The Moores of Kentwell Hall
and the dissipation of Sir John Moore's fortune
by Richard Dunmore
Sir John Moore, the founder of Appleby School, died in 1702. He was a very wealthy man, his wife had died in 1690 and there were no children. In this article, I shall outline the sequence of inheritance, and ultimately the dissipation, of Sir John’s wealth.
The nephews and nieces of Sir John Moore who might have been candidates for inheriting from the estate were the surviving children of his elder brother Charles (Lord of the Manor of Appleby Parva) and of his younger brother George (a yeoman farmer at Appleby Parva). Using information taken mainly from the Pedigree of Thomas Moore (1770) these were as follows (1).
Surviving Children of Charles Moore (d. 1700):
Rebecca Moore (b.1644) married twice (Dilley, White)
Thomas Moore (1647-1725) heir to the Appleby Parva Manor estate, supervisor of the building of the School , married with children
John Moore (1649-before1706) Citizen and Fishmonger of London, married with one son
Revd Charles Moore (1651-1726) Rector of Worplesden in Surrey, married with children
George Moore (1655-1732) Merchant, died unmarried, buried in the family vault in London
Surviving Children of George Moore (1628-1684):
George Moore (1656-1718) heir to his father’s farm at Appleby Parva, supervisor of the building of the School, married with children
John Moore (1658-1714) Citizen and Clothworker or Cheesemonger of London, Sir John’s agent in London during the building of the School, married, childless
Sarah Moore (1661-1715) married (Mould) with one son, John Mould (b. c1697)
Joan Moore (1666-1691) married (Wilde) with children
Ruth Moore (1668-c1715) married (Wright) with children
Robert Moore (1675-before1706) Citizen and Soapmaker of London, married with one son Robert
Sir John’s senior nephews, the Appleby cousins Thomas and George (son of George), might have expected to be inheritors of his estate. However, before Sir John died in 1702, each had inherited his father’s estate and they appear to have received nothing from Sir John. Sir John himself had received nothing from the Appleby Parva manor lands and must have thought that they were adequately provided for (2). He also had a poor opinion of their performance with the School building project which they had supervised in the 1690s (3).
Sir John Moore’s Will
There is some confusion about the beneficiaries from Sir John’s Will. According to Nichols (1811), Sir John died ‘leaving his estates, to the amount of about £80,000 to his grand nephew, John Mould, of Kentwell hall, in the county of Suffolk, esq.; who in consequence thereof, obtained an act of parliament to enable him to assume the name of Moore’ (4). What actually happened is more complicated than this statement suggests.
Although the Pedigree of Thomas Moore (1770) does not say so in as many words, it implies that Sir John Moore’s nephew, John Moore, Clothworker or Cheesemonger, was the first major beneficiary of the Will and that he, rather than John Mould first acquired the Kentwell Hall estate in Suffolk. According to this account John Mould (who was John Moore’s nephew as well as Sir John’s ‘grand-nephew’) inherited from his uncle on the condition of the name change. The Pedigree, of course, pre-dates Nichols and such information, coming from near-contemporary family sources, is probably accurate (5).
The most likely explanation, which would reconcile these two accounts, is that, in his will, Sir John left the major part of his estate to John Moore for his lifetime and then to John Mould conditional upon the name-change. At the time of Sir John’s death (1702), John Moore although married was childless (like Sir John himself) and John Mould was only about five years old. In the circumstances it would be natural for Sir John to specify carefully the inheritance for the next two generations. John Moore and John Mould’s mother Sarah were close siblings, John being the elder by just three years. Such a close family relationship meant that the passing of the estate to John Mould from his uncle would be an acceptable arrangement to those immediately involved.
