Henry Perkins Weston and family

The Weston family owned the West Horsley Manor estate for one hundred and seventy two years, which is the longest tenure after the de Windsors (1066-1271).  They became Lords of the Manor in 1749, during the Age of Enlightenment, a time when thought and social relationships were evolving. They held the property through the Victorian era, when the gentry began to take a more active part in the welfare of their community.  It is interesting to trace the strong commitment and response to parish affairs by members of the family over the years.


The family can claim a long connection with the county, serving as High Sheriffs, Knights of the Shire and Members of Parliament. Their lineage can be traced to Radulphus de Weston (c.1086). His son, Ralph, was Lord of ‘Wistaneson, Changton, Chittington, Saltinger and Heene’ [1] in the county of Sussex.  By the Medieval period the Westons were in Albury, with land in Clandon, Send, Horsham and Ockham. By 1585, they owned property in West Horsley and at the end of the same century,  one Henry Weston purchased Ockham Manor from a Richard Weston of Surrey; the two were not related. Henry died in 1615, and the Manor passed down generations of the family.  By the end of that century, it was owned by John Weston.  He was chosen Sheriff of Surrey in 1686 and became Member of Parliament for Guildford. But the borough had been dominated for many years by the Onslows of Clandon Park, and John Weston’s political influence and parliamentary career was influenced - even dominated - by his relationships with Richard and Foote Onslow.  In 1698, there were some dubious electoral dealings by the Onslow brothers and ‘many gentlemen grew angry ….and therefore encouraged Mr. Weston,’[2] resulting in John’s clear victory.  He served for the Whigs alongside Richard Onslow, but was  defeated  by Leonard Wessell in 1702, in spite of polling a record 1200 votes.  His parliamentary career was over, and in 1703 he successfully petitioned for the position of Receiver General for Surrey.  But his financial dealings plunged him heavily into debt and in March 1706 he was £3,000 in arrears to the Treasury.  He was called before the Board but allowed to retain his position until March 1710, when his debts totalled £20,000 and he was temporarily imprisoned.  By the end of that year proceedings were under way for the sale of Ockham Park to Sir Peter King.  An Act of Parliament and the acquiescence of his son  Henry, broke the entailment on the Manor.  John Weston’s name disappeared from the Surrey Commissioners of the Peace in 1714.

THE HORSLEY INHERITANCE: Henry Weston and heirs

In spite of their financial plight, Henry Weston was able to restore the family name.  He was highly regarded by local families and was left land and monies by Sir William Perkins of Chertsey Manor in 1740, and also by Captain Perkins. Then, in March 1747, he married Ann Copperthwaite, the illegitimate only child of William Nicholas of West Horsley Place.  In 1749, William left the estate to Henry.  Ann died in that same year giving birth to a son;  there was already a daughter, Ann (1747-1838).

Henry was almost seventy when he took possession, but was full of plans for his house, even designing a rebuild. He is said to have enthusiastically shown his plans to the Duke of Marlborough, who enquired: “Pray, Mr. Weston, how old are you?”  Henry writes, ‘At that question, I laid aside all thoughts of building and only made some alterations.[3] He died in 1759 when his son Henry Perkins Weston was only ten years old.

Two guardians were appointed to preside over Henry Perkins’ welfare and administer the estate. One was his cousin John, son of John Fullerton of Ayrshire and Dorset, and Judith Weston from Ockham.  John  had been instituted as Rector of West Horsley in 1758.  Henry Perkins was a gambler, losing money and lands, but was lucky in love, marrying a Swiss heiress, Marianne Bergier de Rovereux. The couple spent much of their time in Lausanne and West Horsley Manor was let to tenants such as Avery Tebb, a solicitor, and in 1770, to Lord Farnham.  Henry Perkins and Marianne had five children before she died in 1789.  In 1790, he married his wife’s cousin, Jeanne Marie de Bergier, by whom he had six further children.  They began to reside in West Horsley Place and between 1792 and 1821 he was nine times Justice of the Peace, before he died in 1826.

Henry Perkin’s heir, Ferdinand Fullerton Weston (1772-1835) inherited a smaller estate, as he and his father had sold off land in Chertsey and Cobham, re-settling the West Horsley properties, some Cobham land, and the advowson of the church living upon the male heir.  Ferdinand made a name for himself writing poetry and plays, with interesting titles: The Barons of Eldenburgh, a tragedy in Five acts;  A Martyr to Science, or Wanted! A Confederate! In One act, and others.  He had some success with Pleasures of Pity and Other Poems, published in 1808,  he married Harriet Eliza Babbington in that same year.  He died in 1835, leaving no male heir, and was succeeded by his brother Rev. Charles Henry Samuel Weston.

Horsley Homestead, New South WalesThe second son of Henry Perkins and Jeanne, William Francis, born on 20th March 1793, is intriguing.  He was living with his parents, and in his teens became involved with a young maid in the house, Elizabeth (Betty) Crouch, daughter of John and Ann Crouch.  The Weston parents made sure that William faced up to his responsibilities. Mysteriously, there are two marriage dates for a couple of this name: 25th January 1809 at Berwick, St. Leonards, Wilts,  and, 24th January, 1817, at Old Church, St. Pancras. Whether the couple had married before William went to serve in India in 1809, needs further research.  A child, John, had been baptised in West Horsley in November 1816. The couple were despatched to Australia, on H.M.S Larkin in 1817 with money for land.  A promise of a grant of 500 acres at West Dapto, Illawarra, New South Wales was taken up in 1818. By 1825, four more children had been born.  William died in 1826, aged thirty-three years, and is buried at West Horsley Place, Dapto.  His widow remarried in Australia, dying there in 1853.


