Headington history: People

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Lords of the Manor 2: The Whorwoods (1613–1849)

Thomas Whorwood I (Lord 1613 to 1634) & Ursula Brome

In 1613 Sir Thomas Whorwood of Sandwell in Staffordshire (1582–1634) became Lord of the Manors of Holton and Headington, winning his court case with the Exchequer to prove the validity of his title to the Brome estates, which he had inherited through his marriage to Ursula, the daughter and heir of George Brome.

At the time of George Brome’s death in 1613, Thomas and Ursula Whorwood were living at Mason’s Farm in Quarry. The medieval Headington Manor House no longer existed, and Quarry was conveniently situated near the Old London Road, the main route to both Oxford and Holton. (Until the late eighteenth century, Old Headington was cut off and could only be reached by field paths.) They had three children:

  • Brome Whorwood (baptised at Cuddesdon on 13 September 1615)
  • Thomas Whorwood (born around 1619)
  • Elisabeth Whorwood (buried at Holton on 26 September 1633).

Sir Thomas was an aggressive landlord: in the reign of James I his tenants brought a collective action against him for breaches of manorial custom. Although his rents from Headington and Holton were estimated at £1000 a year, he was still paying only £40 rent to the Exchequer for the Manor of Headington. When he discovered that little of the profit derived from the Headington quarries accrued to the lord of the manor, he dug new pits to the east of the old workings, and by 1630 he was said to have removed 500–600 cartloads of stone from them.

Thomas Whorwood bell


Sir Thomas Whorwood gave St Andrew’s Church in Headington a bell in 1624 (right), and it is still rung as the church’s sixth bell in the twenty-first century. It was cast by Richard Purdue, and bears Whorwood’s coat of arms and name and the date


Eventually Sir Thomas moved to his principal seat in Holton, and also bought the Manor of Forest Hill from Christopher Brome, son of Edmund Brome. Notwithstanding this, Alumni Oxonienses in 1635 describes the recently deceased Sir Thomas as being “of Heddington” rather than of Holton.

Sir Thomas Whorwood died at Holton in 1634 at the age of 52: on 22 September according to his memorial (below); but the parish register states that he was buried in St Bartholomew's Church in Holton on 27 October.

Memorial to Thomas Whorwood

The above memorial in the floor of St Bartholomew’s Church was put up by Sir Thomas Whorwood's widow Ursula, and reads:


Obiit 22o Die Septembris Anno Doñi
1634 Anno Ætatis Suæ 52.

His dear wife Ursula, the daughter and heir of George Brome, Esq of Halton in Oxfordshire, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, dedicates and consecrates to Sir Thomas Whorwood of Sandwell in Staffordshire this sacred memorial of the love first imprinted on her heart, and now portrayed on this marble stone with a vow of perpetual memory.

He died on 22 September 1634, aged 52.

The “Will of Sir Thomas Whorwood of Holton, Oxfordshire” (date of probate 27 September 1634) was deposited at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury: ref PROB 11/166.

Ursula Whorwood, née Brome (Lady, 1634 to 1653), widow

Because Thomas Whorwood had obtained his estates via his wife’s inheritance, Lady Whorwood (1590–1653) retained the Manors of Headington and Holton when her husband died in 1634.

In the late 1640s during the Civil War, her house, Holton Park, served as Oliver Cromwell’s headquarters, and the parish register of Holton Church shows that on 15 June 1646 Cromwell’s daughter Bridget was married to Henry Ireton “in the Lady Whorwood’s house in Holton”.

Lady Whorwood died at the age of about 63 and was buried at Holton Church on 1 January 1653/4.

An aside on Robert Whorwood: Robert was baptised at Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire on 5 May 1623. He was the second son of John Whorwood, who in turn was the younger brother of Thomas Whorwood, the first of that name to hold the Manor of Headington. He lived in Oxford, where he worked as an attorney, but had no claim on the manorial land as the Lordship had come down through Ursula Brome, his uncle’s wife. He did however hold land in Headington in the High Cross Field in Headington. He died on 18 August 1688 and was buried at St Ebbe’s Church.

