|Baron of Tregeare|
The third John Baron left four sons who lived to adulthood: John (1611-64); Degory (1618-80); Jonathan (1623-1702) and George (1626-86). The three eldest all seem to have farmed on the estate. John was evidently sharing Treludick with his father after his marriage in 1637, and he made additions to the house in 1637-41, no doubt to make this arrangement more satisfactory to all concerned. Degory married in 1648 and Jonathan in 1656 and they probably had their own households from then onwards, if not earlier. By 1624 the family also owned at least some of the lands of Tregeare in the parishes of Egloskerry and Laneast, and in his book on the history of the estate Mr Winter speculates that Degory and Jonathan may have farmed Tregeare Farm and Home Farm respectively, but the only strong evidence for this seems to be that Degory's descendants owned Tregeare later on. The youngest of the four sons, George Baron (1626-86) was sent to London, and although there is no record of his being formally apprenticed there, he emerges after the Civil War as a merchant trading with Spain in wool and wine. His will suggests that he had connections with the Devon ports of Bideford and Barnstaple, so not all his trade was necessarily run from London. George became wealthy, and invested some of his capital in buying the Paris Garden estate in Southwark, about 100 acres of mostly marshy ground immediately south-west of the later Blackfriars Bridge, which had become notorious in 17th century London for its theatres, gambling dens and brothels. This estate, and other London property north of the river, was to be an important source of wealth for the family in subsequent generations. George left a complex will in which, after establishing the life interest of his wife (who died in 1712), he made provision for the descendants of his siblings except for those of his eldest brother, who he perhaps considered were already provided for. He also provided for his trustees to accumulate a fund of at least £4000 within eight years from his rental income, to be invested in 'estates of inheritance' for the family. We do not know how this money was applied, but it may explain how the family came to acquire the manor house of Tregeare, which in the 17th century was in the hands of the Edgcumbe family.
The principal beneficiary of George's will was his brother Degory's son, William Baron (1652-1732), who, on his aunt's death in 1712, inherited most of George's London property. William seems then to have divided his time between Tregeare and London, where he had a home in Shadwell, east of the city, and when he died he divided his estates between his two surviving sons. The elder, the Rev. John Baron (1681-1763), received the London property, and the younger, Degory Baron (1684-1738) the Cornish lands. One would like to know more about John, whose career is unexpected in a number of ways. Bearing in mind that he was only five when his great-uncle George died, and that his expectations of inheritance would have been fairly clear from then onwards, it is no surprise that he was sent to university at Oxford, but more notable that he then took holy orders and became a fellow (and indeed chaplain) of his Oxford college for ten years. He was also appointed rector of Duloe in Cornwall in 1705. One might assume that he had a vocation for the church which led him to prioritise the clerical life over his duty to the estate, but in 1713 he resigned his fellowship and in 1722 he resigned the benefice of Duloe. His resignation of his fellowship was perhaps occasioned by the death of George Baron's widow and his father's acquisition of the London estate, which he may well have gone to manage, but why did he resign the benefice of Duloe? His duties there were no doubt always performed by a curate, so there is no obvious reason why he should not have continued to pocket the rector's stipend for another forty years. In 1720, when he married, he was living in Wanstead (Essex), but in 1730 he bought the two manors of Pattishall in Northamptonshire and moved there. This purchase may have been assisted by the fund left for buying 'estates of inheritance' by his great-uncle, but it may be significant that 1730 was also the year in which his mother died, and he may have benefited from a payment under her marriage settlement. Nothing seems to be known about the house he occupied at Pattishall, and the estate passed out of the family in 1759, when he settled it on his son-in-law, Richard Dickinson. When he died in 1763, however, John Baron left his London property to the elder surviving son of his brother Degory, who was Oliver Baron (1718-86) of Tregeare.
Oliver Baron inherited the Tregeare estate (which was by now probably centred on the manor house) from his father in 1738 and the family's London property from his uncle in 1763. He was in the middle of his training as a barrister when his father died, but he stayed on at the Inner Temple and qualified in 1739. Indeed, he went on to actually practice at the bar, and became a bencher of the Inner Temple in 1775. His responsibilities as a lawyer kept him chiefly in London, and his younger brother, William Baron (1724-98) seems to have farmed the Tregeare estate and occupied the manor house there.
|Baron House, Mitcham: an early 19th century engraving |
showing the house when it was used as a boys' school.
