5a. Leeds Castle
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The Proprietors of the Northern Neck

Chapter 5a - Leeds Castle

Ethelbert DrawingIn the time of Ethelbert II, King of Kent (say A. D. 857), a Saxon noble named Ledan built a fort on an island in the river Len overlooking the prehistoric trading road which was later known as 'the Pilgrims Way'. After the Conquest, Robert de Crevecoeur here built a Norman castle of Caen stone, and called it by the Saxon's name Ledes. Under Edward I, this castle became a possession of the Crown, and as such, appears from time to time in the English chronicles down to the time of Edward VI; when it was granted to Sir Anthony St. Leger (1494-1558) of nearby Ulcombe, in consideration of services in the government of Ireland. The third in descent from this grantee was the Sir Warham St. Leger, who was a son, by her first marriage, of the wife of Sir Alexander Culpeper12. In 1617 he sailed with Raleigh on the fatal expedition to Guiana in command of the ship Thunder, hoping, like his admiral, to retrieve a broken fortune in that adventure. On his return to England in 1618, after the failure of the voyage, he was still further weighed down by his losses; and he then found it expedient to exchange Leeds Castle for a less honourable but income producing manor.

At the time of this transfer of title the castle was little more than a medieval ruin, in which the St. Legers had never resided: but the new owner, Sir Richard Smith, son of a late 'customer' of London, having command of ready money, began to build within the bailey a Jacobean manor house. Before this work was completed Smith died and, in 1632, his heirs offered the property for sale.

Appropriately enough, considering the early association of the Culpepers with Leeds Castle, the next purchaser was Sir Thomas Culpeper, the elder, of Hollingbourne. Although intending the castle to be the residence of his family, he did not occupy it himself, but settled it, in tail male, upon his three sons, Cheney, Francis and Thomas the younger. The cost of completing the fine new house and of subsequent maintenance of such an establishment seems to have deterred Sir Cheney, always hard up, from moving into residence, and the next we hear of the castle is that a fine was levied, the settlement was docked and Sir John Culpeper, the future peer, was recognised as the owner by purchase.

The consequence was that the Commonwealth escheated [claimed rights to] the castle with the first Lord Culpeper's other manors, and for some years used it as a public magazine. In 1651, however, Sir Cheney came forward with a claim that the castle was still his property, doubtless meaning that the agreed purchase money had not been paid by Lord Culpeper; and as Sir Cheney, alone of his family, was 'well affected' to Cromwell's government, the castle was duly surrendered to him (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651, pp. 197, 302) . Thereafter, until his death in 1663, Sir Cheney was styled 'of Leeds' (Cf. the entry of his name on the pedigree of his wife's family 'Cage of Bersted' at the Visitation of Kent, 1663-68; Harl. Pub., liv, p. 32).

There was no specific mention of Leeds in the will of the first Lord Culpeper, or in the acts of 1660 and 1662 which annulled the forfeiture of his manors; but in 1665 the second Lord Culpeper appears on the record as the owner, when he leased Leeds Castle to the Crown as a detention camp for prisoners taken during the Dutch war (Cf. John Evelyn's diary, October 17, 1665, and May 8, 1666). The documents to explain the elimination of Sir Cheney's interest are wanting, but it seems probable that after his death Thomas Lord Culpeper arranged with his cousin's creditors to complete the purchase his father had contracted to make before 1642.

Although there exists a letter by Lord Culpeper dated in 1675 from Leeds Castle (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 1675-76, p. 294) it does not appear that he ever resided there habitually, but, on the other hand, his wife did: she was the chatelaine when her husband died in 1689 and so remained until the end of her life, This tenure makes it persuasive that Leeds was the 'very considerable estate of inheritance in fee simple' which, as she recited in her parliamentary bill of 1692, her husband acquired with her dowry.

In consequence of these proceedings we come now to the last chapter of the annals of the Wigsell Culpepers, during which the proprietors of the Northern Neck maintained their capital seat at Leeds Castle.

Catherine CulpeperXV Catherine Culpeper (Thomas14, second Lord Culpeper), 1670?-1719, Lady Fairfax, grew up and spent her life at Leeds Castle; but there being no entry of her baptism in the Bromfield register, which records all her children, it follows that she was born elsewhere. The available evidence, though meagre, is that that event in the history of the Northern Neck of Virginia took place in Holland in the year 1670.

