Friday 23 February 2024

(570) Berens of Kevington Hall

Berens of Kevington
The Berens or Behrens family name is said to originate in Schleswig-Holstein on the borders of Germany and Denmark, but the branch of the family that came to England in the 18th century were previously established as merchants in Amsterdam (Netherlands). The use of a black bear on their coat of arms suggests the family's mercantile interests may have begun in the Russian and/or Baltic trade, but during the 18th century they became general shipping merchants, trading with the Dutch East Indies, British India and North America, and the countries of western and southern Europe. Herman Berens (c.1702-91), with whom the genealogy below begins, was evidently living and working in England by 1732, when he took British nationality. By the 1740s he was in partnership in London with his brother John Berens (d. 1787), who was naturalised in 1762, although the two brothers later traded separately. In March 1761 John suffered a daring robbery of plate at his house in Copthall Court, London, and this experience may have prompted his decision to buy a property at Southgate (Middx), where he built a handsome villa to the designs of Sir Robert Taylor in 1762-63, which he called Beaver Hall. This house, which was sold by John's executors in 1790 and greatly extended soon afterwards, is recorded in its original form in a sketch plan and pencil elevation by William Newton, who visited in 1765.

Beaver Hall, Southgate: sketch plan and pencil elevation of the 
house as first built, drawn by William Newton, 1765. Image: RIBA
Beaver Hall, Southgate: the house c.1870, showing it as enlarged c.1790.
Image: Enfield Local Studies Collection

John's brother, Herman Berens, would undoubtedly have been familiar with Beaver Hall, and probably also knew Taylor personally as they were both active in the city of London. It is no surprise, therefore, that when Herman followed his brother's lead and bought a villa outside London, in his case Kevington Hall at St Mary Cray (Kent), it was to Taylor that he turned to modernise and enlarge it.

Herman's purchase of a country villa began the family's transition from city merchants to landed gentry, which was continued by his only surviving son Joseph Berens (1745-1825), whose marriage connected them to the greater gentry. Like his father, Joseph was a director of the Hudson's Bay Company, but he seems to have retired from business in 1795 and devoted himself to the traditional roles of the landed gentry, as a justice of the peace and an officer in the local volunteers. His four sons were all sent to Oxford, and the two eldest went on Lincoln's Inn and became barristers, while the others went into the church and academia. The eldest son, Joseph Berens junior (1773-1853), succeeded in combining a significant position in the city (being Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1812-22) with his role as a landowner. He married a daughter of Richard Benyon of Gidea Hall (Essex) and Englefield House (Berks), and had five sons and one daughter. His eldest son, William Joseph Berens (1800-54), had pursued a career in the army, but he was terminally ill and in the throes of a messy divorce when his father died, and Kevington passed to his younger brother, Richard Beauvoir Berens (1801-59). Like his father, Richard was a barrister and pursued a career in the city, being Governor of the New River Co. - responsible for much of London's water supply - from 1847 until his death.

Richard was in turn succeeded at Kevington by his elder son, Richard Benyon Berens (1834-1916), who was the first of the family not to combine a career in the city with his responsibilities as a landowner. In 1883, he inherited the Culford Hall estate in Suffolk from his kinsman, the Rev. Edward Richard Benyon, but he sold it about five years later. He married the daughter of a leading lawyer and had nine children, several of whom predeceased him. His heir apparent, Richard Berens (1864-1909), was a barrister who was married but left no children, and his next son, the Rev. George Berens (later Berens-Dowdeswell) (1866-1945), was expected to inherit the Pull Court estate in Worcestershire from a cousin. When Richard died in 1916, therefore, he left Kevington to his widow, Fanny Georgina (c.1840-1924), with remainder to his fifth son, Cecil Berens (1869-1933), who had studied at the Royal Agricultural College and become a land agent. He had two sons and two daughters, but his younger son, a pilot in the RAF, died in an unexplained flying accident over Southampton Water in 1932. When he died in 1933, Cecil left a surprisingly large estate, in excess of £140,000, and it is not clear what the source of this wealth - six times what his father had left in 1916 - was. His elder son, Herbert Cecil Benyon Berens (1908-91), who became an accountant and merchant banker and amassed a considerable fortune, inherited Kevington, but the house was requisitioned for military use in the Second World War. By the time it was returned to the family the tentacles of London suburbia were creeping towards St Mary Cray and rather than repair and reoccupy the house he chose to sell it to Kent County Council for use as a primary school and to buy the more rural Bentworth Hall near Alton in Hampshire as a replacement seat. Bentworth was a less impressive house than Kevington, and probably rather smaller, but Herbert enlarged it with the addition of a single-storey wing (which ironically looks rather like a primary school classroom block). He lived at Bentworth until his death, after which it was sold, marking the close of the family's period as landed gentry.

Kevington Hall, St Mary Cray, Kent

The estate belonged from later medieval times until the mid 18th century to the Manning family, whose house here was known as Manning's Hall. It was taxed on 12 hearths in 1664, but nothing is known about its character or appearance. After it was sold to Herman Behrens (d. 1791), it was remodelled and enlarged by Sir Robert Taylor in 1767-69, at a cost of £6,192. Behrens' notebook, of which there is a copy in the RIBA Library, records the purchase of the land, the alterations to the house, the building of the offices and garden wall, together with costs of materials and labour. Berens perhaps knew Taylor through their respective connections in the city of London, but Richard Garnier has shown that the work at Kevington followed on Taylor's building of Beaver Hall, Southgate (Middx) in c.1762-63 for Herman Berens' brother, John Berens (d. 1787), and this probably led to the commission. 

Kevington Hall: the entrance front in 1938. Image: Historic England BB71/9324

Kevington Hall: the south front in 1938, showing the bow window added by Joseph Berens. Image: Historic England BB71/9619
The house at Kevington is unusually plain by Taylor's standards, with few of his characteristic design features, such as shaped rooms, octagonal glazing, and elaborate Rococo plasterwork. Once the works were completed, the house showed no outward sign of its earlier origins, and became a square two and a half storey villa. Perhaps surprisingly, there seem to be no published engravings of the house showing it at this time, and as it was altered after Herman's death for his son, Joseph Berens (1745-1825), we cannot be quite certain what it looked like originally. Joseph added the broad curved bow - which stylistically could be an original feature but which is not bonded in to the rest of the elevation - to the centre of the south front, and no doubt also the tripartite windows on the upper floors of the west front, largely giving the house its present external appearance. Later additions include the single-storey stuccoed bays built out either side of the curved bow, containing panelled tripartite windows flanked by pilasters, and probably also the large pedimented porch on the west front, which has twin Doric engaged columns with narrow windows between them and further windows on the sides.

Kevington Hall: the dining room in 1938. Image: Historic England BB71/9341

Kevington Hall: the drawing room in 1938. Image: Historic England BB71/9339
Inside, the house was a good deal more altered in the 19th century and later, and little of the original simple but elegant neo-classical decoration survives now. The best that remains is in the former dining room, which has a delicate swagged circular panel on one wall, formerly set above a fireplace, and further decorative plaster panels around the rest of the room. Photographs taken in 1938 show the house as it was during the ownership of the Berens family, with good ceiling cornices in the main rooms and a fine chimneypiece in the bow-ended drawing room. Probably around 1900, the entrance hall and the staircase behind were thrown into a single long room divided by an elliptical archway, and the original staircase was replaced with the present open well stair with rather widely spaced and spindly turned balusters. 

Kevington Hall: the house today, after extensive recent restoration.

Kevington Hall: the hall and staircase today.
In the Second World War the house was requisitioned and used as the headquarters of the Canadian army in Europe. At the end of the war it was returned to the Berens family but quickly sold to Kent County Council, which used it to house a primary (later infants') school. During forty years of school use, the historic interiors were considerably abraded, and additional accommodation was built on the site. The additions were all removed after the building returned to private ownership in 1987, and there have been several phases of restoration work since then. The house is now used as a conference centre and wedding venue, but the hall and staircase and the former library remain decorated and furnished in country house style.

Descent: John Manning (d. 1435); to son, Hugh Manning (c.1431-1503); to younger son, Richard Manning; to son, John Manning; to son, Edward Manning; to son, Edward Manning (d. 1640); to son, Edward Manning; to son, Edward Manning (c.1654-1703); to son, Richard Manning (d. 1753); to nephew, Denzil Onslow (c.1698-1765); to son, Middleton Onslow (1732-1801), who sold to Herman Behrens (c.1702-91); to son, Joseph Berens (1773-1853); to son, Richard Beauvoir Berens (1801-59); to son, Richard Benyon Berens (1834-1916); to son, Cecil Berens (1869-1933); to son, Herbert Cecil Berens (1908-81); requisitioned during WW2 and sold 1947 to Kent County Council; transferred 1965 to Bromley London Borough Council; sold 1987; sold 1993... Mrs Janet Jackson (fl. 2006); to son, Jonathan Barlow Jackson (b. 1980). 

Bentworth Hall, Hampshire

The house was built for Roger Staples Horman-Fisher after he bought the estate in 1832, as a replacement for the late medieval Hall Place, (which became a farmhouse). The new house was sited on a gentle ridge of open downland dotted with abandoned chalk pits, to the south of its predecessor. Alongside the construction of the house, Horman-Fisher laid out a small park, with a gate-lodge at the edge of Bentworth village and extensive woodland planting to provide shelter belts and an attractive setting for the house. 

Bentworth Hall: the newly-built in c.1835-40, from an amateur watercolour. Image: Public Domain.
The house itself was a Tudor villa with mullioned windows, of two storeys, with a front of three bays that gave a misleadingly modest impression, for further ranges to the rear made it much bigger than it looked at first, and in 1848 it had six principal bedrooms. The most remarkable feature of the house was that it was built of beautifully squared and coursed knapped flint ('carefully and minutely cut and smoothed at an incalculable cost' according to the sale particulars of 1848) with stone dressings. Inside, the hall and staircase were surrounded by four reception rooms (library, drawing room, dining room and breakfast room). 

Bentworth Hall: the house in 1905.

Bentworth Hall: the house in 1983, showing the single-storey Modernist addition of the 1950s.
After Maj. Berens bought the estate in 1947, he built a single-storey flat-roofed extension to the south side of the house, with large floor-length plate glass windows like a contemporary primary school, and also added two further lodges in neo-Georgian style, designed by Hugh Vaux. After his death, attempts to sell the house as a single unit were unsuccessful, and the property was divided into three dwellings, with two more being created later in the former stable block.

Descent: built c.1832 for Roger Staples Horman-Fisher (1792-1866); sold c.1845 to Charles Bushe; sold 1848 to Jeremiah Robert Ives (d. 1865); to widow, Emma Ives (d. 1897); to son, Col. Gordon Maynard Gordon-Ives (d. 1907) of Gaston Grange; to son, Cecil Maynard Gordon-Ives (d. 1923); sold 1924 to Arthur d'Anyers Willis; sold 1932 to Maj. John Arthur Pryor, but requisitioned for military use in Second World War; sold 1947 to Maj. Herbert Cecil Berens (1908-81); sold after his death and divided into flats. The house was leased from c.1900-23 to William Graham Nicholson MP (1862-1942) of Basing Park. 

Berens family of Kevington Hall

Berens, Hermanus alias Herman (c.1702-91). Son of Hermanus Behrens of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and his wife Regina, born about 1702. In partnership with his brother John (and possibly also another brother, Joseph) he established a mercantile house in London, engaged in general shipping business. The partnership was later broken and Herman became a director of the East India Company and of the Hudson's Bay Company. He was naturalized as an Englishman, 1732. Alderman of the City of London by 1780. He married, 17 July 1742, Magdalen (1721-90), daughter of Etienne alias Stephen Riou (1676-1740), and had issue:
(1) John Stephen Berens (1743-67), baptised at St Bartholomew Exchange, London, 25 August 1743; probably died unmarried and was buried at Enfield, 19 February 1767;
(2) Joseph Berens (1745-1825) (q.v.);
(3) Magdalen Berens (1746-1800), baptised at St Bartholomew Exchange, London, 13 March 1745/6; died unmarried and was buried at Orpington, 5 June 1800; will proved in the PCC, 14 June 1800;
(4) Catherine Berens (1749-1826), baptised at Enfield (Middx), 20 August 1749; died unmarried and was buried at Orpington, 18 November 1826; will proved in the PCC, 1 December 1826.
He purchased Kevington Hall in about 1766, and enlarged it to the designs of Sir Robert Taylor, 1767-69.
He died 31 December 1791 and was buried at Orpington (Kent); his will was proved in the PCC, 13 January 1795. His wife died 11 July 1790 and was also buried at Orpington.

