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Page history last edited by Peter Tipton 11 years, 12 months ago


The following article was prepared by Peter Tipton in 2004 to support the research into the history of Firgrove Manor garden carried out by Elizabeth Tipton over several years for the Hampshire Gardens Trust. The purpose of the article was to demonstrate the close relationships between Wadham Wyndham's family and John James of Greenwich, the architect who lived a few miles away at Warbrook, a house he designed for his own use. This article is the most up-to-date research on the Wyndhams of Yateley and Eversley



Wadham Wyndham of Fir Grove, Eversley had an elder brother Thomas and a sister Elizabeth. All three were the children of Thomas Wyndham (d.1698), of Wildcourt (a tithing of Hawkchurch in Dorset) who had been MP for Yarmouth in 1685, and for Wilton in the parliaments of 1689 and 1690-95.


Wadham's elder brother Thomas married Elizabeth Helyar, who had inherited the largest estate in Yateley in 1722. Thomas started to pay Poor Rate in Yateley on 16 Apr 1723. Elizabeth died in childbirth and was buried at St Peter’s Yateley on 4 Jan 1731. Her baby son Thomas was baptised on 13 Jan 1731, surviving only until 13 April. When she died Elizabeth's son Helyar Wadham Wyndham (bap. 10 Oct 1724) was six years old and her daughter Anne (bap. 3 Aug 1726, later Anne Lady Cope) was four. After the death of his wife Thomas continued to live at Hall Place, Yateley and was buried at St Peter's on 7 Feb 1763. It is possible that a female member of the Wyndham family helped widower Thomas Wyndham bring up his young family. He did not rebuild or modernise his mediaeval house in Yateley. However he continued to enlarge the estate by purchase of land, and the Red Lion at Blackwater. His major acquisition, from Lord Castlemaine, was the Minley estate, an ancient manor in the southern part of Yateley Parish. Thomas Wyndham was a JP and served on the bench at Odiham with other local JPs, including Richard Jervoise of Herriard, George Pitt of Stratfieldsaye (ca 1663-1734) and Sir John Cope of Bramshill (1673-1749). Thomas Wyndham had thus been living in Yateley for about 13 years when his younger brother Wadham Wyndham purchased Fir Grove, a mile or so to the west in Eversley.


Wadham Wyndham's sister Elizabeth married William Pitt (1701-1773) at St George's, Hanover Square on 31 May 1733. Elizabeth's husband was the eldest son of George Pitt (d.1734) of Stratfieldsaye by his second marriage (ca.1699) to Lora Grey. On his father's death in 1694 George Pitt had inherited the estate at Stratfieldsaye which, on his own death in 1734, passed to the only son, another George (d.1745), of his first marriage to Lucy Pile. George's second wife, Lora Grey, was the heiress of the Grey estates at Kingston Maurward near Dorchester. Between 1717 and 1720 George Pitt and Lora decided to build an new house at Kingston Maurward. This house is now attributed to John James of Greenwich, who had previously carried out work at Stratfieldsaye for George Pitt. On George Pitt's death William Pitt and his wife inherited Kingston Maurward. Wadham Wyndham’s sister Elizabeth was thus living in a John James house when Wadham came to Fir Grove in 1736. Elizabeth had been married in a fashionable new church designed by John James and her father-in-law was the patron of John James' father, the Rev John James, Rector of Stratfield Turgis until the latter's death in his late 80s earlier in the same year as Elizabeth's marriage.


George Pitt (ca 1663-1734) of Stratfieldsaye and of Kingston Maurward, and Diamond Pitt (1653-1726) of nearby Swallowfield were second cousins. They are both descended from Sir William Pitt (1559-1639) Comptroller of James I's household. George Pitt was Sir William's greatgrandson via the line which had purchased Stratfieldsaye. 'Diamond' Pitt was also Sir William's greatgrandson, but via a line of clergymen of Blandford. George Pitt is said to have been the godfather of William Pitt the elder (1708-1778), who was 'Diamond' Pitt’s grandson.


