20 December 2022

Latimer in Stony Stratford
hides the story of a banking
heir who claimed a title

Latimer in Stony Stratford was developed in the 1970s … the name has curious historical, mediaeval and banking links (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

I was writing last night about the architects who developed who designed some of the 1970s housing estates on the southern edges of Stony Stratford half a century ago, including Gally Hill, Fullers Slade and Latimer.

I was intrigued by the name of Latimer as a housing development.

Was it named after Latimer, a village on the border of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire? This Latimer is near Amersham and Little Chalfont, and is part of the district of Chiltern in Buckinghamshire.

Or was it named after Hugh Latimer (1487-1555), who was the Bishop of Worcester during the Tudor Reformation and later chaplain to Edward VI? During the reign of Mary I, he was burned at the stake in 1555, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.

Instead, it seems Latimer was takes its name from the holders of the title of Lord Latimer. The title Baron Latimer or Latymer has existed four times in the English peerage, all associated with the descendants of the same mediaeval family, whose surname was Latimer (Latiner, ‘translator’), and in time the title of Lord Latimer was held by the Lords of the Manor of Calverton.

The first Baron Latimer also sat in the Parliament of 1290, and the title eventually passed to the Nevill of Neville and Willoughby families. In my search for the story of these local magnates, I found an interesting connection among my predecessors among the priests, vicars and rectors of Askeaton in the Diocese of Limerick, where I spent five years until I retired earlier this year (31 March 2022).

John Neville (1493-1543), 3rd Baron Latimer, was married three times. His first wife, Dorothy de Vere, was a sister of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford, while his third wife, Catherine Parr (1512-1548), when she was widowed married Henry VIII as his sixth and last wife, becoming Queen of England. She outlived Henry VIII by 20 months; with four husbands, she is the most-married English queen.

When John de Vere inherited the title of Earl of Oxford, he also inherited Calverton Manor, and after his death in 1506 a legal ruling decreed that Calverton Manor should pass to his nephew, Catherine Parr’s stepson, John Neville (1520-1577), 4th Baron Latimer. However, this John Neville had no sons to inherit his title and estates.

The Calverton estate then descended to the Percy family, Earls of Northumberland. It was sold to Sir Thomas Bennet, a former Lord Mayor of London, in 1616, and then descended to the Cecil family, Earls of Salisbury.

On the other hand, the claims to the title of Lord Latimer or Lord Latymer descended in equal portions to the descendants of John Nevill’s four daughters, Catherine, Dorothy, Lucy and Elizabeth.

As time passed, the Latimer title and name seem to have been largely forgotten, and no-one used the title for almost 3½ centuries, from 1577 until 1911, when Francis Burdett Thomas Money-Coutts (1852-1923), a member of the prominent Liberal banking family, identified himself as the heir to one of these four sub-shares in 1911.

Money-Coutts made a legal claim to the Latimer title in 1911, and he was summoned to sit in the House of Lords in February 1913. Since then, he and his heirs have chosen to spell their title Latymer.
Francis Money-Coutts … a poet and writer, who inherited the Latimer title and a banking fortune

I first came across Lord Latymer and his father while I was researching my predecessors among the priests, rectors, vicars and curates of Askeaton for a lecture hosted by Askeaton Civic Trust almost three years ago [19 February 2020]. It is an exotic story of a vicar’s son who inherited one of the largest banking fortunes in Britain and who also managed, by sleight of hand, to wangle a seat in the House of Lords.

Francis Burdett Thomas Nevill Money-Coutts (1852-1923) was born plain Francis Money in London on 18 September 1852, the son of the Revd James Drummond Money (1800-1875), who was Vicar of Askeaton in 1830-1833.

The Revd James Drummond Money was born in Bombay, India, on 26 April 1805, a son of Sir William Taylor Money (1769-1834), an MP (1816-1826) who made his fortune in India and Java as a director of the East India Company and who died of cholera in Venice in 1834.

James was educated at Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge (BA, 1828; MA, 1868), and was ordained deacon (1828) and priest (1829). He was the curate (‘lecturer’) in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, for less than a year when he came to Co Limerick in 1830 and was presented as Vicar of Askeaton by Sir Matthew Blakiston (1783-1862).

What brought a young man like this to Askeaton in west Limerick? He was then only 25, newly-ordained and with little parish experience. The answer is probably provided by his marriage on 10 October 1832 to Charlotte Noel, daughter of Canon Gerard Thomas Noel (1782-1851), Vicar of Romsey Abbey, Hampshire, and a famous evangelical hymnwriter.

The Revd James Drummond Money’s father, Sir William Taylor Money, died of cholera in Venice in 1834 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Charlotte was his first wife, and she was a first cousin of Charles Noel, Earl of Gainsborough … I have told the sad and romantic stories of his daughters’ marriages in ‘Four Victorian weddings and a funeral’ (in Marriage and the Irish: A miscellany, ed Salvador Ryan, Wordwell: Dublin, 2019, pp 163-165). Charlotte was also a granddaughter of Sir Lucius O’Brien (1731-1795) of Dromoland Castle, Co Clare, and a first cousin of William Smith O’Brien (1803-1864) of Cahermoyle, Co Limerick.

This explains why Charlotte and James moved to Co Limerick in the 1830s. But they stayed in Askeaton for a very short time. They returned to England in 1833, where he became the Rector of Blatherwyck in Northamptonshire, where the O’Brien family also had a home. He then became Rector of Sternfield, Suffolk (1834-1861) in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury. Charlotte and James were the parents of nine children, but most of them died in infancy and she died in 1848.

