Cheswardine Manor

 in the County of Shropshire

Page 2

This page begins the second part of the history of Cheswardine Manor with the 

Children of Charles and Sara Donaldson-Hudson

Charles Donaldson-Hudson and his wife Sara Marie a had four children namely:-

Kathleen Marie Donaldson-Hudson, born on 4th April 1871 at 35 Grosvenor Place, Pimlico, London

Doris Donaldson-Hudson, born on 20th October 1872 at 4 Buckingham Gate, London. Doris almost certainly went on a voyage to New Zealand in 1891/1892 with Miss Grave and Lady Magdalen Lucy Herbert from Styche Hall

Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson, born on the 20th February 1874 in London

Violet Marie Donaldson-Hudson, born on 17th June 1878  at 51 Audley Street, Mayfair London.

In a Parliamentary by-election on the 23rd August 1878, Charles failed to win a seat as a conservative candidate for the Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency. The seat was won by the Liberal party. However in the General Election on the 3rd April 1880, Charles succeeded in securing one of the two seats at Newcastle-under-Lyme, and became a Member of Parliament although the Conservative Party won only 237 seats (42%) as opposed to the Liberals who won 352 seats (55%) and the Home Rule Party who won 63 seats (2.6%). The Prime Minister was the Liberal Party's William Ewart Gladstone. Charles only remained an M.P. until 1885

This picture of Charles came from the Palace of Westminster, being an 'official' photograph of him as a Member of Parliament.

Charles was a keen horseman, like his elder brother Thomas. He would regularly ride to hounds but in about 1883  he suffered a serious accident as his granddaughter Ruth Donaldson-Hudson related:-

In 1883 or 1884 my Grandfather was hunting one day round Norton-in-Hales. A mile or two beyond Norton village a lane lead up across fields to Bellaport Old Hall and on its way passes under a low railway bridge. As my grandfather rode under the bridge, his horse suddenly took fright and reared up, giving his rider a terrible blow on the back of his head. When he came home from hunting, he said that his head ached but beyond that made light of his accident. Had anyone but known it he had been very severely concussed and he should have been kept in bed, in a semi-darkened room, for a week or more. As it was, within a few days of the accident he went up to London on his Parliamentary duties; and as one of Gladstone’s Irish Home Rule Bills was then hotly under discussion, the House had several all-night, or late –night sittings – than which nothing could have been worse for a man with concussion of the brain.
    The effects of the accident were not immediately felt or seen. But after a year or so he began to have terrible headaches, and he became extremely depressed to the point of melancholia. His doctor advised him to travel, and he made several trips abroad, to Norway and India among other places. Far from improving under this treatment, he gradually became iller and iller. From what I have been able to gather from various sources, he would have awful brain-storms and fits of wild screaming. A slow paralysis set in, too, and he had a special pony drawn bath chair  (See picture below) built, in which he could go out and take the air. There was always a resident doctor in the house and latterly he had a male nurse as well. Tragic as it was for him, it was no less for his wife and children. By the time the latter had reached their teens, an age at which they most needed a father to guide and counsel them, they were almost entirely cut off from him by his illness. It dragged on for several years, the paralysis increasing all the time, and towards the end his brain became seriously affected. He died in 1893, in his fifty-third year, an age at which most men are hardly past their prime.

Charles Donaldson-Hudson outside the main entrance of Cheswardine Hall in his bath chair before 1893

A report in the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser  dated the 24th November 1883 stated that Charles Donaldson-Hudson continued in a state of ill health and that he had gone to Genoa, Italy to recuperate and that he would remain there until early 1884.

One of the important estate employees was Herbert Hussey, who lived with his large family variously at The Hall, Soudley, but moved nearby to the Robin Hood Inn, Soudley, before latterly residing close to Compton House in the main street of Cheswardine. Further details can be found on the Hussey family page. Members of the family continue to live in the parish and farm at Doley Farm on the way to Eccleshall.

Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson, the only son, was educated at Eton College from September 1886. He began his Eton career in Mr Carpenter's house, moving at a date not identifiable, though before September 1888, to Mr Austen Leigh's house. He won 3rd prize in Trials (internal exams) for his year in his first term but no prizes thereafter. His rowing career seems to have taken off in 1891, when he rowed in his house IV, came 3rd in the school Junior Sculling, was awarded his Lower Boat Choices (i.e. colours) and rowed in Thetis in the Procession of Boats in March and Britannia in the more important one on Fourth of June. He did not get selected for the VIII that went to Henley in 1892 but rowed in Upper Boats (Victory). In his house he played in the Field Game and Wall Game teams from 1890 and was elected to the Debating society in July 1891. In his last half he was 2nd in putting the weight in the house sports. He left  Eton College in March 1892.

Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson whilst at Eton College.

