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Rosamund Kane - Countess of Kentisbury

Compiled by Fiona Dyer with some invaluable help from Pat Hanby.

Born 1906 to Geoffrey Kane and his wife – name unknown. Her father is 37 years old at this time.


In 1917 her parents move to Ceylon, leaving 11year old Ros in the care of her aunt who lives in “the north”.


In 1920 Ros is sent to Miss Macey’s school. It seems an odd choice – so far away from her only relations in this country – but perhaps there was some connection? The aunt? Or mother? Might have gone there?


In 1921 – Ros comes to live at the Hall after Miss Macey asks Joy to take her. The air in Wycombe does not suit Ros after living in the North and she has not been well. She has been at school for two terms and she shows no signs of getting used to it.


She is “tall for her age, and pale, and looked as if life in town had not suited her. But her eyes were very bright and her face eager, and she did not look shy…..her hair hung to her wiast in two yellow plaits.” (New Abbey Girls)


Her aunt dies, leaving Ros with nowhere to go in the holidays and Joy then suggests that Ros lives at the Hall permanently.


Ros is voted Queen and chooses Rose as her flower.


1922 – Ros goes to Cheltenham school with the Abbey crowd


July 1923 – Ros mother falls ill. Ros leaves the Hall and goes to Switzerland to be with her. (She meets Karen Wilson – later Brown the wife of Rennie Brown (Swiss series) at this stage). Ros puts her hair up, thus signifying the end of her childhood.


Her mother dies and Ros returns to the Hall. She is marking time until her father sends for her to live with him in Ceylon. She fills her time teaching “village folk dance classes. She learnt to use Mary’s typewriter, and had made Mary teach her shorthand. She had learned weaving at the Village Institute, and, though not an enrolled guide, had given much help to the local company.” (AG Play Up)


1928 her father writes to say that he has married again – to a “beautiful girl” – Eleanor Abbott. Eleanor is 22 – the same age as Ros. He suggests that she contact Eleanor’s two sisters – Audrey and Elspeth – who run a little café. Coincidentally Ros has already met her two new “sisters” and plans to run a little shop in tandem with their café – to be called The Rose & Squirrel. With her allowance she can afford to rent the cottage next to Audrey and they have all sorts of plans for the future. These have to be altered when her father writes to say he is stopping her allowance and she must train herself to earn her own living. After discussions with Audrey, Ros trains as a cook, and with her mother’s money (some £50 per year) can just about afford to rent the cottage, and the Rose & Squirrel is back in business.


1929 her father dies. Eleanor gives birth to a son – Roderic -  and Ros and Audrey go to Malta to bring them both back. Eleanor doesn’t come home with them – preferring to go and stay with some friends of hers. Ros is happy to take care of Roderic explaining “Father never meant much to me; I hardly knew him. I had nobody, except the best and dearest adopted family, and the best and dearest friends. Now here’s young Roderic, really belonging to me; my own family.”


Eleanor decided to return to India in company with friends and wants to leave Roderic with Ros. Ros agrees but only if she can adopt him legally – she reveals at this point that her little half brother stands close to the succession for the title of Earl of Kentisbury – and she believes that Eleanor could not bring Roderic up to fill such a position suitably. After some persuasion from Jen (Lady) Marchwood, Eleanor does agree to this and Roderic is legally adopted by Ros.


Ros goes to Verriton to meet Geoffrey Kane - the current heir until his young (16 years) nephew – the current Earl of Kentisbury (yet another Geoffrey Kane) marries and has children.


They visit frequently – with Ros and Roddy staying for several days at a time - and in 1930 it is revealed (to Jen in Joy’s New Adventure)  that Geoffrey wants to marry Ros and she loves him, despite the fact he is twenty years older and an invalid. Ros believes she can make a difference to his life and is proved right. She states that she will only marry him if he can walk to her. In the meantime the schoolboy Earl has been killed in a motorbike crash and Geoffrey is the new Earl, with Roderic the heir.


In the meantime by risking herself by shielding her from a tree in danger of falling, thus saving the life of the young earl’s sister Lady Rhoda – Rosamund is reconciled to Lady Verrriton and the rest of the family. (Rosamund’s Tuckshop)


1931 – Rosamund marries her second cousin Geoffrey and becomes Countess of Kentisbury. At this point she is 25 and he is 45.


“she was tall and very handsome, fair-haired and blue-eyed, wearing a big loose coat and a small hat that matched her eyes.” (Rosamund’s Castle)
Rosamund's saves the twins and Tansy from Alexander the Great - a deer in the park at Kentisbury - from certain injury or death, by standing in front of the enraged animal. She is pregnant at the time, but explains later to the Earl that she couldn't have done anything else when she saw one of their people in danger.


1932 – February Lord Verriton – Geoffrey-Hugh is born.


1933 Lady Rosabel and Lady Rosalin – first set twins born


1934 – April  Second set twins born – Lady Rosilda and Rosanna.


1935 – (Rachel and Guardians) By this stage it is clear that Rosamund is worried about Geoffrey’s health. She had already previously confided to Maidlin (Maid of the Abbey) that the reason she has had her children so quickly is because they are uncertain how long Geoffrey will live.


1937 – Geoffrey evidently still in fairly good condition – Geoffrey John born


1938 – Peter Geoffrey born


Quotes about Ros’ character…..


“I don’t talk about my feelings. I can’t, if I care enough. I can babble about things that don’t matter.” (AG At Home)


“I want to feel I’m of use. I want to do something worthwhile. And perhaps its is horrid of me, but I do want to have a home of my own…I just want a world of my own, not just a corner of yours and Joy’s, however much I love you.” (AG At Home)


“But I’m not needed, here or anywhere else. And I want to be needed!” (AG At Home)


“You’re good at protecting people. You’ll want to take care of her and do everything for her…” (At Home)