|Bankes of Soughton Hall|
By his first wife, the daughter of the Chief Justice of Common Pleas, John Scott Bankes had ten children, and his eldest and youngest sons both became barristers. The eldest son, the Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854-1946) succeeded to the Soughton estate on his father's death, but while he enjoyed the management of the property he was obliged to spend a great deal of his time in London, as he accrued increasingly senior judicial appointments. These culminated in his becoming an appeal court judge and privy councillor from 1915 until his retirement in 1927, and alongside this role he also took responsibility for drafting a new constitution for the Church in Wales after it was disestablished in 1920.
Sir John was succeeded in 1946 by his only surviving son, Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975), who trained as a barrister but became a public servant and later secretary of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He retired to Soughton in 1950 and lived there until his death in 1975. His widow survived him for ten years, dying at the great age of 95 in 1985, but after her death the house was sold by his children and became an hotel. Many of the contents of the house were sold in the 1980s, including a large picture which was probably acquired by William John Bankes on the Continent. This was sold as being 'after Rubens' and made £2,000 at auction, but subsequent investigations, after it was acquired by an American art gallery, led to its authentication as a genuine work by Rubens himself, and potentially worth many millions of pounds. Perhaps, if this had been known in the 1980s, its sale would have allowed the family to remain at Soughton.
Soughton Hall, Northop, Flintshire
An interesting and highly unusual house, the development of which is sadly not very well recorded. At the core is an early 18th century building constructed for Edward Conway, who inherited in 1689 and sold the estate when he ran out of money in 1732. It is not clear when he built the house, as there is inconclusive evidence for building in both 1714 and 1727, though the latter seems a more likely date on stylistic grounds. The house was of three storeys and had eleven bay fronts to south and north. The entrance front faced south, as now, and was approached by a long avenue of lime trees. It was of brick with stone dressings, and markedly Baroque in form, with complicated articulation, a Corinthian order, and a great deal of rustication. The north front, by contrast, was much simpler, in plain brick. The house was sold in 1732 to John Wynne, Bishop of Bath & Wells but previously Bishop of St. Asaph, who may have been responsible for completing the fitting out of the house, constructing the forecourt walls and gates, and building the stables, to which the Bankes coat of arms were added after 1815. Inside the house, it is still possible to get a sense of the 18th century origins of the building, especially in the open-well staircase, which preserves its swept rail, carved tread ends and fluted balusters. The entrance hall is also basically 18th century in its form, although now decorated with woodcarvings which were added in the 19th century.
In 1815 the estate passed to William John Bankes (1786-1855) [for whom see my account of the Bankes family of Kingston Lacy], who spent nearly a decade travelling and collecting works of art and antiquities in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Egypt and the Middle East. While in Egypt, he made the acquaintance of the young architect Charles Barry, and on his return to Britain in 1820 he determined to make his home at Soughton until such time as he should inherit Kingston Lacy. The house was no doubt rather tired and old-fashioned in 1820, and Bankes brought in Barry to help him carry out a rather eccentric remodelling which he claimed was inspired by his Spanish travels. The form in which the house was recast is generally taken to be result of Barry carrying out Bankes' own designs. However, the drawings by Bankes held by the National Trust which seem to relate to Soughton show a poor command of perspective, and are on paper with a watermark date of 1805. They show alternative designs for remodelling a Georgian house in an Italianate style, though some of the ideas that were executed in the final designs are evident in them. There are a number of problems with these drawings, however, not least that they show a nine-bay house rather than the eleven-bay one which existed, and in view of this and the early watermark date, it seems possible that they are early proposals, drawn from memory while Bankes was abroad.
|Soughton Hall: the south front as altered in the 1820s.|
|Soughton Hall: the north front as altered in the 1820s.|
The executed scheme, though still highly eccentric by the standards of conventional taste, exhibits much less awkwardness, and was therefore probably a combination of Bankes' ideas with Barry's professional skills. Pavilions were added above the two outer bays at either end of the house, which ran back for the whole depth of the house. They had aracaded walls and steep hipped roofs carried on bracketed eaves. The north front was given mullioned and oriel windows and a canted central porch (intended to be a new main entrance) that rose into a hexagonal belvedere turret with an ogee roof. The centre of the first and second floors was remodelled to accommodate two two-storey rooms (a dining room on the north and a saloon to the south).
