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Repository: Essex Record Office
Level: Category

Estate and Family records

Level: Fonds

MAJENDIE FAMILY OF CASTLE HEDINGHAM


 

D/DMh  Introductory Note

 
Level:Sub-Fond
Dates of creation
Scope and contentThe Hedingham Castle estate, comprising the Norman castle at Hedingham and extensive lands in the surrounding parishes, was originally part of the property granted to Aubrey de Vere by William I after the Norman Conquest. The estate subsequently descended through the de Veres, Earls of Oxford, whose history is described in the Rev. Severne A. Ashurst Majendie's Some Account of the Family of De Vere. The Earls of Oxford and of Hedingham Castle in Essex (1904) (see D/DMh F168 or copy in E.R.O. library).
At the end of the 16th century the estate fell briefly into the hands of William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, whose daughter, Anne, was the first wife of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. His ownership resulted in the commission of the survey by Israel Amyce in 1592, which forms part of this collection (D/DMh M1,2). The estate reverted to Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford, the son of the 17th Earl by his second marriage to Elizabeth Trentham, in c.1609, who held it until his death in 1625. In 1655, on the death of Henry's widow, Diana Cecil, the estate became the property of Elizabeth Trentham and her second husband, Bryan Cockayne, second Viscount Cullen.
In 1713 the estate was purchased by Robert Ashurst, the second son of Sir William Ashurst (D/DMh E1-4). Robert Ashurst was responsible for the building of the mansion house at Hedingham Castle in 1719. The estate subsequently descended through the Ashurst family to the Majendie family when in 1783 Lewis Majendie married Elizabeth Hoghton, the granddaughter of William Ashurst of Hedingham Castle.
This collection of estate and family archives relates largely to the period of ownership by the Majendie family from the 18th to the 20th centuries. With the exception of a few isolated documents bearing the de Vere signature (D/DMh C1, D/DMh F32) there are no original de Vere archives amongst these papers. The series of manorial records and title deeds detailed below date from the 14th century and cover the period of ownership by the Earls of Oxford but these preclude any original personal of family papers.
This collection comprises the following categories of record:
Manorial
These include the Amyce Survey of Hedingham Castle, mentioned above, a survey of the estate in 1606 by Robert Treswell Somersett (D/DMh M3) and a late 18th century survey of the manor of Hedingham Upland (D/DMh M20, 21).
The main series of records relate to the following manors:
D/DMh M4-19 Manor of Hedingham Borough, Castle Hedingham, 1510-1851
D/DMh M22-37 Manor of Hedingham Upland, Castle Hedingham, 1513-1850
D/DMh M38-47 Manor of Grays, Sible Hedingham, 1354-1850
D/DMh M48-57 Manor of Prayors, Sible Hedingham, 1477-1850
D/DMh M58-69 Manor of Priors Glascocks, Sible Hedingham, 1584-1844
D/DMh M70-145 Composite records for all five manors, 1490-1915
There is also a series of records for the manor of Wix Hall alias Wix Abbey, 1559-1733 (D/DMh M146-163) and a few isolated records for the Suffolk manors of Beaumonts in Lillesly alias Lindsey, 1675-84 (D/DMh M164-165), Shimpling Thorne, 1656-1765 (D/DMh M166) and Callis Methwolds and Wimbolds, Glemsford n.d. (D/DMh M167).
Title Deeds
The principal estate deeds for Hedingham Castle date from 1619 to 1820 and include the main manors listed above together with lands in Castle Hedingham, Sible Hedingham and Gosfield (D/DMh T1). These deeds also relate to the out-county estates of Bryan Cockayne, Lord Viscount Cullen, in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Kent and the out-county estates of Sir Henry Hoghton in Lancashire, all of which were held at one time with the Hedingham Castle estate. There are also a series of Essex deeds relating to other properties in Castle Hedingham and the surrounding area to the north and east of the county (D/DMh T2-61). These include deeds for the Wix Hall estate of the Warner family, 1505-1716 (D/DMh T48-61).
