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Silhouette of the Malvern Hills

Local History - Hatley St George and families that lived there

Introduction

This is a short story about a Victorian mansion named Hatley St George in Great Malvern in the county of Worcestershire, England, and some of the families that lived there.

We borrowed a map of Great Malvern (East) 1926, from the Malvern Family History Society, which showed a large building named Hatley St George in extensive grounds sloping down towards the railway line on the eastern side of Albert Road south. Although one of the largest houses in Great Malvern, we had not heard of it before, so sought to investigate its history.

Looking back at older maps in Great Malvern library we found that in 1884 the building had earlier been known as Oak Hall. Further up Albert Road at the junction with Woodshears Road stood a similarly named house called Oak Lodge. When we visited in 2015, Oak Lodge which stands on a large sloping site, was being renovated (see photo below).

Oak Lodge

Oak Lodge, Albert Road South

Opposite Oak Lodge stands Orwell Lodge, having a connection to the story of water cure Dr James Manby Gully and his mistress, Florence Ricardo.

Orwell Lodge

Orwell Lodge

Nowadays there is little to see of Hatley St George from the road as it is hidden behind shrubbery and a modern extension called Hatley Court. The extension which dwarfs the original building was built on the north side and is divided into flats.

Hatley St George was divided into apartments in the 1960s to provide a rental income, and having been in the ownership of one family since 1965, was being offered for sale by local estate agent John Goodwin in 2015.

The name Hatley St George can still be found set into the boundary wall; alongside a wooden board bearing the name Hatley Court.

Hatley St George sign

Early years

The line drawing below illustrates the front of the property.

Hatley St George (front)

Many of the larger Victorian houses in Great Malvern were built in the 1850s as the town expanded to meet growing numbers visiting Malvern for the 'water cure'. The Holly Mount mansion above the Worcester Road, where Princess Victoria stayed when she visited Great Malvern with her mother the Duchess of Kent on 6th August 1830, was built earlier - probably in the 1820s. Holly Mount mansion was owned by Thomas Woodyatt RN, who has a memorial in Great Malvern Priory.

Currently we don't know exactly when Hatley St George was built. The earliest mention we have found of the house is in the 1871 census when the building was known as Oak Hall and widow Eleanor Seton-Karr was in residence. Eleanor Seton-Karr is recorded in Trade Directories at Oak Hall until 1880.

Cora Weaver mentions in a story about the Springs and Fountains of the Malvern Hills:

the drinking fountain known as the Wyche Spout was built on the spoil heap from the 1836 widening of the Wyche Cutting after local lady Mrs Seton-Karr had initiated a collection to provide the new facility.

The Wyche Spout opened in 1868, so Eleanor Seton-Karr may have moved to Great Malvern not long after the death of her husband in 1862.

The Seton-Karr family

Eleanor Seton-Karr was the daughter of Henry Usborne of Branches Park in Suffolk. In 1848 at London, Eleanor had married George Berkeley Seton-Karr.

George Berkeley Seton-Karr born 1818 came from a distinguished Scottish family. An earlier generation of Setons had appended the name Karr through acquiring an inheritance. His father was Andrew Seton-Karr of Kippilaw, Roxburghshire.

George Berkeley Seton-Karr was educated at Haileybury and entered the Indian Civil Service in Bombay. He became resident commissioner at Baroda and served with distinction during the Indian Mutiny (1857-1858). The census recorded the family living at Marylebone in London in 1861. George Berkeley Seton-Karr was appointed to a new post in Chittagong in 1862 but died shortly after at Hastings Sussex, aged only 44 years, before he was able to take up the new appointment.

Eleanor and George Seton-Karr had four children, who were born in India:

Eleanor, Andrew, Henry, and Heywood Walter.

Eleanor did not marry and died in London in 1937; Andrew we think died young, but the two youngest brothers went on to have notable careers.

Sir Henry Seton-Karr CMG DL (1853 - 1914) trained as a lawyer and became an MP. He died in 1914 when the Empress of Ireland tragically sank in the St Lawrence river, while he was returning from a hunting trip in British Columbia. The vessel sank following a collision with a Norwegian collier and it was the worst Canadian maritime disaster in peacetime.

