THE KING'S CANDLESTICKS: Family Trees
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Dr Thomas Harrold FENN M.R.C.S. [1]
(1815-1870)
Maria ALSTON [2]
(1815-1871)
Robert JOBSON [4910]
(Abt 1817-)
Lillias COCHRANE [15233]
(Abt 1816-)
Col Ernest Harrold FENN M.R.C.S. C.I.E. [15]
(1850-1916)
Bertha Alison JOBSON [16]
(1858-1949)

Lt Col Arthur Alston FENN D S O [492]
(1887-1966)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
Dorothy Rose CONSTABLE CURTIS [493]

Lt Col Arthur Alston FENN D S O [492]

  • Born: 13 May 1887, Churchill Worcester
  • Marriage: Dorothy Rose CONSTABLE CURTIS [493] on 25 Jan 1923 in Monmouth Parish Church.
  • Died: 1966 at age 79
  • Buried: Nayland Churchyard SFK
picture

bullet  General Notes:


Alston was educated at Eton College, 1900-1903 Miss Evans House, then Royal Military College Sandhurst. Joined the Royal Fusiliers as 2nd Lieut (City of London Regt) 16 Aug 1905. Lieut 20 Aug 1908, Captain 30 Sept 1914, Brevet Major 1 Jan 1917. In action with the Royal Fusiliers in France & Belgium Jan - May 1915 then with the Intelligence Corps 1916 - 1919. Attached to the Kings African Rifles 1919 - 1924, Major 15 Dec 1923. Transferred to the 1st Batt. Sherwood Foresters, Lt Col 11 Jan 1932, took command 11 Jan 1932, retired as C.O. 10 Jan 1936.
Alston had a distinguished career being mentioned in despatches 4 times, and was awarded a D.S.O. in 1918. He retired to Risborough House, Shorncliffe, Kent then Alston Court Nayland 1947/66, which he bought from his 1st cousin Dr Charles Fenn. His Club was Travelers.
In his retirement Alston took a great interest in his family's history, researching, and conserving some of the information collated in this pedigree.

ALSTONS CONFESSIONS C1891
MY FAVOURITE VIRTUE: Courage
MY IDEA OF HAPPINESS: Bathing & Riding
MY IDEA OF MISERY: Bread & School
MY FAVOURITE OCCUPATION: Football
MY FAVOURITE COLOUR: Purple red & dark blue
MY FAVOURITE FLOWER: Lily & crocus
MY FAVOURITE POETS:
MY FAVOURITE PROSE AUTHORS: Author of "Swiss family Robinson"
MY FAVOURITE PAINTER: Landseer
MY FAVOURITE FOOD: Chicken, strawberry & cream, ginger beer
MY FAVOURITE NAMES: Harold Arthur & Mary
MY PET AVERSION: Going to bed early
MY FAVOURITE MOTTO: All play & no work

Fenn.
Arthur Alston, Maj., D.S.O., s. Col., E.H. Fenn C.I.E.; 1900(3)-1903(3) Masters Miss Evans, Richard Stephen Kindersley M.A., Joined Royal Fusiliers 1905, Lieut., 1908, Capt., 1914, Adj., 1914, Brev-Maj., 1917, served in France at Inteligence Corps., & Staff, War 1914-19, Despatchs 4 times, Brev-Major, DSO. c/o Cox & Co., 16 Charing Cross, S.W.
Ref: Eton School Lists. NZSOG.

Kismet* Jan 1912
A.A.F.
Character absolutely correct
Accident as infant
Delicate till 10 or 11
Now great vitality and great recuperative powers
Had memory for every day occurrence but glad for important things and reading
Fond of science would have been great engineer or physician
Belonged to one service
Sceptical not believer in what he does not understand thinks a great deal
Not extravagant but generous great idea of value of money
Ideas of marriage at 23 but shall turn off Marry happily at about 27 or 28 affectionate nature true to friendships highly strung
Very cautious almost to a fault always thought things out and never did things without thought but impulsive in small ways getting things quickly then
Fond of out door arrangements and sport of all kinds and comedy
Have the . . . . . ability & very successful life
Money at 27 and more at 31
This personal appraisal, by, it seems Alston, aged 24, is scribbled on note paper from the Hotel Cattani Engelburg (Switzerland)
* Kismet in Urdu means destiny or fate

Fenn Maj A A DSO Varne View Sandgate 222
Ancestry:Essex Oxford Phone Book 1931

Battalion Commands.
Today Lieutenant Colonel Arthur A Fenn, DSO, that Kate's vacates command of the 1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters, which went to the West Indies in September. His 30 years of service began in the disbanded 3rd Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers, and has included stations with it in Middleburg, Pretoria, Mauritius, Dehur Dun, and Lucknow. In the War he was adjutant and DAAG., then Staff Captain and Commandant with the Intelligence Corps in France. At the Armistice his temporary rank was Lieutenant Colonel, and as a brevet-major he went to East Africa for service under the Colonial Office, and while there transferred to The Sherwood Foresters, becoming their senior Captain, and then major in 1923. He commanded the Depot at Derby before being promoted to command the old 45th Foot.
1936.

Fenn Lt Col A A DSO Old Bank hse Windley Cowers Lane 256
Ancestry: Chester Birmingham Leicester etc Phone Book 1941

Fenn Col A A DSO Alston ct Nayland 317
Ancestry: Colchester Phone Book 1951/53/54/55/56/57/58/60/61/62/63/65/66

COLONEL ARTHUR ALSTON FENN
Nayland Parish Magazine.
Colonel A.A. Fenn died at his home Alston Court, Nayland after a long illness. He had a distinguished Army career; starting in the Royal Fusiliers in 1905, he later transferred to the Sherwood Foresters. He served for several years with the Kings African Rifles, and later commanded the lst. Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters from 1932-1935. During the 1914-18 War he was awarded the D.S.O. and was mentioned in Despatches four times. He returned in 1936, and during the Second World War he commanded a training centre at Derby.
He came with his family to live at Alston Court, Nayland on his retirement in 1945. From that time he was to take real interest in the life of the village. He was Chairman of the British Legion for several years, was a member of the Parish Council, Churchwarden. and Treasurer, serving on the Church Council a great many years. In these activities he took the keenest possible interest, and spared neither time nor trouble when he felt he was able to help. He was always pleased to lend his house and garden for pageants and fetes and, from these happy afternoons, the Church Restoration Fund benefited in a big way.
The Girl Guide Companies who camped in his paddock for many years had much to thank him for, and he seemed to enjoy having them as much as they enjoyed their stay in such idea surroundings. After his illness in the Spring of 1965 he was not able to get about much but was still able to take an interest in the events and affairs of the village, and was always pleased to hear of what was being done.
His one regret was that he was unable to do things himself. He will be sadly missed by his many friends - especially by those who used to visit him regularly, right up to the day of his death.

After Alston's death Alston Court was sold to the now Lord Camoys in 1968 for L25,000. In 1978 Camoy sold to Knight (L70,000) & Cropper (L50,000) for L120,000. Knight & Cropper in 1990 sold to Mr Aldo Albasi, at a sum thought to be about L700,000 who sold again in 2002, to Mr D Margrett of Wills International for L1.3M. The property was then bought by Dr A Clifton-Brown in 2013. Dr Clifton-Brown has a longstanding passion for historic buildings and gardens and it is hoped her ownership with contribute greatly to a knowledge of the history and fabric of the house. She is being assisted in this by her good friend L Alston an architectural historian.
Ref: L Ashton 2013.

Fenn Arthur Alston of Alston Court Nayland near Colchester died 25 August 1966 Probate London 1 November to Alison Redman married woman and Kenneth John Wilson company director L72759.
Ref: National Probate Calendar

Alston's ashes are buried in St James Churchyard Nayland, the headstone reads "Arthur Alston Fenn DSO 1887-1966 of Alston Court"

bullet  Research Notes:


Letters from Charles Fenn re purchase of Alston Court:
Alston Court,
Nayland,
Colchester.
June 10, 43.
My dear Alston
Owing to my failing health and to the fact that neither Ella nor Nancy wish to stay on at Alston Court, I am seriously considering the question of selling the property. As you know it is an exceptional house, possessing as it does woodcarving supposed to be unequalled in East Anglia and 15th century heraldic and old Flemish glass. My father spent about L4200 in restoring it and if I put it on the market I should put a reserve of L5000 on it but I am prepared to let you have it for L4500 and to throw in the 8 valuable pastle portraits of the Alston family and also other rellies such as the original certificate of the appointment of Sir Edward Alston to be the president of the Royal College of physicians in Charles II reign. Besides the house there is a Meadow and Fennage which I let for L21.5.00 per annum, I am told they are worth a good deal more than that. The whole property covers 7.8 acres. I wrote to aunt Alison asking for your address and she may have sent you my letter as I gave her other particulars regarding the estate. I should like, if possible, and answer in the near future, as both Ella and Nancy wish to settle down near London soon.
I hope you and yours are keeping well.
Your affectionate cousin,
Charles E Fenn.
Written on 2 sides of a sheet of notepaper

Alston Court,
Nayland
Colchester.
July 15, 43
My dear Alston
Many thanks for your letter, I am glad to hear you are buying the old family house as it would have grieved me very much to have had to sell it to a stranger. The valuer appointed by Lloyds Bank came here on Tuesday last and went over the house and grounds. As regards the mortgage, I am quite willing to accept 4% per annum but should prefer to have it for 3 years without the option of renewal. It is quite probable that I may not last that time and I want to leave my estate in as simple a form as possible for Ella and Nancy. As we can mutually arrange many details ourselves, I do not think it would be necessary to employ 2 sets of lawyers, they only quibble and split hairs between each other and greatly increase the expense, so I should suggest a man I know in Colchester, I have dealt with him once, his charges are not excessive, he is on the spot and knows all about the title deeds of Alston Court, though our ancestors were lawyers, the title deeds were lost, which gave my father a good deal of trouble when he succeeded to the property and also myself when I was trustee for the estate, however they are all right now and in order. I have just succeeded in getting the little house at Kew which was lucky as there are now no more houses in that locality to be obtained except ruinous old hulks at enormous prices. Our own business ought to be settled by the next quarter day, and if you do not want to take possession of it at once it might be let. I am throwing in - as you are taking the place - the Alston pastel portraits, military honours and other photos of our ancestors with the exception of an etching of Jacobus Vanderzee which I had promised some time ago to my brother Van (Vanderzee), the tapestries and framed certificate in the solar room I am giving you also the antique fire irons in the dining room, library and solar. Regarding the pictures in the Hall (except my Father) they belong to Adria, but I expect she to would like them to remain in the old house, I will mention this when I write to her.
Do not trouble to send back the photos of the house, you may keep them, they are very good ones, I will also, when I have time, let you have a copy of the history of the house and the old glass etc, which I have compiled, at present I have only the one copy, also the book "Alstoniana" and "Portraits In Suffolk Houses".
No more to say now,
Your affectionate cousin,
Charles E Fenn.
Written on 3 sides of 2 sheets of notepaper.

Alston Court
Nayland
Colchester
September 6 43
My dear Alston,
Mr White of Brook Farm Leavee Heath called upon me last Saturday he wants to rent the fennage for another year from February next. He says that the rentage of the fennage are purely for grazing purposes and have nothing to do with the shooting over them. That you must apply to the fennage Committee. Mr Taylor the local schoolmaster has got the rights of shooting over some of them and he could give you full information, of course you can shoot over the Meadow and paddock belonging to Alston Court and I have often seen pheasants and partridges flying about. Mr White also said that he would buy the fennage from you but that he would prefer to rent them. The annual rent at present is L11.5.0 a year. He also said that if you wanted shooting he would let you shoot over his farms at Leavee Heath (about 2 miles from here) for nothing. Plenty of rabbits there I know. Adria is willing to leave the pictures in the hall and landing and oak settle, also clock as long as they remain in the house and I am willing to do the same with the Alston portraits the four poster bed and others on the list you sent by Dorothy, on the same terms. If however you have to vacate the house (which of course, I hope will not be the case) that they shall return to the original owners or their heirs to dispose of as they think best. This if you could send your consent in writing could be known as a "Gentleman's Agreement" and would save all the expense and fuss which lawyers so love to make, if they drew up an agreement of that kind. Adria's address is 1 St Luke's Villas College Road, Cheltenham. There are at present 3 tons of coke and one and a quarter tons of coal in the outside and inside coal houses, worth L14.0.0 at today's prices I will let you have it for L13.5.0. I believe Dorothy wants the Suffolk Corner Cupboard at L5.0.0 and the 3 electric stoves at 30/-each. Col. Sykes who lives next door, has similar stoves, so they ought to be all right.
Hope you are all well. We enjoyed seeing Dorothy and Alison last week.
Yours ever.
Charles E Fenn.
Letter on 2 sides of notepaper with a note on it "letter and cheque sent 16.9.43 L22.10.0"

8 Priory Road,
Kew,
Surrey.
Sept 24th 43.
My dear Alston,
Many thanks for your letter and enclosed cheque. I will write to Mr White and ask him to communicate with you, when the lease is due for renewal. We have been in the throes of removal, hence my delay in answering, but I have been packed off to Hampstead and do not go to Kew until tomorrow the 25th. The day I went to town I signed the lease in the lawyer's office so they are getting on with it, regarding the past about Mrs Raine, I sold it to her before I had any idea about selling the house; in August 1942 she asked me if I would sell a small portion of my land in order that she could have a little garden to her cottage, it is down in the woody part beyond the "Barbary Hut", but I had gone away in the winter and could not get hold of a necessary paper so the matter was held over until the spring. I have laid down certain restrictions so it will not cause the slightest inconvenience to the owner of Alston Court. I enclose a draft of our agreement it covers everything required. I have left behind some gardening tools and a ladder for your use as Spooner, will want something to go on with during the autumn and winter. With regard to the ladder he borrowed it some weeks ago to fix up some tiles on his roof, I told him to bring it back, but as far as I know he has not done so if you don't see it about you will know where it is. I have paid him his wages up to the end of this week. After this week he will be only able to work two ana half hours a day and in the middle of October he did not have his tea interval but worked from 4 to 6. After that he could not work much more than one hour a day and I paid him accordingly. I have left you a shed crammed full of wood which will come in useful for firing etc also a quantity of flowerpots and seed pans. Spooner thoroughly cleaned out the cesspool a few days before we left so it will not want seen to until March 1945.
If there is any more information you want let me know.
Yours ever,
Charles E Fenn.
Written on 2 sides of a notepaper.

