|Bagot of Levens Hall|
Sir Charles and his wife seem never to have had a country house in England, perhaps because they were abroad so much and needed to be in London when at home, and perhaps also because they could stay with Sir Charles' brother at Blithfield when they so wished. Sir Charles' eldest son, Charles Bagot (1808-81), was a career soldier in the early part of his career and from 1858 was tied to the royal court as Assistant Master of Ceremonies to Queen Victoria; service for which he is reputed to have declined a peerage. He too, therefore, lived in London. Charles' younger brothers, George Talbot Bagot (1820-1907) and Col. Alexander Bagot (1822-74) both lived abroad for much of their lives.
Col. Charles Bagot's eldest son, Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913), was a young officer in the Grenadier Guards, acting as aide-de-camp to the Governor-General of Canada, when he inherited the Levens Hall estate in 1883. His benefactor was Mary Howard (1785-1877), who inherited the Ashtead Park, Castle Rising, Elford Hall and Levens Hall estates - together some 14,900 acres - and at her death bequeathed them to four different distant male relatives who were not likely to inherit other estates. The Levens estate passed first to her nephew, Gen. the Hon. Arthur Upton (d. 1883), who had looked after the property for her for many years, and then on his death without issue, to Josceline Bagot, who was Mary Howard's first cousin twice removed. Josceline returned to England to take up his inheritance and in 1885 retired from the army. After a further short spell in Canada in his old post in 1888-89, he entered Parliament and was MP for South Westmorland (later Kendal) from 1892-1906 and 1910-13, and a member of the Government from 1897-1900, although for part of this time he was in South Africa, acting as chief press censor during the Boer War. At the beginning of 1913, it was announced that he was to be made a baronet, but he died on 1 March that year, before his patent could pass the great seal, and the honour was therefore conferred on his only son, Sir Alan Desmond Bagot (1896-1920), 1st bt. To modern eyes, distanced by half a century from the routine award of hereditary honours, this looks faintly bizarre, but there are comparable instances from the early 20th century. It is also worth noting that according to Josceline's brother Richard, in a speech at a public meeting reported verbatim in the Yorkshire Post, the baronetcy was not a political award by the Government of the day (which was Liberal) but a personal award by King Edward VII, and recognised not just Josceline's parliamentary service but also the service of his father at Court. The intention was to honour the family's public service by enhancing their status in the stable hierarchy of the landed gentry and aristocracy. On the eve of the First World War, it was perhaps the last moment at which such a gesture could have been made as a matter of course.
Sadly, Sir Alan Bagot was not destined to found a dynasty of baronets at Levens Hall, for he died unmarried of double pneumonia in January 1920; the baronetcy died with him. Levens passed to his uncle, Richard Bagot (1860-1921), a popular Italophile author and Roman Catholic convert, whose main home had been in Italy since the 1890s; and when he died the following year, to Sir Alan's nephew, (Oliver) Robin Gaskell (1914-2000), the second son of his sister Dolly and her husband, Henry Melville Gaskell of Kiddington Hall (Oxon). Robin Gaskell took the name Bagot in 1936 on coming of age, and took possession of the hall (which had been let during his minority) in 1946. He began the process of restoration which has been continued by his son, Hal Bagot (b. 1946), who took over the house in 1975, and his grandson, Richard Bagot (b. 1981), to whom it was handed on in 2014. Remarkably, this is the first time the house has passed in orderly succession from father to son through three generations since it was bought by Col. James Graham in 1689.
Levens Hall, Westmorland (now Cumbria)There has been a house on the site of Levens Hall in Westmorland (now Cumbria) since at least the mid 14th century, but the house as it exists today is essentially the creation of three later owners: James Bellingham (1560-1641), who largely rebuilt the main block and created the principal interiors; Col. James Graham (c.1650-1730), who bought Levens in 1689, built the south range and laid out the gardens over the next two decades; and Col. the Hon. Fulke Greville Howard, whose wife Mary inherited the estate in 1818, and who made many tactful improvements to heighten the authentic Jacobean character of the house. The overlays of each successive period make it a complex house to unpick, and there are some remaining mysteries about its development.
|Levens Hall: aerial view of the house and gardens, 2015|
Sir Alan Bellingham purchased Levens Hall in 1562, but not until 1580 did his son, James, gain vacant possession. James came of age in 1581 and was married by 1584, and work was in progress on remodelling the medieval house by 1586 (the date on the dining room chimneypiece). The process of fitting out the house continued over decades, as the drawing room chimneypiece is dated 1595 and some of the pretty leaded glazing in the windows is taken from patterns in a book published as late as 1615.
|Levens Hall: the north front in the early 20th century.|
|Levens Hall: the hall c.1930.|
|Levens Hall: plan of principal floor published in 1936. The work labelled as 'modern' dates from c.1820!|
|Levens Hall: the east front and Howard tower in 2007. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved|
|Levens Hall: Joseph Nash's engraving of the drawing room, c.1840.|
|Levens Hall: small drawing room chimneypiece, c.1930.|
|Levens Hall: plan of the gardens published in 1936.|
|Levens Hall: the topiary garden in Edwardian days, from an old postcard.|
|Levens Hall: the smoking room (now library) fireplace, c.1930. This fireplace, and much of the Elizabethan panelling in the house, was created, improved and extended by Francis Webster and his firm between 1805 and 1840.|
Bagot family of Levens Hall
|Sir Charles Bagot (1781-1843), kt.|
(1) Louisa Catherine Bagot (1807-24), born 25 April and baptised at St George, Hanover Square, London, 18 June 1807; died unmarried, 9 June and was buried at St Mary, Lewisham (Surrey), 12 June 1824;
(2) Col. Charles Bagot (1808-81) (q.v.);
(3) Emily Georgiana Bagot (1810-48), born 9 July and baptised at St George, Hanover Sq., London, 18 August 1810; married, 15 February 1837 at St George, Hanover Square, London, as his second wife, George William Finch-Hatton (1791-1858), 10th Earl of Winchilsea and 5th Earl of Nottingham, but had no issue; died at Haverholme Priory, 10 June 1848;
(4) Caroline Mary Bagot (1812-87), born 1 June and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 15 July 1812; married, 26 September 1849 at St James, Piccadilly, Westminster (Middx), John David MD (c.1817-84), youngest son of Edward David of Swansea (Glam.), and had issue one daughter; died in Cheltenham (Glos), 21 March 1887; will proved 22 June 1887 (effects £543);
(5) Arthur Barkley Bagot (1814-25), born 19 March and baptised at St Marylebone, 15 July 1814; died young at Ramsgate (Kent), 20 April 1825;
(6) Henrietta Maria Bagot (1815-44), born September and baptised at Blithfield, 8 October 1815; married, 27 August 1833, as his second wife, Henry Paget (1797-1869), 2nd Marquess of Anglesey, and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 22 March 1844;
(7) Georgiana Augusta Bagot (1818-1851), born 2 September 1818 and baptised at St Marylebone (Middx), 13 May 1820; married, 21 September 1843 at St George, Hanover Square, London, as his second wife, Lt-Col. Frederick Alexander Mackenzie Fraser (1796-1848), second son of Lt-Gen. Mackenzie Fraser, but had no issue; died in Jersey, 23 June 1851;
(8) George Talbot Bagot (1820-1907), born 14 April and baptised at St. Marylebone (Middx), 13 May 1820; educated at Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 1838); married, 20 August 1885 at St Andrew, Clevedon (Somerset), Charlotte Margaret (c.1850-97), daughter of William Thomas Blair of the Indian Civil Service, but had no issue; lived latterly at Pau (France); died in Pau, 22 November 1907; administration of goods granted 15 September 1907 (estate £20,122);
(9) Col. Alexander Bagot (1822-74), born 10 June 1822; educated at Westminster and Charterhouse Schools; an officer in the Bengal Civil Service (Cadet, 1840; Lt., 1842; Capt. 1854; brevet Maj., 1854; brevet Lt-Col., 1862; Lt-Col. commanding 38th Native Infantry, 1865; brevet Col., 1871); freemason by 1844; married, 28 October 1852, Gertrude Letitia (1833-98), daughter of Brig-Gen. Robert Dampier Hallifax, and had issue three sons (one died young); died of accidental arsenic poisoning while on a tiger-shooting expedition at Bholan (India), 20 October 1874; will proved 30 April 1875 (effects under £10,000);
(10) Wilhelmina Frederica Bagot (1826-52), born in the Netherlands, 11 March 1826; married, 17 November 1846 at Blithfield (Staffs), as his first wife, Admiral Henry Bagot RN and had issue one son; died 15 April 1852.
He lived in London when not abroad on diplomatic missions.
He died at Kingston, Ontario (Canada) a few weeks after relinquishing office, 19 May 1843; his body was returned to England and buried at Blithfield, 27 June 1843; his will was proved in the PCC, 26 July 1843. His widow died 2 February 1845.
Bagot, Col. Charles (1808-81). Eldest son of Hon. & Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Bagot (1781-1843) and his wife Lady Mary Charlotte Anne, eldest daughter of William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington, born 20 May 1808 and baptised at St George, Hanover Square, London, 16 January 1809. A page of honour in the Royal Household, 1820-24; an officer in the Grenadier Guards (Ensign, 1824; Lt., 1825; Capt., 1828; Capt. & Lt-Col., 1840; retired 1851) and in 3rd battn., King's Own Staffordshire Militia (Lt-Col. commanding, 1853; Hon. Col., 1858); Assistant Master of Ceremonies to HM Queen Victoria, 1858-81. In 1913, his youngest son claimed that he had declined a peerage. He married, 7 July 1846 at Rickmansworth (Herts), Sophia Louisa (1822-1908), daughter of Vice-Adm. the Hon. Josceline Percy CB, and had issue:
(1) Alice Mary Bagot (1853-1922), born Jan-Mar 1853; lived in London; died unmarried, 22 November 1922; will proved 2 December 1922 (estate £32,421);
(2) Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913) (q.v.);
(3) Alan Charles Bagot (1856-85), born at Elford, 1 June 1856; educated at Eton and Pembroke College, Cambridge (matriculated 1874; demonstrator); electrical engineer and inventor, working especially in the field of mine safety, with Messrs. Apps & Co. of London (retired due to ill health, 1884); a certificated mining engineer, a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, 1882, a Fellow of the Chemical Society and a Member of the Royal Society of Arts; twice presented with gold medals for saving life at the risk of his own; a conservator of the River Trent and hon. consulting engineer to that body; JP and DL (from 1879) for Staffordshire; died unmarried in Bournemouth (Hants) 'from consumption brought on by an accident in a Welsh mine in 1880 and by over-work and exposure in his profession', 22 April 1885; will proved 3 September 1885 (effects £7,463);
|Richard Bagot 1860-1921|
Col. Bagot lived mainly in London, but in 1871 was at Churchdale House, Rugeley (Staffs).
He died 20 February, and was buried at Elford (Staffs), 25 February 1881; his will was proved 6 April 1881 (effects under £6,000). His widow died 7 November 1908; her will was proved 28 November 1908 (estate £4,804).
|Josceline Fitzroy Bagot|
(1) Dorothy Bagot (1886-1954) (q.v.);
(2) Marjorie Constance Bagot MBE (1888-1951), born 24 March 1888; married, 7 September 1910, Maj. James Winstanley Cropper DL (1879-1956) of Ellergreen, Burneside (Westmld), Lord Lieutenant of Westmorland, 1945-56, and had issue one son and six daughters; died 5 March 1951; will proved 16 June 1951 (estate £998);
(3) Mary Bagot (1889-1976), born 20 September 1889; married, 14 June 1910 at Heversham (Westmld.), Sir Vincent Strickland Jones (later Vincent-Jones) (1874-1967), kt., of Little Meadow, Beaconsfield (Bucks) and Grand Falls, Newfoundland (Canada), second son of Canon William Jones of Burneside (Westmld), and had issue one son and one daughter; died 16 October 1976; will proved 24 January 1977 (estate £8,943);
(4) Sir Alan Drummond Bagot (1896-1920), 1st bt. (q.v.).
He inherited the Levens Hall estate on the death of Gen. the Hon. Arthur Upton in 1883, under the will of his first cousin twice removed, Mary Howard (1785-1877).
He died 1 March 1913 and was buried at Heversham; his will was proved 9 May 1913 (estate £14,055). Theodosia, the Dowager Lady Bagot, married 2nd, 3 June 1920, Rev. Sidney Bellingham Swann (1862-1942), rector of Kingston-by-Sea, Brighton (Sussex); she died 21 February 1940; her will was proved 24 February 1941 (estate £20,326).
|Sir A.D. Bagot (1896-1920)|
He inherited the Levens Hall estate from his father in 1913 and came of age in 1917. At his death it passed first to his uncle, Richard Bagot (1860-1921) and then to his nephew, Oliver Robin Gaskell, later Bagot (1914-2000).
He died of pneumonia at Nice (France), 11 January 1920, whereupon his baronetcy became extinct; he was buried at Heversham (Westmld.), 24 January 1920. His will was proved 23 April 1920 (estate £186,320).
Bagot, Dorothy (k/a Dolly) (1886-1974). Eldest daughter of Josceline Fitzroy Bagot (1854-1913) of Levens Hall and his wife Theodosia, third daughter of Sir John Leslie, 1st bt., of Castle Leslie, Glaslough (Monaghan), born 10 July 1886. She married, 9 May 1905 at Holy Trinity, Marylebone Rd., Westminster (Middx), Henry Melville Gaskell (1879-1954) of Kiddington Hall (Oxon), son of Capt. Henry Brooks Gaskell, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Josceline Gaskell (1906-82), born 1 March 1906; married, 5 November 1941 at St Stephen, South Kensington (Middx) (div.), Barbara (1913-98) (who m2, 22 July 1948 in Brussels (Belgium), Sir William Horace Montagu-Pollock (1903-93), kt., diplomat, son of Sir Montagu Frederick Montagu-Pollock, 3rd bt., and had further issue one son and one daughter), daughter of Peter Hague Jowett, and had issue one daughter (Josceline Rose Gaskell (b. 1943), author and cookery writer, who married, 1967 (div., 2000), the broadcaster David Dimbleby (b. 1938), and had issue one son and two daughters); died 12 July 1982;
(2) Diana Helen Gaskell (1909-2000), born 10 July 1909; married 1st, 2 May 1933 (div.) at Kiddington, Gavin Robert Sligh (1910-82) (who m2, 5 July 1947 (div. 1962), the Hon. Margaret Bertha Ward (1914-2013), daughter of Maxwell Richard Crosbie Ward, 6th Viscount Bangor and formerly wife of Lt-Col. Desmond Charles Forde (1906-61); and m3, 1962, Barbara W. Stanhope) of Pednor House (Bucks), and had issue one son and one daughter; married 2nd, 1956, Arthur Taylor; died 17 April 2000;
(3) Oliver Robin Gaskell (later Bagot) (1914-2000) (q.v.).
Her husband inherited Kiddington Hall (Oxon) in 1907 but sold it in 1953.
She died in London, 5 May 1974; her will was proved 20 June 1974 (estate £29,400). Her husband died at Levens Hall, 21 October 1954; his will was proved 11 December 1954 (estate £93,859).
|Robin Bagot (1914-2000)|
(1) Priscilla Bagot (b. 1939); artist; JP; married 1st, 17 September 1960 (div. 1964), Sir Edward Humphrey Tyrrell Wakefield, 2nd bt., of Chillingham Castle (Northbld), son of Sir Edward Birkbeck Wakefield, 1st bt.; married 2nd, 1967, Erik George Sebastian Smith (1931-2004), classical music producer, and had issue two daughters; now living;
(2) Charles Henry Bagot (b. 1946) (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Dorothy Bagot (b. 1947), born August 1947; Director of British Cattle Breeders Society, 2007-13; Devon County Agricultural Assoc., 2011-date and Devon Cattle Breeders Society, 1992-95, 2010-13, 2014-17; married, 30 September 1967 at Levens, Mark Roper (b. 1935), of Forde Abbey (Dorset), son of Geoffrey Desmond Roper of Forde Abbey, and had issue three daughters; now living;
(4) Lucinda Bagot (b. 1950), born Jul-Sept 1950; married, Apr-Jun 1969 (div. 1993), Michael Victor Sclater (b. 1945), writer and film director, and had issue one son and one daughter; now living.
He inherited Levens Hall from his great-uncle, Richard Bagot, in 1921, and came of age in 1935. He handed the house on to his son in 1975.
He died 29 January 2000; his will was proved 19 May 2000. His widow died 21 March 2003; her will was proved 30 July 2003.
|Hal Bagot (b. 1946)|
(1) Jessica Mary Bagot (b. 1977), born Jul-Sept. 1977; married, July 2000, Christopher James Hattam (b. c.1968), teacher, son of Lionel Barrie Hattam, and had issue one daughter;
(2) Laura Elizabeth Bagot (b. 1979), born Apr-Jun 1979;
(3) Richard Alexander Bagot (b. 1981) (q.v.);
(4) Harry Josceline Bagot (b. 1983), born October 1983; property developer in London.
He was given Levens Hall by his father in 1975, and handed it over to his son, Richard, in 2014.
Bagot, Richard Alexander (b. 1981). Elder son of Charles Henry (Hal) Bagot (b. 1946) and his wife Susan Elizabeth, daughter of Ian Alexander Ross, born December 1981. Educated at Sedbergh School, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester (BA, 2004) and Napier University (MSc, 2006). Landowner and farmer. He married, 2013 at Levens, Naomi Gillian M. (b. 1987), daughter of Martin Kelly of Winchfield (Hants), and has issue:
(1) Oliver Baxter Bagot (b. 2016), born 17 February 2016.
He was given Levens Hall by his father in 2014.
Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1924, pp. 180-182; Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 22 January 1913, p.6; A. Hellyer, 'Riddles of the parklands', Country Life, 15 September 1988, pp. 200-04; A. Wells-Cole, Art and decoration in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, 1997, pp. 197-200; J. Musson, 'Levens Hall', Country Life, 6 December 2001, pp. 110-15; A. Taylor, The Websters of Kendal, 2004, pp. 116-17; guidebook to Levens Hall and Gardens, n.d. [c.2007]; M. Hyde & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cumbria, 2010, pp. 492-95.
Location of archives
Bagot and Howard of Levens Hall: deeds, estate papers, family and household papers, 13th-20th cents [Private Collection]
Coat of arms
Ermine, two chevrons azure.
Can you help?
Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch. Can anyone:
- Throw any further light on the architectural development of Levens Hall?
- Provide more information about the life or career George Talbot Bagot (1820-1907).
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 18 December 2017 and updated 12 April 2018. I am grateful to Julian Munby for a correction.