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Temple Newsam, Yorkshire, designs for additions to the house for Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount Irwin, c1763-78, unexecuted (3)

The Hon. Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount Irwin, was born on 19 March 1727, the eldest son of the Hon. Charles Ingram and grandson of Arthur, 3rd Viscount Irwin. Charles Ingram’s mother Elizabeth was the daughter and co-heir of Charles Scarborough of Windsor and the widow of Francis Brace. Ingram was educated at Westminster School from 1737-43 and in 1747 he began his political career, standing as MP for Horsham, a seat which was secured for him by his uncle. Ingram was a keen supporter of the administration and used his influence with the Duke of Newcastle to secure the position of Groom of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales in 1756. Following his inheritance of the family estates in April 1763, along with the title 9th Viscount Irwin, Ingram resigned his position at court and gave up his seat in Horsham. On 5 November 1763 he wrote to William Pitt stating: ‘My inheriting a peerage has made a vacancy in parliament for the borough of Horsham, and it is my great ambition that you will do me the honour to name some friend of yours to supply my place.’ Pitt subsequently nominated Robert Pratt for the seat which Ingram accepted.

In June 1758 Ingram married Frances Gibson, the illegitimate but recognised daughter of London merchant and MP Samuel Shepheard (c1676-1748). Frances bought to the marriage an inheritance of £60,000 from her father’s extensive estates, with the wedding only proceeding after extensive negotiations on the part of Shepheard’s lawyers. £20,000 of Frances’s inheritance was subsequently used to clear Temple Newsam’s outstanding mortgage and was also probably employed to make a number of subsequent improvements.

Charles Ingram died 19 June 1778 at Temple Newsam. Following her husband’s death, Frances Ingram, Dowager Viscountess Irwin, continued to manage the family estates in Yorkshire and Sussex. Her role as a significant landowner secured Lady Irwin’s position politically and she successfully held the family interest, placing the Irwin seats at Horsham in the service of the administration. John Robinson’s preparations leading up to the general election of 1784 noted that ‘Horsham is Lady Irwin’s Borough’. Lady Irwin died at Temple Newsam on 20 November 1807 and she was buried with her husband at Whitkirk. The estate then passed to her eldest daughter, Isabella, Lady Hertford, wife of Francis Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford and mistress of George Prince of Wales. Following the death of Lady Hertford, Temple Newsam passed first to her sister Frances, Lady William Gordon and then in 1841 to Hugo Maynell, a grandson of Charles and Frances Ingram.

In the eleventh century the estate at Newsam was owned by Ilbert de Lacy, with the ‘Neuhusu’ or new houses recorded in the Domesday Book. By the twelfth century the lands had passed to William de Villiers and a survey of 1185 records his sale of the estate to the Knight’s Templars. Following their acquisition the Templers founded a preceptory at Newsam which, following the suppression of the order and the seizure of their estates in 1308, was valued at £174, 3s. In 1337 the estate was acquired by the Countess of Pembroke and subsequently the Darcy family. In 1518 Thomas, Lord Darcy constructed a new manor house at Temple Newsam, with the scheme implementing a courtyard plan. However in 1537 Darcy was tried and executed for treason and as a result his estates were seized by the Crown. In 1544 Henry VIII presented Temple Newsam to his niece Margaret, Countess of Lennox, wife of Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox. Their son Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley was born at the estate in December 1545. In 1565, following Lord Darnley’s marriage to Mary Queen of Scots, Temple Newsam and its lands were considered forfeit and were once again seized by the Crown.

In 1622 the estate was purchased by Sir Arthur Ingram for £12,000. Over the course of the next two decades Ingram undertook an extensive project to rebuild Temple Newsam, with the construction of new wings to the north and south. In 1636 a fire caused significant damage to the sixteenth-century east wing and it was subsequently demolished, but elements of the original building are preserved within the west wing. Further alterations were implemented between 1736 and 1746, along with modifications to the south wing undertaken by Frances, Lady Irwin in the late eighteenth century.

Adam’s scheme for alterations to Temple Newsam are undated. The inscriptions note Charles, 9th Viscount Irwin as the patron, and as a result the designs must predate Ingram’s death in June 1778. Following Ingram’s inheritance of the estate in 1763 a project of improvements was begun, most significantly with the commissioning of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to re-design the surrounding landscape. Brown’s scheme for Temple Newsam was executed in part with works continuing until 1771. Alterations to the interiors were also considered with both Adam and John Carr approached for designs for the remodelling of the south wing. Significantly, following the death of her husband, Frances, Lady Irwin continued with the project and the south wing was significantly altered in the late eighteenth century, with work overseen by William Johnson, a builder from Leeds. Lady Irwin was also responsible for numerous alterations to the interiors, including the introduction of hand-painted Chinese wall paper, which was gifted to her by the Prince of Wales following his visit to Temple Newsam in September 1806. Lady Irwin also commissioned several pieces of furniture for the house from Thomas Chippendale the younger.

In 1904 the estates of Temple Newsam was inherited by Hon. Edward Wood (later 1st Earl of Halifax) and descendant of the Ingram family. In 1909 the south west portion of the estate was purchased by the Leeds Corporation for the establishment of a sewage plant and an open cast coal mine. In 1922 Edward Wood sold the house along with the remaining 917 acres of parkland and farm to the City of Leeds for £35,000. The conditions of the Wood’s sale ensured the future protection of the house and estate. Today Temple Newsam is open to the public as a house museum, art gallery and park, overseen by Leeds City Council. The house has undergone an extensive programme of restoration to its exterior and its interiors are recognised to be of exceptional importance. The house also holds a significant collection of furniture, ceramics, textiles and silver.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 30, 76; W. Page (ed.), ‘Houses of Knights Templar’ A History of the County of York: Volume 3, 1974, pp. 256-260; N. Pevsner and P. Leach, The Buildings of England – Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North, 2009, pp. 543-8; P. Glanville, ‘The Storey of Temple Newsam’, Art Quarterly, Winter 2011; ‘Temple Newsam House’, www.historichouses.org; ‘Temple Newsam’, www.historicengland.org.uk; ‘Temple Newsam House’, www.museumandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk; ‘A prospect of Temple Newsam’, www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld; ‘Charles Ingram (1727-1778), 9th Viscount Irwin’, www.artuk.org; M. M. Drummond, ‘Ingram, Charles (1727-78), of Temple Newsam, Yorks’, www.historyofparliamentonline.org; E.H. Chalus, ‘Ingram (nee Shepheard, Gibson), Frances, Viscountess Irwin (1734-1807)’, September 2004, www.oxforddnb.com (accessed March 2021)

Anna McAlaney, 2021
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