The descent of Epsom Manor,
from John Ivatt Briscoe,
through Henry Blackburn,
to the Savage family and beyond


For a description of Epsom, Ewell and Cuddington Manors, as described in the Victoria History of the Counties of England: The County of Surrey (Vol. 3), please see our Manors page.

Anna Maria Mawbey / Briscoe (c 1801 - 1871) and John Ivatt Briscoe (1791 - 1870)

On her elder sister Emily's death, Anna Maria the only surviving child of Sir Joseph Mawbey became 'tenant in tail' of the Epsom estate - in effect, eventually his residual heiress.

George Eyre, of Warrens, near Bramshaw, Wilts., was a trustee of the marriage settlement of John Ivatt Briscoe and Anna Maria Mawbey, dated 24/09/1819. His parents were Charles Eyre and Hannah nee Briscoe, daughter of John Briscoe of Goudhurst. The marriage of Anna Maria was celebrated on 25 September 1819 at St James's Westminster but she did not attain the age of 21 until 25 March 1822.

John Briscoe (1747 - 1809), father of John Ivatt, was a Jeweller and Goldsmith and lived at Cross Deep House, Twickenham. Following the demise of John Briscoe in 1809 [Will proved 6 April 1809 - PROB 11/1495/339], George Eyre wrote from Twickenham to report the 'death of uncle Briscoe, who has left a considerable fortune' - this suggests that he and John Ivatt Briscoe were cousins. Mr John Briscoe was taken from Twickenham for burial at St Mary's, Wimbledon, aged 62, presumably for interment with the parents of his relict, Mary nee Ivatt. The Will of Mary Briscoe, Widow of Twickenham, who died in her 78th year, was proved 28 February 1826 - PROB 11/1708/429.

Biographical details for J I Bricoe may be found at: - www.historyofparliamentonline.org.

George Eyre, the elder, (1772 - 1837) of Warrens, Bramshaw, Wilts., died on 18 January 1837 'at the house of J Ivatt Briscoe, Edward Street, Portman Sq., London, after a short but severe attack of the influenza'.
In A topographical history of Surrey, by E.W. Brayley, 1841, we are told: -
"The Botley estate (described as consisting of 575 acres, including the Fox Hills and Coney Burrow- hill,) was sold by auction, by order of the trustees, in July, 1822... Nearly adjoining to Botleys, on the west, are the Fox Hills, now an extensive demesne belonging to John Ivatt Briscoe, esq., who married the only surviving daughter of the second and last Sir Joseph Mawbey. On one of these eminences Mr Briscoe has erected a magnificent house in the Elizabethan style of architecture, from the designs of Mr George Basevi, jun., of London; under whose superintendence the work was executed. It is one of the best mansions that has been built in Surrey during the last forty or fifty years; and is fitted up with great taste and elegance. Over the principal entrance is the sentence, Peace be to this house, cut into the stone, in old English characters. The whole is constructed of Bath stone and Suffolk bricks. But little has yet been done to improve the grounds, which comprise a variety of pleasing and extensive views."

John Ivatt Briscoe became Lord of Epsom manor in right of his wife, and assumed title to the real estate which was the property of a married woman.

Briscoe (born 12 October, baptised 16 November 1791 at Twickenham) died 16 August 1870, aged 78, - Obituary in The Times, 19 August 1870.

Of Fox Hills, Chertsey, and 60 Eaton Place, Knightsbridge, he left a Will dated 4 August 1870 which was proved 27 September 1870 (under £180,000) - particulars reported in The Times, 8 October 1870. 'Beyond a provision under settlement', he had left his widow an immediate legacy of £500, his residence in Eaton Place and the use of Fox Hills for two years following his death. The manor and lordship of Epsom was left to Henry Blackburn (one of his Executors) of The Hollands, Tunbridge Wells, and the residuary legatees had been named as George Eyre and Rev Eyre [presumed to have been Charles James Phipps Eyre, sometime Rector of St Marylebone].

The death of Anna Maria Briscoe, aged 69, was registered at Chertsey for the March Quarter 1871: she appears to have been interred at Wimbledon, 6 January 1871, presumably joining her late husband and his parents in St Mary's churchyard.

