|Bankes of Kingston Lacy|
|Corfe Castle: the ruins of the medieval fortress slighted in 1646.|
|Sir Roger Pratt: portrait by Sir Peter Lely|
His only son, John Bankes (1665-1714) was again a minor on inheriting, and so, as in the previous generation, it was Sir Ralph's widow, Mary (d. 1711) who took charge. She let Kingston Lacy to the Duke of Ormonde (d. 1688), and allowed the rental income from the estate to gradually reduce the debt. Soon after John came of age, the Duke died, and within a few years John was able to return to Kingston Lacy and begin a modest programme of refurnishing. In 1714, however, tragedy struck when he was killed outright by a gunshot wound: a coroner's jury found that a blunderbuss which he kept loaded in his bedroom went off while he and his servant were lifting it down from the wall for cleaning. Although such tragic 'accidents' were improbably common in the 18th and 19th centuries, and some were undoubtedly suicides over which a polite fiction of accident was drawn, in this instance there is nothing to suggest that John had been depressed or had money or personal worries, so it may have been a genuine accident.
The heir to the Kingston Lacy estates was John Bankes (1692-1772), who had just come of age. He never married, and although he sat as MP for Corfe Castle for twenty years, he seems to have played a very limited part in public life, and his personal interests and enthusiasms are obscure. His accounts suggests that he was extremely careful with money, and during his long tenure of the estate the remaining debts were cleared. He was, however, obliged to undertake some work on the house in the 1730s, as a change made to the entrance hall by his father had removed part of the structural support for the cupola at the top of the house, which had to be taken down. When he died in 1772, John Bankes was succeeded by his brother Henry Bankes (1698-1776), who had both married well and pursued a profitable career as a lawyer, MP, and government placeman. Although he only held the estate for four years, in that time he added further lands to his holding and built a new service wing onto the house to the designs of a local builder.
Henry was succeeded by his son, Henry Bankes (1757-1834), who after Cambridge and an extensive Grand Tour (years during which he demonstrated a penchant for learning and culture), became an assiduous Parliamentarian, sitting for his pocket borough at Corfe Castle and later for Dorset. With the combined resources of his father and uncle, he was a wealthy man, and although he never held Government office, he had influential friends, including the 1st Duke of Wellington and William Pitt the younger. It is therefore a little surprising that he did not secure a peerage, or a least a baronetcy, from his long Parliamentary career (which lasted continuously from 1780 to 1831). He did, however, undertake the first significant remodelling of Kingston Lacy. While in Rome in the 1770s he met both John Soane and Robert Furze Brettingham, who were then completing their architectural educations. He supplied them with survey drawings of Kingston Lacy and Soane at least made some proposals for altering it. It was, however, to Brettingham that Henry eventually turned in 1784 when he embarked on alterations. The changes (which were in some respects similar to what Soane had suggested) were radical, but never wholly successful, and when Henry's son and heir, William John Bankes came of age he was a vocal critic of Brettingham's work. After 1819, therefore, Henry sought advice from both Cundy and Wyatville on ways in which the house might be further improved, but in the end nothing was done until after his death.
William John Bankes (1786-1855) was a man of wide-ranging intellectual and aesthetic interests, who early in life gained a reputation for extravagance and eccentricity. He could be charming but he could also be wild: it says a lot that his Cambridge friend Lord Byron - he who was himself 'Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know' - called him 'the father of all mischief'. In 1812 he proposed marriage to Annabella Milbanke (later Lady Byron), and when she turned him down he went abroad, presumably to bury his disappointment in adventurous travel. For three years he followed the Duke of Wellington's armies through Portugal and Spain (where he was accredited as an honorary aide de camp and snapped up distinguished pictures that were often for sale at low prices in wartime conditions) and then made his way via Italy to Egypt and the Middle East, where he spent five further years travelling, during which time he formed the largest private collection of Egyptian artefacts in existence. His largest acquisition was an ancient fallen obelisk from Philae, which it took him more than twenty years to bring to Britain and erect in the gardens at Kingston Lacy. In 1822, he became an MP, but he found public speaking difficult and was not an effective parliamentary performer. In 1834 he inherited the Kingston Lacy estate and he was at last free to remodel the house as he wished. Having previously employed Sir Charles Barry in alterations at Soughton Hall in north Wales, he now asked him to remodel Kingston Lacy, and work began in 1836. Meanwhile, the complexities of William's personal life were getting him into trouble. In 1823 he was sued for adultery with Lady Buckinghamshire and ten years later his public career was ended when he had to defend a charge of meeting a guardsman for 'unnatural purposes' in a public lavatory in Westminster. On that occasion he was acquitted, but ten years later a similar incident caused him to jump bail, sign over his estates to his brothers, and flee abroad in fear of his life (since a charge of sodomy still carried the death penalty). He eventually settled in Venice, where he continued to buy works of art and architectural materials that he shipped to England for use at Kingston Lacy. The house at Kingston Lacy was occupied by his widowed sister, Lady Falmouth, and she and his clerk of works oversaw piecemeal alterations to the house that continued until his death. William himself remained abroad for the rest of his life, and although family legend says that he made one or more clandestine visits to Kingston Lacy to see the house in its final form, there seems to be no proof of this.
