Saturday, August 30, 2014

Captain John Ingham Blencowe, Eastern Command

John Ingham Blencowe was born at Hurstpierpoint, Sussex on 15th December 1860.  He appears on the 1861 census as the second son of John George Blencowe and Frances Campion Blencowe.  At the time the census was taken, John Ingham was four months old and his elder brother, Robert Campion Blencowe, was two.  The family lived at Bineham Mansion in Chailey.

John George Blencowe was the only son of Robert Willis Blencowe and and had inherited a considerable sum of money plus the combined estates of The Hooke and Bineham.  When he married Frances Campion, an heiress in her own right, he received an additional marriage settlement of nine thousand pounds.  As well as being a significant landowner (the 1861 census notes that he owns 220 acres and is the employer of eleven men and two boys), John George Blencowe was also a Member of Parliament (1859-1865) and, like his father before him, a magistrate at Lewes, serving there from 1842 until 1897; the longest serving magistrateexcept for the Duke of Richmond.

I have been unable to locate the Blencowe family on the 1871 census.  John George Blencowe and Frances Blencowe appear on the 1881 census still living at Bineham but by this time, their three sons (William Poole Blencowe was the third son, born in 1869) had obviously left the family manison.  In 1881, the census recorded John George Blencowe, (aged 64), Frances Blencowe (51) and their five daughters: Florence C Blencowe (aged 21), Harriet Blencowe (aged 18), Frances I[sabel] Blencowe (aged 16), Mary Blencowe (aged 15) and Penelope E Blencowe (aged 13).

On the 1891 census, John George and his wife are still at Bineham with their daughters although by now, Florence C Blencowe had married and become Florence C Drummond. Her son, Frederick John Drummond (whose birth was registered in the September quarter of 1891) would later be killed in action in the First World War. 

John Ingham Blencowe (aged 30) appears on the census living at Court House, Lewes with his 29 year old wife Mabel Frances Blencowe and their daughter, Margaret P[enelope] Blencowe (aged one).  Mabel’s maiden name was Ingram and she was one of seven daughters living at Ades in Chailey.

On the 1901 census, John Ingham Blencowe’s name appears under the parish of St Michael’s in Lewes.  He and his family were living at Pelham House with John Ingham’s profession noted as Land Agent.  The family comprised his 39 year old wife Mabel Frances Blencowe and their daughter, Margaret P Blencowe (aged 11).  Staying with them was Thomas A Ingram, John’s nephew as well as his pupil.

According to John Ingham’s application for a commission in the Sussex Yeomanry (TF) which he completed on 18th September 1914 (aged 53), he had previously served with the regiment as a sergeant between 1902 and 1905, being discharged in 1905 on the expiration of his time.  On his application he indicated that he had been educated at (what looks like) Bradfied College and Brasenose College, Oxford.  He gave his address for correspondence as Cinder Farm, Chailey and his profession as Land Agent.

John Ingham Blencowe was appointed 2nd lieutenant with the 2/1st Sussex Yeomanry on 5th October 1914, temporary lieutenant on 18th February 1915 and then temporary major on 6th April 1915. 

In December 1916, Major John Ingham Blencowe was appointed as Assistant War Department Agent and Valuer for Eastern Command and continued in this role, gaining the final rank of captain, until his duties ceased on 10th July 1920.

John Ingham Blencowe lived at Pelham House in Lewes (now the council offices) and eventually moved to Church House in Chailey where he died in 1945 at the age of 85.

The Blencowe family was one of the most influential families in Chailey and their names crop up time and time again in contemporary newspaper cuttings.  Robert Campion Blencowe and Frances Isabel Blencowe in particular, also played significant roles in the village during the war years.

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