V.  The Welby-Everards

When in November 1893, E. E. E. Welby succeeded to the Gosberton property on the death of his great uncle, Henry Everard, the bequest was not without problems for a young man of twenty-two who had that year obtained his B.A. degree at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and was planning to live in London and qualify as a Barrister. To be landlord of agricultural property and maintain a large house and garden in Lincolnshire would at best present difficulties while "eating his dinners" in the Inner Temple and these were magnified by the fact that his great aunt, Helen Maitland Everard, still living in Leamington, had been left an annuity which absorbed most of the farm rents; it was not until her death twelve years later that he received much income from the property. The Royal Licence to assume the additional surname of Everard and the devising of the Arms of the Welby-Everards cost 161:3:0 which was paid by his father in 1894; I have an early account book which shows that for the year 1896-97 the net income from the property was only 188:14:11 which was only saved from being a loss because Helen Everard paid back 300 of her annuity of 1,933:6:8.

While E. E. E. Welby-Everard (Evvy) was in London as a student of law at the Inner Temple he and a friend of his Oxford days, David Milne Watson (Dan), together courted two sisters, the youngest of the six daughters of the Reverend George W. Herbert, the story being that Evvy and Gay, Dan and Olga were known amongst their friends as the "partie carree" (party of four). At St. Peter's Vauxhall on 27th June, 1899, there was a double wedding at which the Reverend George Herbert married his two daughters-Olga Cicely to David Milne Watson and Gwladys Muriel Petra to Edward Everard Earle WelbyEverard.

Evvy and Gay lived at 50 Gillingham Street S. W.l, later moving to 9 Eccleston Square, and developed Gosberton House as a country house as far as their finances would allow. As a wedding present Gay's mother, Louisa Herbert, gave them 600 which was paid into a Bank deposit account on 10th July and with interest of 5:9:2 opened a Gosberton "capital" account at the beginning of 1900. During that year 678:4:9 was spent on Gosberton House, of which 341:17:9 was builder's work on the house and 200 on a cottage; fortunately Louisa Herbert who was their first visitor on 23rd March, 1900, gave them a further 250 towards the end of the year. Their visitors, for May Week, included Dan and Olga.

Evvy, who became a Barrister in 1896, joined the Civil Service and was Solicitor to the Light Railway Commission and, becoming an expert on railways, was consulted by his friends on what trains to take for awkward journeys across England; his claim to fame was that he once found a mistake in Bradshaw! He was later appointed Treasury Solicitor to the Board of Trade but, in spite of his work in London, he was active in Lincolnshire. A J.P. and a D.L. he was High Sheriff in 1935; he was a Lay Reader and Chairman of the Lincoln Diocesan Board of Finance; he was also Chairman of the Deeping Fen Internal Drainage Board and from 1939-1942 was Chairman of Quarter Sessions in Spalding.

Gay, who was extremely artistic, painted in oils and did wood carving and leather work; she took great interest in Gosberton House and garden being the main instigator of the many improvements introduced once they had the money to do so. She also did much for Gosberton Church, in particular the beautiful trip-tych reredos for the main altar which she copied in oils from old masters in the National Gallery. During the second world war the London house suffered bomb damage and they moved permanently to Gosberton putting their London furniture in store in Lincolnshire.

Evvy and Gay had three children, Philip Herbert Earle (1902), Clemence Penelope Olga (1905) and Christopher Earle (1909) and in the eighty-six years since 1894 there have been a total of twenty-seven Welby-Everards of which eleven males and eight females were born with the name originated by Evvy, while a further seven females took the name in marriage. A simple pedigree listing these is appended.

In 1946 Gay died and Mai and I made our home at Gosberton so that Mai could run the house and look after Evvy. I was serving in Washington from September 1946 to September 1947 but after that had a home appointment when I was able to discuss with my father plans which might enable me to retain Gosberton House after his death. We agreed that if I retired from the Navy he would make over some of the property to me, to reduce death duties, and I would commercialise the garden to help make Gosberton House pay its way. In the event my application to retire was refused and I served in the Navy until 1955, when I was retired compulsorily so that when my father died in 1951 the impact of death duties and the portions due to my brother and sister seemed at the time to offer no alternative but to sell Gosberton House and certain farms; this I did in 1952 with much regret and the house is now fulfilling a useful function as a County School for educationally sub-normal children. Much of the furniture and garden statuary we now have in our Lincolnshire home at Frieston

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