Although William's departure for Europe in 1841 was hurried, he transferred legal ownership of Kingston Lacy and Soughton Hall to his brothers, the lawyer and MP George Bankes (1787-1856) and the Rev. Edward Bankes (1794-1867), before he went. This ensured that when he was outlawed, the Crown was unable to seize these properties. His brothers seem, however, to have acted more like trustees than legal owners: as we have seen, William continued to dictate in minute detail the changes he wanted at Kingston Lacy until his death. George Bankes, who had built himself a marine villa at Studland on the Purbeck part of the estate after 1825, never moved to Kingston Lacy, and died little more than a year after his brother. The estate then passed in quick succession to his son, Edmund George Bankes (1826-60) and grandsons, Henry John Percival Bankes (1850-69) and Walter Ralph Bankes (1853-1904). Walter, whose 'dangerous sophistication' was reputedly attractive to women, enjoyed an extended period of bachelor freedom, but finally married in 1897 and produced a son and two daughters. After marriage, however, his personality changed and he became increasingly taciturn and solitary. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of fifty-one, and once again a widow was left to run the estate until her son (Henry John Ralph Bankes (1902-81)) came of age. Even as a young man, Henry was 'somewhat reserved' but he was High Sheriff of Dorset in 1939 and married and produced a family. After his wife died in 1966, however, he became much more reclusive, and Kingston Lacy - which had been open to the public in the 1950s and 1960s - became one of the most difficult houses in England to get into, and steadily deteriorated. It was therefore a huge surprise when, on his death in 1981, he proved to have bequeathed the whole 16,000 Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle estate to the National Trust, together with all the contents of Kingston Lacy. In total his estate was valued at more than £21 million, making it the largest bequest the Trust had ever received. His son and daughter received legacies of just £50,000 each, which, though far from trifling, sounds rather like the proverbial shilling in the context of the total size of the estate. The Trust accepted the bequest and embarked on a major restoration of Kingston Lacy, following which the house was opened to the public again in 1984. It remains one of the Trust's most spectacular integrated works of art, still very much reflecting the vision of the exiled William John Bankes in the mid 19th century.
Kingston Lacy, Pamphill, Dorset
The first manor house at Kingston Lacy of which anything is known was a medieval courtyard house, probably built for the de Lacy family, Earls of Lincoln, that stood north-west of the present building. Already by 1252 it was large enough to host a visit by King Henry III, and after the estate passed into the ownership of the Duchy of Lancaster in the mid 14th century, John of Gaunt stayed here at least twice. By 1493, however, the buildings were falling into disrepair and were starting to be used as a quarry for new buildings in the nearby town of Wimborne. In 1542, Leland noted that the house had been largely destroyed.
The estate remained in Crown hands until 1603, when James I granted it to Charles Blount (d. 1606), Earl of Devon. His son, Mountjoy Blount (d. 1666), 1st Earl of Newport, sold the property in two parcels (in 1626 and 1636) to Sir John Bankes (1589-1644), kt., who also bought the medieval and Elizabethan stronghold of Corfe Castle in 1635. During the Civil War, Bankes' royalist sympathies led to the siege, capture and partial dismantling of Corfe, and the removal of many of its fitting and some of its dressed stonework for re-use in the building projects of local Parliamentarian commanders at Charborough Park and Bingham's Melcombe. By the time Sir John Bankes' sons, John (d. 1656) and Sir Ralph (1631-77), returned from their grand tour on the Continent, it will have been clear that a new house was needed on the estate.
Sir Ralph Bankes, who inherited the estate from his brother in 1656, was a lawyer at Grays Inn, and from 1659 sat as the MP for the seat his family controlled at Corfe Castle. At this time he lived in chambers in London, but with the Restoration of the Monarchy and a fortunate marriage he was able to build a new house to replace Corfe Castle, which he chose to site on the northern half of his property, at Kingston Lacy. For the design he turned to the gentleman amateur architect, Sir Roger Pratt, whom he may have met travelling on the Continent in the 1640s or have known through the legal and artistic circles they both inhabited in London. The new Kingston Lacy was built in 1663-65 with 'Thomas Fitts of Farnham (Surrey), bricklayer' and his son John as the principal contractors (i.e., Sir Thomas Fitch, who was a more than competent architect in his own right). It is one of a group of compact new houses which Pratt designed in the years immediately after the Restoration (alongside Coleshill House (Berks), 1649-62; Horseheath Hall (Cambs), 1663-65; and Clarendon House, Piccadilly, London, 1664-67), which exerted a massive influence on the form of the country house in the ensuing half-century. The new house and park were laid out on a greenfield site between the village of Pamphill and the Iron Age hill-fort of Badbury Rings. It was set on rising ground, so that the south-facing garden front has two storeys, while the north-facing entrance front has an exposed basement storey and is given verticality by an array of chimney stacks which make this facade more imposing.
|Kingston Lacy House: design of 1663 by Sir Roger Pratt for the entrance front.|
|Kingston Lacy House: reconstructed plan of house as first built in 1663.|
Image: National Trust.