Berens, Joseph (1745-1825). Only surviving son of Herman Behrens (c.1702-91) and his wife Magdalen, daughter of Etienne alias Stephen Riou, born in London, 21 February and baptised at St Bartholomew Exchange, London, 28 February 1744/5. A director of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1776-95. DL for Kent (from 1797). An officer in the Kevington Volunteer Infantry (Capt., 1798). He married, 17 August 1772 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), Elizabeth (d. 1827), second daughter* of Sir Edward Hulse of Breamore (Hants), and had issue:
(1) Joseph Berens (1773-1853) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Magdalene Berens (1774-86), baptised at St Botolph, Bishopsgate, London, 26 October 1774; died young, 28 May, and was buried at Wilmington (Kent), 1 June 1786;
(3) Henry Berens (1776-1852), born 19 February and baptised at Farningham (Kent), 24 March 1776; educated at Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1795; called 1804); barrister-at-law; one of three commissioners appointed to inquire into the collection of excise duty, 1833; died unmarried, 12 May, and was buried at Sidcup (Kent), 22 May 1852; will proved 7 June 1852;
(4) Ven. Edward Berens (1777-1859), baptised at Sutton-at-Hone (Kent), 4 August 1777; educated at Christ Church and Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1795; BA 1798; MA 1801); ordained deacon, 1801 and priest, 1802; domestic chaplain to Bishop of Exeter, 1803-17; vicar of Shrivenham (Berks), 1804-55 and rector of Englefield (Berks), 1817-55; rural dean and a prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral, 1829-32; Archdeacon of Berkshire, 1832-55; a liberal in politics and a supporter of religious orthodoxy with high church leanings, he wrote for the Quarterly Review and also published works including Church Reform (1828), Advice to a Young Man on first going to Oxford (1832) and Steadfast Adherence to the Church of England, Recommended and Enforced (1852); he resided at Shrivenham, where he built a new vicarage to the designs of Richard Pace of Lechlade in 1805; he married, 30 December 1805, Catherine (1781-1865), daughter of Rt. Rev. Henry Reginald Courtenay, bishop of Exeter, but had no issue; died 7 April 1859; will proved 24 June 1859 (effects under £45,000);
(5) Maria Anne Berens (1778-1849), baptised at Sutton-at-Hone, 12 October 1778; married, 24 April 1804, at Farnborough (Kent), Rev. John Pratt (c.1773-1861), rector of Sedlescombe (Sussex), 1803-61, son of Henry Pratt of Orpington (Kent), and had issue four sons and three daughters; buried at Sedlescombe, 26 April 1849;
(6) Sophia Caroline Berens (1780-1851), baptised at Sutton-at-Hone, 4 June 1780; married, 21 June 1804 at Sedlescombe (Sussex), Benjamin Harenc (1780-1825) of Foots Cray Place (Kent), and had issue five sons and four daughters; died 4 July 1851; will proved 18 February 1851;
(7) Richard Berens (1781-1849), born 1 October and baptised at Sutton-at-Hone (Kent), 28 October 1781; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1800; BA 1804) and All Souls College (BCL 1807; DCL 1813); Fellow and Bursar of All Souls College; died unmarried at his house in London, 13 June 1849, and was buried at All Souls College, where he is commemorated by a monument; will proved in the PCC, 12 July 1849.
He lived first at Hextable House (Kent) and after his father's death at Kevington.
He died 19 December 1825 and was buried at Orpington (Kent); his will was proved in the PCC, 31 December 1825. His widow died 27 April 1827 and was buried with her husband the following day.
* Her elder sister, Hannah, married Richard Benyon (later Benyon de Beauvoir) (1770-1854), establishing a close connection between the two families.

Berens, Joseph (1773-1853). Eldest son of Joseph Behrens (1745-1825) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Hulse of Breamore (Hants), baptised at St Botolph, Bishopsgate, London, 25 May 1773. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1791; BA 1796; MA 1798) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1795; called 1800). Barrister-at-law; Recorder of Romney Marsh by 1815. A member of the Hudson's Bay Company (Committee Member, 1801-33; Deputy Governor, 1807-12; Governor 1812-22). An officer in the Kevington Volunteer Infantry (Lt., 1798; Capt., 1798) and the London & Westminster Light Horse Volunteers (Cornet, 1809; Lt. 1812; Capt., 1815). He married, 11 June 1799 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), Charlotte (1774-1854), third daughter of Richard Benyon (1746-96) of Gidea Park (Essex) and Englefield House (Berks), and had issue:
(1) William Joseph Berens (1800-54), of Orpington Hall (Kent), baptised at St Giles in the Fields, Holborn (Middx), 12 June 1800; educated at Westminster; an officer in the army (Ensign, 1822; Lt., 1825; Capt., 1827; retired 1837) and later the West Kent Yeomanry Cavalry (Capt. 1848); JP for Kent; married, 20 July 1837 (div. 1854*) at Greasley (Notts), Louisa Maria (1813-57), daughter of Lancelot Rollston, but had no issue; died at Ryde (IoW), 11 June 1854; will proved in the PCC, 8 September 1854;
(2) Richard Beauvoir Berens (1801-1859) (q.v.);
(3) Henry Hulse Berens (1804-83), of Sidcup (Kent), born 21/24 November and baptised at St Giles in the Fields, Holborn (Middx), 23 December 1804; JP for Kent and a Commissioner of Lieutenancy for London; a director of the Bank of England, 1849-80; Governor of Hudson's Bay Co., 1858-63 (Committee Member 1833-63 and Deputy Governor, 1856-58), and auditor of the New River Company; a freemason from 1851; married, 30 October 1841 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Ellinor (1815-46), daughter of George Stone of Coopers, Chislehurst (Kent), and had issue one daughter (who with her husband took the name Berens in 1885); died 23 August 1883 and was buried at Sidcup (Kent); will proved 19 November 1883 (effects £71,282);
(4) Rev. Edward Riou Berens (1807-66), born 12 January and baptised at St Giles in the Fields, Holborn (Middx), 13 February 1807; educated at Westminster, Christ Church and St Mary's Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1825; BA 1831; MA 1832); ordained deacon, 1831 and priest, 1832; vicar of Broxted and rector of Wickford (Essex), 1833-39 and Downham (Essex), 1839-66; married, 21 August 1849 at Woodmansterne (Surrey), Sophia Frances (1807-1900), daughter of Thomas Walpole of Stagbury, Woodmansterne, and had issue one daughter (who died young); died 31 July 1866; will proved 22 September 1866 (effects under £35,000);
(5) Charlotte Elizabeth Berens (1813-81), baptised at St Paul's Cray, 29 August 1813; after the death of her father, she lived with her brother Henry; died unmarried, 12 September, and was buried at Sidcup, 17 September 1881; administration of goods granted to her brother, 19 October 1881 (effects £40,265);
(6) George Samuel Berens (1819-43), baptised at St Pauls Cray (Kent), 31 January 1819; joined the Royal Navy and was mate of HMS Harlequin during an action in China for which the crew received medals, 1842; died 11 September 1843 and was buried at sea off the island of Borneo; administration of goods granted to his father, 1844.
He inherited Kevington Hall from his father in 1794.
He died at Downham (Essex) but was buried at Orpington, 11 January 1853; his will was proved in the PCC, 18 February 1853. His widow died 1 July 1854.
* This was a sensational divorce case. After a very short acquaintance, Louisa eloped in 1853 with John Coventry (1793-1871) of Burgate House, Fordingbridge (Hants), son of the Hon. John Coventry (whom she married 2nd, 13 January 1857 at St Marylebone (Middx)). Efforts to trace the couple, who evidently stayed in hotels in Liverpool and Manchester as husband and wife, were unsuccessful. Berens initiated divorce proceedings in the House of Lords, but the bill only passed its final stages in the House of Commons a day or two after he had died.

Berens, Richard Beauvoir (1801-59). Second son of Joseph Berens (c.1773-1853) and his wife Charlotte, daughter of Richard Benyon of Englefield House (Berks), born 14/16 December 1801 and baptised at St Giles-in-the-Fields (Middx), 27 January 1802. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1820; BA 1823; MA 1827) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1823; called 1828). Barrister-at-law. An officer in the West Kent Yeomanry Cavalry (Cornet, 1830). Governor of the New River Company, c.1847-59. He married, 10 January 1833 at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), Catharine (1801-78), daughter of John Edmund Dowdeswell MP (1772-1851) of Pull Court (Worcs), and had issue:
(1) Richard Benyon Berens (1834-1916) (q.v.);
(2) Catharine Frances Carolina Berens (1837-92), born 10 November and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), 13 December 1837; married, 12 August 1880 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Lt-Col. Wilmot Grant (1839-1909) (who m2, 31 October 1893 at Thurlbere (Som.), Frances Mary (c.1863-1920), daughter of George Edwin Lance, judge in Indian civil service), son of Col. Edward Fitzherbert Grant; died without issue, 4 October 1892; will proved 10 January 1893 (effects £48,281);
(3) Edward Osmond Berens (1839-72), born 27 July 1839; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1857; BA 1861; MA 1864); an officer in the Kent Rifle Volunteers (Lt., 1860); died without issue, 31 January, and was buried at Orpington, 6 February 1872, where he is commemorated by a monument in the churchyard; will proved 22 February 1872 (effects under £14,000).
He inherited Kevington Hall from his father in 1853.
He died of a stroke while riding, 25 February 1859, and was buried at Orpington where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 11 May 1859. His widow died 5 August 1878 and was buried at Orpington, 10 August 1878, where she is commemorated on her husband's monument.

