Wednesday, 31 August 2016

(228) Athorpe of Dinnington Hall

Athorpe of Dinnington Hall
I cannot with certainty trace the ownership of Dinnington Hall in the late 17th and early 18th century, but the account that follows represents my understanding of what happened. It is known that the Rev. John Athorpe, who was rector of Weston-sub-Edge (Glos) from 1667 to 1684, bought the Dinnington estate in 1677. John, who was a graduate of Merton College, Oxford, was the son of John Athorpe (d. 1658) of Thorpe Hall, Howden (Yorks ER). He is not known to have held a benefice after he left Weston-sub-Edge, so perhaps he settled on his estate at Dinnington. He was unmarried and without issue, and he is said to have died intestate in 1706, though I have been unable to discover a record of his burial. In these circumstances, his property apparently passed to his brother, Thomas Athorpe of Belby (described in some sources as in Nottinghamshire but actually adjacent to Thorpe Hall at Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire). Thomas himself died in the spring of 1707/8 and his will mentions his grandsons John, Thomas, Henry and Robert and granddaughters, Catherine, Rachel and Elizabeth, all apparently the children of his son Henry Athorpe (d. 1704) who had predeceased him; most of them were still minors. It is not certain which of the sons inherited the Dinnington estate, but by 1750 (when he began alterations to the house) the estate was in the hands of Henry Athorpe, who was a clerk in the Crown Office by 1724/5, held the senior legal post of Clerk of the Rules by 1734, and was promoted to be Secondary in the Crown Office in 1755. He died in 1772, and in a slightly curiously worded phrase in his will he left the Dinnington estate to his 'relative', Robert Athorpe Blanchard (1748-1806), on condition that he took the name Athorpe in lieu of Blanchard. Henry's use of the word 'relative' implies a fairly distant connection, possibly not even a blood relationship, but unfortunately it has proved impossible to establish what the connection was. Robert was the son of John Blanchard, but his mother is not named in the Hull register recording his baptism, and since there are a number of marriages in the Hull area involving a John Blanchard in the years before 1748 (none of which involve ladies of a surname otherwise connected to the Athorpes) it has not been possible to pursue this further.

Robert Athorpe Athorpe, as he became, was a prominent JP and Colonel of the Sheffield Volunteers in the 1790s. He was presumably responsible for the John Carr style additions to Dinnington Hall soon after he inherited the estate. When he died in 1806 the estate passed to his son, Thomas (1774-1820), who like his grandfather was an unmarried lawyer. When he died he left the estate in trust for his sister, Mary Ann Middleton (1775-1820) - who actually died a month or so before him - and her son, John Carver Middleton (1803-80), on condition that the latter assumed the name of Athorpe. On his father's death in 1849, John also inherited Morthen Hall at Whiston in the West Riding and Leam Hall at Eyam in Derbyshire, which were respectively the inheritances of his Carver and Middleton forebears. John produced a very large family but only three of his sons survived him. The eldest, the Rev. George Middleton Athorpe (1835-1910), inherited Dinnington and Morthen Halls and seems to have re-acquired the ancestral Thorpe Hall estate at Howden; Col. Robert Athorpe (1841-1912) inherited Leam Hall; and the youngest, Marmaduke Athorpe (1843-72) was bred to the law. When George died without issue, however, his estates passed to Marmaduke's son and heir, Marmaduke Athorpe (1872-1921). The younger Marmaduke, like his father, died young, and he left Morthen to his widow, who settled here after she remarried in 1934, and retained it until her death in the 1950s, when it was sold. Dinnington and Thorpe Hall passed to his son, 'Toby' Middleton (1904-73), who sold Dinnington in 1935 and Thorpe after 1952.  Col. Robert Athorpe was succeeded at Leam Hall by his only surviving daughter, Lesley Clara Athorpe (later Rose-Innes) (1883-1965), and she apparently sold it after the death of her husband in 1937.


Dinnington Hall, Yorkshire (WR)


Dinnington Hall: the east front, from a postcard in the Charles Hind Postcard Collection. Some rights reserved.

The core of the house is a five-bay two storey building of uncertain date, perhaps early 18th century, which has been progressively extended and remodelled. In c.1750-57 two small wings were added flanking the east front. On stylistic grounds, these are convincingly attributed to James Paine, who was widely employed in the Doncaster area. The wings were structurally complete by 1752 (the date on the rainwater heads) and the building accounts, which survive only from 1754-57, concern the decoration of the interior by a group of craftsmen who were regular associates of Paine, including the carver Christopher Richardson, the painter Francis Fenton, and the plasterers Gervase and Thomas Ledger. A marble chimneypiece was supplied by a Mr. Bishop.


Dinnington Hall: south front. Image: English Heritage


In  the late 18th century the house was further extended when a top-lit staircase hall was built behind the original house with a large dining room to its south, projecting as a canted bay in the centre of the otherwise largely blind south front. There is no documentary evidence for the architect, but the outward form of the canted bay and the discreet stucco decoration inside suggests that this may be an unrecorded work by John Carr or one of his followers. The dining room has round-headed plaster wall panels which enclose the doorcases, a pair of semi-domed niches, the fireplace and window openings; and also a decorated plaster dado rail. The staircase hall has a screen of columns and a timber staircase rising under an oval glazed dome. The walls of the staircase were at one time decorated with a 20th century trompe-l'oeil decorative scheme, but this seems to have been removed. The drawing room was also redecorated in the late 18th century and has a marble fireplace and an oval ceiling panel with vases,ribbons and garlands.

In the early to mid 19th century, the centre of the east front was altered: the pairs of windows either side of the central bay were replaced by shallow canted bay windows. The house became an hotel in the late 20th century and is now a care home.

Descent: sold 1677 to Rev. John Athorpe (d. 1706); to brother, Thomas Athorpe (d. 1708); probably direct to grandson, Henry Athorpe (d. 1772), who altered the house; to kinsman, Robert Athorpe Blanchard (later Athorpe) (1748-1806), who extended the house; to son, Thomas Athorpe (1774-1820); to nephew, Robert Carver Middleton (later Athorpe) (1803-80); to son, Rev. George Middleton Athorpe (1835-1910); to nephew, Marmaduke Athorpe (1872-1921); to son, Marmaduke Carver Middleton (k/a Toby) Athorpe (1904-73), who sold 1935...converted to hotel and after 1997 to care home.


Morthen Hall, Whiston, Yorkshire (WR)


Morthen Hall, Whiston: the south front

A fine and well-preserved two storey mid 18th century house with later wings, said to have been built for the vicar of Whiston and thus probably built soon after 1764 for Rev. John Carver (his predecessor having been non-resident, although he did build a house on the glebe for his curate). The entrance front faces south, and is the focus of decoration, with seven bays of closely spaced sash windows and a large triangular pediment containing a big oculus over the five middle bays. There is a balustraded parapet over the end bays and a hipped roof rises behind. The central doorcase has a shouldered and eared architrave with a rectangular panel above and a segmental pediment. The rear elevation is markedly plainer and less regular, with a very large arched staircase window with Gothick lights placed off-centre; indeed, on this side there is no attempt at symmetry, windows and doorways being placed only where they are needed. The lower (one-and-a-half storey) three-bay wings are probably early 19th century.


Morthern Hall, Whiston: upstairs landing, with an original frieze and a probably 19th century staircase balustrade.

Inside, the stone-paved staircase hall has an ornate Doric frieze and archways to the ground-floor rooms which look as though they were part of the original decorative scheme, and an upstairs bedroom also has mid 18th century panelling. Most of the other rooms have been redecorated later. The dining room has a broad arched recess in one long wall, which accommodates not a sideboard but a large brown marble chimneypiece of c.1830. This may provide a clue to when the wings were added and the interior updated. The staircase balustrade is perhaps of the same time.

Descent: probably built c.1765 for Rev. John Carver (1740-1807); to son, Marmaduke Middleton Carver (later Middleton) (1771-1848), who let to Thomas Swann; to son, Robert Carver Middleton (later Athorpe) (1803-80), who let to tenants including J.S. Jubb; to son, Rev. George Middleton Athorpe (1835-1910); to nephew, Marmaduke Athorpe (1872-1921), who let it to Alfred Eadon; to widow, Mrs Anne Davidson Athorpe (later Lawson-Williams) (d. 1954), who occupied it from c.1934; to widower, David Lawson-Williams, who sold 1955...


