The two grand houses of Whittington at the end of the 18th Century. The Old Hall is on the right, Babington's mansion is on the left.
The Whittington chapter in Stebbings Shaw's History of Staffordshire is illustrated with a plate dated 1797 which shows Whittington Old Hall, easily recognisable as the house which still stands today. In this same view there is a second house with Dutch gables, which no longer exists. This house was built by Zachary Babington in 1673, but was demolished sometime during the 1830s; only the gate piers remain.
Shaw tells us that the Everard family owned a house and estate in Whittington during the reign of Henry VIII. An article in The Builder dating from December 1891 fills in more details of the Old House:
"Dating as it does from the Perpendicular period, and retaining many additions of the succeeding Elizabethan age, it is a most interesting structure. It would appear that the early Tudor builders, retaining possibly the old foundations, or, at least the general arrangement of the preceding age as to the retention of the great hall with screen porch and butteries, etc, erected a house wholly of half-timber work, and with finely planned brick chimneys, remains of this half-timber work remaining still on the north front. The most remarkable architectural feature about this house is that the whole of the south or garden front, with some portion of the entrance front, were entirely remodelled temp. Edward VI and Early Elizabeth, by a process of leaving the old half-timber work and re-casing the exterior with brick and stone-work, and with striking bays and mullioned windows. No indications of such an operation were apparent until the recent additions were begun, when this and many more interesting facts were disclosed."
Returning to what Stebbings Shaw wrote at the end of the eighteenth century:
"It was purchased some years since by the Astleys of Tamhorn ..... whose heiress carried it in marriage to Richard Dyott, esq. and is now inhabited by his mother, Mrs. Dyott, widow of the late Richard Dyott, of Freeford."
When Mrs Katherine Dyott died in 1810, her unmarried daughter, Mary, took over the house under a lease for life of £35 per annum. Mary Dyott died in May 1836, after which the Dyott family would appear to have sold it. In 1840 the house belonged to John Baggaley, but was occupied by Daniel Riley as a tenant until about 1850, when the Baggaley family moved in themselves.
John Baggaley, Head of Household, Married, Aged 68, Landed Proprietor, born Fradley
Caroline Mary, Wife, Married, Aged 59, born Barton
Mary Eliza, Daughter, Unmarried, Aged 34, born Fradley
Frederic Baggaley, Son, Unmarried, Aged 29, born Barton
Charles Edward Baggaley, Son, Aged 27, born Fradley
Charlotte Salloway, Visitor, Unmarried, Aged 14, born Walsall
Ana Salloway, Servant, Unmarried, Aged 27, born Yoxall, Cook
Eliza Watkins, Unmarried, Aged 18, born Lichfield, Housemaid
Harrod's Directory of 1870 lists John Baggaley still as resident at the Hall, but Kelly's 1880 has Lord Berkeley Paget living there.
Muriel Paget, daughter of head of house, age 3
Rowland Paget, son, age 2
Sarah Jones, Cook, 27
Sarah Kent, Housemaid, 30
Sarah Renshaw, Kitchen Maid, age 15
Frederick Earp, Houseboy, 17
Alice Husey, Nursemaid, 16
Susan Palmer, Nurse Dom, 42
Henry May, Butler, 26
Lord and Lady Paget were visiting Lord de Clifford at Hints Hall on the night of the census.
The Baggaley family did not sell The Hall until 1889 and during the 1880s, as well as Lord Paget, the "gentleman jockey" George Alexander Baird is known to have rented the house for a while.
Samuel Lipscomb Seckham bought the property in 1889 from a son of John Baggaley, Charles Edward Baggaley. He spent a small fortune renovating and enlarging the house and did not take up residence for a number of years, continuing to live at Beacon Place in Lichfield. The architect for the work was Matthew Henry Holding of Northampton.
He died on 4th February 1901, shortly before the census.
Violet T Seckham, sister, single, age 36, born Oxford
Mable T Seckham, sister, single, age 25, born Wootton, Northamptonshire;
Kinbarra Chetwynd, sister, married, age 39, born Oxford
Arthur Chetwynd brother in law, married, age 43, born Longdon
Maud G Tomey, servant, single, age 23, Housemaid, born St Pancras London
Annie Lowe, servant, single, age 37, Housemaid, born Flitton Beds
Harriett Hobday, servant, single, age 31, Lodgesmaid Domestic, born Knowle
Sarah E B Easts, servant, single, age 42, Cook Domestic, born Lakenham Norfolk
Edith Smith, servant, single, age 19, Kitchenmaid Domestic, born Derby Ashford
Robert Whitbread, servant, married, age 38, Butler Domestic, born Suffolk Stoke Ash
Thomas J Linney, servant, single, age 19, Footman Domestic, born Longdon
Thomas G Lockey, servant, single, age 16, Pantry Boy Domestic, born Whittington
Samuel and Kinbarra's eldest son, Bassett Thorne Seckham, inherited the house and lived there with his wife Alice Dorothy Seckham (nee Moore) until his death in 1925.
In 1926 Whittington Old Hall Estate was offered for sale by auction. It was a substantial propety totalling 543 acres. Some lots were sold, but the main house with its 10 acre garden did not reach the reserve price and was withdrawn. It was then let to tenants, amongst whom numbered Harold de Vahl Rubin and Captain Thomas Lawley.
The house and garden were sold in March 1933 to Edmund Richard Corn, a wealthy manufacturer of sanitary earthenware and tiles from the Potteries. He lived there with his wife Susan Annie (nee Hammersley) until his death in 1945. They had no children.
After Mrs Corn died in 1959, the gardens were sold for housing development (Cloister Walk and Babington Close), the lodges and coach houses sold as separate homes and the main house was also divided.
Researched by Sue Cooke.
Samuel Lipscomb Seckham and his wife Kinbarra Swene Seckham (nee Smith)
Colonel Bassett Thorne Seckham
In July 1937 there was an enormous garden party at the Old Hall for 1,500 of Mr Corn's employees. The occasion was a celebration of the centenary of Richards Tiles Ltd, the Corn family firm. Mrs Corn is seen addressing the guests. Mr Corn is seated second from the right.
© 2016 Whittington History Society