The Coventry Family

Beauchamp St John Coventry

Birth: 19 November 1869, in Wimborne district, Dorset, England

Baptism: 26 December 1869, in Corfe Mullen, Dorset, England

Father: St John Coventry

Mother: Mary Elizabeth (Todd) Coventry

Death: 30 June 1870, in Wareham district, Dorset, England, aged 0


George St John Coventry and Laura Coventry
Laura Coventry and George St John Coventry at Chaddlewood, Devon, in 1903
photo courtesy of Jan van der Wal

George St John Coventry

Birth: 21 September 1896, in Weybridge, Surrey, England

Father: St John Halford Coventry

Mother: Lilian Emmeline (Russell) Coventry

Married: ____ (_____) Dymond in 1924. She was previously married to Ward Dymond.

Occupation: Army Officer
George was created a temporary Second Lieutenant on 9 September 1914 (London Gazette 22 September 1914 p7483) and then Lieutenant in the 8th 51st King's Own Light Infantry and later the South Wales Borderers. He fought in the First World War between 1915 and 1916, where he was mentioned in despatches. He was decorated with the award of Military Cross. George was awarded the 1915 Star which was then forfeited but later restored in 1922 (Ancestors of David Robarts website).

Notes: On 16 September 1920, bankruptcy proceedings were instituted against George by Lewis Schaverien (London Gazette 5 October 1920 p9770). In 1921, George leased "Poor Common, Decoy and other land amounting to approx 141 acres" to Richard Vyvyan Trengrouse for 21 years "for purpose of a rabbit warren". (National Archives D/CRL/B6/34).

Death: 21 July 1932, in Wimborne district, Dorset, England, aged 35

Buried: 25 July 1932, in Corfe Mullen Council Cemetery, Corfe Mullen, Dorset, England, George St John Coventry was aged 35, and his address was Florence Cottage, Corfe Mullen

Census & Addresses:
1901: 36 Elvaston Place, Kensington, London: George St J. Coventry is aged 4, born in Weybridge, Surrey.
1911: Easthampstead, Berkshire. George St John Coventry is aged 14
1920: Corfe Mullen, Wimborne, Dorset (London Gazette 5 October 1920 p9770)
1932: Florence Cottage, Corfe Mullen, Dorset (burial notice)


Laura (Coventry, Beresford, Nicholls, Coventry) Hamilton

George St John Coventry and Laura Coventry
Laura Coventry and George St John Coventry at Chaddlewood, Devon, in 1903
photo courtesy of Jan van der Wal
Birth: 31 August 1899, in Weybridge, Surrey, England

Father: St John Halford Coventry

Mother: Lilian Emmeline (Russell) Coventry

Married (1st): William Arthur de la Poer Horsley Beresford on 22 July 1919, in St Martin district, London, England. William and Laura were divorced in 1928.

William Beresford with coyote
William Arthur de la Poer Horsley Beresford with coyote, Bowness Ranch, Bowness district, Calgary, Alberta, c1906
photo from The Glenbow Museum
William was born in Bowness, England on 9 August 1878, the son of William Robert John Horsely-Beresford, 3rd Baron Decies, and Catherine Anne Dent. William was an officer in the Lord Strathcona's Horse, a Canadian regiment, and served in the Boer War in 1900 to 1901. On board the ship returning from South Africa, William met an American girl, Florence Holmes Miller, and married her on 17 June 1901 in St Stephens Episcopal Church, Providence, Rhode Island, and they had five children. In 1903, William and Florence purchased the Bowness Ranch near Calgary, Alberta. He enlarged the ranch house and operated a large shorthorn operation. William later later sold the ranch and moved to Toronto. In the 1910 census, William and Florence are living in Bristol, Bristol county, Rhode Island.  On 26 November 1918, William arrived in New York in the first class cabin aboard the Balmoral Castle (manifest). His residence at that time is listed as Providence, Rhode Island. His occupation is described as an officer, he declares the ability to speak Engliah and German and his race as Irish, born in Bowness, Great Britain. He is described as 5'8¾" tall, of fair complexion, with fair hair and blue eyes. William declares that he has previously been in the United States from 1907 to 1917 in "A.T.". Confusingly, since he declares his last permanent residence to be Providence, R.I., William states that his visit to the U.S. is to be for 2 weeks "to appear in U.S. Cent." William and Florence were divorced in 1919.