|Soughton Hall: the house in an early photograph showing it before the alterations of 1867-69.|
|Soughton Hall: the house was remodelled in 1867-69 giving the form in which it exists today.|
A further remodelling was carried out in 1867-69 for John Scott Bankes immediately after he inherited the estate from his father, which gave the house its present Victorian character. The works were apparently designed by his friend, the Rev. William Frederick Wiggin of Oddington (Glos), who was an amateur architect. Wiggin would not, however, have had the time or the expertise to supervise the works, and this task probably fell to the young John Douglas of Chester, who also built the Lower Lodge of 1868 and an octagonal game larder of 1872. The alterations to the house included casing it with hard red brick with stone dressings; removing the classical colonnade with porches at either end and building a new central porch; and replacing the arch-headed Gothick-glazed sashes on the entrance front with rectangular mullioned and transomed windows - those on the second floor having round-headed tympana above them, pierced with quatrefoils inside circles. The saloon roof and the pavilions at either end of the facade were retained, but the central cupola was replaced by a spiky Gothic turret. On the north side, the porch was given a more massive base, and the central turret was modified and given a less playful roof. Less was done inside the house, but the saloon and dining room and several other rooms all now have High Victorian chimneypieces.
The Bankes family remained at Soughton until 1987, when the house was sold and converted for use as a boutique hotel, with the stable block becoming a restaurant. Both properties were acquired in 2016 by Elle R Leisure of Manchester, which has refocused the business as a wedding and events venue.
Descent: John Conway (d. 1680); to son, John Conway (d. 1689); to son, Edward Conway, who sold 1732 to Rt. Rev. John Wynne (1667-1743); to son, John Wynne (d. 1801); to brother, Sir William Wynne (d. 1815); to great-nephew, William John Bankes (1786-1855); who gave it in 1841 to his brother, Rev. Edward Bankes (1794-1867); to son, John Scott Bankes (1826-94); to son, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Banks (1854-1946), kt.; to son, Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975); to children, who sold 1987 (after the death of their mother in 1985) to John and Rosemary Rodenhurst, who converted the house into an hotel; sold 2016 to Elle R Leisure of Manchester.
Bankes family of Soughton Hall
|Rev. Edward Bankes (1794-1867)|
(1.1) John Scott Bankes (1826-94) (q.v.);
(1.2) Frances Bankes (1827-89), baptised at Corfe Castle, 29 September 1827; married, 11 August 1846 at Corfe Castle, Sheffield Serrell (1814-58) of Durnford House, Langton Maltravers (Dorset), son of Rev. Samuel Serrell, but had no issue; died 2 July 1889; will proved 2 September 1889 (effects £6,431);
(1.3) Rev. Eldon Surtees Bankes (1829-1915), born 27 September and baptised at Gloucester Cathedral, 16 November 1829; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (matriculated 1847; BA 1851; MA 1864); ordained deacon, 1853 and priest, 1854; rector of Corfe Castle, 1854-99, prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral, 1872-99; rural dean of Dorchester, 1875-98; canon residentiary of Salisbury Cathedral, 1898-1915; married, 9 October 1856, his cousin, Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Scott (1834-64) and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 1 February 1915; will proved 8 April 1915 (estate £7,978);
(1.4) Henry Eldon George Bankes (1836-65), born 2 July and baptised at Corfe Castle, 29 August 1836; an officer in 4th Dragoons (Cornet, 1853); became an insolvent debtor, 1854; fled abroad and was outlawed, 1862; buried at Boulogne (France), 28 October 1865;
(2.1) Georgina Maria Bankes (1842-1909), baptised at Corfe Castle, 24 February 1842; died unmarried, 22 December, and was buried at Radipole (Dorset), 24 December 1909; will proved 25 January 1910 (estate £8,214);
(2.2) Mary Frances Bankes (1844-1923), baptised at Gloucester Cathedral, 13 June 1843; married, 29 April 1862 at St Mary de Lode, Gloucester, Philip Pennant Pennant (1834-1910) of Nantllys (Flints), son of Rev. George Pearson, rector of Castle Camps (Cambs), and had issue one son and three daughters; died 30 June 1923; will proved 20 November 1923 (estate £8,377);
(2.3) Rosa Bankes (1845-1912), baptised at Gloucester Cathedral, 31 May 1845; married, 28 January 1868 at Radipole (Dorset), Rev. George James (1837-1910), minor canon of Gloucester Cathedral, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 8 May 1912; will proved 2 September 1912 (estate £3,402);
(2.4) twin, Emma Bankes (1847-1901), baptised at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol, 17 June 1847; married, 5 June 1873 at Radipole, Edward Alexander Cameron (d. 1905), civil engineer, son of Rev. Alexander Cameron, but had no issue; died 13 February 1901; administration of goods granted to husband, 8 March 1901 (estate £1,788);
(2.5) twin, Frederica Bankes (1847-1926), baptised at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol, 17 June 1847; married, 5 June 1873 at Radipole, Col. John George Skene (1837-1916) and had issue two daughters; died 12 March 1926; will proved 14 May 1926 (estate £7,939).
