Subscribe for Unlimited Access to Turtle’s History Quarter.

Includes content from Vanishing Ireland, Easter Dawn, Dublin Docklands, The Irish Pub, Maxol and many more, as well as Waterways Ireland, the Past Tracks project and hundreds of historical articles on Irish families, houses, companies and events.

Bunbury Baronets in England (1618-1886)

Sir Thomas Bunbury, 1st Bart (c. 1618-1682)

Sir Thomas Bunbury, 1st Bart (c. 1618-1682), of Bunbury and Stanney, co. Chester, son and heir of Henry Benjamin Bunbury, was appointed Sheriff of Chester County on 12 November 1673. The appointment seems to have been confirmed or renewed on 3 December 1673.

He was married, firstly, to Sarah Chetwood, daughter to Sir John Chetwood of Oakeley [Oakley] in Staffordshire. They had at least one son, the future Sir Henry Bunbury, born circa 1656, and seven daughters of whom Ursula and Mary appear to be the only ones to reach adulthood.

Ursula who married Edward Green of Poulton-Cum-Spital, a township in Bebington ancient parish in the Wirral Hundred. They seem to have had four children, Neddy, John, Tommy and Sarah.

Mary Bunbury died at Wrexham, Denbigh, and was buried at Thornton in Cheshire, on 17 June 1686, aged only 19 years. Her will was proved at Chester on 27 July, 1686 and is a remarkable document, appendixed below , * as it names many members of her family still living at that time. As well as leaving money for 19 relations to buy rings, she left £100 each to her half-sisters Priscella [sic] and Lucy Bunbury, to five of her Bunbury nephews, to her ‘dear aunt Legh,’ to ‘my maid, cosen Alice Mather’ (with ‘all my cloaths’), to ‘my cosen Fowne’s wife’ and ‘to the poor of Stoak parish.’

There is a memorial in Stoke Church (near Stanney) to another of Thomas and Sarah’s daughters Lydia, who died aged eleven on 6 June 1675.

Sir Thomas was married secondly to Mary Kelsall, daughter to Humphrey Kelsall, gent, of Heath and Bradshaw, Chester, by whom he had two daughters, Priscilla and Lucie.

Created a baronet in 1681, he died on 22 August 1682.

NB: Bunbury on Prince Edward Island was the name given to his homestead by a Methodist farmer named John Bovyer, a Loyalist and settler, after his ancestral home in Bunbury, Cheshire, England.

Tomb of Sir Henry Bunbury, 2nd Bart, at St Mary’s Church, Thornton-le-Moors, Cheshire.


Sir Henry Bunbury, 2nd Bart (1656-1687)


Memorial to Sir Henry Bunbury, 2nd Bart, at St Mary’s Church, Thornton-le-Moors, Cheshire.

His son Sir Henry Bunbury, 2nd Bart, married Dame Mary Eyton, daughter of Sir Kenrick Eyton, a Welsh lawyer and prominent Royalist. He died on 20 December 1687, aged 31, having had seven sons and one daughter, of whom, only Sir Harry, his successor, and William, survived.

Sir Henry was interred in the grave of his great-grandfather, Sir Henry Bunbury at St Mary’s Church, a now redundant Anglican church in the small village of Thornton-le-Moors, Cheshire, England, as per here.

The seven children were:

  1. Thomas Bunbury – died at a young age – no issue.
  2. Sir Henry Bunbury, 3rd Baronet.
  3. William Bunbury, d. 1748, Attorney-General of Chester.
  4. John Bunbury – could he be the ‘gentleman’ of that name who wrote ‘A Relation of a Journey of the Right Honorable My Lord Henry Howard, From London to Vienna, and thence to Constantinople; In the Company of his Excellency, Count Lesley, Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece,’  published in London by T. Collins and J. Ford, in 1671. This relates to Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk, who visited the Levant in 1665 and subsequently presented the Arundel marbles to Oxford at the suggestion of John Evelyn. See here.
  5. Joseph Bunbury
  6. Richard Bunbury – died at a young age – no issue.
  7. Francis Bunbury.
  8. Elizabeth Bunbury – – died at a young age – no issue.


William Bunbury – Attorney-General of Chester


William Bunbury, Attorney General of Chester.

Sarah Bunbury (née Eyton), the wife of William Bunbury.

The beautiful, slim-waisted Sarah Mainwaring (née Bunbury)

Edward Mainwaring (1709- 1795), William Bunbury’s son-in-law.

William Bunbury, the second surviving son of Sir Henry Bunbury, 2nd Bart, was a Middle Temple barrister who became Attorney General for the county-palatine of Chester. He married his cousin  Sarah, daughter of Sir James Eyton of Mortlake, by whom he had six daughters.

Sarah, their eldest, was apparently worth £11,000 when she was married in 1735 to Edward Mainwaring, of Whitmore Hall, Staffordshire. * The Mainwaring family were owners and operators of The Hudson Bay Company in Canada; there is a connection through a Mary Margaret Holland of Vancouver, Canada.

[* ‘On Thursday last the eldest Daughter of William Bunbury, of the Middle Temple, Esq. was married at Whitehall-Chapel to the eldest Son of Edward Manwaring, of Whitmore in the County of Stafford, Esq; from whence they went to her Father’s House at Mortlack in the County of Surrey; She is a Fortune of 11,000 l.’ Ipswich Journal – Saturday 31 May 1735.]

