Tag Archives: Georgian

Architectural connections between Court Lodge and Kendal

I wrote recently about our stopover in Kendal on the way back home from Bonny Scotland, and how we found many historical family connections there. But there was another dimension to our trip to Kendal: an architectural one.

There has been a house on the site of Court Lodge since at least the 12th Century, but the current house was, we believe, built by my ancestor William Morland in 1730. We think that he tore down the (probably Jacobean) house that was on the site, and built the current house, probably from stone quarried from the site. He built it in the Queen Anne style, that was much more common in Westmorland than here in Kent. A typical Kentish manor house looks something like this:

Kentish Wealden Hall

Kentish Wealden Hall

Court Lodge, by contrast, looks like this:

South facade of Court Lodge

South facade of Court Lodge

Notice the arched windows; this will become relevant in a moment. We love the arched windows, and in fact, chose to incorporate them into our logo for Court Lodge when we first arrived back here:

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The colour of the logo is taken from the stonework of the building.

Court Lodge is therefore quite different from typical Kentish buildings. When we arrived in Kendal, however, it became abundantly clear where the inspiration for the architecture of Court Lodge came from. These are some of the buildings we saw:

Georgian building on Highgate, Kendal

Georgian building on Highgate, Kendal

Another Georgian building in Kendal, with arched windows

Another Georgian building in Kendal, with arched windows

The large blocks of stone, the Georgian sash windows, and the arched windows are all a recurring theme, and something these buildings have very much in common with Court Lodge.

We visited a very nice pub for lunch while in Kendal, the Globe Inn, and got chatting with the landlord about the reasons for our visit. We mentioned the architecture, and he told us that there is a particular type of window called a Westmorland window. It is an arched window that extends beyond one storey of the building, often in a stairwell. I looked around Kendal for examples of Westmorland windows, and found several. Here are a couple:

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This was very exciting, because we realised straight away that Court Lodge has a Westmorland window!

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The arched window here in the centre of the East facade looks onto the stairwell of the main stairs, and clearly goes between two storeys, so it fits the description of a Westmorland window. My ancestor, William Morland, certainly took his architectural inspiration from Westmorland, and incorporated a Westmorland window into the design of the building. The only thing that seems not quite right is that this window does not have the traditional Georgian glazing that the other arched windows have. I suspect it was rebuilt at some point during its history, and that it was originally glazed in the same way that the other arched windows are.

Another thing I had discovered before our trip to Kendal was that Ann Morland, pictured below, had moved back to Kendal after her husband died.

Ann Morland as a young woman

Ann Morland as a young woman

Ann Morland as an older woman, perhaps at the time she was living in Kendal

Ann Morland as an older woman, perhaps at the time she was living in Kendal

I found this out purely by chance when I discovered some old hair powder licenses among the Morland documents in the archives. See this post for more about that discovery. These documents cite Ann Morland, her sister Margaret Matson, and her daughters Anna Eleanora, Mary, Eliza and Margaretta, all living on Highgate in Kendal.

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I don’t know which house on Highgate they lived on, but it is lined with many substantial Georgian houses. I plan to contact the Kendal library’s archivist to see if there is any way of finding out where precisely they lived on this street.

Highgate, Kendal

Highgate, Kendal

Once again, I feel that this brief trip to Kendal has helped make more sense of Court Lodge as a building to me. It’s history tells a story of the origins of the Morland family, and that story is written into its architecture.

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Historic family connections in Kendal

During the Easter holidays we took a trip up to Scotland to visit some friends. Scotland was looking stunningly beautiful, as always, and the landscape reminded us fondly of the South Island of New Zealand, our home for 15 years.

In order to break the journey on the way back, we stopped for two nights in Kendal. I knew there were some historic family connections with Kendal and Westmorland, and I wanted to investigate further.

The Morland family originally came from a village called Morland in Westmorland. We visited there two years ago on our last trip up to Scotland.

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My ancestors also include the Matson family, who came from a place called Titup in Dalton-in-Furness. Ann Matson married Thomas Morland in the 1770s (she was the mother of the ‘Jane Austen generation’ of the Morland family. See this blog post for more information about that). This is Ann as a young lady:

Ann Morland as a young woman

Ann Morland as a young woman

And this is her sister, Margaret Matson:

Margaret Matson as a young lady

Margaret Matson as a young lady

We visited Kendal Parish Church, which is a very impressive building, illustrating the wealth of this area in the 18th Century. Inside we found some plaques to some of my Morland and Matson ancestors! This was very exciting, as we have portraits in the house of some of the people named on these plaques.

