BARONETAGE
Last updated 18/08/2014
Names of baronets shown in blue 
have not yet proved succession and, as a
result, their name has not yet been placed on
the Official Roll of the Baronetage.
Date Type Order Name Born Died  Age
Dates in italics in the "Born" column indicate that the baronet was
baptised on that date; dates in italics in the "Died" column indicate 
that the baronet was buried on that date
VALCKENBURG of Middleing,Yorks
20 Jul 1642 E 1 Matthew Valckenburg                c 1649
c 1649 2 John Anthony van Valckenburg 1 Sep 1679
to     Extinct on his death                    
Sep 1679
VANACKER of London
31 Jan 1701 E See "Sambrooke"
VAN COLSTER of Amsterdam,Holland
28 Feb 1645 E 1 Joseph van Colster                     c Apr 1665
to     Extinct on his death                    
c Apr 1665
             
VANDEN-BEMPDE-JOHNSTONE
of Hackness Hall,Yorks
6 Jul 1795 GB 1 Richard Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone 21 Sep 1732 14 Jul 1807 74
MP for Weymouth 1790-1796
14 Jul 1807 2 John Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone 28 Aug 1799 24 Feb 1869 69
MP for Yorkshire 1830-1832 and
Scarborough 1832-1837 and 1841-1869
For further information on the death of this MP,
see the note at the foot of this page
24 Feb 1869 3 Harcourt Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone 3 Jan 1829 1 Mar 1916 87
He was subsequently created Baron
Derwent (qv) in 1881 with which title the
baronetcy then merged
  VANDEPUT of Twickenham,Middlesex
7 Nov 1723 GB 1 Peter Vanderput                          c 1688 25 Aug 1748
25 Aug 1748 2 George Vandeput                       c 1717 17 Jun 1784
to     Extinct on his death                    
17 Jun 1784
VANDERBRANDE of Cleverskirke,Holland
9 Jun 1699 E 1 John Peter Vanderbrande c 1713
c 1713 2 Cornelius Vanderbrande after 1713
to     Presumably extinct on his death
after 1713
VANE-FLETCHER of Hutton,Cumberland
27 Jun 1786 GB See "Fletcher-Vane"
VANE-TEMPEST of Long Newton,Durham
13 Jul 1782 GB 1 Henry Vane c 1725 7 Jun 1794
7 Jun 1794 2 Henry Vane-Tempest 7 Aug 1813
to     MP for Durham 1794-1800
7 Aug 1813 Extinct on his death                    
VAN FREISENDORF of Hirdech,Sweden
4 Oct 1661 E 1 John Frederick van Freisendorf
Nothing further is known of this baronetcy
VAN LORE of Tylehurst,Berks
3 Sep 1628 E 1 Peter van Lore c 1580 c 1645
to     Extinct on his death                    
c 1645
VANNECK of Putney,Surrey
14 Dec 1751 GB 1 Joshua Vanneck 6 Mar 1777
6 Mar 1777 2 Gerard Vanneck c 1743 22 May 1791
MP for Dunwich 1768-1790
22 May 1791 3 Joshua Vanneck 31 Dec 1745 15 Aug 1816 70
He was subsequently created Baron
Huntingfield (qv) in 1796 with which title
the baronetcy remains merged,although,as at
30/06/2014,the baronetcy does not appear in
the Official Roll of the Baronetage
VAN NOTTEN-POLE of Todenham House,Gloucs
28 Jul 1791 GB See "Pole"
VAN TROMP of Holland
23 Apr 1675 E 1 Cornelius Martinus van Tromp c 1630 29 May 1691
to     On his death the baronetcy is presumed to
29 May 1691 have become either extinct or dormant
VASSAR-SMITH of Charlton Park,Gloucs
10 Jul 1917 UK 1 Richard Vassar Vassar-Smith 11 Jul 1843 2 Aug 1922 79
2 Aug 1922 2 John George Lawley Vassar-Smith 10 Dec 1868 2 May 1942 73
2 May 1942 3 Richard Rathborne Vassar-Smith 24 Nov 1909 12 Aug 1995 85
12 Aug 1995 4 John Rathborne Vassar-Smith 23 Jul 1936
  VAUGHAN of Nannau,Merioneth
28 Jul 1791 GB 1 Robert Howell Vaughan c 1738 13 Oct 1792
13 Oct 1792 2 Robert Williames Vaughan 29 Mar 1768 22 Apr 1843 75
MP for Merioneth 1792-1836
22 Apr 1843 3 Robert Williames Vaughan 23 Jun 1803 29 Apr 1859 55
to     Extinct on his death                    
29 Apr 1859
VAUGHAN-MORGAN of Outwood,Surrey
29 Jan 1960 UK 1 John Kenyon Vaughan-Morgan 2 Feb 1905 26 Jan 1995 89
He was subsequently created Baron
Reigate [L] (qv) in 1970 with which title the
baronetcy then merged until its extinction
in 1995
VAVASOUR of Haselwood,Yorks
24 Oct 1628 E 1 Thomas Vavasour before 1636
before 1636 2 Walter Vavasour after 1666
after 1666 3 Walter Vavasour c 1644 16 Feb 1713
16 Feb 1713 4 Walter Vavasour c 1659 May 1740
May 1740 5 Walter Vavasour 13 Apr 1766
13 Apr 1766 6 Walter Vavasour 16 Jan 1744 3 Nov 1802 58
3 Nov 1802 7 Thomas Vavasour c 1745 20 Jan 1826
