Sir Lionel Darell, 1st Baronet (1742-1803)

Pictured: Darell Primary and Nursery School is on Darell Road and Niton Road. It opened in 1906, as the Darell Road Schools, at the southern end of what had been the Leyborne-Popham estate. Darell School was Richmond Borough Council’s first primary school and was built in the “Queen Anne” style, in brick with white stone facings. Although it has been extended several times, it is now the only Richmond primary school still in its historic original pre-1914 building.

From History of Parliament Online:

“(Constituency HEDON 1784 – 1802)

Darell, a wealthy nabob, was sponsored by John Robinson I of the Treasury when he successfully contested Hedon in 1784. He had been prepared to pay up to £3,000 for a seat. He was unopposed in 1790 but faced another contest in 1796. The Treasury listed him among persons in quest of a seat and willing to pay £2,000 for one, but in the event he bought off a challenger at Hedon. Christopher Atkinson subsequently claimed that Darell was ‘wholly indebted’ to him for this.

Darell was a silent supporter of Pitt’s ministry. His attitude to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791 was doubtful. In May 1793 he was appointed a commissioner of Exchequer loan bills. On 16 May 1794 he acted as a government teller. He was in the majorities for the loyalty loan bonus, 1 June 1797, and for the assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798. In February 1797 he was rumoured to be associated with the Prince of Wales, an occasional guest of his, in a futile scheme to turn Charles Grant I out of the directorate of the East India Company. Sylvester Douglas commented:

Sir Lionel Darell (who is a silly fellow) … has set out to make the Prince an instrument in this, who probably on the other hand thinks he can … make … the opposition in the India House the instruments of his present hostility to ministers.

Nothing came of it and in 1800 Darell, who was entitled to four votes in the elections of directors, was content to follow Grant’s lead in Company affairs. He voted in the minority against the Irish master of the rolls bill, 19 Mar. 1801, and for investigation of the Prince of Wales’s financial problems, 31 Mar. 1802. Subsequently he was ready to please the Prince by supporting the claims of William Adam to be counsel to the East India Company. He did not seek re-election that year and died 30 Oct. 1803. He is buried at St. Mary Magdalene, Richmond.”

Michael Davison, who leads walks in Richmond Park for the Friends, writes:

“Next to the gates of Richmond Park is Ancaster House, named after the Duke of Ancaster, who sold it to Sir Lionel Darell, a favourite of George III. There’s a short gap in the wall beside Richmond Gate, where railings reveal the garden of Ancaster House. In the late18th century, Sir Lionel secured an extension to his garden, by a personal appeal to George III when he saw the King riding past one day.”

From the website of the Knight Frank Group, March 28, 2018:

“Introducing Ancaster Gate: The new development crowning Richmond Hill

When the Grade II listed Star and Garter mansion on Richmond Hill was transformed into exclusive apartments, few would argue its status as South West London’s stand out – and historically significant –  luxury development.

But nothing remains static in London’s glossy property development market. Imagined by the very same developers as Star and Garter their latest design feat Ancaster Gate, too sharing the summit of Richmond, now jostles for attention.

Standing at the entrance to Richmond Park, Ancaster Gate consists of seven luxury three to six bedroom homes in a gated community created through the sensitive restoration of the original, Grade II listed Georgian mansion.

Built in 1773 for Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, by architect du jour Robert Adam – mastermind behind Hampstead’s Kenwood House neoclassical redesign – was intended as a weekend retreat (or “shooting box”).

The Duke and Duchess only occupied their new house for a few seasons before it was sold to Sir Lionel Darell, MP and close friend of George III. 

In 1865 the house was sold to Sir Francis Burdett for £7,100, and his family lived there for much of the Victorian era. Since the 1880s Ancaster House has fulfilled several roles.

It became a school, then in 1915 formed part of the estate of The Star and Garter charity, being used as a nurses’ home and Commandant’s House. In 1950 it became Grade II listed.”

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