When Richard Mead married his second wife, Anne Alston, he widened
his connections with some of the most important aristocratic families
of the period.
His wife, Anne, was the daughter of Sir
Rowland Alston of Odell
and Temperance Crew of Stean Park
in Northamptonshire. She was baptised on 28th December 1689 in
Odell and was one of eleven children (click
here to see the direct ancestors of Anne ). No doubt
Richard Mead met her when attending her parents, either socially
Anne and Richard were married on 14th August 1724 in Odell.
Sir Rowland’s family had owned Odell
Manor for many years. His father, Thomas Alston, was created a
1642 and was the brother of Edward, a knight; William, the Keeper
of the Briefs of Kings and John of Pavenham. Sir Rowland’s
mother, Elizabeth St. John, was the daughter of Rowland St. John
of Bletsoe Castle.
Temperance Crew, Anne’s mother,
was the daughter of Thomas Crew and Mary Townshend, who came
from Norfolk. Temperance had
a sister, Anne, who married James Joliffe of Staffordshire. (click
here to see the family tree showing these connections)
After Sir Rowland Alston died in1698, Temperance Crew married
Sir John Wolstenholme of Forty Hall, Enfield. He had thirteen children
from a previous marriage and, in order to accommodate her huge
family of twenty four children ( eleven of hers and his thirteen),Temperance
built Odell Castle on the site of the keep of the ancient castle.
As Lady Wolstenholme, Temperance gave plate and a crimson altar
cloth to Harrold Church.
Thomas Crew, Temperance’s father,
married a second time after the death of his first wife, and
had a daughter, Jemima,
who married the Duke of Kent in 1697 and they lived at Wrest Park.
With the help of the family tree and this
information it is possible to see clearly the relationship between
Anne Joliffe and Anne Mead.
In 1714 William Farrar “alienated a messuage and land “ in
Harrold to Mrs. Anne Joliffe and when she died in 1732 her estates
passed to her niece, Anne Mead. Included in the estate was Harrold
Hall, which was visited often by Richard Mead and his wife when
they were not in London. After Richard’s death in 1753, Anne
continued to live at the Hall until her death in1763. She was buried
within St Peter's Church in1763 (entered in the parish records
as a “relict” of
Dr. Mead ).
There are two known portraits of her, one by
Allan Ramsay and the other by Sir Godfrey Kneller. The present
whereabouts of these portraits is unknown (if anyone does know
where these may be in either public galleries or in private collections
we should be delighted to hear from you).
Harrold Hall was built 1608-1610 by Francis
Farrar for £160
for his daughter, Anne Farrar.
According to the accounts in the Wingfield Trust Collection,
it was built on the grange yard of the priory
to the south East of St. Peter's Church. The principal front
faced the river.
It was originally an E
shaped house (typically
Elizabethean) built of rubbble stone with an ashlar dressing. In June 1608 work
a pit in
was probably rubble stone, the better quality stone being brought
from quarries in Olney and Warrington (some 70 loads). Special
stone came from Weldon in Northamptonshire, from the quarries of
the Master Mason, Thomas Grumbold. This was used for the porch,
some windows and for toppstones. Three storeys high, the house
had mullioned and transomed windows, moulded string courses dividing
the storeys. The entrance porch was the full height of the house
and would have been the most ornamented part of the building.
Anne Farrar married Thomas Boteler in 1602 when
she was 15 years old. She and her husband lived at Harrold Hall
for only a short time for Thomas was knighted and they moved to
seat in Biddenham. In 1651 Helen, granddaughter of Sir Thomas Boteler,
married her second cousin, Thomas Farrar, and the property, exclusive
of the rectory, formed part of the marriage settlement. In 1680,
when there was another intermarriage between the Botelers and Farrars,
William Farrar (son of Thomas) married Mary Boteler and the rectory
and other lands in Harrold formed part of her dowry.In
1714 said William “ alienated a messuage and land in Harrold” to Mrs.
