Saturday, 13 January 2007

Postcards of Cruwys Morchard House

I was delighted to receive in the post this morning two postcards of Cruwys Morchard House which I won in an auction on E-bay earlier this week. The postcards date from the early 1900s and are both addressed to Mrs Pearce at Loperwood Manor, Totton, near Southampton, Hampshire. The first card is a picture of the entrance hall.
The hall is believed to have been part of the original Tudor plan. The oak staircase at the back of the hall was imported from Enmore Castle in Somerset in the late 1800s by the then squire George James Cruwys. It is just possible to discern that the picture above the fireplace is a portrait of the Reverend Henry Shortrudge Cruwys. There is a much clearer reproduction of this portrait in Rosemary Lauder’s book Devon Families in the chapter on Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard. The card was postmarked at Tiverton on 4th October 1907. There is a brief message on the back which reads:
Cruwys Morchard, Friday
Irene arrived here quite safely last night with Nan. This is our hall where we dance. Irene thought you might like to see it. We are having tennis today. Col. Loraine is coming to tea. I hope your headaches are better.
Much love from D
The second postcard is a front view of Cruwys Morchard House.
This card was sent a few days later on 8th October and again has a Tiverton postmark. The message reads: 
Very cold here now. We have fires. I am afraid winter has come now. The two windows nearest the seat is my room. Underneath is the drawing room. This gives you an idea of the house. Don’t you think it is sweet. Please keep this card for me. Hope you are well.
From Irene Pearce.
In October 1907 Cruwys Morchard House was occupied by Mary Helen Cruwys née Owen, age 60. Mary’s husband, George James Cruwys, had died three years earlier in 1904. Mary and George had four children: Dorothy, Cicely, Lewis and Robert. The two daughters, Dorothy, then aged 28, and Cicely, 27, neither of whom married, would no doubt have been living at home when the Pearces visited. The younger son Robert, who was later to become Rector of Cruwys Morchard, might well have been at home too. Lewis, the eldest son, was by this time a Lieutenant in the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and was probably away from home serving with his regiment. I have tried searching in the 1901 census but have so far been unable to find out anything further about Irene Pearce and her family. Mary Helen Cruwys née Owen was born in Colchester, Essex, but her father was the rector of Wonston, Hampshire. It therefore seems likely that the Pearces were either Mary’s friends or relations. Loperwood Manor no longer exists. The site is now part of the grounds of Tatchbury Mount Hospital in Loperwood Lane, Calmore.

Update 31st May 2011
I have been contacted by Denise Sanford who has provided some further information about the Irene Pearce who visited Cruwys Morchard House and wrote one of the above postcards. Rita Irene Pearce (1887-1964) was born at Loperwood. She married a Robin Lawrence in 1920. Irene’s aunt Emily Sarah Henrica Pearce (1866-1950) is Denise’s great-grandmother. She married Edward Henry Corse-Scott in 1886 and went to live in Colchester. Emily Sarah Henrica had been born and brought up at Loperwood; her father Henry Stanley Robert Pearce died in 1868; her brother Robert Charles Sutherland Pearce, Rita Irene’s father, inherited Loperwood around 1891.

We think the D who signed the first postcard is probably Dorothy Cruwys, daughter of George James Cruwys and Mary Helen Owen. The identities of Nan and Col. Loraine are still a mystery.

© Debbie Kennett 2007-2011

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was born in Cruwys Morchard in 1956, found your site very interesting, doing my family tree at moment, back to 1740 in CM so far. Mary Davey.

Anonymous said...

Interesting info about Irene Pearce who is my gt gt aunt. Thanks. Richard Lane

Debbie Kennett said...

I'm glad you found the information of interest.