When Sir Ralph Bankes died, aged just forty-six, the estate was heavily indebted, and his widow and young heir were obliged to move out and rent the house, finding a prestigious tenant in James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde. He died in 1688, and shortly afterwards John Bankes (1665-1714) was able to reoccupy the house and begin a frugal programme of refurnishing. In 1708 he removed the galleried arcade from the hall, not realising that in doing so he taken out the structural support for the cupola, which began to lean. Rectifying this became a priority for his son, John Bankes (1692-1772), who in 1736-39 removed the cupola and the balustrade surrounding it entirely, as well as reglazing the house. He was a bachelor, and his main aim seems to have been to avoid spending money, so that the house became progressively more old-fashioned as tastes changed. When Sir Joseph Banks came visiting in 1767 he found the house 'quite of the last age, as there is not one sash in the whole [place]', but he found much to admire in the collection of pictures, even if the owner seemed to know little about them. John Bankes was succeeded by his younger brother, Henry Bankes (1698-1776), whose marriage to a Wynne heiress provided the funds to expand the estate in 1773 and to build a new kitchen and laundry courtyard on the west side in 1775 to the designs of a local builder, William Rice.
|Kingston Lacy in 1774: shorn of the cupola and rooftop balustrade, but still with cross-windows, from Hutchins' History of Dorset.|
The combination of John Bankes' parsimony and Henry Bankes' fortuitous marriage completed the restoration of the family's finances, and meant that when Henry Bankes junior (1757-1834) came into the estate in 1776, he had full coffers and was able to undertake the modernisation that the house so much required. He began by going on a grand tour, and while in Rome in 1779 he met John Soane and Robert Furze Brettingham, who were there as architectural students. Brettingham seems to have asked his uncle, the architect Matthew Brettingham, to arrange for surveys to be made of Kingston Lacy so that Soane could draw up some proposals. Nothing came of this scheme, but Henry Bankes had a further meeting with Brettingham when he returned to Rome in 1782. This resulted in a scheme that was finally executed between 1784 and 1790.
|Kingston Lacy: the west front, which retains the original cross-windows.|
Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.
|Kingston Lacy: the saloon decorated in 1784-90. Image: Historic England|
The finest of the new rooms was the saloon, which has survived 19th century alterations almost unaltered. It was given a coved ceiling and a delicately ornamented hyacinth frieze and cornice, replacing the flat ceiling and cornice of the Pratt period. Three lunette windows were created on the upper part of the outer wall, which appear as rectangular sashes externally. The fashionable Etruscan style painted decoration of the ceiling was painted in 1790 by Cornelius Dixon, while John Flaxman was paid for chimneypieces, including the Carrara marble one in the saloon, in 1786. The library, with elegant neo-classical bookcases around the walls and family portraits displayed above them, also survives from Brettingham's time.
Although the Bankes family celebrated the completion of Brettingham's work with a grand ball in December 1791, some deficiencies in the design soon became evident. The new entrance was rather cramped and not really grand enough for such a fine house; and the dining room was not big enough for larger occasions, when the north parlour had to be co-opted as a second dining room. In 1819, with a view to correcting these deficiencies, Bankes engaged Thomas Cundy (1765-1825), who suggested adding wings, one of which would contain a new dining room, and also consulted Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, who drew up a scheme in 1821. Henry Bankes' son, William John Bankes (1786-1855), who was a critic of Brettingham's work, finding it "neither old nor modern... but a bad mixture of both', tried to persuade his father to engage Sir Charles Barry, whom he had met in Egypt in 1819. But in the end nothing was done, and further improvements had to wait until William John succeeded his father in 1834.
|Kingston Lacy: the north front as remodelled by Barry, with a new main entrance into the basement. Image: Vauxford. Some rights reserved.|
William John Bankes was his father's second son, and only became the heir after his elder brother, who had joined the Navy, was lost at sea in 1806. He inherited Soughton Hall (Flints) from his uncle, Sir William Wynne in 1815, and during the 1820s he altered that house essentially to his own designs, although Barry was involved as an executant. He also toyed with the idea of rebuilding Corfe Castle, for which his drawings survive in a range of Gothic and Tudor styles. But after he inherited Kingston Lacy he focused his attention on this house, and Barry was invited to design a remodelling to address the perceived shortcomings of Brettingham's work.
|Kingston Lacy: the east front, with the loggia designed by Barry. Image: Dorset County Council.|
The first task was to restore the main entrance to the centre of the north front. Barry created a new entrance hall in the basement storey of the house and built a new porte-cochère in front of it. At the inner end of the new hall a screen of arches provided access to a transverse corridor leading to a new main staircase behind the east front.
|Kingston Lacy: the new staircase created by Barry in 1836-37.|
Image: Historic England.
|Kingston Lacy: the south front as altered by Barry, 1836-39. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.|
|Kingston Lacy: ground plan as altered by Barry.|
Image: Crown Copyright.
