SWAKELEYS apparently takes its name from a family of
Swalclyve who owned the property in the 14th century.
They may have come from the village of Swalecliffe, on the
river Swale in Kent, or, as will be shown more probably, from Swalcliffe
near Banbury in Oxfordshire, both of which are pronounced locally
"Swakely." The earliest reference which we have to the name
appearing in Ickenham is in 1326–7, when we find Robert of Swalclyve
and John his wife owning land in the parish, (fn. 1) in which their son
William had an interest. From a fine of 1360 concerning property
in another district in Middlesex (Westbourne) we learn that William
Swalclyve was a vintner of London and that his wife's name was Alice. (fn. 2)
In 1329 they acquired further property in the district from Roger
Rykeman, (fn. 3) but in 1333 they are found disposing of it, perhaps in
part, to William the Gauger of London and Sarah his wife. (fn. 4)
An entry on the Close Rolls records that on " 23 July 1347 Robert
de Wykham, lord of Swalcleve, acknowledges that he owes to Roger
Rikeman called Lapyn £40, to be levied in default of payment on
his lands and chattles in co. Oxon." There is a Wickham Park near
Banbury, and this circumstance, together with the two transactions
with Rykeman, suggests that the Robert of both documents was one
and the same. (fn. 5)
The manor of Ickenham, of which Swakeleys appears to have been
a sub-infeudation, passed in 1348 from John son and heir of William
of Brock to John of Charlton, junior, citizen and mercer of London,
for his life, with remainder to Nicholas Shoreditch and his wife Ivetta
and their heirs. (fn. 6) Two years later (1350) Boniface Lapyn of London
released to John of Charlton all right in those lands in Ickenham, etc.,
which had been the property of Robert of Swalclyve and Joan his
wife. (fn. 7) If this Boniface were a relative of "Roger Rikeman called
Lapyn, " it would seem that the latter had possessed some lien on the
property in Middlesex similar to the charge on that in Oxfordshire.
Sir Thomas Charlton, " of Hillingdon" (the neighbouring parish to
Ickenham), who died in 1410, married Alice daughter and co-heir of
John Cornwall of Willesden, (fn. 8) and widow of Henry of Frowyk. He
had no children, but his sister Anna, who married William Knightley
of Gnosall, had a son Thomas who succeeded to the property of his
uncle, took his name, and was also knighted (fn. 9) . This Sir Thomas
Charlton, who died in 1448, married Elizabeth, one of the two
daughters of Sir Adam Fraunceys of Edmonton, who was knighted
in 1381 for his services during Wat Tyler's rebellion. Fraunceys was
the son of the famous mayor of London of the same name and was
brother-in-law to Sir Thomas Charlton's uncle. Sir Thomas was
succeeded by his son, the third Sir Thomas, who was member of
parliament for Middlesex and Speaker of the House of Commons in
1453. He died in 1465, and in his Inquisitio post mortem (fn. 10) of the
same year, it is stated that he was seised of the manors of Covelehall,
Swalclyve, Hercyes and Litilhelyndon etc., which he had put in the
hands of trustees for the purposes of his will. The trustees were
Henry Frowyk of Middlesex, esquire, Thomas Frowyk of London,
gentleman, Robert Olney, Thomas Raynes, William Maucer, Thomas
Swan, Nicholas Molle, Thomas Penny, chaplain, and Richard
[Janey], chaplain. The manor of Swalclyve and the two that follow it,
in the parishes of "Hillyngdon and Ikenham " are stated to be held
of Richard Willy and his wife, in the latter's right as of her "manor
Sir Richard Charlton, son of Sir Thomas, was 15 years old at the
date of the inquisition and lost his life at the battle of Bosworth, 1485.
His name was included in the act of attainder passed at the accession
of Henry VII, and although his wife Elizabeth was allowed to remain
in possession of the manors of "Swalcliffe and Covelehall," the Crown
granted their reversion with the other properties of Sir Richard to Sir
Thomas Bourchier and Agnes his wife, who was Sir Richard's sister. (fn. 11)
In his will, (fn. 12) dated 3 September 1512, Sir Thomas Bourchier refers
to his late uncle Cardinal Bourchier, and Agnes his first wife (mother
of his only son Edward, who predeceased him), and Anne his second
wife. One of his executors, Sir John Pecche (Peachey) had obtained
in 1510 a grant of the reversion of Swakeleys, on Sir Thomas's death,
in tail male, but he died without male heirs. (fn. 13) In 1521 the reversion
was granted to Sir Henry Courtney, Earl of Devon, (fn. 14) who was created
Marquis of Exeter in 1525, and in 1531 he was granted licence to
alienate "Swalcliff " to Sir William Fitzwilliam and others, as trustees
for Ralph Pexall and Anne his wife. (fn. 15)
The transaction is recorded in the Feet of Fines, (fn. 16) the property being
therein described as " the manor of Swalecliff and twelve messuages,
and two mills etc. in Swalecliff, Ickenham, Hellyngdon, Woxbridgge,
Hersies, Coppydhall and Pynchestres Ferme," and in the same year
Edward Charlton releases and quitclaims in the same terms to the
same parties. (fn. 17)
Pexall of Beaurepaire
In Ralph Pexall's will of 1537 (fn. 18) he calls himself "of Swalclyff, Middx.
