Thursday 30 August 2018

(343) Bale of Carlton Curlieu, baronets

Bale of Carlton Curlieu
The name Bale first occurs in the records of Carlton Curlieu in 1524, and John Bale, yeoman, may have been the first of his family to hold land in the parish. His interests descended to his elder son, John Bale (d. 1570), yeoman, who began buying land in 1549 with 264 acres at Carlton Curlieu, bought from the Earl of Huntingdon. As far as we know, he bought no more until 1557, when he purchased 706 acres in the neighbouring parish of Burton Overy from Francis Shirley, esq., and then in 1562-63 he bought a further 817 acres in the contiguous parishes of Carlton Curlieu, Great Glen, King's Norton, and Burton Overy, together with fifteen houses and cottages. Altogether, between 1549 and 1563, John Bale purchased 1,787 acres, but when he made his will in 1570, he still described himself as a yeoman, even though a fine of 1557 calls him "gent.". He left all his lands to his nephew John (c.1551-1622), son of his brother Robert Bale. John came of age in about 1572, and bought the manor of Carlton Curlieu in 1575 together with another eighteen hundred acres of land. Another purchase of 203 acres in 1590, and of the advowson of the church in the same year, made him owner of the entire parish. Then in 1606 he bought from Henry Sacheverell, esq., the manor of Saddington and five hundred acres of land. These extensive purchases were funded, as far as we know, by the profits of agriculture at a time of considerable prosperity and were made while land prices were still depressed by the impact of the dissolution of the monasteries. With the growing estate came an inexorable rise in social status: whereas his uncle had been doubtfully more than a yeoman, John began as 'gent' and was 'esq.' by the beginning of the 17th century. In 1611, when he was described as a henchman of Henry Hastings (1586-1643), the 5th Earl of Huntingdon, he became a justice of the peace, and in 1617 he was knighted by James I when he was staying at Lord Huntingdon's seat, Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle, on a royal progress. When he died in 1622 he was the lord of two manors and owner of some 4,300 acres of land. 

Sir John sent his eldest son, George Bale (c.1572-1616) to Oxford University and Lincoln's Inn to be educated as a gentleman and equipped to take his place at the head of a rising dynasty, while his five younger sons were probably all apprenticed to London merchants. Sadly, George and several of his brothers predeceased their father, and only the two youngest, Edmund and William, seem to have survived their mother, who died in 1629/30. They jointly inherited the manor of Saddington, which they sold in 1640. The rest of the family property passed in 1622 to George Bale's sons, Sir John Bale (1594-c.1660), who was knighted in 1624 during his year as High Sheriff and who built a new house at Carlton Curlieu in 1636, and Valentine Bale (c.1596-1644), who settled at Humberstone near Leicester, where his wife was the heiress to the property of her father, Tobias Chippingdale.

The Bales continued to be closely associated with the Hastings family throughout the early 17th century, and joined them in support of the Royalist cause during the Civil War. Although Lord Huntingdon exercised considerable power and influence, his ardent Royalist views were in a decided minority in the county, and this, together with the fact that the position of Leicestershire across several of the major north-south routes through the kingdom made it important territory for both sides to control, meant the position of the local Royalists was difficult from the beginning. In June 1642 Sir John Bale was one of those directed by the King to muster the militia forces of the county, and this usurping of a power which Parliament had recently abrogated to itself led to his being summoned to Westminster on charges of treason, although these seem later to have been forgotten in the heat of the ensuing conflict. Sir John and his three eldest sons, John (who was made a baronet in 1643), William and Thomas all took an active part in the fighting in and around the county. William became a Lieutanant-Colonel in the Earl of Huntingdon's regiment, and all four of them may have been part of the garrison at Ashby Castle at different times. Certainly Thomas Bale was among those killed in action at Ashby in 1644, and Sir John's brother Edmund, who was buried in the same year, may have been another victim, though this is less certain. In 1646 the Royalists reluctantly laid down their arms and Ashby Castle was surrendered, and the process of seizing the assets of leading Royalists and fining others began. Frustratingly little information survives about how the Bales were treated at this time, but since they raised a succession of mortgages on the estate in the late 1640s and early 1650s, and agreed the sale of Carlton Curlieu to a London lawyer in return for the payment of debts amounting to over £16,000, it seems likely that they were heavily fined. The sale of the manor dragged on until 1662 (and the price rose to £23,000), and by the time it was finally completed in 1662, Sir John Bale, kt. was dead and it was his son, Sir John Bale (c.1617-79), 1st bt. who pushed it through.  This Sir John was among the many Royalists who petitioned King Charles II for some relief from their debts when he was restored to the throne in 1660, but Charles lacked the resources to offer anything much more than sympathy and thanks, and after 1662 Sir John retired to Humberstone, where he died in 1679. The Bales were thus one of the few families across the country who were ruined and permanently dispossessed of their estates as a result of their Civil War activities. 

Carlton Curlieu Hall, Leicestershire

Carlton Curlieu Hall is a substantial but compact L-shaped house with a core built for Sir John Bale in about 1636, according to a datestone on the back of the house. There seems to be no record of the appearance of the house in the time of the Bales, and most of what we see today was built after Sir Geoffrey Palmer, 1st bt., a Royalist who was imprisoned during the Commonwealth period but survived to become Charles II's attorney general, bought the estate in 1664. He undertook a major remodelling around 1671 (date on rainwater heads on the west front), and it was further modernised c.1820 for the Rev. Henry Palmer, who seems to have lived here after the death of his father in 1817.

Carlton Curlieu Hall: the house as altered by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, c.1671, from Nichols' History of Leicestershire (1798)

The seven bay west front is of ashlar, and has two storeys above a basement and a full attic storey with five big shaped gables. The windows on the main floors have lugged surrounds and plain mullion-and-transom cross windows which are presumably of the 1671 build. In the attic the gable windows are wooden not stone and slightly smaller, but similar in form. At either end of the front are square two-storey bays which have in their sides blocked narrow single-transomed windows, a feature which also occurs at the slightly earlier Cold Overton Hall (also Leics). In the centre is a two storey porch (also similar to that at Cold Overton), with an entrance arch flanked by Tuscan columns and topped by a diamond-shaped keystone.

Carlton Curlieu Hall: entrance front and side elevation in the 1980s.
The south front forms the other leg of the L and has three shaped gables similar to those on the west front. The fenestration on this side probably dates from the 1820 remodelling, as traces of older openings can be seen in the stonework and that date would fit with the paired sash windows, which have however been given frames that echo the windows of the west front. The east and north fronts are more domestic and less formal, but the north side is of interest for the ovolo mouldings of the mullioned and transomed windows, which must represent the form of the original 1630s work, and for a Gothick staircase window inserted in the 18th century or later.

Inside, the hall runs south from the porch and has panelling with a strapwork frieze moved from a bedroom elsewhere in the house. There is bolection-moulded panelling in the drawing room in the middle of the south front and a room north of the hall. The dining room is along the east side and was formed out of two smaller rooms, probably in 1820. The staircase is of the 1630s period with symmetrical balusters and knob finials.

Descent: Sir John Bale (c.1551-1622), kt.; to grandson, Sir John Bale (1594-c.1660), kt.; to son, Sir John Bale (c.1617-79), 1st bt.; sold 1654-62 to John Prettyman; sold 1664 to Sir Geoffrey Palmer (1598-1670), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Lewis Palmer (d. 1714), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Geoffrey Palmer (1655-1732), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Thomas Palmer (d. 1765), 4th bt.; to son, Sir John Palmer (1735-1817), 5th bt., who rebuilt East Carlton Hall (Northants) and made that his seat; to younger son, Rev. Henry Palmer (1780-1856), who later leased the house to Lady Hazlerigg (fl. 1846); it was then let until 1938, with tenants including W.W. Taillby (fl. 1857-75); Capt. Sutton (fl. 1876); Francis E. Bigge (fl. 1878-84); Mr C. MacNeill (fl. 1898) and Sir Keith Fraser (d. 1935) and his widow (1916-38); reverting in 1938 to Sir Geoffrey Frederick Neil Palmer (1893-1951), 11th bt.; to son, Sir Geoffrey Christopher John Palmer (b. 1936), 12th bt.

Bale family of Carlton Curlieu, baronets

Bale, John (d. 1570). Elder son of John Bale of Carlton Curlieu, yeoman. Yeoman farmer at Carlton Curlieu. Through his purchases of land he rose in social status and was styled a gentleman in 1557, though he still called himself a yeoman in his will. He married Joan Pettie (fl. 1570) but had no issue.
He purchased 1,787 acres of land in Carlton Curlieu, Burton Overy and the surrounding parishes between 1547 and 1563.
He died between March and May 1570; his will was proved 27 May 1570. His widow survived him, but her date of death is unknown.