The Ivatt Connection

Stephen Winthrop (b. 28 May 1705; d. 30 June 1758), merchant, moved to London in 1725: he married, 1733, Frances, daughter of Davie, Alderman of Exeter.

Frances, wife of Stephen Winthrop, died 26 April 1740. He wed secondly, 31 July 1745, Mary, daughter of Murthwaite Ivatt, and Mary nee Savage, of Eagle House, Wimbledon, Surrey, Turkey merchant, and had a daughter Mary, born 11 September 1748. She married John Briscoe, of Twickenham, and had issue, John Ivatt Briscoe, M.P.

Henry Blackburn, of Doctors Commons and The Hollands, Speldhurst, Tunbridge, Kent.
Lord of Epsom Manor - August 1870 to 1872

George Eyre (b. 28 January 1772 d 18 January 1837), mentioned earlier, was Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, Verderer of the New Forest, J.P. for Wiltshire and Hampshire, and High Sheriff of Wiltshire (1815). His daughter, Frances Eliza Eyre, married Henry Blackman in August 1849 [reg New Forest 9/1849]. She would have been John Ivatt Briscoe's second cousin but died 8 August 1870, aged 57 [reg. Tunbridge 9/1870], without issue. Henry's death may be found registered also at Tunbridge in the September Quarter of 1872. By his will of 30 Nov 1871, Henry Blackburn bequeathed the lordship and estate to his nephew Charles Vernon Strange.

Charles Vernon Strange, Lord of Epsom Manor - 1872 to 1878

On 15 December 1846, at St. Peter's, Eaton Sq., Pimlico, James Newburgh Strange, Commander R.N., third son of the late Sir Thomas Strange, married Charlotte-Maria, youngest daughter of the late George Eyre, Esq., of Warrens, Wilts.

The birth of Charles Vernon Strange may be found registered at Portsea Island for the June Quarter 1849.

Admiral James Newburgh Strange, born 2 October 1812 in India, died 1 November 1894. His relict Charlotte Maria nee Eyre (born c. 1819) survived until 25 January 1909.

In Epsom, its history & its surroundings, Gordon Home mentions at Christ Church, Epsom, the three- light window in the north transept to the memory of Charles Vernon Strange, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. His memorial is the main window in what is now the Peace and Reconciliation Chapel, the central panel of which shows Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:37-41).

The Charles Vernon Strange memorial window Christ Church, Epsom
The Charles Vernon Strange memorial window Christ Church, Epsom
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

The plaque below it reads: -
IN MEMORY OF CHARLES VERNON STRANGE, LIEUTENANT ROYAL NAVY, LORD OF THE MANOR OF EPSOM, WHO WAS LOST IN HMS EURYDICE, OFF THE ISLE OF WIGHT, MARCH 24TH 1878, AGED 29. 'SO HE BRINGETH THEM UNTO THEIR DESIRED HAVEN'
An account of the accident has been provided by Roger Morgan from Christ Church News#

Further memorials may be found at: -
Probate 29 May 1878. Charles Vernon Strange. Personal Estate under £14,000. The Will with a Codicil late of North Hill, Windlesham in the county of Surrey, a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy who died 24 March 1878 at Sea was proved at the Principal Registry by James Newburgh Strange of North Hill, an Admiral in Her Majesty's Navy, the Father, James Stuart Strange of North Hill, Esquire, the Brother, and Henry Mason of 84 Basinghall-street in the City of London, Gentleman the Executors. By the will dated 4 Aug 1876 Epsom manor was bequeathed to his brother James Stuart Strange.

James Stuart Strange, Lord of Epsom Manor - 1878 to 1908

James,(b. c. 1847 at Portsmouth, Hants, possibly Strange, Male, reg. Portsea Island 12/1846.) the eldest son of James Newburgh Strange, founded The Epsom Common Working Men's Club in l880. In the 1881 Census he may be found as a visitor in Ashtead House and, on 3 May 1881, he married Henrietta Langton Denshire at St Giles' Ashtead.

Birth of the first child of this union, a daughter Christina Henrietta, was registered in Kensington for the March Quarter 1883. The second, Hester Esme, is reported to have been delivered at 20 Oxford Square, Hyde Park, London, on 18 December 1884; she was baptised at St John's, Paddington, 26 January 1885.

By 16 May 1888, however, the family had become established in a freshly built home, Wells House, on Epsom Common and J S Strange was writing to The Times about 'Difficulties on Epsom Downs'.

Wells House
Wells House
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

The problems are outlined in the following extract from Epsom Common, 1993, The Epsom Common Association [reproduced with kind permission of the Chairman, Martin Gandy]: -
There must have been mixed feelings in Epsom about Mr Strange. Of course, he commanded immense' respect because he was Lord of the Manor, and a very wealthy landowner and because he was loyal to Christ Church. The Working Hen's Club proved such a success that Mr Strange would have been much admired for helping to launch it. He was the object of furious criticism however in 1888. 'The Surrey Gazette' for May 17th of that year records that Hr. Strange had closed a footpath leading over the Common in front of his residence, a fine new establishment he had built for himself on a site near the yard of Old Wells Farm. As this was a right-of-way, he was officially asked to re-open the path, and presumably did so. In the very same month, the "Freeholders, Copyholders and inhabitants" of the manor and parish of Epsom were petitioning against Mr Strange because of the erection of posts and chains, the paving of turf, the removal of fern and gorse, up beside the New Stand on the Downs, all to improve facilities for the horse-racing. The Epsom Court Rolls of the century record many cases of encroachment on the Common, "near the Wells", and around the verges, not to mention cases of complaint because people were pasturing more sheep than they were allowed. All this made for constant friction between the Lord of the Manor and his tenants. No affair promoted such outraged, well-organised protests from the Commoners as Mr Strange's plans for the area by the Grandstand. The people enjoying rights of common on the Downs. were most articulate about the risk to themselves and to those living on the Lower Common listed as 433 acres, Clayhill (4 acres), Stamford Green (6 acres) and Woodcote Green (7 acres). They set out the traditional rights of pasture, estovers and turbary and protested to Mr Strange that they had "observed with a feeling of dismay various acts performed on the Commons, which in themselves constituted encroachments upon their rights and appear to be an assertion of a right on your part to do as you will with the Commons without consulting the Commoners".

The Lord of the Manor admitted the claim in relation to pasture for seep but denied the claim for estovers. The case did not go to trial, and in the end, of course, the race horses and their supporters won. Lord Eversley, Chairman of the Commons Preservation Society, . recorded sadly "since then the relations between the Lord of the Manor the Commoners and the inhabitants of Epsom have been in a state of tension". The Epsom Commons Preservation Committee was at once formed to safeguard the Commoners from further encroachments.

While the row about the improvements by the race-course was in full spate, Mr Strange carried through another business deal. In 1889 he leased "the area now dry formerly known as the Great Pond", for a period of 14 years, at £8.0.0. a year to Mr Thomas Skilton, the younger, who was a vet. Mr Skilton was to have the use of the 12.587 acres, together with the "sheds and other erections, excepting all timber and other trees pollards, spines and saplings, likely to become timber". Mr Strange was to continue to enjoy exclusive rights of "shooting, sporting and preserving Game Rabbits and Wild Fowl". Mr Skilton was to keep hedges and ditches in good repair and he was to leave "upon the said premises all the unspent hay, straw, clover, fodder, turnips or other root: or green crop, muck, dung and compost, produced or made on the said premises for the benefit of the Lessor". It is perhaps significant that, in the 1890s, Mr Strange resided in Winchester.
An Epsom/Ashtead Manor boundary marker
An Epsom/Ashtead Manor boundary marker.
The stone bears the initials J S S (eroded) and would have been
erected circa 1880 when James Stuart Strange was the lord of Epsom Manor.
It is sited on the south-eastern corner of Ashtead Common Pond - NGR TQ 18516023.
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard ©2013

The Births of two further children were registered at Epsom - Violet Langton, 12/1889, & Vernon Charles, 3/1892. Subsequently James Stuart Strange took up residence in Denham Court, Winchester, Hants.

Christina Henrietta Strange had married in 1907. She became Lady Carpendale, wife of Vice Admiral; Sir Charles Carpendale, CB.