and Beaureper Co. of Hants", and also mentions "my mansion house
in Fleet Street in the suburbs of London." Beaurepaire came to him
with his first wife Edith, who was the only surviving heir of William
Brocas and Mary (Griffin). Their son was Sir Richard Pexall. His
second wife was Anne daughter of Richard Fitzwilliam of Langton,
Yorkshire. Ralph and Edith Pexall lie buried at Sherborne St.
John, where there is an altar tomb with recumbent effigies. (fn. 19)
Sir Richard Pexall (fn. 20) "of Beaureper, Steventon Manor, Fleet Street,
London, and Swarkliffe Manor in Middlesex, Knight " made a will
on the 9th of October, 1571, which was proved on the 8th of November
following. (fn. 21) He was, like his father, twice married, his first wife being
Lady Eleanor Paulet, daughter of the first Marquess of Winchester,
and by her he had four daughters. His second wife was Eleanor,
daughter of John Cotgrave of Chester.
Sir Richard Pexall's daughters were all married: Anne to Bernard
Brocas of Horton, co. Bucks; Margery (Lysons calls her Margaret)
to Oliver Beckett and then to Francis Cotton; Elizabeth (fn. 22) to John
Jobson; and Barbara to Anthony Brydges. Margery, who left an
heir, John Beckett, had apparently lived at Swakeleys with her
second husband, in her father's lifetime, for we read in the Ickenham
parish registers under the year 1554: "Barbara the dowghter of
John [sic] Cawghton [Cotton] off Swakeleys Place and Margery hys
wyff was crystenyde the mūday before our Lady day thassūpcon
beying the 13 day off Auguste. The godfather Mr. Say, (fn. 23) the godmothers Barbara the wife of Mr. Redyng [?Brydges] and Helyn the
wyf of Mr. Edmūde Shordyche."
Brocas of Beaurepaire
Sir Richard Pexall's will occasioned a long period of litigation
regarding his property, which lay at Beaurepaire and other seats in
Hampshire, the former having belonged to his grandfather William
Brocas. Sir Richard left the bulk of his estates to his wife Eleanor
for 13 years and then to his grandson Pexall Brocas, son of his
daughter Anne. This will was set aside in regard to one-third of his
estate which was divided between his four daughters. (fn. 24) Dame Eleanor
married subsequently three husbands—Sir John Savage, Sir Robert
Remington and Sir George Douglas—and died in 1617–18. (fn. 25)
Anne and her husband Bernard Brocas appear to have been resident
at Swakeleys from 1575 to 1589, the year of Bernard's death. His
mother Dorothy was with them until her death in 1576, when she
was buried at Ickenham, and the registers there contain a number of
entries relating to the family. (fn. 26) Anne's son Pexall Brocas was brought
up at Swakeleys, and was entered at Gray's Inn, of which he became
a member. He married Margaret (or Margery) daughter of Sir
Thomas Shirley (fn. 27) of Wiston, Sussex, who seems to have taken some
hand in straightening out his son-in-law's affairs. Pexall Brocas was
knighted in the year 1603.
The two following entries in the Ickenham parish registers refer to
deaths at Swakeleys about this time:—1590— "William Morgage from
Swaklyse house of this parrysh was buryed vpon the xxi daye of April
in the yere of our lord god 1590. Regno maiestatis xxxii"; and
1591— "Henery Kenryke alias Williams deceased at Swakelys house
in this parrysh and was buryed upon the xxi day of febrvarie in the
From a fine of 1591 (fn. 28) we learn that Sir Thomas Shirley took over
"ten parts of the manor of Swaclyff alias Swakeley " from his daughter
and son-in-law. The two remaining twelfths of the estate were still
in the hands of the descendants or assignees of Sir Richard Pexall's
daughters. (fn. 29) Shirley was in possession in 1593, (fn. 30) and about the year
1596, according to Norden the topographer, he was residing at the
house, "sometime a house of the Brockeyes. " (fn. 31) We can show,
however, that before this date he had sold the "manor of Swakleis"
to Robert Bromley. The latter fact is learned from certain proceedings
in Chancery on the part of the tenant Richard Walter of the Middle
Temple. (fn. 32) The record is interesting as bearing on the relationship
between Swakeleys and the manor of Ickenham. Richard Walter
complains that Michael Shoreditch, the lord of Ickenham manor
had, about 4 years previously, distrained certain cattle belonging to
the complainant, being in "Swackleis parke " for 24s. for quit-rent.
