Wickhamford Manor House & the Lees-Milne family
The Lees-Milne family lived
at Wickhamford Manor during the early twentieth century. James Lees-Milne
(1908 - 1997) was a writer with a special interest in historic houses.
From 1936 to 1950 he worked for the National Trust and played a key
role in the first large-scale transfer of country houses from private
ownership to the National Trust.
This collection of pictures
was kindly lent to us by Simon Lees-Milne and by June and Jeremy Ryan-Bell.
This is the rear
of the Manor pretty much as it was when George Lees-Milne bought it
in 1906 (the picture is said to be from around 1912). There are only
two gables at this stage.
Wickhamford Manor, Spring 1927 by James Barraclough. Note the change
in pattern on the right hand gable which is said to have happened in
1923.. A photograph taken in 1925 shows
a similar appearance.
Oil painting of the
sunken garden by Violet Lindsell. This probably dates from the 1930s.
It shows the house with three gables, which is still has today as can
be seen from this photograph taken in 2010.
Pencil drawing of
the front of the Manor - date/artist unknown
(1880-1949) in Hussar's uniform (before he lost his eye). His military
service was in the Cheshire Yeomanry from 1901-1905. Yeomanry Regiments
had uniforms based on regular cavalry design, usually Hussars but sometimes
Lancers or Dragoons.
(1880-1949) as head of the Evesham Home Guard, 1940.
left hand, by his brother Alec. Röntgen discovered X rays in in 1895
so this 1898 picture is a very early example.
(1884-1962). The daughter of Henry and Christina Bailey she married
George Lees-Milne in 1904.
(1882-1917). The brother of Helen Lees-Milne, he died of wounds
in Cairo, sustained in the storming of Jerusalem in 1917. He is commemorated
on the War Memorial and in a dedicated tablet in Wickhamford Church.
in Army, WW2
An elderly Helen
Lees-Milne taken in the late 50s or early 60s (she died in 1962).
behind the flooded Hody's Place - 11th July 1968
(1889-1974) was chauffeur, as well as gardener and handyman, to
George Lees-Milne. After the Manor was sold he continued to work for
the Lees-Milne family in Hody's place in Manor Road. The picture is
probably from the 1920s or 1930s. Here is an article
about Norris Haines.
is a document granting the Manor to Thomas Throckmorton by Elizabeth
I. It is dated 1562. A detail shows the
signature of Elizabeth I to the right of the bottom line.
These next three photographs
were kindly lent to us by John Pethard, whose mother, Elizabeth Johnson,
is identified in the staff photograph below.
Five female staff
at the Manor. Domestic staff in the garden of Wickhamford Manor,
ca 1913. In the back on the right is Elizabeth Johnson. Other names
are unknown, but those at the Manor in 1911 were Annie Helen Shaw-Sands,
the housekeeper; Rachel Severn, the parlour maid; Sarah Elizabeth Harrison,
the nurse and Elsie Mary Hardiman, the under-nurse. Some of these may
be in this picture.
in Manor Garden. The Lees-Milne children - Audrey, Richard & James
- in the garden of Wickhamford Manor, 1913
The hunt meeting in front of Wickhamford Manor, with the church in the
background, probably photographed between the wars.
A photo outside the
Manor on the Wedding Day of Audrey Lees-Milne to Matthew Arthur in 1931.
A small group at the Manor, probably in the 1920s. The lady on the left
is Margaret Careless (later Ockwell) who was a cook there. The sailor
is Reginald Knight, and on the right is his sister, Gwendoline Vera
Knight (known as 'Vera'). These two pictures were kindly lent by Mary
This is William Skene
Ross, the gardener at the Manor in the early 1920s, pictured in the
glasshouse there. There are more details of his life and his tragic
death from poisoning in the article Wickhamford
The next photos
date from the late 1920s and early 1930s. They were kindly lent to us
by Ivor Martin who is the son of Vera Knight. Vera appears in the picture
above and also in this one showing her paddling in the ornamental pond
in the sunken garden.
These two photos are of a lady called Esther, on the lake and sitting
by the sunken garden pond.
A group of staff, by a shooting brake, who accompanied the Lees-Milne
family on a holiday in Scotland in 1932. They are (left to right) K.
Powell, M. Shepherd, W. Price and Vera Knight.
Three more views - click on the images to enlarge them.
A picture of the Manor, pre 1907, taken from a book with a history of
the Sandys family- click on the images to enlarge them.
Updated 7 May 2014.
Contact email: Wickhamford@Badsey.net