Walpole Surname Genealogy
Marshland near the
Wash in Norfolk. Walpole, recorded
in a Saxon charter in 1050, derived from the Old English words welle
pol meaning “a pool surrounded by a wall.” According to the 1868 National Gazetteer, Walpole
was situated by
a Roman sea-wall.
Walpole Resources on
- History of Houghton Hall
Sir Robert Walpole’s home in Norfolk.
- Horace Walpole
Horace Walpole in Twickenham.
was the county with the highest number of Walpoles in the 1881 UK census.
The forefather of the Walpole family in
Norfolk is thought to have been Reginald de Walpole who lived at
Walpole in the
early 1100’s. A Walpole line established
itself a century or so later at Houghton and they became merchants in
Lynn who rose to gentry status by early Tudor times.
However, because they were Catholics, they dropped
out of public life under Elizabeth and were all but extinguished as a
family. Some of them had become Jesuit
priests – including Henry Walpole the
martyr who was executed in York in
1595 in the barbaric fashion of being hung, drawn and quartered.
Walpole line did survive and eventually prospered through the only
branch at Houghton. This line, the
line of the Sir Robert Walpole the future Prime Minister, began
generations earlier with Calibut Walpole in the late 1500’s.
These Walpoles were
pre-eminent in England during the 1700’s:
- Sir Robert Walpole, who might be
considered Britain’s first Prime Minister, held that position for over
years – from 1721 to 1742. Created
the Earl of Orford, he used his wealth to build his palatial home at
his youngest son Horace Walpole was the celebrated writer, art
historian, man of letters, and Whig politician later in the
century. He made his home at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, the
neo-Gothic house he had built in the 1750’s overlooking the Thames.
Charlotte Walpole was an illegitimate niece of
Horace Walpole. She
enjoyed a short career on the London stage in the 1770’s before moving
France where she was recruited as an agent and spy for the royalists. Her activities had no success despite her
spending considerable sums of her fortune on her missions.
Among later Walpoles were politicians, army
officers, and clergymen. Somerset
Walpole was an Anglican priest in New Zealand and New York before being
appointed Bishop of Edinburgh in 1910.
His son Hugh Walpole was a popular English novelist of the
Sir William Walpole moved into real estate in
the 1930’s which later proved highly profitable. The
Walpole Estate had an estimated £7.5
billion in assets in 2012. The holdings
of the Walpole Estate are held by the grandchildren and
Sir William Walpole.
Ireland. William Walpole was an
English Quaker who
came to Laios (then Queen’s county) in the late 1600’s and settled in
Mountmellick area. Later Walpoles did
well in the linen industry. Edward
Walpole invested its profits in the nid-19th century into ornamental gardens
at Mount Usher in county Wicklow.
These gardens remained with the Walpole family until 1980.
other Walpoles in Leitrim from the 18th century.
following two Walpoles who came to America were from Ireland:
- Mathew Walpole
from Leitrim came to New York in 1816, followed by his two sons Martin
Mathew a year later. The family settled
in Morgan county, Ohio.
- while Richard Walpole arrived in 1836 and farmed at
Schenectady in upstate New York. His son
Thomas ran a general truck and express business in Oswego.
Walpole from Little Harrowden in Northamptonshire came with his family
Australia on the Bolivar in 1850.
Henry built the Bolivar Hotel in Burton and ran it from 1854 to
1866. He died at Kapunda in 1875.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, held that position for
over twenty years
– from 1721 to 1742.
Horace Walpole was a celebrated writer, art
historian, man of letters, and Whig politician in the mid/late 1700’s.
Walpole was a popular English novelist of the 1920’s
and 1930’s who subsequently fell out of favor.
Select Walpoles Today
- 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 1,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 1,300 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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