Researched and written by Christopher J. Hogger.

Julius Caesar Czarnikow came to Britain from Germany in the 1850s and built up one of the world’s greatest sugar brokerage companies, based in London but with branches and estates in many other countries. He resided with his family in both Belgravia and Effingham, owning Effingham Hill House (today’s St. Teresa’s School) and holding the lordship of Effingham East Court Manor. He contributed significantly to the parish and died in 1909. He and his wife are interred at St. Lawrence.

The family fortune was built on the sugar brokerage firm founded around 1861 by Julius Caesar Czarnikow. The latter, who preferred to be called simply Caesar, was a son of Moritz Czarnikow and Johanne (née Boer) and was born on October 2nd 1838 in Prussian Germany. One source states that he was of Polish-Jewish extraction and lived in the German province known as Thuringia.

Caesar emigrated from Germany to England in 1854 and in 1860 became a naturalised British Subject. The 1861 Census finds him living near Clapham Common and occupied as a colonial broker:

1861 Census
Clapham Common, Battersea, Surrey : PRO Ref: RG9 Piece 371 Folio 62 Page 36

Sarah Tibbit [or Tebbit] : head : widow : 73 : annuitant : Islington, Middlesex
Caisare [sic] Czarnikow : visitor : unm : 25 : colonial broker : Germany
and 1 boarder and 3 servants

He evidently returned to Germany in late 1862 as he was baptised there, at age 25, in Berlin Stadt, Brandenburg on November 24th [IGI: Batch C999113].

His future wife was Louisa Ellen Ashlin, born in 1840 [GRO Ref: Lambeth 4 183, 1840 (Q4)] to parents Spencer Ashlin and his wife Louisa (née Harvey) who had married at Battersea on July 12th 1837 [IGI: Batch I022163]. She was baptised at St. Matthew, Brixton on November 22nd or 23rd (the register is unclear) [IGI: Batch P015611].

Caesar and Louisa married in 1863 [GRO Ref: Wandsworth 1d 544, 1863 (Q1)]. Their wedding took place at Holy Trinity Church in Clapham on January 31st 1863 [IGI: Batch M058452].

By now he had already founded his sugar broking firm ‘Czarnikow & Co.’, in 1861, trading for a year or so at 18, Philpot Lane and then, from 1862 until his death, at 29, Mincing Lane. The firm later became ‘C. Czarnikow Limited’. Around 1865 he bought the house in which he was to live for two decades, ‘Elm Court’ in Lower Green, Mitcham. It had been built in the mid-1820s by John Parrott, in yellow brick with an Ionic porch, and was located near the cricket green. Caesar extended it by building wings on either side, as seen below.

Elm Court, now known as Mitcham Court (present day).

Also in 1865 their first child Horace Czarnikow was born [GRO Ref: Wandsworth 1d 464, 1865 (Q1)]. Their second, and last, child Ada Louisa Czarnikow was born two years later [GRO Ref: Wandsworth 1d 457, 1867 (Q2)].

The 1871 and 1881 Censuses both find the family at ‘Elm Court’ except that by 1881 Horace was a pupil at Harrow school.

1871 Census
‘Elm Court’, Lower Green, Mitcham, Surrey : PRO Ref: RG10 Piece 854 Folio 10 Page 13

Caesar Czarnikow : head : mar : 33 : colonial broker [at] Mincing Lane : Germany (Nat. Brit. Subject)
Louisa Czarnikow : wife : mar : 30 : — : Streatham, Surrey
Horace Czarnikow : son : unm : 6 : scholar (at home) : Streatham, Surrey
Ada Czarnikow : dau : unm : 4 : scholar (at home) : Streatham, Surrey
Mary Buchner : governess : unm : 22 : domestic governess : Germany
and 4 servants

1881 Census
‘Elm Court’, Lower Green, Mitcham, Surrey : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 827 Folio 77 Page 31

Caesar Czarnikow : head : mar : 43 : merchant : Germany
Louisa Czarnikow : wife : mar : 40 : merchant’s wife : Tooting, Surrey
Ada L. Czarnikow : dau : unm : 14 : — : Clapham, Surrey
Helen Smith : aunt : mar : 58 : solicitor’s wife : Wandsworth, Surrey
Rosa Wanklyn : visitor : unm : 14 : — : South America
Maria Buchan : governess : unm : 29 : governess : Germany
and 9 servants

1881 Census
High Street, Harrow, Middlesex : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 1357 Folio 42 Page 32

among many other Harrow School pupils
Horace Czarnikow
: boarder : unm : 16 : scholar : Clapham, Surrey

In 1884 Caesar’s son Horace matriculated, at age 19, at Brasenose College, Oxford University [Alumni Oxoniensis (1715-1886), Vol. 1].

