Biographies

Abraham Caldecott – Lord of the Manor at Rugby – 1763 – 1829

Descended from Thomas Calcott of Berkshire, Abraham Caldecott was born into an esteemed family of Rugby. He was notable for his influence in Rugby School, for his civil service and, later in his role as a magistrate.

He was born to William Caldecott of Catthorpe and Anna Deacon in about 1763 and was the youngest of their eleven children and their 5th son. He was baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby on 23rd August 1763.

St Andrew's Church Rugby
St Andrew’s Church, Rugby (Reproduced from the “Our Warwickshire” website)

He was educated at Rugby School which he entered in 1770 at the age of 7 years old under the headmastership of Mr. Stanley Burrough.

Picture of Rugby School drawn by E. Pretty dedicated to Abraham Caldecott
Picture of Rugby School drawn by E. Pretty dedicated to Abraham Caldecott © Trustees of the British Museum.

The inscription reads –

RUGBY SCHOOL
STREET VIEW
To Abraham Caldecott Esq. this plate is respectfully dedicated by his obliged and obedient humble servant E. Pretty.
Published by E. Pretty, Northampton and Merridew and Son, Coventry Jany 1827.

The drawing was a proof illustration to Sir Nicholas Harris Nicholas’s ‘The History of the town and school of Rugby’.

After he left Rugby, Abraham gained the prestigious appointment of Accountant-General to the Bengal Presidency of the East India Company and worked in this position for many years up to around 1795. During this time, it seems he made a liberal fortune.

On 4 January 1797 he married Elizabeth Marriott, daughter of the Rector of Cotesbach, Dr. Robert Marriott, at Cotesbach.

Cotesbach Church
Cotesbach Church

He returned to England and purchased in 1801 the Manor of Rugby, from Abraham Hume, Esq., at that time residing at Bilton Grange, whose mother (formerly Anna Houghton, daughter of William Houghton, Esq., of Rugby,) had been Lady of the Manor. Whilst in residence, Mr. Abraham Caldecott built a new family home called “The Lodge”.

Abraham and Elizabeth had eight children, six sons and two daughters.

Their eldest child was Abraham Caldecott and he was baptised on the 8th October 1797 at Great Glen in Leicestershire. He tragically died at the age of just 17 at his family home, Rugby Lodge of pulmonary consumption on 11 September 1814 and was buried at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby.

Thomas Caldecott was born to Abraham and Elizabeth in 1798 and was baptised at Cotesbach on 26 November the same year. He went on to succeed his father in the estate of Rugby and trained as a barrister.

At the age of 30, Thomas married Ann Catherine West at St Alphege’s Church, Greenwich on 8 January 1828. The couple had seven children – Elizabeth, Emily, Thomas, Ellen, Lucy, Laura and Henry.

Ann died in 1870 at the age of 69 and Thomas remarried, aged 73, on 5 January 1871 to Elizabeth Mary Stewart, widow of John Hume, at St Matthew’s Church, Rugby.

The couple enjoyed four years of marriage before Thomas died in 1875. He was buried at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby on 4 October 1875.

John Marriott Caldecott was the third son of Abraham and Elizabeth and was born in 1800. He was baptised on 7 October 1800 at Dudleston, Shropshire. He had a career in the army and died unmarried at the age of 67 on 15 June 1867 at is home at 28 Pleasant Place in Liverpool.

William Marriott Caldecott was born on 1 July 1801 and was also baptised in Dudleston, Shropshire on 27 August 1801. He went to Oriel College, Oxford where he gained a BA and MA and was ordained into the church. He served his curacy at Claybrook with Wibtoft in Leicestershire in 1826.

He married on 4 June 1833 at Claybrook to Celia Heggs. The couple had just one son, also named William Marriott Caldecott, who sadly died as an infant.

Tragically, William himself died just three years later, aged just 40 in Torquay, Devon on 9 January 1840.

The first daughter to be born to Abraham and Elizabeth was Elizabeth Caldecott, born in 1802. She was baptised on 8 October 1802 at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby.