Inside the house, Barry created a new dining room 40 x 30 feet in the south-west corner of the house, replacing the family bedroom apartment and Brettingham's west staircase. This room was given a 17th-century style plaster ceiling, modelled on those at Coleshill, as a tribute to Inigo Jones (who was then thought to have designed both houses), but its other decoration was lost in a fire in the late 19th century, after which the present panelling was installed.
|Kingston Lacy: the Spanish Golden Room. © National Trust Images/John Hammond.|
Brettingham's dining room was richly redecorated as a setting for the Spanish art which William John Bankes had collected while living in Spain for two years in the aftermath of the Peninsula War. A major component of the resulting Spanish Golden Room was the elaborate compartmented ceiling, which Bankes bought in London as having been removed from a part of the Palazzo Contarini degli Scrigni in Venice that had been designed by Scamozzi in 1609. It was cleverly adapted to fit the room, and with a centrepiece painting in the style of Paolo Veronese and arabesque decorations, complemented the gilded leather wall hangings that he purchased in Venice in 1849. A heavy bracketed cornice was installed, and the frieze below has gilded oval panels inscribed with labels describing the paintings hanging below. The twelve door panels with delicate paintings depicting the months of the year were designed by Bankes and painted to his order in Venice in 1849-51.
|Kingston Lacy: the column from Philae.|
Image: Historic England
In September 1841, William John Bankes was accused of committing 'an improper act' with a guardsman in London, and fled abroad to escape trial. Ostensibly, he went in search of further works of art to decorate the house, and he remained in constant communication with his clerk of works and his sister, Lady Falmouth, directing the continuing remodelling of the house and the placement of his purchases in great detail. Work only ceased when he died in Venice in 1855, and he never had the opportunity to enjoy living with the treasures he had collected: indeed, he may never have seen the house after 1841, although it is said that he made at least one clandestine visit.
|Kingston Lacy: the drawing room, redecorated in 1900.|
The house (which features in the novels of Thomas Hardy as 'Knapwater House') remains very much as William John Bankes left it. Walter Ralph Bankes (1853-1904) employed T.H. Wyatt to design a new stable block in 1880, and his wife redecorated the drawing room shortly after their marriage in 1897 in an 18th century revival style, with rose damask wall hangings. After her husband died she engaged Charles E. Ponting (1850-1932) to lay out a Dutch garden to the east of the house and to build a new parish church in the grounds in his memory. After the Second World War the condition of the house gradually deteriorated, and when the National Trust was bequeathed the house in 1981, a major restoration had to be carried out by Caröe & Martin in 1982-84, before the house could be opened to the public.
Descent: Crown sold 1603 to Charles Blount (d. 1606), Earl of Devon; to son, Mountjoy Blount (d. 1666), 1st Earl of Newport, who sold 1636 to Sir John Bankes (1589-1644), kt.; to son, John Bankes (1626-56); to brother, Sir Ralph Bankes (1631-77), kt., who built a new house; to son, John Bankes (1665-1714); to son, John Bankes (1692-1772); to brother, Henry Bankes (1698-1776); to son, Henry Bankes (1757-1834); to son, William John Bankes (1786-1855); gifted 1841 to brother, Rt. Hon. George Bankes (1788-1856); to son, Edmund George Bankes (1826-60); to son, Henry John Percival Bankes (1850-69); to brother, Walter Ralph Bankes (1853-1904); to son, Henry John Ralph Bankes (1902-81), who bequeathed the house and estate to the National Trust.
Studland Manor, Dorset
In 1825 George Bankes bought the reputed site of the former Studland Castle, which offered spectacular views over Studland Bay towards the Isle of Wight, and adjoined the Corfe Castle estate which his family had owned since the 17th century. On this site, he built and progressively extended a seaside villa in a rambling picturesque Gothick style.
|Studland Manor: the house in the late 19th century. Image: Historic England.|
According to John Pouncy it was 'enlarged by him, from time to time, without any great regularity of plan or design, and apparently with the view of gaining an interesting relaxation during his retirement, by supplying deficiencies as they gradually presented themselves, and inventing improvements when there were no more deficiencies to supply': in other words he had the building bug every bit as much as his brother William! The building process suggests that he acted as his own architect. The house was built of brick with a stucco cladding and a liberal use of stone dressings for chimneystacks and the Gothick windows; the roof was made of large Purbeck stone slates. Inside, the house has a lot of reused timberwork, including a reconstructed 18th century staircase, and some Jacobean panelling said to come from the old Palace of Westminster. One wonders if any old work from Kingston Lacy found its way here during the alterations there in the 1830s and 1840s?
