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Richard Wrightson 1788 of Cockerton Hall


RICHARD WRIGHTSON

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Birth:   1788, of  Cockerton Hall  Death:  1830

 

RICHARD WRIGHTSON (50) of Cockerton Hall was born in 1788, and from 1812 to 1816 was an officer in the
North York Militia. During this time he was stationed with his Regiment in Ireland, and while there became acquainted
with the family of the late Alderman Wrightson of Dublin. My father says " they called upon him, and claimed relation-
ship. He found them possessed of great wealth and respectability." It is possible that Lady Anne Scott, the daughter of the
Alderman, may be referred to; but I think it more probable that he met with her relative, another Richard Wrightson, who
about that time held the high, but now abolished, office of Master of Ordnance for Ireland, and was the grandfather of
my friend, the present head of the Irish Wrightsons. Poor young Richard of the Militia was naturally of a very amiable
and humourous disposition, but was utterly devoid of moral firmness. Habits of intemperance, at first contracted among
his gay and reckless brother officers, increased to so terrible an extent, that he became at last a perfect slave to drink,-in fact;
the one drunkard we have ever had in our family. He was twice married,-first to an Irish girl, and then to a daughter of
the Rector of Kilvington near Thirsk. All that had come into his part of the family, either from his great-uncle William
Wrightson of Sedgefield or otherwise, had, along with the lovely Dinsdale estate, disappeared amidst extravagance, 

and Richard found himself in really narrow circumstances. Suddenly, to his
great delight and surprise, he and his wife received an invitation to stay for some time with old Mrs. Garth of Cockerton Hall ;
and the invitation was soon understood to indicate that he was to be treated as her heir. For a short time he was careful in
his conduct ; but at last there was an uncontrollable outburst, and his sad state was seen and fully realized by Mrs. Garth.,
It was worse than anything she had imagined; and, as George Hind told me, " it was too much for her ." " I have done
wrong," exclaimed she to her two faithful attendants; " all will De ruined,-lost ! " She took to her bed. It was too late
to alter her will, and she died amidst her agitation on the Ist December 1829. On the 29th of the same month Richard
made his afterwards famous will, which left everything, over which he had control, absolutely to his childless wife. Within
a year the poor fellow drank himself to death; and in six months more his now wealthy widow was again a wife.

CORDELIA WRIGHTSON (47), who after the death of Richard was the last surviving member of her family, was born
in 1784. When her father's establishment at Thirsk was broken up, she accompanied her widowed mother to Edin-
burgh, and in 1828 married a Scotch lawyer of the name of Patrick McGregor. All seems to have gone on well for some
years, until certain suspicious circumstances, touching the making of Richard's will, came to the knowledge of her
husband and herself. These circumstances, together with its strange and unusual character, induced them to contest its
validity, For many years, in various courts of law, the once famous suit of " McGregor and wife v. Topham and wife "
dragged on its weary and heart-breaking way,-pouring upon our family a flood of painful notoriety, and involving my dear
father in his last heavy pecuniary loss. At length, on the 23rd of July 1850, the celebrated Lord Brougham gave judg-
ment in the House of Lords against McGregor and his wife. They were utterly and entirely ruined by the enormous costs,
and both died a few years later dependent on the charity of  friends.