Whalley Smythe Gardiner case 1819

Archive Notes:

The background of the Whalley Smythe Gardiner case in 1819 is set out below, and the report transcript is attached.

The manor estate had passed to Sir John Whalley in July 1787. He is remembered for ‘drinking to death five aldermen and Oxford tailors three’. However, there were ownership issues evident from the abstracts of title. These show that, in June 1789, the Wheatley Farm (the total Wheatley holdings of Sir John Whalley Smythe Gardiner) was mortgaged to Edward, Duke of Somerset, for £8,000. Sir John Whalley Smythe Gardiner made his will on 13 April 1795 and died, without issue, on 18 November 1797. He left his estate to his brother, James Whalley, who had made a will on 2 July 1796 (before Sir John’s death). He took the title of Sir James Whalley Smythe Gardiner, and died on 21 August 1805, without revoking or altering his will. His son, another James Whalley Smythe Gardiner, married in 1807 with the mortgage of the Wheatley property still in place, and the family’s holdings the subject of a marriage settlement between James and his 14-year-old bride, Frances Mosley. In 1809, following the transfer of the £8,000 mortgage to Sir William Ashurst, of Waterstock, the ownership of the mortgaged Wheatley lands was in the hands of the trustees of this marriage settlement, Parker and another.

In 1819, there was an ownership dispute brought by these trustees, who won this case. The losing defendants were Biscoe and another. Elisha Biscoe had built the Holton manor house in 1808, but it is not clear how or why he was involved in this case.

So, in 1789, the Wheatley holding had been burdened by a significant mortgage and, by 1807 or 1809, these holdings were held in trust for the wife of Sir James Whalley Smythe Gardiner. Control was now in the hands of the Parker trustees. This was almost certainly the reason why the estate was then broken up. The break-up of the estate is found in record 2287.

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