This ‘Luminaries’ page includes residents from the area, who over the years have achieved a degree of public recognition, and whose biographies are available via the individual ‘link’ buttons. The entries below are presented in alphabetical order.
Harley Granville-Barker (1877 – 1946) was an English actor, director, playwright, manager, critic, and theorist. After early success as an actor in the plays of George Bernard Shaw he increasingly turned to directing in the Edwardian and inter-war periods. The article explores his impact on British theatre.
Christian West Bayne-Jardine lived at Fairseat Manor from 1938 to 1946 whilst he was commanding the anti aircraft coastal defences south of the Medway. Christian was awarded the CBE in the 1944 New Year’s Honours and at the end of War II he retired from the Army aged 57.
Victor Canning was born in Plymouth, Devon, in 1911 and was to become a successful writer, publishing some 61 books including the Golden Salamander which in 1950 was made into a successful film starring Trevor Howard. Canning lived at Church Cottage, Stansted, after leaving the army in 1946 with the rank of Major. His daughters, Linden Canning and Hilary Canning were admitted to Stansted School on the 6th October 1947.
Major William Charles Drummond was born in Southampton in 1836 and died aged 80 whilst living at Fairseat Cottage.
Virginia Elliot (née Holgate) lived in Fairseat for three years until she was six and attended Stansted school. Her family formed a close and enduring friendship with the Sheldon family of Court House, Fairseat. Ginny went on to become a world-class three day eventer. Dick Hogbin traces her time in Fairseat and records her riding achievements.
Peaches Geldof was the daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates and the family lived between Chelsea and their rambling house in Kent. Peaches was found dead at her home High Wood, Fairseat Lane, Stansted, Kent, on 7 April 2014. The inquest found that she died of a heroin overdose. She was just 25 and is survived by her husband Thomas Cohen and her two sons Astala and Phaedra.
George and Penny Goring were both born in 1938 and died in 2020 after 58 years of marriage. For 55 years they lived in Ruskins, Tumblefield Road, Stansted. They were prominent hoteliers and equestrian devotees. They both had larger-than-life characters and were well known and much loved locally.
William Edward Hickson was born in 1803 and lived at Fairseat Manor for about 30 years until his death in 1870. He was brought up in his father’s boot and shoe manufacturing business in Northampton and London and in 1840, aged 37, retired to devote himself to philanthropic and literary pursuits. He was a pioneer in the education of poor people and was the owner and editor of the reforming Westminster Gazette for 11 years. He was a composer of some merit and published several books on music. He is also known for popularising the poem “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again” and for writing alternative words for the National Anthem which became popular. He and his wife are buried in St. Mary’s churchyard, Stansted, Kent.
Sir Gerald Fitzroy Hohler KC (1862 – 1934) was a barrister and Conservative Party politician who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for constituencies in Kent from 1910 to 1929. The Hohler family-owned Fawkham Manor, near Ash, Kent, and Court Lodge in Stansted, Kent, and Sir Gerald was instrumental in establishing the well known War Memorial in the centre of Stansted on land he bequeathed to the village.
Frederick Fitzhugh Lance (1873 – 1962) was a Brigadier-General in the Indian Army. He married Gladys Maud Lutwyche Waterlow, daughter of Sir Philip Hickson Waterlow. Together they helped establish the Saluki dog breed into the UK. Dick Hogbin has summarised his time in Fairseat.
Daphne Oram (1925 – 2003) was a British composer and musician. She was one of the first British composers to produce electronic sound and helped establish the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in early 1958. Tony Piper explores Daphne’s electronic music achievements and time at ‘Tower Folly’ in Fairseat.
Dame Agnes Sybil Thorndike (1882 – 1976) was an English actress who toured internationally, often appearing with her husband, Lewis Casson. She was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1931 and they were residents of Cedar Cottage, Wrotham Hill Road. Tony Piper summarises her life and theatrical achievements.
Phillip Hickson Waterlow was born on 30 Oct 1847 in Hoxton, London, and was the son of Sir Sydney Hedley Waterlow. He was the Chairman of Waterlow & Sons – engravers of banknotes, postage stamps and share certificates. The Church of the Holy Innocents at Fairseat, known as Fairseat Chapel, was commissioned in 1930 by Sir Phillip, to the memory of his wife, his father and mother who lived at Fairseat.
Sir Sydney Hedley Waterlow, 1st Baronet, KCVO (1822 – 1906) was an English philanthropist and Liberal Party politician. He owned large areas of land in Kent, including the village of Fairseat, a major portion of Stansted as well as other areas of land extending from Wrotham to Meopham. Tony Piper investigates his business life and influences on the local area.
Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Daniel Wintle MC (1897-1966) was one of the most colourful residents of Stansted, serving in two world wars with distinction, making a number of escapes from imprisonment and sustaining several injuries. Wintle is famous for taking on the English legal system all the way through to the House of Lords. He has appeared on ‘This is you Life’ and ‘Desert Island Disks’.