Leam Hall, Eyam, Derbyshire


Leam Hall: the house from an old postcard of c.1911.
A four by three bay, two-and-a-half storey house in a fine position. At the core there is said to be a house of 1693, but the present elevations seem to date largely from a reconstruction for Jonathan Oxley in about 1770 (outbuildings are dated 1766 and 1777). The south front has the main entrance off-centre in the third bay, which probably reflects the plan of the earlier building. Later alterations include the addition of a single-storey bow window of c.1820 on the east front, the plain 19th century classical porch, and the service wing added to the north.

Descent: Henry Savage sold to Thomas Middleton...Nathaniel Middleton (fl. 1633)...William Middleton (d. 1677), to son, Robert Middleton (d. 1690); to son, William Middleton (1664-1720); to son, Robert Middleton (1692-1736); to nephew, Jonathan Oxley (c.1719-83); to kinsman, Marmaduke Middleton Carver (later Middleton) (1771-1848); to son, John Carver Middleton (later Athorpe) (1803-80); to younger son, Col. Robert Athorpe (1841-1912); to daughter, Lesley Clara Athorpe (later Rose-Innes) (1883-1965), wife of Geoffrey Gregory (later Rose-Innes) (1876-1937); sold or leased after his death to Alderman J.G. Graves, who let it to Youth Hostel Association until the 1960s/70s; restored as a private house by Bill Senior.



Athorpe family of Dinnington Hall



Athorpe, Rev. John (d. 1706?). Younger? son of John Athorpe of Thorpe Hall, Howden (Yorks ER) and his first wife, born about 1634. Educated at Merton College, Oxford (matriculated 1651; BA 1654/5; MA 1657). Ordained priest, 1663; vicar of Frodingham (Lincs), 1665-69; rector of Weston-sub-Edge, 1667-84. He was unmarried and without issue.
He purchased the Dinnington Hall estate in 1677.
He is said to have died intestate in 1706, but no record of his burial has been found.

Athorpe, Thomas (d. 1708). Elder? son of John Athorpe of Thorpe Hall, Howden (Yorks ER) and his first wife, born about 1630? He married 1st, Elizabeth [surname unknown] and 2nd, 11 November 1702 at Howden, Mistress Stephenson of Swinefleet, and had issue:
(1.1) Henry Athorpe (d. 1704) (q.v.).
He inherited his father's property at Thorpe Hall, Howden in 1658, and apparently also the Dinnington Hall estate of his brother in 1706.
He died in the spring of 1707/8; his will was proved 19 March 1707/8. His first wife and widow's dates of death are unknown.

Athorpe, Henry (d. 1704). Only recorded son of Thomas Athorpe (d. 1708) of Thorpe Hall, Howden (Yorks ER). He married, 1688 at Howden, Katherine Athorpe, and had issue:
(1) John Athorpe (d. by 1726) of Thorpe Hall; married and had issue including three sons; killed between 1721 and 1726;
(2) Henry Athorpe (c.1691-1772) (q.v.);
(3) Thomas Athorpe (b. 1697), baptised at Howden, 22 July 1697; his brother Henry appointed his guardian, 1712; living in 1769;
(4) Robert Athorpe (d. 1722); will proved 1721/2;
(5) Catherine Athorpe; minor in 1708
(6) Rachel Athorpe; minor in 1708
(7) Elizabeth Athorpe (b. 1701), baptised at Howden, 1 September 1701.
He died in the lifetime of his father and was buried at Howden, 7 February 1703/4. His widow was living in 1708.

Athorpe, Henry (c.1691-1772) of Dinnington. Second son of Henry Athorpe (d. 1704) and his wife Katherine, born about 1691. He was presumably an adult by 1712 when he was made guardian of his younger brother Thomas, and was apprenticed in 1718 to John Matthews of the Inner Temple, Secondary of the Crown Office. By 1724/5 he was one of the clerks in the Crown Office, rising by 1734 to be Clerk of the Rules there and in 1755 to be Secondary, in which capacity he played a significant role in the trial of John Wilkes for seditious libel. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Dinnington Hall, perhaps in 1708, and made additions to the house in c.1750-57. At his death it passed to his kinsman, Robert Athorpe Blanchard (1748-1806), 'late of Thorpe but now of Edensor (Derbys)'. He also left extensive property at Howden, Belby, Duncoats, Kilpin, Laxton, Brantingham and Barmby in the East Riding at his brother Thomas Athorpe of Thorpe Hall.
He died in 1772; his will was proved in the PCC, 6 May 1772.


Robert Athorpe Athorpe
Blanchard (later Athorpe), Robert Athorpe (1748-1806). Son of John Blanchard and his wife, baptised at Holy Trinity, Hull (Yorks ER), 3 December 1748. He took the name of Athorpe in lieu of Blanchard by private Act of Parliament, 1773. JP for East and West Ridings of Yorkshire; Col. of Loyal Independent Sheffield Volunteers (Maj. commanding, 1794). He married, 8 March 1773 at Handsworth (Yorks WR), Mary Stacey (1755-1821) and had issue:
(1) Thomas Athorpe (1774-1820), baptised at Dinnington, 9 April 1774; educated at St. John's College, Cambridge (admitted 1791; BA 1796; MA 1799) and Lincolns Inn (admitted 1795; called to bar, 1799); barrister-at-law; inherited the Dinnington Hall estate from his father in 1806; died unmarried and without issue at Montpellier (France), 22 November 1820, and was apparently buried abroad; will proved at York, August 1821;
(2) Mary Ann Athorpe (1775-1820) (q.v.);
(3) Henry Athorpe (1781-1815), born 8 March and baptised at Dinnington, 3 April 1781; an officer in the army (Ensign, 1798; Lt., 1799; Capt., 1801); died unmarried and without issue and was buried at Dinnington, 11 May 1815;
(4) John Athorpe (d. 1815); died at Mansfield (Notts), 5 May 1815;
(5) Elizabeth Athorpe (1786-1819), baptised 1 January 1787; died unmarried, 4 November 1819; her will was proved at York, April 1820.
He inherited the Dinnington Hall estate from his kinsman, Henry Athorpe (d.1772). At his death it passed first to his elder son and then to his grandson, John Carver Middleton (later Athorpe).
He died at Worksop (Notts) and was buried at Dinnington, 30 January 1806; his will was proved 7 February 1806. His widow was buried at Dinnington 7 March 1821.

Athorpe, Mary Ann (1775-1820). Daughter of Robert Athorpe Blanchard (later Athorpe) (d. 1806) and his wife Mary Stacey, born 1775. She married, 12 August 1801 at Throapham (Yorks), Marmaduke Middleton Carver (later Middleton) JP DL (1771-1848) of Leam (Derbys) and Morthen (Yorks WR), son of Rev. John Carver (1740-1807) of Morthen, and had issue:
(1) John Carver Middleton (later Athorpe) (1803-80) (q.v.);
(2) Marmaduke Middleton (b. 1810), baptised at Eyam (Derbys), 15 May 1810; educated at Christ's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1831); probably died in 1833;
(3) Mary Ann Carver Middleton (d. 1817); died young, 15 February 1817.
She was buried at Whiston, 5 October 1820. Her husband married 2nd, 11 June 1822 at Brampton (Derbys), Martha, daughter of Anthony Dawson of Azerley (Yorks WR) and died in 1848; his will was proved 14 June 1849.

