The Atherleys were a prominent local family from the 17th to 19th centuries. There were many Atherleys mentioned in town records in the late 17th century, but their relationships are not always clear, particularly because the eldest son was nearly always given the name Arthur.
The first Atherley of note was Arthur Atherley, maltster, who was mentioned in town records on a number of occasions in the late 17th century. Several of his children were baptised in St Michael’s church between 1664 and 1674.
His eldest son, also Arthur Atherley (1664-1741), was apprenticed to an ironmonger in 1769 and went on to be a successful High Street merchant and was twice mayor of the town. He appears to have lived on the High Street close to the Bargate, as he was described as living in All Saints parish in 1772. He also leased a house, yard and garden further down the High Street and a house in French Street.
The son of this second Arthur, also Arthur, and a Richard Atherley, possibly his uncle, continued the family business into the mid 18th century. Both were prominent in the affairs of the town and were both twice elected to the position of mayor.
The Arthur Atherley (1746-1820) of the next generation was also twice mayor of the town. He considerably enhanced the family fortune by marrying Susannah, daughter of Sir John Carter. This marriage brought into the family Landguard Manor on the Isle of Wight.
Their son, Arthur Atherley (1772-1844), was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and in 1793 married Lady Louisa Kerr, daughter of the fifth Marquis of Lothian. He was elected as MP to represent Southampton in the parliaments of 1806-07, 1812-18 and 1831-35. He later moved to Brighton, leaving his younger brother George (1782-1856) to continue the family business.
George’s son, another George Atherley (1818-1883), succeeded his father and was the last Atherley to be active in town affairs.
In the 19th century the family were involved in banking, their name appearing in a number of banking partnerships in the town.
Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p31-38. (HS/h)
Shirley from Domesday to D-Day, Hilary Kavanagh et al, p9, 10, 22. (HS/h.SHI)
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