After George Bankes died in 1856 the house was used at different times by various members of the family. The last of the family to live here seems to have been Henrietta Jane Bankes (1868-1953), the widow of Walter Ralph Bankes of Kingston Lacy, who moved here from Kingston Lacy soon after her son came of age in 1923. It may have been then that the house was further enlarged, for the additions were complete by 1928. After the Second World War, the estate leased the house as an hotel, and it was again altered for this commercial use. The large conservatory dates from its time as an hotel. Since 2013 the house has been leased to 'The Pig' chain of hotels, and is known as The Pig on the Beach.
Descent: site sold 1825 to Rt. Hon. George Bankes (1787-1856); to son, Edmund George Bankes (1826-60); to son, Henry John Percival Bankes (1850-69); to brother, Walter Ralph Bankes (1853-1904); to son, Henry John Ralph Bankes (1902-81); bequeathed to The National Trust; leased since 2013 to The Pig on the Beach.
Bankes family of Kingston Lacy
|Sir John Bankes (1589-1644), kt.|
(1) Alice Bankes (1621-83), born 8 October 1621; married, 14 December 1637 at St Giles-in-the-Fields, London, Sir John Borlase (1619-72) MP, 1st bt., eldest son of Sir William Borlase, kt., of Bockmer, Medmenham, and had issue five sons and four daughters; died in Paris (France), 16 November 1683, and was buried at Saint Jacques du Haut-Pas; will proved 31 January 1683/4;
(2) Mary Bankes (1623-91), born 20 October 1623; married, 26 February 1651/2 at St Martin Orgar with St Clement Eastcheap, London, Sir Robert Jenkinson MP (1621-77), 1st bt. of Walcot (Oxon), and had issue at least one son and one daughter; buried 18 June 1691 at Charlbury (Oxon), where she was commemorated by a ledger stone; will proved 18 January 1691/2;
(3) John Bankes (1626-56), born 29 June 1626; educated at Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1643) and Grays Inn; undertook a Grand Tour of Europe, travelling in France, Italy and Switzerland in 1646-47; Hereditary Admiral of Isle of Purbeck, 1644-56; came into his inheritance of the Corfe Castle estate on reaching the age of 24 in 1650; died unmarried and without issue, 1656;
(4) Elizabeth Bankes (1627-1710), born 16 November 1627; married, 30 April 1654 at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), Philip Prince (d. 1694?);
(5) Joan Bankes (1629-88), born 29 April 1629; married, 1648 (licence 6 October), William Borlase MP (1620-65) of Medmenham, second son of Sir William Borlase, kt., of Bockmer, Medmenham, and had issue one son and four daughters; died in 1687 or 1688; will proved 26 July 1688;
(6) Edward Bankes (b. 1630), born 1 October 1630; probably died young;
(7) Sir Ralph Bankes (1631-77), kt. (q.v.);
(8) Jane Bankes (1633-91?), born 27 June 1633; married George Cullen; said to have died in 1691;
(9) Bridget Bankes (1634-77?), born 8 September 1634; said to have died unmarried, 25 March 1677;
(10) Jerome Bankes (1635-86), born 20 December 1635; educated at Queen's College, Oxford (matriculated 1653) and Grays Inn (admitted 1653) and then undertook a Grand Tour of Italy in 1654-55, during which he visited Rome and his portrait was painted by Massimo Stanzione in Naples (Italy); barrister-at-law; died unmarried, 1686;
(11) Ann Bankes (b. 1637), born 3 August 1637; probably died young;
(12) Charles Bankes (b. 1639), born 26 September 1639; living in 1675, but probably died unmarried;
(13) Arabella Bankes (1642-1724), born 30 July 1642; married, 19 December 1665 at Chettle (Dorset), Samuel Gilly (d. 1678), and had issue one daughter; lived at High Hall, Pamphill which was built by Sir Thomas Fitch and John Fitch as a reduced version of Kingston Lacy, until she sold it to John Fitch in 1691, and lived thereafter in London and at Waltham Abbey; buried at Waltham Abbey (Essex), 5 November 1724; will proved 8 December 1724;
(14) William Bankes (b. 1644), born 10 June 1644; educated at St Alban Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1664/5); living in 1670.
He invested in mines in Cumberland in 1622 before purchasing the Kingston Lacy estate in two tranches in 1626 and 1636 and the Corfe Castle estate in 1635. The castle was initially the family's main residence on their Dorset property, but was subsequently twice besieged during the Civil War, and finally slighted and blown up by order of Parliament in 1646. His widow lived subsequently in London and at Damory Court, Blandford Forum (Dorset).
He died in Oxford, 28 December 1644, and was buried in Oxford Cathedral, where he is commemorated by a monument. His widow died 11 April 1661 and was buried at Ruislip (Middx), where she is commemorated by a monument; her will was proved in the PCC, 3 July 1661.
|Sir Ralph Bankes (c.1631-77), kt.|
(1) Mary Bankes (b. 1662; fl. 1675), born 8 July and baptised at Chettle (Dorset), 12 July 1662; her father's will suggests she suffered from learning difficulties or was mentally ill;
(2) John Bankes (1665-1714) (q.v.).
