A’COURT, Charles Ashe (1785-1861), of Heytesbury, Wilts.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. 17 June 1785, 3rd s. of Sir William Pierce Ashe A’Court†, 1st bt. (d. 1817), of Heytesbury and 2nd w. Letitia, da. of Henry Wyndham of The Close, Salisbury; bro. of Edward Henry A’Court* and (Sir) William A’Court†. educ. Eton c.1800. m. 10 May 1815, at Palermo, Sicily, Mary Elizabeth Catherine, da. and h. of Abraham Gibbs, merchant, of Naples and Palermo, 1s. 1da. KH 1818; suc. bro. Edward Henry to Amington Hall, Warws. 1855 and took additional name of Repington by royal lic. 25 Oct. 1855, in compliance with will of his cos. Charles Edward Repington of Amington. d. 19 Apr. 1861.
Ensign 31 Ft. 1801, lt. 1802, capt. 1804; a.d.c. to adj.-gen. Sicily 1809, asst. q.m.g. 1810, dep. adj.-gen. 1813, adj.-gen. 1814; maj. 1 Greek light inf. 1811, half-pay 1816; lt.-col. 1813; col. 1830; maj.-gen. 1841; col. 41 Ft. 1848-d.; lt.-gen. 1851; gen. 1856.
Asst. poor law commr. 1834-42.
The A’Courts were a Wiltshire gentry family, members of which had represented their borough of Heytesbury for several generations.1 Charles A’Court saw much active service during the Napoleonic wars. In 1806 he was detached on a separate command to the Adriatic and in 1807 he fought in Egypt and at St. Maura and Capri. As a staff officer in Sicily in 1809 he commanded the advance guard to which nearly 1,000 invading French troops surrendered, personally capturing the enemy’s standard. He subsequently served on the staff in Sicily, Spain and Italy.2 In 1815 he married a wealthy heiress in Sicily, where his eldest brother William A’Court was envoy from 1814 to 1822, and he was paid off the following year. After the death of his father in 1817, when he received a legacy of £4,000, he resided at Heytesbury, where, with Edward, he undertook estate business on behalf of the new Sir William (later Baron Heytesbury).3 Himself a burgageholder, he also acted as electoral patron of Heytesbury for the 2nd baronet, bringing in paying guests and, at the end of this period, responding to home office circulars.4 At the general election of 1820 he returned himself, evidently as a stopgap, and his brother Edward. He would have been expected to support the Liverpool administration, as Edward did, but his career in the Commons was too brief for him to make any mark there. He took leaves of absence to attend to private business, 9 June, and because of ill health, 5 July 1820, and shortly afterwards vacated his seat to accommodate Henry Handley.
In 1824 William Henry Lyttelton† described A’Court, his wife and his brother Edward as ‘exceeding unaffected good people, but not dull’; and in 1832 Benjamin Disraeli† had ‘some delightful conversation’ at dinner with the brothers, who were ‘very unaffected, hearty fellows’.5 A’Court proposed Sir John Astley* for Wiltshire at the general election of 1826.6 In the turbulent aftermath of Daniel O’Connell’s election for county Clare, Elizabeth reported to her brother Sidney Herbert†, 7 July 1828: ‘Vigorous measures, sir, there is nothing like them, nothing, as Colonel A’Court says, like a military government, a cat and nine tails, and martial law’.7 A’Court backed Charles Palmer* against the pro-Catholic Lord Brecknock* in a non-committal fashion at the Bath by-election in February 1829, but replied with ‘a decided no’ to a request that he should sign the Wiltshire anti-Catholic declaration later that month.8 In late 1830 he was active in the suppression of the ‘Swing’ riots in Wiltshire, and in January 1831 he declined to join Lord Radnor’s bid to organize a parliamentary reform meeting in the county.9 According to Lady Clanwilliam, as Elizabeth Herbert had become, he was ‘very eager’ about the possibility of a Wiltshire anti-reform declaration, and signed the one published in August 1831.10 The family borough was abolished by the Reform Act of 1832. An assistant poor law commissioner, A’Court gave evidence to the Commons select committee on the poor laws, 3, 5 May, 19, 23 June 1837.11 He succeeded his brother to the estate of Amington, near Tamworth, which became the home of this branch of the family, in September 1855, and died in April 1861.12 His son Charles Henry Wyndham A’Court Repington (1819-1903) was Member for Wilton, 1852-5. His daughter Mary Elizabeth (1822-1911), who married Herbert in 1846 and became a Catholic in 1862, was an authoress, painter and active philanthropist.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: Stephen Farrell / David R. Fisher
- 1. Sir R.C. Hoare, Wilts. Heytesbury, 119-21, 150-1.
- 2. Gent. Mag. (1861), i. 699.
- 3. PROB 11/1595/407; IR26/698/708; Wilts. RO, Heytesbury mss 101/27.
- 4. Heytesbury mss 635/124; PP (1831), xvi. 258; (1831-2), xxxvi. 52-53, 532; xxxvii. 329.
- 5. Lady Lyttelton Corresp. 248-9; Disraeli Letters, i. 274.
- 6. Devizes Gazette, 22 June 1826.
- 7. Wilts. RO, Pembroke mss 2057/F4/50.
- 8. Keenes’ Bath Jnl. 16 Feb.; Glos. RO, Sotheron Estcourt mss D1571 X114, Long to Bucknall Estcourt [?28 Feb., ?2 Mar. 1829].
- 9. Lansdowne mss, A’Court to Lansdowne, 23, 26, 28 Nov., 1, 10 Dec. 1830; Wilts. RO, Radnor mss 490/1376.
- 10. Pembroke mss 2057/F4/50, Lady Clanwilliam to Herbert, 21 Apr.; Devizes Gazette, 11 Aug. 1831.
- 11. PP (1837), vol. xvii. pt. i. 475-94, 509-22, 570; pt. ii. 403-17.
- 12. Gent. Mag. (1861), i. 699.