No. 3 War Office Selection Board
Locko Park,
Derby.
TEL Derby 55743
Draft of Gentleman's Agreement.
With reference to the various articles (pictures, furniture, books etc), which belong to you and which you have very kindly decided to leave and Alston Court, I undertake that they shall not be removed from the house except with your permission or on receipt of your instructions. I undertake to take the greatest possible care of them so long as they remain in my charge and recognise that you have the right at any time to dispose of them as you may think fit. Further I undertake to notify you or a member of your family at once if ever I should decide to relinquish the ownership of Alston Court.
Sent to Charlie on 3.10.43 AAF.
Sent to Adria on 8.10.43 (8 pictures, oak settle, and clock) AAF.
Written on army notepaper address above struck out.

8 Priory Road
Kew
Oct 7th 43.
My dear Alston,
Many thanks for your letters, I am glad to hear you are having a much-needed holiday. My tenant is Mr A C Biggs, the son of old Biggs the mechanic, the father is a decent old chap, but I cannot say the same for his son, who is a somewhat truculent individual. There was no legal agreement between us, only a verbal one and since I gave him notice, he has told me that a farmer need not pay any rent for the last year, I spoke to Asher Prior about it and they tell me that he ought to pay his rent only I must give him compensation for what he has spent on the land, I do not think he has spent 1d it is not as if it was arable soil. Any how he has not paid me any rent since last March. The agreement was for the meadow, so you can use the paddock. Biggs has apparently made use of the paddock for his cows which used to stray into the garden, causing damage, Spooner hates him like poison, the rent agreed was L10 a year and his time is up on March 1st next. As he has paid no rent, I do not see why you should not use the meadow as well, especially as so far this year he has not used the meadow for grazing purposes. Since Dorothy's visit I have heard that the Angel Hotel Colchester is much cheaper than the George, but have had no personal experience of it. I enclose an invoice from Keeman & Davie evidently intended for you, so sorry you were unable to obtain more.
Yours ever
Charles E Fenn.
p.s. Forgot to say that Biggs lives with his father and A C Biggs Nayland Colchester would find him. I had a very good crop of blackcurrants last year & this year but the old bushes want a great deal of pruning. Hope your Fruit Farm will be a great success.
The plot sold to Mrs Raine can only be used as a flower and vegetable garden, it cannot, be built upon, or used as a tea garden, probably Asher Prior will include the agreement in the Title Deeds.
Written on 2 sides of notepaper

8 Priory Road,
Kew,
Surrey.
Oct 22nd 43.
My dear Alston,
I had intended to write to you before you left Nayland, but have been laid up for a few days with a slight feverish attack, so my correspondence has been neglected. Many thanks for your letter, I heard from Archer Prior yesterday and they tell me that the sale is completed. Your idea about payment of interest on mortgage is an excellent one my bankers are Barclays Bank Ltd. George St. Richmond. Surrey. There were 3 matters I had ordered to be put in hand some time before I left Nayland.
(1) Replacement of some tiles which had fallen out of the roof in the new wing, Biggs told me that as the tiles had come out in embedded in mortar he could have done the job in quarter of an hour if he had had the necessary ladders, so I told Deaver about them, they, as usual, promised to do so but never did, Deaver has so few men and also government contracts to do that I really think it would be better to call in Webb for any local job at present, though I don't know anything about his work.
(2) Plastering the cupboard on the passage outside South bedroom, Deaver were also going to do this, they repaired the roof above, in which there was a leak.
(3) Repair of sink in pantry next to dining room, Biggs was going to do this, + you probably have found the lower lavatory devoid of water, Biggs inspected the cistern above it and told me it was all right and that when it was filled, a tap must have been left running.
All these items I will pay for when the work is being done.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to Nayland and were able to put in some work in the paddock. I find that the 2 books I promise to give you have been removed here viz "Alstoniana" and "Pictures in Suffolk Houses". I will let you have them when you take up your residence at Alston Court. The village will be glad to have a Fenn there again.
Yours ever,
Charles E Fenn.
p.s. I doubt if I have told you that I have written to Mr White, Brook Farm, Leavee's Heath and told him that you had no objection to his renting the fennage from you, the grazing has nothing to do with the shooting, an owner of fennages can always shoot over them, White said you could always shoot over his farm lands whenever you wanted to.
Written on 2 sides of a notepaper

8 Priory Road,
Kew,
Oct 28 (43).
My dear Alston,
Many thanks for your letter which I only received last night, as I have been away for a few days staying with my mother in law, while Ella and Nancy have been gallivanting in Bath. I went over to Richmond this morning to get a registered letter which I was told was waiting for me, it was from Asher Prior containing a cheque balance of your purchase money, they charged me L42 odd as expenses, but gave no details, your bill seems very stiff but I expect it was mainly composed of stamp duties and other Govt charges, I should certainly ask for details if they have not sent any, so far they have been fairly moderate in their dealings with me, but I loathe having anything to do with lawyers. Ella is going down to Nayland next Tuesday, to bring back our cat, she will take with her the books "Alstoniana" and "Pictures in Suffolk Homes" and leave them in the S bedroom cupboard. As regards the picture of dogs and a cat, I found it lying in the loft with a lot of other lumber. Adria had written to me before and said she had no use for it, it was an awful daub at the best, so, as we were clearing out the loft we put it in the sale with some other rubbish and the whole lot fetched the magnificent sum of 1/-. The two pictures flanking the pastoral scene on the landing are I think good ones, I remember them well in the drawing room of Portland Terrace, Richmond, but whether they came from our grandfathers house at Stourbank all my maternal grandfather am not quite sure but am pretty certain on the whole that they were from Stourbank. I am glad that Mrs Kerridge made you so comfortable and that you were able to make the acquaintanceof the Caulfields and the Sykes, as well as the Vicar.
Wishing you all success in your fruit growing schemes,
Yours ever
Charles E Fenn
Written on 2 sides of notepaper endorsed answered 31.10.43 "Query re-upkeep of cottage fences near tennis court" in Alston Fenn's hand.

