Local History Society

 Families: Thomas Hargreaves - Death and after

Arborfield Hall

Thomas Hargreaves at Arborfield

The Schooner 'Ianira'

Social Life at The Mount

We are grateful to Chris Humby and the Bishopstoke History Society for their research on 'The Mount' at Bishopstoke, and for uncovering Thomas's rather colourful history away from Arborfield.

From the Hampshore Advertiser, 30th September 1891, came this glowing tribute:


 The death is announced as having occurred in London on Monday night of Captain Thomas Hargreaves, of The Mount, Bishopstoke, and somewhat unexpectedly, although he had been ailing for some time past.

Captain Hargreaves will be much missed in this district, as he was a warm supporter of the various institutions connected with it, and the charming grounds attached to the Mount were always available for use for the benefit of any good cause.

The deceased was well known in yachting circles, being the owner of the Ianira, ss, and a member of the following clubs:-

Club Nautique de Nice,
Royal Cinque Ports,
Royal Harwich,
Royal Dart,
Isle of Wight,
New Thames,
Royal Thames,
Royal Yacht Club Italiano,
Royal Southampton,
Royal Torquay and
Royal Victoria.

It is but a short time since that the Ianira left Hythe (Southampton Water) for Ramsgate.

Captain Hargreaves was a very generous support of the local regattas, and his death will cause a gap not easily filled.

His demise is much regretted at Bishopstoke, and also at Eastleigh, and the absence of his four-in-hand and coach at Southampton will be much missed.

Shorter obituaries appeared in newspapers throughout England, including this article from the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser of 1st October 1891. Others mentioned that he died at the British Hotel in Jermyn Street.

Strangely, nothing was mentioned of his death in any of the Berkhsire newspapers. Their readers would have needed to buy the
Portsmouth Evening News of Friday 2nd October to find out about the funeral:

"The funeral of the late Captain Thomas Hargreaves, of The Mount, Bishopstoke, and Arborfield Hall, Berks, eldest son of the late John Hargreaves, of Broad Oak, Lancashire, will take place at St. Bartholomew's Church, Arborfield near Reading, to-morrow at twelve o'clock."

The burial register of 3rd October simply listed the name 'Thomas Hargreaves' and that he lived at 'The Mount, Bishopstoke and Arborfield Hall'.


In its 'Society Gossip' column on 20th February 1892, the Hampshire Advertiser announced the forthcoming sale of The Mount estate and its contents in late March.

The house failed to sell at the Auction held on 28th March 1892, but the contents sold very well indeed, as reported here: Sale of contents.

When the Will was published, it was revealed that Thomas had two sons, John Reginald Hargreaves and Cecil Montague, who shared most of the bequest. Thomas made generous provision for his staff - perhaps too generous in one case:

Hampshire Advertiser 05 Nov 1892: SUICIDAL AND ALCOHOLIC.

 Frank Collins was charged with an attempt to poison himself with Battle's vermin powder. - It appeared that prisoner had had some money as a legacy under Captain Hargreaves' will, and had consumed it alcoholically, and got an idea that everybody was against him, and that he was a ------- fool.

He went, on October 27, to the Foresters' Arms, Stoke Common, where Rose Lock supplied him with tea and bread and butter. In a few minutes she heard a noise, and found Collins lying on the floor, and with the poison in his hands, and he said he had done for himself. - Police-constable Snell and Dr. Hegan were sent for, emetic administered to the extrusion of the poison, and Collins soon recovered, and admitted he was a fool. - Committed to the Assizes and repentance meanwhile.

Another former employee also died in 1892:

Hampshire Advertiser, 27th August 1892: EASTLEIGH -OBITUARY.

 The funeral of the late Mr. Robbins, caretaker of the railway Institute, Eastleigh, took place on Tuesday. Deceased was only 44 years of age, twenty years of which he spent in the service of Captain Hargreaves.

When the captain died Mr. Robbins's services were no longer required, and he was subsequently appointed to the post at the Institute, which he held at the time of his death. The body was taken from the Institute at two o'clock, and conveyed in a hearse to the Bishopstoke new churchyard.

