Percy Ashton ELWORTHY 
- Born: 27 Mar 1881, Timaru South Canterbury NZ
- Marriage (1): Bertha Victoria JULIUS  on 1 Oct 1908
- Died: 10 Jul 1961, Ringstead Havelock North N Z aged 80
Another name for Percy was Willie.
Elworthy Percy Ashton.
May 1894-1899. House Andrews. Son of Edward Elworthy, Pareora, Prefect; XV 1899; WWI Capt 1st Life Guards; Knight Order of St John; Rwg Blue (Cantab). Farmer. Havelock Nth, died 10 Jul 1961.
Christ's College School List 1850 - 1965
Elworthy Percy Ashton. Adm. at Trinity Hall, 1900. S. of Edward, Esq. of Pareora, Timaru, New Zealand. School, Christ's College, New Zealand. Matric Michaelmas 1900. Return to New Zealand at the end of his 2nd year. Served in the great War, 1914-19 (Lt. Life Guards)
Elworthy, Percy Ashton.
Sheep Farmer. "Gordon's Valley" Station, Timaru, NZ Born Timaru NZ 27Mar. 1881. Son of Edward and Sara (nee Sharrock) Elworthy of Wellington, Somerset. Run holder of "Holme Station" Timaru. Educated: Christ College, Christchurch, and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Rowed in winning crews, Clinker Fours at Cambridge and Thames Cup Henley 1902. In 1902 took over "Gordon's Valley" a portion of the original "Holme Station" taken up by his father in 1863 on which he built his present house and other buildings. In 1907 he went on an expedition to Portuguese S. Africa with Mr Carlisle Studholme of Waimate (shooting and game hunting). During the Great War he served with the First Life Guards in France, 1915-18, being promoted to the rank of Captain. Married: Bertha Victoria, youngest daughter of His Grace Archbishop Julius, 1st of October, 1908. Issue: 2 sons and 3 daughters. Janet Mildred, born 1909 died in London 1919; Samuel Charles, educated at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, and Trinity College Cambridge; Anthony Churchill, educated Marlborough College Wiltshire and in France; Mary Antoinette, educated Brondesbury Manor House, London, and in Paris; and Alice Diana aged 11 years. Clubs: (London) Bath, Leander, RAC Clubs: (NZ), Timaru and Christchurch. Creed: C of E. Home address: "Gordon's Valley" Timaru, NZ.
New Zealand, Who's Who in New Zealand and the Western Pacific, 1908, 1925, 1938 - Ancestry
Percy (Willie to his family) was adventurous and fun loving, never one to feel self-conscious about having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he lived a happy and full life. He is remembered by his daughter Di as a gentle and loving father, with a great sense of humour. He was educated at Cathedral School "and hated it" Christs College, Christchurch, where in his own words "I did as little work is possible, broke every school rule and was beaten without ceasing in consequence" and Trinity Hall Cambridge, England, where he was a popular figure. He rowed for Trinity Hall, but did not stay the required three years so went down without a degree. A fine sportsman Percy was a climber, horseman, polo player, he co' founded the Timaru Squash Club, and hunter. From 1902 he farmed Gordons Valley, his share of the old Pareora block, split up in 1910. He was not a hands on farmer, and Gordons Valley was run by managers. He and Bertha retired to Ringstead Havelock Nth N.Z. about 1951.
The old homestead at Gordons Valley was set in a magnificent parkland of exotic trees planted by Percy, and contained numerous trophies from his safari to East Africa in 1906. He served in France during WW1 with the First Life Guards, with the rank of Captain, his fine horsemanship stood him in good stead. However from the time he was demobbed he rejected the honorific, deriding those that clung to wartime rank. Percy was a Knight of the Order of St John.
Very interested in motoring, he bought his first car, a Simms Welbeck in Christchurch in 1902, taking 20 hours to travel back to Timaru in it. In his splendid memoir in Edwards Legacy, Percy noted "Bertha and I have owned a great variety of cars in our lives, from model T. Ford's to Hispano Suizas, Stutz, Rolls Royce, Jaguars, Riley's etc., and now we are back to Fords. Always at the vanguard, Percy, in the first decade of the 20th century drove all over New Zealand, much of it on unformed roads, his was the first car to enter Queenstown, to the consternation of the locals, and the first to cross the Crown Range, a restricted road even in 2012. He and Bertha first flew in 1915 from Hendon London with Graham-White, they hoped to fly to Scotland, but ran into a dense fog over Norfolk, landing at Kings Lynn they had lunch, taking off again the engine failed and they crash landed, unhurt, on the Fens. Soon after, back in New Zealand, he and Bertha hired a plane to fly to Dunedin for a meeting, there being no airport they had to land on the beach, which they did, bursting both tires. The wind had got up by the time they wished to return and the takeoff was almost unsuccessful.