Anne Jolliffe, half
sister of Jemima, wife of the Duke of Kent, who at that time owned
the Manor of Harrold. The son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent bore the title of Earl of Harrold.
When Anne Jolliffe died in 1732 she left Harrold
Hall to her niece, Ann Mead, who died in 1763. After Anne's death
the house was occupied by various people, including MPs, Masters
of the Oakley Hunt and others. In 1816 the porch
and recessed centre were obliterated by the addition of a large
between the two wings of the E shape, built by Thomas Alston. Before
this, many of the original windows had been replaced by sash windows.
The Latter Days of Harrold Hall
It was leased to other individuals
until in 1930 it was left derelict. The Jacobean staircase and
the interior were stripped and the gates were removed to the Mansion
the end of the village. They bear the Alston Coat of Arms. The Staircase is now in the Bedford Higgins Museum.
In 1938 the house and surrounding land was conveyed to local resident Edgar Clayson.
During the Second World War the Hall was used
as army billets and became a prisoner of war camp for Italians,
in the main. It
was Camp Number 611.
In 1950 the house was sold by Edgar Clayson and was let to various tenants.
We recently received an e-mail from Bill Benton-Evans whose wife (nee Crossland) was one of the last inhabitants of Harrold Hall. She lived there, as a teenager, with her parents in the 1950s right up until 1959 when it was demolished. We were delighted to receive the two photographs below which show the Hall in relation to St Peter's Church (circa 1955) and a picture of an impressive Elizabethan fireplace taken at around that time. Bill also sent copies of pictures of the Jacobean staircase and The Drawing Room
Today, all one can see of the original house
(which was demolished in 1959) and garden is the aconites which
bloom in profusion at the end of Hall Close. They
were on features either side of the drive to the house.
Ownership and Tenancy of Harrold Hall: A Timeline
||Dissolution of the Priory
||John Cheney (a 21 year lease)
||Site and Land of former priory acquired by Ralph Farrar (a London grocer)
||Death of Ralph Farrar site inherited by Francis Farrar
||Harrold Hall constructed by Francis Farrar( for his daughter Anne who was married to Thomas Boteler)
||On the death of Francis Farrar the house was inherited by Thomas Boteler.
||Hall leased to Margaret Mordaunt (daughter of Lord Henry Mordaunt of Turvey)
||Hall leased to Sir Oliver Boteler of Sharnbrook (18 year lease) on behalf of his daughter Ursula who had married George Orlebar of Hinwick.
||Leased to Richard Orlebar, son of George and Ursula Orlebar
||Death of Richard Orlebar
||Mary Boteler ( daughter of William Boteler) inherited the property. Her husband sold it to Anne Joliffe
||Anne Joliffe who had lived at the Hall for 30 years died, leaving the property to her niece, Anne Alston (who later married Dr Richard Mead).
||Death of Anne Alston who died intestate - the properety descended to her nephew Sir Thomas Alston of Odell
||Leased to Mrs Henrietta Lee, wealthy London heiress.
||Tenancy taken over by Lieutenant Colonel Garstin (who had married Henrietta Lee).
||Leased to Colonel J H Lethbridge
||Leased to Major Richard Magenis
||Death of Richard Magenis.His widow Mrs Magenis takes over the lease.
||Leased to Edward Marsh Harvey
||Following his death his widow, Mrs Harvey, takes over the lease
||Rowland Crewe Alston inherits the Hall and is resident.
||Rowland Crewe Alston sells the Hall to Arthur Cecil Beck MP,
||Alston family repurchase the Hall (Alexander Alison Alston of Turvey Abbey)
||Rowland Alison Alston takes up residence
||Leased to Captain Esme Arkwright
||Hall and land conveyed to Edgar Clayson
||The Pioneer Corps take over the Hall for billeting.
||Hall becomes a POW camp (Camp 611) mainly for Italion POWs.
||Edgar Clayson sold the Hall
|| House then unoccupied
||Series of tenants - see article above of a teenager at Harrold Hall in the 1950s
||House demolished and the houses of Hall Close were built on the site.