George Pitt's second son by his second wife, John Pitt (1704-1787), served in William Pitt the elder's government. John Pitt was an amateur architect and built Encombe in Purbeck over many years, said to be with the help of John James of Greenwich. 'Diamond' Pitt’s garden at Swallowfield is the only garden for which there is documentary evidence that John James of Greenwich was involved in the design of its features. There was a close relationship between 'Diamond Pitt' and Wadham Wyndham's sister's father-in-law, and another close relationship between William Pitt the Elder and John Pitt, Wadham Wyndham’s sister’s brother-in-law. Wadham Wyndham's wife Catherine Chandler was his own cousin-once-removed, both being descended from Sir Wadham Wyndham 1609-1668, counsel for the prosecution of regicides, and judge of the King’s Bench 1660-8 (DNB). Catherine Chandler’s grandmother was Barbara Wyndham, sister of Thomas Wyndham of Wildcourt, Wadham of Fir Grove's father. The major work on the Wynhams of this period is "A Family History 1699-1837: The Wyndhams of Somerset, Sussex and Wiltshire", by The Hon H A Wyndham Oxford 1950.



Thomas of Wild Court's second son, Wadham of Eversley, was a different type from his brother Thomas. The patrimony he received from his father being small, he entered the service of the South Sea Company as its Chief Factor in Vera Cruz. But in 1732 his marriage with his first cousin-once-removed, Catherine, daughter and co-heiress of Edward Chandler, Bishop of Durham, who brought with her a dowry of £8000, added to his business ability, which is attested by the investments in public funds, mortgages, and other securities bequeathed in his will, and enabled him to build Fir Grove at Eversley in Hampshire. Furthermore, in 1741 he became Chief Clerk to the Commissioners for managing the duties on parchments and legal papers and the rates to be paid to clerks and apprentices (Cal. Tr. Books and Papers, 1739-41, 642). He held the appointment until 1758. He and his wife were a happy, though childless, couple, and their only memorial is the monument in the church which Wadham desired in his will "to be put up mentioning whom I married and the year when we came to settle in the parish" at a cost of not more than £30 (PCC Warburton, 278). His investments were left in a trust by which they came ultimately into the possession of Wadham of the College and the Guards. page 188-9


Wadham was able to return to Catherine the whole amount of her dowry when he died. The copyheld farmland which was included with the house was not sufficient to produce a large income. This implies that Wadham and Catherine lived on the income from his employment and their investments, much as a person would today. Other than for his brother Thomas, this was the financial pattern for other mansions in next-door Yateley, effectively a retirement village of mansions owned by employees of the East India Company.


Neither Wadham & Catherine Wyndham nor William & Elizabeth Pitt had any children, so Wadham's widowed brother’s children were the only children to survive their uncles and aunts. Helyar Wadham Wyndham, Thomas of Yateley’s only surviving son, and nephew to Wadham of Fir Grove, inherited the Yateley copyhold estates according to manorial custom. Helyar Wadham Wyndham never married. On his death, and since his sister Anne, Lady Cope of Bramshill, had already died, Helyar’s next heir was his cousin Anne who had married James Everard Arundell. The latter succeeded to the barony of Arundell of Wardour and eventually sold the Yateley estates.


The only surviving copies of manorial records for the Wyndham estates in Yateley and Eversley were found in the records of the Lords Arundell of Wardour in the Wiltshire Record Office. The Fir Grove estate should have passed according to manorial custom to Helyar Wadham Wyndham of Yateley and then to his rightful heirs, as did the Yateley estates. However Wadham and Catherine Wyndham had surrendered the copyholding to the terms of their wills. Wadham left "all my lands and houses wheresoever unto my dear wife Catherine Wyndham for her life and after her death, to my nephew Helyer Wadham Wyndham and his issue male, but if he dies without a son lawfully begotten, I then leave them to my cousin Henry Penruddock Wyndham son of my cousin Henry Wyndham and his issues male or heirs male". Since Helyar Wadham Wyndham died dsp, ‘Pen’ Wyndham thus inherited the Fir Grove estate. This is confirmed by the Poor Rates for the part of the Fir Grove estate in Yateley, and by the Land Tax Returns for Eversley. From these taxation records it appears that it was Pen Wyndham who sold on the copyholding of Fir Grove to Robert Broff.