He subsequently entered The Royal Military College. Ralph was only 19 years old when his father died in April 1893.  In 1894 he was commissioned to the 12th Royal Lancers, then stationed in Edinburgh moving a year or two later to Ireland. He became his own master when he reached the age of 21 in 1895 and resigned his commission when he was 23 years old. He inherited the Cheswardine Estate, being the only male child of Charles Donaldson-Hudson. Had Charles not had any male children, the estate would have passed by default to the eldest male child of Thomas Donaldson.  

Coat of Arms of Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson

As Ruth, his daughter, wrote about him:- 

Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson had a distinguished military career during the 1st World War, being involved at the outset with the formation of the Royal Air Force. Details of his R C D-H military service are included here.

"He came to lead the life of a country squire, to take an active part in the management of his property and to enjoy the social and sporting amenities of his estate. He was a good shot and always very fond of shooting; but in his younger days horses were probably his chief interest. He kept a large stable of hacks2, hunters, polo ponies and driving horses, besides breeding hunters on a small scale. He had his own Four-in-Hand and was a good amateur "whip". At one time he used for his own amusement to drive the London-Brighton coach so many days a week, during the summer months. He would tell how on one occasion he had a young lady passenger - of uncertain age and attraction - on the front seat beside him; so pleasant did she find the manners and conversation of the driver that, on arrival at her destination, she caused her male attendant, who had travelled inside the coach, to tip the coachman a sovereign.
   With the advent of motor-cars, however, he became an enthusiastic driver of the mechanically propelled vehicle and he was to be numbered among the "early motorists". All forms of machinery had a great interest and attraction for him: indeed, anything mechanical was something to be experimented with, to be taken to pieces and put together again. My father had a mare called Harmony, the most wonderful hunter he ever had. With her he won a series of Point-to-Points, which brought the mare renown in three counties - Shropshire, North Staffordshire and South Cheshire. Though not exceptionally fast, she was a faultless jumper and at every fence would gain a length on the other runners. In four consecutive years she was 2nd, then three times winner, in the North Shropshire Point-to-Point. In another four consecutive years, overlapping the others, she repeated this sequence in the Shropshire v Cheshire Inter-Yeomanry Event. I am now the proud possessor of the "Harmony Trophy" - a silver model of a horse, called the "The Tired Hunter" - which my father bought to commemorate the mare's triumphs.

Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson married Muriel Balfour, known as Molly on the 27th July 1899 at St Margaret's, Westminster (in the  St George's Hanover Square Registration District), London,  when he was 25 and she was 22. 

Muriel Balfour was the daughter of Robert Drummond Balfour of Welwyn (1844 to 1915) and Catherine Elizabeth Donaldson (1850 to 1946), the sister of Charles Donaldson-Hudson, being therefore first cousin to Ralph. Robert and Catherine were married on the 9th February 1876 at St Stephen's Church, Kensington.

Bookplate of Muriel Balfour after her marriage to Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson

Robert Drummond Balfour was born on the 1st Mar 1844 in Putney. His father, Charles Balfour (1786-1876) who was born in Riga, Latvia, was a merchant, and his mother, Maria Caroline Harrington (1803-1876), was the daughter of Sir John Edward Harrington (1760-1831). Robert departed London for the Alexandra Colony near Santa Fe in Argentina, on the 9th August 1871, to become their new director. Evidently he returned to England in 1874-5, and was living at 68 Ebury Street, London in February 1876, when he was recorded as a earning his living from being a stockbroker. He was resident at 14 Wilton Place, near to Belgrave Square for the 1881 census, and had become a member of the London Stock Exchange. He was a partner in Capel & Co, becoming a senior partner there before 1907, retiring eventually in 1910. Muriel Balfour had two brothers, Melville Balfour and Alec Edward Balfour.

Ralph and Muriel had four children:-

  1. Michael Donaldson-Hudson, born 8th May 1900 in London, died 21st April 1965.
  2. Ruth Donaldson-Hudson, born 4th September 1902, died 23rd November 1979.
  3. Helen Margaret Donaldson-Hudson, born 21st April 1906, died 23rd March 1957.
  4. John Donaldson-Hudson, born 26th June 1908, died 4th November 1949.

At the time of the 1901 census, on the 1st April, Ralph, Muriel and their young son Michael were resident at Cheswardine Hall, with two visitors, Margaret Adelaide Grant and Andrew Richard Corbet, and no less than 21 servants, as shown in the copy of the census return return shown below. 

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.

The information from above is shown here:-

Further information about residents in Cheswardine in the 1901 Census can be found on this Google map, that identifies some properties and brief details of the occupants on the 1st April 1901. Click on each tag to show more details of the property, the occupants, their ages, their relationships and their work.

