Saturday 16 September 2023

(555) Bengough of The Ridge, Wotton-under-Edge

Bengough of The Ridge 
The earliest member of this family who can be identified with certainty was the Rev. George Bengough (1705?-53), who became a Presbyterian minister in Tewkesbury (Glos) in the mid 18th century, and with whom the genealogy below begins. He and his wife, Elizabeth Pinnock or Pynock, were married in 1735 and their eldest son, Henry Bengough (1739-1818) was born four years later. Henry was destined for a career in the law but made his first appearance in the courts at the tender age of fourteen, when he had to appear before the Prerogative Court of Canterbury to swear to having written his late father's will at his father's direction. It was probably not much later that he was articled as a clerk to William Cadell of Bristol, solicitor, whose daughter, Joanna, he married in 1760. He subsequently went on build an extensive and lucrative practice as a solicitor in Bristol, acting for many of the leading families of the city for some fifty years. His brother-in-law, Thomas Cadell, was a successful publisher, and Henry invested in the business (his purchase of the copyright in Blackstone's Commentaries alone is said to have brought him £30,000). In due course he became a member of the city corporation and he was Mayor in 1792. Two years later, he used some of his accumulated capital to become one of the founders of the Bristol City Bank, which further increased his wealth. He retired from practice a few years before his death, but the valuation of his estate for probate estimated that he was worth some £250,000, placing him firmly among the super-rich of his age. Henry and his wife had at least four children, but all of them seem to have died before their parents, so at his death he left an unusually complex will which attempted to dictate the future uses of his wealth for up to 140 years after his death. The chief beneficiaries, apart from his widow, who was left a life interest in some of his property and died in 1821, were to be the poor of Bristol, for whom he endowed an almshouse in the city, and a large group of nephews and nieces, first among whom was his nephew, George Bengough (1794-1856). The lands in Somerset intended to support the almshouse did not produce sufficient income to realise his objective, and the income had to accrue until the 1870s, when at last they were sufficient to buy a site in Horfield Road and build Bengough's Almshouse. The will established a body of trustees who were charged with managing Henry's assets, paying annuities to some of his relatives and accumulating the surplus income until £1,500 was available, when it was to be invested in landed property. As a result the trustees built up a ragbag property portfolio with little coherence. There was litigation between the trustees and the intended beneficiaries, who attempted to gain control of the capital in a long-running case eventually decided in the trustees' favour by the House of Lords. 

George Bengough was himself a lawyer in Bristol, and may have taken over his uncle's practice on the latter's retirement. There is no record of his being formally articled to another solicitor, so he was probably taken into his uncle's firm without formal articles. In due course he became a member of Bristol corporation, but he was never as significant or dominant a figure as his uncle had been. He maintained the nonconformist tradition of the family, being a Unitarian, and was also a Whig in politics and an opponent of slavery, although his uncle had certainly acted for Bristol families with West Indian plantations and thus derived some of his wealth, directly or indirectly, from the proceeds of slavery. Although the terms of his uncle's will were upheld by the House of Lords, in 1837 George was able to buy The Ridge at Wotton-under-Edge, and other large purchases of land followed, including the manor of Gaunt's Earthcott at Almondsbury in 1838. It seems probable that these acquisitions were financed by the profits of his own legal career rather than by the release of funds from his uncle's trustees. George made some minor changes to The Ridge, and built a chapel and bridge in the grounds, but the house was less than twenty years old when he acquired it and not in need of major works.

George and his wife had four sons and four daughters. His eldest son, George Henry Bengough (1828-65) was of a serious cast of mind, and trained for the priesthood at Wells Theological College, but while he was studying there he met the leading Gloucestershire magistrate, Thomas Barwick Lloyd-Baker, who persuaded him that he could do more good in the world as a philanthropic layman than as 'yet another rich clergyman'. Together, the two men established the Hardwicke Reformatory, taking juvenile criminals from the slums of London and giving them a stable environment, education and physical labour with a view to reforming them. For several years, Bengough was the resident master of the institution, before moving on to advise on the creation of a similar body in Devon and then to manage the Kingswood reformatory near Bristol. The reformatory movement was surprisingly successful, having a marked impact on juvenile offending in the major cities, and spread rapidly in the 1850s and 1860s, earning government grants in the process. Bengough himself did not live to see this, however, for he seems to have contracted tuberculosis (whether from one of the young offenders he lived among or not is uncertain) and died in Florence in 1865. Since he had no son, and as The Ridge estate had been entailed, it passed to his next brother, John Charles Bengough (1829-1913), who may also have considered entering the church and was certainly a composer of hymn tunes in his later years, an interest he shared with his youngest brother, the Rev. Edward Stewart Bengough (1839-1920), who was for two years chaplain and precentor of King's College, Cambridge.

