Rowland Crewe ALSTON J.P. M.A. 
- Born: 14 Feb 1852, Odell BDF
- Christened: 28 Mar 1852, Odell BDF
- Marriage (1): Mary Elizabeth JOHNSON  on 17 Aug 1882 in All Hallows Allerton West Derby LAN
- Marriage (2): Catherine McKECHNIE  on 23 Dec 1916 in Odell BDF
- Died: 12 Jan 1933, Odell BDF aged 80
- Buried: 16 Jan 1933, Odell BDF
Rowland was J.P. Lord of the Manor and Patron of the livin
g of Odell.
Educated at Brighton and Peterhouse College Cambridge, B.A.
1876. Lived at Harrold Hall, Bedfordshire.
Rowland Crewe. Alston. College:PETERHOUSE Entered: Michs. 1872
Born: 14 Feb 1852 Died: 12 Jan 1933 Adm. pens. at PETERHOUSE, Oct. 1, 1872. S. and h. of Crewe (1848), Esq., of Odell, Beds. B. Feb. 14, 1852. Matric. Michs. 1872; B.A. 1876. School, Brighton College. Adm. at the Inner Temple, Nov. 23, 1877. Of Odell Castle, Beds. J.P. Lord of the manor. Patron of the living and owner of almost the whole village with which he and his ancestors had been associated for over 300 years. Twice married and had issue. Died Jan. 12, 1933, aged 81. Buried at Odell. Brother of Vere S. (1872). (T. A. Walker, 541; The Times, Jan. 13, 1933; Burke, L.G.)
Cambridge University Alumni
55 ALSTON, Rowland Crewe (1852-1933) [Who Was Who May 2003]
Categories: Biography Summary: Details: ALSTON, Rowland Crewe, JP; eldest son of late Crewe Alston, and 1st wife, Mary, eldest daughter of late Rev. Hugh Speke, Dowlish Wake, Somerset; born 1852; married 1882, Mary Elizabeth, only daughter of late Richard Alison Johnson, JP, Woolton House, Lancaster; one son three daughters. Education: Brighton; St Peter's College, Cambridge (BA 1877). Work: Lord of the Manor of Odell; Patron of one living. Heir: son Rowland [late Coldstream Guards; born 1888; married 1910, Dorothy, eldest daughter of late C. G. Pym]. Address: Odell Castle, near Bedford. Clubs: Arthur's Wellington. Died: 12 January 1933
Ref: Know UK CD - Colin Fenn
Magistrates for the County 1890
Rowland Crewe Alston Harrold Hall Bedford
Kellys Directory Bedfordshire 1890.
Divorce Court File: 16503. Appellant: Mary Elizabeth Alston. Respondent: Rowland Crewe Alston. Type: Wife's petition [wx]. Covering dates 1894
The National Archives, Kew
DIVORCE CASE, ALSTON v. ALSTON, MARTEN AND GOODWYN.
This case came before the President of the Probate and Divorce Division on Thursday, it being the petition of the husband, Mr. Roland Crewe Alston, for the dissolution of his marriage with the respondent, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Alston, on the ground of her alleged adultery with the two co-respondents Major Marten and Captain Goodwyn.
Mr. Pritchard, who appeared for the petitioner, said that this was a suit for a divorce brought by the husband against his wife. The misconduct alleged was with the co-respondents Major Marton and Capt. Goodwin. The case was originally in the special Jury list, but an application had been made to discharge that order.
The petitioner married the respondent, who was then a Miss Johnson, on Aug. 17th 1882. He was entitled to some property in Bedfordshire, while the respondent was a lady of fortune, being in receipt of nearly L8,000 a year, and there were three children of the marriage. They lived at Harrold Hall, Bedfordshire. Owing to the respondent's extravagant habits in 1890 it was arranged that they should go to India to travel with a view of retrenching expenses.
The respondent, it appeared began to prefer the society of other gentlemen to that of her husband. He spoke to her about it, and there was a violent scene. Subsequently they went to Cairo and stayed at the Continental Hotel, where Mrs. Alston made the acquaintance of Major Marten, who was connected with the police there, and afterwards Captain Goodwyn. Marten was staying at the same hotel, and while the husband was away on shooting trips it was alleged he misconducted himself with Mrs Alston. It appeared that Mrs. Alston afterward sent Captain Marton a scarf-pin, and he thereupon wrote her a long letter in endearing terms, which letter was afterwards found among Mrs. Alston's bed linen at an hotel. This letter was of such a character that it could not be read in open court, but his Lordship would see that it pointed clearly to adultery having been committed at Cairo.