When he died in 1786, Oliver left his widow (who died in 1796) a life interest in some of his property, and provided generously for his children. His second son, Jasper Baron (1768-98), who had been brought up amongst the large villas of north Surrey, came into the Tregeare estate when he came of age in 1789. Finding the old manor house, occupied by his uncle, well below the standard of accommodation he was used to, he built a new house on the property, choosing a site a little further west in Laneast parish. He married in 1794 and produced one son and two daughters before he died unexpectedly in February 1798. His widow found that most of the legacies due under Oliver's will of 1786 had not yet been paid, and that following the deaths of Jasper's elder brother in 1793 and his mother in 1796, and now of Jasper himself, there was an almost impossible testamentary tangle to resolve. In 1800 the family applied to the Court of Chancery for directions, but it took a further ten years to resolve. In the end, Jasper's son, William Baron (1797-1827) inherited Tregeare and a half-share of the London property and his one surviving sister, Elizabeth Ann Baron (1799-1833) had the other half-share of the London estate; and arrangements were made to pay Jasper's sisters (only one of whom ever married) their legacies.
William Baron came into his inheritance in 1818 and may have made some additions or alterations to the house at Tregeare before his untimely death in 1827. He was unmarried and the Tregeare estate passed to his sister and her husband, John King Rennals Lethbridge (1789-1861), a Launceston solicitor. Elizabeth Lethbridge also died young in 1833 (it seems likely that she and her brother were both tubercular), leaving no surviving issue, and so both Tregeare and the Baron family's London property passed into the Lethbridge family, who retained it until 1982. The Lethbridges will be the subject of a future post.
Tregeare House, Laneast, CornwallThe original manor house of Tregeare, which stood just inside Egloskerry parish, seems to have been built in 1582 by Leonard Bligh (d. 1583). At this time, Tregeare was evidently more of a hamlet than it is today, with at least two farmhouses as well as the manor house and some cottages, and although the Barons were in possession of at least one property here by 1624, they did not occupy the whole. The manor house is said to have been occupied by three generations of the Edgcumbe family, who were significant landowners in Laneast parish, in the 17th and 18th centuries, and certainly Roger Edgcumbe was in possession in 1662, when he paid tax on the sixteen hearths of the manor house. On balance it is probably more likely that he was the owner rather than a tenant, and the Baron family may not have acquired the manor house until sometime after 1712, when a trust fund established by George Baron (1626-86) for the purchase of estates by the family became available.
By the late 18th century, Oliver Baron (1718-86) and his sons, who were used to the sophistication of London and of Baron House at Mitcham, would have found the manor house at Tregeare very old-fashioned and primitive. When Oliver died, he left his London property to his elder son and his Cornish estate to his younger son, Jasper Baron (1768-98), who came of age in 1789 and at once built a the present symmetrical two-storey house a little west of its predecessor, just across the boundary in Laneast parish.
|Tregeare House: the 1st edition Ordnance Survey 6" map shows the respective locations of the new and old mansion houses, on either side of the parish boundary between Egloskerry and Laneast.|
|Tregeare House: the house in 1996, fully restored after the fire of 1983.|
Baron family of Tregeare
Baron, John (1581-1655). Son of John Baron (d. 1619) of Egloskerry, and nephew of another John Baron (d. 1624) of Egloskerry, who was either the brother or half-brother of John (d. 1619), baptised at Egloskerry, 22 November 1581. He married, 3 August 1607 at Egloskerry, Joan (d. 1639), daughter of George Sleeman (d. 1617), who was the partner of his uncle, John Baron (d. 1624) in the purchase of the Treludick estate in the 1590s. They had issue:
(5) Degory Baron (1618-80) (q.v.);
Baron, John (1611-64). Son of John Baron (1581-1655) and his wife Joan, daughter of George Sleeman of Egloskerry, baptised at Egloskerry, 17 July 1611. He married, 1637 (settlement 4 May), Mary Bennett (1615-76) of Hexworthy (Devon), and had issue:
(1) John Baron (c.1638-57), born about 1638; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1656), but died unmarried, 1 July 1657 and was buried at Egloskerry;
(2) Christopher Baron (c.1640-1703) of Treludick, probably baptised at Lawhitton (Cornw.), 14 February 1640/1; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1658) and Inner Temple (admitted 1658); High Sheriff of Cornwall, 1692; married, 29 October 1673 at Botus Fleming (Cornw.), Thomasina Jane (d. 1707), but had no issue; buried at Egloskerry, 28 October 1703; will proved in the PCC, 10 February 1703/4;
