If halls could talk: Marton Hall and its Atcherleys

Over the course of its long life, Marton Hall saw many members of the Atcherley family come and go. It witnessed births and deaths, it welcomed home newlyweds, and it hosted family and social gatherings of all kinds. Of its Atcherley residents and their lives, much was written – of Marton Hall itself, not so much. This ancient Atcherley abode was pulled down over a century ago, so even if (to tweak an old phrase) halls could talk, this one is not around to tell its tale. We are left with scattered shreds and snippets of information, from which I will strive to stitch together the story of Marton Hall.

Thanks to Richard Gough, who wrote The Antiquities and Memoirs of the parish of Middle in 1700-01, we know that the first Atcherley to settle at Marton, Thomas, “held Mr. Lloyd Peirce his house there, and dwelt in it”. (See Thomas Atcherley and his Marton Tannery.) Gough also tells us that Thomas Atcherley’s son, Thomas Atcherley the second, later bought the “cheife house in Marton” from “Lloyd Peirce”. In his account of Thomas Acherley the second, Gough wrote:

Quote He was att first tenant to Lloyd Peirce, Esq., and had his house burnt; but Lloyd Peirce caused him to re-build itt, butt hee, haveing a lease, built a house as large as the old one, and imployed it for a malt house, and built a faire house neare it for his habitation upon the lands which his Grandfather purchased of Owen and Twiford, and afterward purchased Lloyd Peirce’s lands. Unquote

The “faire house” built by this Thomas Atcherley was, I believe, the place which became known as Marton Hall. The “chiefe house in Marton” on the other hand was, according to Gough, still being used “for malting roomes and corne chambers” in 1701.

Following the death of Thomas Atcherley the second in 1681, the Marton estate was inherited not by his eldest surviving son Andrew (who had been given Thomas’s lands in Forden, Montgomeryshire) but by his youngest son, Richard. Richard however passed away at the end of 1682. Marton Hall was then occupied by Elinor, the widow of Thomas Atcherley the second. She was “of Marton” when her will was written in 1684.

Following Elinor’s death (her will was proved on 13 April 1687) it is possible that Marton Hall remained vacant for a time. Andrew Atcherley did eventually move to Marton, but I do not know when. He was certainly living there by 1701, when Richard Gough wrote of “that house [at Marton] wherein Andrew Acherley now dwelles”. Andrew later returned to Forden, being of that place when he wrote his will in February 1709/10; he was buried there shortly afterwards.

MI - Myddle - Atcherley, Richard, 1679-1750)

Andrew Atcherley may have gone back to Forden on the marriage of his son Richard (to Elizabeth Lloyd) in January 1702/3. Richard, great grandson of Thomas Atcherley the first of Marton, occupied the family seat until his death in 1750. His will specified that his estate was “not to be entred upon til the death of my said Wife Elizabeth”. Elizabeth passed away in 1755. (A monument dedicated to Richard and Elizabeth, mounted inside the church at Myddle,  is pictured above.)

Richard and Elizabeth’s eldest son (another Atcherley named Thomas) had predeceased both of his parents, but he left two male heirs. The eldest, Robert Atcherley, duly “entred upon” the Marton estate, remaining there until his death, at the age of 27, just three years later in 1758. Robert’s younger brother Richard then took possession but he too died young (like his father, at the age of 34) in 1766. He left a widow and five young children.

Richard’s widow was described in 1771 as “Jane Atcherley of Marton, Middle, after of Shrewsbury,” which indicates that she and her children vacated Marton Hall after Richard’s death. Sadly Jane, who was the daughter of Thomas Hughes, vicar of Loppington, survived only to the age of 37, and went to her grave in 1773. A death notice referred to Jane as “Mrs. Atcherley, relict of Mr. Atcherley, late of Marton-hall” – the earliest reference to Marton Hall (as opposed to plain “Marton”) that I have yet found.

A number of years were to pass before Marton Hall heard the sound of Atcherley voices again. In the meantime, the house was let out to tenants. The following advert, which appeared in the  Shrewsbury Chronicle of 8 November 1777 (and in further editions over the following four months), confirms this – and gives a rare description of the property:

Quote TO be Let, and entered upon Lady-Day next: MARTON HALL, in the Parish of Middle, in the County of Salop; being an exceeding good House, fit for the Reception of a Gentleman’s Family, with a good walled Garden, Dovehouse, and convenient Outbuildings thereunto belonging, and about 29 Acres of good Arable, Meadow, and Pasture, now in the Occupation of John Farmer, Gent.—Marton is pleasantly situated, within 8 miles of Shrewsbury and Ellesmere, and about 5 from Wem, and there is a good Fishery belonging to it.
For further Particulars apply to the Rev. Mr. Hughes, Vicar of Loppington, in the said County, or Mr. Roberts, Attorney at Law, in Loppington aforesaid. Unquote

I suspect that Richard and Jane Atcherley’s eldest son, also named Richard, returned to Marton Hall when he reached the age of 21 in 1784. (He may have abandoned his apprenticeship with Messrs Widdens, Potts & Leake, attorneys, at that point: see The life and crimes of Thomas Atcherley.) Richard wed Elizabeth Edwards in 1792, but no children resulted from this marriage. With no male heirs to continue the Atcherley line at Marton, Richard devised his estate to his nephew David Francis Jones, on condition that David changed his surname to Atcherley. David complied with his uncle’s wishes (see Richard Atcherley and his hopes for posterity).

David Francis Atcherley, as he became by virtue of a Royal Licence, was a Sergeant at Law. It appears that he did not spend much time at Marton. His official residence was in Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London, and this is where most of his children were born, from 1818 to 1830. He also had estates at Davenham in Cheshire (where at least one of his children was born, and where two who died in infancy were buried) and at Cymmau in Flintshire. He died at Bedford Square in 1845, the address where he and his family were enumerated when the census of 1841 was taken.

On the death of David Francis Atcherley, his lands at Marton (and elsewhere) were inherited by his eldest son, also named David Francis Atcherley. This David was recorded on the 1851 census with his mother and his sisters at Hastings in Sussex, but the family were probably taking a holiday there at the time. At Marton Hall meanwhile, the census enumerator found servants, but no head of the household. This was also the case in 1861, in which year I have not found David Francis Atcherley on the census at all.

Despite his no-show at Marton on the censuses, I believe that Marton Hall was nonetheless David Francis Atcherley’s official residence from the latter half of the 1840s. “David Francis Atcherley, Esq., of Marton Hall” was “sworn upon the commission of the peace of Salop” in 1851, he was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Shropshire in 1855, and he was a Cornet in the North Salopian Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry from 1857 to 1859. All of these appointments point towards David being resident in Shropshire.

Plan of Marton Hall and groundsPlan of Marton Hall and grounds, based on Ordnance Survey Six Inch map XXVII N E, published 1884.

Marton Hall’s heyday, its ‘golden years’ if you like, followed David Francis Atcherley’s marriage to Caroline Frances Amherst Stacey in 1866 (see Bride and Joy: Celebrating an Atcherley marriage). The following news report, from the Wrexham Advertiser of 18 November 1871, gives not only a taste of the social activities in which Mr and Mrs Atcherley engaged, but also an indication of the size of Marton Hall’s drawing room:

Quote Amateur Operas.—The rare and almost unprecedented attempt to give Italian opera in a private drawing-room, with all the performers strictly amateurs, has been successfully achieved in Shropshire by Mr and Mrs Atcherly, of Marton Hall. A theatre, with appropriate scenery, was fitted up in the spacious drawing-room, and the audience consisted of nearly two hundred of the leading families of the neighbourhood. … Unquote

When David Francis Atcherley died in 1887, Marton hall passed not to his daughter Rosamond, but to his nephew Francis Robinson Hartland Atcherley. Francis lived at Marton for nearly two years, but on his marriage in 1889 he set up home in the nearby parish of West Felton. Although the Marton estate remained in Atcherley ownership for some years afterwards, it was never again occupied by the family.

Marton Hall fixtures etc 1896By 1891, David Gaussen, J.P. and his family had taken up residence at Marton Hall. They made way for George G Lancaster and his family in the mid 1890s. A document survives from that time which is, to my knowledge, unique: a room by room “List of Fixtures etc at Marton Hall”, which is dated December 1896. The following rooms on the list were, I presume, all on the ground floor: Old Front Hall, Dining Room, Oak Room, Study, Large Vestibule, Drawing Room, Offices, Housekeeper’s Room, Scullery, Kitchen, and, in the “Wing Building”, room No. 1, the Middle Room, and the End Room.

An oak staircase (with “16 Stout brass stair rods”) gave access to the upper floor(s) of Marton Hall, where there were 18 bedrooms plus a Boudoir. (The List gives details of fixtures in bedrooms numbered up to No. 18, but does not include entries for bedrooms 9 and 10.) 25 brass stair rods are listed for the “Landing beyond” the Boudoir, suggesting the presence of a second set of stairs there. Beyond the hall itself was a stable with a Harness room and Yard.

