Cotesbach has been associated with the Marriott family since 1759 when the 1,200 acre estate was bought by the Trustees of Robert Marriott (1705-1755) who left assets in his will for its purchase for his son Robert who was still under age when his father died. A farmer from Braunston, near Daventry, Northamptonshire, Robert’s family was one of several branches of the Marriott family in that area, who were well established in the 17th Century and are likely to have profited from the enclosures.
Son Robert (1742-1808) did not take up residence until 1768 upon completing his degree of Bachelor of Letters (LLB)–at Queen’s College, Oxford, thus qualifying to take up the living as Rector of Cotesbach and Lord of the Manor. He also held the living of nearby villages Shawell and Gilmorton.
In 1771 Robert married Elizabeth Stow of Walthamstow; their eldest son Robert (1774-1841) followed in his father’s footsteps as Rector of Cotesbach and married Anne, daughter of James Powell of Clapton (Middlesex), in 1809, thus bringing property in Clapton into the family for a few decades of the 19th Century and association with the Powell family (including Baden Powell), the glassworks James Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd who in 1919 made the stained glass East window in Cotesbach church, and Newick Park, E. Sussex, where the Powell cousins lived.
The second Robert, his siblings, and his many nephews and nieces were well- educated, well-connected and influential in religious, educational and legal circles. One sister Elizabeth married Abraham Caldecott (1763-1839) and the other, Caroline, the Rev. Thomas Harris, both from well-known landed and professional families after which the present day Caldecott Park and Harris School in Rugby are named. Letters and diaries in the archive represent early 19th century society, both locally and internationally.
Robert’s brother George Wharton (1778-1833, whose portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery) was head boy at Rugby School at the time of the Great Rebellion of 1797, became a prominent lawyer and a Fellow of All Souls and was instrumental in the foundation of Kenyon College, Ohio, with Bishop Chase and Lord Kenyon. George Wharton married Selina Adams from Charwelton, Northamptonshire, whose journals are preserved in the archive. Their offspring include Fitzherbert Adams who became Archdeacon of Hobart, and then the first Bishop of Tasmania before retiring to Chaddesley Corbet in Worcestershire with his wife Anne Julia Schaw, who also came from a Northamptonshire family. Another son was Lt Gen William Frederick (1819-1879) who died in Cairo after a career as Military Secretary to the Governor of Bombay and latterly President of the Railway Administration in Egypt, under H H The Khedive. A third brother, Wharton Booth (1823-1871), became a housemaster at Eton College.
The following generation of Marriott cousins continued to travel and the collection contains accounts of these including: Sidney Marriott (1860-1927) who was appointed Stipendiary Magistrate on the island of Fiji in 1899, and Alfred Lyttleton Marriott (1863-1942), who travelled to Persia in 1901 securing from the Shah the first British concession for the exploration of oil fields in the region. Their nephew George Cyril Cockburn Marriott (1884-1981) bequeathed the family papers back to the Marriotts of Cotesbach. They include diaries, correspondence and papers of Elizabeth Marriott (1815-1904) and Sophia Isabella Marriott (1818-1909), which document the family, religion and education.
The Marriott family’s contribution to the history of the Church of England extended beyond the roles played by the successive rectors of Cotesbach. Robert and George’s younger brother John Marriott (1780-1825) was tutor and house chaplain for the Duke of Buccleugh and a friend of Sir Walter Scott, who dedicated a verse of ‘Marmion’ to him. He became Rector of Church Lawford with Newnham Chapelry (Warwickshire), and later took up a living at Ottery St Mary in Devon, which prompted the move southwards of several family members. John wrote poetry, and hymns including ‘Thou Whose Almighty Word’. John’s sons were both Anglican clergymen, the younger of them, Charles Marriott 1811-1858, vicar of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford) was a member of the Oxford Movement and a contemporary of Cardinal Newman. Two of John’s nieces (Robert’s daughters) also married clergy: Susanna Marriott to the Reverend Thomas Stevens in 1843 who founded Bradfield College (Berkshire) in 1850, and Caroline to Reverend John David Watson of Guilsborough (1804-1864), whose son John Sykes Watson (1837-1906) became Rector of Cotesbach for a few years (1872-1886) in the absence of a Marriott vicar in Cotesbach. Religious papers, sermons and correspondence in the archive between all these family members exemplify the local, national and international scope of their religious network and includes over a thousand handwritten sermons from three successive generations of Marriott Rectors in Cotesbach.
