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The Property of the Estate of the late Lord Farnham FOREWORD
THE ESTATE OF THE LATE LORD FARNHAM
The late Lord Farnham was descended from more than one branch of the ancient and distinguished Scottish family of Maxwell. One line were the Maxwells of Calderwood in Lanarkshire, the first, Sir Robert, second son of Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, married Elizabeth daughter of Sir Robert Denniston of Denniston in 1402. Succeeding Maxwells of Calderwood married into the Boyds of Kilmarnock more than once and other prominent families such as the Hamilton's of Finant. Sir James, the Eighth of Calderwood was created a baronet in March 1627. His wife Jean Hamilton of Evandale, daughter of the 6th Earl of Glencairn bore him only a daughter (his father later married her mother Margaret and among other children had a son Col. John Maxwell who perished, along with so many other Scottish notables, at the ill-fated battle of Dunbar in 1650). The 7th Baronet, born in 1754, was a General during the American War of Independence, a not inappropriate command for one who was a Baronet of Nova Scotia. The General's grandson Sir William, 10th Baronet and last of Calderwood was succeeded by his sixth cousin twice removed, Sir James Pierce Maxwell in 1885, as a 'male heir whatsoever' of the first Baronet.
In 1884, this sixth cousin had become the 9th Baron Farnham and was descended from Robert Maxwell, Dean of Armagh who had migrated to Ireland towards the end of Elizabeth 1st reign. His son Robert was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and became Bishop of Kilmore in 1643 and of Ardagh in 1661. Before his death in 1672 the bishop held the outstandingly beautiful manor of Farnham in Co. Cavan. In 1697 his son John purchased the estate from the Waldrons. Two of Robert's sons followed their father into ecclesiastical office and his grandson John was created Baron Farnham in May 1756. The second Baron married the widow of the 3rd Earl of Stafford, Henrietta, not the first heiress the family had married and only child of a Paris banker Philip Cantillon. He was created Viscount Farnham in 1760 and 1st Earl of Farnham three years later, but died after his only son and was succeeded by his brother, the first Barry Maxwell who in his turn was created Visount Farnham in 1781 and 1st Earl of Farnham in 1785 but on the death of his son, the 4th Baron, the Earldom and Viscountcy expired for the second and last time. The 4th Baron was followed by his nephews John and Henry as 5th and 6th Barons. The 6th Baron had six sons, three of whom held the Barony. The eldest, Henry 7th Baron was a representative peer from 1839-68 and a distinguished genealogist, specialising in royal descent and armorial quaterings of 16 or more (an interest perhaps stimulated by his marriage to Anne daughter of the 12th Lord le Despenser, a family of many and venerable quarterings).
The 7th Baron and Baroness met a terrible end; they were victims of a dreadful railway accident in 1868. The couple were travelling on The Irish Mail non-stop from Chester to Holyhead on August 20th. Inadvisably, the station-master at Llandulas decided to do some shunting on the main line sixteen minutes before the express was due and a most unfortunate blunder sent seven runaway wagons from a goods train down a 1 in 147 incline towards the locomotive Prince of Wales and thirteen carriages. The accident might have not been a disaster (despite primitive systems of breaking) had not the back wagon of the runaway had a cargo of almost eight tons of paraffin oil. The engine and first four carriages were inundated in oil. An inferno followed and all thirty-two passengers in these carriages perished, the other nine carriages were uncoupled and saved. The 9th Baron was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 97th Foot and badly wounded in the Crimea War. His nephew the 10th Baron, another representative peer, married Lady Florence, daughter of Marquess of Headford. Their oldest surviving son the 11th Baron fought in the Boer War and 1st World War and was succeeded by his grandson the 12th Baron in 1957 as his son had died in Palestine of wounds sustained during the 2nd World War. The title has not passed to an eldest son since the death of the 6th Baron.
Barry Maxwell, the late Lord Farnham was educated at Eton and Harvard and was Chairman of the merchant bank Brown Shipley 1984-91, Chairman of Acton Rubber and Provident Mutual Lift Assurance. A distinguished Mason he became Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of England in 1991. Lord Farnham, stalwart in the belief that masonry was about 'building solid citizens' committed to charity and loyalty, lifted the cloak of secrecy that surrounded Masonic ceremonies. He was anxious to dispel conspiracy theories about Masonic influence and in 1992 the press was invited to attend the celebration by some 12,000 masons in full regalia of the 25th anniversary of the installation of Duke of Kent as Grand Master at Earls Court. A man of great intelligence, charm, sensitivity and dignity his lordship successfully guided the ancient, proud and exceedingly hierarchical organisation through an unsettling period of considerable reform and consequent change of image with consummate tact and discretion. Sadly, though perhaps not surprisingly, his efforts to sit in the House of Lords as a representative peer like the 7th, 10th and 11th Barons were less successful and he remained entitled as an Irish peer only to sit on the 'very uncomfortable' steps of the Throne.