Middleton (later Athorpe), John Carver (1803-80). Elder son of Marmaduke Middleton Carver (later Middleton) (1771-1848) of Leam (Derbys) and his wife Mary Anne, daughter of Robert Athorpe Athorpe of Dinnington (Yorks WR), born 9 August and baptised at Eyam (Derbys), 14 August 1803. Educated at Trinity and Emmanuel Colleges, Cambridge (admitted 1822; BA 1826; MA 1830). He assumed the name and arms of Athorpe by royal licence, 1821. An officer in the West Yorkshire Yeomanry Cavalry (Maj.). He married, 5/8 February 1831 at Sheffield (Yorks WR), Mary (d. 1863), daughter of Thomas Gibbon Fitzgibbon of Ballyseeda (Limerick) and granddaughter of Sir Henry Osborne, 11th bt., and had issue:
(1) Mary Ann Eliza Athorpe (1832-1912), baptised at Dinnington, 11 March 1832; married, 5 April 1853, Sir Edward Walter KCB (1823-1904), founder of the Corps of Commissionaires and youngest son of John Walter of Bearwood (Berks) and had issue six children; died 4 May 1912; will proved 20 June 1912 (estate £1,975);
(2) Capt. John Athorpe (1833-61), born 31 March and baptised at Dinnington, 21 April 1833; an officer in the 85th Foot (Ensign, 1851; Lt., 1852; Capt., 1855); married, 8 April 1856 at Bishopwearmouth (Durham), Avice, daughter of Capt. Hayden, but had no issue; died in Natal (South Africa), 3 March 1861;
(3) Harriet Athorpe (1834-1905), baptised at Dinnington, 21 July 1834; married, 17 August 1854, Edward Claudius Walker of Chester, and had issue; died 8 July 1905; will proved 25 August 1905 (estate £17,892);
(4) Rev. George Middleton Athorpe (1835-1910) (q.v.);
(5) Henry Athorpe (1837-54), born 6 March 1837; a midshipman in the Royal Navy; died unmarried when he was killed in action at Gamla Carlaby (Finland), 8 June 1854;
(6) Emily Jane Athorpe (1840-67), baptised at Dinnington, 5 April 1840; married, 28 February 1867 at Pau (France), James Armstrong Murray of Colesberg, Cape of Good Hope (South Africa); died at Cartagena (Spain), 1 November 1867;
(7) Col. Robert Athorpe (1841-1912) (q.v.); 
(8) Marmaduke Athorpe (1843-72) (q.v.);
(9) Catherine Agnes Athorpe (1845-60), baptised at Dinnington, 31 March 1845; died young at Pau (France), 12 March 1860;
(10) Clara Isabella Athorpe (1846-72), baptised at Dinnington, 6 January 1847; married, 26 May 1870 at Sydney, New South Wales (Australia), Charles J. Manning of Sydney, barrister-at-law. and had issue one daughter; died 3 April 1872;
(11) Nanette Fanny Athorpe (1849-74), baptised at Dinnington, 19 April 1849; married, 15 August 1872, Nicholas John Charlton of Chilwell (Notts) and had issue; died 11 November 1874;
(12) Ellen Etheldred Athorpe  (1850-63), baptised at Dinnington, 17 February 1850; died young, 30 July 1863;
(13) Blanche Athorpe (1851-77), baptised at Dinnington, 9 January 1852; died unmarried, 22 June 1877;
(14) Alice Nina Athorpe (1853-1933) of Ayloy House, North Anston (Yorks WR), baptised at Dinnington, 7 August 1853; died unmarried, 8 October 1933; will proved 15 November 1933 (estate £9,322).
He inherited the Dinnington Hall estate from his uncle in 1820 and came of age in 1824. He inherited Morthen Hall and Leam Hall (Derbys) from his father in 1849. At his death Leam Hall went to his son Robert and the remaining estates to his eldest surviving son George.
He died 12 January 1880; his will was proved 13 February 1880 (estate under £20,000). His wife died 23 December 1863.

Athorpe, Rev. George Middleton (1835-1910). Second, but eldest surviving, son of John Carver Athorpe (1803-80) and his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Gibbon Fitzgibbon of Ballyseeda (Limerick) and granddaughter of Sir Henry Osborne, 11th bt., born 1 November 1835. Educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (admitted 1855; BA 1860; MA 1866). Ordained deacon, 1861 and priest, 1862. Curate of Tunstall (Staffs), 1861-62, West Retford (Notts), 1862-63 and Laughton-en-le-Morthern (Yorks WR), 1864-70; Rector of Dinnington (Yorks WR), 1870-82; unbeneficed thereafter. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Dinnington Hall, Morthen Hall estates from his father in 1880 and seems to have re-acquired the ancestral Thorpe Hall estate at Howden (Yorks ER) at some point. At his death these properties all passed to his nephew, Marmaduke Athorpe (1872-1921).
He died 16 January 1910; his will was proved 22 April 1910 (estate £170,937).

Athorpe, Col. Robert (1841-1912). Fourth son of John Carver Athorpe (1803-80) and his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Gibbon Fitzgibbon of Ballyseeda (Limerick) and granddaughter of Sir Henry Osborne, 11th bt., born 16 October 1841. An officer in the Royal Engineers (Lt., 1858; Second Capt., 1872; Maj., 1879; Col.). He married, 7 December 1880 at St Stephen, Kensington (Middx), Grace Mary Edith (d. 1909), daughter of Thomas Gilzean Rose-Innes of Netherdale (Banffs.) and had issue:
(1) Grace Edith May Athorpe (1881-1908), born 17 September and baptised at Woolwich (Kent), 17 October 1881; married, 17 July 1907 at Eyam, Ashton Ashton Shuttleworth (1878-1956) (who m2, 3 January 1912, Dorothy Ann Leslie and had issue two sons), but had no issue; died 25 March 1908; administration of goods granted, 30 September 1909 (estate £112);
(2) Lesley Clara Athorpe (later Rose-Innes) (1883-1965), born Oct-Dec 1883; changed name to Rose-Innes in 1910; married, 5 December 1911, Geoffrey Gregory (later Rose-Innes) (1876-1937); died 27 September 1965; will proved 4 May 1966 (estate £32,291).
He inherited Leam Hall (Derbys) from his father in 1880. At his death he left the estate to his younger and only surviving daughter, who sold it in 1939 after the death of her husband.
He died 1 April 1912; his will was proved 17 August 1912 (estate £18,155). His wife died at Hyères (France), 14 March 1909; administration of her goods was granted 28 June 1909 (estate £271).

Athorpe, Marmaduke (1843-72). Fifth son of John Carver Athorpe (1803-80) and his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Gibbon Fitzgibbon of Ballyseeda (Limerick) and granddaughter of Sir Henry Osborne, 11th bt., born 27 May 1843. Educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (matriculated 1861; BA 1865) and Lincolns Inn. He married, 6 April 1869 at Milton Ernest (Beds), Edith Louisa (d. 1872), daughter of Rev. C.C. Beaty Pownall, and had issue:
(1) Amy Winifred Athorpe (1870-1952), born at Alicante (Spain), 1870; missionary in South Africa; died unmarried at Grahamstown (South Africa), 27 February 1952; will proved 30 August 1952 (estate in England, £6,969);
(2) Marmaduke Athorpe (1871-72); died in infancy;
(3) Marmaduke Athorpe (1872-1921) (q.v.).
He died at Alicante (Spain), 9 March 1872. His widow died in November 1872.

Athorpe, Marmaduke (1872-1921). Second, but only surviving son of Marmaduke Athorpe (1843-72) and his wife Edith Louisa, daughter of Rev. C.C. Beaty Pownall, born posthumously, 19 July 1872. Educated at Eton. Coffee planter in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He married, 1 June 1897, Anne Davidson JP (1878-1954), daughter of Gordon Pyper of Hantane (Sri Lanka), and had issue:
(1) Dorothy Phyllis Athorpe (1898-1947), born in Sri Lanka, 11 March 1898; married, 22 August 1931, Maxwell Anthony Buchanan Harrison (d. 1940) of Sudan Legal Dept., son of Henry Anthony Harrison, judge and commissioner in Indian Civil Service; died 4 October 1947; will proved 27 July 1948 (estate £79,648);
(2) Ermengard Athorpe (1901-76), born 19 February and baptised at St John, Walham Green (Middx), 10 April 1901; married, 3 August 1927, Algernon Marshall Daryl Grenfell of Mostyn House School, Parkgate (Cheshire), son of Algernon George Grenfell of Mostyn House, and had issue; died 1 March 1976; will proved 2 June 1976 (estate £20,156);
(3) Marmaduke Carver Middleton (k/a Toby) Athorpe (1904-73) (q.v.).
He inherited the Dinnington Hall, Morthen Hall and Thorpe Hall estates from his uncle in 1910.
He died 27 March 1921; his will was proved 4 April 1922 (estate £39,912). His widow married 2nd, 27 December 1934, Douglas Lawson-Williams, and lived latterly at Morthen Hall; she died 12 August 1954; her will was proved 17 May 1955 (estate £9,987).

