Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage

A History of the Calverts and their Holding in the United Kingdom

The family that gave the new world two of its earliest colonizers, George Calvert and his son, Cecil, had long had its roots in English life. While George Large Map of Calvert Holdings  Calvert's father, Leonard, was reputed to be if Flemish descent, his mother's forebears, the Croslands, represented a family long resident in Yorkshire. In that county, about 30 miles northwest of the city of York, George Calvert was born and reared, and here in the days of his affluence he built a handsome house called Kiplin Hall.

The first Lord Baltimore owned lands in County Longford, Ireland, granted him by King James, but there is no evidence that he ever lived there. Why the name Baltimore was chosen by Sir George for his manorial holdings in Longford is not known, nor can reason be found to associate him with the village of Baltimore in County Cork. On retirement from court 1625, he took up residence on a large estate he had acquired in County Wexford, Ireland. Calvert also had a home in London, as did most of the succeeding barons.

By his marriage to Anne Arundell, daughter of a wealthy family in Wiltshire, in the south of England, the second Lord Baltimore came into the possession of the Manor of Semley and a residence called Hook House in that county, where he lived while striving to establish the colony of Maryland. This prolonged undertaking all but ruined him, if we may believe the statement of his father-in-law, Lords Arundell, who in 1638 wrote: "... My sonne Baltimore is brought so low with his setting forward the Plantation of Maryland, and with the clamorous suits and oppositions which he hath met withal in that business, as that I doe not see how he would subsist if I did not give him dyett, for himself his wife his children and servants."

Kiplin Hall, the Calvert home in Bolton-On-Swal, Yorkshire, England The residence, adjacent to the great estate of Wardour, for generations seat of the Lords Arundell , was only about 50 miles from Cowes in the Isle of Wight whence the Ark and Dove set sail on November 22, 1633. No doubt Cecil Calvert was among the anxious watchers who witnessed the departure.

While Charles, third Lord Baltimore, spent many years in Maryland, he maintained for a time a house in London. With the death in 1692 of his cousin, Mrs. Richard Evelyn, fell heir to the mansion house of Woodcote Park and the Manor of Horton, near Epsom, Surrey. In this great house, surrounded by a large park, the later Calverts made their principal home till 1768 when the estate was sold by the last Lord. A drawing room from this mansion, distinguished by carved paneling and other decorations in the Chippendale style, designed perhaps for Charles, fifth Lord Baltimore, was purchased in 1927 and installed in the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, Massachusetts. Woodcote adjoins famous Epsom Downs, scene of the Derby races, and is the site of the country club of the Royal automobile club. The old house burned in 1934 and has been replaced by a building which reproduces some features of the original manor house.

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