Tuesday, 14 May 2019

(376) Baring of Norman Court

Baring of Norman Court
This is the third of five posts about the various branches of the Baring family. For an introduction showing how they connect, please see the first post in the sequence.

Harriet Baring was the first born child of Sir Francis Baring (1740-1810), 1st bt., the founder of Barings Bank and Chairman of the East India Company [for whom see my forthcoming post on the Barings of Stratton Park].  In 1790 she married Charles Wall (1756-1815), the son of a lawyer, who had become her father's junior partner in 1781 and who played an increasingly important role in running the Bank. By 1810, Wall owned the largest share of the Bank's capital, valued at £86,126. It is therefore hardly surprising that he was in a position to buy both Norman Court, in 1806, and Albury Park (Surrey), in 1811, and to ask George Dance to prepare schemes for remodelling or rebuilding Norman Court, although in the event, nothing was done before Wall's death in 1815. He left Albury Park to Harriet (who sold it to Henry Drummond when she moved to Everton in Hampshire in 1819), while Norman Court and a cash inheritance of around £125,000 passed directly to his son, Charles Baring Wall (1795-1853), who carried out the intended remodelling in 1818-20. With his inherited wealth and landed estate, C.B. Wall had no need to pursue a career in business, and he was able to devote himself to his twin interests in art and politics, sitting as an MP continuously from 1819 until his death in 1853, and building a notable art collection. His sexual preferences meant that he was unmarried and without issue, and at his death he bequeathed Norman Court to his cousin, Thomas Baring (1799-1873), the second son of Sir Thomas Baring (1772-1848), 2nd bt. of Stratton Park, who was a partner in Barings Bank from 1828 and one of the senior partners from 1837. 

Like Wall, Tom Baring was a long-serving MP, but the efforts of successive Prime Ministers to persuade him to take ministerial office were unavailing: however much his country needed him, Barings came first. If he was married to the Bank, however, he was not married to anyone else, and a second successive owner of Norman Court died childless in 1873. He left the house (and a fortune of some £300,000) to his cousin, William Henry Baring (1819-1906), who was the only son of Sir Francis Baring's fourth son, William (1779-1820), who rented Lulworth Castle in Dorset and died in a yachting accident off the Isle of Wight when his son was an infant. After a fairly brief career in the army, W.H. Baring seems to have settled in London until he came into his inheritance, after which he lived at Norman Court in some style. Doing so at a time of declining profitability in farming may account for his wealth at death being a comparatively modest £84,874; he may also have helped to pay off the debts of his son-in-law, Col. FitzGeorge, who was bankrupted in 1902. Norman Court passed in 1906 to his son, Maj. Francis Charles Baring (1852-1926), who perhaps felt that he did not have sufficient income to support such a large estate.
Timsbury Manor, owned by F.C. Baring from 1909-20.
At all events, he sold it later the same year to Washington Singer (1866-1934), one of the many children of the American sewing machine manufacturer, Isaac Singer, and in 1909 bought himself a much smaller property at Timsbury Manor near Romsey (Hants). This was a red brick neo-Jacobean house, built for the Dutton family in about 1851, probably by the Winchester diocesan architect, John Colson, and it does in fact look much like a Victorian rectory. Soon after the First World War he sold this house too, and he spent the last years of his life in London. He was the last of this branch of the family to own a country house.

Norman Court, West Tytherley, Hampshire

The estate traces its origins to a small manor, originally of about 120 acres, which is first identifiable in the 13th century. It derives its name from Roger Norman, a 14th century owner, and subsequently passed to the Whitehead family, who owned it from the 15th century until 1733. Their manor house stood about half a mile south of the present Norman Court, close to the later site of the kitchen garden. It was evidently on a considerable scale, although no visual evidence of its appearance seems to survive, and it was pulled down in about 1752, when the Rev. Dr. Robert Thistlethwayte built a smaller shooting box on the site of the present house. This building faced north and consisted of a five by five bay central block of two storeys above a basement, linked by quadrant wings to two-storey office ranges with courtyards behind. Again, there is no visual record of the house at this time, but a survey plan among the papers of George Dance in the Soane Museum makes clear that its structure forms the core of the present building, including the canted bay on the entrance front.  In 1815 the accommodation comprised an entrance hall with the staircase rising out of it, a breakfast room, dining room, drawing room, and gentleman's morning room; on the first floor, there was a ladies' apartment, three bed rooms and dressing-rooms; and on the second floor, five further bedrooms.

