William KAY, of Tring Park, 1823-1838

and his son William Kay (1834-1865)




September, 2010

Sandra Beaumont (sandra.beaumont @t virgin.net) of Shipston on Stour writes: I am trying to find out whether William Kay, who bought Tring Park in 1823 is related to our family.  My mother had this information passed down to her and so have several other members of the family.

My great grandmother was called Rachel Kay and her father was Joseph Golding Kay who was born in Manchester. It is believed that Joseph's father owned a silk mill in Manchester but I have drawn a blank on obtaining further details.

Research has shown that William Kay of Tring Park was a textile magnate from Manchester and he had Tring silk mill built around 1823 although his brother from Macclesfield, Cheshire ran it for a while.

My great grandfather Joseph Golding Kay was, in his earlier years just a sizer but in later years he is shown on the censuses as a private gentleman and landowner which would indicate that he came into money later in life. Whilst I don't think he is a direct descendant of William Kay, his father could have been one of William's brothers or cousins.  Whilst there is no money left now it is still intriguing.

I have discovered that William had at least two sons, Richard Smith Kay (the eldest son) who went to Oxford and died in 1857 and another William Kay (who inherited Tring Park for life) and who died in 1865.

If you could give me any further information on William Kay or his sons which would aid my research then I would be very grateful indeed.


Tring Park Mansion (William Kay lived elsewahere and let the house)

There is a short biography of William Kay in More Tring Personalities  (unfortunately now out of print) and the following paragraph outlines his origins, which confirms what you have found.

William Kay was born at The Mains, Wigton, Cumberland, son of a yeoman farmer, and from whom he inherited 100, and property and land in Wigton. This small town was heavily engaged in the weaving trade, using workers recruited from within a ten-mile radius. The spinning factories here used imported cotton, locally-produced wool, and linen from flax grown on the Solway Plain. William and his brother, Joseph, obviously used the knowledge gained in their area to good effect, for it is recorded that they established themselves in the textile industry in Manchester. A trade directory of 1804 lists William Kay as a cotton manufacturer with a mill in Watling Street, Manchester. His elder son, Richard Smith Kay, was baptised in a city centre church. (It may have been that during this period he first met Nathan Rothschild, who lived in Manchester on his arrival in England, and whose immense middle-age he was sufficiently affluent to buy the Tring Park estate.



William Kay Memorial, Tring Church

from Tring Silk Mill

More relevant to your query could be what happened on his death.

After firmly making his mark in Tring, William Kay died in 1838. By then a man of considerable means, he resided in London at York Terrace, Regents Park. His end was sad, for the contemporary Carlisle Journal reported that William died of a head injury after being knocked down near his house by a horse and cart. He left a 26-page detailed and convoluted will, written by a lawyer's clerk in a looping copper-plate hand, and quite worthy of anything to be found in the legal novels of Dickens. He settled on his wife Helen a yearly sum of 1,600 for life - providing she did not re-marry. His older son, Richard, was left 500 a year for life, but the entire estate, including the mill, was bequeathed in Trust for his younger son, William. At the time of his father's death William junior was still a minor, and accordingly, for the purpose of the inheritance, was made a ward of the Court of Chancery. He died in 1865 as the result of a fall whilst hunting. He and his wife were childless, and the Court ordered the estate to be sold. After much legal wrangling, it was eventually offered for auction in 1872.

You mention that Joseph Golding Kay seemed to have come into money later in life so there may be clues in William Kay's will and records of the Court of Chancery, particularly if the money "appeared" after 1868. If the money came from William Kay's estate there should be a mention of Joseph somewhere in the paperwork. I am afraid I have no experience of Court of Chancery records.

While William Kay is mentioned in the book Tring Silk Mill, which includes a picture of his memorial, there is no additional information relevant to your enquiry.

