Anne Abbott (1931-2013)
Miss (Elizabeth) Anne Abbott, who lived for many years in Gladstone Terrace, Grantham, with her partner Alan Hubbard, was born at Eaton.
She attended Cairn Holt Kindergarten, in Melton Mowbray, and when the school closed at the outbreak of war, she went to the Grammar School a year early at the age of eight.
While at Melton Mowbray and later at Overstone School, Anne developed a real lasting love for music and particularly for singing and the piano.
Her first solo performance was in her village church at Branston at the age of 16.
On leaving school Anne continued her musical education with weekly lessons in Nottingham from Madame Lehaye for singing and Louden Merry for piano and then later in London by the famous pianist and teacher Prof Max Pirani.
Leyland White, a baritone who was a regular performer at the Proms in the late 1920s and early 30s also provided Anne with additional singing tuition.
A piano first arrived at the family home for her sisters Pat and Jean to practice on when Anne was only eight, but it didn’t take Anne long to monopolise it.
Her practice would start and finish with Drink to me Only with thine Eyes – Anne always taught he pupils to sing with their eyes.
In chance meeting while singing with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, Anne met a member of the newly formed Cambridge University Operatic Society who were looking for a soprano to take the lead role in Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Sir John in Love.
This subsequently led on to an invitation to perform in The Rakes Progress, at Cambridge, in December 1956, the first performance of this opera in England.
Vaughan-Williams was the President of the University Operatic Society and Anne was the fortunate recipient of a Vaughn-Williams bursary which allowed her to she gain additional tutoring with Paul Hamburger to perfect her German operatic singing and also with Melee for Italian and French singing.
She then progressed to a role at the Sadlers Wells in a Tale of Two Cities and found herself on the front cover of the magazine Opera in September 1957.
After that she played the role of Pamina in the Magic Flute at Birmingham, Mimi in La Boheme at the Royal Festival Hall and has even performed with Janet Baker in an oratorio at Nottingham. Other Cambridge performances include Rolf Liebemann’s School for Wives and Carl Orff’s Catulli Carmina in which Anne is described as “wide eyed and nimble witted” in her presentation.
Just before her 21st birthday Anne was given a grand piano by her father and thus began her teaching career which spans an incredible 60 years, starting at the age of 21 and continuing to teach right up to end of May this year.
It is as though Anne lived to teach, initially the piano and then later singing. Anne has always taught around the Grantham area and it is for her excellent and enthusiastic teaching that Anne will be most remembered and missed.
While teaching, Anne continued her singing career up to at least 1979.
Anne has sung on many occasions in the Grantham area most notably in Handel’s Messiah to celebrate the Quincentenary of the granting of the Town’s Charter in 1963 at St Wulfram’s Church, enjoyed by an audience of over 700.
It was very fitting that on the 50th year celebration of the Grantham Choral Society that one of Anne’s pupils, Nicola Pulford, sang the same role.
Anne was a member of the Grantham Music Club, and was one of the cornerstones of the Grantham Music Festival which also started in 1963.
She became a valued member of the organising committee finding adjudicators and choosing set pieces as well as being a great force in later years in keeping the festival going and introducing new committee members.
Anne never married or had children of her own, but she was loved by all her pupils, like an honorary “Mr Chips”.
Several of Anne’s pupils rose to national and even international status which gave her huge satisfaction, including the world-famous Wagnerian soprano Jane Eaglen and Grantham’s Nicola Pulford.
One of the greatest highlights in Anne’s life was watching a former pupil perform.
Eric James Adamson (1919-2007)
ERIC James Adamson was born at Liverpool and was educated at the Jesuit College of St Francis Xavier.
His first job was with the Admiralty in Altrincham, before being called-up for the Army.
He served throughout the Second World War, leaving with the rank of major.
He married Marion at All Saints Church, Driffield, in January, 1946 andreturned to the Admiralty in Glascoed and Bath. During this period they lived in Newport, Monmouth.
After transferring to Customs and Excise he worked in London and then moved to Hull, from where his work took him along the coast to Whitby and beyond.
