The De Teissiers Of Woodcote Park

Part 1 - Ancestors And Siblings Of The 1st Baron De Teissier

Woodcote Park c.1816
Woodcote Park c.1816 by Hassell
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection

The branch of the de Teissier family which interests us originated in Nice, moved to Anduze in Languedoc-Roussillon, and later Geneva. The de Teissiers were refugees, having fled France because of religious persecution. In 1598 King Henry IV of France promulgated the Edict of Nantes, which allowed religious freedom to the French Protestants (Huguenots). However, the power of the Roman Catholic cardinals, principally Mazarin and Richelieu, was rising and in about 1665 Louis XIV was persuaded to instigate a policy of persecuting the Huguenots; in 1685 the Edict of Nantes was revoked.

Plaque in Nantes commemorating the 1598 Edict.
Plaque in Nantes commemorating the 1598 Edict.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
Notice announcing the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The revocation led to many Huguenots fleeing the country and by the end of the 17th century about 200,000 had gone abroad to Protestant countries in Europe, such as Switzerland, Holland and England. The de Teissiers who came to London from Geneva in 1712 were Jacques (known in England as James) and his wife, Charlotte (née Loubier), and these two families were in business together in London. One of Jacques and Charlotte's children was Lewis (the anglicised version of Louis), born in about 1736, and he was a merchant in silk and other commodities.

Four Times of the Day-Noon, by William Hogarth
Four Times of the Day-Noon, by William Hogarth. This engraving of 1738 depicts Huguenots leaving the French Church in Soho, London.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

The de Teissiers worshipped at the church of St Peter le Poer (often spelt St Peter le Poor), then situated at Broad Street in the City of London, but subsequently relocated to Friern Barnet in North London, and many of them were buried there.

The original site of St Peter Le Poer church
The original site of St Peter Le Poer church at the junction of Old Broad Street and Austin Friars in the City of London.
Photograph by Bashereyre and released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Lewis, who bought Woodcote Park, Epsom in 1787, was married three times. Firstly, in 1760 he married Ann Noguier, who died aged 40 in 1776; there were no children. His next wife was a clergyman's daughter, Frances Elkins, by whom he had a daughter, Frances. Frances Senior died in January 1779, aged 21, and Frances Junior in 1793, aged 14. He then married, in 1780, Mary Gardner, born in Northamptonshire in about 1759, and they had four surviving children, being Lewis (born 4 Nov 1780), Mary Dyranda (13 October 1781), George (27 March 1788 - 1790) and James (17 March 1794). Lewis died at Woodcote Park in 1811, apparently from an apoplectic fit, and his widow, Mary, continued to live there until her own death in 1848. Lewis Senior, all three wives and Frances Junior were buried at St Peter Le Poer.

The memorial tablet for Lewis was later moved to the French Hospital in Victoria Park Road, Hackney. Owing to rebuilding and development on the St Peter le Poer site, most of the de Teissier remains were re-interred at Ilford Cemetery. The inscriptions in St Peter Le Poer were as follows.

Latin inscription Approximate translation
Hic Juxta Situ Sunt
In Comitatu Surriae Armigeri
Mercator Londinensis
Virtute et probitate
Maximo honore habitus
Hospitio et muniificenti á celeberimus
Diu ... (unknown word)
Obiit 30 Die Octob.
AD 1811, Ætatis suae 75

Near to this place lie
The Bones
Of Lewis de Teissier of Woodcote
In the County of Surrey Esquire
Merchant of London
Honest and virtuous
Of the greatest honourable character
Renowned for hospitality and munificence
For a long time ...
Died 30th October
AD 1811, aged 75

In the Chancel are the Remains of
JAMES TEISSIER, Esq, Father of the above L. TEISSIER
Born 1697, died in 1705 (note: this should be 1765)

Died 1776, both Natives of Geneva
To which Place the Parents of the above had
Retired from Anduze in Languedoc
When the further persecution of the Protestants,
Occasioned by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes
Brought them to England in 1712.

The De Teissier Tablet St Michael Cornhill
The De Teissier Tablet St Michael Cornhill.
Photograph courtesy of Bay Leahy © 2018.

Thanks to Bay Leahy, who is a member of the Friends of City Churches we now know about another memorial tablet, which is high up on a wall inside the church of St Michael, Cornhill, City of London. The tablet is quite worn in places and binoculars were required, but it seems to read as follows:

To the memory of his revered and beloved mother Mary de Teissier
of Woodcote Park Surrey and his brother Lewis late a captain of
HM the 50th regiment of Foot and his sister Mary late the wife of
Admiral JRS Prevost RN, whose remains were deposited in his vault in this church.
This tablet is placed here by James Baron de Teissier of Woodcote Park Surrey,
of the descendants of Hugh Teissiers Grand Judiciary of Nice in 1548
by Gabrielle de Morthier his wife, now settled in England.
Those in France being the Barons Teissiers de Marguerittes and,
up to the period of the revolution, Barons des etats de Languedoc.

