Beresfords, Fitzherberts, Foxs, and Wrights – The Derbyshire connection

My recent foray back into genealogical research has given me some insight into how many of my ancestors made their fortunes in the Industrial revolution. There’s my mother’s family the Birtwistles, who were prosperous cotton-mill owners in Lancashire. Then there’s the family of my great great grandfather Alfred Octavius Kirby’s first wife Alice Baxendale. Her family had made their fortune through the Pickfords removal firm. I also found out yesterday that his second wife was Beatrice Elizabeth Schneider. She was the daughter of the industrialist and politician Henry William Schneider, who played a leading role in the development of the new town of Barrow-in-Furness.

Also on my father’s side was his mother Rosemary Louise Fitzherbert Wright. Her great grandfather was Francis Wright of Osmaston Manor, the industrialist, educationalist and benefactor.

Francis Wright of Osmaston Manor
Francis Wright of Osmaston Manor

His father John Wright was a banker and had joined the Butterly Company in 1791 having married Elizabeth Beresford, daughter of his close business associate Francis Bereseford and the co-owner of the Butterly Company.

Francis Wright married Selina FitzHerbert, daughter of Sir Henry FitzHerbert and Agnes Beresford, on 12 August 1830. He died in 1873. Sir Henry was the third of the Fitzherbert Baronets, of Tissington. I’m guessing that Elizabeth and Agnes Bereford are related, but can’t work how Elizabeth’s father Francis is related to Agnes’ father the Reverend William Beresford.

There’s a long article about how Francis Wright was a philanthropist and leading light in Midlands industrial development here It points out that considering his low-church beliefs and values, the house he built for himself at Osmaston was ostentatious. They suggest, however, that he balanced this outward sign of their social mobility with generous patronage and charitable work.

Osmaston Manor
Osmaston Manor

His grandson and my great grandfather Ernest Fitzherbert Wright married his cousin Lucy Fox, the daughter of Sir Douglas Fox and Mary Wright (daughter of Francis Wright of Osmaston Manor).

Sir (Charles) Douglas Fox was a civil engineer and had designed, amongst other things, The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. There’s a wiki entry for him here:

Sir (Charles) Douglas Fox
Sir (Charles) Douglas Fox

Sir Douglas was the oldest son of the civil engineer Sir Charles Fox who was knighted for his part in the design and build of The Crystal Palace. Born in Derby in 1810, he was the youngest of four sons of Dr. Francis Fox. In 1830 Fox married Mary, second daughter of Joseph Brookhouse, by whom he had 3 sons and a daughter.

Sir Charles Fox
Sir Charles Fox

Can’t seem to go any further back with Foxes and Beresfords, but the Wrights seem to trace their family to a John Wright in 15th Century, a Yeoman in the Parish of Stowmarket Suffolk. Their coat of arms was granted in 1825. I don’t know much about the Fitzherberts but the wiki has an entry for Fitzherbert Baronets, which says that Baronetcy of Tissington in the County of Derby was created on 22 January 1784 for William Fitzherbert, an usher to George III. His parents were William and Sarah Fitzherbert of Tissington Hall, Derbyshire. The Wiki entry says that the Fitzherberts descend from Norman knights and from the 12th century Fitzherberts of Norbury Hall, Norbury, Derbyshire. They are related to the Fitzherberts of Swynnerton Hall, Staffordshire.

Sir William Fitzherbert
Sir William Fitzherbert

There’s also a German connection to follow-up because my great great grandfather FitzHerbert Wright , father of Ernest Fitzherbert Wright, married Charlotte Rudolphine Louise von Beckman (they are also the great great grandparents of Sarah Fergusan, Duchess of York).

Charlotte von Beckman was the daughter of Ernst Christoph Friedrich (von) Beckmann, a pastor in Holzendorf (Mecklenburg- Schwerin, Germany). I saw a discussion on the web that suggest that there’s a book called “Unsere Landesgeistlichen von 1810 bis 1888: Biographische Skizzen….” and that it states that Ernst Christop Friedicht (born 1804) was a son of reverend Johann Ludwig Beckmann from Westenbrügge. Apparently, the names of his wife and mother are also mentioned. Think this genealogical search is one for my retirement though ;-)

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8 thoughts on “Beresfords, Fitzherberts, Foxs, and Wrights – The Derbyshire connection

  1. Charlotte von Beckmann was a sister of Elfriede Sophie Beckmann my Great great grandmother. Elfriede married Wilhelm Meissner (nephew of John Roebling who built the Brooklyn Bridge) and joined Wilhelm in the wilds of Iowa near Reinbeck. Elfriede’s father Ernst Beckmann married them at the Holzendorf church where he was pastor. I also have only made it back as far as Johann Ludwig Beckmann from Westenbrugge in my Beckmann ancestry. I have a photo of Wilhelm, Elfriede and their children. I also have some translations of letters they wrote in the 1870’s between family members. Elfriede’s mother journeyed to New York after Ernst had died to see five of her Iowa grandchildren baptised on Staten Island New York. Must have been an interesting train trip back to New York with five young children…
    Great to see your entry; ‘cousin’.
    I now live in Australia but grew up in Michigan, USA.

  2. Elfriede Beckmann’s mother was Louise Brockmann. The Brockmann family were from Rostock. I haven’t located documentation on them as yet. Some Brockmann names were on the church records at Holzendorf. I think Louise’s father went to Russia in the War of 1812 and never returned. She was raised by an aunt and uncle I think… so family lore goes.

  3. I have been most interested to read various blogs/emails re the /wright family particularly regarding our german connection. My late father Stephen Camplyon Wright second son of Henry Fitzherbert Wright and was locked in Colditz during the latter stages of WW2, which I am to visit with friends and family next month!
    I have been looking into the family history, can anybody enlighten me why the eldest son of my great great father Francis Wright changed his name to Osmaston. And where are their descendants now?

    1. Nigel … thanks for comments. I still have quite a bit of Wright stuff to publish. My grandmother was Rosemary Wright and I have her scrapbook and the scrapbook her Aunt Agnes Fox. Think Rosemary would have been a cousin of your father. I did ask the same question about why John Wright changed his name to Osmaston on the Koi Hai group on Facebook:

      http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14365567314

      This is where the younger Osmaston connect with each other. Didn’t really get any definitive answers but some thought it was because it sounded grander (John Oasmsaton of Ostmaston Manor) although they also pointed out that he lost a lot of money chasing non existent coal mines and this led to him selling Osmaston Manor with all the contents before moving with the family to India. Koi Hai is the name of the Osmaton family newsletter and means ‘who goes there’.

      1. Thank you, fascinating material and pictures in Koi Hai. My half brother David and I visited Osmaston a few years. Jane Walker- Okeover was very kind and looked after us very well.

      2. Glad to be of help but I think I’m only scratching the surface on the Wrights, Beresfords, Fitzherberts and Foxes. I think Charles Wright has done far more detailed research.

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