Edwin Newman
1803 - 1885

Relationship to me:  Great Great Grandfather  Gen -4  

The earliest photograph I have of Edwin, taken (I guess) around 1870
 Born: Baptised 29 Oct 1803 Milborne Port Somerset
 Died: 22 January 1885 presumably buried in Yeovil
 Age 81  
 Father:      Edwin Sandys Newman 1762 - 1836
 Mother: Frances Lyde ???? - ????
 Brothers: (elder) Henry Brown Newman 1798 - 1878
  William Cuming 1810 - 1829
 Sisters: (elder) Brigit Sherston m. John Cann [from HEMN] ???? - ???? 
  Anne (from SCC records) 1801 - ????
  (younger) Frances 1808 - 1831
  Charlotte Cox 1816 - 1824
 Married: (1) Charlotte (née Jekyll) c. 1828 c1807 - 1875
(2) Catherine Augusta Paynter (née Coleman) 1811 -  11/9/1880
 Children: Edwin 1829 - c1883
  George Henry 1830 - 1858 
  William 1832 - <1885
  Charlotte: Baptised Yeovil - September 3 1833 1833 bur. Jan 3 1834
  Joseph Jekyll 1834 - 1876
  Walter 1836 - 1896 
  Charles : baptised Yeovil February 15 1839 (dates from Somerset Records Office) 1838 bur. May 15 1839
  Henry : baptised Yeovil April 22 1840 1840 bur. Jun 13 1848
  Charles Octavius 1841 - >1911
  Arthur 1843 - 1915
  Rowland 1845 - 1919 
   Henrietta 1847 - 1914

Outline Edwin's Life:

Edwin was born in 1803, and was educated at Sherborne School. John Harden, Secretary of the Old Shirburnian Society confirmed in Nov 2003 that Edwin attended the school around 1815 and sent five of his sons there between 1837 and 1844. (The three youngest sons were presumably educated at Rugby School where Edwin's father (Edwin) and uncle (Francis) were schooled.)

Edwin's father was the younger brother of Francis Newman who, just a few years before Edwin's birth, had absconded to the USA after squandering the family's fortune. Perhaps as a consequence of this, Edwin became the first in his family to take up a profession outside of the Church, and the first to start his own business - a law firm subsequently having its head-office in Edwin's home at Hendford Manor, Yeovil, Somerset. [See separate page for the story of the firm.]

Bob Osborn has written an outline of Edwin's life on his website A-to-Z of Yeovil's History. Whilst it includes information that appears to have been borrowed from earlier versions of this page, it includes much that is new:

"On 15 June 1821 Edwin, then living at Babcary, entered into articles with James Parsons, attorney and solicitor of Somerton, for a period of five years.

On 19 April 1828 at West Coker, Edwin married Charlotte Jekyll, daughter of Rev George Jekyll (c1777-1843) of West Coker. Charlotte was the sister of Nathaniel Jekyll, also a solicitor. Pigot's Directory of 1830 listed Edwin as an Attorney of Vicarage Street. In the 1832 poll book Edwin was recorded as living in Vicarage Street and was on the electoral register by virtue of owning several freehold properties in Belmont, newly built by Peter Daniell.

He became a Town Commissioner in 1830 and he started a legal practice in Yeovil around the same time and he was listed in Pigot's Directory of 1830 as a Yeovil solicitor, one of seven such firms in the town at this time. By 1839 he was in partnership with Thomas Lyon and their company was called Newman & Lyon until at least 1875 (at which time Edwin was 72 and Thomas was 61).

In 1831 there were riots in England when Parliament decided against reform to give Britain's industrial cities and towns better representation. Many of the solicitors in Yeovil were active anti-Reformers and had been professional election agents of Lord Ashley. Consequently these were the first to be singled out by an angry mob on the night of Friday, 21 October 1831, in what was to become known as the Yeovil Reform Riot of 1831, who attacked the home of John Newman as well as the homes of Francis Robins, William Lambert White, John Slade and Edwin Tomkins.