8 Priory Road
Kew,
Surrey.
Nov 14th 43.
My dear Alston,
I am afraid I have been somewhat behindhand in my correspondence for various reasons. Many thanks for your letter, I think you are going to turn the Alston Court Gardens into charming grounds, your idea of having an orchard on the east side of the house is very good, it always has been somewhat of an eyesore. I am sorry the cistern for the downstairs lavatory is leaking, I had Biggs in to repair it about a year ago, he did so and reported that he had made it right, it was a mad idea in the first place to have a separate system there. If you can get on to the main water supply, you ought to be able to sell the pumping engine for a good sum.
Now you were asking about the ownership of the fences of the cottages, I so rarely ventured into those parts that I really forget how they were built, but the owner of a fence is the one on whose side the upright posts and transverse beams are. Several horrible fungy appeared in the passage leading to the library and in the library itself and they are caused by damp, however I think I have removed the cause. When I took over the house from my tenants the Praclls (sic), I noticed that the gutter in the courtyard was broken and water had been streaming down the side of the wall there, I called in Deaves and he discovered it was much more serious than a broken gutter alone, that it was due to the rotting away of some of the timbers in the roof above and that it and the tiles with it had slid down into the gutter, I had new timbers put in and the tiles imputed on it in mortar and now it is quite all right, but the damp will remain for a time, if ever I found a fungus, I used to paint the pest with paraffin after I had removed it and I should advise you to get Mrs Kerridge (she is very obliging) to paint that part and the steps leading into the hall with paraffin every few weeks, the wood skirting round the lavatory and passage to it was liable to rot and my stepmother had a deep damp course (I think that is the correct name for it) built but there is some woodwork in the passage between the Hall and the library which will require removal.
I hope you and your family are keeping well.
Yours ever,
Charles E Fenn
Written on 2 sides of notepaper endorsed answered 28 Nov 43 in Alston Fenn's hand.

Alston's Letters, mostly to his Cousin Harry Fenn in New Zealand.
Alston Court
Nayland
Colchester
Nayland 317
Oct 28th 1954
My dear Van,
I wonder whether this will reach you about Christmas time - Mrs Hammond at the Post Office says I must post by Nov 3rd but the papers say there is such an accumulation of mails owing to the Dock Strike that all their timetables have been thrown out of gear. Anyway this is to wish you and Harry and the family a very happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year. I hope you will like the card which is from a reproduction of a picture in the Long room. The young man looks a bit "pansy" but no one knows who he is and maybe he became a famous Cricketer. The season this year was perfectly shocking and though I went to Lord's several times I saw very little cricket. More often than not it was just simply stands and deluges of rain. I fear the clubs must have lost a lot of money. There is very little news from Nayland. We just jog along as usual - the parish council have been agitating to abolish the granite horse trough which stands in front of the White Hart and which was presented by our cousin George Liveing to commemorate the Coronation of King George V. They say it is no use and always full of dirty water. I think their taste is the deplorable but this is only a sign of the times and it is no use arguing with them. I have offered to preserve it in my garden and pay the cost of removal and I expect they will agree. It should look very nice in the Dutch garden with flowers on it and will continue as a memorial to cousin George. We have just started a campaign to raise L1200 for urgent repairs to the church. Our vicar is a bit of a pessimist for before we started he told somebody that we would never raise a penny from the people in Nayland - that for all it mattered the church might fall in ruins and we could worship and tin hut!! However as long as he does not interfere I feel sure we shall raise the money within a year. The people seem full of enthusiasm, including oddly enough the Papists, and we have already raised over L500 and have hardly started. I sincerely hope for the good of us all that we shall have a change here before long. Our hopes have been slightly raised as we have just got a new bishop. He is reputed to be very keen on pastoral work which sounds good. The last bishop was a great administrator and we never saw him. He was what the R.A.F would describe as "Chair Born" as opposed to "Airborne"! Alison has been in Tripoli for nearly a year with her family of three. They had hoped to be there for two years at least but owing to the Canal Zone agreement with Egypt they are shortly moving a brigade headquarters there and Ray will then have his job taken over by the Brigade Major. They have no idea where they will be sent but it is almost sure to be somewhere else abroad. Angela now has two infants and is very happy on their farm in Worcestershire. We don't see much of the family these days but I suppose that is inevitable as one gets older.
Our love to you all.
Yours ever.
Alston Fenn
Written on both sides of 2 sheets of note paper with an Alston Court letterhead

Alston Court
Feb 6th 1956
My dear Harry,
I have heard from Adria about Vans death and feel I must tell you how sorry I am and how much I feel for you and Margo and for Adria too, who I know will miss him greatly. It is a consolation to know how very happy he was with you in his retirement. His letters to me were always full of enthusiasm about his new experiences and interests and his happiness living in your house. It was so wise of him to go to you and to escape from what might well have been a lonely and uncomfortable existence in England. We are just going through an icy cold spell and I think we are just about the only house in Nayland with one water supply still intact. I have now become rather cunning as a result of bitter experience about putting oil lamps at vulnerable points to stop the ice forming - in spite of this as you can well imagine the house is horribly cold but we are hoping to put in a modified kind of central heating in the spring. Dorothy went back to St Thomas's last week. She had been complaining of pain so they have got her there for x-rays - if the trouble is what they think it is it will necessitate an operation but not a very severe one I am assured. It is very distressing as she has had such a bad time for so long. I shall go up to my Club for a few days this week so as to be near her. Alison recently back from Khartoum with her three children is still in the village so she will be able to keep an eye on the oil lamps whilst I'm away. What a wonderful reception the Queen is having in Nigeria. Truly she is a wonderful little lady. She will be present at Lord's in June on the 4th day of the test match against Australia. I hope to see them all as I intend to watch the game from start to finish. New Zealand seems to be going through a bad patch with their cricket at the moment but I feel the trouble is only temporary as it happens to everybody sooner or later. I do hope you are well.
My love and best wishes to you all.
Yours ever.
Alston Fenn
Written on an Air Letter

Alston Court
Nayland
April 11, 1956
My dear Harry,
Thank you very much indeed for your letter of Feb 7th and the copy of the Timaru Herald which has reached me safely. I think our letters must have crossed for I wrote to you as soon as I heard from Adria about Vans death. I am so glad that I have seen the fine tribute paid to him by Mr Andrews and I am sure that it was no more than he deserved - I realised from his letters how happy he was with you and Margo and how devoted he was to your children. It must have been a great joy to him to that he was still able to pursue his vocation in New Zealand after he had retired from active work and he seems to have derived great pleasure travelling about the country taking services. How wise he was to leave England and make his home with you. Here we have had a bitterly cold winter but there are signs of spring at last though the east wind continues to blow. Dorothy and I have at last decided that we can stand the cold no longer unless we do something about so we are putting in central heating shortly to help us through in future. I am rather doubtful whether it will be much good as this house is full of draughts but it will be better than nothing - I often wonder how Aunt Margaret and Aunt Edith stuck it in the old age - they must have belonged to a hardier and sterner breed! Dorothy is really remarkably well. She had to go back to to St Thomas's for about a fortnight early in February for a checkup and x-rays but they were very pleased with her. I wonder whether Edward will ever find his way to England, if he does he will be very welcome here if we are still alive. The above remark applies equally to his little sister.
Our love to you all
Your affectionate cousin
Alston Fenn
PS there is a family named Brown who lived in Nayland for two or three years we never got to know them as they were hardly ever here - I think he had something to do with Australian and New Zealand shipping and was always travelling about the world. Rumour has it that they are now living near Timaru - they took a housekeeper with them a Miss Rashbrook whose sister married one of the Norfolk's, a very old Nayland family. I wonder whether you have come across them.
Written on an Air Letter