Another daughter Elizabeth Bunbury was first wife to the Inner-Temple barrister Edward Fleming but she died in childbirth on 12 November 1735, aged twenty-five, and was buried at Mortlack in Surry.

Eleanor, the youngest of William and Sarah’s daughters, married George Wilson, of the Inner-Temple, Gent.

The other three daughters (Mary, Isabella, and Susanna) died young and unmarried.



Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker of the House of Commons, leader of the Hanoverian Tories and brother-in-law to Sir Harry Bunbury.

Sir Harry Bunbury, 3rd Bart (1767-1733) & the Hanmer Connection

Sir Henry died in 1687 and was succeeded by his 11-year-old son, Sir Henry Bunbury, 3rd Bart (1767-1733). Known as Sir Harry, he was Tory MP for Chester for 27 years (1700-1727) and Commissioner of the Revenue for Ireland from 1711 to 1715.  His political rise essentially kicked off in the summer of 1710 when the Tory leader Robert Harley, later Earl of Oxford, orchestrated the fall of Godolphin and the Whig ministry. The following October, the Tory party won a resounding majority at the election. However, the party was already rife with divisions. As spokesmen for the Tory squires, hit by a heavy land tax to pay for the war, many opposed Harley’s moderate policies. A backbench rebellion culminated in the establishment of the October Club, of which Sir Harry Bunbury and his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Hamer were among about 150 members. Most were country squires although fifteen of them, like Francis Annesley, were lawyers while Robert Byerley of ‘Byerley Turk’ fame, was among just four ex-army men. The club was seemingly named for the strong October ale that members drank during their weekly meetings on Wednesday evenings, mostly at the Bell Tavern in Westminster. As Jonathan Swift wrote to Stella:

“We are plagued here with an October Club; that is, a set of above a hundred Parliament men of the Country, who drink October beer at home and meet every evening at a tavern near the Parliament, to consult affairs, and drive things on to extremes against the Whigs, to call the old ministry to account.”

The October Club’s initial purpose was to be a pressure group pushing a Tory policy on Harley, and urging him to end his ruinous land war in Flanders. They were also strong upholders of the Anglican church, determined to oppose English Dissenters and Scottish Presbyterians. However, Harley was a master of parliamentary management and in the early summer of 1711, he began to reshape his ministry and dilute the club’s impact. This involves making concessions to its members and luring them into the system, Hence, among the new appointments, Henry Bunbury became a commissioner of the revenue in Ireland, while Byerley became a commissioner of the privy seal. Such positions conferred prestige and profit without enabling the October men to dictate policy. Not everyone succumbed to Harley’s charm offensive – even the offer of a ministerial post did not persuade Sir Thomas Hamer to change direction. A man of ‘unimpeachable integrity,’ in H.T. Dickinson’s words, Hanmer appears to have been expelled from the October Club in May 1711.

By 1712, the October Club was dividing on the issue of the succession to Queen Anne, as well as the government’s pursuit of peace in the ongoing war. In January 1712, Hanmer was to the fore in bringing both Robert Walpole and the Duke of Marlborough down – an impressive feat, even if both men bounced back. However, by March 1712, the October Club had schismed between those willing to support Harley and those hellbent on resisting. The latter became known as the March Club. The October Club was now the government’s strongest supporter in both domestic and foreign policy. In June 1713, however, Hanmer slammed the government’s proposed peace treaty with France on the basis that it would bring London closer to France and away from the Hanoverian succession. He was thereafter the leader of the Hanoverian Torys in parliament, who became more aligned with the Whig minority. And yet Sir Harry Bunbury would appear to have been one of the October Club members who would be classed as a Jacobite. Perhaps things were not so rosy when the Bunbury and Hanmer families united for Christmas dinners? [For more, see Dickinson, H. T. “The October Club.” Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 2, 1970, pp. 155–73.]

With the succession of King George, Sir Harry was one of four Englishmen reappointed a commissioner of the new revenue board (the others being Sir William Strickland, Horatio Walpole, and Phillips Gybbon), as well as three Irishmen, William Conolly (now Speaker), Thomas Medlycott and Thomas Southwell.  According to Patrick Walsh in his book “The Making of the Irish Protestant Ascendancy: The Life of William Connolly, 1662 to 1729 “(Boydell & Brewer, 2010), the bulk of the business and patronage of the revenue board was in fact carried out by the three Irish commissioners. Like Walpole, Sir Harry was a Tory which put his place in jeopardy. As Walsh observes, both men:

“… seem to have treated their places almost as sinecures; the former was only continued at the board because of the patronage of his nephew Robert Walpole (the future prime minister), who needed to keep his troublesome uncle happy, while Bunbury was removed in September 1715 for allegedly engaging in correspondence with the Jacobite court.”

Sir Harry was a close colleague of the 2nd Duke of Ormonde, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with whom he shared great apprehension at the prospect of the German House of Hanover occupying the British throne once Queen Anne had died. Although he supported the Hanover Succession in 1714, he changed sides – like many of his contemporaries – and gave his support to the cause of the Old Pretender. Like those other Jacobites, he discovered he had backed the wrong horse. Both Sir Harry and Ormonde were summarily dismissed from their posts in May 1715. Sir Henry was sacked after he was found with seditious pamphlets, which he may have been distributing, and corresponding with other Jacobites.

