Displaying items by tag: Kibworth Harcourt
The Parker Family - Coat of Arms (Or is it?)
William Parker (the younger) built The Old House in Main Street, Kibworth Harcourt in 1687 and the house became the Parker family home. The Old House has five windows to the first floor and the central one above the front entrance to the house is surmounted by a scrolled pediment containing a Coat of Arms depicted below:
Extensive research has been carried out in the official records of Arms and pedigrees at The College of Arms in relation to the Parker family of Kibworth Harcourt and the Arms displayed on the Old House.
During the 16th and 17th centuries Officers from the College of Arms went out about every three years to visit (known as a Heraldic Visitations) every County to oversee the use of Arms and to check the pedigree of the gentry. The records from the visitations form the core of the records of the College archives.
There is no Parker surname recorded in any of the Heraldic Visitations to Leicestershire. Further searches by the College of Arms revealed no record of a Parker in Kibworth Harcourt having a Coat of Arms. The Indicies of the Grant of Arms also had no record of any Parker in Leicestershire.
A search of the pictorial indices granted by the English Kings of Arms to find a record of the Arms displayed on the Old House discovered that this Coat of Arms was granted to a man named Parker living in Essex in the reign of Henry VIII. The unique design of the Coat of Arms was granted by Letters Patent dated 21st February 1537 to Henry Parker of Frith Hall, Essex for him and his descendants. There is no evidence that the Parker family of Kibworth were in any way related to Henry Parker of Frith Hall, Essex. The College of Arms are of the opinion that at some stage the Parker family of Kibworth started to use the Coat of Arms belonging to the Parker family of Essex.
Clare and Steve Langan
The College of Arms, London
Sir Charles Hayes Marriott MD, FRCS, DL, (1832 – 1910)
Charles Hayes Marriott was born in Kibworth Harcourt on 18 October 1832, he was the son of John Marriott MRCS, and his wife Georgiana. The Marriott family had a history of medical practice in Kibworth, his father practiced for fifty five years and his grandfather also practiced in Kibworth for over fifty years.
Charles attended Uppingham School and after leaving school went to Northampton Hospital where he was a pupil of Henry Terry, a Surgeon at the hospital. After three years' apprenticeship at Northampton Hospital he moved to University College Hospital, London in 1854, where he lived with Dr William Jenner, Assistant Physician to the Hospital and where he received personal tuition from the eminent Physician. He was acting as a House Surgeon at the Hospital and his studies earned him several prizes. He gained Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1858, became an MB London and achieved Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in 1859.
In the same year he was appointed House Surgeon at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and after two years in that position he opened a private practice in Leicester. In 1861 he was elected Surgeon to the Infirmary.
Charles Marriott married Lucy, daughter of the Reverend John Gilson in 1862 and they lived in the family home, Harcourt House, Kibworth Harcourt where they had they had six children, four boys and two girls; Harcourt House was a large dwelling on the A6 with 18 rooms and included a garden of approximately two acres.
He became an MD in1863 and very quickly built up his practice and was acknowledged as the foremost surgeon in the district. He recognised the importance of scientific training for nurses and he was largely instrumental in founding the Leicester Trained Nurses' Institution and was a member of the governing body for many years.
He was fond of animals and for many years was Chairman of the local branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Charles Marriott was elected to the General Council of the British Medical Association in 1874, and in 1877 became President of the Midland Branch. He was also a member of the Committee of the Medical Defence Union, Chairman of the Leicester Bacteriological Institute and he was a founder member of the Leicester Committee of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Outside his professional career he was very active serving his community in many ways. He was a Deputy Lieutenant of the County and served as a Justice of the Peace and he was the first Chairman of Kibworth Harcourt Parish Council. His services to the village and the wider community are commemorated by the naming of a street, Marriott Drive off New Road in Kibworth Harcourt and The Marriott Ward at The Leicester Royal Infirmary.
He was also involved in national politics and was the Chairman of the Market Harborough Branch of the Liberal Unionist Party.
A keen cricketer Charles Marriott was President of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club and captain of Kibworth Cricket Club. He was the only player to have hit a cricket ball out of the old ground over Fleckney Road and over the since demolished Johnson & Barnes hosiery factory on the corner of Fleckney Road and Dover Street.
Sir Charles Hayes Marriott’s services to the Medical Profession were recognised in 1904 when he was awarded a Knighthood by King Edward VII.