He received Soughton Hall (Flints) as a gift when his brother William went into exile.
He died at Gloucester, 24 May 1867; his will proved 22 June 1867 (effects under £60,000). His first wife died 6 August 1838. His widow died 17 April 1886; her will was proved 15 May 1886 (effects £1,564).
|John Scott Bankes (1826-94)|
(1.1) Frances Catherine Bankes (1851-1907), born 9 March and baptised at St Michael, Pimlico (London), 10 April 1851; married, 22 November 1870, Rev. Frederick Clements Williamson (1846-99), son of Samuel Williamson, solicitor, and had issue four sons and three daughters; in 1901 she was a resident patient at Spelthorne St Mary Sanatorium (for women with drug or alcohol addictions), Thorpe (Surrey); died in West Kensington (Middx), 8 March 1907; will proved 2 May 1907 (estate £1,625);
(1.2) Annie Georgina Bankes (1852-56), baptised at St Michael, Pimlico (London), 17 November 1852; died young and was buried at Northop, 15 October 1856;
(1.3) Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854-1946), kt. (q.v.);
(1.4) Rev. Edward Wynne Jervis Bankes (1855-99), born 2 December 1855; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (matriculated 1875; BA 1878; MA 1881); ordained deacon, 1879 and priest, 1880; held curacies in London, 1879-85; vicar of St Augustine, South Hackney (Middx), 1885-99; died unmarried of pneumonia, 21 March, and was buried at Northop, 25 March 1899;
(1.5) Mabel Grace Bankes (1857-1919), born 14 November and baptised at Northop, 17 December 1857; married 1st, 5 February 1880, Arthur Robert Wiggin (1850-1903), coffee planter in Ceylon, son of Rev. William Wiggin, rector of Hampnett (Glos); married 2nd, 23 September 1905, as his second wife, Walter Turing Mackenzie (1856-1919), company director, third son of Rt. Rev. Henry Mackenzie, suffragan bishop of Nottingham; died 9 February 1919; will proved 25 April 1919 (estate £3,232);
(1.6) Margaret Wynne Bankes (1859-1956), born 27 August and baptised at Northop, 24 September 1859; married, 6 June 1882, Robert William Wynne-Eyton (1854-1919), son of Thomas Wynne-Eyton of The Tower, Mold (Flints), but had no issue; died aged 96 at Rani Khet, Uttar Pradesh (India) on 1 February 1956; administration of goods (with will annexed) granted 22 August 1960 (estate in England, £152);
(1.7) Adelaide Mary Bankes (1861-1933), born 21 September and baptised at Northop, 14 October 1861; worked as Red Cross volunteer, 1917-19; married, 16 January 1883 at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx), Charles Henry Ashton (d. 1905) and had issue four children; died 12 December 1933; will proved 17 February 1934 (estate £726);
(1.8) Rose Caroline Bankes (1863-1940), born 19 July and baptised at Northop, 8 August 1863; married 1st, 23 July 1890, Walter Howman Buddicom (d. 1892) of Penbedw (Flints) but had no issue; married 2nd, April 1896, Walter Baldwyn Yates CBE JP (1857-1947) of Cilcen Hall, Mold (Flints), barrister-at-law, and had issue three daughters; died 4 July 1940; will proved 8 November 1940 (estate £16,581);
(1.9) Amy Charlotte Bankes (1865-1958), born 23 August and baptised at Northop, 19 September 1865; married, 17 April 1895, Thomas Owen JP (1860-1935), son of William Owen of Blessington (Co. Wicklow) and had issue one son and one daughter; lived latterly at Hawarden (Flints); died aged 92 on 4 June 1958; cremated and her ashes buried at Hawarden, 27 August 1958; will proved 14 August 1958 (estate £532);
(1.10) Ralph Vincent Bankes (1867-1921), born 17 March 1867; educated at Winchester, University College, Oxford (matriculated 1886; BA 1889) and Inner Temple (admitted 1887; called to bar, 1890); barrister-at-law on the Chester & North Wales circuit (KC, 1910); Metropolitan Police magistrate, 1917-21; married, 19 December 1895 at Wasing (Berks), Ethel Georgina (1865-1949), daughter of William George Mount MP of Wasing Place and had issue two sons; died 26 October 1921; will proved 3 January 1922 (estate £17,457).