Diligent search for a baptismal record has been made, without result. It is necessary, therefore, to argue such evidence as is available49:

The family tradition, recorded by Mr. Wykeham-Martin, is that Lord Culpeper separated from his wife soon after marriage, was later reconciled to her and finally left her after the birth of their only child. There is evidence to bear out the first part of this tradition in the record of the issue of a passport in May, 1661 'for the wife of Lord Culpeper to go to Holland with her servants, luggage, coach and six horses' (Cal. State Papers, Domestic, 1660-61, p. 234). That Lady Culpeper refused to return to England because her husband was openly living with another woman, and that, by advice of his friends, he sought to induce her to preside over his household at Carisbrooke Castle in order to quiet the criticism of him in the Isle of Wight which eventually resulted in his having to resign his post there, may be inferred from the record (ibid., 1661-62, p. 69) of a leave of absence granted to Lord Culpeper in February, 1662, with permission to go beyond sea 'on private concerns.' But there the unsatisfactory testimony ends. Parish registers at The Hague, in the Isle of Wight, in Kent and in London have been searched in vain for the baptism of the child whose birth followed the temporary reconciliation, whenever it was. Apart from her baby portrait, which has not been convincingly dated, the first evidence for that child is the mention of her by her father in the letter he wrote to his sister Judith from Massachusetts, October 5, 1680, on his way back to England after his first tour of duty as Governor of Virginia (Va. Hist. Register, iii, 189): 'I shall now marry Cate as soon as I can and then shall reckon myself to be a Free man without clogge or charge.' It may be objected that this is evidence for a birth earlier than 1670, for on that hypothesis she would be only ten when the letter was written; but it may be answered that in the seventeenth century marriages were 'arranged' almost in infancy: e.g., Lord Culpeper's elder brother, Alexander, married a girl of 12. What is persuasive for the date 1670 is that, there being no record of Lord Culpeper during the two years from December, 1668, when he resigned the governorship of the Isle of Wight, until March 1670/1, when he was appointed to the Council for Foreign Plantations, it may be argued that he was absent from England during that period, and that the reconciliation with his wife and the birth of the child occurred on the Continent. This would fit with the family tradition that he left his wife finally immediately after the birth of his daughter; because his first illegitimate daughter by Mrs. Willis was born in 1671.

Named for her maternal grandmother, 'Cate' makes her first appearance on the public record in January, 1689/90, a year after her father's death, when 'Lord Culpeper's bill' in the House of Lords described her as 'his only cliild, Mrs. Katherine Culpeper' (Historical MSS. Commission, House of Lords MS. 1689-90, p. 434).

It was during the following spring that Philip Ludwell left England to return to Virginia with a commission to open a proprietary land office in the Northern Neck; and in the earliest land grants recorded in the books he then opened, she is recorded as the proprietor under the same designation, 'the Honourable Mistress Katherine Culpeper.' This status lasted, however, only a few months, for in the autumn of 1690 she married. Thenceforth, during twenty years until her husband's death, she disappears, as a wife of her time was wont to do: her husband had become the proprietor of the Northern Neck in her right and took personal charge of that business in the attempt to solve its problems. She, herself, is silent: even in the Northern Neck land grants she is recited during this period simply as 'Katherine, his wife.'

That her husband had his imagination stirred by the Virginia estate appears from the diligent and conservative attention he gave it. It was the fifth Lord Fairfax who prevented the liquidation of the proprietary. When, in the autumn of 1690, Lord Howard suggested to him that the charter of 1688 was tainted, he declined to sell out to the colony at the nominal price proposed (Va. Mag., ix, 32), just as he declined later to exchange the proprietary with the Crown for the 'lott and cope, and office of Bergmaster in the Wapentake of Wicksworth,' co. Derby (Acts P. C., Colonial, vi, 95). When the Assembly proceeded to hostilities (Journals 11. B., 1660-93, p. 371) he met the innuendo against his wife's father squarely and countered effectively. It was he who went before William III's Privy Council with the petition dated May 21, 1691, praying that the circumstances of the sealing of the charter of 1688 be examined by the law officers of the Crown, and that the title thereto be specifically confirmed to the representatives of Lord Culpeper who should be found entitled thereto. In all this he was entirely successful. The petition was referred to the Attorney General (Sir John Somers) who, having examined the record and heard counsel for Virginia as well as Lord Fairfax, reported that there was no ground 'for vacating the said Letters Patents by scire facias or otherwise.' Whereupon an Order in Council was entered on January 11, 1693/4 (Acts P. C., Colonial, ii, 188), adjudging that the

said grant did Pass in all the usual Methods of Grants of that Nature' and that 'the Petitioners Margaret Lady Culpeper, Thomas Lord Fairfax, Katherine his wife and Alexander Culpeper, Esqr. be permitted to enjoy the benefit of the said Letters Patents according to Law, so as they keep strictly to the Tenor thereof, in Execution of the several powers and authorities thereby granted; of which all Persons whom it may concern are to take notice.

It was the fifth Lord Fairfax again who procured the second Richard Lee to attorn to the proprietors for his Westmoreland lands and so break the ice of local resistence; who enlisted Robert Carter as the proprietary agent in 1702; and who backed Carter up in his claim of 1708 that the proprietary boundary was the south fork (Rapidan) and not the north fork (Hedgman's) of the Rappahannock. It was thus during Catherine Culpeper's coverture and by her husband's efforts that her doubtful title to the Northern Neck was established beyond all future cavil; and an estate which had been practically without value when she inherited it was nursed to the point of producing for her an income of 500 per annum and, by its subsequent growth, of assuring her children of the means to support their place in the world.