July 2012

Sandra writes again:  Just a follow up on the information  on William Kay of Tring Park and my search to find out whether my great, great grandfather Joseph Golding Kay was connected to him. I've just located Joseph Golding Kay in the UK poll book of Wigton in Cumbria in 1868. As this is the place where William Kay was born I am now even more convinced of a link between them. It is definitely my great grandfather named in the poll book as it also gives his address in Yorkshire. Why he was in Wigton at the time (or had a connection to the place) I do not know and further research is needed but I would like to thank you for the excellent info that you gave me as without it I would never have considered looking at the Wigton area for information.

The Standard of September 17, 1838 [British Newspaper Archive] reported the death of William Kay as follows

Sept. 15, at his home in York-terrace, Regent's Park [London], William Kay, Esq., of the Mains, Cumberland, and Tring-park, Hertfordshire, in his 62nd year.

The London Gazette and People's Political and Social Reformer published an identical report on September 23, 1838, while the Bury & Norwich Post also mentioned the news on October 3rd

Sandra immediately responded with an advert from the Carlisle Patriot of September 20, 1844,  which gives more information about the Cumberland property

To be sold by public biddings 

To be peremptorily sold by public biddings, pursuant to an order of the high court of Chancery, made in a cause of HOWARD v.
KAY, with the approbation of SIR WILLIAM HORNE, one of the masters of the said court, at the Bush Inn, Carlisle, on Thursday the 3rd day of October, 1844, at one o'clock in the afternoon, by Mr. JOHN ALLEN STOKES, the person appointed by the said master.

A valuable freehold and tithe free estate with the land tax redeemed, called "MAINS", "COLBERT HILL" and "CROOKS", situate close to the market town of Wigton, in the County of Cumberland, containing 145A OR 17P.
meadow and arable land in two lots.

January 2014

Mikki French (Micknmikki @t talktalk.net) of Ripon Yorkshire writes: This isn't a question, it's just a big thank you for the info you have on the web site with the above named person. I am looking into the history of William Junior's wife, Rose Louise? ,who had an "adopted son" who was a lunatic, and when she died in 1894, and left over 102,000, this child became my great grandfather's  ward. Gossip has it that he may have been the father. I can't find the child before 1894,on any of the censuses, so I'm afraid curiosity got the better of me and I started to research the family. Mikki later provided additional information and the following has been updated by recording the extra references in brown.- with further updates in February.

While no question was asked I thought it would be useful to say something about William Kay and his wife, because of the connection with Tring Park. I did a quick check of the British Newspaper Archive for relevant family announcements, and found an interesting story involving a divorce - which I filled in with some marriage certificates and selected census returns. I also found an earlier reference to the adopted child, George Louis Howard Kay, and appear to have discovered the link between him, William Kay junior's wife, and the Reed family.

1851 Census  30 Princes Street, St Dunstans, Stepney, Tower Hamlets

CABLE, Samuel Head Unmarried M 21 1830 Sweep Shoreditch, Middlesex
ELEY, Rosa Visitor Unmarried F 18 1833 Stay Maker St Lukes, Middlesex
ELEY, Eliza Visitor Unmarried F 19 1832 Shoe Binder St Lukes, Middlesex

Marriage of William Kay and Rose Louisa Eley, of Great Quebec Street in Marylebone

It would seem that William Kay and Rose Louisa Eley married at Marylebone soon after he was 21, and no longer a ward of court - and as far as I can see there was no announcement in the press, which one might have expected at this level of society. Interestingly the witnesses were Albert Howard Reed and Letitia J C Reed.

Mikki reports: Aunt Mary said that she thought Rose was a Polish refugee! My other Aunt, Trishie, said that Rose was a prostitute. She saved William's life by warning him in Paris that he was about to be murdered ! (In light of what I've been reading in the newspapers, she may not have been far off the mark! )

1861 Census - 1 Quebec Street, Marylebone
REED, Albert H Head Married M 42 1819 Tailor Employing 6 Men And 1 Boy Portsea, Hampshire
REED, Letitia J Wife Married F 45 1816 Fancy Repository Employing 1 Female London, Middlesex
REED, Henry Howard Son   M 2 1859   London, Middlesex
MOORE, Eliza L Niece   F 13 1848 Scholar London, Middlesex
KEELY, Eleaner G Boarder Unmarried F 29 1832 Assistant Fancy Repository London, Middlesex