After his divorce from Laura, William married Georgina Leonora (Mosselmans, Barnard, Douglas, Burhameddin) de Saurigny on 18 August 1933 in St George Hanover Square district, London, a marriage which once again ended in divorce, in 1940, and fouthly he married Ada Kaufmann in Surrey South Eastern district, Surrey, in 1941. William died on 11 July 1949.

Married (2nd): Reginald Robert Nicholls on 8 October 1932, in Wimborne district, Dorset, England. Reginald and Laura were divorced in 1946.
On 8 June 1933, Reginald and Laura changed their name to Coventry by royal license.
London Gazette 30 June 1933 p4374
         Whitehall, 8th June, 1933.
  The KING has been graciously pleased to give and grant unto Reginald Robert Nicholls of Florence Cottage, Corfe Mullen, in the County of Dorset, Gentleman, and Laura his wife, daughter of St. John Halford Coventry late of Knoll Cottage, Corfe Mullen in the said County of Dorset, Esquire, sometime Captain in the Grenadier Guards, His Royal Licence and Authority that they may take and henceforth use the surname of Coventry in lieu of that of Niciholls, that he the said Reginald Robert Nicholls may bear the Arms of Coventry only and that the said surname and Arms may in like manner be taken borne and used by their issue: the said Arms being first duly exemplified according to the Laws of Arms and recorded in the College of Arms otherwise the said Royal Licence and Permission to be void and of none effect.
  And to Command that the said Royal Concession and Declaration be recorded in His Majesty's said College of Arms.

Married (3rd): John Hamilton Hamilton on 2 December 1950

Death: 1958

Census & Addresses:
1901: 36 Elvaston Place, Kensington, London: Laura Coventry is aged 1, born in Weybridge, Surrey.
1911: Sherbourne, Dorset: Laura Coventry is aged 11
1933: Florence Cottage, Corfe Mullen, Dorset (London Gazette 30 June 1933 p4374)


Mary Louisa (Coventry) Parke

Birth: 1861, in Corfe Mullen, Dorset, England

Father: St John Coventry

Mother: Mary Elizabeth (Todd) Coventry

Married: Charles Ethelston Parke on 30 April 1884 in Plympton St Mary district, Devon, England
Charles was born in 1850, in Henbury, Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, the son of Charles Joseph Parke and Ellen Mary Ethelston. He attended Eton College from 1863 until 1867.
The Eton Register (1906) p53:
Parke, CHARLES ETHELSTON, J.P. Eld. son of C. J. P. of Henbury House; 1863-1867: formerly Lieut. Durham Lt. Infty. and Rifle Bgde.: J.P. for Dorset: m. Mary Louisa, d. of St. John Coventry, R.N., of Upper Henbury and The Knoll, Wimborne. Henbury House, Wimborne.

Charles served in the 68th (The Durham) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry), commissioned as an ensign on 20 May 1868 and stationed in Manchester in 1869 (Army List 1869). He was promoted to lieutenant on 31 October 1871 (London Gazette 1 December 1871 p5435). Charles exchanged into the Rifle Brigade on 14 February 1872 (London Gazette 13 February 1872 p551), and retired from the service on 23 May 1877 (London Gazette 22 May 1877 p3267). The 1881 census describes Charles as a magistrate. He was appointed Sheriff of Dorsetshire for 1908 (London Gazette 3 March 1908 p1479).  Fairburn's Book of Crests lists Charles, of Vines Close, Wimborne, as having the crest of a stag's head couped sa. holding in the mouth a key or. and the motto True and fast. Charles died on 12 April 1919, in Wimborne district, Dorset, aged 68.
Census & Addresses:
1851: Sturminster Marshall, Dorset
1881: Henbury House, Sturminster Marshall, Dorset
1901: Sturminster Marshall, Dorset: Charles E. Parke is aged 50, born in Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, and living on own means.
1907: Henbury House, Wimborne, Dorset (London Gazette 15 November 1907 p7677)
1911: Wimborne, Dorset: Charles Welston Parke is aged 60

Mary was President of the District Benefit Nursing Association, Sturminster Marshall.

