Sunday 1 December 2019

(398) Barnes of Great Duryard

Barnes of Great Duryard
Britain's larger provincial towns were once surrounded by villas set in carefully designed settings, which were built for the accommodation of successful townsmen who wanted and could afford more space and light and better air than was available in the town itself, or for the local landed gentry whose connection with the town made a comfortable pied-a-terre nearby desirable. It is a characteristic of these villas that they usually changed hands quite frequently, in contrast with true country houses which exhibit much more stable patterns of ownership. For that reason, they rarely meet the criteria for appearing in these pages, but Great Duryard, on the northern outskirts of Exeter, is an exception in that it was held by members of the Cross family for nearly a century after 1760, and then by the Barnes family from 1853 to 1919.

The Barnes family seem to have been members of the small but rapidly growing middle class in Devon as far back as they can be traced, which is to Frederick Barnes, who was a physician in Colyton in the early 18th century. His son, the Ven. Ralph Barnes (c.1732-1820), with whom the genealogy below begins, was sent to Oxford, entered the church, and almost at once found himself on the 'fast track' to promotion represented by appointment as chaplain to his bishop. A Cathedral canonry followed, in 1775 he was made Archdeacon of Totnes, and in 1794 he was appointed Chancellor of the diocese. He seems actually to have lived at Harberton, where he was also the incumbent for more than forty years.

The Archdeacon had a large family who also went on to have interesting and varied careers. Three of his sons followed him into the church, Frederick (1771-1859) becoming Sub-Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; Theophilus (1775-1855) becoming rector of Castleford (Yorks WR) for more than fifty years and also a prebendary of York Minster; while the youngest of the three, George (1782-1847), also became an archdeacon, at first in India and later in Devon. Ralph Barnes (1781-1869) was a lawyer and antiquarian, while the youngest son, Samuel Barnes (1784-1858) became a surgeon and oculist in Exeter. Samuel, who was prominent in the city not only in medical and public health matters but also in bodies such as the Devon & Exeter Institution, married in 1815 but produced only one son and two daughters. The son was William Barnes (1817-92), who was educated at Winchester and Oxford and then joined the Exeter bank (Sanders & Co.) as a partner in 1839. Although none of the family had been directly involved in the bank before, there was a strong family connection as one of the Archdeacon's daughters married Charles Rogers Sanders (1772-1836), a partner in the firm, in 1803. William remained a partner in the bank until his death in 1892, and in 1867 also brought his eldest son, William Barnes (1843-86) into the firm, but William junior predeceased his father. This no doubt upset the bank's succession planning, and in 1901 they merged with another local firm, Milford Snow & Co., to found Sanders, Snow & Co, which operated for only about a year before being taken over by a larger London firm as part of the general Edwardian move towards consolidation of the banking sector.

William Barnes (1817-92) bought Great Duryard in 1853 and lived there for the rest of his life. His surviving sons having moved away from Exeter, he left the property in the care of his executors until his grandson, William Carnegie Barnes (1876-1967) should come of age. They tried to sell the house in 1892-93 but failed, and it was let to Capt. Herbert Terry, a retired Inspector of Constabulary. When he died, the widow of William Barnes junior and her family occupied the house for a while, but when W.C. Barnes married in 1903 a further unsuccessful attempt was made to sell the house. Further tenants followed, and not until 1919 was the freehold finally sold. W.C. Barnes himself seems to have moved home fairly frequently, which probably indicates that he was leasing his houses, rather than buying them, although after the Second World War he lived at Hayne Manor, Stowford (Devon), which he may have purchased.

