The Uthwatt, King, Andrewes and Bouverie families of Great Linford Manor
The Uthwatts came to possess Great Linford Manor through an inheritance bestowed upon them by the previous owner, Sir William Prichard. Upon his death in 1704 Prichard’s will had specified two beneficiaries, Daniel King and Richard Uthwatt, both of whom were his nephews, Prichard’s only son sadly having predeceased him aged just 16. Daniel subsequently sold up his half of the inheritance to Richard, leaving him the sole beneficiary and ensuring that the name Uthwatt would remain synonymous with Great Linford for several hundred years.
The precise geographic origins of the Uthwatts are presently uncertain, other than a passing reference to a Scottish lineage, but the earliest person we can trace is John Uthwat, a senior officer at Deptford Naval Yard in London, and an acquaintance of the famous diarist Samuel Pepys. It was John’s son Richard who became the first Uthwatt Lord of Great Linford Manor.
Over the centuries a number of other landed families intermarried into the Uthwatts, notably the Bouveries of Delapre Abbey in Northamptonshire and the Andrewes of Lathbury in Buckinghamshire, the latter subsequently securing title to the estate through inheritance. The Andrewes might have actually usurped the supremacy of the Uthwatt name, but for the fact that their benefactor’s will obliged them to change their name, with the result that Henry Uthwatt Andrewes became Henry Uthwatt Uthwatt.
Dynastic families like the Uthwatts were of course hardly immune to scandal, tragedy and controversy (more so perhaps), so in the following pages you will find stories of a very public divorce, a tragic suicide, the desecration of a grave, and a court case upon which the very fate of the manor hung, but there also some surprising stories such that the Uthwatts once ran a private bank and even briefly manufactured motor-cycles!
The slow decline of the Uthwatt’s fortunes as the family silver appears to have been sold off generation by generation mirrors a countrywide decline in the fortune of landed families in general, as the financial pressures of running country estates whittled away the wealth of previous generations. The powers invested in the title of Lord of the Manor were also much diminished over time, yet the general deference afforded toward the Uthwatts by the folk of the village lingered on, such that even by the time of Stella Uthwatt in the 1960s, she was apparently addressed by all and sundry as “Miss Stella.”
Given that the story of the Uthwatts is a long and complex one, this history is divided up generation by generation, which you can read in order, or dip into as you wish.
John Uthwat (? – 1674)
John Uthwat (note that the spelling of the family name only evolved later to Uthwatt) would never have stepped foot in Great Linford. He must however have been an acquaintance (likely a close one) of Sir William Prichard, who purchased the manor in 1678, four years after John’s death. Prichard was making a fortune supplying rope and match to the Navy, so perhaps we can infer that he would have looked favourably on a union between his sister Mary and the up-and-coming John, who shortly after their marriage, was appointed to the influential position of, “Clerk of the Surveys” at Deptford naval yard in London; a happy congruence of interests that may well have greased some wheels in Prichard’s dealings with the Navy. John and Mary’s son Richard inherited (along with Daniel King) the manor of Great Linford after Prichard’s death. Read more about John Uthwat.
Daniel King (1670-1716)
A nephew of Sir William Prichard, Daniel King shared in the inheritance of Great Linford Manor with his cousin Richard Uthwatt, though subsequently sold up his share to Richard. This does not necessarily diminish his place in the history of the manor as the Kings, Prichards and Uthwatts appear to be a close-knit family, all of whom had harboured ambitions to move up from the merchant class to the landed gentry. Though we will probably never know what motivated Daniel to sell up his share of the inheritance, had he felt otherwise, things might have turned out very differently indeed. His story is however fascinating and ends on a rather shocking note involving the desecration of his grave. Read more about Daniel King.
Richard Uthwatt (1658-1719)
By the time Richard assumed full control of the Great Linford Manor estate, having bought out his cousin Daniel King’s share of the inheritance, it appears that he had already achieved considerable independent success. Records seem to offer compelling evidence that Richard was an officer of some importance in the British army and had seen active service in the Nine Years War against France fought between 1689 to 1697. Read more about Richard Uthwatt (1658-1719).
Richard Uthwatt (1699-1731)
Richard occupies a somewhat uncertain place in the chronicles of the manor, as he is not clearly placed in the chronology by previous historical accounts. The inheritance law that applied to Great Linford should have excluded him in preference to his elder brother Thomas, but there is enough evidence to suggest that it was Richard who next became Lord of the Manor upon the death of their father in 1719. Read more about Richard Uthwatt (1699-1731).
Thomas Uthwatt (1693-1754)
Thomas was born in Antwerp, Belgium, presumably while his father Richard was on active duty in the British military. His tenure as Lord of Great Linford was likely marked by the addition of the north and south Pavilions to the manor park. Thomas was clearly a man of some talent and intelligence, but sadly he had inner demons and ended his life in grisly circumstances. Read more about Thomas Uthwatt.
Henry Uthwatt (1728-1757)
Henry was a nephew of Thomas Uthwatt (1693-1754), and had he lived longer, it seems likely that he would have contributed much more to the development of the Great Linford Manor estate. He spent money on the gardens and paid for the recasting of the Church bells of St. Andrews, but died aged just 29 in London, leaving a young widow named Frances to live out her remaining days alone in the manor house. Read more about Henry Uthwatt.
Frances Uthwatt (1728-1800)
As a young window, it’s not hard to imagine that Frances must have presented a rather lonely figure to the world. Though her husband Henry had ensured that she had a roof over her head for life at the manor, Frances may have been little more than a bird in a gilded cage, her financial independence and ability to run the estate to her own designs very likely closely controlled by the male executors of the will. Sadly, it seems that even a second chance at happiness was denied her, as an engagement to the Reverend Lawson Shan of Great Linford was cruelly curtailed when he died in 1770, carried away aged just 36. The arrival of the canal through the grounds of the manor in 1800 by compulsory purchase of the land coincided with her death – old age, or a broken heart? Read more about Frances Uthwatt.
