The name of Staunton is synonymous with Leigh Park and the Havant area, but after the death in August 1859 of Sir George Staunton Bt., the name of Staunton, unknown to many, lived on, thanks to the last will and testament of Sir George.
Sir George Thomas Staunton, the second baronet, of Leigh Park, was the last of the line of the Stauntons that first went to Ireland in 1634, his great great great grandfather, George Staunton Esq., a military officer, under the rule of Charles I, acquired considerable landed property and settled in Cargin, County Galway. The Staunton family can be successfully traced beck to Sir Malgar de Staunton who defended Belvoir Castle against William the Conqueror, and after whom the chief tower in that castle is still named Staunton Tower.
George Staunton, the first Staunton to go to Ireland in 1634, was the second son of Reginald Staunton of Smewens Grange, Buckinghamshire, the lineal descendant of John, third son of Thomas Staunton of Staunton Hall, Nottinghamshire who was tenth in the direct line of Sir Malgar de Staunton, the founder of the family. The Staunton family still live at Staunton Hall, one of the oldest houses in England still to carry the name of its family.
The next three generations of Stauntons in Ireland, all appropriately named George Staunton, appear to have lived the life of landed proprietors until we reach father and son, the remarkable Sir George Leonard Staunton Bt., and his son, Sir George Thomas Staunton.
Sir George Leonard Staunton Bt. was born at Carra, County Galway. He first studied physics and obtained the degree of M.D., but instead of practising medicine, adopted the profession of law, attaining the rank of Governor-General of Grenada in the West Indies in 1779. In 1784, Staunton accompanied to Madras his life long friend George, Lord McCartney, whom he first met in the West Indies to negotiate peace with Tippoo Siltan, for which service Staunton was created a baronet of Ireland on 31st October, 1785.
In 1792 Staunton again accompanied Lord McCartney, but this time on a mission to China, being appointed secretary to the embassy and, provisionally, minister plenipotentiary in the event of McCartney's death.
A lot has been writted about the Chinese embassy expedition, including the account of Staunton's eleven year-old son, the second Sir George Staunton, and the part which he played in the affair. The expedition failed to achieve its desired aims of establishing a permanent embassy and trading concessions for the British.
In 1797, Staunton published 'An authentic account of the Earl of McCartney's Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China' (in 8 volumes). The remainder of his life was beset with ill health, and he died at his London house, 17 Devonshire Street, on 14th January 1801. He was sufficiently important to be buried in Westminster Abbey, where a monument by Sir Francis Chantry is erected to his memory. The baronetcy, his Irish estate at Clydagh, County Galway and his London home were all inherited by his only son, Sir George Thomas Staunton.
The life and career of Sir George Thomas Staunton is well documented, suffice to say that he was born on the 26th May, 1781 at Milford House, Salisbury, the home of his maternal grandfather, Benjamin Collins, and where he spent the first three years of his life. After his earlier career associated like his father with Chinese affairs, Staunton bought the Leigh Park estate in 1819 and began a forty years association with the area. When he died, unmarried, on 10th August, 1859 at his London home, this heralded the start of another family to carry on the illustrious Staunton name. Staunton in his will left his Irish estate, Clydagh House, to his eldest cousin George Staunton Lynch. Leigh Park and his London house (17 Devonshire Street, Marylebone), were left to George Staunton Lynch's younger brother, Captain Henry Cormick Lynch. The two brothers were the sone of Mark Lynch by his second marriage to Victoire, daughter of Richard Woisley Cormick of Woisley Park, in the island of Grenada, by Lucy-Barbara his wife, sister of Sir George Leonard Staunton.
Whereas the Stauntons were English Protestants, the Lynches were indigenous Irish Catholics and are included in the list of original tribes of Ireland.
In accordance with Sir George Thomas Staunton's last will and testament, the two Lynch brothers had to take the additional surname of Staunton, thus starting the Lynch Staunton line. Gerald Staunton Lynch became the first, by Royal license in 1859, and taking the additional arms and name of Staunton, became George Staunton Lynch-Staunton. George Lynch-Staunton, who also held property at Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, had ten children and left Clydah to his eldest son Marcus, who died in 1896, he in turn leaving the estate to his only son Charles Rushworth Lynch-Staunton, the last member of the family to live at Clydagh.
George Lynch-Staunton's second son, Francis Hardwick Lynch-Staunton, emigrated to Canada in 1854, changing his name from Lynch to Lynch-Staunton in 1862. He became a land surveyor and started the branch of the Lynch-Staunton family in Canada which is so eminent today. Francis Hardwick Lynch-Staunton's great grandson John, is now a prominent member in the Canadian Senate, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and leader of the Opposition in the Canadian Parliament.
Clydah eventually passed to the Canadian branch of the family who sold it around 1940, after first rebuilding it to its former glory after the I.R.A. had fire bombed it in 1921.