Bale, Robert. Second son of John Bale of Carlton Curlieu, yeoman. Yeoman farmer. He married Joan Gamble of Burton Overy and had issue:
(1) Edward Bale; died without issue before 1570;
(2) Sir John Bale (c.1551-1622), kt. (q.v.);
(3) Katherine Bale (d. 1610); married, after 1570, Thomas Saunderson (d. 1606 or 1616) of Whetstone (Leics); buried at Whetstone, 23 November 1610.
He lived at Carlton Curlieu.
He probably died before 1570. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Bale, Sir John (c.1551-1622), kt. Second son of Robert Bale of Carlton Curlieu and his wife Joan Gamble of Burton Overy, born about 1551. A gentleman farmer who was described by contemporaries as 'a henchman' of the Earl of Huntingdon, a connection which led to his appointment as a JP for Leicestershire in 1611 and, no doubt, to his being knighted at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 2 September 1617. He married, about 1572, Frances (c.1549-1630), daughter of Bernard Brocas of Beaurepaire (Hants) and had issue:
(1) George Bale (c.1572-1616) (q.v.);
(2) Robert Bale (d. by 1613); married Alice Cooper (b. 1579) of Thurmaston (who m2, 7 February 1613, Rev. Anthony Cade (1564-1641), vicar of Billesdon (Leics) and had issue two daughters) but died without issue before 1613;
(3) John Bale (d. c.1622), of Saddington; probably a merchant as he was preparing to travel 'beyond the seas a long and dangerous journey' in March 1617; his will was proved in the PCC, 21 June 1622;
(4) Francis Bale (fl. 1619), of London and Weybridge (Surrey); East India merchant; married, before 1614, Margaret, daughter of John Manning of London, merchant, and had issue two sons and two daughters; living in 1619;
(5) Edmund Bale (d. 1644), of Saddington; probably the man of that name who was one of the wardens of the Feltmakers Company in London in 1622; with his younger brother, he sold the manor of Saddington in 1640; married, 9 May 1609 at Peatling Magna (Leics), Jese alias Jocosa alias Joyce (fl. 1616), daughter of Sir Richard Roberts, kt., of Sutton Cheney, and had issue three sons and four daughters; buried at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 7 June 1644;
(6) William Bale (fl. 1640); named in his mother's will; with his elder brother, sold the manor of Saddington in 1640.
He inherited lands in and around Carlton Curlieu from his uncle John Bale (d. 1570) and acquired the manor of Carlton Curlieu in 1575 from his father-in-law and Sir George Turpyn. Between 1599 and 1607 he and his eldest son converted most of the arable land they owned to pasture and depopulated the village of Carlton Curlieu. In 1606 he bought the manor of Saddington. 
He died 10 March 1621/2 and was buried at Carlton Curlieu, where he and his wife are commemorated by a chest tomb. His wife died 27 February 1629/30; her will was proved at Leicester.

Bale, George (c.1572-1616). Eldest son of Sir John Bale, kt., and his wife Frances, daughter of Bernard Brocas of Beaurepaire (Hants). Educated at Jesus College, Oxford (matriculated 1585/6) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1591). He married Elizabeth (d. 1642), daughter of Valentine Hartopp of Burton Lazars, and had issue:
(1) Frances Bale (b. 1592?), perhaps the person of this name baptised at Melton Mowbray, 25 June 1592; married William Roberts of Barwell and had issue five children;
(2) Sir John Bale (1594-c.1660), kt. (q.v.);
(3) Valentine Bale (c.1596-1644), of Humberstone, born about 1596; educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1613) and Grays Inn (admitted 1615/6); married, before 1618, Elizabeth (d. 1672), daughter and heir of Tobias Chippingdale of Humberstone, and had issue two sons and four daughters; buried at Humberstone, 30 November 1644; will proved 4 March 1644/5.
He died in about October 1616; his will was proved in the PCC, 21 November 1616. His widow married 2nd, Sir William Roberts (d. 1633) of Sutton Cheney, but had no further issue; she died at Humberstone in 1642 and she and her second husband are commemorated by monuments in the church at Sutton Cheney; her will was proved at Leicester, 13 August 1642.

Bale, Sir John (1594-c.1660), kt. Elder son of George Bale and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Valentine Hartopp of Burton Lazars, baptised at Carlton Curlieu, 18 October 1594. High Sheriff of Leicestershire, 1624. He was knighted by King James I at Belvoir Castle, 4 August 1624. At the start of the Civil War, he was one of the Royalists to whom the King's commission of array for Leicestershire was addressed in June 1642*, and he helped to muster men from Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire at Loughborough, from whence they marched to Leicester in a show of strength; Parliament issued articles of impeachment against him and three others for this action, but there is no evidence that the matter went any further. He was present at the siege of Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle at which his son Thomas was killed and was fined for his delinquency (discharged, 1648). He married 1st, about 1615, Emma (d. 1630), daughter of William Halford of Welham, and 2nd, 6 October 1631 at Gotham (Notts), Elizabeth (b. 1599), daughter of John Bainbrigge of Lockington and widow of John St. Andrew (d. 1625) of Gotham, and had issue:
(1.1) Sir John Bale (c.1617-79), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(1.2) Lt-Col. William Bale (1618-89), of Humberstone, born 1618; educated at Melton Mowbray, Lincoln College, Oxford (matriculated 1635), St. John's College, Cambridge (admitted 1636) and Inner Temple (admitted 1637); an officer in the Royalist army (Lt-Col. of Hastings' Horse and later seconded to Gervaise Lucas, the Governor of Belvoir Castle); he was fined for his delinquency (discharged, 1648); married, 27 March 1653, Elizabeth (d. 1682), daughter of William Jervis of Peatling Magna (Leics), and had issue one son (Samuel, who died unmarried and without issue in 1687 and was buried at Humberstone); buried at St Mary de Castro, Leicester, 6 April 1689;
(1.3) George Bale (b. c.1620); died without issue and probably in infancy;
(1.4) Francis Bale (c. 1621-31); buried at Carlton Curlieu, 14 December 1631;
(1.5) Frances Bale (1622-99), born 16 July and baptised at Carlton Curlieu, 23 July 1622; married, 1652 at Carlton Curlieu, Maj. William Warner (d. 1682) of Lubenham (Leics), gent., and had issue three sons and three daughters; buried at Lubenham, 10 March 1698/9;
(1.6) Thomas Bale (c.1624-44), born about 1624; probably the man of this name who matriculated at Magdalene College, Cambridge in 1642, but if so his education would have been disrupted by the Civil War; died unmarried when he was killed while serving in the Royalist cause at Ashby-de-la-Zouch; buried at Ashby, 6 November 1644;
(1.7) Samuel Bale (1625-79), baptised at Carlton Curlieu, 1625; lived at Humberstone; died unmarried in early November 1679; will proved at Leicester, 13 November 1679;
(1.8) Richard Bale (d. 1658); buried at Carlton Curlieu, 27 January 1657/8;
(2.1) Anne Bale (d. 1633); died in infancy and was buried at Carlton Curlieu, 12 November 1633;
(2.2) Sarah Bale (b. 1633), baptised at Carlton Curlieu, 8 November 1633; probably died young.
He inherited Carlton Curlieu from his grandfather in 1622, but lived at first at Saddington. He built a new house at Carlton Curlieu in 1636. He and his son sold the house, advowson and manor of Carlton Curlieu to John Prettyman between 1654 and 1662 in return for payment of their debts totalling £16,090, though the purchase price later increased to £23,000.
He died after July 1660 and seems to have been dead by July 1661. His first wife died 27 June 1630. His widow was living in 1661.
* It is normally stated that the man named in Commission of Array was his son John, but the Commission clearly names 'Sir John Bale' and the son did not become 'Sir John' until he was made a baronet the following year.

Bale, Sir John (c.1617-79), 1st bt. Eldest son of Sir John Bale, kt., by his first wife Emma, daughter of William Halford of Welham, born about 1617. Educated at Great Glen, Stamford, and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (matriculated 1634). He was created a baronet, 9 November 1643. During the Civil War he was an active and enthusiastic Royalist: his house at Carlton Curlieu was garrisoned; he was present at the siege of Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle at which his brother was killed; and he was a commander in the fleet of which Prince Rupert was Admiral. In 1653 he visited Antwerp with Luke Whittington. In 1660, he petitioned the King for relief from the great debts the had incurred through his loyalty. He was heavily fined for his delinquency by Parliament (discharged, 1648). In 1662 he was named as one of the Commissioners for distributing a Crown grant among loyal and indigent officers in Leicestershire and in 1663 by was a Commissioner for the Subsidy. He married, c.1651,  Jane* (d. 1652), daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Puckering, bt., of Warwick, but had no surviving issue.
His wife was heir to The Priory estate at Warwick, but after her death this passed to her cousin, Sir Henry Puckering alias Warner. Sir John and his father sold the house, advowson and manor of Carlton Curlieu to John Prettyman between 1654 and 1662 in return for payment of their debts totalling £16,090, though the purchase price later increased to £23,000.
He was buried at Humberstone (Leics), 11 September 1679**, whereupon the baronetcy became extinct; his will was proved at Leicester, 25 October 1679. His wife died in childbirth, 27 January 1651/2; administration of her goods was granted to her husband, 10 February 1651/2.
*In 1649, Jane, who was an orphan and heiress, had been abducted by Joseph Walsh and taken to Flanders, where she was confined in a nunnery until she agreed to marry him; having obtained her liberty she came to England and took legal measures to annul the marriage; her attackers were tried in absentio at Maidstone and the marriage was annulled. 
** Contrary to most previous accounts, which have stated erroneously that he died about 1653/4.


Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd ed., 1841, p. 33; John Nichols, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester (1795-1815), vol. 2, part 2, pp. 539 ff; D. Lysons, The environs of London: Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent, 1796, p. 326; W.G. Hoskins, 'The Leicestershire farmer in the 16th century', Trans. Leicestershire Archaeological Society, vol. 24, 1941-42, pp. 33-94; L.A. Parker, 'The depopulation returns for Leicestershire in 1607', Trans. Leicestershire Archaeological Society, 1947, pp. 229-92; VCH Leicestershire, vol. 5, 1964, pp. 77-81, 282-87; M. Bennett, 'The Royalist war effort in the North Midlands, 1642-46', PhD thesis, Loughborough, 1986.

Location of archives

Bale of Carlton Curlieu:
some 17th century deeds and legal papers can be found among the papers of the successor Palmer family of Carlton Curlieu [Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland, DE 1110].

Coat of arms

Per pale, vert and gules, an eagle displayed argent, armed and beaked or.

Notes about missing information and help wanted with this entry

The loss of the parish registers for Carlton Curlieu before 1749 means that much basic genealogical information for this family is missing; the few records that are given are taken from the highly imperfect sequence of bishops' transcripts and from entries noticed in Nichols' History of Leicestershire. If anyone has additional information from other sources, please get in touch.

It is possible that no portraits of members of this family survive, but I should be most interested to see any images that do exist.

If anyone has studied the documentation relating to the Bales' civil war fines and the sale of the Carlton Curlieu estate, and is able to offer a clearer account of these matters than is given here, I would be most grateful for the information.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 30 August 2018.

Saturday 25 August 2018

(342) Baldwyn of Elsich Manor, Stokesay Castle and Aqualate Hall

Baldwyn of Aqualate
Baldwin of Diddlebury
The Baldwyn family held property at Diddlebury in Shropshire from the time of Richard II onwards, and it has been suggested that the family can be taken back to the 12th or even the 11th century, though the evidence is patchy and inconclusive at best. They were, however, yeomen or minor gentry until the late 15th century, when John Baldwyn (fl. 1497) was a Yeoman of the Crown (a member of the royal bodyguard) to King Henry VII, and by that time they owned the manor of Diddlebury. John's eldest son, William Baldwyn, is said to have been Cupbearer to Queen Mary in the 1550s, but since he died at Westminster in 1544 there has clearly been some confusion: either another William Baldwyn held that office or William performed it for Henry VIII. At all events, William was relatively young and unmarried when he died, and the family property passed to his next brother, Richard Baldwyn (c.1510-85), with whom the genealogy below begins. He is thought to have built the first part of Elsich Manor at Diddlebury soon after coming into his unexpected inheritance, and a date of c.1545 fits the architecture of the east wing well enough. When Richard died, the manor house at Diddlebury passed to his eldest son, Thomas Baldwyn (1546-1614), who was a retainer of the Earl of Shrewsbury until he came into his inheritance. Shrewsbury, who was rich and had houses across the north and west midlands, was tasked by Queen Elizabeth with keeping Mary Queen of Scots in safe custody after she was detained in 1569. He held this onerous responsibility for fifteen years, and Thomas Baldwyn was one of the trusted servants to whom he turned for the practical responsibilities the task involved. In the 1580s, however, rumours began to circulate that Shrewsbury had been disloyal to Queen Elizabeth and had espoused Mary's cause. When an encrypted letter from Mary to Baldwyn was intercepted by Walsingham's spy network, Baldwyn was thrown into the Tower of London, where he languished for three long years, although the graffito he left on the wall of his cell suggests he retained an expectation of justice. His faith was at length rewarded, and he was released after Mary's execution, but having inherited his father's property while he was incarcerated, he then chose to retire to his estate at Diddlebury. When he died in 1614, the estate passed to his son, Edward Baldwyn (d. 1664), whose successors declined in wealth and importance in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In the end, Diddlebury was sold to the Cornewall family in 1752 and the manor house was rebuilt as Delbury House. 

Richard Baldwyn (d. 1585) evidently divided his estate between his sons, and while Thomas received the manor of Diddlebury, Richard's second son, William Baldwyn (c.1548-1616) received Elsich Manor, which he enlarged towards the end of the century. The younger sons probably received modest cash legacies, but one of them, Edward Baldwyn (d. 1620), took a lease of Stokesay Castle at some point in the late 16th or early 17th century. Since his mother was born into the Ludlow family, for whom Stokesay was built, the castle was probably viewed as a family house, even though the Ludlows no longer owned it.

Elsich Manor passed in 1616 to William Baldwyn's son, Charles Baldwyn (1598-1674). Fairly soon after he inherited, he seems to have taken on the lease of Stokesay Castle. The exact circumstances in which this took place are not clear, as Edward Baldwyn of Stokesay left a widow and several children at his death in 1620, but a change of tenant may have been facilitated by the fact that his death coincided with the purchase of the freehold of the castle by Sir William Craven (from 1627, the 1st Baron Craven). The Baldwyns continued to rent the castle from the Cravens until 1779, although as we shall see they moved on to grander accommodation in the 18th century, and Stokesay declined into agricultural use. Charles also had at his disposal his wife's manor house at Burwarton (Shrops.), which seems to have been where he lived most of the time: when his two eldest sons went to University he was described as 'of Burwarton'. Charles was the first of the family to serve as an MP, being elected for Ludlow in 1639. As a Royalist, he would have attended very little if at all after the Civil War broke out in 1642, and he was excluded from the Commons in 1643. In 1644 he was one of the officers present when the Royalists captured Hopton Castle and executed the garrison, but in 1645 the tables were turned when the Parliamentarians besieged Stokesay Castle. Charles does not seem to have been present at the siege (although his eldest son may have been), but after the Parliamentarians won the war he was classed as a delinquent and obliged to pay a substantial fine to recover his estates. In 1647 Parliament ordered the slighting of Stokesay Castle to prevent it being used as a stronghold in future, but in practice the damage seems to have been limited to the demolition of part of the curtain wall and the gatehouse. In 1648, when Charles' eldest son, Sir Samuel Baldwyn (1618-83), kt., was getting married, Charles renewed the lease on the castle and made it over to Samuel, who after undertaking repairs (and perhaps the construction of the present, semi-timbered gatehouse), was able to move in during 1649 or 1650. The church adjoining the house seems to have suffered greater damage during the siege, and was repaired more slowly, from 1654 onwards.

Sir Samuel Baldwyn (knighted in 1673) and his younger brother, Sir Timothy Baldwyn (1619-96), knighted in 1670, were both educated at Oxford and trained as lawyers at the Inner Temple. Samuel qualified as a barrister, was MP for Ludlow in 1659, and became a Serjeant-at-Law in 1669 and one of the King's Serjeants in 1672. A successful legal career such as his was commonly a path to considerable wealth at this period, but he was a major sufferer from the Great Fire of London in 1666, which he claimed in his will had cost him £10,000. Both brothers were also major investors in an abortive scheme to make the rivers Stour and Salwarpe in Worcestershire into navigable waterways, which will have cost them several thousands more. Sir Timothy at first followed an academic path, and throughout the troubles of the Civil War he was a Fellow of All Souls. As a Royalist, he was threatened with the loss of his fellowship in 1648, but he seems to have had friends in the right places and his exclusion was not pursued. In 1660 he became Principal of Hart Hall (a former University hall, dissolved in 1816, some of the buildings of which were later part of Hertford College), but in 1663 he gave up his Oxford life for a legal appointment as Chancellor of the dioceses of Worcester and Hereford, and from 1670-82 he was also a Master in Chancery. He was twice married, and his second wife, Mary, was the sister and co-heir of Edwin Skrymshire (d. 1689) of Aqualate Hall (Staffs), and the widow of Nicholas Acton of Bockleton (Worcs).

On the death of Sir Samuel Baldwyn in 1683, Stokesay Castle passed to his only surviving son, Charles Baldwyn (1652-1707), who had married Elizabeth, the daughter and heir of his aunt Mary by her first husband, Nicholas Acton. She brought him the Bockleton and Aqualate estates, and they seem to have lived at Bockleton until Charles' death in 1707. Elizabeth lived on for a further twenty years, apparently at Aqualate, although she was buried at Bockleton in 1727.  Like his father, Charles was a lawyer and MP, sitting for Ludlow in 1681, 1689-90 and 1695-98. In 1694 he succeeded his uncle as Chancellor of the Diocese of Hereford, and he was also Recorder of Ludlow for the last three years of his life. Charles and Elizabeth had four sons and one daughter. The eldest son died young, but the second, Acton Baldwyn (1681-1727), inherited Bockleton. His marriage was childless (although he may have had an illegitimate son), and when he died, the Bockleton estate passed to his brother Charles Baldwyn (1684-1751), who after attending Oxford and making a Grand Tour to Italy, had become a barrister in London. At the time of his inheritance he was a bachelor, but when, a few months after he inherited Bockleton from his brother, his mother died and left him Aqualate Hall too, he seems to have lost no time in finding a wife, starting a family, setting about modernising the estate and making Aqualate his home. Already in 1728 he was remodelling the house and in 1730 he build a new stable block. At the same time he began landscaping the grounds, at first to his own designs and then from 1731 with the assistance of Stephen Switzer. His known work was largely over by the mid-1730s, and it may be that his motivation dwindled after the death of his first wife in 1732.

