Strathard Heritage Digital Archive

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The History of Forest Hills-1 Dalveagh and the Fanshawes 1903-1937.

                                           

    This is one of several articles associated with the history of Forest Hills. They trace its ownership for the first 100 years and offer an insight into  how the place has changed.

    In May 1903 Evelyn Leighton Fanshawe <ELF>(18541909) purchased land to the east of Ledard Farm to build a house. It was purchased from the Duke of Montrose. ELF described the potential build as “this is not just for a summer lodge but a permanent residence”. He estimated the cost of build at “not less than £7,000” (in today’s cost between £650k and £2million) [1].Negotiations were fairly intense as ELF was keen to ensure that issues associated with a nearby quarry, the use of a natural stream for potentially other properties and the number of available boats on the loch were addressed. Agreement was reached and the total amount of land sold was approximately 8.75 acres.

    An extract from the Feu document and a map associated can be viewed at the National Records of Scotland.

    In the 1901 census, ELF, his wife and mother in-law lived nearby in Dun Dubh .The architect for that was Thomas Greenshields Leadbetter who was also commissioned to develop plans for what became  Dalveagh. Having purchased the land, the house took a few years to build and the family moved into Dalveagh in 1906.

    There are varying views as to meaning of the word Dalveagh. Louis Stott referred to it as meaning “little field or birch field” whereas Sion Barrington considers that it refers to a high meadow.

    Image 1 Dalveagh early image
      Image 2 Dalveagh staff having a picnic.

    According to the 1901 census Evelyn was aged 47 and described as a retired barrister. He was born in  London and was one of 6 children of Edward Gennys Fanshawe and Jane Cardwell. His father was Admiral Sir Edward Fanshawe GCB (27 Nov 1824-21 Oct 1906) who went on to become Commander-in-Chief in Portsmouth.

    ELF went to Balliol College Oxford and was called to the Bar in November 1879, having passed examinations on 15 January 1879 on Roman Law and Legal Education in October 1879. Fanshawe was a member of the Inner Temple and In November, 1879, he began work in his uncle Sir Henry Thring’s office (afterwards Lord Thring), and remained there until 1895, when his health broke down.[2] During this time he appears to have contributed to ideas on legislation on both sides of the Atlantic.[3] 

    He and Frances Sophia Fanshawe married on 15th October 1887. They did not have any children. The Fanshawe family had significant naval connections. He was the younger brother of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Fanshawe and an uncle to Captain Guy Dalrymple Fanshawe. On 15th January 1909 ELF died at the age of 55 at Delrow, Christchurch Hampshire. He was interred in Bournemouth. In his will Evelyn left estate in Lancashire as well as Dalveagh to his wife for her life, with the remainder to his brother Admiral Fanshawe.

    Image 3 Will of Evelyn Fanshawe Published as “Interesting Scottish Wills”

    Frances Sophia (known as Fanny) was born on 25th July 1854 in Siemiatycze, Grodno, Russia. She was a daughter of Charles Alexander Fanshawe who  had been a General in the Russian Army. She continued to live at Dalveagh until 24th January 1923 when she died of acute bronchitis caused by influenza at the age of 68. Her heir was Sir Arthur Fanshawe.

    Image 4 Postcard dated 1913 from Frances to a friend.

    Her mother Althea Hedwige was born 21st February 1825 in Warsaw, Poland but lived with Frances for much of her life and died on 2nd April 1916 at Dalveagh-aged 91.

    Admiral Sir Arthur Fanshawe 1847-1936 an older brother of Evelyn belonged to a family of Admirals, the first of whom was Charles Fanshawe who died in 1756. His great-great grandfather Robert Fanshawe was commissioned at Plymouth at the time of the battle of Trafalgar. He was the son of Admiral Sir Edward Gennys Fanshawe. Sir Arthur was a commander before he was 27 and a captain at 34.

    Image 5 Admiral Sir Arthur Fanshawe

    Sir Arthur was in command of the Channel Squadron from 1899-1900, and became Commander in Chief of the Australian Station in 1902 for 3 years. He subsequently became Commander in Chief at Portsmouth and was President of the Royal Naval College Greenwich. He reached the highest rank of Admiral of the Fleet in 1910, became the Senior Admiral on the active list in 1915 and retired 2 years later at the age of 70. He died in London at the age of 88 on 21st January 1936 having lived much of his life at Donnington Hall near Ledbury in Herefordshire. It appears that Sir Arthur was the inheritor of Dalveagh from Frances but in day-to-day terms Guy Fanshawe, Sir Arthur’s son, appears to have been a  beneficiary and subsequent occupant of Dalveagh. However, after Guy left in 1930 the Admiral did spend some time living at Dalveagh .

    In the very early 1930s there was much excitement with the arrival of an American seaplane on Loch Ard. This may well have been when Admiral Fanshawe was in residence. It docked near the Glassert and according to Marjory Brown amongst those viewing it were George McAlpine, (her grandfather) and Mrs. Thorpe-the housekeeper.

    Image 6 Seaplane on Loch Ard 1930 with onlookers.

    Whilst Dalveagh was occupied by the Admiral Fanshawe Loch Ard was very much the place for admirals. Admiral Hyde Parker and 2 other admirals were at Couligarten and rear Admiral “Bim” Stirling was at Ledard.[4]

    Guy Fanshawe After Frances’ death in 1923 Guy Dalrymple Fanshawe moved to Dalveagh and lived there at various times until 1937. Born in 1882 , he was educated at Twyford School in Winchester and HMS Britannia; he had an extensive navy career rising to the rank of captain. He joined the Royal Navy as midshipman in 1898 and was involved in the Boxer Rising in 1900 where he was mentioned in dispatches.

