Didlington

On the north wall of the tower in an arch are six brass plates, each about 4¼ by 7 inches, remembering the Tyssen – Amherst family members. William Amhurst Tyssen Amherst was the first Baron Amherst, created 1892. He seems to have changed his surname twice, first from Daniel-Tyssen then to Tyssen-Amherst by royal licence in 1852, before adopting the above name; his father was William George Tyssen-Amherst, formerly Daniel-Tyssen, and before that, born Daniel.
His mother was Mary Fountaine of Narford Hall, Norfolk.  He was High Sheriff of Norfolk in 1886, and MP for West Norfolk from 1880-85, then for South- West Norfolk from 1885-1892. He was created Baron Amherst of Hackney in 1892. He married Margaret Mitford at Hunmanby, Yorkshire, on 4 June 1856.

The MacDaniel of Daniel family came from County Mayo in the 17th century. John Daniel married Dorcas Auchmuty of Bryanstown, Scotland, in 1734 and inherited her family estate. William Daniel became High Sheriff of Kent in 1825, and married Amelia Amherst, daughter of Capt. Nicholas Amherst and his second wife, Mary Tyssen, becoming heiress to the Amherst and Tyssen estates. Capt. Amherst was the descendent of John Amherst of Amherst, Kent, in 1399. The first baron Amherst of Montreal was a distinguished soldier, eventually a Field Marshal. His youngest brother William was the father of William Pitt, 1st Earl Amherst, and the earldom continues.

William Amhurst Tyssen-Amherst died in London in 1909 and was buried at Didlington, being succeeded by his eldest daughter, Mary, by special remainder, having had no sons to continue the male line. At its peak, the Norfolk estate consisted of 9, 488 acres; the family also had 240 acres in Yorkshire and 47 in Kent.

Cokayne’s Peerage notes that he made no special mark in the House of Commons, and his peerage appears to have reflected his enormous wealth; this may also account for him having the ‘exceptional favour’ of a special remainder. [It notes with regret that he was allowed to take the title of Amherst, rather than Hackney where he had a lot of property]. The Amherst titles began in 1776 with Baron Amherst of Holmesdale and Montreal, a soldier who served with great distinction in Europe and America, where he was Commander in Chief; later he became Governor of Virginia. He refused an Earldom, and was appointed Field Marshal in 1796.

His nephew William Pitt Amherst succeeded to the peerage by special remainder, and he too was distinguished, becoming Ambassador to China (where he was refused admission) and then Governor of Bengal. Interestingly, he married Sarah, the widow of the 5th Earl of Plymouth, and when she died, he married Mary, the widow of the 6th Earl of Plymouth! They lived at Knole, where he died in 1857; his wife inherited Knole from the 4th Duke of Dorset, her brother. His son, also William, was another M.P., and married Mary, daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton.

Baron Amherst took the same arms as the first Earl Amherst, which were Gules three jousting Spears Or heads Argent, those of the old family of Amherst in Kent. His arms here have Quarterly 1 and 4, Gules three tilting Spears erect in fess Or points Argent.- AMHERST, 2, Per saltire Argent and Or, in fess two Lions rampant Gules, in chief and in base a dexter Arm couped in pale vested Gules cuffed Azure the hand proper holding a Cross-crosslet fitchy erect Gules. – DANIEL, 3, Or on a Chevron Azure between three French Marigolds proper slipped Vert two Lions passant respectant Or within a Bordure compony Argent and Or. – TYSSEN; in pretence, Argent a Fess between three Moles Sable. – MITFORD. His supporters were On either side a heron proper, collared Or.

His crests were On a mount Vert three tilting Spears one in pale and two in saltire Or, encircled by a wreath of laurel proper – Amherst; and in front of a trefoil slipped Vert a dexter arm couped fessways habited Gules cuffed Azure the hand proper holding a cross-crosslet erect Gules. – Daniel. And for Tyssen: A demi-lion rampant per fess wavy Or and Azure ducally crowned Gules and holding in the paws an escutcheon Azure charged with an estoile Or.

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