John dEstreville Lenfestey

Name on Plaque

J. d’E. LENFESTEY

Connection with Effingham

He was not native to Effingham and nor were his parents. By 1936 his father Leopold was living here at “Brynhir” in Beech Avenue.

Genealogy

John d’Estreville’s father was Leopold d’Estreville Lenfestey, born in Faversham in 1875 to parents William Giffard Lenfestey and Julia Eliza Kingston (née Hocart) [GRO Ref: Faversham 2a 745, 1875 (Q4)]. William Giffard was the son of a Guernsey draper Peter Lenfestey and his wife – a draper’s daughter – Nancy Parker (née Dorey), who had married at St. Peter Port on June 16th 1842. Peter’s father was Nicholas Lenfestey. William Giffard was born in St. Peter Port on April 14th 1843 and had one sibling, Margaret (or Marguerite) born about 1845-46. Peter died relatively young and Nancy remarried into the Rambridge surname, taking up residence in Alderney. Some of this information relies upon an article written by Leopold, discussed in more detail further down this page, and is consistent with the following census records from the Channel Islands:

1851 Census
Grosnez Street, St. Anne, Alderney : PRO Ref: HO107 Piece 2531 Folio 501 Page 6

Nancy Lenfestey : head : widow : 37 : general merchant : St. Peter Port, Guernsey
Elizabeth Dorey : sister : unm : 40 : general merchant : Alderney
William [Giffard] Lenfestey : son : unm : 8 : scholar : Guernsey
Marguerite Lenfestey : dau : unm : 5 : — : Alderney
Amelia Lenfestey : dau : unm : 4 : — : Alderney
Ann Lenfestey : dau : unm : 2 : — : Alderney

1861 Census
Victoria Street, St. Anne, Alderney : PRO Ref: RG9 Piece 4374 Folio 77 Page 31

Samuel Rambridge : head : mar : 42 : blacksmith employing 1 man : England
William [Giffard] Lenfestey : step-son : unm : 18 : chemist apprentice : Guernsey
Margaret [sic] Lenfestey : step-dau : unm : 16 : governess : Alderney
Amelia Lenfestey : step-dau : unm : 14 : scholar : Alderney
Ann Rambridge : dau : unm : 13 : scholar : England
Richard Rambridge : son : unm : 12 : — : England
Elizabeth Dorey : sister-in-law : unm : 52 : — : Alderney

1871 Census
Victoria Street, St. Ann [sic], Alderney : PRO Ref: RG10 Piece 5770 Folio 33 Page 2

Samuel Rambridge : head : mar : 51 : blacksmith employing 2 boys, and local preacher : England
Nancy Rambridge : wife : mar : 57 : grocer and tea dealer : St. Peter Port, Guernsey
Margarite [sic] Lenfestey : step-dau : unm : 25 : china & glass warehouse : St. Ann’s, Alderney
Amelia Lenfestey : step-dau : unm : 24 : china & glass warehouse : St. Ann’s, Alderney
Ann Lenfestey : step-dau : unm : 21 : governess : St. Ann’s, Alderney
Ann Rambridge : dau : unm : 23 : governess : England

These records indicate that Peter died within 9 years of marrying Nancy, who then married Samuel Rambridge in the 1850s. The family lived in the same place in Alderney throughout this period – Grosnez Street had been renamed as Victoria Street. William Giffard appears not to have been in the Channel Islands at the time of the 1871 Census; judging by Leopold’s article, he was instead very probably in France or Italy.

The surnames Lenfestey and Estreville are very ancient and are most probably Norman or pre-Norman. The Lenfesteys have lived predominantly in the Channel Islands, especially Guernsey, for at least five hundred years and there are very many still there today.