The Bunbury allegiance to the Ormondes stood strong when, following the failure of the Jacobite Rebellion, the 2nd Duke fled into permanent exile in France. I presume Sir Harry enjoyed making the Jacobite toast by which, after standing, persons would silently wave their drink over a glass or jug of water on the table. This symbolised “the king over the water”, a reference to the Pretender and a sign of solidarity with the Jacobite cause and against the Hanoverian succession.  It may be relevant to the story of Lisnavagh that all of the Bunbury lands in County Carlow had previously belonged to the Ormonde’s family.

In August 2015, I emailed Daniel Szechi, Professor of Early Modern History at The University of Manchester, to seek his recommendations on books / essays / sources where I could find a good summary of how Ireland responded in 1715, and why there wasn’t much of a showdown over here? He very kindly replied:

Absolutely the best book on Jacobitism in Ireland (and it has a section on Ireland around 1715) is Éamonn Ó Ciardha, ‘Ireland and the Jacobite Cause, 1685-1766’ (Dublin, 2002). The fact that not much happened in Ireland is deceptive: the army of Ireland overseas, a.k.a. the Irish Brigade in French service – at that point still overwhelmingly 1st generation exiles and military migrants (i.e. young men who left Ireland specifically in order to join the French army) – was very active in helping obtain covert French support for the rising, and in its final days there were something like 600 Irish officers and men in Calais alone waiting for the ice to clear so they could embark for Scotland. At that time the Irish soldiers in French service still took a dual oath of loyalty when they enlisted, one to the king of France and one to King James, and by privately going to Calais and other Channel ports to take ship for Scotland after the Regent had forbidden them to do so they were in effect potentially throwing up their French careers, so this betokens a serious commitment on their parts. The great majority of them subsequently silently rejoined their regiments in the Irish Brigade and the French government turned a blind eye to what had happened (it was not about to eviscerate one of its best units by dismissing them), but even after that the Irish brigade played a major role in supporting the Scots exiles of 1715 on the continent by quietly allowing some to enlist in the ranks of the brigade (despite the fact they were Protestants) and unofficially allowing the Scots access to their military messes when they were garrisoned in the provinces. This made the difference between abject poverty and minimal decency for not a few of the exiles … the ’15 was an incipient civil war with some very ugly episodes that in and of itself implicitly gives the lie to the great myth of British political stability after 1688.’

Since the burning of The Hall in Hoole in the Civil War, the Bunburys – including Sir Harry’s father and grandfather – had lived in the Old Hall at Stanney, a village on the Wirral Peninsula, between Chester and Ellesmere Port. At the time of the Domesday Book, ‘Stanei’ was a fishery, leased to Restald by Earl Hugh, a Norman baron. In about 1724, things changed when, as the 7th Bart notes,  “merry Sir Harry” took up his abode in a small country house in the village of Little Stanney, which was then christened “Rakes Hall,” deriving its name from an old term for ‘a fashionable or wealthy man of immoral or promiscuous habits’.

Rake Hall, as it is known today, was the ‘modern building’ that Hanshall referred to. Constructed in the early Georgian age, it was evidently quite a party house and Hanshall (p. 614) names its ‘the bon vivants” as follows:

‘On a pane of glass in the kitchen window, dated Dec 15, 1724, is recorded the names of the following visitants then present, viz. Sir Charles Bunbury, Sir R Grosvenor, Sir William Stanley, Sir Francis Poole, Amos Meredith, Colonel Francis Columbine, Edward Mainwaring, Thomas Glazeour, Scberington Grosvenor, Seimour Cholmondeley, William Poole and Charles Bunbury, jun.’

The Rev Sir William Bunbury sold Hoole Hall to Dr Peploe Ward in 1757, as well as most of the family property at Bunbury.

(The site of Hoole Hall was later bought by the Rev John Baldwin who erected a substantial mansion for his family; the Baldwin family arms are above the door to this day. In the latter part of his life John Baldwin assumed the name Rigbye. His son Thomas, who inherited the mansion, was Cheshire’s pioneer balloonist and built a number of small experimental balloons in the outbuildings of Hoole Hall. The house eventually passed to the Hamilton family who undertook extensive alterations and made additions including the splendid Victorian Conservatory and ha-ha It remained a private residence until 1936 when it was taken over by the Ministry of Defence. It was in a state of complete disrepair when it was taken over by Crown & Raven Hotels in the 1980s. Hoole is also famous as the birthplace of RAF pilot and charity founder Leonard Cheshire, VC).

Sir William used the money from his land sales to buy a new estate at Mildenhall and Great Barton in Suffolk.

Rake Hall in Little Stanney, now known as The Rake, is where Sir Harry Bunbury and his friends used to meet in the early 18th century.

Sir Harry Bunbury was touted to run again after the death of Sir Richard Grosvenor, MP for Chester, in July 1732 but was himself dead in less than 9 months. (Derby Mercury, Thursday 27 July 1732). He died on 12 February 1733 and was buried in Stoke Churchyard, Cheshire. His obituary in the Stamford Mercury (22 February 1733) remarked:

‘On Monday last died, at his Seat of Stanny near Chester, Sir Henry Bunbury, of Bunbury in Cheshire, Bart, descended from a Norman Commander, who came over at the Time of the Conquest, and shared the Fortune of Hugh Lupus, first Norman Earl Chester, since which Time the Family have liv’d in very honourable Repute: Sir Henry married Susannah, only surviving Daughter of William Hanmer, and Sister to Sir Thomas Hanmer, of Hanmer in Flintshire, Bart, by whom he has had several Children, and is succeeded in Dignity and Estate by his eldest Son, now Sir Charles Bunbury, Bart. Sir Henry was elected a Member of Parliament for the City of Chester in 1700, and continued with Honour to serve that City till the present Parliament was elected [ie: 1727], when he resigned: in the Year 1715 he was by Queen Anne appointed one of the Commissioners of the Revenue in Ireland.’

