Wednesday 15 November 2023

(564) Bennett and Leigh-Bennett of Thorpe Place

Leigh-Bennet of Thorpe Place 
The story of this family begins with John Bennett (1698-1765), a solicitor in Aylsham (Norfk). He married Mary (c.1708-46), the daughter of a gentleman called Wolley Leigh of Hevingham (Norfk). In 1740, the courts decided that she and her sister, Anne Spencer, were the rightful heirs to the extensive estates in Surrey and elsewhere of Sir John Leigh (d. 1737), kt. of Addington (Surrey). In 1767 the Bennetts and the Spencers obtained an Act of Parliament to partition these estates between them, with the result that the Spencers acquired Addington and the Bennetts the Thorpe Place estate in Surrey, as well as other lands in Norfolk and Middlesex. The principal Bennett beneficiary was Mary's second son, the Rev. Wolley Leigh Bennett (1733-90), who was rector of Hevingham but also the chaplain to successive owners of Stowe (Bucks), where he probably actually lived in his later years. His younger brother, Thomas Leigh Bennett (1736-97) was articled clerk to his father in 1753 but there is no evidence that he ever practised law, and by 1771 he was living in London, where he seems to have become an entrepreneur, or least an investor, in the entertainment industry, with interests in Ranelagh Gardens, the Theatre Royal, and the Pantheon.
Seagate Hall, Long Sutton, the vicarage rebuilt in the 1780s for
Rev. Thomas Leigh Bennett (1736-97). Image: Richard Humphrey. Some rights reserved.
He seems also to have bought the advowson of Long Sutton (Lincs), and although he retained his other investments until his death, he took holy orders in the early 1780s, and after serving a brief curacy at Thorpe he presented himself to Long Sutton on the vicarage becoming vacant in 1784. Although the clerical tradition was to be unusually strong among the descendants of John Bennett, it was unusual at this time for a middle-aged man to take orders, and it would be interesting to know why he did so, especially as a sudden religious enthusiasm would have been more likely to lead him into one of the rapidly growing Methodist splinter groups of the time. Long Sutton was a wealthy living, and Thomas seems to have committed to the parish, building a new vicarage (now Seagate Hall) as his place of residence and working there in person and not employing curates. The patronage of Long Sutton remained with his family for four generations, and his son, great-nephew and great-great-nephew all served as vicars there, albeit not continuously.

Lechlade Rectory, as altered by Richard Pace
for the Rev. John Leigh Bennett in 1804-05, from Pace's tradecard.
When the Rev. Wolley Leigh-Bennett died in 1790, his property at Thorpe Place and elsewhere descended to his eldest son, John Leigh Bennett (1767-1835), who took his degree at Oxford in 1790 and was ordained in 1792. He married his first cousin, Harriet, one of the daughters of the Rev. Thomas Leigh Bennett, in the same year, and after serving a curacy at Newton Purcell (Oxon), he was appointed vicar of Lechlade (Glos) in 1795. He evidently served at Lechlade in person, occupying the vicarage house on the east side of the market place and remodelling it in 1804-05 to the designs of the local mason-architect, Richard Pace (c.1760-1838). In 1805, the rectory at Thorpe became vacant, on the death of the Rev. James Liptrott, and John, who owned the advowson of the parish, presented himself as Liptrott's successor. His resigned the living at Lechlade in order to take up his new appointment, but almost immediately changed his mind and was re-installed at Lechlade, where he remained until 1809. It seems very probable that this was occasioned by his deciding to pull down the old Hall Place at Thorpe and built a more up-to-date house to replace it. It is tempting to wonder whether, having so recently employed Richard Pace to remodel the rectory at Lechlade, he might have used him again for the new house at Thorpe, but stylistically this seems unlikely, and the designer of the new house at Thorpe remains anonymous.

