|Baynham of Clearwell and Westbury|
Clearwell Court (later Clearwell Castle), GloucestershireNothing now remains of the predecessor of the present house (usually known as Clearwell Court until the 20th century). Its origins can probably be traced back to Robert Greyndour (d. 1443), who was the first owner of the estate to be styled as ‘of Clearwell’ rather than ‘of Newland’, the large village in whose parish the estate lay. When Robert died in 1443 his house – presumably on the same site as the present building – comprised a hall, chapel, 12 chambers, buttery, pantry and cellar, besides farm buildings. In 1484 the estate passed by marriage to the Baynham family, and it remained in their possession until 1611, when it again passed by marriage to the Throckmortons. In the mid 17th century, Sir Baynham Throckmorton, was a leading figure among the county gentry, and one of the senior officials in the Forest of Dean. He had to pay a large fine to recover his estate from sequestration in the Civil War, and subsequently forfeited it again and had to buy it back in 1653, crippling the family finances. In 1698 his son's heirs sold the house to Francis Wyndham of Uffords Manor (Norfk).
|Clearwell Court: a detail from the Kip engraving of c.1710, showing the Tudor house that existed then.|
|Clearwell Castle: the 18th century house is first recorded in this engraving of 1775, when it had already been extended at the rear.|
As originally completed, the house consisted of just the two corner towers and linking hall, with a pair of stone staircases at the rear. Although planned on an immense scale, the house thus offered very little accommodation: Morris’ estimate refers only to a hall, great and common parlours, and a library. Not surprisingly, the Wyndhams soon added the lower, two-storey range across the back of the house, and the projecting library wing behind that. These additions certainly existed by 1775, and Professor Rowan has argued convincingly that they were made before Thomas Wyndham died in 1752. The later extensions and the entrance gateway and screen may also have been designed by Morris, who died in 1749, but the lodges flanking the screen are later additions.
|Clearwell Castle: the hall as altered by John Middleton, c.1867. Image: Historic England.|
|Clearwell Castle: the house today.|
Descent: Alice Walwyn (d. 1518), wife of Thomas Baynham (d. 1500) and later Sir Walter Denys (d. 1505), kt.; to son, Sir Christopher Baynham (c.1478-1540); to son, Sir George Baynham (c.1500-46); to son, Christopher Baynham (c.1528-57); to brother Richard Baynham (c.1530-80); to brother Thomas Baynham (c.1536-1611); to daughter Cecily (c.1583-1614), wife of Sir William Throckmorton (1579-1628), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Baynham Throckmorton (1606-64), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Baynham Throckmorton (1628-81), 3rd bt.; sold 1698 by his heirs to Francis Wyndham (d. 1716); to son, John Wyndham (d. 1725); to son, Thomas Wynham (d. 1752); to son, Charles Wyndham (later Edwin) (d. 1801); to son, Thomas Wyndham (d. 1814); to daughter, Caroline (d. 1870), wife of Windham Henry Quin (later Wyndham-Quin) (1782-1850), 2nd Earl of Dunraven and Mountearl; to her grandson, Windham Henry Wyndham-Quin; sold c.1882 to John Eveleigh Wyndham (d. 1887); sold 1893 to Henry Collins, whose mortgagees sold 1907 to the sitting tenant, Col. Alan Gardner (d. 1907); executors sold 1910 to James Lewis Lewis; sold 1911 to Col. Charles Vereker (d. 1947); sold 1952 to Frank Yeates; sold 1981 to Gresham family; sold 1984 to Mr & Mrs Russell-Steele;... sold 1997 to Country House Weddings Ltd.
