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Shropshire Archives reopens in a phased way from Wednesday 29 July

Hope-Edwardes of Netley

April 21, 20209:23 amLeave a Comment

This continues the blog post on the More of Linley papers. The second part of the cataloguing project concerned the papers of the Hope-Edwardes family of Netley Hall now online at Hope-Edwardes (9071/B).

The family held estates in Shropshire at Greete and Harnage as well as at Netley and also a substantial amount of property in Ealing, which they had come into by marriage.

The wills and marriage settlements provide an excellent way to trace the family property and how it passed through the generations.
These include the immense marriage settlement for John Thomas Hope and Ellen Hester Mary Edwardes (9071/B/1/3) concerned with protecting Ellen’s interests.

Marriage settlement 9071/B/1/3

Ellen had inherited the London estates of her father Sir Thomas Edwardes who had married Ann Barratt, only daughter and heir of Thomas Barrett of Brentford. The Barrett family had amassed a huge amount of copyhold and freehold land in Brentford and the surrounding area. 

The eldest son of of John Thomas Hope and Ellen Hester Mary Edwardes, Thomas Henry Hope, known to his family as Henry, assumed the additional name and arms of Edwardes by Sign Manual on 7 Nov 1854. 

Material relating to the Shropshire estates ranges from deeds of the 14th century to estate rentals and accounts up to 1950s.  Although there are gaps, the range and scope of material would allow a good study of the development of the estates, property history or finding tenants and estate workers.   The medieval deeds for the Greete estate (9071/B/4/2) are particularly good. 

Many maps have survived for the Netley Estate in the parish of Stapleton (9071/B/3/4) including some sketch plans of farms to more detailed plans and particulars of the whole estate, dating back to the 1770s. There are also many plans and elevations for Netley Hall and other properties on the estate. (9071/B/3/5).

The redeveloped Netley Hall, Stapleton PH/S/24/4
The redeveloped Netley Hall, Stapleton PH/S/24/4

A large number of papers also survive for the building of a new church at Dorrington in the 1840s (9071/B/7). 

As with the More family, it is the personal papers of the family that have proved most rewarding and varied.  These date back to letters to Henry Edwardes, including one referring to the proposed match between his son on Miss Barrett ‘The account my son and you give of the Lady and her family is so deserving and I find it so agreeable to his inclinations that I shall be willing to comply with any reasonable proposal for settling him so much to his satisfaction’.  1759 (9071/B/9/1/1).

Charades 9071/B/9/5/6

There are the diaries of John Thomas Hope describing his voyage to India 1781-1782 (9071/B/9/4/1/1).

There is also a lovely collection of letters, charades, parlour games etc kept by John’s wife Ellen Hester Mary which show how the family spent their evenings. 

In amongst these is a poem by Ellen dedicated to her husband and occasioned ‘ by his observing in a letter to me though he was sixty years of age and we had been married twenty eight years he still wrote to me with much pleasure’  (9071/B/9/5/9/22). 

The obvious affection in these personal papers is quite lovely to see as looking at the marriage settlement alone would give the idea that the marriage was a pecuniary arrangement.

The achievements of the family were varied.  For example Frederick William Hope was a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Linnean Society and travelled across Europe publishing articles on fish, crustaceans and insects.  He collaborated with many naturalists of the period including Chalres Darwin.  There are documents in the collection relating to the deed of gift and endowments (mostly of his insect collection) to the University of Oxford (9071/B/9/7/3). Incidentally Frederick’s wife was Ellen Meredith who he married in 1835.  She was also a naturalist and supported her husband and had earlier rejected a proposal of marriage from Benjamin Disraeli.

Selection of letters

The whole family seem to be prolific letter writers (not uncommon in an age before phones, texts and emails).  A large number of letters survive to Thomas Henry Hope Edwardes including a sad bundle of condolences for the death of his son William John who died suddenly on return form his honeymoon in 1867 (9071/B/9/6/2/15).   This is made all the more touching after discovering the family photographs at 9071/B/11 which show William and his brothers and seem to show a close family relationship.

Other items of interest are a draft of a novel by Louisa Clare Hope Edwardes (9071/B/12/1) as well as the military papers of Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes, who the Oxford DNB call  a ‘brilliant soldier-diplomat, whose willingness to act on his own initiative at the head of an improvised force, despite his lack of formal military training, was instrumental in defeating the insurrection at Multan in 1848’. (9071/B/9/15).

The papers relating to the London Estates of the family have been separately catalogued at 9197.  These have been retained at Shropshire Archives to keep the family papers together and due to the resettlement of the estates in 1916 which meant that there is a lot of cross referencing between the estates. 

The London papers reveal the building up of the estates from the 1680s by Mary Barratt, her son James and grandson Thomas, the father in law of John Thomas Hope (9197/3.  There are immense terriers showing the extent of their holdings (9197/2).

Extensive 20th century correspondence includes a letter from Octavia Hill to Col Hope-Edwardes in 1909 discussing the need to preserve buildings and the changing social make-up of Marylebone (9197/12/15).  Again there are personal papers including letters to Thomas Barratt, primarily concerning his election campaign in Hindon during the early 1740s (9197/13/1).

This has been a fantastic collection to work on with many gems and papers worth studying in more detail.

Written by sarahd

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