Records of the Family of Sclater

Claude Sclater

CHAPTER 7

William Lutley Sclater and John May Sclater

William Lutley Sclater (1), 1789-1885

BARTHOLOMEW’S elder surviving son, William, was born at Ashford, Middlesex, on January 22, 1789. During his early years he lived with his parents and maternal grandparents at Ashford, and he used to relate how, on his father’s yearly visits to his living at Whittingham in Northumberland, he would ride all the way on his white pony following his father’s gig.

He was educated at Winchester, where he was a Prefect, and at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. with a second class in 1811 and became M.A. in 1814. He entered the Middle Temple in 1816, was called to the Bar in 1819, and practised successfully on the Western Circuit for several years.

As a young man he had lived with his aunt, Penelope Sclater, at Tangier Park, but in 1833 she sold it and returned to Worcester, giving him the larger family property Hoddington, which had fallen vacant after being leased to the Russells since John Limbrey’s death in 1802. Ten years later on his aunt’s death he inherited the rest of her estates. William gave up his practice and settled at Hoddington, where he spent the rest of his long life, devoting himself to the improvement of his property and the welfare of his tenants and work-people, and playing a vigorous part in local affairs.

He was appointed a justice of the Peace in 1831 and served as Chairman of Basingstoke Divisional Petty Sessions for over fifty years. In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act introduced a new system of relief for the destitute, with the hated “Workhouses” replacing outdoor employment, and with responsibility transferred from the Parishes to a number of “Unions” controlled by locally elected Boards of Guardians, answerable to the Poor Law Board in Whitehall. William was elected as the Chairman of the Board of Guardians of the Basing Union, one of the largest in Hampshire, containing 37 parishes, a thankless task which he performed in as humane a manner as possible. He regularly attended the weekly meetings and was re-elected annually for 40 years. In December 1836 he published a closely reasoned pamphlet, An Open Letter to the Poor Law Commissioners, pointing out the many defects of the new system and urging the Board to liberalise their regulations. Similar action was taken by other enlightened local Squires, notably C. E. Lefroy of Itchell Manor, Crondall, and the conditions were gradually improved.

William was an officer in the North Hants. Yeomanry from the date of its first embodiment in 1830. He was also a great foxhunter, with the Vine Hunt when he lived at Tangier, and later with the Hampshire Hunt after he moved to Hoddington. He continued to ride to hounds when past ninety. He appears in the well known sporting print of “The Hampshire Hunt crossing the Wey near Neatham Mill” by the Rev. P. Aubertin.

He was married on July 26, 1821, by his bride’s uncle, the Rev. Packington George Tomkyns, at St. George’s, Bloomsbury, to Anna Maria, younger daughter of William Bowyer (1763-1827) of Hartley Wintney and the King’s Remembrancer’s Office, and his wife Dorothea, daughter of Thomas Tomkyns, of the famous family of composers and organists. Anna Maria’s elder sister Frances was married to Thomas Moore Wayne, squire of the neighbouring manor of South Warnborough, who was a trustee of William’s marriage settlement. Her brothers, William Bohun, who rose to the rank of Rear-Admiral after a distinguished naval career, and Charles, who succeeded his father in the King’s Remembrancer’s Office, completed the family circle.

William and Anna Maria lived to celebrate their Golden Wedding and had eleven children:

  1. Frederick Limbrey (1822-1823).
  2. Anna Maria (1823-1838).
  3. Thomas Lutley (1825-1825).
  4. George (1826-1894).
  5. Charles Limbrey (1828-1833).
  6. Philip Lutley (1829-1913).
  7. Elizabeth Penelope (1831-1918), married William Edmund Crofts of the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers and had five children.
  8. William (1833-1842).
  9. Dora Frances (1835-1920), married the Rev. James Elwin Millard, D.D., Vicar of Basingstoke, and had seven children.
  10. Katherine Ann (1836-1922), married her second cousin, William Barneby, of Clater Park and Saltmarsh Castle, Herefordshire, and had four children.
  11. Frederick Booth (1838-1856).

William’s wife, Anna Maria, died in 1876, aged 80, after which his niece, Amy Jordan, kept house for him.

Towards the end of his life the long period of prosperity for Hampshire farming, which had lasted since the Napoleonic Wars, came to an end. The market was flooded with cheap imported corn and meat and prices dropped disastrously. Many farmers gave up their tenancies and the landlords had to take their farms in hand. This happened at Hoddington and William’s younger son, Philip, came to help with the management of the estate. A partial solution was found in running a large flock of ewes over the combined farms1, but the heyday of country Squires had ended.

William died on December 15, 1885, at the great age of 96, and was buried at Upton Grey by the side of his wife. On the Sunday following his funeral the Rev. J. Wallace Kidston, Vicar of Upton Grey, preached a memorial sermon on the text Genesis XXV.8. “Died in a good old age, an old man and full of years: and was gathered to his people”. A printed copy has survived and the following extract is worth recording:

“I dwell among mine own people.” From his circumstances it was quite open to him to have done otherwise: and his natural abilities would have fitted him for a wider sphere than that of a country squire. But this was the position in which he chose to remain. He was, I believe, almost constantly resident at Hoddington. Nor did he merely live ‘among’ his own people: he lived ‘for’ them. The testimony of those who were immediately related to him as tenants or work-people is an unvarying testimony to his goodness and kindness - displayed in the friendly greeting and genial word, in a constant consideration for their well-being, in a thoughtful care for them in sickness and trouble.

A good portrait of him by F. R. Say, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854, was presented to him by the members of the Board of Guardians over whom he presided.

In his will he confirmed gifts of £5,000 to the trustees of each of his daughters’ marriage settlements, left May’s Farm at Ramsdell and all his stock and shares in the London and South Western Railway Company to his younger son Philip, and all the rest of his property to his elder son George. His personal estate was valued at £31,000.

John May Sclater, 1791-1818

BARTHOLOMEW’s younger surviving son, John, was born at Ashford, Middlesex, on December 4, 1791. He was a Scholar at Winchester and a Postmaster at Merton College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1814, becoming M.A. in 1817. He entered Holy Orders and his widowed mother, Elizabeth Rebecca, purchased the advowson of the rectory of Terwick in Sussex to provide a living for him.

Here he was instituted in March 1816 and died unmarried on August 8, 1818. He left no will and administration of his estate, valued at £1,500, was granted to his brother William. He was the last member of the family to enter the Church, and, after presenting his successor, his mother sold the advowson.

A memorial tablet in the little church of St. Peter’s, Terwick, probably erected by his mother, reads:

Near this place are deposited the remains of
JOHN MAY SCLATER
Rector of this Parish
who died August 8th 1818 aged twenty six
Beloved, respected and lamented.
He was distinguished among the circle of his acquaintance for his amiable disposition and his noble conduct and as the patient and benevolent instructor of his Parishioners particularly of the youthful part of them.
He was excelled by none
“Unspotted youth is old age”

Wisd. of Sol. IV. 9 68

References

  1. John Simpson, Church, Manor, Plough

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