In 1909, R C D-H obtained an estimate for the building of a new vicarage from Keeble Limited, of Carlisle House, Carlisle Street, Soho Square, London. The estimated cost of building the new vicarage was £3,040 15s 0d. The first two pages of the estimate can be viewed here. The house built in 1909 is no longer, is no longer the vicarage and is privately owned. One of the previous owners evidently disappeared with the pension fund from the Belling Cooker Company, and more may be published on this matter. Currently (1914) it is the residence of a local G P and his family. 

The details of the 1911 Census were released for public viewing on 13th January 2009. Briefly these showed that Ralph and Muriel were staying the night of the 2nd April in a small private hotel just off Piccadilly at 41 & 42 Clarges Street,  London,  whilst their children Ruth, Helen and John remained at Cheswardine Hall with their governess Marie Michelin, aged 37, from Italy, and 24 other assorted servants. The whereabouts of Michael is still to be discovered, but it is possible that he was at school.

Transcript of the 1911 census return for Cheswardine Hall, released on 13th January 2009.

It is noticeable that in the 1901 census there were 21 servants listed, whilst in the 1911 census there are no less than 25 servants listed, though it is unsure if all of these were resident in Cheswardine Hall itself, or whether some of them, e.g. the stablemen, were resident in the accommodation above the stables. Also the return showed that Ruth Donaldson-Hudson then aged 8  years old was classified as the Head of the household, the relationship as daughter having been crossed out.

Ralph presented a pony 'Stoker Blucher' to Captain Robert  Falcon Scott who led the unsuccessful expedition to the South Pole in 1912.

In 1918 a large sale of parts of the Cheswardine Estate took place on the 30th January, as reported in the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser

In 1919, some of the outlying parts of the Cheswardine Estate were sold by Messrs Barber & Sons, and the details were reported in the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser shortly afterwards. The sale raised the sum of £8620 9s 6d.

Ralph was also on the management committee of the Shrewsbury High School for Girls and the image below is from the minute book recording the first meeting of the committee in 1922.

According to a report in the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser on January 7th 1928 - 

Lt. Col. R.C. Donaldson-Hudson of Cheswardine Hall, Market Drayton, has been elected a Director of the Royal Salop Infirmary and Chairman of the Board of Management., in succession to Mr Alfred Mansell, who has resigned.

The new chairman has considerable experience of hospital management during the past few years. He is a member of the Board of the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital, of which he was one time Chairman; and he is Chairman of the Management Committee of the King Edward VII Sanatorium. He acted as Treasurer of  the Shropshire Joint Hospitals Appeal which was recently wound up, the required total of  £30,000 having been raised.

This is a picture of the portrait of Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson made by Sir Oswald Birley and exhibited in the 38th exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait painters in 1929.

In April 1939, Ralph employed Arthur Wall as head gardener at Cheswardine Hall. His son, who still lives in Cheswardine kept his letter of appointment, which is shown below. A photograph of Arthur Wall with Jane Carr (Dorothy Henrietta Brunstrom), John Donaldson-Hudson's first wife, appeared in Bernard Lazarus' book. More about Arthur Wall will appear later.

It would appear that Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson was not over generous in the offer of relocation expenses. The relative cost of removal at 2006 prices would be about £350.00.

Intended gap in time here.

Ralph Charles Donaldson- Hudson died at the the Royal Shrewsbury Infirmary (RSI) on the 25th April 1941. A restored plaque erected in the former RSI records his considerable connection with the improvements in the running of the hospital when he was in charge of the management committee.

He was buried in the graveyard at St Swithun's Church, Cheswardine on the south side of the tower, to the west of the porch.

After his death, his widow Muriel Donaldson-Hudson moved to Ley Grange, Shrewsbury, Shropshire which is about 3/4 of a mile  from the A5 bypass, off the Mytton Oak Road. She stayed there until the spring of 1956, and then moved to Lilleshall House, Port Hill, Shewsbury, directly opposite the suspension bridge over the River Severn, which leads into The Quarry Park. Whilst she was there she attended Radbrook College, the Domestic Science College in Shrewsbury as in shown on the left in the photograph below, trying a meringue with Mrs Clark and Mrs King, on a visit of the Shropshire Women's Institute on the 27th July 1953.

Muriel died at Lilleshall House on the 30th October 1956, and is buried alongside her husband at St Swithun's in Cheswardine.