In 1952 he took over the Customs and Excise station in the Grantham area, being solely responsible for a 30-mile radius of the town.
He worked from 8 St Peter’s Hill, but later was required to work from Nottingham, travelling daily from his Rectory Lane, Harlaxton, home until retirement in 1982.
Herbert Akroyd-Stuart (1864– 1927)
ALTHOUGH he never lived here, Herbert probably had the biggest effect on Grantham’s economy than anyone.
It was his invention, manufactured by local engineering company Richard Hornsby and Sons, which really put the town on the map.
Born in Halifax, Yorkshire, England ,he invented the hot bulb engine, or heavy oil engine – the fore-runner of the diesel engine.
Akroyd-Stuart lived in Australia in his early years. He was educated at Newbury Grammar School (now St. Bartholomew’s School) and Finsbury Technical College on Cowper Street. He was the son of Charles Stuart, founder of the Bletchley Iron and Tinplate Works, and joined his father in the business in 1887.
In 1885, he accidentally spilt paraffin oil into a pot of molten tin. The paraffin oil vaporised and caught fire when in contact with a paraffin lamp. This gave him an idea to pursue the possibility of using paraffin oil (very similar to modern-day diesel) for an engine, which unlike petrol would be difficult to be vaporised in a carburettor as its volatility is not sufficient to allow this.
His first prototype engines were built in 1886. In 1890, in collaboration with Charles Richard Binney, he filed Patent 7146 for Richard Hornsby and Sons of Grantham.
Akroyd-Stuart’s engines were built from 26 June 1891 by Richard Hornsby and Sons as the Hornsby Akroyd Patent Oil Engine under licence and were first sold commercially on 8 July 1892. It was the first internal combustion engine to use a pressurised fuel injection system.
Hot bulb engines were produced until the late 1920s, often being called “semi-diesels”, even though they were not as efficient as compression ignition engines.
They had the advantage of comparative simplicity, since they did not require the air compressor used by early Diesel engines; fuel was injected mechanically (solid injection) near the start of the compression stroke, at a much lower pressure than that of Diesel engines
Richard Hornsby and Sons built the world’s first oil-engined railway locomotive Lachesis for the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, England, in 1896. They also built the first compression-ignition powered automobile and the first tractor using this engine..
There is a plaque in Denmark Street, Bletchley, UK, commemorating the work of Herbert Akroyd Stuart
Diesel was, however, credited with the innovation, despite the adduced evidence to the contrary.
In 1900, Akroyd -Stuart moved to Australia and set up a company Sanders & Stuart with his brother Charles, latterly moving back to Yorkshire, England. He died of throat cancer and was buried in All Souls church in Boothtown, Halifax.
The University of Nottingham has hosted the Akroyd-Stuart Memorial Lecture on occasional years in his memory since 1928. One was presented by Sir Frank Whittle in 1946. Akroyd-Stuart had worked with Professor William Robinson in the late 19th century, who was professor of engineering from 1890 to 1924 at University College Nottingham.
Akroyd-Stuart also left money to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Royal Aeronautical Society and Institute of Marine Engineering, which provided for their respective bi-annual Akroyd-Stuart Prizes.
Keith Alexander (1958-2010)
KEITH Alexander was a Saint Lucian footballer and manager, born in Nottingham.
He was the manager of Lincoln City, Peterborough United and Macclesfield Town, in a career that included international appearances for Saint Lucia.
Alexander played for a whole host of lower league football teams including two games for Grantham Town at the start of the 1983 season before moving on to King’s Lynn.
He was the first full-time black professional manager in the Football League, and is considered by many to be a pioneer of the modern game.
His funeral took place at Lincoln Cathedral, with thousands of people paying their respects.
Friends, family and football fans gave a round of applause as his coffin entered and left the building. In October 2010, he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Black List celebratory evening at Wembley, highlighting the influence of African Caribbean figures in British football.
Mike Alexander (1941- )
GRANTHAM Football Club has a long tradition of free-scoring centre forwards and one of the finest of them all was Mike Alexander.