Walter at that time held "Swackleis Parke" from Sir Thomas
Shirley, Kt., of Sussex, "then lord and donor of the manor of Swackleis
of which the park was a parcel," and Shoreditch had promised Sir
Thomas that he would show Walter, and Mr. Altam of Gray's Inn,
being "of counsel" with Sir Thomas, proof that the rent was due.
But the evidence showed that the charge should be shared with
"Hences" [Hercies] in the tenure of Jn. Stamborowes and other
parcels of the manor held by Jn. Nicholas. Shoreditch promised to
collect it so, but had not carried out his undertaking, and Robert
Bromley citizen of London had since purchased the manor of
"Swackleis" from Sir Thomas. The answer of Michael Shoreditch
states that the distress was taken about April, 34 Eliz. . He
alleges that the reversion of Swakeleys Park was not in Sir Thomas
Shirley but in Pexall Brocas. He does not know if there was any
manor of "Swakelyes" or not. He went to Sir Thomas, because
soon after the distress he (Sir Thomas) had bought the land. Finally
he had produced a deed made by Sir Richard Pexall who had agreed
to pay Michael's ancestor Robert Shoreditch 12s. 3d. quit-rent about
the first year of Queen Mary.
In 1606 Robert Bromley sold Swakeleys to John Bingley "one of the
officers of the Court of Exchequer," who in 1616 filed a complaint
against his tenant William Cragg, an "attorney of the Court of
Common Pleas." The document is so full of information about the
old manor house of Swakeleys that an abstract is printed in an
appendix to this volume. (fn. 33) We learn that the tenancy was subject
to the right of the proprietors "and their steward and tenants to call
keep and hold court or courts for the said manor of Swackliffe alias
Swackley in the said messuage," which is the first reference so
far found to the holding of manor courts. (fn. 34) Robert Bromley, the
former owner, is called " of London, draper" and the name of his
wife is given as Martha. The references to the moat, to the great
chamber and the King's chamber are also interesting. Further, the
clause relating to Francis Cotton of Roche Court suggests that the
fraction of the estate which had devolved on Sir Richard Pexall's
daughter Margery had not yet been recovered. According to Lysons
John Bingley made this first purchase in 1612. (fn. 35)
Bingley was knighted in 1618, and in 1629 sold Swakeleys, together
with other property acquired from John Wroth, to Edmund (afterwards
Sir Edmund) Wright, Alderman of London. (fn. 36) It was he who built
the existing house in 1638.
Sir Edmund Wright was born at Nantwich in 1573, and was baptized
there on 24 November of that year. (fn. 37) He was the son of Randall
Wright, mercer, of Twerlingate N[antwich ?] and Margaret
(Edwards), also of Nantwich. (fn. 38) Ormerod (fn. 39) states that Sir Edmund
was descended from a collateral line of Wright of Offerton and
Mottram, formerly of Nantwich, to whom arms were disallowed in the
heraldic visitation of 1663–4, and, in a footnote, writes:— "This Sir
Edmund used [and no doubt improperly used] the arms of Bulkeley
. . . and the name of Thomas Wright alias Bickley, with whom the
pedigree (fn. 40) begins, is sometimes written Bulkeley in the pedigrees,
but corruptly so", since, as Ormerod explains, his name appears as
Thomas de Bickley alias Wright, executor of the will of David
Sir Edmund Wright was married three times, his first wife
being Martha, daughter of Edward Barnes (fn. 41) of London, mercer.
They were married at Isleworth on 12 June 1614, and she died on
4 November 1631 and was buried at St. Lawrence Jewry. They
had five daughters:—
Katherine, married (at St. Peter's, St. Albans, 2 Aug. 1632) to Sir
James Harrington of Ridlington, co. Rutland.
Martha, married at the age of 14 (at St. Olave Jewry, 16 July 1633)
to Samuel Carleton. (fn. 42)
Elizabeth, married at the age of 16 (at St. Olave Jewry, 6 Feb.
1637–8) to John Trott. (fn. 43)
Mary, married at the age of 15 (at St. Olave Jewry, 2 Nov. 1637) to
John Smith. (fn. 44)
Mabel, married (at St. Olave Jewry, 27 Nov. 1627) to Robert Fenn.
