|Bathurst of Cirencester|
Franks Hall, Horton Kirby, Kent
|Franks Hall, Horton Kirby: entrance front and side elevation in 1913. Image: Country Life.|
|Franks Hall, Horton Kirby: the hall in 1913. Image: Country Life.|
|Franks Hall, Horton Kirby: postcard view showing the large conservatory attached to the west front in the late 19th century.|
Hothorpe Hall, Northamptonshire
Great House, Paulerspury, Northamptonshire
By July 1595 work was sufficiently advanced for a locksmith to be engaged to supply 12 locks and for wainscot to be ordered from a joiner in Southwark, including both plain work and ‘French panelling’. In August 1595 a chimney-piece of 'Sussex marble, alabaster, touch and rance' (i.e. a mixture of cream, red and black stone) was ordered from Garret Johnson, the Southwark marble carver, for the hall, to be carved according to a pattern left with him. This cost £60, including gilding. In September 1595 Throckmorton bought a Turkey carpet, although this might have been for his London house. By October the building work was drawing to a close and he was replacing the old fences, posts and rails round the park. The resulting house was described in the mid 17th century as ‘a fair capital messuage of stone, with barns, stables, coach-houses, outhouses, gardens and orchards’, but by then the mansion was already let as a farmstead. The former manor house, known as the Great House, was still tenanted in 1772, when part of the site was being used as a parish workhouse. In 1791 the Dukes of Grafton were buying stone from the Great House for re-use elsewhere, and much of the structure was apparently taken down before the end of the 18th century. The manor house site had probably been cleared by the 1820s, although some farm buildings survived until the second half of the 20th century, when they too were taken down, leaving only earthworks to indicate the site of the mansion and its gardens running down to the brook west of the church.
One volume of Throckmorton's diary ends in 1595 and when it resumes in 1609 he was laying out new gardens around his house, engaging a carpenter named Truslowe to make doors and masons named Russell to build the walls. A gardener came from Mixbury (Oxon.) in September that year to design new gardens, although he and his son broke their contract almost at once, and advice was also obtained from Lord Stanhope's gardener at Harrington, a man named Daniel, and from the gardener at Holdenby. Terraces were laid out across the slope which ran down from the house towards the stream which bounds the site to the west, a causeway was built from the mansion to the churchyard, and seats were made for the garden, including one near the bowling green. Fruit trees, including apricots, were trained and spread in espaliers against one of the walls of the mansion. In the spring of 1611 waterworks were being installed and by July the long walk in the great garden had been levelled.
Descent: Sir John St. John sold 1541 to King Henry VIII as part of a complex exchange agreement; in 1551 the Crown granted the estate, with other lands, in return for the surrender of an annuity, to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (d. 1571); to son, Sir Arthur Throckmorton (d. 1626); to widow Anne, Lady Throckmorton, who sold her life interest in 1628 to their daughter Mary, wife of Thomas Wotton (1587-1630), 2nd Lord Wotton of Marley; to daughter Anne, later wife of Sir Edward Hales of Tunstall (Kent), 2nd bt; sold 1668 to their son and heir, Edward Hales, who sold 1673-74 to Sir Benjamin Bathurst (1638-1704); to widow Frances Bathurst (d. 1727), who gave the estate in 1707 to her eldest son, Allen Bathurst (1684-1775), 1st Earl Bathurst; to son, Henry Bathurst (1714-94), 1st Baron Apsley and 2nd Earl Bathurst; to son, Henry Bathurst (1762-1834), 3rd Earl Bathurst; who sold 1805 to Robert Shedden (d. 1826); to son George (1769-1855); to son, William George Shedden (d. 1872); to brother, Roscow Cole Shedden (d. 1877) of East Cowes (Isle of Wight); to son George Shedden, who in 1920 sold the remaining 600 acres to the sitting tenant, Thomas Roddis; sold to Edgar Eales (fl. 1939).