Great Duryard, Exeter, Devonshire

Great Duryard (alias Thomas Hall), Exeter: the house since restoration as the Exeter Steiner Academy.
One of the largest villas built by Exeter merchants on the rising ground above the Cowley Bridge Road and the River Exe north of the city centre. The area known as Duryard had originally been a hunting park of the Anglo-Saxon kings, but was given to the city of Exeter by King Athelstan in the 10th century. A house existed on this site by 1604 and the attractive situation seems to have meant that its occupants were prominent citizens, even though it remained quite small, being taxed on just four hearths in 1674, and apparently roofed with thatch. The house was probably updated after Thomas Bury, an Exeter merchant, bought it in 1700. His house was built on a U-shaped plan, with the two wings facing south, and parts of the roof and attic, some panelling and chimneypieces are said to survive from this period. In 1760 the house was bought by Richard Cross, who altered it again, creating the staircase hall and the music room in the west wing, which can be dated to 1771 from the date on the rainwater hoppers. 
Great Duryard: the estate as shown on the OS 6" map of 1890.
In 1806, Great Duryard was called 'an elegant villa, on an elevated situation, surrounded with pleasure grounds, and well wooded', a description which tallies well enough with the appearance of the house on the 1st edition 6" map of 1890. It was advertised to let in 1807, when it contained three reception rooms in addition to the large music room. Another letting advertisement in 1816 refers more specifically to 'a vestibule, entrance hall, dining, breakfast and drawing rooms, a library and six good bedrooms'.

After the house was sold in 1853 to William Barnes, an Exeter banker, it was again remodelled. A new Bath stone service wing was added on the east side, a fussy balustraded Doric porch was added to the front, canted and semi-circular bays were built out on the ends of the wings and on the west front, and plate glass sashes replaced multi-pane sashes throughout the house. Inside, the music room and some other rooms were redecorated in a Victorian version of the Adam style. In a garden wall is a porch hood with plaster reliefs of weapons, which it seems likely was the original hood over the front door.

The house was purchased by the University of Exeter in 1936 with funds given by a Cornish solicitor, C.V. Thomas, and converted into a hall of residence by the University's architect, Sir William Holford. To commemorate the benefaction, the name of the building was changed to Thomas Hall, the name by which it was known until the hall of residence was closed in 2003. The building then stood empty with limited maintenance until it was restored and repurposed as part of the Exeter Steiner Academy, which opened in 2016.

Descent: Henry Walker (fl. 1674); to Endymion Walker (fl. 1683); sold 1700 to Thomas Bury... sold 1760 to Richard Cross ... to Francis Cross (1771-1846); sold 1853 to William Barnes (1817-92); to grandson, William Carnegie Barnes (1876-1967), who sold 1919 to Walter Richard Haighton Chappel (d. 1928); sold after his death to Frederick C. Hunter; sold 1936 to Exeter University; sold 2015 to Exeter Steiner Academy.

