Reverend William Andrewes Uthwatt (1793-1877)
William Andrewes Uthwatt was born at Blakesley in Northamptonshire on August 26th, 1793, the child of Henry Uthwatt Uthwatt (formerly Andrewes) and Judith Yates.
Though from 1855 he was the titular Lord of Great Linford Manor, William only visited occasionally to stay in the Manor House; the interests of the family at this time were much more focused upon their estate at Lathbury. Feeling that the Great Linford Manor House was too large for his needs, he had the north service wing demolished and the former servants hall converted back into a kitchen.
He exercised his right as Lord of the Manor to appoint a Rector of his choosing, installing the Reverend Francis Litchfield to the post in 1838, but other than this, little can be found to show that he was actively involved in the running of the Manor or local life. For instance, the 1861 census shows the Manor House occupied only by a housekeeper Elizabeth Valentine, a gardener John Crist (or Criss) and his son Arthur. John, now joined by a sister, is still there by the time of the 1871 census; one cannot help but imagine that John must have felt himself very much cock of the roost having landed such a plum job in such grand surroundings.
Though it seems that William was seldom seen in Great Linford, he was nonetheless a person who held many interests and positions in the wider county, including the chairmanship of the Divisional Petty Sessions, Rector of Stowe, Chaplin to three generations of the Duke of Buckingham and Chaplain to the Royal Bucks Yeomanry. His politics was described as “Conservative of the old-fashioned sort and was a prominent character at elections.” He was also a keen sportsman and considered a first-class shot and had apparently enjoyed, “almost unbroken health”, though toward the end of his life his health had forced him to give up field sports.
He was married circa 1838 to Mary Ann Hutton, daughter and co-heiress of the Reverend James Long Hutton of Maids Morton. They had only one child, a daughter in 1939, Mary Henrietta Turner Hutton Andrewes.
William died at his home in Maids Morton, but his body (perhaps surprisingly given his apparent laissez faire attitude to the estate) was transported to Great Linford for burial, accompanied by two mourning coaches bearing relatives and friends. His body had been first placed in a lead shell, and then this was surrounded by an outer coffin of polished Oak with brass fixtures. Affixed to this was a nameplate bearing the legend, “The Rev. William Uhtwatt; born 26th August, 1793; died 20th September, 1877. The avowed intention was that he be buried in the family vault within the church of St. Andrewes, but this ambition was thwarted by a dictate of the local council, who had instigated a rule forbidding vaults to be reopened in spaces set apart for divine services. As a result, he was buried in a newly constructed vault in the churchyard, which can still be seen to this day. A plaque to his memory (and that of his wife) was also installed within St. Andrewes church.
A report of the funeral in Buckingham Express of Saturday September 29th provides some interesting commentary on the potential size of the inheritance, speculating that his widow, “with the exception of Miss Rothschild”, would be, “the wealthiest heiress in the county, as the deceased gentleman has left property to the amount it is said, of between two and three hundred thousand pounds.” The article also states that the Great Linford estate was at the time worth in the region of £2,000 a year, which perhaps puts its relative worth into context.
His wife Mary passed away at her Maids Morton home, South Field, on the evening of September 26th, 1885. An obituary in the Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press of Saturday October 3rd, laments the loss of, “an unostentatious yet truly Christian lady and kind benefactor. She too was interred at Great Linford, alongside her late husband. Lacking a male heir, the estate now passed to William’s brother Augustus Thomas Andrewes Uthwatt.