Westbury Court, Westbury-on-Severn, GloucestershireA manor house is recorded at Westbury from 1200, and the first buildings probably stood in a field south of the present garden. During the late Middle Ages and Tudor times the estate belonged to the Baynham family, and Sir Alexander Baynham (c.1460-1524) may have been the first member of his family to build on the site nearer the road where later houses stood. In his engraving of the house of c.1710, Kip shows an L-shaped house, with lower and perhaps older outbuildings in front of it, which was perhaps built or altered for Joseph Baynham (c.1536-1613) or after his son Alexander sold the estate in 1625. Sir Duncombe Colchester, is reputed to have altered the house in 1656, although nothing obviously of this date is detectable in Kip's print. The house's most distinctive feature was the extraordinary oriel window with its fish-scale tiled roof, a feature which could conceivably be of the 1650s. The main entrance stood at the end of a range, in the same way as at Ampney Park. The house had eleven hearths in 1672 and twenty-three rooms in 1715.
|Westbury Court: the Kip engraving of the house and its water garden made c.1710.|
|Westbury Court: the statue of Neptune|
The Jacobean Westbury Court was destroyed by fire in 1742, and Michael Sidnell, a Bristol house carpenter, was called in to design and erect a replacement. This house, which was a four-storey building of brick with stone dressings, took three years to erect, and may never have been properly finished. It is said to have been occupied only from 1780 to 1805, and in the latter year orders were given for its careful dismantling, and the sale of the building materials, which were reused in finishing Tutshill House (Gloucestershire) for Sir George Bolton. The Colchester family moved to a smaller house a few miles away, The Wilderness at Mitcheldean, but fortunately they continued basic maintenance of the gardens at Westbury as a destination for drives and picnics. At some point in the 1880s, Maynard Colchester-Wemyss replanted some of the topiary in the garden, but through misinterpreting the Kip print he made the topiary shapes rise out of the top of a hedge rather than a simple grass plat; an error that has been perpetuated in subsequent restorations.
|Westbury Court: the new house built in 1895 attached to the larger garden pavilion. Image: Historic England|
|Westbury Court: the restored garden pavilion in 1984. |
Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.
Baynham family of Clearwell Court
Baynham, Thomas (1422-1500). Son of Robert ap Eynon alias Baynham (d. 1436) and his wife Margaret Abrahall (d. 1475?), born 9 April 1422. High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, 1479-80; Constable of St. Briavels Castle (Glos), jointly with his son Christopher, 1483. He married 1st, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Hody (d. 1441) of Stowell (Som.) and Nitheway, Brixham (Devon), Chief Justice of England, and 2nd, Alice (c.1457-1518), daughter and heir of William Walwyn (d. 1471), and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Alexander Baynham (1460-1524) [for whom see below, Baynham family of Westbury Court];(1.2) William Baynham (d. c.1520); educated at Inner Temple; joint steward of Latimer lands in Gloucestershire from 1486; JP for Gloucestershire, 1486-1500; MP for Hindon (Wilts), 1491-92; married Eleanor, daughter of Richard Amerys, and had issue one son; buried in Temple church, London;(2.1) Sir Christopher Baynham (c.1478-1540), kt. (q.v.);(2.2) Elizabeth Baynham (d. 1511?); married 1st, by 1493, Robert Russell (d. 1502) of Strensham, and had issue at least one son; married 2nd, as his second wife, Sir Robert Throckmorton (d. 1518), kt. of Coughton Court (Warks), and probably had further issue; buried at Strensham (Worcs), where she and her first husband are commemorated by a brass; she is said to have died in 1511; her second husband died in Italy on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land;(2.3) Isabell Baynham; married, c.1490, Sir Giles Brydges (d. 1512) of Coberley (Glos) and had issue at least one son (John Brydges (d. 1557), later 1st Baron Chandos of Sudeley) and two daughters; buried at Coberley;(2.4) Anne Baynham; married 1st, Henry Clifford; married 2nd, by 1493, William Trye (c.1467-1525), and had issue at least one son;(2.5) Susan(na) Baynham; married Ralph Butler (b. 1478) of Badminton (Glos) and had issue at least one son;(2.6) Jane Baynham; married Fulk Walwyn (c.1467-1509) and had issue at least one daughter.
(X1) Maud Baynham (d. 1563); married William Wyrrall (d. 1577) of Bicknor (Glos) and had issue four sons and five daughters.