Alston Court
Jan 1961
My dear Harry
I have been a very long time writing to you to thank you for the Timaru's Centenary Magazine which interested us very much indeed. I wish that we could raise the cash to take a long holiday and pay you a visit. We spent our Christmas with Angela and her family and since our return I have not been out very much. Doctors orders owing to my asthma which has been rather troublesome - I am sending you rather a good air photo taken last June of Alston Court and most of the property which I thought would interest your family especially Edward as our only male representative in his generation! Perhaps he will see the place one day - who knows? I expect you will recognise it all as it hasn't changed much. At the bottom is the W end of the church and the N & W sides of the house with the Bowling Green complete with sun dial. Then beyond that most of the flower garden with a glimpse of a bit of the Dutch garden between the roofs of the old house and the new wing. Beyond again the old barn which does duty as a garage and provides a woodshed and storage rooms for coke, coal, apples, onions, junk etc. S of the barn I have a space for growing currents gooseberries and raspberries which used to be for chickens in the old days. Then there is the whole of the kitchen garden and to the right of it the Orchard. Just W of the Orchard you can see a Nissen hut - I have three of them and they are quite useful. They were built early in the war to store landmines and S.A.A. etc in case of invasion. Nayland was a strong point regarding the river and I had a big job when I came here clearing away a maze of barbed wire entanglements this was done by German and Italian prisoners and I much enjoyed watching them doing it. South of the Orchard is the paddock where we have Girl Guide camps during the summer holidays. We have 2 or 3 camps every year and they stay for a week at a time. Mostly they come from the Essex side of London but we have had them from as far away as Luton. It is a very popular site as it is secluded and yet quite close to the village shops and within easy reach of the sea for a day's outing by motorcoach. At the top of the photo is the beginning of the big meadow which I let for grazing to a farmer. Halfway up the photo on the right is a corner of the paddock where there used to be a tennis court in the old days. The court has disappeared but the summerhouse remains. The paddock is useful as it contains several apple and quince trees and two walnut trees. I expect Adria has told you that Dolly had a fall recently and the doctor suspects a slight stroke as her blood pressure is rather high. She is now in a nursing home in Cheltenham and seems to be doing well and I think may well recover unless she has another stroke. I am sorry for Adria as it adds to her responsibilities and she is worried about the future but I think that we should be thankful that Dolly was not taken ill in Boscombe. I have also had some bad news about Dick, some time ago he had pneumonia and made a good recovery though one lung never quite cleared. He has now had a relapse and is in hospital. Nora wrote to me on Jan 23rd and was then very anxious about him but have not heard since so hope that no news is good news. Dick is so young and active for his age that I hope all will be well. This horrible climate finds out one's weak spots! My chief worry is bronchial asthma and I go out very little in the winter. Our new parson is a huge success and has got the village well under control. I think Adria sometimes sends you our parish magazine. If so you will see a very big change. Our love to you all.
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on one side only of 5 sheets of note paper

Alston Court
Dec 12th 1961
My dear Harry
I am very ashamed of myself for not writing to you for so long and I don't think that I have ever thanked you for the last lot of newspapers which as usual I found very interesting. Please forgive. We have sent you separately a coloured reproduction of Constable's picture with our best wishes. Earlier this year there was an exhibition in Worcestershire of little-known pictures by famous artists and we were asked to loan our Constable for three weeks. We agreed and as a reward they presented us with a colour block done by the Medici Society so we can now reproduce an unlimited number of copies which will be of considerable benefit to our church funds I am also sending you a picture published the other day in the agricultural supplement of "The Times" which I think may interest you as you must know Dedham Church well. They have a very good parson there who started life as a Fleet Street journalist. I hear from Adria that you have been studying "Bygone Days" I have a copy of the book which must be particularly interesting to you with all its references to the part played by the Torlesse family in the early colonisation of NZ they seem to have taken half the population of Stoke by Nayland with them on their various expeditions. We were certainly an adventurous nation in those early days. I find it difficult to keep track of the Liveings for they intermarried with the Torlesse, Harrold, Alston and Fenn families which makes things rather complicated. I have a nice watercolour portrait of our great-grandmother Harriet Liveing who married Robert Fenn and whose mother was Harriet Harrold. It was given me by Dolly. I wish I could find out something about Robert Fenn. We know he left Harriet but where he came from or where he went is a closed book. I am sure Adria has told you that Dolly is now safely installed in Josephine's convent in Chiswick. It is a great relief for I am sure she is happy there and well looked after and it is an ideal place for an old lady who is no longer able to manage her own affairs. They have a hospital and apart from the usual public rooms she has her own room and there is a large garden of 4 acres where they can sit in the summer. I have just heard from Josephine that Dolly does not seem quite so well but she hopes it's nothing serious. One is bound to feel a bit anxious at her age but I shall be going there again early next month at the latest. Nancy lives quite near in Wimbledon and often goes to see her. Josephine is a most charming person and I wish I had known her longer. I am finding the upkeep of the old place rather a problem. Some kind of repair is always cropping up. The latest shock was the discovery that the foundations under the school room floor had been reduced to dust by the deathwatch beetle. Fortunately the beetle was dead as there was nothing more for them to eat but repairs took a long time and were only just completed before winter set in. We hibernate in that room in the winter as it is so easy to keep warm and we can also see everything that goes on in the village when there is nothing to look at in the garden! I was so interested to hear that you had started wasps in NZ. They are a perfect curse. Some years much worse than others. Greenwood (our gardener) is very good at finding nests and takes at least a dozen every year but the trouble is when they make their home under the tiles on our roof. I think I have told you that we have relays of Girl Guide camps in our paddock in August. This year we had more than 100 and they were constantly getting stung by wasps and coming to us for first aid! They are a cheerful crowd and we enjoy having them. Greenwood is always talking about his life in the Royal Navy in which he served for many years. He was a pad boy in Beaty's flagship "Lion" at Jutland. I gather that pad boys ran about with written messages before the advent of loudspeakers. When I went round Victory in Portsmouth Harbour a few years ago I was told that the youngest powder monkey in the ship at Trafalgar was only ten years old. Poor little blighter! It was a very interesting experience as they have reconstructed the ship to the smallest detail exactly as she was at the battle.
I hope you are all all well and with my love and best wishes to you all
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on one side only of 6 sheets of note paper

