Auctioneer's Apprentices in Tring, 1828-1848 ... ...


When doing research an interesting snippet catches your eye and before you have time to think you are of on a trail which becomes more and more interesting ... so you dig deeper and deeper. In this case I noted the Sir Walter Gilbey (of Gilbey's Gin fame) had spent part of his early life working at Tring. So what was he doing. The following is a good example of one of these spur of the moment distractions from the research you had set out to do ...

In the report of the Tring Agricultural Society AGM held on 29th January, 1915, it was reported that

So what was he doing in Tring?

I checked some of the online newspapers and this entry from the Cambridge Independent Press of 20 November 1914 provides more information.



In addition the Liverpool Post of 13 November reports "At the age of thirteen he found a berth in the office of an estate agent at Tring, where he remained until he was eighteen, when he transferred his services to a firm of Parliamentary agents in London ..."



So who was he working for in Tring?


In the 1840s there were two estate agents working in Tring.

  • J. R. (or J. G.) Glenister seems to have been acting as an auctioneer in Tring until mid 1845, which is when he last advertised as an auctioneer in the Bucks Herald.

  •  William Brown was an estate agent for the whole of the period and definitely by the 1850s was involved in the management of the Tring Park Estate. In addition he was also closely involved with the Tring Agricultural Society, which was founded in 1840.


So did Walter work for Glenister or Brown?


I did a Newspaper Search for any page linking the words "Glenister," "Gilbey" and "Tring" and came up wit the death of A. T. Parkes in the Bucks Herald of 15 September, 1888.


Walter Gilbey's connection with Tring becomes clear. This suggests that J.  Glenister took on the following seven year apprentices at the ages of about 13:

  • William Brown: 1828-1835

  • Alexander Thomas Parkes 1835-1842

  • William Gilbey 1844-1849

Alexander Parkes became land agent of the Tring Park Estate and William Gilbey worked under Alexander Parkes, and in 1888 attended his funeral.



But there was a J. R and a J. G. Glenister?


A quick check showed that John Rolfe Glenister died in 1840 and his son John Gilbey Glenister died in 1848.



John ??? GILBEY !!! Glenister ?


Why was John Gilbey Glenister so called? Is there another link with Walter Gilbey.


A look at family trees on Ancestry produces the following relationship:

  • John Rolfe Glenister married Elizabeth Gilbey on 31 December 1814, at Stansted Montfitchet, Essex. 

  • Elizabeth Gilbey had been born in Stansted in 1791, the daughter of Daniel Gilbey and Rebecca Speed.

  • Elizabeth had a brother, Henry Gilbey, who was also born in Stansted, Essex.

  • Henry had a son Walter Gilbey, born 1831 at Windhill, Bishops Stortford

  • Henry died in 1842

  • Walter was apprenticed to cousin John Gilbey Glenister in 1843.

  • Walter presumably left Tring following the death of J. G. Glenister.


But what about Luton?


The few press adverts that appear between 1842 to 1847 refer to Mr. Alexander Thomas Parkes, Land and Timber Surveyors, Estate Agent and Auctioneer, George Street, Luton, Beds.  In June 1849 There is the announcement of an eldest son born at Tring. The first clear Tring Advert has him acting as a Land Agent, Surveyor and Auctioneer, Tring, Herts, in 1858.


In October/November 1859 this advert, which appeared in a number of newspapers several time, clearly relates to the Tring Park Estate and the Chancery battle. A similar timber sale occurred in the Autumn of 1860.


In May 1863 he sells "The Harrow" beerhouse in Akeman Street, Tring, as part of the estate of Charles Philbey (undoubtedly his wife's relative). He gives his address as Tring Park Estate Office.


In fact there is actually very little evidence that he was seriously active as an auctioneer although he was involved in the occasional sale. The lack of adverts suggests that his activities relating to the Tring Park Estate took most of his time.


And what was his working relationship with William Brown?


Folio 163 of William Brown's Account book shows several entries relating to surveys carried out  which were charged to J. Brown and/or were related to the Tring Park Estate, where Alexander worked as a surveyor.



 "Sir Walter had been a member of Tring Show for 22 years, and he must often in his younger days have trodden the ground where our annual show is held, when a pupil on the Tring Park Estate."



Noted Agriculturist and Founder of Great Firm.

We regret to record the death of Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart., who passed peacefully away at his residence, Elsenham Hull, near Bishop Stortford, on Thursday afternoon of last week. Sir Walter, who was in his 84th year, was one the founders of the well-known firm of Messrs. W. and A. Gilbey, Ltd., wine and spirit merchants, but was best known in the Eastern Counties as a large landowner and an authority all subjects connected with agriculture, horse-breeding and sport. In these matters he rendered services of the greatest importance the country. Sir Walter was one of the most striking personalities of his time. He was a man of varied activities, and was noted, even in a versatile age, for his versatility.

Sir Walter was born at Bishop Stortford on May 2nd, 1831. His father was a coach proprietor, owning, and frequently driving, one of the best coaches running between that part of Essex and London in the days before railways. From the first, Walter Gilbey was, therefore, closely associated with horses, but when he was eleven his father died, and at 13 he was taken away from school and placed in the office of an estate agent at Tring. Some years later he joined his elder brother, who had set up in business in the City as a wholesale wine merchant. Afterwards began the organisation of that "direct supply” business in wine and spirits which was eventually to make the firm of W. and A. Gilbey famous.  ... ...





