John Dunn Gardner

John Dunn Gardner (20 July 1811-11 January 1903), formerly of [ Soham Mere] and later of Chatteris House, Isle of Ely, in the county of Cambridge, known as John Townshend until 1842 and sometimes styled "Earl of Leicester", was a British Member of Parliament from 1841 to 1847. He was also a JP, and a DL, and High Sheriff for the counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon in 1859. He is otherwise notable for the tangled marital history of his mother, the Marchioness Townshend.

Baptised John Townshend on 26 December 1823 at St. George's Bloomsbury [ [ Obituary The Marquess Townshend] "Gentleman's Magazine", January 1865.] , he was the eldest surving son of the brewer John Margetts and the heiress Sarah (née Dunn Gardner), estranged wife of Viscount Raynham. Sarah and her husband had been separated since shortly after their marriage on 12 May 1807 (she alleged non-consummation).

While an ecclesiastical suit for annulment was pending, Lady Raynham eloped in May 1809 with John Margetts, a brewer (d. 1842). He and Sarah had been married in a bigamous ceremony in Gretna Green in October 1809; the marriage to Raynham was never dissolved in her lifetime.

All the children of this union were declared illegitimate by a private Act of Parliament in 1842. Dunn Gardner, who had styled himself "Earl of Leicester" (the courtesy title used by the heir apparent to the marquessate of Townshend), assumed the same year his mother's maiden name of Dunn Gardner. The year before he had been elected to the House of Commons for Bodmin as a Conservative, a seat he held until 1847.

Dunn Gardner died in January 1903, aged 91.

ettling of the grandfather's estate in 1831

In August 1831, her father William Dunn-Gardner, formerly Dunn, Esq., of Chatteris House (d. 10 November 1831) devised the estate of Soham Mere, bought with the funds originally settled on his daughter and her husband, to his eldest natural grandson John Dunn Gardner, described in 1863 as a stranger in blood under the law. [ [,M1 "Attorney General vs Gardner" 1863 Hilary Term] in "The Exchequer Reports: Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Courts of Exchequer &Exchequer Chamber" edited by EdwinTyrrell Hurlstone and Francis Joseph Coltman, and published 1863.] . However, at the time (1831), John Dunn Gardner was his legitimate grandson, as the son born to his daughter within wedlock (albeit not by her husband). William Dunn-Gardner apparently devised the estate by name to ensure that his grandson would not be disinherited by any future legal steps taken by the Townshend family, which in fact happened in 1842.

Soham Mere was given to the second brother William Dunn-Gardner, of Fordham Abbey, and descended in the family until 1974 when it was sold to the present owner. [ [ Soham - Manors | British History Online ] ]

Formal Bastardization in 1843

Sarah, Lady Townshend, and John Margetts had several children who bore their father's name until 26 December 1823 when there was a wholesale christening under the Townshend name, and were all declared illegitimate by Act of Parliament in 1842. [Francois Velde (2007) [ "Genetically Challenged" Queen] message from, posted 30 May 2007. The message says in part:

"The Townshend peerage case was one where marquis Townshend (thencalled Lord Chartley) married Sarah Dunn Gardner in 1807; a yearlater she left her husband, sued in Ecclesiastical court to havethe marriage annulled because of his impotence but dropped thesuit and eloped with a brewer of St. Ives. Their children initiallybore the brewer's name (Margetts) but from 1823 took the nameTownshend, and one took the style of Earl of Leicester. Themarquis took no steps to dissolve the marriage, and his brotherhad no means to dispute the legitimacy of the so-called Earl ofleicester, because no property depended on the title. As timewent by and witnesses died off, it seemed the imposture mightnot be preventable. So the brother and heir presumptive petitionedthe house of Lords for inquiry respecting the descent of thesehonours in May 1842. The next year the marquis himself alsopetitioned the House.