John played his part in county affairs, being High Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1877-78, and serving as a JP, DL and an officer in the Gloucestershire Yeomanry. However, for reasons which are unclear, in about 1884 he moved out of The Ridge (which was taken over by his eldest son, John Alan George Bengough (1859-99)) and moved to Upton House near Poole (Dorset), which he rented. J.C. Bengough and his wife Caroline Augusta had ten children, several of whom had interesting lives, although many of them predeceased their father. His second son, Clement Stuart Bengough (1861-1934) was a painfully shy and reclusive man, prone to fits of violent temper. Perhaps as a result of one such episode, he was sent to America as a remittance man, where he became a solitary rancher living in a log cabin in Wyoming, and the stuff of local legend. Another son, Cyril Francis Bengough (1864-1931) was more conventionally successful, becoming a civil engineer and retiring as chief engineer of the North-Eastern Railway to a manor house at Conderton (Worcs). John Alan Bengough (1859-99), having moved into The Ridge in 1884 moved out again to the dower house known as The Ridings in 1895. This time the cause seems to have been the declining income from the estate during the Agricultural Depression, and The Ridge was let to Colonel Parkinson. The family would never live there again. When J.A.G. Bengough died in 1899, another victim of tuberculosis, his children were all young and his widow moved away from Wotton-under-Edge. His elder son, John Crosbie Bengough (1888-1916) inherited the estate on the death of his grandfather in 1913 but was killed in the First World War. That landed the family with a second set of death duties within a few years, and obliged John's brother, Nigel James Bengough (1895-1980) to sell most the outlying lands the family had acquired in the early 19th century. Col. Parkinson and his son having both died during the First World War, The Ridge was unoccupied, and at some point in the 1920s the house and the 500 acre core of the estate were sold to a neighbouring landowner, Charles Kingsley Cory (1890-1967), who pulled down most of the house between 1934 and 1937. Nigel Bengough made his home in a farmhouse at Monkland (Herefs), which remains the property of his descendants today.

The Ridge, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire

The Ridge estate, which in medieval times had belonged to Kingswood Abbey, passed at the Dissolution of the Monasteries to the Poyntz family and descended with their Newark Park estate until the 18th century. It then changed hands a number of times before being bought by Edward Sheppard, a clothier from Uley, in 1805. The early 19th century was a period of widespread, if cyclical, prosperity in the Gloucestershire clothing industry, and work on the creation of The Ridge and laying out the grounds may have taken place over an extended period as a result. Nothing seems to have happened until at least 1810, when Sheppard was assessed for rates only on a farm, but probably began about that time as Sheppard sought a footpath diversion order - suggesting he was beginning to layout a park - in 1811.
The Ridge: sketch plan of (probably then unbuilt) mansion in 1811.

The plan he submitted shows the footprint of a gentleman's house which 
already incorporates key elements (the long conservatory and the two bow fronts facing north-west) of the eventual design, but is not the same as the eventual layout. In 1814 the description of the property in the rating records changes from 'Ridge Farm' to 'House and Offices' so the shell of the building was probably then either complete or under construction. In 1816, a press report gives The Ridge as Edward Sheppard's address for the first time, so enough of the house must then have been complete for him to occupy it. Another footpath diversion order plan dated 1817, which shows only half the house, shows enough to make it clear that the layout was the same as that projected by 1811, but a lodge had been built and the environs had been transformed in a gentleman's park, with shelter belts and plantations of trees. It is thus pretty certain that a significant part of Sheppard's scheme was carried out in the 1810s. This is puzzling because since the publication of Delineations of Gloucestershire in 1825, the architect of Edward Sheppard's new house has been recorded as George Stanley Repton (1786-1858), son of the landscape gardener, Humphry Repton, who after many years as a pupil and assistant in the office of John Nash, finally set up on his own between 1818 and 1820. It would seem, therefore, that Sheppard, having begun by remodelling and extending the existing Ridge Farm or building a new house on its site, decided that it was not satisfactory, and turned to Repton to convert the - possibly incomplete - building into something grander. As early as 1810 Nash wrote to a client that he wanted to give Repton freedom to design “a Moiety of all Cottages farm houses & picturesque buildings” for which commissions might come to their office, but it seems unlikely that Nash would have allowed Repton to design a major new house as early as 1814. It was, however, not unusual for architects to pass on an important commission to favoured former pupils when they set up on their own, to help them establish their own practice, and it is possible that this is what happened at The Ridge. Another possibility is that Repton's elder brother John Adey Repton, who had a number of commissions in Gloucestershire at this time, was originally approached about work at The Ridge, and passed on the commission to a brother just starting to build an independent career.

The Ridge: engraving of the house from the south-west, 1825, from Delineations of Gloucestershire.

The Ridge: garden front elevation from the sale particulars of 1837, showing the original arrangement, with pediments on the wings and
over the ground floor windows. Image: Gloucestershire Archives RZ354.1
The house that resulted from Repton's involvement was on a very considerable scale, and the commission must have helped to establish his career. Clearly it was a building he was proud of and of which he showed drawings to later clients, for the RIBA has a plan and elevation on paper watermarked 1825, which must have been made for such a purpose. The main block of the house was almost square, but the north front, which overlooked spectacular views, was extended to either side by four‑bay blank arcades concealing a conservatory on one side and service accommodation on the other. These terminated in single‑bay pavilions, again blind to the north, but lit by windows in their return elevations. The central block was itself in three parts: a two‑storey three‑bay centre with a concealed roof and balustraded parapet, and flanking, slightly projecting, wings which had an additional attic storey and pitched roofs running in templar fashion from front to back of the house. These wings had shallow curved bow windows. It is apparent from the plans and later views of the house how the building of the 1810s was simply incorporated into Repton's scheme. His main innovation was to create a new entrance front on the south side, with the tall earlier wings framing a broad Ionic portico rising the full height of the central three bays. All the ground‑floor windows on the main fronts were pedimented, and from the corners of the south front quadrant walls curved out to enclose a forecourt and conceal the rear view of the kitchen court. On the west, the glazed, south‑facing side of the conservatory looked out onto an enclosed flower garden, while to the west the buildings of the service court incorporated the earlier L-shaped range.

The Ridge: ground floor plan of the house from the sale particulars of 1837. Image: Gloucestershire Archives RZ354.1.

Although no illustrations seem to survive to show how the interiors of The Ridge were decorated, 
an excellent and detailed plan of the house was published when it was sold in 1837 after Edward Sheppard became bankrupt. Along the north front, a suite of three rooms (drawing room, library and dining room) of varied shapes inter‑connected through wide folding doors. The 60ft conservatory opened from the drawing room in what was coming to be the usual way. Behind this sequence of rooms ran a passage open on one side through an arcade to the unheated entrance hall. From the hall itself, a top‑lit oval staircase hall containing a cantilevered stone stair opened to the east, while on its west side was an elaborated columned niche. A subsidiary stair occupied the space behind the niche, and the ground floor also contained a breakfast room and justice room, poked rather awkwardly down a corridor behind the second staircase.

The size of The Ridge, and the grandeur of its bow‑ended dining room and lengthy conservatory announced Sheppard's wealth to the world; the book‑lined library and provision of a justice room signalled his politeness and his aspiration to the magistracy. But Sheppard's was a fortune founded on industrial wealth, and ultimately he proved vulnerable to the collapse in the clothing trade which took Paul Wathen, Daniel Lloyd and other local clothiers into bankruptcy. The Ridge was auctioned at the Old Bell Inn, Dursley, in 1837, and was bought by George Bengough (1794-1856), a Bristol solicitor.  He added a second lodge and built a delightful cast-iron bridge in the grounds in 1840 and a chapel at The Ridings in 1841, and apparently also made some changes to the house. Later photographs of the garden front shows raised parapets in lieu of the pediments on the wings, and that the pediments on the ground floor windows had also been removed. There seem, however, to have been few other changes to Repton's design, at least externally.

The Ridge: a photograph of the garden front, probably in the 1860s, showing how the pediments over the wings
and ground-floor windows had been removed. 
The estate descended in turn to George's sons, George Henry Bengough (d. 1865) and John Charles Bengough (d. 1913), but was not occupied by the family after 1895, and was let until the death of the tenant in the First World War. It was among extensive Gloucestershire estates put up for sale by John's grandson, Nigel James Bengough, in 1918, but remained unsold. Unoccupied and deteriorating, it was finally sold with the 500 acre core of the estate to a neighbouring landowner, Charles Kingsley Cory (1890-1967), who demolished it except for the carriage courtyard. The exact date of demolition is uncertain. A press report in 1933 stated that it was intended to demolish the house, but not until May 1937 does another report mention that demolition had taken place; some of the doorcases are said to have been reused in the extension and refitting of Stancombe Park (Glos), which seem to have been underway in 1936.

The Ridge: unexecuted scheme for a replacement house designed by Peter Yiangou, 2009. Image: Peter Yiangou.
In the 1960s the abandoned and ruinous carriage court was restored as a holiday home for Raymond Cory, but when his daughters came to sell the estate in the early 21st century, they increased the value of the property by obtaining planning permission for the building of a new classical country house on the site of The Ridge, to the designs of Peter Yiangou. This would have emulated the external appearance of the Repton house - without being a precise copy - but not its internal layout, and would have incorporated the existing house. The scheme was widely publicised as an interesting proposal at the time. However, in 2014, after the property had been sold to The Ebony Trust, they commissioned a smaller scheme in an earlier 18th century style from Quinlan & Francis Terry which was also given planning permission. Unfortunately, neither scheme has been proceeded with at the time of writing, although some minor additions and improvements have been made to the existing house.

Descent: built c.1811-17 for Edward Sheppard (d. 1849); sold following his bankruptcy in 1837 to George Bengough (d. 1856); to son, George Henry Bengough (d. 1865); to brother, John Charles Bengough (1829-1913), who moved out in 1884 in favour of his son, John Alan George Bengough (1859-99); to trustees for son, John Crosbie Bengough (1888-1916); to brother, Wing-Cdr. Nigel James Bengough (1895-1980), who sold between 1921 and 1934 to Charles Kingsley Cory (1890-1967), who demolished the house c.1934; to son, Raymond Cory (1922-2007); to daughters, who sold 2009 to The Ebony Trust. From 1895 to about 1916 the house was let to Col. Parkinson and his son, Thomas Parkinson, solicitor. 