(1) Sir George Baynham (c.1500-46), kt. (q.v.);(2) John Baynham; mentioned in the 1623 Visitation of Gloucestershire but not otherwise recorded and perhaps a mistake for the following;(3) Thomas Baynham (d. 1587), of Noxon Park, Bream (Glos); (since he describes himself as 'gent' not 'clerk' in his will, he was presumably not the man of this name who was rector of Aston Ingham (Herefs), 1544-48 and Mitcheldean (Glos), 1548-50; the clergyman was perhaps his cousin); married Mary [surname unknown] and had issue four sons; will proved in Gloucester, 1587;(4) Alice Baynham; married, after 1518, John Walsh (d. 1541) of Shelsley Walsh (Worcs), son of John Walsh of Shelsley Walsh, and had issue two sons and four daughters;(5) Joan Baynham (fl. 1518); perhaps the 'Jane Baynham' who married James, son of Thomas Hyett of Lydney, and had issue two sons and three daughters;(6) Dorothy Baynham; married Walter ap Robert, said to have been the son of Thomas ap Robert;(7) Mary Baynham; married, as his first wife, Thomas Mill of Harescombe (Glos) but had no issue.
(1.1) Frances Baynham (c.1526-83), born about 1526; heir to her great-uncle, Sir Anthony Kingston (d. 1554), kt.; Lady in Waiting to Queen Mary I; married, as a child, about 1536, Sir Henry Jerningham (1510-72), kt. of Costessey Hall (Norfk), Constable of Gloucester Castle, 1528-72 and a leading figure at the court of Queen Mary I as Master of the Horse, 1557-59, son of Edward Jerningham of Somerleyton (Suffk), and had issue three sons and two daughters; buried at Costessey, 23 December 1583; will proved in the PCC, 15 February 1583/4;(2.1) Christopher Baynham (c.1528-57) (q.v.);(2.2) Richard Baynham (c.1530-80) (q.v.);(2.3) Joan Baynham (fl. 1585); married, before 1557, Sir Anthony Strelley (1528-91) of Strelley (Notts), son of Sir Nicholas Strelley (d. 1560), and had issue six sons and two daughters; living in 1585 but death not traced;(2.4) Dorothy Baynham (fl. 1611); married 1st, Roger Williams (d. 1585) of Usk and Llangibby (Mon.) and 2nd [forename unknown] Morgan; living in 1611, when she was mentioned in her brother's will;(2.5) Mary Baynham; married, after 1585, [forename unknown] Fenton of Fenton (Notts);(2.6) Thomas Baynham (c.1536-1611) (q.v.);(2.7) Anne Baynham (fl. 1585); married John Strelley (b. 1532) of Strelley (Notts), son of Sir Nicholas Strelley (d. 1560), and had issue at least two sons;(2.8) John Baynham (fl. 1546); mentioned in his father's will, but died unmarried and without issue;(2.9) George Baynham (fl. 1585); mentioned in his mother's will in 1585; probably died unmarried and without issue;(2.10) Philippa Baynham (d. c.1636); inherited her husband's property in Newland, which she bequeathed to her nephew, William Williams; married, probably after 1585, William Connock alias Connox of Coleford (Glos) (d. 1623), but had no issue; died about 1636; will proved 6 February 1636/7;(2.11) Alice Baynham; married, 27 May 1573 at Newland, Thomas Brayne (d. 1604) of Littledean (Glos); apparently predeceased her husband;(2.12) Jane Baynham (fl. 1598); married, probably after 1585, [forename unknown] Turberfield.
(1) Thomas Baynham (1581-1604?), baptised at Newland, 6 September 1581; died without issue in the lifetime of his father and was perhaps the man of this name buried at Bristol, 18 January 1603/4;(2) Cecily Baynham (c.1583-1614) (q.v.);(3) Joan Baynham (1585-1647), baptised at Newland, 17 November 1585; co-heiress of her father, inheriting land at Mitcheldean and Abenhall, to which she retired after the death of her husband; a Roman Catholic and religion, who is said to have been imprisoned for her faith at Gloucester in 1641; married John Vaughan (d. 1618) of Kinnersley (Herefs), and had issue three sons and one daughter; buried at Abenhall (Glos), 7 June 1647;(4) George Baynham (1586-1606?), baptised at Newland, 23 October 1586; died without issue in the lifetime of his father; possibly the 'gent' of this name buried at St Saviour, Southwark (Surrey), 1 August 1606.