Richings Park, Iver, Buckinghamshire
After the property came into the hands of Allen Bathurst (1684‐1775), later 1st Earl Bathurst, in 1708, there was a period of about eight years when Richings (or Riskins as it was often called at the time) was his main residence. At this time he was a prominent figure at Court and in Parliament, and the house was convenient for both London and Windsor. He entertained at Richings both his political associates, like Lord Bolingbroke, and the leading Tory writers and wits like Addison, Pope, Congreve, Gay and Swift. After 1714, when the Tory Bathurst’s star was eclipsed for a generation by the death of Queen Anne and the advent of the Hanoverian regime, he spent increasing amounts of time at Cirencester Park, and although work at Richings did not stop altogether, the focus of his landscaping activities moved to Gloucestershire. We have no information about what the gardens at Richings were like when Lord Bathurst inherited the property, but he developed them as one of the earliest examples of a ferme ornée: in which areas of productive pasture and arable were interwoven with decorative walks and rides through narrow belts of woodland. The gardener and landscape designer Stephen Switzer is known to have been involved in the work (he describes the layout in Ichnographia Rustica and dedicated his Practical Kitchen Gardener to Bathurst as ‘the best of Masters, best of Friends’) but whether he really took a leading role in the design is unclear. The fuller evidence for Cirencester Park suggests that Bathurst was himself the principal designer there, but the situation at Richings may have been different, as Bathurst would then have been less experienced and perhaps did not have the leisure to direct the works himself. Alexander Pope was no doubt also involved, as he was at Cirencester later on, and Bathurst dedicated both a seat and an avenue of horse chestnut trees at Richings to Pope.
|Richings Park, Iver: the 'regulated Epitomy' |
published by Stephen Switzer in 1742
For an estate which was so well-known in the 18th century, it is remarkable that not a single drawing appears to survive that shows the house or the garden at this time. Our only information comes from a plan published by Switzer in Ichnographia Rustica (1742), and two county maps of the 1750s by John Rocque. Switzer calls his drawing a ‘regulated Epitomy’: this appears to be an idealised version of reality that is based on the irregular layout shown by Rocque but which is rendered symmetrical, the better to support his didactic purpose. John Rocque’s Maps of Middlesex (1754) and Berkshire (1761), show the reality, but at a very small scale. The centrepiece of the layout was a canal some 555 yards long (L-shaped not straight as Switzer suggests), with a central circular pool, formal allées cut through wooded parkland south of the house and a ‘circumferential ride’. West of the house was a menagerie, and on the site of a former chapel, a grotto and greenhouse and the “Abbey Walk of beech trees with a statue at the end”. Whereas Switzer shows the house as a regular square building on the axis of the canal, Rocque shows an irregular house set at the north-west corner of the site, which seems to sit better with Lady Hertford’s description of it as ‘old but convenient’.
|Richings Park, Iver: the entrance front of the house built c.1790. Image: Historic England|
|Richings Park, Iver: the garden front of the house built c.1790. Image: Historic England.|
In 1922 the estate was sold to the Sykes Brothers, who occupied the house and retained some of the land for farming, but began developing the rest as a residential estate (Richings Park). Some houses were built, but their company went into receivership in 1932, and in 1938 the park was sold to William Boyer & Sons, aggregate merchants. In 1938‐40 the villa was taken over briefly by Bomber Command, but in 1950 the villa was demolished, possibly as a result of wartime damage or neglect; parts of the foundations and the cellars are said survive amid scrub. In 1963 the M4 was built through the south section of the park, cutting through the south tip of the canal, and in the mid‐1990s the majority of the estate was developed as a golf course.
Descent: sold 1576 to William Salter (1526‐1606), a London grocer, for his son Sir Edward Salter (1562‐1647); to son... sold 1678 to Sir Peter Apsley (d. 1691); to son, Peter Apsley (d. 1708); to sister Catherine (1688-1768), wife of Allen Bathurst (1684-1775), 1st Earl Bathurst; sold 1739 to Algernon Seymour (1684-1750), Earl of Hertford and later 7th Duke of Somerset; to son-in-law, Sir Hugh Smithson (later Percy) (c.1714-86), 4th bt. and 1st Duke of Northumberland; sold 1776 to Sir John Coghill (d. 1785), 1st bt.; to widow, Hester Coghill, Dowager Countess of Charleville, who sold 1786 to John Sullivan (d. 1839); to nephew, Augustus Sullivan; sold 1855 to Charles Meeking; to son, Lt-Col. Charles Meeking (d. 1912); to granddaughter, Miss Viola Meeking; sold 1922 to Sykes family; sold 1938 to William Boyer & Sons, aggregate merchants; requisitioned for wartime use by Bomber Command; demolished 1950.