In 1893 they left Egypt, but by different routes, he coming part of the way on a bicycle. When he came home he found Major Marton at Harrold Hall, and after remonstrating with her, the co-respondent left the Hall. Subsequently the petitioner went to Holland and during the time he was away Capt. Goodwyn stayed at Harrold Hall, no other gentleman being there except Mr. Alston's father.
On one occasion the nurse heard the footsteps of a man late at night going from the bedroom where the captain was sleeping in the direction of Mrs. Alston's bedroom and the same footsteps were heard returning from the lady's room to the bedroom about 5 o'clock in next morning.
Later on, the respondent stayed at the Pump Room Hotel, Bath and Captain Goodwyn stayed there at the same time, she passing as his sister. On the husband's return in July 1893, there was a violent scene between Mr. and Mrs. Alston which ended in her leaving her husband. There was a family consultation and Mr. Alston went abroad. On his return in March 1894 his wife absolutely refused to see him; after that there were negotiations for a deed of separation but they did not come to terms.
In July 1894 the respondent filed a petition of judicial separation against her husband on the grounds of his alleged cruelty, which charge the petitioner denied. The petitioner having given evidence bearing out the learned counsel's opening statement, Mr. Charles Coles, Chief of Police in Cairo, proved the handwriting of a compromising letter addressed to Mrs. Alston, which was found at the Grand Hotel to be that of Major Marton. Albert Witton, formerly valet at the Grand Hotel, who found the letter, also gave evidence as to seeing Mrs. Alston on the afternoon of June 18 1893, go into Capt. Goodwyn's room and remain there for some time.
The manager of a firm of Bond Street Jewelers stated that in May 1893, Mrs. Alston ordered a moonstone scarf-pin from his firm and that the parcel was sent to Captain Marton at Cairo. The letter which referred "inter alia" to the pin was then put in. The President. - Must I read all this; there are 26 closely-written pages? (Laughter) Mr. Prichard called his Lordship's attention to certain marked passages in a "copy". Mr. Spearman, however, objected to the letter going in, on the ground that it was not evidence against either Mrs. Alston of Captain Marton. The President said this same question had been raised before him in the "Burke" case, and he had decided that under similar circumstances such a letter was admissible.
Here the lady after receiving this letter had received the writer as her guest. A nurse in Mr. Alston's service having spoken as to Captain Goodwyn's conduct when he was visiting Mrs. Alston at Harrold Hall. The President said he had no doubts as to either case. The letter clearly showed that the writer had previously misconducted himself with the lady, and she had afterwards received him at her house.
There would be a decree 'nisi', with costs against both co-respondents and an order for the custody of the children. On application of Mr. Pritchard, an order for costs was made against the respondent as well.
Bedfordshire Times 10th August 1895
The Times 9 August 1895
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service: Orlebar Archive
F H Orlebar (1869-1951) (nee Bourne)
Diary and account Book of Faith Orlebar, Hinwick House
FILE [no title] - ref. OR 2344/3 - date: January - December 1894
Tim Alston's lesson in Butter Churning 5 September 1894
"I had heard from Miss Wormald, who half promised, but does not quite like doing so, to let her servant speak for Mr Alston in Court of Law" (probably Alston v Alston Divorce Case) 12 September 1894 end of Ruth and Robin's visit 21 September 1894
Damaging the Wood.
Charles Hoddle, shoehand, of Wollaston, was summoned for damaging underwood to the extent of 6d, the property of Mr R Crewe Alston, at Odell, on September 19. Edward Kennedy said that he saw the defendant breaking the underwood as he gathered the nuts. There were two others beside defendant, but they gave false names and addresses. Fined 1s and the costs 7s 6d. (This type of activity was regularly reported)
Bedfordshire Times and Independent 25 October 1901.