Other younger nephews and nieces probably received minor legacies from the estate (6). There is evidence that John Moore the ‘Fishmonger’ and Robert Moore ‘Soapmaker’ were each mentioned in the will (7) (8). It is notable that these cousins were also employed in the City of London. They did not live sufficiently long to enjoy any legacy themselves, although their families would have benefited (9). Charles Moore’s youngest son George was also a merchant in London, later living in Lambeth. George died unmarried in 1732, was buried in the family vault at St Dunstan in the East, where Sir John Moore was buried (10). He may have been another minor beneficiary of the will.
Inheritance of Kentwell Hall by John Mould
Kentwell Hall, near Long Melford in Suffolk, is an impressive Tudor house erected on a medieval moated site by the Clopton family in the 16th century with profits from the lucrative wool trade (11). John Moore appears to have purchased it soon after receiving his inheritance from his uncle Sir John Moore.
Henry and Sarah Mould must have moved with their son John to Kentwell when he came into his inheritance following the death of John Moore in January 1714. At that time John was only about 17 years old and unmarried. The Moulds would have set about changing John’s name to Moore soon after John Moore’s death, so that he could legally inherit.
With none of the Moores on hand to offer help or advice, the Moulds must have turned to local county families for support. John was of course a very eligible bachelor and within a short time he had married a local girl Mary Brinkley (1694-1763). She was the second daughter of Ambrose Brinkley of Lawshall Suffolk, which lies about 5 miles north of Kentwell Hall (12). Their first child, Mary, was born on August 25th 1716 so the marriage had probably taken place in 1715.
John’s parents, the Moulds, may have felt out of their depth on an estate of such size, but less than two years later both of them were dead. It seems unlikely that John’s mother Sarah lived to see him married. She died at Kentwell Hall on 22 June 1715 and was buried at Long Melford church nearby (13). Henry Mould appears to have returned to Appleby, maybe to attend to his own farm affairs, and later that year he too died and was buried at Appleby on 4 November 1715 (14).
Many more children were to follow the birth of Mary. Two of five sons, Henry and Richard, survived to adulthood, as did four of seven girls, Mary herself, Anne, Judith and Elizabeth. John the only child had produced a large family and ensured the succession. It may be noted here that the Moores of Kentwell kept in touch with their Appleby cousins. Elizabeth in fact married her third cousin Charles Moore, three months after he had inherited the Manor at Appleby Parva in 1751. She died aged 37 in 1765 and there were no children (15).
The Next Generation
Kentwell Hall was inherited by Henry the eldest surviving son who was born in 1730. He appears to played the part of local squire to the full, taking on the duty of High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1758. He died unmarried in 1769 aged 39 and was succeeded by his brother Richard (16). Richard Moore (1734-82), the next occupant of Kentwell Hall followed his brother’s example and was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1775. He married Mary only daughter of Thomas Driver of Stoneham Earl, Suffolk and they had one son, Richard who was born in 1769. This second Richard’s life turned out to be a turbulent one which led ultimately to the loss of the Kentwell estate and his personal downfall.
Richard and Sidney Arabella Moore at Kentwell Hall (17)
Richard Moore (b. 1769) appears to have been an only son in a small family (18). He was only 13 years old, a school boy at Bury School, Bury St Edmunds, when in 1782 his father died and he inherited the estate at Kentwell. His mother appears to have run the estate until her son came of age.
Richard Moore married Sidney Arabella Cotton (b.1776), the daughter of the late Admiral Roland Cotton; and grand-daughter of Sir Lynch Salusbury Cotton, 4th Bart and Sir Willoughby Aston, 5th Bart. She lived with her mother in the Paragon at Bath, the spa town much favoured by the fashionable and wealthy. Both families also had London houses, in Marylebone, and it seems most probable that Richard and Arabella were introduced in London. They were married at St Mary’s Marylebone on 8 April 1796. They made their home at Kentwell Hall and Richard’s mother moved to a house of her own not far from Long Melford.