While the dowager Lady Culpeper seems consistently to have supported Lord Fairfax in these proceedings, his wife did not appreciate them. She wanted to be quit of Virginia. When her husband died, in January, 1709/10, leaving his own estate in great disorder, and was followed to the grave in a few months by her mother, Lady Fairfax's anger against her husband blazed. She listened to dark counsels of land agents (Fairfax Correspondence, ed. Bell, 1849, iv, 242), and peremtorily removed Robert Carter from the agency in Virginia, appointing in his place Edmund Jenings and his youthful nephew, Thomas Lee. Her state of mind after having taken these measures, which were to prove costly, is reflected in a letter she wrote contemporaneously to her eldest son, then at Oxford (Fairfax MSS. Bodleian Library, Oxford).

I have done all I can in business in London now, but it is all very bad. Your father hath destroyed all that can be for you and me both; but I will do all that is in my power to get something again, and I do hope you will deserve it of me in time.

This is the only record Catherine Culpeper has left to speak for her on the surviving record, until eight years later she dictated her will. That her sentiment had meanwhile hardened rather than softened is apparent in the disposition of her estate she then made. She had become suspicious even of her heir and instead of turning her estate over to him, then a man of twenty-six, she sought to tie his hands indefinitely by vesting her property in her neighbours and kinsmen, William Cage of Milgate,50 and Edward Filmer of East Sutton,51 in fee on trust' upon an elaborate entail.

She died at Leeds Castle at the end of May, 1719, and was buried, beside her mother, in the vault she had built in Bromfield Church,52 June 1, 1719, as 'the Rt. Honble. Catherine Lady Fairfax, Dowager.' That her eldest son resented her lack of confidence in him appears in the fact that he erected no MI. over her tomb.

P. C. C. Browning, 105
Will dated April 21, 1719
Proved June 23, 1719.
P. C. C. Browning, 105

Catherine Lady Fairfax, Baroness Dowager of Cameron, in the Kingdom of Scotland. To be bur. in psh. church of Broniefield near my late mother Margaret Lady Culpeper. To my eldest son Thomas Lord F. the reversion of the manor of Greenway Court, to which I am entitled at end of a term of years, for life: & to the heirs male of his body; in default to the heirs of his body; in default to my youngest son Robert F. in fee. To sd. son Robert F. 1,000 out of sd. manor, at 21; also 3,000. To my son Henry Culpeper F. 100 only,'having already advanced for him about 1,400 in buying him a Commission in the Army. To my eldest daur. Margaret 500. To my daur. Frances 2,500 at 21 or marriage with consent of my exer.; also 100 a year for maintenance meanwhile. To my daur. Mary 2,000, at 21 or marriage with exer's consent; also 80 a year meanwhile. To William Cage of Milgate in prsh. of Bersted, Kent, esq., & Edward Filmer of East Sutton, Kent, esq. all my manors etc. in Isle of Wight, co. Southampton & in co. Kent & all lands in Virginia in fee on trust for payment of legacies etc., & then for my eldest son Thomas Lord F. for life; remr. to sd. Trustees as Contingent Remainder Trustees; remr. to his sons successively in tail male; in default to my son Henry Culpeper F. & his sons similarly; in default to my son Robert F. & his sons similarly; in default to my daurs. in common, in tail; in default to my right heirs. Rest of personal estate among my sons & daurs. equally. Sd. William Cage to be sole exer. Whereas in lifetime of my late daur. Catherine F. I entered into a Bond to George Sayer esq. Dec for payment of 800 to her, which I intended as a legacy; who dying intestate I have taken out Admon. to her goods, but she left no personal estate; and whereas all my children are entitled to part of the moneys due on the Bond; such children as shall not have released their claim in my lifetime shall release same to my exer. Witns. D. Fuller, Jno. Mason, E. Finch. be bur. in psh. church of Bromfield near my late mother Margaret Lady Culpeper. To my eldest son Thomas Lord F. the reversion of the manor of Greenway Court, to which I am entitled at end of a term of years, for life: & to the heirs male of his body; in default to the heirs of his body; in default to my youngest son Robert F. in fee. To sd. son Robert F. 1,000 out of sd. manor, at 21; also 3,000. To my son Henry Culpeper F. 100 only,'having already advanced for him about 1,400 in buying him a Commission in the Army. To my eldest daur. Margaret 500. To my daur. Frances 2,500 at 21 or marriage with consent of my exer.; also 100 a year for maintenance meanwhile. To my daur. Mary 2,000, at 21 or marriage with exer's consent; also 80 a year meanwhile. To William Cage of Milgate in prsh. of Bersted, Kent, esq., & Edward Filmer of East Sutton, Kent, esq. all my manors etc. in Isle of Wight, co. Southampton & in co. Kent & all lands in Virginia in fee on trust for payment of legacies etc., & then for my eldest son Thomas Lord F. for life; remr. to sd. Trustees as Contingent Remainder Trustees; remr. to his sons successively in tail male; in default to my son Henry Culpeper F. & his sons similarly; in default to my son Robert F. & his sons similarly; in default to my daurs. in common, in tail; in default to my right heirs. Rest of personal estate among my sons & daurs. equally. Sd. William Cage to be sole exer. Whereas in lifetime of my late daur. Catherine F. I entered into a Bond to George Sayer esq. Dec for payment of 800 to her, which I intended as a legacy; who dying intestate I have taken out Admon. to her goods, but she left no personal estate; and whereas all my children are entitled to part of the moneys due on the Bond; such children as shall not have released their claim in my lifetime shall release same to my exer. Witns. D. Fuller, Jno. Mason, E. Finch. be bur. in psh. church of Bromfield near my late mother Margaret Lady Culpeper. To my eldest son Thomas Lord F. the reversion of the manor of Greenway Court, to which I am entitled at end of a term of years, for life: & to the heirs male of his body; in default to the heirs of his body; in default to my youngest son Robert F. in fee. To sd. son Robert F. 1,000 out of sd. manor, at 21; also 3,000. To my son Henry Culpeper F. 100 only,'having already advanced for him about 1,400 in buying him a Commission in the Army. To my eldest daur. Margaret 500. To my daur. Frances 2,500 at 21 or marriage with consent of my exer.; also 100 a year for maintenance meanwhile. To my daur. Mary 2,000, at 21 or marriage with exer's consent; also 80 a year meanwhile. To William Cage of Milgate in prsh. of Bersted, Kent, esq., & Edward Filmer of East Sutton, Kent, esq. all my manors etc. in Isle of Wight, co. Southampton & in co. Kent & all lands in Virginia in fee on trust for payment of legacies etc., & then for my eldest son Thomas Lord F. for life; remr. to sd. Trustees as Contingent Remainder Trustees; remr. to his sons successively in tail male; in default to my son Henry Culpeper F. & his sons similarly; in default to my son Robert F. & his sons similarly; in default to my daurs. in common, in tail; in default to my right heirs. Rest of personal estate among my sons & daurs. equally. Sd. William Cage to be sole exer. Whereas in lifetime of my late daur. Catherine F. I entered into a Bond to George Sayer esq. Dec for payment of 800 to her, which I intended as a legacy; who dying intestate I have taken out Admon. to her goods, but she left no personal estate; and whereas all my children are entitled to part of the moneys due on the Bond; such children as shall not have released their claim in my lifetime shall release same to my exer. Witns. D. Fuller, Jno. Mason, E. Finch.