Richard Benyon Berens (1834-1916)
Image: National Portrait Gallery
Berens, Richard Benyon (1834-1916).
Elder son of Richard Beauvoir Berens (d. 1859) and his wife Catharine, daughter of John Edmund Dowdeswell MP, born 15 March 1834. Educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1852; BA 1857; MA 1865). An officer in the West Kent Yeomanry Cavalry (Cornet, 1859; Lt., 1863; retired 1870). JP (from 1861) and DL (from 1892) for Kent; High Sheriff of Kent, 1893-94. He married, 13 June 1860 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), Fanny Georgina (c.1840-1924), daughter of Alexander Atherton Park, Master of the Court of Common Pleas, and had issue, with a daughter who was stillborn in 1861:
(1) Richard Berens (b. & d. 1863), born 22 January and baptised at St Mary Cray, 12 February 1863; died in infancy and was buried at Orpington (Kent), 14 March 1863;
(2) Richard Berens (1864-1909), born 28 January and baptised at St Mary Cray, 20 March 1864; educated at Westminster, Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1882; BA 1887; MA 1890) and Inner Temple (admitted 1887; called 1892); barrister-at-law; married, 3 December 1900 at St George, Bloomsbury (Middx), Elizabeth Evelyn (c.1877-1946) (who m2, 17 April 1915, Maj. Edgar Oswald Anderson (1876-1945)), daughter of John Fitzgibbons of Belton, Doncaster (Yorks); died in the lifetime of his father, at Felixstowe (Suffk), 14 July 1909; will proved 11 December 1909 (estate £9,249);
(3) Rev. George Berens (later Berens-Dowdeswell) (1866-1945), born 11 January 1866; educated at Westminster, Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1884; BA 1888; MA 1891) and Leeds Clerical School (admitted 1888); ordained deacon, 1889 and priest, 1891; curate, 1889-1904 and vicar, 1904-07 of St Andrew, Bethnal Green (Middx); curate of Harworth (Notts), 1908-11; rector of Foots Cray (Kent), 1911-21; assumed the additional name Dowdeswell by royal licence, 1916, on inheriting the Pull Court estate from his cousin, but was driven to sell it by the pressure of taxation, 1932, and retired to The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay (Berks); married, 23 September 1918 at Foots Cray, Eveleen Mary MA, Fellow of British College of Nurses (1875-1967), eldest daughter of Dr William Hunter MD of Rothesay (Bute); died 28 November 1945 and was buried at Bushley (Worcs);
(4) Herbert Berens (1867-97), born 2 October and baptised at St Mary Cray, 17 November 1867; educated at Westminster; captain of the St Mary Cray fire brigade, 1895-97; died unmarried of pneumonia, 2 December 1897, and was buried at St Mary Cray;
(5) Cecil Berens (1869-1933) (q.v.);
(6) Maud Catherine Berens (1871-1960), born 28 September and baptised at St Mary Cray, 19 November 1871; married 1st, 25 November 1920 at St Mary Cray, Henry Pitt Tozer (1864-1928) of Bere Regis (Dorset); married 2nd, 3 June 1931 at Bere Regis (Dorset), William Bedford (1858-1936); died without issue, 9 July 1960; will proved 12 September 1960 (estate £25,045); 
(7) Edward Berens (1873-1938), born 24 October and baptised at St Mary Cray, 21 December 1873; educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1892; BA 1897); member of Bromley Board of Guardians, 1917-30 and Bromley Rural District Council, 1922-35; a keen cricketer; died unmarried, 2 October 1938; administration of goods (with will annexed) granted 25 November 1938 (estate £10,610);
(8) Atherton Berens (1877-1940), born 21 May 1877; educated at Westminster and Pembroke College, Oxford; farmer; served in First World War with Army Service Corps, 1916-18; married, 3 November 1906 at St John, Paddington (Middx), Wenefrede Dorothy (1875-1956), daughter of Joseph Watson Overbury of London, and had issue three daughters; died 11 February 1940; will proved 13 April 1940 (estate £126);
(9) Violet Frances Berens (1880-1949), born 10 November 1880; married, 31 July 1906 at St Mary Cray, Edward Loxley Waring (1863-1933) of Halstead Hall, Sevenoaks (Kent), son of William Waring of Woodlands, Chelsfield (Kent), and had issue; died 26 July 1949; will proved 10 October 1949 (estate £14,737).
He inherited Kevington Hall from his father in 1859. At his death he bequeathed it to his widow for life, with remainder to his fifth son, Cecil. He also inherited Culford Hall (Suffk) on the death of his kinsman, the Rev. Edward Richard Benyon, in 1883, but sold it about five years later to the Earl Cadogan.
He died 28 October 1916; will proved 21 February 1917 (estate £23,075). His widow died 4 April 1924; her will was proved 14 July 1924 (estate £3,463).

Berens, Cecil (1869-1933). Fifth son of Richard Benyon Berens (1834-1916) and his wife Fanny Georgina, daughter of Alexander Atherton Park, Master of the Court of Common Pleas, born 12 May and baptised at St Mary Cray, 20 June 1869. Educated at Sherborne and Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Estate agent. Master of West Kent Harriers, 1886-1905. During the First World War he was an Inspector of the Special Constabulary. JP for Kent (from 1922) and a member of Bromley Rural District Council and Bromley Board of Guardians. He married, 27 July 1905 at St Mary Abbots, Kensington (Middx), Mildred Turnour (1886-1984), only daughter of James Blackwood of Foots Cray (Kent), and had issue:
(1) Violet Cecil Turnour Berens (1907-70), born 26 June 1907; married, 25 July 1931 at St Mary Cray, Geoffrey Arthur John Smallwood (1900-73) of Milford (Staffs), barrister-at-law, deputy chairman of Leicestershire Quarter Sessions, 1947-71 and a stipendiary magistrate in Stoke-on-Trent, 1960-73, son of Arthur I. Smallwood of Leamington Spa (Warks); died 24 June 1970; administration of goods granted 1 October 1970 (estate £8,051);
(2) Herbert Cecil Benyon Berens (1908-81) (q.v.);
(3) Richard James Berens (1911-32), born 25 July 1911; an officer in the Royal Air Force (Pilot Officer); died as the result of a flying accident over Southampton Water, 4 December 1932;
(4) Rita Sylvia Berens (1913-2002), born 4 September 1913; married, 5 August 1940 in India, as his second wife, Lt-Cdr. Patrick Spencer Boyle RN (1906-78) of Ashe Park (Hants), only son of Capt. the Hon. Edward Spencer Henry Boyle RN, and had issue one son; died 7 November 2002; will proved 9 June 2003 (estate £128,796).
He inherited Kevington Hall on the death of his mother in 1924.
He died 30 December 1933 and was buried at St Mary Cray Cemetery; his will was proved 26 February and 19 March 1934 (estate £141,323). His widow married 2nd, 10 November 1945, Sir Oliver Hamilton Augustus Hart-Dyke (1885-1969), 8th bt., and died aged 98 at Balgowen, Natal (South Africa), 9 June 1984; her will was proved 8 November 1984 (estate in England & Wales, £20,136).

Berens, Herbert Cecil Benyon (1908-81). Elder son of Cecil Berens (1869-1933) and his wife Mildred Turnour, only daughter of James Blackwood of Foots Cray (Kent), born 16 October 1908. Educated at Wellington College and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1927). Merchant banker who began his career as an accountant with Hambro's Bank, 1931-39. An officer in the City of London Yeomanry (2nd Lt., 1939; Capt. by 1942; Hon. Maj.), who served in the Second World War with the Royal Armoured Corps and was a Prisoner of War, 1941-43; awarded the MC, 1942. After the war he was managing director of Anglo-Foreign Securities, 1944-51, and the Bentworth Trust from 1951, and was later a director of the Allied Irish Bank, 1966; and of Hambro's Bank, 1968 and Chairman of International Distillers, 1962-72 and Evans of Leeds, 1972. As a young man he played cricket for the Kent Second XI. He married, 10 October 1931 at St Margaret, Westminster (Middx), Moyra Nancy (1907-94), daughter of Louis Oliver Mellard (1873-1954), and had issue:
(1) Richard Wilfrid Beauvoir Berens (1933-98), born 18 February 1933; educated at Eton; colourful journalist who edited the 'William Hickey' column in the Daily Express and was notoriously a gambler and alcoholic; married 1st, 10 April 1958 (div. 1962), Hon. Nicole (k/a Minty) (1936-2011) (who m2, Michael Russell (1933-2020), literary agent and publisher, son of Edward Dennis Russell of Bournemouth (Hants), solicitor), only daughter of Richard Francis Roger Yarde-Buller (1910-91), 4th Baron Churston, and had issue one son and one daughter; married 2nd, 6 January 1965 (div.), Virginia Rose (1940-2023) (who m2, 1971, Mark Charles Grenville Fortescue (1947-82), son of Brig. Arthur Henry Grenville Fortescue MC (1913-2005), and had further issue two daughters), youngest daughter of Anthony William Fabio Caccia-Birch MC (1898-1986) of Guernsey Lodge, Marton (New Zealand), and had issue one daughter; married 3rd, Oct-Dec 1971, Barbara, only daughter of Charles A. Neil, and had further issue two daughters; died 8 July 1998; will proved 16 September 1998;
(2) Penelope Anne Georgina Berens (b. 1934), born 9 August 1934; married, 29 May 1954, Geoffrey Jackson Ackroyd (1930-82) of Candover Park, Brown Candover (Hants), second son of Geoffrey Ackroyd of Hayley Green Farm, Warfield (Berks), and had issue two sons and two daughters;
(3) Jonathan Christopher Dowdeswell Berens (1936-76), born 11 December 1936; educated at Eton; partner in a firm of stockbrokers; married, 14 July 1960, Phoebe Helen (b. 1939) (who m2, 1986, Duncan A. Cavenagh), younger daughter of Leslie William Parkhouse of St Mary Abbots House, London W14, and had issue three daughters; committed suicide, 22 October 1976; will proved 19 January 1977 (estate £158,666);
(4) David John Cecil (k/a Henry) Berens (b. 1939), born 7 October 1939; educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford (MA 1961); managing director of London Trust plc, investment managers; married, 3 October 1963, Janet Roxburgh (1943-2019), youngest daughter of Archibald Roxburgh Balfour MC (1883-1958) of Lima (Peru), and had issue two sons and two daughters.
He inherited Kevington Hall from his father in 1933, but sold it in 1947 and purchased Bentworth Hall (Hants), which was sold after his death.
He died 27 October 1981; his will was proved 8 March 1982 (estate £1,105,564). His widow died 12 February 1994; her will was proved 12 May 1994 (estate £31,370).

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1969, p. 43; B. Cherry & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: London - South, 1983, p. 193; M. Binney, Sir Robert Taylor, 1984, p. 95; R. Garnier, 'Two "Crystalline" Villas of the 1760s', The Georgian Group Journal, 1997, pp. 9-25; M. Bullen, J. Crook, R. Hubbock & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Hampshire - Winchester and the North, 2010, p. 178;

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive, but some papers may remain with the family.

Coat of arms

Argent, on a mount vert a bear passant sable.

Can you help?

  • Can anyone explain the source of the wealth which Cecil Berens (1869-1933) left at his death?
  • Can anyone provide full information on the ownership of Kevington Hall since 1987?
  • 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 23 February 2024 and was updated 25 February 2024.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

(569) Benyon of Gidea Hall and Englefield House

Benyon of Englefield
The Benyon family were established as merchants in London throughout the 17th century. Daniel Benyon (d. 1690) was master of the tallow chandlers' company in 1689-90, and his son, Daniel Benyon (1664-1708), with whom the genealogy below begins, perhaps continued his father's business. By the time of his death in 1708 he was living at Blackheath (Kent), and in less than two years he was followed to the grave by his daughter and his widow, all three of them being buried at Lee (Kent). This left only his young son, Richard Benyon (1698-1774), orphaned at the age of eleven, for whom responsibility evidently fell on Col. John Perry, probably a neighbour or friend of his father. In what seems at first sight an uncommonly callous and risky action, Perry sent the boy out to India, but it is not known what arrangements were made for him there, or indeed for his care during the journey. On arrival, he was taken into the household of Osmond de Beauvoir, who in due course arranged for his employment by the East India Company as a writer and later as a colonial administrator. He evidently showed some aptitude for the work, for at the age of just twenty he was appointed to the Council of Fort St. George (later Madras and now Chennai), and served in that role until 1725, when he made a first return to England, bringing with him his first wife. Richard had evidently already begun to make money in India, for in 1728 he bought the manor of Coptfold at Margaretting. He probably intended to make this his principal residence at the time, for he constructed a family vault in Margaretting church where he and several members of his family were later buried, but in about 1732 he returned to India, rejoining the Council at Fort St George and in 1735 heing appointed President or Governor of the Fort. Employment as an  official of the East India Company offered many opportunities for private enrichment, which varied from straightforward commercial side-hustles to outright bribery, corruption and extortion. In the relatively lawless world of the Indian sub-continent, Benyon's hands seem to have been cleaner than most, but he still returned to England at the end of his Governorship in 1744 with a fortune estimated at £75,000. Once settled in England he bought further property in Essex, including the Gidea Hall estate in 1745, the Newbury estate in Ilford in 1747, and the North Ockendon Hall estate in 1758. He also married again, this time to Mary Wrighte (1714-77), who was the niece of the Osmond de Beauvoir who had taken him into his household in India thirty years earlier and also the widow of Powlett Wrighte of Englefield House, in which she held a life interest.