(3) William Baron (b. 1643), baptised at Egloskerry, 13 August 1643; married and had issue five children who were living in 1703;
(4) Robert Baron (1646-1719), baptised at Egloskerry, 2 February 1645/6; employed by his uncle George to collect rents in London; died unmarried and was buried at St Anne, Sho, London, 14 January 1718/9;
(5) Elizeus Baron (1648-1706), baptised at Egloskerry, 10 July 1648; educated at Wadham College, Oxford (matriculated (as Ellis) 1666); died unmarried, 31 July, and was buried at Bishops Tawton (Devon), 3 August 1706; will proved 12 October 1706;
(6) Mary Baron (b. 1651), baptised at Egloskerry, 26 February 1650/1; perhaps died young;
(7) Richard Baron (b. 1653), baptised at Egloskerry, 26 July 1653; perhaps died young;
(8) Joan Baron (1655-99), born and baptised at Egloskerry, 13 December 1655; married, 18 July 1682 at Egloskerry, William Saltern or Saltren (1658-1732), and had issue two sons and three daughters (including a son, John Saltren, who eventually inherited Treludick from his uncle, Christopher Baron, after the termination of a number of life interests); buried at St. Ive (Cornwall), 22 May 1699;
(9) Anne Baron (b. 1659), born and baptised at Egloskerry, 16 December 1659; married, 28 April 1698 at Egloskerry, Richard Bennett (d. by 1718), gent., and had issue one son and two daughters; living in 1702;
He inherited part of the Treludicke estate from his maternal grandfather in 1617, and the remainder from his father in 1654. He left Treludick to his eldest surviving son, Christopher, from whom it passed to the Saltren family; it was sold in the mid 18th century.
He was buried at Egloskerry, 31 October 1664; his will was proved 6 April 1665. His widow was buried at Egloskerry, 10 March 1675/6.
Baron, Degory (1618-80). Third, but second surviving, son of John Baron (1581-1655) and his wife Joan, daughter of George Sleeman of Egloskerry, baptised at Egloskerry, 7 April 1618. He was a farmer on his father's estate, probably at one of the Tregeare farms. He married, 1 February 1647/8 at Egloskerry, Blanche Short (d. 1687), and had issue:
(1) William Baron (1652-1732) (q.v.);
(2) George Baron (1654-56), baptised at Egloskerry, 29 October 1654; died in infancy, 6 January 1655/6 and was buried at Egloskerry;
(3) John Baron (1657-63), baptised at Egloskerry, 4 January 1657/8; died young and was buried at Egloskerry, 8 March 1662/3;
(4) Christian Baron (1660-77), born 12 March 1659/60 and was baptised at Egloskerry; died unmarried and was buried at Egloskerry, 6 August 1677.
He probably inherited land at Tregeare from his father in 1655.
He died 20 November and was buried at Egloskerry, 22 November 1680, and his will was proved 17 January 1680/1. His widow was buried at Egloskerry, 30 March 1687.
Baron, William (1652-1732). Eldest son and only surviving child of Degory Baron (1618-80), baptised at Egloskerry, 27 April 1652. He married, 30 November 1677, Margery Dodge (1645-1730), and had issue:
(1) Rev. John Baron (1681-1763) (q.v.);
(2) Degory Baron (1684-1738) (q.v.);
(3) Mary Baron (1686-1714), baptised at Egloskerry, 6 April 1686; died unmarried and was buried at St James, Garlickhythe, London, 9 June 1714 (where the register calls her Anne; but an entry in the register for Stepney (Middx) for the same day gives her correct name, father's name and place of residence, and refers to her removal to St James Garlickhythe);
(4) George Baron (1688-1709), baptised at Egloskerry, 6 May 1688; he is said to have died in Jamaica, 16 July 1709;
(5) Jonathan Baron (1690-1710), born 31 May and baptised at Egloskerry, 24 June 1690; died unmarried in London and was buried at St James, Garlickhythe, London, 15 July 1710;
(6) Anne Baron (1692-1766), born 14 May and baptised at Egloskerry, 7 June 1692; married, 1730 (licence 4 August), John Hicks (d. 1760); died 3 January and was buried at Altarnun (Cornw.), 7 January 1766;
(7) Catherine Baron (1694-1726), baptised at Egloskerry, 3 October 1694; married, 26 January 1716/7 at St Paul, Shadwell (Middx), Gabriel Story (d. 1729), of Shadwell, apothecary, and had issue one son (who died young) and one daughter (Anne Story); buried at St James, Garlickhythe, London, 15 July 1726;
(8) Elizabeth Baron (1698-1718), baptised at Egloskerry, 15 May 1698; died unmarried and was buried at Egloskerry, 10 May 1718.
He inherited the Tregeare estate from his father in 1680 and the manor of Paris Garden from his uncle George Baron, on the expiry of his aunt's life interest in 1712. In the early 18th century he apparently lived in the Shadwell district of London. He left his London property to his eldest son and the Cornish estates to his second son. He may have added Tregeare Manor House to the family's property in Cornwall.