(1) Anne alias Hannah Throckmorton (fl. 1607), born before 1607; married, as his second wife, John Johnson (d. 1667) of Pinchbeck and Ayscoughfee Hall (Lincs), son of Francis Johnson of Lilford (Northants), and had issue one son; death not traced;(2) Sir Baynham Throckmorton (1606-64), 2nd bt. (q.v.);(3) Elizabeth Throckmorton (1608-75), born 6 January 1607/8; named in the will of her grandfather and her sister-in-law, Dame Alice Throckmorton; died unmarried, 12 December, and was buried at Newland, 15 December 1675; will proved at Gloucester, 1676;(4) Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (d. 1664), kt., of Hewelsfield, born after 1607; married Alice (d. 1670), daughter of Richard Gough of Hewelsfield (Glos) and had issue two sons and four daughters (including an elder son, Sir William Throckmorton (d. 1682), 4th bt., who was killed in a duel, whereupon the baronetcy became extinct); he died, heavily in debt, and was buried at Hewelsfield, 21 June 1664.
(1) Sir Baynham Throckmorton (1629-81), 3rd bt. (q.v.);(2) Hopton Throckmorton (1631-54), baptised at Newland, 6 October 1631; died unmarried and was buried at St Mary-le-Strand, London, 24 October 1654;(3) Maj. Thomas Throckmorton (d. 1656); an officer in the New Model Army, who was part of the invasion force under Col. Buller that captured Jamaica and was later sent back to the island as part of the garrison under Col. Sidgwick; he fomented discontent about lack of pay and poor conditions through petitions that attracted widespread support, but he overstepped the mark in insubordination and was court martialled for mutiny; sentenced to death he might have been reprieved if he had backed down, but he refused to do so and was shot in Jamaica in May 1656; his will proved in the PCC, 12 March 1656/7;(4) William Throckmorton; died without issue and probably young;(5) Francis Throckmorton; died without issue and probably young.
(1.1) A daughter (d. 1654); died 25 July 1654 and was buried at Newland, where she is commemorated by a monument.(1.2) Elizabeth Throckmorton (1657-83), born 7 June and baptised at Newland, 9 June 1655**; executor of her father's will; died unmarried, 27 January and was buried at Newland, 28 January 1683/4;(1.3) Caroline Throckmorton (1661-1714), baptised at Newland, 29 August 1661; married, 1685 (licence 19 July), Capt. James Skrymshire (1659-1724), son of John Skrymshire of Norbury (Staffs); buried at High Offley (Staffs), 19 February 1713/4;(1.4) Mary Throckmorton (c.1664-84), born betweeen 1662 and 1666; died unmarried, 29 January, and was buried at Newland, 30 January 1683/4, two days after her elder sister; administration of her goods was granted 8 December 1685;(2.1) Catherine Throckmorton (1670-1720), born 26 October and baptised 23 November 1670; married, 23 December 1696 at Newland, Thomas Wylde (c.1670-1740) of The Commandery, Worcester, MP for Worcester, 1701-27 (who m2, 27 February 1720, Ann (1686-1761), daughter of the Hon. Robert Tracy of Coscombe House (Glos), justice of common pleas, and widow of Charles Dowdeswell MP (1689-1714) of Forthampton (Glos)), son of Robert Wylde of Worcester, and had issue one son and three daughters; buried at St Peter the Great, Worcester, 28 February 1719/20.