Lord Farnham inherited and passionately loved one of the most beautiful estates in Ireland. In the 1850's James Fraser noted in the fourth edition of the handbook for travellers in Ireland 'the country around Cavan is singularly romantic. Fertile, round hills spring up on every side and the roads winding through the valleys give the whole a very pleasing rural character'. He laments that 'this beautiful and fine treat of country (is) cut up into small enclosures, without the least regard to ornamental appearance or profitable culture'. Farnham is one glorious exception... 'The trees around the house bespeak more care and length of years than we usually meet within our demenses. The mansion is a plain commodious structure. Those who have seen Farnham only from the house or approaches know but little of its extent, variety and beauty. It branches out in many directions and embraces several of the little natural lakes which form so remarkable a feature in this district, from their number and the extent of surface which they occupy'. The lakes extend to around ten percent of the estate, over 120 acres and by 1899 a reservoir had been built on a hill nearly the mansion, enabling fire hydrants to be fitted, an innovation applauded by Country Life in April of that year noting that 'the value of many estates would be largely enhanced' by such improvements.
A new house was built at Farnham by John Maxwell soon after he acquired the estate, some 80 years later the 3rd Baron Farnham improved it and employed James Wyatt to build a library. Francis Johnston rebuilt the house from 1802 for the 4th Baron and the second and last Earl of Farnham building a house of two ranges at right angles as can be seen in the sketch. The range with the Doric portico incorporated Wyatt's library. In 1839 the house was enlarged and re-arranged by the 7th Baron who turned Wyatt's library into a dining room. Some 120 years later, the late Lord Farnham, having inherited a house badly infested with dry rot decided with his wife to demolish the eight bay range and to rebuild the portico on the side of the surviving (garden) range thus creating a residence of dimensions better suited to late 20th Century requirements.
Following his death sadly the estate had to be sold earlier this year and the present sale comprises a proportion of the principal contents of Farnham as well as items from the London house.
THE PROPERTY OF SIR JOHN AND LADY ACLAND
The Aclands are probably the oldest land owning family in Devon and were first recorded as freeholders in 1155. Since then they have produced a male heir in every generation and married a succession of heiresses through the centuries, reaching a peak of prosperity in the late 18th Century when Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 7th Bt. (1722-85) commissioned John Johnson to rebuild the Elizabethan house at Killerton in 1778 and engaged John Veitch to lay out the park.
In the 16th Century the Aclands shared in the general rise in Devon's prosperity through the cloth and fishing industries, and married into the Monk and Rolle families in the county. John Acland (d.1620) was a Member of Parliament under Elizabeth I and was knighted by James I.
His nephew John (c.1591-1647) was a staunch Royalist in the Civil War and was given a Baronetcy by Charles I in 1644 in Exeter. The family fortunes were rescued from the effects of Parliamentary fines and plague at the end of the 17th Century by the marriage of Sir Hugh Acland, 5th Bt. (c.1639-1714) to the Yorkshire heiress Anne Daniel.
Two more judicious marriages in the 18th Century enabled the family to transform the house and estate at Killerton and to indulge their passion for hunting. Sir Hugh, 6th Bt. (1697-1728) married Cecily Wroth and Sir Thomas, 7th Bt. married Elizabeth Dyke, who in addition to a considerable fortune brought the Somerset estates of Pixton, Tretton and Holnicote, prime stag hunting country. (See painting of the Holnicote estate to be sold at Christie's, King Street, 11 June 2002). An account of a days hunting in September 1759 mentions 'more than 500 horse and 1000 on foot' and feasting on 'about 50 dishes of the greatest rarities'. The inventories of the silver in use at the time attest to the scale of Acland hospitality.
At the turn of the 18th Century the family of hunting squires metamorphosed into one of political reformers and this was to continue into the 20th Century. Under Sir Thomas Acland, 10th Bt.(1787-1871), see lot 143, and his wife Lydia Hoare, see lot 144, Killerton became a centre of political and philanthropic activity. The house was completely refurbished in 1808, including a new set of furniture by Carter the Exeter cabinet maker. Both Sir Thomas and his son Sir Thomas, 11th Bt. (1809-98) were MPs and tireless champions of religious tolerance and educational and agricultural reform. In the 1885 general election Sir Thomas, 11th Bt. and his two sons Charles and Arthur were all elected to parliament for Gladstone's Liberal Party.
Sir Charles, 12th Bt. (1842-1919) was more concerned with his own estates and with opulent alterations to Killerton in the Edwardian manner. In 1916 he gave 8000 acres of Exmoor to the National Trust. Sir Richard Acland, 15th Bt. (1906-90), MP and founder of the Common Wealth Party gave the greater part of his estates to the National Trust in 1942. Killerton became the Regional Headquarters of the National Trust in 1977 and the Acland family continues to live on the estate.
SILVER, PLATED WARES AND WATCHES
THE PROPERTY OF THE ESTATE OF THE LATE LORD FARNHAM