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Sir Andrew Bayntun Rolt fathered 21 children in all – but failed to produce a legitimate male heir and the Baronetcy of one of Wiltshire's families became extinct

Married:
LADY MARIA ALICIA COVENTRY

The daughter of The Right Honorable George William,
the 6th Earl of Coventry of Croome Court and his wife
Maria Gunning, the daughter of John Gunning of Castle
Coote, County Roscommon, Ireland.

The marriage took place at her father's city residence,
Coventry House, in Piccadilly, London, on the
28th June,1777.

Children from first marriage:
MARIA BARBARA BAYNTUN ROLT
(Second daughter and heiress 1780 - 1870)

MARY (First child – died a few days after her birth)

Maria Alicia (pictured right)

Sir Andrew's second wife was:
ANNA MARIA MAUDE
They were married at St. Boltoph without Aldersgate, London in 1787. The ceremony was conducted by Andrew's uncle, the Reverend John Bayntun, the Rector of Charlinch.


Children from girlfriend

HARRIET MARIA POYNTER

LUCY BAYNTUN (1791 - 1837)
ANN BAYNTUN (1792 - 1805)
HARRIET BAYNTUN (born 1793)
EDWARD BAYNTUN (1795 - 1795– died aged 3 weeks)
MARY BAYNTUN (born 1796)
ANDREW BAYNTUN (born 1797)
THOMAS BAYNTUN (born 1798)
JOHN BAYNTUN (born 1799 )
SALLY ROSALIE BAYNTUN (1801 - 1801 – died aged 9 months)
ELIZABETH BAYNTUN (1802 - 1809)
JOHN CHARLES BAYNTUN (1805 - before 1809)
HENRY BAYNTUN (1807 - 1808)
MARIA CONSTANCIA BAYNTUN (born 1808)

Children from girlfriend
ANN POWER

of Lambridge, Co. Sommerset
WILMOT ROBERT BAYNTUN POWER (1802 - 1889)
MARTHA BAYNTUN POWER (born 1803)
ANN BAYNTUN POWER
CHARLES BAYNTUN POWER (died before 1844)
FRANCIS BAYNTUN POWER
GEORGE BAYNTUN POWER


 

Andrew Bayntun Rolt was born on 28th September 1755 at Spye Park House, in the county of Wiltshire. He was the fourth son of Sir Edward Bayntun Rolt.

Sir Edward and his wife, Dame Mary Poynter, had seven children prior to this, but the first six, born before 1752 were considered illegitimate when the law changed that year, declaring marriage by custom and repute to be illegal. This meant that neither of Sir Edward's three sons could be regarded as a legal heir in the event of his death, so he and his wife remarried in secret.

Their seventh child was a daughter, before the birth of Andrew some years later in 1755, which gave Sir Edward his rightful and legal heir.

On the 28th June 1777 Andrew Bayntun Rolt married The Right Honourable Lady Maria Alicia Coventry, who was the eldest daughter of The Right Honourable, George William, the 6th Earl of Coventry. This marriage took place at her father's house in Piccadilly, in the Parish of St. George, Hanover Square and was performed by the Rev. St. Andrew St. John, clerk, a priest or member in holy orders of the Church of England, by virtue of a special licence granted for that purpose, by his Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The couple had first met and became acquainted a year earlier and were both 21 years of age at the time of their marriage. The witnesses who signed the marriage certificate were The Earl of Coventry, Sir Edward Bayntun Rolt (Andrew's father), Anne Coventry, William Harris and John Coventry.

Maria Alicia's mother, Lady Maria Coventry, was one of the Gunning sisters, of Castle Coote, Roscommon, Ireland, who became famous for their success in finding aristocratic husbands. She was a noted 18th century beauty and a lady of fashion. Ironically it was her beauty that eventually led to her death on 30th September 1760, when she suffered lead poisoning from cosmetic make-up. She was just 27 years old and it is said that over 10,000 people viewed her coffin.

Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

Some years earlier, Lady Coventry had an altercation with a certain Kitty Fisher, one of the most famous 18th century courtesans, known for her beauty and wit, and the mistress of several well-known men of the day, including Maria's husband, the Earl of Coventry and probably Casanova. Kitty maintained a certain rivalry with the Earl's wife and when they met in a London park, Lady Coventry admired her dress and asked her the name of her dressmaker. Kitty replied that she had better ask Lord Coventry as he had given it to her as a gift.

Lady Coventry called her an impertinent woman, but Kitty answered that her marrying a nutty Lord had put enough social difference between them that she would have to withstand the insult. But that she was going to marry one herself just to be able to answer back to her.