The Reverend Henry Uthwatt Andrewes (1755-1812)
The Reverend Andrewes was the godson of Henry Uthwatt, who had died in 1757. Henry’s widow Frances had been allowed by the terms of her late husband’s will to remain in the manor house, but upon her death in 1800, the long waiting Henry Uthwatt Andrewes assumed the lordship of Great Linford manor. But there was a special caveat to his inheritance, he was required to change his name to Uthwatt, hence becoming the rather pretentious sounding Henry Uthwatt Uthwatt. The Andrewes were a landed family from nearby Lathbury, but Henry’s religious duties took him to several parishes in Northamptonshire. Two of his children were however born in Great Linford, and he and his father even founded a private bank, which appears to have operated from the manor house. Read more about the Reverend Henry Uthwatt Andrewes.
Henry Andrewes Uthwatt (1787-1855)
Henry was the son of the Reverend Henry Uthwatt Uthwatt and inherited on his father’s death in 1812. The manor does not appear to have been occupied by the Uthwatts for a period of time, with evidence suggesting it was rented out, but by 1841 the census records show Henry and his wife were again living at the manor house. Several house sales, one at the time of his inheritance, and another after his death, provide fascinating insights into the wealth and possessions of the family. Read more about Henry Andrewes Uthwatt.
The Reverend William Andrewes Uthwatt (1793-1877)
The second son of the Reverend Henry Uthwatt Uthwatt, William inherited upon the death of his brother Henry in 1855. At the time the family were far more invested in their estate at Lathbury, such that the 1861 and 1871 census records show only servants in residence at Great Linford manor house and the Reverend elsewhere: Maids Morton in 1861 and Brighton in 1871. However, though he died at Maids Morton where he was rector, the family none-the-less ensured he was buried at Great Linford. Read more about The Reverend William Andrewes Uthwatt.
Augustus Thomas Andrewes Uthwatt (1798-1885)
While it would be somewhat disingenuous to call him the black sheep of the family, there was undoubtedly something very odd about Augustus. The third son in succession of Henry Uthwatt Uthwatt to have secured by inheritance the Lordship of Great Linford, Augustus seems to have had wanderlust, or very least a desire to distance himself from the rest of the family, taking himself off to the Isle of Mann and Isle of Wight. Here and elsewhere in the country he raised a family, not in itself unusual, but for the fact that he styled himself assiduously as a life-long bachelor, so that upon his death, the emergence of his secret family was of considerable shock, especially as one of those children, Henry Manning Andrewes, launched an ultimately unsuccessful legal challenge to seize control of the manor. Read more about Augustus Thomas Andrewes Uthwatt.
William Francis Edolph Andrewes Uthwatt (1870-1921)
The new lord of the manor, only 15 years old when his father died, was William Francis Edolph Andrewes Uthwatt. A son of Augustus’s brother Edolph, his ascendance to the title must have been something of a baptism of fire, when the family found themselves in court defending his inheritance from the usurper Henry Manning Andrewes. But these travails were a distant memory when in 1898 William was married to Catherine Jane Bouverie of Delepre Park and settled down in the manor house. They had two sons, but sadly it was not a happy marriage, and in 1913 the couple were divorced, with Catherine publicly admitting adultery as a means to satisfy the stringent grounds for divorce then in force. William then rented the manor house out to another family (the Meads) and relocated to Wharf Cottage by the canal. His main claim to fame (or infamy) is that he and his brother Gerard were founders of the Bucks Otter Hunt, the kennels of which were located in a building within what is now the grounds of Great Linford Arts Centre. Read more about William Francis Edolph Andrewes Uthwatt.
William Rupert Edolph Andrewes Uthwatt (1898-1954)
Exhibiting a persistent lack of imagination in regard to the naming of their children, William Rupert Edolph Andrewes Uthwatt was the son of William Francis Edolph Andrewes Uthwatt, born November 14th, 1898, at Great Linford Manor house. Like his father, he was a keen hunter, taking over as master of the Bucks Otter Hunt. Having served in WW1, he was in later life known as Major Uthwatt-Bouverie, the adoption of the double-barrelled surname presumably being a similar legal instrument to that which saw Henry Uthwatt Andrewes become Henry Uthwatt Uthwatt. The Uthwatts had by now seemingly essentially given up living at the manor house, and William was at the time of his death resident at Grange Farm, near to The Green. Read more about William Rupert Edolph Andrewes Uthwatt.
Stella Katherine Andrewes Uthwatt (1910-1996)
Stella was the last of the Great Linford Uthwatts and it seems something of a character, often seen patrolling the manor grounds with a shotgun on her shoulder. She never married, but she was living in an age where a woman no longer needed a husband as a reflection of success and worth. She joined the WAAF in WW2, and travelled to San Diego, passing through the iconic Ellis Island on her way to her posting. After the war, she made local history by becoming the first woman to be elected to the Newport Pagnell Rural District Council. She also continued the Uthwatt tradition of Otter Hunting, becoming the hunt master. She left Great Linford after the sale of the manor house and estate to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation and passed away in Scotland. Read more about Stella Katherine Andrewes Uthwatt.
Other Uthwatts of note
With a family tree as extensive as the Uthwatts, it’s hardly surprising that we can unearth some other interesting stories. It may come as a surprise that in the 1920s Louis Andrewes Uthwatt owned a motor-cycle manufacturing business, possibly based in the old rectory, while Lord Augustus Andrewes Uthwatt rose to be a High Court judge and gave his name to an influential report on post-war development and reconstruction. Read more about other notable Uthwatts.