Lady Susanna Bunbury, the wife of Sir Harry, was the only surviving daughter of William Hanmer of Bettisfield Park, Flints., and his wife, Peregrina, daughter of Sir Henry North, 1st Bt., of Mildenhall, and sister and coheiress of Sir Henry North, 2nd Bt. Her father, William, was the second son of Sir Thomas Hanmer, 2nd Bart.

Lady Susanna’s brother Sir Thomas Hanmer (1677-1746) was married on 14 October 1698 to Lady Isabella Bennet (d. 7 Feb. 1723), daughter and sole heiress of Henry Bennet, M.P., 1st Earl of Arlington. Henry Bennet served as Secretary of State to King Charles II for 12 years, and was so good at sourcing royal mistresses for the king that his majesty not only created him the Earl of Arlington of Harlington but also granted him 10,000 acres of County Laois in Ireland. [Frances Stuart, La Belle Stuart, was among those whom he brought to the king.] These lands had been seized from Viscount Clanmalier, head of the O’Dempsey clan, for his role in the 1641 Rebellion. It included the townland of Cooletoodera, renamed Portarlington in 1666. Isabella Bennet was just five years old when she was wedded in 1672 to her first husband, nine-year-old Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton, an illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Barbara Villiers.* Grafton, for whom the Dublin street is named, was killed at the siege of Cork in 1690.

[* I was doubtful about Isabella Bennet being so young when she married so I took the plunge and made contact with Edward Wortley, the archivist at Euston Hall, where the Graftons lived. He confirmed that she was first married aged five and then the marriage was “repeated” on 7 November 1679. John Stocks Powell, the historian, remains doubtful.]

A renowned orator, Sir Thomas Hanmer served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1714-15. He had succeeded his uncle as 4th Baroent (complete with the Flintshire estates) in 1701 and also inherited Mildenhall through his mother. At the accession of George I, he was offered the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he refused. In a letter to the Old Pretender, Atterbury slammed Hanmer and his allies: ‘The most despicable party in England are the Hanoverian Tories, a handful of men without dependants or credit, and whom both sides equally agree in exposing.’ The elder Horace Walpole was no less disparaging: ‘His person, parts, and principles were all of a piece; he had a very handsome mien and appearance, but tis said he could not please the ladies; he could make an eloquent, elaborate, and plausible speech, but never was thought a man of business, or knowledge. He would act and vote with the Tories and yet said he was no Jacobite; he declared himself for the Hanoverian succession, and would never act or vote in support of it; he died at last, poor gentleman, without having much obliged or disobliged any person or party, and rather pitied than either hated or beloved.’ The younger Horace Walpole likewise remarked that he was ‘a dainty Speaker, who was first married to the Dowager Duchess of Grafton, and afterwards espousing a young lady, the first night he made some faint efforts towards consummation, and then begged her pardon for her disappointment.’ Following Isabella’s death in 1723, Sir Thomas Hanmer was married secondly in 1725 to Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Thomas Folkes of Barton, Suffolk. They had no children.

See further records of Sir Harry here. The monuments to Sir Henry Bunbury, 3rd Baronet (1676–1733) and Sir Charles Bunbury, 4th Baronet (1708–1742) are recorded by Hanshall.

Charles Lee (1731-1782), a grandson of Sir Henry Bunbury, 3rd Bart, served as a general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. During the Battle of Monmouth of 1778, he led an assault on the British that miscarried. He was subsequently court-martialed and his military service brought to an end. He died in Philadelphia in 1782.

Sir Harry and Lady Susannah had four sons and five daughters:

  1. Sir Charles Bunbury, 4th Baronet, see below.
  2. Rev. Sir William Bunbury, 5th Bart, see below.
  3. Isabella Bunbury, m. Colonel John Lee of Darnhall, Cheshire. Their son Charles Lee was born at Dernhall in 1731 and attended school at Bury St. Edmunds and in Switzerland. “In 1747, he was an ensign in the British army and in 1751, appointed a lieutenant in the 44th Regiment. He served in the British army during the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War), seeing action during Braddock’s expedition in 1755, and being wounded at Ticonderoga in 1758. He returned from his wounds to participate in the capture of Fort Niagra. In August 1761, Lee was appointed major in the 103rd Regiment and served in a British expedition to Portugal, where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. After the war ended, the 103rd was disbanded and Lee was put on half-pay. He served in the Polish army in 1765-1766 and fought with the Russian army in 1769-1770. Lee emigrated to America in 1773 and settled in Berkeley County, (West) Virginia. When the American Revolution began, Lee was appointed a major general. After serving with the army and under George Washington in New England and New York, Lee was dispatched by Congress to command southern forces in the defense of Charles Town, South Carolina, in the Spring of 1776. After Charles Town was successfully defended from the British, Lee returned to the northern army. Lee was captured by the British in December 1776. During his imprisonment, Lee may have given “aid and comfort” to the British. Exchanged in 1778, Lee rejoined the Continental army. His subsequent actions at the battle of Monmouth led to a court of inquiry and suspension from the army for twelve months. Lee was dismissed from army by Congress in 1780. He retired to his estate in Berkeley County. Lee died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 October 1782, and was buried in Christ Church.” Extracted from “A Guide to the Charles Lee Papers, 1759-1782“. With thanks to Kim McManus.
  4. Susannah Bunbury, married Handasyde – one daughter from this marriage.
  5. Eliza Bunbury, married. General? Armiger.
  6. Frances Bunbury, married Kyffin Williams, M.P. for Kent.
  7. Mary Bunbury – died at a young age – no issue.
  8. Thomas Bunbury – died at a young age – no issue.
  9. Henry Bunbury – died at a young age – no issue.


