Jane Brailsford

Jane Brailsford

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Jane Esdon Malloch was born on 3rd April 1874 in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, one of the six children of John Malloch, a Scottish cotton manufacturer, and his wife, Margaret Marion McLeod. An intelligent girl she attended Glasgow University, where she studied Greek under Gilbert Murray. She developed a passionate affection for Murray but he was married to Mary Henrietta Howard, the daughter of George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle.

According to Bertrand Russell: "She had been a brilliant student of Gilbert Murray's, had fallen in love with him though he was married, and at last wrote that she would go to the devil unless he had an affair with her... that the only way to deal with the situation was to do one thing or the other. Either he must have nothing to do with her or he must agree to her wish."

In 1895 she joined the Independent Labour Party branch of the university. It had recently been established by Henry Brailsford after hearing James Keir Hardie speak during the 1895 General Election. Other members included Norman Leys, Ronald Montague Burrows and Alexander MacCallum Scott.

Her biographer, F. M. Leventhal, has argued that she was "a headstrong young woman... she possessed remarkable beauty, which not only made her the cynosure of a host of undergraduate contemporaries, but was later to arouse the ardour of..." Henry Nevinson and Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

One of the men who was infatuated with Jane was Henry Brailsford, her philosophy tutor. His friends warned him against her. Alexander MacCallum Scott believed she was a neurotic who would prevent Brailsford from ever accomplishing anything in literature. Another friend said "she had no heart and would never love anyone". In December 1896, just as she was about to leave for a year at Somerville College, he asked her to marry him. Given the way she had been treating him, it was no surprise when she refused him.

In April 1897 Henry Brailsford joined the Philhellenic Legion, a volunteer force fighting for the Greeks in their struggle with Turkey. His war experiences gave him the material for his only novel, The Broom of the War God (1898). The novel brought Brailsford to the attention of C.P Scott, the editor of the Manchester Guardian, and remembering the earlier recommendation he recruited him to investigate the turmoil in Crete.

Brailsford now arranged a meeting with Jane and told her of his assignment and asked her again to marry him. This time she said yes. His biographer, F. Leventhal, has argued: "Her motives for this sudden reversal after rebuffing him for nearly two years are not wholly explicable. Her father had died in July... and the Elderslie house was sold, leaving her essentially homeless... Now that he was gaining recognition as a foreign correspondent, Brailsford must have appeared a more enticing prospect than he had been as an unemployed philosophy lecturer, especially to one so eager to shake the dust of Glasgow from her feet... Given her repugnance for Brailsford, it is likely that their marriage was never consummated or, in any event, that it was virtually sexless." Bertrand Russell claimed that Jane married Brailsford "on the understanding that there should be no sexual intercourse because of her love for Gilbert Murray".

They were married in a civil ceremony in Glasgow on 29th September, 1898, a day before they left for Crete. Jane told him that she would not wear a wedding ring as it was a sign of bondage. The following year he became the Manchester Guardian correspondent in Paris. On their return to London Brailsford now became a leader-writer for The Morning Leader. Later he became a leader writer on the Daily News. As well as contributing to The Star and the weekly journal, The Nation.

Jane's marriage was extremely unhappy. One source claimed that Jane taunted her husband with being so unattractive that she was surprised he dared to go out in society. F. Leventhal has argued: "Her contempt for her husband derived partly from jealously for his intellectual gifts and literary facility... Jane Brailsford attempted to discover her own creative outlets, first as a novelist and later as an actress, but to no avail. Whether she was impeded because she was a woman or simply because, despite earlier promise, she lacked talent is unclear, but her efforts to build a reputation for herself other than as an adjunct to her husband and as an occasional participant in radical campaigns proved abortive."

Henry Nevinson was one of the many men who fell in love with her. He later recalled that when he first saw her she was wearing a "blue, silky thinnish dress, smocked at neck and waist, pale, thin... I never saw anything so flower-like, so plaintively beautiful and yet so full of spirit and power." He made regular visits to her home where "she was most sweet, with dove's eyes, but full of dangers" but found she sometimes expressed "a mocking spirit". Jane sent Nevinson a note about her "struggle to resist my own desire" but clearly informed him that she was in charge of the situation: "I am not an iceberg. I am a wild animal but with a brain - and because of that I see how degrading it was for both of us... a mere body I will not be to anyone. You might surely find in me something more than a physical excitement. Have once before been regarded like that by a man and I took it as a proof of his inferiority."

One friend claimed that Jane was "vain about her appearance... and was haunted by the fear that she would become ugly with advancing years". Henry Nevinson said that "at the age of twenty-eight she was already terrified of old age". Her sister-in-law later recalled that she would "kill herself if she ever lost her beauty."

Jane Brailsford was a great advocate of women's suffrage. She was a member of the National Union of Suffrage Societies. However, in 1906, frustrated by the NUWSS lack of success, she joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), an organisation established byEmmeline Pankhurst and her three daughters, Christabel Pankhurst, Sylvia Pankhurst and Adela Pankhurst. The main objective was to gain, not universal suffrage, the vote for all women and men over a certain age, but votes for women, “on the same basis as men.”

In July 1909 Brailsford wrote to The Nation arguing: "I have not before been in touch with a body of people so entirely selfless as the members of the Women's Social and Political Union. This absolute devotion to their cause, a devotion that stops at nothing and fears nothing - is acting like a magnet, drawing supporters slowly and steadily from all over the country. Nothing can stop this movement."

Henry Brailsford disagreed with the militant tactics of the WSPU but did believe women should have the vote and along with Laurence Housman, Charles Corbett, Henry Nevinson, Israel Zangwill, C. E. Joad, Hugh Franklin, Charles Mansell-Moullin, was a founder of the Men's League For Women's Suffrage. WSPU member, Evelyn Sharp later argued: "It is impossible to rate too highly the sacrifices that they (Henry Nevinson and Laurence Housman) and H. N. Brailsford, F. W. Pethick Lawrence, Harold Laski, Israel Zangwill, Gerald Gould, George Lansbury, and many others made to keep our movement free from the suggestion of a sex war."

Brailsford joined a group of suffragettes, including Constance Lytton and Emily Wilding Davison, who resolved to undertake acts of violence in order to protest against forcible feeding. On 9th November 1909, she was arrested in Newcastle after attacking a barricade with an axe. She was sent to prison for 30 days. After taking part in another demonstration on 21st November 1911, she was sentenced to seven days in Holloway Prison. Her friend, Henry Nevinson, wrote letters to the Home Office and an article in The English Review, that ensured she was not force-fed and she was released after three days.

The summer of 1913 saw a further escalation of WSPU violence. In July attempts were made by suffragettes to burn down the houses of two members of the government who opposed women having the vote. These attempts failed but soon afterwards, a house being built for David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was badly damaged by suffragettes. This was followed by cricket pavilions, racecourse stands and golf clubhouses being set on fire.

Some leaders of the WSPU such as Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, disagreed with this arson campaign. When Pethick-Lawrence objected, she was expelled from the organisation. Brailsford joined Elizabeth Robins, Mary Blathwayt and Louisa Garrett Anderson in showing their disapproval by ceasing to be active in the WSPU.

On 4th May 1913 the Brailsfords agreed to separate. Jane Brailsford, who moved to a flat in Warwick Crescent, told Henry Nevinson that "there is another woman more beloved" but he was unconvinced by this story. Brailsford visited her regularly and according to Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, he told him: "He has achieved little and enjoyed little and will have nothing that will live after him. His marriage has proved a failure and he has no children."