Originally on the books of Football League side Scunthorpe United, then Brigg Town, followed by Gainsborough Trinity.
He was the first major signing made by legendary player-manager Terry Bly in the 1964-65 season and immediately began to repay Terry’s faith by scoring on his debut following a £300 transfer free.
Over the next four seasons, he hit no fewer than 126 goals in 142 appearances, including four in an FA Cup tie against highly-fancied Londoners Hendon, who were the FA Amateur Cup holders at the time!
By the end of that season Mike had amassed another 50 goals in only 48 appearances and his scoring rate continued in the next two seasons, even netting another 4 goals in one match, this time Matlock Town being the victims.
Mike went on to star for Terry Bly’s cup heroes in prestigious ties against the likes of Wimbledon and Oldham in 1967.
His achievements saw him voted Anglia TV personality of the Year in 1968 and it was a huge disappointment (but perhaps no surprise) for Gingerbreads fans when arch-rivals Boston United paid a then-record transfer fee of £2,000 to take him to Northern Premier League football that year.
From there he returned to Gainsborough Trinity, returning to London Road in the late 1970s in a reserve match.
Compiled with the help of Nick Pigott and Jon Barnes
William Walker Allen (1890-1956)
William Walker Allen, of Inner Street, enlisted in the Army as an 18-year old mysteriously he was discharged six months later as unfit for military service.
He gained employment at Richard Hornsby’s Spittlegate Ironworks.
Then in August 1914 he enlisted again, this time as a Special Reservist, leaving a wife and three young children behind.
The 8th Lincolns, of which he was a part, were thrown in at the deep end at the Battle of Loos, 25 September 1915.
They had never been in action before and were thoroughly beaten by a much more experienced foe. Of the 1,023 men who landed in France on 10th September, at the roll call was made on 29th September, just 530 answered the call.
This was a very dark day for the British Army, the Lincolnshire Regiment and most importantly their families.
But Bill Allen (to those that knew him) luckily survived to fight another day.
The next significant action he was involved in was the Battle of the Somme.
The 8th Lincolns were in the second wave of assaulting troops on the 1 July. The 8th Lincolns attached in the vicinity of Fricourt as part of the 21st Division.
They did well and reached and held their first line objectives.
However given the number of casualties the Lincolns took they were soon withdrawn from the line to refit and re-organise.
As the battle dragged on they found themselves again in the front line this time at Beaucourt which the Royal Naval Division had recently captured.
The Germans retaliated with a huge bombardment and Pte Allen was wounded in the neck by shrapnel and had to return home for surgery. Fortunately there wasn’t any lasting impediment.
Returning the front this time with the 7th Lincolns he saw action helping to beat off German counterattack following the Second Battle of the Scrape.
Shortly afterwards he was posted to the 2/5th Lincolns, a second line territorial unit. They took part in 3rd Ypres in the vicinity of Langemarck and achieved their objectives.
In the spring of 1918 the Germans launched Kaiserschlacht and the 2/5th Lincolns were caught in the teeth of the maelstrom.
The line was smashed by the ferocious onslaught. The Battalion lost 20 officers and approximately 500 men.
They moved to Flanders to refit, receive replacements and reorganise when the Battalion was hit again, as the Germans switched their point of attack. This time the 2/5th Lincolns were reduced a cadre of just 80 men.
It was at this point that Haig issued his famous backs to the wall call to arms: “…With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end. The safety of our homes and the freedom of mankind depend alike upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment.”
The Battalion, Brigade and Division to which he belonged were disbanded and the survivors transferred to other units.
The remnants of the 2/5th Lincolns were all posted to the 1st Lincolns. Following the Battalion of Amiens in August 1918 the British Army continued its advanced in what is known as the 100 days. During an attack Pte Allen was taken a Prison of War.
Thankfully he was returned safely home to his wife and daughters.
Some 22 years later he was to take up arms again as part of the Home Guard.
He died in 1956, and is buried in Grantham Cemetery.
