John Tollemache, 1st Baron Tollemache

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Lord Tollemache as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, April 1881

John Jervis Tollemache, 1st Baron Tollemache (5 December 1805 – 9 December 1890), was a British Conservative Member of Parliament and a major landowner and estate manager in Cheshire, becoming Baron Tollemache of Helmingham Hall in Suffolk.

Personal life and career[edit]

Born John Jervis Halliday, he was the son of Admiral John Richard Delap Halliday (who in 1821 assumed by Royal licence the surname and arms of Tollemache in lieu of Halliday), eldest son of Lady Jane Halliday, youngest daughter and co-heir of Lionel Tollemache, 4th Earl of Dysart. His mother was Lady Elizabeth Stratford, daughter of John Stratford, 3rd Earl of Aldborough.

Little is known of his education and it is thought that he received a private education which did not lead to university. He inherited considerable wealth, including Helmingham Hall in Suffolk and estates in Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Ireland.[1]

Tollemache served as High Sheriff of Cheshire for 1840 and was then elected to the House of Commons as MP for Cheshire South from 1841 to 1868, and Cheshire West from 1868 to 1872. In 1876 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Tollemache, of Helmingham Hall in the county of Suffolk.[2]

Lord Tollemache married Georgina Louisa Best, daughter of Thomas Best, in 1826; they had five children together. After her death in 1846, he married Eliza Georgiana Duff, daughter of Sir James Duff, in 1850; they had nine children together.

Lord Tollemache died in December 1890, aged 85, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son from his first marriage, Wilbraham Frederic Tollemache. The eldest son from his second marriage, the Hon. John. R. D. Tollemache, married Eleanor Starnes, the daughter of Hon. Henry Starnes and his wife, Eleanor Stuart.[3]

Lady Tollemache, who was 24 years younger than her husband, died in 1918.[2]


Tollemache was the largest landowner in Cheshire, owning 28,651 acres (115.95 km2). His estate exceeded those of the Duke of Westminster who owned 15,138 acres (61.26 km2), Lord Crewe with 10,148 acres (41.07 km2) and Lord Cholmondeley with 16,992 acres (68.76 km2). He was considered to be a good estate manager; William Ewart Gladstone described him as "the greatest estate manager of his day". He was generous to his tenants and advocated improvement of their social conditions. He believed in a self-reliant labouring class and made popular the idea of his tenants having a cottage with sufficient land to keep a few animals. His catch-phrase for this was "three acres and a cow", a policy he carried out in Framsden, the estate village of Helmingham Hall. In addition to building many cottages with land attached he built over 50 farmhouses. On this project he spent £280,000.[1]

Tollemache's major building project was a family home in the form of a Norman-style castle, Peckforton Castle, on a massive scale on Peckforton Hills in his Cheshire estate. It cost around £60,000 (equivalent to £5,900,000 as of 2016),[4][5] and is described as the last serious fortified home built in England.[6]

Coat of arms[edit]


  1. ^ a b Durdey, Ronald (2008). "John Tollemache and his Castle". Cheshire History. 47: 75–87. ISSN 0141-8696. 
  2. ^ a b Kidd, Charles (1990). David Williamson, ed. Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. New York: St Martin's Press. 
  3. ^ Morgan, Henry James Types of Canadian women and of women who are or have been connected with Canada : (Toronto, 1903) [1]
  4. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 6, 2017. 
  5. ^ Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Hubbard, Edward; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2011) [1971], Cheshire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 524, ISBN 978-0-300-17043-6 
  6. ^ Historic England, "Peckforton Castle (1135729)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 August 2013 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Wilbraham
Sir Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton
Member of Parliament for South Cheshire
With: Sir Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for West Cheshire
With: Sir Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton
Succeeded by
Wilbraham Frederic Tollemache
Sir Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Thomas Hibbert
High Sheriff of Cheshire
Succeeded by
John Ryle
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Tollemache
Succeeded by
Wilbraham Frederic Tollemache