Michael Donaldson-Hudson, was the eldest son of Ralph Charles  and Muriel Donaldson-Hudson, and was born in London on the 8th May 1900, and was recorded as resident at Cheswardine Hall in the 1901 census. At the time of the 1911 census, he was recorded as a scholar at St Peters Court School at Broadstairs in Kent. (His name appears alongside that of Prince Henry, the third eldest son of  King George V and Mary of Teck.) In 1913, Michael was not a soccer player - he didn't even make the 4th XI. In the school records he was thanked for presenting a number of books to the school library, most of which seemed to indicate a taste for exploration. Remember Scott had only just died on his way back from the South Pole, and his father had presented a pony to Scott for use in the expedition. He also had a taste for drama as he performed in the Tableau Vivant along side Prince Harry. His best subject was geography and was clearly not good at maths being bottom of the lower set, but he did make the hockey 2nd XI. Sadly he missed the visit of the King & Queen to St Peters Court School to visit both Prince Henry & Prince George. A local newspaper reported a story about boys from the school going swimming at Botany Bay, Broadstairs. Prince Henry had ignored instructions and swam out too far. On his return he was smartly smacked with a gym shoe. The King referred to the incident on his visit to th school on July 19th 1913, congratulating the master with a twinkle in his eye saying "Well done, my man. I approve of discipline".

Subsequently Michael went on to Harrow School, whilst Prince Henry went to Eton College. He gained a commission in the 12th Lancers on the 15th December 1921, although he resigned his commission on the 15th July 1922. He became engaged to Hersey Muriel Corbet on the 21st July 1922. Their marriage took place on the 23rd January 1923 at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London.

Photograph of Michael-Donaldson-Hudson and Hersey Corbet after their marriage

On their return from London to Cheswardine, the couple were -

"Presented a set of dining room chairs and an illuminated address by Mr Frank Gregory of Cheswardine in a massive oak frame by Mr Lewis Kemp.

“To Michael Donaldson-Hudson, Esq. Dear Sir, We the tenants and employees of the Cheswardine Estate, together with your friends and neighbours, desire on the occasion of your marriage to express to you our sincere good wishes. We pray that God may grant you and your bride, health wealth and happiness. May he grant you a long life together, and that your children may rise up and call you blessed. We ask your acceptance of a set of dining chairs and on behalf of the subscribers, sign ourselves C. Atkin, G. H. Blakeman, T. Bourne, H. Bodger, F. W. Cope, G. Coulston, F. Carry, A. Evans, J. S. Fowler, H. A. Garmston, F. Gregory, J. Lea, A. Logan, S. Perry, B. V. Podmore, G. H. Shropshire, W. Shearsmith, S. Kemp (Secretary) January 29th 1923.”

Mr Kemp had lived in the parish for half a century
Mr Blakeman – was the oldest and largest tenant." 

(from the Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser, Saturday 10th February 1923)

Hersey was the only daughter of  Major Bertram D'avenant Corbet  and Rosamund Wentworth Withington from Adderley Hall near Market Drayton. This evidently, did not turn out to be a happy marriage, ending in divorce in 1933, and indeed may have have been the factor that would eventually bring to an end the residency of the Donaldson-Hudson family in Cheswardine. There were no children from this marriage. 

His second marriage was to Jacynth Warrack (nee Ellerton) who was born on the 12th December 1897 in Warmingham, Cheshire. They married on the 4th May 1933 at the Register Office, Kensington. Jacynth, who already had two children from her first marriage to Guy Douglas Hamilton Warrack, gave birth to Hugh Donaldson-Hudson on the 25th August 1936 in Welbeck Street, at the London Welbeck Hospital. Hugh Donaldson-Hudson is better known as Hugh Hudson the film director who came to public recognition with the release of the the film Chariots of Fire released in 1981. Hugh Hudson has been responsible for a number of well known TV and cinema adverts, as well as other full length films. Hugh married initially on the 25th August 1977, and has a son by this marriage. He has subsequently divorced and married Maryam D'abo, (an actress who has appeared in one of the James Bond films) in November 2003 and lives in America. An article in the Mail on Sunday from 29th July 2001 discusses Hugh's relationship with his father and grandfather. All of this information can be accessed through the following web page - Hugh Hudson.

Michael Donaldson-Hudson's prayer and hymn book were discovered in about 2005 in a skip in Tuffnell Park Road, London, when a house was being cleared out. The small volume measuring 7 x 11 cms is leather bound with gold leaf applied to the page edges. It is inscribed in latin and was given to him by his mother on his 9th birthday ~ the latin inscription translates as -

“This book belonging to Michael Donaldson Hudson  was given by his loving mother to her dear child on 8th May 1909”.

 It was probably bound by Bagguley of Newcastle-under-Lyme. The book is in good condition but has some wear: one corner is worn through to the board and the top of the spine has some minute parts missing. The pages show practically no wear and there are no markings. The small signs of wear might result solely from being carried in the pocket for some time.

Ruth Donaldson-Hudson, was born on the 4th  September 1902. She studied Natural Sciences at Newnham College, Cambridge from 1923 until  1926. She spent most of her life in the pursuit of history, but she did enjoy horse riding. According to her niece, the daughter of John Donaldson-Hudson, when the latter's pony started being particularly naughty by biting the backside of her rider when mounting, she evidently shoved her skirt inside her knickers and proceed to bite the pony back for its trouble. Needless to say, the pony did not dare to bite anybody again. Ruth lived in a number of places around the country, including Naworth Castle in Cumberland, some 12 miles north east of Carlisle, owned by members of the Howard family, from Castle Howard in Yorkshire. Her most important historical work is "An Historical Survey of the Parish of Cheswardine" published in 1939 and printed by Wilding & Sons, from Shrewsbury in a limited edition of 240 copies and a subsequent reprint.