Research by Nigel Atter
Retired railwayman became a publican
Henry Allen (1825-1911)
BORN at Peterborough, Henry Allen was superintendent of the loco at Grantham for 27 years.
He came to Grantham in 1858, only five years after the railway station opened in the town, and worked for the Great Northern Railway Co for more than 40 years.
When he retired in 1885, he lived at Harlaxton Wharf before becoming the licensee of the Gregory Arms until 1897 (when he was 72).
He moved to his daughter’s home, at Heaton Moor. Stockport, where he died.
He was buried at Harlaxton.
Mary Allen (1878-1964)
MARY Sophia Allen was a military-minded woman who was probably attracted to the Women Police Volunteers because it was the most regimented and militant of all the suffrage societies.
Born of a wealthy family in Cheltenham (her father was General Manager of the Great Western Railway), she was educated at Princess Helena College. When she took over the Hastings branch in 1912 she had already achieved national fame (or notoriety).
She introduced herself to local suffragettes by giving a talk describing her window smashing raids on Government buildings in London and Bristol, three terms of imprisonment, her hunger strike and force-feeding.
When war broke out in 1914, Mary co-founded with Margaret Damer Dawson the Women’s Police Volunteers and was Sub-Commandant under Dawson.
They moved to Grantham in 1915 to curb prostitution, making a big impact. Usually they prodded couples with umbrellas to make their point. They left the following year for London. She was made a member of the regular police force. She and Dawson lived together as a couple from 1913 until Dawson’s death in 1920.
She became Commandant when Dawson retired in 1919. When the war was over Scotland Yard tried to disband the Women’s Police Service but the moves were countered by Miss Allen.
In 1921 Mary Allen became commandant of the renamed Women’s Auxiliary Service. Her motto was ‘Set a woman to catch a woman’
In 1922 she moved to Cologne in Germany to train women police. She returned by 1926 organising women to help to break the 1926 General Strike, by keeping road transport services running.
After meeting Hitler in 1934 she became a fervent admirer and Nazi sympathiser, and took to wearing jack-boots.
Allen was also an active supporter of General Franco and his Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War and associated with Sir Oswald Moseley. She was also Chief Women’s Officer of the British Union of Fascists.
Her extreme right-wing views made her unpopular with some members of the Women’s Auxiliary Service and she was forced to leave the police service with the approach of the Second World War.
She became increasingly eccentric, and her apparent support for Hitler and Goering led to questions about whether she should be interned in 1940.
Beverly Allitt (1968- )
BEVERLY Gail Allitt, dubbed the Angel of Death by the national press, went on a killing spree at Grantham Hospital in the spring of 1991.
Allitt was born in Corby Glen. She went to the village primary school, Charles Read Secondary School and Grantham College becoming a pupil nurse in April 1988.
She secured a contract as an Enrolled Nurse at Grantham Hospital, just seven days before her first attack.
Her first victim was Liam Taylor. Less than two months old, he suffered a heart attack and died the following day.
Attacks on youngsters continued through March and April, and when police were called in at the end of April, four children on Ward 4 were dead and nine were very ill.
Claire Peck, 15 months, Becky Phillips, 9 weeks, and Timothy Hardwick, 11, had also died. Others had to live with the scars of her attacks.
Det Supt Stuart Clifton led the investigation, and Allitt was arrested as prime suspect and bailed by police in May.
In November she was hauled before Grantham magistrates, facing four murder charges, eight of attempted murder and eight of grievous bodily harm.
In May 1993 she was convicted and sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.
Allitt, who was given 13 life sentences and was sent to Rampton Hospital, used insulin in her attacks.
Archibald Allport, (1861-1939)
BORN in America, Archibald John Allport arrived in the UK at Cheltenham as in infant, moving shortly afterwards with his family to Grantham.
His early career was as a headcutter (hairdresser) before starting his own business in Dudley Road, sub-postmaster and general storekeeper, the former position he held for 38 years, retiring at the age of 77.
He was a preacher in Grantham for 58 years, his first sermon being when he was only 17.
He was popular in the Grantham circuit and had preached most of the churches for miles around. He was the second oldest local preacher on the Finkin Street circuit plan when he died.
