Parsons Family Heritage

A heady concoction of arts and sciences over many generations...

The 3rd Earl of Rosse         Sir Charles Algernon Parsons

Born in Yorkshire, the 3rd Earl of Rosse built the world's largest telescope at the family seat of Birr Castle in Co. Offaly in Ireland in the 1840s. This giant reflecting telescope was known as "The Leviathan of Parsonstown" (as Birr was then named) and was used to discover the spiral nature of nebulae. He married Mary Field, also born in Yorkshire, who was an accomplished blacksmith and early photographer, mastering the art of daguerreotypes. They produced many children, only four of whom survived to adulthood, the youngest of whom was Charles Algernon Parsons.

Sir Charles Algernon Parsons founded C A Parsons and Co (now a division of Siemens) and invented the steam turbine in 1884.

Oliver and Anne Messel     Tony, Lord Snowdon

Oliver Messel was a famous artist and creative theatre set designer. He would often work with his sister (my grandmother) Anne who was a society beauty and who went on to found the Victorian Society in 1958 with her husband, The Earl of Rosse at the Messel town house of 18 Stafford Terrace. Anne had four children including royal photographer, the Earl of Snowdon.


Living in various grand houses over the generations resulted in a broad range of influences, many if which my father, Martin, put to good use when creating and growing Womersley. In my mother, Aline, he found a level of love and devotion who was keen to work with him in producing lots of inspired flavours, many of which last to this day.