All posts by John Keegan

Whittington Hall

We have recently been contacted by Neil Hatfield of Lower Tean, Staffs, who has inherited a copy of the Sale Prospectus for the Whittington Estate, in 1968. Neil offered the document to our community in order that it can augment the Whittington Historical Archive held by its Custodian, Gerald Hodgson.

We were delighted by Neil’s generous offer and now have the document. I have produced a PDF version, which you can access at THIS link.

When viewing the document it occurred to me that the History section of the Village Web Site does not have a page dedicated to the Dawson-Greene family. There are mentions of Thomas Greene MP on the page featuring Whittington Hall at: Whittington Hall History, but no specific detail.

As a result, at the moment I am collating information in order to add a new page. However, in the meantime, maybe a taster would be in order.

The story actually begins with Thomas Greene MP (1794-1872).

In fact he was the fifth Thomas Greene, it being the family tradition to name one son, Thomas. His father was (obviously) Thomas [IV] (1737-1810) who married Martha Dawson, daughter of Edmund Dawson of Warton, in 1792. This is the source of the Dawson element which became part of the family name during the 20th century, due to the requirements of a legacy.

Thomas (V) Greene MP

The Greene family originated in Slyne and our Thomas was educated at Lancaster Grammar and then Oriel College, Oxford. He practiced as a Solicitor at Gray’s Inn and was called to the Bar in 1819. In 1820 he married Henrietta, daughter of Sir Henry Russell, 1st Baronet, of Swallowfield, Berks.

He had two stints in Parliament: 1824-1852 and 1853-1857. There is an excellent record of his performance in Parliament which I will include on the website in due course.

Thomas and Henrietta had two daughters and two sons, one of whom was Thomas (VI). The eldest son was Dawson Cornelius Greene, whose son Henry Dawson-Greene was the first member of the family to adopt the Dawson addition to the surname.

Henry Dawson-Greene

Henry Dawson-Greene was head of the last descendants of the family to occupy Whittington Hall. He, and his wife Violet Francis Henrietta (nee Ley), had three children, Mary Sybil Grace, Charles John and Violet Margaret.

Violet Francis Henrietta (nee Ley)

Charles is commemorated in the memorial to those losing their lives in WWI, in Whittington churchyard.

Charles John Dawson-Greene

Violet (who for a reason I have been unable to ascertain) was popularly known as Peggy. Indeed Gerald recalls how one of his school friends used to play with Peggy at the Hall. It is recorded (in Copeland’s book – Whittington, the story of a country estate) that Violet was busily engaged during WWII in London assisting in Red Cross canteen and hospital work.

Violet Margaret (Peggy) – Lady Lichfield.

In 1921, at the age of 22, Violet (Peggy) married Lt. Col. Humphrey Burgoyne Philips ,

Peggy Dawson Greene Wedding – 1921
St. Peters, Eaton Sq, London SW1

at St. Peters, Eaton Sq, London. In 1949 she married Thomas Edward Anson, 4th Earl of Lichfield, to become Lady Lichfield.

The family suffered a series of Death Duties, in 1912,1918 and 1922. Violet realised that the estate would have to be sold so as to avoid going into decay, and to prevent the loyal servants of the estate being put at risk. The sale took place in 1924. Lady Violet was, according to Copeland, sadly subjected to some abuse from family members and friends for some time afterwards.

As Copeland records: “The Edwardian Squire had departed. Never again could its earlier century ‘ambience’ be restored. Political, financial and social power had moved away from Whittington’s traditional gentry”.

My eagle eye was drawn to the presence of Harrisons Farm and a saw mill & wood yard in the 1924 sale. These not forming part of the Estate when it was sold at the instruction of Lady Meriel Howarth in 1968.

It is pleasing to consider that a degree of “Political, financial and social power” returned to Whittington in later years. Undeniably Baron Hugh William Mackay, 14th Lord Reay, and of course his son, Æneas Simon Mackay 15th Lord Reay and Baron MacKay,

Æneas Simon Mackay

and also his son, Alexander Shimi Markus Mackay, Master Of Reay

Alexander Shimi Markus Mackay

have brought a measure of enhanced ambience to our favoured community.

John Keegan

Gerald’s October Musings

Anne and Rob Pettifor and their daughter Sarah have recently moved to Kirkby Lonsdale. They will be sadly missed as they have contributed so much to village life during their time at Cross House. Anne served as treasurer of the Heritage Society and helped raise the money needed to clean and restore the Royal Coat of Arms now displayed in the Church, and both Rob and Anne were part of the bell ringing team that organised the removal and overhaul and re-hanging of the Church Bells. They have left the village a better place and we hope they enjoy their new home and are as happy there as they were at Whittington.

We knew Vera Hoggarth as a quiet family loving mum and grandmother, but few of us knew that during the war she was a member of the WAAFs, serving most of the war on an airbase in Northern Ireland, from which aircraft constantly patrolled the North Atlantic searching for enemy U boats and shipwrecked sailors. After the war she met and married her husband Gerry, and lived at Brookhouse for a time. In 1958 they moved to Providence House at Arkholme and farmed there until their retirement. Sadly she started suffering from dementia and has spent the last few years in a care home regularly visited by her ever loving family.

If you have a few minutes to spare and enjoy nice scenery take a look at the short video on the Whittington Village Blog called The Bus Trip To Mallham. It highlights all the spectacular views from Morecambe to Mallham. It was made by one of the bus drivers and is very well done, well worth a look  at THIS Link. .

The next dance at Whittington is on 6 October when Denis Westmorland is back providing the music for dancing, it will be another enjoyable night

Gerald Hodgson.

Gerald’s September Musings

I have let everyone down by missing Gerald’s September contribution to Wagtail. I have no excuse and am grateful to Gerald for jogging my memory so that I can include this belated entry (followed Immediately by the October entry). – John Keegan

We think the Arkholme to Kirkby Lonsdale road is busy now but imagine what it was like two hundred years ago when it was the main drovers road from Scotland. It is recorded that in the early 1700s up to 50,000 cows (and as many sheep) were crossing the border from Scotland and travelling south each year, the majority of them using this road [that’s well nearly 140 a day – Ed].

The drovers kept them off the main turnpike roads as that would mean paying tolls at every toll booth. This road came via Orton Tebay, Lowgill, Killington, Old Town, Hop House, Biggins, Whittington, Arkholme, Redwell and Halton. There were hotels every three miles along the route where the drovers could spend the night with a secure enclosure for their cows or sheep. The journey south would be a long tedious one as the animals would constantly stop and graze at the road side and stop for a drink at every beck they crossed. There were more fords than bridges in those days – in fact there was a ford on Hosticle Lane until the 1930s. They tell me that there was a small blacksmiths shop at Mire Side near Old Town that made small leather bootees for lame cows so they did not hold up the drovers progress. I imagine the condition of the roads would be very muddy smelly and dirty, and you can see the erosion all the passing cattle have caused to the road surface at the lower end of Hosticle Lane – it is eight feet below the field level, and it is the same at Storrs Hill, and dropping down into Halton village.

The drovers returning home, carrying the money they had collected from selling the cattle they had taken south, could became victims of highwaymen and robbers. That is one reason cheques and promissory notes became popular.

All this traffic ceased when the railway was extended north to Scotland in the 1840s, and the cattle were then transported by train.

How well the thrushes and blackbirds have sung this year. It was a constant chorus from morning till night. They, like us, must have enjoyed the hot summer.

The next dance at Whittington is on Saturday 8 September when Denis Westmorland is providing the music.

Gerald Hodgson