Ralph Noel Henry Moore-Stevens

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Ralph Noel Henry Moore-Stevens was the tenant at Quenington Court from probably 1934 to 1939. Little is known about his 5-year tenancy, but again his extensive background adds to what is known about the type of person who rented The Court. He was another man of wealth, and probably aristocratic connections. He spent much of his adult life in Gloucestershire. His occupation, if any, is unknown. He was born in Devon in 1904, probably part of the family of that name of which John Moore Stevens, MP, was part and with connections to the Countess of Rother. In 1910 he was page at a wedding in Devon. The following year he was in London with May, presumably his mother, who was a cousin of their host Lady Mary Leslie at the latter's prestigious house in Kensington, London. Both ladies were of independent means.

Evidence on enlistment into the army in 1939, see below, suggests that he was educated at Wellington College in Berkshire. This was a school whose aim was the support of children of deceased officers who had held commissions in the army. It may be relevant that the man who gave the bride away at the wedding in which Ralph was a page in 1910 was a Colonel Moore-Stevens.

Ralph married in London in 1931. In 1934 he was living in Bibury, Gloucestershire, when he made a bid to buy the Rectory, Maiseyhampton. In February there was a list (addressee and originator unknown) of repairs and improvements that were needed at the Rectory that would cost 2200 to carry out. In July in a letter to presumably his agent Ralph stated that the Church authorities has not accepted his "reasonable offer" for the Rectory and he was letting the matter drop. There was no indication whether this was an offer for purchase or to rent. At this point he was seeking the tenancy of Quenington Court, for in July his bid was in doubt because of the "squat" by Mr Holt in the Court cottage (see under Mrs Hunter). He and his wife Diana were listed there from 1935 and he was there probably until 1939. There is one known reference in local documents. This was in March 1936 when the Diocesan Parish Committee was organising a workforce of volunteers to provide a new chimney in the church. It was suggested that they ask Mr Moore Stevens for a loan of ladders.

Perhaps his tenancy was cut short by military service for he was commissioned in early September and on 29th September 1939, the day on which Arthur Mitchell was due to move in, he was staying alone at the Bull Hotel in Fairford, Gloucestershire, his occupation described as "independent". Presumably he was awaiting his callup.

He was appointed second-lieutenant in the Territorial Army (Royal Armoured Corps) on 2nd September and described in the London Gazette article as 'late Cadet Corporal Wellington Coll. Contgt, Jun. Div OTC'. No report of his war service has been found, but after the war he used the title Major.

After the second war he was living in Rodmarton, Gloucestershire in 1955 and at The Lodge, Lodge Park, Sherborne, near Cheltenham in the 1960s. On these occasions he was with Margaret E M. Lodge Park is a grand building set in the Sherborne Estate, then the "seat" of the seventh Lord Sherborne but since 1982 a National Trust property.

Ralph died in Oxfordshire in 1973 at the age of 68, though still living at Lodge Park. Given his apparently independent means during his life his declared estate was modest at 2823.

1904 gro,39 Torrington, Devon     born 12 Dec 1904, birth registered first qyarter 1906
1910 pre Devon   page at a wedding at which the bride was given away by a Colonel Moore Stevens
1911 cen Kensington, London 6 schoolboy at 26 Wetherby Mansions, Earls Court, with May Moore Stevens, see footnote 1
1931 gro Lpondon     marriage to Diana Edwards registered third quarter at St George's Hanover Square, third quarter
1934 cor Bibury, Glos     bid to purchase the Rectory at Maiseyhampton, Glos, see correspondence below
1934-(39) er Quenington     with wife Diana at Quenington Court
1939 39,reg Fairford   independent at the Bull Hotel, alone
1939 doc     soldier from London Gazette, see footnote 2
1955 er Gloucestershire     at 66 Tarlton with Margaret E M
1961-65 er Sherborne., Glos     at The Lodge, Lodge Park with Margaret E M
1973 gro Witney, Oxon 68   death registered 1st quarter
1973 prob London     died 12th March, address The Lodge, Lodge Park,, Aldsworth, effects 2823
Footnotes:
1. for 1911. May Moore Stevens was presumably his mother, 40, married 10 years, 4 children, 3 surviving, private means, born Kensington. The householder was May's cousin, The Lady Mary Leslie, 73, single, private means, 73, born London. Two servants.
2. for 1939. From the London Gazette: Listed among those to be 2nd Lts, 2 Sep 1939 Territorial Army, Royal Armoured Corps, 97800, late Cadet Corporal Wellington College contingent, jun div OTC

Ref to Ralph Moore-Steven's army rank in the following. On National Trust page to a picture called Vale of Roses, painted by Betty Hall, Mrs Moore Stevens, in the collection at Sherborne Hall. The artist was the 7th Lord Sherborne's housekeeper and later would be his wife. Major Ralph Moore-Stevens was her former husband and Bill Hall her second, with whom she lived at Lodge Park from 1982 to 1992.

Perhaps relevant to background. In connection with Lady Leslie, in 1891 census. She was a visitor, with private means, at the home of John-Bagley White, MP, in Maidstone. Other guests were the Countess of Rother and the Hon Raymond E Leslie. There were 14, possibly 17 servants

Correspondence

Note dated 12 February 1934
List of things (no address/signature) to be done at the Rectory Maiseyhampton (improvements/alterations/repairs, cost totalling 1967)
also letter, no address or originator (at tel Bibury 28), giving estimate of about 2200 in total, ends AREBA Arch.

Letter dated 10 July 1934, to R Moore-Stevens Esq, no address or originator (at tel Bibury 28)
re The Rectory, Maiseyhampton
Not having heard from you in regard to the matter I am taking the liberty of enclosing my account.

Letter dated 11 July [1934] from The Malt House, Bibury, tel Bibury 7 and signed Ralph Moore Stevens
Dear Mackenzie, I must apologise for not having let you know about Maiseyhampton Rectory before. Unfortunately the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would not accept a very reasonable offer for the property so I decided to let the matter drop.