Bengough family of The Ridge

Bengough, Rev. George (1705?-53). Probably the son of Henry Bengough baptised at the Angel St. Independent Chapel, Worcester, 22 March 1704/5. Presbyterian minister at Tewkesbury (Glos), who evidently also had links with the Barton St. Chapel in Gloucester as the registers of that church include a note of the baptisms of most of his children at Tewkesbury. He married, 13 March 1734/5 at Tirley (Glos), Elizabeth Pinnock alias Pynock, and had issue:
(1) Henry Bengough (1739-1818) (q.v.);
(2) James Bengough (b. 1742), baptised in the Presbyterian church at Tewkesbury, 19 March 1741/2;
(3) Ann Bengough (c.1744-1819), born about 1744; married, 9 November 1780 at Stapleton (Glos), Richard Rickets (1747-1818), and had issue two sons and two daughters; buried  5 November 1819;
(4) George Bengough (b. 1745); baptised at the Presbyterian church in Tewkesbury, 26 March 1744/5; died young;
(5) Elizabeth Bengough (b. 1747), baptised in the Presbyterian church at Tewkesbury, 9 November 1747; died young;
(6) Elizabeth Bengough (1749-61), baptised in the Presbyterian church at Tewkesbury, 15 November 1749; died young and was buried at Tewkesbury, 4 May 1761;
(7) George Bengough (1751-1804) (q.v.).
He lived at Tewkesbury.
His will was proved in the PCC, 1 January 1753. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Bengough, Henry (1739-1818).  Eldest son of Rev. George Bengough (1705?-53) and his wife Elizabeth Pynock, born 1739. Articled clerk to William Cadell of Bristol, attorney, who after serving his apprenticeship became a leading solicitor in Bristol, acting for many of the chief merchant families in the city, and being for some years Under-Sheriff of the City. He was also one of the founding partners in the Bristol City Bank, 1794. An alderman of Bristol Corporation (Sheriff, 1789; Mayor, 1792-93), he was regarded as the dominant public figure in Bristol in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. After retiring from legal practice he became a JP for Bristol. He was a Unitarian in religion. He married, 10 April 1760 at Christ Church, Bristol, Joanna (1739-1821), daughter of William Cadell of Bristol, attorney, and had issue:
(1) Mary Bengough (1761-96), baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, 9 February 1761; died unmarried and was buried at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, 28 December 1796;
(2) Alice Bengough (b. 1764), baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, 13 November 1764; probably died young;
(3) George Bengough (1772-1811?), baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, 20 February 1772; possibly the man of this name who was buried at St Swithin, Walcot, Bath (Som.), 5 November 1811;
(4) Henry Hett Bengough (b. 1776), baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, 20 June 1776; probably died young.
He lived in Queen Square, Bristol, and also acquired a seat at Westbury-on-Trym (Glos).
He died 10 April 1818 and was buried in the Lord Mayor's Chapel, Bristol, where he is commemorated by a monument designed by Sir Francis Chantrey. He left a long and complex will which was proved in the PCC but led to lengthy litigation in Chancery, finally decided by the House of Lords. By his will he left a sum to endow an almshouse charity (Bengough's Almshouses) in Bristol. His widow was buried in the family vault at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, 23 June 1821; her will was proved in the PCC, 28 June 1821.

Bengough, George (1751-1804). Fourth and youngest son of Rev. George Bengough (1705?-53) and his wife Elizabeth Pynock, born at Tewkesbury (Glos), 7 November, and baptised in the Presbyterian chapel there, 2 December 1751. Apprenticed to Samuel Fripp of Bristol, soap boiler and tallow chandler, 1768, but there seems to be no evidence that he pursued a commercial career: in the few contemporary references to him he is described as a gentleman. He married, 1 March 1791 at St James, Bristol, Ann (1757-1835), daughter of Samuel Fripp (1723-94) of Bristol, and had issue:
(1) George Bengough (1794-1856) (q.v.);
(2) Henry Bengough (1795-1848), born 10 January 1795; married, 15 June 1826 at Bathwick (Som.), Louisa (1796-1871), daughter of Joseph Chapman, and had issue three sons; died 20 November and was buried at Widcombe (Som.), 25 November 1848; will proved in the PCC, 14 December 1848;
(3) Samuel Bengough (1797-1802), born 31 December 1797 and baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, Bristol, 11 May 1798; died young and was buried at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, Bristol, 30 October 1802;
(4) James Bengough (1799-1825), born 2 April 1799; married, 3 February 1825 at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol, Sarah Taprell (1801-68), and had issue one daughter (born posthumously); died 4 December and was buried at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, Bristol, 15 December 1825; administration of his goods was granted to his widow;
(5) Anne Elizabeth Bengough (1801-33), born 5 December 1801; married, 2 August 1827 at St James, Bristol, William Ignatius Okely (1804-59), architect, partner of James Foster of Bristol, architect until 1837 and later a Moravian minister, son of Rev. Dr. William Okely of Mirfield (Yorks WR), Moravian minister, but had no issue; buried in the Moravian Church burial ground, Upper Maudlin St., Bristol, 19 May 1833.
He lived in Bristol.
He died 7 April and was buried at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, Bristol, 16 April 1804; his will was proved in the PCC, 3 October 1804. His widow died 6 January 1835 and was buried in the Moravian Church burial ground, Upper Maudlin St., Bristol; her will was proved in the PCC, 4 February 1835.