He lived in London until the Restoration of the Monarchy, when he recovered the Corfe Castle estate. He built Kingston Lacy House in 1663-65 to the design of Sir Roger Pratt.
He died 25 March 1677; his will was proved 26 May 1677. His widow died in 1711.
|John Bankes (1665-1714)|
(1) John Bankes (1692-1772) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Bankes (1693-1774), baptised at Wimborne Minster, 9 December 1693; married, 27 March 1723 at St Mary, Newington (Surrey), Sir Thomas I'Anson (c.1701-64), 4th bt. of New Bounds, Tonbridge (Kent), Gentleman Porter of the Tower of London, and had issue four sons and four daughters; died 26 January 1774;
(3) Charles Bankes (b. 1694), baptised at Wimborne Minster, January 1694/5; died young before 1713;
(4) Ralph Bankes (1696-1750?), baptised at Wimborne Minster, 5 April 1696; perhaps the man of this name buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, 29 September 1750;
(5) Frances Bankes (1697-1710); died young and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 24 April 1709/10;
(6) Henry Bankes (1698-1776) (q.v.);
(7) William Bankes (1702-03), baptised at Wimborne Minster, 28 August 1702; died in infancy and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 5 October 1703;
(8) Margaret Bankes (1703-06), baptised at Wimborne Minster, 17 September 1703; died young and was buried at Wimborne Minister, 18 November 1706;
(9) Catherine Bankes (1705-09), baptised at Wimborne Minster, 4 May 1705; died young and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 29 August 1709;
(10) Edward Bankes (b. 1706), baptised at Wimborne Minster, 15 June 1706; living in 1713;
(11) Beata Bankes (1710-12), born 14 March 1709/10 and baptised at Honington, 28 March 1710; died in infancy and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 10 March 1711/12.
He inherited Kingston Lacy from his father in 1677 and came of age in 1686.
He accidentally shot himself while taking down loaded guns from the wall for cleaning. 14 July, and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 17 July 1714; his will was proved 5 March 1714/5. His widow married 2nd, 10 October 1723 at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), Thomas Lewis of London, and died in 1730.
|John Bankes (1692-1772)|
He inherited Kingston Lacy from his father in 1714.
He died 26 January 1772 and was buried at Wimborne Minster; his will was proved in the PCC, 6 April 1772.
|Henry Bankes (1698-1776)|
(2.1) John Bankes (b. 1754), baptised at St Clement Danes, London, 3 August 1754; died young;
(2.2) Henry Bankes (1757-1834) (q.v.);
(2.3) Anne Bankes (1759-78), born 23 April and baptised at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster, 16 May 1759; died unmarried and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 7 March 1778.
He lived in London and at Broadchalke (Wilts) (where he leased the rectory estate from Kings College, Cambridge) until he inherited Kingston Lacy from his elder brother in 1772.
He died 23 September 1776 and was buried at Wimborne Minster; his will was proved 8 October 1776. His first wife may have been the 'Eleanor Banks' buried at St Michael, Crooked Lane, London, 25 May 1752. His widow died aged 96 and was buried at St Margaret, Westminster, 19 June 1822; her will was proved 20 June 1822.
|Henry Bankes (1757-1834),|
by Pompeo Batoni.
(1) Henry Bankes (1785-1806), born 30 July and baptised at St Margaret, Westminster, 18 August 1785; a midshipman in the Royal Navy; lost at sea in the wreck of HMS Athenienne, off Tunis (Tunisia), 20 October 1806;
(2) William John Bankes (1786-1855) (q.v.);
(3) Rt. Hon. George Bankes (1787-1856) (q.v.);
(4) Anne Frances Bankes (1789-1864), born 8 July and baptised at St Margaret, Westminster, 30 July 1789; married, 27 August 1810, Edward Boscawen (1787-1841), 4th Viscount and (from 1821) 1st Earl of Falmouth and had issue one son; died 1 May 1864;
(5) Maria Wynne Bankes (1791-1823), born 31 July and baptised at St Margaret, Westminster, 8 August 1791; married, 29 January 1816 at Wimborne Minster, Hon. Thomas Stapleton (1792-1829) of Greys Court (Oxon) and Mereworth Castle (Kent), son and heir of Thomas Stapleton, 16th Baron Le Despencer, and had issue one daughter; died 15 August 1823;
He inherited Kingston Lacy from his father in 1776 and remodelled it to the designs of R.F. Brettingham in 1784-90.
He died at Tregothnan House (Cornwall), 17 December 1834, and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 24 December 1834; his will was proved 13 March 1835. His wife was buried at St. Margaret, Westminster, 29 November 1823.
|William John Bankes (1786-1855)|
Image: National Trust.
He inherited Soughton Hall (Flints) from his great-uncle, Rt. Hon. Sir William Wynne, in 1815, and Kingston Lacy from his father in 1834. He remodelled both houses with the assistance of Sir Charles Barry. When he fled to the Continent in 1841 he signed over the Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle estates to his brother George Bankes (1787-1856) and Soughton Hall to his younger brother, Rev. Edward Bankes.