Sir Charles Bunbury, 4th Bart (c. 1708–1742), MP for Chester (1733-1742)


Baptised at Chester Cathedral on 9 February 1708, Charles was the eldest surviving son of Sir Harry Bunbury, 3rd Baronet, and his wife Susannah (née Hanmer). At the age of 25, he succeeded his father to the baronetcy on 2 February 1733. Six weeks later, he won his father’s seat at Westminster when he was elected as Tory Member of Parliament for Chester at a by-election. He was re-elected at the General Election in 1734 and again, unopposed in 1741. He voted against the Government on the Excise Bill and the repeal of the Septennial Act.

Charles seems to have lived in his father’s old home at Rake Hall, Stanney, near Chester. However, he struggled with ill-health and spent much of his later years in the south of France. He was there from at least January 1738, and thus missed voting on the Spanish convention on 8 March 1739. He subsequently voted with the Opposition on all recorded occasions.

He died unmarried after a long illness on 10 April 1742, aged 34, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his younger brother, William.


Rev. Sir William Bunbury, 5th Bart (1709-1764) of Mildenhall, Suffolk


Detail from one of a set of six Worcester porcelain plates with the Bunbury family armorial, via Kingschina.

Baptised at Chester Cathedral on 16 November 1709, William was the second surviving son of Sir Harry Bunbury and his wife Suzanna (née Hanmer). He graduated from St. Catharine’s Hall, Cambridge University, with a Bachelor of Arts (1730) and a Master of Arts (1734.) His wife Eleanor Graham was a daughter of Thomas Graham of Howbrook Hall, Suffolk, and his wife,  a daughter and co-heir of Samuel Warner, of Howbrook-hall. Their children were:

1) Susanna, born in Feb 1737, married the Rev. Henry Soames.
2) Sir Charles Bunbury, 6th  Bart, Admiral of the Turf (1740-1821)
3) Annabella (1745-1841), wife of Sir Patrick Blake
4) The artist Henry William Bunbury (1750-1811) who married Catherine Horneck (1750-1799), a daughter of Kane William Horneck (1726–1753) who was close friends of Edmund Burke (Catherine’s guardian) and included Oliver Goldsmith, Samuel Johnson and Joshua Reynolds among his circle. H. W. Bunbury’s works include The Country Club (1788), A Barber’s Shop (1803) and The Long Story (1782).  Sotheby’s have a fine collection of his work visible here.
He was colonel of the West Suffolk Militia.
In 1787, he was appointed equerry to Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, second son of George III and Queen Charlotte. In 1791, the Duke of York was among the kings feckless sons who was obliged to marry in order to produce an heir for the family. His bride was Frederica Charlotte, Duchess of York (1767-1820), the eldest daughter of Frederick William II, king of Prussia. The Yorks had an unhappy marriage and, after they separated in 1795, the Duchess settled at Oatlands Park, near Weybridge, Surrey, where she kept a lot of dogs and, seemingly, monkeys. She became a close friend of H.W Bunbury’s wife, Catherine, as per this report in the Dublin Weekly Register of 19 August 1820:
The Duchess of York was interred on Monday almost privately, in a small vault, in Weybridge Church, built some time since at her own desire. She preferred this spot to any mausoleum consequence of its contiguity to the tomb of the late Mrs. Col. Bunbury, whom her Royal Highness most tenderly loved. The disease of which her Royal Highness died was dropsy and a spasmodic affection of the chest.’
Her chest tomb can be found on the left-hand side of the path leading to the present St James Church from Church Street in Weybridge. In 1822, a column to her memory was erected by the inhabitants of Weybridge.

The Rev. William Bunbury succeeded his brother Charles to become the 5th Baronet in 1742. In 1746 he succeeded to the Barton and Mildenhall properties on the death of his uncle, Sir Thomas Hanmer, 4th Bart. On 23 June 1755, he graduated from Oxford University as a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)

The Charles Lee Papers, 1759-1782 include a letter, dated 28 November 1759, from Sir William Bunbury to his cousin Charles Lee concerning the British campaign in Canada

He was Vicar at Mildenhall, Suffolk, where he died on 11 June 1764 at the age of 54:

‘Laft Monday died at his Seat in Mildenhall, univerfally lamented, the Rev. Sir Wm. Bunbury, Bart.’
The Ipswich Journal – Saturday 16 June 1764



Sir Charles Bunbury, 6th Baronet


Lord Edward FitzGerald was a godson of Sir Charles Bunbury.

Sir Charles, who I will write about properly in due course, married Lady Sarah Lenox and was famed as the Admiral of the Turf.

In 1763, he stood as sponsor to his nephew, Lord Edward FitzGerald, who was born in London on 15 October that year. Lord Edward would become the celebrated Irish patriot of 1798,

Sir Charles was Chief Secretary of Ireland from 5 June 1765 until 6 August 1765, a time-span that gives Liz Truss a run for her money. I’m not sure why it was so short. He was sandwiched between the Marquis of Drogheda and the Marquis of Hertford, while his deputy was Thomas, Viscount Weymouth, ‘who did not come over.’

