Leopold Hausburg - A short acquaintance with Penshurst

In the south aisle of Penshurst Parish Church there is a memorial window depicting 'The Miraculous Draught of Fishes', entitled 'To the memory of Leopold Hausburg of Edenthal Penshurst who departed this life at Cannes France 9th January 1886'. But just who was Leopold Hausburg and what was his connection with Penshurst?Hausburg window Penshurst church

Hausburg's full name was Friedrich Ludwig Leopold Hausburg. Born in Berlin in 1817, he was in business with his uncle August Promoli in Paris and later in Church Street in Liverpool, where Promoli had taken over 'Woolfield's Bazaar', selling items such as jewellery, watches, clocks, dressing cases and work boxes. The business passed to Hausburg in 1841.

In 1840 he became a British citizen through naturalisation. The Act of Parliament was signed by Queen Victoria and the process of naturalisation was achieved in 5 weeks, rather than the normal 4 years, suggesting the intervention of the Prussian Court.

Hausburg was a skilled cabinet maker and his masterpiece was the 'Hausburg Cabinet', an intricately-detailed ebony and marquetry piece modelled on Rheims Cathedral. Begun in 1840 and completed in 1857, it was sold in 2009 for £60,000.

Hausburg cabinet Hausburg cabinet






In 1860 Hausburg retired. He lived at Acrefield in Woolton, Liverpool from around 1852 to 1873, when he left with his second wife Isabella to live in the south of England.

The London Daily News records the birth of a son at The Glebe, Penshurst in 1872, but Hausburg himself is of Rosenfels, Wootton (sic). The Glebe is situated a little to the southwest of Penshurst village.

In 1877 the London Morning Post records a son born at Edenthal, Penshurst. It seems Hausburg had renamed The Glebe to the German for 'Eden Valley', and indeed The Glebe had views over the valley of the River Eden. The 1881 census has the family residing at Edenthal.

The Glebe Penshurst

The 1840 Tithe Map of Penshurst shows the Rev. Philip Stanhope Dodd (Rector of Penshurst) as the owner of Middle Field, the site of The Glebe. This is indicated as glebe land and no building is marked. The Glebe as a dwelling does not appear in the 1841 and 1851 censuses but is mentioned in those for 1861 and 1871, although seemingly occupied solely by staff. The house must therefore have been built between 1851 and 1861. By the time of the 1891 census a retired clergyman, James Tillard, was living there and Isabella and her family had moved to Clifton in Bristol. In the 1960s the building was demolished and new apartments were built on the site, although the name The Glebe was retained.

Leopold and Isabella had three sons born in Penshurst: Leslie in 1872, Campbell in 1873 and Eric in 1877. Leslie was a distinguished philatelist and a leading tennis player, competing at Wimbledon (there is an old tennis court lawn at The Glebe). Campbell in 1899 accompanied Sir Halford Mackinder on the first ascent of Mount Kenya, as his principal companion and joint expedition funder.

Hausburg died at Cannes in 1886 and his estate was valued at over £180000. How did he come to be in Cannes when he died? His first wife was Catherine Mossop and her aunt Catherine married Thomas Robinson Woolfield (owner of the above-mentioned 'Woolfield's Bazaar'), a property developer who was responsible for many major buildings in Cannes. He built the first tennis court in France there in 1879. They had no children but took a great interest in their combined nieces and nephews, who often stayed with them for long periods in Cannes.


Building News 8 January 1892: window dated 1886 and made by Bell of Bristol.






https://www.old-maps.co.uk: Penshurst Ordnance Survey Plans, 1:10560 (1960), 1:2500 (1969)