The Angerstein Dynasty

John Julius Angerstein owner of Weeting Hall 1808-1823

John Julius Angerstein was born in Russia in 1735. No trace can be found of his parents, probably he was the illegitimate son of a highborn lady and he was given the name of the doctor who delivered him. At the age of 15 he came to London and in 1756 aged of 21 became an underwriter at Lloyds Coffee House in London. He prospered and at the age of 35 became the joint founder of Lloyds. Over the years he became a successful merchant and extremely rich. Philanthropist and patron of fine arts he was the friend of the painters Sir Thomas Lawrence and Reynolds. His collection of 38 paintings was bought by the nation and became the nucleus of the National Gallery. With houses in Pall Mall and Woodlands in Blackheath, he spent most of his time in London. He entertained lavishly, a frequent visitor was the Princess of Wales and on one occasion, her father-in law, King George III.

He bought land as an investment and when the Weeting Estate came up for sale in 1808, probably saw it as a bargain at £61,621. It is unlikely that he ever lived there, seeing the estate as a place for his family. As his son John showed little interest in Weeting he let the Hall to Sir Richard Sutton to use as a shooting box. He died in 1823, and was buried at the Church of St Alfege, Greenwich, London. His considerable estate passed to his only son John.

John Angerstein owner of Weeting Hall 1823-1856

John Angerstein had decided early in life not follow his father into business, but to become a gentleman. His early life was spent mainly in London enjoying the social round. He briefly entered politics in 1835, standing as MP for Greenwich for two years. However as the years passed he spent more time at Weeting and became the first real squire the village had known. He became part of the Norfolk establishment, being elected Sheriff for the county in 1831. When he died in 1856 he was buried in the family vault in the church of St Mary, Weeting. He was succeeded by his eldest son John Julius William.

John Julius William Angerstein owner of Weeting Hall 1856-1866

John Julius William was a wild young man, causing great distress to his family. He decided on a military career, went to Sandhurst, got to the second class in 1817 but was put back for "insubordinate conduct". He eventually became an Ensign in the Grenadier Guards and in 1825 was promoted to Captain. He eventually became Lieutenant General in 1862.

His great passion was horses; always an expensive pastime, he was continually in debt. His father could not pay his debts and his grandfather would not. His affairs reached such a peak that he was in danger of being disinherited from the family estate. It was only when his grandfather died that his debts were cleared.

When not on military duty he spent much of his time at Weeting Hall. He was a charming man, much liked by the villagers. He maintained studs at Newmarket and Ely and kept horses in the stables at Weeting. When Marengo, Napoleon's favourite horse was put up for sale he purchased it and brought the animal to Weeting. When the horse died its hooves were removed; one was made into a snuff container and presented to the officers mess at St James Palace, where it is still used by the Queens Guard. The fate of the other three is unknown.

Despite family efforts to find him a bride he remained unmarried, preferring, it was said "the company of young men". At Weeting Hall when the social occasion required the presence of a hostess he would call on Julia, daughter of his brother William to fulfil the role. One such event was recorded by Eva Newell, daughter of his gamekeeper "I remember…there was a minstrel gallery where the Weeting Fife and Drum band used to play during dinner when there were special guests present. On one occasion, Miss Julia Angerstein, acting as Band master, ordered them to play the regimental march ‘The British Grenadiers' to accompany the guests marching round the table. The glittering jewels in the ladies hair and round their necks made them dizzy and they stumbled into chairs".

The General died in 1866 and was buried in the family vault in the church of St Mary, Weeting. He was without issue so the estate passed to his brother William.

William Angerstein owner of Weeting Hall 1866-1897

William was a totally different man to his brother, a Victorian gentleman a pillar of respectability and like his father MP for Greenwich from 1859 to 1865. In Norfolk a magistrate and High Sheriff for the county in 1872. Although he spent time on the family estates in other parts of the country his main place of residence was Weeting Hall. A keen horseman he maintained a pack of hounds in the kennels at Weeting and was Master of Norfolk Staghounds from 1872 to 1876.

He was very much the squire, provided work for the village people on the estate. With his wife Mary he had six children, four sons and two daughters. His eldest son William John Nettleshipp predeceased him in 1892, so when he died in 1897 the estate passed to grandson Julius Henry William who had emigrated to New Zealand in 1888 to become a tenant farmer.

Julius Henry William Angerstein owner of Weeting Hall 1897 - 1901

When he returned to England in 1987 to claim his inheritance he discovered that the family fortune had been spent and all the property had been used to secure loans and the Weeting Estate was mortgaged up to the hilt with Norwich Union. It took a year to settle the affairs and in 1898 at the age of 26 he returned to New Zealand with £65,000. Little is known of his life when he returned home except that he enjoyed the good life, became a follower of that most expensive of pastimes, horse racing. This high life could not be sustained, his legacy dwindled fast and in three years after his return, his fortune was gone. He married and had a son John Eric Royal born in 1901, but he died in 1948 without issue, so the Angerstein dynasty created in 1735 by John Julius came to an end.

The Weeting Hall Estate was put up for sale by auction in 1897 but did not reach the reserve price. It was finally sold by private treaty in 1901 to Thomas Skarratt Hall.

Gerry Moore 2004

You can read about the Angerstein family, and other notable characters for the village's past in the book "Weeting Worthies". Copies are available from the group - please visit our sales page.