On the 30th June 1777, two days after their marriage, Maria Alicia Bayntun wrote a letter to her stepmother, Lady Barbara Coventry, from her new home, Battle House, in the village of Bromham. An extract from this letter reads: "We arrived here today by dinner time and took a walk around the park in the company of Mrs Forster, Miss Bayntun, Sir Edward and Mr Bayntun. I don't think it polite to write a long letter in their company. Sir Edward and Mr Bayntun wishes to be remembered to my father and I ask you to urge my sister Anne and my brother to answer".

Andrew and Maria Bayntun's first-born daughter, Mary, died a few days after her birth, but in 1780 they had another daughter, Maria Barbara, and the couple made their home at Battle House (the Dower House), situated next to the church in Bromham village.

However Maria had an affair with Andrew's nephew, John Allen Cooper in 1781, a 21 year old officer in the 20th Regiment of foot who had served with his regiment in America during the War of Independence. He was the son of his older sister, Mary (1740 - 1784), who lived at Comberwell, two miles north of Bradford on Avon. Maria had been seeing him regularly, in secret, for 10 months or more as he was very friendly with the couple and resided with them for some time at Battle House.

He was a gentleman of great personal charm and attractions, and the wife and mother forgot her two-fold duties with many stolen meetings with her new lover. Andrew and John enjoyed riding with the hounds and often hunted with a pack belonging to the Bayntuns. He was a Member of Parliament for Weobly, Hertfordshire and therefore spent quite some time in London.

The affair was first noted at the beginning of September 1781 by Andrew's brother, the Rev. Henry Bayntun, when he visited the house on three separate occasions and saw the couple romping together and kissing each other. Mary Nash, who was Lady Maria's personal maid and some of the other servants of the house were also aware of the affair and had seen them together on many occasions. Sir Andrew, at this time, was in London attending Parliament.

On the 9th December, Edward Baldwyn, one of the servants at Battle House, rode to Spye Park, the residence of Andrew's father – Sir Edward Bayntun Rolt and acquainted him of what he and the other servants had seen. Sir Edward asked Baldwyn to tell the same to the Rev. Henry Bayntun.

Andrew arrived home from London on Monday 10th December, and complying with Sir Edward's instructions, the Rev. Henry Bayntun, his brother, duly informed him of the affair. Later Henry was called to the drawing room at Battle House, as was Cooper, where Andrew immediately summoned and confronted his wife, who was pregnant at the time. He asked her to confess to the affair, which at first she denied, but eventually stated she had lain with Cooper on several occasions. Andrew asked her if the child she was carrying was his or Coopers. Upon learning it was not his, he asked for the return of her wedding ring and banished she and Cooper from his house. Andrew and Maria never laid eyes on each other again from that day.


The following day, Maria sent her maid to personally deliver a letter to Andrew. In it, she begged his forgiveness and stated that although she had now become bitter enemies of both his mother and father, and in their eyes a wicked woman, she pleaded with him to believe that she would not be wicked enough to ever deceive him again and stated that she still held a glimmer of hope that he would be hers again.

But without a reply, she and Cooper, set off from the Greyhound Inn to his mother's house in Cumberwell where they lived together for a short while. Nothing further is known of the baby she was carrying when she left.

Divorce was rare at this time but on the 15th February 1783 it was granted to Andrew Bayntun Rolt by an Act of Parliament. Andrew was, at first, inconsolable and despite her shameless actions, he long lamented the mother of his only child.

In a Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum - 1771-1783, there is an engraving (pictured left) from The Town and Country Magazine (1783), of two bust portraits in oval frames and an account of the circumstances of her affair with John Allen Cooper, and the occasion of a suit, which led to the divorce. The captions reads: “Lady Bayntun and The Irresistible Captain”. Unfortunately the portrait does not reflect the beauty she was.

However Cooper treated Maria with cruelty and brutality. The heartless destroyer of her life and fame, finished the dismal tragedy, shutting up her corpse in the house alone, until the rats had actually eaten part of her body. Yet this man was afterwards admitted to the best society and admired by all the ladies. Death at least put an end to her sufferings and the young, elegant and accomplished Lady Maria, nurtured upon the bosom of indulgence, died in a low house, without a single friend or attendant to minister her last wants or a charitable hand to close her dying eyes. She died on the 18th January 1784 at the age of 29.

In 1787 Andrew married Anna Maria Maude, but this marriage failed to produce any children and he entered into a series of relationships that would eventually see him father many more children. Anna Maria outlived Andrew and died in 1827. Her will was proved at London on the 25th October 1827 and she had been living at Walcot in the County of Somerset prior to her death.

In 1788 Andrew's father, Sir Edward Bayntun Rolt, was forced to declare his granddaughter, Maria Barbara, first in the entail of the Bayntun estate when she was just 8 years old, which meant she would inherit her father's estate upon his death. The divorce meant that she would be Andrew's only legal and legitimate heiress.