Athorpe, Marmaduke Carver Middleton (k/a Toby) (1904-73). Only son of Marmaduke Athorpe (1872-1921) and his wife Anne Davidson, daughter of Gordon Pyper of Hantane (Sri Lanka), born 29 August 1904. Educated at Eton and New College, Oxford (MA). He married, 12 July 1932, Hilda Bridget (1908-2000), eldest daughter of William Waterfall of Streetley Corner, Worksop (Notts) and had issue:
(1) John Crispian Athorpe (1935-2010), born 25 October 1935; died 30 November 2010;
(2) Penelope Brighid (k/a Poppy) Athorpe (b. 1938), born 2 October 1938; married, 1963, Rt. Rev. Frank V. Weston (d. 2003), bishop of Knaresborough.
He inherited the Dinnington Hall and Thorpe Hall estates from his father in 1921, but sold Dinnington after 1947 and Thorpe Hall after 1952. He lived latterly at Laployd Barton, Bridford (Devon).
He died 15 November 1973; his will was proved 9 August 1974 (estate £23,197). His widow died 22 January 2000; her will was proved 10 April 2000.


Sources


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, p. 47; J. Clay (ed.), [Joseph Hunter's] Familiae Minorum Gentium, vol. 4, p. 1261; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Radcliffe, The buildings of England: Yorkshire - the West Riding, 2nd edn., 1974, p. 180; P. Leach, James Paine, 1988, p. 182.


Location of archives


Athorpe of Dinnington Hall: deeds, estate, manorial and family papers, c.1350-1823 [Rotherham Archives & Local Studies, 916-M]. [This collection was formerly held at Sheffield City Archives, ref. AM].


Coat of arms


Per pale nebuly argent and azure, two mullets in fesse counterchanged.


Can you help?


Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
  • Can anyone explain the relationship between Henry Athorpe (d. 1772) and his heir, Robert Athorpe Blanchard (1748-1806)?
  • Can anyone provide information about the recent ownership history of Dinnington Hall (since 1935), Morthen Hall (since 1955), or Leam Hall (since 1939)?
  • Can anyone provide interior photographs of Dinnington Hall?


Revision and acknowledgements


This post was first published 31st August 2016

Friday, 26 August 2016

(227) Atherton of Atherton Hall and Bewsey Hall

Atherton of Atherton
The Athertons are one of the most ancient of Lancashire families, and their ancestors can be traced at Atherton near Leigh (Lancs) to at least the reign of King Henry I (1100-35). By 1212 they were known as the 'de Athertons', and a fairly coherent genealogy can be pieced together from the early 14th century. They seem to have been normally resident at Atherton (on the site later called Old Hall or Lodge Hall), and in 1360 Sir William de Atherton had licence for an oratory there and for another in his house at Ashton-in-Makerfield (Lancs). The genealogy below begins with another Sir William Atherton, born in about 1384. The family seem to have been relatively minor county gentry, intermarrying with other Cheshire and Lancashire families of their kind and occasionally holding local office, until in the 16th century Sir John Atherton (c.1513-73), kt rose to greater prominence in the service of the Earl of Derby. As a young man he took part in various military campaigns, including the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace, and in 1544 he was knighted during the sack of Edinburgh and Leith. He was MP for Lancashire in 1559, but although he was favourable to the Elizabethan Settlement his second wife was a known recusant, and this led to suspicions of his own soundness in matters of religion, which blighted the further development of his political career. He and his first wife, who were married when they were both children, were childless and were divorced in 1551 on the grounds of her infidelity, but by his second marriage he had a son, John Atherton (c.1557-1617), who like his father served as MP for the county and was also MP for Lancaster. At the time of the Armada, when England was put on an invasion footing, he was made  Capt. of the Crown's forces in Cheshire and Lancashire, so his mother's recusancy did not prevent his being trusted. His son and heir, John Atherton (d. 1628) was a barrister in London.

When the Civil War broke out, the head of the family was John Atherton (c.1600-46), who was a captain in the militia during the 1630s. Despite this, he does not seem to have been active on either side, and it may be that although not old he was infirm. His son, Capt. John Atherton (1624-56) was a Presbyterian and joined the Parliamentarian forces, but little seems to be recorded of his activities during the war. When he died in his early thirties he left a single son, who is said to have died a few days later, but his wife was pregnant and in due course bore another son, who inherited the estate. This was Sir Richard Atherton (1656-87), whose religion and politics seem to have been very different from those of his father, as he was an Anglican and a high Tory. He was MP for Liverpool in the 1670s and 1680s and seems to have been elected on the interest of the Molyneux family who owned estates just outside the town. This would explain his support for the Catholic Lord Molyneux, when he became Lord Lieutenant under King James II. In 1675 he inherited the Bewsey Hall estate near Warrington, which must have materially improved the fortunes of the family. When he died, at much the same age as his father, he was succeeded by his only son, John Atherton (1678-1708), with whom the religious and political polarity of the family flipped once more, since John allowed the Unitarians to build a chapel at Atherton, which he may have attended. John was the third generation of the family to die young, and he was succeeded by his only son, Richard Atherton (1701-26), whose strong views and peculiar enthusiasms earned him the nickname of 'mad Richard' Atherton. Like his grandfather he was a strong Tory and an opponent of nonconformity, and he ejected the Unitarians from the chapel his father had allowed them to build on his land. During the long minority following his father's death the estate revenues had evidently accumulated healthily (although his father had left debts of £3,000), and as soon as he came of age he embarked on the creation of a new Baroque country house at Atherton, which was unfinished at his death in 1726. This is said, improbably, to have cost over £60,000 to build by the time it was finished by his daughter and son-in-law in 1742, but it was clearly a grandly conceived project.

With Richard Atherton's early death in 1726, the family's luck in producing male heirs despite the short lifetimes of successive owners finally ran out. Four of his five known children died in infancy and his heir was his daughter, Elizabeth Atherton (c.1721-63), who married Robert Gwillym (c.1714-78) of Langstone Court (Herefs) in about 1738. Their eldest son, Robert Vernon Atherton Gwillym (1741-83) inherited the Lancashire estates and took the name Atherton in lieu of Gwillym in 1779. When he died his only surviving son, Atherton Leigh Atherton (1768-89) inherited, but he died in France while on the Grand Tour, and the estate passed once again through the female line. His sister, Henrietta Maria Atherton (1772-1820) married in 1797 Thomas Powys (1775-1825), later 2nd Baron Lilford, whose main estates were in Northamptonshire. On Henrietta Maria's death in 1820, the Atherton family effectively died out, and Lord Lilford demolished Atherton Hall, seeing no need to have two large houses on his remote Lancashire estates. Bewsey Hall, which had been updated in the late 18th century, was retained, but in about 1830 his son and successor pulled down a good deal of that house too, and turned the remainder into a farmhouse. 


Atherton Hall, Lancashire


A section of the Ordnance Survey 6" map surveyed in 1847, showing Old Hall and Atherton Hall and the landscaped grounds.
The Old Hall, sometimes referred to as Lodge Hall, was the seat of the Athertons from time immemorial. Little is known of its ancient appearance, as it was rebuilt in the mid 18th century - perhaps when it was superseded by the New Hall - as a three storey three-bay house. It was called 'an old brick building, moated round' in 1836, but was later given large two-storey battlemented square bay windows either side of the front door. This house was demolished in 1972 but some of the outbuildings still survive to mark the site. There was a deer park here by Elizabethan times and probably much earlier.


Atherton Hall: elevation of entrance front from Vitruvius Britannicus, vol. 3, 1725.

Atherton Hall: ground plan of the house from Vitruvius Britannicus, 1725.