Heywood Walter Seton-Karr (1859 - 1938), who did not marry, is listed in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He was educated Eton, Oxford and Sandhurst and after service in the army became an explorer and big game hunter. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an author of several books on travel and big game hunting, making sketches of his finds and keeping a journal.

Was it a coincidence that one of the next families to live at Oak Hall had the surname Heywood?

Thomas Heywood

Portrait of Colonel HeywoodThe 1891 census records Colonel Thomas Heywood JP (1826 - 1915) in residence with his second wife, Sophie Grace St George. See Thomas's portrait opposite from the Heywood-Butler family album (ref 8).

We think that Oak Hall was renamed Hatley St George after Sophie's ancestor George St George (1658 - 1735) of Roscommon in Ireland, who was elevated to the peerage for services to the Crown and created 'Baron St George, of Hatley Saint George in the Counties of Roscommon and Leitrim'. Possibly the family had originated from the parish of Hatley St George in Cambridgeshire.

Thomas Heywood was also from a notable family. His grandfather Nathaniel Heywood was a founder of Manchester based Heywood's Bank, and his father, another Thomas Heywood (1797 - 1866) who lived in Herefordshire, was a noted antiquary who is listed in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Before moving to Malvern, Thomas Heywood of Ocle Court was Colonel Commandant with the Herefordshire Administrative Battalion of Rifle Volunteers (69th Regiment) and President of the Herefordshire Rifle Association. Previously he had been a Captain in 16th Lancers.

He had married first, Mary Emily Beresford (1830 - 1858).

Thomas and his second wife Sophie Heywood are recorded at Hatley St George in the 1891 and 1911 census. In 1901 they were visiting Barmouth in Wales with their daughter Ellen Mabel born in 1864 where we think Ellen's children were at school.

Colonel Thomas Heywood died at Hatley St George on 2nd April 1915 aged 88 years, and the National Archives records the house being put up for sale in 1916. One of Thomas Heywood's executors was his son-in-law Arthur Cartwright, an Inspector of Schools with HM Board of Education, and perhaps it was through his contacts that Hatley St George was eventually purchased by Malvern Girls' College in 1917.

Malvern Girls' College

Hatley St George then became a Junior House of Malvern Girls' College. This was at a time when the school was based in a number of large houses in Great Malvern, before the purchase of the Imperial Hotel in 1919.

Photos of the rear of the house and the hall and stairway appear in Pamela Hurle's book, Malvern Girls' College, a Centenary History. This records that the school sold the house in 1963 and it was transformed into residential apartments.

Hatrley St George rear

Sketch of rear of Hatley St George

In 1918 Miss Dawson was head of the Junior House. She is mentioned in our biography of one of the school founders, Elizabeth Greenslade.

We would be interested to hear more about the house at this stage of its history; for example we have discovered that between WWI and WWII Ruby Helena Margetts, the daughter of a butcher, taught music at the school and possibly also at Abbotshill and The Priory. She was born at Chipping Norton in 1883 and died at Malvern in 1961. In 1901, aged 17 years, she had been at the Beethoven House Music School in Northampton.

More about the Heywood family

So what became of the family of Thomas Heywood who had lived at Hatley St George previously?

Thomas and his second wife Sophie had one daughter Ellen Mabel Heywood (1864 - 1942) who in 1884 married Arthur Cartwright.

Arthur was the son of surgeon and general practitioner John Cartwright and Sarah Stiles, of Calne in Wiltshire. Arthur had been sent to Christ's Hospital boarding school from the age of 7 years and in 1911 was recorded as a Schools' Inspector with the Board of Education.

The couple lived for a time at The Knoll in Colwall and had four children. Very sadly their two youngest sons died in WWI.

2nd Lt Ronald William St George Cartwright (1894 - 1918) 16th Squadron Royal Flying Corps died on 16th February 1918, and you will find out more about him on the Colwall church website.

2nd Lt Eric Percival St George Cartwright (1897 - 1916) of the Machine Gun Corps was killed on 13th August 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. Like his brother he is mentioned on the Colwall church website.