Charles was succeeded by his elder son and namesake, Charles Baldwyn (1729-1801), who was barely of age when his father died. He made a good match when he was married in 1752 to the heiress of the Childe family's Kinlet estate on the borders of Shropshire and Worcestershire, but after that he showed little discretion in the handling of his life or inheritance. He sat as an MP for Shropshire from 1766-80, and although not as silent as many back-benchers were at the time, was regarded as 'puzzle-headed' by one contemporary, which I take to mean that he found simple things confusing. He gave loyal support to the Government of the day, which may explain his secret service pension of £600 a year, but even with this augmentation of his income he spent more lavishly than he could afford. Among other extravagances he remodelled Aqualate Hall, added wings to the house, and perhaps continued with the landscaping of the grounds, and he borrowed money to make unwise investments in land. By 1780 his affairs were so confused that he could not continue as an MP, and he was selling anything he had power to sell. He expected his eldest son, William (1755-1824), who had inherited the Kinlet estate and taken the name Childe in 1770, to bail him out, and in 1782, when William declined to do so they fell out in a big way. The Aqualate estate was entailed, so Charles had no power to sell the freehold without William's consent, but in 1796 William was reluctantly persuaded to co-operate in the sale so that his father could clear his debts. The sale realised more than the sum required, but Charles had managed to run through the surplus by the time of his death in 1801.

William Childe (1755-1824) was thus deprived of his paternal inheritance of Aqualate, but he had his mother's estate at Kinlet as compensation. After he married and came of age in 1776 he became a noted agriculturalist, but his principal reputation was as a sportsman. He is said to have won a wager that he would ride from his club in London to Kinlet in a time his contemporaries considered impossibly short, and he became a daring rider to hounds, known as 'the flying Childe'. He was always up at the front of the field, jumping everything in sight, and was one of those for whom the term 'thruster' was coined. By his first wife he had a son and daughter, but after she died in 1816 he married his long-term mistress, by whom he had had two illegitimate sons. This may have been the reason why he fell out with his legitimate son and heir, William Lacon Childe (1786-1880), who inherited Kinlet. His two illegitimate sons were acknowledged and took the name Childe, although under English law they were not legitimated: one became a schoolmaster and died young, while the other became a clergyman and had a long and successful career. An account of Kinlet Hall and of William Childe's descendants and maternal ancestors is reserved for a future post on the Childe family.

Elsich Manor, Diddlebury, Shropshire

Elsich Manor, Diddlebury: the projecting wing in the distance dates from c.1545 and the rest from fifty years later.
Elsich Manor was built in the 16th century and appears to be of two different periods; it has also been partly reconstructed and substantially remodelled internally since a major fire in 1976. The long two-storey east range is said to date from 1545 and to have been built for Richard Baldwyn (c.1510-85). It has a three-storey polygonal stair turret projecting between two unequal chimney-breasts, while on the other side the range is partly semi-timbered. The rest of the house (the recessed centre and the left hand wing) was probably built about 1590-1600 for William Baldwyn (c.1548-1616). This part of the house has larger mullioned windows, the placing of which was altered in the late 19th or 20th century to be more symmetrical than before. The rather curious windows in the gables, of three lights with an extra upper light, are original and help with the dating, as similar windows are found at nearby Shipton Hall (Shropshire), which was built in 1598 for the Lutwyche family (into which Thomas' eldest son married). The house was apparently let to farming tenants after 1635, which may explain why it escaped much Georgian or Victorian rebuilding. Thanks to the fire of 1976 and subsequent alterations, the interior retains few original features, except for a timber spiral staircase. Modern refurbishment has made the house so open-plan that the absence of privacy in the bedroom areas must be embarrassing. 

Descent: built for Richard Baldwyn (c.1510-85); to younger son, William Baldwyn (c.1548-1616); to son, Charles Baldwyn (1598-1674), who rented it from c.1635 onwards;... sold 1779;... sold 1913 to Charlie Edwards; sold 1953... sold 2011 to Charlie Aitken; for sale in 2018.

Stokesay Castle, Shropshire

Stokesay Castle was built at the end of the 13th century, and is of great historical importance as one of the best preserved early fortified houses (as opposed to castles) in England. It is not, by later standards, a country house, and therefore scarcely qualifies for inclusion here, but in its architectural ambition and quest for domestic comfort it looks forward to the emergence of the country house as a distinct building type a couple of centuries later, and since it remained a gentry residence until the early 18th century it has been included. The castle was owned from c.1620 to 1869 by the Earls of Craven, but it was leased to the Baldwyns for over a hundred and fifty years from the late 16th century.

Stokesay Castle: pen and ink drawing of the castle from the churchyard by Sydney Maiden, 1951. Image: Sulis Fine Art.

The house was first built for Lawrence of Ludlow (d. 1294), one of the wealthiest wool merchants of his day, who bought a lease of the manor of Stokesay in 1281 and obtained licence to crenellate in 1291, by which time his house must have been approaching completion, as the timber for the roofs and floors was mostly felled between 1284 and 1290. The context for its construction was no doubt the greater sense of security felt by Englishmen in the Welsh Marches after 1284, when Edward I completed the pacification of Wales. The house is mostly built of a local yellowish-grey siltstone, and was set within a moat, which is now dry. The platform within the moat is roughly rectangular and is approached across a bridge from the north-east. The main buildings occupy the west side of the platform, and consist of towers at the north and south ends, with a hall and solar block between the two. The rest of the platform was originally enclosed by a high battlemented wall with some sort of stone gatehouse where the present one stands; the wall was largely pulled down about 1647 when Parliament ordered the slighting of the castle.

Stokesay Castle: the gatehouse, probably built in c.1648-49 for Samuel Baldwyn, as part of his restoration of the house after the Civil War.

The present very pretty semi-timbered gatehouse has an entirely Jacobean appearance and has usually been dated to c.1620, but the timber of which it is built proves to have been felled in 1640. The gatehouse could, therefore, have been built just before the Civil War, but it is perhaps more likely that the old stone gatehouse went at the same time as the curtain wall in 1647, and that the present building was erected soon afterwards from timber which had been stockpiled during the war and perhaps had originally been intended for another purpose. It is known that in 1648 Charles Baldwyn gave the house as a wedding present to his son, Samuel, and that the latter conducted a post-war restoration in 1648-49, so that may well be the date of construction. The three-bay gatehouse is of two storeys, with the upper one gabled in all four directions. At the same time as the gatehouse was built, the principal private chamber in the main building was refitted.

Stokesay Castle: the solar as refitted by Samuel Baldwyn in 1648-49. Image: English Heritage.

The castle seems to have been turned over to farm uses after 1706 or perhaps even a little earlier. In 1730 there were still family portraits on the walls, but later in the 18th century there was a smithy in the south tower, the internal floors and roof of which were destroyed when the smithy caught fire. The architectural and aesthetic merits of the castle began to be appreciated by the antiquarian taste of the early 19th century, and after the Allcrofts bought the estate in 1869 the site was sensitively repaired and opened to the public. The house has been in the guardianship of English Heritage since 1992.

Aqualate Hall, Forton, Staffordshire

The Aqualate estate is tucked away on the western border of the county, close to Newport (Shropshire), and although it is one of great historic estates of Staffordshire it is comparatively little-known today. The superficial geology here is a thick glacial till giving rise to sticky and impervious clay soils pocked with meres and kettle holes. The name Aqualate derives not, as popularly supposed, from the 'broad water' of Aqualate Mere north of the house, but from the Anglo-Saxon words 'ac' and 'gelad', signifying a muddy river-crossing among oak trees, although the modern form of the name has no doubt been influenced by the appositeness of its Latin homophone.

Aqualate Hall: the house of c.1600, with the forecourt of c.1670. Detail of M. Burgher's engraving of 1686 for Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire

There has been a house on this site since the mid 16th century. Thomas Skyrmsher (1482-1551) bought the manor of Aqualate in 1545 and either he or his son John (c.1514-69) built Aqualate Hall soon afterwards on the brow of a low hill overlooking the Mere, which was then larger and longer than it is today. There is no record of the appearance of this first house, which was rebuilt by John's grandson, Sir Thomas Skrymsher (1576-1633) in about 1600, as a rather plain and not-quite-symmetrical three-storey brick house. The main north front had mullion and transom windows, a row of four low gables in the centre, and two-storey canted bays with balustraded tops either side of the front door, which may represent the gatehouse of the previous building. The house is known from an engraving published in Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire in 1686, which also shows an elaborate forecourt, apparently inspired by that of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, which must have been created in about 1670 by Edwin Skrymsher (c.1631-89), who had attended Trinity College. The forecourt had wrought iron railings between thirteen tall, rusticated piers topped with large carved heads, but unlike the sophisticated Roman emperors around the Sheldonian, the sole surviving Aqualate head is disappointingly rustic. The forecourt appears to have been removed in 1729, when a new terrace was created on the north side of the house. 