In  1723, Richard Atherton (1701-26) began building a very grand new house of red brick with stone dressings on a site to the east of the old hall, to the designs of William Wakefield (d. 1730). The house was incomplete at Atherton's death in 1726 and was finished by his son-in-law, Robert Gwillym, in 1743, by which time it is said to have cost an improbable £63,000. The handsome Baroque front elevation of 102 ft. was illustrated in Vitruvius Britannicus, volume 3, and was of seven bays and two storeys above a high basement, with a full cornice and balustraded parapet. In the centre was a temple front with engaged Ionic columns supporting a triangular pediment containing a trophy of arms, and topped by three martial apotropaic figures. This gave onto a very large two-storey entrance hall, which as John Aiken noted at the end of the 18th century, achieved grandeur at the expense of utility, since it occupied such a high proportion of the footprint of the house. The garden front was treated as five bays, grouped 1-3-1 by giant pilasters, with the same high basement and tall cornice and parapet. Both fronts had massive stone staircases,  the full width of the central three bays, leading up to doorcases on the piano nobile.


Atherton Hall: the garden front depicted in the background of a painting of the Gwillym family by Arthur Devis,
perhaps in the early 1750s.

After the Atherton estates passed in 1797 to Lord Lilford, Atherton was surplus to requirements. Lilford Hall in Northamptonshire was the family's main seat, and Bewsey Hall was preferred when they journeyed into Lancashire. Unsuccessful attempts were made to sell Atherton, but when these failed, the main block of the house was demolished in 1824-25; the site is still recognisably the focal point of the landscape. The service wings (visible in the Devis painting), which terminated in low three-storey towers with pyramidal roofs and pilaster strips at the angles, were retained and survive today.  Later alterations and additions (especially the neo-Georgian ones of 1930, by Isaac Taylor of Manchester) have linked them to form a three-sided court, which was converted into seven dwellings after 1979.


Atherton Hall in 1823, on the eve of demolition.

Atherton Hall: entrance front in the late 18th century

The heavily wooded park of the house was landscaped in the 18th century and given an S-shaped curved lake spanned by the Lion Bridge designed by Wakefield in 1724. In the 19th century, much of the park was given to the town of Leigh as a public park (Lilford Park), but due to lack of maintenance the lake silted up and in 1905 the bridge was demolished. A memorial incorporating one of the eponymous lions, very worn, and a few bits of masonry, was erected at the site in the 1990s. Another lion, in better condition, survives at Haigh Hall.


Atherton Hall: the terminal tower of one of the surviving service wings of the 18th century house. The wings can be seen in the Arthur Devis painting above.


Descent: Sir William Atherton (b. c.1384), kt.; to son, Sir William Atherton (c.1409-40), kt.; to son, William Atherton (d. before 1450?); to brother, John Atherton (d. 1488); to son, George Atherton (c.1486-1518); to son, Sir John Atherton (c.1513-73), kt.; to son, John Atherton (d. 1628); to son, John Atherton (c.1600-46); to son, Capt. John Atherton (1624-56); to son, Sir Richard Atherton (1656-87), kt.; to son, John Atherton (1678-1708); to son, Richard Atherton (1701-26); to daughter, Elizabeth Atherton (c.1721-63), wife of Robert Gwillym (c.1714-78); to son, Robert Vernon Atherton Gwillym (later Atherton) (1741-83); to son, Atherton Leigh Atherton (1768-89); to sister, Henrietta Maria Atherton (1772-1820), wife of Thomas Powys (1775-1825), 2nd Baron Lilford; to son, Thomas Atherton Powys (1801-61), 3rd Baron Lilford; to son, Thomas Littleton Powys (1833-96), 4th Baron Lilford; to son, John Powys (1863-1945), 5th Baron Lilford; to brother, Stephen Powys (1869-1949), 6th Baron Lilford...


Bewsey Hall, Lancashire


Bewsey Old Hall: a drawing of 1772 showing the house as altered in Jacobean times and the drawbridge over the moat.
It is thought that there has been a building - perhaps initially a hunting lodge - on this moated site since the 12th century. The present late 16th or early 17th century brick building is a fragment of the later house. To its north there stood a medieval hall range, rebuilt in the 17th century with a porch and a matching cross-wing to create a balanced E-plan front. The house is said to have been substantially remodelled in the late 18th century but was largely demolished except for the surviving fragment in about 1830. A late Georgian farmhouse and a 19th century kitchen are now attached to the surviving building. 


Bewsey Old Hall: a photograph of 1859 shows the house very much as it exists today
Bewsey Old Hall: the house after conversion to apartments in 2014. Image: Urban Splash
Very little survives inside of any interest after years of alteration and decay and the recent conversion of the building into seven apartments, but there are said to be indications that a second-floor room was hastily fitted up in the early 17th century with a partition and elaborate painted finishes, possibly for the use of King James I, who stayed here in 1617. The moat surrounding the house is now dry on the east side, but in 1724 there was a gatehouse guarding a bridge across this arm, and archaeology has revealed traces of this and of a terraced 17th century garden. The drawbridge was still in place in 1772.


Bewsey New Hall, built in 1860-61 for Lord Lilford.







In  1860-61 a new half-timbered house (Bewsey New Hall) was built on a different site west of Camp Road for the 4th Baron Lilford as replacement for the Old Hall. The new building was almost certainly designed by W.G. Habershon, but Lady Lilford disliked the house so much that she refused to live in it. It was largely demolished in the 1940s, apart from a fragment of the west wing.

Descent: Edward Butler sold to Sir Thomas Ireland (1560-1625), kt.; to son, Thomas Ireland; to daughter, Dame Margaret (d. 1675), wife of Sir Gilbert Ireland (1624-75), kt.; to cousin, Sir Richard Atherton (1656-87), kt.; to son, John Atherton (1678-1708); to son, Richard Atherton (1701-26); to daughter, Elizabeth Atherton (c.1721-63), wife of Robert Gwillym (c.1714-78); to son, Robert Vernon Atherton Gwillym (later Atherton) (1741-83); to son, Atherton Leigh Atherton (1768-89); to sister, Henrietta Maria Atherton (1772-1820), wife of Thomas Powys (1775-1825), 2nd Baron Lilford; to son, Thomas Atherton Powys (1801-61), 3rd Baron Lilford; to son, Thomas Littleton Powys (1833-96), 4th Baron Lilford; to son, John Powys (1863-1945), 5th Baron Lilford.


Atherton family of Atherton Hall



Atherton, Sir William (b. c.1384), kt. Son of Sir William Atherton (d. 1414), kt. and his wife Agnes, daughter and heir of Ralph Vernon of Shipbrook, Cheshire, born about 1384. He married 1st, c.1400, Elizabeth daughter of Sir John Pilkington, kt., and 2nd, 1422, Eleanor [surname unknown], and had issue:
(1.1) Sir William Atherton, kt. (q.v.);

(1.2) Margaret Atherton; married, 1438, John Dutton (d. 1461) of Hatton and had issue;
(1.3) Elizabeth Atherton; married William Whitmore (c.1421-84) of Thurstanton, mayor of Chester in 1473.
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father in 1414.
His date of death is unknown.

Atherton, Sir William (c.1409-40), kt. Son of Sir William Atherton (b. c.1384), and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Pilkington, kt., born about 1409. He married, c.1423, Margaret (fl. 1479), daughter of Sir John Byron, kt., and had issue:
(1) William Atherton (d. by 1450?); inherited the Atherton estate from his father in 1440 and came of age after 1444; married, 1444, Isabella (fl. 1479), daughter of Richard Balderston but died without issue in his minority;
(2) John Atherton (d. 1488) (q.v.);
(3) Nicholas Atherton (fl. 1438/9).
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father.
He died in 1440. His widow married 2nd, before 1443, Sir Robert Harcourt, kt.; her date of death is unknown but she was living in 1479.

Atherton, John (d. 1488). Younger son of Sir William Atherton (d. 1440), kt. and his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir John Byron, kt. High Sheriff of Co. Durham, 1461. He married late in life, Jane, daughter of John Warren of Poynton (Cheshire), and had issue:
(1) George Atherton (c.1486-1518).
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his elder brother, probably before 1450.
He died 7 April 1488; an inquisition post mortem was held 24 August 1507 when his son was of full age.