Norman Court: an engraving of 1833 showing the house as enlarged by Henry Harrison in 1818-20.

In 1810, Charles Wall asked George Dance (who had rebuilt Stratton Park (Hants) for his wife's family in 1804-06), to prepare plans for remodelling the house. Dance's surviving drawings in the Soane Museum suggest that various schemes for enlargement and a complete rebuilding were considered, but in the end nothing was done before Wall's death in 1815. Humphry Repton was also consulted on the landscaping of the site, but only some estate cottages are known to have been completed to his designs. Charles Wall's son and successor, Charles Baring Wall, turned to a younger architect, and the house was eventually enlarged in 1818-20 to the designs of Henry Harrison. He added two-bay wings either side of the central block, stuccoed the south, east and west fronts in a mildly Grecian style, made a new entrance with a Doric portico in antis in the north-east corner, and built a large glazed conservatory linked to the south-west corner by a glazed corridor. The main rooms were arranged along the south front; behind the tripartite windows in the new wings were a library and dining room (from which the conservatory opened, suggesting it was intended to be used as a smoking room), while the rooms in the older centre of the house were adapted as a billiard room and ante room. A new staircase was provided in the north-west corner of the house, and survives today, with closely-set cast iron balusters of Greek key pattern.

Norman Court: the north front as altered in the later 19th century.
Norman Court: the south front as altered for Washington Singer in 1906.

The only significant change to the house by subsequent generations of the Baring family seems to have been the addition of neo-Palladian angle towers to the north front, and perhaps its general refacing in red brick. It is not clear when this was done, but the distinctive pyramidal cap of one of the towers is visible in a late 19th century photograph of the house from the south-west. This shows that the towers had been completed before the next phase of work, which was carried out soon after the house was sold in 1906 to Washington Singer, son of the multi-millionaire American sewing machine manufacturer and serial adulterer, Isaac Singer.  He made many sadly poorly-documented changes. The most significant ones are the addition of Ionic pilasters to Harrison's stuccoed fronts, rather successfully imitating the style of the earlier work. Singer also returned the main entrance to the north front and replaced the original conservatory and the corridor linking it to the house with a larger but very similar conservatory built out directly from the side of the house.  These were the last substantive changes to the building; the house became a preparatory school in 1952 and after this closed in 2012, it has been further adapted as a Montessori day nursery and outdoor pursuits centre.
Norman Court: detail of Taylor's map of 1759, showing
the avenue to the north of the house.

The house was originally entered from the north, and Taylor's map of Hampshire in 1759 shows an avenue to the north of the house, aligned on the house. This seems to have disappeared before the house was sold in 1806, and the present entrance from the east was no doubt created when the entrance was moved to the east side of the house in 1820. 

Descent: Richard Whitehead; to son, Sir Henry Whitehead (1574-1629); to son, Richard Whitehead (c.1594-c.1662); to son, Henry Whitehead (c.1629-84); to son, Richard Whitehead (c.1660-1733); to nephew, Francis Thistlethwayte (b. 1719); to brother, Rev. Dr. Robert Thistlethwayte (1720-67); to son, Robert Thistlethwayte (1755-1802); to son, Thomas Thistlethwayte (1779-1850), who sold 1807 to Charles Wall (1756- 1815); to son, Charles Baring Wall (1795-1853); to cousin, Thomas Baring (1799-1873); to cousin, William Henry Baring (1819-1906); to son, Francis Charles Baring (1852-1926), who sold c.1906 to Washington Merritt Grant Singer (1866-1934); to son, Grant Singer (d. 1942); sold 1946; sold 1949; ?sold 1952 to Northaw School (later Norman Court Preparatory School), which closed 2012; sold to Norman Court Montessori CIC, which operates it as a nursery school and outdoor pursuits centre.