Richard and Mary Benyon made a town house in Grosvenor Square, London, their principal residence (although they do seem to have spent time at both Gidea Hall and Englefield), and there they raised their son, Richard Benyon II (1746-96) as well as Mary's son by her first marriage, Powlett Wrighte (1739-79). Once they reached adulthood, Powlett took possession of Englefield House and Richard junior made his home at Gidea Hall, and both men were responsible for alterations. Powlett died without issue in 1779 and the Englefield estate passed to his uncle, Nathan Wrighte (1717-89) for life, with remainder to Richard Benyon II, whose eldest son, Richard Benyon III (later Benyon de Beauvoir), was about to come of age. Probably recognising that Englefield, with its 11,000 acre estate, was a significantly grander property than Gidea Hall, Richard Benyon II installed his son at Englefield and left instructions in his will that Gidea Hall should be sold for the benefit of his younger children, although the other Essex property was retained for several further generations.

Richard Benyon III was married in 1797 to Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Francis Sykes, another Indian nabob, whose seat at Basildon Park (Berks) lay fairly close to Englefield. Although the couple seem to have been happily married until Elizabeth's death in 1822, the fact that they had no children to inherit their Berkshire and Essex property did not deter Richard from remodelling Englefield House to the designs of Thomas Hopper. Richard had adopted the additional names Powlett Wrighte before Benyon in 1814, and in 1822 he changed his name again to Benyon de Beauvoir, on inheriting the Hackney (Middx) estate of his elderly great-great-uncle, the Rev. Peter de Beauvoir, rector of Downham (Essex). Shortly before his death, de Beauvoir had leased his entire estate at Hackney to William Rhodes (the grandfather of Cecil Rhodes, the explorer), a speculative builder who had plans for developing the area as an up-market residential district. Richard Benyon de Beauvoir quickly realised that the lease, which gave him a paltry £1,200 a year, divided the returns from developing the estate unfairly, and he asked the courts to set it aside on the grounds that his great-great-uncle had not understood what he was agreeing to. The case was hotly contested and went all the way to the House of Lords, but final judgement was given in his favour in 1834. Having recovered possession, he implemented a new plan, developing the area as middle-class housing, the rents from which quickly made him an extremely wealthy man. When he died in 1854, the press speculated wildly about his net worth, estimating it at £7,500,000. That figure was vastly overstated, but the estate income in the 1880s suggests that the capital value might have been as much as £2.5 million. His wealth was not derived wholly from the Hackney estate, for in 1824, before development began, he was in a position to purchase the Culford Hall estate (Suffk) from the estate of Lord Cornwallis for £230,000, perhaps financed partly by borrowing. In 1839 he settled this property on his 'nephew', the Rev. Edward Richard Benyon (1802-83), who is said to have been born at Lausanne (Switzerland) in 1802 but who first appears on the public record when he went to Cambridge in 1820. No record seems to survive of Edward's parentage, he does not fit with the families of any of Benyon de Beauvoir's siblings, and it seems possible that he was actually Richard's illegitimate son. This would explain the generosity of Benyon de Beauvoir's lifetime gift to him.

When he died in 1854, Richard Benyon de Beauvoir left Englefield House, the Hackney estate and his remaining Essex property to a genuine nephew, Richard Fellowes (1811-97), who was the second surviving son of Benyon de Beauvoir's sister Emma and her husband, William Henry Fellowes (1769-1837). He was the middle one of three brothers, collectively known as 'the lucky Fellowes', who all acquired country houses as a result of inheritances. Richard, who was a barrister, took the name Benyon at his uncle's request and settled at Englefield House, which he again remodelled in the late 1850s to the design of a little-known Scottish architect, Richard Armstrong. Richard Benyon served as chairman of the Berkshire Quarter Sessions for twenty years, and was noted as a philanthropist, said to have built more churches on and around his estates than any other man in modern times, although he kept his donations quiet, 'having a dread of his benevolent actions becoming known'.
Kingston Maurward House
He and his wife had three daughters, but no son to succeed him, so at his death in 1897 the estates again passed to a nephew, this time his brother James' son, James Herbert Fellowes (1849-1935). James had also inherited Kingston Maurward House (Dorset) from his father, but he sold this in 1906. He took the name Benyon in 1897 and was Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire from 1901 until his death, when he was succeeded by his only son, Sir Henry Benyon (1884-1959), 1st bt, who was raised to a baronetcy in 1958. Sir Henry sold the remaining Essex estates to clear the death duties payable on his father's estates, but was able to retain the Englefield House and Hackney properties, although due to wartime restrictions during after the Second World War his properties deteriorated in both condition and value. He served as Lord Lieutenant, 1945-59, like his father, and was briefly Chairman of Berkshire County Council.

Sir Henry and his wife had no children, so at his death his estates passed to his second cousin, Vice-Admiral Richard Benyon Shelley (1892-1968), the younger son of Col. Sir John Shelley (1848-1931), 9th bt. and his wife Marion Emma Benyon, daughter of Richard Fellowes (later Benyon) (1811-97). Admiral Shelley took the name Benyon, but passed the estate straight on to his eldest son, Sir William Richard Shelley (later Benyon) (1930-2014), kt., who as Bill Benyon was a long-serving MP for Buckingham and later Milton Keynes, 1970-92, and who was knighted in 1994 after retiring from the Commons. Sir Bill effected a remarkable transformation in the fortunes of his estates, carefully restoring Englefield House and encouraging and supporting the 'gentrification' of his Hackney property, with a resulting growth in the rental income it provides. He handed the estates over to his elder son, the Rt. Hon. Richard Henry Ronald Benyon (b. 1960) in about 2010. Mr. Benyon also pursued a political career, serving as MP for Newbury, 2005-19, and being made a life peer as Baron Benyon in 2021. He has continued the process of developing and diversifying his estates with vigour, and has ensured the succession, with five sons by his two marriages. The Hackney property is now managed on his behalf by his younger brother, Edward Benyon (b. 1962).

Gidea Hall, Hare Street, Romford, Essex

The house is first referred to in 1250. Sir Thomas Cooke obtained the king’s licence to create a park, and to rebuild and crenellate Gidea Hall in 1466, but 'falling under the displeasure of the Court, to the great injury of his fortune, he completed only the front'. His great-grandson, Sir Anthony Cooke (d. 1576), tutor to King Edward VI, who lived in exile during the reign of Queen Mary, completed it before 1568, when he entertained Elizabeth I here. The building was moated, and consisted of four ranges round a courtyard, with an open colonnade on one side, as is shown by a survey plan in John Thorpe's late 16th century 'Book of Drawings' at the Soane Museum. In the 17th century Gidea Hall was the second largest house in the liberty of Havering-atte-Bower, after the king’s house at Havering, being taxed on 35 hearths in 1670, and Marie de Medici, mother of Queen Henrietta Maria, stayed there in 1638, as a result of which a woodcut depicting the house was published in a French account of her visit.

Gidea Hall: the house at the time of Marie de Medici's visit in 1638.

Gidea Park: ground floor plan from John Thorpe's 'Book of Drawings' [Sir John Soane Museum vol. 101, T.164]

The fortuitous survival of both a plan and a view of the house suggests that Thorpe's plan may have silently incorporated improvements of his own invention to increase the symmetry of the design; for example, he shows two canted bay windows and a doorway on the elevation nearest the viewpoint of the drawing, which the latter shows as having only one canted bay; and the external angles of the building had domed octagonal towers at the corners, barely suggested by Thorpe. In the courtyard, two large domed staircase towers stood in the internal angles at either end of the hall range. These distinctive features allow the drawing to be correctly oriented to the plan, and make it clear that the hall range was that nearest the viewpoint, with the private apartments in the range to the left of this, the main entrance being by the bridge across the moat into the right-hand range, and the colonnade facing onto the courtyard lying on the fourth side. The hall was approached from the courtyard by a flight of steps up to a porch leading into the screens passage. The rooms on the service side of the screens passage appear to be very faintly labelled in pencil as 'Wynt' and 'Kit'; i.e. Winter Parlour and Kitchen. 

The house and estate were sold soon after 1710 to Sir John Eyles, who pulled down the Tudor house and built a new one. However, some 16th century stabling west of the Georgian house survived until 1922 and if the stables in question are those shown on the right of the 17th century view - which the shape of the building on 19th century Ordnance Survey maps suggests may well be the case - then the Tudor house stood on almost exactly the same site as its successor, meaning that the 17th century view was taken from the north of the site, and that the archway on the horizon at the top of the drawing marked the access to the estate from the Roman road through Hare Street to the south. The drawing shows the land rising to that gateway, which which accords with the local topography, although it rather overstates the extent of the rise, which is only about ten feet.

Gidea Hall: engraving of the Georgian house in 1771.
Sir John Eyles was a London financier, who served as Lord Mayor of London in 1726-27 and was Whig MP for Chippenham 1715-27 and for London, 1727-34. From 1715-25 he was one of the commissioners to oversee estates forfeited to the Crown following the Jacobite rebellion, and he also served two terms as a director of the East India Company, 1710-14 and 1717-21, before being brought into the South Sea Company as deputy governor to sort out its finances following the collapse of the 'South Sea Bubble'. His new Georgian house was a plain but massive nine by seven bay, three-storey block, said to have been dated 1718, but unfortunately his architect is not recorded. The long fronts to north and south had three bay projecting centres, framed by French quoins, and also projecting end bays. The two main storeys were of even height and separated by quite a deep cornice from a full attic storey.
Gidea Hall: the estate as depicted on Chapman & Andre's map of 1777
The end elevations may originally have had recessed centres, effectively creating pavilions at the angles (as is shown on Chapman & André's map of 1777), but they later acquired broad curved bows. When the house was first built, the service accommodation seems to have been in the basement, to which light was given by an area around the house, bridged by the steps to the doors in the centre of the facade. Nothing is recorded, and little can be deduced, about the original internal arrangement of the building, but its scale means that it must always have had a top-lit central staircase.

In 1745 the estate was sold to Richard Benyon, governor of Madras, who is said to have enlarged the park in 1766, and work does seem to have taken place in the grounds at this time. The early 18th century house was set in a formal garden with a long canal to the north (Spoon Pond) and avenues converging on the house. Chapman & André's map, surveyed in 1773-74, shows that the remnants of this landscape survived but had been softened by the addition of an informal pond (now Black's Canal) to the west flanked by a wilderness with a sinuous path. The landscape architect Richard Woods was a tenant of the Benyons on their property at North Ockendon (Essex), and he was probably responsible for these works, although his name appears in the accounts only in connection with designs for a new ice house (for Richard Benyon junior) in 1776. The pond broadened at its southern end where it met the main road, making a new bridge necessary, and this was designed by James Wyatt. It survives, though it has been widened to the south, and is of three brick arches. 

Gidea Hall: an early 20th century photograph of the house showing the curved bows on the end elevations, perhaps added by James Wyatt c.1788.
By 1788, Wyatt had also designed a temple for a cold bath, and he may well have been responsible for the addition of the broad curved bows on the end elevations of the house and for alterations to the interior decoration: the one photograph of the drawing room which is known shows a late 18th century ceiling much in his style. A pedimented orangery and a stable court with a clock tower and cupola would also seem to have been late 18th century; they survived in 1911 but were demolished soon afterwards. Another landscape gardener, the great Humphry Repton, was also a tenant of the Benyons, having his polite cottage on the main road in Hare Street. In 1794 he published an engraving showing Gidea Hall and its grounds, but there is no evidence that he was employed to make any improvements.

Gidea Hall: view of the estate by Humphry Repton, 1795
Gidea Hall: the orangery c.1911.

Richard Benyon left instructions in his will that Gidea Hall was to be sold, and the house was tenanted for a few years before a purchaser was found in 1802. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, wealth from London flowed into the surrounding countryside and led to the building of many villas for gentlemen, as well as the improvement of old farmhouses as smart seats. In the later 19th and early 20th century this first wave of suburban development was succeeded by rapid urban expansion which removed the seclusion and peace of places like Romford and made parks and gardens into valuable development land.
Gidea Hall: plan of the 1911 cottage exhibition in the garden suburb
In 1883 the Gidea Hall estate was sold to the Lands Allotment Co. for development, and although the group of which this firm was part went bust in 1893 before anything had been done apart from the sale of some outlying areas, it remained earmarked for development. In 1897 the residue was bought by Sir Herbert Raphael, 1st bt., of Havering Court, who gave the lake and some land for a public park and from 1910 set about developing the remainder as a garden suburb. He had the novel idea of inviting one hundred architects and urban planners to design and build houses for the estate at their own expense, which were then opened to the public as an exhibition to showcase the buildings to prospective buyers, and also entered into a competition for the best design. He succeeded in securing 159 entries, including some from many of the leading architects in the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau styles, and a second competition was run on similar lines in 1934 for houses in the Art Deco style. 

