The Ferrands and their Connection to the Richardsons of Bierley in the 17th Century

The following notes were sent to us by Brenda Graham, who has ancestoral links with the Ferrands via the Richardson family. - Ed.

To maintain status, the gentry married into families who were well connected, had substantial property, and who could sustain a high standard of living. The Ferrands were no exception, sometimes marrying in to families of noble ancestry. However, that is not to say there wasn’t mutual respect, love and admiration.

When Edward Ferrand of Harden Beck married Jane Richardson c1690, he married in to a wealthy family with remarkable academic attainments. Richard Richardson was a botanist with a special interest in bryophytes (mosses, lichens and vascular plants.) Some of his work, illustrations and findings are today housed in the archives in Kew Gardens. He also trained at the Dutch University of Leiden in the 1680s as a physician. He practised as a doctor on his return to Bierley Hall continuing his passion for plant collecting travelling throughout the country and into Scotland and Wales.

The garden at Bierley was a mix of botanical and medicinal plants both native and foreign. Richard Richardson’s son (Jane Richardson’s brother) was also a prolific gardener, though not as well known as his father. He carried on the work of constructing the garden, which at the height of its splendour boasted garden ponds and a grotto. They also constructed a glass greenhouse, very innovative and quite a curiosity in those times. Sadly the industrial revolution was, in part, responsible for the destruction of the garden. The first Cedars of Lebanon in Yorkshire were planted in the garden and sadly these too were destroyed. Dr. Richardson did a lot of research in and around Bingley, identifying and cataloguing the wild plants, ferns and mosses. The Richardsons and their gardening contemporaries of the 17th and 18th centuries introduced plants to this country, which are now found in our gardens and sold in garden centres.

Bierley Hall was the ancestral home of the Richardson family. Richard born 1663 and his son Richard born 1702 rebuilt the house in 1690 and created the very special garden. Eventually the house became an isolation hospital and was replaced by a modern hospital in 1968. Nothing remains of the original buildings but a little of the grounds remain.

The marriage of Edward Ferrand of Harden Grange and Jane Richardson produced two sons, Richardson and John. John became a merchant in Hull and then lived and traded from Stockton on Tees. Ships from Stockton sailed to many countries and John traded with Holland. He became acquainted with Maria Hudig the daughter of a wealthy merchant called Caspar Hudig and they married in 1722. Richardson married Anne Walker, the eldest daughter of the Rev. George Walker at Stockton on Tees. Richardson and Anne had four sons and two daughters: Hudig Whalley who died an infant, John who married Sarah Dale, George who died without issue and Richardson my 5th great grandfather, who married Catherine Stubler/Stabler. This Richardson born in 1759 was an apothecary and physician and, like his father Richardson Ferrand before him, the Mayor of Stockton on Tees.

John Ferrand practised law. John and Sarah produced a large family of which Edward Ferrand born in 1777 was the eldest son. It was this son who inherited the family estates of the senior branch of the family from Benjamin Ferrand who died unmarried.

The estate at St Ives was created and planted with great care to become the beautiful and peaceful place it is. Perhaps it was partly inspired by the earlier influence of the Richardson family and their garden at Bierley. If you stand looking at the Manor House and peel back the years, you can imagine the horse drawn carriages driving up to the entrance with their celebrated guests including the great man Disraeli. Imagine Lady Blantyre and her daughter walking or riding along the tree lined pathways to Lady Blantyre’s favourite spot, known as Lady Blantyre’s Rock. It is so important to befriend St Ives, to enjoy and preserve the abundant natural history, so that future generations can also have the pleasure of visiting these wonderful and remarkable surroundings.

Sources: The Richardsons and their Garden at Bierley Hall - the Bradford Antiquary and Richard Richardson by Mark Lawley.

Brenda Graham 2009