He died 9 December, and was buried at Egloskerry, 12 December 1732; his will was proved in the PCC, 2 March 1732/3. His wife was buried at Egloskerry, 9 January 1729/30.
Baron, Rev. John (1681-1763). Eldest son of William Baron (1652-1732) and his wife Margery Dodge, , baptised at Egloskerry, 1 November 1681. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1698; BA 1701; MA 1704); Fellow and Chaplain of Exeter College, 1703-13. Rector of Duloe (Cornw.), 1705-22. He married, 5 August 1720 at St James, Dukes Place, London, Sarah Panton, and had issue two daughters:
(1) Anna Maria Baron (1722?-89), born about 1722; married 1st, 28 June 1741 at All Hallows, London Wall, London, Weaver Abley (1718-c.1746); married 2nd, 4 July 1747 at All Hallows, London Wall, Richard Dickinson (d. 1785), brewer, by whom she had four sons and three daughters; died 9 April 1789;
(2) Sarah Baron (b. 1724), baptised at St Alban, Wood St., 25 October 1724.
He purchased the two manors at Pattishall (Northants) in 1730 and inherited the family's London property from his father in 1732. He settled his Northamptonshire estate on his son-in-law, Richard Dickinson in 1759.
He died at Pattishall, 11 March and was buried at St James Garlickhythe, London, 20 March 1763. His wife's date of death is unknown.
Baron, Degory (1684-1738). Second son of William Baron (1652-1732) and his wife Margery, born 10 March and baptised at Egloskerry, 13 March 1683/4. He married, 27 December 1712 at Egloskerry, Elizabeth Ball (d. 1759), and had issue:
(1) Margery Baron (1713-48), baptised at Egloskerry, 7 November 1713; died unmarried and was buried at Egloskerry, 14 May 1748;
(2) John Baron (1716-32), baptised at Egloskerry, 21 February 1715/6; died young and was buried at Egloskerry, 23 March 1731/2;
(3) Oliver Baron (1718-86) (q.v.);
(4) George Baron (1722-32), baptised at Egloskerry, 12 June 1722; died young and was buried at Egloskerry, 24 September 1732;
(5) William Baron (1724-98), baptised at Egloskerry, 1 June 1724; farmer at Tregeare; died unmarried and was buried at Egloskerry, 29 January 1798; his will was proved at Exeter, 9 May 1798.
He inherited the Tregeare estate from his father in 1732, and added Tregeare Manor House to his family's property if his father had not already done so. At his death he left his wife the use of Tregeare House for life.
He died 3 October and was buried at Egloskerry, 7 October 1738; his will was proved in the PCC, 28 April 1741. His widow died 11 January and was buried at Egloskerry, 14 January 1759.
Baron, Oliver (1718-86). Second, but eldest surviving, son of Degory Baron (1684-1738) and his wife Elizabeth Ball, baptised at Egloskerry, 17 January 1717/8. Educated at the Inner Temple (admitted 1735; called 1739; bencher 1775; treasurer 1783-84). Barrister-at-law. He married 1st, 27 June 1752 at the Temple church, London, Jane Wilkinson (1726-53) and 2nd, 8 March 1762, Elizabeth Booth (d. 1796), and had issue:
(2.1) Oliver William Baron (1763-93), baptised at the Temple church, London, 2 February 1763; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1778) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1775; called 1784); barrister-at-law; died unmarried and was buried at Christ Church, Southwark, 10 April 1793; his will was proved in the PCC, 3 June 1793;
(2.2) Ann Baron (1764-1835), born 11 August and baptised at the Temple church, 24 August 1764; occupied the old manor house at Tregeare in 1801; died unmarried, 2 April, and was buried at Castle Cary (Som.), 9 April 1835;
(2.3) Elizabeth Baron (1766-1836), born 10 November and baptised at Mitcham, 3 December 1766; declared a lunatic in 1803 and placed in the custody of her elder sister, 1805; died unmarried, 13 June, and was buried at Castle Cary, 18 June 1836;
(2.4) Jasper Baron (1768-98) (q.v.);
(2.5) Frances Jane Baron (1770-1842), born 1 June and baptised at Mitcham, 14 July 1770; died unmarried, 1 July, and was buried at Castle Cary, 9 July 1842;
(2.6) Marianne Baron (1772-1856), born 19 August and baptised at Mitcham, 3 September 1772; married, 13 June 1823 at Christ Church, Southwark, Rev. William Barber Fennell (1754-1831) of Andover (Hants), rector of Compton Valence (Hants), but had no issue; lived latterly in the High St., Castle Cary, and was buried at Castle Cary, 17 May 1856.
