In 1918, Dauntsey House and Park were purchased by Lieut. Col. Edgar Hugh Brassey, nephew of Lord Brassey, who had served in the 1st Life Guards since 1899 when he was 21, and was wounded in France in 1914. The house had no doubt fallen into disrepair since 1906 and probably earlier. It was in 1906 that Lady Meux had decided to sell her estates, which included Dauntsey Park; and the property changed hands a few times before Mr Brassey settled there after the war.
During the summer of 1921, and whilst Mr Brassey was away for a few days, repairs were carried out to his bedroom. On July 13th, 1921, the Lieut. Col. had employed a footman named Charles Ernest Albert, who did not stay long at Dauntsey Park and left on August 31st to take up a new position with the Chester-Masters at The Firs in Poulton.
At some point, Mr Brassey noticed that a number of items with a total value of £25 7s 6d had disappeared from his bedroom, including a coral and gold necklace, a carriage clock and barometer and two coats with a great deal of other clothing. However, it was not until three weeks after the footman had left Mr Brassey’s employment, that the thief was apprehended. At 4.30pm on Monday, September 19th, Charles Ernest Albert suddenly left the Poulton home of the Chester-Masters, taking a quantity of jewelry and clothing with him and the police were called.
Police Sergeant Hastings discovered that Mr Albert had sent luggage ahead to Fairford Railway Station, before he spotted and arrested the footman in Bridge Street, Fairford. 21-year-old Charles Albert had papers on him stating that he had been in a Reserve Cavalry Regiment for “3 years and 334 days” and he was thought to have been of previously good behaviour. However, it may just have been the first time he had been caught! Charles immediately owned up to the robberies and was tried and convicted by the magistrates at Fairford Police Court. He was sentenced to 6 months’ hard labour.
Read more about the families and people who lived at Dauntsey House in Part 3 coming soon. If you would like to discover your own family stories, please contact Steph Woods.