Ultimately a private bill was brought "to declare the illegitimacyof certain persons alleged or claiming to be children of the MostHonourable George Ferrars, Marquis Townshend". There was much debate(how could you bastardize the children of a valid and continuingmarriage? Was the royal prerogative not infringed? What aboutordinary courts?). In the end the bill received royal assent onJuly 12, 1843 intituled "An Act to declare taht [sic] certain personstherein mentioned are not children of the Most Honourable George Ferrars,Marquis Townshend" (6 & 7 Vict c. 35) and declaring that "the saidseveral children of the said Sarah Gardner, Marchioness Townshend,hereinbefore respectively mentioned, are not nor were, nor shallthey or any of them, be taken to be or be deemed the lawful issueof the said George Ferrars Marquis Townshend" (one child, havingno legal guardian, was excepted from the provisions).(based on Frederick Clifford, A History of Private Bill Legislation,1885, vol. 1 p. 443-450)."
] (According to Francois Velde, one child, being a minor and having no legal guardian, was exempted from the act's provisions). Their eldest son John (20 July 1811-11 January 1903) was baptised with the surname Townshend and assumed the title of "Earl of Leicester". He later represented Bodmin in the House of Commons. In 1842 (after the Act of Parliament declaring him illegitimate was passed) he assumed his mother's surname of Dunn Gardner. Sarah, now Mrs James Lairder (since 10 January 1855) and formerly Marchioness Townshend, died on 11 September 1858. ["Ibid." and [ Obituary The Marquess Townshend] "Gentleman's Magazine"]


The Dunn-Gardners were descended via William Dunn-Gardner, originally Dunn (d. 1831) and his wife Jane Gardner, heiress of Chatteris House (d. 1839), who married in 1783 and had an only surviving daughter Sarah Gardner, Marchioness of Townshend (d. 11 September 1858), who died as Mrs James Lairder. Jane Gardner was herself the only surviving child and heir of her father John Gardner, Esq., of Chatteris House [His grandfather was also described as John Gardner, Esq., of Chatteris by the 1862 Burke's.] (d. 1804), who married his cousin, the daughter and heir of John Marriott, Esq., of Chatteris House by Barbara Johnstone, sister of his mother. When John Gardner died in 1804, his son-in-law was obliged to change his name from Dunn to Dunn-Gardner to inherit Chatteris House and the other Gardner estates. Burke's says that the grandson inherited Chatteris in 1839, after his maternal grandmother Jane had died that year. [A.F. Wareham and A.P.M Wright (2002). [ 'Fordham: Manors and other estates'] , "A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10": Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (north-eastern Cambridgeshire) (2002), pp. 395-402. Retrieved 13 February 2008.]