The couple moved back together in 1914. They disagreed about the First World War as he was a member of Union of Democratic Control whereas she was a patriotic supporter of the war effort. Nevinson met her in April 1915. He recorded in his diary: "Mrs. Brailsford met me at the Green: has grown very stout and rather deliberately rude and unpleasant in manner. Is probably unhappy in every respect, differing from her husband on all points - peace and war etc. She thinks vengeance for supposed atrocities must be exacted from Germany and supports the crushing policy. He is for easy terms so as to avoid future revenge."

Clifford Allen met Jane Brailsford for the first time in 1919: "She is excited, and nervy, anxious to talk much and quickly to avoid pauses for observation; she often sparkles in a quite horribly brilliant way, and then seems almost mad and secretly morose. I could not make out what part sex played in her make up; it might have done so vigorously in the past, but did not do so now. Her relation to Brailsford seemed astonishing and either malicious or totally impersonal... She was like a haunted figure from some foreign novel... I am convinced that there is a good chance of this woman going mad, when the whole tragedy of her life will suddenly flash back on her and then she might well kill Brailsford."

Henry Brailsford left his wife for the last time in 1921. Her biographer, F. Leventhal, has argued that: "She (Jane Brailsford) later suffered severe depression and a physical breakdown, possibly precipitating the uncontrolled drinking that blighted her later years. Regarding marriage as a form of subjugation, she never concealed her repugnance for her husband, whom she treated with contempt. At her insistence they had no children.... In 1921 they separated permanently, although she refused to agree to a divorce. By the late 1920s Jane Brailsford, incapacitated by alcoholism, was living alone in Kew, London."

Jane Brailsford died of cirrhosis of the liver on 9th April 1937 at 385 High Road, Chiswick.

I have not before been in touch with a body of people so entirely selfless as the members of the Women's Social and Political Union. Nothing can stop this movement.

The magistrates convicted me of "disorderly behaviour with intent to disturb the peace," and bound me over in the sum of fifty pounds and two sureties of twenty-five pounds each, to be enforced for twelve months; in default, one mouth's imprisonment in the second division. I, of course, had no option of finding sureties for twelve months, and was sentenced to the month's imprisonment. My companion, Miss Davison, was dismissed, as she had literally done nothing.

Mrs. Brailsford, who had struck at the barricade with an axe, was also given the option of being bound over, which she, of course, refused, with the alternative of a month's imprisonment in the second division.

We were put again into a van, but had only a short way to drive. We were shown into a passage of the prison where the Governor came and spoke to us. He was very civil, and begged us not to go on the hunger-strike. Then the matron came, a charming and very refined woman, who walked with a stick, being lame. Miss Davison had headed our little hand of twelve; when she was dismissed, Miss Dorothy Pethick, Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence's youngest sister, was our head and spoke for us. Her face had all the beauty that freshness, youth, and grace could give it, and, with it all, for her age - she was twenty-seven - there

was a wonderful strength about it. She spoke civilly to the Governor, but in a very determined way. He could not do enough for us.... Finally, Mrs. Brailsford and I were taken to different cells on the ground floor, where we were separated completely from the others.

The second morning, Wednesday, October 13, when the doctors came, I stood in the corner of my cell with my arms crossed and my fingers caught in my nostrils and my mouth. It was the best position I knew of for them not to be able to feed me by nose or mouth without having first a considerable struggle. They came, and after I saw that they had no tube I carne out from my corner and let them both look at my heart. They thumped, each of them in turn, and felt my pulse as well. Then they appeared to be agreed and went out. I said to them, "You seemed to be puzzled by my heart; I can tell you about it if you like." But they had made up their minds about something, and did not want any, help from me.

A wardress came in and announced that I was released, because of the state of my heart! Though this was fairly evident from the visit of the outside doctor, I had not realised it. I gathered my things together and went out. I called to Mrs. Brailsford; she was released too.

Mrs. He is for easy terms so as to avoid future revenge.

She (Jane Brailsford) is excited, and nervy, anxious to talk much and quickly to avoid pauses for observation; she often sparkles in a quite horribly brilliant way, and then seems almost mad and secretly morose. I am convinced that there is a good chance of this woman going mad, when the whole tragedy of her life will suddenly flash back on her and then she might well kill Brailsford."

Henry Noel Brailsford (25 December 1873 &ndash 23 March 1958) was the most prolific British left-wing journalist of the first half of the 20th century.

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The Columbine parents and grandparents

My thanks to Karen Haseldine – who is married to a great-grandnephew of Adeline Wells (nee Columbine) – for her help and advice in compiling this section.

This page concentrates upon Adeline’s grandparents James and Ann Columbine, and then her parents John and Elizabeth Columbine.

James and Ann Columbine.

Adeline writes ……. My paternal grandfather, who lived at Mansfield, had two rooms full of stocking frames, and he employed a man for each frame. He took the work every week to a firm in Nottingham, and certainly made a very comfortable living, but I cannot say whether his men did the same.

The paternal grandfather of Adeline was framework knitter James Columbine who married Ann Goodall at the parish church of Mansfield Woodhouse on December 7th 1812.

Their son John was born at Mansfield on July 15th 1823 and baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel there on August 11th 1823.

In the 1832 White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Nottinghamshire, James gets a mention as a framework knitter of ‘Ratcliffgate’ in Mansfield and is in the same Directory of 1844 at the same address.

James and Ann Columbine continued to live at Mansfield with daughter Ann who married in 1850 to smith and fitter Andrew Valance.

Ann Columbine died in December 1864, aged 72, and husband James in 1881, aged 85.

John and Elizabeth Columbine

On February 20th 1849 and still living at Ratcliffe Gate, John Columbine married Elizabeth Wells at St Peter’s ParishChurch, Mansfield, where his wife had been baptised. She was also a native of Mansfield, the daughter of stone cutter Solomon and Jane (nee Brailsford).

In 1851 the couple were living at Back Lane East in Mansfield, with young son, Samuel Webster Columbine, who died in that year, just before the family move to Ilkeston. Webster was a family name, being the maiden name of John’s maternal grandmother, and, like Brailsford, was used quite often within the Columbine family.

Even before the move from Mansfield, John had connections with Ilkeston.
He often visited the town as a preacher for the day at the Wesleyan Old Cricket Ground chapel off South Street, and would stay overnight at Samuel Carrier’s East Street house, almost opposite the Wine Vaults.
After the move from Mansfield, John and Elizabeth had several children, all born in Ilkeston….

John junior, born February 22nd 1852.

Elizabeth Adeline, born October 2nd 1854.

Lucy Eleanor, born Jan 13th 1857. (died July 6th 1858, of scarlatina).

William Brailsford, born April 24th 1859.

Martin Webster, born May 21st 1861.

Jabez, born Aug 24th 1863, (died May 4th 1865).

During this time, John senior was variously described as book-keeper, manager or clerk at a lace factory as well as lacemaker . In the mid 1850’s and still at East Street, he was also advertising his services as agent for William and Henry Sills, stone masons and builders of White Bear Lane in Mansfield, a firm offering ‘ the best Mansfield Stone on reasonable terms’.

This is the family in 1861 at Carrier’s Buildings in Queens Terrace off South Street.

Ten years later the family was at 7 Queen’s Street , now joined by John’s mother-in-law, Jane Wells.

John’s work necessitated a move to Nottingham and he makes his first appearance on the electoral register there for the period beginning October 31st 1880, at 10 Ossington Villas off North Sherwood Street.

The 1881 Census shows the family at 10 Ossington Villas .

Though John senior had left Ilkeston he still owned property there and in May 1883 he tried to sell his six houses in Chapel St East (Lower Chapel Street). They were put up for auction but withdrawn when the bidding failed to go above £800. At that time they were described as occupying 1108 square yards of land, yielding £70 annual rental income.
And by the time of his death in 1906 he had still failed to sell them. (see his will below)
At the same auction John junior also tried to sell five house in the same street — 764 square yards and £58 10s annual rental income — but with the same result. They too were withdrawn .. the bidding did not go above £710.