Percy was a generous man, the researcher Edward Fenn enjoyed fascinating visits to Gordons Valley as a youth, and was given a Westley Richards .303 hunting rifle by Percy, which he still treasures (1999). Percy was aged 80 at his death.
His grandson Dermot writes of him in 2014 from his book: "It was after having come down from Cambridge and whilst staying at one of his London clubs that Willie (Percy) decided to visit the zoo in Regent's Park. The offering to a gorilla of a bag of peanuts skewered on the end of his umbrella began a story he often told me when I was little. The gorilla, no doubt bored half to death with peanuts, tossed the bag aside and grabbed the umbrella. After a lengthy tussle - the creature nonchalantly leaning against the bars and single-handedly toying with this new trinket, Willie, red-faced with effort and determination to retain his property - the brolly disintegrated with Willie shooting backwards, sprawling on the ground. The gorilla carefully examined the remnants of the stricken parapluie and thinking the prize hardly worth what little effort he had expended upon its capture, threw the broken pieces back at Willie."
Percy is believed to have paid for a Spitfire named "Rainscombe" as a contribution to the war effort. (Percy owned Rainscombe House Oare Wiltshire) His Grandson Dermot continues (2014) to seek confirmation of this but the trail has gone very cold. He comments "it would be wholly in character for Willie to make such a gesture and say nothing about it".
Percy also owned another country house in England known as Forbury. Dermot Elworthy in 2018 opines that it existed in a locality known as Crossways the intersection of Forbury Lane, Pebble Hill & Kintbury Road, Kintbury, Hungerford, Berkshire
RG17 9SU. The house no longer appears to exist, it may have fallen victim to the Labour Government's savage attack on wealth in Britain after WWII.
After studying family pictures of Forbury Dermot considers his proposition, above, to be unlikely - 2019
Grandson Dermot remembers a school function for St Johns Ambulance volunteers, where Willie who lived nearby did the honours: "Certificates were awarded at the end of term ceremony in Big School (Hereworth Prep Havelock North) and all those who didn't manage to kill anyone in the course of instruction received a splendid fake parchment. These were presented by an imposing man of military bearing, more than a little intimidating in the full ceremonial regalia of a Knight of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. My turn came; with knees a-trembling and stomach churning, I was presented to this vastly imposing personage who must have arrived from Olympus at the very least. "Willie, it's you!" I exclaimed. To me, Willie was a god and he never gave me any reason to suspect even so much as a toe of clay".
OBITUARY: PERCY ASHTON ELWORTHY.
Percy Elworthy- prominent in farming and sporting circles in South Canterbury for many years - died at his home, " Ringstead," Havelock North, early yesterday morning. He celebrated his eightieth birthday last March. The sixth son of Mr Edward Elworthy, of Holme Station, he was educated at Christs College (Christchurch) and Trinity Hall (Cambridge). Returning to New Zealand in 1902, he took up Gordons Valley Station, which he continued to develop until about 10 years ago when he moved to "Ringstead."
At Cambridge, Mr Elworthy rowed for his college," and he had the distinction of gaining selection in crews of the famous Leander Club. While at university he spent much time climbing in Switzerland and France and made ascents of many of the major peaks in the Alps, including some first traverses. Mr and Mrs Elworthy and their family lived for many years in England, and all their children were educated there. A keen horseman, Mr Elworthy won many steeplechases and point-to-point events and, with his brothers Arthur and Herbert, he held the hunting contract for the South Canterbury Hunt for some years during a difficult period in the early 1900's.
Mr Elworthy excelled in polo, too, and with his brothers, and the Orbells competed throughout the country with success. Big-game hunting had its fascination and trophies at Gordon's Valley Station today still attest the success of a trip which he made to Portuguese East Africa in 1906 with Mr Carlisle Studholme, of Waimate. When there was a movement in 1933 to form a squash rackets club in Timaru, Mr Elworthy was one of four men who among them provided the L1000 required for the purchase of land in Brunswick Street and the erection of a court.
The automobile always held a fascination for Mr Elworthy and he became the first man to drive over the Crown Range by car. Mr O. A. Gillespie records another motoring feat in his book "South Canterbury, a Record of Settlement." "Today, when people drive gaily from Timaru to Christchurch in a few hours, the record of P. A. Elworthy's first drive in 1902 is a comment on half a century of change. He left Christchurch at 6 o'clock one morning in a single-seater (Family photos show the car to be a four seater) Simms Welbeck car he had just bought and, in order not to wake his family, climbed through the scullery window at Holme Station at 2 o'clock the following morning, after a 20-hour journey."