In 1770, Weston Fullerton, brother of the Rector, John, and so descended from the distaff side of the Weston family, became incumbent and benefactor of the parish.  He had been Curate since 1762. He is described as being of ‘moderate circumstances,’[4] when he became Rector, but later in life his sister Judith left him money from her estate in Thybergh Park, Yorkshire. On 29th July, 1813, together with his Curate, Rev. Charles Weston, he instituted a school charity ‘for the education of the poor children thereof.’[5] He had long wished to promote the present and future welfare of the parish, and the ‘Sunday School’ was set up according to the plan of the National Institution, that children in such schools should be taught according to the profession of faith of the Church of England. The school was held in a room built for the purpose by Weston Fullerton, on land which he obtained by lease on The Street across from the King William IV.  As well as Bible studies, the children learned the three ‘R’s. 

The Rector then turned his attention to the ‘infirm and aged poor of the parish:’[6] on 27th November 1817, just after he had retired from the living, he set up a charity for that purpose. £3,000 was donated for three widows and three men of the parish, all ‘housekeepers and over sixty years old.’ [7]He died in 1819 aged eighty-four, and a marble memorial was erected by his nephew, John, on the north wall of the chapel.  His charity and benevolence to the parish are celebrated, also the £3,000 he spent upon the maintenance and improvement of St. Mary’s building during the last six years of his life.


Charles succeeded his cousin Weston Fullerton as Rector in 1816, having been Curate since 1804. He moved into the old Parsonage House (off The Street), which dated from the late fourteenth century and had been subjected to various changes over the years.  By 1819 it was in poor condition and Charles embarked upon a rebuild, creating a fine Regency dwelling.  When he became Lord of the Manor in 1835, he leased West Horsley Place to the banker, Henry Currie.

Charles remained a bachelor, with the same commitment to church and parish as his predecessor.  In 1845 he endowed the existing school with £760. He also held the living at Ockham and restored the Parsonage House there.  He resigned the West Horsley living in 1841 and was succeeded by Henry Sigismund de Cerjat, son of Mary Augusta Weston.  During this decade, Charles and the Rev. de Cerjat bore the whole cost of major alterations and  repairs to St. Mary’s, including a new north aisle named the Weston aisle. Charles died in 1849, and in 1899 the Rose Window at the end of the Weston aisle was redesigned and decorated with flowers and foliage as his memorial.

Rev. de Cerjat continued the Weston family commitment to education: in 1861 St. Mary’s School permanent building of bricks and mortar was erected.


In 1849 the West Horsley estate was inherited by Colonel John Henry Weston, the Rev Charles’s half- brother.  He had served in India, where he had been married three times. He died in Chilworth in 1850 and was succeeded by his son, Henry, who was living in Middlesex.  All this time, West Horsley Place was still let to Henry Currie.  Henry Weston died, aged only thirty-eight.  Both father and son are buried at West Horsley. In 1863 their descendant, Henry MacGregor Weston inherited the estate, and, with The Place still occupied, he built a new house, ‘Cranmore,’ now Cranmore School. Like his predecessors he was actively involved in the life of the village; raising an appeal for the repair of the Nicholas tombs in the Church and working with organisations such as the Lady Byron Nurse’s Home Charity. He also published a book of poetry -  Lyrics, - at the end of the 1880s.    In 1908, The Place became free and Henry MacGregor moved back into the house.  When he died in 1919, his brother’s son, Major Charles Francis Weston inherited.  But like many owners of landed estates in 1921, rising costs forced the sale of West Horsley Place, and the Weston tenure came to an end.  The advowson of the church is now held by Charles Weston who continues the family’s active commitment to West Horsley Church and Parish.  


Original Weston Family Tree and Documents

M. Weston, Lyrics, London: G. W. Drew & Sons

Shirley B. Aston, A History of West Horsley. (Dorking: Crusader Press Ltd.)

Pam Bowley, Old West Horsley, (West Horsley: Horse & Tree Publications, 2000)

Pam Bowley West Horsley Place, (Alton: Image Print 2000 Ltd., 2007)

w. Brayley, assisted by J. Britton, A Topographical history of Surrey, Volume 2, (Dorking: Robert Best Ede, 1841)

http://www.historyofparliamentonline/volume/1690 1715/member/weston-john-1651-1714


[1] E.W. Brayley, assisted by J. Britton, A topographical history of Surrey, Vol. 2. Dorking: Robert Best Ede, 1841  p. 80

[2] http://www.historyofparliament/volume1690-1715/weston-john. (James Vernon)

[3] E. W. Brayley, A topographical history of Surrey, ibid.  p.79

[4]  E. W. Brayley, A topographical history of Surrey, ibid, p.94

[5]  Ibid, p. 95

[6]  Ibid p. 96

[7]  Ibid, p.96


1) Henry Perkins Weston with his Family, unidentifed British artist, after Zoffany, third quarter 18th centry © Museum of Fine Arts Boston

2) Horsley Homestead, New South Wales

3) West Horsley Place Seat of the Rev. Chas H. S. Weston, illustration to 'A Topographical History of Surrey' (1841-1848).
Etching on chine-collé, Print made by: M J StarlingAfter: Thomas Allom, 1841–1848 (circa), © The Trustees of the British Museum