Sir Charles Marriott died on 14 February 1910 and was buried on 17 February in the churchyard of St Wilfrid’s Church, Kibworth.
Sir Charles’ four sons all inherited his skills as a cricketer and whilst they lived in the village all played for Kibworth Cricket Club. Harold Henry Marriott, the youngest of the four sons, was a stylish right-hand bat who played for Cambridge University, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, and the MCC as well as appearances for the Kibworth team.
When Sir Charles’ widow died in 1930 the family decided to sell the house and land (See also Harcourt House and Marsh Drive - Modern). This was purchased in 1931 by A E Tate and Company, a local builder, who developed the site over the next 20 years resulting in the Harcourt Estate on the A6 Leicester Road and a new road, Marsh Drive, running between Leicester Road and Langton Road.
Kibworth and District Chronicle
Royal College of Surgeons of England
The British Medical Journal
Kibworth Cricket Club
The transcripts of the documents are as accurate as possible although some words are indecipherable and those words are marked by a ▬. Copies of the original abstract documents precede the transcript
The Last Will and Testaments of William Parker (the elder) and William Parker (the younger)
Copy and transcript of the last will and testament of William Parker (the elder)
The transcripts of the documents are as accurate as possible although some words are indecipherable and those words are marked by a ▬. Photographs of the original abstract documents precede the transcript
Abstracts of Mr Peach’s title to an estate in Kibworth Harcourt in the County of Leicester.
Copies of Kibworth Harcourt Village Deeds c1235 to 1301
Each image of the fifteen deeds is followed by a typed version - where the words are legible!
Grant from Richard of Harcourt to Seker his son of all his manor of Kibworth. Witness Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester; Sir Roger of Lueney, Earl of Winchester; Sir Robert of Lueney; Sir Philip Lunel; Sir Robert of Harecurt; Sir Henry of Harecurt; William of Harecurt; Thomas the Clerk (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
Grant from Saer de Harcourt, Knt., to John the Farrier (le Ferron), citizen of London of his manor of Kibbeworth of Leicester receiving only the advowson of the chapel. Witnessed: Sir William Bagod; Sir William of Kilby; Sir Richard of Harington; Sir Nocholas of Hastings; Robert of Rumes; Richard of Harrington; Robert of Wiuile; Robert of Martinans, (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
1263 September 25
Grant from Saer of Harecurt to Robert Wyteside, of Thorp, of two borates of land in Kibwurth, to wit, one formerly held of the donor by Robert, son of William the Reeve, and the one formally held by the doner by William of Langton, together with all appurtenances and with the aforesaid Robert, son of William, the Reeve, and William of Langton, and all their sequelae and chattels. Witnessed; Richard Haldeyn, of Flekeneye; Hugh Seneret, of the same; Richard the Hunter (Venator) of the same; William of Gundi, of Neuton; Richard, son of Robert, of the same; Peter, son of Roger, of the same; William of Regns, of Kibworth; William his son; Robert Aaron of the same; Robert of Marnham, of Reresby; Walter the Clerk; (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
1270 October 23
Grant from John the Farrier (le Ferron), citizen of London to his especial friend Dom. Walter of Merton formerly Challencor of his manor of Kibbeworth, Leicester, with the advowson of the chapel of the same manor. Witness: Dom. Master of Lutleby; Master Roger of Seton, Justice of the Bench; Sir William Bagod; Sir William of Ryleby; Sir Richard of Harrington; Sir Nicholas of Hastings, Rutgbls; Robert of Wyuill; William of Rumes; Robert of Martynans; Richard of Brademese, of the County of Surrey; Richard of the More in the County of Bucks; Roger Jay Clard, of Bucks; Eustace the Fleming. of Hants. (Liber Ruber fo.29d.)
1270 October 26
Grant from Saer of Harcourt to his friend and companion (socins) Dom. Walter of Merton late Challencor of the manor of Kybbeworth which manor John the Farrier (le Ferron) held of the said Saer and afterwards gave to the said Walter. (No 2874). Witness; Dom. Martin Lutlebir and Master. Roger of Seton, Justices of the Bench; Sir William Bagod; Sir William of Kyleby; Sir Richard of Harington; Sir Nicholas of Hasting; Robert of Wyrell; William of Rumes; Robert of Martynans; Richard of Bradenose, of Surrey; Richard of the More, of Bucks; Roger Jayllard, of Bucks; Eustace of Fleming, of Hants. (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
1270 October 26
Another form of the preceding grant in which the date is omitted and it is stated that Walter of Merton gave the donor £400 for his grant. . (Liber Ruber fo.29d.)