Some of the deceased's fellow servants, when in the employ of the late Captain Hargreaves, attended the funeral, as did also some members of the Institute committee. The Rev. --- Pennington, curate, at Eastleigh, conducted the service at the Church. Various tradesmen partly or wholly closed their houses, as the funeral party left the Institute, the deceased being very generally respected.


In a Death Notice published in the same newspaper on 3rd September, we get a little more information about George Robbins:

"On the 19th ult., at Eastleigh, George Robbins, 20 years coachman to the late Captain Hargreaves, of The Mount, Bishopstoke."

According to the 1891 Census, George Robbins was born in Hurst, Berkshire and lived as a Coachman at The Stable, The Mount. His 37-year-old wife Mary came from Plaitford in Hampshire. As it happens, in the 1871 Census there was a 'George Robins', a groom aged 23 from Hurst, lodging in Arborfield. Although the Census doesn't specify his address, it seems that he was lodging on the Arborfield Hall estate; at the time of this Census, Sarah Hargreaves and her children were away from Arborfield, staying with relatives.

We can trace George to his baptism in the old St. Bartholomew's Church in Arborfield on 13th February 1848; his parents were William and Elizabeth Robbins of Hurst (which included the Liberty of Newland). We can also locate the family in the 1851 Census living in 'Bear Lane', Newland, so it's likely that Thomas had known George Robbins since his childhood.

There's another postscript following Captain Hargreaves' death - an unpaid bill:

Hampshire Advertiser 30 July 1892:


The Hon. Bernard Coleridge, M.P. (instructed by Messrs. Pearce and Keele) for plaintiff, and Mr. Bullen (instructed by Messrs. Allen and Son) for defendants.

Plaintiff is a yacht chandler of Southampton, and the defendants the executors of the late Capt. Hargreaves, of The Mount, Bishopstoke.

The claim was for goods sold and delivered for the defendant's yacht, the Ianiras ([sic]. Mr. Coleridge stated that the defendant had since died, and the executors were now being sued. The defence was that all had been paid but 18 1s. 10d., and payment had been made into Court of that sum. There was due, Mr. Coleridge said, on the 1st January, 1888, the sum of 318 1s 10d., and on the 14th April a cheque on account for 200 was sent by Capt. Hargreaves. Mr. Coleridge went on to explain how the account between the parties stood at different dates.

In November, 1889, an interview took place between the parties when the account was gone through, and defendant admitted that it was accurate. Other transactions followed, and letters were read to show that certain payments made were for certain accounts, and Mr. Coleridge said the balance now sued for was 118 16s. 7d.

Mr. Bullen said he confessed that since these documents had been brought before him he did not for one moment impugn Mr. Tilling's position. The litigation was unfortunate in this respect. Captain Hargreaves was a very well-known gentleman and owner of this yacht. He had a captain who used to procure supplies for him. For some reason or other he became dissatisfied with his way of doing it. Captain Hargreaves died on the 28th September, 1891, and the writ was issued against the executors in March, 1892.

Under a letter in January, 1888, Captain Hargreaves gave instructions that instructions were not to be taken from his captain unless by written or countersigned order from himself.

Mr. Bullen detailed the proceedings which had already taken place in the case, and said that as there was evidently some mistake, discovery had to be made. That discovery was not made until that morning, and it would be seen that up till that time defendants had been utterly in the dark as to some of the facts. Mr. Allen and his co-executor were bound to defend the action, but upon Mr. Tilling going into the box and stating that these things had been supplied by order, he (Mr. Bullen) would say no more, - After some further argument, the plaintiff was sworn. Examined by Mr. C. T. Giles, he spoke to supplying Capt. Hargreaves with goods between 1887 and 1889, according to the lists before him. The goods shown on account were supplied to 19th September, 1889, and those named on the other list were supplied in 1888.

Plaintiff was cross-examined as to the conditions under which the various orders were given. He knew nothing of the matter after it was put in his lawyer's hands he knew nothing of law Mr. Bullen: What a comfort (laughter). - His Honour eventually gave judgment for plaintiff for 108 3s,, with costs.

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