He inherited Soughton Hall from his father in 1867 and remodelled it in 1867-69.
He died 16 September 1894; his will was proved 12 February 1895 (effects £32,892). His first wife died 21 October 1876. His widow died 7 December 1930; her will was proved 27 March 1931 (estate £21,889).
|Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854-1946)|
Image: National Portrait Gallery.
(1) John Ethelston Eldon Bankes (1884-1908), born 23 June and baptised at Christ Church, Chelsea (Middx), 24 July 1884; educated at Eton, University College, Oxford and Inner Temple (admitted 1904; called to bar, 1907); barrister-at-law; died unmarried, 15 May and was buried at Northop, 19 May 1908; will proved 4 July 1908 (estate £2,550);
(2) Margaret Annie Bankes (1885-1932), born 29 November 1885; married, 29 July 1908, Sir Wilfrid Hubert Poyer Lewis (1881-1950), kt., High Court judge (who m2, 1934, Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. David Barty King of London), son of Arthur Griffith Poyer Lewis, barrister-at-law, of Henllan, near Narberth, (Pembs), and had issue one son and three daughters; died 6 January 1932;
(3) Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975) (q.v.);
(4) Ruth Edith Bankes (1891-1967), born 28 January 1891; married, 16 April 1912, Maj. William Marshall Dugdale DSO JP (1881-1952), of Llwyn, Llanfyllin (Montgomerys.), and had issue one son and two daughters; died 18 May 1967; will proved 3 January 1968 (estate £18,005).
He inherited Soughton Hall from his father in 1894.
He died 31 December 1946, was cremated on 4 January, and his ashes were buried at Northop on 7 January 1947; his will was proved in March 1947 (estate £84,258). His wife died 30 March 1931.
|Robert Wynne Bankes (1887-1975)|
(1) John Wynne Bankes (1916-2009), born 5 November 1916; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (BA 1938); served in Second World War with 14th/20th Kings Hussars (Capt.) and on general staff in India and Burma; solicitor; High Sheriff of Clwyd, 1975; lived at Mynachlog, Northop (Flints); married, 12 February 1945, Althea Dykes (1918-2007), youngest daughter of Sir Dykes Spicer, 2nd bt., and widow of Joseph Alwyn Francis Baxendale, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died aged 93, 24 February 2009; will proved 16 July 2009;
(2) David Lindsay Bankes (1919-2016), born 18 April 1919; educated at Eton and Magdalene College, Cambridge; served in Second World War with Scots Guards, 1940-46 (mentioned in despatches); employed by Alginate Industries Ltd. from 1947; married, 19 May 1945, Muriel (1919-2013), younger daughter of J.C. Cunningham of Stoke Poges (Bucks), and had issue one son and one daughter; died aged 96, 12 April 2016; will proved 19 September 2016;
(3) Joanna Elizabeth Bankes (1922-2006), born 1 August 1922; married 1st, 2 May 1942 at the Royal Military Chapel in Wellington Barracks (London), Lt. Michael King Maconchy (1919-44), second son of John King Maconchy of Hillside, Carrickmines (Co. Dublin) and had issue one daughter; married 2nd, 7 October 1950, as his second wife, Hujohn Armstrong Ripman (d. 2010), gynaecologist, son of Christian Hugo Ripman, but had no further issue; died 30 July 2006; will proved 14 November 2006.
He inherited Soughton Hall from his father in 1946. The house was sold in 1987 following the death of his widow.
He died 18 July 1975; his will was proved 16 March 1976 (estate £144,580). His widow died aged 95, 20 December 1985; her will was proved 28 April 1986 (estate £1,297).
Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, pp. 101-02; E. Hubbard, The buildings of Wales: Clwyd, 1986, pp. 408-10; E. Hubbard, The work of John Douglas, 1991, p. 240; Wrexham Advertiser, 2 January 1869, p. 6.
Location of archives
Conway, Wynne and Bankes families of Soughton Hall: deeds, estate, legal and family papers, 1551-1965 [Flintshire Record Office, D/SH; D/DM 298]
Coat of arms
Sable, a cross engrailed ermine, between four fleurs-de-lis or.
Notes about missing information and help wanted with this entry
- I would be most grateful if anyone can provide additional genealogical or career information about this family, or provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above.
- As always, any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated.
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 31 December 2018 and was updated 22 December 2020. I am most grateful to Lawrence Rawsthorne for additional information.