Friday, June 09, 2006

Head Gardener & Military Service

Ninety years ago today the East Sussex News published a small report under the headline above. It read:

At the sitting of the County Appeal Tribunal at Lewes last Thursday, the Military appealed in the case of F W Shepherd, gardener in the employ of Mr W G Cotesworth of Roeheath who was granted conditional exemption from military service by the Chailey Rural District Tribunal while remaining in his present occupation. Mr Cotesworth attended in support of the decision of the local Tribunal. The Tribunal granted the appeal, but allowed the man exemption for six weeks.

William Greaves Cotesworth was the head of the household at Roeheath and a very wealthy man indeed. He had lived at Roeheath certainly since 1891 and is recorded on the census for that year with his wife, three children and 12 servants. By 1901 however both his wife and one of his daughters had died. Nevertheless, ten servants still attended the family. When he died in 1924, William left unsettled property of the gross value of nearly £100,000 - the equivalent of £3.6 million today.

William's son, Charles Hext Cotesworth served as a captain with the 21st Lancers during the First World War and his daughter Margaret Cotesworth was commandant of Sussex 54 VAD (and a leading light in the Chailey community as a whole).

FW Shepherd mentioned in the newspaper article above, served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and appears to have survived the war although little else is known about him.

Further extensive information on the Cotesworth family appears on the main website:

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