The principal Suffolk estate deeds, 1472-1731, relate mainly to Holbrook Hall in Great and Little Waldingfield (D/DMh T62-65) with a remaining series of deeds for additional Suffolk properties in Sudbury and elsewhere (D/DMh T66-167). There are also a few deeds for properties in Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (D/DMh T169), Devon (D/DMh T170), London and Middlesex (D/DMh T171-174).
Estate and Family
Although the majority of the records in this collection relate to the Majendie family there are also papers concerning the estates of the interrelated families of Ashurst, Hoghton, Cockayne, Vere Graham, Warner, Hanmer and Mitchell. In addition, the genealogical and antiquarian papers of several members of the Majendie family contain information and transcript material on the history of Hedingham Castle and its previous owners, including the de Veres, Earls of Oxford (D/DMh F1-41).
The following families are prominent within the collection and a brief outline is given of some of their main members;
(i) Ashurst and Hoghton families
Robert Ashurst purchased the Hedingham Castle estate in 1713 and in 1783 his descendant, Elizabeth Hoghton, married Lewis Majendie. Elizabeth Hoghton was the daughter of Sir Henry Hoghton of Hoghton Tower, Lancashire, a dissenter and M.P. for Preston, who married Elizabeth Ashurst, the only daughter of William Ashurst of Castle Hedingham, in 1761.
The collection includes genealogical and antiquarian notes for these families (D/DMh F29-31, 45-46) as well as original family records including two pedigrees of the Ashurst family (D/DMh F5,6), family account books (D/DMh A4-7) and a pipe roll belonging to William Ashurst as sheriff of Essex, 1728 (D/DMh 01).
(ii) Majendie family
The Majendie family has its origins in France and genealogical papers relating to their early history are included in the collection (D/DMh F39, 40). Full pedigrees for the family in France and england (D/DMh F7, F172) give a detailed account of the Majendie family history together with Lewis A. Majendie's An Account of the Majendie family both French and English from 1365 to the present century published in 1878 (D/DMh F160).
The following individual family members are documented within the collection:
(a) Rev. Dr. John James Majendie (1709-1783)
Son of Andre de Majendie, a Huguenot, who left France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and settled in England, in Exeter, in 1700. John James Majendie studied at Leyden before becoming pastor of the French Church of the Savoy and being ordained as a priest of the Church of England. In 1753 he married Elizabeth Prevost by whom he had three children, Henry William, Lewis and Susannah. From 1761 to 1769 he was preceptor to Queen Charlotte to whom he taught English. He was also a tutor to her sons, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. He was a prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral and a canon of Worcester from 1769. He subsequently served as domestic chaplain to the queen before being appointed a canon of Windsor in 1774.
He retained his close contacts with the French refugee community and the collection includes letters and papers relating to his work in aid of the Vaudois churches in Piedmont and the relief of French and Hungarian Protestants elsewhere. The archive includes a copy of his printed address in aid of their cause in 1768, correspondence from the Archbishops of Canterbury, Herring and Secker, and a few personal letters from Queen Charlotte (D/DMh F29, F31, F42-44, F161, F162, C2, C31).
(b) Rev. Henry William Majendie (1754-1830)
The eldest son of John James Majendie, educated at Charterhouse and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1776, In 1781 he became a preceptor to Prince William, later William, later William IV, and, following in his father's footsteps, a canon of Windsor, 1785-98. He was successively the vicar of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire 1783-85, vicar of Nether Stowey, Somerset, 1790-93, and vicar of Hungerford, Berkshire, 1793-98. He became a canon of St. Paul's, 1798-1809, and was subsequently Bishop of Chester, 1800-1809, and Bishop of Bangor, 1809-1830. In 1785 he married Ann Routledge of Stapleton, Cambridgeshire and had eleven surviving children. (See D/DMh F54, F87 and C5; see also Dictionary of National Biography . vol XII pp.829-830 (1909)).
(c) Lewis Majendie (1756-1833)