His second wife was Joan (fn. 45) daughter of William Mills of St. Clement
Danes, London, and widow of John, son of Sir Thomas Bennett, Lord
Mayor, 1603–4. They were married by licence, dated 5 June 1633,
her age being given as 34. She died 6 May 1636 and was also
buried at St. Lawrence Jewry. Her will (fn. 46) was proved, 25 May
1636, by her sons Richard and Thomas Bennett. By her Sir
Edmund had two sons, Edmund and Edward, who died young,
and two daughters :—
Rebecca, bap. 5 June 1634, who married Sir Richard Atkins of
Margaret, the wife of Sir Robert Cordell, Bt., of Long Melford,
Rebecca and her husband were buried in a tomb with their effigies in
marble in the Atkins chapel of the old church of Holy Trinity,
Clapham, which has been pulled down. The inscriptions are given in
full in the Gentleman's Magazine, (fn. 47) and it is interesting to note that
Rebecca is called the daughter and co-heir of Edmund Wright
(alias Bunckley), an obvious reference to the claim to the name and
arms of Bulkeley, here misspelt. The tombs of Sir Richard and Lady
Atkins and their children are now in the churchyard of St. Paul's
Church, Clapham, and their monuments, with the effigies, are in the
north transept of the church. Illustrations are given in the Report
of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England). (fn. 48)
Sir Edmund's third wife is stated to have been a daughter of
—— Wankian of Ware, (fn. 49) but there is no reference to her in
Wright was admitted to the freedom of the Grocers' Company (fn. 50) in
March 1599 after serving an apprenticeship to one William Coldringe.
He was elected to the livery in 1614 and was admitted to the court
He was elected alderman of Cordwainer Ward in 1629, was sheriff
1629–30 and lord mayor 1640–1, in which year he was knighted
on the 20th June. (fn. 51) The current story that Sir William Acton was
elected and displaced in favour of Sir Edmund Wright by the
intervention of Parliament, accepted even by R. R. Sharpe, (fn. 52) was
disproved by A. B. Beaven and is shown to be entirely without foundation in Appendix B to this volume. (fn. 53)
Dr. Sharpe says : "The last days of Wright's mayoralty were days
of sickness and tumult in the City. . . . The Mayor issued
precepts for search to be made in every ward for suspected persons
and disbanded soldiers as well as for keeping the streets well lighted
at night by candle and lanthorn." (fn. 54)
In accordance with custom Sir Edmund Wright became a governor
of St. Thomas's Hospital on his election as alderman, and he
was appointed president of the hospital on 25 February 1642.
He died in 1643, being buried at St. Lawrence Jewry on the 1st
His will, (fn. 55) made on 25 October 1641, the year of his mayoralty, was
proved 22 August 1643. From it, it appears that his manor of
Swakeleys, lately purchased of Sir John Bingley, Kt., was first settled
on his daughter Margaret but that it was finally devised to his daughter
Katherine, wife of Sir James Harrington, " subject to inviting the
rest of the family to Swakeleys once a year for 14 days." In this last
provision we seem to see the pride of the builder in the house he had
In Nantwich, Wright is remembered by the almshouses which he
erected in his lifetime, a picturesque group with an imposing archway,
forming the entrance (see plate 71). This, "his newly erected
almshouse," he conveyed by deed dated 20 August 1638, to 13
trustees, together with a yearly rent charge of £32 per annum issuing
from a farm called Ryefields in the parish of Hillingdon, co.
Middlesex. (fn. 56) The almshouses bear a tablet inscribed :—
SR EDMVND WRIGHT KT. BORNE
IN THIS TOWNE SOLE FOVNDER OF
THIS ALMESHOVSE A'NO DOM. 1638.
and in 1666 the trustees erected the gateway and put up the Bulkeley
arms which Wright is supposed to have assumed. (fn. 57)
Katherine Wright's husband, Sir James Harrington, was one of the
King's judges, and it amused Pepys (who is our authority) to see the
screen which he put up in the hall at Swakeleys, over which he had
set, "the King's head and my lord of Essex on one side and Fairfax
on the other; and upon the other side of the screene, the parson of the
parish and the lord of the manor and his sisters." (fn. 58) The parson
referred to here was no doubt Mr. Nathaniel Nicholls, incumbent of
Ickenham, who, in the words of the Survey of Church Livings (1649)
"is our present and constant preaching minister put in by the
Honourable Committee for plundered ministers (shortly after the
sequestration of Dr. Clare) who has all the aforesaid profits for
his salary." (fn. 59) Whether the lord of the manor was Harrington
himself, or Richard Shoreditch the lord of Ickenham, Pepys does
At the Restoration Sir James Harrington fled the country (fn. 60) and the
following letter written to his wife from abroad sufficiently describes
his adversities :
I am surprised by thy last letter but, however, God and the Kinges will
be done for to both of them I doe freely submitt myselfe, but for mee to
make any proposition is not proper because it is not in my power to performe,
for such is my condition as till my estate be cleared I am not able to raise
any monnies because I can propound nothinge for security thereoff: But
that my noble Lord Latherdale (to whose favours I am soe exceedingly
obliged though I haue for [for] the reason aboue said bin necessitated to be
hetherto thereoff neglectiue) may clearly understand my condition &
accordingly know how to represent it to his maiesty, I haue here expressed
the particular of my estate and debts, which pray thee present (with my
humble service to his Lordshipe) with this assurance that if upon the
dilligentest [search] enquiry can be made they be not found to be really
true, then let mee not find any favour, and if truthe, as for such I here
assert them, I humbly spreade my sad condition therein before his maiesty
for his gracious mercy and compassion towards an antient family and
numerous issue; for praying God for a blessinge on the endeavours and
for his Maiesties temporall and eternal hapinesse I remaine
Thy most affectionat husband
James Harington. (fn. 61)
This 19th of March, 1660 (New Style 1661).