Alston Court
8th June 1962
My dear Harry
Thank you so much for your last letter and for the bundle of papers we much enjoyed your "Weekly News" and especially the photos in the supplements. I wish we were young enough and rich enough to pay you a visit. I was at school with your Governor General's father and uncles and I well remember his grandparents as I used to spend my holidays with a much loved aunt at Hagley when my parents were in India, and we often stayed there since those days until her death. We have had the longest winter on record. Even last week we had two devastating frosts which put paid to the potato crops over a vast area. It killed all my runner beans and we shall have no walnuts and I fear the apple crop may be seriously damaged. By contrast we have just had two or three really warm days, so having lost the spring I hope we may have started the summer. Last month I stayed with Angela and took the opportunity to go to the Convent to see Josephine and Dolly. Dolly hasn't been at all well and Josephine suspected another slight stroke, but I found her happy and cheerful and she seemed pleased to see me. Afterwards Angela and I went on and had tea with Nancy and she played off your piece on her tape recorder it was great fun hearing all your voices and Katharine Julius doing her bit on the piano. We thought she played remarkably well and she chose two of my favourites which made it all more enjoyable. Am I dreaming or did Adria or Nancy tell me that Edward is coming home next year to study engineering. If he is I am sure he will contact us and come and see us. I would like him to stay at Alston Court especially in the summer when the house and gardens are at their very best. Adria is coming to stay with us shortly for a few days. It will be nice to see her again as she was unable to go to the party to celebrate Dick and Nora's golden wedding. I expect Nancy has told you all about that - Dick is remarkably young and fit for his age and still does a certain amount of his work at his school, though officially it is now handed over to Nora's nephew. Alison and I went to the party and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I lost my fountain pen the other day which I've had for many years and I can't compete with the horrible thing which I have bought to replace it. We both send you all our very best love.
Yours ever
Alston
Written on an Air Letter note by HLF "Answered June 14"

Alston Court
30th Sept 1962
My dear Harry
Thank you very much for the last lot of papers which you sent and also for the coloured photo of the family group with the snow mountains in the background which I am very glad to have. I wish I could afford to pay you a visit and see your lovely country. I am afraid I have nothing in colour of the family but I enclose a fragment of the garden looking Westwards taken last spring - in the immediate foreground is the trunk of a young Ilex tree which must have been there in your time and behind it is a side view of the famous Box Tree enclosure which we call "the box room" and which must be of great antiquity. It has a seat inside and is the constant delight of small children when they come to see us. The South side of the house is away to the right. Sometime ago I sent you by surface mail some magazines as I thought you would be interested in the new Coventry Cathedral recently consecrated. Like everything which deviates from the traditional it has caused much controversy but most people whose opinion I respect are enormously impressed. I hope one day that I shall see it when it is less in the public eye. More than 2 1/2 million people have been to see it this year and I shall wait until the crowds subside - John Hutton who engraved the glass lives in Nayland and is a very charming person - I believe he is the greatest living expert in this kind of work and other notable examples of his craft are in the new cathedral at Guildford and in the Royal Air Force Memorial at Runnymede. Perhaps you will notice a picture of the inside of Londonderry Cathedral. The only interest that it has for us is that Angela was baptised there when we were stationed in Northern Ireland in 1926. We are now away from home on a visit to the daughters so as to give the domestic staff a rest and I have been spending a few nights at my club so as to go to my Regimental Dinner which as usual I much enjoyed. As I expect you know we had a long cold winter very little spring and a rather cheerless summer but in spite of it all it has been a good year for soft fruit and for our apples, plums, quinces, damsons and walnuts. I'm hoping to see Dolly again in a few days - I haven't seen her for about three months and Josephine tells me that she has been going downhill rather rapidly and now understands very little about what is going on. Thank goodness I managed to get all her affairs in order when she was still able to understand business. I think I have told you that all the money from the sale of her ground rents has been paid (about L6000 and which was originally belonged to Uncle Edward) and is now invested in short dated Government Stocks so the capital is quite safe. I hear from Adria that Edward is coming home in June - This is great news and we are delighted to hear it and very much looking forward to seeing him at Alston Court. No doubt he will contact us when he reaches England and if there is any way in which we can help him he must of course let us know. As the only male member in his generation of our once large family he is a most important person and I have always wanted to meet him! Adria came to stay with us for a few days in the summer. It was nice to see her for she seldom finds the time to get away from home. I decided this year to engage a Colchester firm to restore the memorial stones on some of our family graves some of which were in need of repair and in some cases the inscriptions were almost illegible. I have dealt with our grandmother Harriet Fenn, our grandparents Thomas and Maria, Uncle Sam and Aunt Margaret, Uncle Edward and Aunt Edith, and Aunt Lucy. I still have to do something about Aunt Annie and Edward Liveing (brother of great grandmother Harriet) and his wife Catherine Mary who was a granddaughter of old Sam Alston - Cyril's grave is in good condition - on this rather sombre note I will end!
Our love to you all
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on 1 side each of 6 sheets of note paper

Alston Court
January 1963
My dear Harry
Very many thanks for your letter which came just before Christmas and also for the calendar with views of N.Z. I was much interested in a picture of Wellington with a note under it to the effect that there is a memorial there jointly commemorating the Duke of Wellington and Edward Gibbon Wakefield who was an uncle of your godmother Fanny Torlesse. He must have done a big job in New Zealand to have his name coupled with that of the great Duke! Adria tells me that you have "Byegone Days" so no doubt you know all about him and his rather extra ordinary early career in England though even then he showed signs of greatness and his views on social reform were well in advance of current thought at that period. The trouble about "Byegone Days" is that it has no index and it takes a lot of hunting about to pickup references to particular people. The great freeze here persists though there are signs that a thaw may be on the way. I have never known anything like it since 1947. Luckily unlike other parts of the country we have had very little snow or fog so it has always been possible to move about on the main roads. But in spite of central heating it has been a job at times to keep the house warm. It has also been quite a business feeding and watering the birds in the garden to stop them from starving. I have hardly been out of doors and all owing to my chest which gives a lot of trouble in this kind of weather. However I am in luck for I'm flying to Jamaica next month for a few weeks. We have some very good friends there who will put me up and who have even offered to pay half my fare! Dossie prefers to obey doctors orders and stay at home but will spend most of the time visiting Alison and Angela and their families. We have a very charming retired nurse living with us and as Dossie is so much better I have no anxieties about leaving her. Dolly's death was a merciful release for her, although she never suffered, her mind had gone shortly before the end. She was always very glad to see me but the last time I saw her shortly before she died I am doubtful if she recognised me. It was indeed fortunate the Josephine was able to find rooms for her in the guesthouse in the convent. I can imagine nothing more perfect for a lonely old lady with limited means. Josephine is quite one of the most charming women I have ever known and I am grateful to Dolly for being the means of my getting to know her. I too remember what a very good looking girl Dolly was - when I was a very small boy and my father was stationed in London he often used to take me with him to Richmond on a Sunday afternoon to see Aunt Isabella and Dolly was usually there. She must have been 17 or 18 at the time. I expect you know that Edward and Katherine benefit under Dolly's Will from the sale of her ground rents. They get one third of the proceeds between them - the remains of two thirds go to Adria and Nancy. The establishment of the ownership of the ground rents caused a good deal of trouble and expense. It was known for certain that they were bought originally by Uncle Edward but the Title Deeds were lost I have no doubt that Uncle Edward passed them over to Aunt Isabella who was badly off, for Dolly had been drawing the income from them from many years. However this was not good enough for Uncle Edward's trustees and we had to take out an insurance policy - one payment premium of L80 to guard against the possibility of loss from a successful claimant in the future. After deducting this and legal expenses the net total from the sale came to about L5800. All Dolly's residuary estate was left to charities. No more now
We both send to you all our love and good wishes.
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on 1 side each of 5 sheets of note paper

