Pakenham History : Joseph Alfred Hardcastle MP And Nether Hall

Martin Sheppard"Joseph Alfred Hardcastle MP (1815 - 1899) And Nether Hall "
Diary entries and letters written during Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's tenure
of Nether Hall (1865 - 1873) and its sale.
Compiled and edited by Martin Sheppard,
great great grandson of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle MP
with kind permission to publish on the Pakenham -Village web site.
Part 1 - Joseph Alfred Hardcastle

1
Joseph Alfred Hardcastle

Joseph Alfred Hardcastle married Frances Lambirth on 24 March 1840. They were the parents of Henry, Alice, Winifred, Mary and Emily Hardcastle.

Henry, Winifred and Alice Hardcastle
Henry, Winifred and Alice Hardcastle

Henry Hardcastle's daughter Beatrice, writing to her sister Mira, wrote a sketch of their grandfather's character:

Grandpapa Hardcastle was a man of many talents and many virtues, and so much personal charm, great wit and very handsome, and never went to a doctor or dentist in his life. He could break a chicken bone when he was seventy. He played, beautifully, the church organ we had in Nether Hall front hall every morning for morning prayers.(4)

He was a Quaker.(5) He never laid a penny on races, or played cards for money. He wrote Greek prose and once published a Greek poem in the Athenaeum. He was celebrated in London clubs, Devonshire and Athenaeum, for his caustic and conversational charm. He would have a nickname for you before half meeting you. This made him many enemies, because his nicknames were horribly clever and exactly described you.

His chief friend was Mr Gibbs, tutor to the Prince of Wales, an austere person - the Prince did not like him.(6) In his diary [the Prince's], the only mention is 'Gibbs goes tomorrow'.
Grandpapa painted in water colours, very well indeed, and when someone said, 'Why don't you keep up your painting, Hardcastle?', he said, 'I find I can paint, so I gave it up'. He only played the organ for religious services. He shot at the bullseye once and got the gold cup, so he gave that up. He didn’t care to repeat his successes. He never wrote a second Greek poem because to get it into the Athenaeum those days was simply top hole.

His morals were blameless, but he made no particular mark in the House of Commons, except to uphold his Quakerism and Liberal Unionism. He is an enigma to me. I imagine he was spoilt by having £2000 a year and nothing in the way of ideals. He never drank and never smoked, and he was Papa's father!(7)

(4) Nether Hall, Suffolk, bought by Joseph Alfred Hardcastle in 1865.
(5) He was not a Quaker by background and he must have assented to the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England when taking his Cambridge degree.
(6) Frederick Waymouth Gibbs (1821-1898), a Cambridge don and barrister, was tutor to Edward, Prince of Wales, from 1851-58.
(7) 'Sunday after Easter 1939' in the Templehouse Archive, Ballymote, County Sligo. Henry Hardcastle had a reputation for enjoying alcohol.

His third daughter, Mary Monkswell, wrote an admiring note on his character:

When young passionate, sarcastic, extravagant - rather idle. Is now a most delightful companion to almost everybody. He makes an impression wherever he goes. Nothing commonplace about him.

Ardent sportsman, splendid shot, first-rate driver. Writes articles, reads Greek. Seems to know the interesting part of almost anything. He always did well at school and distinguished himself at Cambridge. Got into Parliament young. Never a good speaker but could write anything. Can tell a good story with a charm and freshness I know in no one else. He has not a touch of 'fogyism' in him.(8)

(8) One of a series of notes on family members, 'Record of Family Faculties', filled in for the social scientist Francis Galton, 1884. For her own entry, she wrote, 'When only a year old could sing little tunes perfectly correctly. Has immense pleasure in music, all beauty of form or colour'.

Another witness, Mary Ann O'Malley (the writer Ann Bridge), who married Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's grandson Owen O'Malley, added to Beatrice Hardcastle's portrait:

He could improvise on the piano, write excellent vers libres at the slightest provocation, and was an elegant classical scholar. We possess a charming translation of Plato's Phaedrus, in his fine small handwriting, which he made for his own satisfaction.(9) He was one of the group of devoted, or rather adoring worshippers, of Tennyson. He read and collected with enthusiasm the novels of Dickens as they appeared.