to     Extinct on his death                    
20 Jan 1826
VAVASOUR of Killingthorpe,Lincs
22 Jun 1631 E 1 Charles Vavasour Feb 1644
to     Extinct on his death                    
Feb 1644
VAVASOUR of Copmanthorpe,Yorks
17 Jul 1643 E 1 William Vavasour 18 Feb 1659
to     Extinct on his death                    
18 Feb 1659
VAVASOUR of Spaldington,Yorks
20 Mar 1801 UK 1 Henry Vavasour 15 Mar 1813
15 Mar 1813 2 Henry Maghull Mervin Vavasour 19 Jul 1768 4 Jan 1838 69
4 Jan 1838 3 Henry Mervin Vavasour 17 Jun 1814 9 Dec 1912 98
to     Extinct on his death                    
9 Dec 1912 For further information on this baronet,and a
listing of those baronets who have reached their
centenaries,see the note at the foot of this page
VAVASOUR of Haslewood,Yorks
14 Feb 1828 UK 1 Edward Marmaduke Stourton Vavasour 6 May 1786 15 Mar 1847 60
15 Mar 1847 2 Edward Marmaduke Vavasour 17 jan 1815 23 Aug 1885 70
23 Aug 1885 3 William Edward Joseph Vavasour 28 Nov 1846 18 Nov 1915 68
18 Nov 1915 4 Leonard Pius Vavasour 22 Sep 1881 14 Sep 1961 79
14 Sep 1961 5 Geoffrey William Vavasour 5 Sep 1914 28 Jul 1997 82
28 Jul 1997 6 Eric Michel Joseph Marmaduke Vavasour 3 Jan 1953
VERDIN of The Brockhurst,Cheshire
24 Jul 1896 UK 1 Joseph Verdin 4 Jan 1838 28 Dec 1920 82
to     Extinct on his death                    
28 Dec 1920
VERNATTI of Carleton,Yorks
7 Jun 1634 NS 1 Philibert Vernatti c Jun 1643
c Jun 1643 2 Philibert Vernatti after 1678
to     On his death the baronetcy is presumed to
after 1678 have become dormant
VERNER of Verners Bridge,Armagh
22 Jul 1846 UK 1 William Verner 25 Oct 1782 20 Jan 1871 88
MP for co.Armagh 1832-1868
20 Jan 1871 2 William Verner 4 Apr 1822 10 Jan 1873 50
MP for co.Armagh 1868-1873
For information on his daughter,Alice Emily, and
her involvement in the Bagot Will Case of 1878-80,
see the note at the foot of this page
10 Jan 1873 3 William Edward Hercules Verner 11 Jan 1856 8 Jun 1886 30
8 Jun 1886 4 Edward Wingfield Verner 1 Oct 1830 21 Jun 1899 68
MP for Lisburn 1863-1873 and co.Armagh 
1873-1880
21 Jun 1899 5 Edward Wingfield Verner 22 Nov 1865 1 Nov 1936 70
1 Nov 1936 6 Edward Derrick Wingfield Verner 28 May 1907 27 Mar 1975 67
to     Extinct on his death                    
27 Mar 1975
VERNEY of Middle Claydon,Bucks
16 Mar 1661 E 1 Ralph Verney 12 Nov 1613 24 Sep 1696 82
MP for Aylesbury 1640 and 1640-1645
and Buckingham 1681-1690
24 Sep 1696 2 John Verney 5 Nov 1640 23 Jun 1717 76
He was subsequently created Viscount
Fermanagh (qv) in 1703 with which title the
baronetcy then merged until its extinction
in 1791
VERNEY of Claydon House,Bucks
3 Dec 1818 UK 1 Harry Calvert 3 Sep 1826
3 Sep 1826 2 Harry Verney 8 Dec 1801 12 Feb 1894 92
MP for Buckingham 1832-1841,1857-1874
and 1880-1885 and Bedford 1847-1852
PC 1885
12 Feb 1894 3 Edmund Hope Verney 6 Apr 1838 8 May 1910 72
MP for Buckingham 1885-1886 and 1889-1891
For further information on this baronet, see the
note at the foot of the page containing details 
of the MPs for Buckingham
8 May 1910 4 Harry Calvert Williams Verney 7 Jun 1881 23 Dec 1974 93
MP for Buckingham 1910-1918
23 Dec 1974 5 Ralph Bruce Verney 18 Jan 1915 17 Aug 2001 86
17 Aug 2001 6 Edmund Ralph Verney 28 Jun 1950
VERNEY of Eaton Square,London
16 Jul 1946 UK 1 Ralph Verney 25 May 1879 22 Feb 1959 79
22 Feb 1959 2 John Verney 30 Sep 1913 2 Feb 1993 79
 
2 Feb 1993 3 John Sebastian Verney 30 Aug 1945
VERNON of Hodnet,Salop
23 Jul 1660 E 1 Henry Vernon 16 Dec 1606 11 Apr 1676 69
MP for Shropshire 1660 and West Looe
1661-1676
Apr 1676 2 Thomas Vernon 5 Feb 1683
5 Feb 1683 3 Richard Vernon 22 Jun 1678 1 Oct 1725 47
to     Extinct on his death                    
1 Oct 1725
VERNON of Hanbury Hall,Worcs
23 Jul 1885 UK 1 Harry Foley Vernon 11 Apr 1834 1 Feb 1920 85
MP for Worcestershire East 1861-1868
1 Feb 1920 2 Bowater George Hamilton Vernon 12 Sep 1865 14 Jun 1940 74
to     Extinct on his death                    
14 Jun 1940
VERNON of Shotwick Park,Cheshire
24 Jan 1914 UK 1 William Vernon 13 Dec 1835 24 Jun 1919 83
24 Jun 1919 2 John Herbert Vernon 12 Jul 1858 13 Jun 1933 74
13 Jun 1933 3 William Norman Vernon 19 Apr 1890 12 Apr 1967 76
12 Apr 1967 4 Nigel John Douglas Vernon 2 May 1924 4 Sep 2007 83
4 Sep 2007 5 James William Vernon 2 Apr 1949
VESEY of Abbey Leix,Queen's Co.
28 Sep 1698 I 1 Thomas Vesey 1673 6 Aug 1730 57
6 Aug 1730 2 John Denny Vesey 25 Jul 1761
He was subsequently created Baron
Knapton (qv) in 1750. The 2nd Baron was
created Viscount de Vesci (qv) in 1776
with which title the baronetcy remains
merged
VESTEY of Bessemer House,Camberwell
21 Jun 1913 UK 1 William Vestey 21 Jan 1859 10 Dec 1940 81
He was subsequently created Baron
Vestey (qv) in 1922 with which title the
baronetcy remains merged
VESTEY of Shirley,Surrey
27 Jun 1921 UK 1 Edmund Hoyle Vestey 3 Feb 1866 18 Nov 1953 87
18 Nov 1953 2 John Derek Vestey 4 Jun 1914 29 Jun 2005 91
29 Jun 2005 3 Paul Edmund Vestey 15 Feb 1944
VILLIERS of Brooksby,Lincs
19 Jul 1619 E 1 William Villiers c 1575 12 Jun 1629
12 Jun 1629 2 George Villiers Feb 1620 1682 62
1682 3 William Villiers 9 Jan 1645 27 Feb 1712 67
to     MP for Leicester 1698-1701
27 Feb 1712 Extinct on his death                    
VINCENT of Stoke d'Abernon,Surrey
26 Jul 1620 E 1 Francis Vincent c 1568 1640
MP for Surrey 1626
1640 2 Anthony Vincent 1594 1642 48
1642 3 Francis Vincent c 1621 c May 1670
MP for Dover 1661-1670
c May 1670 4 Anthony Vincent c 1645 Sep 1674
Sep 1674 5 Francis Vincent 12 Apr 1646 10 Feb 1736 89
MP for Surrey 1690-1695 and 1710-1713
10 Feb 1736 6 Henry Vincent c 1685 10 Jan 1757
MP for Guildford 1728-1734
10 Jan 1757 7 Francis Vincent c 1717 22 May 1775
MP for Surrey 1761-1775
22 May 1775 8 Francis Vincent 11 Oct 1747 17 Aug 1791 43
17 Aug 1791 9 Francis Vincent 24 Jul 1780 17 Jan 1809 28
17 Jan 1809 10 Francis Vincent 3 Mar 1803 6 Jul 1880 77
MP for St.Albans 1831-1835
6 Jul 1880 11 Frederick Vincent 8 Jan 1798 9 Jan 1883 85
9 Jan 1883 12 William Vincent 20 Sep 1834 16 Feb 1914 79
16 Feb 1914 13 Francis Erskine Vincent 24 May 1869 28 Aug 1935 66
28 Aug 1935 14 Anthony Francis Vincent 30 Jun 1894 24 Feb 1936 41
24 Feb 1936 15 Frederick d'Abernon Vincent 12 Feb 1852 2 Mar 1936 84
2 Mar 1936 16 Edgar Vincent 19 Aug 1857 1 Nov 1941 84
He had previously been created Viscount
D'Abernon (qv) in 1926 with which title the
baronetcy then merged until its extinction
in 1941
VINCENT of Watton,Norfolk
18 Jan 1937 UK 1 Percy Vincent 3 Sep 1868 22 Jan 1943 74
22 Jan 1943 2 Lacey Eric Vincent 13 Jan 1902 21 Oct 1963 61
21 Oct 1963 3 William Percy Maxwell Vincent 1 Feb 1945
VINER of London
10 May 1666 E 1 Robert Viner 1631 2 Sep 1688 57
to     Extinct on his death                    
2 Sep 1688 For further information on this baronet,
see the note at the foot of this page
VITUS of Limerick
29 Jun 1677 E 1 Ignatius Vitus c 1626 21 Aug 1694
to     Baronetcy forfeited
11 May 1691
VIVIAN of Truro,Cornwall
19 Jan 1828 UK 1 Richard Hussey Vivian 28 Jul 1775 20 Aug 1842 67
He was subsequently created Baron Vivian
(qv) in 1841 with which title the
baronetcy remains merged
VIVIAN of Singleton,Glamorgan
13 May 1882 UK 1 Henry Hussey Vivian 6 Jul 1821 28 Nov 1894 73
He was subsequently created Baron Swansea
(qv) in 1893 with which title the 
baronetcy remains merged,although as at
30/06/2014 the baronetcy does not appear
on the Official Roll of the Baronetage
VYNER of London
18 Jun 1661 E 1 Thomas Vyner 15 Dec 1588 11 May 1665
11 May 1665 2 George Vyner c 1639 5 Jul 1673
5 Jul 1673 3 Thomas Vyner 21 Jun 1664 3 May 1683 18
to     Extinct on his death
May 1683
VYVYAN of Trelowarren,Cornwall
12 Feb 1645 E 1 Richard Vyvyan c 1613 3 Oct 1665
MP for Penrhyn 1640, Tregony 1640-1644
and St.Mawes 1663-1665
3 Oct 1665 2 Vyell Vyvyan 20 May 1639 24 Feb 1697 57
MP for Helston 1679-81
24 Feb 1697 3 Richard Vyvyan c 1677 12 Oct 1724
MP for Mitchell 1701-1702 and
Cornwall 1703-1708 and 1712-1713
12 Oct 1724 4 Francis Vyvyan 29 Sep 1698 29 Dec 1745 47
Dec 1745 5 Richard Vyvyan 11 May 1731 20 Oct 1781 50
20 Oct 1781 6 Carew Vyvyan 11 Jan 1737 4 Oct 1814 77
4 Oct 1814 7 Vyell Vyvyan 12 Jul 1767 27 Jan 1820 52
27 Jan 1820 8 Richard Rawlinson Vyvyan 6 Jun 1800 15 Aug 1879 79
MP for Cornwall 1825-1831, Okehampton
1831-1832, Bristol 1832-1837 and Helston
1841-1857
15 Aug 1879 9 Vyell Donnithorne Vyvyan 16 Aug 1826 27 May 1917 90
27 May 1917 10 Courtenay Bourchier Vyvyan 5 Jun 1858 15 Nov 1941 83
15 Nov 1941 11 Richard Philip Vyvyan 21 Nov 1891 15 May 1978 86
15 May 1978 12 John Stanley Vyvyan 20 Jan 1916 6 Oct 1995 79
6 Oct 1995 13 Ralph Ferrers Alexander Vyvyan 21 Aug 1960
 
