Worked with Brunel on bridges, wrote seminal poultry book: "How the French make Fowls Pay"
Kinard Baghot de la Bere
Engineer & Chicken Farmer
Origins of a Name
Kinard Baghot de la Bere was born in 1837, the third son of the Rev. John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. Although he was baptised Kinard Edwards, his surname changed when five years later his father, the Rev John Edwards, inherited many estates and farms in Gloucestershire, including Southam Manor (now a five star hotel called Ellensborough but formerly the De La Bere Hotel). He decided to change the family’s surname back to its early origins of Baghot De la Bere.
He also reclaimed the De la Bere family crest of an ostrich feather issuing from a ducal coronet that had been given to Richard De La Bere by the Black Prince at the Battle of Crecy in 1346 as a reward for saving the Prince’s life.
Kinard’s intriguing surname was made up of two families – the De La Beres and the Baghots. Sir John De la Bere was born in 1640. He died leaving all his estates to his son Kynard (sic). Kynard and his wife, Elizabeth were unable to have children, so on his death in 1735 the estates were passed to his sister Ann’s eldest son, William. Ann had married into the Baghot family.
William Baghot, on receipt of the titles, decided to change the family name to Baghot de la Bere. He was married and had three children Thomas, Grace and Sarah. Thomas duly inherited the title on his father’s death in 1764, but he and his siblings, although married, produced no children between them. So the land passed back to William’s brother’s side of the family on Thomas’s death in 1821. His cousin Jane inherited the estate late in life, having already married a Mr. Thomas Edwards - who was to be Kinard’s grandfather. On his death in 1842 the titles and lands were passed down to the Rev. John Edwards, Kinards father, who duly changed his family name.
Children of the Manor
Kinard Baghot de la Bere and his siblings John, Eliza Jane, Caroline, Louisa, Thomas and Blanche spent their early years at the Rectory (pic2) on Deep Street, in Prestbury, Gloucestershire, a fine Cotswold stone house in large grounds dating back to Queen Anne’s reign, where in 1825 his father had become the Vicar of St. Mary’s Church. The Baghot de la Bere family had been patrons of the church for many years.
Prestbury, at that time, was part of a small but wealthy farming community close to the larger farms and estates of Southam and Bishops Cleeve. In the Anglo Saxon Charters, ‘de la bere’ was the description for a place where there was an abundance of food for the swine which formed the chief livestock for the early inhabitants of the forest counties.
At the nearby Parish Church at Bishops Cleeve, in the south chapel, is a beautiful 17th century tomb of Richarde De la Bere and his wife Margaret who were early inhabitants of the Manor. (pic4) It was repaired by William Baghot de la Bere in 1803, the last inhabitant of the Manor who died in 1821 aged 93. The house was sold in 1833.
When Kinard’s father John retired as Vicar of St. Mary’s church in Prestbury (pic5) in 1885, his eldest son John (Kinard’s brother) took over as Vicar of Prestbury. John II was popular with the parishioners but not with the Archbishops. He was part of the Oxford Movement and wanted the church to return to a catholic form of worshipping. The Archbishop of Canterbury held an enquiry 1881-1883 and an order of nisi of prohibition was taken depriving John of his living. However, he did much during his time there to restore the church and extend the Rectory.
By the age of 11 Kinard had been enrolled at Marlborough College in Wiltshire. The college had been established in 1843 by a group of Church of England clergymen with the backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the primary purpose of educating sons of clergymen. So Kinard must have been one of its early pupils.
In 1848 there were 500 pupils, a third of the students being sons of clergymen paying fees of 30 guineas per year subsidised by the non clergy pupils paying 50 guineas a year.
The Travelling Engineer
Kinard left Marlborough and studied civil engineering under Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel worked on the Marlborough Downs Railway shortly before he died in 1859 so perhaps the young Kinard was employed on this project. He later superintended large engineering works with expenditures of £250,000. Work took him to South America and a photo shows the Joames Viaduct, on the Bahia and Sao Francisco Railway in Brazil, which was probably one of his assignments.
The Severn Railway Bridge completed in 1879 may well have been one that Kinard worked on. It crossed over the River Severn between Sharpness and Lydney and took 30 minutes off the journey from Bristol via Gloucester to Cardiff.
It was whilst working in Southern Ireland in 1865 that he met and married Catherine May Leahy of County Cork, where he lived for over ten years. The couple had five children over the space of twelve years – Lisa, Sybil, Lancelot, Stephen and Margaret. They lived in Pimlico, London, Glamorgan and latterly Leicestershire between 1879 to 1904 where the family home was Burbage Hall.
The Famous Chicken Farmer
In the late 1800s Kinard retired from engineering and took up agricultural pursuits becoming an authority on rural economy especially poultry keeping. He published many books and articles:-
The New Poultry Guide for British Farmers and others
To the Farmers and How the French make Fowls Pay
Stable Economy - or how to keep a horse on £10 a year
Pigs for Profit – his book on rural economy passed through 200 editions.
His fame reached Parliament and he was often consulted on agricultural matters..
Living in Burbage, Leicestershire, he discovered that sodium metasilicate, commonly known as water- or icing-glass, a jelly-like substance, stopped eggshells from becoming porous preserving them for up to nine months.
In his twenty four years in the village he served the community as Chair of the Board of Guardians and for many years was an active member of the Burbage Debating Society where in 1887 he argued for a clean water supply which was not delivered until 1915. De la Bere Crescent in Burbage is named in his honour.
Kinard and his wife left Burbage Hall in 1904 and are next found on the census at Bishops Stortford. Here they lived with their unmarried daughter Sybil and son Lancelot. Their eldest son Stephen became a well known artist. Educated at Ilkley College before studying art in London and Paris. His works featured in many leading galleries in Paris, Madrid and Venice including the Royal Academy. He illustrated various books – Don Quixote, Gullivers Travels etc. His works rarely come onto the market but command thousands of pounds when they do. Stephen died in 1927 at his father’s house in Bath.
At the age of 80 Kinard and his wife Catherine had moved to 52 Sydney Buildings in Bathwick where they lived until his death at the age of 94 in 1932, Catherine predeceasing him in 1923. They are both buried in Smallcombe cemetery.