1270 October 29
Copy of enrolment of a star of acquittance from Cok, son of Cresse, to Walter of Marth(un) of his claim upon the manor of Kybworthe by reason of my debts due to the said Cok from Saer of Harcourt. He also agrees to hold him quit of claim from any other fees. (Liber Ruber fo.30.)
Grant from Richard of Harrecurt to Robert, son of Richard the Parson of Glynhale of half a virgate of land in Kibbeworthe, which Robert, son of Matilda held, and of eight acres of land in the fields of the same town, whereof 1 acre lies on Litlehul near the land that Roger Wyther held; 1½ roods lie under are Blakelondes, near the land that Yuo, son of Henry held; 1½ roods lie upon Blakelonde near the land held by Reginald at the Well; ½ an acre lies in Crowenersihe near the land Alexander, son of Robert holds; 1 rood lie upon Reyland near the land that Robert Joye holds; 3 roods lie at Walwrtes near the land that Hugh Hurtlebole holds; 1 acre lies under Pesecrofte; 1? roods upon Sesecroft near the land that Robert Joye holds; 1? roods lie under Northut near the land that Reginald at the Well holds; half an acre lie at Stalegate near the land that Robert Brun holds; 3roods lie in Sesilsike near the land that Reginald at the Well holds; 1 acre extends into Boretlesdale near the land that Roger Wyther holds; 1 acre extends into Sesilsike near the land held by Nicholas, son of Simon the Reeve. Witness; Robert Noel; Henry Wyshard; William of Stok; Clno, son of Henry of Kibworth; William of Reys; John of Flechen, Clerk; Richard Halding, of the same; Richard the Huntsman, of the same; Willian Gundisy, of Neuton; Yro, son of Roger of Kibbeworth; Silvester the Clerk.
1271 May 15
Final concord made at Westminster between Walter of Merton, demandant, and Saer of Harcourt deforciant, of the manor of Kibbewurth Harcourt, which the deforciant acknowledges to be the right of the demandant, and of the gift of John the Farrier (le Ferron) and of the gift and confirmation of the said Saer. John the Farrier was present at the making of the first and acknowledged that he had no right or claim to the said manor. (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
W. of Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick to Ralph of Heya and his other Bailiffs charging them not to impede Dom. Walter of Merton or his assigns in the possession of the manor of Kibbeworth, of the fee of the said Earl, which he has confirmed to the said Walter his especial friend. (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
Grant from William of Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, to his especial friend Dom. Walter of Merton, late Challencor of the King of England, the manor of Kybbeworth, of the fee of the said William which John the Farrier (le Ferron) gave to the said Walter. Witnessed; Sir Robert Walerannd, Sir Walter of Heylon, Sir Bartholomow of Suthlegh; Sir Thomas of Arderne; Sir Walter of Cokeseya; Sir Roger Corbet; Richard of St. John; Richard of Brademere. (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
1273 June 18
Release from Margery, widow of John the Farrier (le Ferron) citizen of London to discertus viz Dom. Walter of Merton to her claim to dower in the manor of Kybbeworth. Witnessed; John Adryan; William of Durham; Gregory of Kelegh; Phillip the Tailor (Le Taylur); Henry le Waleys; Richard Bonanenture; Master Jeffrey the Clerk (le Clerc). ‘Item is to interfuerant’; Ralph of Algate, clerk of the Sherriffs of London; William of Salisbury (Sars). Geffrey of Angre; William of Lutlebys; John of the Hale. . (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
1274 June 22
Release from Richard of Sadynton and Matilda his wife, daughter of Syo of Kybbeworth to Walter of Merton, Lord of the manor of Kybbeworthe, of free pasture for four cattle in the demense pasture of Kybbeworth, part of the free pasture for eight cattle enjoyed by the releasers. Witnessed; Master Nicholas of Muselegh; William of Langgeton; William of Leynes; William Dudekyn; Thomas of the Dune; Roger Jallard; Richard of the More; (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
1276 January 8
Grant from Walter of Merton, Bishop of Rochester to his sister Editha wife of Thomas Tayallard, of eight marks of rent in his manor of Kibbeword to be received from the tenements of Richard of Sadington 10s., of Nicholas the Smith half a mark, of Robert Sibile 10s., of Seolastica 10s., of Roger Johie 10s., of Ralph the Carter (Carrettarens) 10s., of Hugh Godwine 10s., of John son of Hugh, 10s., of Henry Polle 10s.; of Matilda, sister of Robert the Carpenter 10., of Hawisia of Kilmers, 10s., to have and to hold to the said Edith for the augmentation of her sustenance for the term of her life; provided that if she survive the asforsaid Thomas her husband and have her land and dower in the manor of Aeton in peace, or if the said Walter shall at another time provide for her more fully, then the said 8 marks are to revert to him or his assigns holding the said manor. Witnessed; Robert, son of Nigel; Roger Jayllard; William Dudekin; Nicholas of Thedden; Andrew of Hotot; Richard of Brademere;Thomas of Chaston; Roger, son of John of Litlebur; Walter the Gardener, Clerk. Dated at Hallings’ (Liber Ruber fo. 29d.)