The Rev. John Leigh Bennett's eldest son predeceased him, so at his death in 1835 he was succeeded by his second son, the Rev. Henry Leigh Bennett (1795-1880), who was then rector of Croughton (Northants), but who presented himself to the living at Thorpe in 1849 and remained the incumbent until he retired in 1874. He was survived by two sons and a daughter, with the eldest son, Henry Currie Leigh Bennett (1852-1903) inheriting Thorpe Place, while his daughter, Mary Leigh Bennett (1851-1926) married Marmaduke Head Best (1847-1912) of Donnington Grove (Berks). Henry Currie Leigh Bennett became a barrister and was very active in local administration in Surrey. He adopted the hyphenated name Leigh-Bennett, and was generally so called, although he seems to have taken no steps to make the change officially. In 1897 he was elected as MP for Chertsey and he was still in the House when he succumbed to an attack of appendicitis in 1903, aged just fifty. His heir was his son, Henry Wolley Leigh-Bennett (1880-1951), who formalised the change of name in 1913. Like his father, he trained as a barrister, but he appears not to have practised, and by 1908 he was acting as resident land agent for Lord St. Levan in Devonport (Devon), while his mother continued to live at Thorpe Place. After the First World War, however, he began to disperse the estate, selling land in 1919 and 1921. The house was offered for sale in 1921 and 1927 but remained unsold until 1930, when it became a centre for the treatment of female inebriates run by the Community of St Mary the Virgin at Wantage. By then, Leigh-Bennett had inherited Donnington Grove from his aunt, and he and his wife lived there for some years before that house too was sold in 1936.

Thorpe Place, Surrey

The manor of Thorpe belonged from the 7th to the 16th century to Chertsey Abbey, but a part of the property was granted away in 1303 and became a separate manor of Graveney alias Thorpe Hall Place. After the Dissolution of Chertsey Abbey in 1537 the main manor passed into the hands of the Crown, which leased it out but retained ownership until 1627, when it was granted to William Minterne, who had already acquired the smaller Hall Place manor from a cousin in 1609, and the two manors were reunited. The manor of Hall Place had a manor house of the same name described as 'a capital messuage' in 1548, and it was probably rebuilt or improved in the early 17th century, when the prominent red brick walls that are still such a distinctive feature of the village centre were constructed: one is dated 1613. Although nothing is known of the appearance of this house, it is known to have stood on the same site, close to the parish church, as the present Thorpe Place.

Thorpe Place: the south front in 1927, from a sale notice of that year.
The present Thorpe Place is a big seven-by-five-bay three-storey stock brick house, built for John Leigh Bennett (1767-1835), probably in 1806-09, when he settled at Thorpe. The house has a pediment and two canted bays on the south front and a big 19th century porch on the entrance side. In the 1930s, when the house was acquired by the Community of St Mary the Virgin, Wantage (which relocated its sanatorium for female inebriates here from Bedfont (Middx)), a good set of early 18th century gates and a chapel were imported from the previous site. The chapel (now used as a library) was designed by Sir Ninian Comper and had been built at Bedfont in 1907, but when it was moved to the forecourt of Thorpe Place in 1931 it was slightly extended. It has roughcast walls and a beautiful interior with lightly traceried screens between the nave and aisles, gilded Tudor Gothic cornice and crestings, painted ceilings, and a complex kingpost roof. In 1974 the sanatorium was again relocated, to Harpenden (Herts), and site was acquired by The American School in England (TASIS), which has doubled the size of the house by adding a large wing to its east that keeps to the style of the original building. The school has also acquired Thorpe House on the other side of the village street.

Thorpe Place: the garden and side elevations of the house, today. The late 20th century additions can be seen in the distance. Image: TASIS.
South of the house is an 18th century lake, and near the church there are an ice house and a walled garden that probably dates from the early 17th century, as it uses the same red bricks as the walls in Coldharbour Lane.