He died in Venice, 17 April 1855, and was buried at Wimborne Minster, 13 June 1855.
|George Bankes (1787-1856)|
Image: National Trust
(1) Georgina Charlotte Frances Bankes (1823-1903), born 5 August and baptised at St. Marylebone, 6 August 1823; married, 20 February 1844 at St Margaret, Westminster (Middx), Rt. Hon. John Floyer MP (1811-87) of Stafford House (Dorset) and had issue one son; died 29 June 1903;
(2) Maria Margaret Bankes (1825-37), baptised at St. Marylebone, 24 January 1825; died young and was buried at Mortlake, 2 June 1837;
(3) Edmund George Bankes (1826-60) (q.v.);
(4) Henry Hyde Nugent Bankes (1828-83) of Wraysbury (Bucks), born 10 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Square, 23 April 1828; educated at Eton, Trinity Hall, Cambridge (matriculated 1846; BA 1850; MA 1853) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1850; called to bar 1854); revising barrister; an officer in the West Kent Yeomanry Cavalry (Cornet, 1852); DL for Dorset; author of a novel, Melchior Gorles: A Tale of Modern Mesmerism (1867) under the pseudonym "Henry Aitchenbie"; married 1st, 26 March 1857 at Dresden (Germany), Hon. Lalage Letitia Caroline (d. 1875), daughter of Sir Richard Hussey Vivian, 1st Baron Vivian, and had issue three sons and five daughters; married 2nd, 30 November 1879, Ellen Catherine (1837-1922) (who m3, 2 June 1885, Sir William Henry Marsham Style, 9th bt.), daughter of Edward Taylor Massy and widow of Rev. Charles Henry Barham; died in London, 26 March 1883; will proved 1 June 1883 (effects £27,193);
(5) Edward Dee Bankes (1830-43), baptised at St George, Hanover Square, London, 3 February 1830; died young and was buried at Studland, 28 June 1843;
(6) Adelaide Bankes (1831-78), baptised at St George, Hanover Square, London, 21 April 1831; married, 17 June 1856 at St Margaret, Westminster, as his second wife, Charles Wriothesley Digby (1802-73) of Meriden Hall (Warks), and had issue one son and five daughters; died at Marseilles (France), 19 May 1878; will proved 24 July 1878 (effects under £8,000);
(7) twin, Augusta Anne Bankes (1833-80), baptised at Mortlake (Surrey), 10 April 1833; married, 16 July 1857, Hon. Edward William Douglas (1825-1918) (who m2, 27 September 1881, Hon. Evelyn Ann (d. 1911), daughter of Charles Rudolph Trefusis, 19th Baron Clinton, and had issue), fourth son of George Sholto Douglas, 17th Earl of Morton, but had no issue; died 6 May 1880; will proved 11 June 1880 (effects under £10,000);
(8) twin, Octavia Elizabeth Bankes (1833-55), baptised at Mortlake, 10 April 1833; died unmarried and was buried at Studland, 22 December 1855;
(9) Frederick Wynne Banks (1835-37), baptised at Mortlake, 14 May 1835; died in infancy and was buried at Mortlake, 26 June 1837;
(10) William George Hawtrey Bankes VC (1836-58), born 11 September and baptised at Mortlake, 5 October 1836; educated at Westminster School; an officer in the 7th Hussars (Cornet), 1857-58; served during the Indian Mutiny and was awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry in thrice charging a party of the enemy who eventually surrounded him and 'cut him almost to pieces' in an action near Lucknow (India); he died of his wounds eighteen days later, 6 April 1858; will proved 27 May 1859 (effects under £16,000);
(11) Wynne Albert Bankes (1840-1913), of Wolfeton House (Dorset), born 31 May 1840; entered the Royal Navy and served as a midshipman in the Baltic and the Black Sea, 1854-55, where he was present at the taking of Sebastopol; educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (matriculated 1860; BA 1864) and Inner Temple (admitted 1864; called to bar 1867); barrister-at-law on the western circuit; an officer in the Cambridgeshire Rifle Volunteers (Capt. 1862) and later the Dorset Rifle Corps (Capt., 1869); JP and DL (from 1866) for Dorset; married, 10 September 1873 at Ellingham (Hants), Florence Mary Anne (d. 1947), second daughter of Rev. Frederick Fane of Moyles Court, Ringwood (Hants) and had issue one daughter; died 16 April and was buried at Studland, 21 April 1913; will proved 14 May 1913 (estate £36,439),
He lived in Old Palace Yard, Westminster (Middx) and built Studland Manor (Dorset) from 1825 onwards as a holiday home. When his brother went into exile in Venice in 1841, he signed over the Kingston Lacy estate to George, but the house was occupied by his widowed sister, Lady Falmouth and he never moved there.