During the second and third generations of Marriotts at Cotesbach, the estate accrued lands in neighbouring Shawell and Misterton, the finances being underpinned by the Clapton property and in the next generation by property in Yorkshire. Anne Powell Marriott gave birth to three sons named Robert, one of whom survived to age 12. It was his younger brother James Powell Marriott who inherited the Estate and became the next Rector of Cotesbach, turning down an offer of a living abroad like his cousin Fitzherbert. In 1844 James married Lucy Henrietta Strickland, daughter of Sir George Strickland, a Yorkshire baronet from Boynton in the East Riding. They had 11 children. Lucy’s dowry consisted of an estate in North Lincolnshire at Walcot near Scunthorpe through her mother Mary Constable. Walcot originally belonged to the Goultons, and it was a condition of inheritance that the heir should take the name of Goulton-Constable. On the death of Lucy’s mother, in 1866, James Powell and Lucy Henrietta duly changed their name from Marriott to Goulton-Constable, with the expectation that Walcot would go to their second son, Charles. However when Charles’s older brother Robert was killed as an undergraduate at Oxford, Charles became heir to both Cotesbach and Walcot. When his parents died of scarlet fever three years later within months of each other, Walcot went to Charles’s younger brother James, who duly changed his name to Goulton-Constable. As Charles had never intended to take on the living at Cotesbach, another of his brothers, George, (who changed his name to Strickland) became Rector in Cotesbach and a new Rectory was built for him and his family (now known as Cotesbach House).
Charles Marriott, (the fourth generation of Marriotts at Cotesbach) inherited Cotesbach in 1871 at the age of 23. He and his brothers were keen sportsmen. In 1880 Charles married Frances Marion ‘Kitty’ Fellowes, the daughter of Sir Charles Fellowes, of Shotesham, Norfolk. By 1883 the family’s Leicestershire property, at and in the vicinity of Cotesbach and including the manors of Cotesbach and Shawell, amounted to 2074 acres worth £3289. Charles had the stables built at what is now Hall Farm, also a nursery wing and conservatory extension to the Hall, part of a total makeover in the Victorian Gothic style. His wife died of a miscarriage during her third pregnancy in three years, having produced Eve, and then twins of which the boy, Carl, the expected heir, had significant brain damage. Charles moved away from Cotesbach to Claybrooke for several years, whilst the children were raised by family in Yorkshire. In the meantime, agricultural land prices plummeted and by the time he married again, to Mary Emily Peach in 1891, and produced a second family of seven sons and a daughter, the financial situation had deteriorated. Two sons, Owen and Patrick, had already died in childhood, then Fred and Digby were both killed in France in 1915. Charles died just before the end of the war in 1918. Parts of the property had already been sold in 1879, 1912 and 1916, and there were further sales in the 1934 and 1946.
Charles’s widow, Mary Emily Peach, was the eldest daughter of Charles Pierrepont Peach, vicar of Appleton le Street, near Malton, Yorkshire. The Peaches were descended from the Cleavers and Crugers (including a John Cruger Junior Mayor of New York 1757-66), who changed their name to Peach in 1788. The Cleavers were a parsonical, academic family who were natives of the same part of Northamptonshire around Daventry, as the Marriotts. They married an heiress Peach of Tockington in Bristol, the Peaches being traders to North America in the 18th Century. The Cleavers migrated north, first to Southwell, where one (James Jarvis Cleaver Peach, 1776-1864) was a Canon of Southwell Minster, and then to Malton and Appleton. Mary Emily, kept things going at Cotesbach until she died in 1934. She was a significant figure in the WWI voluntary and Women’s Institute movements, completing 4,009 hours service in Lutterworth Cottage Hospital during WWI for which she received a Royal Red Cross medal. Both Esther and her half-sister Eve document their experiences of the First World War in their diaries.
Charles’s eldest son by his marriage to Mary Emily Peach was Reverend James Edmund ‘Jim’ Marriott, who after war service with the Royal Flying Corps became the last Marriott to have the living in Cotesbach (1933-46), briefly residing in the Manor, after his marriage to Louise Price, a Canadian, and then at the Hall after his mother died in 1934. Charles’s eldest son Carl (1882-1945) succeeded to the Boynton Hall (Yorkshire) estate of his first cousin once removed, Sir Walter William Strickland, 9th Baronetbut it was held by Trustees until his death in 1945 when this inheritance passed to his half-brother Jim. Jim then assumed the surname Strickland in 1946, became vicar of Boynton and Carnaby, Yorkshire, but then sold Boynton soon after in 1950 and retired to Jersey. In 1981 Richard Marriott, Charles Marriott’s grandson and eldest son of Rowland Marriott, bought back Boynton, where he lives today.
When Reverend James Edmund Marriott put Cotesbach on the market, his younger brother Rowland (fifth son of Charles Marriott, who married Evelyn Caillard) bought the Hall, the Manor and the nucleus of the land from the original estate from his elder brother and lived in the house where he was born in 1899 until he died in 1992. It is this property of about 75 acres which survives today, now run by the seventh generation who have set up a Family Trust.