Saturday 18 February 2023

Davenport of Ballhaye AKA Ballhaye Jack

 A question has recently been asked on the Facebook forum of The Heraldry Society by a person researching the Davenport surname who states that he is "looking for the blazon for DAVENPORT OF BALL HAYES."

I deal with this quite comprehensively in my talk on the gentry of Leek. It is is Davenport of Ballhaye known as Ballhaye Jack. Slide 46 on my presentation gives you illustrations.

Ballhaye Jack.

The will of this historic and well remembered personage is sealed (as is his father's given below) with a large seal of arms quarterly. By it Mr. Davenport left directions for the due discharge of all his debts, and then to his wife £100 ; to Isaac Cope, of Leek, surgeon, £50 ; to Joseph Mellor, merchant, £50 ; and to Lucy, daughter of Isaac Cope, £50. All his real and personal estate he left to Isaac Cope and Joseph Mellor in trust to reduce the whole to one yearly income, half of which was to be paid to his widow, and one-fourth each to Lucy Cope, and to the education of his nephew, James, son of his sister Sarah Hulme, who was to finish his education at Cambridge rather than Oxford, and to assume the testator's name and arms. He desired to be buried in as quiet a manner as possible with his ancestors in Leek churchyard. The will is dated 1785, and witnessed by William Challinor, Thomas Phillips, and George Cope.

John Davenport, of Ballhaye, the elder, in 1782 left all to his wife Sarah for her life. Then the property was to pay a guinea to his son John and his son's John's wife, Hannah, to buy them rings. To Henry his son £20. To son James ,£20, and £20 to son John. To his daughter Sarah Hulme £20 ; to daughter Mary Pedley £20 ; to her son John £20 ; the rest to his wife.

Sons Henry and James, executors. Sealed with a fine seal of arms quarterly. Signed with " the mark of John Davenport, he having through infirmity lost the use of his right hand so as to prevent his writing his name."

Now the conundrum we are faced with is what are the arms of Davenport of Ball Hay and what are the quarterings, other arms inherited via one or more heraldic heiresses and added to the main arms as quarters? This has taken quite some unravelling.

From various manuscripts published in volumes called Grantees of Arms we can ascertain that a grant of arms was made, by the College of Arms, to John Davenport of Ballhaye Leek county Staffs on 6th February 1776 (Volume 13 folio 164) but sadly, this record does not give us any indication of the arms themselves.

From a very elaborate " Genealogy of Browne " by Mr. Morgan Blacker in Miscellanea Geneal'ogica (series 2, vol 3). it is evident that John Bridgewood married Mary, dau. of William Browne, of Cookshill, Caverswall, on 20 Nov. 1594 at Caverswall, and had three sons who died" before their father and one dau. Mary, who was married 1 Feb. 1619/20 at Caverswall to John Reade, In all the wills, however, given by Mr. Blacker the name seems to be spelt Rode, and it is to be remarked that at Bradshaw, in Leek parish, where John Bridgewood died, there was settled an old family named Rode and that according to the pedigree in Sleigh's Leek, John Rode of Bradshaw, gent., living in 1619, and buried at Leek in 1669, married Mary — — who was buried in 1645. The line of this John Rode terminated in Hannah Rode or Rhode [1731-1808], an heiress, who married John Davenport of Ball Haye, Leek, elder son of John Davenport by Mary daur. of Thomas Reade (or Rode) of Blackwood.

So, if Mary was heiress to John Bridgewood and then her daughter in turn married one Reade or Rode and their daughter, Hannah subsequently became heiress and married John Davenport, then the quartered arms may well be 1st and 4th Davenport of Ballhaye, 2nd Bridgewood, 3rd Reade (or Rode). The problem with this hypothesis is that there appears to be no record of armorial bearings for Bridgewood. I suppose this little conundrum will stay with me for a while yet.

But how did I find the arms granted, in 1776 to John Davenport?

Something was niggling me when I put the narrative for this talk together and it eventually came to me. The arms of the ancient Cheshire family of Davenport of Davenport are Argent, a chevron between three cross crosslets fitchee Sable.

We know that the Ballhaye Jack of our story left his estate to James, son of his sister Sarah Hulme, who was to finish his education at Cambridge rather than Oxford, and to assume the testator's name and arms. Later, in this talk I explore those arms listed in Burke’s General Armory with specific mention of Leek and, between the covers of that volume is to be found one Hulme of Ballhaye House nr. Leek. The arms of Hulme (according to Burke's) are: Hulme (Ball-Hay House, near Leek, co. Stafford). Argent, a chevron Ermines between three crosses crosslet fitchee Sable. Living in Ballhaye House, this can only be the beneficiary of Ballhaye Jack's will and this is surely confirmed by the arms Hulme used. It now seems pretty clear that Ballhaye Jack’s nephew never went to the trouble of changing his name or applying for a Royal Licence to change his name and arms but simply assumed the arms of his uncle and benefactor (although it does appear that he adopted the Davenport name as a middle name; these arms are the ancient Davenport arms with the chevron changed to Ermines as the difference.

The arms of Davenport of Ballhaye (as used by Ballhaye Jack's nephew, 
James davenport Hulme, without obtaining a Royal Licence to do so.

According to Miller, in his Olde Leek, In the corner of Leek Church, known as Doctor’s Corner In the new ground, but under the shadow of the elm tree, on a flat tombstone, is the following:— "Here lie the remains of James Davenport Hulme, M.D., formerly of Ball Haye, near Leek ; he died in Manchester, March 7th, 1848, aged 75."

Hulme graduated at Edinburgh in 1798 with a dissertation on diabetes. He came to Manchester and was at the foundation meeting of the Royal Manchester Institution in 1823. The same year Hulme stood for election for the post of physician at Manchester Royal Infirmary. He was not elected until 1826, but then held the position until his death. Hulme was also medical officer to the Manchester School for the Deaf and Dumb. Hulme died on 7 March 1848 aged seventy-four.

In England, in order to lawfully assume the arms of another, after those arms were the subject of a “name and arms” clause in a will, not only must one assume the surname and the arms, it is also essential that the act of doing so is confirmed in a Royal Licence. Without that Royal Licence and a subsequent change to the records in the College of Arms these Hulme arms will of course be an unauthorised assumption (yet another of the thousands of assumed coats recorded by Burke).

In 1565 Sir Ralph Bagnall, lord of the manor of, granted Ball Haye to Henry Davenport. It remained in the Davenport family, and in 1786 it was inherited by James Hulme, nephew of John Davenport. He rebuilt the house; in 1819 he mortgaged the estate. After his death in 1848 the house was sold, and then let to various tenants. In 1931 the house was sold to the trustees of the Leek Memorial Cottage Hospital; there were plans for a hospital in the grounds of the hall, which were suspended on the outbreak of the Second World War. From 1946 the hall was used as a Polish club, and later it was converted into flats. It became derelict and was demolished in 1972.

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