Monday, August 20, 2007

Memories of Dunley - Jackie Sopp

"The following (in no particular order) are some of my mother's (Nancy Seabrooke's) reminiscences......

Piper was indeed a Chauffeur (but she said he was the 'under-chauffeur) who sometimes drove a pony and trap. Apparently, he was very friendly with my grandfather, Arthur Seabrooke, who was Estate Carpenter. Busby was the Chauffeur.

Miss MacKenzie had been parlourmaid to an artist (Mother can't recall the name) who was well-known, in London circles. Then she had worked for Winston Churchill (no time period given here, so don't know whether it was before the war - presume so?). Her brother was a policeman in Edinburgh, and they originated from Sutherland, away up in the Highlands. Mother says, once Miss MacKenzie gave some bread (which was left-over,) to the dogs and Lady Herbert severely reprimanded her because she had fed them with bread bought up in Coventry, which cost 1/2d more than in Whitchurch!

The gardener's name was Mr Sopp (honestly, no known relation! - but we suspect he may have a connection with my husband's father's family who all hailed from Linkenholt/Vernham Dean/Hungerford areas.) His wife may have been a cook at Dunley, my Mother thinks.

She also recalls the sugar basins on the dresser at Dunley, with Sir Alfred's name, Lady Herbert's name and all live-in staff names labelled on them. Sugar was still rationed, and woe betide the person who used someone's sugar ration!

Mother also spoke about Miss Tidd, Ursula, and Miss Tidd's adopted daughter, Penelope.

She mentioned the Gun Book , and says she well remembers packing the hampers for the shooting party, with Miss MacKenzie taking charge.

And finally, yes, I did receive a very interesting email from your brother, who named most of the people above. I am sure he would recall my mother if you said she was NANCY SEABROOKE, as she remembered 'the boys' visiting the Manor from time to time. She would've been about 24-26 years old at the time. As I said previously, we lived in 3 Dunley Cottages (The Swedish Houses, as they were known). Among our next-door neighbours were the Bone family, and my grandparents Arthur and Helen Seabrooke. The water was drawn from a tap across the road, (finally piped into the cottages when Mother was close to having me!) and the lavatories were up steps in the garden! Apparently, there is still a lilac tree growing where our WC stood.......

Oh, and Lady Herbert knitted bootees for me before I was born."

Extracted from an e--mail from Jackie Sopp 19/8/07 (

Dunley Cottages in 1947

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