John senior remained on the electoral roll at the same address until 1889 and then returned to Ilkeston to live at 6 Albert Street with his wife Elizabeth.

On February 25th 1899 the following appeared in the Marriages column of the Nottinghamshire Guardian —

“COLUMBINE – WELLS – Golden Wedding. On February 20th 1849, at St. Peter’s Church, Mansfield, Notts., John Columbine to Elizabeth Wells, both of Mansfield, now residing at Albert-street, Ilkeston”.

John died at his Albert Street home on March 3rd, 1906, aged 82. His death was registered by son Martin, then living at Dale Street.
He was buried in Nottingham General Cemetery on March 6th 1906, in grave 15749A.
Elizabeth Columbine died at the family home on May 13th 1914, aged 91. She was buried with John in the same General Cemetery grave.
(The first burial in this plot was that of their grand-daughter Winifred Adeline Wells in 1890 … see below)

A copy of the will of John Columbine, April 1st 1904 . ( Karen )

I, John Columbine, of number 6, Albert Street, Ilkeston in the County of Derby, hereby revoke all Wills and testamentary instruments heretofore by me made and declare this to be my last Will. I appoint my two sons, John Columbine and William Brailsford Columbine, both of the City of Nottingham, (hereinafter called my Trustees) to be the Executers and Trustees of this my Will.

I give to my Trustees all my property, consisting of two freehold houses, with appurtenances thereto situate and being numbers 6 & 7 Albert Street, Ilkeston aforesaid and six freehold houses and the appurtenances thereto situate and being 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 Chapel Street, Ilkeston aforesaid. Upon trust to receive the rents and income thereof and with and out of such rents and income to pay all my funeral and testamentary expenses and debts and the interest due and to become due on any mortgage existing on my said properties at the time of my decease. And to pay all expenses necessary for keeping such property in repair and fit for habitation and after such payments as aforesaid to pay the residue of such rents and income to my wife Elizabeth during her life.

And I direct my trustees to allow my said wife Elizabeth, during her life, the use of my household furniture and effects in and about my residence at the time of my decease. And immediately after the death of my said wife Elizabeth, I direct my Trustees to sell the whole of my before mentioned freehold property and the said household furniture and effects and with and out of such proceeds of sale to pay off the mortgage held on the before mentioned six houses in Chapel Street, Ilkeston aforesaid by Mr H Thorpe solicitor Market Street Ilkeston and also to pay off the overdraft of one hundred pounds sterling (£100) and interest on the same, had by the firm of J & C Columbine of Albert Street, Ilkeston aforesaid from the Nottingham Joint Stock Bank Limited of Ilkeston, on the security of the deeds of my two houses in Albert Street, Ilkeston aforesaid.

And in case the before mentioned overdraft and interest shall amount to one fourth or more than one fourth of the proceeds of the sale of my property, then I direct my Trustees to pay the remainder of the proceeds of the sale of my property to my two sons the said John columbine and William Brailsford Columbine and my daughter Elizabeth Adeline Wells, the wife of William Alfred Wells, of number 34 St Johns Mill Road, Eastbourne in equal shares. But in case the before mentioned overdraft and interest shall amount to less than one fourth part of the proceeds of the sale of my property then I direct my trustees to pay the difference between the amount of the before mentioned overdraft and interest and the amount of one fourth part of the proceeds of the sale of my property to my son Martin Webster Columbine of number 4 Stanley Street, Ilkeston aforesaid in fortnightly instalments of Two pounds sterling (£2).

And I direct my Trustees to pay the remainder of the proceeds of the sale of my property to my two sons the said John Columbine and William Brailsford Columbine and my daughter the said Elizabeth Adeline Wells in equal shares And in case of the death of any of my said four children, before the execution of this my Will, the deceased’s share shall belong to the deceased’s lawful issue share and share alike. In witness whereof, I have hereto set my hand to this my Will, this first day of April One thousand, nine hundred and four.

Signed by the said John Columbine, the Testator, as and for his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us both present at the same time, who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.

Walter Watson White, 17, Burns Street, Ilkeston. Factory Manager
Edward Ambrose Henshaw 8, Graham Street, Ilkeston. Hosiery Clerk
On the 12 th day of March 1909 Probate of this Will was granted at Derby to John Columbine and William Brailsford Columbine, the Executors

Elizabeth Adeline Wells was the second surviving child in the family and more detail on her can be found on the next page.

Uncle James Columbine and family.

James Columbine junior, the older brother of John, was born about 1820 in Mansfield.

He married Sarah Percival, (the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth?) at Mansfield Unitarian Chapel in 1846.

Like his father, James junior was a framework knitter and continued to live in Ratcliffe Gate, Mansfield after his marriage.

Several of his children were born there until the family moved to Ilkeston in the mid-1850s, where daughter Sarah was born in November 1857. She was followed by Rebecca (1860), Herbert (1862), Martha (1865) and Eliza Ann (1866). There were at least nine children in the family.

Saturday, June 29th, 1878, at the Columbine home in Awsworth Road … and just after 3 o’clock in the morning James awoke … (was that his daughter shouting to him??) … to find that his wife was not in the bedroom.
He was very uneasy.
In the recent past Sarah had twice been temporarily housed as a patient into the Mickleover Lunatic Asylum. And in the last weeks her mind had been greatly troubled.
James dressed and hurried downstairs. A quick search around the house revealed nothing before James went out the back and saw that the stone lid covering the soft water cistern had been removed. As the lacemaker moved towards it he saw the body of Sarah, wearing only a skirt and chemise, lying in the water, face downwards, quite dead.
At the inquest held at the Commercial Inn in Awsworth Road on the same day, it was revealed that Sarah had previously threatened to drown herself.
The inquest jury returned a verdict of ‘found drowned in a cistern of water .. temporary insanity’.
Sarah was aged 56.
The incident was reported in the Pioneer as well as several other local newspapers (the Derby Mercury and Nottinghamshire Guardian for example) and further afield.

James continued to live in Ilkeston and died at 36 Abbey Street on February 15th, 1894, aged 73.
At that time he was living with his daughter Sarah and her family. She had married in May 1875 to Ilkeston coalminer John Stevenson, eldest son of miner Joseph and Sarah (nee Scattergood).
Another of his daughters — Mary Columbine — married George Wake Beardsley on Christmas Day 1874. He was the illegitimate son of John Wombell, printer and editor of the Ilkeston Pioneer, and Maria Beardsley.

Today in London’s radical history: Suffragette attempt to burn posh Dulwich College fails, 1913.

“Dulwich College, the famous school in the southern suburb of London, was set on fire in two places at an early hour this morning, and suffragette literature pinned to trees in the neighbourhood with women’s hatpins is accepted as proof that a militant suffragette “arson squad” was responsible for the crime.”

In 1912-13 the militant campaign for women’s suffrage stepped up a gear.

Decade of legal agitation, several years of escalating direct action, harassment of politicians, window smashing and hunger-strikes in prison having failed to shift the weight of the male establishment, the Pankhurst-dominated leadership of the Women’s Social & Political Union prepared to turn to arson.

In July 1912, Christabel Pankhurst began organising a secret arson campaign. Attempts were made by suffragettes to burn down the houses of two members of the government who opposed women having the vote. These attempts failed but soon afterwards, a house being built for David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was badly damaged by suffragettes.