John Donaldson-Hudson the second son of Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson, was born on the 26th June 1908. Like his elder brother, he attended St Peter's Court School for his primary education, notably winning his rugger colours in a very successful team. He was also an actor and played Gertrude, the burgomaster's daughter in The Prize of Bergenbard. and then left at Easter 1921, to continue his education at Eton from the age of 13,  before going on to Trinity College, Cambridge about 1926. He did not remain at Cambridge and left before acquiring a degree. On the 14th June 1929, John sailed from Liverpool to Montreal, Canada, being described as a student in the list of passengers on board the steamship Duchess of York. He returned home on the same ship, arriving in Liverpool on the 11th September 1929. According to telephone directory records, whilst he still retained a private telephone in Cambridge until at least 1935, he had commenced using a private telephone number at 31 Mount Street, Liverpool from 1930 onwards or earlier. His domestic residence was situated about 3 miles from the premises of  the heavy haulage companies of Marston Road Services and Edward Box & Co at Lightbody Street in Liverpool, close to the major shipping docks on the River Mersey, with whom he became involved with after his initial connections with a firm of accountants in Liverpool. Edward Box was born in about 1853 and the haulage company Edward Box & Co he had set up, was sold on his death to Marston Road Services. Ernest Charles Marston was born in 1891, and commenced operations as Marston Road Services in 1920 in Liverpool. He was particularly involved in heavy haulage involving the transport of railway locomotives from where manufactured to Liverpool Docks. He was responsible for a number of patent application In November 1929 the company took delivery of the first “Scammell 100 Tonner” low loader unit which was manufactured to carry railway locomotives from factories in Leeds (Vulcan Foundry) to Liverpool docks. It was manufactured in co-operation with Scammell Lorries Ltd of Watford. This low-loader was used for many years and records exist of it still being in use as late as 1951. It has now been laid to rest at The British Commercial Vehicle Museum in Leyland, Lancashire

Unfortunately on the 7th April 1934, a serious fire raged through the premises of Marston Road Services, at Lightbody Street, beginning at 21:50 hours when a lorry was being refuelled, causing the loss of no less than 26 lorries (9 six-wheeled AECs and 17 Scammells) and about 5 private cars. One third of the entire Marston Road Services fleet was destroyed, but luckily the Scammell 100 Tonner, and John Donaldson-Hudson's Bentley were saved. 200 tons of sugar, 65 tons of zinc-white, 12½ tons of Brazil nuts, 12 tons of coiled wire plus quantities of bacon, onions and nuts were also damaged or ruined. The damage was estimated at £100,000, which in today's terms (2007) would equate to between £4 and £28 million pounds. Luckily nobody was injured or lost their life.

John Donaldson-Hudson Bentley, GU 1927
This is a modern picture of John Donaldson-Hudson's original Bentley

John married firstly Dorothy Henrietta Brunstrom on the 7th January 1943 at the Register Office, Westminster, when he was 34 and she was 33 years old. Dorothy was an actress, also known as Jane Carr

Dorothy Henrietta Brunstrom, known as Jane Carr

The photograph is signed 'For Ron, John and Mr & Mrs Wall with my very best wishes Jane Carr'.

or sometimes by her nickname Rita. She was born on the 1st August 1909 at 23 South Parade, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, her grandfather Rudolf Waldemar Brunstrom(1855 - 1931) having emigrated from Finland.  (She had been married initially t to James Bickley, a civil engineer, on the 14th Sepotember 1931 at the  Register Office in Marylebone, London.) 

John and Dorothy have a daughter,  born on 17th December 1944.

In 1944 John Donaldson-Hudson became a director of John Logie Baird Ltd with three other directors. These were Jack Buchanan as chairman ( a lifelong schoolfriend of John Logie Baird), H Norman Letts and K F Shelley. Jack Buchanan was a well known stage and film singer and dancer. According to information received from Baird's son Malcolm, he reported that his mother had stated that his father had been very happy with the new company, and got along with everyone on board. Baird's diary includes several references to meeting or phoning John Donaldson-Hudson, as well as a note of his London telephone number Whitehall 2007. After the end of the war, John Logie Baird Ltd started to manufacture television sets. One of the company's major achievements was a set with a 28 inch screen, exceptional for those early days.. This set, known as "The Grosvenor" was operated at the Savoy Hotel to show the Victory Parade in June 1946.

