Three hundred years of Roman Catholic family life and influence at Lartington Hall came to an end in 1910 when the estate was sold and the memory and exploits of former squire Henry Witham became embedded in time, waiting to be unearthed at a future date. That time has come as the renovation of The Witham, named in 1846 as a memorial to Henry by his friends, is now complete.
This exhibition was the culmination of work carried out by volunteer researcher June Watson of Lartington, who spent six months delving into Henry’s background, as well arranging for Dr Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London to come and give a talk at The Bowes Museum in September 2013. Dr Falcon-Lang discussed the controversial evidence that Henry had plagiarised the method for the microscopic study of the structure of fossils discovered by palaeobotanist, William Nicol, and published the method as if it were his own in his landmark book, Fossil Vegetables.
Henry Witham has been a figure shrouded in mystery until fairly recently. The exploration of the truth has revealed a fascinating story of loveable rogue whose financial misdemeanours, double-crossing and philanthropic endeavours have left a remarkable legacy.
To view The Real Henry Witham by June Watson click here