Friday, 30 March 2007

Margaret Cruwys

Details have arrived from Devon of the marriage of Lewis George Cruwys and Margaret Campbell Speke Abercrombie from the registers of St David's, Exeter. Margaret Cruwys is of course well known as the author of A Cruwys Morchard Notebook and for her writings in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association and Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries.

The engagement of "Captain L G Cruwys and Miss Abercrombie" was reported in The Times on 17th July 1917:
An engagement is announced between Captain L G Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard, Tiverton, Devon, and Margaret Campbell Speke, elder daughter of Colonel A H Abercrombie, late 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers, and Mrs Abercrombie.
It must have been impossible to make proper plans for a wedding during the war. Consequently no formal invitations were sent out and an open invitation was published in The Times on 6th November 1917: "No invitations are being sent, but all friends will be welcome at the church".

The marriage is recorded in the registers of St David's Exeter on 19th November 1917. At the time of the marriage Lewis George Cruwys, 36, was a Captain in the Recruiting Office and was living at Cruwys Morchard. Interestingly Margaret C S Cruwys, then aged 23 and living in St. David's, Exeter, was working as Lewis's clerk. The witnesses were R G Cruwys (Lewis's brother, Robert Geoffrey Cruwys, who was by this time the Rector of Cruwys Morchard) and A… Abercrombie. The identity of the second witness is uncertain and the writing was indistinct, but it was probably either Margaret's mother or father. The service was conducted by the Reverend Bell-Salter.

Lewis joined the army after graduating from Exeter College, Oxford, serving with the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and spending some time out in India. He resigned his commission in 1907 but volunteered for service with his old regiment at the outbreak of World War I. It would appear that he did not serve overseas and instead spent most of the war in Devon. The London Gazette records his appointment as "Chief Registration Officer of an Area" on 12th December 1916. It was perhaps around this time that his future wife, the young Margaret Abercrombie, came to work for him.
Margaret Cruwys is fondly remembered by the parishioners of Cruwys Morchard. She was a true "gentlewoman" without any airs and graces. For many years she ran a small farm at the Manor House. She was not afraid of hard work and used to milk the cows herself. Margaret was always very involved in parish affairs. The annual Cruwys Morchard flower show was held on the Manor lawn, where the exhibits were displayed on the squire's best Crown Derby china. The parishioners inspected the items with much trepidation, hardly daring to breathe! The photograph above shows Margaret Cruwys outside the parish hall in Cruwys Morchard with some of the local boys. The photograph was taken in 1935 around the time of the Silver Jubilee celebrations for King George V.


Anonymous said...

This is the Parish hall not the Church Hall

Debbie said...

Thanks for pointing out the error. I've now corrected the description.

Mary Davey said...
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