One of the first arsonists was Mary Richardson. She later recalled the first time she set fire to a building: “I took the things from her and went on to the mansion. The putty of one of the ground-floor windows was old and broke away easily, and I had soon knocked out a large pane of the glass. When I climbed inside into the blackness it was a horrible moment. The place was frighteningly strange and pitch dark, smelling of damp and decay… A ghastly fear took possession of me and, when my face wiped against a cobweb, I was momentarily stiff with fright. But I knew how to lay a fire – I had built many a camp fire in my young days -a nd that part of the work was simple and quickly done. I poured the inflammable liquid over everything then I made a long fuse of twisted cotton wool, soaking that too as I unwound it and slowly made my way back to the window at which I had entered.”

Some leaders of the WSPU such as Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, disagreed with this arson campaign. When Pethick-Lawrence objected, she was expelled from the organisation. Others like Elizabeth Robins, Jane Brailsford, Laura Ainsworth, Eveline Haverfield and Louisa Garrett Anderson showed their disapproval by ceasing to be active in the WSPU and Hertha Ayrton, Lilias Ashworth Hallett , Janie Allan and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson stopped providing much needed funds for the organization. Sylvia Pankhurst also made her final break with the WSPU and concentrated her efforts on helping the Labour Party build up its support in London.

In 1913 the WSPU arson campaign escalated and railway stations, cricket pavilions, racecourse stands and golf clubhouses being set on fire. Slogans in favour of women’s suffrage were cut and burned into the turf. Suffragettes also cut telephone wires and destroyed letters by pouring chemicals into post boxes. The women responsible were often caught and once in prison they went on hunger-strike.

This is the context for the attempt to set fire to Dulwich College on September 5th 1913… for which no-one was ever arrested or convicted.

Is it possible there was a South London suffragette arson squad active in 1913…? St Catherine’s Church on Telegraph Hill, New Cross, had been set on fire in May – there were widespread rumours this was also a suffragette job, though nothing was ever proved. Before that Lilian Lenton and Olive Wharry had been arrested and convicted of setting fire to the tea gardens at Kew gardens in February 1913.

Founded in 1618 by actor (and Bankside brothel-owner) Edward Alleyn, Dulwich College is an independent school, which costs £6300 a term or £12-13,000 a term for boarders… If originally founded “to educate 12 poor scholars as the foundation of God’s Gift”, over the centuries it became one of the poshest schools in the London area. It provided a hefty contingent of students to scab during the 1926 General Strike…

It’s now the biggest independent school in the country, which selects boys from the brightest 20 per cent and spends almost £8,000 a year on each pupil. Dulwich College ensures that 95 per cent of its pupils get A-C passes at GCSE and sends 95 per cent of sixth-formers to top universities – 12 or so pupils go to Oxbridge each year.

It’s the preserve of the rich. Compared to local comprehensives it commands massive resources giving the rich kids who attend a leg up to maintaining the class system for another generation. It is funded by the Dulwich Estate, which owns a huge swathe of property over this part of South London, has massive playing fields and top class facilities, but luckily is a charity so avoids a lot of tax. The estate funds Dulwich College, Alleyn’s and James Allen’s Girls’ (or JAGS), which shared £5,815,840 of moneys from the Estate in the most recent year for which there are figures (to March 31, 2015). These are also registered charities.

Earlier this year a few hundred people gathered in Herne Hill, to demonstrate against the behaviour of the Dulwich Estate. The Estate owns 1,500 prime acres of Dulwich and the surrounding area, including the freeholds on 600 flats and maisonettes and the vast majority of the shops and pubs as well as local amenities. The focus of the demo was the closure of a much-loved toy shop, Just Williams, forced out of business by a 70% rent rise combined with a more general concern about the threat of similar rent rises forcing out other shops. They are likely to be replaced by ones which, to pay those increased rents, and will be prohibitively expensive to shop in. The Estate has also proposed selling off a piece of land used as a play area by children at the local Judith Kerr Primary school for flats, and left a popular pub, the Half Moon, closed and empty for over two years. Now that they finally have a proposal for the pub they seem set to accept, it does not include a live music room, which has been a part of it for decades and which locals want re-instated.

Maybe we don’t burn it down… but we should definitely take it over… So much that could be cone to share out the resources a bit…

Jane Brailsford - History

This portrait was done when Thomas was aged 85.

The Rector of Brailsford lost his wife in 1750, and on a slab within the Communion rails he placed this inscription over her remains:-

On the 11th of March in the same year, the Rector's venerable father had breathed his last. Scarcely could he have seen the earth closed over those remains in Breedon Church when on 19th of the same month his wife was called away. It must not be put down to the poverty of his invention but rather to the affection which recognized kindred excellence in the two best loved women, that he inscribed in that sad year on his mother's and on his wife's graves the same high eulogium. In plain English he wrote on the slab at Breedon over Mary his mother In piety and virtue inferior to none whereas at Brailsford in more dignified Latin he recorded of Lucy the Rector's wife Pietate et virtute nulli secunda. The Rector survived his wife many years and the inscription on a small slab near that which marks her grave will tell the remainder of the tale. [The Rector's memorial below is incorrect in stating that he was Rector for 63 years. It was 66 years -- see also our note above -- Thomas was Rector from 1714 until his death in 1780 at Stordon Grange on the 27th of October . It appears that wrong information was given for the preparation of this inscription. Ed.]

Sacred to the memory
of the Rev Mr
Thomas Boultbee A.M.
Rector of this Parish
63 years
He died the 29th day of
October Anno Dom 1780
In the 92nd year of his age
Editorial Note:

The particular purpose here is to set out the full record of what is now known about the Rector of Brailsford's children, as opposed to what TPB wrote about them which, as we found, is incomplete. However, before we enlarge on this, since this editorial note contains the first reference in the new History to Bishops' Transcripts which are here of crucial value, some explanation of what they are is appropriate.
In 1538, during the reign of King Henry VIII and at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, parochial clergy were thereafter, by law, required to keep a register of all baptisms, marriages and deaths in their parish, although many surviving such registers were not actually started until long after that date. Beginning in 1598, copies were required to be sent by the incumbent to his Bishop, and these became known as Bishops' Transcripts. Nowadays they can be a valuable source of information where original registers have been lost, destroyed by enemy action 1939-1945, or damaged and illegible for some other reason such as storage in damp conditions. The Transcripts only record, however, what they were sent from parishes -- a less than conscientious parish priest may not always have passed on his records regularly, or a new incumbent may not have realised there were gaps. Consequently the Transcripts do not always constitute a correct and continuous alternative record.
Editorial perusal of the Brailsford Transcripts has revealed that Thomas and Lucy had ten children, three sons and seven daughters, whereas TPB only noted two sons and four daughters. (It has also become clear that the parents' marriage was earlier than had been previously thought by family historians. While we do not, as yet, know where it took place, it must have been in 1714 when Thomas, as he says above , first came to Brailsford.)
The Editors have felt that they should at least attempt an explanation of how and why TPB's record of the Rector's children was incomplete to the extent it was, although we have generally been reluctant to put forward speculations and surmises in the new History unless we thought them reasonable and likely. How far some of what follows may be accepted as such we leave our readers to decide for themselves.
Before we properly begin our explanation we set out below a table of the Rector's children as now known, indicating with an asterisk those whom TPB did not mention.