Georgia
Duncans PO
Jamaica W1
Feb 1963
Dear Harry
Your letter of the nineteenth reached me here this morning I arrived here about two weeks ago to stay with some old friends and I shall be home again before Easter. The long cold winter was bad for my bronchial asthma and the Dr and Dossie eventually persuaded me to go. I came by jet from London airport to Montego Bay via New York and Nassau. It was my first long journey in a plane and as it was clear all the way it was fun looking down from a height of 5 or 6 miles. At one time when we were passing over some godforsaken icebound country they told us that the temperature outside the plane was 74 below zero. England was bad enough! As usual in Suffolk we escaped the worst of the snow but we had continuous frost from Dec 22nd onwards until I left on Feb 18th. My gardener was priceless and with help of a man from the village with a blow lamp managed to keep the water circulating without setting the house on fire so we had no burst pipes, we had one particularly cold spell with up to 32 of frost and one of our neighbours had her central heating frozen up with 7 burst radiators. It was a job keeping the birds alive and we had regular visits from herons and moorhens when the river was frozen. I do hope that Edward will get his Legacy before he comes to England but the Public Trustee and the Banks seem to take twice as long as anyone else in getting Probate. Doll's Executors and Trustees are the Trustee Department of the Westminster Bank at Chelmsford her solicitors are the same as mine this Sparling Benham and Brough West Stockwell Street Colchester. There are two Benham's in the firm but my man is Peter Benham who has a copy of Dolly's Will and I'm sure he would do everything possible to help if you decide to write to him mentioning me. I quite agree with you that the MCC in Australia were disappointing. They would have won the rubber if only they had held their catches. This was particularly so when Alan our stand-in wicket keeper dropped two vital catches in the fourth game. However they have only themselves to blame for you can't afford to drop catches in that class of cricket. I am looking forward to seeing the West Indies the summer. They were a most attractive side to watch last time they came over.
I was very interested to hear that your temporary Parsons mother had got a vacancy in Joe's guesthouse she is indeed a lucky old lady - I must try to remember about her next time I go to see Joe. It would be much better fun if Dossie could be with me but the doctors won't let her leave England. There is no apparent change here since Jamaica became independent but they are beginning to find out that it is much more expensive to be an independent nation than a colony!
My love to you all
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on an Air Letter

Alston Court
April 24, 1963
My dear Harry,
I returned home on April 10 and have received your letter on the 18th. I have been in touch with Peter Benham and he told me that he had received a most interesting letter from you and was on the point of replying to it. I think he wanted to make sure that Edward was over twenty-one before taking further action - fortunately I was able to reassure him on that point and I think he is now arranging for Dolly's bequest to be lodged with the Westminster Bank (Dolly's trustees) so that he will be able to draw on it when he is in England. Dolly's will was published in the Times on April 13 she left L21,131 net on which stamp duty came to L3181. The residue of her estate she left equally between the Distressed Gentle Folks Aid Association and Miss Smallwood's Society for the assistance of ladies in reduced circumstances. Benham told me that one third of the amount which we got for the ground rents (L6000) came to L1941 but some of the discrepancies is accounted for by the fact that I had to pay L80 for an insurance in case anyone claimed the money as the Title Deed for the ground rents couldn't be found - Katharine will therefore get L970 which I hope she will spend wisely!! If Edward is in any doubt about finance I am sure that Peter Benham would help or he could write direct to the Bank whose address is:
The manager
Trustee Department.
Westminster bank
7 High Street
Chelmsford
Essex.
I expect however that you will get all the information you require from Peter Benham who by now must have written to you by Air Mail. I am very glad to be home again and I am sure that my lungs are better and would have been much worse if I had not escaped from half of this devastating winter - we have lost lots of shrubs and all our bay trees, but what we miss most is a magnificent Mermaid rose which covered half the South side of the house. There has never been such a winter for more than 100 years - the ground was frozen to a depth of more than 18 inches and at times we had more than 30 of frost. However in the last few days spring has started and the trees and hedges have begun to show signs of life. Our best love to you all and I hope you are keeping well.
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on an Air Letter

Alston Court
5th Dec 1964
My dear Harry
We have been thinking of you and Margo a great deal and are hoping to hear in due course all about the wedding. I wonder whether you were able to make the long journey to Auckland to be present at the great event. We sent them a cable which I hope reached them in time but I have my doubts as our postmistress was off duty when I went to see her and her relief had no idea how to deal with the matter so I had to wait until the next morning which was drawing it rather fine. I have owed you both letters for a long time I'm ashamed to say, much of the delay is because I tore a muscle in my shoulder some months ago which prevented me from writing or driving the car. Just when I had nearly recovered I fell in the Hall which started it all up again and in addition I think I must have bruised a nerve in my arm for I find it rather a slow and painful business to write. It is sad that Edward and Joan left us in June which was a cold, wet and horrible month and gave no clue as to what lay ahead. From July to mid October we had a glorious summer and autumn - in fact the longest spell of fine weather than I can remember. The only trouble was lack of rain and the garden got very burnt up in spite of much illegal watering by our gardener! I had to make a very unhappy decision the other day and decided to get rid of those magnificent poplars which made such a fine background at the end of the garden. We had a warning about four years ago when one of them crashed in a gale. Fortunately it did no damage though it missed a walnut tree by a matter of inches. Adria once told me that they were planted to commemorate the marriages of Aunts Annie and Katie so they were nearly 100 years old. I called in an expert who said they all had "Watermark Disease" which meant they were rotten inside which proved to be the case. I have replaced them with eight young poplars to commemorate our grandchildren we have just had a big Bazaar in the village and raised L200 towards the church spire - it has been an expensive business but I think we should pay off the debt by the end of next summer. Originally the church had a spire but in 1834 it was found to be unsafe and it had to be removed. Instead of putting on another spire they added a horrible and very heavy brick extension on top of the old tower this extension proved to be much too heavy for the old tower and twice they had to lower the bells to reduce vibration. Finally the whole structure became so unsafe that for the past ten years we have not been able to ring the bells. The only thing to do was to remove the brick extension and replace it by a copper spire which we have done and it looks really very handsome and we are now back to where we were in 1834. Our next big job will be to rehang the bells which are at present reposing in the bell foundry at Loughborough. A new metal frame will have to be made from which to hang them as the old wooden frame is rotten and the small treble bell will have to be recast. After that we must train some more ringers as some of the old hands will be too old for the job. I anticipate that we may have to recruit some lusty village wenches to take their places! Margo in her letter solved a problem which has always puzzled me namely why you spell your name with only one "R" I thought that you might have been named after my father who was your godfather who in turn was named after his great-grandmother Harriet Harold who lived at Horkesley Park. By the way Horkesley Park is now a kind of reformatory for some thirty youths who have been in some sort of trouble in the past and it is run by a Baptist mission in Whitechapel who do a fine job of work. A very old friend Brig John Wilkinson stayed in Timaru last winter and told our Alison how very kind and hospitable everybody had been. He told her that he would most certainly enquire for you next time he went there but I expect by then you will have moved to Christchurch. However he may be seeing Edward. He is I think a New Zealander by birth but he spent all his soldiering life with the Sherwood Foresters where I knew him and on the Staff. Our Vicar has told Dossie that he has had a very nice letter from Margo, Dossie will be writing to her soon. Our love and best wishes to you both
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on one side only of 5 sheets of note paper