Prob. by William Cage esq., exer.

She m., 1690, Thomas Fairfax (1657-1710), fifth Lord Fairfax of Cameron.

As in the case of her birth, primary evidence of the date and place of the marriage is lacking. It seems likely, therefore, that, like her birth, that marriage was celebrated in Holland. The lack is, however, supplied, nearly contemporaneously, by a dispatch of November 6, 1690, from Lord Howard of Effingham to the Virginia Council (Va. Mag., ix, 32): '1 have already spoken to my Ld. Fairfax, who married Mrs. Culpeper who administered (sic) to my Lord Culpeper, abt. the Northern Neck.' It thus appears that Catherine Culpeper was married in the autumn of 1690.

Thomas Lord Fairfax PaintingThomas Fairfax (1657-1710), fifth Lord Fairfax of Cameron, of the nineteenth recorded generation of his family, was the representative of a junior branch which had been seated since 1558 at Denton, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and in 1627 had been raised by Charles I to the peerage of Scotland with the title of Lord Fairfax of Cameron.53 His father was Henry Fairfax (1631-1688) of Oglethorpe, who succeeded, 1671, as fourth Lord Fairfax on the death of the Parliamentary general, and then became also 'of Denton.' Baptised in Bolton Percy, April 16, 1657, he was entered in the pedigree his father certified at the Visitation of Yorkshire, 1665, as 'aet. 8 ann., 8 Aug., 1665.' He matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxon, November 10, 1675, 'aged 18' (Foster) ; but seems soon thereafter to have transferred to St. Johns College, Cambridge; which university was in the tradition of his family (Venn; and Cf. Torry, Founders and Benefactors of St. Johns, 1888, p. 52). In 1685 he was first returned to Parliament as burgess for Malton (Official Returns of M.P.s, 1878), so that when his father died in the last year of James II and he succeeded to the title, he was already a person of sufficient importance of make it count that he 'heartily concurred in the revolution of 1688.' He was one of the small band of gentlemen who, in November of that year, under the leadership of the earl of Danby, seized York in the interest of the Prince of Orange (Luttrell, Brief Relation, i, 478; The Memoirs of Sir John Reresby (ed. Cartwright, 1875), 411 ff. Fairfax was, for this reason, one of the Yorkshiremen to whom James II made specific advances after he got to France; and he was in consequence confined, for a brief season, in the Tower. See the Information of the Jacobite agent, John Lunt, 1694, in Historical MSS Comission, 14th Report, Appendix pt. iv, p. z94; Luttrell, iv, 60). To the convention Parliament he was returned as Knight of the Shire for Yorkshire, being the seventh of his family to attain that responsibility in, what is more remarkable, the sixth successive generation. In that capacity he sat in the House of Commons thenceforth continuously until the act of Union with the Crown of Scotland (1707) disqualified him, as being a Scots peer (Luttrell, vi, 232).