John's second marriage was to Dorothy Elizabeth Freemantle, born it is believed on the 31st March 1915 at Rosyth, in Scotland. She and John were married on the 22nd September 1947 at Caxton Hall Westminster. aged 39 and 32 respectively. Their daughter was born on 30th August 1948 in Hampstead, London. Her christening was rather a grand affair, as shown by the photograph shown below, but look at it carefully as it has a surprise in it. The photographer was Felix Fonteyn, the brother of Margot Fonteyn, the ballerina from the Royal Ballet.

The lady who appears twice in the photograph is Dorothy Elizabeth Freemantle. Most of the other people in this photograph can be identified, some of them being local people, who will be named as and when time allows.
John Donaldson-Hudson unfortunately contracted tuberculosis some time in the mid 1940's. It is likely that this prompted him to arrange the sale of the estate to Halebrose Estate in 1948. He subsequently moved to the south of France in an attempt to overcome the consumptive effects of  tuberculosis, but sadly he died at Les Apres, Biot, near Cannes in the south of France, on the 4th November 1949, leaving a young widow and child.

John Donaldson-Hudson was president of Cheswardine Cricket Club from 1942 until his death in 1949, and the photograph below was found among the records of the cricket club that were given to me in July 2013. Further details and photos of the club's history can be found on this page - Cheswardine Cricket Club.

John Donaldson-Hudson - President of Cheswardine Cricket Club - 1942 - 1949

On the 1st February 1946 a fire occurred in the Estate Office at Cheswardine Hall. The following is a transcript of the report in the Newport and Market Drayton Advertiser the following week:-

Jack Ambrose Pritchard  was the agent for the estate

Dorothy Donaldson-Hudson lived for a short while at the Old Hall, in Cheswardine, and then moved down to London. A sale of property took place at Old Hall, Cheswardine on the 7th and 8th October 1954, as recorded in the sale catalogue shown below.

Arthur Wall, whose letter of appointment appeared earlier, remained in the employ of Dorothy after she had moved to the Old Hall, acting as both her chauffeur and her gardener. After Dorothy had decided to move to London, she had no further use for the Arthur's services, and she very kindly wrote a reference letter for him, dated the 13th November 1957, reproduced below.

In London, Dorothy became involved in the day-to-day running of the Saville Row Tailors, with her daughter which had been purchased by the family before the death of John. The business of Hogg, Sons & J B Johnstone Ltd of 10 & 19 Clifford Street, London, was finally wound up in late 1999, and Dorothy died on 6th January 2005. Her ashes were interred in two locations in Cheswardine on the 31st March 2006.

Kathleen Marie Donaldson-Hudson married John Hurleston Leche(1), (1858 to 1894) on the 13th November 1888, when she was only 17 years old, at St Peter's Church, Eaton Square, Belgravia, London. She gave birth to a son, also John Hurleston Leche (2), (later Sir) on the 21st November 1889. He had a distinguished career in the Diplomatic Service in Spain and Chile. He was married three times, firstly to Amy Violet Unthank on the 28th June 1816, who bore him one daughter, secondly to Helen Morris Janney on the16th September 1928, who bore him two sons and two daughters, and finally to Helen Margaret Donaldson-Hudson, the second daughter of Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson on the 20th July 1953 in Chester when she was aged 47, who was also his 1st cousin.


Please follow this link to Cheswardine Cricket Club

Further information will be added as time allows.


The remaining parts of the Estate were put on the market in 1948, and this link goes to sale catalogue and map of the properties then offered for sale.  Individual properties were not sold and the Estate (i.e. the farmland) was sold by John Donaldson-Hudson on 13th October 1948 to Halebrose Estate and then Cheswardine Hall was sold in  1950. Cheswardine Hall became a catholic boys school, then an approved school, and for more than twenty years it has been a residential and nursing home for the elderly.

For those of you who might like further information about Cheswardine Hall, when it became St Edward's College, a catholic boys' school under the direction of  the Brothers of Christian Instruction from the 15th September 1950 until the summer of 1968 please click on St Edward's College at Cheswardine Hall.  The Brothers of Christian Instruction sold Cheswardine hall on the 11th December 1968.

Subsequently Cheswardine Hall was run as an approved school by Mr & Mrs Brunt for young boys with social problems.

The Hall was then purchased by Mr  Stephen Poole and Mrs Anne Poole, RGN on the 2nd January 1984 who converted it into a residential nursing home.

The Cheswardine Estate comprising some ten farms was purchased by Halebrose Estate in 1948. After the death of the remaining partner, Wilfrid Edgar Hale on the 19th January 1962, the whole of the agricultural estate was put on the market. It failed to sell as a single unit, and a consortium of the existing tenants purchased the estate on 12th June 1963, the details of the various lots sold then can be found here.