Gidea Hall: the house derelict, partially unroofed, and awaiting demolition, 1929.
The Georgian house became a club house for a while, but by 1929 it was derelict and had been partially unroofed. In 1930 it was bought by a demolition contractor who pulled it down and sold the materials, although as he made a loss of £600 he was bankrupted in 1932. The Spoon Pool was filled in in the early 20th century and the site is now occupied by tennis courts. The immediate site of the house seems not to have been built on, and would  offer excellent scope for future archaeological investigation.

Descent: Robert of Havering; sold to William Baldwin (fl. 1376), saddler of London; sold by 1412 to Robert Chichele of London, merchant, brother of Archbishop Henry Chichele... Robert and Christine Saltmarsh, who sold 1452 to Sir Thomas Cooke (d. 1478), draper and lord mayor of London in 1462; to son, Phillip Cooke (1454-97); to son, Sir John Cooke (1473-1536), kt.; to son, Sir Anthony Cooke (1505-76), kt., tutor to King Edward VI and father-in-law of Lord Burghley; to son, Richard Cooke (d. 1579); to son, Anthony Cooke (d. 1604); to son, Edward Cooke (1581-1625); to son, Charles Cooke (d. 1629); to sister Ann (d. 1652), wife of Sir Edward Sydenham, who sold 1658 to Richard Emes, cooper of London; sold 1664 to John Burch (d. 1668), a West India planter; to widow, Margaret (d. 1685), for life, with remainder to his sister Rebecca Hothersall; to sons, Thomas and Burch Hothersall; to Thomas Hothersall (d. 1710); sold after his death to Benjamin Haskins Stiles and John Hunter, agents for Sir John Eyles (1683-1745), 2nd bt., who rebuilt the house; to son, Sir Francis Haskins Eyles-Stiles (d. 1762), 3rd bt., who sold 1745 to Richard Benyon (1698-1774), governor of Fort St. George (Madras, India); to son, Richard Benyon (1746-96); to son, Richard Benyon (later Benyon de Beauvoir) (1769-1854); sold 1802 to Alexander Black (d. 1835); to widow, Alice (d. 1871); to daughters, Anne, wife of William Neave and Adelaide, wife of Alfred Douglas Hamilton, who sold 1883 to the Lands Allotment Co., a member of Jabez Balfour’s Liberator group, which collapsed 1893; sold 1897 to Sir Herbert Henry Raphael (1859-1924), 1st bt., who gave part of the grounds for a public park and developed the rest as a garden suburb. 

Englefield House, Berkshire

The estate belonged from at least the mid 12th century to the eponymous Englefield family. We know almost nothing about the manor house they had here, except that in the 19th century workmen undertaking repairs claimed to have found the date 1558 inscribed on a timber in the long gallery. Work at this date would have been undertaken for Sir Francis Englefield (d. 1592), a Catholic lawyer who was Master of the Court of Wards and Liveries under Queen Mary I, and who fled to Spain soon after Queen Elizabeth I's accession, being outlawed in 1564. His possessions were seized by the Crown and his complaints to the privy council falling on deaf ears, in 1576 he transferred his rights in all his property to a Protestant nephew, retaining the right to reclaim his property on presenting the nephew with a gold ring. In 1585, Sir Francis was attainted for treason and his possessions were formally forfeited to the Crown, but only after four years of litigation and a special Act of Parliament did the authorities succeed in getting a clear title to the lands, and even so the Protestant branch of the family was able to recover a house in the village and a small part of the land, which their descendants held for another 200 years.

Queen Elizabeth granted the estate in 1589 to her 'favourite', Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, but its descent over the next forty years was unusually complex. By 1599 it had come to the Queen's venerable counsellor, Lord Norris of Rycote (Oxon), who settled it on his third son, Sir Edward Norris. According to the latter's secretary, Dudley Carleton, in 1600 Sir Edward was 'making a parke about this house... having a purpose to enlarge his house the halfe as much as it is according to old Englefields building but after a new project". This letter seems to confirm that Sir Francis Englefield had been responsible for the earlier building, and makes it very likely that it was Norris who built the new main block which still forms the core of the present house. The Queen dined at Englefield on her way to Basing House (Hants) in September 1601, but if work had not started in 1600 it seems unlikely that the new building could have been completed by then, although it is probable that it was largely finished before Norris died suddenly in 1603. 

Englefield House: the earliest depiction of the house seems to be this view, from the background of Paulet Wrighte's portrait of c.1775,
showing it after his alterations, though the form of the house of c.1600 remains clear.
Although there are no known illustrations of the house before it was altered in the 18th century, the earliest views make clear that the new building was of three storeys, with an E-plan layout consisting of a central three-storey porch and shallow projecting wings at either end. Thus far, the house was traditional in arrangement, but the walls terminate in a castellated parapet, not gabled attics, suggesting an awareness of and sympathy with the late Elizabethan and Jacobean fashion for neo-medieval decoration, as at Longford Castle, Bolsover Castle and Wadham College, Oxford. The shallow pediments set over mullioned and transomed windows are reminiscent of those found on many houses in East Anglia at this time (e.g. Roos Hall), as is the flushwork decoration between the floors on the porch and bay windows. Such flushwork is also known in Wiltshire, however, and it seems more likely that the master mason responsible for the remodelling came from this more local source rather than from further afield. The pairs of shell-headed niches on the return walls of the two end bays are a motif which can be found in works of the 1590s by William Arnold (Montacute House and Cranborne Lodge), and since Arnold was also responsible for the design of Wadham College, with its crenellated parapets, he may tentatively be suggested as a possible designer. Sadly, nothing is known of the original interiors, which were completely remodelled later.

The estate was acquired in 1635 by John Paulet, 5th Marquess of Winchester and his wife, Lady Honora de Burgh. Their principal seat was Basing House (Hants) which was famously beseiged and destroyed in the Civil War. After the Restoration, they made no attempt to rebuild Basing, but settled at Englefield. In 1712, the estate descended to the Marquess' granddaughter and her husband, the Rev. Nathan Wrighte, who were probably responsible for the creation of the forecourt and formal gardens shown on an estate map of 1762, and for alterations to the house of which some traces remain. These include three fine carved Corinthian doorcases in the present entrance hall, which are believed to have been moved from the original entrance hall when it was converted into a library in 1855, and perhaps some elements of the ceiling in the library, including the slightly recessed rectangular section in the centre with delicate sprays of acanthus, and six medallions of birds, although the ceiling was otherwise altered in the 19th century. 

During the mid 18th century, Englefield saw the long minorities of Paulet Wright, who inherited in 1729, came of age in 1737 and died aged 24 in 1741, and of his son, also Paulet Wright, who was born in 1739 and came of age in 1760. It was the latter who eventually initiated further changes to the house. It is unclear when he gained effective control of the property, but it is unlikely that he had to wait until his mother's life interest expired at her death in 1776. It would seem that his alterations took place in the 1770s, and had probably been completed when his portrait was painted standing in front of the remodelled house. This was almost certainly before his marriage in 1777, as the portrait shows him standing alone. An account of 1792 in Robertson's Topographical Survey of the Great Road from London to Bath and Bristol says that he 'reduced and modernised' the house, and an undated plan of the house suggests that he intended to build a new corridor and staircase behind the Jacobean house, with a cupola-capped tower at either end of it, and ranges of new service accommodation set around a courtyard at the rear. 

Englefield House: plan of proposed alterations, c.1775. The works as completed seem to have been broadly in line with this scheme.
Broadly, this intention seems to have been carried out, for the wide corridor behind the main rooms on the south front still exists today, and the staircase is in the position (but not the Imperial form) the plan depicts. The cupola-capped towers at either end of the corridor were constructed at this time (though altered since), and major elements of the decoration of the dining room, drawing room and study look right for the 1770s. Paulet Wrighte died in 1779, and his executors' accounts show that he left unpaid bills for new furniture from Ince & Mayhew, as well as a bill of 10 guineas from 'Mr Woods, surveyor' (no doubt Richard Woods, the landscape architect, who had worked for his half-brother at Gidea Park), and who was presumably consulted about landscape improvements. His alterations were evidently financed by raising money secured on the estate and his uncle, Nathan Wrighte, who inherited in 1779, was obliged to let the house as he could not afford to live in it.

Englefield House: a pencil sketch of the house c.1800.
In 1796 the estate came into the possession of Richard Benyon (1770-1854), who married Elizabeth Sykes, a Berkshire neighbour from Basildon Park, in 1797 and made his home at Englefield. Sir John Soane was employed at both Benyon's town house in London, in 1805, and at Englefield in 1806, but the entries in his cost book suggest he was only making repairs or minor alterations to both properties. These may have included the removal of cupolas from the towers, the replacement of the Venetian windows on the south front with large mullioned and transomed windows, and the opening up of a new entrance on the east side of the house. More extensive improvements did not take place until the 1820s, by which time Richard Benyon's income had been augmented by his inheritance of the de Beauvoir estate in Hackney (Middx) and he had changed his name to Benyon de Beauvoir. In about 1823 he brought in Thomas Hopper (whose work he may have encountered at nearby Purley Hall), who added the bay windows to the south fronts and side elevations of the drawing room and dining room. Those on the south front copy exactly the proportions and decoration of the Jacobean porch bay, while those on the side elevations are broader; together, they strongly reinforce the Elizabethan character of the house. He also added a series of rather curious small square turrets with finials to the skyline of the house, some of which concealed chimneys. Inside the house, the ceilings of the dining room and library (formerly the entrance hall) were given their current form. Work seems to have been completed by 1829, and to mark the remodelling, Benyon de Beauvoir commissioned a painting of the house from John Constable which now hangs in the house. It was also photographed early in the 1840s by W.H. Fox-Talbot, the photographic pioneer, in one of the earliest country house photographs.

Englefield House: photograph by W.H. Fox-Talbot, c.1840-45, showing the house as altered by Thomas Hopper in the 1820s.
Richard Benyon de Beauvoir died in 1854 and was succeeded by his sister's second son, Richard Fellowes (1811-97), who took the name Benyon and at once put in hand further changes to the house. The works were undertaken in c.1856-57 to the designs of Richard Armstrong (1799-1876), a Scottish architect who seems to have trained in the office of William Burn, acted as clerk of works to Edward Blore at Haveringland Hall, and also altered Haveringland for Benyon's elder brother at the same time as he was working here. His alterations to Englefield were extensive, but stylistically conservative and surprisingly sympathetic to the earlier fabric. The south front was entirely refaced and the porch at its centre was converted into a bay window, but the flushwork decoration of the porch and the 17th century shell-headed niches were faithfully reproduced in the new work. The crenellated parapet was replaced all round the house by a much showier fretwork balustrade that breaks forward over the bay windows with inset panels of coats of arms. 

Englefield House: view of the house as remodelled by Richard Armstrong in the 1850s, exhibited in 1873. The domed winter garden was never built.
Inside, the former entrance hall was converted into a large new library, and the 18th century Corinthian doorcases no doubt formerly in this room were moved to a new two-storey hall on the east side of the house, where a new main entrance was created. The present staircase dates from the 1850s, and the corridors which run through the house from east to west on the ground and first floors were also redecorated at this time. The most significant change was the rebuilding of the east tower which was made wider and higher than before, so that it became the dominant feature of the house from any angle, and creates the sort of picturesque asymmetry so favoured by Blore and his contemporaries. Armstrong probably also laid out the formal gardens west of the house in the style of W.A. Nesfield, and in 1862 created the neo-Jacobean gate screen at the end of the main approach drive on the A340. In 1860-61, the interiors of the house were extensively redecorated by J.G. Crace, though few traces of his work have survived today.

