Brimpton History: Famous Brimpton Residents
After the recent revelation that Little Park House was once home to both the King of Norway and Princess Diana’s aunt, I got to wondering whether Brimpton had ever had any other famous residents. As luck would have it, my lovely neighbour Doris is the font of all knowledge when it comes to Brimpton history, and has brought me right up to speed.
It turns out there have been a number of notable (or in one case, notorious!) Brimpton residents over the years. Here a few that we know about:
Sir Victor Gollancz was a publisher, chiefly of detective and sci-fi novels. His most famous author was Dorothy L Sayers, the writer of ‘Yellowjackets. Gollancz lived in the village in the 1940s, up at Brimpton Lodge. In the 1930s he founded the ‘Left Book club’ – an anti-fascist organisation – though the fact that he had 3 live-in servants, 2 gardeners and women who came in to clean, cook etc. might point to some gaps in his left-wing views!
Aneurin Bevan, the founding father of the NHS, and his wife Jennie Lee both lived in Lane End Cottage for a time. While much is known about Bevan himself, Lee is slightly less famous – despite the fact that she helped to found the Open University alongside Harold Wilson.
When Bevan and Lee eventually left the village, they sold Lane End Cottage to Israel Sieff, the son in law of Simon Marks founder of Marks and Spencer. Sieff was Chairman of M&S in the 1960s, when given a life peerage by the Labour government – he became Baron of Sieff of Brimpton.
Members of the Sainsbury family lived near Little Park, though Doris isn’t sure on some of the details here. However, one of the women in the family later bought ….Lane End Cottage. Could this be one of the most notable residences in the country?! Surely so.
One of the more notorious residents of the village was Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged, in Britain. Details are unclear but she apparently lived in Brimpton Common for a time, while also attending Brimpton School for a time. Apparently Ellis was not a big fan of headmaster Major Barrs!
Ron Goodwin, British film composer and conductor, apparently lived at Blacknest Cottage in Brimpton Common for many years, until his death in 2003, aged 77. Goodwin composed many famous musical scores, including ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and most of the original Miss Marple films.
Those are all of the ones Doris and I know about, but perhaps we’ve missed some – do let me know if you have any additions…!