Sir John Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone, 2nd baronet
Sir John died from injuries received in a hunting accident. According to the London 'Standard'
of 26 February 1869:-
'It is with great regret we record the death of [Sir John Johnstone], which took place between
nine and ten o'clock yesterday morning at his residence in Belgrave-Square. Sir John, who was
an enthusiastic sportsman, was out with Mr. Lowndes' hounds, at Bletchley, on Saturday last,
when, in taking a drop fence, by some means he lost his saddle, and came down a crash on his
shoulder, sustaining severe location and serious internal injury. Mr. Deans, surgeon, of 
Bletchley, was immediately sent for, and without delay arrived on the scene. On examination
he pronounced the injuries to be of a very serious nature. After the skilful attention of the
above gentleman Sir John became somewhat composed, and it was thought advisable that he
should be removed to London. Accordingly he was conveyed by rail to his town residence,
accompanied by Mr. Deans, arriving about 11 o'clock on Saturday night. He was placed under
the care of Messrs. Prescott, Hewitt and Leggett, who, assisted by Mr. Deans, used every
exertion to mitigate his sufferings, but without avail.'
Sir Henry Mervin Vavasour, 3rd baronet
 
 
The following article appeared in "The Washington Post" on 6 January 1913:-
 
'Much money changed hands on the death last week of old Sir Henry Mervin Vavasour, of
Spaldington, at the age of nearly 99. For some two or three years ago the fact was brought
to light that neither the British peerage nor yet its baronetage had ever produced a 
centenarian. Sir Henry Vavasour was thereupon discovered to be the very oldest baronet,
and was found to be so hale and vigorous that numerous bets were made, not only in his
native county of Yorkshire, but also in London clubland, that he would safely pass the
hundredth milestone.
'Indeed, the wagers for and against this probability assumed altogether phenomenal proportions,
and many of the bettors endeavored to protect themselves by taking out insurance at Lloyds,
both against and in favor of his dying before he reached the century mark.
'Now the bettors and Lloyds have been called upon to settle up, since the old baronet has been
gathered to his fathers within a little more than twelve months of the goal, his baronetcy
becoming extinct.'
Whilst it was true that at the time of the writing of the above article no peer had ever reached
100 years, my records show that two baronets had already achieved this feat. The following
baronets are those who have reached their centenaries:-
Sir John Morres, 3rd baronet   (29 August 1620-26 October 1720)
Sir Moses Montefiore, 1st baronet   (24 October 1784-28 July 1885)
Sir Fitzroy Donald Maclean, 10th baronet   (18 May 1835-22 November 1936)
Sir Brooke de Malpas Grey-Egerton, 13th baronet   (19 August 1845-5 Nov 1945)
Sir James Swinburne, 9th baronet   (28 February 1858-30 March 1958)
Sir Harry Platt, 1st baronet   (7 October 1886-20 December 1986)
Sir Alexander Frank Philip Christison, 4th baronet   (17 November 1893-21 December 1993)
Sir Jack Wolfred Ashford Harris, 2nd baronet   (23 July 1906-26 August 2009)
Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald, baronetess [11th in line]   (8 September 1906-21 April 2011)
Sir Richard Michael Keane, 6th baronet   (29 January 1909-28 December 2010)
Sir Gilbert Simon Heathcote, 9th baronet   (21 September 1913-15 April 2014)
Alice Emily Verner (12 April 1853-9 July 1908), daughter of Sir William Verner,
2nd baronet
Alice Verner was a central figure in a remarkable trial which held the attention of the British and
Irish public between 1878 and 1880. The contemporary newspapers devoted a very large 
amount of space to the case, to the extent that I have been forced to limit myself to mere
summaries of the case which appeared in Australian papers of the time. A good précis of the
trial was published in "The Singleton Argus and Upper Hunter General Advocate" on 7 August 
1878:-
'After a trial which has lasted for twenty-two days the Bagot case has ended in a verdict which
sets aside a will and hands a great property over to a disinherited child........
