LONG ASSOCIATION: The Tilly, Bailey and Irvine office in barnard Castle
LONG ASSOCIATION: The Tilly, Bailey and Irvine office in barnard Castle

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Tilly Bailey & Irvine is close to celebrating 33 years in Barnard Castle and, as the firm enters 2019, it reflects on its history and roots within the town.

Beginning in 1817, William Watson, founder of Watsons, was admitted as Attorney at Law on 31 January 1817 and Solicitor in the Chancery two weeks later. He began practising in Barnard Castle in 1820 and, at age 26, was elected Secretary and Treasurer of the Barnard Castle Agricultural Accountants Society, a post which he held for 48 years. In 1840, William Watson Junior - nephew of Mr Watson - joined the firm and together they became W. & W. Watson. Watson Jr took a keen interest in the town and became one of the first Governors of Barnard Castle School.

In 1863 W. & W. Watson’s expansion warranted a new office, and they moved to 8 Newgate, where Tilly Bailey & Irvine remain today. The firm had several name changes with the introduction of William James Watson and later Harry Crawford Watson. Harry Crawford Watson’s eldest son, Colonel William Innes Watson, was admitted as a solicitor in 1929 and took over the firm, along with many other appointments, from his father in 1929. Colonel William Innes Watson was the last practising Watson and changed the firm’s name to Messrs. Watson after World War II.

Whilst Tilly Bailey and Irvine’s history dates back to 1842, having recently celebrated the wider firm’s 175thanniversary, it was in 1985 that Tilly Bailey & Irvine took over Watsons. Michael White relocated from the firm’s Hartlepool office and was the first Partner in Barnard Castle where he remained until his retirement. Colonel Watson remained with the firm as a consultant and died in 1988.

Looking at the present, the office continues to serve the local area and assist local residents with wills, lasting powers of attorney, estate administration, divorce and finances, pre and post-nuptial agreements estate planning and conveyancing advice.

Helen Dexter (Partner and head of the office) has enjoyed practising in Barnard Castle for over 22 years. Helen joined Tilly Bailey and Irvine in 1996 and began her career in Barnard Castle the following year. Helen specialises in Wills, inheritance tax and trusts, estate administration, lasting powers of attorney and property matters. Similar to the Watsons before her, Helen is also a fellow of the Agricultural Lawyers Society and has particular expertise in farming and agricultural matters.

Brian Farrell (Partner) has been at the firm for 10 years and has practised in Barnard Castle since 1981. Brian lives locally and is particularly familiar with the area, specialising in conveyancing and matrimonial work.

If the firm can be of assistance please call the office on 01833 638 326 to arrange an appointment.