Atherton, George (c.1486-1518). Only recorded son of John Atherton (d. 1488) and his wife, born about 1486. He married 1st, (div. on grounds of consanguinity*), Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Assheton of Middleton, kt., and 2nd, Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Butler, of Bewsey (Lancs), kt., and had issue:
(1.1) Sir John Atherton (c.1513-73), kt. (q.v.);
(2.1) Anne Atherton; married Thomas Leland, son of William Leland of Morley and had issue.
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father in 1488 and came of age in 1507.
He died in 1518. 
* Many sources place the date of the divorce at 1506, 1507 or 1508, but these dates are not reconcilable with Sir John Atherton having been born in c.1513, for which there is good evidence in an inquisition post mortem.

Atherton, Sir John (c.1513-73), kt. Only recorded son of George Atherton (d. 1518) and his first wife, Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Assheton of Middleton, kt., born about 1513. He took part in the Earl of Derby's expedition against the Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536 and was in charge of troops in northern England and Scotland, 1542-44; he was knighted at Leith by the Earl of Hertford, May 1544. In the late 1540s and 1550s he was active in raising and training men for the Lancashire musters, and in 1557 he led some of his tenants in the Earl of Derby's campaign against the Scots. MP for Lancashire, 1559; JP for Lancashire by 1544; High Sheriff of Lancashire, 1550-51, 1554-55 and 1560-61. He was a conformist in religion although there were occasional rumours of recusancy against him; his second wife was a recusant and was regularly presented as such after his death. He married 1st, before 1518, when they must both have been children (div. 1551 on the grounds of her adultery), Elizabeth (d. 1576), daughter of Sir Alexander Radcliffe, kt. of Ordsall (Lancs), and 2nd, Margaret, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Catterall of Little Mitton (Lancs), and had issue:
(2.1) John Atherton (c.1557-1617) (q.v.);
(2.2) Richard Atherton;
(2.3) William Atherton;
(2.4) Margaret Atherton (d. 1585); married William Jessop (d. 1630) of Broomshall near Sheffield (Yorks) and had issue; buried 26 April 1585 at Sheffield;
(2.5) Elizabeth Atherton; died young;
(2.6) Elizabeth Atherton; married Henry Bulmer.
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father in 1518 and came of age about 1534. He sold a number of manors in Lancashire and between 1562 and 1570 bought property at Slingsby, Fryton and Hovingham in Yorkshire (NR).
He was buried at Leigh, 8 July 1573. His first wife died on 1 May 1576. His second wife survived him and married 2nd, William Edwards of Wrexham (Flints.); her date of death is unknown.

Atherton, John (c.1557-1617). Eldest son of Sir John Atherton (c.1513-73), kt. and his second wife, Margaret, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Catterall of Little Mitton (Lancs), born about 1557. High Sheriff of Lancashire, 1582. MP for Lancashire, 1586 and for Lancaster, 1588-89. JP for Lancashire by 1583; High Sheriff of Lancashire, 1582-83. At the time of the Armada, he was appointed Capt. of the Lancashire and Cheshire forces, 1588. He married 1st, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Byron, kt. of Colwick and Newstead (Notts), and 2nd, before 1587, Katherine (d. 1622), third daughter and co-heir of John Conyers, 3rd Baron Conyers, of Hornby Castle (Yorks), and had issue:
(1.1) John Atherton (d. 1628) (q.v.);
(1.2) Elizabeth Atherton; married James Browne;
(1.3) Rachel Atherton (d. 1643); died unmarried and without issue, 1643;
(2.1) John Atherton, of Skelton (Yorks); heir to his mother; married Anne, daughter of Sir John Byron, kt. and had issue a daughter;
(2.2) A son;
(2.3) A daughter;
(2.4) A daughter;
(2.5) A daughter.
He inherited the Atherton Hall and Yorkshire estates of his father in 1573. He sold the Yorkshire estate to Sir Charles Cavenish, kt. in 1594.
He was buried at Leigh, 23 May 1617. His widow married 2nd, Francis Savile, son of Henry Savile of Lupset (Yorks), and died 8 March 1622.

Atherton, John (d. 1628). Only recorded son of John Atherton (c.1557-1617) and his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Byron, kt., of Newstead (Notts), perhaps born c.1576. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1594). Barrister-at-law. He married 1st, Grismond, daughter of Henry Butler of Rawcliffe Hall (Lancs), and 2nd, about December 1602, Cicely, daughter of Ralph Calveley of Saighton (Cheshire), and had issue:
(1.1) John Atherton (c.1600-46) (q.v.); 
(2.1) Richard Atherton of Chowbent.
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father in 1617.
He was buried at Leigh, 23 July 1628. His wives' dates of death are unknown.

Atherton, John (c.1600-46). Only recorded son of John Atherton (d. 1628) and his first wife Grismond, daughter of Henry Butler of Rawcliffe Hall (Lancs), perhaps born c.1600. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1620). Perhaps the John Atherton of Chowbent (in Leigh) who was appointed a Capt. of Light Horse by the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, 1636. He married, c.1620, Eleanor (d. 1648?), daughter of Sir Thomas Ireland of Bewsey Hall (Lancs), and had issue:
(1) Thomas Atherton; died young;
(2) George Atherton; died unmarried;
(3) Capt. John Atherton (1624-56) (q.v.);
(4) Margaret Atherton (b. 1626), baptised at Leigh, 2 July 1626; married, before 1646, John Bradshaw (1614-94), son of John Bradshaw of Bradshaw, and had issue three sons and eight daughters; living in 1664;
(5) Eleanor Atherton (1628-82), baptised at Leigh, 26 February 1627/8; married Robert Clayton (d. 1664) of Fulwood (Lancs) and had issue four sons and four daughters; buried at Broughton (Lancs), 17 July 1682;
(6) William Atherton (b. 1629), baptised at Leigh, 3 February 1628/9; educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1648); died unmarried;
(7) Ireland Atherton (1630-1708), baptised at Leigh, 4 February 1629/30; married, 31 March 1656 at Wigan (Lancs), Katherine Alred (d. 1698), and had issue; buried at Leigh, 5 May 1708;
(8) twin, Thomas Atherton (b. 1632), baptised at Leigh, 3 January 1632/3; probably died young;
(9) twin, Henry Atherton (b. 1632), baptised at Leigh, 3 January 1632/3; probably died young;
(10) Ralph Atherton (1635-38), baptised at Leigh, 8 October 1635; died young and was buried at Leigh, April 1638;
(11) Anne Atherton (1637-95), baptised at Leigh, 2 November 1637; married, 3 August 1655 at Preston (Lancs), Thomas Clayton, citizen and merchant of London, and had issue three sons and seven daughters; buried at Standish (Lancs), 28 May 1695.
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father in 1628.
He died in about 1646. His wife was probably the 'Ellen Atherton' of Leigh whose will was proved in 1648.

Atherton, Capt. John (1624-56). Third but eldest surviving son of John Atherton (c.1600-46) and his wife Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Ireland of Bewsey Hall (Lancs), baptised at Leigh, 9 February 1623/4. A Presbyterian in religion, he built the Old Bent chapel at Atherton, which remained unconsecrated and was later used by nonconformists. He was a Captain in the Parliamentary army during the Civil War. JP for Lancashire; High Sheriff of Lancashire, 1654. He married, before 1645, Mary (d. 1665), daughter of Richard Bold of Bold Hall (Lancs), and had issue including:
(1) John Atherton (d. 1656?); died young, according to one source a few days after his father;
(2) Eleanor Atherton; died young;
(3) Mary Atherton; died young;
(4) Joan Atherton; died young;
(5) Sir Richard Atherton (1656-86), kt. (q.v.).
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father in about 1646.
He died early in 1656*. His widow married 2nd, 1658 (settlement 1 October), Lawrence Rawstorne (1619-1700) of Newhall and had further issue one son (who died young); she was buried at Leigh, 7 July 1665.
* One Internet source gives a date of 17 January 1655/6, but I have been unable to verify this.