Letter written 1840 - JAH
A letter written by JAH on his honeymoon in 1840,
including a sketch of J.H. Newman (later cardinal)

He spent most of his life in pursuit of his own satisfactions. In 1840 he married a wealthy heiress called Frances Lambirth, a main part of whose dowry was the brewery at Writtle in Essex, and thereafter devoted himself - and his wife's money - to having a good time in intelligent society. He became Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds - in those days the House of Commons was a part of intelligent society - and later took a very agreeable house, Nether Hall, within easy reach of his constituency and with excellent shooting. When Parliament was sitting he lived in London in one of those magnificent houses off Whitehall, 19 Richmond Terrace, within five minutes' walk of Westminster. In both these establishments, but especially in London, he entertained liberally and delightfully. He was a splendid host and an excellent raconteur, and there were few who did not take pleasure in his company.(10)

Joseph Alfred, then as always, was in debt. He owed £10,000 to Sparrow’s Bank, who financed him for over twenty years; he borrowed from his children's trustees; he borrowed from the Haberdashers Company on the lease of Hatcham House - some £20,000 disappeared without trace over this transaction, when the lease fell in. He flung money about, renting grouse moors, contesting at least four parliamentary elections, having law suits - one cost him £10,000. But on he went, gay and popular as ever, spending at least £10,000 a year, which he had not got. In 1865 his long-suffering wife Frances died; the £40,000 for which her life was insured cleared off quite a lot of debts.(11)

(9) Phaedrus is one of Plato's dialogues.
(10) Ann Bridge, 'Uncle Edward'.p73 She never met him. This is in an unpublished memoir, by the well-known author Ann Bridge, of her own father-in-law, Sir Edward O'Malley, who married Winifred Hardcastle in 1869. Ann Bridge was the pen name of Mary Ann O'Malley, who had married Edward and Winifred's youngest son, Owen O'Malley, in 1913. As Joseph Alfred Hardcastle himself had died in 1899, it is based on family memories rather than personal recollection.
(11) Ibid., p78

Frances Hardcastle with Alice
Frances Hardcastle with Alice

It is clear from this that he was a spendthrift and that, despite inheriting the Hatcham estate from his father and marrying a woman with a large fortune, he was invariably short of money. That he was not scrupulous about how he acquired enough money to fund his pleasures is made plain by what happened to his son, Henry Hardcastle, on his twenty-first birthday. This is again recorded by Ann Bridge, who had the story directly from Henry himself:

It was Uncle Henry's own lips, over one of our teas at Limpsfield, that I learned how that old ruffian Joseph Alfred diddled his only son out of much of what should have been his inheritance. The financial details are incredibly complicated, and naturally tedious; the broad facts are that old Henry Lambirth, Mrs Hardcastle's grandfather, left £180,000 in trust for his granddaughter's children. The trustees were to hold the property till the youngest child came of age, which only occurred in 1873, when Aunt Emily became twenty-one.

But long before this, in December 1861,(12) young Henry Hardcastle was roused early on the morning of his twenty-first birthday by the butler (Joseph Alfred took good care to be absent at the time) and told that he must dress quickly and breakfast, and drive in to Witham to see the lawyers, as there were important papers for him to sign.

Uncle Henry told me that he was called at 7.30 a.m., and that the coachman drove him to Witham in the dog-cart. At the office of Mr Blood, the family solicitor, all was bustle and congratulations.(13) He was set down at a table covered with documents, which he was too confused and happy to read; nor did he properly understand the explanations given him by Mr Blood. He just signed everything that he was asked to sign, including a loan of £8000 to his father, on no security, and a mortgage on his own reversionary interest in the estate. He drove home, after more hand shakings, leaving himself with a net income of £480 a year, though at the time he did not realise this.(14)

(12) Henry Hardcastle had been born on 23 December 1840.
(13) Joseph Howell Blood, of Blood and Douglas, solicitors, Witham.
(14) Bridge, 'Uncle Edward' pp. 77-78. The original mistakenly states that Henry Lambirth senior had left his fortune in trust to the children of his daughter, not those of his granddaughter.