In 1772 Baroness Holland – the eldest of the Lennox sisters – sought to have Sir Charles, her brother-in-law, reappointed Chief Secretary of Ireland. [Check]

Pleasingly, Sir Charles was an early supporter of the abolition of slavery.

‘On Saturday last at a meeting at the Assembly House in our town, of taking consideration on application to Parliament for the abolishment of the slave trade. Sir Charles Bunbury proposed the motion and Arthur Young seconded it.’
Bury and Norwich Post, 26 March 1788


Lieutenant General Sir Henry Edward Bunbury, KCB, 7th Baronet (1778–1860)


Born in London on 4 May 1778, Sir Henry Edward Bunbury was the son of the artist Henry William Bunbury and his wife Catherine Horneck. Educated at Westminster School, London, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1795. On 4 July 1806, he distinguished himself in the Battle of Maida.  On 4 April 1807, he was married in Sicily to Louisa Amelia Fox, daughter of General Hon. Henry Edward Fox and Marianne Clayton. She bore him four sons before her death in Genoa in September 1828, namely:

  1. Sir Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th Bt.1 b. 4 Feb 1809, d. 18 Jun 1886
  2. Sir Edward Herbert Bunbury, 9th Bt.1 b. 8 Jul 1811, d. 5 Mar 1895
  3. Geraldine Bunbury with F.I. Dixon, 1953

    Colonel Henry William St. Pierre Bunbury, CB (2 Sep 1812-18 Sep 1875), whose name is recalled in Bunbury, Australia. Captain Bunbury also unwittingly provided the name for the Bunbury Airwave, billed as the world’s first inflatable surf reef … unfortunately the trial run version of ripped in December 2019 (off Bunbury’s Back Beach in Oz) but or was that merely a ploy to get us all to notice it, a bit like Elon Musk is said to have done with his unbreakable truck … I’ve already had some training in this area as my ridiculous name is also used by several Californian surfing gentlemen.
    Colonel Bunbury’s third and youngest son Lt-Col William St Pierre Bunbury was father of Lt-Col Gerald Bruce St Pierre Bunbury and grandfather (or great-grandfather) of Brig Francis Ramsay St Pierre Bunbury, CBE, DSO (1910-1990), aka Ramsay Bunbury. Born in Hong Kong in 1910, Ramsay commanded the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding) during the Korean War from 1951 to 1954, including the vicious Battle of Hook in May 1953, for which he received a bar to his DSO. (See here).
    In 1933, F. R. St P Bunbury married Elizabeth Pamela Somers, daughter of Francis Reginald Liscombe, of Lansoar House, Lansoar, Monmouthshire. There is footage of the Brigadier in action looking through glasses in dugout at enemy positions on Pathé here.
    FRStP Bunbury’s son Charles Napier St Pierre, MBE (1941-2018), late Major, Duke of Wellington’s Regt, was married in 1977 to Veronica Evelyn, only daughter of Captain Peter Evelyn Fanshawe, CBE, DSC, RN, by whom he had a son William Francis St Pierre (b. 1982) and daughter Victoria Elizabeth St Pierre (b. 1979).
    FRStP Bunbury was also father to Geraldine Bunbury, pictured opposite.

  4. Captain Richard Hanmer Bunbury, b. 18 Dec 1813, d. 23 Dec 1857. He and his wife Sarah Susanna Sconce were parents of Capt. Henry Bunbury; Louisa Harriet Cometina Bunbury; Col. Cecil Hanmer Bunbury; Robert Clement Sconce Bunbury; Maj.-Gen. Sir Herbert Napier Bunbury and Frances Susanna Bunbury.  See Appendix 3.

He served as Under-Secretary for War between 1809 and 1816, in which capacity he gave Napoleon the news of his impending exile to St Helena.

He succeeded his uncle to become 7th Baronet on 31 March 1821.

On 22 September 1830, Sir Henry was married, secondly, to Emily Louisa Augusta Napier, daughter of Colonel Hon. George Napier and Lady Sarah Lennox, at Pau, France.

He was Sheriff of Suffolk between 1825 and 1826, and M.P. for Suffolk between 1830 and 1831. Appointed Knight Commander, Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) in 1815, he was also a Fellow of the Antiquarian Society (F.A.S.)

He died on 13 April 1860 at age 81 at Barton Hall, Bury, Suffolk. He sold the Stanney estate a year before his death.

Sir Henry’s land agent at Mildenhall and Great Barton was Edward Curling. His story is told in the third of a four volume series ‘Curling Wisps & Whispers of History, Volume 3: Suffolk & Sind‘ (2022) by LucyAnn Curling. He connects to Thomas Oakley Curling and his wife Jane, who set sail on the five-month journey to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) with 8 of their nine children, as recorded in Volume 1 of LucyAnn’s series, ‘Thanet to Tasmania.’



Sir Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th Baronet (1809-1886) – The Botanist


Born at Messina, Sicily, on 4 February 1809, Sir Charles was the eldest of four sons born to Sir Henry Edward Bunbury, the 7th baronet, whom he succeeded in 1860. A botanist and geologist with a particular interest in palaeo-botany, he collected plant specimens on expeditions to South America in 1833 and South Africa in 1838. He also accompanied his great friend and brother-in-law Sir Charles Lyell, the geologist, on an expedition to Madeira.

