Biography of John Chaworth Musters (1838-1887)
John Chaworth Musters was the eldest son of John George Musters (1807-1842) and his wife Emily, née Hamond (1818-1845). He was orphaned by the age of 7, and was cared for by his uncles Captain Philip Hamond, and Robert Nicholas Hamond. When his grandfather 'Jack' Musters of Colwick died in 1849, John inherited the Chaworth Musters estates, and moved, with his uncle Philip and siblings Mary Ann and George, to Annesley. The rents of the estates were received by Robert Hamond during John's minority.
After a brief stay at Eton, John went to school with a private tutor, the Rev. Joseph Lloyd Brereton (1822-1901), rector of West Buckland, Devon. Between 1856 and 1858 he studied at Christ Church College, Oxford. In the spring of 1858 he went on a trip to the Holy Land with Mr Brereton.
In 1859 John came of age and took over the administration of the Chaworth Musters estates. He also married Lina Sherbrooke in that year. John was a keen huntsman and established his own pack of hounds, based at Wiverton. He was Master of the South Nottinghamshire hounds from 1861-1868 and 1871-1876, and of the Quorn from 1868-1870. Ill-health forced him to sell the hounds in 1876. John also devoted much of his time to salmon fishing, and took many fishing holidays in Norway. In 1877 he bought a house near the Laerdal river on Sogne Fjord, which he named Lysne Lodge. He succeeded his father-in-law as Captain of the Watnall troop of South Notts Yeomanry Cavalry.
He was an active landlord and developed his estates effectively. In the 1860s he leased land at Annesley to William Worswicke for a colliery. The rapid expansion of Annesley as a mining village put pressure on the existing facilities. Together with the mining company, John paid for a school and a new church at Annesley in the 1870s, and Lina had a row of nine pairs of stone cottages known as 'The Grove' built on Derby Road in Annesley. Land at Edwalton and West Bridgford was sold to building speculators for the construction of villa residences.
After a number of years of ill-health, John Chaworth Musters died from scarlet fever at Aumont in France in November 1887. He was buried at Langar. John's widow Lina lived the remainder of her life at Wiverton. She was a writer and amateur historian, and a founder member of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire. She published Book of hunting songs and sport. Collected by Mrs. Chaworth Musters (Nottingham: Printed by R. Allen and Son, 1885), and The Foxhunter’s Birthday Book, etc. (Simpkin & Marshall: London, 1896). She also published a novel, A Cavalier Stronghold (London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. ; Nottingham : James Bell, 1890), based on the Civil War history of Wiverton and the Vale of Belvoir.
In 1859 he married Caroline Ann ('Lina') Sherbrooke, formerly Lowe (1842-1912), eldest daughter of Henry Porter Sherbrooke of Oxton Hall, Nottinghamshire, and had:
- John Patricius Chaworth-Musters (1860-1921)
- Mary Catherine Chaworth-Musters (1863-1945)
- Catherine Emily Chaworth-Musters (1864-1950), married in 1893 Penn Curzon Sherbrooke (d 1915), no issue
- Lancelot George Eden Michael Chaworth-Musters (1868-1932), married in 1893 Mabel Violet Watson (d 1948), and had:
- Richard Hamond Chaworth-Musters (1895-1941)
- Roger Michael Chaworth-Musters (1898-1917)
- Joan Winifred Mary Chaworth-Musters (1907-1998), married 1stly Harold Harrison, married 2ndly Francis Benward Parry
- Rosamund Sophia Chaworth-Musters (1870-1871)
- Henry Charlton Chaworth-Musters (1871-1897), killed on active service with the 3rd King's Own Hussars in Nigeria
Estate papers, accounts, rentals, plans and other papers relating to John Chaworth Musters' estates are part of the Chaworth-Musters collection
(ChM) held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham
The collection also includes John's travel diary during his tour to the Holy Land in 1858 (ChM/F/4), a notebook containing hunting notes and poetry, 1856-1858 (ChM/F/3), letters sent from John to his sister Mary Ann, 1854-1856 (in bundle ChM/C/6/1-31), and letters from John to Lina, 1858-1867 (in bundle ChM/C/7/1-39).
Although there are no works dedicated to John Chaworth Musters, some biographical details feature in the following publications:
- Patrick T.A. Musters, The Musters : a family gathering, 2nd edn (Oakham, Rutland : P. T. A. Musters, 2001) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Oversize Not 4N.V30 MUS]
- Denis R. Pearson, Annesley through the Ages (Alfreton : Bailey & Sons, 1995) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 8.D14 PEA]
- Frank P. Lyons, Hills of Annesley (new edn ed. by Ruth Ansley Grant, Longwood, FL : R. A. Grant, c.1988) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Oversize Not 8.D14 LYO]