History of Badby House

Badby House was built for William Watkins in 1826. William Watkins married Charlotte Rattray and had 8 children. The eldest son Charles William Watkins married Mary Mitchell Uniacke whose family were a branch of the Fitzgerald family who were themselves a branch of the Earl’s of Desmond. It is the families with connections to the Fitzgerald family who owned Badby House until 1926.

Charles William Watkins died in 1857. Later Badby House was occupied by John Luke George Hely-Hutchinson, 5th Earl of Donoughmore who died in 1900. From 1901 William Murland lived at Badby House.

William Murland studied at Trinity College Dublin, graduating in 1887. Despite being ‘called to the bar’ he pursued his love of racing and horses instead. As a jockey he won 98 races including the Irish Grand National in 1885 riding Billet Doux.

In 1887 William Murland married Mary Geraldine Fitzgerald and in the same year they moved to Sussex and founded the Findon Stables and Stud. Later he ran a small horse stud at Badby house. His most celebrated colt was ‘Hurry Up’ which was sold in 1914 to Lord Woolavington for 500 guineas winning the Oakes twice, the St Ledger and 3 Derbys by 1916. He was a member of the National Hunt Committee and the Jockey Club. William Murland was also appointed as High Sheriff of Northamptonshire. His wife Mary died in 1924 and he died in 1926.

The Badby House estate was put up for sale in 1926 and sold to Mr J N Emery of London. Badby House was then bought by Mr Hampden Illingworth in 1928, taking up residence there in October 1929