Englefield House: the library created from the former entrance hall in the 1850s.
On 12 August 1886 a fire broke out in the laundry in the east wing of the house and did considerable damage, although it was happily prevented from spreading to the main block. The one interior of note that was damaged was the long gallery on the upper floor of the east range, where workmen had earlier found a timber dated 1558. The long gallery was quickly repaired, apparently under the direction of Richard Anderson junior, who continued his father's practice after his retirement in 1875, and was given a coved ceiling with skylights. It was probably Anderson junior who made the fine drawing of the house exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1873, which shows a large domed winter garden to the west of the house which was never built.

Englefield House: the house today from the south-east. Image: Richard Croft. Some rights reserved.
In 1897, on the death of Richard Benyon without issue, the estate passed to his nephew, James Herbert Fellowes, who again took the name Benyon. By this date, the richly coloured and patterned decoration by Crace had fallen out of favour, and in 1907 he brought in Gillow & Co. to redecorate the house in a more neutral, loosely dixhuitième style. Further redecoration took place in 1937 for Sir Henry Benyon (1884-1959), 1st bt., under the supervision of Jacksons, the interior decorators.

Descent: Sir Francis Englefield (d. 1592), attainted 1585 and forfeited to Crown, which granted 1589 to trustees for Robert Devereux (1567-1601), 2nd Earl of Essex; sold 1597 to Henry Norris (c.1530-1601), 1st Baron Norris de Rycote; who gave it 1599 to his third son, Sir Edward Norris (d. 1603); to widow, Elizabeth, later wife of Sir Thomas Erskine (1566-1639), 1st Viscount Fentoun and 1st Earl of Kellie, who sold 1622 to his creditors, Sir Peter Vanlore and William Rolfe, who sold 1623 to Erskine's stepdaughter's husband, Sir John Davis (d. 1626), kt.; to daughter, Lucy, wife of Ferdinand Hastings (1609-56), Baron Hastings and later 6th Earl of Huntingdon, who sold? 1635 to John Paulet (c.1598-1675), 5th Marquess of Winchester, whose lands were sequestered and sold 1649 to Sir Thomas Jervoise (1587-1654), but were restored to him at the Restoration in 1660; to younger son, Lord Francis Paulet (c.1646-96); to son, Francis Paulet (1686-1712); to sister, Anne Paulet (1685-1729), wife of Rev. Nathan Wrighte (d. 1721); to son, Powlet Wrighte (1716-41); to widow, Mary (d. 1777), later wife of Richard Benyon (1698-1774) for life and then to her son, Powlet Wright (1739-79); to uncle, Nathan Wrighte (1717-89) for life and then to half-brother, Richard Benyon (1746-96); to son, Richard Benyon (later Powlet Wrighte and then Benyon de Beauvoir) (1769-1854); to nephew, Richard Fellowes (later Benyon) (1811-97); to nephew, James Herbert Fellowes (later Benyon) (1849-1935); to son, Sir Henry Fellowes (later Benyon) (1884-1959), 1st bt.; to second cousin, Adm. Richard Shelley (d. 1967); to son, Sir William Richard Shelley (later Benyon) (1930-2014), kt.; to son, Richard Henry Ronald Benyon (b. 1960), Baron Benyon. From 1781-89 the house was let to Lady Clive, the widow of Clive of India.

Benyon family of Gidea Hall and Englefield House

Benyon, Daniel (1664-1708). Son of Daniel Benyon (c.1628-90) of Crooked Lane, London, tallow chandler, Master of the Tallow Chandlers Company, 1689-90, and his wife Mary, baptised at St Nicholas Acons, London, 12 August 1664. He married 23 April 1691 at St Anne & St Agnes, London, Elizabeth Moore, and had issue*:
(1) Richard Benyon (1698-1774) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Benyon (d. 1709); died young and was buried at Lee (Kent), 29 July 1709.
He lived in London and later at Blackheath (Kent).
He was very probably the 'Daniel Bynian' buried at Lee (Kent), 27 May 1708, whose widow was buried at Lee, 19 October 1709.
* Bernard Benyon, who died in India in 1715, and who is sometimes said to be an elder son of Daniel, describes himself in his will as the cousin of Richard Benyon (1698-1774).

Richard Benyon (1698-1774) 
Benyon, Richard (1698-1774).
Only recorded son of Daniel Benyon (1664-1708) and his wife Mary, born 26 November 1698. On the death of his mother he was orphaned and his guardian, Col. John Perry, sent him out to India, where he joined the household of Osmond de Beauvoir (whose niece he would eventually marry as his third wife). As soon as he was old enough he joined the East India Company as a writer, and was appointed a member of the Council of Fort St George (Madras), 1718-25, resigning on returning to England in the latter year. He subsequently went out to India again, and was re-elected to the Council in 1732, becoming President of Madras, 1735-44. He is regarded as one of the best and least oppressive early Presidents of Madras, who oversaw the rapid development of the city and the repulsion of two Maratha invasions. He returned to England at the end of his Presidency with a modest fortune of some £75,000. He married 1st, 17 October 1724 in Madras, Mary, daughter of Edward Fleetwood; 2nd, 14 October 1738, Frances (d. 1742), daughter of Richard Horden and widow of Sandys Davis; and 3rd, 18 July 1745, Mary (1714-77), daughter of Frances Tyssen of Hackney and widow of Paulet Wrighte (
1716-41) of Englefield (Berks), and had issue:
(1.1) Elizabeth Benyon (b. & d. 1727), born 7 May and baptised at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster (Middx), 7 June 1727; died in infancy and was buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields, 8 June 1727;
(1.2) Lucy Benyon (b. & d. 1729), baptised at St George the Martyr, Bloomsbury (Middx), 14 February 1728/9; died in infancy and was buried at Margaretting, 17 May 1729;
(2.1) Frances Benyon (b. & d. 1741), born 24 January 1741; died in infancy and was buried in Madras, 25 January 1742;
(3.1) Richard Benyon (1746-96) (q.v.).
He bought the manor of Coptfold Hall at Margaretting (Essex) in 1728, while on a visit back to England. He bought Gidea Park in 1745 after retiring from the East India Co.; Great Newbury House, Ilford in 1747; and the North Ockendon Hall estate (Essex) in 1758. His third wife had a life interest in Englefield House. They also had a town house in Grosvenor Square, which seems to have been their principal residence.
He died 22 September and was buried at Margaretting, where he built a family vault, 4 October 1774; his will was proved in the PCC, 11 October 1774. His first wife died between 1733 and 1738. His second wife died in childbirth, 21 October 1742. His third wife died 18 September 1777 and was buried at Englefield; her will was proved in the PCC, 8 October 1777.

Benyon, Richard (1746-96). Only child of Richard Benyon (1698-1774) and his third wife, Mary, daughter of Frances Tyssen of Hackney and widow of Paulet Wrighte (d. 1740/1) of Englefield (Berks), baptised at St George, Bloomsbury (Middx), 26 June 1746. Educated at Eton. A 'well-meaning and honest man', he was a supporter of Lord Fitzwilliam, his friend and Eton contemporary, and sat as MP for Peterborough, 1774-96, in the Fitzwilliam interest. He married, 3 September 1767 at Breamore (Hants), Hannah (1747-1828), eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hulse, 2nd bt., of Breamore House, and had issue:
(1) Richard Benyon (b. & d. 1769), baptised at Romford, 23 February 1769; died in infancy and was buried at Romford, 3 March 1769;
(2) Richard Benyon (later Powlet Wrighte Benyon and then Benyon de Beauvoir) (1770-1854) (q.v.);
(3) Hannah Elizabeth Benyon (1771-1852), born 1 June and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 2 June 1771; married, 30 March 1813 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Vice-Adm. Edward Fellowes (1772-1841) of Little Gidding (Hunts), son of William Fellowes (d. 1804) of Mortimer Lodge, Stratfield Mortimer (Berks), but had no issue; died 5 October and was buried at Stratfield Mortimer, 13 October 1852;
(4) Maria Benyon (1772-1852), born 8 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 6 May 1772; married, 15 May 1797 by special licence, as his second wife, George Brodrick (1754-1836), 4th Viscount Midleton, of Peper Harow House (Surrey), MP for Whitchurch, 1774-96 and Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, 1814-30, and had issue one son and five daughters; died 14 January 1852; will proved in the PCC, 3 May 1852;
(5) Charlotte Benyon (1774-1854), born 13 January and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 10 February 1774; married, 11 June 1799 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Joseph Berens (1773-1853) of Kevington House, St Mary Cray (Kent) and Lincoln's Inn, barrister-at-law, and had issue five sons and one daughter; died 1 July 1854 and was buried at Orpington (Kent); will proved in the PCC, 8 September 1854;
(6) Louisa Benyon (b. 1775), born 30 August and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 25 September 1775; probably died young;
(7) Harriet Benyon (1777-98), born 19 February and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 17 March 1777; died unmarried and was buried at Margaretting (Essex), 27 February 1798;
(8) Edward Henry Benyon (1779-1806), born 9 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), 2 June 1779; lived at Newbury Hall, Barking (Essex); died unmarried at Nîmes (France), 25 January 1806; will proved in the PCC, 8 November 1806;
(9) Emma Benyon (1780-1862) (q.v.); 
(10) Frances Benyon (1781-1866), born 6 October and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 2 November 1781; died unmarried in London, 3 February 1866; will proved 16 March 1866 (effects under £120,000);
(11) William Benyon (1786-97?), born 6 February and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster the same day; probably died young and was the person of this name buried at Margaretting, 6 December 1797;
(12) Charles Benyon (1789-1810), born 5 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, 28 June 1789; an officer in the Royal Navy (Lt.); killed in action while attempting to board an enemy vessel of the island of Elba, 11 September 1810.
He inherited Gidea Park from his father in 1774 and Englefield House from his kinsman, Nathan Wrighte, in 1789.
He died at Bath (Som.), 22 August and was buried at Margaretting (Essex), 30 August 1796, where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved in the PCC, 14 September 1796. His widow died 27 April 1828, and was buried at Margaretting, where she is commemorated by a monument; her will was proved 9 June 1828.

Richard Benyon de Beauvoir (1770-1854)
Image: The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust 
Benyon (later Powlett Wrighte Benyon and then Benyon de Beauvoir), Richard (1770-1854).
Eldest surviving son of Richard Benyon (1746-96) and his wife Hannah, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hulse, 2nd bt., of Breamore (Hants), born 28 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), 28 May 1770. Educated at Charterhouse and St. John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1788; BA 1792; MA 1795). JP and DL for Berkshire. Independent MP for Pontefract, 1802-06 and for Wallingford, 1806-12; he retired from the House in 1812 and declined an invitation to stand for Reading in 1816. 
High Sheriff of Berkshire, 1816-17; High Steward of Wallingford, 1828-44. He assumed the surnames Powlett Wrighte in addition to Benyon in 1814, and in 1822 substituted the name Benyon de Beauvoir on inheriting the Hackney estate. In 1839 he made a major benefaction of £5,000 towards the foundation of the Royal Berkshire Hospital. He became blind in his old age. He married, 27 September 1797 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Elizabeth (1775-1822), only daughter of Sir Francis Sykes (1732-1804), 1st bt., of Basildon Park (Berks), but had no legitimate issue. It seems possible, however, that he had an illegitimate son, who he referred to as his nephew:
(X1) Rev. Edward Richard Benyon (1802-83), said to have been born in Lausanne (Switzerland) in 1802 and later naturalised as a British subject; educated at St John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1820; BA 1824; MA 1827); ordained deacon, June 1826 and priest, December 1826; rector of Downham and North Ockendon (Essex), 1827-39, and of Culford (Suffk), 1839-83 and Elveden (Suffk), 1841-45; given the Culford Hall estate by his 'uncle', 1839; married, 5 October 1830 at Eyton (Herefs), Jane (c.1806-76), daughter of Edward Evans of Eyton Hall, but had no issue; died suddenly, 7 July 1883, and was buried at Culford; will proved 14 January 1884 (effects £50,167).
He inherited Gidea Park, a lease of the manor of Havering-atte-Bower, property at North and South Ockendon (Essex) and the Englefield House estate from his father in 1796, but sold Gidea Park in 1802 and the lease of Havering-atte-Bower in 1819. He inherited the Hackney (Middx) estate of the Rev. Peter de Beauvoir (who had conducted his marriage and was his great-great-uncle), rector of Downham (Essex) in 1822 and, after a lengthy legal dispute with the tenant of the estate, developed it for middle-class housing. In 1824 he purchased the 11,000 acre Culford Hall estate (Suffk) for £230,000, but he gave this property to the Rev. Edward Richard Benyon (1802-83) in 1839At his death, he bequeathed Englefield House and the Hackney estate to another nephew, Richard Fellowes (later Benyon) (1811-97).
He died 22 March 1854 and was buried at Englefield, where he is commemorated by an elaborate monument; his will was proved in the PCC, 1 June 1854 (effects under £300,000, although press reports after his death claimed his real and personal estate was worth as much as £7,500,000; the real figure may have been around £2,500,000). His wife died 29 October 1822 and was buried at Lower Basildon (Berks), where she is commemorated by a monument.

