More coals from Newcastle...
Posted by Don Scott on January 21, 2020, 8:04 pm
Below is part of an email I have just sent to my granddaughters (Libby) paternal grandmother. It revolves around a story I was relating to Libby a couple of days ago when she was staying with us. I hope you all get the drift of this story but if not...ask. |
"Thanks for the article you sent on the subject of Encombe House, Kingston, Dorset. I am not sure how the subject cropped up but I tried to explain to Libby about a trip we made to the Corfe Castle area, many, many years ago. I had forgotten most of the detail but remembered arriving at your house where you had a book on the subject, which stirred my fertile imagination on discovering that the Encombe incumbents surname was Scott. The book provided a colour plate of John Scott (1st Earl of Eldon) who bore a remarkable facial likeness to yours truly…or so I thought. The jokes started coming when I further suggested that I might even be an heir to his country ‘seat'. Anyway, it was left there and I have thought little of it since until I told Libby about it the other day.
I then decided to search for more detail on the internet and was astounded to find that the gentleman in question was far nearer my ancestral bones than I could have dreamed of…geographically anyway! It would seem that this same John Scott was a child of the Tyne and Newcastle, the son and grandson of two William Scotts, both of whom were in the coalmining business. There was some early intrigue when John’s eyes fell upon a young lady named Bessie Surtees, which did not go down too well with her father. Not to be deterred, the lad procured a ladder and with the help of a friend managed to extricate said young lady from the first floor of her home and made off on horseback for the Scottish border where they were married. This elopement is still the stuff of legend on Tyneside.
Encombe House is now owned by an ex Irish Guards officer who paid £20M for it about ten years ago. I believe he may have sold an airline to pay for it, which still operates today under the title of EasyJet.
Our elopers, John and Bessie, now lie together in St. James’ churchyard, Kingston, so it's no more galivanting around the countryside for them...and the dashing of all my hopes that I might have inherited a great manor house."