Sixteen years after his father's death in 1899, Henry Hardcastle wrote out a full description of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's financial dealings:

On 24 March 1840 Joseph Alfred Hardcastle and Frances Lambirth were married.(15) Frances Lambirth was possessed of a life-interest in a property, including a brewery business, the value of which had been fixed on the death of Henry Lambirth by Messrs Beadle and Co. at £100,000 realty and £80,000 personalty.(16)

Henry Lambirth
Henry Lambirth (1765 - 1834)

The personalty vested in her children at birth; the realty not till they came of age. The property was to go equally among her children, of which eventually eight were born and five attained the age of twenty-one, and thus at her death the £80,000 was divided by eight and the £100,000 by five.(17) Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, as the next of kin of the three children that died in infancy, took three-eighths of the personalty. Frances Hardcastle had also the power to will away £10,000, and she told Henry Hardcastle that she had intended to leave this to Joseph Alfred Hardcastle for his life, with reversion to Henry Hardcastle.(18) Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, however, induced her to leave it to him absolutely, and Frances Hardcastle spoke of this to Henry Hardcastle as the only quarrel she ever had with Joseph Alfred Hardcastle.(19)

(15) The following account, written in 1915 by Henry Hardcastle (1840-1922), the only son of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle and Frances Lambirth, is in the Templehouse Archive, Ballymote, County Sligo, P11.
(16) Realty is essentially property, while personalty is everything that is not realty. James Beadle was the deputy chairman of France Lambirth's coming of age festivities.
(17) The five children who survived to twenty-one were Henry, Frances Alice, Emma Winifred, Mary Josephine and Emily Eliza. The three who died were Frances, Anne Winifred Hurry and Anne Amy.
(18) Writing from Writtle, Joseph Alfred Hardcastle reported the birth of his first child, Henry, to his stepmother, Eliza Hardcastle, on 24 December 1840. 'My dear Mother, I have just been called in from the counting house, where I began this letter, to lift my dear wife out of bed and to a sofa, while her bed is being made. This will I hope convince you that she is going on pretty satisfactorily. I believe nothing could be better than her state. The boy does well and sucks to admiration. Mr Fletcher came down last night in spite of mine and Barlow's repeated hints. As he very naively expressed it, he thought it would be better as we should thereby get a quiet day on Wednesday. You see from this how much he cares for Fanny's welfare. However, she did not find out that he was come till today. I must own the particular description of the boy for a future opportunity. Perhaps if mother and child go on well I may pay you a visit on Friday, as I expect very much to come up to town for a day. Your affectionate son, J.A. Hardcastle.' Templehouse Papers, N69. Barlow, unidentified, was probably the obstetrician.
(19) Frances Hardcastle left £12,000 in her will. Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was the sole executor.

The property was held by three trustees until 1873, when the youngest daughter came of age. Of these Dr Alexander Fletcher was one; he had married the mother of Frances Lambirth in 1830 (Frances Lambirth’s father had died in 1824) and she died in 1842.(20) Henry Hardcastle, who was his godson, always spoke of Dr Fletcher with the greatest respect and with affectionate recollection. Another trustee was John Corsbie, who died in 1871, and a third was Alexander Haldane, who lived to wind up the trust in 1873.(21) In December 1861 Henry Hardcastle came of age, and without understanding exactly what he was doing, he signed bonds lending Joseph Alfred Hardcastle £8000 at 10 per cent on no security, and borrowing the £8000 by mortgaging his reversionary interest at 4 per cent; and thus, from that day till Frances Hardcastle's death (1865), he had a private income of £480 per annum.(22) Henry Hardcastle looks back with regret at these dealings with Joseph Alfred Hardcastle and regards as chiefly unfortunate the loan of £8000, which in a sense inverted the natural relations of father and son.