During his years in Mitcham, Caesar presented the village with a new horse-drawn fire engine. Around 1886 he moved from ‘Elm Court’ and took up residence in London’s Belgravia. Specifically he moved to Grosvenor Place, about the most expensive address to live anywhere in the world. Also at about this time he bought from Admiral Frederick Augustus Maxse the Effingham property Effingham Hill House with half its associated land and the Manor of Effingham East Court [from The History of Effingham, O’Connor]. This purchase must have taken place no later than March 1887, because on March 26th of that year the Leamington Spa Courier published a notice of hotel arrivals which included mention of Caesar’s children Horace and “Miss Czarnikow” – presumably Ada Louisa – arriving at the Clarendon Hotel and having address “Effingham Hill, Dorking”. We do not know how Caesar apportioned his time between these, and possibly other, residences. However, the 1891 Census finds him at his Belgravia address:

1891 Census
No. 41, Grosvenor Place, St. George Hanover Square, London : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 72 Folio 7 Page 7

Caesar Czarnikow : head : mar : 53 : merchant : Germany (Naturalised British Subject)
Louisa Czarnikow : wife : mar : 50 : — : Surrey
Alice Goodhart : visitor : unm : 40 : — : Surrey
and 8 servants

It was in 1891 that Caesar formed a partnership, based in New York, with George Rodgers MacDougall, creating the firm ‘Czarnikow, MacDougall’ as the North American branch of Caesar’s London brokerage ‘C. Czarnikow Ltd.’. George was the son of Samuel MacDougall and Mary Allan (née Rodger(s)) who had married at West parish in Greenock, Renfrewshire on November 14th 1839 [IGI: Batch M119577]. He was born on July 22nd 1843 and baptised at Greenock on August 20th [IGI: Batch 7329014]. These early records spell the surname as ‘McDougall’ but in adult life George always spelled it ‘MacDougall’. By 1891 he had become an accomplished and respected figure in Greenock and was effectively headhunted by Caesar to lead the new operation in New York. He was immensely successful there, turning the firm into one of the largest sugar trading businesses in the world. In New York he enjoyed high esteem in both the sugar trade and in society at large.

In 1897 another significant player entered the scene, namely Manuel Rionda y Polledo, usually referred to simply as ‘Manuel Rionda’. Two older brothers of his – born, like him, in Spain – had built up a major business dealing in Cuban sugar. Meanwhile, Manuel had established a strong reputation as a Wall Street sugar trader, having spent ten years up to 1896 working for ‘J. M. Ceballos & Co.’. He now left that company and was taken on by ‘Czarnikow, MacDougall’ as a commission agent. By 1898 his brothers Joaquin and Francisco were both dead. The former had drowned in 1889 and the latter had died in New York in November 1898 – he had fled with his family from Cuba, whose civil war had led to insurgents destroying the sugar-cane plantations there and bringing Cuba’s sugar industry to ruin. Manuel now began to pick up the pieces in Cuba, putting in significant investment to rebuild its sugar trade and enabling ‘Czarnikow, MacDougall’ to become the dominant company by 1903.

Manuel Rionda y Polledo.

In 1899 Caesar’s daughter Ada Louisa married George Seymour Charles Jenkinson D.S.O. [GRO Ref: St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 1020, 1899 (Q3)]. About the end of 1900 they produced a son Robert Charles Horace Jenkinson [GRO Ref: St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 433, 1901 (Q1)].

By 1901 Caesar had moved to a new Belgravia address, No. 103, Eaton Square. Nearby, at No. 93, was the family of Charles Edward Lambert who, like Caesar, had interests in Effingham. The 1901 Census finds Caesar in Eaton Square and looking after his new grandson, while the boy’s parents were living at ‘Lamport Grange’ near Hanging Houghton in Northamptonshire:

1901 Census
No. 103, Eaton Square, St. George Hanover Square, London  : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 84 Folio 106 Page 40

C. Czarnikow : head : mar : 63 : colonial merchant : Germany (British Subject)
Louisa Czarnikow : wife : mar : 60 : — : N.K. [not known], Surrey
Sybil A. Phillips: ward : unm : 5 : — : N.K., London
Charles R. Parkinson [sic – Jenkinson] : grandson : unm : 4 months : — : St. Peter’s, Eaton Square, London 
Kaye Seaton : visitor : unm : 28 : — : N.K., Herefordshire 
and 12 servants

1901 Census
‘The Grange’, Lamport parish, Northamptonshire   : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 1437 Folio 57 Page 7

Charles Jenkinson : head : mar : 43 : Major (retired Army officer) : Dripshill [near Madresfield], Worcestershire
Ada [Louisa] Jenkinson : wife : mar : 34 : — : Mitcham, Surrey
and 4 servants

During this period it is highly probable that Caesar, like his above-mentioned contemporary Charles Edward (I) Lambert, resided in Effingham at those times when business did not demand his presence in London. O’Connor [ibid.] wrote the following of him:

“When Mr. Czarnikow bought Effingham Hill House and the Manor of Effingham East Court, he maintained it in all the tradition of a squire, holding a harvest feast on August Bank Holiday when all workers and tenants on his estate received presents of tea and tobacco. He gave the pulpit in Effingham [St. Lawrence] Church and was a generous contributor to church funds.”

