Note: Annesley Hall is a Grade II listed country house near Annesley in Nottinghamshire, England and the ancestral home of the Chaworth-Musters family.
The Hall dates from the mid-13th century and was the home of the Annesley family, passing to the Chaworth family when Alice, heiress to the Manor of Annesley, married George Chaworth, third son of Sir Thomas Chaworth of Wiverton, in the 15th century. The Chaworth family were to possess the estate for the next 350 years. It was significantly enlarged and improved by Patrick Chaworth, 3rd Viscount Chaworth in the 17th century when damage to his family seat at Wiverton obliged him to move to Annesley.
Mary Chaworth, who lived at the Hall, was the boyhood lover of the poet Lord Byron, who lived at nearby Newstead Abbey. Byron's poem "The Dream" concerns the meeting of two lovers on Diadem Hill, part of The Misk Hills range, which belonged to the Annesley estate. The uncle of the poet Byron had killed the then Lord Chaworth in a duel outside the house. Mary Chaworth eventually married John Musters of Colwick Hall in 1805. Their teenage son, Charles Musters, sailed as a Volunteer 1st Class aboard HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin, but died of malaria in South America on May 19, 1832. The Chaworth-Musters family became one of the most powerful families in Nottinghamshire.
Other structural alterations to the hall took place in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the addition of a service wing c.1880. It remained in the hands of the Chaworth-Musters family until sold by Major Robert Patricius Chaworth-Musters in 1972. The new purchasers carried out extensive internal alterations and removed many of the 17th century fittings. Unfortunately the hall suffered a fire in 1997 which caused damage to the structure and it has not been lived in since. The hall is now in private ownership, in very poor condition and not open to the public. English Heritage have listed the building on the 'Buildings at Risk Register' as high vulnerability and deteriorating.
Annesley Lodge, the former gatehouse to the hall, is also grade II listed. Annesley Old Church, near to the hall, is a grade I listed building and a scheduled ancient monument. It is on the Heritage at Risk register but the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded �450,000 towards its conservation.
The joining of the Chaworth and Musters families George Chaworth married his housekeeper, Anne Bainbridge. They had one daughter, Mary Ann Chaworth (1786-1832), heiress to the Chaworth estates in Annesley, Edwalton and Wiverton. Her widowed mother Anne married the Rev. William Clarke, rector of Gonalston, who managed the estates during Mary Ann's minority. Annesley was the neighbouring property to Newstead Abbey, and Mary Ann was the first love of Lord Byron, the poet. She was described by him as 'the last of a time-honoured race'. In 1805 she married John ('Jack') Musters (1777-1849), the eldest son of John Musters (1753-1827) and his wife Sophia (d 1819) of Colwick Hall near Nottingham. The Musters were an established Nottinghamshire family, tracing their history back to Sir John Musters of Hornsey, Middlesex, who bought the manors of Over and Nether Colwick from the Byron family in the mid-17th century. In consequence of his marriage, Jack took the surname Chaworth, and his eight children were baptised with the name Chaworth. However, the family reverted to Musters by Royal Licence in 1823.
In 1827 Jack inherited Colwick Hall from his father. On 10 October 1831 Colwick Hall was sacked by rioters, enraged at the failure of the Second Reform Bill. Mary Ann Musters, whose health was already poor, hid outside in the rain with her daughter Sophia overnight, and is said never to have recovered from the shock. She died at Wiverton on 6 February 1832. Jack and Mary Ann's eldest son, John George Chaworth Musters (1807-1842), predeceased his father. He had married Emily Hamond (1818-1845), youngest daughter of Philip Hamond of Westacre, Norfolk. Two of John George's sisters also married children of Philip Hamond: Mary Ann (1806-1900) married the eldest son Anthony Hamond, and Sophia Caroline (1811-1894) married the second son Robert Nicholas Hamond. 19th and 20th centuries
John George and Emily's three children were orphaned in 1845 when their mother died from tuberculosis, the disease which had also killed their father. Emily's youngest brother Philip Hamond, formerly in the Royal Navy, and latterly settled as a farmer in Canada, became their guardian and moved back to England. They lived at Gayton in Norfolk, but moved back to Annesley when the eldest son, John Chaworth Musters (1838-1887), inherited the estates from his grandfather Jack in 1847. John came of age in 1859 and was well known as a huntsman. He kept his own hounds at Wiverton, and was Master of the South Nottinghamshire and Quorn hunts. He enjoyed salmon fishing, and bought an estate in Norway. He married Caroline Anne ('Lina'), eldest daughter of Henry Porter Sherbrooke, formerly Lowe, of Oxton Hall, Nottinghamshire, and was succeeded by his son John Patricius Chaworth-Musters (1860-1921), who in 1888 obtained licence to take the surname Chaworth jointly with Musters.
John Patricius (known as Patrick) and his wife Mary Anne, n�e Sharpe, had seven sons and four daughters, the eldest of which were born on their estate in Norway. The eldest son, George Patricius Chaworth-Musters (1888-1915), died of wounds received in action, as did the fourth son Philip Mundy Chaworth-Musters (1895-1917). The fifth son Robert Chaworth-Musters (1896-1918) died of pneumonia at the end of the First World War. The youngest son James (1901-1948), a zoologist, owned an estate at Surnadal in Norway from his father, and was British Vice-Consul at Bergen until April 1940 when the Germans invaded Norway. Upon his return to Britain he was employed by the Norwegian Government in exile to interrogate escapees from Norway. After the war he worked at the Natural History Museum in London.
Memorial in the old Annesley churchyard to John and Lina Chaworth Musters, George Chaworth Musters, Mary Anne Packe, Henry Charlton Chaworth-Musters, and the three Chaworth-Musters sons killed in the First World War. � Ian Palmer 2007
Memorial in the old Annesley churchyard to John and Lina Chaworth Musters, George Chaworth Musters, Mary Anne Packe, Henry Charlton Chaworth-Musters, and the three Chaworth-Musters sons killed in the First World War, 2007
John Patricius was succeeded by his second son, John Neville Chaworth-Musters, DSO, OBE (1890-1970), who sold Wiverton Hall, leaving Annesley as the main estate (Colwick had been sold in 1896). As John Neville's elder son was killed in action in the Second World War, the Annesley estate was inherited in 1970 by his younger son Robert Patricius Chaworth-Musters (1923-1992), known as 'Major Bob'. He sold Annesley Hall and park in 1973 and moved to Felley Priory.
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