The Twickenham Museum
People : Landowners and Gentry

Jeremiah Dyson
Civil Servant
1757 - 1835

Ragman's Castle

Jeremiah Dyson is recorded living at Ragman’s Castle on Twickenham’s Riverside next to Orleans House in 1810. He is noted as “Dyson Esq” on a plan of Mr George Pocock’s Estate (Orleans House), dated 1812.which shows Ragman’s Castle, on a long narrow sliver of land reaching up beside what is today Orleans Road. His stay was brief, although between 1808 and 1810 he rented a four acre field from Lady Buckingham. This land, a part of the Marble Hill estate had previously been let to George Hardinge by the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire (he usually signed himself “Buckingham”).

Ragman’s Castle had been owned and occupied by Hardinge (1743-1816) from about 1780. He had moved away sometime before 1808, possibly leasing the property. As an MP himself he would have known Jeremiah, then Clerk Assistant to the Commons.

Jeremiah Dyson, the father

The Family

Dyson was christened at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church on 24 April 1757, the son of Jeremiah (1722-76) and Elizabeth, the daughter of a cousin, Ely Dyson,. His father was the son of yet another Jeremiah (?1668-1728) from Brighouse, Yorkshire where the family, Quakers, had settled and prospered. He had moved to Bartholomew Fair, London, to work as a tailor and when he died, in 1728, he left a considerable estate to his six year old son. This Jeremiah enjoyed a distinguished career in public service. Educated first at Edinburgh University (where dissenters were welcome) he moved to Leiden in the Netherlands to study law. Back in England he entered Lincoln's Inn, being called to the Bar in 1746. In 1748 he purchased the post of Clerk to the House of Commons from Nicholas Hardinge, father of George Hardinge, a post he occupied until 1762 when he resigned and entered Parliament as member for Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. He subsequently occupied a number of public appointments.

In 1760 he had appointed John Hatsell Clerk Assistant to the Commons without seeking payment of the traditional fee. Grateful for this, it was Hatsell who later, when Clerk himself, appointed Dyson's son and heir, Jeremiah, as Clerk Assistant in 1797 and Deputy Clerk in 1814.

The memorial in St John the Baptist, Stoke

Jeremiah married Elizabeth Collins on 21 July 1781 at St Swithin over Kingsgate, Winchester. Elizabeth was the daughter of the Reverend Thomas Collins (c1730-1804). She died in May 1795 aged 31, her burial recorded on a memorial stone in the church of St John the Baptist, Stoke, near Guildford, where Dyson had inherited an estate bought by his father in about 1760.

Collins was well connected; he had been tutor to George Richard, 3rd Viscount Bolingbroke (1761-1824), who married another daughter, Charlotte.

Brompton Park House

During his working life Dyson lived first in East Acton, moving to Brompton Park House, on land now occupied by the Victoria and Albert Museum. He also appears to have owned property at Compton, just south of Winchester in 1785.

In retirement by 1822, he moved to Lavington, near Petworth in Sussex (a property possibly owned previously by his father-in-law, previously rector of Graffham nearby), and then to Petworth itself, in a house known as Newgrove. Here he died in 1835 having made his will in 1832, adding a codicil in 1833. The will (his signature not witnessed) divided his estate between his surviving children, Francis, Charles, Thomas, Frances Sarah and Mary. The codicil offers a human touch, reading: “My son Charles having sold his furniture on his resignation of his living to reside with me I bequeath to him as much of my furniture and linen as may be requisite for his residence after my death”. Charles had been vicar of Nasing in Essex since 1828, taking a Curacy at Fittleworth, south-west of Petworth, in 1834.


further reading:

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (for Jeremiah Dyson the father)

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