“Richard Atcherley, Esq. … [died] without issue, 27 Feb. 1834, whereupon the male line of the Atcherley family failed…” John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1847), A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland .
On this day in 1834, Richard Atcherley of Marton, in the Shropshire parish of Middle, died. The Marton estate had been home to his branch of the Atcherley family for over two centuries at this point, but now there were no Atcherleys left to inherit the estate and perpetuate the family name there. Richard, however, had prepared for this. A little problem like the failure of the male line of his family was not going to bring an end to the Atcherleys of Marton if he could help it.
As can be seen from the memorial inscription above, Richard Atcherley was born at Marton 15 October 1763. He was baptised at St Peter’s church in Middle the same day , and was named after his father, Richard Atcherley senior (who had been baptised at Loppington on 24 Feb 1731/2 ).
Richard Atcherley senior had certainly done his bit to keep this branch of the Atcherley family going, having married twice. His first marriage is not mentioned by the Burkes in their Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary . I myself had not linked the wedding of “Richard Atcherly of St Dunstans, & Anne Baker of Cobham” at Strood in Kent on 9 September 1751 , to this particular Richard Atcherley. Were it not for the following report in the London Evening Post I would probably never have made the connection:
Last Tuesday was married, at Stroud in Kent, Mr. Atcherly, Nephew to Mr. Atcherly, near Wem in Shropshire, to Miss Nanny Baker, Daughter of Mr. Thomas Baker, Shopkeeper, in Cobham, Kent. 
Anne had been baptised at Cobham on 9 January 1727 [3, 6], so she would have been about 24 when she married Richard, who was just 19 years of age. It appears that the couple lived in London, where they had a daughter who was named after Richard’s mother, Dorothy. The parish register of St Andrew Holborn shows the baptism of Dorothy, daughter of Richard and Ann Atcherley of Dean Street, Fetter Lane on 30 March 1753 – and her burial a little over six weeks later on 15 May 1753 . I am not aware of any other children born to Richard and Anne, and it seems likely that Anne herself died not long after she lost her daughter.
Richard’s next appearance in a parish register was on the occasion of his second marriage, to Jane Hughes, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Hughes, vicar of Loppington . The wedding took place at Loppington on 18 September 1760, and the parish register shows that Richard was a widower, of the parish of Middle in the county of Salop . Both bride and groom signed the register, as did the witnesses, John Cheshire and Jane’s sister Apphia (or Aphia) Hughes. Richard, now 28, had once again married a bride aged about 24, Jane having been baptised at Shawbury in Shropshire on 7 January 1736 [3, 9].
Richard’s second marriage was also a relatively short one, lasting less than six years and ending, like his first, with a death. This time however it was the husband who went to an early grave. Richard died, at the age of 34, on 22 April 1766  and was buried at St Peter’s church in Middle four days later. He left his wife with five children: Dorothy, Jane, Richard junior, Elizabeth, and Thomas .
Dorothy, Jane and Elizabeth Atcherley all married and had one or more children. Dorothy married the Rev. Robert Taylor [1, 3] and lived with him at More in Shropshire, where the couple had ten children . Jane had just one child, a son who was named after his father, David Francis Jones . Elizabeth married a Scot, Robert Corbett , and lived with him in Liverpool, Lancashire, where they had at least six children .
Little is known about Thomas Atcherley, who was born on this day in 1766  (he was baptised at Middle a day later, on 28 February ). He was probably the “Thomas Atcherley, formerly of Marton in the Parish of Middle in the County of Salop, since of Liverpool in the County of Lancaster, Gentleman” who was listed in the London Gazette of 2 August 1794 as one of the “Prisoners in His Majesty’s Gaol of the Northgate in the City of Chester” . I have yet to discover the reason for his imprisonment. According to the Burkes, Richard “d.s.p.” (descessit sine prole: died without issue) in July 1801 , although the places of his death and burial are unknown to me.
As for Richard junior, the only surviving male heir, he married Elizabeth Edwards, daughter of Robert Edwards Esquire of Bosbury in Herefordshire, on 26 May 1792 at Bosbury [1, 3]. As we know, this marriage produced no children, but Richard was nonetheless determined to secure the future of the Atcherleys of Marton. The method by which he did so can be summed up with the old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The probate copy of Richard’s last will and testament is held by The National Archives. A copy of the document, in PDF format, can be downloaded for a small fee via that body’s Documents Online service . The poor quality of the image makes it very difficult to read in many places. There is much that is legible however, and Richard wrote at length!
