30th June 2009 – Visit To Willesley

Thursday 2nd July 2009

Willsley HallClick to Enlarge

In a blazing heatwave Maurice, Di & Peter went to Willesley ( near Ashby de la Zouch ) for a further meeting with Richard Liddington, the amazing Volunteer Warden of the Scout site based in what was the stable block at Willesley Hall. Whilst we had all met earlier, he had had several weeks to go through the archives to see what he could find. This even involved breaking into an old safe which had not been opened for years, but which revealed photographs, documents, plans & maps. Many of these are now being scanned & will at some point appear on this site. Since our visit a couple of months ago, Richard has worked tirelessly cleaning up the Church which was being used as something of a builders yard! He has done a terrific job for which I, & the many Abneys & Abney-Hastings buried there, truly thank him.

We were also very pleased to meet up with Mark Knight whose 4 × grandfather had taken on one of the farmes in 1841 as a tennant of Sir Charles Abney-Hastings, Franks older brother, & it was astonishing to sit with somebody whose connection goes back so far. The other truly amazing thing that when my father was a small child in the late 1890‘s he would have known Marks antecedents. The last of his relatives to live on the estate was his g-grandmother Jenny Knight who died in 1973. His family have been closely involved with the estate church in many roles.

Willesley HallClick to Enlarge

I couldn‘t let pass the superb picnic which Di had brought along for us! Thanks!

Only 3 miles to the south of Willesley is the once mining village of Measham. This is home to a remarkable lady, Mary Buckley, who is a family historian to the Abneys. She has nearly finished a book on the family which we will make available through this website, but equally as important she is involved with Measham Museum. They recently moved out of their previous building, & into a rather lovely ex-railway station which I have not seen before, so we took the opportunity to have a look. It looks within weeks of completion & is absolutely lovely. The most exciting thing is that they are diverting the Ashby Canal some 2 miles away to enable boats to travel down the old railway line & moor up at the museum. I understand that one half will be museum & the other a coffee shop & restaurant. I will keep you all informed when it opens, but I wish them every success.


5 Responses to 30th June 2009 – Visit To Willesley

  1. I found your blog on MSN Search. Nice writing. I will check back to read more.

    Eric Hundin

  2. Hi Eric, thanks for your comment and kind words! Hope you come back we will try and keep updating with useful interesting info!

  3. Hi Maurice

    I was very pleased to discover your website in memory of Captain Hastings. I had thought that he was completely forgotten by just about everyone except me.

    It is news to me that Karteria was broken up. I had thought that she was destroyed and scuttled along with the Hellas during the civil war just after independence. (1831 I think).

    I visited Poros’s Russian Harbor last summer. It is a narrow bay with a deep anchorage on the Poros canal and just east of the town. This is almost certainly where the Hellas was destroyed and sunk. Perhaps Karteria was just damaged and then was broken up afterwards. I had hoped that she was still down there and might one day be discovered.

    Please keep me posted with your blog.


  4. Dear Tim

    I apologise for the delay in replying but something dreadfully wrong as all comments etc for 3 months arrived today!! The Karteria was “snuck” out of harbour by the Greek crew as they did not wish her to be sunk, and although she did later join in some actions the local crews could neither keep her engines going nor really sail her, but it does say something for their loyalty to Frank.

    Are you based in England? Interested in your winetours address!!?? My other interest is food and wine – very busy organising a Food Festival ( http://www.alcesterfoodfair.com ) and recently did a trip to Toul (nr Nancy in East Francy) to write an article on Vins Gris de Toul! Most pleasant.

    Hope to hear from you

    Kind regards



  5. great interesting site, I have been looking into the Capt. Paulyn Charles James Reginald Rawdon-Hastings and 2nd Lieutenant Edward Hughes Rawdon-Hastings military backgrounds (both are remembered on Ashby-de-la-Zouch Great War Memorial. Would you happen to know if there are any photos of the brothers?. As we approach 100 years of the Great War I would like very much to highlight what local men sacrificed. Capt Rawdon-Hastings body was never found and his death is recorded in the Leics Regt 1/5 battalon War diary, Of which I quote:”Keeping his platoons more together and on a smaller frontage, Captain Hastings decided to attempt a bayonet attack against the German opposition on the left of the Redoubt, and himself led his men up to the attack.Once more bombs and machine guns were too hot for them, and first Capt. Hastings, then 2nd Lieut. Moss were killed near the German second line”…I would be very grateful if you have any leads or suggestions, Many Thanks Andrew Smith (Blackfordby,NW Leics)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>