 The Milk Marketing Board (MMB) opened up a Cattle Breeding Centre in the stable block and two fields close to the back drive in January 1946. Jack Bourne surrendered the tenancy of the field known as the Bull Paddock  opposite the bungalows at the bottom of the back drive to the Stables for the use of the  MMB. Several Friesian and Shorthorn bulls were housed there. Semen was collected from them daily and used, after dilution for the insemination of cows and heifers in the area. The first calf born to artificial insemination from the Cheswardine Centre was born to a cow belonging to Jack Bourne at Yew Tree Farm (The Estate Home Farm) as shown in the photograph below.

The writing on the back of this photograph reads 


Holding calf Mr J S Bourne joined the committee in 1946 and is still a member of Committee.

Centre Mr Kerry O'SULLIVAN VET IN CHARGE @ Cheswardine A I Centre at that time

Left Mr Bourne's stockman, Mr George Thomas (the name of the cow is unknown!!)

This photograph and the one below were lent to me by John Bourne, formerly of Yew Tree Farm, Chipnall and James Bourne, formerly of Cheswardine Park Farm, who are both sons of Mr J S (Jack) Bourne.

Kerry O’Sullivan was born on the 25th March 1913 and graduated from the veterinary college at Dublin on the 19th July 1935, recorded as of Ballybeg, Farranfore, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland. On the 1st May 1937, he was recorded as being an assistant veterinary officer at 7 St Martin’s Lane, Birmingham per the Chief Veterinary Officer. On the 20th December 1945 he was appointed Veterinary Officer at the Artificial Insemination Centre at Cheswardine, later termed the MMB Cattle Breeding Centre. In 1949 he moved to the Cattle Breeding Centre at Tean, Stoke-on-Trent, about 22 miles ENE of Cheswardine, and became the Regional Veterinary Officer for the MMB, remaining there until 1970. He died on Saturday 12th December 1970 aged 57 years old. His obituary in the Veterinary Record mentioned “Kerry’s efforts brought about an effective cattle breeding service in the Midlands”.

This certificate was presented to Mr J S Bourne when he resigned from the A I Committee

The introduction of freezing techniques for the storage of bovine semen meant that bulls did not need to be kept at the Cheswardine AI centre any longer, and after the building of the new Cattle Breeding Centre on the north side of the back drive, the old premises became redundant. Further information on the history of the Cattle Breeding Centre will eventually be published. According to records, the MMB was still paying a nominal rent of £5.00 per month for the premises in their use at least until the end of March 1967.

The stable block, and Stable Cottage and one field were sold off in the early 1980's to Neil & Rachael Cooke and John Bourne of Yew Tree Farm took back in hand the former Bull Paddock, and after the closure of the "New" Cattle Breeding Centre, then owned by Genus plc, in the late 1990's, those premises, and the back drive as far as the stable block were sold off as a private residence. The former Bull Paddock on the west side of the 'New Road' from Cheswardine to Chipnall became part of Yew Tree Farm.


  1. 19th & 20th Century Family Chronology
  2. Cheswardine Estate Sale 28th May 1919
  3. Cheswardine Estate Sale 30th January 1918

The population of this parish varied considerably from 1801 to the present time.

Please note that the details about living persons connected with the Donaldson-Hudson family, will not be published on this website to protect their privacy, UNLESS they are already well known in the public domain.

Bibliography and resources

  1. "The Parish of Cheswardine", Ruth Donaldson-Hudson, Wilding & Son, Shrewsbury, 1939.
  2. “Country Reflections around Cheswardine”, Bernard Lazarus
  3. "The Clockmakers of Cumberland" John B Penfold.
  4. "Family of Donaldson",  Ruth Donaldson-Hudson, 1953, private papers.
  5. S E R Haydon, provided much photographic and other data.
  6. P Hatfield, archivist at Eton College.
  7. Adam Green, Assistant Archivist at Trinity College, Cambridge.
  8. John & James Bourne, from Shropshire
  9. Martin Goldstraw of Cheshire Heraldry.
  10. Archivist of the Bentley Drivers Club, Wroxton, Banbury.
  11. Julian Reid, archivist at Merton College, Oxford.
  12. Library of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
  13. for the comparison of monetary values during the span of this website.
  14. The Times Digital Archive (1785~1985).
  15. Shropshire Archives, at Shropshire County Council, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
  16. Archive telephone directory data from
  17. Records from H.M.S.O. relating to census returns.
  18. Hulson Getty Photograph Library.
  19. Michael Jeffries, Transport Artist, Brixham, Devon.
  20. Leeds City Library Services.
  21. Theresa Simpson, for an alternative Hudson pedigree.
  22. Michael Bammel, from 'Milestones of Heavy Haulage', Germany.
  23. Archives Department, The Palace of Westminster, London.
  24. Ron Wall of Cheswardine for supplying photographs of Jane Carr.
  25. Professor Malcolm Baird, father of John Logie Baird, inventor of television.
  26. On-line Archive of the Bay of Plenty Times, New Zealand.
  27. Jackie Powell, relation of Arthur Cooke, gamekeeper to the Donaldson-Hudson family.
  28. John Naylor, for the translation of various latin texts
Updates and changes to website

From the 26th October 2008, references to additions to the website will be recorded here, giving details of content and location on the website.