Endorsed :—For his Louing wife [att] The Lady Harington at her
Lodginge in Fleet Street, these.
In the accompanying particulars of his property Sir James states : "I
have a house besides (during my wifes life) in Ickenham called
Swakely with landes wourth per annū 260L. which after her death
goeth to my eldest son and his children if he have any and soe to
others in remaindre and is out of my power and disposall." Harrington's debts amounted to £8,113, on which he had to pay annual
interest of £486 out of an income of £770, leaving (besides Swakeleys)
only £284 "for the maintenance of my family and to make provision
for my wife and 12 children vnpouided for."
There is attached to Ickenham Church, at the west end of the north
aisle, a mortuary chapel, curiously built with upright arched niches
for coffins, and erected in the latter part of the 17th century for
interments from Swakeleys House. The coffins were removed and
buried in the churchyard in 1921, and the chapel is now used as a
vestry. Some inscription plates remain, and the first of these in date
commemorates Sir Edward Harrington, Bt., the father of Sir James.
The following is a facsimile :—
WITHIN THIS ARCH IS IMMVRED THE BODIE
OF Sr EDWARD HARINGTON KNIGHT AND BARO
NET ELDEST SONNE TO Sr IAMES HARI
NGTON OF RIDLINGTON KNIGHT AND
BARONET THIRD BROTHER TO IOHN LO
RD HARINGTON OF EXTON IN THE
COVNTY OF RVTLAND WHO MARRIED WITH
MARGERY DOYLIE DAVGHTER AND COHEIRE OF ROBE
RT DOYLIE OF MERTON IN THE COVNTY OF OXON
ESQ, BY WHOM HE HAD FOVRTEENE CHILDEREN
IAMES HARINGTON HIS ELDEST SONNE OF SWA
KELY IN THE COVNTY OF MIDLESEX KNIGHT
AND BARONET HE WAS TRANSLATEDT
HENCE IN OCTOBER 1652
Three other plates record the deaths of three of Sir James Harrington's
daughters, two of them being named Elizabeth.
WITHIN THIS PILLER IS INS
HRINED THE BODIE OF ELIZ
ABETH HARINGTON SIXT
DAVGHTER TO Sr IAMES HA
RINGTON OF SWAKELY KNI
GHT AND BARONET WHO
FELL ASLEEPE IN THE THI
RD YEARE OF HIR CHILD
HOOD 7 OF NOVEMB
WITHIN THIS PLACE IS INCEOSED (fn. 69)
THE BODIE OF KATHERINE HAR
INGTON SECOND DAVGHTER
OF SIR IAMES HARINGTON OF SW
AKELY IN THE COVNTY OF MIDL
ESEX KNIGHT AND BARONETT
WHO DECEASED THE 17 DAY
OF MARCH 1653 IN THE SEAV
ENTEENTH YEARE OF HIR
VNDER THIS MARBLE LIETH IN
TOVMBED THE MAYDEN DVST
OF ELIZABETH HARINGTON EI
GHTH DAVGHTER OF Sr IAMES
HARINGTON OF SWAKELY IN Ye
COVNTY OF MIDLESEX KNIGHT
AND BARONETT WHO IN Ye FIRST
DAY OF DECEMB; 1654 AND IN
THE SIXT YEARE OF HIR CHIL
DHOODE FELL ASLEEPE.