In 1907 Rowland Crewe Alston sold Harrold Hall to Arthur Cecil Tyrrell Beck JP MP [Liberal, Saffron Walden] for L9,000 [X604/28]. Five years later Beck and Florence Mary, his wife, with their mortgagees sold the Hall back to the Alstons - specifically to Alexander Rowland Alston, Leslie Ruthven Pym and Herbert Wykeham Lydall as trustees for Rowland Alison Alston of Turvey Abbey and Dorothy Mildred, his wife for L6,000 [Z528/2]. Interestingly this conveyance notes a restrictive covenant of 1907 against building in Church Field.
In 1927 property in Harrold was valued under the Rating Valuation Act of 1925; every piece of land and building in the country had to be valued to determine the rates to be paid upon it. The valuer visiting Harrold Hall [DV1/R49/71-77] noted that the owner was Captain Alston RA and the occupier E.Arkwright - rent, fixed in 1921, being L200 per annum. He remarked: "Shown around by butler"; "Holme oak right opposite front door and terrace"; "Absolutely plain front".
The hall was built of stone and slate, facing south with a: "Nice stone terrace. Very poor ought to be a good porch". The front hall measured 16 feet by 18 feet, the north facing lounge hall 18 feet by 30 feet ("good"); there was a lavatory [in the sense of a place to wash] and wc. There was a small conservatory measuring 171/2 feet by 8 feet ("unused"), then, through a passage to the south-east, a smoking room measuring 23 feet by 171/2 feet ("unused"). There was also a south drawing room with parquet floor measuring 20 feet by 291/2 feet ("very nice room") and a south dining room 29 feet by 181/2 feet ("very good room"). Through a door lay the servants' quarters comprising a butler's pantry, a safe ("very good"), a service hatch ("from kitchen to corner of Butler's Pantry direct to Dining Room - very good"), a south kitchen measuring 23 feet by 18 feet ("bad), a scullery ("fair"), back stairs, a door to an old cellar and, down a stone passage, a brushing room, knife room, drying room and the back door to the servant's hall ("fair"). There was also a store room, a larder ("good") and, of course, the aforementioned cellar.
80 Year Old Squire as Firefighter
Fire broke out this morning at Odell Castle, the residence of Mr R C Alston, 12 miles north of Bedford. It is one of the oldest country seats in Bedfordshire.
It has been in the possession of the Alston family for at least 300 years, and contains valuable antique furniture.
In recent years however it has not been occupied, its owner the present head of the family, Mr Rowland Crew Alston, who is 80 years old and a Justice of the Peace having moved into a bungalow in the village of Odell of which he is Squire.
The estate gardener acts as caretaker, and he discovered the outbreak shortly after 10 AM. The villagers at once organised a firefighting party, but they were unable to cope with the fire, and an urgent call was sent for the Bedford Brigade.
When the Brigade arrived the South West wing of the castle which is more of a country mansion than a castle, was well alight, but as a good supply of water was available, the flames were prevented from spreading.
Soon after noon the outbreak was definitely under control, and by 2:30 it was practically out. The South West corner of the Castle was badly damaged.
Among those who helped to fight the fire was Mr Alston himself.
Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail 24 February 1931.
Death of Owner of Odell Castle.
An Ancient Family.
The head of the well-known Bedfordshire family of Alston, Mr Rowland Crewe Alston, died yesterday (Thursday) at his present residence a bungalow in Little Odell, at the age of 81. For many years he resided at Odell Castle, the historic old mansion at Odell which has been in the Alston family for over 300 years, but he removed to the bungalow on the grounds of health over two years ago, and a few months later a destructive fire caused serious damage to the Castle. Last year the work of restoration was begun and it was stated in the Sharnbrook district that Mr Alston had expressed his intention of going back there to live, but in November the restoration work was discontinued. Mr Alston's death, in spite of his great age, was unexpected, and it may have been due to the prevalent influenza, from which most of the residents of the bungalow, including Mrs R C Alston are suffering.
Mr Alston who sat regularly on the Sharnbrook bench of magistrates up to recently, was one of the best-known men of North Bedfordshire. He was a convinced Conservative in outlook and was regarded by some as living behind his times. He opposed all change, and in recent years had been engaged in a fight with the Bedford Rural District Council over the housing conditions in his village. A Council housing site was acquired by compulsory powers, and Council cottages were recently built and occupied by tenants of some of Odell's old property. For many years he was a familiar figure in the neighbourhood, which he used to range on horseback. One of his regular rides was to Sharnbrook on bench days. This and his holding of the office of Churchwarden of Odell were his only public duties, for he abhorred the democratic developments of his day and the local governing bodies that came in their train. He tilted with the county council some years ago over the question of Yelnoe Lane, which runs through the Odell estate, and his recent opposition to the Rural District Council's ideas was another example of his reaction to 20th century ideas.