Atherton, Sir Richard (1656-87), kt. Only surviving son of Capt. John Atherton (1624-56) and his wife, born posthumously, 1656*. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1672) and Grays Inn (admitted 1675). He was brought up an Anglican by his mother, and was a high Tory in politics. MP for Liverpool 1677-79, 1685-87; Mayor of Liverpool, 1684-85; JP for Lancashire, 1677-86 and DL, 1682-86; he was knighted by King Charles II at Windsor, 22 June 1684 and was made a freeman of Preston, 1682. During his mayoralty he persuaded the corporation of Liverpool to surrender the city charter of 1677 to Judge Jeffreys and to seek a new grant. At the end of his life he was a supporter of Lord Molyneux, the newly-appointed Roman Catholic Lord Lieutenant, whose perennial quarrels with the corporation of Liverpool must have made Atherton unpopular there. He married 1st, 27 November 1676 at St Chad, Rochdale (Lancs), Isabel, daughter of Robert Holt of Castleton and Stubley, and 2nd, 25 November 1686 at Ulverston (Lancs), Agnes (b. 1664), daughter of Miles Dodding of Conishead (Lancs), and had issue:
(1.1) John Atherton (1678-1708) (q.v.);
(1.2) Catherine Atherton (b. 1679), baptised at Warrington, 3 April 1679;
(1.3) Marie Atherton (1680-1705), baptised at Warrington, 5 February 1679/80; married, 20 March 1700/01 at Warrington, Edward Molyneux, and had issue two daughters; buried at Warrington, 11 May 1705;
(1.4) Isabel Atherton (b. 1682), baptised at Warrington, 24 January 1681/2; married 21 May 1702 at Warrington, William Rawstorne of Preston, and had issue;
(1.5) Dorothy Atherton (b. 1682), baptised at Warrington, 17 December 1682.
He inherited the Atherton Hall estate from his father at his birth and the Bewsey Hall estate in 1675 from Dame Margaret Ireland.
He was buried at Warrington, 11 January 1686/7, but his will was not proved until 1690. His first wife died between 1682 and 1686; his second wife presumably survived him but her date of death has not been traced.
*One Internet source gives the date as 23 September 1656, but I have been unable to verify this.

Atherton, John (1678-1708). Only son of Sir Richard Atherton (1656-87) and his first wife, Isabel, daughter of Robert Holt of Castleton and Stubley, born 29 January 1677/8 and baptised at Warrington, 12 February 1677/8. Educated at Brasenose College (matriculated 1694) and Grays Inn (admitted 1697). On his father's death he was placed in the guardianship of James Holt MP and William Banks II MP, whose political and religious leanings may explain the wide divergence of his views from those of his father and son. In adulthood he was a nonconformist in religion, and encouraged and supported the Unitarian meeting at Atherton. He married, 4 April 1700 at Whitegate (Cheshire), Elizabeth (b. 1676), daughter and heiress of Robert Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, and had issue:
(1) Richard Atherton (1701-26) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Atherton (1703-53), born 19 May and baptised at Warrington 29 May 1703; married, 4 December 1722 at Preston (Lancs), Thomas Heber (1697-1752) of Marton (Yorks WR) and had issue three sons and two daughters; died 23 March and was buried at Marton, 27 March 1753;
(3) Frances Atherton (b. 1705), born 3 August and baptised at Warrington, 10 August 1705; unmarried and living in 1724;
(4) Mary Atherton (b. 1707), baptised at Warrington, 15 October 1707; probably died in infancy.
He inherited the Atherton Hall and Bewsey Hall estates from his father in 1687 and came of age in 1699. In 1708-09 his widow sought petitioned Parliament for leave to raise £3,000 for the payment of his debts by leasing estates and selling timber, but this was rejected.
He was buried at Warrington, 20 January 1707/8, aged 29. His wife survived him but her date of death has not been traced.

Atherton, Richard (1701-26). Only recorded son of John Atherton (1678-1708) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Robert Cholmondeley of Vale Royal (Cheshire), born 21 May and baptised at Warrington (Lancs), 29 May 1701. He is said to have been a Jacobite in politics and was active in fomenting political opposition in Wigan in 1724-26. In religion he was an opponent of nonconformity (unlike his father), and on coming of age he demanded the surrender of the Unitarian chapel which had recently been built at Atherton on land leased from the estate. A pigeon-fancier, he was 'a very compleat judge of a pigeon' and collected examples of as many different species of dove and pigeon from around the world as he could come by; he intended to have four dovecotes in turrets on the roof of Atherton Hall, but died before these were constructed. These eccentricities led to his sometimes being referred to in the family as 'mad Richard'. He married, 16 June 1719 at Leyland (Lancs), Elizabeth (1702-42), daughter of William Farington of Shaw Hall, Leyland, and had issue:
(1) John Atherton (b. & d. 1720); died in infancy and was buried at Leyland, 1 April 1720;
(2) Elizabeth Atherton (c.1721-63) (q.v.);
(3) Isabella Atherton (b. & d. 1722); buried at Leyland, 26 November 1722;
(4) Mary Catherina Atherton (d. 1724); buried at Leyland, 7 January 1723/4;
(5) Richard Atherton (b. & d. 1725), baptised at Leyland, 7 May 1725; died in infancy and was buried at Leyland the following day.
He inherited the Atherton Hall and Bewsey Hall estates from his father in 1708 and came of age in 1722. He began the construction of a new Atherton Hall in 1723, which was unfinished at his death; his will instructs his executors to complete the building.
He was buried at Leigh, 29 November 1726; his will was proved at Chester, 19 December 1724. His widow married 2nd, 20 August 1729 at Weld Chapel, Southgate (Middx), Jonathan Goldsmith of London, and was buried at Leigh, 10 April 1742.


Elizabeth Atherton,
by Arthur Devis.
Atherton, Elizabeth (c.1721-63). Only child of Richard Atherton (1701-26) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of William Farington of Shaw Hall, born about 1721*. She married, c.1738 (settlement, 1738), Robert Gwillym (c.1714-78) of Langstone Court (Herefs), and had issue:
(1) Richard Atherton Gwillym (b. & d. 1740), baptised at Leigh, 2 March 1739/40; died in infancy and was buried, 21 June 1740;
(2) Robert Vernon Atherton Gwillym (later Atherton) (1741-83) (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Goldsmith Atherton Gwillym (1742-1823), baptised at Leigh, 3 September 1742; married, 10 December 1767 at Warrington (Lancs), Lawrence Rawstorne (1742-1803) and had issue three sons and two daughters; died at Hutton Hall and was buried at Penwortham (Lancs), 18 November 1823;
(4) Jane Atherton Gwillym (1743-57), baptised at Leigh, 22 August 1743; died young and was buried at Leigh, 4 September 1757;
(5) William Atherton Gwillym (1744-71), baptised at Leigh, 1 January 1744/5; educated at Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1763) and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (admitted 1765); presumably inherited his father's Herefordshire property; died 1771;
(6) Alice Charlotte Gwillym (1748-51), baptised at Leigh, 25 March 1748; died young and was buried at Leigh, 27 April 1751;
(7) Thomas Symons Atherton Gwillym (1753-58), baptised at Leigh, 7 April 1753; died young and was buried at Leigh, 5 June 1758;
(8) Frances Atherton Gwillym (d. 1757); buried at Leigh, 10 October 1757.
She inherited the Atherton Hall and Bewsey Hall estates from her father in 1726? and completed the building of Atherton Hall in 1743.
She was buried at Leigh, 30 May 1763. Her husband married 2nd, Frances [surname unknown] and had further issue one son; he was buried at Warrington, 21 August 1778, and his will was proved at Chester, 7 October 1778 and in the PCC, 13 September 1808.
* The baptism of an Elizabeth, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Atherton at Preston (Lancs), 29 May 1721, appears to relate to a different person.


