, 1 June 1856; educated at Eton and Pembroke College, Cambridge (matriculated 1874; demonstrator); electrical engineer and inventor, working especially in the field of mine safety, with Messrs. Apps & Co. of London (retired due to ill health, 1884); a certificated mining engineer, a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, 1882, a Fellow of the Chemical Society and a Member of the Royal Society of Arts; twice presented with gold medals for saving life at the risk of his own; a conservator of the River Trent and hon. consulting engineer to that body; JP and DL (from 1879) for Staffordshire; died unmarried in Bournemouth (Hants) 'from consumption brought on by an accident in a Welsh mine in 1880 and by over-work and exposure in his profession', 22 April 1885; will proved 3 September 1885 (effects £7,463);
Richard Bagot 1860-1921
(4) Richard Bagot (1860-1921), born 8 November 1860; as a young man he lived briefly in Australia, but returned to Europe and became a novelist, essayist and man of letters, whose works were mostly set in or celebrated Italy; author of A Roman Mystery (1899); The just and the unjust (1901); Casting of nets (1901); Donna Diana (1902); Love's proxy (1904), The passport (1905); Temptation (1907); Anthony Cuthbert (1908); Lakes of Northern Italy (1908); The House of Serravalle (1910); My Italian Year (1911); Italians of today (1912); Darneley Place (1913) and The Gods decide (1919); he was credited with doing much through his works to improve Anglo-Italian relations and received an illuminated address from the Italian nation in 1917; he was also appointed Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy and Knight of the Sovereign Order of Malta; he was a prominent Roman Catholic convert and lived chiefly at his house near Pisa (Italy), where he was visited by the King & Queen of Italy in 1912; he succeeded his nephew, Sir Alan Bagot, in the Levens Hall estate, 1920, but died less than two years later at Levens, 11 December 1921; will proved 8 March 1922 (estate £16,234).
Col. Bagot lived mainly in London, but in 1871 was at Churchdale House, Rugeley (Staffs).
He died 20 February, and was buried at Elford (Staffs), 25 February 1881; his will was proved 6 April 1881 (effects under £6,000). His widow died 7 November 1908; her will was proved 28 November 1908 (estate £4,804).

Josceline Fitzroy Bagot
Bagot, Josceline Fitzroy (1854-1913). Eldest son of Col. Charles Bagot (1808-81) and his wife Sophia Louisa, daughter of Vice-Adm. the Hon. Josceline Percy CB, born 22 October 1854. Educated at Eton. An officer in the army from 1873 and in Grenadier Guards, 1875 (Lt., 1873; Capt., 1885; resigned 1885) and later in Westmorland & Cumberland Imperial Yeomanry (Lt., 1886; Maj. by 1890 and hon Lt-Col.); ADC to Governor General of Canada, 1882-83, 1888-89; served as chief press censor in South Africa during Boer War, 1899-1901 (mentioned in despatches). MP for South Westmorland, 1892-1906, 1910-13; Parliamentary Secretary to Treasury, 1897-98 and to Home Secretary, 1898-1900; JP and DL for Westmorland; County Councillor for Westmorland. The intention to confer a baronetcy upon him was announced in the New Years Honours List for 1901, but he died before effect could be given to this, and it was conferred instead upon his son; his widow was awarded the rank, style and precedence of a baronet's wife on 12 April 1913. According to his brother Richard, the baronetcy was created at the personal instance of King Edward VII, in recognition of both his parliamentary service and the service of his father at Court. He married, 11 June 1885 at St Mark, North Audley St., Westminster (Middx), Theodosia (1865-1940) (who performed valuable volunteer work in the Boer War and First World War and was awarded the Royal Red Cross and two foreign orders; she was also appointed Dame of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem), third daughter of Sir John Leslie, 1st bt., of Castle Leslie, Glaslough (Monaghan) and had issue:
(1) Dorothy Bagot (1886-1954) (q.v.);
(2) Marjorie Constance Bagot MBE (1888-1951), born 24 March 1888; married, 7 September 1910, Maj. James Winstanley Cropper DL (1879-1956) of Ellergreen, Burneside (Westmld), Lord Lieutenant of Westmorland, 1945-56, and had issue one son and six daughters; died 5 March 1951; will proved 16 June 1951 (estate £998);
(3) Mary Bagot (1889-1976), born 20 September 1889; married, 14 June 1910 at Heversham (Westmld.), Sir Vincent Strickland Jones (later Vincent-Jones) (1874-1967), kt., of Little Meadow, Beaconsfield (Bucks) and Grand Falls, Newfoundland (Canada), second son of Canon William Jones of Burneside (Westmld), and had issue one son and one daughter; died 16 October 1976; will proved 24 January 1977 (estate £8,943);
(4) Sir Alan Drummond Bagot (1896-1920), 1st bt. (q.v.).
He inherited the Levens Hall estate on the death of Gen. the Hon. Arthur Upton in 1883, under the will of his first cousin twice removed, Mary Howard (1785-1877). 
He died 1 March 1913 and was buried at Heversham; his will was proved 9 May 1913 (estate £14,055). Theodosia, the Dowager Lady Bagot, married 2nd, 3 June 1920, Rev. Sidney Bellingham Swann (1862-1942), rector of Kingston-by-Sea, Brighton (Sussex); she died 21 February 1940; her will was proved 24 February 1941 (estate £20,326).

