born Margarita Stipnieks (1910-2010).3 Several of Ursula Hayward’s works are preserved at Carrick Hill, which attest to her predilection for floral themes, and love of gardens. As a wedding gift, Tom Elder Barr Smith gave the couple a parcel of land at Springfield, which had previously been a dairy.4 They commissioned a family friend, the architect Sir James Campbell Irwin (1906-90), to build a large ‘Jacobethan’-style house, constructed of local Basket Range stone. The property was named ‘Carrick Hill’ after the Brown Carrick Hill in South Ayrshire, near Sauchrie, the home of Mary Barr Smith. The newlyweds took a year-long honeymoon in England, and five months into their stay they came across the demolition sale of ‘Beaudesert’, a predominantly Tudor mansion in Staffordshire, on the southern edge of Cannock Chase. Use of the site dated from around 1135 and may have originally been a Cistercian monastery. The first Beaudesert Hall was occupied as early as 1292 by the Trumwyns family of Cannock. By the early fourteenth-century it had become the palace of the Bishops of Lichfield and Coventry. Following the Reformation, Henry VIII dispersed a large number of Church-affiliated properties to his loyalists. In 1546, Beaudesert was gifted to Sir William Paget, 1st Baron Paget (1506-63), his Secretary of State (1543-48). Paget, a wily political operator who held prominent positions in the service of three Tudor monarchs, prudently retired from public life on the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. At the time the Haywards saw it, Beaudesert was owned by the 6th Marquess of Anglesey, LieutenantColonel Charles Henry Alexander Paget (1885-1947). Crippled by heavy taxation after World War I, Anglesey could no longer afford to maintain the estate, and the property was placed on the market in 1931. Although the nine outlying lodges were sold, including the Grand Lodge (1814), the main residence failed to attract a buyer, and the sad decision was made to opt for architectural salvage.5 Beaudesert was one of thousands of important and historically significant properties throughout the United Kingdom driven to extinction by an increasingly hostile government taxation regime. Ursula Hayward was particularly fond of oak furniture, which the couple purchased either side of World War II, predominantly from London dealers.6 At the Beaudesert sale held on-site, 18-19 July, 1935, the Haywards bought up a large quantity of the 20,000 square feet (1858 m²) of oak panelling on offer. This included the so-called ‘Waterloo Staircase’, the original version of which was installed at Beaudesert by Field Marshall Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey (17681854) after the battle of Waterloo (1815). During the battle, Anglesey’s right leg was hit by a cannonball, necessitating its amputation. This incident gave rise to the famous exchange with the Duke of Wellington, “By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!”, to which Wellington is said to have responded, “By God, sir, so you have!”. The new staircase with broad treads and shallow risers made it easier for Anglesey to negotiate the stairs with his articulated artificial limb. The Waterloo Staircase was destroyed by fire in 1909, and was replaced in 1912, this being the version transported out and installed at Carrick Hill, along with various carved architraves. Ironically, this iteration of the staircase would also be damaged by a fire that started in the library, 1 June, 1958, while the Haywards were away. The library was Ursula Hayward’s favourite room, and
Published on Dec 11, 2017
Published on Dec 11, 2017
BIG Trouble December 2017 - January 2018 FEATURES: EXCLUSIVE FOR A LIMITED TIME - ‘The Archer (after Chuang Tzu)’ by Shaun Gladwell, ‘Play O...