Brome Whorwood senior (Lord 1653 to 1684) & his wife Jane Ryder

Brome Whorwood senior (1615–1684), elder son of Sir Thomas and Lady Ursula, was baptised at Cuddesdon on 13 September 1615. It appears that he was for a time at Trinity College, Oxford, but on 22 September 1634 (the very day his father died), he took out a licence and married Jane Ryder (or Ryther/Rider) in London: each of them was aged only 19. Jane was the daughter of the Scot William Ryder, Keeper of James I’s stable; he died in 1617 when she was only two, and her mother then married James Maxwell, Groom of the Bedchamber.

Ursula Whorwood kept the Manors of Headington and Holton for the rest of her life, but Brome was able to get his hands on his father’s estates in Sandwell, Staffordshire immediately.

Brome and Jane Whorwood had three children:

  • Brome Whorwood junior (baptised at Holton on 29 October 1635)
  • Elizabeth Whorwood (baptised at St Helen's Church, Bishopsgate, London on 10 May 1638)
  • Diana Whorwood (baptised at St Martin-in-the Fields, Westminster, London on 22 May 1639).

Their daughter Elizabeth Whorwood died at the age of three and was buried at Holton on 23 February 1640/1.

Brome senior was created Doctor of Civil Law at the University of Oxford in November 1642.

During the Civil War Jane stayed in the Oxford area while Brome was away on the continent, and by 1647 she had the courtier Sir Thomas Bendish as her lover. Anthony Wood describes Jane as “the most loyal person to King Charles in his miseries as any woman in England”, and she is now believed to have been his mistress. For many years Jane lived apart from her husband “without any cause or leave by him given”.

On the death of his mother in 1653, Brome Whorwood came into his inheritance and he thereafter spent most of his time in Holton as Lord of the Manors of Headington and Holton.

Anthony Wood regarded Brome Whorwood as of no religion, and a clownish and ill-natured person, and one of his bailiffs described him as “a very passionate man”, while his younger brother Thomas was “a hot-headed craz’d person and a violent presbyterian”.

Brome Whorwood and Jane’s only son, Brome Whorwood junior, was matriculated at the University of Oxford from St Mary Hall on 31 October 1651 when he was aged 16. On 5 September 1657, when he was 22, wishing to travel with a friend from Hampshire to the Isle of Wight, he “did … hire a vessel that was leaky, which sunk by the time they were half way in their journey”, and was tragically drowned. Thus the only legitimate son of Brome Whorwood senior was buried in Holton Church on 19 September 1657. He has a memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Brome Whorwood was elected MP for Oxford in four successive parliaments, covering the years 1661–81: see his biography on the History of Parliament website.

In June 1659 Jane obtained a decree of alimony against Brome Whorwood. On 16 July 1663 the House of Commons Journal reported that

Upon Information that the Wife of Mr. Broome Whorwood, a Member of this House, having obtained a Decree in the High Court of Chancery, against Mr. Whorwood, for Alimony, in the late Times of Usurpation; and he having brought his Bill of Review, to reverse the Decree; his Wife claims Privilege of Parliament against her Husband, as the Wife of a Member of the House of Commons; and refuses to answer;
Resolved, &c. That no Wife or Servant of any Member of this House ought to have Privilege of Parliament allowed, in any Case, against the Husband of such Wife, or Master of such Servant.

Meanwhile Brome took a long-term “concubine”, his servant Katherine Mary Allen. (She was the daughter of an Oxford baker, Thomas Allen, and had been baptised at St Peter-in-the-East church on 10 September 1626.) In about 1664, when he was 50, Katherine gave birth to Brome's illegitimate son, Thomas Allen alias Whorwood. Thomas was using the surname Whorwood and was described as “son of Brome, of London, gent.” when he was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Hart Hall on 26 September 1679, aged 15.

Brome’s younger brother Thomas Whorwood, a barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple, died on 5 June 1680, leaving Brome with no immediate family except his illegitimate son. He made his will in 1682, leaving a bequest to:

my naturall or reputed sonne Thomas Whorwood … whom I hereby enioyne and require to take upon him and bee called by the name of Whorwood, according to a deed or grant to that purpose heretofore by mee to him made under my hand and seale.