(Fine impressiom of seal)
1300-1 February 16
King Edward I. Licence for Master Henry of Fodringeye and Master Robert of Cardevre to assign 8 messuages, six virgates and two acres of land and 4 marks of rent in Kibbeworth Harcourt to the Warden and and Scholars of Merton and for the Warden and Scholars to receive the same notwithstanding the Statute of Mortmain.
Written / translated by David Adams
Acknowledgements: Clare and Steve Langan
British History on Line
R.H. Hilton, Kibworth Harcourt A Merton College Manor in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
In 1235-36 Richard de Harcourt was holding land in Kibworth from the Earl of Warwick, and it is probable that this was the manor of Kibworth Harcourt. The Harcourt family retained the manor until 1265 at which time the size of the manor was calculated for Exchequer purposes and gives an insight into the estate and its value;
One mesuage and 10 virgates in demense worth £7 12s 0d., 18½ virgates in villeinage of land, each virgate being worth 16s per annum.
Rents from free tenements and cottars amount to 38s 10d. per annum.
Fixed rent from 1 virgate free land worth 6s 8d. per annum.
One mill worth 20s 8d. per annum in rents.
A render of 4 capons at Christmas worth 6d.
Total value of the manor, £26 0s 8d. per annum
In 1265 the manor was seized from Saer de Harcourt by Henry Ⅲ because of Saer’s allegiance to Simon de Montfort (Earl of Leicester) who led the rebellion against the King. In 1267, the King handed over the manor to William Mauduit, Earl of Warwick.
In 1267 the King pardoned Saer de Harcourt and the manor was returned to him in 1268 by William Mauduit’s widow. However it is believed the Saer had financial problems and in consequence he transferred, possibly as security for debt, the manor, less the advowson, to John le Ferron, a Farrier of London.
On October 23 1270 John le Ferron granted to Walter of Merton the manor of Kibworth, with the advowson of the chapel of the same manor and on the 26ᵺ of the same month Saer of Harcourt granted to Walter of Merton, for the sum of £400, the manor of Kibworth Harcourt which John le Ferron held. The payment of £400 by Walter of Merton to Saer de Harcourt for the manor of Kibworth Harcourt appeared to be below the actual value of the manor possibly due to the Saer anxiety to urgently raise money.
On May 15 1271 the manor of Kibworth Harcourt was legally transferred from John le Farron and Saer de Harcourt to Walter of Merton.
Walter died in 1277 and he had six heirs. Two of Walter’s heirs gave up their shares to Merton College in 1278. After protracted negotiations and some substantial payments the remaining heirs gave up their shares of the manor to Merton College. This resulted in Merton College holding the whole of the Kibworth Harcourt manor.
There was a lesser manor in Kibworth Harcourt in the early reign of King Henry Ⅲ which was held by Lawrence of Apetoft. William de Harcourt, Saer de Harcourt’s grandfather, had granted 10 virgates of land to Lawrence of Apetoft during the early part of the 13th century. The Apetoft manor appears to have remained separate from the main Kibworth Harcourt manor and passed through a number of hands before being held by John le Ferron and subsequently by Walter of Merton. The Apetoft manor was granted to two fellows of Merton College, Master Henry of Fodringeye and Master Robert of Cardevre c1295 who in turn conveyed the manor to Merton College. This conveyance was challenged by the Earl of Warwick, however in 1300-1 King Edward Ⅰ dismissed the challenge and the conveyance of the Apetoft manor to Merton College was confirmed and became part of the main manor of Kibworth Harcourt.
Merton College holds the manor to the present day.