In his will, Richard Atcherley of Marton left his lands and property in Shropshire and Montgomeryshire to his nephew, David Francis Jones, Barrister at Law and, after the decease of that nephew, to his great nephew, David’s son, also named David Francis Jones. After the death of the younger David Francis Jones the estate was to pass to his first lawfully begotten son, or (in the event of that son predeceasing his father) to the next oldest surviving son. In the absence of such offspring, the estate was to go to another of Richard Atcherley’s nephews, Robert Falconer Corbett, and his legitimate male heir. Next in line, should Robert not produce any such heirs, was Robert’s brother Arthur Corbett, and his legitimate male heir. Last in line, in the event that no rightful heirs were produced by any of those already mentioned, was Richard’s nephew Whitney Taylor and his first lawfully begotten son (or the next oldest surviving son).
So the Marton estate was to stay within the family – but how to preserve the Atcherley name? Richard had thought of that too. Anybody inheriting his estate, if not already using the surname and bearing the arms of Atcherley, was directed to “use in all deeds and writings whereto and wherein he or they shall or may be a party or parties and upon all other occasions the Surname of Atcherley only and bear the Arms of Atcherley only and shall and do within the space of one year then next ensuing apply for and endeavour to obtain an act of parliament or proper Licence from the Crown or take such other means as may be requisite and proper to enable and authorise him or them respectively to take use and bear the said Surname and Arms of Atcherley.” If these conditions were not met, the estate would go to the next in line.
Less than a month after Richard Atcherley’s death, the following notice appeared in the London Standard:
The King has been pleased to grant unto David Francis Jones, of Marton, in the parish of Middle, in the county of Salop, and of Cymmau, in the county of Flint, Sergeant at Law, his authority, that he and his issue may, in compliance with the last will and testament of his late maternal uncle, Richard Atcherley, of Marton aforesaid, Esq., deceased, henceforth take and use the surname of Atcherley, in lieu of that of Jones, and also bear the arms of Atcherley only. 
At a later date, a memorial to Richard was placed inside St Peter’s church at Middle. The inscription upon it reads as follows:
TO THE MEMORY OF
RICHARD ATCHERLEY ESQUIRE
IN THIS PARISH.
HE WAS BORN AT MARTON
ON THE 15TH DAY OF OCTOBER 1763,
AND DIED THERE
ON THE 27TH DAY OF FEBRUARY 1834.
HE WAS A MAN OF INTEGRITY
HE MAINTAINED THROUGH LIFE
A STEADY UNPRETENDING
SENSE OF RELIGION,
AND LOOKED FOR
THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST.
IN AFFECTIONATE AND GRATEFUL
REMEMBRANCE OF HIM
THIS STONE IS ERECTED
BY HIS NEPHEW
DAVID FRANCIS ATCHERLEY
SERJEANT AT LAW.
At the top of the large stone tablet bearing this inscription, the Atcherley arms are carved. Below them is inscribed the family motto, SPE POSTERIS TEMPORIS, a Latin phrase meaning “in hope of the latter time” or “in hope of the future.” Given Richard’s hopes for the future of the Atcherleys of Marton, and the lengths he went to in order to secure that future, it seems very appropriate that this motto was included on his memorial.
 John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1847), A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume I, page 32.
 Handwritten transcript of the Middle parish register, viewed at Shropshire Archives.
 Copy of Strood parish register viewed at CityArk website.
 London Evening Post, issue 3735, 26 Sep 1751.
 Copy of Cobham parish register viewed at CityArk website.
 Copy of St Andrew Holborn parish register viewed at Ancestry.co.uk website (London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812).
 Copy of Loppington parish register viewed at Shropshire Archives.
 Copy of Shawbury parish register viewed at Shropshire Archives.
 Memorial inscription at St Peter’s church, Middle, Shropshire.
 London Gazette, issue 13690, page 801, 2 Aug 1794.
 The National Archives, Documents Online, catalogue reference PROB 11/1829.
 The Standard (London, England), issue 2142, 24 Mar 1834.