The late Mr Alston was the eldest son of Mr Crewe Alston and of his first wife, Mary, eldest daughter of the Rev Hugh Speke, of Dowlish Wake, Somerset. He was educated at Brighton and at St Peter's College Cambridge, where he took his B A degree in 1877. He married in 1882 Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Alison Johnson, of Woolton House, Lancaster, and had one son and three daughters. His heir, Mr Rowland Alston, was born in 1888 and served in the Coldstream Guards. Mrs Rowland Alston was a daughter of the late Mr C Guy Pym, Conservative member for Bedford at the beginning of the century. The two surviving daughters are Mrs Boycott and Mrs Coles. In later life Mr Rowland Crewe Alston married again and he leaves a widow and a young son and daughter.
Mr Alston occupied Odell Castle for just over 20 years. On his first marriage he came to live at Turvey house and later moved to Harrold Hall. In his younger days he travelled abroad and at one time owned a ranch in America. He was a keen follower of the Oakley hunt, and this together with shooting were his favourite pastimes.
At Odell Mr Alston was Lord of the Manor, patron of the living, and owner of practically the whole village, with which he and his ancestors had been associated for well over 300 years. Recently he had appointed a new incumbent to succeed the late Rev J J McNair at the Parish Church, whose walls bear Alston memorial tablets dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. His burial will take place in the ancient family vault in the churchyard, but at the time of writing the date and time had not been fixed.
Bedfordshire Times and Independent 13 January 1933.
The Times 13 January 1933 pg 14 col B.
Mr R. C. Alston.
Mr Rowland Crewe Alston, JP., of Odell Castle, near Edward, who died yesterday, was lord of the manor, patron of the living, and owner of almost the whole of the village, with which he and his ancestors had been associated for over 300 years. Mr Alston sat regularly on the Sharnbrook Bench of magistrates till recently, though he reached the age of 80 in February, 1932. He opposed all change, and in recent years had been engaged in a contest with the Bedford Rural District Council over the housing conditions in his village. A council housing site was acquired by compulsory powers and council cottages have recently been occupied.
Mr Alston was educated at Brighton and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he took his degree in 1877. He married, in 1882, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Alison Johnson, of Woolton House, Lancaster, and had one son and three daughters. In later life Mr Alston married again, and he leaves a widow and two young children. His heir, Rowland Alston, was born in 1888, and served in the Coldstream Guard's. He lives in London and his wife was a daughter of the late Mr C. Guy Pym, Conservative member for Bedford. In 1930 on account of his health Mr Alston moved from the Castle, one of the historic buildings of Bedfordshire, to a bungalow at Little Odell, and in the following year great damage was done to the Castle by fire. Last year restoration work had begun on it, but this was stopped in November. Mr Alston first came to live in the district after his marriage 50 years ago, when he took Turvey House. After that he went to Harrold Hall, and over 20 years ago went into residence at Odell Castle. He was a fine horseman, and up to recent years a regular follower of the Oakley hounds.
His Grave in Odell Churchyard reads "Rowland Crewe Alston born February 14 1852 died January 12 1933"
Mr Rowland Crewe Alston, JP, of Odell Bedfordshire, left settled land of the value of L21,332.
Bedfordshire Times and Independent to February 1934.
Alston Rowland Crewe of Cox's Close Odell Bedfordshire died 12 January 1933 Probate (save and except settled land) Birmingham 2 April 1935 to Catharine Alston widow and Leonard Gibbard Stileman-Gibbard MA of no occupation. Effects L2752 2s 1d. Former Grant PR January 1934.
National Probate Calendar.
A2A Ref Bedford RO DV1/R/49 re Alston houses refers to a survey carried out on the 17 Feb 1927 of Odell castle and buildings in occupation R C Alston who advised part of the house was being pulled down, there was no electricity on and the house contained at least 11 brms. The surveyors comments include "dreadful entrance, kitchen tiny poor, bathroom awful, grounds very poor not kept up in anyway, place quite unlettable impossible to value say L.100"
Kellys Handbook of the Upper Ten Thousand 1878 - Crewe Alston. J.P. Beds. Venn House Ughbourough Ivybridge South Devon.