During this period he became also an active officer in William III's Household cavalry and saw service in Ireland in the Boyne campaign and later in Flanders (Luttrell, ii, 233, 585; iii, 258). His subsequent military career, proved by entries in the State Papers, was summed up in George William Fairfax's entry in the Leeds Castle bible, 1761, as follows:

'On 31 December, 1688, he was made Lieut. Colonel of the third regiment of Horse Guards, whence he was promoted, 20th January, 1693, to the King's Own Regiment of Horse, and on 9th March, 1701, made Brigadier General.'

Although he served as Deputy Lieutenant for Kent, as well as for Yorkshire (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1702-3, p. 394); and his children were all born at Leeds Castle, he lived chiefly in Yorkshire, at his house on Castle hill in the city of York and at Denton Hall, and practised at both places an abundant hospitality (Markham, Admiral Robert Fairfax, p. :231). At Denton there is a pleasant glimpse of him in Thoresby's diary for September, 1702 (Atkinson, Ralph Thoresby, 1885, ii, 64). Thoresby noted that he 'was glad to observe the continuance of so religious an order in the family, all the servants, etc., being called in to daily prayers.' Lord Fairfax showed him 'the gardens, the hawks, horses, brood mares and foals, for which 80 l. has been refused;' but Thoresby was best pleased in the old library, 'for which my lord is preparing a new place.' The next day, 'My Lord very kindly rode with us part of the way and showed us four of his oxen, that are the largest, finest beasts that ever I beheld.'

The anxiety of the third Lord Fairfax to provide for his daughter, the Duchess of Buckingham, had, however, deprived his successors of the income which the first Lord Fairfax had left to support the family dignity (See Appendix); the fifth Lord Fairfax had moreover inherited an extravagance which was characteristic of his race. The confusion of Lord Culpeper's affairs did not permit of relief from that estate, and in consequence, despite frequent filips of patronage from the government (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 1689-90, pp, 438, 447), Fairfax became heavily burdened by debts, aggregating 'near two and twenty thousand pound.' In December, 1709, being then in his fifty-third year, he was in London harassed by his creditors. The land agent and the servant who alone attended him persuaded him to go into concealment. A letter addressed to his wife two months later (The Fairfax Correspondence, iv, 242) rehearses what followed:

'I cannot learn any other reason Williams had in taking my Lord away, but to have the better opportunity of plundering him when dead, which he saw would soon happen: he was removed the 13th of December and died the 6th of January. He had several notes of Sir Francis Child and a bag of guineas before him a quarter of an hour before he left Pall Mal1; and a porter carried him from the chocolate house in the same street, from Mrs. Margett [his daughter], forty pounds; and as no creditors were paid at his last lodging or knew where to find him, Williams or his man took his monies when he was dead or dying. The servant was a creature of Williams' and one that he helped my Lord to.'

It was thus that, far from his own people, Fairfax died on January 6, 1709/10; and on the January 10th following, was buried at St. Martins in the Fields, as the parish register records. Subsequently, an MI. was set up in Otley Church (Whitaker, Loidis and Elnwte), which has since disappeared.

His will was as follows:

P. C. C. Young, 45.
Will dated December 30, 1709.
Proved June 4, 1711.

Thomas Lord Fairfax Baron of Cameron in North Britain. All my manors etc. estate real & personal (except shares of wreck granted to me by Her Majesty by indenture under Great Seal dat. 3 Apr. 1707) to Sir John Bucknall of Oschay, co. Hertf. knight, Robert Fairfax of Saint Clements Danes, co. Middx. esq. Bryan Fairfax jun of St. Margarets Westminster esq. & Bybye Lake of Middle Temple London esq. in fee on trust to pay debts and legacies, & then for my son Thomas F. in fee. Sd shares of wreck to Henry Hawker of St. Annes Westminster esq. on trust as to 30 of the shares for my younger children, two shares to sister Mary Fairfax, two others for sd. Bryan Fairfax, one share for sd Robert Fairfax & rest for my sd. son Thomas F. Sd. Sir John Bucknall & other trustees to be exers & guardians of my son Thomas F. during his minority. Witns. Stephen Crowe, Letitia Crowe John Hudson.

Prob. by Bibye Lake esq. one of the exers. Power reserved for Sir John Bucknall knight, Robert Fairfax & Bryan Fairfax the other exers.

and by him had:

i Margaret, 1692-1755, m. 1725, 'Dr. David Wilkins, Prebendary of Canterbury and Archdeacon of Suffolk,' o. s. p.

She was baptised in Bromfield, January 4, 1691/2, as 'Margaret, daur. of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, by the Lady Catherine his wife.' Her m. and d. (without issue) from the Leeds Castle Bible.

ii Thomas, 1693-1781, sixth Lord Fairfax, of whom hereafter.

iii Catherine, 1695-1716, unmarried.

