From The Archive – Sir Oswald Mosley 2nd Bart - Continued

As a result of my article about the portrait of Sir Oswald Mosley, 2nd Baronet, we received from Ken Rolston, for our archives, copies of the parchment scroll which was presented to Sir Oswald on his 77th birthday by Lord Hatherton of Teddesley, Lord Lieutenant of the County. The scroll lists the names and brief addresses of the 11 members of the committee and the 50 other subscribers.

The names include the bishops of London and Lichfield and 14 other Churchmen as well as many of the local gentry, including Lord Vernon of Sudbury, the Lord Viscount Ingestre and four Baronets. Only two female subscribers are listed, the Lady Sophia Des Vieux of Drakelow and Mrs T. Holbrook of Chapel House, Rolleston. The great brewing families are well represented: Allsopp, Bass, Gretton, Ratcliff and Worthington, and the Armed Forces are represented by Admiral Meynell of Hoar Cross, Major W. H. Chetwynd of Brocton Hall and Captain Tennant, R. N., of Needwood House. There are also five MPs. Well known Rolleston names include E. Thornewill (Dove Cliff), Higgott, Holbrook, Hopkins, Robinson, Shelly and Whetton.

Of the 33 easily identifiable great houses, twelve have been demolished (two of these to build power stations, since demolished) and five split into smaller dwellings; three are now schools, two hotels, two National Trust houses, one is a retirement home, one a Building Society, one an arts centre, one a health spa, one a golf clubhouse and one a centre for corporate events. Only one, Freeford Hall, is still in the family. Seven of them were volunteered or commandeered for use by the military during the two World Wars.

Some of the houses have interesting histories. At the time of the presentation, two of the committee, Arthur Bass, Esq., and Michael Thomas Bass, M.P., the head of Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton, were living in Rangemore Hall, which they had rebuilt in the 1850s. The house was extended again by Michael’s son, Lord Burton, in 1902, when King Edward VII made his first public visit to Burton-on-Trent and stayed at the Hall. Nellie Lisa Bass, Baroness Burton, inherited it in 1909, but it was too big (she had to cut down the servants to 70) and she sold it to Staffordshire County Council in 1949. It needed extensive repairs as it had been used by American troops in 1944-45, but it opened in 1954 as the Needwood School for the Partially Deaf. This was closed in 1985 and sold to property developers who divided it into flats. It was reported recently that “a celebrity millionairess” was living in the Edward VII wing.

Another local house, Eggington Hall, originally a Tudor house which had been rebuilt by Sir Richard Every in 1780, was also visited by Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902. During the Great War Col. Dugdale made it available for war wounded and in the Second World War it was used by “Bomber” Harris to plan raids on Germany. After the War it was bought by the Local Authority as a “Home for the Homeless”. It was demolished in 1954-5.

Burnaston House was built in 1824 by Ashton Nicholas Every Mosley, the son of Ashton Nicholas Mosley, (2nd son of Sir John Parker Mosley, 1st Baronet and so the uncle of 2nd. Bt.), who had married a wealthy heiress. Another subscriber, Rev. Peploe Paget Mosley was also one of his uncles. Burnaston House was demolished in 1990 to make room for the Toyota car factory.

Our own Dovecliff Hall was built in 1790 by Thomas Thornewill, who owned the forge which had been converted from Stretton corn mill. He was succeeded in 1843 by his son Edward (one of the Committee listed on the scroll). His son, another Edward, sold the estate to William Joseph Smith of Alvaston, whose widow, Frances, sold it to the Burton brewer, Hugh Spencer Charrington. After his death in 1921, it was unoccupied for seven years, being open as an hotel in 1928. It soon reverted to being a private house but was finally opened as the Dovecliff Hotel in 1987.

(Article by Arnold Burston – Rollestonian Autumn 2010).

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Last updated: 3 October 2010