It seems certain that TPB had consulted neither the Brailsford Church Register nor the relevant Bishops' Transcripts, though he must have visited Brailsford Church at least once when he copied down the memorial inscriptions to the Rector, his wife, and the daughters Elizabeth and Martha. We think a partial answer to the problem of his omission of four children lies in his remark, see above, that The Rector was well remembered by his grandchildren living far on into the present century. While all of them would have remembered him in their youth, nevertheless three were dead before TPB was even born (1818) and only three granddaughters can be regarded as living well into the 19th century -- Mary and Jane who both died in 1840, and Frances who died in 1845. The grandson Joseph, though he died in 1821, knew his aunt Martha well enough to be appointed executor of her Will. Jane, after her mother's death in 1789, was taken under Martha's wing. She -- Jane -- was Joseph's favourite sister and was later close to her nephew Thomas, who was Joseph's son and TPB's father.
It seems to us most likely that the, albeit as it turned out very incomplete, chain of recollection going back to the Rector's children, went from Martha to the grandchildren Joseph and Jane and from them -- probably mostly from Jane -- to TPB's father. While TPB, as a young man, must have had a general idea of his own family's descent from the Rector, we also think he did not begin to be seriously interested until he started working on the History, and at that time his principal source of information was his father. By then, in the early 1860's, Martha had been dead for more than 50 years, Joseph for forty, and Jane for twenty. TPB, in good faith, wrote down what he had been told with no reason to suppose that it was not the whole story.
If we may consider Martha as an early conduit of information, we can easily accept that the very existence of her infant sister Lucy could have been forgotten, with her birth 20 years before that of Martha. The daughters Mary and Anna Maria pose more of a problem, their birth dates also only being known from the Transcripts not from TPB, and therefore apparently not having been passed on. There is the possibility that they both married very young, Mary before Martha was born, and moved away some distance, losing contact with the family. TPB did know the birth date of Sarah and the death date of Frances but no more. Sarah we now know did marry, and possibly also Frances -- the latter's early death when Martha was then only ten years old -- may have contributed to lack of knowledge of her. It seems significant to us that Elizabeth was the only daughter to have had a memorial to her in the Church during her father's lifetime.
The problems arising from little being known about four of the daughters are difficult enough, but an even more perplexing question now confronts us. How was it that TPB apparently did not know that the Rector had a son named Joseph and knew no more of the brother John than his birth date, and did his father Thomas really know nothing of them either? On the face of it, this would seem to be very unlikely, but we have been forced to the conclusion that it was so. TPB's father Thomas was not born until 1793, and as a young boy was living with his parents on a farm at Bunny Nottinghamshire, and his aunt Jane at Bunny Park, seat of her husband, Sir Thomas Parkyns. When hardly more than a schoolboy, Thomas was sent away to Liverpool in 1807 to make his fortune, according to JB, remaining far away in the North for many years. We have mentioned above that he was close to his aunt Jane (see page ) and the period when this was happening must have been before he went to Liverpool. Memories, sixty years or so later, of what she may have chosen to tell him of family history may be excused if they were not complete.
However, it is our opinion that all future mention of Joseph in the Rector's family was discouraged, perhaps even forbidden, at an early date around 1747, even his sister Martha later suppressing what she must have known, or if she did speak about him to her nephew and niece, Joseph and Jane, insisting that it went no further. We think that a serious upheaval did happen in the Rector's family and that it concerned Joseph, otherwise it is impossible to believe that all memory of him in the family should have been obliterated, and that his existence would not have been known to the Rector's grandchildren.
The foregoing is our general explanation of TPB's omissions of four of the Rector's children. More detailed comments specific to Joseph and John will be found in our notes which follow. These include all that TPB wrote and our editorial additions.

The Rector's children were:-

  1. Mary born in 1715. See above for further notes.
  2. Lucy born and died in 1717. She only lived two weeks.
  3. Frances, TPB said of her - of another daughter Frances nothing is known but her death in 1747 . The Transcripts give her birth date of 1720. See above for further notes.
  4. Anna Maria omitted by TPB. See above for further notes.
  5. Thomas -- All that we have from TPB about sons is -- The Rector of Brailsford had two sons, Thomas and John, born respectively in 1724 and 1731. It had long been decided that Thomas was to inherit the tenancy of Stordon Grange and he is the subject of TPB's Chapter VI. For John, see below.
  6. Joseph -- Some while before his appearance in the Bishops' Transcripts, we had become aware of his existence, hitherto unknown, which we also owe to Dennis Heathcote. His researches showed that Joseph had been born in 1726 and had matriculated at Lincoln College, Oxford (his father's old College) in 1746, having gone there from Repton School. The records of both College and School give him as son of Thomas Boultbee of Brailsford, Clerk ("in Holy Orders" is inferred). Joseph married Anna Maria Burgin on August 15, 1747 and had at least two children, William and Dorothy Burgin. Anna Maria was born in 1724 and died in 1798. Later he was farming at Worthington, a village very near Stordon Grange. Joseph died in 1785, and these are the facts of his life as we know them at present.
    He received a good school education followed by University. As Thomas, his elder brother, was to take over Stordon Grange, our surmise is that Joseph was expected and wished by his father to take Holy Orders, University education being the usual preliminary to entering the Church. However, we further surmise that either he rebelled against the parental wish, or made a marriage very soon after leaving Oxford, and at an age much younger than would have been normal, which was not approved of by his father. Perhaps a combination of these two factors led to Joseph becoming a kind of family non-person, in disgrace and not to be even mentioned in the family circle, eventually being provided with a farm where he could be under the eye of brother Thomas. Defiance of parental wishes and authority, even for grown-up children, was no light matter in that age. Is it too fanciful to see in the portrait of the Rector that strong face implacably set against Joseph?
  7. Sarah -- All that we know from TPB is -- born 1729 of whom nothing further is known. We now know that she married John Turner in 1749, when aged twenty.
  8. John -- We think that the lack of knowledge about John other than his birth date, which TPB gives us, and which would have been passed on through Martha, actually has a simple explanation which we put forward with some confidence.
    Where sons were concerned in an 18th century family considered to be gentry, the English custom of primogeniture operated, whereby the eldest son inherited the family property and land. Where there were several sons, the next in age generally entered the Church or armed forces and younger sons were expected to make their own way or they were often apprenticed to a trade. In the Brailsford family we see Thomas inheriting Stordon Grange, and Joseph, as we have postulated, was originally destined for the Church. There is no record of either Thomas or John having been to Repton School, and they would have received their education from their father. It is unlikely that the Rector's finances would have run to putting all his sons through University in any case. Our conclusion is that John left home as a young man to make his way as a matter of course, though we do not know what career he adopted. However, recent research has turned up the intriguing possibility that he settled in Lancashire, married twice and had several children if he and the John hereunder are one and the same person.

Universal Manhood Suffrage

Thursday 26 April 2018, 14:00

Suffrage 100 – Suffragettes in trousers: male support for women’s suffrage in Britain

On 6 February 2018, celebrations were held across Britain to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the right to vote for the first time. While this was pivotal for women’s suffrage, it was also an important milestone for men’s suffrage. Prior to the Act, property qualifications had been used to control the electorate, excluding most working-class men from voting. Despite attempts to satisfy concerns of democratic inequality, the Reform Acts of the 19th century continued to avoid universal manhood suffrage. The fourth and final Reform Act of 1918 was the first time male suffrage was achieved.

The British electoral system of the early 19th century was viewed as extremely unfair and in need of reform. In 1831, only 4,500 men could vote in parliamentary elections, out of a population of more than 2.6 million people. There were also concerns about parliamentary representation, as there were rotten boroughs, such as Dunwich in Suffolk, who could elect two MPs when they only had a population of 32 in 1831. In contrast, large cities, which had expanded over the previous century, including Manchester and Birmingham, had no MP. With increased pressure for electoral reform, parliament inevitably had to make changes.

