William Frederick Webb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
W F Webb

William Frederick Webb (March 1829 in Sussex – 1899 in Africa) was a High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and officer in the British army.

Early life[edit]

William was one of four children born to Frederick Webb and Mary Shiel. He was educated at Eton and later joined the army. During his time in the army, he became a Captain in the 17th Lancers.[1] Upon the death of his father in 1847, Webb inherited estates in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and County Durham, making him very wealthy.

Mr Webb spent much time in Africa with his good friend Captain Codrington. In 1851 Webb became ill with a fever and they summoned the famous explorer Dr Livingstone to assist. Webb recovered and they became friends and Webb said that Livingstone had save his life.[2]


Webb continued to make a considerable profit from his properties and land. In 1860, Mr and Mrs Webb purchased Newstead Abbey in Ravenshead, Nottingham from Colonel Wildman.[2] They outbid Queen Victoria to acquire Newstead Abbey. He moved his family into the Abbey, which is famous for being the former home of the poet Lord Byron and set about improving Newstead. Mr Webb installed central heating and gas lighting and also redecorated the old chapel. Mrs Webb also contributed by filling the house with Byron memorabilia and entertaining guests from all over the world.

His hunting 'treasures' can be seen in Newstead today; the tusks, skins and heads of the animals he caught while in Africa. Dr Livingstone was not only a great friend of William Webb, but also a friend of the whole family, as he made regular trips to Newstead, sometimes for as long as eight months.

William Webb was also a magistrate. In 1865 he became High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire.[3]

In 1889, Mrs Webb became ill with tuberculosis and journeyed to Africa in October that year, in hope that the warm climate would help her recovery. However, on 28 December 1889, Emila Jane Webb died, aged 63. She was buried in the cemetery of St John's church, Wynberg, Cape Town, South Africa.[2] The white marble grave is still in good condition as at 2009 and states her age at death as being 55. It features a design on it that reflects motifs seen throughout Newstead Abbey.

Ten years later, in 1899, Mr Webb contracted laryngitis while in Africa. He died from it and is buried at Luxor in Egypt.

When Webb died, Newstead Abbey was passed through each of his surviving children until Mr Webb's grandson Charles Ian Fraser sold it to Sir Julien Cahn, who then gave it to Nottingham City Council in 1931.


On 15 July 1857, he married Emilia Jane, daughter of Thomas Mills Goodlake of Wadley House at Littleworth in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). Together they had seven children:

  • Wilfred Webb (1858) (died at three months)
  • Augusta Z. Webb (1859)
  • Geraldine Webb (1860)
  • Ethel Mary Webb (1863)
  • Mabel C. Webb (1864)
  • Algernon F. Webb (1866)
  • Roderick B. Webb (1867).


  1. ^ "The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire > Articles from the Thoroton Society Newsletter:". www.thorotonsociety.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  2. ^ a b c "Victorian Newstead teacher's pack" (PDF). Nottingham Heritage. August 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "No. 22936". The London Gazette. 4 February 1865. p. 559. 

External links[edit]