Conyers baronets

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The Baronetcy of Conyers of Horden was created in the Baronetage of England on 14 July 1628 for John Conyers of Horden, County Durham.

Between 1099 and 1133 the then Bishop of Durham, Ralph Flambard, granted lands at Sockburn, in County Durham and Hutton, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, to a Roger de Conyers. By the end of the 12th century the lands were divided between two branches of the Conyers family. The elder branch resided at Hutton Conyers, which passed to the Mallory family in 1347 after a Conyers daughter married a Mallory.[1] The other branch was well established at Sockburn. Sockburn Hall was the family seat. The last male Conyers at Sockburn died in 1635, and his granddaughter sold the manor of Sockburn.[2]

In the 16th century Richard Conyers of Hornby, a descendant of Sir Christopher Conyers of Sockburn, married the heiress of the Horden estate near Peterlee, County Durham, and Horden Hall became the family seat.

The second Baronet married Elizabeth Langhorne, heiress to an estate at Charlton, Kent and his son, the third Baronet inherited that estate in 1714. The third Baronet had however married the Baldwin heiress to an estate at Great Stoughton, Huntingdonshire, in 1675 and moved the family seat there.

After the death of the fourth Baronet without a male heir, the Horden estate was sold and the Charlton estate passed by entail out of the immediate family. The Baronetcy passed to his cousin, Ralph Conyers of Chester le Street, who was a great grandson of the first Baronet. He married Jane Blakiston (d.1774) on 11 June 1719 at Durham Cathedral[3] - Jane being a scion of the "opulent House of Gibside", near Rowlands Gill.[4] This alliance of the family with the Gibside - Bowes' further "elevated their position and grandeur".[5] The sons of Sir Ralph and Lady Conyers succeeded as the sixth and seventh Baronets, their grandson George as eighth Baronet who upon his death, left the Baronetcy to be inherited by Thomas, their third son; Sir Thomas was the ninth and last Baronet.[6]

Sir Thomas, the ninth Baronet, seems to have retained his bearing as a gentleman and is described as "gentleman" at his marriage in 1754 and as "esquire" in the baptismal entries of his daughters. According to Burke's Vicissitudes of Families, Durham historian Robert Surtees called on him at a Durham workhouse and, distressed at his plight, offered to raise an appeal to alleviate his circumstances. Sir Thomas replied: "I am no beggar, Sir; I won't accept any such offers." His pride extended to the rejection of financial aid from his family.[7] Although on 10 May 1800, he had attended Westminster Abbey[8] for the funeral of his Gibside heiress cousin, Mary Eleanor Bowes - acknowledged as the wealthiest woman in England[9] - he accepted no aid from his relatives at Gibside, the coal-rich estate in the Derwent Valley, Wakefield, that his ancestor, Sir William Blakiston had owned.

Eventually, Surtees was modestly successful in his appeal for funds and Sir Thomas was moved to more comfortable accommodation in a private house on 1 March 1810.

The fate of Sir Thomas' brother was, according to the 1809 Gentleman's Magazine, somewhat better; Sir Blakiston Conyers (d.1791), was the "heir of two ancient titles, from which he derived little more than his name". But whereas the acceptance of the "generous patronage" of his Gibside relatives, the Bowes-Lyon family, had ensured that Sir Blakiston's situation was considerably more comfortable, his brother, Sir Thomas, died a pauper on 15 April 1810 - only months after having been rescued from the workhouse by his gentry friends.

Sir Thomas Conyers, the great great grandson of the first Baronet Conyers, had failed to sire a surviving heir and had only three daughters : Jane, Elizabeth and Dorothy. All three of Sir Thomas' daughters are listed in the 1841 Burke's Peerage as marrying "working men" : Jane Conyers (1756-1835) was the great great grandmother of Durham coal miner John Harrison (1874-1956), the great great grandfather of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, née Catherine Middleton.[10]

The Baronetcy of Conyers of Horden had thus become extinct in 1810.[11][12]

Conyers of Horden (1628)[edit]

  • Sir John Conyers, 1st Baronet (died 1664)
  • Sir Christopher Conyers, 2nd Baronet (1621–1693)
  • Sir John Conyers, 3rd Baronet (1649–1719)
  • Sir Baldwin Conyers, 4th Baronet (1681–1731)
  • Sir Ralph Conyers, 5th Baronet (1697–1767)
  • Sir Blakiston Conyers, 6th Baronet (died 1791)
  • Sir Nicholas Conyers, 7th Baronet (1729–1796)
  • Sir George Conyers, 8th Baronet (died c. 1800)
  • Sir Thomas Conyers, 9th Baronet (1731–1810)


  1. ^ Page, William, ed. (1914). "Parishes: Hutton Conyers". "A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1". Victoria history of the counties of England. Constable & Co. OCLC 277868328. 
  2. ^ Page, William, ed. (1914). "Parishes: Sockburn". "A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1". Victoria history of the counties of England. Constable & Co. OCLC 277868328. 
  3. ^ Bell, George. "Marriages from the Durham Cathedral Registers (1609-1837)". GENUKI. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Surtees, Robert (1820). "Chapelry of Tanfield (Footnote 64)". The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 2: Chester ward. University of London & History of Parliament Trust. pp. 219–236. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Burke, Sir Bernard (1860). A Second Series of Vicissitudes of Families. Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts. p. 19. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Child, Christopher Challender (Fall 2011). "A Gratifying Discovery: Connecting Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to Sir Thomas Conyers, 9th Bt. of Horden, Durham". American Ancestors Magazine (New England Historical Genealogical Society). p. 36. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Kirtley, Al; Blackett, Martin; Longbottom, Pat (2007). "And Finally, a Tale of (Prince) George and the Dragon". The Blacketts of North East England. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore". Westminster Abbey, The Dean and Chapter of Westminster. 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Wedlock: Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match". History Today. 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Joseph, Claudia (23 April 2011). "Princess from the Pit". Express. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Surtees, Robert (July 1809). "Letter". Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review 79.2. pp. 1110–11. 
  12. ^ A History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd. 1841. p. 128. 

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