Sir Andrew, in his early life, possessed very high moral qualities, but the misconduct of his first wife, to whom he was fondly attracted, altered his nature and he became a more carefree and reckless character.

He had two girlfriends – Harriet Maria Poynter who bore him 13 children and Ann Power who gave him another six – but many of these children died young. Andrew is said to have lavished a lot of money on his illegitimate children.

In July 1797, Andrew's eldest daughter, Maria Barbara, eloped with the Reverend John Starky, the Rector of Charlinch, Somerset much to the surprise of the family.

A Roman building was first discovered by Sir Andrew Bayntun, about the end of the 18th century, and was subsequently investigated by Sir. R. Colt Hoare in 1810. The "dig" took place on the site, situated in a field called West or Wyatt's Park on the old Bromham Park estate.

Then in 1800, Andrew inherited the Bayntun estate and the Lordship of the Manor of Bromham, after the death of his father, Sir Edward, and afterwards moved into Spye Park House.

He was made High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1802 and in 1803 he sold the Manor of Clench to Thomas Bruce, the Earl of Ailesbury. Clench had been Bayntun property since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.

By 1806, Andrew was no longer living at Spye Park, but at Percy House, Lower East Hayes, Bath, Somerset and was listed in a record of the appointment of his son-in-law, the Rev. John Starky, as Rector of Charlinch, on the 15th April 1808, as late of Spye Park, Wiltshire but now of Bathampton, Somerset. He chose to rent the mansion at Spye Park for a number of years.

In 1812, Spye Park was rented to Colonel Thornton, of Lincoln's Inn, Middlesex, a gentleman much noted in the annals of sporting and racing. The lease was for 21 years, if Sir Andrew should live so long, and included the mansion, with a mill, a herd of deer and lands, at an annual rent of £750.

The new tenant wanted to replace the Bayntun portraits in the house with those of his own. He had an immense number of sporting and other valuable paintings of his own, together with a collection of rare and exotic plants and the lands were stocked with three wagon loads of bald-faced and other red deer, roebucks, Asiatic deer and partly-coloured fallow deer.

Andrew agreed and arranged for Henry Bayntun, probably his nephew, the Rector of Bromham rather than his brother Harry, the Rector of Rowde and Wolverton, to take charge of the Bayntun portraits.

On the 13th of September 1813, Andrew Bayntun Rolt made his last Will and Testament, which mentioned seven of his 13 children by Harriet Maria Poynter. The will lists the six children as Andrew, Thomas, John, Lucy, Harriet, Maria Constance and Mary, who were all christened with the surname Bayntun, despite the fact that Andrew was never married to Harriet Maria. Clearly Andrew wanted these children to have his name and he also refers to their mother in his will as Harriet Maria Bayntun, otherwise Poynter, spinster. The other six children had died before this time – many of them at a very young age.

A previous Deed of Settlement dated 13th December 1809 listed another of his reputed seven acknowledged children by the said Harriet Maria, called Maria Constantia.

The will also lists his six children by Ann Power – Ann, Charles, Martha, Francis, George and Wilmot Robert – all with the surname Bayntun Power and he makes provision for them financially once they reach their respective age of 21, or sooner should either Ann or Martha marry before that time.

When Andrew died on 12th August 1816, the same Henry Bayntun and Sir Andrew's daughter's husband John Starky argued over the paintings and these particular portraits were never returned to Spye Park. They are today in the possession of Andrew Bayntun Starky and are housed in the Bayntun Starky family's private museum in Brackenfield, New Zealand.

Six years after Andrew's death Anne Power married Robert Gomery at Walcot, Bath, on the 17th October 1822. Gomery was an actor and singer in London at the Old Drury Lane Theatre. One of the witnesses at this wedding was Ann Bayntun.

Andrew had bequeathed her a house at 7 Lambridge, Bath, and a good income and she and her new husband lived there until her death in 1844. All of her six children to Andrew Bayntun Rolt were mentioned in her will,
including Charles Bayntun Power, whom it lists as being deceased at the time.

Andrew Bayntun Rolt was buried in the family crypt in the Church of St. Nicholas, Bromham. His second wife, Anna Maria survived him and was buried at Swainswick near Bath.

 

A tablet draped on a black slab in the Beauchamp Chapel in the Church of St. Nicholas in the village of Bromham reads:

Here rest the remains of Sir Andrew Bayntun Rolt of Spye Park, Bart, only son of the late Sir Edward Bayntun Rolt, Bart. He married first Maria, daughter of George William Seventh Earl of Coventry and secondly Anna Maria Maude.
He died 12th August 1816, aged 61, leaving one daughter by his first wife.


When Andrew Bayntun Rolt died the Baronetcy of one of Wiltshire's most famous families became extinct and his estate was inherited by his only legal heiress and daughter Maria Barbara Bayntun Rolt


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