William Giffard became a pharmaceutical chemist and by his mid-twenties was living in Faversham, Kent and working as a manufacturing pharmacist. Soon afterwards he married Julia, in Guernsey, and by her produced five children all born in Faversham, namely:

Giffard Hocart Lenfestey [GRO Ref: Faversham 2a 739, 1872 (Q4)]
Annie M. Lenfestey [GRO Ref: Faversham 2a 767, 1874 (Q1)]
Leopold d’Estreville Lenfestey [GRO Ref: Faversham 2a 7745, 1875 (Q4)]
Stanley de Jersey Lenfestey [GRO Ref: Faversham 2a 804, 1876 (Q4)]
Harold John de Quetteville Lenfestey [GRO Ref: Faversham 2a 836b, 1881 (Q4)]

By 1881 William Giffard had moved the family to Herne Bay, except for his oldest son who remained in the care of Margaret in Faversham:

1881 Census
Nos. 33 & 34, Mortimer Street, Herne Bay, Kent : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 963 Folio 120 Page 25

William G. Lenfestey : head : mar : 36 : chemist : Guernsey, C. Islands
Julia Lenfestey : wife : mar : 37 : — : Guernsey, C. Islands
Annie Lenfestey : dau : unm : 7 : scholar : Faversham, Kent
Leopold Lenfestey : son : unm : 5 : scholar : Faversham, Kent
A…nley [unclear  – Stanley] Lenfestey : son : unm : 4 : — : Faversham, Kent

1881 Census
No. 9, Market Street, Faversham, Kent : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 968 Folio 97 Page 21

Giffard Lenfestey : chemist’s son : unm : 8 : scholar : Faversham, Kent
Margaret Lenfestey : sister [of Giffard’s father] : unm : 34 : no occupation : Alderney
Francis Fieldsend [unclear] : apprentice : unm : 19 : chemist’s apprentice : Stanton, Lincolnshire

The Year-Book of Pharmacy for each of 1877, 1879 and 1880 lists William Giffard as having his business at 9, Market Street, so he had evidently moved to Herne Bay at some point during 1880-81. The Year-Book for 1887 gives his Herne Bay address as 32, Mortimer Street.

On June 8th 1889 The Faversham Mercury reported a local art exhibition at which was displayed a painting of William Giffard executed by the Italian portrait artist Achille Locatelli, who is mentioned in Leopold’s article. Locatelli evidently painted a portrait of Julia too.

Soon afterwards the family left Kent and moved to London. The 1891 Census finds William Giffard and Julia with three children living in Hammersmith, whilst Leopold and Stanley were at two different educational establishments in Devon:

1891 Census
No. 49, Shepherds Bush Road, Hammersmith, London : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 40 Folio 48 Page 45

William G. Lenfestey : head : mar : 47 : chemist & druggist : Guernsey
Julia E.K. Lenfestey : wife : mar : 45 : — : Guernsey
Giffard H. Lenfestey : son : unm : 18 : art student : Faversham, Kent
Annie M. Lenfestey : dau : unm : 17 : — : Faversham, Kent
Harold J.R.[sic – Q] Lenfestey : son : unm : 9 : scholar : Faversham, Kent

1891 Census
No. 35, High Street, Crediton, Devon : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 1760 Folio 40 Page 5

James C. Simpson : head : mar : 36 : school master : Finedon, Northamptonshire
with his family and three boarding pupils, including:
Leopold E. Lenfestey : boarder : unm : 15 : scholar : Faversham, Kent

1891 Census
Kelly College, Tavistock, Devon : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 1749 Folio 120 Page 2

among numerous other boarding pupils:
Stanley Lenfestey : boarder : unm : 14 : scholar : Faversham, Kent

Stanley must have become a registered undergraduate of the University of London, as that institution’s Senate House Library contains a General Register (Part 2) for the period 1891-99 recording that Stanley had passed his matriculation (then a key requirement for university admission) at Kelly College in January 1893.