Mr Allport was member of the old Board of Guardians (workhouse) and a former temperance advocate.
OLIVER ANDERSON (1912-1996)
AS a young journalist, Snitterby-born Oliver Anderson caused a scandal in Grantham with the publication of his first novel in the autumn of 1937.
Rotten Borough, written under the pen-name Julian Pine when he was just 25, was removed from shelves within weeks after a series of writs from town dignitaries who thought they recognised themselves in its pages.
One of them is believed to have been grocer and local councillor Alfred Roberts, the father of future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The son of a Little Ponton vicar, Oliver attended King’s from 1924 to 1930 and then worked in journalism as assistant to the Grantham representative of the Nottingham Guardian.
He always denied any character in Rotten Borough was drawn from real life – even in 1989 when the book was reissued after 52 years.
The re-publication of the book also caused a stir – the Grantham represented in Rotten Borough was seen as being instrumental in the birth of Thatcherism.
The scandalous content of the book overshadowed the quality of writing, which Guardian critic Richard Boston said “anticipates Tom Sharpe by decades.”
After the scandal of Rotten Borough, the war interrupted Anderson’s literary career.
He was involved in the capture of El Alamein. His regiment Sussex Gunners (58” Field Reg. R.A.) returned home from Africa and later landed in Normandy on D-Day plus-2..
He returned to his Harlaxton home, where he had lived since 1933, after a brief time in Germany as part of the occupying force.
Writing under his own name, he produced several more comic novels, including Grit and Polish, Smiling Tigers, Ripe for the Plucking and Thorn in the Flesh.
His final book, Last Mirage, was written in the style of Somerset Maugham and sold well.
He died of heart failure at the age of 84. His body found in the garden of his Harlaxton home by a neighbour in October 1996.
Rev Canon Chris Andrews (B1947)
THE Rev Canon Chris Andrews was appointed Vicar of St Wulfram’s (Rector of Grantham) in 1996 until his retirement in 2013.
Born in pre-fab in Glen Parva, Leicester, he was the son of an aeronautical engineer who at the time was working with jet-engine developer Frank Whittle.
The early years were unsettled. The family moved variously to Farnborough, New Maldon, then three years at Woomera, Australia, before moving to Salisbury when his father moved to Boscombe Down.
Salisbury was Chris’s final school from where he went to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge to read first English, then theology.
He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Michael Ramsey at Canterbury Cathedral.
His first post was at Croydon where he met Christine, whom he married before moving to Newcastle.
He recalled: “This was a great adventure. I had been to Australia but not the north of England.”
He spent three years at Gosforth, setting up a new church on a 10,000-home Kingston Park estate. While the church was being built, his home was the only place of worship.
From there he went to St Michael’s, Alnwick and finally Grantham.
He became an active member of Grantham Choral Society.
During his time in Grantham, apart from his pastoral duties, he worked on strengthening relations between Christians and Muslims and in community development in Egypt and the Middle East.
He retired to Bury St Edmunds in August 2013.
Noel Angel (1928-2007)
The Second World War brought extended family members together, with 10 living in a two-bedroomed house.
From 1941 to 1951 he was employed at Mowbray’s Brewery, but was asked to leave when 3,000 gallons of ale escaped into the River Witham.
From 1951 to 1960 he worked at Ransome and Marles,Springfield Road, followed by a year working at Coles Cranes, Dysart Road.
From 1961 to 1982 he worked at BMARC as a universal miller and was shop steward and works convener for 10 years. He then worked on a community programme until 1985 and latterly worked for B P.Holmes, Billingborough, as a universal miller.
Angling was Mr Angel’s first love. He also played youth football for various teams and later played in various pub teams at darts and cribbage and played table tennis and snooker for BMARC.
Albino Leo Angeloni (1918 – 1986)
Albino Angeloni was born in Brescia, Italy, and enlisted into the Italian Navy aged 17.
His ship, the cruiser Colleoni was torpedoed in the Mediterranean and was taken prisoner-of-war for three years.