(20) Frances Lambirth's father was Henry William Lambirth (1791-1824). Her mother, Martha Lambirth, née English (1791-1842), married Alexander Fletcher in 1830.
(21) Alexander Haldane's wife, Emma Hardcastle, was the youngest daughter of Joseph Hardcastle senior. Their eldest daughter married John Corsbie, a second cousin descended from Joseph Hardcastle senior's sister-in-law.
(22) Frances Hardcastle died at Writtle on 14 June 1865.

Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's immediate object in borrowing this £8000 was to pay off a debt of upwards of £10,000 due to Sparrow's Bank, who had financed Joseph Alfred Hardcastle for over twenty years. The partner who managed Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's account being Mr William Michael Tufnell (Mr Woodhouse had nothing to do with it, being a connection of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle).(23) Joseph Alfred Hardcastle at about this time borrowed £2000 of Mr Freeman and £2000 of John Corsbie, and both sums were eventually paid off with all interest due.(24) He must also have borrowed large sums of the Haberdashers Company on the security of the lease of Hatcham, since on the termination of the tenancy the remainder of the lease must have been worth about £20,000 and the money was never seen. Henry Hardcastle and Blood never heard anything, however, of these transactions. (Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, on his marriage, was understood to renounce all participation in the Hardcastle estate, except he took the lease of Hatcham.)

In spite, however, of such efforts, Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's indebtedness to various merchants in connection with the brewery (hop, gin, wine etc) increased, some being personal and others being business debts, and this continued even after the death of Frances Hardcastle in 1865, as he remained as a yearly tenant of the brewery at a rent of £3000 per annum to the trustees.(25) The actual accounts of the brewery were carefully kept, and records of the moneys taken out by Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, but no balance sheet was ever made till the final settlement in 1868, and no one could say what was profit and what was not. Among the many ways in which Joseph Alfred Hardcastle spent the large sums of money that the business continued to produce, the following may be mentioned:

(23) Mr Woodhouse was a partner in Sparrow's Bank.
(24) Francis Freeman, a close friend of the Hardcastle family.
(25) The words 'at a rent of £3000 per annum to the trustees' have been crossed out in pencil in the original, so the status of this annual rent is unclear.

In 1845 he took a grouse moor with his banker and solicitor and paid many other such shooting rents.
In the years 1847 to 1857 he contested four parliamentary elections and two petitions; Colchester alone cost him £3000.(26)
In about 1855 he lost £10,000 by a law suit over the Black Boy Hotel, Chelmsford.(27)
At Writtle, between 1840 and 1865, he spent not less than £20,000 in building his private house.(28)

The Priory - Writtle
The Priory - Writtle

It cannot be far wrong to say that between 1840 and 1865 he spent in all an average of £10,000 a year and that, at no moment, could he have found twenty shillings in the pound, if a balance sheet of his personal asset and liabilities had been drawn up. The three-eighths of the personality was thus absorbed; and £40,000, for which sum Frances Hardcastle's life was insured and which was paid to him on her death, was also used up.

In 1865 three important events took place. Frances Hardcastle died on 14 June; Nether Hall was bought; and Henry Hardcastle became engaged to be married.(29) By the death of their mother, the five children became entitled to their respective shares in the capital of the business, but Joseph Alfred Hardcastle remained as a tenant of the brewery and took the profits till 1 October 1868. Sums were paid out from time to time to the children, but no settlement or statement of accounts was made till 1 October 1868; nor did the trustees draw up any statement of the trust funds, except that a valuation of the real property was made in the course of the years 1866-67; the realty being put at £65,000 and so each share was £13,000. (Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, on the death of Dr Fletcher in 1860, was appointed trustee and the others left matters in his hands.)