Meanwhile, Leopold’s brother Giffard had trained as a watercolour artist, having been inspired by the family’s acquaintance with the above-mentioned Locatelli. Giffard had been a student at London’s Royal College of Art and had studied also in Paris under Raphael Collin. In 1898 he became an elected member of the Royal Society of British Artists, painting and exhibiting for a further forty years, including 22 times at the Royal Academy. Some of his paintings are shown below. Clockwise, from top-left, they are titled “Noon at the Rectory Garden, Langrish”, “Hay Stacks”, “A Grey Day” and “Stand of Elms”.

Paintings by Giffard Hocart Lenfestey.

By 1900 Leopold had qualified as a chemist and druggist and had been appointed to a commission in the Army, as described in the following article about him published in August 1900:

 

THE CHEMIST AND DRUGGIST
Volume 57, Issue No. 1071, August 4th 1900, p.229

Personalities.

We mentioned a week or two ago that Mr. Leopold d’Estreville Lenfestey, son of the well-known Piccadilly Circus chemist, had been appointed by the War Office, on the nomination of the London University, to a commission in the Army. The appointment is of especial interest to the British drug-trade on account of the fact that Mr. Lenfestey is a Minor man, having passed on April 13, 1897, and, as far as we are aware, he is the first chemist and druggist actually on the register to obtain a commission in the British Army. He is a very clever young fellow, and comes of a clever family, one brother being a Wrangler. He has, since he passed the Minor, been studying with a view to graduating in science at the London University, and had passed the intermediate examination when the University authorities selected him as one of twenty for commissions. He has been appointed lieutenant of the Royal Artillery. Our portrait shows Mr. Lenfestey in the uniform of this rank. He is now on the way out to Gibraltar.

.

The 1901 Census finds William Giffard still in Hammersmith with Julia and two of their children:

1901 Census
No. 21, Frant Road, Broadwater Down, Kent : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 896 Folio 30 Page 2

among numerous other pupils:
Kathleen Meredith : pupil : unm : 16 : pupil : Kingston [sic – Kington], Herefordshire

Kathleen’s birth reference is probably [GRO Ref: Kington 6a 546, 1884 (Q4)].

Later that year William Giffard died, aged “57” [GRO Ref: Fulham 1a 153, 1901 (Q3)]. 

On June 1st 1905 Giffard married Lilian (née) Manning at St. Dunstan’s Church in East Acton [GRO Ref: Brentford 3a 113, 1905 (Q2)]. The church register’s entry describes him as a bachelor and artist aged 32 and she as a spinster aged 32 of 27, Perryn Road, East Acton. Her father John Burgess Manning was a retired prison governor. There were six witnesses, including Giffard’s siblings Annie and Stanley. The signatures of bride and groom are shown below:

By 1909 Leopold was evidently interested in railway innovations. There is a record of him and Ernest Parbury, described as inventors, submitting in that year a “patent application No. 13,078 for an improved method of and means for locking and unlocking the doors of railway carriages and the like”.

Leopold’s article says that in 1910 he and his wife Kathleen “were leaving for India”. They had married on September 11th of that year [GRO Ref: Lambeth 1d 561, 1910 (Q4)], so presumably sailed to India in the last quarter. Their banns, shown below, indicate that Leopold had been residing in St. James Kidbrooke parish near Shooters Hill:

It appears that Leopold had already been to India before marrying Kathleen, as there is a record of him returning from there earlier in 1910. He had sailed 1st class from Calcutta on the “Himalaya” (Peninsula and Orient Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.) which arrived at Tilbury, London on April 20th 1910, but the ship’s manifest [National Archives: Class BT26, Piece 437, Item 29] indicates that he and some other passengers had disembarked en route at Plymouth.  

Leopold subsequently spent many years in India. His daughter Audrey Joyce was most probably born there, on July 17th 1911. He served in the Royal Horse Artillery on the North-West Frontier and also had a spell in South Africa. During the Great War he served in France with the Indian Army Ordnance Corps, being appointed Captain during 1913-14 [National Archives: IOR/L/MIL/2980].