Following the death of Edwin Skrymsher in 1689, the estate was divided between his two sisters. On the death of one of the sisters, Mary, in 1702, her share descended to Charles Baldwyn (1652-1707), who had married her daughter Elizabeth, and he bought out the other half share. At this time, Aqualate was surrounded by the usual outbuildings of a 17th century manorial site, but there was evidently already a small deer park, since a deercote is mentioned in 1689, when there was also a summerhouse in the garden.

In 1727, Charles Baldwyn (1684-1751), a younger son who had made some money as a lawyer, inherited the estate unexpectedly following the deaths in quick succession of his elder brother and his mother, and in the same year he married the widowed Lady Strachan. He seems at once to have consulted Francis Smith of Warwick about the possibility of remodelling the house, but Smith evidently advised him to pull the house down and rebuild it from scratch. This Baldwyn could not afford to do, but he adopted Smith's suggestion of some internal remodelling as an interim measure, and work was in progress throughout 1728. In 1730, he also built the elegant new pedimented quadrangular stable block of red brick east of the house, which can confidently be attributed to Smith. 

Aqualate Hall: the house, seen from the north across the landscaped Aqualate Mere in the late 18th century. Image: Historic England BB84/704.
At the same time as work was carried out on the house, Baldwyn began the task of landscaping its setting. He partially drained the mere to reduce its size, and began planting plantations in the park for the benefit of the deer and to improve its appearance. Until 1731 he was evidently working to his own designs, with some advice from his cousin, Adam Ottley. But in November 1731 he commissioned Stephen Switzer, author of the influential Ichnographia Rustica (1718), to lay out a Wilderness (later Boathouse Wood), and next to this he created a decoy pond for duck shooting; two further ponds on the other side of the wilderness, known as The Spectacles, are natural kettle holes that were incorporated into the layout. 

Aqualate Hall: the house from the north after the addition of wings and the installation of regular sash windows, c.1770. Image: Historic England BB82/1837
In 1751, Aqualate passed to Charles Baldwyn's son, another Charles (1729-1801), who preferred to live at his wife's home at Kinlet, which was available to him from 1757 until her death in 1770. He then moved back to Aqualate, where he made some further improvements to the house, which included the removal of the bay windows on the north front, the addition of lower two-storey flanking wings and the installation of a regular pattern of sash windows. The house in this form is shown in the two watercolours of the estate reproduced above, which also provide a good impression of the state of the landscaping at the time.

By 1796, Charles Baldwyn's extravagance had forced him to sell the estate. It was bought by the trustees of John Fenton Fletcher of Betley Court (Staffs), who was then still a minor, but who came of age in 1805 and soon afterwards changed his name to John Fenton Fletcher-Boughey in acknowledgement of a large inheritance from his grandmother's cousin; he inherited his father's baronetcy in 1812. When Fletcher acquired Aqualate, much of the land between the house and the mere was still open pasture and the deer park enclosed only 127 acres. In 1804, John Webb, who practised in the north-west Midlands as a landscape gardener and architect, was invited to submit plans for altering both the house and its setting. His designs for the house were rejected, but his plans for the park were implemented. The road in front of the hall was diverted to its present line, well to the south, and new carriage approaches were laid out from lodges at the south-east and south-west corners of the park. Some 57,000 trees were planted in the park to screen the mere from view from the carriage approaches, so that the vast lake would be a surprise when visitors first saw it from the windows of the house. John Webb was paid off in 1807 and attention then turned to the remodelling of the house, but in 1812 Humphry Repton was consulted about further work on the park, including a shrubbery and terrace, although it seems probable that nothing was done to his design.

Aqualate Hall: the house as remodelled and extended to the west by John Nash, 1806-09. Image: Historic England FF82/60.

Aqualate Hall: the house as altered by Nash from the south-west, from a postcard of c.1905. Image: Historic England BB82/1842.
In 1805, having rejected Webb's designs for the house and also considered plans for remodelling the house in a classical style by John Haycock of Shrewsbury, Fletcher-Boughey turned to John Nash. His first idea seems to have been to get Nash to produce detailed designs for execution by Haycock, but Nash eventually persuaded his client that he should contract for the construction as well. The design appears to have evolved in discussion between architect and client from a fairly routine brick extension with stone dressings into the stuccoed fantasy palace with Gothick windows, buttresses, battlements, turrets and ogee domes, which was executed in 1807-09. Nor was the influence on the design all one way: Fletcher appears to have influenced both the layout of the plan and the decision to coat the house in stucco. The service wing was little altered, but the main part of the old house was adapted internally to provide additional service accommodation and refashioned externally as part of the new composition; indeed it was necessary to take down and rebuild the north front and to reconstruct the roof. The ogee domes on the north, west and south fronts are unlike anything else in Nash's previous country house oeuvre, and may have been inspired by the silhouette of Tong Castle nearby, although Nash had previously made an unexecuted design for Magdalen College, Oxford with no less than twenty ogival domes.

Aqualate Hall: plan of the ground floor as proposed to be altered by Nash, c.1806.  This was not the final arrangement, as an additional octagonal tower was added at the north-east angle in 1807. Image: Historic England BB82/1835.
Aqualate Hall: the toplit central gallery from the landing of the staircase. Image: Historic England BB82/1853.

Aqualate Hall: the central gallery, looking towards the staircase. Image: Historic England BB82/1851.
Aqualate Hall: a watercolour of the interior of the library designed by John Nash. Image: Historic England BB83/4782.
The plan was a variant of one Nash had already used or proposed at several large houses, including Longner Hall (Shropshire), 1805-08, and West Grinstead Park (Sussex), c.1806-08, with the main rooms arranged around a central gallery that had the staircase rising at one end of it. He went on to use a similar plan for Ravensworth Castle (Co. Durham) and Caerhays Castle (Cornwall), 1808 and Shanbally Castle (Co. Tipperary), c.1810. At Aqualate, the gallery had a Gothick fan vault, but otherwise, the interiors were largely classical, with rich upholstery and decoration in the manner Nash used for the interiors of Attingham (Shropshire), the quality of which is conveyed in a series of watercolours of the house. 

Aqualate was little altered in Victorian times, but in the 1850s Sir Thomas Fletcher Fenton contemplated further work in the gardens. W.A. Nesfield was consulted in 1854 and in 1855 William Barron, the Derbyshire landscape gardener, produced a design for a tree-lined walk and flower garden in the shrubbery which was at least partially executed. 

Aqualate Hall: the smoking ruins of the house in the aftermath of the fire in 1910.  Image: Historic England BB82/1845.

Aqualate Hall: the house as restored after the fire, from a postcard of c.1920. Image: Historic England BB84/709.
Much of Nash's house was burnt down in 1910. Photographs convey the scale of devastation, which reduced the whole western part of the house containing the main rooms to a smoking shell, which was subsequently demolished. What survived - largely the remodelled 17th century house and the service wing - was tidied up as a much smaller house that nonetheless preserved some of Nash's fantasy. The house appears to have been in good condition when it was photographed in 1926.

Aqualate Hall: the house from the north as reconstructed by W.D. Caroe in 1927-30. Image: Historic England AA62/2355
Aqualate Hall: the house from the south-west as reconstructed by W.D. Caroe in 1927-30. Image: Historic England AA62/2357

In 1927, on the death of Sir Francis Boughey (1848-1927), 8th bt., the estate passed to his daughter, Ethel Morris. She evidently did not like the house as it stood, and brought in W.D. Caröe (who I think of as a church architect) to remodel it once more. The last vestiges of Nash's fantasy were swept away and replaced by largely new elevations of oatmeal coloured brick in a subdued Tudor style in 1927-31. Balustraded tops to the bay windows give a faint pale echo of the style of the previous house. The building does, however, incorporate the core of the 17th century house, reduced in height by one storey. The gabled service wing projecting to the south survived and was extended by a plain hipped-roof block with tall chimneys designed by Caröe, and the 18th century stable block was also preserved.

Aqualate Hall: the folly known as Aqualate Castle. Image: Historic England AA62/2365.

Aqualate Hall: gate lodge, perhaps by Nash but probably later. Image: Tim Mowl. 
In the grounds is a folly known as Aqualate Castle consisting of a red brick house with stepped gables and an attached round embattled tower. This was probably designed by John Nash at the same time as he remodelled the house, in 1807-09. The lodges to the estate are often said to be by Nash too, but actually date from 1835, especially the ornate south-west lodge with its highly decorated chimneystacks. The east lodge is now in poor condition. 