A further search shows a Rosa Eley in the 1851 census who was an 18 year old stay maker living in Stepney. So was Rose Eley actually a shop girl working for  Albert Howard Reed - which would account for the quiet wedding. Definitely it would be unusual for someone of William Kay's financial position to have a shopkeeper and his wife as the only witnesses. [Both Eley and Keely are very unusual names - so could Eleaner have been Rose's sister?]

It should be noted that Henry Howard Reed married Eliza Willmore in 1882, in 1891 he was a Political Election Agent with children Albert H and Eleanor, and died in 1897. This strongly suggest that George Louis Howard Kay (born circa 1866) could have been adopted from Reed family (possibly the son of Albert and Letitia), and in 1901 and 1911 censuses (see below) was actually living with his sister-in-law as well as being a ward of court.

It could be worth checking the Birth Certificate of the George L Howard whose birth was registered in Marylebone (which then included Paddington) in July-September 1855 (Ref 1a 440). It could be that the registration was in error and it should have been George L H Reed?

In 1854 and 1855 there were some court cases, eventually involving a false imprisonment of Mr Kay, which I have not investigated, but relate to the following short extract from a report in the London Standard of 17th November, 1854:

The bill of complaint stated that the plaintiff, William Kay, late of 36, Hill-street, Berkley-square, but now of Dulwich, became acquainted, in March 1852, when he had attained the age of 19, with a Mr. Robert Johnson, and shortly after went abroad with him to France, Germany, and Italy, upon a joint excursion of pleasure. Being a ward of the Court of Chancery there was an order made for his being allowed 1300l a year for his maintenance, arising from Consolidated Bank Annuities and other property of the plaintiff in the hands of the Accountant General , amounting to 120,000l. He was also possessed of the estate of Tring Park and Manor, in Hertfordshire, of considerable value. Notwithstanding these great resources, it appeared that he became embarrassed for money during his minority, and got Mr Johnston to introduce him to a person who cashed bills accepted by the plaintiff, and the money for which was received by Mr. Johnson.. ....

DEATHS: KAY: On the 21st ult. [February 1857], at Naples, of pleurisy, Richard Smith Kay, Esq., eldest son of the late William Kay, Esq., of Tring-park, Herts

DEATHS: KAY: On the 29th ult [March 1860], at her residence, 15, York-terrace, Regents-park, Helen, relict of William Kay, Esq., formerly of Tring-park, Herts.

DEATHS: ISMAY: On the 28th ult [October 1863], at Bunker's Hill, near Carlisle, Mary, widow of the late John Ismay, Esq., of Brackenlands, and last surviving sister of the late William Kay, Esq., of Tring Park, in the 84th year of her age.

BIRTHS: KAY: On the 25th ult [March 1864], in Hill Street, Berkley-square, the wife of William Kay, Esq., Lord of the Manor of Tring, of a son, stillborn.

DEATHS: KAY: On the 15th inst [February 1865] at the Grand Hotel, Paris, after a few day's illness, William Kay, Esq, of Tring Park and 36, Hill-street, Berkley-square, aged 31. At the end of April notices appeared relating to the creditors.

Mikki reports: My Aunt Mary said that William was a close friend of Albert Reed. William died at the Hotel Belleville in Paris. His London address at that time was 36 Hill St. Berkeley Square. There are 2 telegrams that my cousin has, sent from the Hotel on 15th February 1865. The first timed at 10.10 states : Monsieur est malade venez tout de suite response attend. The second timed at 11.30 states: Monsieur est tres mal venez au plus vite. According to Andrew Kay ( I don't know who he is ) the cause of death was a hunting accident.

Christening;  George Louis Howard Kay    8th May 1866   mother Rose Kay   St Peter & St Paul, Cudham Kent.