Alston Court
Feb 1965
My dear Harry,
I cannot remember when last I wrote to you and I may have omitted to thank you for the delightful calendar you sent us at Christmas. Also I want to thank you and Margo very much for your last combined letter. We were so very sorry to hear about Edwards illness and especially that he was taken ill when on honeymoon. Poor Joan it must have been a very sad experience for her too. I heard the news from Dick and also from Adria who had it from Nancy. I am told that undulent fever is the same complaint as that which used to be known throughout the Army in former times as Malta Fever. I seem to remember that it was eventually traced to the "milk round" which in those days consisted of a herd of goats being driven to your front door and milked to your requirements before moving on to the next customer. I cannot believe that the "milk round" in New Zealand is organised on similar lines so there must be other ways of catching the complaint? I enclose a photo of the church with its new spire as seen from Court Knoll '96 the house is hidden by the Yew trees on the left but you can just see the old barn with its red roof against the side of which Edward parked his car when he was away on his travels. I think I told you that the church used to have a spire but it became unsafe and had to be dismantled. For some unknown reason in 1834 it was replaced by the ugly redbrick extension which was too heavy for the 14th Century flint tower to support. In recent years the old tower showed signs of crumbling so it was decided to pull down the brick extension and revert to the spire which is a great improvement. The photo is of special interest as it was taken on October 18th last by an old lady who had no idea that I had already arranged for the poplars to be cut down on the very next morning. I had to make this tragic decision as they were found to be suffering from "Watermark Disease" and were hollow inside. Actually one fell about four years ago in a south-west gale fortunately without doing any damage. It was 100 feet long and managed to miss everything by inches including a walnut tree. We spent the whole of the morning on January 30th watching W.S.C's. funeral procession and the service in St Paul's it was indeed a moving spectacle and had all the grandeur about it that characterised his life. I wonder whether you saw it all in N.Z. I feel that no other nation in the world could have produced such a solemn and majestic tribute. I am sending by surface mail the memorial issue from the Sunday Times which will interest you if you have not already seen it. Please note that on page 13 the great man had one of our three legged shooting sticks! Our winter hasn't been too bad up-to-date and Dossie and I have weathered it fairly successfully but the doctor won't let me go out when it is really cold which is tiresome. We hope to see Nancy in the summer and hear all about her adventures in N.Z. When we stay with Angela we are not far from the convent at Chiswick where we call on Josephine and then go on to Nancy at Wimbledon. I find it difficult to move about much as my legs are getting weaker and I find it difficult to keep my balance.
My love to you and Margo I wish we could jump into a plane and pay you both a visit!
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on 1 side each of 5 sheets of note paper

Page 2 of an unidentified part letter from Alston Fenn.
. . . . . him in the summer that he is still full of vitality. He tells me that he intends to keep in touch and carry on with the school administration. He wanted to know the exact date of birth of Uncle Theodore and I was able to supply this from the family Bible which Charlie left me. It seems that Frank wanted a passport and had to give this information as he was born in NZ one of Dicks nieces Margaret Hillis who is married to an American is coming over the summer. She is a charming girl and bringing her two children. I met her and her husband last time they were here on business and I hope they will find time to stay with us. The other day a lady from Australia came here to lecture to our woman's branch of the British Legion and we put her up for the night she came from Melbourne. . . . .
Written on one side of one sheet of notepaper

Part letter from Alston Fenn starting at page 2
. . . . . when a young man went with his uncle Arthur Wakefield to NZ in 1841 as a surveyor on the first expedition for the foundation of Nelson. He returned to England in 1843 after his Uncle and some members of the party had been massacred by natives. However he returned to New Zealand in 1848 with an expedition to Port Lyttelton and helped to colonise the country round Christchurch. He bought land and settled in Rangiora. Later he gave up farming and built himself a house in Christchurch which later became the Theological College of the diocese. Eventually his health broke down and he returned to England with his family in 1865 and died in 1866 and is buried at Stoke. His brother Henry also went to NZ in 1852 with a large body of Colonists and was married to a girl in Kaiapoi in 1857. He became a parson in Christchurch and died in 1870 leaving a wife and several children. His wife Lizzie Torlesse was still alive in Christchurch in 1914. I hope that I have not bored you with all this but I have wondered whether any of the family still survive and whether you have ever heard of them. According to my book Charles Torlesse was the first Englishman to climb Otarama which was renamed Mt Torlesse! I don't think I have written to thank you for your last letter and for the charming snaps of the family I can see that Katharine is going to be a beauty and I wish that some of my grandchildren had inherited the lovely coppery hair from our family. I wish I could come out to see you all. I was told by a friend many years ago that the Tahi (Thar) in NZ had completely lost their native character, I often pursued them in the Himalayas and I always regarded them as quite the wildest and wariest animals which I have ever hunted and they lived in the most hair raising country below the perpetual snowline (7 to10,000 feet)
No more now '96 my very best love to you all
Your affectionate cousin
Alston
Written on three sides of two sheets of notepaper doodling by Harrold Fenn on the back

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1. Alston's Letters.


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Arthur married Dorothy Rose CONSTABLE CURTIS [493] [MRIN: 141], daughter of Frank John CONSTABLE CURTIS [2626] and Laura Mildred SMITH-DORRIEN [2627], on 25 Jan 1923 in Monmouth Parish Church. (Dorothy Rose CONSTABLE CURTIS [493] was born on 13 Jan 1890 in Reg Dist Of Ross Co Hereford & Glos, died in 1980 and was buried in Nayland Churchyard SFK.)


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