In his will Brome Whorwood left his mistress (described as his “trusty and carefull good servant”) some household goods, together with all his corn, hay, cattle and utensils of husbandry, and appointed her as his executor, together with Dr Edward Masters, the husband of his daughter Diana.

Brome’s son Thomas appears to have moved on to Cambridge, as Thomas Whorwood (“son of Brome, late of Headington, deceased”) was matriculated at the University of Cambridge from Trinity Hall in 1683, when he was 19.

On 12 April 1684, when he was “about 69 years old”, Brome Whorwood died at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, and was buried at Holton on the 24th.

The manor passed initially to Brome’s only surviving legitimate child, Mrs Diana Masters, and then to Brome’s illegitimate son Thomas. Brome's estranged wife Jane Whorwood contested the will, pleading her husband’s insanity, but her attempt failed, and Jane died on 24 September 1684, just five months after her husband. She was buried at Holton on 20 September 1684.

For more information on the Whorwoods during the Civil War, see:

  • John Fox, Holton, Wheatley and Oxford in the Civil War (John Fox, 2004), especially Chapter 6, “ ‘sweet Jane Whorwood’, the King’s last champion”
  • John Fox, The King’s Smuggler: Jane Whorwood, secret agent to Charles I (The History Press, 2010)
  • Wikipedia entry on Jane Whorwood, née Ryder and also her entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and this English Heritage information

Diana Masters née Whorwood (Lady 1684 to 1701) and her husband Dr Edward Masters

Diana Whorwood (born c.1639) was Brome’s only surviving legitimate child by his wife Jane Ryder. In 1677, when she was in her late thirties, she had married in Exeter Dr Edward Masters, Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter. Mrs Masters inherited the Manors of Headington and Holton in 1684. In that year a boundary stone marking the boundary of the Manor in Barton was set up.

Her husband Edmund Masters was buried at Holton on 4 October 1692, and was described in the register as “Lord of this Manor”.

Diana remained Lady of the Manors of Holton and Headington until her death around the age of 62. She was buried at Holton on 2 May 1701.

Thomas Whorwood II (Lord 1701 to 1706) & his wife Jane Bray

The second Thomas Whorwood (1664–1706), the illegitimate son of Brome Whorwood senior and half-brother of Diana Masters, was aged 20 and still at Cambridge when his father died. He retained his father’s surname according to the terms of his father’s will.

Thomas married Jane Bray, the daughter of Sir Reginald Bray of Barrington Park, Gloucestershire (c.1643–1688) and Jane Rainton (c.1644–1716), who in turn was the daughter and heir of William Rainton Esquire of Shilton, Berkshire. They had seven children:

  • Brome Whorwood (buried at Holton on 24 January 1690/1)
  • Jane Whorwood (born c.1690)
  • Thomas Whorwood (baptised at Tackley on 8 June 1695)
  • Edmond Whorwood (baptised at Tackley on 11 March 1697)
  • William Whorwood (baptised at Tackley on 20 September 1698)
  • George Whorwood (born 16 February 1701/2, baptised at Holton on 3 March 1701/2, buried 11 December 1705)
  • James Whorwood (born 23 July 1703, baptised at Holton on 17 August 1703).

In 1694 Thomas bought the Manor of Tackley from Catherine, wife of Edward Walker. He remained there until his stepsister Diana’s death in 1701, when he became Lord of the Manors of Headington and Holton and moved to Holton Manor House.

Thomas served as Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1703–4.

Thomas Whorwood II died in 1706 at the age of 42 and was buried at Holton on 13 October.

On 2 March 1711/12 at Holton, his daughter Jane Whorwood married Christopher Bond of Newland, Glos.

In her will of 9 July 1716 Thomas’s mother-in-law Mrs Jane Bray bequeathed legacies to her grandsons Thomas and Edward [=Edmond] Whorwood.

In 1721 Thomas’s widow Jane and his eldest son Thomas Whorwood sold Tackley Manor to Charles Crispe of Dornford (who in turn sold it to Sir James Dashwood in 1744).

Mrs Jane Whorwood née Bray was buried at Holton on 22 May 1726, twenty years after her husband.