Baynham family of Westbury Court
(1.1) John Baynham (c.1488-1528) (q.v.);(2.1) Thomas Baynham (d. 1532); inherited the manor of Steeple Lavington (Wilts) from his younger brother; died unmarried and without issue; unlike his younger brother, he seems to have been well affected to the Catholic church, and his interesting will, proved 4 November 1532, makes provision for the tenants for life of his property to fund a priest to sing masses in memory of himself and his parents, but only for so long as this remains legal, so clearly he foresaw the possibility of the Protestant reformation;(2.2) James Baynham (d. 1532), educated at the Inner Temple (admitted by 1518 but expelled by 1522 for non-payment of dues and for 'offences'); inherited the manor of Steeple Lavington from his father in 1524; he held Protestant views, then considered heretical, and was examined by Sir Thomas More and others, tortured, and executed for heresy; he married, c.1531, [forename unknown], the widow of Simon Fish (d. 1531), an evangelical lawyer and pamphleteer; he was burnt at the stake at Smithfield, 30 April 1532;(2.3) Margaret Baynham (d. 1554); inherited a moiety of the manor of Steeple Lavington from her brother in 1532, subject to a life interest of Rev. Thomas Baynham of Mitcheldean, but sold it in 1537; married, as his second wife, John Peyto (c.1478-1542) of Chesterton (Warks), and had issue three sons and four daughters; will proved 17 August 1554;(2.4) Joan alias Jane Baynham (fl. 1572); inherited a moiety of the manor of Steeple Lavington from her brother in 1532, subject to a life interest of Rev. Thomas Baynham of Mitcheldean, but sold it in 1572; married 1st, as his second wife, Robert Wye (d. 1544) of Over Lypiatt (Glos), and had issue seven sons and two daughters; married 2nd, Hugh Westwood MP (d. 1559) of Chedworth (Glos), but had no further issue; living in 1572;(2.5) Ellen alias Eleanor Baynham (d. 1524); died young and was buried at Westbury-on-Severn, 1524.
(1) William Baynham (c.1511-68) (q.v.).
(1) Robert Baynham (c.1542-72) (q.v.);(2) Alexander Baynham; died without issue;(3) William Baynham; died without issue;(4) Joseph Baynham (c.1548-1613) (q.v.);(5) Daniel Baynham (d. 1620); lived at Grange Court, Westbury-on-Severn; married, 24 December 1579 at Westbury-on-Severn, Silvester, daughter of John Hampton, and had issue three sons and four daughters; buried at Westbury-on-Severn, 29 August 1620;(6) Francis Baynham; died without issue;(7) Samuel Baynham; died without issue;(8) William Baynham; died without issue.(9) Elizabeth Baynham; married, 5 June 1569 at St Mary, Whitechapel (Middx), William Readston, and had issue two sons and two daughters;(10) Anne Baynham; married, before 1590, Edward Weston (b. c.1550) of Chertsey (Surrey), second son of John Weston of Ockham and Send (Surrey), and had issue three sons and four daughters;(11) Margaret Baynham; married, 12 December 1581/2 at Westbury-on-Severn, Charles Vaughan, but had no issue;(12) Mary Baynham; married, 18 November 1563 at Westbury-on-Severn, Thomas Elberton, but died without issue;(13) Joan Baynham (b. 1558), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 30 October 1558.
(2.1) Elizabeth Baynham (b. 1582; fl. 1610), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 21 March 1581/2; married, 1610 (settlement 15 February 1609/10), Rev. John Hayward, curate of Leonard Stanley (Glos), son of Thomas Hayward of Wellington (Herefs);(2.2) Dorcas (alias Dorothy) Baynham (1583-1668), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 19 January 1583/4; married William Clutterbuck (c.1581-1655) of Kings Stanley (Glos) and had issue one son and three daughters; died 20 January and was buried 1 February 1667/8 at Wotton-under-Edge where she is commemorated by a memorial window;(2.3) Mary Baynham (1584-85), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 8 February 1584/5; died in infancy and was buried at Westbury-on-Severn, 1 April 1585;(2.4) Ann Baynham (1587-91), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 16 July 1587; died young and was buried at Westbury-on-Severn, 31 January 1591/2;(3.1) Alexander Baynham (1589-after 1643?) (q.v.);(3.2) Ann Baynham (b. 1593), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 11 March 1592/3; married Richard Barrow of Westbury-on-Severn.(3.3) Joseph Baynham (b. 1596), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 16 May 1596; lived at Arlingham in 1619 and later at Lypiatt; married, 12 September 1625 at Minchinhampton (Glos), Alice, fourth daughter of Robert Freame of Lypiatt (Glos), and had issue.