Isaac Taylor’s Map of Hampshire 1759 provides an alphabetical list of 577 'Gentleman’s names, giving a number with which to locate their residence on his map. Both 'Wadham Windham Esq Eversley 546’ and 'Thos. Windham Esq Yately 544' are included on Taylor's list, attesting to their social standing and to the topographical importance of their houses. Although John James' own house in Eversley merits Taylor’s house symbol as a topgraphical feature, the owner/occupant does not appear to have had sufficient standing to be included in his list of gentlemen. Other gentleman listed by Taylor are 'Richard Jervoise, Herriard 277', 'George Pitt, Stratfieldsaye 379', and the 'Rt Hon the Earl of Tilney (sic) Tilney House 401'. The only other house in Yateley listed by Taylor is Yateley Hall (then known as Calcotts), the residence of the late Rumney Diggle who had purchased the property in 1732 and was buried in Yateley 22 Sep 1754. Yateley Hall had a well document garden, described in the sale particulars when the

house was advertised for Mr Gery in 1671/2 by Clayton & Morris: "The house is surrounded by a large deep moat which supports very fat carp together with a large stock of a variety of other fish. The moat could be let to a fishmonger for F20 per annum. Inside the moat is a pleasant garden, with paths planted each side with Kentish Codlings and cherry hedges and the walls covered with vines and all manner of choice fruit. There is a very strong new drawbridge. Outside the Moat there is an attractive courtyard with a pleasant path leading to the drawbridge, planted on both sides with Cypress trees and with the courtyard walls covered with apricots and plums. There are two more gardens or orchards which are very richly planted with all kinds of winter and summer fruit. At one end of the orchard is a neat Summerhouse with a wide path leading to it, planted on each side with cherry trees. To one side of the orchard is a little grove with a good group of mature oaks, and a small group of osiers (willow trees) alongside it. The property comprises about 4 or 5 acres altogether, and is very well fenced, with pales set on a high bank and a deep ditch before it. Associated with the property, there is a backyard with outhouses, serving as barns, stable, wood house, cow house and turf house, and also many rights to use the Common, having unlimited access to firewood, the right to keep an unlimited number of cattle, and plenty of timber and water. The property is situated in Hampshire, in a very healthy and wholesome area, bordering Windsor Forest, within 2 miles of Blackwater and 4 miles of Bagshot.


It is interesting to note that peaches and apricots were being grown at Yateley Hall a full century before the peach garden was recorded in advertisements for Fir Grove. Perhaps this garden was a local influence on Wadham and Catherine Wyndham as to what they could expect to grow.


Appendix II of 'The History of Yateley' by G H Stilwell edited by Sydney Loader is a list (extracted from 'Bramshill' by Sir William Cope, Bart) of all the pictures and paintings of the Wyndham family then at Bramshill. These pictures included (no. 10) a pastel of Mr Wadham Wyndham of Fir Grove. Picture no. 36 is of Wadham Wyndham’s brother Thomas Wyndham of Hawkchurch, Dorset and of Yateley, Hants, father of Anne Lady Cope (16). Sir William Cope described the picture as "In murrey-coat, with sword; holding his hat in his right hand." Picture no 41 is of Mr. Helyar Wadham Wyndham, Wadham Wyndham's nephew, described by Sir William Cope as "Half length. In brown velvet coat, white satin waistcoat; the right hand in the pocket, the left on his sword; his hat under his left arm. Architectural background. Son of Mr. Wyndham of Yateley (36) and brother of Anne, Lady Cope (16). Buried in Yateley Church. Died 3rd February, 1789, aged 64."