He inherited the Tregeare estate from his father in 1738 and the Paris Garden estate from his uncle, the Rev. John Baron, in 1763. He lived chiefly in London, where he had chambers in the Inner Temple, but between about 1766 and 1776 he rented or owned a large house at Mitcham (Surrey) which was afterwards called Baron House.
He was buried at Christ Church, Southwark, 27 May 1786; his will was proved in the PCC, 8 June 1786. His first wife was buried at Christ Church, Southwark, 21 April 1753. His widow was buried at Christ Church, Southwark, 7 March 1796.
(1) Elizabeth Baron (1795-98), baptised at Mevagissey, 7 September 1795; died young and was buried at Egloskerry, 13 February 1798;
(2) William Baron (1797-1828) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Ann Baron (1799-1833) (q.v.).
He inherited the Tregeare estate from his father in 1786, came of age in 1789, and promptly rebuilt Tregeare House in about 1790. The old house was not pulled down until later in the 19th century, and was occupied by his uncle William Baron until his death in 1798 and then by his sister Ann. On his mother's death he inherited the family's London property. At his death he left all his property to his widow for life, but financial and legal complexities led to the appointment of a Master in Chancery to sort out his estate. On his widow's death Tregeare passed to their son and the Paris Garden estate was divided between his son and daughter.
He was buried at Egloskerry, 13 February 1798; his will was proved 5 June 1799. His widow died at Mevagissey, 11 August, and was buried at Egloskerry, 16 August 1812.
Baron, William (1797-1827). Only son of Jasper Baron (1768-98) and his wife Elizabeth Pearce, baptised at Altarnun, 21 February 1797. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford (matriculated 1815). JP for Cornwall; High Sheriff of Cornwall, 1825. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Tregeare estate and a moiety of the Paris Garden manor on the death of his mother in 1812 and came of age in 1818. He may have made some additions and alterations to the house at Tregeare.
He died intestate at Madford near Launceston, and was buried at Egloskerry, 27 March 1827.
Baron, Elizabeth Ann (1799-1833). Only surviving daughter of Jasper Baron (1768-98) and his wife Elizabeth Pearce, born 20 July and baptised at Altarnun, 27 July 1799. She married, 12 January 1819 at Laneast (Cornw.), John King Rennals Lethbridge (1789-1861) of Launceston, solicitor, son of Christopher Lethbridge of Launceston, solicitor, and had issue:
(1) Christopher King Lethbridge (1819-20), baptised at Launceston, 7 September 1819; died in infancy and was buried at Launceston, 23 February 1820;
(2) Christopher Lethbridge (b. & d. 1822), baptised at Launceston, 27 January 1822; died in infancy and was buried 29 January 1822.
She inherited a moiety of the Paris Garden estate on the death of her mother in 1812, and she and her husband inherited the Tregeare estate from her brother in 1827.
She died at Tregeare, 1 February and was buried at Egloskerry, 8 February 1833. Her husband married 2nd, 13 August 1835 at Egloskerry, Emma Palmer, and had further issue two sons and four daughters; he died at Weston-super-Mare (Som.), 28 May and was buried at Egloskerry, 5 June 1861; his will was proved 20 June 1861, and a further grant was made 5 August 1919.
F. Hitchins, The history of Cornwall, 1824, vol. 2, p. 219; E. Twyross, The mansions of England & Wales: Cornwall, 1848, pp. 69-70; E.D. Lloyd, 'The Egloskerry Barons', Journal of the Cornwall Family History Society, vol. 8, 1978, pp. 12-15; D.E. Pett, The parks and gardens of Cornwall, 1998, p. 211; C.W.R. Winter, In sundry places: the story of the Cornish estate of Tregeare, 1999; L. Jessop, Treludick, Egloskerry, Cornwall: survey, investigation and history of the house and farm buildings, 2007; P. Beacham & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cornwall, 3rd edn., 2014, p. 182.
Location of archives
Some papers of the Baron family will be found among those of the
Lethbridge family of Tregeare: Cornish estate records, 1800-1938 [Kresen Kernow Archives & Cornish Studies service, L]; deeds, manorial records and estate papers for their Southwark estate, 16th-20th cents [London Metropolitan Archives, E/LET, M/92/1-143]
Coat of arms
Sable in fesse three talbots' heads erased argent.
Can you help?
- The 17th and 18th century descent of the Tregeare manor house remains uncertain in places, and I would be very interested to hear from anyone who can throw further light on it.
- 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 12 February 2020.