Sea Merchant to Lord Mayor
Barlow Trecothick (c. 1719 – 28 May 1775)
Since I began work at Addington Palace, the name ‘Barlow Trecothick’ has circulated as the man who laid the foundations for the Manor House we can see today.
It was almost 20 years after settling in London, in January 1768 that Trecothick set his eyes on Surrey and bought the Addington estate for £38,500 (Approx. £5,240,000 today) from the Leigh Family. At this time, the estate included about 5000 acres of land and a Manor House which had been around since 1544. Trecothick did away with the old and began work on a new Manor House in 1772. He employed Robert Mylne to design his new Palladian style mansion but died in 1775 before it was completed.
Despite being married twice, neither wife bore him children. With no natural born heir, he willed that his Nephew James Ivers take up his surname and receive his inheritance. Thus, James was the new owner of the Addington Estate. Continuing in his uncles’ stead, he completed the new Manor House in 1800.
However, his association with Addington Palace just a mere snippet of his legacy. So I decided to delve deeper and learn more of Addington Palace’s first resident.
Trecothick was the son of Mark Trecothick and Hannah Greenleaf. His Dad was a sea captain. Funnily enough, his birthplace is in contention. Although his name appears in the Birth Registers of Stepney, this may mean that he was born at sea and claimed Stepney as his birthplace. The former may have more credence, as records show his Brother Edward was baptized in Stepney in 1721.
From about 1724 the Trecothicks lived in Boston, Massachusetts Bay. Later that year, his Sister Hannah was born. When he was 14, his life took a massive turn when he became an apprentice to Charles Apthorp who was a seriously rich English-born merchant of Boston. This apprenticeship lasted 6 years until Trecothick became a merchant himself in 1740 at 20 years old.
It seems he stayed in Boston for another 2 years before his merchant travels took him to Jamaica for seven years. Nearly 30, he decided to return to Boston for three years. There he Married Grizzel, one Charles Apthorp’s daughters. With his new wife, it was time to settle, thus around 1750 he moved to London where he continued trading as a merchant, through a company called Trecothick, Apthorp, and Thomlinson. Here, he also a member of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers.
Trecothick’s wife, Grizzel, painted by Robert Feke about 1748 in Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, Kansas
Continuing in his successes, his connections and ambition led him into the political sphere becoming an alderman of the Corporation of London. It was at this point, with his amassed wealth that he purchased the Addington Estate.
His accolades would continue, especially having both an English and American influence. Thus he became a Sheriff of London in 1765 and a Member of Parliament for the City of London between 1768 and 1774. Perhaps his greatest honour was serving as Lord Mayor in 1770.
“Barlow Trecothick will always be remembered as the primary force in leading to the repeal of the hated Stamp Act of 1765. It is claimed that in doing so he averted the Revolution a decade and changed the course of American history. It is to his credit that he led the merchant class in an upswelling of protest and lobbying to have the hated taxes rescinded. Along with Benjamin Franklin, who was also in London, Barlow’s eloquence and thorough knowledge of the workings of American commerce convinced Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act.”— BARLOW TRECOTHICK: A FORGOTTEN COLONIAL CORNISH-AMERICAN HERO, by Barry E.Tracy
His first wife, Grizzel, never got to see him become Lord Mayor as she died on 31 July 1769. A year later (9 June 1770) he married Anne, a daughter of Amos Meredith and a sister of Sir William Meredith, 3rd Baronet.
5 years later Trecothick died and was buried just around the corner from Addington Palace in St Mary the Blessed Virgin Church. The inscription on His Grave Says:
DIED MAY XXVIII MDCCLXXV AGED LVI YEARS.
In Memory of BARLOW TRECOTHICK Esq. Merchant, Alderman and Lord Mayor of the City of London much esteemed by the Merchants for his Integrity and Knowledge of Commerce, truly beloved by his Fellow Citizens who chose him their Representative in Parliament and sincerely lamented by his Friend and Relations who looked up to and admired his Virtues. This last tribute is humbly offered by his affectionate affectionate Wife
1. Lewis Namier, John Brooke, “Trecothick, Barlow” in The House of Commons 1754–1790 (Boydell & Brewer, 1985), p. 557
2. Bryce E. Withrow, “A Biographical Study of Barlow Trecothick 1720–1775” in The Emporia State Research Studies, Vol. 38, Issue 3 (Emporia Graduate School, 1992), p. 7
3. MacQuarrie, Brian (6 March 2019). “At Faneuil Hall, a Move to Recognize Ties to Slavery”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
4. David Hancock, “Trecothick, Barlow (1718?–1775)” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), online edition (subscription required): “From c.1724 he lived in Boston, Massachusetts, where he served as an apprentice to Charles Apthorp between 1734 and 1740.”
5. Foote, Annals of King’s Chapel (Boston: Little, Brown, 1896), pp. 143–144
6. Conrad Edick Wright, Revolutionary Generation: Harvard Men and the Consequences of Independence (University of Massachusetts Press, 2005), pp. 70, 71
7. H. E. Malden, ed., A History of the County of Surrey, Vol. 4 (Victoria County History, 1912)