Thomas Whorwood III (Lord 1706 to 1736) & his wife Elizabeth Chapman

The third Thomas Whorwood (1695–1736), the eldest surviving son of the second, was only eleven when his father died in 1706, so he became Lord of the Manors of Headington and Holton under the guardianship of his mother Jane. He was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Wadham College on 10 February 1710/11 at the age of 16.

Thomas Whorwood III served as Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1718. In 1721 he and his widowed mother sold the Manor of Tackley to Charles Crispe of Dornford.

On 23 June 1715 at Great Witcombe, Gloucestershire, Thomas Whorwood III, described as being of Holton, married Elizabeth Chapman, and they had four children:

  • Thomas Whorwood IV (born on 29 April 1718 and baptised at Holton the next day)
  • Anne Whorwood (born 6 January 1719, baptised at Holton on 25 January 1719, buried 29 January 1719)
  • Jane Whorwood (born 16 April 1725, baptised at Holton on 14 May 1725)
  • Henry Whorwood (born 20 April 1727, baptised at Holton on 4 May 1727).

Thomas’s wife Elizabeth Whorwood was buried at Holton on 13 April 1731.

Thomas Whorwood III died at the age of 41 and was buried at Holton on 3 September 1736.

Thomas Whorwood IV (Lord 1736 to 1771) & his wife Penelope Schutz

The fourth Thomas Whorwood (1718–1771), the son of the third, was baptised at Holton and matriculated at the University of Oxford from Wadham College, Oxford on 10 October 1735 at the age of 17. One year later he became Lord of the Manors of Headington and Holton. He is described as “of Holton Park”, and was Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1745–6.

On 23 November 1746 at St James's Church, Westminster, Thomas Whorwood married (Ann) Penelope Schutz of Shotover. They had no children.

Thomas Whorwood IV died on 3 September 1771 at Malvern Wells in Worcestershire and was buried at Holton on the 8th.

Henry Whorwood (Lord 1771 to c.1800) & his wife Mary Anguish

Henry Whorwood (1727–c.1800) succeeded his older brother Thomas IV on 3 September 1771. Henry had been matriculated at the University of Oxford by Trinity College on 17 December 1744, aged 17.

In 1762 he became Lord of the Manor of Ashton Keynes in Wiltshire.

On 6 January 1772 at St George's Church, Bloomsbury, Henry Whorwood married Mary Anguish: he was described as being of the Parish of Ashton in Wiltshire, and she lived in Bloomsbury. They had three sons:

  • Henry Mayne Whorwood (baptised at Somerford Keynes, Gloucestershire on 30 October 1772)
  • Thomas Henry Whorwood and
    William Henry Whorwood
    (twins, born on 29 April 1778 and privately baptised at Holton the same day).

Mary Whorwood died on 7 May 1778, just after giving birth to the twins, and was buried at Holton Church on 25 May. Jackson's Oxford Journal stated that she died in child-bed at Holton, and that she was the sister of Thomas Anguish, one of the Masters in Chancery, adding: “She was a Lady endowed with superior Understanding, of a truly amiable Disposition, and remarkable for the Politeness of her Behaviour.”

Henry Whorwood appears to have got into financial difficulties in 1798, when he was described as being late of Ashton Keynes. On 26 July 1801 he put the Manors of Headington and Holton up for sale: this advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 26 July 1800:

Manor sale, 1800

In the event he only sold the Manor of Holton. It was bought by Elisha Biscoe, who pulled down the old manor house and replaced it with a new ne that is now part of Wheatley Park School.

Henry Whorwood had probably moved from Ashton Keynes into Headington Manor House in 1798, and from August 1801 he was publishing notices in Jackson's Oxford Journal warning that any poachers found on his Manors of Holton, Headington, Marston, or the Hundred of Bullingdon would be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law.

The last mention of Henry Whorwood is Jackson's Oxford Journal on 15 May 1802, when he advertised for sealed proposals from masons willing to build “a good substantial Wall, with Mortar or Loom, from the new intended Road near the White House, Headington [the Britannia], to the Corner near Joe Pullen's tree”.

It seems likely, therefore, that Henry Whorwood died later in 1802, and certainly his son Henry Mayne Whorwood had succeeded him by 3 September 1803.

