Tuesday 25 August 2015

Historical Family Interaction with Sir Henry Lopes and Family

In a previous post on April 28, 2015 I described my search for my great-granduncle, William John Shepheard. I found him working for and living with the family of Henry Lopes, at both their London home and in Wiltshire, at their country estate, Heywood House.

There is a great deal of information available for Henry Lopes, in published books and on the Internet. He was the son of Sir Ralph Franco Lopes, 2nd Baronet of Maristow in Devon, and Susanna Gaisford Gibbs Susan Ludlow of Heywood House, born on October 8, 1828 in Famerton Milliot, Devonport, Devon. Heywood was passed on to Henry following the death of his mother’s brother, Henry Gaisford Gibbs Ludlow, in 1876. His parents had died earlier, Sir Ralph in 1854 and Susanna, Lady Lopes, in 1870.

Henry was shown as a student at a private school in Exmouth, Littleham, Devon, on the earliest source I found, the 1841 census. In 1851 he was staying at a hotel in Brighton, with his parents, and indicated to be a “Student at Law”. He married Cordelia Lucy Clark in 1854, at the parish church in Egg Buckland, Devon. By 1861 he was practicing law at Monkton Farleigh in Wiltshire. They had three children by then and their home was Farleigh House. At the time of the 1871 census, Henry was staying at the Royal Hotel on College Green in Bristol, possibly at a legal conference as several other lawyers were also in the hotel. His title then was “Barrister at Law, Queen’s Counsel & Member of Parliament”. His wife and six children were at home at Cromwell Place in London. In 1881 I found Henry and Cordelia at the Cromwell Place home while their children were still in Wiltshire, at Heywood House. And, of course, that was where I found William Shepheard, working as a groom. By 1891, the family was all together at Cromwell Place and “Uncle Will” and his new wife, Jane, were living in the coach house at the rear of the property.

The history of Sir Henry makes very interesting reading, perhaps in part because of the connection with my own family. Uncle Will worked for the family certainly for over 10 years and quite possibly for close to 20. Another project will be to find employment records for the man, hopefully in the Lopes papers.

Sir Henry’s accomplishments are summarized in the Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 Supplement by James McMullen Rigg:

LOPES, HENRY CHARLES, first Baron Ludlow (1828–1899), judge, third son of Sir Ralph Lopes, bart. [see Lopes, Sir Manasseh Masseh, of Maristow, Devon, by Susan Gibbs, eldest daughter of A. Ludlow of Heywood House, Wiltshire, was born at Devonport on 3 Oct. 1828. He was educated at Winchester School and the university of Oxford, where he matriculated from Balliol College on 12 Dec. 1845, and graduated B. A. in 1849. He was admitted on 5 June 1849 student at Lincoln's Inn, but on 26 May 1852 migrated to the Inner Temple, where he was called to the bar on 7 June 1852, and elected bencher on 31 May 1870, and treasurer in 1890. He practised first as a conveyancer and equity draftsman, afterwards as a pleader on the western circuit and at Westminster. He was appointed recorder of Exeter in 1867, and was gazetted Q.C. on 22 June 1869. Returned to parliament for Launceston in the conservative interest on 9 April 1868, he retained the seat until the general election of February 1874, when he rendered signal service to his party by wresting Frome from the liberals. In 1876 he was appointed justice of the high court and knighted (28 Nov.) He sat successively in the common pleas and queen's bench divisions until his advancement in 1885 to the court of appeal (1 Dec.), when he was sworn of the privy council (12 Dec.) He was raised to the peerage, on occasion of the queen's jubilee in 1897 (26 July), as Baron Ludlow of Heywood, Wiltshire, and shortly afterwards retired from the bench.
Henry Charles Lopes, 1st Baron Ludlow (source National Portrait Gallery; downloaded August 25, 2015 from Wikipedia)
The old Lopes family residence in Wiltshire, Heywood House, is now  a business centre, renting out offices in the old home to individual business people, “mostly ‘high tech’ companies – in defence, telecoms, IT, control systems and software development, but also include companies in consultancy and other business services” according to their brochure. The coach house, where Uncle Will lived, is still there, also now converted to offices.
Heywood House and grounds (source Heywood House Business Centre website)

Heywood House – old coach house, home of William John Shepheard (source Heywood House Business Centre website)
Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program in England, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated