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   Wynyard Hall Wynyard Estate Gates

A short summary of the history of Wynyard Hall and the Londonderry Family taken from the book by Brian Masters

Wynyard Estate Gatehouse Wynyard Estate Gates Wynyard Estate Gatehouse

The name Wynyard originally meant ‘enclosed meadow’ from two anglo saxon words, win (meadow) and geard (enclosure). The name turns up in the 13th century as Wyneiard and in the 14th as Wynhyard. The current spelling came about in the 16th century.

There has been a substantial mansion house on the site of Wynyard Hall from as early as the 1200’s when, owned by the crown, it was inhabited by the de Chapell family. When the last of the male line died the de Chapell daughters became co-heirs. The widow re-married John de Denthorpe who gave his share of the property to Sir Henry de Lisle in 1283. The property was passed down through successive Durham families. Passing in marriage to another family when the male line died out.

Henry de Lisles brother inherited the property and his daughter succeeded him. She married Alan de Langton who is described as lord of Wynyard in a document dated 1311. The property ceased to be owned by the crown and the Langtons acquired the separate portions establishing themselves as the sole occupiers.

In 1438 the property was inherited by Sibyl daughter of William Langton who conveyed it in marriage to Sir Roger Conyers.

Little is known about the size of the manor house but the property must have been of a substantial size as the Conyers secured a chaplain for the service of the Wynyard household in 1454.

Ralph Claxton inherited the property in 1524 when he married William Conyers daughter Sybilla.

The estate was split three ways when William Claxton shared the estate between two daughters and a granddaughter. It was later brought back together again when a wealthy Newcastle merchant Alexander Davison purchased all portions.

The Davisons lived at Wynyard between 1633 and 1737 when the house was sold to Thomas Rudd who later sold it on to John Tempest in 1742 for £8,000.

The senior John Tempest died in 1776 and his successor, John Tempest had an only son John Wharton Tempest who died in a riding accident in 1793 aged 21. The direct line of the Tempests at Wynyard died with him and when John Tempest died in 1794 he passed the estate on to his nephew Sir Henry Vane the son of his sister Francis. A condition of this was that he take the name Tempest and he became known as Sir Henry Vane-Tempest. Sir Henry died in 1813 at Wynyard and the estate passed to his 13 year old daughter Frances Anne. Frances married a soldier and diplomat Charles William Stewart in 1819. His father, Robert Stewart, was the 1st Marquess of Londonderry. His half brother Robert, the famous Foreign Secretary Lord Castlereagh, succeeded as 2nd Marquess. On his death in 1822 Charles succeeded to the title and became 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.

In 1822 The Marquess and Marchioness saw work commence on the Wynyard mansion. Phillip Wyatt the architect was chosen to build a completely new house but he chose to retain the central part of the old building that became to entrance hall. The new part of the building was constructed in a simple Grecian style using stone from the family quarry at Penshaw ( part of the Tempest inheritance). Once the mansion was inhabitable, though by no means complete it was celebrated by one local newspaper as ‘the most splendid mansion in the north of England’.

Sadly the work was not completed for in 1841 a fire broke out in the conservatory which destroyed the entire house together with the valuable paintings, furniture and stained glass work.

Wyatt did not live to rebuild Wynyard but architects such as John Dobson and Ignatius Bonomi used his designs in the reconstruction. The house was completed in 1846.

The Tempests entertained at Wynyard on a grand scale. Royalty, prime ministers, foreign dignitaries and many others were frequent visitors.

On the death of the 3rd marquess in 1854, the title of 4th Marquess passed to Frederick the eldest son of his marriage to Francis Anne. Frederick resided at Mount Stewart in Ireland. During her years of widowhood, Francis Anne commissioned the building of a sepulchre in memory of her husband. She died at Seaham in 1865.

Francis Anne

The 4th Marquis died without an heir in 1872 and his half brother Henry Lord Vane became the 5th Marquis. He resided at the property in Wales that he acquired on his marriage to Mary Cornelia.

Henry Lord Vane

On his death in 1884 Henry was succeeded by his son, Charles who became 6th Marquis of Londonderry.

Charles the 6th Marquis of Londonderry Wynyard Guests Charles Stewart Henry

The new Marquis and his Marchioness Lady Theresa Chetwynd-Talbot loved Wynyard Park and had a close relationship with their tenants. Queen Victoria created the Marquess, a Knight of the Garter for his services as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Lord Londonderry died of pneumonia at Wynyard Park in 1915, his wife died in 1919.

Wynyard Guests

Charles Stewart Henry their son became the 7th Marquis and together with his wife Edith entertained many important guests at Wynyard. Mr & Mrs Winston Churchill, Mr Harold and Lady Dorothy Macmillan, The Prince of Wales, later King Edward V111. The Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1934. The present Queen stayed at Wynward, as Princess Elizabeth in 1947. Lord and Lady Londonderry had four daughters and a son, Robin who succeeded to the title of 8th Marquis in 1949. He married Romaine, who until becoming Lady Castlereagh and Lady Londonderry worked in a beauty salon in London.

The 8th Marquis spent most of his time at Wynyard which at the time was being used as a teachers training college.

The 9th Marquis of Londonderry

Wynyard was not tended as it should have been and became run down and forgotten. The 8th Marquis died in 1955 and was succeeded by his 18 year old son who was the youngest ever Marquis of Londonderry.

The 9th Marquis renovated the house and park. When the work was completed in 1963 Wynyard Hall was called ‘ the most splendid 19th century mansion house in the county’ by Nicholas Pevsner.

Further Reading

Wynyard Hall and the Londonderry Family – Brian masters


Debretts Handbook

The Annals of Stockton-on-Tees

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