She was baptised in Bromfield, July2, 1695, as 'Catherine, the daughter of Thomas Lord Fairfax and the Lady Catherine his wife,' and by a like description was there also buried, August 7, 1716. Named in her grandmother's will (1710) for a legacy, her mother administered upon her estate (P. C. C. Admon Act Book, 1716), as explained in her own will.

iv Henry Culpeper, 1697-1734, o. s. p.

He was baptised in Bromfield, July 14, 1697, as 'Henry Culpeper Fairfax, son of Thomas Lord Fairfax and the Lady Catherine his wife, born 9 July;' and was there buried also, October 19, 1734, as 'the Hon. Henry Culpeper Fairfax.' George William Fairfax entered in the Leeds Castle Bible, 1761, as to him: 'A gentleman well versed in the mathematicks, and other branches of polite literature, died at Leeds Castle, October 14, 1734.' He matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, 29 January, 1713/14, aged 16; and graduated B. A., 15 October, 1716 (Registrum Orielense, ed. Shadwell, 1902). He was Captain-Lieutenant in Sybourg's Horse (Seventh Dragoon Guards), 24 February, 1718/19; and in August, 1730, commanded a company in Brigadier Edward Fielding's regiment of Invalids (W. O. 25; 89; Dalton, George I's Army, 1912, ii, 162). On January 11, 1726/7, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on the strength of his specialty in mathematics (Records of the Royal Society, 1901, p. 254). There are obituaries in London Magazine and Gentleman's Magazine, 1734.

v Ann, 1698, ob. infans.

She was baptised in Bromfield, July 11, 1698, as 'Ann, Daughter of Thomas Lord Fairfax and the Lady Catherine his wife, born 9 July.' There is no entry of her burial in the register but she is ignored by the family wills of that generation, and by the Leeds Castle Bible. Moreover, Margaret, Lady Culpeper, wrote to Thomas Jones, December 19, 1706, 'My daughter and her seven children are all very well.'

vi Frances, 1703-1791, m. Denny Martin of Salts, in Loose, co. Kent, of whom hereafter.

vii Mary, 1705-1739, unmarried.

She was baptised in Bromfield, March 12, 1704/5, as 'Mary, daughter of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, and the Lady Catherine his wife,' and was there buried also, September 22, 1739, as 'the Hon. Mary Fairfax, daughter of the Right Hon. Thomas Lord Fairfax.' There is an obituary notice in Gentleman's Magazine, 1739, p. 496. Named in her mother's will for a fortune of 2,000, she left the following will of her own:

Canterbury Consistory 6: 1138.
Will dated September 14, 1739.
Proved October 23, 1739.

Mary Fairfax, daur. of the late Right Hon. Lard F. of Leeds Castle, co. Kent. To be bur. in parish church of Bromfield in the burial place of my family. 5 to poor of Bromfield; to my brother the Honourable (sic) Thomas Lord F. 900, he paying 8 yearly to my old servant Ann Burr (for her long and faithful service) for life; to my brother the Hon. Robert F.900; to my sister the Hon. Mrs. Wilkins & to Rev. Dr. Wilkins each a 10 ring; to my sister the Hon. Mrs. Martin & her husband Denny M. 10 each for mourning; to my nephew & godson Denny Martin 100 to place him in the world; to my dearest & best friend & kinswoman Mrs. Mary Sherrard, sister to the Earl of Harborough, 50; to my eldest neices Mrs. Frances & Sibby Martin 5 each, etc.; to my servant Ann Burr, clothes; to my brother, the Hon. Robert F., diamond girdle, etc., arrears of interest due to me from my brother, the Right Hon. Lord F., & rest of personal estate, & he to be exor. Witns. Francis Muriell, Edward Harrison.

Proved by Hon. Robert F., bro. & exor.

viii Robert, 1706-1793, seventh Lord Fairfax, of whom hereaf ter.

(Continued in Chapter 5b)

49 In view of the necessity for this argument it is interesting that there probably existed in Virginia as late as 1875 good evidence for the missing date. The sixth Lord Fairfax brought out with him in 1747, and left with his personal effects at Greenway Court, a Culpeper family Bible. This passed with the house to Thomas Bryan Martin's devisee (Cf. Kercheval. 3d ed. 1902, p. 160) and on March 29, 1879, her descendant, Mr. William C. Kennerley of White Post described its fate as follows (MS. penes me):

Immediately after the acknowledgment of your letter of the 19th inst., I went over to my brother's, at Greenway Court, for the purpose of procuring the old family Fairfax (sic) Bible, which I intended to send you as a present; and was shocked to learn that it was burned in the conflagration of the wing of my brother's house in '75... I especially regret the loss of the Bible as it contained a Register of the births and deaths of more than a dozen Fairfaxes and Martins, 'Thomas,' 'Bryan,' 'Rev. Denny Fairfax,' and marriages of Lady Colepeper Fairfax, the mother, I presume, of Lord Fairfax, and others which I do not remember.