The following is an extract from the 5 April 1832 edition of the London newspaper, True Sun, reporting on the trial of the rioters at the Taunton Assizes of 3 April 1832:

James Martin, aged 15, Thomas Dommet Symes, 25, J Gill, 27, and Henry Erl, 36, were indicted for having riotously assembled on the 21st of October last, at Yeovil, and beginning to destroy and demolish the dwelling house of Edwin Newman. Mr Ball appeared for Gill. Mr Moody conducted the prosecution, and called the following witnesses:- Edwin Newman, an Attorney at Yeovil -

"On Friday, the 21st of October, at eight o'clock in the evening, there was an assemblage of about fifty people opposite my house. They threw stones at the house, but the trees in front protected it. They stayed for ten minutes to a quarter of an hour. About half-past eleven, a violent mob, consisting of several hundreds, came to my house. They attacked the front gate, shouting and making a noise. After much labour and pains, they got through into the yard. They then violently attacked the windows and doors with stones and sticks. They broke down the office window; they got in, whereupon I moved from the front door where I had required them to desist, and told them I have a loaded pistol and would fire on them. I went to the inner door of the office, and stood there. I said, "You have broken my widows, be satisfied and be off." and assured them if they made their appearance I would draw the trigger of my pistol which I held in my hand. During that time another party were endeavouring to break in my front door. Hearing the screams of my wife, who was upstairs with her two infant children, she being at that time in a very delicate situation, I left the office door and went to her. I then heard them break in the front door. Mr Tomkins came in, and entreated my wife to leave the house. She refused, unless I would join her: at last I accompanied her and the children. They were breaking the furniture all over the house. In going out I passed the front door; it was completely broken. There were several hundreds collected. I went back to my house between four and five the next morning. I then found the doors, shutters and windows battered completely to pieces. There was only one pane left in front. The framework was entirely demolished. I was obliged to have a new office door. At the back of the house, the dining room windows and frames were entirely broken and destroyed. The furniture was injured to a considerable amount. I have recovered a verdict against the hundred for £250 (about £20,000 at 2014's prices). I was engaged by Lord Ashley at the Dorset election."

Cross-examined by Mr Bell - "I was a very active agent for Lord Ashley. Persons who were innocently looking on, might have been pressed into the court." Other witnesses were called, who corroborated Mr Newman's testimony, and recognised the prisoners as having been actively engaged in the outrages detailed. No evidence was called for the prisoners, against all of whom a verdict of Guilty was returned. No sentence was passed.

Edwin bought Hendford Manor in 1840 and the Somerset Gazette Directory of that year recorded him as an Attorney of Hendford. In the 1841 census, at the age of 35, he was listed as an attorney living there with his wife Charlotte née Jekyll aged 30, their three children, an articled clerk and two servants. At the time of the 1851 census Newman was at his club in Tavistock Row, Covent Garden, London, but Charlotte and five of the children were listed at Hendford Manor with an articled clerk, a lady’s maid, cook, footman, housemaid and a nurse for Newman’s 2-year old daughter Henrietta. Newman's growing family of twelve children necessitated later extensions to Hendford Manor; a plain north wing of cut and squared local stone with eight rooms was added, together with a large dining room on the south side.

From Bob Osborn's website: Hendford Manor, photographed around 1960. Edwin Newman's extensions are the three bays at left and the protruding dining room at right.

At least three of Edwin's sons were to follow him into the legal profession; his eldest son Edwin born 1829, William born 1832 and Charles born 1841. It is presumed that all three were articled to the firm and at least one of them, Charles, was to become a partner working from the firm's London office. In 1854 Edwin was listed on the Burgess Roll.

In the 1861 census Edwin and Charlotte were listed at Hendford Manor but only two of their children, son Edwin aged 32 and a solicitor and undergraduate Charles aged 19, were living with them as well as butler Henry Durlin, a cook, kitchen maid, seamstress and a housemaid. By the time of the 1871 census Edwin and Charlotte had their son Rowland living with them, he was aged 25 and was the officiating minister of Lufton.

Charlotte died in the spring of 1875 aged 68 and in 1876, Edwin married 65-year old Catherine Augusta Paynter née Coleman, widow of Francis Paynter. The marriage took place in the remote village of Brompton Ralph in west Somerset not far from Exmoor, and resulted in his new wife's son, Henry Augustus Paynter (husband of his daughter Henrietta) becoming not only Edwin's son-in-law, but his step-son as well. Henry's brother, James Bernard Paynter, was a partner in the law practice.

Edwin suffered a severe financial blow in 1880 due to his head clerk making off with the firm's funds. Newman's second wife Catherine died in September 1880 and in the 1881 census Edwin was recorded as a 77-year-old widower and gave his occupation as solicitor. He was living at Hendford Manor with his granddaughter Charlotte, his butler Henry Durlin who had served him for over 20 years, a cook, kitchen maid and housemaid.