Sir A.D. Bagot (1896-1920)
Bagot, Sir Alan Desmond (1896-1920), 1st bt. Only son of Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913) of Levens Hall and his wife Theodosia, third daughter of Sir John Leslie, 1st bt., of Castle Leslie, Glaslough (Monaghan), born 20 February 1896. Educated at Eton and RMC Sandhurst. An officer in the Royal Horse Guards (Lt.); served in First World War, although a training ground accident prevented his joining his unit in the early part of the war. He was created a baronet, 19 April 1913. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Levens Hall estate from his father in 1913 and came of age in 1917. At his death it passed first to his uncle, Richard Bagot (1860-1921) and then to his nephew, Oliver Robin Gaskell, later Bagot (1914-2000).
He died of pneumonia at Nice (France), 11 January 1920, whereupon his baronetcy became extinct; he was buried at Heversham (Westmld.), 24 January 1920. His will was proved 23 April 1920 (estate £186,320).

Bagot, Dorothy (k/a Dolly) (1886-1974). Eldest daughter of Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913) of Levens Hall and his wife Theodosia, third daughter of Sir John Leslie, 1st bt., of Castle Leslie, Glaslough (Monaghan), born 10 July 1886. She married, 9 May 1905 at Holy Trinity, Marylebone Rd., Westminster (Middx), Henry Melville Gaskell (1879-1954) of Kiddington Hall (Oxon), son of Capt. Henry Brooks Gaskell, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Josceline Gaskell (1906-82), born 1 March 1906; married, 5 November 1941 at St Stephen, South Kensington (Middx) (div.), Barbara (1913-98) (who m2, 22 July 1948 in Brussels (Belgium), Sir William Horace Montagu-Pollock (1903-93), kt., diplomat, son of Sir Montagu Frederick Montagu-Pollock, 3rd bt., and had further issue one son and one daughter), daughter of Peter Hague Jowett, and had issue one daughter (Josceline Rose Gaskell (b. 1943), author and cookery writer, who married, 1967 (div., 2000), the broadcaster David Dimbleby (b. 1938), and had issue one son and two daughters); died 12 July 1982; 
(2) Diana Helen Gaskell (1909-2000), born 10 July 1909; married 1st, 2 May 1933 (div.) at Kiddington, Gavin Robert Sligh (1910-82) (who m2, 5 July 1947 (div. 1962), the Hon. Margaret Bertha Ward (1914-2013), daughter of Maxwell Richard Crosbie Ward, 6th Viscount Bangor and formerly wife of Lt-Col. Desmond Charles Forde (1906-61); and m3, 1962, Barbara W. Stanhope) of Pednor House (Bucks), and had issue one son and one daughter; married 2nd, 1956, Arthur Taylor; died 17 April 2000;
(3) Oliver Robin Gaskell (later Bagot) (1914-2000) (q.v.).
Her husband inherited Kiddington Hall (Oxon) in 1907 but sold it in 1953.
She died in London, 5 May 1974; her will was proved 20 June 1974 (estate £29,400). Her husband died at Levens Hall, 21 October 1954; his will was proved 11 December 1954 (estate £93,859).