Bengough, George (1794-1856). Eldest son of George Bengough (1751-1804) of Bristol and his wife Ann, daughter of Samuel Fripp of Bristol, born 2 January and baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel, 6 February 1794. Solicitor in Bristol; admitted to Lincoln's Inn, 1826. A member of the Common Council of the City of Bristol from 1829 (High Sheriff, 1831-32) and a Trustee of the Bristol Municipal Charities, 1836-52; JP for Bristol; High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, 1846-47. Secretary of the Bristol Theological Lecture Fund and the Bristol Asylum for the Blind. He was a Liberal in politics and a Unitarian in religion, and an an opponent of slavery, being one of those who petitioned the mayor of Bristol to hold a public meeting in favour of abolition throughout the British dominions, 1828. He married, 2 August 1826 at St Andrew, Clifton, Bristol, Anne (1802-75), daughter of Capt. John Cooke Carpenter RN, and had issue:
(1) George Henry Bengough (1828-65) (q.v.);
(2) John Charles Bengough (1829-1913) (q.v.);
(3) Emily Mary Agnes Josephine Bengough (1831-77), born 3 January and baptised at St Andrew, Clifton, Bristol, 31 May 1831; died unmarried at St Mary Church (Devon), 2 February 1877; will proved 23 March 1877 (effects under £5,000);
(4) Isabella Bengough (1833-99), baptised at St Andrew, Clifton, Bristol, 3 July 1833; after her father's death, lived with her youngest brother and presumably acted as his housekeeper; died unmarried at Hemingby, 14 April 1899; will proved 10 June 1899 and 18 September 1901 (estate £5,544);
(5) Gertrude Anne Bengough (1834-61), born 10 November 1834 and baptised at St James, Bristol, 17 June 1835; died unmarried and was buried at Wotton-under-Edge, 23 March 1861; administration of goods granted to her brother John, 24 January 1876 (effects under £5,000);
(6) Maj-Gen. Sir Harcourt Mortimer Bengough (1837-1922), kt., born 25 November 1837; educated at Rugby; army officer (Ensign, 1855; Lt., 1855; Capt., 1864; Maj., 1878; Lt-Col. 1881; Col., 1883; Brig-Gen., 1886; Maj-Gen., 1894), who served in the Crimean War, First Zulu War and Third Anglo-Burmese War (mentioned in despatches, 1886); appointed CB 1886 and KCB, 1908; published Memories of a soldier's life (1913); married, 22 December 1876 at Yorktown (Surrey), Christina (1852-1938), daughter of Henry Maybery of Ely Tower, Brecon (Brecons.), and had issue four sons; died at Bognor Regis (Sussex), 30 March 1922; will proved 21 April 1922 (estate £464);
(7) Rev. Edward Stewart Bengough (1839-1920), born July and baptised at Wotton-under-Edge, 18 October 1839; educated at Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1858; BA 1861; MA 1865; BMus, 1872); ordained deacon, 1863 and priest, 1864; curate in Kidderminster (Worcs), 1863-66, Weston-in-Gordano (Som.), 1866-68 and St Thomas, Oxford, 1868-73; chaplain and precentor of King's College, Cambridge, 1873-75; rector of Hemingby (Lincs), 1876-91 and  Horncastle (Lincs), 1881-1914; a composer of musical works, including a setting of God save the king for four voices (1902) and a Te Deum (1910); died unmarried, 20 July 1920; will proved 23 November 1920 (estate £1,186);
(8) Harriott Caroline Bengough (1842-44), born 14 December 1842; died in infancy and was buried at Uley (Glos), 24 February 1844.
He was heir to his uncle, Henry Bengough of Bristol, solicitor and partner in the Bristol City Bank. In the 1830s he lived at Cotham Lodge, Bristol. He purchased The Ridge in 1837 and the manor of Gaunts Earthcott at Almondsbury in 1838, and also acquired land at Monkland (Herefs), Eastington (Glos), Shirenewton (Mon) and Cirencester (Glos). After his death his widow moved to London but soon settled at St Mary Church (Devon).
He died 25 December 1856 and was buried at Wotton-under-Edge, 2 January 1857; his will was proved in the PCC, 7 February 1857. His widow died at St Mary Church (Devon), 17 January and was buried at Torquay Cemetery, 21 January 1875; her will was proved 19 May 1875 (effects under £1,500).

Bengough, George Henry (1828-65). Eldest son of George Bengough (1794-1856) and his wife Anne, daughter of Capt. John Cooke Carpenter RN, born 24 March and baptised at St. Andrew, Clifton, Bristol (Glos), 19 May 1828. Educated at Winchester, Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1846; BA 1850; MA 1853) and Wells Theological College (admitted 1850). He originally intended to make a career in the church, but was persuaded instead by Thomas Barwick Lloyd-Baker of Hardwicke Court (Glos) to join him in the establishment and management of a pioneering reformatory for boys with criminal convictions at Hardwicke in 1852, of which he served as the first governor for several years before helping to establish a similar institution in Devon and then managing the Kingswood Reformatory in Gloucestershire, where he remained until his health declined. He was the first Secretary of the Reformatory Union, and was also an officer in the Royal South Gloucestershire Light Infantry Militia (Capt., 1858) and a JP for Gloucestershire. He was a radical Whig in politics. He married 1st, 22 September 1855 at St Michael, Gloucester, Harriet (1835-59), younger daughter of Dr. Thomas Evans MD, and 2nd, 11 September 1860 at Stapleton (Glos), Mary Josephine (1841-1917), eldest daughter of Rev. Joseph Henry Butterworth, vicar of Stapleton, and had issue:
(1.1) Marion Agnes Bengough (1856-96), baptised at St Michael, Gloucester, 26 November 1856; emigrated to South Africa in 1879 with her friend Elenora Catharine Cuyler and worked as a nurse at Kimberley; author of the novels So near akin (1891) and In a promised land (1893), which are respectively based on her experience of life in England and South Africa; died unmarried at Cape Town, 3 October 1896; will proved 1 December 1896 (effects £10,191);
(1.2) Amy Georgina Bengough (1857-1935), born Oct-Dec 1857 and baptised at St Peter, Bournemouth (Hants), 3 January 1858; acted as companion to her uncle, Rev. E.S. Bengough (1839-1920) at Horncastle (Lincs); died unmarried at Horncastle, 27 April 1935; will proved 22 October 1935 (estate £5,762);
(2.1) Mary George Etheldreda Bengough (1863-1936), born in Paris (France); educated at University College, Bristol; travelled to India, 1921; died unmarried, 24 January 1936; will proved 20 March 1936 (estate £18,218);
(2.2) Beatrice Eugenie Bengough (1864-1952), born in Paris, 9 June 1864 and baptised at Honfleur (France), 18 August 1864 and again at Stapleton, 18 June 1866; educated at St Mary's, Wantage; a Sister of Mercy at St Mary's Convent, Wantage; died Apr-Jun 1952.
He inherited The Ridge from his father in 1856. His widow moved to Clifton, Bristol after his death, and later to London.
He died in Florence (Italy), 22 October 1865 and was buried in the Cimitero Accotolico there. His will was proved 21 November 1865 (effects under £16,000). His first wife died at Plymouth (Devon), 5 July 1859. His widow died 16 December 1917; her will was proved 19 January 1918 (estate £15,354).

Bengough, John Charles (1829-1913). Second son of George Bengough (1794-1856) and his wife Anne, daughter of Capt. John Cooke Carpenter RN, born 20 May and baptised at St Andrew, Clifton, Bristol, 22 June 1829. Educated at Rugby and Exeter and Oriel Colleges, Oxford (matriculated 1847; BA 1851). An officer in the Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry Cavalry (Capt., 1870; retired 1877) and 2nd (Volunteer) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment (Capt., retired 1885). JP and DL for Gloucestershire; High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, 1877-78. He was a composer of hymn tunes and a collection of his compositions, dating from c.1890, is now in Gloucestershire Archives. He married, 9 June 1857 at Newington Bagpath (Glos), Caroline Augusta (c.1834-99), daughter of Rev. Alan Gardner Cornwall (1798-1872) of Ashcroft House (Glos), rector of Kingscote and Newington Bagpath (Glos), and had issue*:
(1) John Alan George Bengough (1859-99) (q.v.);
(2) Clement Stuart Bengough (1861-1934), born 14 January and baptised at Frampton Cotterell (Glos), 28 March 1861; educated at Marlborough College; played two first class cricket matches for Gloucestershire CCC; noted for his painful shyness, occasional fits of violent temper, vicious wolfhounds and a love of books and flowers, he was sent to America as a remittance man in about 1887 and became a rancher near Laramie, Wyoming, where he lived as a recluse in an isolated log cabin; he died 19 June 1934, his will directing that he be buried on the hillside near his cabin, where he was commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 19 November 1934 (estate in England £4,856), but he reputedly left some $40,000 in cash in America;
(3) Evelyn Caroline Bengough (1862-88), baptised at Newington Bagpath, 4 October 1862; died unmarried and was buried at Hamworthy (Dorset), 27 August 1888;
(4) Cyril Francis Bengough (1864-1931), born 31 March and baptised at Olveston (Glos), 11 May 1864; educated at Marlborough College, University College, Bristol, and the Institution of Civil Engineers (admitted 1883; MICE, 1893); civil engineer with the Tyne Commissioners, 1888-90 and North-Eastern Railway, 1890-1926, becoming their Chief Engineer; married, 30 April 1891 at Gosforth (Northbld), Agnes Elizabeth (1866-1957), eighth daughter of George Angus of Low Gosforth House, and had issue three sons and three daughters and one further child who died in infancy; lived latterly at Conderton Manor (Worcs); died 22 July and was buried at Overbury (Worcs), 26 July 1931; will proved 2 September 1931 (estate £15,164);
(5) Cecil Ann Bengough (1865-1949), born 29 August and baptised at Olveston (Glos), 25 September 1865; married, 5 April 1894 at Hamworthy (Dorset), Rev. Thomas Henry Philpot (1839-1917) of Hedge End, Botleigh (Hants), rector of Stockleigh Pomeroy (Devon), 1894-1917, but had no issue; died 3 January 1949; will proved 7 May 1949 (estate £4,637);
(6) Ernest Henry Bengough (1866-87), born 29 November 1866 and baptised at Wotton-under-Edge, 4 March 1867; educated at Rugby and Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1886); died unmarried and was buried at Hamworthy, 3 May 1887;
(7) Charles William Bengough (1867-97), born 22 November 1867 and baptised at Wotton-under-Edge, 21 February 1868; educated at Rugby; an officer in the army (2nd Lt., 1888; Lt., 1890); died unmarried, 26 January and was buried at Hamworthy, 29 January 1897; administration of goods granted to his father, 12 March 1897 (effects £162);
(8) twin, Emily Marguerite Bengough (1869-1961), born 23 October and baptised at Wotton-under-Edge, 17 December 1869; died unmarried, aged 92, 28 November 1961; will proved 5 February 1962 (estate £479);
(9) twin, Eleanor Daisy Bengough (1869-87), born 23 October and baptised at Wotton-under-Edge, 17 December 1869; died unmarried of tuberculosis, 9 October, and was buried at Hamworthy, 14 October 1887;
(10) Alan John Bengough (1872-1913), born 16 December 1872 and baptised at Wotton-under-Edge, 1 April 1873; lived at Latteridge, Iron Acton (Glos); died 26 August and was buried at Iron Acton, 30 August 1913; will proved 29 September 1913 (estate £1,020).
He inherited The Ridge from his elder brother in 1865, but handed it over to his eldest son in 1884, and lived subsequently at Upton House, Poole (Dorset) and Southampton.
He died 19 March 1913 and left instructions that his body should be cremated; his will was proved 26 September 1913 (estate £43,102). His wife died at Upton House, Poole, 7 April 1899.
* The couple also had a stillborn son in 1858.

