Margaret Fownes-Luttrell

Margaret Fownes-Luttrell
Margaret Luttrell (1726–1766), Mrs Henry Fownes Luttrell.jpg
Margaret Fownes-Luttrell, Dunster Castle by Richard Phelps
Margaret Luttrell

7 February 1726
Died 13 August 1766(1766-08-13) (aged 40)
Dunster Castle, Dunster, England, United Kingdom
Resting place Dunster Castle
Nationality British
Known for Painting
Spouse(s) Henry Fownes Luttrell (1747-)

Margaret Fownes-Luttrell[a] (7 February 1726 – 13 August 1766) was an English artist and wife of Henry Fownes Luttrell. Two of her paintings are part of the Dunster Castle collection, now property of the National Trust. She was the heiress of Dunster Castle, under the stipulation in her father's will that her husband should take the additional surname of Luttrell. Four portraits of her exist in Dunster castle and a fifth at Bathealton Court.[2]

Early life

Dunster Castle in 1733, showing the then recently planted New Way, the mansion (l), Great Gatehouse (c) and stables (r). The motte, with the summer house, is visible in the background

Margaret Luttrell was born on 7 February 1726, the only child and sole heiress of Alexander Luttrell (1705–1737) of Dunster Castle by his wife Margaret Trevelyan (died 1764), daughter of Sir John Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet of Nettlecombe, Somerset,[3] and an artist who made floral paintings. Margaret's father died on 4 June 1737 at Dunster,[4] at which time he was in debt, "due in part to his personal extravagance and in part to the necessity imposed upon him by his parents of providing a fortune of £10,000 for Anne Luttrell," daughter of his deceased brother Francis Luttrell (1709–1732) of Venn, Somerset, and wife of Edward Pleydell. As a result, Dunster Castle was thrown into Chancery and closed.[5]

In 1741 Margaret's mother remarried to Edward Dyke of Pixton and Tetton in Somerset, and young Margaret was raised with two girls in her mother's care. One was her first cousin, Anne Luttrell, and the other was Elizabeth Dyke, Edward Dyke's cousin. The family lived at Edward Dyke's houses, Pixton and Tetton.[4] A "moderate sum" was expended on her education, which included music lessons, and care.[6]

Margaret Trevelyan died in 1764.[4]

Marriage and progeny

On 16 February 1747, when she came of age, in Kingston St Mary Church[7][6] she married her second cousin Henry Fownes (d.1780) of Nethway House, Kingswear[8] (historically in Brixham[9]), Devon. Both shared as a great-grandfather Edward Yard (1638–1703) of Churston Ferrers, MP for Ashburton in 1685, who himself was a grandson of Thomas Fownes (d.1635), Mayor of Plymouth in 1619. They thus also shared the same great-great-great grandfather as Thomas Fownes's great-grandson was John Fownes (1661–1731) of Kittery Court, Whitley, Devon, MP for Dartmouth 1713–14, grandfather of Henry Fownes (d.1780), husband of Margaret Luttrell.[10] On their marriage Dunster Castle became the property of her husband[2] (married women in England were legally incapable of owning property until 1882), who adopted the additional surname Luttrell after his own, and adopted the Luttrell arms (but continued to quarter Fownes), in accordance with a stipulation in Alexander Luttrell's will.[2] They moved into Dunster Castle and updated the interior with Chinese painted wallpaper and new furniture in a Rococo style. New windows were installed in the stair hall and dining room.[7] The marriage was a happy one and resulted in the birth of ten children,[6] including:

  • John Fownes Luttrell (1752–1816), eldest son and heir, of Dunster Castle, MP for Minehead (1776–1816), the Luttrell pocket borough adjacent to Dunster Castle;[11]
  • Lieutenant Henry Fownes-Luttrell (1753–1777), 2nd son, who died unmarried.[11]
  • Rev. Alexander Fownes Luttrell (born 1754), 3rd son, Rector of East Quantoxhead, which manor had been held by the Luttrells since 1232, and Vicar of Minehead.[11][12]
  • Francis Fownes Luttrell (1756–1823), 4th son, a barrister of the Middle Temple, a commissioner of customs and MP for Minehead 1780-3;[11]
  • Lt-Col. Thomas Fownes Luttrell (1763–1811), 5th son;[citation needed]
  • Margaret Fownes-Luttrell (1747-1792), only daughter, whose three portraits are on display in Dunster Castle, one as an adult by Sir Joshua Reynolds (with a copy) and another as an infant by Phelps. She married John Henry Southcote (1747) on 24 May 1769. They had two daughters.

After her death John married Priscilla Aston and they had 3 sons and a daughter. Josias Southcote (1798) Henry Aston (born Southcote)(1804-1888). Note: He was baptised again in 1821 as Henry Aston. Isabella Southcote (1809) Thomas Southcote (1812)

Death and burial

Margaret Fownes-Luttrell died on 13 August 1766 and was buried at Dunster Castle.[2]


Two of her works are located at Dunster Castle, in the National Trust collection: View of an Imaginary Castle with a Round Tower[13] and View of an Imaginary Castle with Two Towers.[14]

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