(26) He was MP for Colchester, 1847-52, and MP for Bury St Edmunds, 1857-74 and 1880-85.
(27) The Great Black Boy, a coaching inn until the arrival of the railways, was the main hostelry in Chelmsford for three hundred years. It was pulled down in 1857.
(28) The house, next to the brewery, was notoriously ugly, even after all the money had been spent on it.
(29) Henry Hardcastle married Maria Herschel, the daughter of the astronomer Sir John Herschel Bart (1792-1871) and granddaughter of Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), the discoverer of Uranus. Of their eight children, Frances (1866-1941) had a distinguished mathematical career and Joseph Alfred Hardcastle junior (1868-1917), had a distinguished astronomical one.

On Henry Hardcastle's engagement, correspondence between Sir John Herschel and Joseph Alfred Hardcastle took place.(30) There is no reason to doubt that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle believed every statement in his letters to be entirely correct, although the fact was (as already stated) that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's liabilities were certainly at that time not less than his assets. It will be noted that he himself undertook to settle an annuity of £500 per annum to be secured by a post-obit bond;(31) and it is somewhat difficult to guess what induced him to make this settlement instead of leaving his son to settle his own property. Henry Hardcastle suggests that it was in order to leave his (Henry Hardcastle's) share of the property unencumbered and thus facilitate the arrangement with regard to the business which was then obviously imminent. It does not, however, seem clear that this is a sufficient motive for Joseph Alfred Hardcastle to part with £500, and in any case he had not really any money to settle. Henry Hardcastle, from his marriage on 12 October 1865, lived from day to day on moneys paid to him on account by Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, his income being considered about £1200 per annum. An exact statement of account was never made up between Joseph Alfred Hardcastle and Henry Hardcastle. (Joseph Alfred Hardcastle later claimed that Henry Hardcastle was actually in his debt.)

Matters remained in this condition until May 1867 when, quite unexpectedly to Henry Hardcastle, Joseph Alfred Hardcastle called on him in his chambers in the Temple and told him he was in pressing money difficulties and that he proposed to get out of the business altogether and to offer the post to Thomas Usborne.(32) This episode may be taken as Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's final recognition that he was virtually bankrupt; and the correctness of this view will be seen in what follows.

(30) Sir John Herschel was the father of the prospective bride, Maria Herschel.
(31) A post-obit bond given by a borrower is only payable after the death of a specified person. Typically it was given by expectant heirs to moneylenders, promising repayment when they inherited.
(32) Thomas Usborne (1840-1915) was Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's son-in-law, having married his eldest daughter, Frances Alice Hardcastle (1844-1911) in 1863. He ended up in sole control of the brewery.

Thomas Usborne at once agreed to go down to Writtle to see how matters stood and the final result was that on 1 October 1868 Thomas Usborne and Henry Hardcastle took over the business. They jointly bought out Emma Winifred Hardcastle, who, coming of age in November 1868, was able to convey to them her share, and thus were possessed of three-fifths of the property.

Part of the arrangement of October 1868 was that all Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's debts were settled, personal as well as business (very drastic measures were required to effect this), and Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was left without any legal income from the business and with no powers over it. Inter alia, the £8000 was repaid to Henry Hardcastle. The exact balance, which left Joseph Alfred Hardcastle with nothing, was really due to the fact that Sparrow's Bank only lent him just so much money as they considered he could repay, and they evidently calculated precisely right.(33) From 1 October 1868 till April 1869 nothing of importance happened, and as to his modus vivendi, Henry Hardcastle knows nothing except that the court of Chancery gave him £300 a year as maintenance out of the property of each of his unmarried daughters.(34)

(33) Mary Scarlett Campbell (1827-1916). Her father was John, first Lord Campbell (1779-1861), Lord Chancellor (1859-61); her mother, Mary Campbell, née Scarlett (1796-1860), was created Baroness Stratheden in her own right. Her brother, William Frederick Campbell (1824-1893), became second Baron Stratheden and Campbell.
(34) A solicitor in the firm of Kitson and Trotman, Beaminster, Dorset.