Barnes family of Great Duryard

Ven. Ralph Barnes (1731-1820)
Barnes, Ven. Ralph (c.1732-1820). Eldest son of Frederick Barnes of Colyton (Devon), physician, and his wife, about 1732. Educated at Christ Church and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1749; BA 1757; MA 1760). Ordained deacon, 1757 and priest, 1758. Domestic chaplain to successive Bishops of Exeter from 1765; vicar of Harberton (Devon), 1776-1820, Upottery (Devon), 1780-93 and vicar of Heavitree (Devon), 1807-20; prebendary of Exeter Cathedral from 1769 and canon residentiary from 1772; Archdeacon of Totnes, 1775-1820; Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter, 1794-1820. Appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, he is said to have been of 'a kind and cheerful temper, with an intelligent mind, graced by sound and classical learning, sincere, undeviating in integrity, and uniformly guided by rules of true Christian charity'. He married, 30 April 1770 at St Paul, Exeter, Ann (1742-1822), daughter of Theophilus Blackall, and had issue:
(1) Rev. Frederick Barnes (1771-1859), born 9 June and baptised at St. Merryn (Cornw.), 6 July 1771; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1790; BA 1794; MA 1797; BD 1805; DD 1810); Canon and Sub-Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, 1810-59; married, 26 July 1808 at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol, Elizabeth (1774-1845), daughter of Thomas Coulson, and had issue two sons and five daughters; buried at Christ Church, Oxford, 26 August 1859; will proved 4 October 1859 (effects under £25,000);
(2) Laura Barnes (1773-1862), baptised at Exeter Cathedral, 28 January 1773; married, 1 September 1806, John Blackall (1771-1860) and had issue four sons; died 6 January 1862;
(3) Henry Barnes (b. 1774), born 13 April and baptised at St Merryn (Cornwall), 9 May 1774; died young before 1782;
(4) Rev. Theophilus Barnes (1775-1855), baptised at Exeter Cathedral, 9 September 1775; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1791; Fellow, 1794; BA & MA 1798); ordained deacon, 1798 and priest, 1799; rector of St Petrock, Exeter, 1798-1803; rector of Castleford (Yorks WR), 1803-55 and Stonegrave (Yorks NR), 1815-55; prebendary of York Minster, 1826-55; married, 2 May 1815 at Saxton-in-Elmet (Yorks), Charlotte (1788-1847), daughter of Thomas Davison Bland, and had issue two daughters; died 9 February and was buried at Castleford, 16 February 1855; will proved in the PCC, 19 March 1855;
(5) Ann Barnes (1776-1868), baptised at Exeter Cathedral, 6 December 1776; died unmarried, aged 91, on 20 February 1868;
(6) Mary Barnes (1778-1811), baptised at Exeter Cathedral, 21 July 1778; married, 3 May 1803 at Exeter Cathedral, Charles Rogers Sanders (1772-1836), banker and partner in Sanders & Co., the Exeter bank, son of Joseph Sanders, banker, and had issue four sons and two daughters; died 31 August 1811;
(7) Elizabeth Barnes (c.1779-1863), born 1779/80; died unmarried, 7 April 1863; will proved 24 October 1863 (effects under £7,000);
(8) Ralph Barnes (1781-1869), born 14 July and baptised at Harberton, 4 September 1781; admitted a solicitor, 1802, and at the time of his death was said to be oldest practising solicitor in England; clerk to the dean and chapter of Exeter Cathedral, bishop's secretary and deputy registrar of the diocese, 1831-69; as an antiquarian he was editor of the Liber pontificalis of Edmund Lacy, bishop of Exeter, 1847; married, 1 June 1809 at St Sidwell, Exeter, Augusta Charlotte (1787-1847), daughter of John Andrew, and had issue five sons and five daughters; died 22 February 1869;
(9) Ven. George Barnes (1782-1847), born 11 December 1782; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1799; BA 1803; Fellow, 1805; MA 1806; BD 1814; DD 1818); ordained priest, 1808; rector of St Mary Major, Exeter, 1809-14; inaugural Archdeacon of Bombay, 1816-30, and of Barnstaple, 1830-47; said to have declined being appointed Bishop of Calcutta when in India; married, 19 August 1817 at Bombay (India), Harriet Maria Rivett-Carnac (1800-80), and had issue four sons and six daughters; died 29 June 1847;
(10) Samuel Barnes (1784-1858) (q.v.);
(11) Philippa Barnes (1786-1801), baptised at Harberton, 12 July 1786; died young, 20 August and was buried at Exeter Cathedral, 24 August 1801;
(12) Charlotte Barnes (1790-94), said to have been born 4 April 1790; died young 2 May and buried at Harberton, 5 May 1794.
He died 20 May and was buried in Exeter Cathedral, 27 May 1820; his will was proved 26 July 1820. His wife died 12 February and was buried in Exeter Cathedral, 19 February 1822.

Barnes, Samuel (1784-1858). Sixth and youngest son of Ven. Ralph Barnes (c.1732-1820), Archdeacon of Totnes and Chancellor of Exeter Cathedral and his wife Ann, daughter of Theophilus Blackall, baptised at Exeter Cathedral, 17 December 1784. Educated at Exeter Grammar School. Oculist and surgeon in Exeter; oculist to West of England Eye Infirmary from 1808; Consulting Physician at the Devon & Exeter Hospital; Chairman of the Exeter Water Company; Secretary of the Devon & Exeter Institution. He married, 14 December 1815 at Littleham (Devon), Juliana (1796-1870), daughter of William Speke of Jordans (Somerset), and had issue:
(1) William Barnes (1817-92) (q.v.);
(2) Frances Mary Barnes (1818-35), baptised at St Stephen, Exeter, 29 September 1818; died young, 27 January 1835;
(3) Juliana Speke Barnes (1821-73), baptised at St Stephen, Exeter, 4 May 1821; married, Jul-Sept 1846, Lt-Col. Charles Kitson (1814-60), but had no issue; died 2 July 1873; will proved 15 August 1873 (effects under £12,000).
He lived in Exeter.
He died 22 December and was buried at Clyst St. Mary (Devon), 29 December 1858; his will was proved 19 February 1859 (effects under £45,000). His wife died 28 November 1870; her will was proved 28 January 1871 (effects under £25,000).

