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William Mewburn: father and son

William Mewburn donated £2,000 to help found Dashwood School

William Mewburn donated £2,000 to help found Dashwood School

William Mewburn donated £2,000 to help found Dashwood School
William Mewburn junior built Achnacarron in 1908 - thanks to Ken Williams for arranging for us to use this photo.
The foundation stone laid by William Mewburn Jr's sister Edith, who was married to R W Perks.

In April 2010, Ken Williams got in touch to ask whether the archive had any information about William Mewburn, one of Dashwood School’s founders. Ken believes he may be related to the Mewburn family and is researching a house built in Scotland by the Mewburns in the early 1900s, which burned down in the 1950s.

Dear Ken,

Many thanks for your call last week. I’ve now had a chance to have a look through the archive to see what we have in relation to Mr Mewburn. One thing that I am now unsure about is whether the Mewburn you are looking for is the father William Mewburn (who died in 1900) or the son William Mewburn. William Senior is the person who contributed to Dashwood School’s foundation and lived locally at Wykham Park. In the school archive we have copies of local newspaper cuttings covering the laying of Dashwood’s foundation stones in 1901. The Banbury Guardian says ‘…the presence of Mrs Perks and Mr Mewburn must call back to the recollections of all of them as well as make them miss the name of a gentleman … who was esteemed and respected throughout the district, namely their father. … his far-sighted munificence must have gone a long way to enable those buildings to have been begun at all.’ (Mrs Perks is Mr Mewburn Senior’s daughter, and Mr Mewburn must be the Junior William Mewburn.) Half way down the second column, donations are recorded including ‘The late Mr Mewburn, £2,000’.

My intial searches of the Cake and Cockhorse local history archives ( have found that Mewburn Senior was a self-made man whose fortune came from the railways in Manchester and Halifax. A Wesleyan Methodist and a Liberal, he came to Banbury in 1865 to lay one of the foundation stones of the Marlborough Road Methodist church. On this visit, he heard that Wykham Park was for sale – an estate outside Banbury dating back to 1279. He bought it and lived there until his death in May 1900, aged 83. The year before he died, he contributed £2,000 to the building of the Wesleyan school in Dashwood Road, which opened in 1901 – this is Dashwood School.

Mewburn seems to have been a key figure in the political and religious life of Banbury for many years, opening up Wykham Park for children’s events and supporting many philanthropic causes including building a new wing to the local Horton hospital.

The Dashwood School history book has a picture of the foundation stone commemorating Mewburn – sporting chalk marks drawn by recent pupils!


Dear Rebecca,

You are quite right, it is probably William Mewburn Jnr that I need to concentrate on as it would have been he who built the Mansion, ‘Achnacarron House’ in Argyll in 1908 as Mewburn Snr passed way in 1900.

From my end, I can offer the following insight to William Mewburn Snr and his progeny, plus a picture of the Mansion called ‘Achnacarron’ that his son built in 1908 at Loch Awe which is where Mewburn Snr and his wife honeymooned after they were married. Later, Desmond Williams (one of my relations way back when) – the grandson of William Mewburn Jnr and cousin of Meg Mewburn, a grand-daughter of Mewburn Jnr – enjoyed many summer holidays at the house. Unfortunately, the mansion burnt down in 1954 and was never rebuilt, but this is something I am planning on rectifying in the next few years and me and my family are relocating to live there.

William was born in Cleveland (Stokesley, North Yokshire) in around 1817. He became a solicitors clerk and then worked in Halifax where he set up an agency for Railway Shares. He married Maria Tew (daughter of William Tew and Ann Wetherald), on 20 June 1844 at Halifax Parish Church. She was disowned by the Quakers for marrying William who was a Methodist. They lived at 9 New Bond Street, Halifax which is where their 8 children were born. In 1856 they moved to Willow Hall, Skircoat, Halifax and then in 1866/7 they moved to Wykham Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire. This is now a boarding school for girls. William became a Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff of Oxfordshire. According to some other information found he was Chairman of South Eastern Railways and Star Life Insurance Companies. He was Steward of the Wesleyan Methodist Circuit in Banbury from 1866.

Thanks for all the help and perhaps if you have no objections, I may contact you again as my investigations progress.

Best regards


3 Responses to William Mewburn: father and son

  1. Owen Covick says:

    I have been working on a research project into the career of Sir Robert William Perks for some years now.

    This is the first time I have seen some of this very interesting information on the early life of William Mewburn (senior), RWP`s father in law. According to RWP he met his future wife as a result of William Mewburn junior being a pupil at Eldon House School, Clapham Common. RWP was himself a pupil there in 1865 and may have done some teaching work there later. I believe however that RWP`s father George Thomas Perks had known Wiliam Mewburn senior from as early as the 1840s when GTP`s first `circuit` as a Wesleyan Methodist Minister had been in Leeds.

    RWP`s niece Helen Volckman married a son on John Lees Barker (Kenneth?) in Banbury in the early 1900s. John Lees Barker had married one of William Mewburn senior`s daughters in Banbury some years before RWP married Edith. John Lees Barker was the son of William Mewburn senior`s partner in his Stockbroking business in Halifax and Manchester. The partnership continued as Mewburn and Barker with John Lees Barker and William Mewburn junior as partners.

    • Rebecca says:

      Hello Owen, and many thanks for this! I have added to the gallery a picture of the foundation stone laid by Mrs R W Perks. It’s slightly obscured by some garden stakes which the children were using to support their planting in Summer 2008!

  2. Ian Macdonald says:

    For Ken Williams.
    I know little about the house but quite a lot about the Mewburns if that is still of any interest.
    Are you perhaps descended from Roger Desmond Williams (1916-2006)?

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