Alnwick, Northumberland

Freelands is located on the south side of Alnwick, Northumberland to the east of the main (north-south) road through the town (as shown on the map below).

The house was built in 1837 and saw several owners before taking part in the Newman family saga (see below)

In April (or October?) 1868 Edwin Newman travelled to Alnwick (which is located in the far Northeast corner of England) from his home in Somerset some 400 miles away in the south-west of the country, where he attended an auction at the Swan Hotel (photo right), in the centre of town and bought Freelands for the sum of £2300. He then placed the house in trust to his 22 year-old son-in-law Henry Paynter who was by then living in nearby Alnmouth with Henry's youngest child, and only daughter, the 18 year-old Henrietta (who had recently given birth to her first child). Freelands became Henry's and Henrietta's home for the rest of their married life, and where their other 11 children were born and all 12 raised. A wonderful description of life there in those days is given by their second-youngest daughter Edith.

Alnwick is the seat of the Percy Family which played a prominent role throughout much of English history under the guise of the Duchy of Northumberland, and forming a bastion of the Catholic faith during all the religeous wars. The current Duke of Northumberland still lives in Alnwick Castle (photo at left) on the northern outskirts of the town.



Marion Paynter kindly gave me the following information relating to the history of ownership of Freelands, which I have supplemented with information from Ray Farnsworth's Freelands website (see below).

I don't know for certain who were the owners of Freelands at the time that it was sold in 1918, for by then Walter Newman had been dead for 22 years and Thomas Beville Paynter had been dead for one year. Presumably however, they were Walter's son Walter Ernest Newman and Thomas's younger brother James Bernard Paynter, both of whom were solicitors working for the family law firm.

This is as far as the information that I have goes, but I know Ray Farnsworth has information on the later owners of the house.

Freelands is currently owned by Ray and Jean Farnsworth, who have lived there for many years. Ray became fascinated with the history of the families that lived in the house, and has collected vast amounts of information (and artifacts) relating to the Paynters. He has also done sterling service in putting members of the family in touch with one another from one side of the world to the other. I thank Ray for rekindling and developing my own interest in the Newman family history when I first met him in 1991, and for inspiring my own interest in the Paynter family about whom I knew nothing before I met him.

Ray has developed his own "Freelands" website at www.freelandsalnwick.com, which contains much more information than I have provided here, together with photos and information about members of the Paynter family that lived there.





Freelands in its Newman-Paynter days - 1875


Map of Alnwick, showing location of Freelands

Alnwick Locality Map, with highlighting showing locations of Shilbottle and Alnmouth

Page updated: 14 Jan 2003