Descent: Sir Francis Wolley (d. 1609); to cousin, William Minterne (d. 1627); to grandson, Wolley Leigh (d. 1644); to son, Sir Thomas Leigh (1639-77), kt.; to son, Sir John Leigh (1660-91), kt.; to son, Sir John Leigh (1681-1737), kt.; to cousins, Mary Bennett (d. 1746) and Anne Spencer (d. 1786); by an Act of Parliament in 1767 that divided the estates, Thorpe was allotted to the heirs of Mary, and came into the possession of her son, Rev. Wolley Leigh Bennett (1733-90); to son, Rev. John Leigh Bennett (1767-1835); to son, Rev. Henry Leigh Bennett (1795-1880); to son, Henry Currie Leigh-Bennett (1852-1903); to son, Henry Wolley Leigh-Bennett (1880-1951), who sold 1930 to Community of St Mary the Virgin, Wantage; sold 1974 to The American School in England.

Bennett (later Leigh-Bennett) family of Thorpe Place

Bennett, John (1698-1765). Son of John Bennett of Norwich and his wife Susan, baptised at St John, Maddermarket, Norwich, 7 August 1698. Solicitor in Aylsham (Norfk) and at Furnivall's Inn, London.  He married, 24 September 1731, Mary (c.1708-46), daughter of Wolley Leigh (1664-1715) of Hevingham (Norfk), and had issue:
(1) John Leigh Bennett (1732-72), baptised at Aylsham, 7 August 1732; probably suffered from physical or mental incapacity as he was passed over in his father's will and left only an allowance of £2 a week to be paid in cash; died unmarried and was buried at Hevingham, 11 October 1772;
(2) Rev. Wolley Leigh Bennett (1733-90) (q.v.);
(3) Mary Bennett (1735-1802), baptised at Aylsham, 5 May 1735; married, 5 October 1756 at Wroxham (Norfk), John Wace (c.1720-95) of Wroxham and the Middle Temple, but had no surviving issue; died at Bath (Som.) and was buried at Charlcombe (Som.), 12 April 1802; will proved 28 April 1802; 
(4) Rev. Thomas Leigh Bennett (1736-97) (q.v.); 
(5) William Bennett (1738-39), baptised at Aylsham, 26 June 1738; died in infancy and was buried at Hevingham, 31 October? 1739;
(6) Elizabeth Bennett (b. 1744), baptised at Aylsham, 2 September 1744; married, 12 December 1768 at Wroxham (Norfk), Silvester Richmond (c.1753-93) of Acomb (Yorks); living in 1795 but death not traced.
He lived at Aylsham (Norfk) at the time of his marriage. His wife was found to be the co-heir (with her sister, Anne Spencer (d. 1786)) of Sir John Leigh (d. 1737), kt., and in her right he inherited a moiety of the Leigh estates in Addington and Thorpe (Surrey), East Wickham (Kent) and Stanwell (Middx).
He died 12 June 1765 and was buried at Hevingham, 22 June 1765; his will was proved in the PCC, 15 June 1765. His wife died 1 October 1746 and was buried at Hevingham, 6 October 1746.