Benyon, Emma (1780-1862). Sixth daughter of Richard Benyon (1746-96) and his wife Hannah, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hulse, 2nd bt., of Breamore (Hants), born 4 July and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq, Westminster (Middx), 25 July 1780. She married, 23 July 1805 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, William Henry Fellowes (1769-1837) of Ramsey Abbey (Hunts), MP for Huntingdon, 1796-1807 and Huntingdonshire, 1807-30, and had issue:
(1) William Henry Fellowes (1806-36), born 11 July and baptised at St Marylebone, 11 August 1806; educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1824; BA 1828); appointed a conservator of the Bedford Level Corporation, 1830; DL for Huntingdonshire, 1834; died unmarried, 17 March, and was buried at St Michael, Paternoster Royal, London, 22 March 1836;
(2) Emma Fellowes (1808-87); a keen amateur meteorologist, who collected rainfall data for over fifty years; married, 9 August 1842, Rev. Henry William Townshend (later Powlett) (1797-1866), 3rd Baron Bayning of Honingham Hall (Norfk), younger son of Charles Townshend, 1st Baron Bayning, and had issue one son (who predeceased his father); died 10 November 1887; will proved 24 December 1887 (effects £50,570);
(3) Edward Fellowes (1809-87), 1st Baron de Ramsey, born 14 April and baptised at St Marylebone, 8 May 1809; MP for Huntingdonshire, 1837-80; raised to the peerage as 1st Baron de Ramsey, 8 July 1887; inherited Ramsey Abbey from his father and remodelled it to the designs of Edwrd Blore, whom he subsequently employed to rebuild Haveringland Hall (Norfk); married 22 July 1845 at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster, Hon. Mary Julia (1825-1901), daughter of George John Milles (1794-1874), 4th Baron Sondes, and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 9 August 1887;
(4) Richard Fellowes (later Benyon) (1811-97) (q.v.);
(5) James Fellowes (1813-89) (q.v.).
Her husband inherited Ramsey Abbey, which he employed Sir John Soane to alter, and Haveringland Hall (Norfk). After his death she moved to Felthorpe Hall (Norfk).
She died at Felthorpe Hall, 27 January 1862; her will was proved 9 April 1862 (effects under £25,000). Her husband died 23 August 1837 and was buried at Ramsey (Hunts); his will was proved in the PCC, 6 December 1837.

Richard Benyon (1811-97) 
Fellowes (later Benyon), Richard (1811-97).
Third, but second surviving, son of William Henry Fellowes MP (1769-1837) of Ramsey Abbey (Hunts) and his wife Emma, second daughter of Richard Benyon (1746-96), born 17 November and baptised at Haveringland (Norfk), 9 December 1811. Educated at Charterhouse and St. John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1829; BA 1833; MA 1836), and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1833; called 1837). Barrister-at-law. JP (Chairman of Quarter Sessions, 1864-84) and DL for Berkshire; High Sheriff of Berkshire, 1857-58; MP for Berkshire, 1860-76; an Alderman of Berkshire County Council, 1888-91. He assumed the name of Benyon in lieu of Fellowes by royal licence, 10 January 1855, 
in compliance with the wishes of his uncle. It was noted at the time of his death that he had probably built more churches than any other man in modern times, but he kept his philanthropy quiet, having 'a dread of his benevolent actions becoming known'. His charity extended to the support of many schools on and around his estate in Berkshire, the National Society, and missionary work overseas. He married, 25 April 1858, Elizabeth Mary (1833-1909), second daughter of Robert Clutterbuck of Watford House (Herts), and had issue:
(1) Marion Emma Benyon (1860-1948) (q.v.);
(2) Edith Gertrude Benyon (1862-1953). born 15 January and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St., Westminster (Middx), 18 February 1862; married, 27 September 1894 at St Mark, North Audley St. Westminster, Alfred Ernest Hoare OBE (1861-1930) of Hendon (Middx), son of Francis Hoare of Cromer (Norfk), banker, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 9 April 1953; will proved 26 June 1953 (estate £2,895);
(3) Julia Benyon (1863-1905), born 19 November and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St.,  Westminster, 19 December 1863; married, 9 February 1888 (sep.), Sir Anthony Henry Wingfield (1857-1952), kt., of Ampthill House (Beds), Chairman of Bedfordshire Quarter Sessions and owner of a private zoo, eldest son of George John Wingfield (1822-60), and had issue two sons; after leaving her husband she lived with her mother; she died 17 September and was buried at Englefield, 22 September 1905.
He inherited Englefield House, the Hackney estate and the remaining Essex property from his uncle, Richard Benyon de Beauvoir, in 1854. At his death his estates passed to his nephew, James Herbert Fellowes (later Benyon).
He died 26 July 1897 and was buried at Englefield; his will was proved 4 November 1897 (effects £722,809). His widow died 23 October 1909 and was buried at Englefield; her will was proved 10 December 1909 (estate £261,372).

Fellowes, James (1813-89). Fourth, but third surviving, son of William Henry Fellowes MP (1769-1837) of Ramsey Abbey (Hunts) and his wife Emma, second daughter of Richard Benyon (1746-96), born 31 July 1813. He was admitted to Christ's College, Cambridge in 1830 but did not reside, having already joined the Royal Navy in 1826 (Lt., 1838; retired 1841). DL and JP for Dorset; High Sheriff of Dorset, 1859. A staunch Conservative in politics, he was 'a man of some peculiarities', according to his obituarist. He married, 19 July 1847 at All Souls, Langham Place, Marylebone (Middx), Gertrude Charlotte (1826-1906), daughter of Nathaniel Micklethwait of Taverham Hall (Norfk), and had issue:
(1) James Herbert Fellowes (later Benyon) (1849-1935) (q.v.);
(2) Emily Gertrude Fellowes (1851-82), born 19 February and baptised at St Mary, Bryanston Sq., Westminster (Middx), 15 April 1851; married, 30 April 1872 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, Sir Henry Cosmo Orme Bonsor (1848-1929), 1st bt. (who m2, 3 March 1886, Mabel Grace Brand), of Kingswood Warren (Surrey), brewer and company director, MP for Wimbledon, 1885-1900, son of Joseph Bonsor, and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 18 July and was buried at Tandridge (Surrey), 22 July 1882; administration of goods granted 7 March 1883 (effects £337);
(3) Georgiana Charlotte Fellowes (1859-1936), born 17 April and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 20 May 1859; married, 14 January 1892 at St Marylebone, Francis William Preston (1851-98), barrister-at-law, son of Thomas Edward Preston (1816-90), and had issue one daughter; lived latterly at Westbrook House, Upwey (Dorset); died 31 October 1936; will proved 31 December 1936 (estate £75,452).
He purchased Kingston Maurward House (Dorset) in 1853.
He died 4 July 1889; his will was proved 9 August 1889 (effects £264,881). His widow died 25 April 1906 and was buried at Stinsford (Dorset); her will was proved 31 May 1906 (estate £74,348).

James Herbert Benyon (1849-1935)
by Oswald Birley.
Image: Reading University Art Collection 
Fellowes (later Benyon), James Herbert (1849-1935).
Only son of James Fellowes (1813-89) and his wife Gertrude Charlotte, daughter of Nathaniel Micklethwait of Taverham Hall (Norfk), born 30 October 1849. Educated at Eton, Magdalene College, Cambridge (matriculated 1868; BA 1873; MA 1876; Hon. Fellow, 1928) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1872; called 1875). JP and DL for Dorset; High Sheriff of Dorset, 1892-93. 
He assumed the name of Benyon in lieu of Fellowes by royal licence, 1897, on inheriting the Englefield estate. Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, 1901-35; President of Berkshire Territorial Forces Association, 1908-35; a member of Berkshire County Council (Alderman from 1898; Chairman, 1916-26, and chairman of its education committee from its formation in 1903); President of University College, Reading, and first Chancellor of Reading University (to which he was a generous benefactor), 1926-35; a Governor of Abingdon School, 1902-34 (Chairman, 1903-27). He was also a keen agriculturist.  He married, 29 July 1875 at Uffculme (Devon), Edith Isabel GBE (1857-1919), youngest daughter of Sir John Walrond (1818-89), 1st bt., of Bradfield House, Uffculme, and had issue:
(1) Gertrude Fellowes (1876-1953), born 29 August and baptised at St Peter, Eaton Square, Westminster (Middx), 27 September 1876; married, 1 January 1897 at Stratfield Mortimer (Berks), Rev. Francis Edward Rooke (later Trelawny) (1862-1937) of Coldrennick (Cornw.), and had issue one son and one daughter; died 8 November 1953 and was buried at Menheniot (Cornw.); will proved 9 January 1954 (estate £14,034);
(2) Edith Marion Fellowes (later Benyon) (1880-1942), born 19 January and baptised at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx), 21 January 1880; died unmarried, 9 November 1942 and was buried at Englefield; administration of goods granted 19 February 1943 (estate £25,089);
(3) Sir Henry Arthur Fellowes (later Benyon) (1884-1959), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(4) Winifred Fellowes (later Benyon) (1893-1970), born 28 March and was baptised at St Saviour, Chelsea (Middx), 1 April 1893; died unmarried, 19 December 1970; will proved 18 February 1971 (estate £55,807).
He inherited Kingston Maurward from his father in 1889, and Englefield House, the Hackney estate and the remaining Essex property from his uncle, Richard Fellowes (later Benyon) in 1897. He sold Kingston Maurward in 1906.
He died 14 February 1935 and was buried at Englefield; his will was proved 28 June 1935 (estate £1,586,968). His wife died 25 March 1919; administration of her goods was granted 14 June 1919 (estate £2,572).

Fellowes (later Benyon), Sir Henry Arthur (1884-1959), 1st bt. Only son of James Herbert Fellowes (later Benyon) (1849-1935) and his wife Edith Isabel GBE, daughter of Sir John Walrond, 1st bt., born 9 December 1884 and baptised at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx), 6 January 1885. Educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. An officer in the Berkshire Yeomanry (2nd Lt., 1910; Lt., 1917; Capt., 1917; retired 1921). JP for Berkshire; High Sheriff of Berkshire, 1925; Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, 1945-59. Member of Berkshire County Council, 1922-49 (Vice-Chairman, 1938; Chairman, 1948-49) and County Alderman, 1935-49; Chairman of Berkshire Agriculture Executive Committee, 1944-57 and Deputy President of Royal Agricultural Society, 1954. Appointed CBE, 1946 and created a baronet, 1958. He married, 10 March 1915 at Holy Trinity, Sloane St., Chelsea (Middx), Violet Eveline (1887-1964), second daughter of Sir Cuthbert Edgar Peek, 2nd bt., of Wimbledon House (Surrey) and Rousdon (Devon), but had no issue.
He inherited Englefield House, the Hackney estate and the remaining Essex property from his father in 1935, but sold the Essex estates to pay the death duties. During his ownership, wartime neglect and other issues led to Englefield becoming rather dilapidated.
He died 15 June 1959; his will was proved 2 July 1959 (estate £997,587). His widow died 3 February 1964; her will was proved 23 March 1964 (estate £168,972).