'The object of the trial was to set aside the will of Christopher Neville Bagot, who died on May
23 last year [1877]. The youngest son of an Irish country gentleman who lived in Roscommon,
he emigrated to Australia in 1844, and becoming a grazier, he amassed a great fortune. 
Returning to his native country a few years ago, he bought a large estate for more than a
hundred thousand pounds. His family connections as well as his wealth brought him into good
society. He was also a man of exceptionally rigorous intellect, and, in spite of his toilsome life
in Australia, he retained the cultivated tastes of his youth. On the other hand, he had, it is
said, met with some accidents during his work in the bush; his personal habits were not favour-
able to health; he certainly drank very hard after his return to this country, and, all events, he
was crippled and paralytic.
'During a visit to London in July, 1873, he met at dinner Miss Alice Emily Verner, the eldest
daughter of the late Sir William Verner, of Churchill in the County of Armagh. She was 22 [20] 
years of age when she met Mr. Bagot, and he was 50 [46]. He was so charmed with her that 
we are told that he asked her to marry him a week after they had met. She did not give him a 
definite answer at the time, but she says that she was attached to him, in spite of his 
enfeebled state. During the courtship he became intimate with her family. He went to the
Continent with them. She drove about with him, received presents from him, and, in company 
with her sister, attended supper parties which he gave at his hotel in London.
'The friendship went on till the July of 1874, when Miss Verner says that she agreed to marry
Mr. Neville Bagot. He wished, however, to be married privately, and she gives a strange 
account of the manner and the place in which the ceremony was conducted. Meeting him by
appointment in the streets, she drove with him in a closed carriage for half-an-hour to some 
part of the town which she cannot identify and went to a kind of office on the first floor of 
some house, where she found two men, who made her and her companion sign their names in a
book. That was the "preliminary" part of the ceremony. Making another appointment with those
persons, Mr. Neville Bagot brought her back again, and one of the men read a very small part
of the marriage service out of the Prayer Book, asked some questions, and thus completed the
marriage ceremony. Mrs. Bagot believed the place to be registrar's office, but she cannot find 
it, and there is no record of such a marriage in any of the registrars' books.
'Some time afterwards she was alarmed, she says, by hearing Mr. Neville Bagot say, in a fit of
drunken raving, that there had been no marriage at all; and, as she was soon to give birth to
a child, she was anxious to put the legality of the union beyond a doubt. He agreed that they
should be married by special license; he gave her £30 to pay for it, and, after she had attemp-
ted to carry her application direct to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the license was obtained
on August 8, 1875. She was married the same night, between 9 and 10, at the house of her
family in Eaton Square. The legality of that union is not disputed. 
'On October 22, or a little more than two months after the wedding, she gave birth, at 
Tunbridge Wells, to the son whose claims have been made the subject of the litigation in
Dublin. The child was afterwards virtually disinherited on the ground that Mr. Neville Bagot was
not his father, and, as the Bagot family profited by his loss, it was all-important for them to
make good that contention. One of them, Mr. Bernard Bagot, declared that his brother, the
testator, had emphatically denied that there had been any private marriage - the inference
being that the lady had been the mistress of Mr. Neville Bagot, and that if she had been the
mistress of one man she might have been the mistress of more. But its is very difficult to
reconcile such a denial with a statement made by Mr. Neville Bagot himself in more than one
of the letters which he wrote immediately after the public ceremony. He said that the marriage
had taken place some time before, and had for family reasons been concealed at the wish of
Miss Verner.
'The defendants tried to show, by means of some extraordinary conditions which she had
signed on the eve of the public marriage, that Mr. Neville Bagot had doubted her purity. She
unquestionably did sign a written stipulation that she would always accompany her husband,
that she would keep no secrets from him, that she would "give up and cut" all her "fast and
tipsy acquaintances and lovers and admirers," that she would cease to write to them and to
receive letters and presents from them. Such a document does show that her ways had not
been altogether pleasant to her husband. But it is incredible, as the Judge said, that Mr.
Neville Bagot would have married a lady who was soon to become a mother if he had not
believed himself to be the father of the child. Medical evidence respecting his state of health
was adduced on both sides, but it was so contradictory that it may be safely disregarded.
We need not, however, go to conjecture for proof that he believed the child to be his, since
the evidence showed beyond a doubt that was overjoyed when it was born, that he was 
proud of the likeness which observers traced between it and himself, and that he made it the
heir of his estates. On August 16, 1875, two months before the child was born, he made a 
will, leaving to it his landed property.
'At this stage begins one of the darkest parts of the whole story, and sometimes we can do
little else than grope for the truth amid a dense cloud of sworn contradictions. Down to March
13, 1876, or for about five months after the birth of the child, Mr. Neville Bagot believed it to
be his; but only four days later he displayed a sudden change of conviction. In two wills, one
dated April 15, and the other September 7, 1876, he expressed that change by bequeathing
his estates to his brother, John Bagot, and by directing that no more than the first £200 a year,
and then £450 should be allotted for the support of Mrs. Bagot's son till he should reach the 
age of thirty, when he should receive £10,000. Mrs. Bagot herself was to have £1,000 a year.
 
'What was the cause of the sudden and extraordinary change of belief which led him to set
aside the old will? Was it justified by any fact which had come to his own knowledge? No
evidence of the slightest value was adduced to show that he had been deceived by Mrs. Bagot,
and the judge therefore presumed that the paternity of the child was beyond reasonable doubt.
