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Sir Richard was the donor of the Barrett-Lennard family and estate records, deposited on loan in 1945, as well as the family’s collection of paintings, donated in 1974, to Essex County Council. In 2009, Essex County Council took possession of the art collection.
In the background hangs a painting of the family’s main residence, Belhus, in Aveley, Essex. The land had been owned by the Barrett family since the mid-fourteenth century. It was 200 years later when an early Tudor mansion was built by John Barret. The Lennard family assumed the estates, Belhus and the Barrett name with Sir Richard Lennard (1625–1696) through his cousin Edward Barrett (1581–1645), Lord of Newburgh, in 1644.
In the mid-eighteenth century, Sir Thomas Barrett Lennard (1717–1786), 17th Lord Dacre, remodelled the Tudor mansion with a Neo-Gothic style, very influenced by his friend Horace Walpole’s 'Strawberry Hill', in Twickenham, London. Strawberry Hill House is an impressive example of the Gothic revival in architecture.
Moreover, landscape architect Capability Brown (1716–1783) became involved in the design of the gardens and park.
Belhus and the estates were sold in 1922 and unfortunately the mansion became highly damaged by the army during the Second World War and had to be demolished in 1957.
Some of the foundations can still be seen within the Belhus Park Golf & Country Club area. Some of the mansion’s original woodwork is at Thurrock Museum.
Essex Record Office
Sir (Thomas) Richard Fiennes Barrett-Lennard (1898–1977), 5th Baronet of Belhus
oil on canvas
H 116.8 x W 104.1 cm