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Patrick Heron (1736–1803)

Patrick Heron of Kirroughtree was a Scottish banker and politician. From 1794 to 1803 he was a Whig Member of Parliament for Kirkcudbright Stewartry, he was the grandson of Patrick Heron of Kirroughtrie, MP for the Stewartry from 1727 to 1741. His mother Margaret was the daughter of John Mackie of Palgoun, he was educated at the University of Glasgow. He married Jean Home, in 1761, daughter of Henry Home, Lord Kames, but the couple were divorced in 1772. In 1775, he married Lady Elizabeth Cochrane, daughter of Thomas Cochrane, 8th Earl of Dundonald, cousin to the diarist James Boswell, he was a founder of a bank in Ayr, Heron & Company, which went bankrupt during the Credit crisis of 1772. Heron was elected unopposed at a by-election in March 1795 as the MP for the Kirkcudbright Stewartry, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Alexander Stewart, his election was the result of a deal brokered with the support of Henry Dundas whereby he was to alternate the seat with two others. However, Heron managed to keep the seat for himself and was re-elected unopposed in 1796.

At the general election in July 1802, he faced a contest from the Tory candidate Montgomery Stewart, son of the Earl of Galloway. Heron was returned, but Stewart lodged a petition, on 10 May 1803 the result was overturned in Stewart's favour by the Committee of the House of Commons which heard the case; the campaigns are recorded in three works by Robert Burns, now known as the Heron Ballads. Burns was himself a supporter of Heron: An' there will be trusty Kerroughtree, Whose honour was his law,If the virtues were pack'd in a parcel, His worth might be sample for a'. Heron died on 9 June 1803, aged about 68, he was survived by a daughter Mary. She had married John Maxwell, who changed his name to Heron-Maxwell when they inherited Mary's father's estates; the following year he succeeded to his father's baronetcy, becoming Sir John Heron-Maxwell, 4th Baronet. Patrick Heron at jamesboswell.info The Heron Ballads at The Literature Network

Speedwell Castle

Speedwell Castle is a mid-18th-century house at the centre of Brewood, between Wolverhampton and Stafford. Described by Pevsner as a "peach" and a "delectable folly", it stands beside the village market place, at the head of a T-junction on Bargate Street, facing onto Stafford Street; the house is an interesting combination of "Gothick" and Classical architecture: the symmetrical brick façade has two canted bays, each of three storeys, either side of a pillared entrance with ogee portico and octagonal-panelled door. There are five windows around each bay on each floor, a single window on the two floors above the entrance, with decorative plasterwork arranged in tiers of round-headed arches with keystones and ogee arches rising to pinnacles surmounted by acorns; the glazing is arranged in a delicate tracery of hexagons. The façade is finished by a modillion cornice and parapet, concealing a hipped slate roof with brick chimney stacks; the interior includes one surviving decorative plaster ceiling and a Chinese Chippendale staircase with fretted balustrade.

The house became a grade II listed building in 1953. The designer is unknown but some sources suggest Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, who worked nearby in Shropshire; the house has some similarities with Sandhurst House in Stourbridge, Shenstone Hall near Lichfield. The design may have been inspired by the books published in the 1740s by Batty Langley, who attempted to improve Gothic forms by giving them classical proportions. Speedwell Castle was reputedly built by a local apothecary William Rock, using the winnings from betting on the Duke of Bolton's racehorse, Speedwell.. After a period as the home of the classics master at Brewood Grammar School in the second half of the 19th century, it became a reading room in the late 19th century, it was used as shops and storage until the 1930s, when it was converted to residential flats. The'delectable folly', Brewood's Speedwell Castle, Birmingham Post, 2 April 2010 Speedwell Castle and Coven, British Listed Buildings Historic England. "Details from listed building database".

National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 July 2013. Staffordshire, Nikolaus Pevsner, p.78 Brewood: Introduction and agriculture, A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 5: East Cuttlestone hundred, pp. 18-40. Views of Speedwell Castle, Staffordshire Past-Track: c.1970-1989 1974 c.1905-1915 c.1896-1910