There was also a general understanding from October 1868 that Henry Hardcastle would pay Joseph Alfred Hardcastle an annuity from the profits of the business; and Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was absolved from the necessity of making a direct payment of £500 per annum to Henry Hardcastle, as he undertook to do in Henry Hardcastle's marriage settlement, in consequence of an unwritten agreement about Nether Hall, which will be explained hereafter.(35) There was also a sum of £5000 over which Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was held to have certain rights; but it was as true now as at any time that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's liabilities were not less than his assets; the greatest liability being a debt for £28,000 secured by a first mortgage on Nether Hall, and the obligation to pay the trustees of Henry Hardcastle's marriage settlement £500 per annum, with the further moral obligation of doing his utmost to leave £10,000 behind him at his death to secure the continuation of the £500 per annum. All the security that the trustees of Henry Hardcastle's marriage settlement enjoyed at this period were certain unwritten rights over Nether Hall, the value of which entirely depended on selling Nether Hall for more than £28,000 - an event not considered very likely by many people at that time.

It is necessary to grasp these details in order to realise the extremely painful position in which Henry Hardcastle was placed when, in April 1869, Joseph Alfred Hardcastle came to him and informed him that he had entered into an engagement of marriage with the Honourable Mary Scarlett Campbell, and asked him to state definitely and at once what he was going to do for him.(36) Henry Hardcastle's position was not made easier when it transpired that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle had represented himself to Mary Scarlett Campbell as being worth £500 per annum, with a country house and twenty-five acres of land. After a discussion, Henry Hardcastle undertook then and there to give him £500 per annum out of the profits of the business, and this was eventually carried out under an agreement dated 28 April 1869, in which all the arrangements between Joseph Alfred Hardcastle were fully set out as far as they could be stated in writing. The agreement is still in existence and can be consulted; the original was sent by Henry Hardcastle to Joseph Alfred Hardcastle in 1877 and is believed now (1915) to be in the safekeeping of Mr Kitson at Beaminster.(37) Henry Hardcastle has a draft copy.

(35) Sparrow, Tufnell and Co., Chelmsford.
(36) These payments were to Joseph Alfred Hardcastle.
(37) Nether Hall, Thurston, Suffolk, a Queen Anne house on an older site.

This agreement was the subject of an immense amount of correspondence and the cause of an immense amount of misunderstanding. Like any other legal document, it relates certain past events and records certain obligations for the future, but gives no indication of the main fact which governed the whole situation in Henry Hardcastle's eyes. That fact was that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle had engaged himself to be married before consulting Henry Hardcastle and had misrepresented his financial position. Henry Hardcastle had either to expose the true condition of his father to Mary Scarlett Campbell, with the obvious risk of breaking off the engagement and concomitant scandal, or he had to make good Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's representations.

Henry Hardcastle chose the latter course, at any rate so far as concerned the £500 per annum; but not going so far as to give up the rights he had over Nether Hall. These rights were not mentioned in the agreement, and since Joseph Alfred Hardcastle thought fit to maintain silence about them, Mary Scarlett Campbell never heard about them till after her marriage. It was this that gave rise to the episode that next follows.

Nether Hall had been bought in 1865 by Joseph Alfred Hardcastle for about £40,000;(38) about £28,000 was borrowed on a ‘stock’ mortgage and the rest found in cash. The rents may have amounted to about £1000, or just sufficient to pay the mortgage interest; and, consequently, Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was out of pocket by the interest on the other £12,000, which of course was added to his other difficulties.

(38) The purchase price may, in fact, have been £38,000.

In 1867, when Joseph Alfred Hardcastle came to Henry Hardcastle for help, there were these two specially pressing questions:
1. Could Nether Hall be kept up, or should it be sold?
2. How was Joseph Alfred Hardcastle to carry out his obligation to pay £500 per annum to the trustees of Henry Hardcastle's marriage settlement?

These two questions were settled by Henry Hardcastle's agreeing to remit the £500 a year in exchange for the right to use Nether Hall as a residence whenever he wished. In drafting the agreement of April 1869 Blood (as he explains in a letter of 1870 still extant) omitted all mention of this transaction because it was an impracticable idea, according to him. Henry Hardcastle felt he could not go himself and explain it to Mary Scarlett Campbell either before or after her marriage, and Joseph Alfred Hardcastle elected to remain silent about it.

