The families who lived at Hatchlands Park
Find out more about the families that lived at Hatchlands Park including involvement with the Blue Stocking Society. Discover who received visits from a very famous friend and how the house came to be rented out. Hidden history helps the house come to life through stories about the family that once lived here.
The Boscawen family
The Hon. Edward and Frances Boscawen only spent a period of about 20 years at Hatchlands, the Boscawens were instrumental in creating the family home that still stands here today.
The young people meet
Frances Evelyn Glanville was born on 23 July 1719. Her wealthy mother sadly died in childbirth and when her father remarried, much of Fanny’s childhood was spent away from the family home being looked after by relatives. It was during a stay with a Sir John Evelyn at Wotton House, that she first met Sir John’s brother in law, Edward Boscawen, a 29-year -old Captain in the Navy.
A letter of love
Fanny looked forward to seeing this ‘unusually attractive and distinguished looking sailor’ - a time that she refers to in a letter to Edward as, ‘when you and I loved each other and told it only by our eyes’. They were married late in 1742 before he set sail again. In total, Edward was away for almost 10 years of their marriage.
A naval career
Edward had begun his career in the Navy at age 12, setting sail for the Caribbean aboard the HMS Superb. He was swiftly promoted and finished his career as an Admiral of the Blue fleet and a celebrated war hero.
The Blue Stocking Society
Frances, known to her friends as Fanny, was a strong, intelligent and independent woman. In the 1750s she became a founder member of the Blue Stocking Society. This group is credited with preserving and advancing feminism by advocating education for women and helping to publish their work.
Fanny helped to fund bluestockings publications by gathering subscriptions from wealthy friends - an early form of crowd funding. By the 1770s the term ‘bluestocking’ was synonymous with intellectual women. Their achievements enabled further generations of women to continue the fight for education which paved the way for the suffrage movement and ultimately the vote.
A sad end
The Admiral was not able to enjoy the fruits of his and Fanny’s labour for long. While at sea, off the east coast of France near Quiberon Bay, he caught typhoid fever. He was brought ashore and transported to Hatchlands where Fanny nursed him constantly.
Edward died in January of 1761, just two years after Hatchlands was completed, with his wife at his bedside.
The Sumner family
William Brightwell Sumner purchased Hatchlands Park from Fanny Boscawen in 1770. His family continued to live at Hatchlands for four generations but we know comparatively little about their life here.
A new start
William had spent 23 years in India having made his fortune with the East India Company. He returned to England after falling out with Robert Clive, the famous Clive of India. He later became Sheriff of Surrey.
George Holme Sumner
George was born in Calcutta in 1760 and took the name ‘Holme’ having inherited Holme Hall in Cornwall from his uncle. George took over Hatchlands Park after his father’s death in 1796.
A downturn in fortunes
Arthur Holme Sumner was the last Sumner to own Hatchlands. Because of mounting debts, the family decided to rent out the elegant but expensive home. They spent the next five years moving from one house to another trying to live on the rental that Hatchlands provided, eventually selling the property to Stuart Rendel in 1888.
The Rendel family
Lord Rendel bought Hatchlands Park from the Sumner family in 1888 and his family continued to live here until the late 1950s.
Hatchlands under new management
Stuart Rendel was born in 1834, son of a distinguished engineer. He was educated at Eton and Oxford and qualified as a barrister in 1861, going on to become a managing partner of engineering firm Armstrong Whitworth & Co.
He also had political interests, serving as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire from 1880 until 1894 when he was elevated to the peerage as Lord Rendel of Hatchlands. Rendel’s personal and political correspondence shows that his opinion was valued on a range of important matters.
Friends in high places
Perhaps Rendel’s strongest relationship was with Prime Minister William Gladstone, on whose recommendation he became a peer. He once wrote, ‘my intimacy with Mr Gladstone will be probably the feature of my life that may longest survive obliteration.’
Their friendship was also entwined in family alliances. Rendel confessed, ‘I do not know how Mr and Mrs Gladstone came to be so often my guests. I think it was because Mrs Gladstone desired to promote the friendly relations of her children and mine’. It seems that Mrs Gladstone’s maternal motives were a success, as Rendel’s daughter Maud eventually married Gladstone’s son Herbert.
The family tree branches out
The Rendel family had four daughters but no sons. Their eldest daughter Rose Ellen married Harry Goodhart, a Cambridge don and it was their son Harry Stuart who would continue the family’s presence at Hatchlands Park.
Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel
‘Hal’ was born in Cambridge in 1887. He studied music at Cambridge but became involved in architecture and he practised as an architect from 1910. Hal inherited Hatchlands Park from his grandfather in 1913 having added the name Rendel to his own as a condition of the inheritance.
Hal gave Hatchlands to the National Trust in 1945 but continued to live here until 1959.
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