Bennett, Rev. Thomas Leigh (1736-97). Third son of John Bennett (1698-1765) of Aylsham (Norfk) and his wife Mary, daughter of Wolley Leigh of Hevingham (Norfk), baptised at Aylsham, 2 November 1736. Articled clerk to his father, 1753, but there seems to be no evidence that he practised law. He seems instead to have become an entrepreneur or investor in the London entertainment industry, being a shareholder in Ranelagh Gardens from 1771, the Pantheon in Oxford St., London from 1781 and the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, from 1775. In later life he took holy orders and was curate at Thorpe, 1783 and vicar of Long Sutton, 1784-97, where he rebuilt the vicarage (now Seagate Hall) in the 1780s. He married, 11 April 1764 at St Clement Dane, Westminster (Middx), Grace (1746-97), daughter of Thomas Horne of Enfield (Middx), and had issue:
(1) Martha Leigh Bennett (1765-1808), born 17 October and baptised at Aylsham, 22 October 1765; married, 2 December 1783 at Thorpe, Rev. Morton Rockcliff (1752-85) of Woodford (Essex) and later of Littleton-on-Thames (Middx), son of Moreton Rockcliff, and had issue one daughter; died at Woodford, 6 April and was buried at Thorpe, 13 April 1808;
(2) Mary Barbara Bennett (1767-1849), born 22 February and baptised at St Giles-in-the-Fields, Holborn (Middx), 21 March 1767; died unmarried and was buried at Thorpe, 23 January 1849; will proved in the PCC, 17 February 1849;
(3) Harriet Eliza Bennett (1770-1846), born 26 February 1770 and baptised at Thorpe, 21 June 1772; married 31 March 1792 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), her first cousin, Rev. John Leigh Bennett [for whom see below] and had issue four sons and one daughter; died 11 December and was buried at Thorpe, 18 December 1846
(4) Caroline Bennett (1774-1858), born 31 March and baptised at St Anne, Soho, Westminster, 12 May 1774; died unmarried, 11 January 1858; will proved 2 February 1858 (effects under £12,000);
(5) Rev. Thomas Leigh Bennett (1775-1844), born 14 July 1775; educated at Eton and Christ's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1794; BA 1797; MA 1802); ordained deacon, 1800 and priest, 1801; rector of Allexton (Leics), 1802-14 and Skeffington (Leics), 1802-16; vicar of Nettlebed and Pishill (Oxon), 1814-43; vicar of Long Sutton, 1816-43; married, 21 August 1816 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Frances (d. 1850), daughter of Francis Willock; died at Highmoor Hall, Nettlebed (Oxon), 12 December 1844 and was buried at Thorpe, where he is commemorated by a monument; will proved in the PCC, 25 February 1845.
He lived in London, initially in Soho Square and later in Mayfair until in the 1780s he moved to the new vicarage at Long Sutton.
He died 30 May and was buried at Thorpe, 6 June 1797; his will was proved in the PCC, 13 June 1797. His wife was buried at Thorpe, 16 May 1797.

Bennett, Rev. Wolley Leigh (1733-90). Second son but principal heir of John Bennett (1698-1765) of Aylsham (Norfk) and his wife Mary, daughter of Wolley Leigh of Hevingham (Norfk), baptised at Aylsham, 31 July 1733. Educated at Hertford College, Oxford (matriculated 1752; BA 1756). Ordained deacon, 1757 and priest, 1758. Rector of Hevingham, 1758-87 and of Finmere (Oxon), 1788-90; domestic chaplain to Richard Grenville-Temple (1711-79), 2nd Earl Temple and George Nugent-Temple-Grenville (1753-1813), 1st Marquess of Buckingham, 1779-84. He married, 6 December 1765 at Stratton Audley (Oxon), Rachel (1744-1813), daughter of Richard Capps of Cawston (Norfk), and had issue:
(1) Rev. John Leigh Bennett (1767-1835) (q.v.);
(2) Mary Leigh Bennett (1769-1841), baptised at Broadwell (Glos), 7 July 1769; married, 18 July 1792 at Buckingham (Bucks), Rev. William Dickins (c.1765-1801) of Cherington (Warks), vicar of Long Sutton, 1797-1801, son of Anthony Dickins of Westminster, and had issue one son and three daughters; died at Elwick Hall (Co. Durham), 21 April 1841 and was buried at Elwick;
(3) Eliza Leigh Bennett (1772-1851), baptised at Broadwell, 2 April 1772; died unmarried and was buried at Brompton Cemetery (Middx), 15 March 1851; will proved in the PCC, 7 July 1851;
(4) Rev. Wolley Leigh Bennett (1774-1839), baptised at Finmere (Oxon), 8 September 1774; educated at Merton College, Oxford (matriculated 1794; BA 1797; MA 1808); ordained deacon and priest, 1798; rector of Foscote (Bucks), 1802-19 and Water Stratford (Bucks), 1818-39; married, 1810 at Cork (Co. Cork), Margaret (1778-1866), daughter of Rev. William S. King, and had issue at least two sons and five daughters; died 21 February 1839 and was buried at Water Stratford; will proved in the PCC, 6 May 1839.
By the Act of Parliament (7 Geo III c. 57) of 1767 which partitioned the estates of Mary and Anne Leigh, he came into possession of the Thorpe Place estate in 1768.
He was buried at Finmere, 22 July 1790. His widow died at Buckingham, 25 June, and was buried at Finmere, 2 July 1813.