Further information has been added about Dorothy Elizabeth Freemantle, John Donaldson-Hudson's second wife. (September 2012)

Additional data has been added about Michael Donaldson-Hudson's attendance at school at St Peter's Court, Broadstairs, Kent and also about his prayer & hymn book given to him by his mother on his ninth birthday.

The 1911 Census details were released on Tuesday, 13th January for the first time. The records for Cheswardine Hall and other parts of the locality will appear in due course.

Details of the Executorship and Trusteeship Accounts of Thomas Hudson - please see the link to the report under the short section dealing with Thomas Hudson.

Details of the fire at Marston Road Services, Liverpool on the night of 7th April 1934, and the saving of the Scammell 100 Tonner and John Donaldson-Hudson's Bentley 4.5 litre Tourer. Details of some of the patents applied for by John Donaldson-Hudson have been added.

Details and pictures of the Scammell 100 Tonner, KD 9168 and other low-loaders, have been added on a separate page on 26th November 2008.

Details of the history of Thomas Smallwood and related material have been edited on 26th November 2008.

Details of the Hale family from Walsall, and the Halebrose Estate, added 12th December 2008.

Census 1901 - links to a map showing some of the dwellings, the occupants, their ages, relationships and occupations - this can be found on page 2, below the census details for Cheswardine Hall in 1901.

Details of the memorial to Brooke Hector Smallwood in Cheswardine Church, added on the 29th December 2008.

Details of the Balfour family added on 7th January 2009.

References to Hugh Hudson and Cheswardine Hall added 10th January 2009.

Details of the Hussey family, including two images added 28th January 2009

Reference to the American Civil War 1861 to 1865, and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Details in simpler format of Thomas Hudson's beneficiaries - see link after his death

Details of the Cheswardine Estate Sale in 1918, which took place on the 30th January, including a full copy of the sale catalogue, a copy of the map from the catalogue, and a modern map giving the location of the various lots - added 15th February 2009.

Details about the Cheswardine Estate Sale in 1948, with details of the sale catalogue and a map of locations of the various properties.

Details about the Cheswardine Estate Sale in 1963, with expected details of the sale catalogue and locations of the various farms.

Details about the sale of several properties and parcels of land by Amey Gravel Ltd, on 29th March 1972, formerly parts of the Cheswardine Estate. These included Goldstone Stud Farm, Heywood Lane Farm and The Woodlands, Goldstone.

Location map link of the homes of Muriel Donaldson-Hudson after the death of her husband Ralph.

Information about the role of John Donaldson-Hudson as a director of John Logie Baird Ltd from late 1944 - see page 2 of the website and Jane Carr.

A small amount of information has been added about Dorothy Henrietta Brunstrom the first wife of John Donaldson-Hudson, whose stage name was Jane Carr.

The visit of Doris Donaldson-HudsonMiss Grave and Lady Magdalen Lucy Herbert to New Zealand in 1891/1892.

Sale of Part of the Estate of Lord Shrewsbury on 23 July 1863. A copy of the sale catalogue has been located, and when time allows details will be added to this website. Much of that estate was purchased by the Donaldson-Hudson family.

Site map of current pages on this website

Details of the Jervis family, to include details of the will of Richard Jervis, the grandson of Griffith Jervis, who passed on his estate to his nephew Henry Zachariah Jervis (1). Information is also included about his son Captain Henry Jervis and his grandson, Henry Zachariah Jervis (2).

Transcriptions of the wills of Henry Jervis Junior (1671 to 1749),  Richard Jervis of Broadwell (1704 to 1784) and Henry Zachariah Jervis (1) have been added on February 3rd 2010.

Information about the Wilby and Biglands families who were involved with the wine trade in Oporto, Portugal with Thomas Hudson and Thomas Donaldson.

Military records of Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson from the National Archives.

Details of the History of Adbaston by J  Somner Billington, published in 1982

Further details about the bankruptcy of Anthony & Richard Halliley in 1847 added 1st September 2010.

Further information about Jane Carr and also Noel Coward, regarding the Festival of Britain in 1951, added on 28th October 2010.

Links to two short British Pathe Ltd newsreels about the low-loader KD9168 have been added on the 24th July 2011.

Information about Sanford Bruce Fleming, a Flying Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, who had a brief marriage with Dorothy Elizabeth Freemantle.

A number of photographs of Ralph Charles Donaldson-Hudson and his daughter Ruth were added on the 2nd July 2013.

A separate page was added for Helen Margaret Donaldson-Hudson on Sunday18th January 2015