In the First World War, Mr Elworthy served with the First Life Guards in France, rising to the rank of captain.
The work of the St John Ambulance occupied many hours of Mr, Elworthy's attention and he became a Knight of the Order of St. John. After the Second World War he presented the chassis of an ambulance to the Timaru Association,
In 1908 Mr Elworthy married Miss Bertha Julius, youngest daughter of Archbishop Julius. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. His elder son, Air Marshal Sir Charles Elworthy, is Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in the Middle East and is at present organising the British military operations in Kuwait. The second son, Mr Anthony C. Elworthy, is New Zealand manager for a United Kingdom engineering firm. The elder daughter, Anne (Mrs Shaun Jaffres), lives in Madras, and the younger daughter, Diana (Mrs J. C. Wilson) lives at Bulls.
1. Letter to Percy from his Father, 14 Dec 1898, Pareora Sth Canterbury NZ.
A letter to Percy at Christs College Christchurch from his Father
My Dear Percy
It seems a long time since I wrote to you and I am sure it is since I last saw your handwriting addressed to myself. I am merely sending you a line to say that you are not forgotten my lad, and that I shall be pleased to see you home again for your holidays. I hope this time you will bring some evidence of your terms work in the shape of a prize, or at any rate a good report as to you having really worked hard.
We have not quite finished shearing although I think I shall knock the men off unless a good wind springs up as we have very few more to shear (a little over a thousand) but it is rather a nuisance not keeping fine . . . . . Arthur of course is the big boss We have Mr & Mrs . . . . . here and they are out to try the river for trout, I don't expect a big result, however we may be surprised.
With love from your Father.
Very difficult handwriting to read !
2. Letter to Percy from his Mother, 15 Feb 1899, Pareora Sth Canterbury NZ.
A letter to Percy at Christs College Christchurch from his mother dated 15 February 1899 after the death of his father;
I am so very glad you are pleased with your bicycle take care of it dear old son and enjoy it "where ever you might" you know what dear old mum means by that. Edith wrote on Monday but most probably the mail bag was left behind when the carriage went for Miss Bedwills [?]
I fear you will imagine we have not been thinking enough about you, but never my dear boy does an hour pass without a thought for you. Dear old Pareora, Percy (sic), is looking so beautiful just now, but the black I feel everywhere is almost to hard to bear, but my dear children on every hand are helping me wonderfully. Your letter yesterday was your share for you know darling how each day I pray that your good resolves may be kept, you will have many battles but you will realise the reward so much greater when you succeed.
You cannot expect a very cheerful letter from me old boy but it is full of love.
I write in bed for I feel I have not the strength given me to face the beginning of a day with them all yet. I asked [?] Percy to read as your dear father did before our breakfast, I know it will be a comfort to me and will help us all. I want to live as much as he wished and I am sure our dear children have the same wish. God bless Darling don't let this letter depress you, I only just feel it is right to speak like this; but I am sure it is his wish that we must be happy and God I know will send it to us in the way and at the time he thinks best
Much . . . . . love my very own
dear boy from
The transcriber has had a further attempt but remains far from confident with his results - 2020
3. Percy Elworthy: Army appointment, 1906. Percy was appointed a Lieut of the South Canterbury Mounted Rifle Volunteers on 27 June 1906 for 12 months, he did not seek reappointment resigning in June 1907.
4. Percy Ashton Elworthy: Family Homes Forbury & Rainscombe Park in England, before WWII.
L to R: Forbury; Family in drive at Forbury (Alice in pedal car, Governess? by 1927 Austin 7, Percy Elworthy by a 1927 20hp? Rolls Royce, the Chauffeur beside 1929 Chrysler.) Rainscombe Park Oare Wiltshire - image courtesy T Dahl.
5. Percy Ashton Elworthy: Will signed 13 Aug 1958.
6. Percy Ashton Elworthy: Codicils to Will 1959 & 1961.
7. Percy Ashton Elworthy: Will - Bequests 1959.
8. Memorial Window, to Percy, St Lukes Havelock Nth NZ.
Percy married Bertha Victoria JULIUS  [MRIN: 157], daughter of Archbishop Churchill JULIUS D D  and Alice Frances ROWLANDSON , on 1 Oct 1908. (Bertha Victoria JULIUS  was born on 12 Jul 1886 in Ballarat Australia, died on 4 Dec 1974 in Taupo NZ and was buried in Hastings NZ.)