He was transferred to the PoW camp at Buckminster and later, Allington.
On release, he met and married Grantham girl Pamela Parker and they set up home at Croxton Kerriel, working for farmer Richard Cropley.
They couple moved to Grantham in 1964 when he got a job with Bristowe’s Tarvia. Five years later, he joined the engineering department at Christian Salveson from where he retired in 1983.
Martin Angeloni (b1953)
Born in 1953 at Coxton Kerrial, Martin attended the village school school until the family moved to Grantham.
Here, he went to sSt Anne’s, then to St Wulfrums.
His first job was at Bjorlows tannery, then Kontaks. He was also working weekends with local race driver Ivor Goodwin, and after meeting Richard Dutton in 1974 I worked with him at Marston Trailers as well as helping him in the evenings and weekends with his newly acquired race car.
This was followed by a short spell in the showroom of North Road Garages, on London Road, before joining Richard in forming his race team, along with local lad Mark Franklin.
Success followed and many a race was won,in 1986, Martin was poached by an up-and-coming driver called Mark Blundell to form his own race team.
A double championship in Europe and the UK put him in good stead for his future. Plans for a short foray in F3000 in19 87 soon got the bigwigs looking for a new superstar and was duly signed by Williams as test driver. The team folded and Martin moved on to the Benetton F1 team to finished the season.
Martin’s next team in 1988 was the ultra competitive Bromley Motorsport as chief mechanic to compete in European F3000,with drivers Eric Bernard and Roberto Moreno ,duly taking the championship with Roberto. nIn 1989 they remained in 3000 and their driver was Gary Brabham, son of Sir Jack,and won the British Series.
Another three years in the series never brought us any more victories and with the team owner struggling with cancer,it was decided to close the doors.
So in 1992 Martin decided to take a few years off travelling with work and after getting married in 1990, a family soon arrived,,a girl named Dennie,and a boy Olive.
But the urge to return to the circuits was prompted by a great offer to run a team in Europe againso that was taken up for a two-year program.
Then in 1998 a new series was set up in Bedfordshire and Martin was invited to be one of the senior mechanics training new boys to work in motorsport, on was a three-year deal.
After the closing of the series he went to work for his friend Simon Hadfield Restoration building and restoration work on historic race cars, He enjoyed being home every night spending time with Debbie and the children.
The work also meant going abroad and even around the world. They did several F1 support races with the historic F1s and had,Canada,,Mexico,,America,and the best of the lot Singapore.
He retired in 2019 but still helps with race teams at weekends and a couple of days in the workshop just to keep busy.
He said: “To be quite honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve ,been to some incredible places, met many wonderful people and to be doing something you love and getting paid for it.”
His son Oliver is also in the same game, working for a team that rebuild GT 40s and other exotic race cars.
As for the darts,I had a great few years with some great players, something that Grantham had an abundance of.
Among his tropheys are: League winners ,White Lion, League winners Vacu lug., League winners Spotted. Cow,Mixed doubles winners,GDDL, LVA with his now wife Deb. and County super league, Granby.
And when he moved to Derbyshire in 1988 I played in local leagues and also in the Notts super league.
Franceso Elia Angeloni, (1948-2017)
Franceso Elia Angeloni, better known as ‘Frank’ was born at Croxton Kerrial the son of former naval pow Albino and his wife Pamela.
He went to the village school, then on to Belvoir High School, Bottesford.
Frank grew up on a farm. His love of motors probably came from driving a tractor from the age of seven.
He claimed to have a ‘finely tuned ear’ and could diagnose a car fault simply by listening to it. He had excellent mechanical skills and could strip rebuild anything.
Yet he was completely self-taught,
He ran had his own taxi company, Abbey cabs in the early 80s, having previously worked at Franks Taxis.
He was constantly working on family and friends’ cars, doing what he loved most and making a living from it,
He was passionate about motorsport and with his brother Martin, would often take part in small local rallies in Martin’s Mini. On many occasions he would help out at weekends at Richard Dutton Racing.