Lewis de Teissier Junior (1780-1817)

Lewis Junior was a Captain in the 50th Regiment of Foot. In 1806 he married Harriet Price, from the Price family of Rhiwlas, who was born in Bala, Merionethshire in 1782. He lived in a number of places including Lamb Conduit street and Thames Ditton. Lewis and Harriet had two daughters, both born in Epsom, being Mary Anne Noguier (1810) and Louisa Elizabeth Harriet Kenrick (1814). Harriet died (possibly) in 1814 and Lewis in 1817 at his mother's residence at Woodcote Park.

Both Mary and Louisa married into the Phillips family of Bushbury, now a suburb of Wolverhampton. In 1831 at St George, Hanover Square, London, Mary married George Phillips (born c.1794), a landed proprietor and fundholder, and Louisa married his brother, Escricke (c.1787), in 1836 at St Martin's, Epsom.

Mary died in 1840, aged 29, at her home, Picton Villa, Leamington Priors, Warwickshire. There were no surviving children. George continued to live at Picton Villa with his three spinster sisters and died in 1885, aged 91.

Escricke Phillips was a farmer and bloodstock breeder and his biggest success was the win of his horse 'Truth' in the 1851 Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket. He died in 1871, followed by Louisa in 1873. Their children were Louisa (1839), Henrietta Georgina (1840-1913, unmarried), Henry (1842-78, married Louise Sidney), Barbara Mary (1843-1928, married Edward Hyatt), Annette (1844-1904, married Francis Hemingsley and Richard Boraston) and William Churchill (1845-1927).

Mary Dyranda de Teissier (1781-1831)

Mary Dyranda married widower Captain (later Rear-Admiral) James Prévost RN in 1814 at St Peter le Poer. James was born in Canada in about 1772, the son of General Augustine Prévost (1723-86) from Geneva and Anne Grand, daughter of General Grand, an Amsterdam financier. The Prévosts were another Huguenot family who had fled from France to Switzerland and Augustine spent much time in North America where he was one of the Commanders of the Royal American Regiment (later the King's Royal Rifle Corps); he fought in the Indian Wars in Canada and in the American Revolutionary War, was seriously wounded (note the large dent in his forehead in the picture below) and was famous for commanding the defence of Savannah, Georgia against the French in 1779.

General Augustine Prévost by Mather Brown
General Augustine Prévost by Mather Brown.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Another of Augustine's sons was Sir George Prévost (1767-1816), Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia and, later, commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America and Governor-in-Chief of British North America. Both Augustine and George returned to England towards the end of their lives and were buried in St Mary's Church, East Barnet, Hertfordshire.

General Sir George Prévost by Jean-Baptiste Roy-Audy
General Sir George Prévost by Jean-Baptiste Roy-Audy.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

James's first wife, whom he married in 1799, was Frances Sophia (known as Fanny), daughter of the Reverend Dr Francis Haultain, sometime Rector of Weybridge. (The Haultains were probably another family of Huguenot refugees: they eventually settled in and around Mitcham and had a family vault at Banstead). James and Frances had one surviving son and three daughters, two of whom were Louisa (1808) and Fanny Maria (c.1812). The son, Admiral James Charles Prévost (c. 1806-91), was known for his involvement in the San Juan Pig War - (see Frances died in 1813; Fanny Maria probably died in 1847 in Alverstoke, Hampshire.

James and Mary Dyranda had five children, who were Lewis de Teissier (born in 1814), Henrietta (c.1819), Annette (c.1819), Amelia Charlotte (c.1820, fate unknown) and Thomas William (c.1824).

Mary died at Alverstoke on 28 August 1831 and was buried in St Peter Le Poer; James died in 1855.

The Prévost tomb at St Mary the Virgin, East Barnet.
The Prévost tomb at St Mary the Virgin, East Barnet.
Photo given to Tom Todd by the Prévost family and used with permission.

Lewis de Teissier Prévost (1814-1907)

Lewis was a naval officer and, if the internet is anything to go by, his biggest claim to fame was an engagement with the slave brig, 'Borboleta', off Lagos in 1845. He was at the time a Lieutenant in the brig 'Pantaloon' and was sent out with the ship's boats to capture the slaver, which he did. Swift promotion followed and he was subsequently appointed commander of the 'Pantaloon'. However, this command did not last for very long, owing to a couple of errors of judgement on his part.

Capture of the 'Borboleta' by boats from the 'Pantaloon'.
Capture of the 'Borboleta' by boats from the 'Pantaloon'.
Image source: Illustrated London News 6 Sep 1845

In September 1848 'Pantaloon' was in the Cape Verde Islands and received a request for assistance from a sloop called 'Ranger', which had run aground off Porto Grande. 'Ranger' was floated off , but she was holed, and the intention was to heave her down on to her side so that the carpenters could effect a repair. Error Number 1 was that Lewis delegated the operation to a subordinate, who did not secure 'Ranger' as tightly as he might have done, and during bad weather in the night she came adrift and sank. Despite requests for further assistance to refloat her, Lewis concluded that nothing further could be done (Error Number 2) and sailed away. Five days later, with help from elsewhere, 'Ranger' was brought up and repaired. In July 1849 Lewis was court-martialled on board 'HMS Victory' and dismissed his ship. However, this was not the end of his career, as he was subsequently promoted to Captain, although one cannot help wondering if there would have been another Admiral Prévost but for the events at Porto Grande.