(1) Joseph Baynham (b. 1613), baptised at Wotton-under-Edge, 26 December 1613; perhaps died young;(2) Alexander Baynham (1615-c.1660?), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 23 March 1614/5; probably to be identified with the man of this name who emigrated to Maryland, c.1642, lived for a while in Barbados and then settled in Westmoreland County, Virginia; married Anne (d. 1662) (who m2, c.1660, Thomas Butler (1626-78) of Washington, Virginia (USA)), daughter of James Baldridge of St. Mary's, Maryland (USA), and had issue at least one son (who died young) and three daughters; died between 1658 and 1662;(3) Elizabeth Baynham (b. 1616), baptised at Westbury-on-Severn, 23 June 1616; living in 1623;(4) Lucy Baynham (d. 1667); married, 20 November 1640 at St Margaret, Westminster (Middx), Rev. Henry Jeanes (1611-62), rector of Beer Crocombe (Som.), 1635-c.1643 and Chedzoy (Som.), 1647-62 and author of Presbyterian theological works, son of Christopher Jeanes of Kingston (Som.), and had issue; buried at Chedzoy, 22 May 1667.
Principal sourcesWestbury on Severn Parish Magazine, October 1895 [copy at Gloucestershire Archives, (H)E13.19]; Dean Forest Guardian, 22 March 1929; Gloucestershire Countryside, 1955-58, p. 13; I.E. Gray, The making of the Westbury Court gardens, Garden History Society Occasional Paper 1, 1969 [copy at Glos Archives, PA354/2]; A. Rowan, ‘Clearwell Castle’ in H.M. Colvin & J. Harris, The country seat, 1970, pp. 145-9; K. Morgan & B.S. Smith, 'Westbury-on-Severn', in VCH Gloucestershire, vol. 10, 1972, pp. 85-93; Country Life, 27 September 1973, pp. 864-6, 13 October 1988, pp. 244-6; [Gervase Jackson-Stops], Westbury Court garden, 1984, pp. 21-22; T. Mowl & B. Earnshaw, Trumpet at a distant gate, 1985, p. 38; A.P. Baggs and A.R.J. Juřica, 'Newland', in VCH Gloucestershire, vol. 5, 1996, pp. 195-231; A.R. Warmington, Civil War, Interregnum and Restoration in Gloucestershire, 1997, pp. 192-202; D. Verey & A. Brooks, The buildings of England: Gloucestershire - The Vale and the Forest of Dean, 2002, pp. 798-800; T. Mowl, Historic gardens of Gloucestershire, 2002, pp. 53-6; D. Jacques, ‘Who knows what a Dutch garden is?’, Garden History, (30:2), 2002, pp. 114-30; K. Felus, ‘Westbury Court: an inward-facing garden?’, Gloucestershire Gardens & Landscapes Trust Newsletter, 34 (2005), pp. 8-10; A.C. Baynham, The life and times of a Forest family, 2011; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for Rev. Henry Jeanes (1611-62).
Location of archivesNo significant accumulation is known to survive, although there are miscellaneous documents among the papers of the Colchester-Wemyss family of Westbury Court [Gloucestershire Archives, D36]
Coat of arms
Can you help?
- Can anyone supply a drawing or painting of the short-lived Georgian house at Westbury Court, demolished in 1805?
- I should be most grateful if anyone can provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above.
- If anyone can offer further information or corrections I should be most grateful. I am always particularly pleased to hear from descendants of the family who can supply information from their own research or personal knowledge for inclusion.