Although "A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain" (1862) fails to mention Mr Dunn Gardner's parentage (as the eldest illegimate son of a brewer John Margetts and his bigamous spouse Sarah Dunn-Gardner, Marchioness Townshend), he is credited with two surviving brothers and two sisters:
*William Dunn-Gardner, of [ Fordham Abbey] , nr Newmarket, co. Cambridge, JP (1813-1879), known as Lord William Townshend from 26 December 1823 until 1843 (as the alleged second surviving son of the 3rd Marquess Townshend), when he and his siblings were declared illegitimate by private act. He inherited the Fordham Abbey estate from his maternal grandfather, but came into possession only in 1839 when his maternal grandmother died, and was at first an unpopular landlord. [A.F. Wareham and A.P.M Wright (2002). "Ibid."] . He married Angelina N (d. 1923), by whom he had one surviving son and heir Cyril.
** Cyril Dunn-Gardner, of Fordham Abbey (d. 1911) [ [ "Fordham Abbey is the seat of Cyril Dunn-Gardner esq."] . He is possibly the same as [ Captain Francis Cyril Dunn-Gardner] or Captain F.C. Dunn Gardner, who was commissioned into the army in 1891, promoted to Lieutenant in 1893, served in the Boer War, and disappeared from Army Lists by 1901, with the note "Removed from Army". ] . Cyril was of age in 1895, and owned about 1,570 acres in Fordham in 1910. He died without issue in 1911, leaving a life interest in the Abbey estate to his mother and former guardian, who died 1923, as above. [A.F. Wareham and A.P.M Wright (2002). "Ibid."] . The Fordham Abbey estate then passed in 1923 to Algernon Charles Wyndham Dunn Gardner (d. 1929), apparently by then the next heir male. (The estate fell to about 1,140 acres by his death).
*Cecil Dunn-Gardner (b. 1827, possibly d. by 1880) [Date of birth listed in [ the accessions list of the National Archives] . His library was [ partly sold] in June 1880; such sales often took place after the death of the collector in question.] , formerly of the 13th light Dragoons. It is probably this Cecil Dunn-Gardner who was the father of four daughters - (Lucy) Cecilia or Cissie, Maude, Violet, and Flora [The daughters are mentioned in the online blurb for Meriona Campion's " [ Searching for Shadows] ". Campion (b. 1959), is a great-niece of the duchess, as the youngest daughter of the late Mrs Fay Campion (1929-2002), younger daughter of Lady Serena James. [ Descent from Lady Serena James] per Paul Theroff, retrieved 14 February 2008. The grandmother who told her stories was almost certainly Lady Serena James (1901-2000), younger daughter of (Lucy) Cecilia Dunn-Gardner, herself a granddaughter of Sarah Dunn-Gardner] :
** [ (Lucy) Cecilia Dunn-Gardner] , or Cissie (d. 24 November 1931), who married 1stly in 1887 Col. Robert Ashton (1848-1898) [He was a second cousin of Thomas Gair Ashton, 1st Baron Ashton of Hyde (1855-1933), whose great-grandfather [ Samuel Ashton] (1742-1812) was his great-grandfather as well.] by whom she had one son and one daughter, and 2ndly in 1899 the 10th Earl of Scarbrough (16 November 1857 -4 March 1945), by whom she had an only daughter. According to [ her daughter's obituary (2000)] , the Countess ignored her daughters, and was known for her vulgarity, solecisms, and malapropisms.
**Violet Dunn Gardner the artist.
**Maude Dunn Gardner, aged 15 in 1881 (b circa 1865)
**Flora Dunn Gardner. [Her son Robin wrote the first account of his great-grandmother Sarah's life. Robin was a close friend of his first cousin Dorothy Wellesley; both were poets, but he was also homosexual while she was bisexual. See blurb for Campion's book.]
*Rosa-Jane Dunn-Gardner
*Lavinia-Charlotte-Sarah Dunn-Gardner

Marriages and children

Dunn Gardner married twice. His first wife, whom he married in 1847, was Mary Lawson (d. 13 April 1851), elder daughter of Andrew Lawson, of Boro Bridge, Boroughbridge, co York formerly MP for Knaresborough, and granddaughter maternally of the late Sir Thomas Gooch, Bt., of Benacre, co. Suffolk. By her, he had issue, one son and one daughter. [Ruvigny. [ The Plantagenet Roll: The Anne of Exeter Volume, p.555] and [,M1 Burke's Landed Gentry 1862, p. 531] .] .

His second wife, whom he married in 1853, was Ada Piggott, daughter of William Pigott, Esq., of Dullingham House, Newmarket, co Cambridge, and granddaughter of Sir George Pigott, Bt., of Knapton, Queen's County. By his second wife, he had further issue, a second son and a second daughter.

# (by 1st wife) Arthur Andrew Cecil Dunn-Gardner, J.P. (b. 8 January 1851), apparently a notable book collector like his father [ [ : A Calendar of the Names of Over 17,000 Men and Women] by William Carew Hazlitt (published 1971) lists Cecil (1897), his father John Dunn-Gardner (1854), and a Cyril Dunn-Gardner, apparently son of William Dunn-Gardner, of Fordham Abbey.] . He married 1890 Rose Lawrie, daughter of Andrew Lawrie. [Ruvigny. [ The Plantagenet Roll: The Anne of Exeter Volume, p.555] ] She was apparently the Rose Dunn-Gardner, who was active in 1895 in the Society for Organising Charitable Relief and Repressing Mendicity (formed 1869), known later as Charity Organisation Society (COS). [ Robert Whelan, based on research by Barendina Smedley. [ "Helping the Poor:Friendly visiting, dole charities and dole queues"] , Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society, London, first published October 2001. Retrieved 13 February 2008. Rose Dunn-Gardner was an advocate for formal training, and published a paper that year, which led to the formation of a Committee on Training, which eventually gave rise by 1903 to a de facto school of social work, now part of the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics. Rose herself disliked the growing professionalization of social work, and resigned in protest over a paid appointment some years later.]

