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1919: Edith of Borde Hill marries an Olympian

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Borde Hill's delightful garden

Another Monday wedding is Miss Edith Stephenson. Clarke's, the fortunate man being Mr Cyril Winthrop Mackworth-Praed, a gallant Scots Guardsman. He is of the ancient family of Mickleham Down, near Dorking, of which the poet and politician, Winthrop Mackworth-Praed, was the best-known member. That celebrity’s elder daughter, Mrs White, widow of a Dorsetshire rector, died only a couple of years ago.

The proper name of the family is Mackworth only — they descend from the old Cromwellian Ironside, Sir Humphrey Mackworth, who was buried at Westminster Abbey and afterwards dug up and thrown into a pit by Charles II; but one of Humphrey's sons was adopted by a wealthy Cornishman named Praed, his name being thereafter added to their own.

Miss Clarke's father is Colonel Stephenson Clarke, one of the numerous sons of the millionaire, Stephenson Clarke, of the Coal Exchange, who left nearly a million sterling in 1891.

Her home is Borde Hill, Cuckfield a famous old place for many years the home of Andrew Borde,

Henry VIII's Court physician and the raison d'être of the term 'Merry Andrew'*. One of her brothers married Lady Dalmeny's sister, Millicent Grosvenor.

The Tatler, 19 February 1919

* Merry Andrew (plural Merry Andrews) (idiomatic) A person who clowns publicly; a buffoon; an entertainer's assistant.

Cyril Winthrop Mackworth-Praed

Cyril Winthrop Mackworth-Praed (21 September 1891 – 30 June 1974) was a British sport shooter who competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics. He was also a naturalist and ornithologist who specialized on the birds of Africa.

Mackworth-Praed was born in Herefordshire to Robert Herbert and Mary Josephine Jolliffe. where he became interested in shooting and natural history which was also encouraged at school in Sandroyd. After studying at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he settled in East Africa as a farmer. In 1919 he married, Edith Mary Henrietta, the daughter of Stephenson Robert Clarke and began to help identify African birds in his father-in-law's collection. This brought him to the bird room of the British Museum.

He later joined the Scots Guards and served in World War II, rising to the rank of Major in 1941. He returned to live in Castletop, Burley, Hampshire. In the 1930s he began a collaboration with Claude H. B. Grant to produce a 6 volume work on the birds of Africa. In 1958, Grant died and only two volumes were produced. The remainder, completed in 1973, was written by Mackworth-Praed.

He had a parallel career as a sport shooter. In 1924 he won the gold medal as member of the British team in the team running deer, double shots event. He also won two silver medals in the running deer, single shots and double shots competition. In the 1924 Summer Olympics he also participated in the following events:

  • Team 100 metre running deer, single shots - fourth place

  • Team clay pigeons - eighth place

  • individual trap - result unknown

He also competed at the 1952 Summer Olympics.

He was appointed OBE in 1964.

From Wikipedia:

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details


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