The loss of this Bible is the more to be regretted because it seems to have contained a record of entries by Margaret, Lady Culpeper, and her daughter. The family Bible which is still extant at Leeds Castle is a Fairfax as distinguished from a Culpeper record, and throws no light on the problems here considered. See notes 53 and 54 post. (Return)

50 Col. William Cage, who was Sheriff of Kent in 1695 and M.P. in 1702, 1710 and 1713, was a grandson by his first marriage of that William Cage of Milgate in Bersted, who, in 1637, married, secondly, Joan Culpeper, a sister of Lady Fairfax's grandmother and, in consequence, is called 'brother' by the first Lord Culpeper in his will (Berry, Kentist Genealogies, p. 273; Harl. Pub., xxvi, 232; and the MI. of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Culpeper, the elder, ante); but he was of kin to Lady Fairfax because his mother was a daughter of her grandmother's brother, Sir Cheney Culpeper. Lady Fairfax had depended upon this 'cousin' for business advice for some time before she made her will. Thus in her letter to her son, December 15, 1711 (The Fairfax Correspondence, iv, 244) she says 'Colonel Cage is a great and entire friend to me and you have reason to respect him.' When Fairfax went out to Virginia the second time he took with him one of this family. See the lively fox hunting letter of J. Cage, written from Belvoir to Capt. Lawrence Washington at Mount Vernon (undated, but before 1750) in Conway, Barons, p. 245. (Return)

51 This Edward Filmer had been a practising barrister of the Parliamentary bar but was soon to become, on the death of his father in 1720, the third baronet of his house. It was to him that Lord Fairfax referred in his letter to George Fairfax, April 6, 1747 (Neill, p. 77): 'I have sent you by Captain Cooling of the Elizabeth two dogs and one bitch of Sir Edward Filmer's hounds which he promised you.' He must have declined Lady Fairfax's trust as he does not appear with Col. Cage in the Northern Neck grant books. The Filmers of East Sutton were also, through the St. Legers and the Scotts, of kin to the WigselI Culpepers (Cf. the will of Samuel Filmer, 1670, P. C. C. Penn. 58, in Va. Mag., xi, 181) ; but they have their own claims to the interest of Virginians. They descended from that Samuel Argall who was one of the early Governors, and had maintained their relation with the colony. Thus. in 1643, Henry Filmer was a resident of Warwick County, serving as a burgess and justice of the County Court. He was a brother of that convinced and uncompromising royalist, Sir Robert Filmer, author of the Patriarcha (Dict. Mat., Biog., re-issue ed., vi, 1304) and a great great uncle of Lady Fairfax's trustee. For this family, see the Visitation of Kent, 1619; Berry, Kent; Va. Mag., xv, 181. (Return)

52 Bromfield was originally a parish, served by a religious of the priory of Leeds. The boundaries, practically limited to the lands held of Leeds Castle, have been maintained; but since the dissolution of the priory the church has been annexed to the rectory and church of the adjacent Leeds parish which was erected within the priory lands. As a consequence, Bromfield now ranks as a chapel. Vested by Queen Elizabeth in the Archbishop of Canterbury, the advowson of Leeds and Bromfield has since been held by that prelate, who collates a perpetual curate (Hasted, ii. 484, 486).

Catherine Culpeper, Lady Fairfax, had all her children baptized in Bromfield chapel and later built there a family vault where she buried her mother, and was herself interred, as were a number of her descendants. The Bromfield register thus became a genealogical source record for the last generation of the proprietors of the Northern Neck.

For these considerations the Virginia Assembly gave the name Bromfield to the parish created in Culpeper in 1752 (Hening, Vi, 256) ; but neither Bishop Meade nor Dr. Philip Slaughter (see the comment on the name in St. Marks Parish, p. 80) had the clew to that designation. (Return)

53 The Fairfaxes: In contrast to the Culpepers, there is available a large literature on the Fairfax family in Yorkshire and Virginia; indeed, almost a 'five foot shelf of books,' mostly pertaining to their great century-the seventeenth-and to their relations in the eighteenth with a national hero, George Washington.

Biographically, Mr. George W. Johnson's Memoir of the Fairfax Family (Introduction to The Fairfax Correspondence, 1848) is a comprehensive study, but should be supplemented for special periods by (1) Sir Clements Markham, The Great Lord Fairfax, 1870; Admiral Robert Fairfax, 1885; and The Fighting Veres, 1888; (2) Ralph Thoresby, Ducatus Leodiensis, 1715 (and ed., Whitaker, 1816), Diary, ed. Hunter, 1830, and Life by D. H. Atkinson, 1885; (3) C. Wykeham-Martin, History of Leeds Castle, 1868; (4) Archdeacon Burnaby, Travels through the Middle Settlements in North America, 1798; and (5) the twenty-one articles on the name in the Dictionary of National Biography. Most (but not all) of the Fairfax portraits were collected for a loan exhibition at Leeds in 1868 and subsequently reproduced (Portraits of Yorkshire Worthies, 2 vols., 1869) by Mr. E. Hailstone, the owner of a noble library at Walton Hall, the original Fairfax seat near Wakefield in Yorkshire.