The Great Reform Act of 1832 was a response to increasing criticism of the electoral system. Government began to fear that, if reform did not take place, then a revolution would ensue, as it had in France in July 1830. For example, a petition from the people of South Shields requested reform as they felt they deserved a right to vote and wanted more parliamentary representation. 1

The petition was created by ‘merchants, manufactures, shipowners and other inhabitants of the town’, but these groups would continue to be excluded from voting even following the 1832 Act. 2

Despite what its title may suggest, the Act did not signify great change to the electoral system. Most working men still could not vote, with the franchise being restricted by property qualifications. The continuing discrimination against working class men within politics merely angered many and led to the formation of groups for universal manhood suffrage.

The Chartist Movement developed after the 1832 Reform Act failed to extend the vote beyond those owning property. Its members were typically from the working class and their 1838 People’s Charter was established by the London Working Men’s Association. The petition had six demands:

  1. Universal suffrage
  2. The secret ballot
  3. Annual Parliamentary elections
  4. No property qualifications
  5. Equal voting districts
  6. Payment of Members of Parliament 3

Chartist movement poster for Carlisle, 1839. Catalogue reference: HO 40/41

Despite numerous attempts to present the petition to the House of Commons, the Charter continued to be rejected, which only encouraged unrest and violent behaviour. In 1841, during the canvassing of candidates for the forthcoming election in Carlisle, a letter to Sir Charles Napier recounts that ‘Candidates were insulted and pelted, [and] on the day of nomination a riot took place’. 4

In the short term, the Chartists were unsuccessful as their radical actions did not immediately drive electoral reform. Their militant methods could be viewed as undermining their campaign, which is arguably similar to the actions of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Nevertheless, militancy in both cases successfully publicised the movements and both groups eventually had success. The Chartist movement declined after their third and final petition was rejected in 1848, but new groups continued to fight for manhood suffrage.

Notice for The Reform League, 1867. Catalogue reference: HO 45/7854

Various other groups were established, including the National Parliamentary and Financial Reform Association in 1848 and the National Reform Union in 1864, but these were short-lived and not as prominent as the Chartists. However, one group that made a big impact on political reform was the Reform League, which was founded in 1865. Ex-Chartists joined the League along with urban artisans. It also welcomed ‘other Reform Associations… and other organised bodies of Working Men’ to its demonstrations outside Parliament, such as in February 1867. 5 Yet, it is clear the Reform League were not as dedicated to universal male suffrage as the Chartists. The League dissolved within two years after the Second Reform Act of 1867, evidently satisfied by the increase in enfranchisement. Although, the League had achieved more than the Chartists, its members were clearly not as concerned with universal male suffrage.

The influence of suffrage groups, including the Chartists and the Reform League, encouraged the Second Reform Act of 1867. However, Parliament remained resistant to universal manhood suffrage and the Act, like its predecessor, included property qualifications as a means to control the electorate. The Act partly enfranchised the urban male working-class, granting the vote to those who owned houses in boroughs or lodgers who paid rent of £10 a year or more. while this doubled the electorate in England and Wales from one to two million men, universal manhood suffrage remained a distant idea. Even after the Third Reform Act in 1884, there was still a reluctance to provide all men the right to vote. It only partly overturned the previous Act by establishing a uniform franchise throughout the country. Moreover, it extended the same voting qualifications that existed in towns to those in the countryside. Yet, these attempts to extend the electorate were futile at ensuring universal manhood suffrage. However, with the rise of women’s suffrage, the fight for male suffrage was refuelled and presented a new angle for battling the resistance of Parliament.

It appears that as women’s suffrage groups became more prominent, there were fewer suffrage groups that specifically focused on male suffrage. It is likely that some men began to support women’s suffrage groups as they viewed it as a route towards universal manhood suffrage. The Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage was founded in 1907 by a group of largely middle class, left wing radicals. Henry Brailsford, the founder of the group, had been encouraged to actively participate in the suffrage campaign by his wife, Jane Esdon Brailsford – a militant suffragette. Men were increasingly interested in the suffrage movement and wanted to support votes for women, as it would inevitably ensure votes for all men.

While most suffrage societies allowed male members, the WSPU did not. Consequentially, the Men’s Political Union (MPU) was formed in 1910 as a militant male counterpart to the WSPU. Members of the group participated in similar radical actions to their female equivalent, such as Hugh Arthur Franklin who attempted to whip Winston Churchill, the home secretary at the time, at the ‘black Friday’ suffrage demonstration on 18 November 1910.

Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement membership card which details the union’s aims and the methods they used to support votes for women. Catalogue reference: CRIM 1/149/3

Gender did not dictate the actions of the militant suffrage supporters and in prison Franklin went on hunger strike and was supposedly force fed 100 times. However, unlike the WSPU, the MPU remained active throughout the First World War and eventually federated with the East London Federation of Suffragettes to create the Worker’s Suffrage Federation. Although we cannot assert one definitive reason for why the Representation of the People Act was granted in 1918, the efforts of the suffrage groups played an important role in pushing for this next step in electoral progress.

A man shall be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for a constituency… if he is of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity. 6

The 1918 Representation of the People Act symbolised the end of the long and weary path for universal male suffrage. Manhood suffrage may have been removed as the focus for electoral progress as women’s suffrage became more prominent, but it always remained an issue for the electoral system. Although the Chartist Movement had been unsuccessful, by the time of the Fourth Reform Act, nearly all their aims had been achieved, except for annual parliamentary elections. The period between the first and the fourth Acts witnessed minor victories for male suffrage, but it was the final reform and the introduction of women to the electorate that won all men the right to vote.

Cover of the Representation of the People Act 1918. Catalogue reference: C 65/6385

The Citizens project is led by Royal Holloway, University of London, and charts the history of liberty, protest and reform from Magna Carta to the Suffragettes and beyond.

Before the shooting

Portillo, 35, testified in the trial against Brailsford that Shaver cried for his life before Brailsford shot him.

Portillo and Luis Nuñez were in Mesa on a work-related trip that day from New Mexico and were in the same hotel as Shaver, where he was also staying on a work trip from Texas as a pest-control worker.

On the night of the shooting, Portillo and Nuñez joined Shaver in his room.

Police responded to the hotel after a couple in the facility's hot tub reported seeing someone pointing a rifle outside of Shaver's fifth-floor window.

At that moment, Shaver had been showing Portillo and Nuñez his pellet gun that he used for work to kill vermin. Portillo testified that as Nuñez and Shaver were looking through the rifle's scope, the pellet gun was pointed toward the window.

By the time police responded, Nuñez had left the hotel, and Portillo was still in Shaver's room.

Thomas Berry Horsfall

Born in Liverpool, the son of former Mayor of Liverpool, Charles Horsfall (1776-1846) and Dorothy Hall Berry (1784-1846).

‘Like his father, he stood in the front rank amongst the merchant princes of Liverpool.’

(1) Jane Anne Marsh (?-1841) m. Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire, 30 May 1834-1 February 1841 (2) Mary Cox (1817-1862), m. Brailsford, Derbyshire, 9 March 1847-1862 (3) Sophia Leeke (1830-1867) m. Belper, Derbyshire, 12 November 1863-1867 (4) Lucy Martha Nolan (1846-1920) m. London, 1 December 1870. Children (16 in all): With (1) Elizabeth Dorothy Horsfall (1835-), Charles Horsfall (1836-), Matilda Jane Horsfall (1837-), Thomas Marsh Horsfall (1838-1921), Louisa Horsfall (1840-), Robert Horsfall (1841-). With (2) Mary Cox (1848-), Charles (1849-), Annie (1851-), Jessie (1854-). With (3) William E. Horsfall (1866- ), Henry Leeke Horsfall (1867- ), Alexander S. Horsfall (1867- ). With (4) Lucy Beatrice Nolan Horsfall (1872-1943), Annie Gwendoline Nolan Horsfall (1873-), Gertrude B. Nolan Horsfall (1876-)

In the 1851 Census Thomas and Mary were living with her family in Brailsford: her mother (Elizabeth Cox), sister, brother, relation of Horsfall (Matilda Jane, aged 13 - visitor), their 2 children (Mary, aged 3, Charles, aged 1), 4 servants and a visiting servant with Matilda). William Cox (son of Eliz.) described as a landowner. In later years owned and resided at Bellamour Hall, Colton, Staffordshire. [Recorded there in 1861 Census along with Mary, his wife (b. Brailsford, Derbys., c. 1817), and 3 servants (a footman, nurse and kitchen maid) but no children. Horsfall described as 'MP, Magistrate and Merchant'.