Henry Mayne Whorwood (Lord 1802 to 1806) & his wife Grace Treacher

Henry Mayne Whorwood (1772–1806), the eldest son of Henry Whorwood and the nephew of Thomas Whorwood IV, was an army captain who became Lord of the Manor of Headington in 1802

The Manor House in Holton that had been occupied by his forefathers had been sold, so he bought a mansion that had been built by Sir Banks Jenkinson in 1770 and this now became the Manor House. It was very conveniently situated, thanks to the new London Road that had been built in the late eighteenth century.

Headington Manor House


Headington Manor House (left), bought by Henry Mayne Whorwood in 1801, is now dwarfed by the buildings of the John Radcliffe Hospital, which were built in its pleasure garden from the 1970s.


On 30 December 1802 at St Mary’s Church, Henley, Henry Mayne Whorwood was married to Grace Treacher of Henley (the niece of Sir John Treacher). His younger brother the Revd Thomas Henry Whorwood conducted the ceremony. They do not appear to have had any children.

In 1804 the Lord of the Manor was granted 585 acres of land in the Headington area under the Headington Enclosure Award, with the result that his land adjoining the immediate Manor House estate stretched from Osler Road (then known as Manor Road) almost to the Marston Road. In addition he was awarded 50 acres in Headington Quarry and 200 acres in the Southfield area beyond Old Road. In that year, Henry Mayne Whorwood made another attempt to sell the manor, this time including the new Manor House:

Sale of Manor, 1804

The Lords of the Manor were the Patrons of St Andrew’s Church, which meant that they appointed the Vicars there, sometimes members of their own family. In 1804 he appointed one of his younger twin brothers, Thomas Henry Whorwood, as Vicar of St Andrew’s Church. He himself was himself the lay rector of the church, but the curate at the time did not think much of him, describing him in a letter to the Bishop of Oxford in 1805 as someone who

from having lived a very debauched life and having been to Germany, that hot-bed of modern infidelity and mental quackery, has imbibed notions so contrary to all religion and everything resembling it that he does not scruple to call in priestcraft and to talk and argue in such a way that I will not stain my paper, or offend your Lordship, by repeating his ideas, which seem to have been raked together from all the heresies which were ever broached. To add to his misfortunes, he has lately married a woman considerably his inferior in point of family, whose upstart pride has disgusted several friends who still adhere to him. His situation, in short, is such that the strictest attention to his behaviour and conduct for twelve or fourteen years to come will scarcely be sufficient to gain him that respect which his birth and station in life entitle him to.

This curate certainly did not mince his words: of Thomas, who was Vicar of St Andrew’s, he wrote: “His brother, the vicar, is in a state of such dependence on him that he cannot differ from him materially without danger of starvation.”

On 29 June 1805 Henry Mayne Whorwood advertised in Jackson's Oxford Journal for "a steady middle-aged woman, as cook. She must understand made-dishes, preserving, and pickling, and have an undeniable Character from her last place.

On 4 July 1805 Henry instituted his brother, Thomas Henry Whorwood, into the Vicarage of Marston, a position he held simultaneously with that of Headington.

Less than four months later, at Sidmouth in Devon on 24 October 1806, Henry died at the age of just 34. The report of his death in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 1 November 1806 reads:

Yesterday se’nnight died at Sidmouth, where he had retired for the benefit of his health, in the 35th year of his age, Henry Mayne Whorwood, Esq, of Headington-house, near this city – a gentleman universally respected, and much lamented by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. He had for several years held the honourable post of Captain of the Oxford Loyal Troop of Cavalry.

Henry Mayne Whorwood was buried at Sidmouth on 30 October 1806.

In January 1808, just over a year after his death, his widow Grace married Joshua Sydney Horton, the Captain of HMS Princess of Orange, at St George’s Church, Hanover Square.

Thomas Henry Whorwood I (Lord 1806 to 1835) & Mary Grape

The Revd Thomas Henry Whorwood (1778–1835), second (and twin) son of Henry Whorwood, matriculated at the University of Oxford from Worcester College on 27 November 1795, aged 17. His elder brother, then Lord of the Manor, appointed him Vicar of Headington in 1804 and Vicar of Marston in 1805.