Was Mr. Neville Bagot, then, likely to be the victim of a delusion? That he was naturally a man
of vigorous intellect is certain; but Sir Richard Graves McDonnell, late Governor of South 
Australia, testified that, although he had a clear head when dealing with public affairs, he was
liable to extravagant personal antipathies. He was apt to lose self-control when talking about
persons. His habits were also such as would weaken the strongest intellect in the world, and
cloud the clearest brain. Although paralytic, and forced to wheel himself from one room to
another, he would, if we may trust the evidence of a waiter at one of the hotels where he
stayed, drink a pint of iced champagne in the forenoon, have sherry, and sometimes another
pint of champagne, at lunch; sherry every day before he drove out, champagne and sherry at
dinner, and whisky and hot water before he went to bed. Thus enfeebled by disease that he
was always drunk. It was no wonder that [when] he was subject to wild fits of rage and drink,
he could easily be misled by stronger minds than his own; and the contention of the plaintiff
was that the delusion as to the paternity of the child was planted in the first place by his
brother, Bernard Bagot.
'That gentleman is the central figure of one very dramatic scene. He had come to visit Neville
Bagot after the drawing up of the will which gave the estates to the child. At an hotel after
dinner he was seen, if we may trust one of the witnesses, to take a paper off the chimney of
an adjoining bedroom, and place it on the top of a jug of hot water in order to open the seal
with the steam. Then he read the inclosed documents and sealed them again. Presently Mr.
Neville Bagot came in and asked for his will. Mr. Bernard Bagot answered that it was in the
bedroom, and he pretended to go for it; but the witness saw him take it out of his side pocket
and bring it in to his brother, who locked it in a tin box. The inference of the plaintiff was that
Mr. Bernard Bagot had opened the will to ascertain its contents, and that, on finding all the
landed property left to her son, he had deliberately tried to make his brother repudiate the
paternity of the child.
'Mr. Bernard Bagot himself, of course, tells a very different story. He knew what the will
contained, and he opened it merely to give his brother an opportunity of completing some
forgotten formality. Be the truth what it may, Mr. Neville Bagot's household was speedily
disturbed by scandalous scenes. He denied that the child was his, and called the mother
opprobrious names. She retorted by demanding the authority for his accusations, and, when
he would not give it, she called him a "liar." Her theory is that her husband's [mind] was poison-
ed by the letters which he received from Bernard Bagot and John Bagot, and by their talk with
him when they were his guests. She says that she was sometimes kept away from him; that
she was not allowed to enter his room, and that she would remain crying in the passage 
outside. On one occasion, she adds, when the vigilance of the brothers had been relaxed, she
got into the sick man's room through the window, and he then said that it was not he who had
shut her out. A nurse who had tended him in his last hours declared that he made exclamations
implying that he had wronged both his wife and his child. 
'The defendants retort by making accusations against Mrs. Bagot. They say that she neglected,
disobeyed, and insulted her husband. She enraged him, they assert, by her extravagance, and
by going about with men whom he did not know. Nay, an attempt was made to show that her
conduct was open to the worst construction when she and her sister dined with two officers
at an hotel in Chester. The climax of the insinuations was that she had tried to poison her
husband. The attempt to substantiate these charges, however, conspicuously failed.
'The result of the quarrels was a deed of separation from him, drawn up at his desire; and, 
when she went to ask him why he wanted her to go away, Mr. John Bagot, she says, gave
her a push, knocked her down with her head against the fender, and then, with the help of a
doctor who was present, dragged her out of the room so violently as to tear the sleeves from
her dress. At another time, she declares, he showed her a photograph, and remarked, "That's
your successor." She adds that he set spies to watch her, and that he himself dogged her
footsteps to find evidence against her. A good deal of that evidence was irrelevant or 
unproved, and some of it was directly met by sworn denials; but, to a certain extent, it did 
tend to show that an attempt had been made to oust her from the household for reasons which
could not be substantiated.
'The real question for the jury, however, was whether Mr. Neville Bagot had been the victim of 
a delusion, practically amounting to insanity, in so far as he believed that Mrs. Bagot's child
was not his. If that question was to be answered in the affirmative, it was of comparatively
little importance to trace the origin of the delusion. The jury might hold either that it had 
sprung from Mr. Neville Bagot's own excited mind, or that, in good or bad faith, it had been
implanted by others. The jury have affirmed that he did show himself incapable of making a
will in so far as he fancied he was not the father of his wife's child. That verdict must have
been confidently expected by most calm readers of the evidence, and it commands the agree-
ment of the judge. 
'The result is that the will is set aside, and that the young child becomes the heir of the landed
estates and a great part of the personalty. The plaintiff, Mrs. Neville Bagot, on the other hand,
gains little by the verdict. She has been fighting the battle of her son, and it ends an extra-
ordinary trial. But it not unlikely that, in spite of the enormous cost entailed by the presentation
of the evidence, and by the twenty-two days' litigation, an attempt will be made to secure
another trial, and that the less irrelevant parts of much astonishing evidence may be heard 
over again.'
And so it proved, as reported in "The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser" on
26 July 1879:-
'The Court of Appeal, on June 5, delivered judgment in the will case of Bagot v. Bagot. The suit
had been instituted by Alice Emily Bagot, daughter of the late Sir William Verner, and widow of
Christopher Neville Bagot, for the purpose of having the will of her late husband, dated Sept-
ember, 1876, pronounced invalid. The defendants to the suit were Bernard W. Bagot and Arthur
Holmes, executors of deceased. The jury in the Probate Court found the testator was of 
unsound mind as regarded the paternity of his child, whom he disinherited by the will, and after
23 days' trial Judge Warren made an order declaring the will invalid. The defendants moved for
a new trial, which was refused by Judge Warren, and from this refusal the present appeal was
brought. The Lord Chancellor [of Ireland], after stating the facts of the case at great length,
delivered the unanimous judgment of the Court that, alike upon the nature of the case and
conduct of the trial, the verdict found by the jury upon the issue of capacity, and the verdict
directed by the judge upon the issue of knowledge and approval of the contents of the 
instruments, could not be maintained. The costs of the motion in the court below and of the
appeal must be borne by Mrs. Bagot.'