It is probable that Sir James and Lady Harrington were forced to
forsake their home from 1660 to 1665, when they sold Swakeleys to
Sir Robert Viner. We have no record of the tenants during this
period, but there was (until 1914) in the Swakeley Chapel the marble
effigy of the infant son of Sir Robert Clayton, who died in 1665
within a few hours of his birth. (fn. 62) Its position, in this chapel, is some
evidence that Swakeleys was then tenanted by Sir Robert Clayton,
who became lord mayor of London in 1679. The figure is a
remarkably beautiful piece of sculpture and has the following
HEERE VNDER LYETH THE BODY OF ROBERT THE
SONNE OF Sr ROBERT CLAYTON KNIGHT
ALDERM OF LONDON BY DAME MARTHA HIS
WIFE WHO DYED Ye 16TH OF AVGVST 1665
WITHIN A FEW HOWRES AFTER HIS BIRTH
OF SVCH ARE Ye KINGDOME OF HEAVEN
Sir Robert Viner was nephew and also partner of Sir Thomas Viner,
Bt., who was lord mayor in 1653–4 and died in 1665. He was born
in 1631 at Warwick, his parents being William Viner (d. 1639) and
Susannah (Fulwood), his father's second wife. Like his uncle he was
a citizen and goldsmith of London, was knighted in 1665 and created
a baronet in 1666. He was lord mayor of London in 1674–5 and it is
of him that Steele published the humorous account in the Spectator, (fn. 63)
of the incident with Charles II at the mayoral banquet, which reads
as follows :—
"He (Charles 2nd) more than once dined with his good citizens of
London on their lord-mayor's day, and did so the year that Sir
Robert Viner was mayor. Sir Robert was a very loyal man, and,
if you will allow the expression, very fond of his sovereign; but,
what with the joy he felt at heart for the honour done him by his
prince, and through the warmth he was in with continual toasting
healths to the royal family, his lordship grew a little fond of his
majesty, and entered into a familiarity not altogether so graceful in
so public a place. The king understood very well how to extricate
himself in all kinds of difficulties, and with an hint to the company
to avoid ceremony, stole off and made towards his coach, which stood
ready for him in Guildhall yard. But the mayor liked his company
so well, and was grown so intimate, that he pursued him hastily, and,
catching him fast by the hand, cried out with a vehement oath and
accent, 'Sir, you shall stay and take t'other bottle.' The airy
monarch looked kindly at him over his shoulder, and with a smile
and graceful air (for I saw him at the time, and do now) repeated
the line of the old song
'He that's drunk is as great as a king,'
and immediately returned back and complied with his landlord."
On the 14 June 1665 he married Mary daughter of John Whitchurch
of Walton, Berks, widow of Sir Thomas Hyde, Bt., and had one son
Charles, barrister of the Inner Temple, who died at the age of 22, in
1688, only a few months before his father's death. Michael Wright
painted the family group (plate 2), which also included Sir
Robert's stepdaughter Bridget Hyde, who married the second Duke
of Leeds. The picture, which is now at Studley Royal, is thought
to show the gardens of Swakeleys in the background.
It was in 1665, on the 7th of September, that Samuel Pepys accompanied Thomas Povey "merrily to Swakely, Sir R. Viner's. A
very pleasant place, bought by him of Sir James Harrington's lady.
He took us up and down with great respect and showed us all his
house and grounds; and it is a place not very moderne in the garden
nor house, but the most uniforme in all that ever I saw; and some
things to excess." Then follows the reference to the screen in the
hall already quoted, and Pepys goes on in his inconsequent manner:—
"The window-cases, door-cases and chimnys of all the house are
marble. He showed me a black boy that he had, that died of a consumption, and being dead, he caused him to be dried in an oven, and
lies there entire in a box. By and by to dinner, where his lady I find
yet handsome, but hath been a very handsome woman; now is old.
Hath brought him near £100,000, and now he lives, no man in
England in greater plenty, and commands both King and Council,
with his credit he gives them .... after dinner Sir Robert led us
up to his long gallery, very fine, above stairs, and better, or such
furniture I never did see."
Pepys was at the house again on Sunday the 15th of October the
same year and met Sir Robert "coming just from church ; and ... he
and I into his garden to discourse of money, but none is to be had."
Ickenham Church possesses a silver flagon and a paten (both with
date-marks of 1682) inscribed " The gift of Sir Robert Viner, of
Swakeleys, Kt. & Bart., to the parish church of Ickenham. A.D.
1683." (fn. 64) Mr. Freshfield considers the silver cup (1782) at the church
"is the result of parochial vandalism and replaces the cup of the set
to which the flagon and paten belong."
Sir Robert Viner, who died in 1688, had three brothers, Samuel,
Thomas and William. Thomas was Dean of Gloucester and Prebendary of Windsor. His son Thomas, who died in Rome in 1707,
was brought to Ickenham for burial in the Swakeley Chapel, where
is the following inscription :—
Within this Place is Immured the Body of
THOMAS VYNER ESQr
Executer of Sr ROBERT VYNER of Swakley Barronet
in which Imployment meeting with great difficulties
by the Shutting up of the Exchequer in the Reigne of
KING CHARLES the Second, he so much Impaired
his health that for the Recovery thereof he travelled
into Italy. and died at Rome the 6 day of December
in the Year of our LORD 1707. According to
his request his Body was Transported to England
And deposited here.
