Frances Gwynnefold Hunter (nee Browne)

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Frances Gwynnefold Hunter was a widow who was tenant at Quenington Court with four adult daughters from 1931 to 1934. She was born Frances Browne in 1856 in Alnwick in Yorkshire, her father Alexander a retired army officer and magistrate. She married William Slingsby Hunter, a man of independent means, once described as director of companies, once incongruously as a coalfitter merchant. He also was born in the north of England and they lived there until William died. He was of high enough social status to appear as resident in many Kelly directories, and to be a member to the Junior Carlton Club, a gentleman's club, in London. Frances herself was of a wealthy family, both as a daughter and wife, and was used to being served by a large contingent of servants both before and after her marriage.

Quenington Court was for her one in a succession of stately houses, and by no means the largest. Before Quenington Court they had lived at High Leazes, Hexham (1881), Over Duisdale Hall, York (1891), The Manor, Aldwark, near York (1901) and Gilling Castle, York (1911). It was at the last of these that William died in 1923. The Manor is now a golf and spa hotel "with 53 luxurious rooms, set in 120 acres". Gilling Castle is now a Grade 1 listed building with 14th century origins, set in approximately 200 acres. After her husband's death Frances and four adult daughters moved south and were living in North Cerney House near Cirencester in at least 1925-1928. They were in Quenington Court from 1931 to 1934. From here they moved to Glanhenwye, near Glasbury, Herefordshire (now Powys). When Frances died in 1946 she was living in Abercynrig House in Brecon, another historic manor-house set in its own grounds with views of the Brecon Beacons. In the table below the lines marked Directory show William's residence, assumed to be that also of Frances.

It is likely that, as in her other residences, Frances will have employed a large number of servants to look after her and her four adult daughters at Quenington Court (there were 18 in York in 1911). However, the main source, the electoral register, at this time is not specific enough to show these and in any case those under 21 would not qualify for listing. She had a chauffeur, living in the Court cottage, idenfied from correspondence, see below.

Like other occupants of Quenington Court the Hunters were wealthy. At his death in 1923 William had left an estate of 340,410, equivalent to about 19.5m in 2017; Frances in 1946 7634 (=304,000).

There was an interesting sequel to her departure from The Court. Mrs Hunter employed a chauffeur, a Mr Hobbs, who lived with his wife in the cottage at The Court. When she left he gave notice of termination of employment but remained in the cottage. One result of this was that the next tenant, Ralph Moore-Stevens, was unwilling to proceed without vacant possession. It was necesary to evict Mr Hobbs an Mrs Hunter agreed to meet the cost. She was duly apologetic, stating, perhaps rather naively, that no-one had advised her of the need to ensure that the cottage would be empty. The chauffeur must have been the William J Hobbs who was listed in Quenington in 1931-1934, then 1936-1939, on the last date a storekeeper living at 10 Council Cottages in Quenington. He was still there in 1946.

yearsourceplaceageoccupationdetail
1856groAlnwick  birth registered 1st quarter
1861cenSt Andrew, Northumberland5  at home with seven siblings and seven servants, father Alexander, late major in the army, Chief Constable of [unreadable]
1871cenLasbury15scholarat home, father magistrate, servants
1879par.groEllingham   10th Sep, married William Slingsby Hunter, marriage registered Balford, 3rd quarter
1881cenHexham25  at High Leazes, 25, with husband and seven servants, husband coal fitter merchant
1886dirHexham  husband at Swinburn Castle
1891cenDarlington35 at Over Dinsdale Hall with husband (living on own means) , 6 children and 10 servants
1893dirAldwark  husband private resident at Aldwark Manor
1898dirSt Helens, IOW   husband private resident at North Bank, Seaview
1901cenAldwark, York  at The Manor
1911cenYork54  at Gilling Castle, York, with husband (private means) and four daughters age 25-30, and visitor Geoffrey Howson of the 4th Cavalry, Indian Army. Married 31 years, seven children, all living. 18 servants, see footnote
1913dirYorks  at Gilling Castle, husband DL and JP for Ryedale Petty Sessions Division, member of the Junior Carlton Club, London<
1920parBadsworth, Yorks  marriage of son Joseph Charles, father William Slingsby Hunter described as Director of Companies
1923probYorks  death of husband William at Gilling Castle, Yorkshire, effects 340,409 9s 7d
1925-28erN Cerney, Glos   at North Cerney House
1931-34er,docQuenington  at Quenington Court with four daughters
1934docGlasbury,Herefds  home address Glandenwye
1946gro,probAbercynrig, Brecon90 died 11 April, death registered Brecon 2nd quarter. Effects 7635 7s 8d. probate Kenneth Slingsby Hunter retired army captain and Miriam Hunter spinster
Footnote
the 18 live-in servants in 1911 were butler, 2 footmen, hallboy, cook-housekeeper, 3 ladies' maids, 3 housemaids, 3 laundry maids, 2 kitchen maids, 1 scullery maid, rat-catcher)