Death: 22 February 1953

Census & Addresses:
1871: Keynston Lodge, Tarrant Keyneston, Dorset
1881: Keinston Lodge, Tarrant Keyneston, Dorset
1901: Sturminster Marshall, Dorset: Mary L. Parke is aged 39, born in Corfe Mullen, Dorset, and living on own means.
1911: Wimborne, Dorset: Mary Louisa Parke is aged 49


St John Coventry

Birth: 5 January 1828, in Norton Daurcourt, Leicestershire, England

Father: Frederick Coventry

Mother: Louisa (Halford) Coventry

Married: Mary Elizabeth Todd on 27 September 1860, in St Mary Magdelene, Taunton, Somerset, England.
The Gentleman's Magazine November 1860 p546:
Sept. 27. At Taunton, St. John Coventry, esq., of Henbury-house, Dorset, to Mary Elizabeth, only dau. of Lieut.-Col. T.W. Todd, late of the 14th Regt. Madras Native Infantry.

Occupation: Naval Officer. St John reached the rank of Commander.
By the age of 13 St John was already at sea. On 11 September 1841 he was appointed to the Powerful in Malta as a Volunteer 1st class (Naval Database). The Powerful was paid off in Portsmouth in December 1841. On 8 July 1846 St John, then a midshipman on the Agincourt, participated in the capture and destruction of the forts and batteries on the River Bruné in Borneo under the command of Admiral Thomas Cochrane (London Gazette 29 September 1846 p3442). On 22 September 1847 St John was assigned to the San Josef at Devonport (United Service Magazine October 1847 p310). He passed for mate in seamanship on 25 October 1848 (Navy List January 1849) and was promoted to lieutenant on 23 December 1850 (Navy List 1854). St John joined the Retribution in Devonport as lieutenant on 19 February 1851 (Navy List 1851). The Retribution sailed for the Cape of Good Hope on 24 April 1851, reaching there on 30 August (Naval Database). In 1853, she was assigned to the Mediterranean, and saw action at the start of the Crimean War in an attack on the military works at Odessa on 22 April 1854 and the First Bombardment of Sebastopol on 17 October 1854. On 6 May 1856, St John joined the Cossack, stationed in North America and the West Indies, as 1st lieutenant, but he had left the ship by the end of 1857 (Navy List 1858), then the London, also as 1st lieutenant, on 13 May 1859, stationed in the Mediterranean (Navy List 1859). He had left the London by the end of 1860 (Navy List 1861) - presumably before his marriage in September of that year - and that seemed to have been his last active commission. Back in Dorset, St John was appointed Captain in the 6th Company of the Dorsetshire Rifle Volunteers on 14 March 1860 (London Gazette 20 March 1860 p1139). On 12 December 1864 he was appointed Sheriff of Dorset (London Gazette 12 November 1864 p5365), and then Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset on 19 February 1866 (London Gazette 23 February 1866 p1030). On 1 April 1870 St John was promoted to Commander and placed on the retired list (London Gazette 1 April 1870 p2007).

This letter to the maker of an egg incubator gives us some idea of the sort of things St John got up to on his estate in Dorset.
Journal of horticulture and cottage gardener 28 March 1867 p238
Mr. St John Coventry is glad to say he finds the incubator work perfectly, only requiring a little attention, and less as one understands the working of the machine. The last few days have been a very trying time for incubators, the thermometer varying from 30º to 50
º; and by a very little management of lamp, &c., he has kept his incubator at 100º, not varying during this changeable weather 2º. -  Wimborne, March 25th.

