Brigg landowning family revealed

Landowners, bishops and singers: the story of the Elwes family - at North Lincolnshire Library EMN-150201-132031001
Landowners, bishops and singers: the story of the Elwes family - at North Lincolnshire Library EMN-150201-132031001

This wonderful picture is part of a new exhibition at North Lincolnshire Museum which shows the impact the local landowning family the Elwes’s had on places such as Brigg, Wrawby and Roxby.

Opening on January 13, and running until June 14, visitors to the exhibition will be able to find out about the legacy left by the famous singer Gervase Elwes, as well as other important family members which have included Bishops, painters and Hollywood actors.

‘Landowners, bishops and singers: the story of the Elwes family’ takes you through the Elwes family timeline to learn about important family members such as Gervase Elwes, the famous singer and the legacy he left linked to the North Lincolnshire Musical Festival.

There is also a chance to discover what it was like to have Cary Elwes as your landlord and find out what impact Valentine Elwes’ conversion to Catholicism had on Brigg.

In 1674, Jeremy Elwes bought the Tyrwhitt estates of Wrawby, Brigg and Bigby for £2,300.

At this time, they consisted of nothing more than a few houses. His grandson, Cary Elwes began the development of these estates into the towns and villages we know today.

The Elwes family also owned land at Risby, Roxby, in parts of Yorkshire and Billing Hall in Northamptonshire. Many houses in these villages are still owned by the Elwes family.

In 1865, Valentine Cary Elwes married his second wife Alice Ward; the couple moved into the Manor House in Brigg in 1869. They had three children: Gervase, Dudley and Maud.

Valentine played a big part in the local community.

In 1874, the family visited Nice in France, where they were converted to the Catholic faith.

At this time there wasn’t a Catholic church in Brigg for the family to worship in. So in 1875 Valentine converted the old Coach House next to Manor House into a chapel, which was known as St Mary’s. That dedication was to last when eventually that church was replaced by the present modern one on Barnard Avenue and also in the name of the school, now St Mary’s Roman Catholic Academy.

In the early 1900s, Gervase and his wife Winefride started the annual Musical Competition Festival in Brigg, still running as the North Lincolnshire Festival.

Gervase also regularly held music workshops in London and at Billing Hall. Musicians stayed with the family for up to a week at a time and put on concerts and productions.

Coun John Briggs, cabinet member for asset management, culture and housing, said: “The Elwes family were very prominent in North Lincolnshire for many, many years and their influences in the local area can still be seen today.

“It is a fantastic exhibition that takes you through the Elwes family history, right from the very beginning.

“They were all involved in many different things from acting and singing to owning land and politics.

“Go along to this fantastic exhibition in the New Year and learn a bit more about North Lincolnshire’s history.”

For more information about the exhibition contact North Lincolnshire Museum on 01724 843533 or email museum@northlincs.gov.uk .