Barnes, William (1817-92). Only son of Samuel Barnes (d. 1858) and his wife Juliana, daughter of William Speke of Jordans (Somerset), born 25 January and baptised at St. Stephen, Exeter, 15 April 1817. Educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1835; BA 1839; MA 1865). Partner in Sanders & Co., the Exeter Bank, from 1839. JP for Devon. Mayor of Exeter, 1862-63; Chairman of Exeter School Board. A Conservative in politics. He married, 2 July 1840 at Haseley (Oxon), Lucy (1822-50), fifth daughter of Walter Long esq. of Preshaw (Hants), and had issue:
(1) Lucy Georgiana Barnes (1841-81), born 11 June 1841; died unmarried, 13 April 1881; administration of her goods granted to her father, 6 May 1881 (effects under £4,000);
(2) Frances Mary Barnes (1842-1925), born 4 October 1842; married, 10 September 1872 at St David, Exeter, Rev. John Myddleton Beynon MA (1835-1909), rector of Llanvaches (Monmouths.) and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 13 August 1925; will proved 3 December 1925 (estate £2,194);
(3) William Barnes (1843-86) (q.v.);
(4) Samuel Barnes (1845-94), born 16 November 1845; educated at Westminster School; articled to Arthur Burch & Sons of Exeter, solicitors, but was unable to practice as a solicitor as he developed tuberculosis; died unmarried in London, 28 June 1894, and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, 4 July 1894;
(5) Rev. George Edward Barnes (1847-1923), born 26 March 1847; educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1866; BA 1870; MA 1873); ordained deacon, 1871 and priest, 1872; rector of Somerton (Oxon), 1875-1923; Vice-President of Oxford Archaeological Soc.; one of the last of the hunting parsons; married, 7 January 1886 at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx), Miss Elizabeth Mary Diana (1844-1936), only daughter of William Long of Wrington (Som.), and had issue one son; died 23 June and was buried at Somerset, 27 June 1923; will proved October 1923 (estate £21,550);
(6) Rev. Walter Ralph Barnes (1849-1922), born 16 January 1849; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1867; SCL and BA, 1871; MA 1879); ordained deacon, 1877 and priest, 1878; curate of Charlwood (Surrey), 1877-80, Barley (Herts), 1880-82 and Cowley chapel, Exeter, 1888; died in London, 28 May 1922; will proved 1 July 1922 (estate £369).
He purchased Great Duryard in the 1850s, and was no doubt responsible for the Victorian additions and alterations to the house.
He died 21 January and was buried at Clyst St Mary (Devon), 26 January 1892; his will proved 10 December 1892 (estate £100,958). His wife died as a result of complications following a stillbirth on 17 July, and was buried at Clyst St Mary, 23 July 1850.

Barnes, William (1843-86). Eldest son of William Barnes (1817-92) and his wife Lucy, fifth daughter of Walter Long of Preshaw (Hants), born 29 November 1843. Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1862). Banker; partner in Sanders & Co., the Exeter Bank, 1867-86. He married, 6 October 1874 at Upham (Hants), his first cousin, Jessie Annie (1853-1946), fifth daughter of Walter Jervis Long of Preshaw (Hants), and had issue:
(1) Jessie Georgina Barnes (1875-76), born 5 August 1875; died in infancy, 19 May 1876;
(2) William Carnegie Barnes (1876-1967) (q.v.).
(3) Reginald Speke Barnes (1878-1924)*, born 22 February 1878; educated at Wellington College and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1898); schoolmaster; served in First World War with Royal Fusiliers (Private; invalided out with TB, 1916); married, 22 April 1908 at St Philip, Kensington (Middx), Sylvia Carnegie Long (1880-1932) and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 14 April, and was buried at Stratton (Cornwall), 16 April 1924;
(4) Ernest Francis Barnes (1880-1968) of Throwleigh (Devon), born 29 August 1880; served in First World War (Lt., 1918); married, 27 April 1911 at All Saints, Notting Hill (Middx), Geraldine Catharine Ann (1870-1950), midwife, daughter of Rev. Thomas Henry Trickey Dening; died 29 February 1968; will proved 8 April 1968 (estate £57,736);
(5) Muriel Barnes (1882-1976), born 31 May 1882; married, 18 April 1907 at St Stephen, South Kensington (Middx), Capt. Hugh Griffin Tyler (1881-1953) of Cleddon House, Trelleck (Monmouths.), son of George Griffin Tyler (later Griffin) of Newton Court (Monmouths.), and had issue six sons; died aged 93 at St Peter's Convent, Maybury Hill, Woking (Surrey), 19 February 1976; will proved 25 May 1976 (estate £4,768).
He lived at The Grove, Exeter.
He died in the lifetime of his father, 27 March, and was buried at Clyst St Mary (Devon), 31 March 1886; his will was proved 5 May 1886 (effects £1,867). His widow died aged 93 on 22 June 1946.
* He needs to be carefully distinguished from an apparently unrelated man of the same name who was a captain in the Suffolk Regiment in the First World War and played tennis at Wimbledon before and after that conflict.