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The people named on this plaque are William Matson of Titup and his wife Ann, daughter of Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite. I’m pretty sure that this William and Ann Matson were the parents of Ann and Margaret in the portraits above. Not only that, but we have portraits in the house of William Matson, his wife Ann, and Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite.

William Matson of Titup

William Matson of Titup

Ann Morland, wife of William Matson

Ann Morland, wife of William Matson

Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite

Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite

This portrait of Jacob Morland is supposedly by George Romney, a famous portrait artist from Kendal. There was a plaque to him in Kendal Parish Church too, and many of his paintings were on display in the Kendal art gallery.

Plaque to George Romney

Plaque to George Romney

However, like many of the portraits in Court Lodge, our ‘Romney’ is actually a copy. At various points in the family history the portraits were copied and the originals sold. The original hangs in the Tate Britain, and looks like this:

Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite by George Romney

Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite by George Romney

Quite a difference! We visited the art gallery in Kendal and saw many more of the Romney portraits, which show that this portrait is very much of his style. See this one, for example:

Portrait of INSERT NAME by George Romney

Portrait by George Romney

There were other plaques in Kendal Parish Church of Morland and Matson ancestors. We found this one under a carpet in the Parr Chapel of the Church (named after the family of Katherine Parr, the wife of Henry VIII who survived him):

Plaque to Margaret Matson, Relict of William Matson of Titeup

Plaque to Margaret Matson, Relict of William Matson of Titeup

And this one names another daughter of Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite:

Plaque to Thomas Holme and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite

Plaque to Thomas Holme and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite

The place that is frequently mentioned in connection with the Matson family is Titup (sometimes spelt Titeup). I had googled Titup to see if it was a place that still existed, but had found nothing. However, Ian got on the case, and found that if you were a bit more relaxed about the spelling, something fascinating turned up. He found a house near Dalton-in-Furness for sale on an estate agent’s website called Tytup Hall. Here it is:

Tytup Hall, Dalton-in-Furness

Tytup Hall, Dalton-in-Furness

It was so exciting to see a picture of the house that Ann Matson must have lived in before moving to Court Lodge when she married Thomas Morland. The estate agent’s website also included an Ordnance Survey map showing Tytup Hall:

Ordnance Survey map showing Tytup Hall

Ordnance Survey map showing Tytup Hall

While we were in the Kendal museum, we bought a copy of the first edition Ordnance Survey map of the area, and sure enough, in the very same place, just North of Dalton-in-Furness is Titeup Hall (note the different spelling!):

Titeup Hall on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map from the 1860s

Titeup Hall on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map from the 1860s

I felt like this visit to Kendal put me in touch with my historical family connections in this part of the world. It was great to see the plaques in the church, and be able to connect them with the portraits that we have in the house. The collection of portraits that we have now makes more sense to me. Ann Matson must have brought with her portraits of her parents (Ann and William Matson) and her grandfather (Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite), as well as the portrait of herself and her sister Margaret. Just like we surround ourselves with photographs, carry them round with us on our phones, and share them on social media, our ancestors in the eighteenth century brought their portraits with them when they married into a new life.

It was also wonderful to see Titup Hall, albeit on an estate agent’s website, as I have seen it mentioned in the family pedigree, as well as on all the plaques. It makes my family history seem all the more real to me.

Getting festive @CourtLodgeEst

Things are starting to get a little bit festive here at Court Lodge. Today our 10 ft Christmas tree was delivered by the lovely people at Hartley Dyke Farm Shop just outside Cranbrook. We put it up in the library, and this evening the children, Mum, Ian and I all decorated it. We think it looks great.

