The Gadesden Family Of Ewell Castle

Part 2 - Augustus William Gadesden

The early years

Augustus William Gadesden
Augustus William Gadesden
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

As mentioned in Part 1, Augustus William was the only son of James and Maria Gadesden. He was born on 10 May 1816 in London.

Unlike many Victorian merchants and tradesmen, James obviously did not believe in mollycoddling his heir by letting him into the business at the top, to sit around with his well-shod feet on a big desk. Augustus was to be 'hands on' and was sent to his father's former partner, Samuel Thornton of Hull, to do a proper indentured apprenticeship in sugar refining for seven years. The indenture was made during the reign of William IV (the actual date is missing from the copy I have seen), so that would be before 21 June 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended the throne. James Gadesden had a business called 'Gadesden & Son' by 1846. Presumably Augustus had already completed his apprenticeship and had probably done so by 11 September 1843, when he married Emma Barkworth in the Sculcoates area of Hull.

The Barkworths

It is necessary to look at the Barkworths, since they will make other appearances in due course.

Emma Barkworth was born in 1820 at Kirk Ella, near Hull, the daughter of John Barkworth, timber merchant, and Emma Boulderson. They lived at Tranby House, Hessle, near Hull and the family owned the Barkworth and Hawkes shipyard at Hessle Cliff. Tranby House is now Hessle High School.

Probably the most noteworthy Barkworth of Tranby House - and the last - was Mr Algernon Henry Barkworth JP (1864-1945) who, apart from being a local dignitary, had the best conversation-stopping line one could think of:- 'I survived the Titanic'. And he did, apparently pausing only to gather his fur coat, briefcase and a lifebelt, before plunging into the icy water.

Two of Emma Barkworth's brothers were John Boulderson and Harold Barkworth and their offspring will feature later on. Barkworths crop up at regular intervals in the Gadesden saga.

Where Augustus lived

As mentioned, Augustus had spent time in the Hull area whilst learning the sugar trade and in 1839 'His Majesty the King of Hanover' (Ernest Augustus, son of George III of England and Uncle of Queen Victoria) appointed him the Hanoverian consul to Hull. This is a system, still existing today, whereby a foreign state appoints a local official in a city abroad to represent that state's citizens there and to facilitate trade. Continuation of the appointment was conditional on Augustus remaining in Hull, but he did not stay many more years and during the 1840s he moved to Tooting Graveney (Lower Tooting in South London). His father died in 1856 and he inherited Ewell Castle but he was in no hurry to move in, possibly because his mother was still alive and in residence there.

There is evidence from censuses that the family had premises in Brighton & Hove, Sussex and in the 1861 census Augustus and Emma were at home in Tooting Graveney, whilst the children were in the custody of a governess and staff at 54 Regency Square, Brighton. Regency Square has remained largely intact over the intervening period and most of it is Grade II listed.

54 Regency Square, Brighton
54 Regency Square, Brighton.
Image courtesy of Linda Jackson © 2011

In the 1871 census most of the family, including Augustus and Emma, were residing at 20 Brunswick Terrace, Hove, another Grade II listed series of houses (although, like nearly all of the grand houses in Brighton & Hove, they are now mostly converted into flats).

20 Brunswick Terrace, Hove
20 Brunswick Terrace, Hove (front door in Brunswick Square)
Image courtesy of Linda Jackson © 2011

I am not suggesting that these seaside abodes were the main Gadesden residences at that time - they may well have been rented - but Brighton & Hove was an increasingly fashionable place for the well-heeled people of London and Surrey in those days, especially since the establishment of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company in 1846, and no doubt the family spent time there in the spring and summer. It is thought that Augustus William actually took up residence at Ewell Castle in the late 1860s and that is where he remained.