Second son of John James Majendie, educated at Charterhouse and the University of Gottenburg, after which he served in H.M. 15th Light Dragoons. In 1783 he married Elizabeth Hoghton and had five children, Ashurst, Elizabeth Mary (married Hon. George Winn, M.P. for Maldon), Henry, Georgiana and Henry Lewis.
His interests included agriculture and botany and he was a founder member of the Linnaean Society. In 1793 he was elected vice-president of the Essex Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture and Industry, and in 1794 he was nominated as an honorary member of the Board of Agriculture. There are a number of references to him in Arthur Young's General View of the Agriculture of the County of Essex (1813). The archive includes a few notes on his experiments and a copy of a letter to Arthur Young (D/DMh F29, F47, C7).
He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Society. These interests resulted in the collection and preservation of many family and antiquarian papers and in the publication of his book An Account of Hedingham Castle in the County of Essex in 1796 (D/DMh F32-34). Locally he was active as the Lieutenant Colonel of the Eastern Corps of Provisional Cavalry in the county and in preparations for the Napoleonic invasion (D/DMh 05-7). He was also a Deputy Lieutenant for Essex and a justice of the peace. A full account of his life is given in 'A brief memoir of the late Lewis Majendie Esq. of Hedingham Castle' in 1833 (D/DMh F51).
(d) Ashurst Majendie (1784-1867)
Eldest son of Lewis Majendie, educated at Dedham School and the University of Edinburgh after which he was called to the bar. Like his father before him he pursued scientific interests and was instrumental in the foundation of the Geological Society and a museum at Penzance while staying in Cornwall for his health. He was a member of the Athenaeum and a fellow of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. In 1832 he was appointed as one of the Assistant Poor Law Commissioners and was subsequently elected as the first chairman of the local Board of Guardians. He was a Deputy-Lieutenant for the county and a justice of the peace. His political interests included the Hinckford Agricultural and Conservative Club of which he was president (D/DMh F174, 175). In 1831 he married Frances Griffin, the eldest daughter and co-heir of John Griffin of Bedford Place, London, but had no children.
The collection includes a travel diary, 1818-19, a series of family correspondence and an obituary and funeral sermon giving further details of his life (D/DMh F69, C12-18, C20-21, F51).
(e) Rev. Henry Lewis Majendie (1795-1863)
Youngest son of Lewis Majendie, educated at Oriel College, Oxford, youngest son of Lewis Majendie, educated at Oriel College, Oxford, where he obtained his B.A. in 1818 and an M.A. in 1863. in 1834 he married Emma Sophia Gepp, daughter of Thomas Morgan Gepp of Chelmsford, and had eight children including Lewis Ashurst, Edith Mildmay (married William Clinton Baker in 1864) and Severne Andrew Ashurst.
The collection includes a series of his diaries, papers and accounts (D/DMh F58-67, C19, A14-15)
(f) Lewis Ashurst Majendie (1835-1885)
Eldest son of Rev. Henry Lewis Majendie, educated at Marlborough College and Christ Church College, Oxford, where he gained his B.A. in 1858 and his M.A. in 1860. He became a deputy-lieutenant of Essex in 1870 (D/DMh O11) and was also active as a J.P. at the Essex Quarter Sessions. From 1874 until 1878 he was the M.P. for Canterbury (D/DMh F78-81, F94).
As an antiquarian he appears to have inherited a series of books and papers from his grandfather, Lewis Majendie, many of which he bound into a family scrapbook (D/DMh F31). His correspondence is similarly collated in a box file. 1846-1912 (D/DMh C22) and a series of his diaries has also survived, 1858, 1860-61, 1870 (D/DMh F74-77). His involvement with the Essex Archaeological Society is documented in a correspondence with H.W. King (D/DMh C22) and in 1869 he wrote an article on the recent excavations at Hedingham Castle (D/DMh F32, P10). In 1878 he published his Account of the Majendie family both French and English from 1365 to the present century (D/DMh F160).
