More on Thespians and Weston Turville (Elizabeth Taylor Burton)

posted 3 Dec 2014, 06:25 by Adrian Randall   [ updated 4 Mar 2015, 01:42 ]

Recently a "thank you" letter came up for auction on ebay.  Sent to a Mr. and Mrs. Hind at 260 Wendover Road by Mrs. Richard Burton in April 1965.  Can anyone elaborate?

The envelope was addressed to:-
G.A. Hind (should be Nind)
260 Wendover Road
Weston Lurville, (should be Turville)
No. Aylesbury, (should be Near)

Could it have been dictated?

Roll up of comments received, with thanks to Janet, Frances and Marion.

Postcodes probably arrived in Weston Turville in 1971, so we shouldn't have expected one on the envelope.

The couple who lived at 260 Wendover Road were actually Mr. & Mrs. Nind (not Hind).

The letter that prompted the reply looks to have been commiserations rather than of congratulations.

Theories and conjecture on the original topic and how the Nind's could have known the Burtons:-

1) Could they have met at the Bell Inn (and Pavillion) at Aston Clinton which Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton visited and was less than 3 miles from the Nind's home in Weston Turville.  It is likely that The Bell would also have been frequented by Nora Swinborne and Esmond Knight who lived in Weston Turville (as did David Attenborough, Guy and Dianna Mannering) and Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier who lived in Long Crendon.

2) Original subject could have related to a collision in Dublin on March 3rd 1965. Her chauffeur hit a Mrs. Bryan who died. There are accounts of Elizabeth Taylor "jumping from her Rolls Royce and pillowing the dying Irish widow on a mink coat".
Mr. and Mrs. Nind would have felt a great deal of sympathy for anyone involved in motoring accident, their son had been killed by a car - in Buckland village, where they were living at the time.

3) Mrs. Nind was a midwife, and Elizabeth Taylor had a miscarriage while married to Nicky Hilton (1950-1952)

4) In 1966 and 1967  Richard Burton’s brother was a patient in the local spinal unit and received several visits from Richard and Elizabeth. Apparently for many years after that the Burtons sent a Fortnum and Masons hamper to the nurses at the spinal unit.

Request from the V&A "Weston Turville’s link with Vivien Leigh"?

posted 24 Sep 2014, 10:34 by Adrian Randall   [ updated 30 Sep 2014, 03:41 ]

I wonder whether you can assist us with some research we are currently undertaking at the V&A relating to the Vivien Leigh Archive in our collection? We have an undated letter signed ‘Ned’ written to Vivien Leigh. Ned has written ‘Weston Turville’ at the top of the letter and mentions seeing Vivien Leigh in Titus Andronicus – so we presume it is 1957 when the production transferred to London. The letter reveals that Ned is very supportive of Vivien Leigh’s actions in the Lords against the closure of the St James Theatre and wishes her well with the campaign.

If you or any of your fellow society members are able to shed any light on who ‘Ned’ might be, we would love to hear from you.

Kind Regards and many thanks,


Simon Sladen (Asst. Curator, Modern and Contemporary Performance) tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk

Any ideas???? Replies to Webmaster@WTHSoc.org.uk


Summary of Replies so far (With thanks to Frances, Margaret and June)


“Ned” is an English given name, mostly applied to people with names starting “Ed” such as Edward, Edmund, Edgar, or Edwin.

It's also a Scot's word for hooligan.

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh when married to Laurence Olivier lived in the Manor House Long Crendon (about 14 miles from Weston Turville).

Weston Turville Residents

Nora Swinborne was married to Esmond Knight and lived in Nora's Cottage West End W/T and we believe there was some filming in the village in the 50’s. 

On 23rd May 1941, Esmond survived an exploding shell on the bridge of HMS Prince of Wales losing an eye and leaving him with almost no sight in the other.  He learned to type at St. Dunstans.