Written by David Adams
Clare and Steve Langan
British History on Line
R.H. Hilton, Kibworth Harcourt A Merton College Manor in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
On the north-east boundary of Kibworth Harcourt and to the east of Carlton Road stands Kibworth Hall, a grade ll listed building. The Hall is a square Georgian mansion standing in an extensive park and has an embattled parapet and hoodmoulds to the windows. Internally there was a fine staircase with an iron balustrade.
Built c1825 by the Humfrey family who lived in the Old House, Kibwirth Harcourt. (See The Old House-Early Modern) John Benjamin Humfrey and his wife Charlotte moved into the newly built Hall. When John Benjamin Humfrey died in 1864 his son and heir Richard Buckley Humfrey inherited Kibworth Hall.
Following the death of John Benjamin Humfrey his widow Charlotte had a stained glass window erected in the north east asile of St Wilfids Church with the words:
‘In Affectionate Rembrence of JOHN B HUMFREY. Born Dec. 21st , 1794 ; Died June 24th , 1857, in the 63 year of his age’.
Richard married Marian Matilda Hotchkin from Tixover, Rutland and they had had two daughters Florence Marianne and Letitia Blanch. Richard Buckley Humfrey died in 1878 and the estate passed to his two daughters.
After this date the Hall was occupied by Colonel the Hon. Arthur Edward Hardinge, Knight of the Legion of Honour, who in 1858 was appointed Equerry to HRH Prince Albert and when Albert died he became Equerry to Queen Victoria. In 1877 a Mr. Featherstone lived in the Hall. Ownership of the Hall moved to Rowland Hunt MP in 1870. Rowland Hunt was head of a family which had owned property and land in Shropshire since Edward III. He had married Florence Marianne Humfrey, daughter of Richard Buckley Humfrey, co-heiress with her sister Latitia Blanch of Kibworth Hall. They had 10 children, one of whom, Agnes Hunt, was co-founder of Shropshire Orthopedic Hospital.
The Hall, in 1888, came into the possession of Colonel the Hon. John Worthy Chaplin CB. VC. Colonel Chaplin joined the 67th regiment and fought in China where he was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. He was the founder and first President of Kibworth Golf Club. He died in 1920 and his grave is marked by the largest memorial in Kibworth cemetery. His daughter married Major Sweetenham whose name appears on the Kibworth War Memorial.
Col JW Chaplin VC
On 22nd August 1918 J Toller Eady, Auctioneers of Market Harborough, held an auction to sell Kibworth Hall and The Old House on behalf of Rolland Hunt MP. Details of the result of the auction are not known however it is believed that William John Bellville purchased Kibworth Hall. He died as the result of a hunting accident in 1937 and is buried at Carlton Curlieu churchyard. His nephew, Anthony Bellville, inherited the Hall and lived there until he decided to move to the Isle of Wight. The Hall was then rented to the Home Office. In 1942 it became the St Mary’s Home for Girls and was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society. It was used as a wartime evacuation home for children from the St Mary’s Home for Girls at Felixstowe which had operated as an Approved School since 1935. In 1945 the Society bought the Hall and it continued to operate as an Approved School until 1955. At this time the Church of England Children’s Society took over the Hall providing accommodation for 30 children between the ages of 8 and 15 years. In 1958 Kibworth Hall was taken over as part of Glenfrith Hospital and became not just a hospital but a loving home for mentally handicapped patients.
When Sister Pentalek headed the nursing staff she instigated many changes during her time there. In the past it was possible for patients to lose their identities and become completely institutionalised. Sister Pentalek believed that every patient should be treated as an individual with the right to a normal a life as possible. She organised shopping trips, social events, summer outings and much more. Mrs Everett was in charge of everyday therapies teaching handicrafts, music and movement. Rev. Fred Dawson, Rector of Kibworth from 1979 to 1994, gave his support and held a weekly service at the Hall.
The League of Friends were an invaluable group of ladies who gave their time to help with shopping and outings as well as fund-raising activities. Olive Marsden was a member of the League of Friends for over 25 years. She remembers helping to take patients shopping and they particularly enjoyed visiting Annie Lee’s shop in Kibworth. They loved their yearly trip to Leicester to see the Christmas lights. Olive mentioned the fund-raising events and she particularly remembers bingo at the village hall.
The League of Friends members:
l-r back row, Kathleen Blower, Dorothy Burrows, Phyllis Ringrose, Rosemary Barnes, Betty Burbidge,
l-r front row, Olive Marsden, Iris Tomlinson, Mrs Whitney, Annie Lee, a member of staff, Beryl Lloyd.