Mikki says grandmother had said Albert Reed was the father. Aunt Trishie said that Rose had a child called George who became insane through vd. There was a male nurse to look after him, and ultimately he became violent went into an institution.

Birth Registration - George Louis Howard at Marylebone, July-September, 1866

MARRIAGE: On the 7th inst [January 1868], at St George's, Hanover Square, by the Rev. Evan Nepeon, Chaplain-in-ordinary to the Queen, James Watkins, Esq., late of the 18th Hussars, to Mrs William Kay, Esq, relict of the late Wm. Kay, Esq, of Hill-Street, Berkley-square, and Tring Park.

The Times, March 25th 1870

MARRIAGE: WATKINS - GALSWORTHY: on the 28th ult. [August 1874], at the parish church of St Marylebone, James Watkins, Esq., late 18th Hussars, to Edith, only child of William Galsworthy, Esq, of No.2, Harley Street, Cavendish Square.


1871 Census:  Baker Street, Marylebone, London

READ, Albert H Head   M 52 1819 Tailor Portsea, Hampshire
READ, Latitia J A Wife   F 55 1816 Embroiderer St Giles, Middlesex
READ, Albert H Son   M 17 1854 Clerk Marylebone, Middlesex
MOORE, Caroline Nurse   F 14 1857   Islington, Middlesex
ROWSE, Anna Visitor   F 28 1843   Islington, Middlesex
KEELY, Eleanor G Servant   F 39 1832 Servant Paddington, Middlesex
SIEAK, Eleanor Servant   F 27 1844 Servant St James, Middlesex

1881 Census: Park House, Earls Court Road, Kensington

KAY, Louise Head Widow F 42 1839 Lady Berkshire
YOUNG, May Visitor Single F 26 1855   India
FOSTER, Harriett Servant Widow F 40 1841 Domestic Barnet, Hertfordshire
DRUMMOND, Ann Elizabeth Servant Single F 21 1860 Domestic Middlesex
AYLING, Bessy Servant Single F 21 1860 Domestic Hampshire
SMITH, Caroline Servant Widow F 46 1835 Domestic Middlesex
GIBSON, Mary Ann Servant Widow F 47 1834 Housekeeper Middlesex
1881   3 Baker Street, Marylebone, London
REED, Albert H Head Married M 63 1818 Tailor & Habit Maker Kingston Portsmouth, Hampshire
REED, Letitia J A Wife Married F 65 1816   Soho, Middlesex
REED, Henry H Son Single M 22 1859 Private Secretary Marylebone, Middlesex
KEELEY, Eleanor S G Assistant Single F 48 1833 Assistant (Shop) Marylebone, Middlesex
PAULINE, Violet Visitor Single F 29 1852 Saleswoman Westminster, Middlesex
EXHAM, Edwin W Boarder Married M 23 1858 Lieut. 4th Hussars Active List Dublin, Ireland
EXHAM, Mable B G Boarder Married F 19 1862 Wife Of Lieut 4th Hussars Bordeaux (Nat), France
CURTIS, Eliza A Servant Single F 27 1854 General Servant St Pancras, Middlesex

1887 Death: Eleanor Sarah G Keely, aged 53  - registered Kensington March 1887


1881 Newlands, Lower Tooting, Surrey - George L H Kay (15) was a pupil at School

1891 Census: Park House, Earls Court Road, Kensington

KAY, Rose L Head Widow F 45 1846 Living On Own Means Marylebone, London
SMITH, Caroline Servant Widow F 57 1834 Parlourmaid Domestic Uxbridge, Middlesex
GIBSON, Mary A Servant Widow F 65 1826 Maid Domestic Soho, London
NEWSTEAD, Louisa E Servant Single F 27 1864 Cook Domestic Kensington, London
NEWSTEAD, Emma Servant Married F 52 1839 Housemaid Domestic Owslebury, Hampshire
DRUMMOND, Annie E Servant Single F 31 1860 Housemaid Domestic London

Death 1894: Rose Louise Kay, 60, Register Kensington December


Will of Rose Louise Kay, ot Tring Park and Park House, Earl's Court Road. Bequest to George Louis Howard Kay

Various papers including the Whitstable & Herne Bay Herald, 23rd March, 1895


The Will of Rose shows that Henry Howard Reed and his wife Eliza were appointed as his guardians and took possession of Park House, or an alternative residence, during George's life.