Barnes, William Carnegie (1876-1967). Eldest son of William Barnes (1843-86) and his wife Jessie Annie, fifth daughter of Walter Jervis Long of Preshaw (Hants), born 18 September 1876. Educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford. An officer in the Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry Cavalry (2nd Lt., 1899; Lt., 1902; retired; returned to colours as 2nd Lt., 1915; Lt. and T/Capt by 1917). He 
married, 4 February 1903 at Kenton (Devon), Gladys Mary (1879-1963), daughter of Edward Fairfax Studd of Oxton House (Devon), and had issue:
(1) Gladys Evelyn Vesta Clemency Barnes (1905-77), born 18 January 1905; married, 22 April 1931 at Kenton (Devon), Gp-Capt. Patrick George Chichester RAF (1901-83) and had issue one son and three daughters; died 3 February 1977; will proved 2 May 1977 (estate £5,896);
(2) William Anthony Fairfax Barnes (1907-35), born 16 March 1907; died at Springs, Transvaal (South Africa), 9 January 1935; educated at Sherborne School, RMC Sandhurst, and Camborne School of Mines; an officer in the Lincolnshire Regiment (2nd Lt.; retired); employed by a subsidiary of Consolidated Gold Mines in South Africa; died of blood poisoning; will proved 5 April 1935 (estate £1,088);
(3) Victoria Olga Felicity Barnes (1914-2009), born 21 December 1914; married, 16 April 1938 at Woodbury (Devon), Cmdr. John Hopkinson RN (1911-77), only son of Rev. J.H. Hopkinson of Poltimore (Devon); died aged 94 on 12 March 2009; will proved 4 November 2009.
He inherited Great Duryard from his grandfather, but mostly let it until he finally sold it about 1918. He lived in and around Exeter for much of his life but latterly at Hayne Manor (Devon).
He died aged 90 on 18 March 1967; his will was proved 15 May 1967 (estate £3,559). His wife died in Oct-Dec 1963. 

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1876, i, p.87; B. Cherry & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Devon, 2nd edn., 1989, p. 407; H. Meller, The country houses of Devon, 2015, pp. 991-92; C. Nicol, Inheriting the Earth: the Long family's 500 year reign in Wiltshire, 2016, pp. 267-70.

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Azure, three leopards' faces, argent.

Can you help?

  • I have not been able to trace any early views of Great Duryard, and I wonder if any reader can supply me with a picture of the house before 1936 which could be used above, or a drawing or engraving showing it before the Victorian alterations?
  • 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 1 December 2019.


  1. Sir-
    A minor addition not strictly relevant to the Barnes family, but the mother of Lucy Long, wife of William Barnes (1817-1892), is given in Burke's Landed Gentry 1894 as 'Lady Mary Carnegie' but, oddly, with no mention of her father; she was daughter of William Carnegie, 7th Earl of Northesk. Per that pedigree, William was also a Captain in the 1st Devon Yeomanry Cavalry.

  2. Reginald Speke Barnes was my grandfather. His daughter Diana Barrie nee Barnes(1919-2003) was my mother. Reginald Speke Barnes was indeed a Captain in the Army during the 1st World war and was mentioned in despatches. He was also an accomplished tennis player. I have the family tree in my possession and many family photographsas well as history surrounding our family. You are welcome to contact me at any time via email where I will also give you my address and phone number. Kind regards
    Alexander Barrie

    1. Thanks for making contact. Do you agree that I have correctly distinguished the two men called Reginald Speke Barnes, or are you saying that your grandfather was the man of this name whose father was a member of the Great Duryard family? I cannot reply privately as if you make a public comment I don't get to see your email address: to send me that you need to use the contact form in the right-hand side bar.


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.