Bengough, John Alan George (1859-99). Eldest son of John Charles Bengough (1829-1913) and his wife Caroline Augusta, daughter of Rev. Alan Gardner-Cornwall, rector of Kingscote and Newington Bagpath (Glos), born 14 July and baptised at Newington Bagpath, 21 August 1859. Educated at Eton and Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1878; BA 1884; MA 1886). An officer in the 2nd Gloucestershire Volunteer Rifles (Lt., 1882; Capt., 1889; retired 1889). JP (from 1884) and DL (from 1882) for Gloucestershire. He married, 10 November 1887 at Ballyheigue (Co. Kerry), Rose Margaret Anne (1863-1941), second daughter of Col. James Crosbie of Ballyheigue Castle, and had issue:
(1) John Crosbie Bengough (1888-1916) (q.v.);
(2) Evelyn Rose Bengough (1889-1971), born 23 November 1889 and baptised at Newington Bagpath (Glos), 10 January 1890; educated at Royal Academy of Music (LRAM); served in First World War as a nurse in France with the British Red Cross; after the war she became a music teacher at Petworth (Sussex); lived later at The Priory, Buckland Dinham (Som.); died unmarried, 16 May 1971; will proved 8 September 1971 (estate £5,577);
(3) Gwenda Kathleen Bengough (1892-1976), born 21 May 1892; lived with her elder sister at Buckland Dinham; died unmarried, 24 March 1976; will proved 21 May 1976 (estate £27,474);
(4) Nigel James Bengough (1895-1980) (q.v.);
(5) Madeleine Lois Bengough (1898-1981), born 1 April and baptised at Newington Bagpath, 26 April 1898; lived with her elder sister at Buckland Dinham; died unmarried, 7 December 1981; will proved 26 April 1982 (estate £29,149).
He occupied The Ridge from 1884-95 and then moved to the dower house, The Ridings. After his death his widow declined to stay on the estate and it was subsequently tenanted. She lived subsequently at various addresses including Tocknells House, Painswick (Glos), The Abbey, Cranbrook (Kent) and Pallingham Manor, Petworth (Sussex).
He died of tuberculosis in the lifetime of his father, 24 November, and was buried at Wotton-under-Edge, 29 November 1899; administration of his effects was granted to his widow, 9 March 1900 (effects £74). His widow died 24 January 1941; her will was proved 30 September 1941 (estate £4,584).

John Crosbie Bengough (1888-1916) 
Bengough, John Crosbie (1888-1916).
Elder son of John Alan George Bengough (1859-99) and his wife Rose Margaret Anne, second daughter of Col. James Crosbie of Ballyheigue Castle (Co. Kerry), baptised at Newington Bagpath (Glos), 29 November 1888. Educated at Rugby and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (matriculated 1908; BA 1911). He was entered for the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich but failed an eyesight test and went to Cambridge instead. After taking his degree he went out to the Transvaal to farm, but returned in 1913 and joined the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars (2nd Lt., 1913; T/Capt., 1915; mentioned in despatches), serving as ADC to General Peyton. He was a freemason from 1914. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited The Ridge on the death of his grandfather in 1913, but never moved into the house.
He was killed in action in a cavalry charge on the western frontier in Egypt, 26 February 1916, and was buried at the Chatby Military Cemetery, Alexandria (Egypt); he is commemorated by a monument at Wotton-under-Edge. Administration of his goods was granted to his mother, 2 September 1916 (estate £5,824).