Baring family of Norman Court

Mrs. Harriet Wall (1768-1838)

Baring, Harriet (1768-1838). Eldest daughter of Sir Francis Baring (1740-1810), 1st bt., founder of Barings Bank and Chairman of the East India Company, and his wife Harriet (1750-1804), daughter and co-heir of William Herring of Croydon (Surrey), born in London, 13 September 1768 and baptised at All Hallows by the Tower, London, 10 October 1768. Educated privately. By about 1810 she was attracted to evangelical religion, and became one of the founders, with her brother George, of the Western Schism from the Church of England; in the 1820s, she drifted into the circle of the Scottish evangelical, Edward Irvingite, and joined his movement (later the Catholic Apostolic Church). Described by contemporaries having inherited a 'dexterous intelligence' and a 'cool temperament' from her father, she held 'an obvious superiority over the heated brains and crude notions of her mostly male disciples'. She married, 1 September 1790 at Beddington (Surrey), Charles Wall (1756-1815), a partner in Barings Bank, 1778-1815, and had issue:
(1) Charles Baring Wall (1795-1853) (q.v.).
Her husband bought Norman Court in 1806 and Albury Park (Surrey) in 1811. They also had a house in London. After her husband's death she moved to Everton near Lymington (Hants).
She died 5 March 1838; her will was proved in the PCC, 4 April 1838. Her husband died 6 May, and was buried at Albury, 12 May 1815; his will was proved in the PCC, 10 July 1815.

Charles Baring Wall as a boy
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Wall, Charles Baring (1795-1853). Son of Charles Wall (1756-1815) and his wife Harriet, eldest daughter of Sir Francis Baring, 1st bt., born 30 March and baptised at St Peter-le-Poer, London, 1 May 1795. Educated privately and then at Eton (from 1811) and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1818; BA 1818; MA 1821); he undertook a Grand Tour of Europe in 1815. After the death of his father, he lived the life of a fashionable aesthete, using his inheritance to pursue his interest in fine art and career in politics. He was MP for Guildford, 1819-26, 1830-31, 1832-47 and for Wareham, 1826-30, Weymouth & Melcombe Regis, 1831-32 and Salisbury, 1847-53; he sat initially in the Tory interest and opposed the Reform Bill, but in 1846 he changed sides and became a Liberal. It was apparent to contemporaries that his predilections were homosexual, and references in his correspondence suggest that he was particularly drawn to men in uniform. In 1833 he was accused of indecently assaulting a metropolitan police officer, but produced a string of character witnesses who ensured that he was acquitted, and he seems not to have been socially ostracized. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Norman Court with around £125,000 from his father and remodelled it in 1818-20. At his death it passed in accordance with his mother's wish to his cousin, Thomas Baring. His London town house was 44 Berkeley Square, the surviving William Kent house with perhaps the most beautiful staircase in London.
He died 14 October 1853; his will was proved in the PCC, 27 November 1853 (wealth at death estimated between £350,000 and £450,000).

Thomas Baring (1799-1873)
Baring, Thomas (1799-1873). Second son of Sir Thomas Baring (1772-1848), 2nd bt., and his wife Mary Ursula, daughter of Charles Sealy of Calcutta, barrister, born 7 September 1799. Educated at Winchester College. Partner in Baring Bros. & Co from 1828 (and one of two senior partners from 1837); a director of the Bank of England and of the East and West India Dock Companies; Chairman of Lloyds of London for nearly forty years. Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, 1835-37 and Huntingdon, 1844-73, and unsuccessfully contested the City of London in 1843. He was several times offered the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, but turned it down, preferring to remain active in business to scaling the political heights, but he was still much in demand as a member or chairman of committees, and his efforts to balance the competing demands of parliament and the firm took a toll on his health. He served as a member of the Neutrality Law Commission (report 1868) and as a member of Lieutenancy Commission for the City of London. He was a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Georgraphical Society. He took a strong interest in education and was President of the Stockbridge School Managers and Teachers' Association until his death. In private life, he was a collector of pictures and a patron of artists, amassing a collection valued at around £100,000. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Norman Court with 7,000 acres and some £400,000 from his cousin, Charles Baring Wall, in 1853. At his death the estate comprised 8,058 acres in Hampshire and passed to his cousin, William Henry Baring.
He died 18 November 1873 and is commemorated by a monument designed by Boehm in Micheldever church (Hants) that was erected by his brother, Lord Northbrook, and also by a new chancel at West Tytherley which was erected in his memory by William Henry Baring, to the designs of J. Colson. His will was proved 18 December 1873 (effects under £1.5m).