What Augustus did

I can do no better than quote from a comprehensive obituary which appeared in 'The Epsom Observer' of 23 August 1901.
'He was a well-known figure, both in Surrey and in the City, and had filled a good many offices, both public and private, with ability and distinction. The marvel to those who knew him was how he managed to get through so much with such ease, and so unobtrusively. He was DL1 for Middlesex, and JP for Surrey, Middlesex and Tower Hamlets; and at one time, to say nothing of conducting his own business (sugar refining), and being the principal partner in a large colliery in Yorkshire2, he was director (and later trustee) of the London and Westminster Bank3, the New River Company4, the East London Waterworks (of which for some years he was chairman - resigning his seat at the New River Company when he accepted that office)5 and the National Reversionary Company6. He was for fifty years on the Court of the Goldsmith's Company, of which he was three times Prime Warden, and for some years, by request of the King7 - then Prince of Wales - was a member of the Building and Finance Committees of the Imperial Institute8. Even this list does not exhaust the number of his activities. Under the regime of the late Metropolitan Board of Works he was for several years Chairman of the Banstead Lunatic Asylum, in which he took the keenest interest, and to which he devoted a great deal of labour and attention. By way of filling up "spare moments" he would occupy himself with his Ewell property; at one time, when a large farm was thrown upon his hands, turning farmer himself. He served as High Sheriff for the County of Surrey in 18899. It might be thought that in this resumé of Mr Gadesden's work, the case for industry had been overproved - to the detriment possibly of his thoroughness. But this would be an erroneous conclusion; he accomplished his numerous self-imposed tasks, not by scamping (sic) any, but by the expenditure of unstinted energy on all. He was a Conservative, but did not take a very prominent part in politics, owing partly to the pressure of other engagements, and partly to a natural shyness and disinclination to public speaking.'
The newspaper forgot to mention that he liked to ride a tricycle!

Augustus on his tricycle
Augustus on his tricycle
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Augustus's death

Augustus and Emma had nine surviving children, who will be the subject of Part 3 of this series. She died quite unexpectedly on 26 July 1881 and he donated a stained glass window in her memory to St Mary's, Ewell. During the late 1890s he did not enjoy good health and died at Ewell Castle on 15 August 1901. In the same obituary notice from 'The Epsom Observer' of 23 August 1901 there was a description of the funeral and the report is notable for two reasons; firstly, the huge esteem in which Augustus was held , and, secondly, the manner in which newspapers of that time reported funerals. I will, however, spare you the very long list of mourners and floral tributes.
'The funeral of the deceased took place at the old cemetery, Ewell, on Tuesday afternoon amid every sign of mourning. A general gloom and spirit of reverence seemed to pervade the whole village; business houses showed black shutters and drawn blinds and in many of the private houses blinds were also drawn, whilst before the appointed hour of the funeral a muffled peal was rung on the church bells. The first part of the funeral was conducted in the Parish Church, which was well filled with parishioners and friends of the deceased, who were met to pay their last token of respect. The cortège was met at the church by the Rev J Thornton (the late vicar), who had come from Perth especially to conduct the funeral service, Rev E V Bond (curate), and the surpliced choir. The funeral service at the church was read by the Rev E V Bond, the hymn "Lead kindly Light" being sung after the service. The remains were conveyed from the church to the old cemetery on the bier, and as the mournful procession wended its way towards the place of interment the choir sang "O God our help in ages past." At the graveside the remaining part of the service was conducted by the Rev J Thornton, and at the conclusion the choir sang "Now the labourer's task is o'er." The interment took place in the family vault, which contains the remains of the late Mrs. Gadesden , who died on July 16th, 1881, and also of the father and mother of the deceased. The vault was completely lined with evergreens and white flowers, consisting of dahlias, chrysanthemums, asters and phlox, the adornment being the work of the gardeners of Ewell Castle. The coffin, in which was enclosed an elm shell, was of polished oak, with brass fittings, and bore the inscription "Augustus William Gadesden, born May 16th, 1816, died August 15th, 1901."'
Emma and Augustus Inscriptions
The family vault (inscription of Emma and Augustus facing camera).
Image courtesy of Linda Jackson © 2011

Plaque to the memory of Augustus Gadesden in St Mary's, Ewell
Plaque to the memory of Augustus Gadesden in St Mary's, Ewell
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

In Part 3 we shall look at Augustus's children

Linda Jackson © November 2011


Links to previous and next part.

Footnotes

1. Deputy Lieutenant

2. Parkhill Colliery near Wakefield, Yorkshire: it closed in 1982.

3. Following a series of mergers from 1909 onwards this business ended up as part of today's 'NatWest'.

4. This company was established in the very early 17th century, with the intention of literally digging out a new river through London to provide clean water, as opposed to what came out of the existing river. The new river ran from near Hertford to Islington. The enterprise did not turn a profit for a very long time, but finally it made a lot of money for its investors. It is now part of Thames Water.

5. Also now part of Thames Water.

6. An insurance company.

7. Edward V11

8. Later the Commonwealth Institute in South Kensington. This has now moved and Imperial College has some of the original site.

9. As had his father in 1855.


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