In 1870 he married Lady Margaret Elizabeth Lindsay, 2nd daughter of Alexander William, 25th Earl of Crawford and Balcarres. They had three children, James Henry Alexander, Margaret Aline (married Sir Francis Wallace Grenfell, Baron Grenfell in 1903) and Bernard Lewis. A series of official log books, journals and papers belonging to Bernard Lewis Majendie as a commander in the Royal Navy, record his voyages in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and West Indies together with a period of service in the Far East, 1888-1909 (D/DMh O16-20). His death is recorded in 1910 amongst the correspondence of Beatrice Majendie (D/DMh F91). Lady Margaret Majendie was a prolific writer of poetry and prose and the archive includes a book of her early verses, 1860-66, (D/DMh F82) and a collection of her later literary works in manuscript, proof and printed form (D/DMh F195-248).
(g) Severne Andrew Ashurst Majendie (1843-1927)
Third son of Rev. Henry Lewis Majendie, educated at Exeter College, Where he received his B.A. in 1867 and his M.A. in 1868. He became the domestic chaplain to the Duke of Buccleuch in 1870 until 1884 and was the rector of Wimborne, St. Giles, Hampshire, 1890-93. Between 1914 and 1925 he was the Warden of the Royal Hospital and Free Chapel of St. Katharine, Regents Park. He wrote a book on the history of the chapel and there are letters and papers in the collection relating to his wardenship, including correspondence with Queen Alexandra, the Patroness of St.Katharine's (D/DMh F85-87). Other records include a cricketing scrapbook, 1865-1923 (D/DMh F84) and copies of his earlier books on Castle Hedingham and the de Veres (c.1897) and Some account of the family of De Vere, the Earls of Oxford and of Hedingham Castle in Essex (1904) (D/DMh F165-169).
(h) James Henry Alexander Majendie (1871-1939)
Eldest son of Lewis Ashurst Majendie. He was a J.P. at the Essex Quarter Sessions and M.P. for Portsmouth from 1900 to 1906. The collection includes some of his political papers (D/DMh F105-109) together with a series of personal diaries, notebooks, correspondence and papers, some of which relate to a later period of ill-health and the imminent bankruptcy of the estate (D/DMh F91-104, F110).
In 1893 he married Beatrice Cecilia Mitchell, the daughter of James and Caroline Mitchell of Holbrook Hall, Little Waldingfield, Suffolk. They had three children, Robin, Louis and Musette, all of whom feature in the family papers. These include correspondence about Robin's work on a farm in the Orange Free State in South Africa and Louis' naval career. A personal account of the Battle of Jutland by Louis Majendie, 1916, is included in the collection (D/DMh O21). The most recent Majendie estate and family papers are those of Musette, who lived at Castle Hedingham, together with her friend and companion, Dr. Margery G. Blackie, until her death in 1981. She wrote Some account of Hedingham Castle in Essex and the family of De Vere (D/DMh F170, 171).
(iii) Warner and Vere Graham families
The papers of the Warner family of Wix Hall are included in this collection as previous owners of the Holbrook Hall estate, which descended through the Hanmer and Mitchell families to the Majendies at the end of the 19th century. The Wix Hall or Wix Abbey estate was conveyed to Robert and William Vesey in 1561. A general pardon for William Vesey from James I, 1604, is included amongst these papers (D/DMh F1). The Warner family purchased the e
 

 

D/DMh A1-45  ACCOUNTS

 
Level:Sub-Fond
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D/DMh B1  BUSINESS

 
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D/DMh C1-31  CORRESPONDENCE

 
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D/DMh E1-147  ESTATE

 
Level:Sub-Fond
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D/DMh F1-284  FAMILY

 
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D/DMh L1-23  LEGAL

 
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D/DMh M1-167  MANORIAL

 
Level:Sub-Fond
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D/DMh O1-21  OFFICIAL

 
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D/DMh P1-50  MAPS

 
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D/DMh Q1-36  ECCLESIASTICAL

 
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D/DMh T1-174  DEEDS

 
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D/DMh Z1-36  MISCELLANEOUS

 
Level:Sub-Fond
Dates of creation