Catalogue Finding NumberWYW1352
Office record is held atWakefield, West Yorkshire Archive Service
TitleNOSTELL PRIORY (WINN FAMILY), BARONS ST OSWALD, FAMILY AND ESTATE RECORDS (WYW1352)
Date13th-20th century
Extent10.88/544 boxes
LevelCollection
AdminHistoryThe Priory of St Oswald at Nostell was founded in the early 12th century out of a pre-existing hermitage that was devoted to St James. The Priory was dedicated to St Oswald, who was King of Northumbria from 634 until his death in 642 and later venerated as a saint for his role in promoting the spread of Christianity in the region. The Augustinian Priory was granted substantial lands by Henry I, as well as the right to hold an annual fair on the feast day of St Oswald. In 1540 the Priory was disbanded by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the buildings and land were granted to Dr Thomas Leigh. The property then passed to James Blunt, Lord Mountjoy, who then sold it to Sir Thomas Gargrave, Speaker of the House of Commons, in 1567 for £3,560. The estate was then sold to William Ireland in 1613, who sold it to Sir John Wolstenholme for £10,000 in 1629. The estate was then purchased by Rowland Winn, a London Alderman, in 1654 after Wolstenholme had been declared bankrupt. The Winns were originally from Gwydir in North Wales but had since become textile merchants in London, George Wynne of Gwydir was appointed draper to Elizabeth I. As the family increased its wealth they began acquiring land, which included the estate and manor of Thornton Curtis, Lincolnshire, and the manor of Appleby, Lincolnshire, before the purchase of Nostell in 1654. The family had benefitted from the restoration of the monarchy and George Winn (Grandson of George Wynne of Gwydir, brother of the above mentioned Rowland Winn) was created a Baronet in 1660. By this time sections of the old Priory buildings had been converted into a manor house known as Nostell Hall, and the next three generations of the Winn family would use this house as their principal residence. The house that exists today is a result of the work commissioned by the 4th and 5th Baronets, both called Sir Rowland Winn, which began in 1729 and would continue over an extended period until 1785. The Palladio-inspired architectural plans for the house were designed by Colonel James Moyser, but the 4th Baronet commissioned James Paine to conduct the building of the house in 1736. As work progressed on the house Paine made considerable alterations to the original design and he was later given responsibility for designing the building's interiors as well. In 1765 Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet, inherited the estate and immediately replaced Paine with Robert Adam to complete the work on the house. Adam's work on both the interior and exterior of the house, including the building of the family wing in 1779-80, would continue until 1785, when the 5th Baronet was suddenly killed in a carriage accident and money problems stopped all further work. During his time at Nostell, Adam had brought in the painter Antonio Zucchi, the plasterer Joseph Rose, and the cabinet maker and furniture designer Thomas Chippendale to complete the interiors of the house, and these contributions are widely celebrated today. After Sir Rowland Winn, 6th Baronet, died unmarried in 1805 the estate passed to his 11 year old nephew John Williamson, who was the son of Sir Rowland's sister, Esther Winn, and John Williamson, a Manchester Baker. Upon inheriting the estate, John Williamson (junior) and his siblings, Charles Williamson and Louisa Williamson changed their names to Winn. However the Williamson children did not inherit the Baronetcy, which could only be inherited through the male line in the family, and so it instead passed to Edmund Mark Winn, 7th Baronet, a first cousin. During much of the 6th Baronet's ownership and the minority of John Winn, the daily management of the estate was left to Shepley Watson, a local solicitor. After John Winn died in Rome in 1817 while on the Grand Tour, his brother Charles Winn inherited the estate. During Charles' ownership of the estate, the family's finances began to improve markedly as they started to exploit the mineral reserves on their estates. Ironstone had been found on their Lincolnshire estate and this, together with coal on the Yorkshire estate, established the Winn family as industrialists. Charles commissioned further work