The house in the background is Pinewood, built by my great grandfather, Sir Howard Elphinstone, VC, KGB etc. He was one of the first soldiers in the Crimean War to win a VC. His VC is now in the Imperial War Museum. He was born near Riga, Latvia (then Livonia) in 1829. He was educated in Germany, before the family moved to Sidmouth. He joined the Royal Engineers and after the Crimean War, he was asked by Queen Victoria to become Prince Arthur (later the Duke of Connaught)'s Comptroller. A Comptroller was a person who was in lieu of parents. They lived at The Ranger's House, Greenwich. He stayed in this post until the Prince reached adulthood. He then wanted to go back into the Army, but the Queen sent 3 letters in one day asking him to stay. He managed to get back into the Army and stay on with the Prince.
He was married at 40 to Miss Annie Cole who was 19 and they had 4 daughters.
He was given the land at Bagshot by the Royal Family and built Pinewood for his family. He died in 1890, having been swept off a ship and drowned while going on holiday.
There is a memorial to him in Exeter Cathedral as well as Bagshot Church.
His widow continued to live here until the 1930's.
A book was written about him a few years ago called The Queen's Knight by Martyn Downer.
A memory shared byon Apr 28th, 2011.
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