Sadly, she died from rapid consumption at Rugby Lodge on 6 August 1823, aged just 21. She was buried at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby and a memorial plaque to her and her eldest brother, Abraham remains within the church to this day.

Memorial Plaque to Abraham Caldecott (1797-1814) and Elizabeth Caldecott (1802-1823) at St Andrew's Church, Rugby
Memorial Plaque to Abraham Caldecott (1797-1814) and Elizabeth Caldecott (1802-1823) at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby © Melanie Caldicott.

The inscription reads –

Sacred to the memory of ABRAHAM and ELIZABETH CALDECOTT children of the late ABRAHAM CALDECOTT Esq., and ELIZABETH his wife they departed this life ABRAHAM on the 11th of September 1814 aged 17 years and ELIZABETH on the 6th of August 1823 aged 20 years. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again Even of them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 1 Thes. 4-14

Robert Marriott Caldecott was born to Abraham and Elizabeth in 1804 and was baptised on 27 November 1804 also at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby.

He initially served as Lieutenant in India in the army, but then went to Brasenose College, Oxford, aged 19 where he was awarded a BA and like his elder brother, William Marriott, was also ordained into the Church of England.

On the 22nd October 1838 he was the victim of pickpocketing in London by a man called Henry Clarke and Robert Marriott appeared at the Old Bailey as a witness. Clarke, aged 19 was found guilty and was sentenced to ten years transportation.

Robert Marriott Caldecott was the author of a book called “The Life of Baber, Emperor of Hindostan” published in 1844.

Robert died, aged 66, unmarried, on 17 March 1870 at his home “Meads” in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Charles Marriott Caldecott was the couple’s sixth son and was born in 1807. He was baptised on 4th July 1807 at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he also attended Rugby School and entered Civil Service employed in India which he served with great distinction.

Whilst he was living in India he married Margaret Smith on the 1st March 1827 in Medinipur, Bengal. The couple had eleven children, the first four of which were born in India – Margaret Elizabeth, Charles Thomas, Caroline Selina, John Alexander, Francis James, Sophia Catherine, Randolph, Merriel, Sidney Arthur, Everard Garfoot and Eleanor.

Charles Marriott eventually returned to England, with his family and shortly after the death of his aunt, the widow of John Caldecott who was childless, he inherited the estate of Holbrook Grange and the parishes of Newbold upon Avon and Little Lawford.

He died on the 30th November 1883, aged 77 and was buried at the church in Newbold upon Avon.

St Botolph's Church, Newbold on Avon. 1910s
St Botolph’s Church, Newbold on Avon. 1910s (Reproduced from the “Our Warwickshire” website)

The last child born to Abraham and Elizabeth was Caroline Caldecott, born on the 5th April 1814. She was baptised on the 28th April 1814 at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby. She remained a spinster all her life and died, aged 76, on the 21st April 1890 in Croydon. She was buried at St John the Evangelist Church at Croydon.

Abraham Caldecott was said to be “not a man of brilliant parts, but possessed the kindly traits of an excellent and thoughtful Manorial Lord”. He served as High Sheriff of the County of Warwick in 1821 and also as a Justice of the Peace.

He died, aged 66 in 1829 and was buried at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby, in which there is also a memorial plaque dedicated to his memory which is still there today.

His widow, Elizabeth Marriott, died aged 77, on the 8th April 1853 and was buried at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby where a memorial plaque can still be found today.

Elizabeth Marriott Memorial Plaque
Memorial Plaque to Elizabeth Marriott (1776-1853) at St Andrew’s Church, Rugby © Melanie Caldicott.

The inscription reads –

Sacred to the memory of ELIZABETH CALDECOTT widow of ABRAHAM CALDECOTT, Esq. She left this world on the 8th of April 1853 aged 77 years.

Abraham’s legacy lives on in the town of Rugby. His estate was sold by his son, Thomas Caldecott, the last lord of the Manor of Rugby. Ten acres were bought by the town council and were made into a park named Caldecott Park, leaving a lasting memorial to the family of Abraham Caldecott and the impact they had on the town of Rugby.

Caldecott Park
Caldecott Park © Elliott Brown
Caldecott Park
Caldecott Park

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