Benyon, Marion Emma (1860-1948). Eldest daughter of Richard Fellowes (later Benyon) (1811-97) and his wife, Elizabeth Mary, second daughter of Robert Clutterbuck of Watford House (Herts), born 14 February and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St., Westminster (Middx), 22 February 1860. She married, 29 June 1882 at St Mark, North Audley St., Col. Sir John Shelley (1848-1931), 9th bt., of Shobrooke Park (Devon), son of Rev. Sir Frederick Shelley (1809-69), 8th bt., and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Marion Shelley (1883-1949), born 14 June and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St., 21 July 1883; married, 29 April 1911, Kenneth Loder Cromwell Prescott (1875-1922) of Arborfield Court (Berks), banker and company director, and had issue one daughter; died 19 November 1949; will proved 10 February 1950 (estate £27,094);
(2) Sir John Frederick Shelley (1884-1976), 10th bt., born 14 October and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St., 19 November 1884; educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge; JP and DL for Devon; married 1st, 17 April 1912 at Exeter Cathedral, Nora Coleridge (1886-1953), daughter of Francis James Coleridge Boles (1854-1934), and had issue two sons and three daughters; married 2nd, 28 October 1953, Marianne (1885-1974), daughter of Maj. Wolstan Francis (1855-1945) and widow of Capt. John Theodore Martin Mee (d. 1950) of Hempsted (Norfk), poultry farmer; died 8 March 1976 and was buried at Shobrooke (Devon); will proved 7 May 1976 (estate £151,414); 
(3) Constance Mary Shelley (1890-1971), born 5 May and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St., 3 June 1890; married, 14 April 1921 at Shobrooke (Devon), Noel Arthur Godolphin Quicke (1888-1943), son of Ernest Henry Godolphin Quicke of Newton House, Newton St Cyres (Devon), and had issue two sons and one daughter, died 1 November 1971 and was buried at Newton St. Cyres (Devon); will proved 10 January 1972 (estate £12,313);
(4) Vice-Adm. Richard Benyon Shelley (1892-1968) (q.v.);
(5) Mary Shelley (1895-98), born 16 September and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St., 19 October 1895; died young and was buried at St John the Baptist, Margate (Kent), 20 May 1898.
She and her husband lived at Shobrooke Park (Devon). As a widow she moved to Newton House, Newton St. Cyres (Devon).
She died 30 March 1948; will proved 7 June 1948 (estate £27,529). Her husband died 29 March 1931; his will was proved 19 June 1931 (estate £97,756).

Vice-Adm. Richard Shelley
(later Benyon). Image: NPG 
Shelley (later Benyon), Vice-Adm. Richard Benyon (1892-1968).
Second son of Sir John Shelley (1848-1931),9th bt., and his wife Marion Emma, eldest daughter of Richard Fellowes (later Benyon) (1811-97), born 1
8 January and baptised at St Mark, North Audley St., Westminster (Middx), 20 February 1892. An officer in the Royal Navy (Lt., 1914; Lt-Cdr, 1922; Cdr., 1927; Capt., 1934; Rear-Adm., 1944; retired as Vice-Adm., 1948), who served in the First and Second World Wars. He was naval attaché to Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands at the outbreak of the Second World War, and Captain of the Mediterranean Fleet, 1940-42; appointed CBE, 1942 and CB, 1946. He took the name Benyon in lieu of Shelley by deed poll, 1964 and by royal licence, 1967. High Sheriff of Berkshire, 1958; Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, 1961-68. He married, 16 April 1929, Eve Alice (1900-95), daughter of the Right Reverend Lord (Rupert Ernest) William Gascoyne-Cecil, Bishop of Exeter, and had issue:
(1) Sir William Richard Shelley (later Benyon) (1930-2014), kt. (q.v.);
(2) James Edward Shelley (1932-2017), of Ramsdell (Hants), born 18 June 1932; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (MA 1961); secretary to the Church Commissioners; appointed CBE, 1990; married, 16 June 1956 at Fulmer (Bucks), Judith (b. c.1934), only daughter of George Grubb of Gerrards Cross (Bucks), and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 18 January 2017; will proved 16 June 2017;
(3) Andrew Thomas Rupert Shelley (1933-2018), born 18 November 1933; educated at Eton and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; an officer in the army (2nd Lt., 1954; Lt., 1956; Capt., 1960; Maj., 1967; retired 1988); married, 11 December 1971, Joanna Margaret (1938-2006), only daughter of Adm. Sir Randolph Stewart Gresham Nicholson CB DSO DFC (1892-1975), kt., of The Toll House, Bucks Green (Sussex) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 3 April 2018; will proved 3 September 2018;
(4) David Robert Shelley (1937-2018), born 2 April 1937; educated at Eton and University College, Oxford (BA 1961); married, 30 August 1971, Elizabeth Rhoda (b. 1938), younger daughter of Gilbert Graham Balfour of Upper Hardres (Kent), and had issue two sons; died 31 December 2018; will proved 1 December 2019.
He lived at The Pickeridge, Fulmer (Bucks) until he inherited the Englefield House and Hackney estates from his kinsman, Sir Henry Fellowes (later Benyon), 1st bt., in 1959. He did not, however, occupy Englefield House but handed the estate over to his eldest son and lived latterly at The Lambdens, Beenham (Berks).
He died 13 June 1968 and was buried at Englefield; his will was proved 21 August and 31 October 1968 (estate £118,863). His widow died aged 95 on 4 March 1995; her will was proved 15 August 1995 (estate £116,456).

Sir Bill Benyon (1930-2014) 
Shelley (later Benyon), Sir William Richard (k/a Bill) (1930-2014), kt.
Eldest son of Vice-Adm. Richard Benyon Shelley (later Benyon) (1892-1968), and his wife Eve Alice daughter of the Right Reverend Lord (Rupert Ernest) William Gascoyne-Cecil, Bishop of Exeter, born 17 January 1930. Educated at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He joined the Royal Navy in 1943 (Sub-Lt., 1951; Lt., 1951; retired 1956). With Courtaulds Ltd., 1956-64. MP for Buckingham, 1970-83, and for Milton Keynes, 1983-92; PPS to Minister of Housing. 1972-74; Opposition Whip, 1974-77. JP for Berkshire, 1962-77; County Councillor for Berkshire, 1964-74; Vice Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, 1994-2005 (DL 1970-94). Chairman of Peabody Trust, 1993-98 and Ernest Cook Trust, 1993-2004. He married, 24 August 1957, Elizabeth Ann (b. 1932), daughter of Vice-Adm. Ronald Hamilton Curzon Hallifax (1885-1943) of Shedfield (Hants), and had issue:
(1) Catherine Rose Ingrid Benyon (b. 1958), of Mayridge Fm, Englefield, born 15 November 1958; married, 22 September 1984, Peter David Ian Haig (b. 1954), son of Maj. Andrew Haig of Southernwood House, Hingham (Norfk), and had issue one son and two daughters;
(2) Richard Henry Ronald Benyon (b. 1960), Baron Benyon (q.v.);
(3) Edward Benyon (b. 1962), born 23 May 1962; manages the Hackney estate on behalf of his brother; married, 17 June 1989 (div.), Karen Elizabeth (k/a Katy) (b. 1969) (who m2, 2004, Oliver Christian Davis (b. 1966) of Fifehead St Quintin (Dorset), vetinary surgeon), younger daughter of Robin Crofts of Nethercote House, Flecknoe (Warks), and had issue one son and one daughter;
(4) Mary Elizabeth Benyon (b. 1965), born 4 July 1965; High Sheriff of Berkshire, 2020; a director of the Ernest Cook and Ufton Court Educational Trusts; married, 9 June 1990, Capt. Thomas Richard Phineas Riall (b. 1960), company director, son of Maj. Patrick Riall of Knockbawn (Co. Wicklow), and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(5) Susannah Eve Benyon (b. 1969), born 17 May 1969; bookbinder and paper conservator; married, 18 May 1996, George Neville McBain (1960-2020), and had issue three sons and one daughter.
His father handed over the Englefield House and Hackney estates to him on inheriting them.
He died 2 May 2014; his will was proved 16 July 2015. His widow was living in 2022.

Lord Benyon
Benyon, Rt. Hon. Richard Henry Ronald (b. 1960), Baron Benyon.
 Elder son of Sir William Richard Shelley (later Benyon) (1930-2014), kt., and his wife Elizabeth Halifax, born 21 October 1960. Educated at Bradfield College, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. An officer in the army (2nd Lt., 1981; Lt., 1983; retired 1984). Land agent, 1987-90. He stood for parliament unsuccessfully in 1993 and 1997, but was Conservative MP for Newbury, 2005-19; appointed to Privy Council, 2016; created a life peer, 29 January 2021; Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 2010-13 and 2021-22; Minister of State for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs in DEFRA, 2022-date. Member of Newbury District Council, 1991-98? He married 1st, 8 October 1988 (div. 2003), Emma (b. 1963), daughter of Capt. Anthony Henry Heber Villiers (1921-2004) of Woodchester (Glos), and 2nd, 24 May 2004, Zoe Lavinia Beatrice (b. 1970), daughter of (Francis) Alastair Lavie Robinson (b. 1937) of Ousden (Suffk), and had issue:
(1.1) Hon. Henry Charles William Benyon (b. 1990), born 12 July 1990; director of Englefield Estate Trust since 2021; married, 2021, Sarah, daughter of Philip Proctor of Skelton (Yorks), and has issue one son;
(1.2) Hon. Thomas Anthony Edward Benyon (b. 1992), born 6 June 1992; married, September 2022, Roseanna (b. 1992), elder daughter of Henry Vane Eden of Cromlix, Dunblane (Perths.);
(1.3) Hon. Frederick Richard Benyon (b. 1994), born 14 March 1994; educated at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; an officer in the army (2nd Lt., 2018; Lt., 2019, Capt., 2021) and an accomplished polo player;
(2.1) Hon. Louis Benyon (b. 2005), born 19 November 2005;
(2.2) Hon. Jimmy Benyon (b. 2007), born 10 May 2007.
His father handed over Englefield House and the de Beauvoir estate in Hackney to him c.2010.
Now living. His first wife married 2nd, 14 June 2013, as his second wife, Edward John Beckett (b. 1953), 5th Baron Grimthorpe of Brinkley (Suffk), and is now living. His second wife is now living.

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, p. 162; P. de la Serre, Histoire de L'Entrée de la Reine Mère dans la Grand Bretagne (1775), pl. ii; VCH Essex, vol. 7, 1978, pp. 64-72, 110-17;.G. Jackson-Stops, 'Englefield House, Berkshire' in Country Life, 26 February and 5-12 March 1981; S. Daniels, Humphrey Repton, 1999, pp. 59-60; F. Cowell, Richard Woods (1715-93): master of the pleasure garden, 2009, pp. 194-95; G. Tyack, S. Bradley & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Berkshire, 2nd edn., 2010, pp. 293-94; K. Smith, 'Englefield House: processes, practices and the making of a Company house' in M. Finn & K. Smith (eds.), The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857, 2017, pp. 191-204; 

Location of archives

Benyon of Englefield House: deeds, estate and family papers, 13th-20th cents. [Royal Berkshire Archives D/EBy, D/EZ 173]; Essex deeds and papers, 15th-20th cents. [Essex Record Office, D/DBe; A10365]; Hackney deeds and estate papers, 1550-1950 [London Metropolitan Archives, E/BVR]; Hackney deeds and rent accounts, c.1727-1826 [The National Archives, C108/283]

Coat of arms

Benyon of Englefield: Vair, sable and or, on a chief wavy of the second, an Eastern crown between two mullets gules.

Can you help?

  • Can anyone demonstrate the precise relationship between Richard Benyon de Beauvoir and his 'nephew', the Rev. Edward Richard Benyon (1802-83)?
  • 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 13 February 2024 and updated 14-15, 25 February 2024.