Installed deep in the Suffolk countryside as mistress of Kentwell, Arabella must have found an enormous change from the society life of Bath and London, to which she had always been accustomed. The house itself had not been modernised in any way and the sanitary arrangements consisted of medieval garderobes (privies) positioned directly over the moat. Richard embarked on a series of improvements. At first these dealt with the basic facilities like the sanitation but as time went on he indulged in more elaborate and expensive schemes. These costly schemes were ultimately to lead to severe financial embarrassments.
The marriage appears at first to have been a successful union and Sidney Arabella bore ten children, five of whom survived to adulthood. If she missed the high life of Bath and London, Sidney Arabella was kept busy with her growing family.
Richard was not an efficient or able manager of the estate. His improvements to Kentwell Hall seem to have been begun with little regard to budgeting. In contrast Sidney Arabella was more than competent at managing the household and took to helping Richard with the estate books.
The Estate Steward
In 1810 Richard appointed a young steward, John Miller, who as a single man moved into the household while a house was prepared for him on the estate. After he had moved out, he still spent much time at the Hall sharing meals, discussing the estate with Richard and spending long periods on the book-keeping with Sidney Arabella, particularly long periods when Richard was away on business and enjoying himself gambling in London.
Richard had no idea what was developing as Sidney Arabella and John Miller began an affair. The servants of course were quick to notice what was going on, but dared say nothing to the master until one particularly public row between Richard and Sidney Arabella resulted in Richard being drenched by his wife with a jug of barley water. The butler, summoned to mop up and commiserate with Richard, at last told his master what the servants had observed. Richard was shattered.
Although heavily pregnant again, Sidney Arabella was despatched to her mother’s house leaving the children at Kentwell. John Miller was charged with trespass, assault and debauchery. After being held in jail pending trial, he got off lightly with a fine of £50 and costs of £200.
Divorce proceedings were begun, at that time an expensive process involving an Act of Parliament. The butler and two maids were asked to appear as witnesses and the local doctor acted as a character witness for Richard. In May 1812 the divorce completed its passage through the House of Lords, Richard was declared free to marry again, which he did not; and rather surprisingly, Sidney Arabella was not prevented from marrying John Miller, which she did.
Counting the Cost
Richard Moore’s financial problems were now out of control. As if the lavish expenditure on the house and his frequent visits to the gaming tables in London were not enough, he had the divorce proceedings to pay for and, in that same year, his turn had come up to be High Sheriff of the county of Suffolk. This was a prestigious and honourable office which he could not or would no forgo; and it incurred expensive entertaining.
In desperation he sold the avenue of lime trees which graced Kentwell Hall’s main drive to the local piano maker but, before serious damage was done, his mother stepped in and bought back the remaining trees. Finally deep in debt to the Norwich Union Insurance Company he had to forfeit the whole estate which was offered as security for his loans. Although a generous time was allowed for Richard to redeem the situation, the Norwich eventually brought the loans to an end and claimed their security. In 1823, after nearly 120 years in the Moore family, Kentwell Hall and its estate were sold.
In 1825 Richard Moore was committed to a debtors’ prison in London where on 26 November 1826, and at the age of 57, he died.
Fortunately, the marriage agreement between Richard and Sidney Arabella had included £1500 each for the children of the marriage, except for the eldest surviving son Willoughby Moore who had been expected to inherit the estate. These amounts were accepted as charges on the estate when it was sold and the younger children each received their portion. Otherwise, the fortune the Kentwell Moores inherited from Sir John Moore had gone.
Willoughby Moore had a successful career in the Dragoon Guards serving in the Napoleonic Wars. He eventually attained the rank of Lt. Colonel and, gallantly refusing to leave his men, died in a fire on the troop ship Europa on its way to the Crimea in 1854.
The City Moores
The Pedigree of Thomas Moore to which I have made reference was collected from the Records of the College of Arms, London and dated 20th January 1770 (1). The inscription continues: Proofs of this Pedigree show the Connection of Thomas Moore of St Botolph Aldgate with the several Branches of this Family deduced from Charles Moore of Stretton in the County of Derby the first mentioned Person in this Account (19). Thomas Moore was the grandson of Robert Moore, one of Sir John Moore’s younger nephews (see lineage above). The copy which I have consulted has been handed down the Moores of the Appleby line.