Edwin Newman died on 22 January 1885 aged 82. His personal estate amounted to £31,189 (approximately £13,700,000 at 2014's value). There is a memorial tablet to him in Holy Trinity church but he was buried at Lufton.

The following paragraphs come from the previous version of this page with some minor updates. They include some repetitions of Bob Osborn's account and one or two minor conflicts:

According to Marion Paynter, Edwin bought Hendford Manor in 1840. She recalled that it was "a large Georgian house that he made additions to soon after he bought it. It is now a local authority office, and the fine old stable block (is now) a museum". However baptismal records for Edwin’s children (as sent to me by Jennifer Day in August 2002) suggest that Edwin moved to Hendford sometime between the baptism of Charlotte on September 3 1833 when he was recorded as a Solicitor living in Vicarage St, Yeovil, and the baptism of Joseph Jekyll on January 28 1835 when Edwin was recorded as a Solicitor of Hendford.

The 1851 census index for Yeovil shows "Caroline Newman" living with Edwin (21), William (19), Arthur (7), Rowland (5) and Henrietta (2). She is described as "wife of Edwin Newman esq., solicitor, now of the Temple, London". Edwin's wife was Charlotte not Caroline, but such errors in census records were not uncommon. The words "now of the Temple, London" explain Edwin's absence from Yeovil at the time of the census since, according to Bob Osborn, Edwin was at his club in Tavistock Row, Covent Garden, London, at the time.

The census records for 1861, 1871 and 1881 show Edwin living in Yeovil. Nevertheless it is probable that Edwin owned (or leased) a home in London since his daughter Henrietta (born in 1847) is said to have spent time in London in her youth. Henrietta's daughter Edith Paynter recorded that her mother lived in a house overlooking Hyde Park where she used to ride as a child. Furthermore, in 1868 Edith was married at St. George's Church, Hanover Square in London.

In 1839, Edwin went into partnership with a London-based partner, Thomas Lyon. Indeed, this may have prompted Edwin to establish a London residence, perhaps at 19 Bolton Street, Mayfair (in the parish of St. George's, Hannover Square, and less than a mile from Hyde Park) since this was where his eldest son Edwin's family was living at the time of the 1861 census.

Those present at Hendford at the time of the 1861 census were: Edwin himself and his wife Charlotte and their sons Edwin (then a solicitor aged 32) and Charles Octavius (19, undergraduate). [Note: I have not yet located Henrietta in the 1861 census, when she would have been 14 years old.]

In 1868, Edwin travelled to Alnwick in Northumberland to purchase Freelands - a story recounted in my notes about his daughter Henrietta and his son-in-law (later step-son) Henry Augustus Paynter.

The 1871 census shows Edwin at home at Hendford, Yeovil, with Charlotte and their youngest son Rowland, who was then the Officiating Minister at Lufton. Edwin is described as "Attorney at Law".

In September 1876, some 18 months Charlotte's death, Edwin married Catherine Augusta Paynter, widow of Francis Paynter and mother-in-law of Edwin's daughter Henrietta. The marriage took place in the remote village of Brompton Ralph in west Somerset not far from Exmoor, the marriage ceremony perhaps being performed by Charlotte's brother, Joseph Jekyll, who was at the time Rector of Hawkridge and Withypool some 15 miles to the west. Ian Caldwell once speculated that Edwin might have married Catherine out of kindness since it was rumoured that her first husband Francis was bankrupt at the time of his death and may have left her destitute. At any rate, the marriage resulted in Edwin's son-in-law Henry Augustus Paynter becoming his step-son as well.

[Note: it has always been thought that Catherine's first husband Francis Paynter was Edwin's partner in the family firm, however there seems to be no evidence to support this. Indeed, such evidence as there is suggests that Francis's youngest son, James Bernard Paynter, was the first and only Paynter to join Edwin's firm and that sometime during or before 1881 he became a partner in the firm that was then named Newman, Jeans, Newman, Paynter, and Gould, which seems to have been the first time that firm carried the Paynter name.]

In November 1876, Edwin was presented with a large black mantelpiece clock by some grateful clients. [This clock is now in my possession - see Law Firm page.] My father told me that the clock was given as a retirement present to Edwin, however its inscription makes no mention of his retirement. Indeed the 1881 Yeovil census describes Edwin (then 77) as a solicitor which suggests that he was still working at that time. It seems more likely that the clock was presented to Edwin as a belated commemoration of his marriage to Catherine.

