The Kings Candlesticks - Family Trees
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Dr Thomas Harrold FENN M.R.C.S. [1]
Maria ALSTON [2]
George Frederick PLAYFORD of Highfields Forrest Row SFK [1594]
(Abt 1809-1903)
Lucy STEELE [1595]
Lieut R.N. Theodore George FENN [8]
Margaret PLAYFORD [9]

Capt Richard Playford (Dick) FENN M C [438]


Family Links

1. Nora Margaret ALLEN [474]

Capt Richard Playford (Dick) FENN M C [438]

  • Born: 17 Nov 1880, Park Cottage Easeborne Midhurst SSX
  • Marriage (1): Nora Margaret ALLEN [474] on 16 Apr 1912
  • Died: 1967, Oakwood Chichester aged 87
  • Buried: St Marys Sennicotts, Chichester.

bullet  General Notes:

Dicks birth was registered December Quarter 1880

Dick with his brother Tom attended Otago Boys High New Zealand (1888) ? prior to returning to England in 1890.

Information is wanted from parents, relatives, or schoolmates as to the whereabouts of : . . . . . Fenn, Richard P ". . . . . . . . . . 1889 (Years at School)
Otago Witness, Issue 2673, 7 June 1905, Page 15

He was a day boy at Tonbridge School 1890 - 1891, then attended the Royal Naval School Eltham on a scholarship from the Lloyds Patriotic Fund. Read classics at Oxford (Jesus) 1899, 3rd Cls Hons Mods 1901, BA 1902, played rugby and rowed (8's) for his college. Dick was an Assistant Master at Eastfield House School Ditchling Sussex 1903 - 07, went tutoring in British Columbia, then Assistant Master Malvern Link School Worcester.

MY IDEA OF HAPPINESS: Lying in a boat on a hot day ; nothing to do
MY IDEA OF MISERY: Too much work
MY FAVOURITE OCCUPATION: Idleness or doing nothing
MY FAVOURITE COLOUR: Red white and blue
MY FAVOURITE FLOWER: Gloria de Dijon rose
MY FAVOURITE POETS: Shakespear & Tennyson
MY FAVOURITE PROSE AUTHORS: Thackeray & George Eliot
MY FAVOURITE FOOD: Mother Stigel's syrup
MY PET AVERSION: Work of any sort
MY FAVOURITE MOTTO: "Idleness is its own reward"

In 1910 a Richard P FENN, 31, single and a British Colonial (rather than English), occupation "tourist", sailed on the Empress of India from St John's, New Brunswick, arriving in Liverpool on 4th March 1910
Ref: Rosie Flower 2008.

In 1916 Richard enlisted in the Queens Westminster Rifles, and was posted to Palestine as a Lieut with the 2/4 Hampshire Regiment. In action in the march to take Jerusalem, wounded with shrapnel 23 Nov near Nebi-Samuril and Beit Dukka, close to Jerusalem, continued fighting until his division was withdrawn the next day when he was invalided out to Egypt.
Nancy Fenn tells a story that Dick Fenn woke up in hospital in Cairo to hear the doctors considering amputating his leg, his vehement protestations he believed saved it.
Transfered to France and promoted to Capt he served with distiction on the Western Front and was awarded the Military Cross.
With his wife they opened Summersdale School in Chichester on the 4th May 1912 with one pupil, moving later to "Oakwood" School Chichester an institution which continues to this day (1999)
Buried at St Marys Sennicotts Oakwood his headstone reads" In loving memory of Capt Richard Playford Fenn M.C. 1880 - 1967. Founder and for 50yrs Headmaster of Oakwood School (Summersdale Lodge)".

Dick and Nora were first cousins, they had no issue.

