Doveridge History: The Hall

Doveridge Hall

Doveridge Hall was built in 1769 for Sir Henry Cavendish, 1st Baronet, by Edward Stevens, a pupil of the eminent 18th century architect, Sir William Chambers.

Sir Henry Manners Cavendish was born on 8th November 1793 and succeeded to the title of Lord Waterpark on the death of his father, Sir Richard Cavendish on 1st June 1830. Henry was the eldest of six sons. Another brother, Richard, married Elizabeth Maria Hart of Crake-marsh Hall, near Uttoxeter, and so brought the Crake-marsh estate to the Cavendish family through his marriage. Richard led a distinguished life in the service of India until his death. Sir Henry’s youngest brother, Thomas, became Vicar of Doveridge in 1839 and remained so for twenty years.

Doveridge Hall
Doveridge Hall

On 18th July 1837, Sir Henry married Elizabeth Jane Anson. She was the daughter of the 1st Viscount Anson and the sister of the 1st Earl of Lichfield of Shugborough Hall, near Stafford. She was appointed Extra Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, a position in the Royal Household. She was awarded the Royal Victoria and Albert Medal for her services. By her marriage to Sir Henry they had three children, the eldest of whom was Henry Anson Cavendish, the only son, and heir to the title. Their youngest daughter, Adelaide, was appointed Maid of Honour to Victoria and married Mr Samuel Clowes of Norbury Manor.

During his life, Sir Henry took as active a part in the local community as his time would allow. He was appointed Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, a post which involved being almost a secretary to the Queen and sorting through paperwork for her attention and signature. Therefore a good deal of time was spent in London. A more local post was that of Colonel in the Derbyshire Militia, a body of soldiers, early forerunners of the Home Guard, which was formed throughout the country when it was felt that invasion was imminent from Napoleon of France.

Locally, Lord Waterpark was a Church Warden of St Cuthbert’s for a good many years and it was during his time as a warden that it was decided to build a wall to enclose the churchyard, he saw also to the maintenance of the Alms Houses and the Church.

Lord Waterpark shared the same ancestry as the Duke of Devonshire through the marriage of Sir William Cavendish and the formidable Bess of Hardwick. Their eldest son, Henry, inherited nothing from Bess of Hardwick for he had quarrelled with her a good deal and she had disinherited him from her will and made over the majority of her property to her second son, William, who became the 1st Earl of Devonshire. Henry did inherit Tutbury and Doveridge estates from his father, Sir William, through his will. Henry in his turn, made the Doveridge lands over to his eldest son also called Henry. The Cavendishes of Doveridge had a good deal of land in Ireland and early members of the family held some high offices in the administration of that country.

Because of the difficult times estates both in England and Ireland had endured, many were forced to decrease the size of their estates and lease or sell off surplus land and property. It seems that it was for that reason that the decision was taken to move from Doveridge Hall to East Lodge, the large house that now faces onto the Cavendish Close estate off Bakers Lane. For, in the same year as the death of Sir Henry Manners Cavendish in 1863 the family left the Hall for East Lodge and leased the Hall to various people.

It has been said that the Lords Waterpark continued to own the Hall until its demolition but other references indicate that the property was sold outright to one Frank Addison Brace, formerly of the firm Brace, Blyth, Windle and Co, harness manufacturers of Walsall, in 1892, who subsequently sold the property when he became ill and was forced abroad for treatment. The buyer was the 2nd Lord Hindlip who had leased the property earlier from the Lords Waterpark. It was at Doveridge Hall that Lord Hindlip entertained the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, on his visit to Derby races.

Doveridge Hall c.1912
Doveridge Hall c.1912

The estate had its ups and downs through the late 19th century and as with most English estates, enjoyed a slight recovery in the 1920’s before financial problems and shortage of staff began to see the beginning of the end of the country estates as they had been. After going through various occupants, the Hall was finally up for sale again on 16th April 1935, a good many of the properties and land going to residents of Doveridge.

The Hall itself, together with 85 acres of land, was not included in the auction, but was sold privately to one Vernon Cowlishaw, a silk manufacturer of Leek, for £4,000. Again the property seems to have been too much of a financial burden and so passed through various owners in quick succession before it was finally bought by Messrs Ward and Godbehere of Uttoxeter who subse¬quently held a sale of all the remaining fittings. The house was finally demolished in 1938. The new by-pass was at the time under construction and a good deal of the rubble was used as foundation ballast for the new road.

By many standards Doveridge Hall, and its estates had not survived for a great length of time, only 170 years. The Lords Waterpark had only lived there for 94 years before leasing and finally selling it. Sir Henry Manners Cavendish, 3rd Lord Waterpark had to guide the estate through a very difficult time in the mid 1800’s until he died on 31st March 1863. He was the first member of his family to be buried in the family vault near the west door of St Cuthbert’s Church.

It was the practice after the funeral to place a large painting of the deceased’s coat of arms over the ent¬rance to his residence, where it remained for six to twelve months, before being removed to the church. Sir Henry’s coat of arms, with those of his wife, are shown on the first hatchment on the north wall of the chancel of the church.

Sir Henry’s son was set for a career in the Foreign Office, but on the death of his father, returned to Doveridge to East Lodge, where he remained a good deal, and was much involved in the Meynell Hunt of which he became Joint Master with Mr Samuel Clowes.

The final splitting up and sale of Doveridge Hall estate was not the fault of any particular person, but was due more to the movement of people from the countryside to the new industrial cities in search of work and increased wages, and to the fall in land prices. These factors spelt financial crisis for many country estates, whose wealth was deep in the land of England.

T de Ville