In October 1806, aged only 28, he unexpectedly became Lord of the Manor of Headington when his elder brother died; but its estates were inherited by his twin brother, William Henry Whorwood, a captain in the Royal Navy.

On 8 December 1806 Thomas took out a mortgage on the Manor House and Holly’s Farm, Headington, with William Fletcher and John Parsons of Oxford, bankers, indicating that the family finances he inherited were already in a bad way.

At an auction on the premises on 15 April 1807 he sold his brother's farming stock, including 120 ewes and lambs, 100 ewe and wether tegs, 70 fat sheep fit for the butcher, 40 pigs, as well as waggons, carts, ploughs, and harrows.

Despite being a man of the cloth, Thomas showed no mercy to poachers, as this notice of 1807 shows:

Manors of Headington and Marston. Notice is hereby given that all unqualified persons sporting in the above Manors will be prosecuted to the utmost regard of the Law; and all unqualified persons are requested not to sport thereon. NB: Steel Traps and other destructive engines are set in Headington Copse and the grounds adjoining. T. H. Whorwood.

On 22 April 1807 at St Michael’s Church in Bedwardine, Worcester, the new Squarson Thomas Henry Whorwood married Mary Grape, the daughter of the late Revd William Grape of Worcester, and the marriage was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 25 April 1807. By his marriage settlement dated 16 and 17 April 1807 he made an Indenture of Release relating to the Manor House and 321 acres of its land between (1) himself, (2) Mrs Hannah Grape and her daughter Mary; (3) John Paget Hastings; and (4) the Revd Richard Grape and Revd Benjamin Mence of Worcester.

They had two sons:

  • Thomas Henry Whorwood junior (born on 11 July 1812 at Headington Manor House and baptised at St Andrew’s Church the next day)
  • William Henry Whorwood junior (baptised at St Andrew's Church on 16 January 1817).

In 1813 the Whorwoods sold 315 acres of the 585 acres of Headington manorial land: they selected the land that was furthest from the Manor House, including most of Headington Quarry and land to the south-west of Old Road and the north-west of Dunstan Road.

Both of Thomas Henry Whorwood senior's sons were educated at Eton and then matriculated at the University of Oxford at the age of 17: Thomas Henry Whorwood junior in 1829 from University College and William Henry Whorwood in 1834 from Worcester College.

In 1833 Whorwood was obviously preparing for his death, as he handed the vicarage of Marston over to his elder son Thomas as soon as he turned 21: the idea (outlined in his will) was that when he died Thomas should take over Headington, leaving Marston free for his younger son William. This never happened, as William disgraced himself and Whorwood defaced his will. Thomas remained Vicar of Marston, and an outsider was appointed Vicar of Headington.

The Lord of the Manor's twin brother William Henry Whorwood senior, who had been a Royal Naval captain and lived at Portswood Cottage, Southampton, died on 22 May 1835 and was buried in St Andrew’s churchyard a week later. He owned the manor lands, and at the time of his death had been planning to build houses on part of them.

The Revd Thomas Henry Whorwood senior died at Headington Manor House at the age of 57 just a few weeks after his twin on 11 June 1835 and was buried next to him a week later. His property was distributed among his wife Mary and his two sons as if he had not made a will.

Thomas Henry Whorwood II (Lord 1835 to 1849 only), unmarried

The Revd Thomas Henry Whorwood (1812–1884), elder son of the Vicar of the same name who was the previous Lord, transferred to Magdalen College from University College within a year of his matriculation. He was a Fellow of Magdalen College from 1833 to 1850, Vicar of Marston from 1833 to 1849, and Rector of Willoughby in Warwickshire from 1849 to his death in 1885.

He was only 23 years old when he became Lord of the Manor of Headington in June 1835. Having inherited great debts, he put up the remains of the manor (345 acres) for auction on 3 August 1836, and went with his mother to live at 1 St Clement’s, a Magdalen College house on the site of the present Waynflete Building.

It appears that the Manor House and its lands was not sold at the auction, because by an indenture dated 13 July 1838 the Manor House and 321 acres of land were transferred to George Alexander Peppercorn of St Neots, presumably a partner in Messrs Peppercorn & Wilkinson, the solicitors of St Neots in Huntingdonshire who had handled the attempted sale.