Dick's Letters, mainly to his family in New Zealand
Telephone: West Ashling 209
2 Dec 1954
My dear Van
Very many thanks for your letter of October 17 which reached me on November 30. I was glad to have the snapshot of yourself and see what Harry's children re like: Edward looks very tall for his age. By the "High School" I suppose you mean that at Timaru: to me it conveys only the idea of the High School of a Otago, where Tom and I went in 1888! I had a copy of the register last year, with 11,000 names and I am number 1825 and I do not think there are many Old Boys of that era alive. It will keep its Centenary in 1962.
I have little or no family news, Dolly has gone to live in Teignmouth, where she is renting a cottage. Lionel I saw in September after making that penitential journey to Abbots Langley, which must be the place with the worst transport in England. Lionel looked old and ill: his bronchitis has been very bad: Phyllis was seedy to, and Sylvia (not at home that day) is, I gather, temperamental and rather a trial. Lawrence is doing well: he is an engineer somewhere in Herts. and talks of sending one of his boys to me.
I launched out this year and bought Oakwood. I shall need a partner before long, and must have the security of tenure which a lease does not confer. I had to pay L10,000 for it but my bank approves and it is rather a comfort to own the place - with all the drawbacks of being landed proprietor. I have about 30 acres, including garden and playing fields - mostly timber and parkland. Now we are scheming to build, if the bank continues to favour. We are over-full and have a waiting list for some years to come. Nora and I both keep our rude health: in spite of of breaking two ribs in April, in a fall, I played tennis regularly all summer ((when it was fine, which was not often). I can still do a full day's work, though I no longer take games except the junior cricket. My only activities outside the school are our little church of St Mary, Sennicotts, whose finances I administer, and the local branch of the Historical Association, of which I have been president for ten years. But I seldom leave the house and grounds - there is always a great deal to do.
I hope you will be able to find my father's grave. I do not seem to have any registration certificate of the grave itself (I have those for Tom and his wife at Brighton) but the certificate of death gives December 23, 1889 as the date of burial, in the South Cemetery but the name of that may have been changed. If any Church Register is concerned it would be St John's, Roslyn, which was our parish church: Mr Kirkham, our vicar, conducted the service: his son, who was at the High School with me, is ordained and has a living in Leicestershire I have seen nothing of Nancy since her wedding - except for cards at Christmas I have heard nothing of her. Alston I believe to be, or have been in poor health. Josephine is flourishing at Chiswick (St Mary's Convent) in spite of of her having become subject to diabetes. Margaret Hillies (Tom's girl) was over in England with her husband in October and I took her to see Josephine. Margaret has two girls Susan and Wendy, at Philadelphia.
Lance Tonkin has lost the sister (Neil Whent) with whom he shared house, and has gone to live with a niece in Rustenburg: I hear from him every Christmas. Dolly is still the best correspondent but I can't persuade her to pay us a visit.
I hope to go to Oxford next summer: I have quite a number of old boys there now, and as many at Cambridge.
Very best wishes from us both, to you and Harry and his family.
Your affectionate cousin

18 Aug 56
My dear Harry
I was very glad to get your letter of July 8, especially for the photos and news of your family. Your Edward is the only male Fenn of the generation, as your brother Edward and Tom's boy, Dick, where lost in the two wars. There is Nancy in your family, Alston's two daughters (both married now) and various Giles, of whom I know only Sylvia (now widow) and Lawrence, who was a pupil of mine and has a family of his own. Oddly enough, on the same day that your letter came, we heard from Nancy, saying she would like to come down in September, and perhaps bring Adria with her: and also from Margaret Hillies (Toms daughter) who will be coming over from Philadelphia in October with her husband. She has two daughters, Susan and Wendy, about ten and eight. Her husband, Webster, is a very good fellow. They came over in 1952 and took us to Oxford for a day in eights week. Nancy we have not seen since her wedding day. Lionel Giles was in a very poor state when I last saw him about two years ago, not long before he lost his wife. I hear from Dolly occasionally and from Adria, but I have had nothing from Alston Court for a long time now. Mabel Giles (I forget her name) lives at Bournemouth and I believe is crippled with rheumatism. There is no one left of the Hand tribe. Edward Hopkins elder boy was married not long since: he is a scientist in Glasgow: his mother lives in or near Devizes. The large friend circle has narrowed very much. Did you know I was the last of the family to see Edward? We were in the same hospital in Cairo in 1917 and took our convalescent walks together before rejoining our respective battalions in Palestine. I was very much impressed by him. Frank has no family: he and Betty live at Twickenham. Josephine is Sister in charge of a convent and hospital in Chiswick, I go to see her when I can and she came down here with Frank at Easter. She is a very wonderful person and most capable.
We had a good summer term, with reasonable, if not hot, weather. Lots of cricket, and a happy crowd of boys. A big storm early this month did a lot of damage to the trees and I have been busy ever since clearing up: the place is really too large for me now, but we are very fond of it. We built new school rooms in the spring and are well satisfied with the result.
I am now one of the oldest of the old boys of Otago High School, which Tom and I joined in 1888! They sent me the register some years ago. I should much like to visit NZ and especially Dunedin again. Lucie's husband, Lance Tonkin has retired from work and lives in South Africa I hear from him periodically
Please give my love to all your family
Your affectionate cousin
Richard P Fenn.
Written on an Air Letter.