Descent: Thomas Skrymsher (1482-1551); to son, John Skrymsher (c.1514-69); to son, Thomas Skrymsher (1537-95); to son, Sir Thomas Skrymsher (1576-1633); to son, Gerard Skrymsher (c.1605-65); to son, Edwin Skrymsher (c.1633-89); to sister Mary (1630-1702), wife of Nicholas Acton (d. 1664) and later Sir Timothy Baldwyn (1619-96); to daughter, Elizabeth (1663-1727), wife of Charles Baldwyn (1652-1707), who bought out the other moiety; to son, Charles Baldwyn (1684-1751); to son, Charles Baldwyn (1729-1801), who sold 1796 to Sir John Fenton Fletcher (later Fletcher-Boughey) (1784-1823), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Thomas Fenton Fletcher-Boughey (1809-80), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Thomas Fenton Fletcher-Boughey (1836-1906), 4th bt.; to brother, Rev. Sir George Boughey (1837-1910), 5th bt.; to brother, Cmdr. Sir William Fletcher Boughey (1840-1912), 6th bt.; to son, Rev. Sir Robert Boughey (1843-1921), 7th bt.; to brother, Sir Francis Boughey (1848-1927), 8th bt.; to daughter, Ethel (c.1876-1956), wife of John Robert Morris (d. 1936); to niece, Anna Selina Elizabeth Clegg-Hill (1915-2010), wife of Janusz Maria Stanislaw Eugeniusz Juhre (1914-96); to son, Tadeusz Maria Gerald Alexander Juhre (b. 1951).

Baldwyn family of Elsich Manor, Stokesay Castle and Aqualate Hall

Baldwyn, Richard (c.1510-85) of Diddlebury. Younger son of John Baldwyn (fl. c.1497), Yeoman of the Crown (a member of the royal bodyguard), and his wife Alice, daughter of John Botterell of Aston Botterell (Shrops.), born about 1510. He had a grant of arms, 1580. He married, 7 November 1545 at Shipton (Salop), Margery alias Margaret, daughter of Lawrence Ludlow of Moore House, Corvedale (Shropshire), and had issue including:
(1) Thomas Baldwyn (1546-1614) (q.v.);
(2) William Baldwyn (c.1548-1616) (q.v.);
(3) Henry Baldwyn (fl. 1616);
(4) Elizabeth Baldwyn; married, before 1584, Richard Higgins (d. 1598), son of George Higgins, and had issue two daughters;
(5) Dorothy Baldwyn (fl. 1596); married Walter Beck (d. 1598) of Shrewsbury, but had no surviving issue;
(6) Mary Baldwyn (fl. 1611); married, before 1589, George Mason of Diddlebury and had issue;
(7) Charles Baldwyn (d. 1586), buried at Diddlebury, 8 April 1586;
(8) Edward Baldwyn (d. 1620); was of Stokesay and was probably the first of his line to lease the castle there from Sir Thomas Baker and Sir Richard Francis; married 1st, 7 February 1584 at Stokesay, Johanna Hibbins (d. 1593) and had issue two sons and two daughters; married 2nd [name unknown] and had further issue two sons and two daughters; buried at Stokesay, 2 January 1620/1;
(9) John Baldwyn (fl. 1611), named in his mother's will;
(10) Richard Baldwyn (fl. 1611), named in his mother's will.
He was heir to his elder brother William and lived at Diddlebury (Shropshire), where he may have built the first part of Elsich Manor in 1545.
He was buried at Diddlebury, 9 December 1585. His wife died in October 1611; her will was proved at Hereford, 20 October 1611.

Baldwyn, Thomas (1546-1614) of Diddlebury. Eldest son of Richard Baldwyn (c.1510-85) of Diddlebury and his wife Margery, daughter of Laurence Ludlow of Moore House, Corvedale (Shropshire), born 1546. An agent of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, he was one of the trusted retainers on whom the Earl relied to guard Mary, Queen of Scots, in the years when he was responsible for her custody (1569-84). By 1584, however, he became suspected of involvement in a plot to secure the release of the Queen of Scots, because an encrypted letter from her to him was intercepted, and he was confined in the Tower of London for three years; an inscription which he made on the wall of his prison was found in the 19th century. The wording of his epitaph, which records his escape from 'the sea, the sword and the cruel tower' seems to hint at further adventures, which are now lost to memory. After being released, he married Gertrude, daughter of Robert Corbet of Stanwardine, and had issue:
(1) Edward Baldwyn (d. 1664); a Royalist in the Civil War, he served in Sir Vincent Corbet's regiment and compounded for his estates for £245; married Mary (d. 1678), daughter of Edward Lutwyche and had issue one son (from whom descended the later Baldwyns of Diddlebury alias Delbury Hall, which they sold in 1752) and three daughters; buried at Diddlebury, 28 July 1664;
(2) John Baldwyn (d. 1671), of Middlehope; an esquire of the Earl of Shrewsbury by 1616; married Mary [surname unknown] (d. 1659); buried at Diddlebury, 11 August 1671; administration of his goods was granted 3 October 1671;
(3) Richard Baldwyn (d. 1639), of Diddlebury; married Anne Rickards and had issue one son and two daughters; died in July 1639; will proved 25 July 1639;
(4) Dorothy Baldwyn;
(5) Susan Baldwyn.
He lived at Diddlebury.
He died 7 October 1614 and was buried at Diddlebury, where he is commemorated by a monument. His widow was still living in 1639.

Baldwyn, William (c.1548-1616). Second son of Richard Baldwyn (c.1510-85) of Diddlebury and his wife Margery, daughter of Laurence Ludlow of Moore House, Corvedale (Shropshire), born about 1548. In 1598 he was described as 'of Clement's Inn', one of the Chancery inns in London, so he was probably legally trained. He married 1st, Barbara, daughter of Richard Brooke of Whitchurch (Hants), and 2nd, Jane [surname unknown]*, and had issue:
(1.1) Charles Baldwyn (1598-1674) (q.v.).
He lived at Elsich Manor, Diddlebury and probably enlarged it c.1590-1600.
He died in 1616 and was probably buried at Diddlebury; his will was proved 23 April 1616. His first wife's date of death is unknown. His widow's date of death is unknown.
* This could be the marriage of William Baldwyne and Jane Stevenson at Kings Langley (Herts) on 28 October 1611.

Baldwyn, Charles (1598-1674). Son of William Baldwyn (c.1548-1616) of Elsich Manor and his first wife Barbara, daughter of Richard Brooke of Whitchurch (Hants), baptised at Ludlow, 26 November 1598. A freeman and common councilman of Ludlow; bailiff of Ludlow by 1638. MP for Ludlow, 1639-46 (excluded 1643). A Royalist during the Civil War, he was one of the officers present at the siege of Hopton Castle (Shrops.), which after a fortnight's resistance was surrendered only when it became clear that it would be captured; the garrison expected to be given quarter, but this was refused and they were all executed (except for the Governor, Col. Samuel More, who was taken prisoner); he was obliged to compound for his estates (for a fine of nearly £500).  He married, 18 June 1617 at Burwarton (Shrops.), Mary (d. 1669), daughter and co-heir of Francis Holland of Burwarton and widow of Robert Lutley, fourth son of Adam Lutley of Broncroft, and had issue:
(1) Sir Samuel Baldwyn (1618-83), kt. (q.v.);
(2) Sir Timothy Baldwyn (1619-96), kt., baptised at Burwarton (Shrops.), 28 September 1619; educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matriculated 1634/5; BA 1638) and Inner Temple (admitted 1635); Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, 1639-61 (BCL 1641; DCL 1652); sinecure rector of Llandrillo in Rhos, 1647; author of The privileges of an ambassador (1654), translator and editor of Lord Herbert of Chirbury's History of the Expedition to Rhé in 1627 (1656) and editor of Richard Zouch's Jurisdiction of the Admiralty in England (1663); Principal of Hart Hall, Oxford, 1660-63; Chancellor of the Dioceses of Hereford and Worcester, 1663-96; steward of Leominster, 1667-85, 1688-96; Master in Chancery, 1670-82; knighted, 10 July 1670; married 1st, c.1668, Ellen, daughter of Sir William Owen, kt., of Condover and widow of Sir George Norton (d. 1668), kt of Abbots Leigh (Somerset); married 2nd, before 1685; Mary (1630-1702), daughter of Gerard Skrymsher of Aqualate and widow of Nicholas Acton (d. 1664) of Bockleton (Worcs), but had no issue; died before August 1696; will proved 22 February 1696/7;
(3) twin, Benjamin Baldwyn (b. 1622), baptised at Burwarton, 20 September 1622; living in 1686;
(4) twin, Barbara Baldwyn (1622-70), baptised at Burwarton, 20 September 1622; married, 23 August 1660 at St Michael, Paternoster Royal, London, George Lee, but had no issue; buried in Temple Church, London, 15 January 1670.
He inherited Elsich Manor from his father in 1616 and took a lease of Stokesay Castle (Shropshire), from the Craven family soon after they acquired it in 1620. The castle was slighted in 1647 but he negotiated a new lease in 1647-48 before making the house over to his son on the latter's marriage in 1648.  He seems to have lived mainly at his wife's estate at Burwarton.
He died 14 February and was buried at Diddlebury, 17 February 1674, where he is commemorated by a monument. His wife was buried at Stokesay, April 1669.