There are two pictures of Wadham Wyndham's sister (inscribed on the back as "Elizabeth, daur of Thomas Wyndham (of Hawkchurch, Dorset), wife to William Pitt, of Kingston, Dorset. ob. circa 1760 aet, 65." Arms on the picture; Pitt impaling Wyndham. Half length, seated; in white satin and lace; in her right hand flowers. A most beautiful and pleasing portrait. I do not know by whom it was painted. Mrs. Pitt was aunt of Anne, Lady Cope (16). *Correction, this is a mistake; the codicil of her will is dated 25th November, 1765, about which time she died, aged 70. She was born in 1695. See also no. 134." Of the second picture (no.134) also of Mrs. Pitt, Sir William wrote "Elizabeth Wyndham, wife of William Pitt, and aunt of Anne (Wyndham)Lady Cope (16). A charming portrait of the same person as no. 14 in the Red Drawing Room. She holds in her right hand a volume of the 'Spectator' open at 385 which contains as essay 'On Friendship;' a fitting attribute of this lady, who seems, from some of her papers in my possession, to have been of a most amiable disposition, and loving to her friends. She died about 1765."


The Yateley Society has been trying to trace the present whereabouts of these Wyndham portraits, without success, for 25 years. The whereabouts of Sir William's 'papers' concerning Mrs Elizabeth Pitt née Wyndham is also unknown.


John James of Greenwich carried out considerable works for both sides of the Pitt family. Wadham Wyndham's sister Elizabeth had married William Pitt and, in 1736, was living in the house John James designed at Kingston Maurward(1). The Pitt family seat was at Stratfieldsaye a few miles west of Eversley(2). Elizabeth's father-in-law, George Pitt of Stratfieldsaye had been patron to John James's father, Rector of Stratfield Turgis (1717-1733)(3). Early in his career John James had designed Herriard Park, near Basingstoke, Hants for Thomas Jervoise(4). Wadham's brother Thomas sat as a magistrate with Richard Jervoise, his son. John James built his own house in Eversley in 1724(5), in which year he rebuilt the nave at St Mary's Eversley(6). In 1735, the year Wadham Wyndham purchased the property at Fir Grove, John James built the tower to St Mary's(5}. In 1733 Wadham's sister Elizabeth had been married to William Pitt at St George’s Hanover Square(7), John James’s fashionable new church. Dr Sally Jeffery and John Brushe have attributed Fir Grove to John James on stylistic grounds. The balance of probabilities, considering both stylistic grounds and family connections and influences, is that John James designed the new house at Fir Grove for Wadham & Catherine Wyndham, and at least influenced the design of their garden.



1. George Pitt (ca. 1663-1734), Stratfieldsaye, Hants, carpentry? 1700-10 SJ cat no 70

George Pitt (ca. 1663-1734), Kingston Mauward, Dorset 1717-1720 SJ cat no 54

Thomas ’Diamond’ Pitt (1653-1726), Swallowfield Park, Berks 1718-1726 SJ cat no 71

John Pitt (1704-1787), Encombe, Dorset 1734 SJ cat no 44

2. George Pitt (d.1745 ) at Stratfieldsaye

3. Stratfield Turgis parish registers, HRO. Rev John James was buried 20 Feb 1733

4. Thomas Jervoise (), Herriard, Hampshire 1703-1706 SJ cat no 48

5. John James (1673-1746), Warbrook, Eversley, Hants 1724 SJ cat no 73

6. St Mary’s Eversley, Hants 1724 SJ cat no 4

7. St George’s Hanover Square, 1721-1725 SJ cat no 10

Catalogue numbers are taken from Dr Sally Jeffery: 'John James' unpublished doctoral thesis, London University, 1986, reference in Colvin.






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