He married Linda and they had five children.
He would never complain of being ill, which was his downfall. He suffered with a bad back for many years he just passed it off as backache. Unfortunately it turned out to be more serious and proved fatal in 2017.
Compiled with the assistance of Martin Angeloni
Montague didn’t find cricket taxing
Montague Appleby (1881 – 1954)
Montague William Appleby, was one the greatest all-rounders in the history of Grantham Cricket Club. As a bowler he was the taker of a record number of wickets.
Mr Appleby, of Harrowby Road, played regularly twice a week practiced assiduously on at least another two evenings, took his cold shower and then attended to the cleaning of his boots and pads. Meticulously groomed himself, he looked askance at anything shoddy, and as ground secretary he taught an inexperienced protege to prepare the best of wickets.
Season after season his name was found high in the averages, often with more than 100 wickets with a matching aggregate of runs.
The former King’s School pupil organised the Old Boys XI matches.
He was HM Collector of Taxes in the town.
Harriet Arbuthnot (1793-1834)
Harriet Arbuthnot was an early 19th-century English diarist, social observer and political hostess on behalf of the Tory party.
During the 1820s she was the closest woman friend of the hero of Waterloo and British Prime Minister, the 1st Duke of Wellington
She maintained a long correspondence and association with the Duke, all of which she recorded in her diaries, which are consequently extensively used in all authoritative biographies of the Duke of Wellington.
Born into the periphery of the British aristocracy, at Fulbeck Manor, her parents were Henry Fane and his wife, Elizabeth, née Swymmer.
Her observations and memories of life within the British establishment are not confined to individuals but document politics, great events and daily life with an equal attention to detail, providing historians with a clear picture of the events described. Her diaries were themselves finally published in 1950 as The Journal of Mrs Arbuthnot.
The young Harriet spent much of her childhood at the family home at Fulbeck Hall, sited high on the limestone hills.
Harriet married Rt Hon Charles Arbuthnot, member of Parliament, at Fulbeck in 1814. Born in 1767, her husband was 26 years older than she was, an age difference which had initially caused her family to object to the marriage.
Another of the principal obstacles to finalising the arrangements for the marriage was financial. Her widowed mother delegated the arrangements for the marriage of her 20-year-old daughter to her elder son Vere, a 46-year-old widower who was considered qualified in these matters as he worked at Child’s Bank.
It seems that Vere Fane and his mother were not initially prepared to settle enough money on his sister to satisfy her future husband, causing the prospective bridegroom to write to his fiancée: “How can you and I live upon £1000 or £1200 and Fane [her mother] finds it so impossible to live upon her £6000 that she can offer you no assistance whatsoever?”
Charles Arbuthnot was a widower with four children; his son Charles was a mere nine years junior to his new wife. His first wife Marcia, a lady in waiting to the notorious Princess of Wales, had died in 1806. Like the other two men his second wife so admired, Viscount Castlereagh and Wellington,
Marriage to Charles Arbuthnot opened all doors to his young new wife, .
Throughout her marriage, Harriet formed close friendships with powerful older men. She described Castlereagh as her “dearest and best friend” until his death in 1822, when she transferred her affections to the other great 19th-century Anglo-Irish peer, the Duke of Wellington.
All social commentators of the time, however, agree that her marriage was happy; indeed, her husband was as close a friend of Wellington’s as was his wife. Married to a politician, she was fascinated by politics and enjoyed success as a political hostess while exerting her energies to promote Tory causes.
During the early part of her marriage, her husband served as an Under-Secretary at the Treasury. Later, in 1823, he was given the Department of Woods and Forests, a position which gave him charge of the Royal parks and gardens. The subsequent access to the Royal family this allowed increased not only his status but also that of his wife.
When remarking in her diaries on other women who shared their affections with great men of the day, Arbuthnot displayed a sharp, ironic wit. Of Wellington’s one-time mistress Princess Dorothea Lieven, wife to the Imperial Russian ambassador to London from 1812 to 1834, she wrote “It is curious that the loves and intrigues of a femme galante should have such influence over the affairs of Europe.”