James Stuart Strange died on 7 May 1908, aged 60 (reg. Winchester 6/1908), leaving 3 daughters and a son. On 26 December 1903, there had been an appointment under the 1881 marriage settlement that, after the deaths of James and his wife, the trustees should stand possessed of the funds for the benefit of Charles Vernon Strange to the exclusion of his sisters [SHCOL_ 4441/6] although eventually this was revoked by Mrs H L Strange's will. The property was then administered by the trustees of his will. [1908 - Wills and Administrations: James Stuart Strange of Denham Court Winchester died 7 May 1908. Probate London 12 June to Arthur Henry Mure brewer and Henrietta Langton Strange widow. Effects £45,921.12s.8d.]

James Stuart Strange had been brought to Ashtead to be laid to rest in the Denshire vault under St. Giles' church. A brass memorial plaque was affixed to the north wall of the nave.

The Strange memorial St. Giles' Church, Ashtead
The Strange memorial St. Giles' Church, Ashtead
Image courtesy of Brian Bouchard © 2013

Vernon Charles Strange became a barrister at law, called to the Inner Temple in 1926. He died at Zermatt following a climbing accident on 30 August 1933. (A photo of his memorial can be seen on www.flickr.com.) His Will from 105 Mount Street, London, W.I., was proved by Christina Henrietta, Lady Carpendale [his sister] and Hubert de Chair Toogood, the Executors, on 11 November 1933

Mayor of Epsom

In 1936 the Council bought the main Common from the Lady of the Manor, Henrietta Langton Strange, for £4,000 [SHCOL_6000/3/81]. She died at Bashley House, New Milton, Hants., 19 October 1942 , aged 85.

Christina Henrietta, nee Strange, Lady Carpendale died on 25 July 1952 at Maidenhead.

Lordship of the Manor was purchased in 1955, when the local authority also acquired the market franchise and the Fair Green.

Hester Esme Strange and Violet Langton Strange are reported to have survived until 17 March 1963 and 8 July 1970 respectively.

Karibu
Wells House, became a children's home currently re-named Karibu.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum


Brian Bouchard
April 2013


#

ONE OF BRITAIN'S WORST PEACE-TIME NAVAL DISASTERS


Rather hidden in the shadows below the main window in what is now the Peace and Reconciliation Chapel (the central panel of which shows Jesus calming the storm - Mark 4:37-41) is the following dedication plaque.

IN MEMORY OF CHARLES VERNON STRANGE, LIEUTENANT ROYAL NAVY, LORD OF THE MANOR OF EPSOM, WHO WAS LOST IN HMS EURYDICE, OFF THE ISLE OF WIGHT, MARCH 24TH 1878, AGED 29. "SO HE BRINGETH THEM UNTO THEIR DESIRED HAVEN1."

HMS Eurydice

HMS Eurydice, pictured here, was a very fast 26-gun wooden frigate of 921 tons designed with a very shallow draught to operate in shallow waters. Launched in 1843, she saw service in the West Indies, South Africa and, during the Crimean War, the White Sea. This was followed by twenty years as a stationary training ship. In 1877, she was refitted for seagoing service, still as a training ship.

Eurydice's first trip in that capacity was a three-month tour of the West Indies and Bermuda which passed without significant incident. She began her return voyage to Portsmouth on 6 March 1878. At 3.30pm on Sunday 24 March 1878, she was observed from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight - some 30 miles from home - with all sail set, presumably with the aim of reaching port before nightfall.

HMS Eurydice

A few minutes later, a snow storm came on very suddenly with extremely heavy gusts of wind. The ship quickly foundered and sank. Only two of the 319 aboard survived: the great majority of those not carried down with the ship died of exposure in the freezing waters.

The disaster shocked the nation, getting extensive coverage in the press - see, for example, this cover of the Illustrated London News for 6 April 1878 showing the scene on the morning after the sinking. The event lingered long in the collective memory: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a poem The Home-Coming of the Eurydice in 1898 and Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote The Loss of the Eurydice in 1918.

Although "Lord of the Manor of Epsom", Charles Vernon Strange's home had been in Windlesham, near Camberley. The family's parish church of St John the Baptist has a memorial plaque with identical wording to ours - except for the mention of the Lordship of the Manor, a position that passed to his brother, James Stuart Strange.

Roger Morgan 2012
This article first appeared in the Christ Church Parish Magazine

1. This is a quotation from Psalm 107:30.


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