Bennett, Rev. John Leigh (1767-1835). Elder son of Rev. Wolley Leigh Bennett (1733-90) and his wife Rachel Capps, baptised at Stow-on-the-Wold (Glos), 12 June 1767. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1787; BA 1790; MA 1796). Ordained deacon, 1791 and priest, 1792. Vicar of Lechlade (Glos), 1795-1809 and Thorpe, 1806-35.  He married, 31 March 1792 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), his first cousin, Harriet Eliza (1770-1846), third daughter of Rev. Thomas Leigh Bennett of London, and had issue:
(1) John Leigh Bennett (1794-1832), baptised at Finmere (Oxon), 15 March 1794; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1812); an officer in the Royal Eastern Middlesex Regiment of Militia (Capt., 1814); died without issue at Orleans (France), 25 January 1832;
(2) Rev. Henry Leigh Bennett (1795-1880) (q.v.);
(3) Mary Anne Bennett (1797-1864), baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 10 February 1797; married, 17 August 1824 at Thorpe, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Torin Kindersley (1792-1879), kt., barrister-at-law and later a master in chancery and one of the vice-chancellors, 1851-66, eldest son of Nathaniel Edward Kindersley of Sunninghill (Berks), and had issue three sons and three daughters; buried at Thorpe, 2 February 1864; administration of goods granted to her husband, 30 July 1864 (effects under £4,000);
(4) Rev. Edward Leigh Bennett (1799-1886), born 8 November and baptised at Thorpe, 18 December 1799; educated at Merton College, Oxford (matriculated 1817; BA 1821); ordained deacon, 1823 and priest, 1824; curate at Lechlade, 1823-32; vicar of Lechlade, 1832-43 and of Long Sutton (Lincs), 1843-86; JP for Lincolnshire; married 1st, 11 May 1826 at Wroughton (Wilts), Ellinor (1799-1842), daughter of William Codrington (1753-1802) of Wroughton, and had issue two sons; married 2nd, 19 September 1843 at Kempsford (Glos), Anne Hudson (1812-96), daughter of Rev. Thomas Huntingford (c.1783-1855) of Kempsford, and had further issue three sons and one daughter; died 9 November and was buried at Long Sutton, 13 November 1886; will proved 12 January 1887 (effects £8,763);
(5) Frederick Leigh Bennett (1801-35), born 2 July and baptised at Thorpe, 12 September 1801; probably the man of this name who was a flax merchant at Kingston-upon-Hull, initially in partnership with John Berthelot until 1828; died unmarried, 1 June, and was buried at Thorpe, 8 June 1835.
He inherited the Thorpe Place estate in 1790 and probably rebuilt the house in 1806-09.
He died 27 April and was buried at Thorpe, 4 May 1835; his will was proved in the PCC, 26 May 1835. His widow died 11 December and was buried at Thorpe, 18 December 1846.