Baldwyn, Sir Samuel (1618-83), kt. Elder son of Charles Baldwyn (1598-1674) and his wife Mary, daughter and co-heir of Francis Holland of Burwarton (Shropshire) and widow of Robert Lutley, baptised at Burwarton (Shrops.), 7 June 1618. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matriculated 1634/5) and Inner Temple (admitted 1635; called to bar 1646; bencher 1662). The Civil War interrupted his legal studies in London, and he may have been among the Royalist garrison which surrendered Stokesay Castle in 1645. Barrister-at-law; Serjeant-at-law, 1669; King's Serjeant, 1672. MP for Ludlow, 1659. From 1665 he was a major investor in the abortive Stour Navigation Scheme, but he had 'great losses by the late dismall fire at London and other accidents to the value of £10,000'. Knighted 5 February 1672/3. He married, 27 July 1648 at St Bartholomew the Less, London, Elizabeth (c.1622-93), daughter of Richard Walcot of London, merchant, and had issue:
(1) William Baldwyn (c.1649-72?); educated at Queen's College, Oxford (matriculated 1666) and Inner Temple (admitted 1664); died unmarried before 1679 and was perhaps the person of this name buried at St Sepulchre, Holborn (Middx), 15 October 1672;
(2) Anne Baldwyn (1650-1720), baptised at Stokesay, 29 May 1650; married, 24 January 1688 at Stokesay, Rev. Adam Ottley DD (1655-1723), rector of Prestbury (Shrops.), archdeacon of Shropshire and later bishop of St. Davids, 1713-23, second surviving son of Sir Richard Ottley of Pitchford (Shrops.), but had no issue; buried at Pitchford, 14 April 1720;
(3) Elizabeth Baldwyn (1651-1725), baptised at St Dunstan in the West, London, 15 March 1650/1; married, 26 August 1674 at Stokesay, Thomas Ottley (1651-95), eldest surviving son of Sir Richard Ottley of Pitchford (Shrops) and had issue three sons and one daughter; buried at Pitchford, 5 April 1725;
(4) Charles Baldwyn (1652-1707) (q.v.);
(5) Mary Baldwyn (b. 1653), baptised at St Dunstan in the West, London, 19 July 1653; died before 1679;
(6) Timothy Baldwyn (d. 1667); buried at Stokesay, 18 September 1667.
He was given the lease of Stokesay Castle on his marriage in 1648. The castle was repaired and reoccupied by 1649 (probably including the building of the new gatehouse) and he repaired the church in 1654-64.  In 1674 he was taxed on seventeen hearths at Stokesay.
He died 15 July and was buried in the Temple Church, London, 17 July 1683, where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 19 October 1683. His widow was buried at Stokesay, 28 January 1692/3.

Baldwyn, Charles (1652-1707). Fourth but only surviving son of Sir Samuel Baldwyn (1618-83), kt., and his wife, the daughter of Richard Walcot of London, merchant, baptised at St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, 19 February 1651/2. Educated at Shrewsbury School, Queen's College, Oxford (matriculated 1667) and Inner Temple (admitted 1665; called to bar, 1674). Barrister-at-law. MP for Ludlow, 1681, 1689-90, 1695-98. He was a Freeman of Ludlow (admitted 1679; common councilman, 1681-85, 1690-1701; alderman, 1701-07) and of Much Wenlock (admitted 1680); High Sheriff of Herefordshire, 1690-91; High Steward of Leominster (Herefs), 1691-96; Chancellor of the Diocese of Hereford, 1694-1707; Recorder of Ludlow, 1704-07. He married, 13 May 1679 at St Paul, Covent Garden, London, Elizabeth (1663-1727), daughter and heiress of Nicholas Acton of Bockleton (Worcs) by Mary his wife (who was sister and co-heir of Edwin Skrymsher of Aqualate), and had issue:
(1) Edwin Baldwyn (b. 1679), baptised at St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, 6 January 1679/80; evidently died young;
(2) Acton Baldwyn (1681-1727) (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Baldwyn (1682-1737), baptised at Bockleton, 20 August 1682; died unmarried and was buried at Forton, 13 April 1737; will proved at Lichfield, 10 September 1737;
(4) Charles Baldwyn (1684-1751) (q.v.);
(5) Samuel Baldwyn (1694-1779), baptised at Bockleton, 1 May 1694; educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matriculated 1710/11); lived at Manchester, where he had a very extensive library "in which he generally spent many hours each day, applying himself chiefly to the study of divinity"; married, 4 February 1733/4 at St Clement Danes, London, Catherine (1694-1768), daughter of Very Rev. Thomas Lamplugh, DD, granddaughter of Most Rev. Thomas Lamplugh, Archbishop of York, and widow of Robert Hardisty of London, and had issue one son; buried at St Ann, Manchester, 25 February 1779; will proved 12 November 1779.
He inherited the lease of Stokesay Castle and through his marriage inherited Bockleton. His wife was also heiress to the Aqualate estate, and on her death in 1727 that estate passed to their son, Charles Baldwyn.
He died 4 January 1706/7 and was buried at Bockleton, where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 4 February 1706/7. His widow was buried at Bockleton, 13  January 1726/7; her will was proved 29 March 1727.

Baldwyn, Acton (1681-1727). Eldest surviving son of Charles Baldwyn (1652-1707) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Nicholas Acton of Bockleton (Worcs), born 27 June and baptised at Bockleton, 10 July 1681. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford (matriculated 1698) and Inner Temple (admitted 1701). In politics, he was a moderate Tory, who occasionally voted with the Whigs, although his name was given to the Old Pretender as a likely 'well-wisher' in the event of an invasion; MP for Ludlow, 1705-15, 1722-27. He was a freeman and common councilman of Ludlow, 1710-27. In 1723 he paid for alterations to the church at Aqualate. He married, 17 October 1702 at Norbury (Staffs), Eleanor (1680-1718), third daughter of Sir Charles Skrymsher of Norbury, but had no issue.* 
He inherited Bockleton from his father in 1707. At his death the estate passed to his next brother.
He was buried at Bockleton, 28 or 30 January 1726/7; his will was proved 29 March 1727. His wife was buried at Norbury, 29 March 1718.
* He may, however, have had an illegitimate son: Thomas, son of Acton Baldwyn, was baptised at St Luke, Chelsea (Middx), 17 May 1721, but perhaps died young as there is no mention of him in Acton Baldwyn's will.

Baldwyn, Charles (1684-1751). Second surviving son of Charles Baldwyn (1652-1707) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Nicholas Acton of Bockleton (Worcs), born 13 March and baptised at Bockleton, 24 March 1684. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford (admitted 1704) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1707; called to the bar, 1714) and undertook a Grand Tour with Burrell Massingberd of Ormsby (Lincs) in 1711-12, visiting the Netherlands, Germany, Turin, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Rome (where they met William Kent), Naples, Bologna, Venice, Padua, Vicenza and Verona, and found it necessary to 'take some days of repose after passing the [Alps], before one could get the thoughts of that unpleasant country out of one's head'. Barrister-at-law. He married 1st, 29 July 1727 at St Paul, Covent Garden, London, Elizabeth (1695?-1732), daughter of John Allgood of Newcastle-on-Tyne and widow of Sir Patrick Strachan (d. 1726) of Glenkindie (Aberdeens.), and 2nd, 18 February 1741 at Atcham (Shrops.), Anne (1698-1759?), daughter of Robert Gayer of Stoke Park, Stoke Poges (Bucks) and widow of Rev. Francis Annesley LLD (1699-1740), rector of Winwick (Lancs), and had issue:
(1.1) Elizabeth Baldwyn (1728-83), born 4 August and baptised at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), 21 August 1728; married, 27 February 1755 at Forton (Staffs), Arthur Annesley (1732-73) of Bletchingdon Park (Oxon), son of Rev. Francis Annesley of Winwick (Lancs), and had issue (with others who did not survive), two sons and two daughters; said to have been buried at Bletchingdon, 18 May 1783;
(1.2) Charles Baldwyn (1729-1801) (q.v.);
(1.3) Samuel Baldwyn (1731-38), born 12 March 1730/1 and baptised at St James, Piccadilly, 5 April 1731; died young and was buried at Forton, 19 January 1737/8;
(1.4) Barbara Baldwyn (1732-88), baptised at Forton, 10 April 1732; died unmarried and was buried at St Swithin, Walcot, Bath (Somerset), 1 January 1789; will proved 26 January 1789.
He lived in London until 1727. He inherited Stokesay Castle from his father in 1707, Bockleton from his elder brother in 1727, and Aqualate Hall through his mother in the same year; he remodelled the house at Aqualate  and built the stables there to the designs of Francis Smith, and created a landscape park with the assistance of Stephen Switzer.
He was buried at Forton, 8 April 1751; his will was proved 25 June 1751. His first wife died in childbirth and was buried at Forton, 6 April 1732. His widow was perhaps the Ann Baldwin buried at Finchley (Middx), 30 August 1759.