Robin Bagot (1914-2000)
Gaskell (later Bagot), Oliver Robin (1914-2000). Second son of Henry Melville Gaskell (1879-1954) of Kiddington Hall (Oxon) and his wife Dorothy, daughter of Josceline Fitzroy Bagot of Levens Hall (Westmld), born 10 December 1914. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. An officer in 4th battn, Border Regt. (Lt., 1936); served in Second World War (prisoner of war, 1940). JP (from 1948) and DL (form 1967) for Westmorland; High Sheriff of Westmorland, 1952. Member of Grasmere Sports Committee. He look the name of Bagot in lieu of Gaskell by royal licence in 1936. He married, 19 April 1938 at Leamington Spa (Warks), Annette Dorothy (d. 2003), only daughter of Cdr. Francis Reginald Stephens of Leamington, and had issue:
(1) Priscilla Bagot (b. 1939); artist; JP; married 1st, 17 September 1960 (div. 1964), Sir Edward Humphrey Tyrrell Wakefield, 2nd bt., of Chillingham Castle (Northbld), son of Sir Edward Birkbeck Wakefield, 1st bt.; married 2nd, 1967, Erik George Sebastian Smith (1931-2004), classical music producer, and had issue two daughters; now living;
(2) Charles Henry Bagot (b. 1946) (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Dorothy Bagot (b. 1947), born August 1947; Director of British Cattle Breeders Society, 2007-13; Devon County Agricultural Assoc., 2011-date and Devon Cattle Breeders Society, 1992-95, 2010-13, 2014-17; married, 30 September 1967 at Levens, Mark Roper (b. 1935), of Forde Abbey (Dorset), son of Geoffrey Desmond Roper of Forde Abbey, and had issue three daughters; now living;
(4) Lucinda Bagot (b. 1950), born Jul-Sept 1950; married, Apr-Jun 1969 (div. 1993), Michael Victor Sclater (b. 1945), writer and film director, and had issue one son and one daughter; now living.
He inherited Levens Hall from his great-uncle, Richard Bagot, in 1921, and came of age in 1935. He handed the house on to his son in 1975.
He died 29 January 2000; his will was proved 19 May 2000. His widow died 21 March 2003; her will was proved 30 July 2003.

Hal Bagot (b. 1946)
Bagot, Charles Henry (k/a Hal) (b. 1946). Only son of Oliver Robin Bagot (1914-2000) of Levens Hall, and his wife Annette Dorothy, daughter of Francis Reginald Stephens, born February 1946. Landowner, farmer and chartered surveyor (FRICS); JP and DL for Cumbria; President of Lancaster Canal Trust, 1998-2016; Vice-President of Cumbria Wildlife Trust; Trustee of South Cumbria Rivers Trust; steam engine collector and enthusiast. He married, 1975, Susan Elizabeth DL MBE (b. 1948), daughter of Ian Alexander Ross, and had issue:
(1) Jessica Mary Bagot (b. 1977), born Jul-Sept. 1977; married, July 2000, Christopher James Hattam (b. c.1968), teacher, son of Lionel Barrie Hattam, and had issue one daughter;
(2) Laura Elizabeth Bagot (b. 1979), born Apr-Jun 1979; 
(3) Richard Alexander Bagot (b. 1981) (q.v.); 
(4) Harry Josceline Bagot (b. 1983), born October 1983; property developer in London.
He was given Levens Hall by his father in 1975, and handed it over to his son, Richard, in 2014.
Now living.

Bagot, Richard Alexander (b. 1981). Elder son of Charles Henry (Hal) Bagot (b. 1946) and his wife Susan Elizabeth, daughter of Ian Alexander Ross, born December 1981. Educated at Sedbergh School, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester (BA, 2004) and Napier University (MSc, 2006). Landowner and farmer. He married, 2013 at Levens, Naomi Gillian M. (b. 1987), daughter of Martin Kelly of Winchfield (Hants), and has issue:
(1) Oliver Baxter Bagot (b. 2016), born 17 February 2016;
(2) Juno Albertine Bagot (b. 2018), born 30 May 2018.
He was given Levens Hall by his father in 2014.
Now living.


Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1924, pp. 180-182; Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 22 January 1913, p.6; A. Hellyer, 'Riddles of the parklands', Country Life, 15 September 1988, pp. 200-04; A. Wells-Cole, Art and decoration in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, 1997, pp. 197-200; J. Musson, 'Levens Hall', Country Life, 6 December 2001, pp. 110-15; A. Taylor, The Websters of Kendal, 2004, pp. 116-17; guidebook to Levens Hall and Gardens, n.d. [c.2007]; M. Hyde & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cumbria, 2010, pp. 492-95.

Location of archives

Bagot and Howard of Levens Hall: deeds, estate papers, family and household papers, 13th-20th cents [Private Collection]

Coat of arms

Ermine, two chevrons azure.

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:

  • Throw any further light on the architectural development of Levens Hall?
  • Provide more information about the life or career George Talbot Bagot (1820-1907).

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 18 December 2017 and was updated 12 April and 1 July 2018. I am grateful to Julian Munby for a correction.

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