Her political observations are clearly written from her own Tory viewpoint. However, her detailed description of the rivalry for power between the Tories and Liberals which took place between 1822 and 1830 is one of the most authoritative accounts of this struggle.
It is likely that Arbuthnot first came to the attention of Wellington during 1814 in the re-opened salons of Paris following the exile of Napoleon to Elba. Wellington had been appointed the British Ambassador to the Court of the Tuileries, and the city was crowded with English visitors anxious to travel on the continent and socialise after the Napoleonic Wars.
Among those sampling the rounds of entertainment in this lively environment were the newly married Arbuthnots. Charles Arbuthnot was known to Wellington, as he had been a strong supporter of Wellington’s younger brother Henry during his divorce, and it is possible Wellington had met, or at least heard of, Mrs Arbuthnot—she was a first cousin to his favourites the Burghersh family.
However, it was only after the death of Castlereagh in 1822 that the Wellington–Arbuthnot friendship blossomed
It has been said that the unhappily married Duke enjoyed his relationship with Mrs Arbuthnot because he found in her company “the comfort and happiness his wife could not give him.” Arbuthnot was certainly the Duke’s confidante in all matters, especially that of his marriage. He confided to her that he only married his wife because “they asked me to do it” and that he was “not the least in love with her.”
As a consequence of his unsatisfactory marriage, Wellington formed relationships with other women, but it was for Arbuthnot that “he reserved his deepest affection.”
Her husband at this time was working at The Treasury and Arbuthnot in effect became what would today be termed Wellington’s social secretary during his first term of premiership between January 1828 and November 1830. It has been suggested that the Duke of Wellington allowed her “almost unrestricted access to the secrets of the cabinet”
Harriet died suddenly of cholera on 2 August 1834 at Woodford Lodge, her home near the Arbuthnots’ seat, Woodford House, Northamptonshire.
Immediately after her death an express message was sent to Apsley House. The messenger, however, had to divert to Hatfield House where Wellington was dining with the Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury. After her death, it was revealed she had been on a civil list pension of £936 per annum (£85,000 per year as of 2020) since January 1823.
The exact nature of Arbuthnot’s relationship with Wellington has always been a subject for conjecture.
Harriet Arbuthnot was buried in the Fane family plot at St Nicholas’ parish church, Fulbeck
Leo Arendzen, (1875 –1963)
CANON Leo Arendzen – known as the Painter Priest – was parish priest at St Mary’s, Grantham, for 39 years.
Born in Haarlem, Amsterdam, he was the son of a Dutch etcher
He is listed in the census of 1901, when he was 26, as an ‘artist’,
He studied fine art at the Slade School and practised mainly as a portrait painter.
Leo was a late ordination. Leo went on to study theology and, after some setbacks including the expulsion from a seminary for keeping chickens on the roof and other misdemeanors. Leo had been tending his chickens on the roof of the seminary (illicitly) when he heard someone approaching. In a panic that he would be discovered, he pushed the chickens off the roof and they fluttered down around a priest walking the grounds reciting his breviary.
He was ordained after being interviewed by the Pope, who apparently instructed him to get his hair cut.
He arrived in Grantham in 1914 as parish priest, after more than six years at Glossop.
He remained at St Mary’s for two world wars, finally saying farewell in 1953.
During that timer he painted portraits of Bishop Dunn and Bishop McNulty as well as the late Mgr. Charles Payne, a former Vicar General of the diocese, which hang in Bishop’s House, Nottingham.
Leo retired to London, where he had a small chapel in an upstairs room in which he would say mass daily. In the Latin service, there is a line near the beginning which appears again near the end
On occasion, in his later life, Leo would reach this point at the end of the mass and, confused, start all over again. This could be quite tiresome if you were in the congregation.
He was one of four priest brothers. Canon John Arendzen, of the Westminster diocese, Fr. W. A. Arendzen, of Porthcawl, and Fr. Alphonse Arendzen, of Willesden, London.
Leo left office in Grantham in 1953 due to ill health and died in London 10 years later