Listed in the Liverpool Poll Book 1832 as Merchant, Netherfield Road, North Liverpool, S & D, BGS / FMN. Buried in St. Mary's Church, Colton, Staffordshire.

'During his lifetime Horsfall made considerable additions to the [Bellamour] estate and improved its general appearance. In the village he was esteemed for the interest he took in its inhabitants. The village schools were erected at his expense and were endowed by him. The cemetery adjoining, known as the Closed Burial Ground, was presented by him to the village as a free gift and he also took a very active part in the erection of the District Hospital in Rugeley. Horsfall also built the Reading Room in the village. Bellamour hall was demolished in the 1920's.'

In 1848 the first President of the Liverpool Architectural & Archaeological Society.

Elected the first President of the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor of the Borough he was also a magistrate and deputy-lieutenant for the counties of Lancashire and Stafford.

Elected as MP for Derby, 1852 but unseated on petition MP for Liverpool 1853-1868.

As MP for Liverpool ‘His political opinions were based upon the soundest Constitutional principles, and he will long be remembered for his strong common-sense Conservatism in the House of Commons. He was a good and true Churchman, and in concert with his brothers built four of the finest churches in Liverpool, to whose charitable institutions he was also a munificent patron.’

He was a member of the Royal Commission on Railways established in 1865 (reporting in 1867) to examine the charges for transporting people and goods and to investigate a more economical and efficient system of interchange between the various railways.


Brailsford appears in the Domesday Book as being in the tenancy of Elfin [1] (possibly an Anglo-Norman rendering of the Saxon Aelfwine) who also held the nearby manors of Bupton, Osmaston and Thurvaston from the tenant-in-chief, Henry de Ferrers. The Domesday survey records the following for Brailsford:

Elfin, through his son, Nicholas de Brailsford, is the ancestor of the Brailsford family, who are still numerous in the county and elsewhere today.

From Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835:

The parish (which has no dependent township) contained 724 inhabitants in 1821 and 780 in 1831.

Catalogue description Records of the Shirley family, Earls Ferrers of Staunton Harold, Leicestershire.

Three separate deposits by Earl Ferrers are amalgamated under one accession number, 26D53. They form the main Ferrers accumulation, but should be consulted with a subsidiary collection, 25D60 which comprises Ferrers legal and estate papers, deposited by Messrs. Crane & Walton, solicitors, Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

A further item, 6D61, is the account book kept by the Trustees of the Ferrers estates during the minority of Sir Seymour Shirley, 1657-1668, which contains notes of expenditure relating to the finishing of Staunton Harold Church. This account book appears to be a duplicate of one in the deposit of Shirley family records from Ettington, Warks. (which includes records transferred from Staunton, c.1830.) now in Warwickshire County Record Office. Another deposit of Ferrers material, relating to their Staffordshire estates, is in the Staffordshire Record Office and William Salt Library (No. D.1702.).

Earl Ferrers retained three early 12th century deeds, and the letter of condolence from King Charles II to Lady Shirley, on the death of Sir Robert Shirley in 1657.

For further details of these and other related collections, see later in this introduction.

The Shirley family, which has held the manor of Nether Ettington in Warwickshire, in the male line since the Conquest, is one of the few that can authentically claim this distinction. They took their surname from another of their manors, Shirley in Derbyshire, which they held as early as the twelfth century, and at various times this branch of the family had extensive estates in the counties of Derby, Gloucester, Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, Stafford, Warwick and Wiltshire. This accumulation includes documents relating to Shirley estates in all these counties, with the exception of records from Ettington and some from Staffordshire, held by the Warwickshire and Staffordshire Record Offices.

Marriage settlements and grants account for the presence of most of these documents the Shirley connection with Staunton Harold began in 1423, when Ralph Shirley married Margaret, the heiress of John de Staunton, whose family had held Staunton Harold since the 12th century. The Shirleys had earlier connections with Leicestershire however, because several of Ralph's ancestors had married heiresses, adding land at Dalby on the Wolds, and the manors of Ratcliffe on Soar, Barrow on Soar, Ragdale, Willowes, Ratcliffe on the Wreake, and Long Whatton to their Derbyshire and Warwickshire estates.

Similarly later marriages and the lands they brought with them account for the largest proportion of documents in this accumulation. The extensive series relating to the Astwell with Falcutt, and Wappenham area of Northamptonshire, is accounted for by the marriage, in 1556, of John Shirley of Staunton with Jane the daughter and heir of Thomas Lovett of Astwell. This marriage also added the Gloucestershire manor of Dorsington to the Shirley estates. In 1646, Sir Robert Shirley, great-grandson of John and Jane, succeeded to part of the estates of his uncle, the third Earl of Essex, including the Chartley estate in Staffs., which with Staunton Harold became the main estate of this branch of the Shirleys. Sir Robert Shirley's son, also Sir Robert, the first Earl Ferrers, married in 1671, Elizabeth Washington, daughter and heir of Sir Laurence Washington of Garsdon, Wiltshire. This marriage brought the manors of Garsdon and other lands in Wiltshire into the Shirley family.

For most of these marriages, the settlements survive, as well as large numbers of leases, manorial documents and legal papers relating to these estates. The accumulation also contains other legal papers relating to family financial disputes and Earl Ferrers' dispute with the North Staffs. Railway Company, but the main part of the legal papers from these disputes is in the Crane and Walton deposit (25D60).

The management of such large and widespread estates necessarily involved keeping a great many estate records and accounts. The more systematic book-keeping of the 18th and 19th centuries increased the quantity of this type of material and, as the areas of land involved were large, the estate records in the Ferrers MSS for this period are extensive. They include a series of surveys and valuations estate maps and plans a big series of accounts, including household and wages accounts and estate rentals. This series relates mainly to Staunton Harold and Chartley because, by the middle of the 18th century, only these two main estates were left to this branch of the Shirleys. On the death of Robert, first Earl Ferrers in 1717, the Ettington estate and the Wiltshire manor of Garsdon were inherited by two of the younger sons of his very large family. Washington, the fifth Earl, sold the Northamptonshire and Derbyshire estates in the middle of the 18th century, partly to pay for the extensive alterations to Staunton Harold Hall which he planned. In this accumulation is a volume of building accounts, dated 1762-8, for these alterations which amounted to a rebuilding of the Hall, and were not completed until after the death of the fifth earl in 1778 (No.2506.).

The situation of Staunton Harold, close to the Derbyshire border and within the area of the Leicestershire and South Derbyshire coalfield, inevitably led to the Ferrers family holding colliery and other industrial interests. As early as the 13th century iron workings at Staunton are mentioned in a tithe demand, and 17th, 18th and 19th century leases and accounts relate to the lime works and collieries at Staunton and Lount. From 1798-1810 the Hon. Washington Shirley, later eighth Earl Ferrers, who married a cousin of Viscount Dudley and Ward, was manager of Lord Dudley's collieries in the Dudley, Bilston and Tipton area of South Staffordshire, and a quantity of accounts, correspondence and other papers relating to the running of these collieries survive. The Ferrers family also owned salt workings at Shirleywich on the Chartley estate, and although this was obviously on a smaller scale than their colliery interests, the salt sales accounts among these records, prove it a steady source of income during the first half of the 18th century.