Cirencester Park (aka Oakley Lodge), Gloucestershire
|Cirencester Park: detail of Kip's view of Cirencester, showing the Elizabethan house built for Sir John Danvers|
|Cirencester Park: the west (left) and east (right) fronts of the house as remodelled in 1723-27. The tower visible in the left hand view is that of the parish church not part of the house.|
|Cirencester Park: a view of the east front from within the yew hedge by H.W. Taunt, c.1895. Image: Oxfordshire Libraries.|
|Cirencester Park: plan of Oakley Park|
as laid out by the 1st Earl, published in 1779
|Cirencester Park: Pope's Seat in 1895.|
|Cirencester Park: The Hexagon in 1895.|
|Cirencester Park: engraving of Alfred's Hall published in 1763 after a drawing by Thomas Robins. The drawing shows the sham ruins added to the grounds after 1730.|
Langwith Lodge, Nether Langwith, Nottinghamshire
|Langwith Old Hall in 2013. Image: John Slater. Some rights reserved.|
|Langwith Lodge: drawing by S.H. Grimm, 1785, showing the possibly late 17th century house with its 18th century wings. |
Image: Yale Center for British Art.
In the 1780s, a cotton mill was constructed by the Bathursts to the east of the site (creating substantial new employment and leading to an increase in the size of the village) and the river was dammed in front of Langwith Lodge to form a lake to supply the mill with water. The lake and grounds were landscaped in 1794, when James Dowland, the local agent of the Bathursts, had trees planted around the site, many of which survive around the lake and alongside the road. A lodge was also built around this time at the south eastern entrance. The view referred to shows a party of ladies and gentlemen in a rowing boat on the lake, and the 2nd Earl Bathurst seems to have used the house occasionally, but already in 1797 Throsby noted that "This family residence is seldom used as such by the present owner, indeed it is not frequently visited by the family", and it may have been occupied by James Dowland and his successors as agent. From the early 19th century it was generally leased: Robert Nassau Sutton was recorded as resident in 1823, and his son Peter Nassau Sutton in 1832; Henry Hollins, a local cotton merchant, lived there in 1841, soon followed by Captain Samuel William Need, a grandson of Samuel Need, the business partner of cotton miller Richard Arkwright.
The 4th Earl Bathurst sold Langwith Lodge with some land to the Duke of Portland in 1844, but retained those parts of the estate which formed part of the north Derbyshire coalfield until the early 20th century. In the 19th century there were large coal mining operations at Scarcliffe and Palterton and much of the landscape was obliterated by spoil heaps, now all smoothed away. When the house was sold, Captain S.W. Need remained as tenant, but in the same year changed his surname to Welfitt (his maternal uncle’s surname). Welfitt eventually became Colonel of the local yeomanry, and a JP, and remained at Langwith Lodge until his death in 1889. His widow died in 1899, and soon afterwards, in February 1900, the surviving contents of the house were auctioned off, and the building was demolished. It is not clear why: some accounts state that the house was damaged by fire after Mrs. Welfitt's death, but there are no reports of such a fire in the local press and the notices of the sale of the contents make no reference to any of the goods being damaged or smoke blackened, so this seems unlikely; it was probably just in poor condition.
|Langwith Lodge: engraving from The Building News, 1903 showing the design and plan of the new house.|
|Langwith Lodge: a postcard view of the new house in the early 20th century.|
Fairy Hill (later Fairy Hall), Mottingham, Kent
|Fairy Hall, Mottingham: the house as rebuilt in 1857 for James Hartley.|
|Fairy Hall, Mottingham: the house as enlarged in 1889 for the Royal Naval School. The house is now the home of Eltham College. |
Image: Eltham College.
Location of archives
Can you help?
- Can anyone provide an image of the Georgian house at Fairy Hill, Mottingham before it was rebuilt in 1857?