George Lancaster was still at Marton Hall when the census of 1901 was taken, but in 1904 new tenants arrived: Henry Hills Meredith, J.P. and his family. Henry died in 1905, but his wife Laura remained at Marton Hall and was enumerated there with her sister-in-law and servants when the 1911 census was taken.

Marton Hall. I believe this to be a view of the South West end of house.

Laura Meredith, who moved to Ludlow not long after the census, was probably the last tenant of the original Marton Hall. After a life of around 250 years, the hall was pulled down and a new Hall erected in 1913-14. Eleanor Owen, in a dissertation written in 1966, wrote:

Quote … Marton Hall … was fairly near the road from Myddle to Baschurch and was a white building. … All that remains of this now is one room which is used for storing cement. The new hall is 75 to 100 yards from the old house further in the grounds. … The new Marton Hall was built mainly from the remains of the old hall … in 1914 … Unquote

Though the old Marton Hall was gone, the new house contained reminders of the Atcherley’s former home. “Most of the old wood was taken from the old hall and put in the new hall,” wrote Eleanor Owen. “One small room in particular is oak panelled and there is a beautifully carved fixture cupboard which is dated 1666.”


Picture credits. Monumental inscription in Myddle St Peter: Photo by the author. Plan of Marton Hall and grounds: Drawing by the author, based on Ordnance Survey Six Inch map XXVII N E, published 1884. Extract from List of Fixtures etc at Marton Hall: Photo by the author. Marton Hall: From Wilding postcard No. 1547, postmarked 1909 and therefore believed to be out of copyright.


Resources.

Images of pages from the List of Fixtures etc at Marton Hall can be viewed in the Documents album of the Atcherley.org.uk Flickr Photostream.

Transcript of List of Fixtures etc at Marton Hall (in PDF format).


References.

