Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

22/2/2005

Wallington

Wallington is situated some 12 miles west of Morpeth and approximately 16 miles north West of Newcastle upon Tyne. It stands in parkland, sloping south to the River Wansbeck.

In mediaeval times there was a castle at Wallington, the property first of a John Grey in 1326 and later of the de Strothers. Alan de Strother, later High Sheriff of Northumberland, is known to have been its owner in 1352.
In the reign of Henry IV, Sir John de Fenwick, of Fenwick Tower, married a Strother heiress and thus acquired the estate. The Fenwicks were a family of some consequence in the county and ballads recorded their exploits in Border feuds. When in the middle of the 16th century peace came, the Fenwicks, like other Northumbrian families added a Tudor house to the mediaeval castle. The Border Survey in Henry VIII reign described Wallington as a strong tower and stone house in good reparacions. The cellars of the present building contain the original foundations, and the paving stones in the small North courtyard may have been part of the original tower.

In the 17th century, the-Fenwicks became ardent supporters of the Cavalier and Jacobite cause. One was killed at Marston Moor and the last of the family, Sir John Fenwick, was executed in 1697 on a charge of plotting an assassination of William III. (His death was indirectly avenged, for the King, riding Sir Johns famous horse White Sorrel, which had been confiscated to the crown, suffered a fall when the horse stumbled over a mole hill and died as a consequence of this mishap. From this came the Jacobite toast to the little gentleman black velvet. Earlier however, in 1684 Sir John Fenwick had sold Wallington to Sir William Blackett, for £4,000 and a £2,000 annuity for the remainder of Sir John and Lady Fenwicks lives. Sir William was a rich and powerful Newcastle business msn with interests in coal and lead mining and shipping. He retained his large mansion, Anderson House in-Newcastle (between Grey Street and Pilgrim Street) and for many years represented the City in Parliament,
Sir William demolished the Tudor house of-the Fenwicks and in 1688 began to build the stone house which stands, its exterior almost unchanged today. To him, it was perhaps more of a shooting lodge than a mansion, for its interior was unpretentious and probably uncomfortable. He died in 1705, leaving an only son, the second Sir William Blackett, of whom little is known and who died in 1723. The estate passed to the son of Sir Williams eldest sister Julia, Lady Calverley, and it was he who remodeled the inside of Wallington and created the 18th century decorative features which are described later. Walter Calverley Blackett, became, evidently inherited artistic taste and sensibility from his mother, whose fine needlework is to be seen in the house. He transformed the parkland as wall as the interior of the house, created a garden, replanned the farms and rebuilt the village of Cambo. On his death, childless, in 1777, Sir Walter Blackett was succeeded by his nephew, Sir John Trevelyan of Nett1ecombe in Somerset. He in turn was succeeded by his son, another Sir John, whose wife Maria Wilson brought to Wallington, as a dowry, much of the fine porcelain to be seen in the house today. On his death in 1846, his son, Walter Calverley Trevelyan, became the owner of Wallington. His brilliant wife Pauline made it a home for men of science, poets and painters, among them Swinburne, Augustus Hare and Ruskin. It was during this time that the central courtyard of the house was roofed over and decorated in Pre Raphaelite style.
Sir Walter died childless, and in 1879 the entailed estates in Somerset passed to a distant branch of the family. Wallington, however, was left to Sir Walters first cousin, Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, a distinguished Indian Civil Servant, who also played an important role in the reorganisation of the Civil Service in this country. He married Lord Macaulays sister, and in due course was succeeded at Wallington by his son, Sir George Otto Trevelyan, the eminent historian, who held office under Gladstone and was for two years Chief Secretary in Ireland
In 1928, on Sir Georges death, Wallington passed to his eldest son,Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, who had married Mary, daughter of Sir Hugh Bell. For some thirty years Sir Charles sat in the House of Commons, first as a Liberal, and then as Labour member for Newcastle upon Tyne. A gifted statesman, he was a member of the Privy Council and President of the Board of Education in 1924 and again from 1929 – 1931.
In l941 Sir Charles conveyed his property at Wallington to the National Trust, subject to his life interest, and on his death in 1956 the Trust assumed control of the estate. Lady Trevelyan died in 1966 but one of her daughters still lives in part of the house.

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