Henry Davenport III
Henry Davenport (1678-1731) was the son of Henry Davenport of Hallon, Shropshire. He inherited his father's estates following the death of his eldest brother Sharington. He married twice, firstly Mary Lucy Chardin who died in 1712, and secondly Barbara Ivory, the sister of John Ivory who had inherited Lacock from Sir John Talbot.
Henry had three children by his first wife: Sharington, Mary Elizabeth and Mary Lucy. Sharington married Gratiana Rodd and their family took over the Davenport family home which Henry had built in Hallon in 1726. Mary Elizabeth eloped with a man her father did not approve of, John Mytton, and died a few years later.
Henry joined the East India Company when he was 18, and was based at Fort St George. His first wife was the daughter of a merchant associated with the East India Company. He progressed in the Company to Deputy Governor by 1713 and led an uprising to recapture Fort St David in that year, when it had been taken over by a rebellious colleague, Robert Raworth. He wrote a diary and several letters about the events.
Henry was the person chosen to replace Robert Raworth as the deputy governor of Fort St David. Understandably, Raworth was less than impressed and flatly refused to give up his fort and his position. Diary entries and copies of Henry Davenport’s letters, mostly to Edward Harrison who was the governor of Fort St George, describe the behaviour of Raworth and his supporters, and the actions they tried to take against the local men and Henry Davenport himself. He writes in one letter of 16th October: "Raworth is so ill a man that no reason will have an effect over him. I am of the opinion…That when reduced to the last extremities he will make away with himself, the sooner the better". He understands that Raworth will try to make up stories about him that suggest his own bad behaviour rather than Raworth’s, for example explaining to William Warre and Reverend George Lewis the development of the offensive so that they will be “armed against any complaints Mr Raworth may make against me”.
Davenport wrote in one part of his diary, “Immediately after we passed the river when was sent a Peon to Ensign Hobbs to summon him to his obedience to the Right Honourable Company, and for what was passed should be forgot; he returned answer that Mr Raworth was his governor and he knew no other, so could not quit his post without his order after we were all over the river...the deputy governor sent Mr Burton to summon the officers and soldiers to return to their obedience to the Right Honourable Company, who all peremptorily refused except Sergeant Fox that came to us upon second summons and submitted himself to the order of the deputy governor, telling him that Mr Raworth had kept the men in a continual heat of liquor, which he believed was the occasion of their being obdurate, during this parley a single horseman from the fort who we perceived came to view us, and immediately returned when Mr Raworth was so kind to salute us with an eighteen pounder, which fled just over our heads, and lit between us and the garden, this was enough to provoke men of the best tempers to have revenged themselves, when it lay in our power to have cut off every man that was lodged in the gardens but to show Mr Raworth and the rest of his rebellious crew, we delighted not in blood, we marched to secure Cuddalore, between which and Trepopalore he fired a second short at us”.
It is likely that Davenport behaved in a slightly improper way with Raworth and probably showed a lot more arrogance than he should have done, as the Company at one point were ready to bring charges against him. However, he was made deputy governor of Fort St David on 10th October 1713, and then had a few days of problems with Raworth who refused to give up his position.
Henry's second marriage, to Barbara Ivory, was a happy one and during this marriage he rebuilt the family home in Hallon, Worfield. Sadly he died only five years after its completion. He had only one child survive into adulthood with Barbara, William Davenport, whose son William Davenport Talbot inherited Lacock through the will of John Talbot of Lacock who had died childless.