R.V.A. Gwillym, 1766
by Joseph Wright of Derby.
Image: St Louis Art Museum
Gwillym (later Atherton), Robert Vernon Atherton (1741-83). Second son of Robert Gwillym (c.1714-78) of Langston and Walford-on-Wye (Herefs) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Atherton of Atherton Hall and Bewsey Hall, baptised at Leigh, 28 August 1741. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1763) and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (matriculated 1767). MP for Newton (Lancs), 1774-80. He took the name and arms of Atherton in lieu of Gwillym for himself and his descendants by royal licence, 1779. He and his wife were painted by Joseph Wright of Derby in 1766. He married, 25 January 1763 at Winwick (Lancs), Henrietta Maria (1744-79), daughter and co-heir of Peter Legh of Lyme Park (Cheshire) and had issue:
(1) Atherton Leigh Gwillym (later Atherton) (1768-89), born 4 June and baptised at Leigh, 25 July 1768; educated at Manchester Grammar School; inherited the Atherton and Bewsey estates from his mother but died unmarried in the south of France shortly before coming of age, 27 March 1789;
(2) Robert Gwillym (1769-73), baptised at Leigh, 3 November 1769; died young and was buried at Leigh, 10 June 1773;
(3) Henrietta Maria Gwillym (later Atherton) (1772-1820) (q.v.);
(4) Elizabeth Gwillym (later Atherton) (b. 1774), baptised at Leigh, 29 October 1774; married, 18 May 1802 at Marylebone (Middx), her cousin, George Anthony Legh-Keck MP (1774-1860) of Stoughton Grange (Leics) and Bank Hall, Bretherton (Lancs), but had no issue; her date of death has not been traced;
(5) Hester Gwillym (later Atherton) (1776-1830), baptised at Leigh, 25 July 1776; married, 14 October 1800 at St John, Preston (Lancs), Rev. James John Hornby and had issue two sons (who both died without issue); buried at Winwick (Lancs), 23 June 1830;
(6) Frances Gwillym (1777-79), baptised at Leigh, 26 September 1777; died in infancy and was buried at Leigh, 27 January 1779;
(7) Leigh Egerton Gwillym (later Atherton) (1778-79), born 15 December 1778 and baptised at Leigh, 15 January 1779; died in infancy and was buried at Leigh, 17 November 1779.
He inherited the Atherton and Bewsey Hall estates from his mother in 1763.
He was buried at Leigh, 9 July 1783. His wife was buried at Leigh, 28 September 1779.

Atherton, Henrietta Maria (1772-1820). Eldest daughter of Robert Vernon Gwillym (later Atherton) (1741-83) and his wife Henrietta Maria, daughter and co-heir of Peter Legh of Lyme Park (Cheshire), baptised at Leigh, 24 July 1772. She married, 5 December 1797 at Penwortham (Lancs), Thomas Powys (1775-1825), 2nd Baron Lilford, and had issue:
(1) Hon. Henrietta Maria Powys (1799-1870), born 7 February and baptised at Leigh, 8 February 1799; married, 10 September 1827, John Campbell Colquhoun (1803-70) of Killermont and Garscadden, and of Chartwell (Kent), politician and author, son of Archibald Colquhoun of Edinburgh, and had issue two sons; died in London, 21 January 1870 and was buried at Crockham Hill, Sevenoaks (Kent);
(2) Hon. Eleanor Powys (1800-80), baptised at St George's Hanover Square, London, 8 April 1800; married, 8 Jul 1839, as his second wife, Sir John Murray Naesmyth (1803-76), 4th bt., of Dawyck House (Peebles.) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 13 March 1880; will proved 27 April 1880 (effects under £12,000);
(3) Thomas Atherton Powys (1801-61), 3rd Baron Lilford, born 2 December 1801; a Lord of the Bedchamber 1831-35 and 1835-37; a Lord-in-Waiting 1837-41; married, 24 May 1830, Hon. Mary Elizabeth (1806-91), daughter of Henry Richard Fox, 3rd Baron Holland, and had issue four sons and six daughters; died 15 March 1861 [the Powys family, Barons Lilford, will be the subject of a future post];
(4) Hon. Robert Vernon Powys (1802-54), born April 1802; an officer in the East India Company's Bengal army (Capt.); married, 14 April 1825, Jane (d. 1842), third daughter of William Beckett, of Enfield (Middx), and had issue five sons and one daughter; died 26 May 1854;
(5) Hon. Mary Powys (1804-83), born 12 December 1804; married, 11 May 1830, Rev. James Drummond (d. 1882), rector of Galby (Leics); died 5 November 1883;
(6) Rt. Rev. & Hon. Horatio Powys DD (1805-77), born 20 November 1805; educated at Harrow and St. John's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1824; MA 1826; DD 1854); ordained deacon, 1830 and priest, 1831; rector of Warrington (Lancs), 1831-54; Bishop of Sodor and Man, 1854-77; married, 21 Feb 1833, Percy Gore (d. 1888), eldest daughter of William Currie of East Horsley Park (Surrey), and had issue three sons and five daughters; died 31 May 1877;
(7) Hon. Elizabeth Atherton Powys (c.1807-91), born about 1807; married, 15 February 1828, Rev. Richard Leonard Adams (1802-75), rector of Shere (Surrey) and had issue; died 8 January 1891; will proved 19 February 1891 (effects £2,314);
(8) Rev. & Hon. Atherton Legh Powys (1809-86), born 23 September 1809; educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1829; MA 1834); ordained deacon, 1841 and priest, 1842; rector of Titchmarsh (Northants), 1842-61; married, 23 September 1841 at Melton Mowbray (Leics), Charlotte Elizabeth (d. 1869), daughter of Richard Norman, and had issue three sons and two daughters; lived latterly at Southsea (Hants); died at Gotham (Notts), 28 August 1886; administration of goods with will annexed granted 16 March 1887 (effects £1,030);

(9) Hon. Frances Hester Powys (c.1810-40), born about 1810; married, 5 April 1831, Rev. Thomas Henry Causton (d. 1854); died 17 June 1840;
(10) Hon. Jane Lucy Powys (c.1811-1905), born about 1811; married, 18 May 1836, Rev. John Pierce Maurice, rector of Michael Marsh (Hants) (d. 1874), and had issue four sons; died 4 December 1905.

(11) Maj. the Hon. Henry Littleton Powys (later Powys-Keck) (1812-63), of Stoughton Grange (Leics), born 28 March 1812; married 1st, 20 November 1840, Margaretta Matilda (d. 1845), third daughter of J. J. Bancho, of Parsonstown, Ireland, and had issue three sons; married 2nd, 16 July 1862, Maria (d. 1902), youngest daughter of Admiral Sir John Gore KCB GCH RN, but had no further issue; died 10 July 1863;
(12) Lt Col the Hon. Charles Powys (1813-97), born 4 March 1813; served in the Sikh War and the Indian Rebellion; married 1st, 29 Mar 1836, Mary (d. 1854), only surviving child of William Scott Kennedy, and 2nd, 15 Aug 1854, Agnes Anne (d. 1906), only daughter of John Richards, of Penzance (Cornw), and had issue by his second wife; died 16 October 1897.

She inherited the Atherton and Bewsey Hall estates from her brother in 1789.
She died 11 August 1820. Her husband died in London, 4 July, and was buried at Achurch (Northants), 15 July 1825; his will was proved 14 December 1825.


Sources


J. Aiken, A description of the country from thirty to forty miles round Manchester, 1795, p. 298; VCH Lancashire, vol. 3, 1907, pp. 324-28, 435-39; J.S.F. Walker & A.S. Tindall, Country Houses of Greater Manchester, 1985, p. 185; R. Pollard & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Lancashire - Liverpool and the south-west, 2006, pp. 140-41, 632-33.


Location of archives


Atherton family of Atherton and Bewsey: deeds and papers relating to Lancashire and Herefordshire property, 13th-18th cents [Lancashire Archives, DDLi]


Coat of arms


Gules, three sparrowhawks, two and one, argent.


Can you help?


Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.


  • Can anyone provide information about the descent of Atherton Hall or Bewsey Hall in the later 20th century?
  • The genealogical details above for the earliest generations of this family are remarkably thin; I should be most grateful to anyone who can provide additional information from authoritative sources.



Revision and acknowledgements


This post was first published 26th August 2016.