The Harris family

It is appropriate that some history of this family should be noted. The family moved into Leicester from Worthington in about 1750. Joseph Harris, born in 1797, married Eliza Gibson of Thrussington in 1828 and in 1843 bought Westcotes, a fine William and Mary house on the outskirts of the town. He was the first President of the Leicester Law Society in 1861, and died on 21st February 1882 and was buried at St. Mary de Castro Church.

Their eldest son, also named Joseph, was born on 23rd March 1831. He became an M.A. of Trinity College, Oxford, was Rector of Sheepy, and married Susanna Clark of Harmston Rectory, Lincoln in 1862. It was he who built and endowed the Church of the Martyrs in 1890. At that date he lived at Herm House, Eastbourne. He died two years later and was buried at Ocklynge, Eastbourne.

Joseph and Susanna had three sons. Revd Joseph Montague, born 1864; William Cecil, born in 1869; and Henry Blackwall, born in 1871. Joseph married Edith Annesty Malcolmson. William married Rhoda Mary Barclay, daughter of Dr Barclay, who acted as Sanitary Medical Officer for the Borough prior to 1849. He was a local historian and lived in The Newarke, Barclay Street being named after him. Henry died unmarried in 1929.

Revd Joseph Montague Harris had two daughters and a son, Sir Ronald Montague Joseph Harris KCVO CB, who became First Church Estates Comissioner. Joseph Montague built the Vicarage of the Church of the Apostles, and died aged 99 years in 1964.

William also had two daughters and a son, William Barclay Harris QC. He was President of The Leicester Law Society in 1930, and he planned, developed and improved a large part of the West End of the city. It was he who laid the foundation stone for the new Parish Hall in 1927, he died in 1942.

Henry was also a solicitor and was Chairman of Directors of the first Garden City at Letchworth. He died in 1929.

Joseph and Eliza’s second son, Samuel, was a solicitor with his father. He married Charlotte Georgina Woodd of Conyngham Hall, Knaresborough. They had seven children of whom only two daughters married. Alexander, the eldest son was a solicitor. He died a bachelor, as did the younger son, Frederick William (see below). The eldest daughter, Margaret, married a clergyman in the West Indies, and had four children. Constance, Beatrice and Dorothy were unmarried, but Edith married Captain Neilson a Scot, whose daughter, Miss Mary Neilson, has provided the commentary of Sykefield (see content list above).

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