Nigel James Bengough (1895-1980) 
Bengough, Nigel James (1895-1980).
Second son 
of John Alan George Bengough (1859-99) and his wife Rose Margaret Anne, second daughter of Col. James Crosbie of Ballyheigue Castle (Co. Kerry), born 4 January and baptised at Newington Bagpath (Glos), 4 March 1895. Educated at Haileybury College and the Royal School of Mines. An officer in the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry (2nd Lt., 1914; Lt. 1916; retired as Hon. Capt. 1917), who obtained a pilot's licence in 1915 and was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps (Flying Offr, 1915; Flight Cdr., 1916) in the First World War; an officer in the Royal Air Force (Pilot Offr., 1939; Fl. Offr., 1940; Fl. Lt., 1942; Sq. Ldr., 1944; retired as Wing Cdr., 1944) in the Second World War. He was an enthusiastic and successful archer, winning several trophies from the 1920s to the 1950s. In retirement, he became Chairman of Herefordshire Community Council and Master of the Guild of Hereford Craftsmen. He married, 4 September 1924, Alice Ernestine (1893-1982), second daughter of Sir George Albu (1857-1935), 1st bt., the German-born South African diamond magnate, and had issue:
(1) Jane Bengough (1926-2006), born 5 October 1926; married, 15 July 1952, as his third wife, Richard Bridges St. John Quarry OBE (1912-2002) of Gaddeshill House, Eversley (Hants), company director, son of Maj. St John S. Quarry, and had issue one son and one daughter; died 9 May 2006; will proved 19 December 2006;
(2) Sir Piers Henry George Bengough (1929-2005), kt., born 24 May 1929; educated at Eton; an officer in the army, 1948-73 (2nd Lt., 1948; Lt., 1951; Capt., 1956; Maj., 1963; Lt-Col., 1971; retired 1973) and a member of the Hon. Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, 1981-99; Hon. Colonel of the Royal Hussars, 1983-90; racehorse owner and amateur jockey (he rode over thirty winners); a member of the Jockey Club from 1965; a Trustee of Ascot Racecourse, 1973-97 (Chairman, 1982-97) and Queen's Representative at Ascot, 1982-97; also a director of several other racecourses and Chairman of the Compensation Fund for Jockeys, 1981-89; appointed OBE, 1973 and KCVO, 1986; DL for Hereford & Worcester, 1987; High Sheriff of Herefordshire, 2002-03; lived at Great House, Canon Pyon (Herefs) and later Monkland (Herefs); married, 21 June 1952, the former Olympic figure skater, Bridget (1928-2019), daughter of Dr. F. Shirley Adams MD of Harley St., London and Alton House, Seaview (IoW), and had issue two sons; died 18 April 2005; will proved 21 September 2005;
He inherited The Ridge from his elder brother in 1916, but sold outlying portions of the estate comprising some 3,000 acres around Almondsbury, Winterbourne, Cirencester and Shirenewton (Mon.) in 1918 in order to meet the double death duties payable on the property following the deaths in rapid succession of his father and brother. He lived for a time at Alkerton Grange, Eastington (Glos). The Ridge itself was eventually sold privately to Charles Kingsley Cory (1890-1967). Nigel Bengough lived subsequently at Monkland (Herefs).
He died 13 February 1980; his will was proved 1 August 1980 (estate £229,889). His widow died 16 November 1982; her will was proved 11 April 1983 (estate £181,802).

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1972, p.60; E.S. Lindley, A History of Wotton‑under‑Edge, 1956, pp. 325‑7; Caspar Star-Tribune, 27 February 1972, p. 58; G. Masefield, Wotton under Edge: a century of change, 1980, p. 92; N.W. Kingsley, The country houses of Gloucestershire: vol. 2, 1660-1830, 1992, pp. 209-11; N. Temple, George Repton’s Pavilion Notebook, 1993, pp. 9-10; J. Lyes, A strong smell of brimstone: the solicitors and attorneys of Bristol, 1740-1840, 1999.

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive. Some papers may remain with the family.

Coat of arms

Argent, three lions' heads erased sable, each charged with an ermine spot or; on a chief indented of the second, three crosses pattée of the first.

Can you help?

  • If anyone knows more about the will of Henry Bengough (1739-1818) than I have discovered, and especially about how far it benefited his nephew George and subsequent generations of the family, I should be very pleased to hear from them.
  • Does anyone know why J.C. Bengough moved out of The Ridge in 1884 in favour of his eldest son?
  • Can anyone provide portraits or photographs of the people whose names appear in bold above, for whom no image is currently shown?
  • If anyone can offer further information or corrections to any part of this article I should be most grateful. I am always particularly pleased to hear from current owners or the descendants of families associated with a property who can supply information from their own research or personal knowledge for inclusion.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 16 September 2023. I am most grateful to Thoss Shearer for sharing his research on The Ridge with me.

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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.