Why Thomas had this pedigree prepared is not known. What was his particular interest in the family genealogy? At that time he was second cousin to the owner of Kentwell Hall, Richard Moore (senior), and third cousin to the Lord of the Manor of Appleby Parva, Charles Moore. As we have seen in an earlier article the direct succession (father to son) of the lordship at Appleby Parva failed for three turns (20). Perhaps Thomas obtained the pedigree at Charles Moore’s request. Maybe Thomas hoped that he was more closely connected to the inheritance. He must certainly have known that his grandfather Robert was mentioned in Sir John Moore’s will. What is clear is that a junior line of the Moores persisted in the City of London for many generations and it seems possible that some of their descendants are still in the London area today.
Notes and References
1. Pedigree of Thomas Moore, College of Arms, London, 1770. The deaths of John Moore (Fishmonger) and Robert Moore are inferred from the School Statutes (see 9.) I am indebted to Mr Peter Moore for access to the family pedigree.
2. J Nichols, History & Antiquities of Leicestershire, IV, 2, p 440: ‘To the Moores of Appleby sir John left nothing; nor had he either the manor or any lands there, except the school estate, which he had purchased. His father possessed the manor, but gave it to his eldest son.’
3. This Noble Foundation by R Dunmore, Sir John Moore Trustees, 1992, Chap 3: Thomas and George incurred Sir John Moore’s displeasure on many occasions during the building of Appleby School. On the other hand John Moore, George’s younger brother, had gained Sir John’s approval and favour when he took over the management in London of Sir John Moore’s affairs concerning the building of the School, Sir John no longer being able to cope because of the infirmities of his old age. Perhaps John was also favoured because, as a second son, he was making his own way in the City of London, as Sir John himself - also a second son - had done before him..
4. Nichols op cit p 440: bequest to grand nephew, John Mould
5. Pedigree of Thomas Moore, op cit. Sir John Moore’s nephew John Moore, the Clothworker or Cheesemonger, is described as the ‘2 [ie second]son of George Moore, of Kentwell Hall in the County of Suffolk Esquire. High Sheriff of the said County Anno. 1713 ... buried at St Dunstan in the East Londn. ...’ The Pedigree also states that ‘John Moore [alias John Mould the only son of Henry and Sarah Mould] of Kentwell Hall Esqr. assumed that surname and Family Arms by Act of Parliament, pursuant to the Will of his Uncle John Moore [ie Sir John’s nephew]; only Child, He died 23 Apr: 1753, & was buried in the Family Vault at Long Melford.
6 B D Henning History of Parliament III, House of Commons 1660-90, 1983: [Sir John Moore] died 2 June 1702 leaving a fortune of over £80,000 to his nephews and nieces. His £25,849 worth of East India stock ... was divided between two of his nephews both London citizens.
7. Dictionary of National Biography XIII pp 805-6, Sir John Moore: He left the principle part of his estates, amounting to about £80,000 in value, to his nephews, John Moore [Fishmonger], son of his brother Charles and John Moore [Clothworker or Cheesemonger], son of his brother George, the latter being appointed executor and residuary legatee. His will dated 25 May 1702 was proved in the P.C.C. [Prerogative Court of Canterbury] on 3 June 1702.
8. Pedigree of Thomas Moore, op cit, states that Robert Moore, fourth son of George Moore (1628-84), was mentioned in the Will of Sir John Moore. This would have been known to Thomas Moore, who had the Pedigree drawn up, because he was Robert’s grandson and had been told that his family had benefited from the will.
9. The School Statutes (Dunmore op cit, p123) state that both John Moore, Fishmonger, and Robert Moore had died between 1699, the year the Deed of Bargain and Sale was drawn up, and the preparation of the Statutes which were signed in 1706. The Deed was Sir John Moore’s legal settlement for the School, providing for its endowment, appointing the managing Trustees and naming those who were to write the School’s constitution or Statutes. The deed had set out duties for John and Robert in respect of the Statutes, duties which they were unable to carry out because they were both ‘since deceased’.