1901 Census, 1 Victoria Gardens, Broadstairs, Kent
REED, Eliza Head Widow F 45 1856 Living On Own Means Paddington, London
REED, Albert H Son   M 15 1886   Maida Vale, London
REED, Eleanor Howard Daughter   F 14 1887   Hammersmith, London
KAY, George L H Ward Single M 34 1867 Lunatic Paddington, London
MALIN, Sidney Servant Single M 43 1858 Lunatic Attendant Kidderminster, Worcestershire
VIDGEN, Henry Servant Single M 23 1878 Man Servant Wye, Kent
TRIBE, Matilda Servant Single F 21 1880 Cook Marylebone, London
SMITH, Ellen Servant Single F 22 1879 Housemaid Broadstairs, Kent

1911 Census, 1 Victoria Gardens, Broadstairs, Kent
REED, Eliza Head Widow F 58 1853 Private Means London Marylebone
REED, Albert Howard Son Single M 25 1886 Architects Assistant London Paddington
KAY, George Louis Howard Ward Single M 45 1866   London
ISITT, Ellen Rose Cook Widow F 42 1869 Servant Cook Wingham Kent
MOUNT, Edith Housemaid Single F 21 1890 Servant Housemaid Sandwich Kent
WALKER, Elizabeth Housemaid Single F 18 1893 Servant Housemaid Minster Thanet
BUSHELL, Alfred Willis Manservant Single M 37 1874 Servant Manservant Adisham Kent
TAPSTER, George Manservant Single M 28 1883 Servant Manservant Stonehouse Plymouth

George died 31st October 1935 at Grove House, Dent de Lion Rd, Margate. I looked Grove house up on the Margate local history site, where there was an old print and some postcards showing it, and it was quite an imposing residence, but there wasn't any info, so I emailed them, and they replied they couldn't find anything, other than a reference in Kelly's Directory for 1935 saying it was owned by Captain Albert Howard-Reed! And he was my grandmother's brother, so they obviously kept him in the family!!

George's Will was an admin with a Will, to HM Treasury, effects 10485.6s 4d.

The following notes were made  to try and track down the origins of Rose Louise Elly
We Know: Rosa Eley census 1851 St Lukes, Mddx 1832/3
  Rose Louisa Eley marriage 1854 [Father John Eley] 1831/2
  Rose Louisa Kay marriage 1868 [Father John Eley]  
  Louise [M?] Kay census 1881 Berkshire 1838/9
  Rose L Kay census 1891 Marylebone, London 1845/6
  Rose Louise Kay death 1894   1833/4

The best fit  (poor fit on year, place, father's forename name) on familysearch is a Rosina Sarah Lewis Ely who was baptised on 23 November 1828 at St Saviour, Southwark, Surrey with parents James and Sarah Ely - and I could not find any census data to back this up. Can't totally rule it out as Rose and Rosina could be one and the same an so phonetically are Louise and Lewis. If, as suggested, she was a prostitute, she might have deliberately misrepresented her father's name.

The 1851 census suggested that Rose might have a sister Eliza, both being born in St Lukes (part of Holborn including City Road, Finsbury, Old Street and Whitecross Street) but this provided no definite clues.

Another possibility explored was the Eley and Keely were just different spellings of the same name and Rose was related to Eleanor Keely.  Eleanor Sarah Grace Keeley was christened on 22 February 1832 at St James, Paddington, the daughter of Robert and Sarah Keeley, and she can be followed through to her death with no obvious evidence of any relationship.

So the real identity of Rose remains something of a mystery. If anyone has any ideas ....

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

September 2010   Page created
January 2014   Information on William Kay junior