Meanwhile his brother Giffard remained in England. The 1911 Census finds him living in Kensington with Lilian, but with no children after five years of marriage:

1911 Census
No. 5A, Thackeray Street, Kensington W., London : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 101 Schedule 229

Giffard Lenfestey : head : mar : 38 : painter artist : Faversham, Kent 
Lilian Lenfestey : wife : mar : 38 : — : Chester, Cheshire

Kathleen may have visited England in 1913. The ship “City of London” (Ellerman City Line) sailed from Calcutta to arrive at London on April 19th 1913. Its manifest [National Archives: Class BT26, Piece 562, Item 121] records a passenger Mrs. d’E Lenfestey aged “26” accompanied by an “infant” aged “1”. Audrey Joyce would have been just short of 2 at this time. However, in a different hand is written, against this “infant” entry, the name “Gertrude”. Thus the status of this finding is currently unclear; one possibility is that Leopold’s daughter had been originally named Gertrude but preferred to be known as Audrey as she grew up.

Their first son John d’Estreville was born – abroad, and most probably in India – around 1916.

In 1916 Giffard’s wife Lilian died aged just “43” [GRO Ref: Brentford 3a 227, 1916 (Q2)]. He appears not to have remarried.

Leopold was presently promoted to Major and became assistant superintendent at a gun carriage factory for the Indian Ordnance Department. In 1920 he established, at Ishapore in Bengal, India’s first factory to produce small arms, specifically Lee-Enfield .303 rifles, and was superintendent there. His medal card, seen below, shows that in 1921 he applied for his British War Medal and gave his correspondence address (until October 23rd 1921) as “c/o Messrs. Cox & Co., 16, Charing Cross Road, London SW1”, referring to the well-known Army agents’ banking firm.

Army WW1 Medal Card of Leopold d’Estreville Lenfestey.

 

In 1923 his second son Richard de Jersey was born, in England [GRO Ref: Paddington 1a 128, 1923 (Q3)].

By 1927 Leopold had the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. In that year he was awarded the honour of Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (C.I.E.), as reported in the Supplement to the London Gazette on June 3rd 1927 [Issue 33280, Page 3607]:

To be Companions of the said Most Eminent Order :–

[many, including] Lieutenant-Colonel Leopold d’Estreville Lenfestey, Indian Army Ordnance Corps, Superintendent, Rifle Factory, Ishapore, Bengal.

In 1930 Leopold’s mother Julia died at age “90 [GRO Ref: Wolverhampton 6b 577, 1930 (Q2)]. She is presumed to have been living in Wolverhampton with her son Harold.

Also in 1930, Leopold’s daughter Audrey Joyce entered Oxford University (St. Anne’s College) from which she graduated in 1933.

In 1934 Leopold and Kathleen visited England, sailing 1st class from Bombay on the “Narkunda” (P & O Steam Navigation Company) whose voyage had originated from Brisbane. They arrived at London on May 18th and gave their intended address as 15, Sutton Court Road, Chiswick W4. The ship’s manifest [National Archives: Class BT26, Piece 1044, Item 131], which misrenders their surname as “Lanfestey”, describes Leopold as “Military” aged 57 and Kathleen as occupied with “Home Duties” aged 46. They had no children with them.

A record survives of a nomination of their son John d’Estreville for a King’s India Cadetship [National Archives: IOR/L/MIL/7/13194], probably in the 1930s.

Electoral Registers show that in 1936 Leopold and Kathleen were living at “Brynhir” in Beech Avenue, Effingham, believed to be the property known today as “Wildways”. Living with them was Audrey Joyce who, in the autumn of that year, was appointed Assistant Principal in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department [The London Gazette, Issue 34339, Page 7250].