# (by 1st wife) Mary Marianne Mariana, later Mrs William Robinson (b. 1848-1850) md 1870 her stepmother's brother [ (Christopher) William Robinson] (23 January 1830-23 June 1889), of Dullingham House, Newmarket, co Cambridge (the house formerly owned or rented by her stepmother's father) and Denston Hall, co. Suffolk; he was son of William Pigott, Esq., of Dullingham House, Newmarket, co Cambridge (see above) by his wife Harriet Jeaffreson. He changed his name twice from Pigott to Jeaffreson to inherit Dullingham House under the terms of his grandfather's will, and then again to Robinson to inherit Denston Hall, Suffolk, from another relative. He died 23 June 1889, apparently leaving no issue. [Ruvigny. "Ibid." Also see [ Jeaffreson] for many of the details of his birthdate, relationship to his wife's stepmother (his own sister) and his name changes to inherit.] .
# (by 2nd wife) Algernon Charles Wyndham Dunn-Gardner, of Denston Hall, co Suffolk, and Chatteris (b. 12 December 1853; d. 1929) [ [ "A Dictionary of Suffolk Crests: Heraldic Crests of Suffolk Families"] by Joan Corder - 1998] ] ; he married Harriet N [ [ "The History of St. Nichoas Parish Church, Denston"] , last modified 27 September 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2008] . They had issue, one daughter
## Miriam Dunn-Gardner (d after 1977), married by 1934 to H. C. Leader, a racehorse trainer. She sold her manorial rights in Fordham Abbey in 1972. The Abbey itself with about 245 acres remaining mostly parkland, was sold between 1933 and 1937. ['Fordham: Manors and other estates', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10: Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (north-eastern Cambridgeshire) (2002), pp. 395-402. URL: [ "Fordham: Manors and other estates"] . Date accessed: 12 February 2008.]
# (by 2nd wife) Ada Marietta Dunn-Gardner

Dunn-Gardner died circa 1904-1905, being still living and residing at 37 Grosvenor Place, London, when Ruvigny compiled the Anne of Exeter volume. [ [ His younger son erected a memorial plaque for his father in 1905] ]

In 1872, John Dunn Gardner was the sixth largest landowner in the county of Cambridge, ranking immediately after the Earl of Hardwicke, the Duke of Bedford, John Walbanke Childers MP, the Duke of Rutland, and William Hall. He was the second largest landowner to be resident principally in Cambridgeshire, and owned 3,676 acres, or about 0.7% of all land in that county. [Kevin Cahill (2001). [ Who Owns Britain (and Ireland)] ]



*Burke, Bernard. "A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain" (1862). See pp. 531-532 for [,M1 "Dunn-Gardner of Chatteris House"] .
*Stephen, Sir Leslie; Lee, Sir Sidney (editors). "The Dictionary of National Biography, From the Earliest Times to 1900: Volume XIX, Stow-Tytler". Oxford University Press.
*'Soham: Manors', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10: Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (north-eastern Cambridgeshire) (2002), pp. 500-507. URL: Date accessed: 28 December 2007.
* [ Obituary: Lady Serena James] "The Telegraph" 23 August 2001.

*Landy, Darryl. [ The Peerage] database.
*Rayment, Leigh. [ Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page]
*Theroff, Paul. [ Descendants of King Henry VII of England: Part Eight] .

External links

* [ 'North Witchford Hundred: Chatteris'] , "A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4: City of Ely; Ely, N. and S. Witchford and Wisbech Hundreds (2002)" pp. 103-109. Date accessed: 13 February 2008. In this entry, the family is called (Dunn) Gardiner not (Dunn) Gardner. Chatteris House (No. 17 High Street), built in 1828, and now private apartments, is described as "a fine early-19th-century building, with portico porch sheltering a good doorway and door, an iron balcony above, and a central pediment. Inside, the staircase is of stone with an iron balustrade, and there are some moulded plaster ceilings."
* [ Pictures of Chatteris House]


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