Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Lady Alda Hoare (1861 - 1947)

I had not realised before reading Deb Fisher's weblog about her recent visit to Stourhead, a National Trust property in Wiltshire, that the house and gardens are in Mere.  Shame on me!  I used to live in Salisbury yet I never visited Stourhead.  By a coincidence, one of the soldier poets featured in the Somme Poets exhibition and book, Colin Mitchell (1890 - 1918), was from Mere :(http://forgottenpoetsofww1.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=somme+poets).

Deb, who is the Secretary of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, has written a very interesting account and in it mentions Lady Alda Hoare and her First World War activities. 

Alda Anne Weston was born in 1861 in Weymouth, Dorset.

Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare was born in 1865 in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire

They met when they were children and were married in December 1887 in Bicester.  After the wedding, they lived at Wavedon House, Cross End, Wavedon, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, where their only son Henry Colt Arthur, known as Harry, was born in 1889.

Henry senior inherited a Baronetcy from his cousin Sir Henry Ainslie and the estate known as Stourhead in Stourton, Mere, Wiltshire, went with the title.  As the property had been abandoned and closed for ten years, the Palladian-style house and grounds were in a very dilapidated condition.  Henry and Alda Hoare set about restoring the house and gardens to its former glory.       

Harry, who joined the Dorset Yeomanry at the outbreak of war, was badly wounded fighting in Egypt and died of his injuries in Alexandria on 19th December 1917.   At their home Stourhead, Henry and Alda welcomed recuperating soldiers from the Red Cross Hospital in Mere and Lady Hoare organised tea parties and entertainment. 

Henry and Adla died within hours of each other in 1947, and, after being inherited by a nephew, the house was given to the nation.

During the Centenary years of the First World War, the National Trust is holding special events at Stourhead to commemorate the work of Henry and Alda Hoare and the life of their son Harry, so now is the time to plan a visit.

Sources:

Deb Fisher's weblog:  http://sassoonfellowship.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/a-wiltshire-tragedy.html

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/features/harrys-story

http://www.theftr.co.uk/remembering-harry-and-alda-at-stourhead/

http://www.wiltshiremagazine.co.uk/out-about/behind_closed_doors_1_1632804

Find my Past and Free BMD

Photo from http://www.ntsouthwest.co.uk/2014/03/harrys-story-tells-how-the-first-world-war-changed-the-future-for-stourhead/ 

On the 1901 Census Henry and Alda had nine live-in servants and lived at Stourhead, Stourton, Mere, Wiltshire, England, which was a Palladian-style manor house with beautiful gardens.

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