In 1844, in Malta, Lewis had married Elizabeth Handy from Crossmolina, County Mayo, Ireland. I have been able to identify only two surviving children who were Lewis de Teissier (born in October 1844 in Dublin) and William (born on 17 February 1847 in Southampton).

Lewis de Teissier Prévost Junior had two careers. Initially he was an officer cadet at Sandhurst, passing out in 1867, and ended up as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; he then became a barrister and a Fellow of the Royal Geological Society. He married Annie Mason Dow of Montreal and they had two children, Alice Gertrude (born c. 1867 in Trinidad, died 1935 Hastings) and Major William Prévost (born 1870 Limerick, died 1929, educated at Eton and Sandhurst).

Lewis Junior's brother, William, was educated at Cambridge University and became a Major in the Army. He married Scot Jane Dall in 1880. William died in January 1889 in Hong Kong. There were two sons that I know about. George de Teissier Prévost was born in Blackheath (then Kent) and appeared in the 1891 census, but then seems to have dropped off the radar. Edward William De Teissier Prévost was born in Edinburgh in about 1885; he became a senior police officer on the Gold Coast, West Africa and probably died in Devon in 1957.

Henrietta Prévost (c.1819-48)

Henrietta married Lieutenant (later Rear Admiral) Robert Tryon (c.1811-90). She died on 1 August 1848 and was buried at St Mary's, Alverstoke. There were no children. Robert married twice more.

Annette Prévost (c.1819-1885)

Annette married Charles Walpole, later known as Vade-Walpole (1813-91), who was a civil servant. He was also the brother of Catherine Margaret Walpole, who became the second wife of Annette's uncle, James de Teissier (1st Baron) - see Part 2. Annette and Charles lived in various places, but ended up in Chobham, Surrey. Their son was Sir Charles George Walpole JP, FRGS (knighted 1897), who was President of the District Court of Cyprus from 1882, Attorney General of the Leeward Islands 1889, Chief Justice of Gibraltar 1892, Chief Justice of the Bahamas 1897 and Chairman of Surrey Quarter Sessions.

Sir Charles first married, in 1877, Maria Elizabeth Forde from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, who died in 1914. They had three children, who were Charles Archibald (1881), John Robsart (1882) and Kathleen Cypria (born in Larnaca, Cyprus in 1884). After Maria's death he married widow Marie Bowles Seton (née Wallace).

In 1926 Sir Charles was found dead at his London home, Kensington Court, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the temple. The inquest heard that earlier in the day he had suffered partial sunstroke and concluded that he had become temporarily insane as a result. This was a very strange coincidence, since, in 1899, George Whithall, the gardener at his Surrey estate - Broadford, Chobham - , had thrown himself under a train on his wedding day and that suicide was also attributed to sunstroke. Marie died in 1928.

Charles Archibald Walpole OBE, FRGS was at one time manager of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company; he died in 1943. John Robsart (sometimes recorded as John Robert) was a regular Army officer, but resigned his commission in 1910 and became a rubber planter in Malaya. In 1914 he purchased a small estate in Antigua and then rejoined the Army as a Captain. He was killed in action on the Somme on 1 July 1916 and buried in Dantzig Alley Cemetery, Mametz.

John R Walpole's grave in Dantzig Alley Cemetery
John R Walpole's grave in Dantzig Alley Cemetery
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

Kathleen Cypria died in Cornwall in 1922, less than three years after her marriage to Denis Arthur Turpin.

Thomas William Prévost (c.1824-1911)

Thomas was a Colonel in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and a Justice of the Peace. He married Thomasina Catherine Dewing (c.1827-96) in 1850 in Glasgow. Their two children were Edward William (born 1851 Carlisle) and Francis Augustine (born c.1861 Stanwix, Cumberland). The family eventually settled in the Cheltenham area.

Edward William was initially a Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester but, by 1891, he was living on his own means. He married Emma Euphemia Proudfoot and died on 7 October 1920.

Francis Augustine died in Barnstaple, Devon on 26 March 1920. His widow, Maud, remarried the following year and died in 1925. One of their daughters, Annette Maud (born 1892, Bombay), was a Nursing Sister in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, at the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, during the First World War; she died, unmarried, on 19 November 1918, probably as a result of the Spanish Flu pandemic, and was buried in a naval grave at Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham, Kent. She is commemorated on the Women's Screen at York Minster.

The naval section at Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham
The naval section at Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2011

The 1st Baron de Teissier, James, will be the subject of Part 2.

Linda Jackson - © December 2011

Links to Part 2 and Part 3

Adam Hogg
Adam Hogg
Hilda Andrews
Hilda Andrews
The Glyns
The Glyns
Journey Time
Journey Time
Thomas Tresize
Thomas Tresize
Blake Charles
Blake Charles
Blake Girls
Blake Girls
Barnards of Epsom
Barnards of Epsom
EW Martin
EW Martin