In the beginning of 1870 Henry and Maria Hardcastle, in the exercise of their rights, intimated that they intended to use Nether Hall for the birth of a child expected in May. This was the first that the Honourable Mrs Hardcastle had heard of such rights, and she contested them. Blood explained to her that they had no legal foundation and Joseph Alfred Hardcastle apparently refrained from enlightening her, and, in a letter to Henry Hardcastle virtually says he considers him in the wrong, but does not explain. Consequently, a long and somewhat acrimonious correspondence took place; the letters are still in existence and to any unbiased reader only demonstrate the amount of evil that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle did by his silence. When, however, it became evident that Henry Hardcastle would not give way, and Joseph Alfred Hardcastle foresaw that the remission of the £500 per annum by Henry Hardcastle was likely to be rescinded, he intercepted Henry Hardcastle at Shoreditch Station and capitulated completely. Henry Hardcastle's unused ticket is still there to bear witness of the fact!(39)

The visit in May was carried out, and again the next year for the same purpose. Another visit there was made, but Henry Hardcastle agreed on this occasion to pay Joseph Alfred Hardcastle £150 for the exclusive use of the house.

In spite of his capitulation in 1870, Joseph Alfred Hardcastle again completely ignored Henry Hardcastle's rights over Nether Hall, and in 1872 arranged without consulting Henry Hardcastle to sell the property to Mr Edward Greene MP, for the same amount as he gave for it (an extremely fortunate bargain). The question at once arose as to Henry Hardcastle's interest in the property, and there was no doubt in the minds of all competent judges that it needed all the balance, after the first mortgage was paid, to secure adequately the £500 per annum that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was bound to pay to Henry Hardcastle's marriage settlement. He, however, showed no anxiety that the annuity should be secured and eventually a second mortgage on Nether Hall was effected for £10,000 at 3 per cent. Mr Greene regularly paid Henry Hardcastle £500 per annum until the capital was finally repaid in cash at the death of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle.(40)

The correspondence on this subject is still extant and chiefly shows the suspicion and indignation aroused by Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's obstructive tactics in the minds not only of Henry Hardcastle but of the Herschels and Haldanes, and even of unbiased witnesses like Mr Woodhouse. The Honourable Mrs Hardcastle took upon herself at one point the responsibility of sending back to Henry Hardcastle a letter of his to Joseph Alfred Hardcastle which fell into her hands before Joseph Alfred Hardcastle had read it. The letter is still extant and is a moderately expressed vindication of his conduct and of expostulation. She explains that she adopts this course to save Joseph Alfred Hardcastle's feelings from further laceration, but the important fact is that she had read it and yet continued to impute unfilial and even dishonourable motives to Henry Hardcastle, totally disregarding his view of the whole case.

Henry Hardcastle made one more concession to Joseph Alfred Hardcastle in the last transactions that he had with him.(41) He agreed to pay him in future £600 per annum for his life, instead of £500. This was arranged by Thomas Usborne in recognition of the fact that Henry Hardcastle’s marriage settlement had now good security for both annuity and capital, instead of the extremely doubtful post-obit bond.

Imprimatur Henry Hardcastle 3 October 1915

(39)The unused ticket is in in Templehouse Archive, P11.
(40)Edward Greene (1842-1920), brewer and MP, later Sir Edward Greene, first baronet.
(41)It should also be mentioned that the lease of 54 Queen's Gate Terrace was bought for £5000 by Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, but Henry Hardcastle does not know where Blood produced the money from. It does not appear to have been the absolute property of Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, as part of the transaction was that Joseph Alfred Hardcastle settled the remainder of the lease on Henry Hardcastle. Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was therefore living in his own house and with his own furniture during his last twenty-five years, the plate and pictures being secured at his death to Henry Hardcastle.