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service:
Agricultural Officer (Land Agent) and Smallholdings/County Farms Estate Archives
Catalogue Ref. AO
Bedfordshire County Council, Agricultural Officer
Bedfordshire County Council, Land Agent
Agricultural / Legislative matters
Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Acts - ref. AO/A4
Applications for Possession
FILE [no title] - ref. AO/A4/1/1 - date: 1921-1925
Roland Crewe Alston of Odell Castle, Odell for land occupied by William Solesbury
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service:
BEDFORD RURAL DISTRICT - PLANS
Catalogue Ref. RDBP
Creator(s):Bedford Rural District Council
FILE - Plan (2), Letter (3). Bungalow, Moat Farm, Odell. Owner - RC Alston; Builder - Estate offce Odell - ref. RDBP 1/770 - date: 27 September 1924
FILE - Plan and Letter. Site and drainage plan for bungalow, Odell Estate, nearly opposite Mad Dog, Odell. Owner - Miss JB Alston, Odell Castle; Builder - Edgar Clayson, of C Clayson and Sons - ref. RDBP 1/851 - date: 6 June 1925
FILE - Plan and Letter (3). Leanto extnsn. to factory, Odell. Also included a bundle of letters re effluent from factory with protest by Mr Alston 22 Jul 1929 - 10 Dec 1930. Owner - The Odell Leather Co.; Builder - A Kirton and Son, Nthmptn - ref. RDBP 1/1430 - date: 3 May 1930
In the Bedfordshire Times and Independent of 23 October 1931, page 8 a notice of Compulsory Purchase Order of Land under the Housing Act was published giving notice of the acquisition of 1 acre of field more or less in Horsefair Lane Odell owned by Rowland Crew Alston. (At a public hearing reported in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent of 22 January 1932 the Rural Council sought further land in Odell, it argued that housing in Odell was of a very poor standard. Rowland continued to refuse to sell any of his land for new public housing, arguing that he had vacant houses for rent.)
Pictures of Harrold Hall: http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/communityandliving/archivesandrecordoffice/communityarchives/harrold/harroldhall.asp
British History Online
. . . . . In 1623 Sir Samuel Tryon and his wife Elizabeth alienated the manor to George Tuke, (fn. 55 ) who in 1636 conveyed it to William Alston. (fn. 56 ) It thus became attached to Odell (q.v.), with which parish its history is henceforward identical. In July 1873 two portions of this estate, described as 'the Manor Farm, 246 a. 24 p., and fishing in half the river,' and 'Burley Farm, situated at Pickshill,' were advertised for sale, and became the property of the Duke of Bedford. (fn. 57 ) This farm became later the property of Mr. F. C. Higgins of Turvey, who recently sold it to Mr. Cauvin of Bedford. With these exceptions, the manor of Stevington has remained in theAlston family, and is at present the property of Mr. Rowland Crewe Alston of Odell Castle.
1. Census: England, 8 Apr 1861, The Rectory Teversall NTT. Rowland is described as Roland pupil aged 9 scholar born Odell
2. Census: England, 5 Apr 1891, Harrold Hall BDF. Roland is recorded as head of house married aged 39 living on own means born in Odell BDF
3. Census: England, 31 Mar 1901, Harrold Hall BDF. Rowland is recorded as head of house a widower aged 49 living on his own means born Odell.
4. Census: England, 2 Apr 1911, Odell Castle BDF. Rowland is recorded as head of house aged 59 a widower the owner of the estate, born Odell. There are no other family recorded as living house.
Rowland married Mary Elizabeth JOHNSON  [MRIN: 1397], daughter of Capt Richard Alison JOHNSON  and Lucy HEATHFIELD , on 17 Aug 1882 in All Hallows Allerton West Derby LAN. (Mary Elizabeth JOHNSON  was born about 1864 in Tiverton DEV.)
Rowland next married Catherine McKECHNIE  [MRIN: 2140] on 23 Dec 1916 in Odell BDF. (Catherine McKECHNIE  was born on 17 Sep 1890, died on 3 Oct 1945 in Odell BDF and was buried on 8 Oct 1945 in Odell BDF.)