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

4 thoughts on “Whittington Hall”

  1. Hi John,
    How kind of you to do this acknowledgement. I am only too happy to help the local community with the small amount of information I can impart. Being a keen genealogist I am conscious of the need to pass on information to relevant parties for the benefit of generations to come.

    Thank you so much for your kind thoughts.

    I will forward the photograph of Peggy with Lord Lichfield in their coronation robes. I know from her son Michael that she was reluctant to appear as a member of the nobility. She much preferred her practical and active role as commandant of the Red Cross Hospital here at Heath House during the war years – to give something back to society as it were…………..which echo her words in books to which she contributed during her lifetime.

    She was a feisty lady and not one to be crossed!!

    Kindest regards

  2. I know about this hall and I live on the other side of the world, storeys I was told growing up by my grandfather ..

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