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The Owners of Dunsley Hall








Dunsley Hall is an amazing place and we would like to learn more about the past owners.

We would appreciate any help in tracing the history of the Atwells Everdon Whoorwood and Carters.



We have researched the Throckmorton family and understand that Robert Throckmorton born about 1231 died 1306

Married Prudence de Compton (b) 1235 (d)? They were the first owners.



The Hall was passed to their son Simon (b) 1251 (d) 1314

Married Isabel De Donesley born abt. 1255 (d)? At Throckmorton (this could be the original name of Dunsley Hall “Donesley Hall) it was then passed to their heir Richard De Throckmorton who in turn sold it to Gilbert De Dunsley in 1304.



Unfortunately, we do not have much history on Gilbert. He died in 1326 and as they quote “was a Bastard with no heir”, so the Hall went back to Throckmorton’s. This is why we feel that he was related to Isabel De Donesley. The Hall was then sold to:






Richard Attwell who was Lord of Overdon. The Hall stayed in the family until 1440.



William Everdon Lord of Overdon (Orton of Wombourne) Orton Lane.. then to his son Thomas and then to Humphrey Everdon,



The Hall was then sold to John and Sir William Whorwood Lord of Kinver.


His wife was Cassandra (nee) Grey (Part of Lady Jane Grey’s family The Whittington Inn and Enville Estates).


Sir William was Solicitor General to Henry VIII from 1536 to 1540 and then Attorney General under Henry VIII until his death.


He was a younger son of John Whorwood, one of a family of minor gentry, who had long lived at Compton in Kinver. He bought from the King the Manor of Kinver along with Stourton Castle, which was a hunting Lodge of Henry VII and of Henry VIII and also the rectory impropriate of Kinver, which, remained in the family until 1672.


Sir William had also acquired various estates elsewhere. He lived at Dunsley with his wife Margaret. The had two daughters:



Anne (b) ? (d) 1552 married Ambrose Dudley Earl of Warwick.,_3rd_Earl_of_Warwick The Marriage was childless as their son died as a child. Her share of her Fathers estate passed to Thomas Whorwood , Sir Williams great nephew. But Dunsley was left to Ambrose and William Whorwood Lord of Kinver.


Margaret (b) ? (d)? married Thomas Throckmorton of Coughton Court.


Anne’s marriage to Ambrose was a happy one. They kept the Hall but then tenanted it out, eventually moving to Otford in Kent. Anne bore him a son.

They named him John in 1550 but, he died in 1552. Anne also died at their other home in Otford Kent on 26th May 1552. Ambrose was devastated at their deaths.

He married again to Elizabeth Talboys (of Kyme) in September 1553. We assume that Elizabeth dies as Ambrose married again on 11th November 1565 at the Queen’s Chapel Whitehall to Anne Russell.


Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick


Ambrose was born about 1528/1529 his mother being Jane (nee Guildford). As a youth Ambrose was imprisoned with his brothers in the Beauchamp Tower at the Tower of London following the attempt by his father to place Lady Jane Grey (The Whittington Inn) wife of Ambrose brother Guildford Dudley, on the throne. After nine months in the Tower with his brothers he was released by Queen Mary I on October 18th 1554 and duly pardoned on 22nd January 1555.


Two years later, in the first month of 1557, when a conflict between France and Spain flared up Ambrose used his influence to raise an army for King Philip II of Spain. He did this in exchange for the return of his family estates, which, had been withdrawn when Northumberland was Executed.


Ambrose, his brothers Henry and Robert Dudley,_1st_Earl_of_Leicester all joined the forces of Philip II and went to fight in France. They too part in the battle of St Quentin, where Henry was killed. For these services Ambrose, together with his brother Robert and sisters, was restored in blood by an act of Parliament on March 7th 1558.


With the death of the French King Francis II of_France in 1560 the Franco-Scottish Queen Mary,_Queen_of_Scots found herself a widow at the age of 18. The French throne was assumed by the late Kings Mother Catherine de’ Medici. These “bittersweet events” in Europe confounded English court with politics and led to the return of Mary to Scotland, with a all is attendant problems for Queen Elizabeth. Whilst in France Catherine de’ Medici’_Medici was struggling to avert civil war with the Protestant Huguenots who were restricted to a limited freedom of worship. They restored to arms to resist the Catholic rulers.


After lengthy prevarication Queen Elizabeth eventually conceded to pressure from her court to send some six thousand English troops to assist in the struggling Huguenots. Ambrose was chosen to lead the expedition.


Ambrose Dudley’s determination to retain the town of “Newhaven” (Le Havre) against the forces of the Duke of Guise, the leader of the Catholic army and Uncle of Mary Queen of Scotts, was hampered from the outset by misadventures ranging from the simple lace of troops and finance to a plague that decimated his army


When more troops were eventually deployed they were prevented from landing in France from bad weather and adverse winds that prevented them from entering the Port. Even them once ashore they too fell to the plague, which, was claiming about sixty of his men each day. Queen Elizabeth finally conceded defeat, not so much on account of the Catholic siege as because of the general circumstances allowed Ambrose to withdraw. The consequence was that the troops imported the plague to London, where, a further 21,000 victems fell ill and died. This affair was a total disaster for the Queen and fashioned her future reluctance to engage in ill-affordable foreign conflicts.


In 1563 Ambrose Dudley was created Baron Lisle and Earl of Warwick. He stood high in favours with the Queen as did his third wife Ann, daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford.


Ambrose Dudley died after having a diseased leg amputated, at Bedford House in the Strand London. He was apparently re-buried on April 9th 1590 in the Lady Chapel of Warwick Collegiate Church.


Ambrose The Earl of Warwick was also Lord of Bedale after the execution of Simon Digby for having partaken in the rising of the North for Mary Queen of Scotland. Digby himself had been the Tudor replacement for Bedale Ricardian Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell after the Battle of Bosworth Field.



Thomas & Margaret Whorwood



Thomas Whorwood



John Whorwood and son Sir William Whorwood



John’s son in law (William Carter) who put a mortgage on Dunsley in 1635


Catherine Carter (daughter) married John Hammerton



John Carter (son)


In total the Hall was owned by the Whorwoods and eventually their son in laws from 1515 to 1669 a total of 154 years.



Philip Foley (b) 12th May 1648 (d) December 1716. Philip was the youngest of the three surviving sons of the British Ironmaster Thomas Foley (1616-1677) of Whitley Court Worcestershire.


His Father transferred to him in 1668 and 1669 all his Ironworks in the Midlands for £60,000. He also settled an estate at Prestwood Stourbridge when Philip married, to which Philip added the manor of Kinver. Dunsley was always tenanted as far as we know Philip Foley never lived at Dunsley Hall, his home was Prestwood, which, is now a nursing home.


Philip ran the ironworks but found that they were not profitable as they had been and from 1674 he started to sell them off. Philip remained a partner for the rest of his life in some of the reduced business but the family sold all of his shares off shortly after his death.


The Hall remained in the Foley family until it was auctioned off. The whole estate was seperated including Stourton Castle, Prestwood and other holdings.

The Marsh family purchased the Hall in the early part of the last century



More to follow when we have the full history from 1800

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