In 1844, he married Frances Joanna Horner, second daughter of Leonard Horner, Esq.,  F.R.S. and his wife, Anne Susanna Lloyd. Her older sister Mary Elizabeth Horner was married at Bonn, in Prussia, on 12 July, 1832, to Charles Lyell, Esq., eldest son of Charles Lyell, Esq., of Kinnordy, Forfar, Professor of Geology at King’s College, London. Born in 1797 and knighted in 1841, he was created a baronet of Kinnordy in 1864 and was President of the Geological Society from 1836-37 and again from 1850-1. He wrote “Principles of Geology,” “Antiquity of Man,” and other works. Frances Joanna’s three younger sisters were (1) Katharine Murray, who was married in 1848 to Lieut.-Colonel Henry Lyell; (2) Leonora, who was married in 1853 to Chevalier Pertz, Royal Librarian, at Berlin; and (3) Joanna Baillie Horner.

Frances was also a first cousin of George Whitelocke-Lloyd of Strancally Castle, who married, as his first wife, Selina Henry, daughter of Arthur Henry of Lodge Park, County Kildare. Their son was William Whitelocke-Lloyd who painted the battlefields of the Zulu War, and about whom I have written here. [With thanks to Victoria House.]

Sir Charles was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1851. For his memoirs, click here.


Sir Edward Herbert Bunbury, 9th Bt. (1811-1895)


Born on 8 July 1811, Edward Herbert Bunbury succeeded his older brother to become 9th baronet in 1886. He died on 5 March 1895.




Sir Henry Charles John Bunbury, 10th Bt (1855-1930)


Born at Clapham, Sussex, on 9 January 1855, Henry Charles John Bunbury was the firstborn son of Colonel Henry William St. Pierre Bunbury (1812-1875) and his wife Cecilia Caroline Napier, daughter of Lt.-Gen. Sir George Thomas Napier and Margaret Craig, who lived at Marchfield, Berkshire, England.

He attended Magdalene College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, became an officer in the Royal Navy and served as High Sheriff (1908) and Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk.

On 11 March 1884, he married Laura Lavinia Wood, daughter of Lt.-Gen. Thomas Wood and Frances Smyth, with whom he had two sons and two daughters:

  1. Laura Constance Elinor Bunbury, d. 26 Jun 1950
  2. Sir Charles Henry Napier Bunbury, 11th Bt,  b. 19 Jan 1886, d. 24 Jun 1963
  3. Cecilia Frances Laura Bunbury, b. c 1887, d. 30 Nov 1912
  4. Henry William Bunbury, b. 1889, d. 26 Jun 1956

On 5 March 1895, he succeeded his uncle, Sir Edward, to become the 10th baronet. He died on 18 December 1930, aged 75.




Sir Charles Henry Napier Bunbury, 11th Bt (1886-1963)


Born on 19 January 1886, Sir Charles Henry Napier Bunbury was the son of Sir Henry Charles John Bunbury, 10th Bt. and his wife Laura Lavinia Wood. He married Katherine Reid, daughter of Herbert Edward Reid, on 12 August 1914, just before the outbreak of the Great War. He served, gaining the rank of Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards (Special Reserve) and Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry.

Sir Charles and Lady Katherine bought Naunton Hall close to the river Deben by Rendlesham, East Suffolk, where they commissioned a new house in 1930.  Unbeknownst to them, Naunton marked the site of the Royal Hall of the Anglo-Saxon kings,  as recorded in the writings of The Venerable Bede of the 8th century. This is almost certainly where Swithelm, king of the East Saxons, was baptised. It stands just four miles upriver of the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial site, now run by the National Trust. (See here for more).

On 18 December 1930, he succeeded his father to become 11th baronet. In 1936, he was High Sheriff of Suffolk. He died on 24 June 1963 at age 77.
Sir Charles and Lady Katherine had a son, William, 12th Bt (1915-1985), and two daughters, Pamela (d. 1941) and Margaret Elinor (1918-2001).




Sir William Bunbury, 12th Bt. (1915-1985)


The Tatler, 11 December 1940

Born on 3 July 1915, (John) William (Napier) Bunbury was the son of the 11th Bt. and Lady Katherine Reid. Educated at Eton College and Jesus College, Cambridge University, he served with the 60th Rifles in the Second World War and gained the rank of captain.

On 28 November 1940, he married Margaret Pamela Sutton, daughter of Thomas Alexander Sutton and Gwendoline Forsyth-Forrest of Westlecott Manor, Swindon. They were married at St. Mary the Virgin, Buckland, Berks. Early the following year, William was sent to North Africa. His firstborn son Peter was born on 26 November 1941 but, on account of the war, William did not see him until 1944 or 1945. As his second son Michael observes, ‘it must have been difficult for wives and young children to pick up relationships.’

They had four sons:

  1. Peter Charles Napier Bunbury (1941-1964)
  2. Sir Michael William Bunbury, 13th Bt (b. 1946)
  3. Charles Thomas Bunbury (1950-1997)
  4. Christopher Henry Bunbury (b. 4 May 1950)

Sir William succeeded as 12th Baronet on 24 June 1963.