Baring, William (1779-1820). Fourth son of Sir Francis Baring (1740-1810), 1st bt., and his wife Harriet (1750-1804), daughter and co-heir of William Herring of Croydon (Surrey), born 8 December 1779. He joined the East India Company and was sent to Canton, where he suffered from recurrent ill health. He married, 19 July 1810 at Putney (Surrey), Frances (1792-1877), fourth daughter of John Poulett Thomson of Waverley Abbey (Surrey) and sister of Charles Poulett Thomson (1799-1841), 1st Baron Sydenham, and had issue:
(1) Fanny Baring (1811-91), baptised at South Stoneham (Hants), 2 October 1811; married, 15 January 1839 at Putney (Surrey), Rev. Francis Charles Massingberd (1800-72), rector of South Ormsby (Lincs), 1825-72, prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral 1847-62 and chancellor of the diocese of Lincoln, 1862-72, and had issue two sons; died 2 April 1891; will proved 2 May 1891 (effects £2,027);
(2) Georgiana Baring (1814-97), born in November 1814 and baptised at Iwerne Steepleton (Dorset), 23 January 1815; lived at Kingston-on-Thames (Surrey); in the 1880s she interested herself in the case of the 'Tichborne Claimant', and paid some of the expenses of Arthur Orton's family in attempting to prove that he was not the claimant; buried 13 December 1897; will proved 27 January 1898 (effects £23,844);
(3) Charlotte Rosa Baring (1817-98), born 23 September 1817; baptised at East Lulworth (Dorset), 6 January 1818; an unusually pretty girl, much admired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who addressed a birthday poem to her on her 17th birthday; married, 23 October 1838 at Harrington Hall (Lincs), Robert Duncombe Shafto (1806-89) of Whitworth Park (Co. Durham), eldest son of Robert Eden Duncombe Shafto, and had issue one son and one daughter; died 20 November 1898; will proved 8 May 1899 (effects £3,133);
(4) William Henry Baring (1819-1906) (q.v.).
He leased Lulworth Castle (Dorset) from the Weld family.
He drowned when he fell off his yacht while sailing off the Isle of Wight, 9 July 1820. His widow married 2nd, 1824, Arthur Eden of Harrington Hall (Lincs), Assistant Comptroller of the Exchequer, and had further issue one son and one daughter; she died 25 March 1877 and her will was proved 12 April 1877 (effects under £1,500).

Baring, William Henry (1819-1906). Only son of William Baring (1779-1820) and his wife Frances, fourth daughter of John Poulett Thomson of Waverley Abbey (Surrey), born 1 December 1819 and received into Church of England at Wimbledon (Surrey), 7 December 1827. Educated at Eton. An officer in the Coldstream Guards (Ensign, 1839; Lt., 1841; Capt., 1846); acted as aide-de-camp to his uncle, Lord Sydenham, as Governor-General of Canada, 1839-41; JP for Hampshire (from 1876). He married, 21 April 1849 at St Marylebone (Middx), Elizabeth (1825-97), daughter of Charles Hammersley of St Marylebone, army agent, and had issue:
(1) Eleanor Mary Baring (1850-1932), born 10 November and baptised at St Marylebone, 12 December 1850; lived at Burley (Hants); died unmarried, 3 March 1932; will proved 8 April 1932 (estate £6,142);
(2) Francis Charles Baring (1852-1926) (q.v.);
(3) Rose Frederica Baring (1854-1927), born 9 March and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 2 May 1854; 'almost the leading √©legante of society' in the 1890s, but her second husband's bankruptcy in 1902 left her in straightened circumstances and dependent upon assistance from her relations, and as a widow she lived in Florence (Italy); married 1st,  29 August 1878 at West Tytherley (Hants) (div. 1885), Capt. Frank Wigsell Arkwright (1848-93) of Sanderstead Court (Surrey); married 2nd, 25 November 1885 at the British Embassy in Paris (France), Lt-Col. George William Adolphus FitzGeorge (1843-1907), eldest son of George William Frederic Charles, 2nd Duke of Cambridge by his morganatic marriage with the actress Louisa Fairbrother, and had issue one son; died at Cannes (France), 10 March 1927; administration of goods granted 27 May 1927 (estate £547);
(4) William Bingham Baring (1859-1916), born 22 September 1859; joined Baring Bros, but was judged not to be of the calibre to be a partner and was 'packed off to Liverpool' with a salary of £500 a year; he later lived at Brockenhurst (Hants); married 2 March 1886 at St Stephen, South Kensington (Middx), Georgiana Margaret (1863-1959), daughter of Charles Hallyburton Campbell of Kensington, a retired Indian civil servant, and had issue one son and one daughter; died 9 July 1916; his will was proved 19 August 1916 (estate £21,321).
He inherited Norman Court and a legacy of £300,000 from his cousin, Thomas Baring, in 1873.
He died at Lymington (Hants), 10 June 1906 and was buried at West Tytherley; his will was proved 15 August 1906 (estate £84,874). His wife died of pneumonia, 6 November 1897 and was buried at West Tytherley; her will was proved 9 March 1898 (effects £518).