The Revd James Money married his second wife, Clara Maria Money-Coutts, originally Clara Maria Burdett, at Chelsea on 28 April 1850. Clara was one of the three daughters of the wealthy banker Sir Francis Burdett (1770-1844) and his wife Sophia, a daughter of the banker Thomas Coutts. Clara’s sister was the Victorian philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts, who eventually inherited the Coutts banking fortune.

James Money and his second wife Clara were the parents of Francis Burdett Thomas Nevill Money-Coutts (1852-1923), who was born Francis Money in London on 18 September 1852; and the Revd Walter Baptist Money (1849-1924), who played cricket for Kent and Surrey and who was ordained in the Diocese of Lichfield.

The Revd James Money died in 1875 and Clara died in 1899. Their son, Francis Money, was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge (BA 1875; MA and LLM 1878). He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1873 and was called to the bar in 1879. But, although he was both a barrister and solicitor, he spent most of his life as a poet, librettist and writer. He is now remembered chiefly as a patron and collaborator of the Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz.

In 1875, Francis Money, as he was then named, married Edith Ellen Churchill. In 1881, his aunt Angela Burdett married a foreigner – an American who was 40 years her junior. The marriage violated the terms of the will of her father, Sir Francis Burdett, who had made her the sole heir of the Coutts banking fortune.

Seeing an opportunity, Clara and her son adopted the name Coutts under the terms of the will, so that he became Francis Burdett Thomas Nevill Money-Coutts on 20 September 1880. Mother and son then contested Angela’s claims. A settlement was reached, and Angela received two-fifths of the income until her death in 1906, when Francis then became the sole beneficiary.

At one point, Francis was considered for a partnership in the family bank, but this idea was abandoned as he was thought too unstable in temperament for such a position.

Adopting the pen name of ‘Mountjoy,’ he wrote and published at least 23 works between 1896 and 1923. Many of these were collections of poems. He also worked for the publisher John Lane in London, writing prefaces for, and editing, collections of poems by other authors, including the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the 17th century mystic, theologian and bishop Jeremy Taylor.

In 1912, by a genealogical sleight of hand, Francis became the 5th Baron Latymer through his mother’s family, when the title was called out of abeyance. The title was thought to have been extinct for 335 since the death of John Nevill in 1577. Francis petitioned for the title in 1911, and by resolution of the House of Lords on 15 July 1912 he was declared to be co-heir to the Barony of Latymer. He was summoned to sit in the House of Lords on 11 February 1913.

Francis changed his name again in 1914 to Francis Burdett Thomas Coutts-Nevill. He died in London on 8 June 1923.

When Latimer was developed in Stony Stratford in the mid-1970s, the title was held by his grandson, Thomas Burdett Money-Coutts (1901-1987), 7th Baron Latymer, a director of Coutts and Company and chair of the London Committee of the Ottoman Bank.

Ballindeel House, Askeaton … the former rectory was the home of the Revd James Drummond Money in 1830-1833 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Tuesday 20 December 2022

He came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you’ (Luke 1: 28) … the Annunciation depicted on a panel in the altar piece in Saint Mary’s Church, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

We are in the last week of Advent, and less than a week away from Christmas Day.

The traditional counting of the ‘O Antiphons’ began on Saturday (17 December) with ‘O Sapientia.’ For eight days before Christmas, the canticle Magnificat at Evensong has a refrain or antiphon proclaiming the ascriptions or ‘names’ given to God through the Old Testament.

Each name develops into a prophecy of the forthcoming and eagerly-anticipated Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God. O Sapientia, or ‘O Wisdom’, was followed on Sunday by ‘O Adonai’, then O Radix Jesse (‘O Root of Jesse’) yesterday, followed by O Clavis David (‘O Key of David’) today (20 December), ‘O Dayspring’ tomorrow, then ‘O King of the Nations,’ and finally on 23 December ‘O Emmanuel’.

Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

During Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;

2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

‘O Clavis David’ … King David (left) and King Solomon (right) in a window by Heaton, Butler and Bayne in Saint Michael’s Church, Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 1: 26-38 (NRSVA):

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34 Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ 35 The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38 Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

The icon of Archangel Gabriel in the pair of icons in the Lichfield Annunciation in Lichfield Cathedral is based on the Lichfield Angel (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:

Mary says a great and courageous ‘yes’ to God. She is the pattern and prototype of every Christian. Pray for our readiness to be at God’s disposal – to be used in his service. Think about what may be frightening or exciting to be so used by God.


God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

Heavenly Father,
who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of the promised saviour:
fill us your servants with your grace,
that in all things we may embrace your holy wil
l and with her rejoice in your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect:

Eternal God,
as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,
so we wait for his coming in glory;
bring us through the birth pangs of this present age
to see, with her, our great salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

USPG Prayer Diary:

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘International Migrants Day.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday with a reflection on International Migrants Day by Bishop Antonio Ablon, Coordinator of the Filipino Chaplaincy in Europe, part of the Philippine Independent Church.

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us pray for migrants and workers struggling to find their place in the world. May governments be guided by compassion and a desire to work for justice and equity for all.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The Virgin Mary in the pair of icons in the Lichfield Annunciation … she is depicted seated on an elevated throne weaving a cloth that would become the veil of the Holy of the Holies in the Temple (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org