Title: Fytche Family of Thorpe Hall, Louth Album Page c1865
Author: Unknown
Date: c1865

A beautifully decorated page from, sadly, a broken up Victorian family photo album.  The photos around the edge of the album page have been skilfully hand-coloured by a man named Fletcher NORTON.  It’s a great shame that the central photo(?) has been removed.  This album page relates to the FYTCHE family of Thorpe Hall which lies between Louth and South Elkington, Lincolnshire.

UPDATE from John Fitch of York:

The photos were taken on the occasion of the High Sherriff's Fancy-Dress Ball at the County Assembly Rooms, Lincoln on 18th January 1866. The ball is depicted in a painting held by the Usher Gallery, Lincoln and a drawing which appeared in the Illustrated London News. The young girl in the blue and white dress is, I think, Agnes May Fytche, daughter of John Lewis Fytche. She would have been aged five at the time. I also think she may be towards the front of the picture in the Usher Gallery. The woman described as ‘Lady Audley’, and interestingly hand written, may be Lady Doneraile. She opened the ball at 10:30pm with J. L. Fytche and Mrs Fytch with Lord Monson. Lady Audley was a fictional character created in 1861. I'm not sure who the page boy is yet. I think the woman at the bottom of the album page may be Mrs J. L. Fytche. She wore a white, Louis Quatorze style dress with lace and a rich ruby velvet train. Lady Doneraile wore a Louis Quatorze style court dress with a green and white satin brocaded upper-skirt, looped up with bunches of pink roses, over a white satin under-skirt trimmed also with roses and white lace. The hair was turned up, rolled and curled, and powdered, and roses and diamonds were worn in it. Ornaments - pearls and diamonds. Colonel Fytche was dressed as a cavalier of the time of Charles I. Slashed tunic, scarlett and gold, buff facings, trunk hose, buff leather boots, lace ruffles, cavalier's hat and plume.

My good friend and genealogist, Wendy Parkinson, has very kindly provided me with some family history information for the FYTCHE family.  Note the connection with Alfred TENNYSON, 1st Baron TENNYSON of Aldworth and Freshwater, FRS, who was Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign.  Alfred, Lord TENNYSON was born in nearby Somersby.

Stephen FYTCHE
The Rev. Stephen FYTCHE (-1799), rector of Louth and later the vicar of Withcall, married Martha GREEN (-1828) on 13th October 1774 in Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire.  The couple were to become the grandparents of Alfred, Lord TENNYSON (1809-1892).  They had six children.  A daughter, Elizabeth FYTCHE, married George Clayton TENNYSON on 6th August 1805 in Louth.  Elizabeth TENNYSON gave birth to Alfred Tennyson on 5th August 1809 in Somersby.  Stephen and Martha were also the parents of John Disney FYTCHE.

John Disney FYTCHE
Stephen and Martha FYTCHE had a son, John Disney FYTCHE (1783-1855).  John Disney FYTCHE married Ann WILSON (1786-1865) of Baumber, Lincolnshire.  It was John Disney FYTCHE who acquired Thorpe Hall.  John and Anne had four children.  One of them was John Lewis FYTCHE.  John Disney FYTCHE died at Thorpe Hall in 1855 and Ann died in Lincoln in 1865.

John Lewis FYTCHE
John Disney and Ann FYTCHE had a son, John Lewis FYTCHE (1816-1902).  John Lewis FYTCHE married Susan Marie SKIPWORTH (1822-1913) of South Kelsey on 28th October 1858 in Louth.  They had one child, Agnes May FYTCHE (1860-1936).
John Lewis FYTCHE gained a BA and MA at Oxford University between 1835 and 1843.  John Lewis FYTCHE J.P., D.L., was High Sheriff of Lincolnshire from 1865 until1866.  He was given the Freedom of the City of London in 1879.  John Lewis FYTCHE lived in Thorpe Hall from 1855 until 1885 when he went bankrupt.
Both John Lewis FYTCHE and Susan FYTCHE died in Freshwater, Isle of Wight.  Alfred, Lord TENNYSON lived in Freshwater.

Emma PEACOCK / Fletcher Carioca NORTON
The following information relates to the writing, in pencil, on the album page i.e. “All hand painted by Emma’s husband Fletcher NORTON my mother’s father.”  (The names of the people in the photos are not known.  However, it’s highly likely that it’s John Lewis FYTCHE, High Sheriff at the top of the page.)
Emma PEACOCK (1825-) was born in South Kyme, Lincolnshire.  She was the daughter of Anthony Taylor PEACOCK and Mary WILSON.  Emma’s 1st cousin was Ann WILSON who married John Disney FYTCHE (see above).
Emma PEACOCK (1825-) married Fletcher Carioca NORTON (Abt. 1824-) who was born in Brazil.  They had two children, Conyers Fletcher NORTON (1860-) and Aline Mary Fletcher NORTON (1863-).  The writer of the note on the album page must have been a son or daughter of Aline Mary Fletcher NORTON.
Aline Mary Fletcher NORTON married Walter Frederick CUNLIFFE in Chiswick, Middlesex on July 24th 1895.  Walter Frederick CUNLIFFE was the son of a London solicitor.  The couple’s children were Ellis Norton CUNLIFFE (1901-), Aline Christabel CUNLIFFE (Abt 1903-), Ella Jennet CUNLIFFE (1905-), Unknown CUNLIFFE (Bef. 1911-).

Note: The people on this album page are wearing ‘fancy dress’.  The top left photo appears to be labelled “Lady Audley”.  Lady Audley's Secret is a sensation novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, published in 1862.  It’s likely that the photos were taken c1865 which fits with the timing of the publication of the novel.

Other owners of Thorpe Hall
The present Hall was built in 1584 for Sir John Bolle.  In 1596, as Captain John Bolle, he took part in the expedition to Cadiz for which he was knighted.  In Cadiz, John Bolle took captive a Spanish Lady and the event became the subject of a ballad The Spanish Lady's love for an Englishman and was celebrated in a poem by Shenston called Love and Honour. Sir John Bolle died at Thorpe Hall in 1606. He was buried in Haugh Church, Lincolnshire where a monument was erected to his memory.

1891 census - Arthur Raymond HEATH MP (born in Malta) with his wife, three children, two family members and ten servants.
1901 census - Captain Julius George TENNYSON (born in Sorrento, Italy), son Fred (born in Lucknow, India), daughter Julietta (born in Richmond, Surrey) and three servants.
1911 census - Henry Langton BRACKENBURY (born in Colchester, Essex), his wife Florence Adelia (formerly MILLS, born in California), five children, two governesses and ten servants.

During WWII, the house was requisitioned as an army officers’ mess.

This beautiful country house is set in grounds laid out by Gertrude Jekyll in 1906, and the terraces use stonework from Sir Christopher Wren's church of St. Mildred in the Poultry. Thorpe Hall now remains a private house.

Old Lincolnshire Images | Email: 'imagesoflincolnshire.co.uk'