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People of Note

Sir Thomas Hewett(16561726)

The Shireoaks estate was purchased by Charles, Duke of Norfolk in 1811, from the last representative of the Hewett family, who had held it since 1546, when it was purchased by Thomas Hewett, clothworker, of London.

Sir Thomas, architect and landowner was born on 9 September 1656, eldest son of William Hewett, landowner, and Anne, second daughter of Sir Richard Prince of Abbey Foregate, near Shrewsbury. Was this the William Hewet who in 1650 owned Cannon Hall Barnsley?

After schooling at Shrewsbury School and Christ Church, Oxford, he travelled extensively on the continent, visiting France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany.

He married Frances Betenson(c.16681756), daughter of Richard Betenson and Albinia Wray, in Geneva on 7 September 1689. He was said to have disinherited his only daughter when she ran off with a local fortune-teller.

The following a the story There resided at that po of the whole affair her mind became bent on fulfilling the 
un riod on Gateford Common a man of the name of Thackeray port of the apparition and DO menace s or arguments could 
who professed to be a fortune teller To the house of this deter her from marrying him A descendant of this marriage 
Sydrophel Miss Hewet with some other ladies in a frolie is said to have resided in Lineoln sereral years back whose repaired to know their fortunes Henry Cornelius Agrippa employment was to serve the masons and who was denomina of Ifettaheim in Germany is said to have shewn to the ?oe ted among his companions SUnaait Tom Various claimants tical Earl of Surrey the image of his mistress Geraldine in a of the estate from this family have at different times presented generally constituted a pan of a conjuror's paraphernalia and the present month August 1825 a party of ten persons of magical mirror and since his time such a looking glass has themscl?es during the last fifty years and no longer since than so it did on the present occasion The ladies successively be both sexes risitcd Shireoaks as claimants of the estate they held in the glass the countenanees of their future husbands went to the hall got in by a window and after perambulating and when it came to Miss llewet's turn what should she sce the rooms and subsequently the gardens complaining of the but the phiz of the wily soothsayer which is said to have been decay they 
took their Icave intimating that they should in a far from engaging Yet notwithstanding this and the folly short 
time return and take possession
The History, Antiquities, and Description of the Town and Parish of Worksop ... By John Holland

A staunch whig, Hewett was an opponent of Roman Catholicism. His close links with the whig establishment, were perhaps aided by his Nottinghamshire neighbour the first Duke of Kingston, and are revealed by the list of his architectural clients who included the first Earl of Portland; the third Earl of Sunderland, first lord of the Treasury, for whom he built a library in Piccadilly; and the first Viscount Macclesfield, the Lord Chancellor, whom he advised on the antiquarian reconstruction of Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire.

At Sunderland's recommendation, in 1719, he was appointed to the Office of Surveyor of Works within the Tower of London and elsewhere for which he received 2 shillings a day, and 6d. for a clerk, and 4 shillings a day for diet, boat-hire and riding charges.

Shireoaks HallHe was also Surveyor of the Kings woods, on both sides of the River Trent, including Sherwood Forest for which he received 100 a year He was knighted in 1719, after he had been dismissed from his other posts by Sir Robert Walpole in 1716.

Together with two Yorkshire neighbours, the first Viscount Molesworth and his son John, and with Sir George Markham, Hewett had formed the new junta for architecture aimed at its reformation. Both Lord Molesworth and, from 1721, Hewett, were fellows of the Royal Society and their ideals were strongly influenced by Lord Molesworth's close friend, the Earl of Shaftesbury. Little came of their endeavours

Little is known of Hewett's work, as an architect - his one important surviving design was the Cube Room at Kensington Palace, London, which suggests that his approach may have been influenced by the writings of seventeenth-century French architects on ancient Roman architecture.

Sir Thomas died on 9 April 1726, aged 69, at his home, Shireoaks Hall, Nottinghamshire, and was buried in Wales Church, where there is an inscription to his memory in the church.

Dame Frances survived her husband and went to live in London; she died in January, 1756 and was interred at Wales where there is a stone with an inscription to her memory.

Sir Thomas and Dame Frances had a daughter who resided at Shireoaks. When she married, Sir Thomas is said to have disclaimed and disinherited his daughter, and in consequence to have placed as heir the Rev. John Hewett, then Rector of Harthill.

When Rev. John refused to renounce his profession, Sir Thomas gave the estate to John Thornhagh, Esq. of Osberton, his godson, for the term of his natural life, who took the name Hewett, probably the wish of Sir Thomas.

John Thornhagh Hewett outlived the above mentioned Rector of Harthill, at his death the Shireoaks estate went to the son of the Rev John, another Rev. John Hewett, who was also Rector of Harthill and Todwick.



The Hewet Family

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