The Manor House was first let out as a ladies seminary, but by 1846 it had been sold to John Matthews. In that year there was another auction of the manor estate, and more land was sold. From that date Whorwood had no lands, and in 1849 when he moved to Willoughby in Warwickshire he sold the title as well, to William Peppercorn. He did, however continue as Patron of St Andrew’s Church (appointing its vicars) until 1879. He was also a Fellow of Magdalen College, and cut a rather sad figure: William Tuckwell describes him and his mother (the widow of the former Vicar of St Andrew’s) thus in his Reminiscences of Oxford (1901):

Whorwood was the last and landless descendant of an ancient line, which had owned for centuries the wide manors of Shotover [sc. Holton] and Headington. His mother, “Madame Whorwood”, a stately old lady in antique dress, lived with him in the house overhanging the Cherwell on the north side of Magdalen Bridge; the top of her high cap usually visible to passers-by. They moved afterwards to a house in the High Street [No. 64], over which her ancestral hatchment was suspended when she died [in 1855, at the age of 74]. He was a fresh-coloured, smooth-faced, vivacious, whist-playing, amiable lounger. Later in life he took the College living of Willoughby [in Warwickshire], leading there a lonely, melancholy life, cheated and ruled by five domestics, whose service was perfect freedom…. Alas! The human butterfly in its later stages is a sight more cautionary than pleasing; I met poor Whorwood not long before his death, pallid, weary, corpulent; and he cried as we talked over old times.

At least (according to Tuckwell), he was kindly, unlike many of the Whorwoods who for 236 years were Lords of the Manor of Headington.

The 1851 census shows Thomas Henry Whorwood as a bachelor of 38 and described as Vicar of Willoughby and Curate of Marston, living at 64 High Street, Oxford with his mother Mary, who was then 70 (born in Henwick and described as a land and tithe owner). They were waited on by a housemaid, cook, and two footmen. The Return of Owners of Land shows that Whorwood still owned 13 acres in Oxfordshire in 1873.

His mother Mary died at her residence in the High Street in February 1855 at the age of 73 (an “advanced age” according to the announcement in Jackson's Oxford Journal), and was buried in St Andrew's churchyard with her husband.

In 1879 the advowson of St Andrew’s Church passed from the Lords of the Manor of Headington to Mrs Martha Rawlinson (who passed it on to Keble College in 1927).

The last sighting of the last Whorwood is in the 1881 census, when at the age of 68 he was living alone in the vicarage at Willoughby in Warwickshire, waited on - by a housekeeper, butler, groom, valet, cook, and housemaid (the servants whose easy life was described by Tuckwell).

The Revd Thomas Henry Whorwood the younger died in Willoughby at the age of 72, and was laid to rest in in St Andrew’s churchyard, Headington on 18 August 1884 in his parents’ grave.

Thomas Whorwood & Son

Above: Tombstone in St Andrew’s churchyard of Thomas Henry Whorwood, his wife Mary, and son of the same name

Signature of Richard Grape and Benjamin Mence

Signature of Thomas Horwood

Signature of Mary Whorwood and W. H. Whorwood


Left: The Whorwood family sign away their heritage on 13 July 1838, releasing the trusts of the marriage settlement of 1807 and handing over the Manor House and much of its land to George Alexander Peppercorn.

The first two signatures are those of the Executors of the 1807 marriage settlement, namely the Revd Richard Grape (1778–1840) of Claines in Worcester, who was the brother of Mrs Mary Whorwood; and the Revd Benjamin Mence of Worcester.

The middle signature is that of Thomas Henry Whorwood, elder son of Thomas Henry Whorwood senior and Mary (née Grape).

The last two signatures are those of Mrs Mary Whorwood (née Grape) and her younger son William Henry Whorwood.

The Revd Thomas Henry Whorwood and his sons (PDF)

There is a much fuller entry on Jane Whorwood in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
The ODNB online is available free to many public library users, including those in Oxfordshire:
enter L followed immediately by your library ticket number in the “Library Card Login” box

The other Lords of the Manor of Headington



The first Lords of the Manor



The last Lords of the Manor

© Stephanie Jenkins

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