Manuscripts and Special Collections

The Mellish and Buchanan Families of Blyth and Hodsock: A Brief History

The Mellish family were originally London merchants. In 1635 John Mellish of London purchased the Blyth estate in north Nottinghamshire from the Saundersons, but he did not move there. He was succeeded by his eldest son Edward Mellish, at one time merchant at Oporto, Portugal.

Edward Mellish rebuilt Blyth Hall in the 1680s. He died unmarried in 1703 and left his estate at Blyth to Joseph Mellish (1675-1733), the son of his cousin Samuel Mellish (1634-1707). Joseph's son William (1708-1791) was MP for East Retford, and undertook extensive work on the house at Blyth and the estates.

In the 1760s the family sold a number of small estates in Nottinghamshire to consolidate their holdings in north Nottinghamshire, purchasing Hodsock Priory and its estate from the Clifton family in 1765.

Charles Mellish (1737-1797), the son of William Mellish, was interested in the history of Nottinghamshire and in antiquarian study. His son, Henry Francis Mellish, became Lieutenant Colonel and aide-de-camp to General Ferguson during the Peninsular War. He sold the Blyth estate in 1806 and Hodsock became the main family residence.

On his death in 1817 the Hodsock estate passed to his sister and co-heir Anne (1781-1855), who had married William Cecil Chambers in 1811. The latter also died in 1817. The sons of William Cecil and Anne Chambers, William Mellish and Charles Henry Chambers, died in 1845 and 1840 respectively.

On Anne's death in 1855, the estates passed to her cousin, William Leigh Mellish (1813-1864), the son of Edward Mellish, Dean of Hereford (1767-1830). Colonel Henry Mellish (1856-1927), the son of William Leigh, was the last male representative of the family to live at Hodsock.

William Leigh Mellish's sister Frances Katharine married the diplomat Sir Andrew Buchanan (1807-1882). The Buchanan Collection of papers held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham includes the correspondence and papers of Sir Andrew, his fifth son Sir George William Buchanan (1854-1924), also a diplomat, and Sir George's daughter Meriel Buchanan (1886-1959). The main residence of the Buchanans was Craigend Castle in Stirlingshire, Scotland. In 1935 the last Mellish sister died and Hodsock passed to Sir Andrew Buchanan's grand-daughter Mrs Mary Constance Mayhew (1901-1982), and thence to its current owner, Sir Andrew Buchanan, 5th Baronet.

The descent of the main estates was as follows:


Genealogical Sources

  • Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage
  • Burke's Landed Gentry
  • Debrett's Peerage
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Next page:  Mellish Family Seats


Manuscripts and Special Collections

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