It seems that St John's pastimes included yachting and archery. Hunt's Yachting Magazine 1860 p39 notes that "The Pearl 20 tons, by the same builders [Messrs Wanhill of Poole], has been sold to St. John Coventry, Esq.". St John was an accomplished archer, and a member of the West Somerset Archers and Stour Valley Archers. The Archer's Register for 1864 lists some of the scores and prizes won by St John.

St John owned a white terrier as noted in The dogs of the British Islands p104:
One of the very best specimens, however, which we have seen for many years, was the property of Mr. St. John Coventry, of Knowle House, near Wimborne, and was purchased of Bill George, of Kensal New Town. The dog was never exhibited, but he was the model of a white terrier, and of first rate temper and courage.

Mary Elizabeth Todd memorial plaque
Memorial plaque to St John Coventry, Mary Elizabeth Todd and George Saltau-Symons
Death: 9 February 1871

Will: proved 7 June 1871

Census & Addresses:
1860: Henbury House, Wimborne, Dorset (The Gentleman's Magazine November 1860 p546)
1861: Knowle House, Corfe Mullen, Dorset
1866: Knowle, Wimborne, Dorset (London Gazette 3 February 1866 p637)
1871: Knoll, Wimborne, Dorset (London Gazette 1 August 1871 p3436)


St John Halford Coventry

Birth: 29 May 1866, at the Knoll, Corfe Mullen, Dorset, England
The Gentleman's Magazine July 1866 p101
May 29. At the Knoll, near Wimborne, the wife St. John Coventry, esq., a son.

Father: St John Coventry

Mother: Mary Elizabeth (Todd) Coventry

Education: Eton College and Royal Military College, Sandhurst
The Eton Register: 1871-1880 p157
Coventry, CAPT. ST. JOHN HALFORD, J.P. Eld. son of Commander St. J. C., R.N., of The Knoll and Henbury, Dorset; 1880-1884; R.M. Coll. Sandhurst; joined Gren. Gds. 1886, ret. as Capt. 1899; J.P. for Dorset; m. Lilian Emmeline, d. of George Russell of Westerhall, Dumfries. The Cottage, Corfe Mullen, Wimborne.

Married: Lilian Emmeline Russell on 5 November 1895 in St  George Hanover Square district, London, England
Lilian was born on 23 June 1874 in Epsom district, Surrey, and baptised on 3 August 1874, in Cobham, Surrey, the daughter of George Russell and Charlotte Isabella Innes-Ker. She married, secondly, Charles Edwin Allen on 30 May 1922, in Farnham district, Hampshire and Surrey. Lilian died on 27 October 1948.

Occupation: Army Officer
St John was an officer in the Grenadier Guards. Gentleman Cadet St John Coventry was commissioned as Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards on 8 September 1886 (London Gazette 7 September 1866 p4327). He was promoted to captain on 3 March 1898 (London Gazette 12 April 1898 p2351) and the 1899 Army List shows St John in the Guards' 2nd Battalion which was stationed in Gibralter. St John retired from the service on 15 February 1899 (London Gazette 14 February 1899 p931). In 1906, St John appears in a list of magistrates in Dorset (Accounts and Papers vol 99 p14).

Notes: In 1904, St John was a founding commiittee member of the Dorset Autombile Club (The Automotor Journal 28 May 1904 p660)
Death: 9 June 1920, in Wimborne district, Dorset, England, aged 54

Will: proved 18 June 1921, by Percy Leigh Pemberton, Major Lionel Culme Soltau Symons, D.S.O., and John Russell, the executors.

Census & Addresses:
1871: Keynston Lodge, Tarrant Keyneston, Dorset
1881: Eton College, Eton, Buckinghamshire
1901: 36 Elvaston Place, Kensington, London: St John Halford Coventry is aged 34, born in Corfe Mullen, Wimborne, Dorset. His occupation is listed as Captain Granadier Guards
1906: Knoll Cottage, Corfe Mullen, Dorset (Accounts and Papers vol 99 p14)
1920: Knoll Cottage, Corfe Mullen, Dorset (London Gazette 1 July 1921 p5285)


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