The story of the historically valuable collection of family letters and papers relating to the civil wars in England (edited by Mr. Johnson and Robert Bell as The Fairfax Correspondence, 4 vols., 1848-49) is one of the romances of English domestic diplomatics. Removed to Leeds Castle upon the sale of Denton Hall in 1716, they were discarded as worthless early in the nineteenth century and after curious vicissitudes were rescued and scattered through various public and private collections. The muniment room at Leeds Castle is now practically bare (See Historical MSS, Commission, Sixth Report, 465). Twenty years after the publication of these papers Mr. Edward D. Neill performed a similar office for a similar treasure trove from the eighteenth century household at Belvoir on the Potomac (The Fairfaxes of England and America, 1868). There are also many Fairfax letters relating to Virginia in Sparks' and Fords' respective editions of the Wtitings of George Washington; in the Colonial Dames' collection of Letters to Washington; and in Mr. Moncure Conway Barons of the Potomac and the Rappahannock. Still other such papers, still unpublished but now available to the historical student, are among the public records at Washington and scattered in private collections.

Genealogically, the Fairfaxes, being, as Canon Raine has recently declared, a house 'that not alone in military achievement but for learning also has no peer in Yorkshire,' have themselves produced a succession of antiquaries who have recorded their own generations. The most notable work of this kind is the still unprinted, but frequently cited, Analecta Fairfaxiana by Charles Fairfax (1595-1673) of Menston, which 'contains pedigrees, carefully written and blazoned on vellum, of all the branches of the Fairfax family, and of many of the families connected with it, interspersed with genealogical and literary notes, and about fifty anagrams and elegies in latin and chiefly from the pen of the compiler, upon the different members of the family and their connections.

The learned Dr. Brian Fairfax, the elder (1633-1711), a nephew of Charles of Menston, made two notable contributions to his family annals, A Letter to My Sons, 1686 (printed in Markham, Admiral Robert Fairfax, p. 133) and Iter Boreale, 1699 (included in the Fairfax Correspondence, iv, 151). Moreover, in a MS. book now at Leeds Castle, he extracted, elaborated and extended the portion of the Analecta relating to the Denton household.

On these authorities, checked for the earlier generations by Mr. Robert H. Skaife from ancient records and for the seventeenth century by parish registers and wills, Sir Clements Markham compiled his comprehensive genealogy of all the branches of the Fairfaxes (Herald and Genealogist, vi, 385, 604; vii, 145) which has long been followed by the modern peerages, most completely by Sir James Balfour Paul in The Scots Peerage, 1906.

For the eighteenth century the evidence has not been so complete. The Denton family Bible was (and still is) preserved at Leeds Castle, but the entries in it were scattering (Wykeham-Martin, p. 207). The tradition from the Analecta was, however, maintained by Brian Fairfax, the younger (1676-1749), one of the guardians of the sixth Lord Fairfax, who was long Commissioner of Customs and in that relation had a part in establishing William Fairfax of Belvoir in the colonial revenue service. He sent to his kinsmen at Belvoir on the Potomac a transcript (now penes me) of his father's MS. This stimulated George William Fairfax of Virginia during a visit to Leeds Castle in 1761, in turn to make a contribution to the family annals; by a narrative entry concerning the generations of the fourth and fifth Lords Fairfax (Wykeham-Martin, pp. 191). The notes of this essay, with additions to include his own family, were also used by George William Fairfax as an extension of the chart pedigree in his copy of Thoresby, Ducatus Leodiensis (1715) which subsequently came into the hands of Joseph Hunter (1783-1861) the non-conformist antiquary, and is now penes me. Although these last mentioned notes were removed by Mr. Hunter from the book, they have been preserved in his Familiae Minorum Gentium (Hari. Pub., 1886, xl, 1295).

All of this eighteenth century genealogy followed the pleasant form of the Analecta Fairfaxiana and lacked that documentation which is demanded by modern criticism. Specifically, George William Fairfax's contribution lacked essentia1 dates with reference to the family of the fifth Lord Fairfax, though giving them for his own.

The House of Lords records of the Fairfax peerage cases of 1800 and 1908 here fail us also. They have preserved much important primary evidence, but, being concerned primarily with the Towlston and Belvoir branch of the family, contain little of importance on the Leeds Castle household. Again, Hasted (History of Kent, 1793, ii, 476 s. v. Leeds Castle) ; Whitaker (Loidis and Elmete, 1816 s. v. Otley Parish), and even the resourceful G. E. C. (Complete Peerage, s. v. Fairfax of Cameron, and Colepeper) are all unexpectedly vague as to this particular generation; and, as it happens, it falls in the interval between those rich mines of genealogical source material, the collections of' family letters which we have cited. The source record has now been lost. See note 49 ante. (Return)

Last Revised: 05 Jun 2011

 

 
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