We regret to have this week to record the death of Mr. Alexander Thomas Parkes, which took place at his residence, Tring Lodge, High-street, on Friday, Sept. 7th. Mr. Parkes had been failing health for some time; an unfortunate accidental fall a few months since severely shook him, and he never quite recovered from its effects, but the actual cause of his death was apoplexy. He was the eldest son of the late Mr. Thomas Parkes (a member of the Stock Exchange), of Betchworth and Cheam, Surrey, and had nearly reached the patriarchal age of threescore and ten years. For more than forty years Mr. Parkes had been the agent of the Tring Park Estate, during which period it was for time in the hands of the Court of Chancery, and in the occupation of the late Rev. James Williams (father of the present owner of Pendley Manor, Mr. J. G. Williams), and the late Baron Lionel Nathaniel Rothschild, who purchased it in 1872. The Baron died in June, 1879, and was succeeded by his son, Sir N. M. de Rothschild, now Lord Rothschild.

 Mr. Parkes was articled, when about sixteen, to Mr. J. R. Glenister, estate agent and surveyor, Tring, then agent of the Tring Park Estate. He married, firstly, Rebecca, second daughter of Mr. J. R. Glenister, by whom he had issue one daughter, the wife of Mr. George Fell, solicitor, of Aylesbury; secondly, Miss Annie Philbey, eldest daughter of Mr. Philbey, Tring, who, with son and two daughters, survives him.

After Mr. Parkes had completed his articles he was successful in establishing business estate agent, auctioneer, and surveyor, at Luton, where he resided until the death of Mr. J. G. Glenister (son of Mr. J. R. Glenister), about 1847, at which date he relinqnished his Luton practice and came to live at Tring. From this period till his death he was agent of the Tring Park Estate, having some 3,855 acres his agency. Mr. William Brown, one of the foremost of land agents, completed term of seven years with Mr. J. R. Glenister in 1835, preceding Mr. A. T. Parkes.

By the death of the deceased gentleman a very prominent figure intimately associated with Tring affairs has been removed. He was excellent man of business, kind in all relations of life, just, methodical, and great worker. At one period Mr. Walter Gilbey, of Elsenham Hall, Essex, was in Mr. Parkes's office, and he attributes much of his success in life to the careful training during the three years of his youth he spent there.

Mr. Parkes was punctilious and exact, almost to fault possibly some might think. For a long period he held the office of vestry clerk of Tring ; he was agent for the Alliance Fire and Life Office (of which Lord Rothschild is chairman); secretary for the Tring Society for the Prosecution of Felons; and was associated with the London Artificial Manure Company and the County Hail-storm Company. For many years he had the preparation of the list of voters, and this year, in conjunction with his clerk, Mr. Polley, he had duly discharged this specially onerous duty. He was also closely connected for long period with the Volunteer movement; and the Tring corps owed very much of its past success to his excellent services on its behalf as secretary and treasurer. He was for many years designated "Paymaster Parkes" - an office which he held until an order from head quarters required the retirement of all volunteers over sixty years of age. During his administration of affairs the balance was always on the right side, and the corps knew no monetary difficulties.

The funeral of Mr. Parkes took place on Thursday at half-past two in very fine weather. At almost every house in the High-street either a shutter was put or the blinds were drawn down, a general feeling of respect to the deceased as a "faithful steward" being entertained. The coffin was of polished oak, with brass fittings. The plate bore the following inscription : "Alexander Thomas Parkes born July 16, 1819, died September 7, 1888." The coffin was borne by employés on the estate from the Lodge to the Churchyard, where it was met by the Vicar, who, with Rev. Woodward, conducted the service in the Church. Deceased was laid in the family brick grave in the old Churchyard, the coffin, as required by law, being encased with charcoal in the grave. Deceased's first wife and daughter had previously been buried there.

There was a large company of mourners, including Lord Rothschild, Mr. Frank W. Parkes (son), Mr. Samuel Parkes (brother), Mr. G. Fell, Mr. G. Fell, jun., Mr. G. Jeffery, Mr. Walter Gilbey, Mr. Polley, Mr. Bird, Mr. Blatchley, Mr. Lamb, Captain Whitby, Dr. Pope (medical attendant), Mr. W. Brown, Mr. T. G. Elliman, Mr. T. Horwood (Aylesbury), Mr. T. Glover, Mr. Clement, Mr. Hill (gardener), Mr. Vaisey, Mr. Akers, Mr. R. Hedges, Dr. Brown, Dr. Le Quesne, Mr. Thorp, Rev. C. Pearce, Mr. Tompkins, Mr. Charles Horwood (Buckland), Mr. W. Newman (Gubblecote), Mr. G. Parrott, Mr. F. Crouch, Mr. Foulkes, Mr. Knight, Mr. Johnson, Mr. G. Grace, Mr. Jesse Wright, Mr. T. Hedges, Mr. Ellerington, Mr. H. R. Glover, Mr. Ernest Mead, Mr. Marsh, Mr. S. Elliman, Mr. Rodwell, Mr. A. Fincher, Mr. Putnam, Mr. Hobson, Mr. Rickett, Mr. Amsden, jun., and Mr. Osborn.

Choice floral wreaths were sent by Mrs. W. R. Parkes and family, Charlie, Arthur, Lillie, Florence, Margaret Annie, and Edith Metcalfe (nieces, in loving remembrance"), Mrs. Bird and Hannah Pickburn, Mr. W. Brown and family ("with kindest remembrances"), Mrs. Kay, Mrs. Newman, Rev. E. and Mrs. Harries, Mr. G. T. W. Mingleston, M.D., Mr. and Mrs. W. Metcalfe (Watford), and a beautiful cross bearing no name. Mr. Honour and Mr. Elliman were the undertakers.


And of course I have not investigated whether William Brown and Alexander Parkes were related to the Glenister family. ... ...

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