Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Claude Lancaster's grave at Kelmarsh church

This is the grave of Colonel Claude Lancaster who rebuilt the cottages at Kelmarsh that we saw yesterday. It is a family plot and was originally erected for his father, so Claude's name appears on the back of the angel's plinth. (Incidentally, if you think it is in poor taste you ain't seen nothing at St Denys, Kelmarsh, yet.)

Claude served as Conservative MP for Fylde and then Fylde South between 1938 and 1970. He was not a great contributor to the Commons and seems to have been chiefly concerned with the coal industry, parts of which he owned before nationalisation.

In 1948 he married Nancy Keene Perkins, who had previously been married to Ronald Tree, the Conservative MP for Harborough until 1945. She was a cousin of both Nancy Astor and Joyce Grenfell and enormously influential as a gardener and decorator - it seems that much of what we think of as the classic English country house style comes from her work.

Their marriage did not last. The Wikipedia entry for Nancy Keene Perkins explains this as follows:
The couple had been having an affair for years prior to their marriage, and Nancy Lancaster later claimed that it was the suffocating, day-to-day intimacy caused by their marriage that made her realise why they were successful as lovers and ill-suited as husband and wife.
Tweedland quotes another explanation. Nancy had previously lived at Kelmarsh Hall with Ronald Tree, and the architect James F. Carter said:
“She was probably more in love with his home than with the man himself.”

No comments: