Barrister, Administrator and Politician
1717 - 1795
Christopher D’Oyly was baptised at Banbury on 17 December 1717. His father, also Christopher, an attorney in the court of common pleas, had married Susannah Walter at Welford-on-Avon on 10 January 1713. The D’Oylys were settled at Adderbury nearby, an earlier Christopher was living at Adderbury, in 1660.
Christopher’s early education is obscure though it enabled him to train as a barrister. He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1741 at the age of 24, and called to the Bar in 1745. He practised from chambers in London until 1754 when he came into a substantial inheritance which included an estate in Walton-on-Thames. Although continuing to practice as a family lawyer, in 1761 he took up employment in the War Office, resigning in 1771. In 1774 he entered Parliament as member for Wareham, moving in 1780 to Seaford, and retiring in 1784.
In 1765, at the age of 48, Christopher married Sarah Stanley (1725-1821), the grand-daughter of Sir Hans Sloane. There were no children of the union.
In 1776 he was appointed under-secretary in the colonial department and commissary-general of the musters. Thus he took part in the planning for the American War of Independence. He was a friend of both Admiral Lord Howe and General Sir William Howe. He resigned in January 1778 when the general was recalled from the colony by Lord George Germain.
In 1793 Christopher D'Oyly bought the Copt Hall Estate, just north of King Street in Twickenham. He died here on 19 January, 1795 and was taken for burial at St Mary's Church, Walton on Thames. His widow, Sarah remained both at Twickenham and their Curzon Street House in London, until her own death in 1821 at the age of 96. She, too, was buried at Walton.
The D'Oylys share a memorial, designed by Sir Francis Chantrey.Chantrey was a protegé of Sarah and a friend of her butler at Twickenham. He married a daughter of her Curzon Street housekeepers. The memorial reads:
" To the memory of
Christopher D'Oyly, Esq.
Descended from an ancient family in the county of Oxford
formerly a barrister of considerable eminence;
a man of clear discernment and sound judgment;
equally distinguished for an unsullied integrity, as for the
exercise of every social virtue:
his professional abilities were ever exercised in acts of humanity,
in allaying animosities, in composing differences;
firm was his confidence in the truth of Christianity ;
and a lively hope of the rewards which it proposes, supported him
under the pressure of a painful and lingering disease.
He died on the 19th day of January, 1795, in the 78th year of his age
in memory of Mrs Sarah D'Oyly,
grand daughter of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart
and widow of the late Christopher D'Oyly, Esq
who departed this life on the eighth day of September 1821,
in the ninety seventh year of her life"
It is not known just why, at the age of 75, and evidently in failing health, Christopher bought Copt Hall. However, Sarah's sister Anne (1725-1803), had married Welbore Ellis (1713-1802), 1st Baron Mendip in 1765. He enjoyed the lifetime ownership of Alexander Pope's Villa, adding to it the extensive Shirley estate in 1788, so this connection with Twickenham may have encouraged the D'Oylys to settle there. Prior to this Christopher is sometimes described as “of Hampton Court” but where he lived is not known at present.
The D'Oylys were friendly with Horace Walpole. Writing to Mary Berry from Twickenham on 24 September 1794, he noted that he was dining with them that evening (12, 105). Another letter dated 1 October 1794 (12, 121) notes that he had been with the Doileys (as he was pleased to describe them), and again on 14 November (12, 63). Christopher died two months later.
The connection with Walton dates from 1754 when Christopher inherited the estate known as the Rectory Manor from Adria Boate (1713-1754), a widow of Adderbury. Her father, William Drake, was of an Amersham (Agmondisham) family who had owned the estate from time to time since 1584. Adria had married Denton Boate, nephew and prospective legatee of Judge Alexander Denton (1679-1740) of Hillesden in Buckinghamshire. Hillesden was a substantial property, worthy of investment by Parliamentary forces during the Civil War.
Denton Boate made his will on 12 December 1753 and it was proved on 14 January 1754 (PCC Prob11/806). It was witnessed by Benjamin Aplin, a prominent solicitor and the Town Clerk of Banbury who was married to Christopher D'Oyly's sister, Susannah. He bequeathed all his personal estate to Adria and a total of £1,500 to Christopher. Much of his real estate was left to Adria for the term of her life. Subsequently it was to be administered by Simon Luttrell of Simonstown, later 1st Earl Carhampton who he appointed his executor and ultimate legatee of the Denton estate at Hillesden.
Adria made her will on the following day, 13 December 1753. It was proved on 19 December 1754 (PCC Prob11/812). By it she left her entire real and personal estate to Christopher and appointed him her sole executor. There were a number of cash bequests to friends and relatives, together with £50 for the purchase of a fire engine for the use of Adderbury parish. She directed that her body should be “secretly and without pomp deposited beside the remains of (her) brother Montague Drake in the vault at Agmondesham (Amersham) in the County of Bucks being the burial place of (her) ancesters”.
There were two children of the marriage, Charles and Mary, who must have died infants.
Christopher's connection with the Boates has not been discovered although bequests must surely have been an act of gratitude for some service performed.
There was another family connection with Walton: on 20 October 1798 Thomas D'Oyly, MA (d.1816) was installed as vicar of St Mary's Church. His brother, Lieut. General Francis D'Oyly died on 3 March at his house in Half Moon Street, Piccadily, London and was brought for burial at St Mary's where there is a table tomb on the north side of the church. Although the Adderbury branch of the family was connected with these D'Oylys, from Lewes, it may have been no more than coincidence that Thomas was installed as vicar at Walton.
Origins of the D'Oyly Family
The first D'Oyly in England, Robert, was a Norman and he was responsible for building Wallingford Castle, and then Oxford Castle from 1071. His brother Roger Doilley (sic) built another castle at Ascott-under-Wychwood. A nearby settlemen is known as Ascott D'Oyly. The owner of extensive lands in Oxfordshire, Robert was an ancestor of Christopher. The family spread widely, settling in Adderbury in 1565 when Robert D'Oyly of Merton, Oxfordshire, acquired one of its three manors.
Another branch of the family settled in Sussex. Matthias D'Oyly (1743-1815), archdeacon of Lewes was descended from the D'Oylys who lived at Stone in Buckinghamshire during the 16th century. Son of Matthias, he was brother to Lieut-General Francis D'Oyly (c1750-1803), and Thomas, vicar of Walton-upon Thames. He was the father of Thomas, DCL (d1855), Sergeant-at-Arms, Sir John D'Oyly (1774-1824), baronet and administrator of Ceylon, where he died. His younger brother, Lieut-Colonel Sir Francis D'Oyly (c1775-1815) was killed at the battle of Waterloo. A fifth son, George (1778-1846), entered the church and enjoyed a distinguished career.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Sir Lewis Namier (ed.), The History of Parliament, 1754-1790
William D'Oyly-Bailey, Account of the House of D'Oyly, 1845