Henry Cormick Lynch, born in 1801 and three years younger than his brother George, inherited both of Sir George Staunton's English properties but tragically never lived long enough to enjoy them. After Sir George Staunton's death on 10th August 1859, Henry Lynch had hardly moved into Leigh Park when he died unexpectedly on 22nd September 1959, barely six weeks after his cousin. Henry, formerly a captain in the Honourable East Indies Company in Madras, died intestate and the estate appears to have been passed on to his eldest son George Staunton Lynch who, like his uncle of the same name, added Lynch-Staunton to his name.
Henry Lynch, or Captain Lynch as he was known, had a large family, fathering six daughters and two sons by his wife Charlotte, all but two living and dying in the local area. Captain Lynch was buried in the churchyard of St. Faith's in Havant, and is commemorated along with his wife in a stained glass window in St. Mary's Church in Hayling Island.
Leigh Park was sold in 1860, being bought by William Henry Stone, who moved to Leigh Park in 1861 and finally closed the Staunton connection with it, but not before the 1861 census gave a picture of life at Leigh Park. Charlotte was aged 55 at the time of the census and was living there withy her eight children, ranging from George the eldest, known on the census as a landed proprietor, to the youngest, Ada aged 10. Also present were two nephews, Marcus Lynch-Staunton, who was later to inherit Clydah, and John Markham, a vice consul of Shanghai. After the family moved from Leigh Park, Charlotte and her family settled on Hayling Island, charlotte dying aged 86 at Clarence Cottage, South Hayling, in another property once owned by Sir George Staunton, in February 1892.
George Lynch-Staunton, the eldest son of Captain Lynch, lived most of his adult life in the Havant area. Born in 1839 in Florence, Italy, he assumed the additional surname of Lynch-Staunton by Royal License in 1860. According to family records he gained £20,000 from the sale of Leigh Park in 1860.
Adopting a military career, he rose to the rank of Captain in the 14th Hussars, retired from the army in 1869, and later bought Purbrook House, thereafter his home for over forty years.
A keen yachtsman, Captain Lynch-Staunton also sat as a magistrate at Havant, sitting on the same bench as another owner of Leigh Park, Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick Fitzwygram. He moved from Purbrook House in 1921 and lived the final four years of his life at Oak Lodge, Southwick, where he died in January 1925. He is buried beside his wife Margaret in All Saints churchyard, Catherington.
Captain Lynch had four sons and two daughters, his second son, Reginald (Rex) was a Lt. Colonel in the Royal Artillery and was killed in action in Mesopotamia in 1918 after receiving the DSO.
Henry, the eldest son born in 1873, was a major in the 5th Fusiliers, Captain of the Army Rifle Team. He also captained England at shooting. He lived for many years on Hayling Island at a house called Sea Bank before retiring to Berwick on Tweed. where he died in 1943.
The youngest daughter, Gertrude, like her father, sat as a magistrate and lived at West Meon where she kept goats. She died in a Havant nursing home in 1958.
Of the other children of Henry Cormick Lynch, his second son, Alfred born in 1842, became a Colonel and commanding officer in the Highland Light Infantry. A renowned athlete, he played cricket at Lords for the M.C.C. ad well as holding the English high jump record. He retired from the army in the 1890s and lived until his death in 1931, aged 89, at a house in Warblington Avenue, Warblington, which he named 'Remore', after a Lynch property in Ireland. He is buried in the cemetery at Warblington. According to family legend, Alfred was quite content with the surname of Lynch, but changed it to Lynch-Staunton in 1912 by deed poll, to avoid confusion with a different Col. Lynch, who appears to have been something of a rogue.
Of the daughters of Henry Cormick Lynch, the eldest, Victoire, married a John Glas Sandeman, the family of Sandeman port fame. John Glas Sandeman, a captain in the Royal Dragoons also served as a sub-officer in H.M's Bodyguard of the Honorable Company of Gentlemen at Arms. John Glas Sandeman, later a Colonel in the Essex militia, to part in the charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava in 1854 where his horse 'Toby' was shot and killed by a bullet in the neck. The horse was shipped back to Hayling Island where it was buried near the sea front, and a plaque placed on its grave. Victoire, born in 1840 and who died in 1921 and John Glas Sandeman lived on Hayling Island at a fine residence called Whin-Hurst.
The middle three daughters, Marianne (Mimmie), Emmaline and Catherine (known as Tartan to the family), were known collectively as the 'Misses Lynch'. The sisters lived, after their mother's death in 1892, in a house called 'Duras', named after Duras Park in County Galway, the home of their grandfather Mark Lynch, in Staunton Road, Hayling Island. All three sisters lived to a good age, Catherine dying in 1930 aged 84, Emmeline in 1931 aged 86, and Marianne in 1932 aged 90.
The younger two daughters, Florence and Ada both married clergymen. Unfortunately no members of the family reside in the area now, though there are family members of both Captain George Lynch-Staunton and his brother Colonel Alfred Lunch-Staunton living in Wokingham and in Chard in Somerset.