Leopold’s brother Stanley had married Amy (née) Bousfield, and the couple evidently settled in Rhodesia. Amy died in 1940. On July 1st 1941 a newspaper (unknown) published this notice concerning the administration of her Will by Stanley as executor [Newspaper Index, Andrews Collection, Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Canterbury]:

On the day after this was published, July 2nd 1941, John d’Estreville died in north-western India, aged 25. He had been serving as a Sergeant (Observer) with 20 Squadron in the RAF’s Volunteer Reserve. He was buried in the Karachi War Cemetery. Formerly he must have been educated at Wellington College in Berkshire, because an obituary to him appears in the Wellington Roll of Honour. This work was donated by the college’s archivist in 1990 to the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King’s College London and its entry for John reads as follows:

Sergeant Observer JOHN d’ESTREVILLE LENFESTEY, Royal Air Force, Anglesey
1929 to 1934, played rugger for his dormitory, of which he became a Prefect, and was captain of dormitory hockey when he won a King’s Indian Cadetship to Sandhurst. Rejected by the Army medical board for “heart” although an eminent heart specialist pronounced his heart as thoroughly sound, he then found the Army closed to him. He was engaged by Sir Thomas Catto for the firm of Messrs. Andrew Yule & Co. of Calcutta and did his apprenticeship in banking with Messrs. Morgan Grenfell & Co. in the City of London. He joined the 33rd (St. Pancras) A.A. Bn., R.E., was commissioned in the Territorial Army in July, 1937 and devoted all his spare time and holidays to training.

When a vacancy occurred in Calcutta he was transferred there in February, 1939. He found his duties “vastly interesting”. A pleasing personality, he was popular in Calcutta society and, always energetic, played squash and tennis, and in June joined the Calcutta Football Club. He wrote that he had “chosen the right life.” When war broke out he submitted his name for a commission and when this was delayed applied in February 1940 to join the Royal Air Force. On August 6th he obtained a Private Pilot’s Licence. In December he became a Sergeant Observer in the Royal Air Force and joined the Flying Training School at Ambala. Passing out at the end of May 1941, top of his batch, he was posted to No. 20 Squadron at Karachi. On the 2nd July, 1941, while he was training with the pilot and WIT operator in a new type of machine, it appeared to be in difficulty and was flying at a great height, presumably to gain time. Finally it crashed, killing all the occupants.

He lies buried in Karachi Military Cemetery, with the epitaph, “Sans peur et sans reproche” to which his short life bore witness.

An online database of aircraft accident records describes the aircraft as a Blenheim T8404 and states that the accident also killed the other two crew members Flight Lt. M. W. H. Upill and Leading Aircraftman S. Downing.

Leopold’s brother Giffard, the artist, died aged “71” in 1943 [GRO Ref: Brentford 3a 332, 1943 (Q4)]. His other brother Harold died aged “63” the following year [GRO Ref: Wolverhampton 6b 600, 1944 (Q4)]. On April 20th 1945 The London Gazette [Issue 37044, Page 2140] published a notice requesting that claims in respect of Harold’s estate were to be sent to the Midland Bank Executor & Trustee Co. Ltd. in Birmingham. Harold’s last address was given there as 6, Parkdale, Wolverhampton and his date of death as November 30th 1944.

In 1945 Audrey Joyce married to John Edward Chadwick [GRO Ref: Surrey S.W. 2a 973, 1945 (Q1)]. A report of the wedding published by The Statesman on February 9th stated that they married at St. Lawrence on January 8th and described the bride as Leopold’s “only daughter”.

In 1946 Leopold, having retired from the Army with the rank of full Colonel and having now been living in England for about ten years, wrote an article about his life and family, titled “Notes on the Lenfesteys, a Channel Islands family of Norman origin“. In it he reflected that he now had no one left to consult concerning the family history and that he had not absorbed much of the considerable knowledge about it that his father had long ago imparted to him. Nor could he now research it himself, being in his 70s and having just broken a leg. His article is nonetheless very informative and elegantly written. It was published 14 years later in the Spring 1960 issue of  The Review, the journal of The Guernsey Society. The article there is followed immediately by a short note about Leopold written by T. F. Priaulx, who describes him as “a most charming and hospitable gentleman with a delightful sense of humour”. Below is a paragraph from the article [© 1960 Guernsey Society], reproduced here by the kind permission of the Society. A printout of the full article is held in the ELHG Archives.