10. Pedigree of Thomas Moore, op cit. George Moore 4th Son of Charles of London Merchant afterwards Resident at Lambeth in Surrey where he died unmarried and was buried 24 July 1732 at St Dunstan in the East London
11. Kentwell Hall, a large Tudor house built on a moated medieval site, is set in attractive garden and park surroundings. The home of Patrick and Judith Phillips since 1971, it is being restored with suitable period furnishings and is open to the public for recreational and educational visits. It also hosts theatrical performances, concerts and ‘themed’ dinners. More details can be obtained from their web-site: www.kentwell.co.uk
12. Nichols op cit, p 444 quotes the marble monument in St Mary’s church St Edmund’s Bury, Suffolk: Mrs Mary Moore, daughter and co-heiress of Ambrose Brinkley, esq. and Judith his wife, late of Lawshall in the county of Suffolk, and widow of John Moore esq. late of Kentwell Hall, in the same county, by whom she had five sons and seven daughters, She died the 3d day of January, in the year of our Lord 1763, in the 69th year of her age.
13. Nichols op cit, p 444: Sarah Mould died at Kentwell Hall June 22 1715; buried at Long Melford, Suffolk aet. [age] 54. The ‘flat black stone on the north side of the chancel of Melford church’ describes Sarah as wife of Henry Mould, late of Appleby Leicestershire, gent. sister of John Moore, late of Kentwell Hall in Suffolk, and mother of John Moore, alias Mould, of the same place esq.
14. Appleby burial register Henry Mould was buried at Appleby 4 November 1715 (Nichols has 14 Nov 1715 but that is clearly a misprint).
15. Pedigree of Thomas Moore op cit. Charles and Elizabeth Moore were married at Long Melford, Suffolk, on 12 October 1751. Charles inherited from his uncle George Moore who died 13 July 1751. ‘Third cousin’ denotes the relationship between the great-grandchildren of siblings, in this case Sir John Moore’s elder and younger brothers, Charles and George.
16. It is noteworthy that so many of the Moores, even if they survived into adulthood, died relatively young. The first half of the 18th century is known to have had periods of population crisis, when numbers of burials exceeded those of births, the result of bad harvests and outbreaks of disease. The Moores’ experience may have been typical of the time. See eg Eileen Gooder, ‘The Population Crisis of 1727-30 in Warwickshire’, in Midland History, I, No.4, 1972
17. Ursula Brighouse, My Dear Sophie; and Great Grandmama used to Say... (1990), both private publications. I am greatly indebted to Mrs Brighouse for access to these family histories, on which the account of Richard Moore’s tragic life is based. Her late husband was descended from Richard Moore’s daughter Sophia (Sophie).
18. Pedigree of Moore of Kentwell Hall, Nichols op cit, p 444 shows Richard as an only child. However the Pedigree of Thomas Moore shows two elder sisters, Mary b.1759 and Elizabeth b.1763. Ursula Brighouse (see 17.) gives Richard (b.1769) another sister Emily (b.1771)
19. The full inscription reads: Proofs of this Pedigree show the Connection of Thomas Moore of St Botolph Aldgate with the several Branches of this Family deduced from Charles Moore of Stretton in the County of Derby the first mentioned Person in this Account. viz Grants, Vol 3, folio 231; Earl marshal’s Book T26 folio 77; K.9, Visit: London fol 8 & 203; Register, Howard fol: 65 & 96.
20. In Focus 12. Charles Moore had inherited Appleby from his unmarried uncle George (d.1751). Being childless himself Charles’s heir was his unmarried cousin Revd Thomas Moore; and the next in line after that was Revd Thomas’s half brother George Moore.
©Richard Dunmore, November 2002