Eventually, in August 1880, the case came to a close  when the two opposing parties reached
a compromise. According to a report in the "Sydney Morning Herald" of 23 September 1880:-
'The case of Bagot v. Bagot, which occupied the attention of the public so long, was brought 
to a close on August 2 on a motion before Chief Registrar Pilkington, Q.C., at the Probate 
Office, Dublin. Mr. James Murphy, Q.C., on behalf of the defendants, Bernard William Bagot,
brother of the deceased and executor to his will, and Joseph Arthur Holmes, the co-executor,
applied for an order pursuant to three several consents that the issues of fact to be tried in
the Queen's Bench Division by a special jury of the City of Dublin be discharged, and that the
defence and other pleadings filed by the plaintiff, Alice Emily Roberts, widow of the testator
[she had since re-married], to try the validity of the will, dated September 7, 1876, of the late
Christopher Neville Bagot, her husband, be withdrawn, and the defendants as executors be at
liberty to obtain probate of the will in common form. They further sought an order that upon
such grant of administration Mr. George Morris, of Well Park, county Galway, who had been
appointed administrator pendente lite [pending litigation] of the personal estate, should be
discharged as such administrator, and the security entered into by himself and his brother,
Chief Justice [Michael] Morris [later Baron Killanin], in £15,000, be vacated, the defendants
undertaking to pay him anything due in respect of £1,000, the amount of his remuneration,
and any balance due in respect to his costs, Mr. Morris to hand over to them the lease of
the house and demesne of Aughrane, executed to John Lloyd Neville Bagot, and the keys of
the books and presses there, and also the six cases of plate deposited by him in the Provincial
Bank, Dublin. It was also sought to discharge the receiver pendente lite, Mr. Joseph Arthur
Holmes, one of the defendants, without accounting his security bonds to be cancelled. Mr.
Pilkington, Q.C., made the order required, the framing of which was settled, with the assistance
of the counsel present.'
Sir Robert Viner, 1st and only baronet
The following biography of Sir Robert Viner appeared in the October 1970 issue of the Australian
monthly magazine "Parade." Note that the article uses the alternative spelling of Viner's name,
which I have left unaltered.
  'One evening in the 1670s when London's Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Vyner, was entertaining King
Charles II in great state, the Merry Monarch decided that his wine-bibbing host was becoming
somewhat too familiar. Tactfully the King decided to leave the party before Sir Robert 
committed some indiscretion that could not be pardoned, even from a Lord Mayor in his cups.
Stealing unobtrusively from the table, Charles made his way to the coach waiting for him in the
courtyard of the Guildhall. He had just reached the coach when a figure reeled out of the gloom
in pursuit, a hand clutched his arm and a hoarse voice roared in his ear: "Sire, you shall stay
and take the other bottle." Recognising the Lord Mayor's flushed features, Charles said good-
humouredly: "He that's drunk is as good as a king." Then he allowed himself to be led back to 
the banquet. 
 
'However, the king had more reason than his customary good nature for being indulgent to the
magnificent Sir Vyner. There was one thing, the matter of some 400,000 golden guineas (about
$10 million in present-day [1970] money) already owed to Vyner by the King and his ministers.
There was also His Majesty's future debts to be provided for, the greedy little hands of his
mistresses to be satisfied and the other pleasures of the court of Whitehall to be financed. On
top of all (though of rather less importance to King Charles) was the fact that even the pay of
England's army and navy sometimes depended on the Vyner coffers.
'History records many more outwardly splendid and peacock characters than Vyner - great 
nobles, politicians, courtesans and poets - in the reign of Charles II. But Sir Robert Vyner was a
unique figure of his age. He was the Rothschild of Stuart England, the financier to a kingdom, 
the shrewd man with the moneybags behind the glittering State pageant. Unlike the 
Rothschilds, however, Vyner tasted fully the truth of the old adage about the folly of putting 
trust in princes. He died bankrupt and ruined after King Charles's Government repudiated its 
debts, falling with a crash that shook the credit of the City of London to its foundations.
 
'Robert Vyner, the goldsmith's apprentice who was destined for such a meteoric career, was
born in Warwickshire in 1631. The younger son of an ancient family in the county, he was sent
to London as a youth and apprenticed to his goldsmith uncle, Thomas Vyner. Thomas Vyner
thrived greatly during Cromwell's regime when he was Lord Mayor of London [1653-1654], 
Controller of the Mint and one of the leading bankers to the Puritan Government. The 
Restoration of 1660 brought no change in the Vyner fortunes, for Charles II, arriving penniless
from his European exile, urgently needed money to maintain the new royalist regime. The only
way to satisfy the demands of his ministers, favourites and mistresses was to turn to the
financiers of London. This he proceeded to do on a staggering scale.
 
'By now the 30-year-old Robert Vyner had already set up a flourishing business of his own and
was competing in wealth and influence with his famous uncle. In those days "goldsmith" meant
much more than a mere dealer in plate and jewellery, and members of the powerful Goldsmiths
Company were the equivalent of the big trading banks of today. Their vaults were the strong-
rooms where wealthy Londoners deposited their coin, bullion and valuables and to earn interest.