Baldwyn, Charles (1729-1801). Elder son of Charles Baldwyn (1684-1751) and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of John Allgood of Newcastle-on-Tyne and widow of Sir Patrick Strachan of Glenkindie (Aberdeens.), baptised at Forton, 29 September 1729. Educated at St Mary Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1747). MP for Shropshire, 1766-80, in which role he was described as 'a puzzle-headed country gentleman, of Tory views'. He was recklessly extravagant and despite having a secret service pension of £600 a year (probably a reward for his consistent support for the Government during his years in Parliament), he became hopelessly financially embarrassed. The state of his affairs prevented him continuing in Parliament and in 1782 he published a short self-justificatory pamphlet, the burden of which was that he had beggared himself for the sake of his eldest son, who now refused to assist him financially, although the truth of the case seems to be that he had exercised poor judgement and speculated in land: borrowing money when it was cheap to buy land when it was dear, being unable to meet the repayments when interest rates rose, and being forced to sell the land at a loss. The Aqualate estate was eventually a casualty of this catastrophic career, and with the reluctant consent of his son was sold in 1796, though he had dissipated what remained of the purchase money after the payment of his debts before his death. He married, 14 May 1752 at Kinlet, Catherine (1722-70), eldest daughter and co-heir of William Lacon Childe of Kinlet Hall (Shropshire), and had issue:
(1) Catherine Baldwyn (1753-1838), born 11 March and baptised at Kinlet, 14 March 1753; died unmarried at Bath (Somerset), 6 July, and was buried at Kinlet, 14 July 1838; will proved 1 August 1838;
(2) William Baldwyn (later Childe) (1755-1824) (q.v.);
(3) Charles Baldwyn (1758-1811), born 26 February 1758; educated at Harrow and St John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1775) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1776); died unmarried in Bristol, 18 September and was buried at Kinlet, 29 September 1811; will proved 2 November 1811.
He inherited Aqualate Hall from his father in 1751, but lived at his wife's estate of Kinlet Hall from 1757 until her death in 1770. He then returned to Aqualate, which he remodelled soon afterwards, but he was obliged to sell it in 1796. On his wife's death in 1770, Kinlet passed under her father's will to the trustees of their eldest son, who was then a minor but came of age in 1776.
He died 28 September 1801 and was buried at Eastbourne (Sussex); his will was proved 15 October 1801. His wife died of smallpox and was buried at Kinlet, 2 June 1770.

Baldwyn (later Childe), William (1755-1824). Elder son of Charles Baldwyn (1729-1801) and his wife Catherine, eldest daughter and co-heir of William Lacon Childe (1700-57) of Kinlet Hall (Shropshire), baptised at Forton, 23 November 1755. He adopted the name of Childe in lieu of Baldwyn on inheriting the Kinlet estate through his mother in 1770. Educated at Harrow, New College, Oxford (matriculated 1773) and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1774). He was estranged from his father, who accused him of ingratitude in a pamphlet published in 1782 and who cut him out of his will. He was a celebrated agriculturalist and daring rider to hounds, whose exploits in the saddle earned him the nickname 'the flying Childe' - now the title of the newsletter of the Ludlow Hunt, of which he was the founding Master. He married 1st, 19 April 1776 at Kinlet, Annabella (d. 1816), second daughter and eventual co-heir of Sir Charles Leighton, 3rd bt. of Wattlesborough, and 2nd, 20 April 1818 at St Sepulchre without Newgate, London, his former mistress, Marian or Mary Anne (1779-1850), daughter of John Hughes of Broseley (Shrops.), and had issue:
(1.1) Annabella Childe (1778-1857), baptised at Kinlet, 8 October 1778; married 1st, 16 July 1798 at Cheltenham (Glos), Richard Alleyne the younger of Cheltenham and of Golden (Tipperary), and had issue three daughters; as a widow lived at Exmouth (Devon); married 2nd, 16 February 1827 at St James, Bath (Somerset), Henry Peard (1784-1866) of Bath; buried in Bath Abbey, 6 March 1857;
(1.2) William Lacon Childe (1786-1880) of Kinlet and Kyre House, born 3 January 1786; educated at Harrow, 1798-1803, and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1803); an officer in the South Shropshire Militia, 1808-26 (Capt.); JP and DL for Shropshire and Worcestershire; High Sheriff of Shropshire, 1828-29 and of Herefordshire, 1859-60; MP for Wenlock, 1820-26; inherited Kinlet estate from his father in 1824 and Kyre estate in Worcestershire from Jonathan Pytts in 1832; married, 13 August 1807 at Wrockwardine (Shrops.), Harriet, youngest daughter of William Cludde of Orleton (Shropshire) and had issue six sons and five daughters; died aged 94, 15 December 1880; a further account of his family and descendants will be given in a future post on the Childe family of Kinlet.
William Baldwyn (later Childe) also had issue by his mistress, who became his second wife:
(X1) William Henry Hughes alias Childe (1801-38), born 10 March 1801 and baptised at St Mary, St Marylebone (Middx), 27 January 1815; schoolmaster in Cheltenham, 1835-38, and organist at King St. Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Cheltenham, 1833-38; probably the man who married, 22 June 1826 at Broseley (Shrops.), Mary Ann (1805-88), daughter of Benjamin Ball of Broseley, and had issue one son and two daughters; died 3 June 1838;
(X2) Rev. Charles Frederick Hughes alias Williams alias Childe (b. 1807), born 7 December 1807 and baptised at St Mary, St Marylebone, 27 January 1815; educated at St John's and Emmanuel Colleges, Cambridge (matriculated 1827; BA 1832; MA 1837); ordained deacon, 1831 and priest, 1832; curate of St Michael, Cambridge, 1833-38; perpetual curate of St Paul, Walsall and headmaster of Walsall Grammar School, 1837-39; author of a volume of Sermons preached at St Paul's episcopal chapel, Walsall (1839)principal of the Church Missionary Society College, Islington, 1839-58; rector of Holbrook (Suffk), 1858-84; lived in retirement at St Leonards on Sea; married 1st, 29 December 1828 at St Sepulchre without Newgate, London, Frances Anne Harvey Rogers (1806-69), and had issue three sons and one daughter; married 2nd, 14 December 1870 at Chorley (Cheshire), Elizabeth (1814-79), daughter of Joseph Ashton and widow of John Daniel Burton (1812-55); married 3rd, 30 March 1880 at Buxted (Sussex), Harriet Isabella (1824-96), daughter of Philip Gell;  died aged 90 at Bramleigh, Cheltenham (Glos) on 17 December and was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery, 21 December 1897; will proved 14 February 1898 (effects £3,373).
He inherited Kinlet Hall (Shropshire) from his maternal grandfather on his mother's death in 1770, and reluctantly co-operated in his father's sale of the Aqualate Hall estate in 1796.
He died in London, 3 February and was buried 14 February 1824; his will was proved 18 June 1824. His first wife died 21 January 1816 and was buried at St Julian, Shrewsbury (Shrops.). His widow married 2nd, about June 1837, James Hemming (d. 1855) of Ealing (Middx) and died in Cheltenham, Apr-Jun 1850.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1898, i, pp. 269-70; E.H. Martin, 'The history of several families connected with Diddlebury', Transactions of Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 1912, pp. 133-85, 299-385; VCH Staffordshire, vol. 4, 1958, p. 104 and facing pls.; Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Staffordshire, 1974, p. 133; A.S. Gray, Edwardian architecture: a biographical dictionary, 1985, pp. 134-7; J.M. Freeman, W.D. Caroe: his architectural achievement, 1990, pp. 106-7; M. Mansbridge, John Nash: a complete catalogue, 1991, pp. 120-21; N. Temple, George Repton's Pavilion Notebook: a catalogue raisonée, 1993, pp. 56-59; D. Yale, 'The Landscaping of Aqualate park 1805-1813', Staffordshire Studies 6, 1994, pp. 27-43; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy, 1701-1800, 1997, pp. 43-44; A. Gomme, Smith of Warwick, 2000, pp. 461, 513; T. Mowl & D. Barre, The historic gardens of England: Staffordshire, 2009, pp. 75-79, 203-06, 235-36; G. Tyack (ed.), John Nash: architect of the picturesque, 2013, pp. 46-49; W.A. Brogden, Ichnographia Rustica, 2017, pp. 187-88; ODNB entry on George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. 

Location of archives

Baldwin family of Diddlebury and Stokesay: some deeds and estate papers, 17th-18th cents are found among the papers of the Childe family of Kinlet Hall [Shropshire Archives, 1045];
Baldwin and Skrymsher families: rentals and estate papers, 1618-18th cent. [Staffordshire Record Office, D1021, D3468]

Coat of arms

Baldwin of Diddlebury: Argent, a saltire sable.
Baldwin of Aqualate: Per pale, argent and sable, a lion counterchanged.

Revision and acknowldgements

This post was first published 25 August 2018.