After more than 30 years, when many changes had taken place, the residents of Kibworth Hall moved to new homes in and around the Market Harborough area.
The Hall and grounds were sold in 1990 to John Littlejohn, a local builder, and became a private residence once again. Four private houses were built in the grounds of the Hall. After John’s untimely death in 2014, the family continued to live there until it was sold to private owners in 2016.
Kibworth Hall was not only a home for the aristocracy but for children and adults who were able to lead a normal and varied life in a splendid residence set in such beautiful countryside.
Written by David Adams
A large part of this article was taken from an article by Isobel Cullum published in the Kibworth & District Chronicle in January 2015. I am very grateful to Isobel for her permission to use parts of her article.
The Kibworth & District Chronicle
British History Online
F P Woodford
The Old House Main Street (front) aspect
The Old House stands at the junction of Albert Street and Main Street in Kibworth Harcourt. The house, dating from 1678 and the garden walls are Grade 1 Listed Buildings. The house is a red brick building with stone dressings and is remarkable for its period, both because of the use of brick is early for this district and as an example of the fully developed Renaissance house which is rare in Leicestershire before the beginning of the 18th century. The house consists of two stories, cellars, and attics. It is approximately rectangular in shape with a Swithland slate hipped roof with brick ridge stacks, dormer windows, and a symmetrical front. Built in red brick with coursed rubble stone plinth rusticated stone quoins, stone dressings and band and moulded stone cornice. The mullioned and transomed windows are surrounded by moulded stone architraves and there are two small oval lights in the centre of the north wall facing Albert Street. The front of the house faces west onto Main Street and has five windows to the first floor, the central one being flanked by pilasters and surmounted by a scrolled pediment containing a coat of arms. Below the pediment is the date 1678. The Coat of Arms (three escutcheons each charged with a pheon) is possibly the arms of the Parker family (see The Parker Family of Kibworth Harcourt part 4-early modern). The central doorway, which might be a later addition to the house, has a rectangular open stone porch with three stone steps, two Tuscan columns supporting an entablature with plain frieze and blocking course.
At the front of the house is a semicircle of iron railings on a stone plinth, a pair of gates with spear head finials with urn finials at intervals. These railings were added to the house circa 1773.
The house has a very fine interior staircase with twisted balusters and some original paneling.
The garden walls, approximately 2 meters high extend from the rear of the property along Albert Street and from front right corner along Main Street. The wall was built in 1862 along with an extension to the rear of the house.
During the years 1890 to 1895 The Old House was connected to the water and gas supply.
Written by David Adams
Steve and Clare Langan
British History Online
Article written by Angela Hall
General James Lochhead Jack lived in Kibworth Harcourt from 1923 until 1962, he was a well-known local figure and is still remembered.
Childhood and Early Military Career:
James Lochhead Jack was born on 18thApril 1880, the eldest son of Peter and Mary Jack of Paisley. His father was a carpet manufacturer who owned a business in the town. Tragically his mother died when he was only seven.
From an early age Jack developed a passion for horses and riding which lasted throughout his life. His father regularly hunted with the Lanark and Renfrewshire Foxhounds and this is where Jack's love of fox hunting developed. His early schooling took place in Scotland and it was also here that he began his long military career, as in 1897 as a private in the Merchiston Castle School Cadet Corps he attended a public review in the presence of Queen Victoria.
In 1898 he became a Private in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (A&SH), and during 1899 was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the same battalion. He was nominated for service in the South African War early in 1901, where his column was involved in sweeping the Eastern Transvaal clear of the enemy. Jack was awarded the South African War Medal with five clasps.
From 1904-1909 Jack served in India, where he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. At this time Jack played polo whenever possible and was involved in two accidents which laid him up for several weeks, one involving a blow to the shin which nearly cost him his leg. Early in 1910 his battalion arrived in Bloemfontein for a two-year tour.
A letter sent to his father in February 1910 describes a typical day:
"Up at 6am. Ride from 6.30am until 8am. Office 9-2pm. Lunch 2pm. Work in quarters till about 4pm. Ride or tennis till 7pm."
In May 1910, Jack was told of the death of his father. They had always enjoyed an affectionate relationship and he said afterwards:
"His last present to me, a very handsome gift sent shortly before his death was a cheque with which I bought a good polo pony Throughout our lives together he never saved himself any pains to ensure the welfare of my brother and myself."