“Esmond” doesn’t seem like a name that would normally morph into “Ned” but:-

·         In 1951 he did appear with Vivien Leigh in a production of Caesar & Cleopatra at St James Theatre

·         Our local acting community do seem to use nicknames regularly, Esmond calls Nora 'Bun' in a letter dictated by him soon after the terrible injury!

Long shot of potential correspondents in the village would be Guy and Diana Mannering who appeared in Ealing film "A storm in a Teacup" or David Attenborough who and also lived in the village.

WTHSoc archive

Though far from complete, our website includes the text of a large amount of correspondence, and you can use the search box in the header quite effectively. The name “Ned” never comes up.  Unfortunately this is a period we’ve not explored much, census records are still to be released and we are wary copyright of copyright of anything 1946 and later. 

Request from Buckinghamshire County Council

posted 20 Dec 2013, 04:28 by Adrian Randall   [ updated 6 Mar 2014, 05:46 ]

Buckinghamshire County Museum is staging an exhibition on WW1 next year.  They are hunting for an oil painting by Alexander Jamieson that used to hang in the British Legion Hall in Weston Turville.  I assume that it was the building in Main Street that was known locally as “The Haig Hall”.

They know of the painting, entitled “An Incident in the Great War” and featuring Field Marshal Earl Haig from a postcard dated 1932.

Does anyone know what happened to it or where it is today?

Please email Webmaster@WTHSoc.org.uk with any clues.

I remember the painting in the Haig Hall.  Maybe the Wendover Branch of the British Legion would know where it might be?  Margaret

Hi Webmaster, 

Having asked the question last night about the lost painting I contacted a couple of people I know in Risborough and the general feeling is a confirmation that it was removed from the Haig Hall which was of course a Royal British Legion hall to the one in Risborough. Unfortunately the hall was sold in 2011 to an outfit called The Chilterns Christian Fellowship which is part of the Elim Church. All I can suggest is that the Museum, should they wish to follow this up, do so by e-mailing the Royal British Legion and/or the Chilterns Christian Fellowship.


Dear Webmaster, 

I just thought I would let you know that your leads came up trumps and we have located the painting in a storeroom in the Princes Risborough hall that was purchased by the Chilterns Christian Fellowship. Apparently it was hanging in the hall when they took over in 2011 but wasn’t mentioned on the inventory and has never been collected by the British Legion so it’s a bit debatable as to who really owns it now. It has been quite badly damaged at some point with several large tears through the canvas. The canvas is very brittle and so it would probably be a major restoration job. Unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to display it in its current condition but it’s good to have located it.  

I shall contact the British Legion and let them know of its existence as it seems a shame for the painting to be forgotten about when the artist was such a staunch supporter of the BL and donated it to them. Perhaps there will be some WWI grant funding somewhere for restoration…

Many thanks for your help.

Best wishes

Nicholas Lechmere at Weston Turville Manor?

posted 1 Aug 2013, 09:33 by Adrian Randall   [ updated 1 Aug 2013, 22:50 ]

The 1833 will of Lucy Tompkins bequeathed the Manor House to Nicholas Lechmere, the reputed son of her elder brother, Nicholas Lechmere (1755-1817?1818?) who had been possibly Naval Storekeeper or Ordnance Storekeeper at Port Royal Jamaica and had died proprietor of Mount Atlas plantation in St Andrew Parish, Jamaica.  She describes the legatee as serving in the East Indies in the Honourable East India Company's Artillery.   I wonder if any member of your society might be able to tell me if Nicholas Lechmere ever came to inhabit it after his service in the East India Company Artillery?