Their elder brother Kenneth survived the war and lived to a good age.

Children of first marriage

Thomas Heywood had first married Mary Emily Beresford (1830 - 1858) in Ireland in 1853. They had three children, Henry de la Poer Beresford, Constance Mary and Emily Frances.

Thomas's wife Mary Emily died following the birth of their third child.

Henry de la Poer Beresford Heywood (1855 - 1922) married Minnie Florence Newton Lane. They had a son Marcus Beresford born in Tewkesbury in 1886. and two daughters. Major Marcus Beresford Heywood DSO, MVO survived the Great War.

Constance Mary Heywood (1856 - 1940) married Alfred Joshua Butler (1850 - 1936) at Bromyard in 1882. Alfred was the son of a clergyman, educated Christ's Hospital and Brasenose College Oxford, who became a curator of the Ashmolean Museum. Their eldest son Sir Harold Beresford Butler (1883 - 1951) joined the Civil Service and had a distinguished career in the Home Office. He is listed in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Youngest daughter Emily Frances Heywood did not marry and died at Oxford in 1919.

Heywood family photos

A descendant of the family very kindly sent some photos of Thomas Heywood from the Heywood/Butler family album (ref 8); for example see portrait of Thomas above. Although not all the photos are pin sharp, we thought you would like to see them as they give an interesting glimpse of Victorian and Edwardian society.

Col Heywood in uniformThe first photo shows Thomas Heywood in military uniform in middle age, possibly the photo was taken about 1880 when the family was living in Herefordshire. The caption mentions that he had previously been a Captain in the 16th Lancers, a cavalry unit dating back to Napoleonic times.

Click to go to Lancers' museum website

In the past officers often bought their commissions, but were refunded when they left the service providing they did not blot their copy book - a clever inducement to behave.

Other photos tell us that Thomas had been Master of Foxhounds of his local hunt; probably this was in Herefordshire before Thomas retired to Malvern circa 1890.


Col HeywoodThe photo on the left shows Thomas as a younger man, possibly about 1860. His riding boots have a good shine!

In the photo below, with hounds, Thomas is somewhat older. Something seems to have drawn the hounds attention, but it's interesting that they kept still long enough for the lengthy exposures required in those days.

Hunting seems to have been a social occasion during the winter when crops were not growing and farmers had little else to do!


Col Heywood MFH

Col Heywood MFH

The photo below shows Thomas and Sophie arriving at Hatley St George in a carriage. The photograph was almost certainly specially posed.

Carriage at Hatley

Carriage outside Hatley St George

It is perhaps a reminder that for most of his life Thomas would not have seen a motor car, and that there was no gas or electricity. Heating would have been from coal fires, and lighting from either candles or parafin lamps. Early to bed in those days, else possibly a nap in front of a warm fire.

The last but one photo shows Col Heywood on a thoroughbred horse. Despite his age he still cuts an erect and dashing figure.

Col Heywood on horse

The final charming photograph shows Thomas Heywood in old age in the back garden of Hatley St George with his second wife Sophie and their dogs.

In the garden at Hatley

This was the last time the gentry would occupy Hatley St George, as society would be for ever changed by the Great War, and the house became a school.

Postscript

Grave of Sophie HeywoodWhile walking in Great Malvern cemetery, by chance, we came across the grave of Sophie, south of the chapel. The inscription on the memorial reads:

To the beloved and gentle memory of Sophie Grace Heywood, widow of Col. Thomas Heywood of Hatley St George Malvern, who entered into rest January 18th 1918.

Underneath are the everlasting arms

 


References

  1. Ordnance Survey Map of Great Malvern (East) 1926
  2. Map of Great Malvern 1884
  3. England and Wales census 1851 to 1911
  4. National Probate Calendar
  5. Kelly's Trade Directories
  6. Hurle, Pamela, Malvern Girl's College, A Centenary History (page 24), published by Phillimore 1993
  7. Jenkins Elizabeth, Dr Gully, published by Michael Joseph Ltd, 1972. (A fictional account based on fact of the romance between Dr James Manby Gully and Florence Ricardo.)
  8. Communication from G Servais, November 2015

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