The Beevors

Baronets of Hethel & Hargham Halls

Thomas Beevor, 1st Baronet (1726-1814)

The Beevors enter the history of Hethel when Thomas Beevor eloped with Elizabeth Branthwayt (1727-1794) and married in 1750. Elizabeth was heiress of Miles Branthwayt, who opposed their marriage but was later reconciled with his daughter and new son-in-law who inherited Hethel Hall along with land in Hethel, East Carlton and Wreningham when Miles died in 1751. There is more about Elizabeth, her pedigree and their children under the The Branthwayts.

Thomas Beevor was the eldest surviving son of another Thomas Beevor (1689-1758) who had married three times. His first wife, Margaret (d.1716) was the mother of one daughter, Catherine, who died as a baby. His second wife, Rose Clough (d.1723) had two daughters and a son, but only Elizabeth lived to adulthood. Thomas then married his third wife, Hester Sharp, in 1724 and they had 7 children, of whom 4 survived to be adults - see family tree.

Thomas Beevor snr had come from Yorkshire to Norfolk with his parents (William Beevor, 1658-1718, and Elizabeth Batt) at the age of 7. He was the 6th child (out of 11) and was apprenticed to a grocer. He went on to be a grocer in Norwich, but by the time he married Hester he had become a brewer and lived in a fine house in Magdalene Street. Due to the early deaths of his older brothers, he became his father's heir and he had managed to marry heiresses. But presumably when it came to the future of his son and heir Thomas Beevor, a brewer's boy - even if a wealthy one - was not good enough for Miles Branthwayt's only surviving child, Elizabeth!

As the eldest son of Thomas Beevor and Hester Sharpe, Thomas was provided with the best education that could be obtained. He was sent to Eton School, was entered at Lincoln's Inn and by 1743 he was a scholar at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.  After he married Elizabeth, they set up home in Norwich where their first child, Anna Bettina (1751-1780) was born. Soon afterwards they moved to Hethel Hall. Thomas fulfilled the criteria to be a magistrate - he had an estate worth in excess of £100 per annum, was a full member of the Church of England and so he began what was to be fifty years service as a JP. He also developed an interest in politics and stood, unsuccessfully, as an Independent for Norwich in 1768. He was to stand again in 1786 and 1790 but was defeated each time. He seems to have still had time for his estate lands, took an interest in arboriculture, and took great care of the Hethel Thorn. He was created a Baronet on 22 January 1784 'for services to agriculture' and he later displayed a particular interest in root crop cultivation as a method to feed the poor and as a means to nourish livestock.

From The Gazette for December 16th - 20th, 1783:

Whitehall, Dec 19 
The King has been pleased to grant the Dignity of a Baronet of the Kingdom of Great Britain to the several Gentlemen under-mentioned, and the respective Heirs Male of their Bodies lawfully begotten, viz.... Thomas Beevor of Hethel in the County of Norfolk

His work as a JP led him to become involved in prison reform and in 1785 he supervised the rebuilding of the old prison in Wymondham as a 'model prison' to a design by John Howard using the cell system. In 1805 his years as a JP were recognised by a presentation of silver by the Chairman and Committee of Chief Constables. He also played his part in the Napoleonic War by becoming a Lieutenant of a Division of the Militia (an administrative post).

His wife, Dame Elizabeth, died in 1794 having borne 7 children. Their eldest son - another Thomas Beevor (1853-1820) inherited Hethel Hall when his father died in 1814. 

Thomas Beevor, 2nd Baronet (1753-1820)

Like his father, Thomas was educated at Eton and then went to Trinity Hall Cambridge. However there is no evidence that he completed a degree, studied law or embarked on any profession. It seems that he returned to Hethel Hall and occupied himself with hunting and his social life. He served as a JP, then in later years he became Chairman of Quarter Sessions and also a Deputy Lieutenant for Norfolk. But with this Thomas the Beevor fortunes seem to go into decline....

In 1795 (age 42) he married Ann Hare , the only surviving child of Hugh and Mary Hare of Hargham, south of Attleborough, Norfolk. Thomas and Ann lived in Old Buckenham and had three children but the marriage does not appear to have been happy. By 1802 Ann took the bold step of returning to live with her mother at Hargham Hall, taking the three children with her. There were some unresolved legal proceedings and in 1814 it was reported in The Norfolk Annals that : In the Arches Court, Doctors' Commons, was heard a cause for the restitution of conjugal rights promoted by Mr. (afterwards Sir) Thomas Beevor, of Mangreen Hall, against Ann Beevor. In this case the court admonished Mrs. Beevor to return again to the society of her husband. Ann chose not to be reconciled with her husband and upon his death in 1820 resumed the use of her maiden name. She died in Paris in 1837. 

Throughout the years it seemed that Thomas always had financial difficulties and he did not inspire confidence in his financial management. This is indicated both in both Mary Hare's will and also in the terms his father's will, who only left him, in a trust, a life interest in the Hethel Estates. Following his father's death in 1814 Thomas lived in Hethel Hall until his own death in 1820. He is buried in the mausoleum in Hethel Church.

(Below) Hatchment of Thomas Beevor, 2nd Baronet, in Hethel church tower. His arms are on the left side (the dexter side for the person holding the shield), on black to signify his death. The right (sinister) side is white as his wife was still alive. Notice the beaver as the crest.

The children of Thomas & Ann did not live much, if at all, at Hethel Hall. They were brought up first in Old Buckenham, then taken by their mother to Hargham Hall. How much they saw of their grandfather or father at Hethel Hall we do not know.
Thomas Branthwayt Beevor (1798-1879) was the only son and became the 3rd Baronet.
Mary Ann Beevor (1800-1823) - in 1819 she married Isaac Preston (1789-1848), a barrister who later became Recorder of Norwich. They had 3 children, though the first died as a baby, and the only boy was named Isaac Jermy. Mary herself died when only 23. Her widower changed his name to Isaac Preston-Jermy to comply with an inheritance, and their son became Isaac Jermy Jermy. 

Isaac inherited Stanfield Hall (above), next-door to Hethel Hall and still standing, and both father and son were murdered there by James Blomfield Rush, tenant of Potash Farm, in 1848. Sophie Jane Jermy, nee Chevalier, widow of Isaac Jermy Jermy comes back into the story because in 1850 she married Thomas Beevor, son and heir of Thomas Branthwayt Beevor, her mother-in-law's brother!
Juliana Bettina Beevor (1801-1828) married an Essex vicar and had 5 children. At her request she was buried at Hargham Hall

Thomas Branthwayt Beevor, 3rd Baronet (1798-1879)

Thomas, the eldest and only son, probably spent four years living at Hethel Hall and then moved with his mother and sisters to Hargham. He went to school at Felsted, and then at Oundle. In 1815 he entered Trinity Hall followed by Christ's College in 1817, but does not appear to have taken a degree. In 1819 he married Elizabeth Bridget Lubbock and soon afterwards became the third baronet upon the death of his father. In addition to Hethel Hall, Thomas Branthwayt inherited considerable debts from his father and in 1828, with the agreement of his trustees, he sold Hethel Hall and its lands to Mr Hudson Gurney of Keswick and turned his attention to improving and extending the Hargham estate. He and Elizabeth had two children - including his son and heir Thomas Beevor (1823-1885) who was to marry the young widow Sophia Jane Jermy of Stanfield Hall (whose first husband, Isaac Jermy Jermy had been murdered by James B Rush) and later became the 4th Baronet. 

Thomas Branthwayt Beevor was widowed three times. After his wife Elizabeth died in 1831, he married twice more - to Martha Hardiment in New York, by whom he had 7 children; and to Mary Davies, by whom he had 3 more children. Apart from a short spell in America he lived in Norfolk, where he was friends with the political radical William Corbett, and began calling himself 'Citizen Beevor', wearing breeches and gaiters of his own design. He was also interested in archaeology, land management and tree planting. He served as a JP, was on the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital board, and joined the Unitarians. In 1862 he was ready to retire to Great Yarmouth and left the management of the Hargham estate to his son and heir, Thomas. Thomas Branthwayt in 1879. He was buried at Hargham with a cedar tree planted over his grave.

Thus it was that the Thomas who was given the name Branthwayt as well as Beevor is also the man who finally severed the Branthwayt-Beevor link with Hethel. The Beevor family continues to live at Hargham, where Sir Thomas Hugh Cunliffe Beevor (born 1962) succeeded his father Sir Thomas Agnew Beevor,  to become the 8th baronet in 2017.

Based on material researched by Alison Lee for the Hethel Heritage weekend 2017 - with grateful thanks.