Bennett, Rev. Henry Leigh (1795-1880). Second, but eldest surviving, son of Rev. John Leigh Bennett (1767-1835) and his wife Harriet Eliza, daughter of Rev. Thomas Leigh Bennett, born 17 May? and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), 16 June 1795. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1812; BA 1817; MA 1819). Ordained deacon, 1818 and priest, 1819. Rector of Croughton (Northants), 1823-49 and vicar of Thorpe, 1849-74. JP for Northamptonshire. He married, 11 September 1845 at Sunninghill (Berks), Caroline (c.1816-98), second daughter of George Henry Crutchley of Sunninghill Park, and had issue (with another daughter, stillborn in 1846):
(1) Grace Leigh Bennett (1848-52), born 3 May and baptised at Thorpe, 25 June 1848; died young and was buried at Thorpe, 4 August 1852;
(2) Julia Leigh Bennett (b. & d. 1849), born 23 July and baptised at Thorpe, 26 August 1849; died in infancy at Brighton, 8 September, and was buried at Thorpe, 13 September 1849;
(3) Mary Leigh Bennett (1851-1926), born 12 February and baptised at Thorpe, 28 March 1851; married, 1 August 1877 at Thorpe, Marmaduke Head Best (1847-1912) of Donnington Grove (Berks), son of Head Pottinger Best (1808-87), but died without issue, 11 April 1926; will proved 6 July 1926 (estate £157,508);
(4) Henry Currie Leigh Bennett (1852-1903) (q.v.);
(5) Herbert James Leigh Bennett (1854-1928), born 25 July and baptised at Thorpe, 24 August 1854; educated at Jesus College, Cambridge (admitted 1872); married 1st, 19 July 1877 at Christ Church, Paddington (Middx), Charlotte Maxwell (1858-81), daughter of Thomas Miller Mackay, and 2nd, 20 July 1882 at St Patrick, Hove (Sussex), Beatrice Honora (1857-1947), eldest daughter of Col. Sir George Francis Coventry Pocock (1830-1915), 3rd bt. and had issue four sons and three daughters; died 30 November 1928; will proved 27 February 1929 (estate £5,604).
He inherited the Thorpe Place estate from his father in 1835. His widow lived latterly with her daughter at Donnington Grove.
He died 31 August and was buried at Thorpe, 4 September 1880; his will was proved 3 November 1880 (effects under £12,000). His widow died 4 June and was buried at Thorpe, 8 June 1898; her will was proved 16 August 1898 (estate £8,196).

Henry Currie Leigh-Bennett (1852-1903) 
Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie (1852-1903).
Elder son of Rev. Henry Leigh Bennett (1795-1880) and his wife Caroline, second daughter of George Henry Crutchley of Sunninghill Park (Berks), born 25 July and baptised at Thorpe, 5 September 1852. Educated at Winchester, New College, Oxford (matriculated 1871; BA 1875) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1874; called 1878). Barrister-at-law on the Oxford circuit. DL and JP for Surrey (Deputy Chairman of Quarter Sessions); a member of Surrey County Council, 1889-1903; Chairman of Chertsey Rural District Council. Conservative MP for Chertsey, 1897-1903. A director of the London & South-Western Railway. Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He took the name Leigh-Bennett in lieu of Bennett. He married, 23 July 1878 at St Peter, Cranley Gardens, Kensington (Middx), Florence Nightingale (1856-1933), third daughter of Thomas Miller Mackay of South Kensington, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Leigh-Bennett (1879-81), born 24 April 1879; died in infancy, 16 February 1881;
(2) Henry Wolley Leigh-Bennett (1880-1951) (q.v.);
(3) Margaret Leigh-Bennett (1883-1967), born 20 September and baptised at Thorpe, 18 October 1883; married, 9 March 1911 at Thorpe, Maj. Edward Philip Carter (1882-1965), only son of Lt-Col. Edward Medley Carter, and had issue one son; lived latterly in Roehampton (Surrey); died 3 December 1967; will proved 27 March 1968 (estate £25,428);
(4) Arthur Leigh-Bennett (1885-1915), born 25 November 1885 and baptised at Thorpe, 31 January 1886; educated at Winchester and Royal Military College, Sandhurst; an officer in the Coldstream Guards (2nd Lt., 1905; Lt., 1907; Capt., 1914) who served in the First World War and was awarded the DSO and MC, and was mentioned in despatches twice; played polo, cricket and golf for his regiment; died unmarried when he was killed in action near Hulluch, 3 October 1915; will proved 25 November 1915 (estate £1,110).
He inherited the Thorpe Place estate from his father in 1880.
He died of appendicitis, 7 March, and was buried at Thorpe, 11 March 1903; will proved 3 July 1903 (estate £30,494). His widow died 11 April and was buried at Thorpe, 15 April 1933; will proved 23 June 1933 (estate £988).

