Near Ayton Bank, Durham.—Lord Ravensworth.
This ancient castle derives its name, as is supposed, either from the place having been in the old times a home of the raven, or from the Danish standard, which bore a figure of the bird, having floated over its walls.
“When Denmark’s ravens o’er the seas
Their boding black wings spread,
And o’er the Northumbrian lauds aud leas
The gloomy squadrons sped.”
It was well known as early as the year 1080, for here we are told one Eardulf rose from the dead to foretell the death of Bishop Walcher and the punishment of his murderers.
A hundred years later Bishop Ranulf granted the manor to his nephew Richard, who belonged to the family of the Barons of Fitz-Marmaduke, the last of whom was murdered on the old bridge at Durham, and having no children, his sister Eleanor conveyed the estate by marriage to a cadet of the Lumleys of Lumley Castle. In like manner it went to the Boyntons; next to the Grascoignes; and in the year 1607 Sir William Gascoigne alienated the property to Thomas Liddell, Esq., ancestor of the present family.
The park contains a fine heronry.
In 1808 nearly the whole of the old house was pulled down and the present mansion begun.
Thomas de Liddel, or Lyddale, married Margaret, daughter of John de Layburne, and his eldest son was
Thomas Liddel, Esq., an Alderman of Newcastle-on-Tyne. He married Barbara, daughter and heiress of Richard Sti’angeways, Esq., and purchased Ravensworth Castle in 1607, in which he was succeeded by his eldest son,
Thomas Liddel, Esq., of Ravensworth Castle, who died in 1G19, and was followed by his eldest son,
Thomas Liddel, Esq., of Ravensworth Castle, a zealous supporter of Charles the First, who was created a Baronet, November 2nd., 1642, for his gallant defence of Newcastle against the Scots. He married Isabel, daughter of Henry Anderson, Esq., and had a large family, of whom the eldest son,
Sir Thomas Liddel, Knight, married Bridget, daughter of Edward Woodward, Esq., of Lee, a Maid of Honour to the Queen of Bohemia. He died before his father, who deceased in 1650, and the only son,
Sir Thomas Liddel, Bart., of Ravensworth Castle, married Anna, daughter of Sir Heury Vane the elder, of Raby Castle, Durham. He died in 1697, and his eldest son succeeded him, namely,
Sir Henry Liddel, Bart., of Ravensworth Castle, who married Catherine, daughter and heiress of Sir John Bright, Bart., of Carbrook, Derbyshire. His eldest son,
Thomas Liddel, Esq., married, in 1707, Jane, eldest daughter of James Clavering, Esq., of Greencroft, Durham, and predeceased his father, who died September 9th., 1723, leaving two sons—
1. Henry Liddel.
2. Thomas Liddel, whose son, by Margaret, daughter of Sir William Bowes, of Gibside,
Henry Liddel, succeeded as fifth Baronet.
The elder succeeded his father as
Sir Henry Liddel, Bart., of Ravensworth Castle, M.P., who was raised to the
Peerage, June 29th., 1747, by the title of Baron Ravensworth, of Ravensworth Castle. His Lordship married, in 1735, Anne, only daughter of Sir Peter Delmè, Knight, Alderman and Lord Mayor of London, but having no sons, the Barony expired, while the Baronetcy went to his nephew, as above mentioned,
Sir Henry George Liddel, Bart., of Ravensworth Castle, born November 25th., 1749, who married, in April, 1773, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Steele, Esq., of Hampsnet, Sussex, and died November 26th., 1796. His elder son,
Sir Thomas Henry Liddel, Bart., of Ravensworth Castle, born February 8th., 1775, married, March 26th., 1796, Susannah, daughter of John Simpson, Esq., of Bradley, by whom, who died November 22nd., 1845, he had sixteen children, eight sons and eight daughters. He was elevated to the renewed title of Baron Ravensworth, July 14th., 1821. He died March 7th., 1855, and was succeeded by his son,
Henry Thomas Liddel, second Baron Ravensworth, previously M.P. for Northum- berland, Durham, and Liverpool, successively, born March 10th., 1797. He was further raised in the Peerage as Earl of Ravensworth and Baron Eslington, March, 1874, and married, November 9th., 1820, Isabella Horatia, eldest daughter of Lord George Seymour, and their eldest son,
Henry George Liddel, second Earl Ravensworth, Lieutenant-Colonel of the
Northumberland Yeomanry Cavalry, and M.P. for South Northumberland, born October 8th., 1821, married, December 8tli., 1852, Mary Diana, only child of Orlaudo Gunning Sutton, Esq.
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