Baring, Francis Charles (1852-1926). Elder son of William Henry Baring (1819-1906) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Hammersley, born 17 February and baptised at St Marylebone, 17 March 1852. An officer in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Hampshire Regt. (Sub-Lt., 1876; Lt., 1876; Capt., 1882-84, 1887; Maj. 1899; retired 1901); JP for Hampshire. He married, 5 July 1880 at West Tytherley (div. 1899), Isabella Augusta (1860-1945), eldest daughter of Samuel Leo Schuster, and had issue:
(1) Violet Nina Baring (1881-1965), born 7 May and baptised at All Souls, Langham Place, Marylebone (Middx), 7 June 1881; married, 23 May 1906 at St Peter, Eaton Sq., London, William Francis D'Arcy (1873-1919), son of William Knox D'Arcy of Stanmore Hall (Middx), holder of the D'Arcy oil concession in Persia, and had issue one son; died 25 November 1965; administration of goods granted, 29 April 1966 (estate £6,710);
(2) Thomas Esm√© Baring (1882-1957), born 7 May 1882; an officer in the Rifle Brigade (2nd Lt., 1900: Lt., 1902; Capt., 1910; Maj., 1917; retired 1922), he fought in the First World War (mentioned in despatches; OBE); lived at Denham Court, Winchester and later at Pudding Farmhouse, Headbourne Worthy (Hants); married, 2 October 1913, Deirdre Mary Hughes (1890-1973), daughter of Hughes Martin JP of Tullaghreine (Co. Cork) and had issue two sons; died 9 December 1957; will proved 7 March 1958 (estate £166,700);
(3) Arthur Francis Charles Baring (1887-1964), born 14 May 1887; educated at Marlborough; worked in Australia, Shanghai (China) and Canada before First World War; freemason from 1909; served in First World War as an officer in 7th (Cyclist) Battn, Devonshire Regiment (2nd Lt., 1914; Lt., 1915; retired on grounds of ill health, 1917); lived at Cohuna, Victoria, Australia; married, 24 August 1906, Margaret McIntyre (1888-1966), daughter of George Moore of Adelaide (Australia), and had issue four sons and one daughter; died 30 August 1964; will proved 12 August 1969;
(4) Dudley William Baring (1892-1952), born 1892; educated at Wellington College; stockbroker; an officer in the army in the First World War (2nd Lt., 1914; Lt., 1915; Capt., 1918; resigned 1920) and Second World War (Capt., 1940; retired as Maj., 1945); married, 10 April 1919, Cecilia Mary (1891-1971), third daughter of Lt-Col. Michael Rowand Gray-Buchanan, and had issue three sons; died 11 January and was buried at Shiplake (Oxon), 14 January 1952; will proved 21 March 1952 (estate £30,176).
He and his wife lived in London but spent some of their time at Norman Court until 1889. He inherited Norman Court from his father in 1906 but sold it later the same year. In 1909 he bought Timsbury Manor near Romsey (Hants), where he lived until about 1920.
He died 1 September 1926; his will was proved October 1926 (estate £73,340). His ex-wife married 2nd, 1 December 1900, as his second wife, Hon. Reginald Thomas Dudley Brougham (1853-1925), son of William Brougham, 2nd Baron Brougham & Vaux, and died 24 July 1945; administration of her goods was granted to her youngest son, 20 November 1945 (estate £20,811).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1924, pp. 80-81; G.F. Prosser, Select views of Hampshire, 1833 (unpaginated); D. Stroud, George Dance, architect, 1741-1825, 1971, pp. 212-13; C. O'Brien, B. Bailey et al., The buildings of England: Hampshire - South, 2018, p. 752;  http://collections.soane.org/homehttp://research.hgt.org.uk/item/norman-court/.

Location of archives

Baring, Thomas (1799-1873): business, political and personal correspondence and papers, 19th cent. [Barings Archive, NP7]

Coat of arms

Azure, a fess or, in chief a bear's head proper, muzzled and ringed or.

Can you help?

  • If anyone has evidence of when the angle towers were added to the north front of Norman Court, or which architect was responsible, I should be most interested.
  • I should be most grateful if anyone can provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above, and who are not already illustrated.
  • 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 14 May 2019. I am grateful to Gareth Hughes for his observations on the development of the house.

1 comment:

Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.