Woodchester Mansion looks back on founder's relatives who died during WW1

From left, Major Charles Jarrett and his brother Captain Aylmer Jarrett

From left, Major Charles Jarrett and his brother Captain Aylmer Jarrett

First published in News by

HISTORICAL research has unearthed the gallant stories of three brothers who died during the First World War that were connected to Woodchester Mansion.

Investigations by the mansion have shown that three military Jarrett brothers Charles, Hubert and Aylmer are relatives of the mansion’s builder William Leigh.

Details of their bravery and of the service of some of the nine men from Nympsfield who also died during the conflict have just gone on display in the mansion library.

The tales were amassed by volunteer Liz Davenport especially for the current national commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1914-18 war.

"William Leigh’s three surviving grandchildren were Blanche, Beatrice and Vincent, with Vincent inheriting the mansion by 1914," she said.

“After their mother’s early death in 1871, Vincent, Blanche and Beatrice Leigh were brought up at The Cottage in Woodchester Park by their grandmother Eliza Jarrett.

“There was a military tradition in her family and both her sons were in the Indian army with the second, Lt Col Henry Sullivan Jarrett, having six sons with his wife Agnes.

“The boys often stayed at Woodchester Park with their grandmother while their parents were in India.”

Of the six, one died of scarlet fever as a child and another went on to become an eminent Dominican monk.

Charles, Hubert and Aylmer followed their father into the army, and fourth soldier Aubrey survived the war to continue his army career before succeeding his father as trustee of the Woodchester estate.

Major Charles Jarrett, 40, from the 1st Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, was shot on April, 1915, after the landing on V beach at Cape Helles. He is buried in Turkey.

Lt Col Hubert Jarrett, of the 19th Punjabis and 57th Wiles Rifles, died in Delhi, India, on December 1919, aged 43, of pneumonia resulting from his active service. He is buried in the Delhi War Cemetery.

Captain Aylmer Jarrett, 36, holder of the Distinguished Service Medal, was shot on June 22nd, 1915, and died near Ypres. He is buried in the Hop Store Cemetery, Ypres.

“During the first World War the Woodchester estate reflected the situation of the whole country,” said Ms Davenport.

“The UK lost about a million dead in the Great War, this impact was felt by the Leigh family and by the other families living on the Woodchester estate.”

“The small community close to this secluded Cotswold valley showed factors reproduced countrywide, the breadth of the conflict and of course the scale of the loss of life incurred.”

The loss of the three Jarrett brothers was commemorated by the gift of the altar at the opening of St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Nympsfield in 1923.

The motivation for building the church and part of the funding came from the dead men’s cousins Blanche and Beatrice Leigh.

Grade One listed Woodchester Mansion, that dates from around 1857, is now opened to the public six days a week by the independent charity the Woodchester Mansion Trust.

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