Many thanks and best wishes   James Brennan jsbrennan.125@gmail.com 
Margaret Cox makes no mention of Nick Lechmere in her history of the Manor House.  Your correspondent may find this link interesting:
It doesn't seem likely that he actually took up residence in WT.
Alan Maizels [alanmaizels@hotmail.co.uk]
Many thanks - especially for the prompt reply.   Two road guides (one for 1810 - Corby's I think)  put the Manor house in the ocupation of Lucy Tomkins and ;' - Lechmere,  Esq' (sic) - if it's the Nicholas Lechmere I have in mind, in 1810 he was all of six years old.   But his sureties at Addiscombe when he became an HEIC Cadet in 1819 were Thomas Wentworth and Matthew Raper, both of whom seem to have had Wendover connections.   If Lucy Tompkins or Tomkins had only a life interest in the Manor I wonder why she thought she could leave it to him - her will is precise,  (and she seems to have spent money improving it, which you wouldn't normally do on a life interest) but the sale to the Duke of Buckingham certainly seems to have taken place.   If it was in 1835 Nicholas Lechmere couldn't have come home.
Many thanks again  Jim Brennan

"The Cat's Eye" - Dr Thorndyke

posted 29 May 2013, 23:48 by Adrian Randall   [ updated 8 Jun 2013, 08:47 ]

The request is about the possible inclusion of Weston Turville in a novel published in 1923 and, as I live in Cheshire, any inquiry must be at a distance! 

The novel is a Dr Thorndyke detective story written by R Austin Freeman and called "The Cat's Eye".  Freeman generally used real locations for his stories, usually in London; in The Cat's Eye he wrote about an ancient manor house which he called Beauchamp Blake, and a nearby pub.  It has been suggested that he based them on a house and pub in Weston Turville, which he knew after war service at Halton Camp. 

The characters walk through Stoke Mandeville and on reaching the Icknield Way turn on to it, cross the London Road and pass by the reservoir to reach the pub and lodge.  The pub is described as half-timbered, with a row of dormer windows in the roof, the manor house as part Jacobean brick, part mediaeval timber-framing.   I dare say the buildings are in fact invented, but can you from local knowledge suggest any possible originals?  

Yours sincerely, 

Mike Andrews m.andrews037@btinternet.com 

Suffrage movement in the Weston Turville area

posted 31 Jan 2013, 00:19 by Adrian Randall

We have a request from Rev Colin Cartwrite (our speaker in November) for any local stories or family connection with the suffrage movement in the Weston Turville area. Information on opponents to the movement would be just as interesting.

Evelyn Sharp is mentioned in Margaret Cox's Manor Book (copies still available!).
Her autobiography "Unfinished Adventure" is available on Amazon.
There is also book on Evelyn Sharp "Rebel Woman, 1869-1955" by Angela V.John which can sometimes be found on AbeBooks for less than £1.

For those of you who enjoy a mystery, there are also images of an intriguing postcard from our very own archive attached. (Thanks Tony). The card itself seems to have been the message. To help you unravel it, 2 snippets of information.
  1. The mass imprisonment of Suffragettes didn't really get under way until 1908 (Though there may have been earlier isolated arrests).
  2. There was a warder from Liverpool working at Holloway on the 1911 census called Ellen Pickering and there was a famous suffragette called Julia Pickering. Anyone who can come up with an explanation, or even a convincing theory deserves my adulation at least. 
Does anyone else have any snippets of information? 

Axtell Family

posted 23 Jul 2012, 03:48 by WestonTurville HistoricalSociety   [ updated 8 Oct 2012, 06:59 by Adrian Randall ]

The Reprint of A History. We have been contacted by a descendant of the family on page 71 labelled “Three generations of the Axtells of The Black Horse, 1878”, which apparently identifies John Axtell at the top, with two other generations below.  However, this John Axtell definitely died in 1874 before the two children of Charles Edwin Axtell, who are in this picture, were born.  We’re pretty sure that the date of 1878 is about right but cannot put a name to the gentleman at the top.  Does anyone out there have any further information?  Where did Hamish Eaton get this photo from?

Roman Villa?

posted 19 Jul 2012, 11:46 by WestonTurville HistoricalSociety   [ updated 8 Oct 2012, 06:58 by Adrian Randall ]

Has anyone seen any evidence of our Roman Villa?
It is believed there is a Roman villa in the village. Probably North of St. Mary's Church. Roman tiles have been found in gardens off Main Street. Should you find anything that may be part of the villa, please contact Chris Gill Secretary@WTHSoc.org.uk.

1-8 of 8