Jack's equestrian activities also continued during the years leading up to the Great War. He entered many races or point to points riding his hunters Home Park or Ardscull Boy.
"In April 1914 Home Park seemed to be winning the Adamhill Cup, when I came to grief at the last fence,"
His memoirs record. Fox hunting was also a regular activity and Jack enjoyed many outings with the Warwickshire Foxhounds and the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt among others.
James Lochead Jack 1919
The Great War:
Jack served with distinction during the Great War, and was awarded a number of medals including a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Bar, and the French Croix de Chevalier. Throughout the war he recorded his daily activities in a diary which was published in 1962, after his death. He would make daily jottings in a small notebook and then expand his notes from memory while out of the line. The result is an extremely valuable primary source of information describing the appalling conditions of the Western Front.
Jack started the war as a Staff Captain with the 19th Infantry Brigade. From August to November 1914 he took part in many of the early actions, including Mons, Le Cateau, the Retreat to Paris and the battles of the Marne, Aisne and Armentieres. On August 12th he recorded a sad entry in his diary:
"A note from the Remount Department tells me that my two remaining private hunter horses, Ardscull Boy and Home Park have been taken for the army - the first war wrench."
Later that month he describes the scene when troops retreating from Mons arrived in Le Cateau.
''......it is heartrending to witness the exhaustion of all ranks after their march of almost 23 miles in steam heat and heavily loaded..... The men have scarcely been off their feet for three days besides having had no more than snatches of sleep or scraps of food because of transport delays through road blocks."
After Le Cateau, Jack was awarded the Croix de Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. In his diary he remembered that another officer was nominated for the award at the same time:
"But he died and I lived..... and I always consider that I wear the medal as much for him as for myself"
During November 1914 Jack was sent home on sick leave after catching a "feverish chill" After his return in December, conditions on the Western Front remained grim:
''.....nearly all the trenches became almost knee deep, or deeper in water and mud during the winter.... The men had no protection from the weather apart from their waterproof capes rigged up as shelters behind the parapets...."
In June 1915, Jack was appointed to command a company in the 2nd Battalion of the Cameronians. He took part in the action of Bois-Grenier in September; this coincided with the Battle of Loos in which British forces suffered major losses.
Captain Jack (right) 1915. (General Jack’s Diary)
Jack's battalion moved to the Somme area in April 1916, where preparations were soon taking place for a major assault that was planned for July. The action started on June 24th with a ceaseless bombardment of the German trenches, and on the 28th Jack recorded:
''......the air reverberates to the drum of our cannonade, the shells from which we hope are blasting the enemy and his positions into powder".
On June 30th he moved up to the front line where the assault was to be launched early the next day. He did not expect to survive:
" About 4.30am on July 1st, following an almost sleepless night of work and tension, with the deafening cannonade, too, still ringing in our ears, I rose, shaved - there was not enough water for washing - slipped on tunic, boots, accoutrements and silver spurs in order to be properly dressed for, likely enough the last time."
The diary describes in detail the actions that he was involved in that day, which has been described as the blackest day in British military history. At the end of his entries for July 1sthe says:
"I quitted the field on which such brilliant success had been expected that fine summer morning, leaving behind, dead or maimed in that vast garden of scarlet wild poppies, some ninety percent of the officers and about sixty per cent of the other ranks of the twelve infantry battalions of my division."
He was indeed fortunate to survive!
After this Jack was appointed to command a battalion in the West Yorkshire Regiment and while still serving on the Somme front was successful in capturing the village of Villers-Guislain. This involved an advance of nearly a mile into German held territory, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for this action. The recommendation read:
''.. his gallantry and soldierly example to all around him is most inspiring"
Brigadier-General Jack on 'Oudenarde', Cologne, 1918. (General Jack's Diary).
In May 1917 the Regiment quitted the Somme and was moved to the area around Ypres. Jack became involved in the third Battle of Ypres otherwise known as Passchendaele, and in July took part in an assault on an area known as Bellewarde Ridge. He was severely wounded and hospitalized for six months. At this time he heard bad news about casualties suffered by his battalion:
"Being dangerously ill at this time, the news that almost all my boy officers had fallen caused me a serious relapse”
Jack finally returned to the Western Front in July 1918 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 1st Battalion of the Cameronians. He received a telegram requesting his attendance at Buckingham Palace to be presented with his DSO by George V. In the autumn he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General in command of the 28th Infantry Brigade. His involvement in the last series of engagements of the War, near Courtrai in Belgium earned him a Bar for the DSO. His records include a certificate signed by Winston Churchill awarded:
"for gallant and distinguished services in the field."