Leigh-Bennett, Henry Wolley (1880-1951). Second, but eldest surviving, son of Henry Currie Leigh-Bennett (1852-1903) and his wife Florence Nightingale, third daughter of Thomas Miller Mackay of South Kensington (Middx), born 30 August and baptised at Thorpe, 3 October 1880. Educated at Winchester, New College, Oxford (matriculated 1899; BA 1902) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1902; called 1906). Barrister-at-law. He served as an officer in the Coldstream Guards (Lt., 1916) in the First World War. Employed as a land agent by Lord St. Levan at Devonport (Devon). He was a freemason from 1899. In 1913 he had royal licence to continue the use of the name Leigh-Bennett in lieu of Bennett which his father had adopted. He married, 29 October 1907 at St Peter, Eaton Sq., Westminster (Middx), Elma Rose (1886-1969), youngest daughter of Cdr. George Edward Price RN, and had issue:
(1) Barbara Leigh-Bennett (1908-99), born 14 November and baptised at Devonport, 15 December 1908; married, 22 November 1937 at St Paul, Knightsbridge (Middx), Lt-Cdr. Hon. Peter Cuthbert Carew RN (1908-80) of Croft House, Gt. Bealings (Suffk), youngest son of Gerald Shapland Carew (1860-1927), 5th Baron Carew, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 18 January 1999 and was buried at Great Bealings; will proved 11 August 1999;
(2) Diana Mary Leigh-Bennett (1911-84), born 15 February 1911; married, 10 July 1935, as his second wife, Ernest Augustus Ingram (1892-1954), son of Ernest John Ingram, but had no issue; died 7 October 1984; will proved 21 Feburary 1985 (estate £349,817);
(3) Julia Leigh-Bennett (1912-2003), born 2 November and baptised at Devonport (Devon), 18 December 1912; married 1st, 19 July 1947, Patrick Guy Gathorne-Hardy (1911-66) of Greys End, Rotherfield Greys (Oxon), banker, son of Lt-Col. Hon. Nigel Charles Gathorne-Hardy DSO, and 2nd, 29 May 1974, Col. Edward C. Croft (1910-99); died 19 June 2003; will proved 29 March 2004;
(4) Arthur John Leigh-Bennett (1919-23), born 28 November 1919; died young at Devonport, 25 February 1923;
(5) Elizabeth Anne Leigh-Bennett (1925-2009), born 7 August 1925; married, 26 June 1948, Vice-Adm. Sir Stephen Ferrier Berthon RN (1922-2007) of Deddington (Oxon), only son of Rear-Adm. E.C.P. Berthon CB of Crapstone House, Buckland Monarchorum (Devon) and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 19 April 2009; will proved 27 August 2009.
He inherited the Thorpe Place estate from his father in 1903 and Donnington Grove (Berks) from his aunt, Mary Leigh Best, in 1926. He dispersed the estate at Thorpe Place through sales in 1919 and 1921, sold the house in 1930, and gave the advowson to Keble College, Oxford in 1932. He sold Donnington Grove in 1936, and lived latterly at addresses near Newbury (Berks).
He died 17 June 1951; his will was proved 30 October 1951 (estate £126,116). His widow died 31 July 1969.

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, pp. 157-58; G. Leveson-Gower, Notices of the family of Leigh of Addington, 1878; VCH Surrey, vol. 3, 1911, pp. 437-40; C. O'Brien, I. Nairn & B. Cherry, The buildings of England: Surrey, 3rd edn., 2022, p. 679.

Location of archives

Leigh-Bennett family of Thorpe Place: deeds, manorial, estate and family papers, genealogical records and photograph albums, 12th cent.-1950 [Surrey History Centre 2609, 2675, 7624, 10204]; Norfolk estate deeds and papers, 1659-1799 [Norfolk Record Office, MC 2495]

Coat of arms

Quarterly, 1st and 4th, azure, three demi-lions rampant, argent, on a chief argent three hurts; 2nd and 3rd, or, on a chevron sable, three lions rampant, argent.

Can you help?

  • Can anyone provide photographs or portraits 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 15 November 2023 and updated 29 November 2023.


  1. Came across this just as I was researching the Leigh-Bennetts of Thorpe so thanks for your timely post! One small correction I have found is that Woolley was bapt at Aylsham 31st July 1733 (from the original BTs scanned on the Ancestry website).

    1. Many thanks - clearly a slip between brain and fingers! Now corrected.


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.