He had an only child Robert Viner, who represented Lincoln in
Parliament for many years and died in 1777 aged 94. He it was
who sold Swakeleys, in 1741, to Benjamin Lethieullier, who, according
to Lysons, left it by will to the Rev. Lascelles Iremonger.
In 1743 Thomas Clarke of Spring Gardens, Westminster, acquired
the advowson of the church of Ickenham from the trustees of Robert
Shoreditch, lord of the manor, and his son the Rev. Thomas Clarke
was appointed rector here 7 April 1747, (fn. 65) the year after his father's
death. Mr. Clarke married, in the October after his institution,
Mary, daughter of Thomas Blencowe of Hersies in the parish of
Hillingdon, a property already noticed in connection with Swakeleys, (fn. 66)
and in 1750 he bought Swakeleys House. His wife died in 1771,
aged 44, and was buried at Ickenham. Her memorial (fn. 67) is inscribed :—
Sacred to the Memory
of a fincere christian,
MARY, the amiable wife
of the Revd Thomas Clarke of Swakeley.
If diligence in the discharge
of every Relative and Social Duty
If affection for the Poor
evinced by the kindest offices of Humanity,
Can claim Respect & Love,
Her's was that claim.
She died Novber the 18th 1771. Aged 44.
Reader, lament not the Dead, but the Living.
The rector married as his second wife Frances daughter of Thomas
Truesdale of Harefield Place, Middx., in 1773, and she survived
him. Her death took place in 1816, and a memorial tablet to her
memory reads :—
Here in Jesus sleepeth
Relict of the late Revd Thomas Clarke,
And hence, in Charity's triumphant hour,
when HE, the Son of GOD, and Saviour of the World,
shall note each good deed done unto the least of his Brethren as
[done to HIM.
hence, lamented Dorcas of this, and of a neighbouring Village,
Amid the witness and the blessing of many, many an eye, and ear,
(thy few poor mortal frailties O how deeply covered !)
Shalt thou awake upon the bosom of your Father and your GOD.
She departed this life Septr. 23rd. 1816, Aged 67 years.
Mr. Clarke died on 22 November 1796, aged 75, and was buried
at Ickenham. He has a memorial tablet (fn. 68) on the west wall of the
church, north of the vestry door, with the following inscription:—
In the Vault adjoining
Are the remains of the revd THOMAS CLARKE, of swakeley,
for nearly 50 years the beloved and venerated pastor of
In fulfilling the duties of his Station
as well as in Supporting
The more enlarged and varied relations of domestic and
He exhibited to all who knew him
A convincing instance how respectable and how lovely
the fallen nature of man is yet capable of appearing,
when animated by the spirit of genuine christianity.
After a long and almost uninterrupted course of health,
cheerfulness and active virtue,
he fell a victim to the decay of age, on the 22D of novr
mdccxcvi :Æt. 75.
"Let me die the death of the righteous : and let my last
end be like His."
By his second wife Mr. Clarke had three sons, the eldest of whom,
Thomas Truesdale Clarke, succeeded him at Swakeleys. He married,
in 1801, Louisa Anne, daughter of Charles Hawkins of Great
Gaddesden, Herts, sergeant-surgeon to George III. He died in 1840
and his wife in 1845, both being buried at Ickenham and having
memorials there. One brother, John George Clarke, a barrister of
Lincoln's Inn, died in 1800 at the age of 25, and the other died in
infancy in 1777. The memorial inscriptions are as follows :—
To the memory of
THOMAS TRUESDALE CLARKE, ESQRE
(son of the revd thos clarke of swakeleys)
who died July 15, 1840.
Aged 66 years.
Also to the Memory of
LOUISA ANNE—relict of the above
Who died October 1st. 1845 :
In the 69th. year of her age.
Thomas Truesdale Clarke's children were as follows:—
(1) Thomas Truesdale, b. 1802, married Jane Selina, eldest daughter
of the Hon. William Capel, Vicar of Watford.
(2) John Cholmeley, b. 1805, bur. Ickenham, 1825.
(3) Louisa Charlotte, b. 1806, bur. Ickenham, 1808.
(4) Charles Adair, b. 1808, bur, Ickenham, 1809.
(5) Henry Bridges, b. 1810, married Sophia, daughter and co-heir
of Sir George Stracey of Rackheath, co. Norfolk.
(6) Cordelia Frances, b. 1811, bur. Ickenham, 1813.
(7) George Hawkins, b. 1813, bur. Ickenham 1838.
(8) Caroline, b. 1814, married Henry William Hay of Milbrook,
(9) Mary, b. 1816, bur. same year at Ickenham.
