A descent from trade: a tale of misplaced snobbery!

My mother recently asked me if I knew how my grandfather Claude Kirby was related to his aunt Connie Bagge of Livermere Hall in Suffolk, one of the lost country houses of England (see photo below). He went to boarding school here in the UK from the age of 7, and stayed with his (great) aunt Connie in the school holidays as his parents were based in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Livermere Hall, Suffolk

The reason she asked was that when he found out that Cynthia Hume, one of her bridesmaids, had a grandfather, Sir Pierce Lacey, who lived in a large house on the opposite side of the mere, he took great pleasure in telling her that, as a boy, he was not allowed to play with the Lacey children, as they were from Birmingham and were considered ‘Trade’ .

Funny because if my research is correct then Connie Bagge was Constance Mary Baxendale, the sister of my great great grandmother Alice Baxondale and daughter of Lloyd Baxendale. He’d made his fortune from the Pickfords removals firm, which probably explains why my family are always moving. So it seems like Claude’s great grandfather Lloyd (my great great great grandfather) bought his way into the world of the land-owning gentry, when he purchased the Greenham Lodge estate in 1873 for £63,000 (see more below). Not sure that would even buy you a beach hut here in Brighton now, although the credit crunch might make them more affordable again soon.

Constance or Connie married Thomas Edward Bagge, son of Richard Bagge and Pleasance Hulton. The Peerage site also suggests that they lived at lived at Gaywood Hall in Norfolk, which looks rather grand like the other piles featured in this post although sadly I’m not sure I could even afford the heating in any of them.

Gaywood Hall, Kings Lynn

Victorian Pleasures and County Life:
Lloyd Baxendale and the Greenham Lodge estate

The coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 ushered in a unique period of industrial growth in Britain; soon it was businessmen not aristocrats who were the wealthiest people and often they used their wealth to buy into the world of the land-owning gentry. One such man was Lloyd Baxendale, who purchased the Greenham Lodge estate in 1873 for £63,000.

His family made their fortune from the Pickfords removals firm and within a few years, Baxendale had commissioned one of the prominent architects of the day, Richard Norman Shaw, to design a new house for him. Completed in 1881, the building survives today. Lloyd died in 1882, when his son, Lloyd Henry (Harry) Baxendale succeeded him as lord of the manor of Greenham.

Greenham Lodge, Newbury
Great Hall, Greenham Lodge

The Baxendale family threw themselves wholeheartedly into the business of being “gentry”. By 1875 they had largely funded the construction of a new church as well as cottages for the estate staff. Amongst these were Norman Cottages, built for estate workers and possibly named in honour of the Baxendale’s architect.

Mrs. Baxendale built a rest home for sick employees of Pickfords on the southern slopes of the Common; originally called St. Andrew’s Home, it was subsequently sold and is now a private house called Brackenhurst.

(Source: Greenham: a common inheritance)


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