The latter observation is reinforced by a comment in Buildings of England, Surrey [Pevsner, 1971, p.207] that Caesar had donated to the church “mosaic and terracotta panels flanking the reredos [to] depict Gabriel and Oriel”. (However, Pevsner gives the date of this as 1911, two years after Caesar had died.)

Effingham Hill House : from the Mary Rice-Oxley Postcard Collection.

Note that the above postcard styles the property “Effingham Manor”, referring here to the manor of Effingham East Court. The portrait below shows Caesar probably near the end of his life:

Julius Caesar Czarnikow (painting by Hubert von Herkomer).

In 1907 Ada Louisa’s husband George Jenkinson died in Northamptonshire aged “49” [GRO Ref: Brixworth 3b 58, 1907 (Q3)].

In 1908 Horace married Charlotte Mackinlay May [GRO Ref: St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 613, 1908 (Q1)]. The following year their daughter – and seemingly only child – Margaret was born [GRO Ref: Kettering 3b 148, 1909 (Q2)].

Caesar suffered heart failure during the night of April 16-17th 1909 and was found dead in bed the next morning [GRO Ref: St. Geo.H.Sq. 1a 266, 1909 (Q2)]. A day later this notice appeared in The New York Times:

The New York Times : April 18th 1909.

and this notice was published in one of the sugar trade journals:

The Hawaiian Planters’ Monthly [Vol. 28, No. 5, May 15th 1909].

His worth on death was reported as £696,000 for his British estate plus the value of his other large estates in the West Indies and Africa; another report gave his total worth as £774,009. O’Connor [ibid.] records that The Times described him as

“… one of the most remarkable merchant princes of modern times whose name will continue to live in the great commercial concerns, the basis of which he built entirely with his own hands.”

The 1911 Census finds his widow Ada Louisa in Belgravia:

1911 Census
No. 7, Lygon Place, Belgravia, London : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 436 Schedule 53

Louisa Czarnikow : head : widow : 70 : private means : Brixton, Surrey
and 8 servants, including:
Florence Power : scullery maid : unm : 21 : scullery maid : Bermondsey, London

The above servant Florence (née) Power would later become the mother of Peter James Patrick Nicholls, one of the Effingham servicemen who died in the Second World War.

Meanwhile, Ada was still at Lamport Grange and Horace was about 12 miles away at Cranford Hall:

1911 Census
‘Lamport Grange’, Lamport, Northamptonshire : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 8499 Schedule 27

Ada [Louisa] Jenkinson : head : widow : 44 : — : Mitcham, Surrey
Robert Charles Horace Jenkinson : son : unm : 10 : — : Westminster, London
John Anthony Jenkinson : son : unm : 4 : — : Westminster, London
Katherine Mary Seaton : visitor : unm : 40 : — : Goodrich, Ross [on Wye]
and 9 servants

1911 Census
‘Cranford Hall’, near Kettering, Northamptonshire : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 8563 Schedule 95

Horace Czarnikow : head : mar : 46 : private means : Mitcham, Surrey
Charlotte Czarnikow : wife : mar : 33 : private means : Paddington, London
Margaret Czarnikow : dau : unm : 2 : — : Cranford, Northamptonshire
Robert Diamant : nephew : unm : 4 : private means : London S.W.
and 11 servants

Cranford Hall near Kettering, Northamptonshire.

Very soon after this census Louisa died in London aged “70” [GRO Ref: St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 255, 1911 (Q2)].

Later that year her daughter Ada Louisa remarried to a company director George Edward St. John Frederick (Baronet) [GRO Ref: St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 1002, 1911 (Q4)].

Horace presumably enjoyed a vast inheritance from his father’s estate, enabling him in 1913 to purchase the magnificent Tudor manor house Barnwell Manor, together with its adjacent Barnwell Castle built in 1266, from the Duke of Buccleuch. He used this house as a lavish hunting base until selling it in 1920. It was later the home of the Duke of Gloucester up until 1995.

Barnwell Manor, Northamptonshire as seen from its nearby castle.

Effingham Hill House had meanwhile been left by Caesar to his daughter Ada Louisa. She soon afterwards sold it to Azalea Caroline Keyes who in 1912 married Count Lewin Haust Falkensteine. Azalea in turn sold it in 1916 to Mr. R. R. Calburn who thereafter held the manor of Effingham East Court for many years. The house became a convent in 1928 and subsequently became St. Teresa’s School.

Horace died in Hampshire aged “68” [GRO Ref: Kingsclere 2c 251, 1933 (Q3)] and Ada Louisa died in Northamptonshire aged “80” [GRO Ref: Brixworth 3b 449, 1948 (Q1)].

Caesar and Louisa were buried at St. Lawrence a few yards from the east side of the church. Their grave is marked by the substantial cross shown below:

To the memory
Caesar Czarnikow,
of Effingham Hill
Born October 2nd 1838
Died April 17th 1909

“In the midst of life we are in

Louisa Czarnikow,
widow of the above.
Died April 29th 1911 aged 70

The Czarnikow grave at St. Lawrence Church, Effingham.