My father went abroad as a young man and spent some years in France and Italy; he spoke the languages of those countries with great fluency. In Italy he made great friendships with the celebrated tenor, Signor de Lucia, who in after years when I was at Cambridge University and at Woolwich, gave me many tickets for grand opera when he was singing at Covent Garden, and with the portrait painter Locatelle, who later painted portraits (now in my possession) of both my parents and influenced my eldest brother to take up painting professionally. My father graduated at Paris University as a pharmaceutical chemist; he was in Paris during the Commune, after which he returned to England and set up in Faversham, Kent, as a manufacturing pharmacist. He was 28 and living at Faversham when on 17th July, 1871, at the Parish Church of St. Andrew, Guernsey, he was married by Licence to Julia Eliza Kingston Hocart, of St. John’s Parish, Guernsey, daughter of Isaac Hocart and Julia Mauger. My mother was educated at Rennes, Brittany, and was a highly accomplished pianist and skilled in art needlework. Prior to her marriage she visited America. She died at the age of 92 and for some years had been living, a widow, at Shooter’s Hill, Kent. My parents had four children, we were all born at Faversham. My eldest brother, the artist, died in 1944. My youngest brother, a company director, died the following year, and my sister was shot and killed with her own rifle by the trigger getting caught in a shrub when she was on a big game hunt in Rhodesia.

His remark that his mother died at age 92 may or may not be correct – her ages in the censuses were not consistent, and her registered age-upon-death of 90 was supplied by the informant. He also omitted to say (if he knew) that she actually died in Wolverhampton, not in Kent. One certain error is his remark that his parents had “four” children, when there were clearly five. Perhaps he had meant to write “four other”, or maybe one of them had drifted from his memory.

Two years after writing the article, Leopold died aged “73” [GRO Ref: Surrey S.W. 5g 613, 1948 (Q3)].

Leopold’s son Richard de Jersey married Margaret Elizabeth (née) Stirling on November 28th 1951, probably in Scotland [Burke’s Landed Gentry in Scotland, 2001]. The latter source gives his address as “Hedgerow”, Park Road, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk NR23 1DQ. 

Leopold’s widow Kathleen died in Devon aged “74” in 1960 [GRO Ref: Newton Abbot 7a 564, 1960 (Q1)].

In the New Year’s Honours List for 1967 Audrey Joyce’s husband John Edward Chadwick, then serving as a Minister (Commercial) at the British Embassy in Washington, was made a Knight Commander (KCMG) [Supplement to The London Gazette, Issue 44210, Page 4]. His portrait, by Walter Bird on March 30th 1967, is held at the National Portrait Gallery. Born in 1911, he died in 1987. His widow Lady Audrey Joyce died aged 93 in 2004 [GRO Ref: Oxfordshire District 695/1S Entry 148, 2004 (July)]. A notice of her death was published in the Oxford University Gazette on September 23rd 2004 and included the details of her birthdate and university attendance.

In February 2004 a Donald de Q.[Quetteville?] Lenfestey died in Wolverhampton [GRO Ref: Wolverhampton Reg. No. C72A Entry 177, 2004 (Q1)]. He was born on March 22nd 1918 and was the son of Leopold’s brother Harold.

Military Records

1. Service Record – not yet available

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Name
Rank
Regiment
Age
Date of Death
Service No.
Additional info.
.
Grave/Memorial Ref.
Cemetery

LENFESTEY, JOHN D’ESTREVILLE
Sergeant (Obs.)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 20 Sqdn.
25
02/07/1941
771911
Son of Leopold D’Estreville Lenfestry, and of Kathleen Lenfestey
(née Meredith), of Effingham, Surrey.
5. D. 2.
KARACHI WAR CEMETERY