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Sandy

The Pym Family

The Pym family coat of arms
The Pym family coat of arms

The Pym family owe their estate at Hasells Hall to the marriage of William Pym with Elizabeth Kingsley in 1748 at Tempsford. Her father, Heylock Kingsley, of Furzen Hall, Biggleswade, bought Hasells Manor and its mansion house from Baron Brittain (Baron being his name, not his title) in 1721 for £2,342 [PM236]. The house had been built by Brittain about 1698 and Kingsley probably set about enlarging it, as it is known from correspondence that he certainly intended to do so. He also enlarged the grounds, buying land in Kinwick Field| [PM193-401], a process carried on by his widow after his death [PM402-426].

The Kingsley family coat of arms
The Kingsley family coat of arms

She died in 1761 and Elizabeth Pym inherited the house and the estate. The Pym family itself had property in Hertfordshire and London and does not seem to be related to the famous John Pym (1584-1643), Speaker of the House of Commons during the build up to and the beginning of the English Civil War. William Pym, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 1764, bought up land in Sandy [PM427-638]. 

Memorial to Elizabeth Pym May 2010
Memorial to Elizabeth Pym May 2010

William and Elizabeth had six children: William; Elizabeth; Catherine; Kingsley; Francis and Wollaston, of whom William, Elizabeth and Kingsley die din their father's lifetime. William senior died in July 1788, aged 56, he had been a widower for twenty eight as Elizabeth had died in 1760 at the young age of 33. They both have impressive monuments in Sandy church.

Memorial to William Pym died 1788 - May 2010
Memorial to William Pym died 1788 - May 2010

 William's eldest surviving son Francis carried on this policy of land acquisition in Sandy [PM596-886]. Francis probably also improved the house - the Diary of Lord Torrington for 1790 going so far as to say: "Mr. Pym has employed a large sum of money in building a new house", though this is probably exaggeration. He died in 1833, aged 78 and was Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire from 1806 to 1820 as a Whig. He was also High Sheriff in 1791. His wife Anne survived him by one year. They had four sons: Francis, William Wollaston, Robert and Charles and two daughters Anne and Catherine who all survived them, and two sons who did not. One died in infancy. The other, John, a Lieutenant in the 13th Light Dragoons was killed at the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815.

Memorial to Francis and Anne Pym May 2010
Memorial to Francis and Anne Pym May 2010

Francis Pym's uncle Francis, William Pym's brother, was an India Merchant. He was an underwriter of the East India Company in 1741 and stationed in Bombay [now Mumbai] where he lived, when not in Surat (a large port north of Bombay), until his death in 1754. As well as working for John Company, as it was known, he ran his own business, in partnership with a man named Robert Hunt. The Pym Archive [PM] held at Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service includes his notebooks.

Francis Pym MP was succeeded his eldest son, Francis. He married Jane-Elizabeth Leslie Melville, second daughter of thr 7th Earl of Leven and Melville. She died in 1848 but not before giving him seven sons (three of whom died before her) and four daughters. Again, she has a memorial in Sandy Church.

Memorial to Lady Jane Elizabeth Pym May 2010
Memorial to Lady Jane Elizabeth Pym May 2010

Francis Pym died in 1860, aged 70. His memorial states: after a life spent (in this and bordering counties) in the disinterested and untiring service of God and his neighbours, rested from his labours".

Memorial to Francis Pym died 1860 - May 2010
Memorial to Francis Pym died 1860 - May 2010

Francis was succeeded by his eldest son, Francis Leslie Pym, who married Mary-Jemima Palmer of Withcote Hall, Leicestershire by whom he had four sons and six daughters. He was a justice of the peace and Chairman of the Quarter Sessions from 1832 to 1848 [PM2629-2644]. He was killed in a railway accident in 1860, aged 42 and was buried at Radwell [Hertfordshire].

Memorial to Francis Leslie Pym May 2010
Memorial to Francis Leslie Pym May 2010

Francis Leslie was succeeded by his eldest son Francis, who had been born in 1849 and died in 1927 when he was succeeded by his brother Frederick William, who had been born in 1859 and died in 1941. He was succeeded by Leslie Ruthven Pym, son of Walter Ruthven Pym (died 1908) who had been Bishop of Bombay. Leslie was Member of Parliament fro Monmouth from 1939 to 1945 and a Senior Lord of the treasury in 1945. He died in July 1945, aged 61. His wife, Iris Rosalind died in 1982, aged 90.

Memorial to Leslie Ruthven Pym May 2010
Memorial to Leslie Ruthven Pym May 2010

Leslie Ruthven's son was Francis Leslie Pym, born in 1922 near Abergavenny [Monmouthshire] and served with the 9th Lancers during the Second World War. Entering politics, he was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire in 1961, the seat becoming Cambridgeshire South-East in 1983. he remained in the House of Commons until 1987 and had various posts including:

  • Opposition Whip: 1964-1970;
  • Government Chief Whip: 1970-1973;
  • Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: 1973-1974;
  • Secretary of State for Defence: 1979-1981;
  • Leader  of the House of Commons: 1981-1982;
  • Foreign Secretary: 1982-1983.

It was in this latter role that he is best remembered as it coincided with the Falklands War. He was not reappointed after Margaret Thatcher's election victory of 1983 because he was on the left of the party. He was made a life peer as Lord Pym of Sandy when he left parliament in 1987 and died in 2008.

Hasells Hall about 1920 [Z1306/99]
Hasells Hall about 1920 [Z1306/99]