Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mawley Hall

A fascinating story of Mawley Hall involving Napoleon and King Henry V111. It was also where the Catholics at the City of Coventry Boarding school went worship each Sunday.

Rosemary Webb Rehill  - " I remember it well. I'm Catholic and went to that small musty chapel until I was about nine when the new church in Cleobury was built. It was a great shame that the new owners, the Galliers-Prats demolished it. Mum helped clean out the vestments and I always remember her telling me that Joseph Bonaparte's son was christened there. (he was Napolean's brother)."

Trev Teasdel - " I didn't know about Mawley Hall until now but it was owned originally by the Blount family (the name of one of the school houses!). They were wealthy coal owners and ironfounders and prominent Catholics and Walter Blount became a Baronet! As Royalists their wealth declined during the civil war and returned during the restoration."

The entrance to the estate was just past Cherry Orchard on the A4117 Cleobury to Bewdley Road.

Trev Teasdel did a search to find out more about Joseph Bonaparte and Mawley Hall and how he came to be christened there. He found that it wasn't Joseph Boneparte but Louis Lucien Bonaparte

Louis Lucien Bonaparte baptised at Mawley Hall
Louis Lucien Bonaparte, born 4 January 1813 at Thorngrove, Grimley, Worcestershire, England. Baptised 5 January 1813 at Mawley Hall, Shropshire, England. Son of Lucien Bonaparte, 1st Prince de Canino and Marie Laurence Charlotte Louise Alexandrine de Bleschamp.Married, firstly, Maria Anna Cecchi, 4 October 1832, Florence, Italy. Married, secondly, Clémence Richard, daughter of Jean Baptiste Richard,15 June 1891 at Kensington Registry Office, Kensington, London, England. He and Maria Anna Cecchi were divorced 1850. Died 3 November 1891 at 78"
The full peerage can be viewed here

Trev wondered why Louis Lucien Bonaparte came to be born in England and baptised at Mawley Hall in Shropshire. Didn't Napoleon banish the Catholic church in France and replace it with the Church of Reason during the Enlightenment?

Trev sought some enlightenment from the Internet -

" Louis-Lucien Bonaparte, the comparative linguist and dialectologist, was born in England by chance. In 1810 his father, Lucien, was detained at sea by the British when on his way into exile in America following the breakdown of his relations with his brother, Napoléon I. Interned in England, Lucien was permitted to buy Thorngrove, a house near Worcester, and it was there that Louis-Lucien was born on 4 January 1813. The family's stay in England was brief, however, for they returned to their Italian estate in 1814. Louis-Lucien grew up in Italy. He attended the Jesuit college at Urbino before devoting himself to the study of mineralogy and chemistry. In 1832 he married Maria Anna Cecchi, the daughter of a Florentine sculptor, but the marriage was to be an unhappy one and the couple lived apart. He participated in the first Riunione degli Scienziati Italiani at Pisa and his earliest works, all on scientific subjects, were published in Italy. "

Rosemary then took us even further back in time -

Rosemary Webb Rehill  "O.k. so I got the wrong Bonaparte! but I knew it was a fact. A bit more history for you and this I learned last summer; Henry V111's lover was one of the Blounts and she had a son by him but because the baby was illegitimate obviously it was not recognized. Supposedly he is buried under the big tree in the back of the house. I do have a very vague memory of Lord and Lady Blount. They were both very old when we went to the chapel. We went to see their graves last summer and they were very overgrown. As they had no issue everything was sold off."

Trev took up the challenge to verify this and found that the illegitimate son -  Henry FitzRoy was indeed recognised -

Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount
Trev Teasdel (Courtesy of Google) - " Elizabeth Blount daughter of Sir John Blount & Catherine Pershall, Sir John Blount was a loyal servant to the Royal Family, who accompanied King Henry to France1513 when he waged war against Louis XII of France. Elizabeth had a reputation as a beauty and her relationship with Henry VIII lasted for some time, compared to other affairs.On 15 June 1519, Blount bore the King an illegitimate son who was named Henry FitzRoy, and who was later created Duke of Richmond and Somerset and Earl of Nottingham. He was the only illegitimate son of Henry VIII whom the King recognized as his own, For proving that King Henry was capable of fathering healthy sons, Elizabeth Blount prompted a popular saying, "Bless 'ee, Bessie Blount", often heard during and after this period. Afterwards the King began an affair with Mary Boleyn."

Henry FitzRoy
"Bessie Blount: Always ready to dance or enjoy a joke, Elizabeth Blount was a flousy maid-of-honor who went on to bear, in 1519, the son that the queen so desired. Catherine attended the christening of the baby, named "Henry Fitzroy" (meaning 'son of the king'). Made the highest ranking peer of the realm, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond was expected to be named the king's heir. He would later be proposed as a possible husband for his half-sister, Princess Mary. The match never materialized, however, and Henry Fitzroy, after a brief time at the French court, died at the age of 17 from tuberculosis."

Rosemary Webb Rehill  "That's so interesting! Thank you for sharing."

Catherine of Aragon
Trev Teasdel  "A bit more related to Henry 8th and Mawley Hall " The Catherine of Aragon Chasuble from Mawley Hall, (the outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist,) was bequeathed to the Catholic Church in Ludlow in 1958 by Sir Walter Blount of Mawley Hall in Shropshire. The Blount family believed it to have been a gift from Catherine of Aragon to Elizabeth Blount, her Lady-in-Waiting.(!) "

Mawley Hall is also the location for The Weather in the Streets and Straightheads - although this is not a film for the faint hearted! Straightheads involves rape and other violence although an interesting plot - according to Wiki, where as The weather in the Streets is described asPassion comes calling when a man suffering through an unhappy marriage in 1920s England runs into first love." There are also public footpaths around the Hall and down to the River Rea.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
Mawley Hall is a privately owned 18th-century country mansion near Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, England. It is a Grade I listed building.

The Blount family of Sodington Hall, Mamble, Worcestershire, wealthy coalowners and ironfounders, acquired estates in neighbouring Shropshire. They were prominent Roman Catholics, and Walter Blount was created a baronet in 1624 (see Blount Baronets). As Royalist supporters and on the losing side during the English Civil War they suffered financial difficulties in the 17th century, but their fortunes recovered following the English Restoration of 1660. In 1730 Sir Edward Blount commissioned Francis Smith of Warwick to design a new mansion house for the estate at Mawley. It is built on a rectangular plan of nine by seven bays with a nine bay three storey entrance front to the north east. The advanced three central bays carry Doric pilasters and pediment. The garden front to the south west is similar in design and decoration with a cental entrance approached by a double flight of steps with wrought iron ballustrades. The house is particularly noted for its Baroque interiors, plasterwork by Francesco Vassalli and the Adam style dining room.

Coming soon - In a forthcoming post - Rosemary Webb Rehill has some more material and photos to share on here for Mawley Hall!

1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic,my great grandfather James Hickman was christened there in 1812,as were his siblings,this also shows lucien bonaparts christening,the none conformist records for Mawley Hall can be veiwed free online,my gggrandparents Richard Hickman and Elizabeth were at the Hall from about 1809 untill they died,I wonder if there is a connection as Henry Hill Hickman lived nearby at this time and then went to help Napoleans surgeon on the battlefield.
    the one thing I have not been able to do is find where my gggrandparents were buried,they of course were none conformists.
    Joyce Lawrence,nee Hickman.