on the furnishing and interiors at Nostell and, as a result of his keen antiquary and scholarly interests, significantly added to the art, furniture and library collections at the house. After Charles' death in 1874, his son Rowland inherited the estate and, funded by the ever expanding mineral and steel business, embarked on further building and refurbishment work at Nostell, which included work on the north-east wing, the stable block, the kitchen pavilion, and the installation of electricity in 1890. Rowland Winn was keenly interested in politics and served as MP for North Lincolnshire from 1868 to 1885. He served as junior Lord of the Treasury (Government Whip) in Benjamin Disraeli's second Conservative government and when Lord Salisbury became Prime Minister in 1885, Rowland was created 1st Baron St Oswald. In the General Election in the same year his eldest son, Rowland Winn, was also elected as the MP for Pontefract. He held this seat until his father's death in 1893 when he succeeded to the peerage as 2nd Baron St Oswald. Prior to inheriting the estate and the peerage Rowland Winn, 2nd Lord St Oswald, had previously served in the Coldstream Guards, which included service in the Sudan in the 1880s. Although maintaining a strong interest in the collections of art and furniture in the house, the 2nd Lord St Oswald divided his time between Nostell and London and also travelled extensively overseas. Towards the end of his life the finances of the estate became strained as a result of the introduction of new taxes needed to fund the First World War. Following his father's death in 1919, Rowland George Winn, 3rd Lord St Oswald, succeeded to the peerage but did not live at Nostell. During the 1920s and 1930s the house was occupied by other members of the Winn family, especially Rowland's siblings Charles John Frederick Winn, Reginald Henry Winn, Edith Winn. The Royal Artillery occupied the house during the Second World War, but the 4th Baron, Rowland Denys Guy Winn, would return to the family home following a distinguished service record in the Second World War and in Korea. Upon his return he embarked on a political career and stood unsuccessfully for Dearne Valley in 1955, with his next candidature (Pudsey) in 1957 being cut short by his succeeding to the barony on his father's death. He be an active member of the House of Lords throughout the rest of his life, including serving as lord-in-waiting from 1959 to 1962 in Harold MacMillan's government, Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, and as a member of the European Parliament. During the early 1950s the house was first opened to the public as a heritage/visitor site, and in 1984 Nostell Priory was conveyed to the National Trust in lieu of tax, largely down to the work of the 4th Baron. Upon his death in 1984, he was succeeded by his younger brother Derek Edmund Anthony Winn, 5th Lord St Oswald, the father of the present Lord St Oswald, Charles Rowland Andrew Winn, 6th Baron Saint Oswald, who in turn took the title on the death of his father in 1999.
Related MaterialSee also WYL523, Nostell Colliery Company Limited WYL1490 Nostell Priory Cartulary 12th-15th Century [microfilm copy] C1175 Pontefract scrapbook including confirmation of grants to St Oswald's Priory, Nostell 1461; deeds concerning release from prior and convent of St John Pontefract to prior and convent of Nostell of rights, etc to hospital of St Nicholas in Pontefract 1455; exemplification of the proceedings on the appropriation of St Nicholas's hospital in Pontefract to the priory in Nostell 1439 [in English] C345 Archbishop Holgate Hospital trust records. There is a section within the Nostell collection (WYW1352/4/2/1/1-24) that refers to this hospital at Hemsworth WPD99 Wragby St Michael and Our Lady, parish records which was the family church of the Winn family and includes many documents relevant to the family priory, Leeds parish church and other Yorkshire religious foundations See also West Yorkshire Historic Environment Record information mainly: WYHER/787, WYHER/3402, WYHER/3985, WYHER/4599, WYHER/9669 Related material outside the service: North East Lincolnshire Archives [Ref 578] papers of the Winn Family Doncaster Archives Service [Ref DX/BAX/62083] business correspondence with Charles Winn [1841 - 1844] held within Baxter and Somerville, solicitors of Doncaster records
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