Staying with Edwin at 12 Hendford in 1881 was his grand-daughter Charlotte (Lottie) Newman (born at West Lydford, and then 23 years old). Also living there was a butler, housemaid, cook and kitchen maid. The gardener next door might well have worked for him too. Edwin's second wife Catherine had died the year before the census.

When Edwin died, he left an estate of £31,189 4s 2d - a very substantial sum in those days. According to www.measuringworth.com the equivalent 2013 valuation should be somewhere between £3 million and £40 million, depending on how it is measured. It is therefore hard to believe the story handed down by my father (presumably from his father) that the theft of funds from the firm in 1880 (four or five years earlier) would have left Edwin financially embarrassed to the extent that he could no longer afford to pay the school fees of his grandson Walter. Perhaps this is what Walter was told, but it seems likely that the truth of the matter was very different.

Ownership of Edwin's Yeovil house, Hendford Manor, passed to Catherine's youngest surviving son James Bernard Paynter, who by then was a partner in the law practice. Edwin's will divided up the bulk of his estate between his surviving children, their widows or children - those being:

  1. His eldest son (Edwin's) widow Sophie,
  2. George's daughter, Charlotte (Lottie),
  3. His oldest surviving son Walter,
  4. His son Charles Octavius,
  5. His son Arthur,
  6. His youngest son Rowland and
  7. His only daughter Henrietta.

In addition,

Executors of the will were his eldest surviving son Walter Newman, and his step-sons Henry Augustus Paynter and James Bernard Paynter, both step-sons being solicitors. It is odd that Edwin did not nominate his second-eldest surviving son, Charles Octavius, who was also a solicitor, to be an executor.

A delightful story about the young Edwin survives in a letter from his granddaughter Evelyn Newman written to my father Harold Ernest Montague Newman written in 1945:

"Grandfather [Edwin Newman], as a young man, rode out to the Rectory on business & as he entered the drive which sweeps round to the front porch, he caught sight of a lady sitting in the window, back to him with her arm out-stretched & he made up his mind she was to be Mrs. Newman. She was the daughter of the Rector "Jekyll". I presume they were married at West Coker. She bore him 10 or 11 children some died in infancy. Henrietta - your grandmother - was the only surviving girl - (the reason she was so spoilt). Of the boys - my uncles - I've known Uncle Edwin (the eldest), Uncle Joe, Uncle Charlie, Uncle Arthur and Uncle Rowland - and of course Father. He came in before Uncle Joe. Lottie's father was, I think, "George". Anyway, Father was "quintus" Newman at Sherborne school!!

The letter ends with a lovely description of old Edwin as Evelyn herself remembered him from her childhood:

"I think you would have liked old Grandfather and he would have appreciated you. He was very proud of Eddie [Evelyn's eldest brother, Edwin Montague Browne Newman] and was very good to him. Mercifully Grandfather died about a month before Eddie was killed in the Sudan. It would have been a great blow to the old man. He was such a fine upright old figure always dressed in beautiful Cwad(?) cloth - black - with a fob, with his seals hanging. He had a big head, always wore a topper, rather at the back of his head. He was much respected and loved by all around him, townsfolk and country folk alike. I can see him now, walking up the isle of St John's and on one occasion I think the Harvest Festival, they had put a scrowl (sic) over the alter with 'sanctus sanctus sanctus' on it. This upset Grandfather completely, and he kept on uttering 'Popery! Popery!' as he stalked along. Feelings ran high in those days!"

Note: the sudden use of altar decoration may have been associated with the revival of more ritualistic church services associated with what was called the "high church" following on from the Oxford Movement of the mid 19th century that was famously led by Cardinal John Henry Newman. No family connection has been discovered between the Fifehead Newmans and the famous cardinal.

Last updated 20 Dec 2014 - major rewrite incorporating information provided by Bob Osborn on his "A-to-Z of Yeovil's History" website.
27 Mar 2012- major rewrite.
25 Aug 2009
- separate page created for Henry Brown Newman. Brother (William) and sisters (Frances and Charlotte) added to page.
12 July 2005 - 1861 census data added; reference to Edwin's "retirement" clock changed, and references to 1881 census modified.
2 Feb 2005 - link added to 1851 census page; correction of Edwin's name in 4th paragraph of "Outline of Edwin's life"; clarification of note about "Now of the Temple, London".