Telephone: West Ashling 209
5 Feb 1962
My dear Harry
A few days of confinement to the house owing to a slight congestion gives me a chance of getting even with my own correspondence. I cannot send this by Air, as one is not allowed an envelope and I want to send a snapshot of Nora and myself taken by one of the staff at the end of last term. It is a very fair likeness of as both: we are in front of our front door.
Your letter was most welcome, especially news of the younger generation, Edward and Kathleen (sic) , how I should like to see them! There are so few of their generation in the family - your two, Alston has two married daughters, Nancy, Sylvia and Lawrence Giles, Toms daughter Margaret (Mrs Hillies in Philadelphia): Lance Giles daughter Rosamond.
I remember you at Grey Friars, in the summer of 1899, just before I went up to Oxford. You were at work in Colchester. Van and Edgar were at home, Edward and Adria "the children" : Mabel and Edith Giles were staying there. We made an expedition to Nayland where I saw Aunt Margaret, the only time. I wonder if you know I was the last of the family to see Edward. It was in Cairo, December 1917 I was in hospital there with a wound and dysentery contracted in Palestine: E was in garrison with the RWF, heard of my arrival and came to see me. In my convalescence we went out together a great deal and I formed a high opinion of him and was deeply distressed to hear of his death in action in 1918, when I was back in France. Nora and I live in a little home in the school grounds: we both do a little work in school and find our "retirement" very busy. The school keeps its jubilee this year and we our golden wedding on April 16.
Love from us both to you all
Your affectionate cousin
Written on both sides of a sheet of headed note paper

May 6th 1962
My dear Harry
Many thanks for your letter of February 20 and the snapshots, which I was glad to get. I have wondered where you found the name Hadlow for your home, our house in Tunbridge was 1 Hadlow Road and Margie Hillies (Toms daughter) lives at Hadlow in Philadelphia! Some Kentish man took it with him, I suppose. We attained our golden wedding on April 16 but postponed the celebration till after Easter - April 26. We had quite a gathering of relatives - Dossie could not come she is in very poor health - but Alston came with Alison from Winchester. Nancy came and Josephine: Norm's sister, Nelly (Mrs Potter) and Esme (Mrs Miles) her nieces Joan Fox and Cicely Pennymore, with their husbands, Nora's nephews, Geoff Potter (one of the headmasters of Oakwood) and Peter Allen and his wife. John Lind (the joint headmaster) and his wife were there. We had a number of parents, quite unexpected, and we struck the one really fine day in a cold April. I think people enjoyed meeting one another. Alston is very lame, but otherwise fit. I could not drag Adria away from Cheltenham. Josephine tells me Dolly is very well, physically, and almost too active, but mentally much weaker and practically without memory. It is very sad when one remembers what a jolly girl she was - one of those people who ought never to have grown old.
I hope Edward and Katherine will one day find an opportunity to come to England - Edward is the only Fenn of his generation since my nephew Dick went down in the "Royal Oak" in 1939. Our school was fifty years old on May 4 and we are celebrating the jubilee by constructing a swimming pool, close by the cottage in which Nora and I live. I am doing more teaching this term - it is easier for me in the summer term, though I consider 81 and a half is too old for a master to little boys. I have recently heard from the High School of Otago, asking for details for the Centenary Register. Tom and I went there in 1888, so I suppose I am about the senior old boy - as indeed I am at Tunbridge, and not far off at John's College Oxford! The worst of it is that one's contemporaries have all passed away, I know of only one school fellow of mine still living.
Our love to you all
Your affectionate cousin
Written on an Air Letter.