At Newmarket in July 1979, Sir William Bunbury brilliantly challenged the then Lord Derby to a heads or tails contest in the unsaddling enclosure after the running of the Ward Hill-sponsored Bunbury Cup. According to the Coventry Evening Telegraph of 14 July 1979 (p. 48):

‘Sir William, using an ancient silver dollar, asked Lord Derby to call. Knees bent, both men peered down at the coin which landed head up. Lord Derby had won again. “Best of three,” challenged Sir William and the ritual was repeated, with the same results obviating further extension of the contest which was one of the many colourful incidents during this three-day feast of racing.
Half-an-hour later, racegoers were applauding the breathtaking success of The Queen’s Milford, who broke !the course record when winning the Princess of Wales Stakes.’

Sir William died on 28 August 1985 at age 70.





Scurrilous fibs told by me in 1991 when I landed in Bunbury, Australia. Our line does NOT descend from Captain Bunbury. It was my ignorance at the time of this interview that compelled me to dig deeper and learn who the Bunburys really were … a lifetime’s occupation since then!


A fleeting snap of the Captain Bunbury Hotel in Bunbury, West Australia, taken when I visited the city in 1991.





*  Appendix 1 – The Will of Mary Bunbury, of Stanney, Chester, Spinster, 1686


‘IN the name of God, Amen, 8 Sept, 1684. I MARY BUNBURY, late of Stanney, co. Chester, spinster. My body to the earth “to be buried in a handsome and decent manner as my Brother thinketh fitt.” And for what my father Thomas Bunbury of Bunbury and Stanney, Baronett, gave me as my portion I desire it may be disposed on this manner, if my brother Henry Bunbury, Baronett, thinks fit, who I do constitute and ordain as my sole executor, excepting against all else.

First, I leave and bequeath to him my dear brother, ten pounds to buy him mourning cloaths and my father’s picture and all my books.
To my sister, my brother’s wife, 10 pounds to buy her mourning.
To Lady Eyton 20s to buy her a ring.
To my sister Ann Eyton £5 to buy her mourning.
To my nephew Henry Bunbury £100.
To my nephew William Bunbury £100.
To my nephew John Bunbury £100.
Item to my nephew Joseph Bunbury £100.
Item to my nephew Richard Bunbury £100.
Item to my sister Greene‘s children, Neddy and John and Tommy and Sarah, £50 each, to be put out at use for them.
Item to my dear aunt Legh £100.
Item to my cozen Frances Legh my silver Pepper Box and silver Grater.
To my aunt Cowley £5.
Item to my aunt Morgan £5.
Item to my cozen Betty £1 to buy her a ring.
Item to my uncle Henry Bunbury £1 to buy him a ring.
To my aunt his wife €1 to buy her a ring.
Item to my uncle Joseph Bunbury and my aunt his wife £1 apiece to buy them rings.
Item to my aunt Mary Bunbury and my cosen Charles Bunbury and cosen William Bunbury £1 a piece to buy them rings.
Item to my aunt Dye Bunbury and cosen Dulcibella Bunbury £1 apiece to buy them rings.
Item to my aunt Chetwood and cosen John Chetwood £1 apiece to buy them rings.
Item to my mother Lady Bunbury £1 to buy her a ring, and my velvet mantle.
Item to my sister Priscella Bunbury and sister Lucy Bunbury £100 a piece.
Item to my cosen Sarah Banks £1 to buy her a ring.
Item to my cosen Susanna Manley of the Lache £1 to buy her a ring.
Item to my sister Bunbury and sister Amy and my cosen Puleston, the widow, and cosen Susanna Puleston £1 apiece to buy them rings.
Item I leave to Lady Eyton £5 to buy her a piece of plate.
I leave to the poor of Stoak parish € 100.
To my brother Bunbury’s servants, Richard and Margaret and Betty Nicholls, and Catherine and Mary and Mrs Sauntley and David and Jack, £1 apiece.
Item to my maid, cosen Alice Mather, €100 and all my cloaths.
Item to my sister Bunbury my point coronett.
Item to my cosen Fowne’s wife £100.
Item to Mr Wynn, the parson, one guinea to preach my funeral sermon.
Item to my cosen Tom Berkett and his wife €1 apiece.

Extracted from ‘Remains, Historical and Literary, Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester’ (Chetham Society, 1893), Volume 28, p. 114-116. See also: Ormerod’s Cheshire, vol. ii. p. 396.

Appendix 3 – Cecil Edward Frances Bunbury (1864-1932)

C. E. Bunbury was a son of Capt. Henry Bunbury and Elizabeth Kelsey and brother of Captain William Clement Hanmer Bunbury. He married May Valerie de Visme. He joined the Indian Civil Service as his friend Michael O’Dwyer recalled:

‘Bunbury and I were old friends, having started life together in Lahore fifteen years earlier, and he had a unique knowledge of the Frontier administration of which I was then wholly ignorant.’ (India as I Knew It, p. 105).

He was Deputy-Commissioner of Peshawar circa 1900 and was also, for a time, the judicial commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province, the controlling authority in the judicial branch of the administration, his court being the highest criminal and appellate tribunal in the province.

C. E. Bunbury was mentioned here when he wrote to The Times on April 18, 1917, suggesting the use of the story of Germans converting corpses into glycerine for propaganda purposes, in neutral countries and the East, where it would be especially calculated to horrify Buddhists, Hindus, and Mohammedans. He suggested broadcasting by the Foreign Office, India Office, and Colonial Office; there were other letters to the same effect on April 19th.

Another brother of Cecil and Henry was Major (later Major General Sir) Herbert Napier Bunbury, who was first commissioned into the Royal Artillery as a Lieutenant in 1871, transferred to the Army Service Corps in 1886, and was Director of Supplies and Transport, Irish Command, 1903.