We were also very honoured to receive our dolls house back from one of our incredible volunteers, Geoffrey Forster, who has done an amazing job restoring it. It is a Georgian dolls house, made for Hamley’s in 1906, and bought for my grandmother who was 4 years old at the time. I will post some more photos of the dolls house’s restoration next time, but for now, enjoy the Christmassy scene:

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Anna Eleanora Morland

While on a camping trip to Dorset over half term, my family and I paid a visit to the village of Sydling St. Nicholas. One of my female Morland ancestors married Sir John Smith, Baronet, of Sydling St. Nicholas, and lived at Sydling Court. I had learned that there was a plaque in the church to Anna Eleanora, and had been in touch with Angela Shaw, one of the Friends of the Church of Sydling St. Nicholas. I wanted to see the plaque, and also see what other information I could find out about her. This is a portrait of Anna Eleanora, which hangs in the dining room at Court Lodge:

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The plaque is located in quite a prominent position in the chancel of the church. This is a close up of it:

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It states that it was erected by her son in law, Sir John Wyldbore Smith, which was puzzling as she and her husband didn’t have any children. I’ve since done a little more digging around though, and found out that Anna Eleanora was Sir John Smith’s second wife. Sir John Wyldbore Smith was his son from his first marriage to Elizabeth Wyldbore (great name!). So he was in fact Anna Eleanora’s step-son. I think it’s not too far fetched to think that the term ‘son in law’ might refer to this sort of filial relationship. The next photo shows the position of the plaque in the chancel. It is the middle one on the right:

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The plaque also states that Anna Eleanora “lies here interred”. Angela told me that all of the Smith family named on the plaques in the church were interred in a vault beneath the chancel. Some years ago, when they were restoring the floor of the chancel, the then vicar attached a camera to a stick and photographed what lies beneath… and this is what the camera revealed:

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The coffins look very ornate, and in remarkably good shape!

Anna Eleanora and Sir John Smith lived at Sydling Court, and it turns out that, like Court Lodge, Sydling Court is right next door to the church. Also like Court Lodge, it is a Georgian building. I couldn’t get a very good view of it, but here is a glimpse:

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And this is a picture of the Church:

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There are links between the Smith family that Anna Eleanora married into and Jane Austen’s family, and another plaque revealed something of this link. Sir John Wyldbore Smith married Elizabeth Ann, daughter of the Rev. James Marriott of Horsmonden:

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Their children became Smith-Marriotts, and a couple of generations later a William Bosworth Smith-Marriott married Charlotte Marianne Austen, of the Kent branch of the Austen family.

I have also been looking more into the connections between the Morlands and the Austens, and there is more to update on that front too, but that will have to wait for another post.

I feel extremely privileged to be able to link the names in my family tree with portraits that hang on the walls of Court Lodge, and also with buildings and memorials that are still standing. I’m able to trace my ancestors geographically as well as chronologically, and I feel more a part of the family network as a result.

The library floor is revealed!

Today was the day that the horrible old carpet came up in the library, and we all got our first proper look at what lies beneath it, and the results are quite exciting:

The oak parquet of the library floor

The oak parquet of the library floor

The parquet is oak, but from some bits that have come loose around the edge of the room we can tell that it is quite a thin veneer, rather than proper parquet blocks. Some parts of it will need a bit of restoration, but on the whole it is in pretty good condition. All the polish has gone though, apart from a thin line down the middle of the room. It seems to have been leeched up by the carpet, as the line that is still polished is where there was a gap in the underlay between two sections of carpet.

The line down the middle is where there was a join in the carpet

The line down the middle is where there was a join in the carpet

Still, Mark and Ted have done some research and we are going to bring out the shine with some wax polish. First though, it needs a good clean.

Damian helped to clean the floor

Damian helped to clean the floor

Scrubbers!

Scrubbers!

All the boys working hard to bring up the shine

All the boys working hard to bring up the shine

I’m so pleased with how it is all coming together. The wood of the floor goes so beautifully with the blue and white on the walls and ceiling.

Apart from polishing the floor, the main job left is to paint some blue into the panels of the shutters. Then we are going to look at replacing the 1980s radiators with some reconditioned cast iron ones. Nearly there!

 

Getting there in the library

The painting is nearly all done in the library. You can get a real sense of how it is going to look now. I just love the blue that we chose, and how it looks against the white plasterwork.

The library is almost completely done in the lovely Oval Room Blue

The library is almost completely done in the lovely Oval Room Blue

I love the way the colour has transformed how the marble fireplace looks. The next exciting step will be revealing the oak parquet floor underneath the horrible old green carpet that we have all put up with for too long. You can get an idea of how it will look from these photos, but you still need to use your imagination.

Can you get a sense of how the floor will look against the blue of the walls?

Can you get a sense of how the floor will look against the blue of the walls?

The oak parquet floor under the carpet that will soon be revealed

The oak parquet floor under the carpet that will soon be revealed

We have a month left until our first booking, and I think we’ll easily make our target.