One of the most remarkable single items in this accumulation is the Great Pedigree of the Shirley family, not only because of its size and the excellence of its execution, but as a piece of genealogical research. It was compiled in 1632 by Sir Thomas Shirley who was a great friend of Sir William Dugdale, and takes this family of such exceptionally ancient descent, to pre-Conquest period. A slightly earlier Lesser Pedigree of the Devereux and Ferrers families, smaller, but still of impressive proportions, is also included.


1 - 146 Estates of Shirley and connected families, in England and Ireland, 14th - 18th centuries, arranged topographically.

Arranged under county headings in alphabetical order of parishes the parishes listed are main subjects of each section, but other parishes are included.

147 - 185 Derbys., estates as a whole.

286 - 335 Various parishes, including: Ednaston, Hone, Hollington, Longford and others.

389 - 402 Various parishes, mainly Yeaveley.

403 - 427 Various parishes, including: Barrow-on-Soar, Burton Overy, Dunton Bassett, Loseby and Cold Newton, Quorndon, and others.

428 - 486 Ragdale Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreake Sileby.

538 - 557 Various parishes, mainly Worthington and Newbold.

558 - 836 Astwell with Falcutt.

837 - 938 Various parishes, including: Helmdon, Silverstone, Strixton, Syresham, Towcester, and others.

1062 - 1075 Weedon and other parishes.

1076 - 1106 Amerton-in-Stowe, and other parishes.

1145 - 1164 Colwich Drointon Field.

1210 - 1279 Gayton Grindley in Stowe.

1280 - 1303 Various parishes, mainly Hixon, Milwich, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Shirleywich.

1304 - 1415 Various parishes, mainly Stowe and Lea Fields in Stowe.

1416 - 1432 Various parishes, including: Amesbury, Bulford, Chelford and

1561 - 1580 Various parishes, mainly Lea and Cleverton and Monkton

1581 - 1650 MSS concerned with the main Ferrers' estates as a whole several counties included, mainly: Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

1651 - 1848 Court rolls, etc., arranged topographically.

1651 - 1674 Brailsford, Derbys.

1675 - 1687 Chartley, Staffs. Duffield, Derbys. Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreake, Leics. and various parishes, Lincs. and Notts.

1688 - 1764 Shirley, Derbys.

1791 - 1848 Staunton Harold, Leics., Strixton, Northants., Worthington and Newbold, Leics.

1849 - 1864 Various legal papers, mostly relating to disputes over Shirley lands, 13th - mid. 17th cent.

1865 - 1893 Papers connected with the Royalist activities of Sir Robert Shirley, 1648-1652.

1894 - 1916 Late 17th and 18th cent. legal papers, mostly family financial disputes, and separation of Earl and Countess Ferrers (1758).

1917 - 1943 19th cent. legal papers, including dispute with North Staffs. Railway Co., and Ferrers peerage claim.

1944 - 1979 Wills, probate inventories, etc., 1306-1859, relating to Shirley family. Also includes Inventory of goods of Sir Isaac Newton (April 1727).


1980 - 2004 Mainly 18th and 19th cent. surveys and terriers of Ferrers estates in Derbys., Leics., and Staffs.

2005 - 2037 Accounts, work reports, letters etc., relating to lord Dudleys Staffs. collieries (Bilston, Brierley Hill, Parkhead, etc.) 1798 - 1820.

2038 - 2042 INQUISITIONS POST MORTEM (1517 - 1633)

2043 - 2045a HENRY SMITH'S CHARITY (1627-1641).


Various 14th - 19th cent., including bills for work at Tamworth Castle mills, 1703.

Misc. Ferrers family and business letters, mainly about financial affairs, 18th and 19th centuries.

2135 - 2192 MAPS & PLANS (All 18th or 19th cent).

2135 - 2152 Var. places on Chartley estate, building and estate plans also maps of farms at Ednaston, Derbys.

2153 - 2167 Maps of var. parts of Chartley estate, mainly Fradswell, Gayton, Grindley and Hixon. Also maps of Happisburgh area, Norfolk.

2168 & 2169 Detailed 18th cent. field plan of Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreake, Leics.

2170 - 2173 Shirley, Derbys., and var. places on Chartley estate.

2174 - 2176 Staffs. and Uttoxeter Railway, 1861-2.

2177 - 2187 Staunton Harold and Worthington, Leics., Weston, Staffs.

2188 - 2192 Rivers, canals and railways in Leics. and Staffs.

2193 - 2325 Rentals, mainly of Derbys., Leics., and Staffs. estates, 1305-1916. (Mostly 18th and 19th centuries.)

(Dates do not usually indicate an unbroken series.)

2326 - 2353 General accounts - 14th and 15th cent. rents 17th and 18th cent. household and estate accounts 18th cent. industrial accounts.

2354 - 2407 Main estate accounts, 1842 - 1932. (Chartley and Staunton Harold.)

2408 - 2531 Subsidiary accounts, 1743-1919, mainly Chartley and Staunton Harold estates, including: Stewards' and Agent's accounts Farm and bailiff's accounts wages building timber and garden produce rates and taxes. Also includes some household and personal accounts Lount colliery and Shirleywich salt sales accounts.

2532 - 2573 Various 13th - 16th cent. MSS mainly appointments to var. offices marriage dispensations wardship of estates agreement with tomb makers (1585).

2574 - 2582 Papers concerned with Henry Salte's tenure of Shirley vicarage, 1592 - 1615.

2583 - 2679 Var. MSS, mainly 17th cent. and later. Includes: personalia, military commissions, bills, letters, etc. recipe books list of MSS belonging to Sir Isaac Newton (May 1727.) library catalogue of Staunton Harold (1834).

2680 - 2685 17th cent. Ferrers Bible Great and Lesser Pedigrees and grant of supporters. 18th cent. grant of Earldom and settlement of estates after execution of 4th Earl.

2686 Bundle of letters release of property at Ednaston, Derbys., 1840-1844.

Catalogues of the following additional deposits of Shirley family records may also be found in A2A:-

25D60 Records received from family's solicitors, including legal papers re-court cases and sale of Chartley estate, and other estate records 1726-1923

22D64 Family letters 1803-1854

23D66 Records re-property in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire 1311-c.1641

15D72 Cartulary of Sir George Shirley of Astwell, Northants. (c.1120-1617)

DE2638 Estate records, correspondence and personal papers c.1105-1961

Other Shirley family records deposited in the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland:-

6D61 Staunton Harold estate and church accounts (under trustees) c.1656-1668

4D68 Rental of estate of Washington, Earl ferrers at Ettington, Whatcote and Oxhill, Warwicks.

5D69 Account book of John Johnson, Staunton Harold Steward 1724-1755

DE170 Fisher Mss containing deeds to property of the Staunton and Shirley families in Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire 13th c.-1688

DE1452/1 Court rolls and minutes of court for Shirley family manors, including Ragdale, Willows and Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreake, Leics. 1351-1560

For further details of these and associated collections held by other repositories see:

Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts Guides to Sources for British History No.11. Principal family and Estate Collections: Family Names L-W (1999).

See also: Heather E. Broughton Family and Estate Records in the Leicestershire Record Office (1991)

Shirley family, Earls Ferrers of Staunton Harold, Leicestershire

Transcripts and extracts from many of the documents listed in this schedule, are to be found in:

Nichols, J. The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester. Vol.3. pp 715-719. (pub. 1804.)

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