    Image 7 Guy Fanshawe 1920s Election campaign.

    Guy also served in World War 1 where he was again mentioned in dispatches. He was promoted from Lieutenant Commander to Commander on 31st December 1915. After the Great War he was on the Naval Inter-Allied Commission of Control in Berlin from 1920 until his retirement from the Navy in 1923.By then he had risen to the rank of Captain but left owing to the post war cut backs in the Navy known as “the Geddes Axe.” He did serve again during World War 2 at the Admiralty.

    Grace Ireland was born on the Dalveagh Estate in 1926 in the garage cottage. Her father was chauffeur and her mother cooked for the Fanshawe family. She remembers the fields and woods behind Dalveagh where they went for a picnic and to gather hazelnuts. She attended Kinlochard School, the teacher was Miss Watson until she and her family left the area in 1934.[5]

    Image 8 The Ireland Family     

    A major feature of Dalveagh was its location and wonderful gardens.

    Image 9 Mack McGaughie-(gardener at Dalveagh) at Loch Ard with Jenny Winters-a house maid, an unknown housemaid and Annie McAlpine from Drumlean.

    GDF and Politics: Guy became politically active while living in Dalveagh and perhaps this played a part in his ultimate decision to sell the property. He was MP for West Stirlingshire from October 29th 1924 to May 30th 1929.  He made his maiden speech on 6th March 1925 on the subject of Industrial Peace. He was laterally PPS to the Secretary of State for Dominions and Colonies. In the 1929 election he was defeated by Johnston who was returned with a majority of 3590, albeit with a larger electorate.

     According to Peter Joynson[6], GDF having been defeated in the Stirling seat decided to seek and nurse a seat in Norfolk. In May 1930 he left Dalveagh to reside at Bixley Manor in Norwich having been adopted the Unionist candidate for East Norfolk.

    Guy never became a Unionist candidate in Norfolk which were generally safe Liberal seats. He was put forward as a Conservative candidate for East Norfolk in 1930 but did not contest the subsequent election “in the interest of national unity”.

    Having been away he returned to Dalveagh in July 1935. By early 1937 he had sold Dalveagh and it was then to become The Forest Hills Hotel.

    After Dalveagh: In the late 1930s GDF was selected as the National Conservative candidate for the Frome Division in Somerset. Around the same time, he asked to be considered for the Wells seat. With war intervening the situation changed and in early 1941 he was called back to London to assist the war effort.

    Fanshawe became a vice-president of the Royal National Life-Boat Institution in 1947. He served on the Committee of Management of the RNLI from 1925. For many years he was chairman both of the boat and construction committee and of the depot sub-committee.

    On 16th August 1910, he had married Louisa, daughter of Colonel, the Hon. Sir Henry Crichton KCB by whom he had 3 sons and one daughter. She was a second cousin of the Earl of Erne. His wife died in 1948.

    He was a member of several clubs including Carlton; Royal Yacht Squadron. Two of Guy’s brothers (Peter and Rob) were also in the Navy and a 3rd brother John served in the Army joining the Argyll’s.

    Fanshawe died at Midhurst on 19 June 1962.

     An obituary published in the RNLI Publication “the Life-Boat” in September 1962 stated: “No member of the Committee of Management was ever more assiduous in his attendance at meetings, and throughout his period of service on the committee his enthusiasm for the service and his interest in every aspect of it were boundless.”[7]

    St. Mary’s Church Aberfoyle:  The Fanshawe family were instrumental in providing the church with a very great deal of what “makes” a church. At various times this has included the floor, the pews and the wall panelling. All of these were gifted by Frances Fanshawe in 1912 in memory of her late husband Evelyn Fanshawe. Until 2009, there was a memorial window in the south chancel in memory of Althea Hedwige Fanshawe, commissioned by her children after her death. With the family’s consent the window was moved in 2009 into the west window which previously had been made of plain glass.[8]

    Image 10 The Fanshawe Windows

    The Fanshawe Bequests: This information emerged from research at The National Records Office. The original bequest was in a cocodil of ELF, dated 16th April 1904. Following his death in 1909 this was enacted. It stated:

    “£500, with absolute discretion for the benefit of the inhabitants of Aberfoyle Parish without special reference to any particular religious denomination”.

     It was designated that the Ministers of Aberfoyle Parish Church and St. Mary’s should administer the bequest. A further bequest for £500 was in the will of his widow Frances Fanshawe to add to the previous amount. The Fanshawe Family made other gifts to the local community including a very large swing in the Kinlochard School.

    In “A Brief History of Forest Hills”[9] reference is made to at least 2 ghosts who visit regularly. One is of Frances Fanshawe and the other is said to be the butler who it is reported to have worked at Dalveagh for 30 years. He was said to have been devastated when asked to pack up the house for the move to Norfolk. “He did as instructed, packed up, closed up the house and promptly hung himself”. My exploration of police records and newspapers cannot find any reference to a suicide or sudden death in the area at that time. Also, a review of web sites which reference ghostly activities do not mention Dalveagh or Forest Hills as an area of interest.


    [1] National Records of Scotland  GD220/7/4/105.

    [2] Correspondence from Ian Robertson 18.5.2021.

    [3] Correspondence from Ian Robertson 18.5.2021.

    [4] Local Past P.A.Joynson pp210 self-published June 1996.

    [5] Kinlochard Village web site Memories of Kinlochard-Grace Ireland

    [6] Conversation with PA Joynson circa 2012.

    [7] The Lifeboat Vol XXXVII September 1962 No.401 p. 337.

    [8] St Mary’s Church Aberfoyle a Brief History-published by St Mary’s Episcopal Church Aberfoyle 2000.

    [9] A Brief History of Forest Hills is an unpublished leaflet available from Forest Hills Hotel.