He died 5 July and was buried at Studland, 15 July 1856; his will was proved in the PCC, 15 August 1856. His widow married 2nd, 2 June 1863 at St John the Evangelist, Westminster, Sir Edward Manningham-Buller (1800-82), 1st bt. of Dilhorne Hall (Staffs); died at Westminster, 7 December 1875; her will was proved 10 March 1876 (effects under £30,000).
|Edmund George Bankes (1826-60)|
Image: National Trust/Simon Harris
(1) Henry John Percival Bankes (1850-69), born 11 February and baptised at St Helier (Jersey), 13 March 1850; educated at Harrow; Hereditary Admiral of Isle of Purbeck, 1860-69; inherited the Kingston Lacy estate from his father in 1860 but died unmarried with travelling in Canada, 6 January 1869 and was buried at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Montréal (Canada) on the same day; administration of his goods was granted 29 June 1869 (effects under £9,000);
(2) Walter Ralph Bankes (1853-1904) (q.v.);
(3) Adelaide Anne Bankes (1855-1909), born 1 October 1855 at Avranches, Normandy (France); died unmarried, 1 November and was buried at Studland, 5 November 1909; will proved 15 December 1909 (estate £23,614).
He inherited the Kingston Lacy estate from his father in 1856, but seems to have lived at Studland. After his death the estate passed to his two sons in turn.
He died 28 January 1860; his will was proved 7 July 1860 (effects under £12,000). His widow died 6 April 1878; her will was proved 25 May 1878 (effects under £30,000).
|Walter Ralph Bankes |
(1) Daphne Maude Adelaide Bankes (1898-1967), of Manor Cottage, Studland (Dorset), born 23 June and baptised at Holy Trinity, Chelsea, 21 July 1898; ran the Studland Bay Café in Dorset; travelled extensively; died unmarried, 28 July 1967; will proved 16 February 1968 (estate £14,670);
(2) Viola Frances Geraldine Bankes (1900-89), born 11 February 1900; author; married, without her mother's approval, 4 February 1927, Dr Norman Bruce Hall OBE MD (1893-1970) of London SW1, son of James Hall of Adelaide (Australia), and had issue two daughters; died 30 August 1989; will proved 2 February 1990 (estate £340,164).
(3) Henry John Ralph Bankes (1902-81) (q.v.).
He inherited the Kingston Lacy estate from his elder brother in 1869 and commissioned T.H. Wyatt to design a new stable block in 1880. His widow lived latterly at 61 Brook St., Mayfair (London).
He died of a heart attack, 20 November 1904; will proved 10 December and 11 February 1905 (estate £240,723). His widow died 29 November 1953; her will was proved 9 February 1954 (estate £68,813).
|Henry John Ralph Bankes (1902-81)|
Image: National Trust
(1) John Ralph Bankes (1937-96), born 10 February and baptised 30 May 1937; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford; an officer in the Coldstream Guards; amateur magician; died unmarried, 28 August 1996; will proved 7 November 1996;
(2) Mary Bankes (b. 1940), born 25 April 1940.
He inherited the Kingston Lacy estate from his father in 1904 and came of age in 1923. At his death his trustees were asked to gift the entire 16,000 acre estate, including all the contents of Kingston Lacy, to the nation, and the following year they were vested in The National Trust.
He died 19 August 1981; his will was proved 21 December 1981 (estate £21,563,179) and administration of his remaining effects (£101,273) was granted 22 October 1993; his whole estate was left to the National Trust except for £50,000 to each of his children and a few small legacies to staff. His wife died 11 September 1966; her will was proved 16 January 1967 (estate £134,039).
Burke's Landed Gentry, 1965, pp. 37-39; J. Pouncy, Dorsetshire Photographically Illustrated, 1857, vol. 1; R.T. Gunther, The architecture of Sir Roger Pratt, 1928, pp. 98-116; J. Cornforth, 'Kingston Lacy revisited', parts 1-4, Country Life, 17-24 April and 5-12 June 1986; A. Cleminson, 'The Transition from Kingston Hall to Kingston Lacy: The Bankes' Fifty-Year Search for an Adequate Dining Room', Architectural History, 1988, pp. 120-35; Patricia Usick, The Adventures in Egypt and Nubia: The Travels of William John Bankes (1786–1855), 2002; A. Sebba, The exiled collector: William Bankes and the making of an English country house, 2004; M. Hill, East Dorset Country Houses, 2013, pp. 128-33, 228-44; National Trust guidebook, 1988 and 1994 editions; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entries on Sir John Bankes (1589-1644), Henry Bankes (1757-1834) and William John Bankes (1786-1855); History of Parliament biographies of many members of the family.
Location of archives
Bankes of Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle: deeds, manorial, estate and family papers, architectural plans and diaries, 1348-1981 [Dorset History Centre, D-BKL; D/CRL B4/1-5]
Bankes, Sir John (1589-1644), kt.: papers as attorney general, 1634-40 [Bodleian Library, Oxford, MSS.Bankes 1-76]
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 the earlier generations of this family.
- 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 29 December 2018 and was updated 31 December 2018 and 26 August 2020.