In turn, the goldsmiths financed merchant ventures, trading fleets and the needs of govern-
ment from military expeditions down to the king's personal loans.
'No other monarch ever borrowed on such a scale as the pleasure-loving Charles II. And no 
other London financier rocketed to such power and eminence as Robert Vyner. The momentous
friendship between the monarch and the young goldsmith began within a few months of the 
king's return. Preparations for his coronation had begun when it was realised that not a single
item of the ancient royal regalia of England could be found. Crowns, sceptre, orb, gem-
  encrusted robes and all the other Crown jewels had either been pawned by Charles I during the
Civil War or broken up and sold by the victorious Parliament. Robert Vyner was commissioned to
make an entirely new set of regalia costing £30,000 - the foundation of the enormous royal 
debt that was to pile up over the years.
'For all his hard-headed pursuit of profits, Vyner was a charming, cultivated man with a zest for
high living and deep drinking that instantly appealed to Charles II. In 1661 he was appointed 
royal goldsmith and the king's private banker. He was allotted apartments in Whitehall Palace, a
favour never shown to a London merchant before. In return, Vyner advanced the ministry 
£30,000 to pay the army in Ireland, having shrewdly made a deal securing the loan on the Irish
customs and excise duties. However, what really launched Robert Vyner on his golden flood of
fortune was his marriage in June 1665 to a wealthy widow, Lady Mary Hyde, who brought him a
dowry of more than £100,000. 
 
'Backed by this money and his unrivalled credit as a merchant banker, Vyner plunged into the
business of royal moneylender on a scale that staggered contemporaries. At times he was 
almost financing the English Government singe-handed - from lending money to build ships and
raise regiments down to providing jewels for the pretty necks of the king's mistresses. His most
spectacular intervention came during the disasters of the Dutch War in 1667 when the enemy
fleet inflicted the crowning humiliation of burning British shipping in the Thames. With its sailors
mutinous and unpaid, its ships unprepared and its morale at the lowest ebb, the Royal Navy 
was almost bankrupt when Vyner came to the rescue.
'The goldsmith's usual practice was to borrow money from the big London merchants and guild
companies at about six per cent and charge his royal customer at least 10 per cent. Now, 
drawing on every resource he could muster, he advanced the Treasury the then vast sum of
£300,000 to meet the expenses of the navy, army and the king's personal debts. Not long
afterwards he offered the even more sensational amount of £800,000 for the right to collect
the poll tax throughout Britain. The corrupt and inefficient royal officials had estimated that the
tax would not produce much more than half that amount if they collected it themselves.
 
'Vyner's moneylending and tax-farming coups were calculated risks on a grand scale. But, as
long as his credit was unshaken and the Government honoured its obligations, the profits were
dazzling. The grateful monarch created his financier a baronet. Sir Robert Vyner was now his
intimate friend, confidant and often his boon drinking crony. Vyner's counting house having
been burned down in the Great Fire in 1666, Charles allowed his friend to store his hoard of
coin, bullion, plate and jewels in one of the towers of Windsor Castle.
'When Sir Robert Vyner became Lord Mayor in 1674 he was at the peak of his fortunes as one
of the richest and most  powerful citizen London had ever known. He had an enormous,
rambling town house in Lombardy Street, where he lived in luxury that princes would have 
envied, as well as suites of apartments in Whitehall Palace and Windsor Castle. Outside London
in Middlesex was his magnificent country mansion of Swakeleys. "No man in England lived in
greater plenty," Samuel Pepys recoded in his diary after inspecting the sumptuous furniture,
paintings and gardens. Londoners had never seen such spectacular lord mayoral feasts,
processions and pageants as those staged during Sir Robert Vyner's regime at the Guildhall.
King Charles was a frequent banquet guest. The food and wine, he explained genially, were
better and more plentiful than he could afford at Whitehall - especially the wine from the Vyner
cellars.
 
'At this time it was calculated that the total royal debt to the City of London had reached the
colossal figure of about £1 million sterling or something like $20 million in modern [1970] times.
About half of it was owed to Sir Robert Vyner, who in turn had borrowed huge sums from his
merchants and goldsmiths to satisfy the king's insatiable demands. The Court swallowed money
like a bottomless pit. Nothing, it seemed, could keep pace with Charles's spending. For several
years there were sinister signs of the coming crash that was to shake the credit of the city to
its foundations. Interest on the royal loans lagged far in arrears or remained unpaid altogether.
Vyner had a struggle to meet his commitments to his own worried band of creditors.
'Then came the final thunderbolt. The king's ministers calmly announced the repudiation of 
every penny of the debt in exchange for a system of annuities for His Majesty's creditors.
Vyner's annuity was fixed at £26,000, an amount that made it utterly impossible for him to
meet his debts let alone maintain his princely style of living. In March 1683 the former dictator 
of the London money market was forced to call a meeting of his creditors and beg them to 
enter into some arrangement. However, there were many jealous rivals glad to see the "lord
of Lombard Street" dragged down. A year later Vyner was declared bankrupt and much of his
estate was broken up and sold. 
'Though owning only a shadow of his former fortune, Vyner remained on friendly terms with the
new king, James II, who succeeded his spendthrift brother Charles in 1685. It was among the 
royal household at Windsor Castle that the magnificent and fallen Sir Robert Vyner died on
September 2, 1688.'
 
 
Copyright @ 2003-2014  Leigh Rayment