After the Armistice, Jack continued his army service in Germany until 1921. He suffered serious injuries while riding in a steeplechase and retired with the rank of Brigadier-General. A confidential report by a senior commander, Sir Phillip Robertson sums up his war service:
"An experienced first-rate officer with excellent power of command and drive. Very hard working, most reliable and thoroughly sound. Is a strict disciplinarian, never spared himself on active service and was most cool and gallant. Excellent horseman."
Post World War I:
The Old House, Kibworth Harcourt
In June 1923, Jack married Miss Jeannette Watson of Hamilton. Shortly afterwards he purchased the Old House in Kibworth Harcourt and the couple settled in Leicestershire. The main reason for this relocation was Leicestershire's reputation for excellent fox hunting. His memoirs state:
"My very popular young wife, being a brilliant horsewoman to hounds and our home standing at the very centre of fashionable hunting England, a county practically all grass with scarcely any plough. We have indeed had a happy time in the saddle with the Fernie, Quorn and Pytchiey Hounds...."
General and Mrs. Jack
Jack regularly took part in many point to points and other races, winning a Farmer's Race in 1929 and the Fernie Hunt Cup in 1931. His memoirs record that since the end of the Great War he had suffered four broken collar bones, several fractured ribs and many concussions sustained in racing or hunting. He tells of an amusing incident that occurred in a race in March 1931:
"Had the rider of another horse in my lap at one fence and heaved him back gratefully into his saddle."
This artists impression of General Jack is taken from an illustration entitled:'Followers of the Fernie'dated 1927 by 'the tout'.
This drawing featured all regular participants to the meet. (History of the Fernie Hunt 1856-1987).
Jack was an active member of the Fernie Hunt Committee for several years. He took up various other public appointments locally including becoming a Magistrate on the Harborough Bench and President of the local British Region branch. In 1931 he was honoured to be appointed an Aide de Camp to George V. This involved attending many official and public functions to assist the King or act as his representative.
During World War II, Jack was asked to raise and command the Market Harborough Battalion of the Local Defence Volunteers, later known as the Home Guard. Within fifteen days 2,500 men were enlisted and eventually armed with private sporting rifles and shotguns. Many were ex-servicemen and the Battalion soon gained an excellent reputation. Its area extended from North of Billesdon, southwards to the Harborough - Bosworth Road and from Great Easton, westwards to Lutterworth. Its role was to watch for hostile landings from aircraft, report them and delay the enemy until the arrival of regular troops. An amusing incident occurred in Kibworth one evening. Jack had agreed to assist the local ARP warden whenever needed and it had been agreed that he could be contacted at night by someone pulling a cord that was suspended from his bedroom window. This cord was tied to a chair next to his bed, the idea being that the rattling chair would wake him. On this occasion the system failed miserably until the noise awoke Mrs Jack in an adjoining room. She entered to find the chair dancing about the room and her husband still sound asleep.
The fact that he was a Magistrate did not exempt Jack from the wrath of the local Bench. In October 1940 the Market Harborough Advertiser reported that he had been fined 10s (50p) for having an out of date driving licence. The reason given was that:
"He was working over twelve hours a day on Home Guard and other duties"
The licence was 62 days out of date. Again in November 1940 he was fined £1 for failing to obscure lights in his house during the blackout.
In later life Jack continued to take an active role in the local community, holding a number of public positions. He carried on riding and hunting with the Fernie Hounds until the late 1950s. Local Kibworth people have very fond memories of him, one writes:
“General Jack lived at the top of Albert Street where I lived with my parents. I remember him as a very kind gentleman”
Another resident describes him as a:"perfect Victorian gentlemen".
General Jack was President of the Market Harborough Branch of the Old Contemptibles Association and on 15th November 1962 the local paper reported on the annual Remembrance Service:
"One familiar figure was missing from the service - Brigadier General J. L Jack of Kibworth. It was the first time for as long as anyone could remember that the President had not been able to attend. The reason was ill-health."
General Jack died on December 22nd 1962. A quote from one of his favorite poems, Finis Exoptatus by Adam Lindsay Gordon provides a suitable ending.
Life is mostly troth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.
Mr. Fernie’s Hounds at Foxton (History of the Fernie Hunt 1856-1987)
Fernie Hunt at Evington Village. (History of the Fernie Hunt 1856-1987).