[1] Richard Gough (1875), Antiquities and Memoirs of the Parish of Myddle. Copy viewed at Internet Archive. Note: Although published in 1875, Gough wrote his manuscript in 1700-01.
[2] Anon (1885), Middle Parish Register. In: Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society. Volume IX. Page 223. Copy viewed at Internet Archive.
[3] The National Archives, Kew. Item ref PROB 11/387/51: Will of Ellianor Atcherley, Widow of Middle, Shropshire. Copy viewed at Ancestry – England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858. Also available from The National Archives website.
[4] The National Archives, Kew. Item ref PROB 11/515/145: Will of Andrew Atcherley or Acherley of Forden, Montgomeryshire. Copy viewed at Ancestry – England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858. Also available from The National Archives website.
[5] Forden, Montgomeryshire (now Powys), parish register, entry dated 9 Feb 1709/10 for “Andreas Acherley”. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Powys Burials.
[6] Battlefield, Shropshire, parish register, entry dated 28 Jan 1702/03 for marriage of “Richd Atcherly of ye Parish of Middle and Eliz Floyd of ye Parish of St Mary Salop”. Copies viewed at Shropshire Archives and at Findmypast – Shropshire Marriages.
[7] Atcherley.org.uk: MIs at Myddle St Peter (1).
[8] The National Archives, Kew. Item ref PROB 11/782/475: Will of Richard Atcherley, Gentleman of Morton [= Marton], Shropshire. Copy viewed at Ancestry – England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858. Also available from The National Archives website.
[9] John Burke, John Bernard Burke (1847), A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland; Volume I, pages 31-32. Copy viewed at Google Books.
[10] Shropshire Archives item 1984/24 (Windler Collection) dated 28 October 1771. (“Jane Atcherley of Marton, Middle, after of Shrewsbury, widow, administrator with the will annexed of Richard Atcherley late of Wem gent decd …”). Abstract viewed at The National Archives website.
[11] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 5 Jun 1773, page 3. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[12] Shrewsbury Chronicle, 8 Nov 1777, page 4. Copy viewed at Findmypast.
[13] Bloomsbury St George, Middlesex, baptism register, entries dated 3 Jul 1819, 15 Jan 1820, 13 Jun 1821, 2 Jan 1823 and 3 Mar 1828 for David Francis Jones, Jane Margaret Jones, Emma Atcherley Jones, Elizabeth Hope Jones and Francis Topping Jones. Copies viewed at Ancestry – London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906.
[14] Davenham, Cheshire, baptism register, entry dated 8 Oct 1823 for Lucy Catherine Jones. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Cheshire baptisms.
[15] The York Herald, and General Advertiser, Saturday 26 Jun 1824. “BIRTHS. […] On Saturday last, in Great Russell-street, London, the lady of David Francis Jones, Esq. of a son.”
[16] Davenham, Cheshire, burial register, entries dated 3 Sep 1824 and 3 Sep 1825 for Francis Topping Jones and Francis Robinson Jones. Copies viewed at Findmypast – Cheshire burials.
[17] Chester Chronicle, 21 Nov 1828, page 2. “BIRTH. 18th Inst. in Great Russell-street, the lady of Mr. Serjeant Jones, of a daughter.”
[18] Chester Chronicle, 2 Jul 1830, page 2. “BIRTHS. 24th ult. in Great Russell-street, London, the lady of Mr. Serjeant Jones, of a son.”
[19] Death of David Francis Atcherley registered at St Giles, September quarter 1845; volume 1, page 34.
[20] 1841 census of England and Wales. Piece 672, book 5, folio 25, page 44.
[21] 1851 census of England and Wales. Piece 1635, folio 529, page 60.
[22] 1851 census of England and Wales. Piece 1994, folio 525, page 28. Marton hall, Myddle, Shropshire. 3 servants (farm labourer and 2 house servants).
[23] 1861 census of England and Wales. Piece 1885, folio 12, page 17. Marton hall, Myddle, Shropshire. 3 servants (house keeper, house maid, footman).
[24] Worcestershire Chronicle, 21 May 1851, page 7. The Magistracy.
[25] London Gazette, issue 21648, 5 Jan 1855, page 39. Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Salop.
[26] London Gazette, issue 21957, 9 Jan 1857, page 106. Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Salop. North Salopian Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry.
[27] Charles G Wingfield (1888), Historical Record of the Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry, from Its Formation in 1795, Up to the Year 1887. Page 71.
[28] Wrexham Advertiser of 18 Nov 1871 , page 6. Amateur Operas.
[29] Death of David Francis Atcherley registered at St George Hanover Square, June quarter 1887; volume 1a, page 256; age given as 69.
[30] Rhyl Journal, 23 Nov 1895, page 2. DEATH of MR F. R. H. ATCHERLEY. Copy viewed at Welsh Newspapers Online .
[31] Kelly’s Directory (1909), page 161. “Marton Hall is the property of Miss Muriel Atcherley, who is the principal landowner, and is at present the residence of Mrs. Meredith.”
[32] 1891 census of England and Wales. Piece 2122, folio 15, page 24. Marton hall, Myddle, Shropshire. Head: David Gaussen, 67, J.P., born Ireland. Wife: Eliza Gaussen, 43, born India. Plus 4 children (including 18 year old twins Nannie and Nina and a son who was a Military Student), a visitor, and 5 servants (Footman, Housemaid, Cook, Housemaid and Lady’s Maid).
[33] List of Fixtures etc at Marton Hall, dated 1896. Original held by the author.
[34] 1901 census of England and Wales. Piece 2551, folio 9, page 9. Marton hall, Myddle, Shropshire. Head: George G Lancaster, 47, Living on Own Means, born Limerick, Ireland. Wife: Cicely Lancaster, 26, born Piccadilly, London. Plus 2 children (Cicely, 3, and Claude, 1) and 10 servants (Butler, Footman, Cook, Housemaid, Lady Maid, Housemaid, 2 Laundry Maids, Childrens Maid, Under Nurse).
[35] R W D Fenn, N T Roberts (1985), The Recollections of Laura Meredith, page 71. In: Radnorshire Society Transactions,  Volume 55, page 68 et seq. Copy viewed at Welsh Journals Online.
[36] The Chester Courant, 4 Oct 1905, page 4. “We regret to announce the death of Mr. Henry Hills Meredith, J.P. for the County of Salop, of Marton Hall, Baschurch, which occurred very suddenly last week.” Copy viewed at Welsh Newspapers Online.
[37] 1911 census of England and Wales. Piece, schedule 33. Marton Hall, Myddle, Shropshire. Head: Laura Meredith, 57, widow (1 child, living), Private Means, born Knighton, Radnorshire. Sister in law: Mary Louisa Green Price, 39, married (17 years, 3 children, all living), Private Means, born Carnarvon. Plus 10 servants (Butler, Cook, Lady’s Maid, Head Housemaid, 2nd Housemaid, 3rd Housemaid, Kitchen Maid, Footman, 2 Grooms). [Note: The husband of Mary Louisa Green Price was Alfred Edward Green Price, son of Sir Richard Green Price (formerly Green), and uncle of Francis Chase Green Price, who married Joan Atcherley Dobell, who was the seventh cousin once removed of David Francis Atcherley.]
[38] Eleanor Owen (1966), A History of Myddle and Parish (dissertation). Digital version viewed at Myddle.net. (Index to digitalised sections of dissertation.)

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