|Atkins of Clapham|
Clapham Manor House, Surrey (later London)The 12th and 15th century manor houses of Clapham stood within a moated site close to the present-day junction of Turret Grove and Rectory Grove. The 15th century house was replaced in 1580 for Benjamin Clerke, Dean of the Court of Arches, who purchased the manor in 1583 but may have been leasing it earlier. His new house was on a site outside the moat but immediately to its south and recent archaeological evidence has confirmed it was a U-plan house of typical Elizabethan form. It was described in 1628 as 'a faire mansion house of brick with a faire hall, parler, dining chamber well wainscotted, a good kitchen, brewhouse, washhouse served with water in leaden pipes, a larder, a good seleridge and other convenient houses of Office'. No contemporary plans or illustrations of it are known to survive, but in the late 18th and early 19th centuries the then surviving north wing of the house became the object of antiquarian admiration and was depicted many times.
|Clapham Manor House: the surviving north wing in 1798.|
These drawings, of varying degrees of accomplishment and topographical accuracy, show that the house was of two storeys with gabled attics and had a remarkably ornate octagonal prospect tower with an ogee-shaped cap at the outer end of the wing. On the ground floor, this formed a bay window illuminating a large room. By the time the earliest drawings were made, the rest of the house - comprising a hall range facing east and a south wing, no doubt with a matching prospect tower - had been demolished. It is thought possible that this reduction in the size of the house could have taken place as early as the 1650s, when the Royalist Atkins family were in financial difficulties, but a later date is also possible. By 1800 the remaining fragment of the house was in use as a girls' boarding school and between 1804 and 1813 the octagonal prospect tower was taken down above the second or third storey, presumably because it had become unsafe. The rest of the house was demolished in 1837 and the street of villas known as Turret Grove was subsequently laid out on the site.
Descent: built for Bartholomew Clerke (d. 1590); to son, Francis Clerke, who sold 1611 to Edmund Lynde and Henry Fisher; sold 1614 to John Haulsey; sold 1616/7 to Sir Thomas Vachell and Dr. Henry Atkins (c.1555-1635), who bought out Vachell's interest; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638), kt.; to son, Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt.; to son, Col. Sir Richard Atkins (1654-96), 2nd bt.; to widow, Elizabeth, Lady Atkins (d. 1711); to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (1726-42), 5th bt.; to brother, Sir Richard Atkins (1728-56), 6th bt.; to sister, Penelope (1724-95), wife of George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers, for life and then to Richard Bowyer (later Atkins) (1745-1820), who sold a life interest to his banker, John Thornton and emigrated to Australia, where he became a judge; to Henry Atkins-Bowyer (1805-71), who probably demolished the house.
Tickford Abbey, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire
The house stands on the site of Tickford Priory, an alien priory established in the early 12th century by Fulk Paynel for Benedictine monks from Marmoutier in France. It survived the suppression of alien houses by King Henry V but was finally surrendered in 1524. In about 1531-32 Anthony Cave, the Crown's tenant, renovated the prior's lodging, kitchen and outhouses before moving in c.1550 to Chicheley Hall. According to the Victoria County History, 'some fragments of the priory buildings, ranging in date from the 12th to the 15th century, have been reset in the walls of the modern mansion and its outhouses' but while archaeological investigations in the grounds have recovered the plan of the church, painted window glass and human remains, no detailed work has been done on the fabric of the house. In 1731 the antiquary Browne Willis saw remains of the gatehouse and church, but in 1767 it was reported that 'Mr Hooton has lately built a neat square house of stone upon the ruins of the older house which was built out of the remains of the convent'.
|Tickford Abbey: an early 20th century photograph|
Descent: Crown sold 1600 to Henry Atkins MD (c.1555-1635); to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638); to son, Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt.; to son, Col. Sir Richard Atkins (1654-96), 2nd bt.; to widow, Elizabeth (d. 1711); to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt.; to son, Sir Henry Atkins (1726-42), 5th bt.; to brother, Sir Richard Atkins (1728-56), 6th bt.; sold after his death to John Hooton (d. 1761); to son, John Hooton (d. 1764); to brother, Thomas Hooton (d. 1804); to daughter, Sarah (d. 1831), wife of Philip Hoddle Ward; sold before 1847 to William Powell; sold before 1869 to Oliver Massey; to widow; sold to P. Butler (d. 1898); to son, Col. William John Chesshyre Butler (b. 1864; fl. 1927)... Greensleeves plc.
Bedwell Park, Essendon, Hertfordshire
The manor house here is first recorded in 1388, when it was granted to John Norbury, and takes its name from the deer park of 800 acres which he was licenced to create in 1406. The house was evidently altered or rebuilt in about 1470 for Sir John Say, who in that year was bringing 'the tiles called brick' from Hatfield. In the early 16th century the house was grand enough for a royal visit, and it was in the Crown's hands between 1539 and 1547. It was then one of several Hertfordshire estates granted to Sir Anthony Denny (d. 1549), a leading courtier, and his descendants held it until 1601. It was bought by Sir Henry Atkins in about 1620.
|Bedwell Park, as engraved by Jan Drapentier for Chauncy's History of Hertfordshire, 1700.|
The estate was settled in 1651 on Thomas Atkins (1631-1701), who may have been responsible for remodelling the old house. The doorway, cupola and diagonal chimneystacks depicted by Chauncy were all of the late 17th century and modify an earlier bay-windowed east front. Chauncy, however, says only that he 'much adorned this seat with pleasant Gardens'. To the right of the main block is what may be an older service wing, crowned by a pedimented curvilinear gable. As Atkins had no children to inherited Bedwell, it was sold after his death, but his will left certain fittings to his nephew, Sir Henry Atkins, 3rd bt., including the cast iron chimney backs and the metal rim-locks.
After the house was sold, it stood empty for a time, and an estate map of 1765 shows that its appearance had changed very little, except for some enlargement of the service accommodation at the north end of the house and possibly the addition of a north-west wing. Soon afterwards, however, Samuel Whitbread refronted the house, although he retained its tripartite division. In 1807 the house was described as 'not modern, but convenient' and 'kept in a perfect state of repair'. It contained an entrance hall, good staircase, and four principal rooms on the ground floor; a drawing room and five main bedrooms on the first floor, besides several smaller apartments and a WC; the servants' bedrooms were in the attic. Repairs were carried out in 1827-28 for Sir Culling Smith, 2nd bt.
|Bedwell Park: the east side of the house after the drastic rebuilding of 1861.|
|Bedwell Park: the west front as rebuilt in 1861 and altered later.|
Crown granted 1539 & 1547 to Sir Anthony Denny (d. 1549); to younger son, Charles Denny; to brother, Henry Denny (d. 1574); to son, Robert Denny (d. 1576); to brother, Sir Edward Denny, who sold 1601 to William Potter; sold c.1620 to Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638), kt.; to widow, Annabella (1599-1674), later wife of Edward Dacres (d. 1659) who settled it in 1651 on her younger son, Thomas Atkins (1631-1701); sold after his death to Richard Wynne MP (d. 1719)... sold 1765 to Samuel Whitbread (1720-96); to son, Samuel Whitbread (1764-1815), who sold 1807 to Sir Culling Smith (1730-1812), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Culling Smith (1769-1829), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Culling Eardley Smith (later Eardley) (1805-63), 3rd bt.; to daughter, Frances Selina Eardley (1833-1916), later the wife of Robert Hanbury (later Culling-Hanbury) MP; to brother-in-law, Very. Rev. William Fremantle (1831-1916)... sold 1946 to Royal Victoria Patriotic School, which closed 1972...
Atkins family of Clapham, baronets
Atkins, Dr. Henry (c.1555-1635). Son of Richard Atkins of Great Berkhamsted (Herts), born about 1555. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1574 'aged 19'; BA 1575; MA 1577/8) and University of Nantes (D. Med.). Physician in London. Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians from 1586 (Fellow, 1588; President, 1606-08, 1616-17 and 1624-25). In 1597 he sailed as physician to the Earl of Essex in the Spanish expedition, but was so seasick that he had to be put on shore and replaced. Physician in Ordinary to King James I and later to King Charles I, 1604-35. He is said to have received gifts amounting to £6,000 from the King after successfully treating Prince Charles for an illness in 1604, and he was offered the honour of becoming the first baronet when the order was instituted, but declined it. He married, 15 November 1591 at St Lawrence Jewry, London, Mary (1567-1624), daughter of Thomas Pigott of Doddershall (Bucks) and had issue:
(1) Sir Henry Atkins, kt. (c.1594-1638) (q.v.).
He lived in Warwick Court, London. He purchased the manors of Tickford (Bucks) in 1600 and Clapham (Surrey) in c.1616/7, the latter jointly with Sir Thomas Vachell, whose interest he subsequently bought out. In 1620 he also bought the deer park at Tickford with a lodge known as Tickford Park which later became a farmhouse. He purchased the rectory of Cheshunt (Herts) before 1612 but sold it again in 1632 after receiving £700 from the Crown for the redemption of the tithes on Theobalds Great Park.
He died in London 'aged 77' and was buried at Cheshunt (Herts), 2 October 1634, where he and his wife were commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 7 September 1634. His wife was buried at Cheshunt, 24 March 1623/4.
Atkins, Sir Henry (c.1594-1638), kt. Only child of Dr. Henry Atkins (c.1555-1635) and his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Pigott of Doddershall (Bucks), born about 1594. Educated at Trinity College, Oxford (matriculated 1609; BA 1610/11) and Middle Temple (admitted 1608). Knighted by King Charles I, September 1630 or 1632. He married, c.1620, Annabella (1599-1674), daughter and heiress of John Hawkins esq. of Chiddingstone (Kent) and had issue, perhaps with other children who died in infancy:
(1) Mary Atkins (b. c.1621-93); married 1st, 17 February 1639/40 at Cheshunt, William Halford (c.1615-50) and had issue three sons; married 2nd, after 1650, as his second wife, Sir John Norwich (1612-61), 1st bt., and had issue one further son and two daughters; lived latterly at Lyddington (Rutland); her will was proved 25 October 1693;
(2) John Atkins (c.1623-37); died young and was buried at Clapham, 28 October 1637;
(3) Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(4) Henry Atkins (1629-46), baptised at Cheshunt, 19 March 1628/9; died unmarried and was buried at Clapham, 21 October 1646;
(5) Thomas Atkins (1631-1701), of Bedwell Park (Herts); was granted the Bedwell Park estate and property in Bedfordshire by his mother and stepfather in 1651 and is said to have kept a bountiful table there; married 1st, Elizabeth (c.1641-59), third daughter of Sir John Norwich, 1st bt. of Brampton (Northants) and 2nd, c.1661, Bridget, daughter of Sir William Palmer of Old Warden (Beds), kt., but had no issue; buried at Essendon (Herts), 1 December 1701; will proved 12 March 1701/2.
He purchased the Bedwell Park estate at Essendon (Herts) from William Potter in his father's lifetime. He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1635. At his death Bedwell passed to his widow and ultimately to his youngest son. Tickford and Clapham passed to his eldest surviving son.
He is entered in the parish register as buried at Clapham, 19 July 1638, but is commemorated on his father's monument at Cheshunt, where it is said that he was buried there 'by his own appointment'. His widow married 2nd, 10 September 1639 at St Olave, Hart St., London, Edward Dacres (d. 1659) of Bedwell Park (Herts) and died 6 March 1673/4; she was buried at Cheshunt; her will was proved 24 March 1673/4.
Atkins, Sir Richard (1625-89), 1st bt. Second, but eldest surviving son of Sir Henry Atkins (c.1594-1638), kt. and his wife Annabella, daughter of John Hawkins esq. of Chiddingstone (Kent), baptised at Cheshunt (Herts), 29 September 1625. High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, 1650. He was created a baronet by King Charles II, 13 June 1660. He married, 22 February 1648/9 at St Peter-le-Poer, London, Rebecca (1634-1711), daughter of Sir Edmund Wright, kt., of Swakeleys (Middx), Lord Mayor of London, and had issue:
(1) Annabella Atkins (c.1650-70); died in Paris (France), 1 January 1670, and was commemorated on her parents' monument at Clapham;
(2) Rebecca Atkins (c.1652-61); died aged nine and was buried at Clapham, 20 June 1661; commemorated on her parents' monument at Clapham;
(3) Henry Atkins (1653-78), baptised at Much Hadham (Herts), 9 June 1653; died unmarried, 15 February 1677/8, aged 24, and was buried at Clapham; commemorated on his parents' monument at Clapham;
(4) Col. Sir Richard Atkins (1654-96), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(5) Mary Atkins (b. 1656), baptised at Much Hadham (Herts), 29 January 1655/6; married, 9 July 1682 at St Bride, Fleet St., London, Rt. Rev. William Moreton DD (1641-1715), Bishop of Meath, and had issue one son and one daughter; died in Ireland before 1696;
(6) Agnes Atkins (b. 1657), baptised at Much Hadham (Herts), 14 May 1657; married, 1677 (licence 8 February 1676/7), Edward Atkyns (c.1655-89), son of Sir Robert Atkyns, kt. [see Atkyns of Sapperton and Swell Bowl, forthcoming] and had issue one son and one daughter;
(7) Elizabeth Atkins (1659-1736), born at Much Hadham (Herts), 28 November and baptised at St John, Clerkenwell (Middx), 30 November 1659; married, c.1677 (licence 19 February 1676/7), Thomas Tooke (b. c.1661) of Wormley (Herts); lived latterly at Chelsea (Middx); buried at Clapham, 8 July 1736; will proved 6 July 1736;
(8) Rebecca Atkins (1666-1744), born at Much Hadham (Herts), 17 April 1666; married, 10 December 1685 at St Clement Danes, London, Sir Wolstan Dixie (1667-1713), 3rd bt. of Market Bosworth (Leics) and had issue two sons and five daughters; lived latterly at Bath; buried at Clapham, 22 December 1744; her will was proved 15 January 1744/5.
He inherited the the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1638 and came of age in 1646.
He died 19 August 1689 and was buried at Clapham, where he and his wife were commemorated by a monument by William Stanton which was dismantled and partly broken up in 1814; the tomb chest is now in the churchyard and the surviving effigies in the church. Administration of his goods was granted 19 September 1689. His widow was buried at Clapham, 13 June 1711; her will was proved in June 1711.
Atkins, Col. Sir Richard (1654-96), 2nd bt. Younger but only surviving son of Sir Richard Atkins (1625-89), 1st bt., and his wife Rebecca, daughter of Sir Edmund Wright, kt., of London, born 22 August and baptised at Hunsdon (Herts), 27 August 1654. Educated at the Middle Temple (admitted 1671). He had a passport for overseas travel in 1679 and may have undertaken a Grand Tour. JP for Buckinghamshire by 1688. He succeeded his father as 2nd baronet, 19 August 1689. In politics he seems initially to have been a Tory, but he stood (unsuccessfully) for Parliament in Buckingham in 1689 and again in 1690 as a Whig. He raised a troop for William of Orange at the Revolution, 1689, and was elected unopposed as Whig MP for Buckinghamshire, 1695-96. He was made a Colonel of Foot in 1694. In the summer of 1695 he fought three duels occasioned by the infidelity of his wife, but finding that he had fifteen men to confront on similar grounds he took the advice of his father-in-law, who 'being sensible of the provocation' agreed that his daughter should reside at Nottingham or in Buckinghamshire, with an allowance of £120 a year; she chose to retire to the parsonage at Tickford. He married, 1682 (licence 2 June) (sep. 1695), Elizabeth (c.1662-1711), daughter of Sir Thomas Byde, kt., of Ware Park (Herts) and had issue including:
(1) Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Richard Atkins; died young;
(3) Thomas Atkins; died young;
(4) John Atkins (fl. 1707); born before 1686; died unmarried after 1707;
(5) Ralph Atkins (fl. 1727); born after 1686;
(6) Richard Atkins (b. 1693?; fl. 1727), perhaps the child of this name baptised at Nottingham, 7 June 1693;
(7) Annabella Atkins (fl. 1727); unmarried in 1727.
He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1689. At his death they (rather surprisingly, in the circumstances) passed to his widow for life and then to his son.
He died 28 November 1696 and was buried at Newport Pagnell (Bucks) where he is commemorated by a monument erected by his mother, which notes that ‘the latter part of his life [was] clouded with some domestic troubles caused by the fault of others, not his own, which ought to be covered with a veil of silence’, although they had ‘hastened his end’. His widow was buried at St Luke, Chelsea, 22 August 1711; her will was proved 22 November 1711.
Atkins, Sir Henry (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt. Eldest surviving son of Col. Sir Richard Atkins (d. 1696), 2nd bt., and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Byde, kt., of Ware Park (Herts), born at Hanwell (Middx) c.1683. Educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (matriculated 1700). He succeeded his father as 3rd baronet, 28 November 1696. He married, 27 June 1704 at Newbold Verdon (Leics), his cousin, Rebecca Maria (d. 1731), eldest daughter of Sir Wolstan Dixie, 3rd bt. and had issue including:
(1) Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt.;
(2) Rebecca Maria Atkins (b. c.1707); died in infancy;
(3) Rebecca Maria Atkins (b. c.1708), born before 1709; married, 2 June 1730, Thomas Fawkes (1704-51) of Farnley Hall (Yorks) and had issue one son, who died in infancy.
He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1696.
He was buried at Clapham, 6 August 1712; his will was proved 1 December 1714. His widow was buried at Clapham, 24 August 1731.
Atkins, Sir Henry (c.1706-28), 4th bt. Only surviving son of Sir Henry Atkins (c.1683-1712), 3rd bt., and his wife Rebecca Maria, eldest daughter of Sir Wolstan Dixie, bt., born about 1706. Educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (matriculated 1722). He succeeded his father as 4th baronet, August 1712. He married, 29 October 1723 at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), Penelope (1707-34), third daughter of Sir John Stonhouse, 3rd bt., of Radley (Berks), and had issue:
(1) Penelope Atkins (1724-95), baptised at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), 19 December 1724; a noted beauty, she was described by Horace Walpole as 'all loveliness, within and without'; married, 4/5 January 1745/6 at Oxford Chapel, Marylebone (Middx), George Pitt (1721-1803) of Stratfield Saye (Hants), 1st Baron Rivers, and had issue one son and two daughters; died at Milan (Italy), 1 January 1795 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery at Leghorn (Livorno) (Italy), where she is commemorated by a monument;
(2) Sir Henry Atkins (1726-42), 5th bt., baptised at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), 24 March 1726; educated at Abingdon Grammar School; succeeded his father as 5th baronet, 29 March 1728 but died before coming of age, 1 September 1742, aged 16, and was buried at Clapham, 9 September 1742; his will was proved 18 September 1742;
(3) Sir Richard Atkins (1728-56), 6th bt. (q.v.);
He inherited the Tickford and Clapham estates from his father in 1712.
He died of tuberculosis in France, 29 March and was buried at Clapham, 27 April 1728; his will was proved 13 April 1728. His widow married 2nd, 31 October 1733 at St George, Queen Square, London, as his second wife, John Leveson-Gower (1694-1754), 2nd Baron Gower and later 1st Earl Gower, and had issue one further daughter, who died young; she died at Trentham (Staffs), 19 August and was buried there, 24 August 1734.
Atkins, Sir Richard (1728-56), 6th bt. Younger son of Sir Henry Atkins (c.1706-28), 4th bt., and his wife Penelope, daughter of Sir John Stonhouse, bt. of Radley (Berks), born 28 February and baptised at St Andrew, Holborn (Middx), 22 March 1728. Educated at New College, Oxford (matriculated 1745; DCL 1749). High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, 1750-51. He succeeded his brother at 6th baronet, 1 September 1742. He was unmarried and without issue, but supplies a footnote to the amorous history of the 18th century because he paid for the services of the famous courtesan, Kitty Fisher, with a Bank of England draft for £100 (or £20, accounts vary); feeling that this smacked too much of a commercial transaction or was insufficiently generous, she is said to have placed the draft on a slice of buttered bread and eaten it as a mark of her disdain.
He came of age in 1749 and his father's trustees then conveyed to him the the Tickford and Clapham estates and the manor of Overdean (Beds); he sold the latter in 1752 to Daniel Groombridge of Tonbridge (Kent). At his death his will directed the Tickford estate and his property in Oxfordshire should be sold for payment of his debts and discharge of mortgages on his estate at Clapham. The manor of Clapham passed to his sister for life and then to his godson, Richard Bowyer (later Atkins) (1745-1820), son of Sir William Bowyer of Denham (Bucks) and descended in the Bowyer family.
He died 10 June 1756, when the baronetcy became extinct, and was buried at Holy Trinity, Clapham (Surrey), 17 June 1756; his will was proved 14 June 1756.
Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn., 1841, p.27; G.E. Cokayne, Complete Baronetage, vol. 3, 1903, p. 39; Sir N. Pevsner & B. Cherry, The buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 2nd edn., 1977, p. 141; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, 2nd edn., 1994, p. 580; J.T. Smith, Hertfordshire Houses: selective inventory, 1994, p. 54; M. Green, Historic Clapham, 2008, passim; ODNB article on Dr. Henry Atkins; http://www.claphamsociety.com/Articles/article9.html.
Location of archives
Atkins family of Clapham, baronets: deeds and family papers, 1545-1710 [Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies, 65122-65455]
Coat of arms
Azure, three bars argent, in chief three bezants
Can you help?
Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
- Does anyone know more about the 20th century ownership of Tickford Abbey or Bedwell Park?
- Can anyone provide more additional genealogical information for the children of Sir Richard Atkins, 2nd bt. or Sir Henry Atkins, 3rd bt. or portraits of any members of this family?
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 20th September 2016.