July 21st 1963
my dear Harry,
Edward left us on Wednesday (17th) after a week's stay: I can only hope he he enjoyed his visit as much as we enjoyed having him. I was afraid he would find it very dull here with two elderly cousins, very much set in their way of life, luckily, Edward could be a good deal with the younger people on the staff of the school, and he quickly made himself at home with them. We admired his independence and the way he found his way about, and it was interesting (and often amusing) to hear his views on things and his criticisms of England and New Zealand.
He went back to Nancy at Wimbledon when he left here, but announced his intention of visiting Bisley on the way. I believe they intended to go to Glyndebourne on Thursday. I hope Nancy will take him over to Chichester to see Josephine. Edward told that Adria is contemplating a voyage to New Zealand which is very enterprising of her. We may see her next month when we expect to be in the neighbourhood of Cheltenham. We have been having a wretched summer - about ten days fine weather in June and since then either wet or cold or both. I do hope Edward will have a spell of warm weather before our alleged to summer comes to an end.
Now we are looking forward to a visit from Katherine!
Your affectionate cousin
Written on an Air Letter.

June 24th 1964
My dear Harry
I have just heard from Adria about the departure of Edward and his Joan (whose surname I have never made sure of) from Tilbury. The young couple came here to say goodbye about three weeks ago: we were very much taken with Joan and think she will make Edward a good wife. He delighted me with his enterprise and vitality: if he is in any way typical of NZ youth I think that country has a wonderful future. Our modern English boys seem dull and lifeless in comparison. He has had a wonderful year and crammed into it more than I would have thought possible. Nora and I go on our placid existence and I am becoming more resigned to a life of inactivity. Actually, I am now doing a little schoolwork as one of the headmaster partners has contracted mumps and I am standing in for him, taking over the top Latin form which I had for fifty years. I am glad to find I had forgotten nothing.
Nora and I are going down to the Cotswolds in August and as we shall be in Tewkesbury for some time I hope we shall go over to Cheltenham and see Adria. I want to hear of her adventures in New Zealand
A young mistress from Oakwood is going out to New Zealand in August - Miss Linda Giddings. She is to teach in a school somewhere between you and Christchurch. Edward has met her and will know her address, but I will write it when I have seen her again today she is a nice sensible girl and has given the school very good service. I hope she will find conditions in NZ to her liking, I understand she is taking her car with - largely on Edward's advice. Josephine was here for a day last month and I had lunch with her in London shortly before that: Edward went to see her at Chiswick before he left.
Miss Giddings address will be:
Waihi School
She sails on August 17 in the Rangitane.
Now we shall hope to see Katherine here one day.
Love to you all
Your afft Cousin
Written on an Air Letter.

bullet  Research Notes:

Interestingly Dick's war service Medal Card makes no record of his service in Palestine, only his entry into the war in France on 1 June 1918. It lists him as having served with the 9th Hampshires as a 2nd Lieutenant, then as Lieutenant and Captain with the 2nd /4th Hampshires. No other war records appear to survive for him.

Image Courtesy J Fox 2015.


bullet  Other Records

1. Census: England, 3 Apr 1881, Park Cottage Easeborne Midhurst SSX. Richard is described as a son aged 5 mths born Eastbourne SXX.

2. Census: England, 5 Apr 1891, 52 Hadlow Rd Tunbridge Kent. Dick is recorded as a son aged 10 born Easebourne Midhurst SSX

3. Census: England, 31 Mar 1901, Dodsley Park Easebourne SSX. Dick is recorded as single aged 20 a student (nature) born Easebourne SSX

4. Census: England, 2 Apr 1911, Malvern Link WOR. Richard is described as an assistant teacher aged 30 single born Midhurst Sussex


Richard married Nora Margaret ALLEN [474] [MRIN: 134], daughter of Rev William ALLEN [1597] and Lucy Ellen PLAYFORD [1596], on 16 Apr 1912. (Nora Margaret ALLEN [474] was born on 28 Oct 1884 in Roffey Hurst Horsham, died in 1975 in Oakwood Chichester and was buried in St Marys Sennicotts, Chichester..)

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