(10) Algernon Adair, b. 1822, bur. Ickenham, 1853.
The following inscriptions occur on the memorials to Thomas
Truesdale Clarke and two of his brothers :—
To the memory of
THOMAS TRUESDALE CLARKE, ESQRE
(Son of Thomas Truesdale Clarke, Esqre.,) of Swakeleys,
Who died April 5th, 1890,
Aged 87 years.
Also to the memory of
JANE SELINA, wife of the above,
who died June 15th, 1892,
in the 87th year of her age.
TRIBUTARY TO THE MEMORY, ALAS
OF A LOVED AND LOVELY SON
JOHN CHOLMELEY CLARKE
Who died at Swakeleys July 15th 1825 Aged 20 Years
Thourt gone, but whither ? to Heaven, to whom ? to God
Oh hush ! A Fatherswish ! for shame ! Sleep on dear clod
TO THE MEMORY OF
THE REVD GEORGE HAWKINS CLARKE
A MAN, WHOM, ALL THAT KNEW, WARMLEY LOVED
HE DIED AT SWAKELEYS JANRY 13th. 1838
AGED 24 YEARS
The children of the above Thomas Truesdale Clarke were :—
Louisa Jane Selina, who married Vice-Admiral Thomas Cochrane.
Helen, bap. 1829, buried at Brompton, 1895.
William Capel, b. 1832.
Marion Georgina, died 1852 at age of 15 and buried at Ickenham.
William Capel Clarke of Swakeleys married Clara Thornhill,
daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Thornhill of Fixby Hall, Yorkshire. Miss Thornhill was the owner of Rushton Hall, Northants,
the famous house built by Sir Thomas Tresham late in Queen
Elizabeth's reign. Mr. Clarke added his wife's name to his own
and the Thornhill arms with due difference were exemplified to
him in 1855. His memorial in Ickenham Church reads :—
Sacred to the Memory of
WILLIAM CAPEL CLARKE-THORNHILL,
Son of the late Thomas Truesdale Clarke, Esqre.,
And of Jane Selina, his wife,
of Rushton in the County of Northampton,
And of Swakeleys, Ickenham;
Died 28th-June, 1898,
In the 67th year of his age.
THE LORD IS GOOD ; HIS MERCY IS EVERLASTING.
AND HIS TRUTH ENDURETH TO ALL GENERATIONS."
There is also a memorial to Marion Georgina, to which is attached an
inscription to her uncle Algernon Adair Clarke :—
To the memory of
youngest daughter of
Thomas Truesdale and Jane Selina Clarke,
who died December 16th,-1852,
aged 15 years.
ALGERNON ADAIR CLARKE
Uncle to the above.
Who died at swakeleys, february 16th, 1853,
aged 30 years.
William Capel Clarke-Thornhill had the following children :—
Thomas Bryan, of Rushton Hall, Northants, b. 1857. Secretary in
the Diplomatic Service (1881–1900).
William Capel, b. 1860, bur. Brompton, 1892.
Arthur Herbert, b. 1861, bur. Ickenham, 1874.
Randolph, of Swakeleys, b. 1863.
Clara Louisa, mar. Francis Charles Carter.
Gwendoline Blanche, b. 1864, mar. Lieut.-Colonel George Harrison
Holden de Crespigny. Died 1923. Memorial tablet in Ickenham
In April, 1923, the Swakeleys estate was sold by Mr. Thomas Bryan
Clarke-Thornhill to Messrs. Richard Cross and Frank Christoffer
Stedman, who developed a large part of the property as a building
estate. It was proposed to pull down the house, but this was happily
averted by the intervention of Mr. Humphrey John Talbot, who
bought it in January, 1924, with its outbuildings, gardens, and a
section of the park immediately surrounding it. Mr. Talbot's
public-spirited action saved the building, and he, then, in consultation
with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, sought a
plan to give it permanent usefulness. Ultimately, with the enthusiastic
help of the late Mr. Mervyn Herbert, the Foreign Office Sports Association agreed to purchase it and make it their sports ground and
headquarters. Mr. Herbert's sad death in Rome on 26 May, 1929,
just prior to the opening of the club, prevented his seeing the result
of his labours, but his friends at the Foreign Office, supported by his
wife, the Honble. Elizabeth Herbert, have carried the enterprise
through, and Swakeleys is now permanently in the care of those
who fully appreciate its worth and beauty. Two medallions of
stained glass, the work of the late Jessie M. Jacob, have been placed
in the hall window, one with the Herbert arms, and the other with
the following inscription :—
In Memory of MERVYN HERBERT to whose Enthusiasm
and Generosity the Foreign Office & all the Services connected
with it owe the Enjoyment of this House & Grounds 1929.