The Wilcox Family

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(Photographs very kindly loaned by Mrs C. H. W. Gillan, daughter of Captain and Mrs Hoffgaard)

12th August, 1911


A wedding, in which a great deal of interest was taken, was solemnized at the Wolston Parish Church, early in August, the bride being Miss Mary Hilda Wilcox, daughter of Mr. C. W. Wilcox, J.P., and the bridegroom Mr. Eric Hoffgaard, of Welham Green, Hatfield.

The bride is well known throughout a wide district, and has always enjoyed considerable popularity, while the bridegroom, a young barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple, was the Unionist candidate for Bethnal Green both in the December and a recent bye-election. On the latter occasion he had the help and support of his fiancé, and the Liberal majority was very greatly reduced.

The weather on the Wednesday afternoon, when the wedding took place, was intensely hot, and although, in consequence of the state of health of the bride’s mother, the wedding was somewhat quiet, and only immediate relatives and friends living in the neighbourhood were invited, the church was crowded, many of the principal residents of the district being in attendance.

The path from the churchyard gates to the door was carpeted, and the chancel was prettily decorated. The service was choral. Mr. W. S. Lole being at the organ, while the officiating clergy were the Rev. Archdeacon Meredith, vicar of Wolston, and the Rev. W. H. Payne Smith of Rugby.

The bride, who was given away by her father, was attired in a dress of white satin, trimmed with Brussels lace, and she wore diamond and pearl brooches, the gifts of the bridegroom and her mother. She carried a bouquet of white roses and lilies, the gift of the bridegroom.

Her bridesmaids were Miss Hoole, Miss Pechell, Miss Milne Redhead, Miss Lowsley-Williams, and Miss Dorothy Bacon. Their costumes were of blue silk, with hats to match, and they carried baskets of pink carnations and maidenhair fern. The bride’s Court train was borne by two little pages: Master P. Clarke and Lesley Lowsley-Williams.

As the bride entered the church the hymn “Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us,” was sung, and the other hymns used were: “Love divine, all love excelling,” and “How welcome was the call.”

While the register was being signed, the bells were ringing, and as the bridal party left the church the organist played Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”.
Showers of confetti greeted the newly wedded couple as they emerged from the church and proceeded down the path to the gate, and everywhere heartfelt wishes for their future happiness were expressed.

On their return to Wolston Manor there was a reception, and subsequently Mr. G. A Dean, photographer, of Rugby who had been sent for, took several photographs of the bride and bridegroom, bridesmaids, etc.

Afterwards a reception was held at the Manor, and those who accepted invitations were: Count and Countess Wratislaw, Mr. Rex Lancaster, Mr. and Mrs. Lister Kaye, Dr. Mrs. and Miss Milner Moore, Mrs. and Miss Sumner, Colonel, Mrs. and Miss Woollcombe-Adams, Mrs. Lowe, Admiral and Mrs. Bacon and party, Mr. and Mrs. Lowsley Williams, Colonel, Mrs. and Miss Hoole, Mrs. Lancaster, Mr. and Mrs. Bower, Mr. Baird, M.P., and Lady Ethel Baird, Mr., Mrs. and Miss J. Boughton-Leigh, Mr., Mrs. and Miss Hoffgaard, Mr., Mrs. and the Misses Moon, Mr. and Mrs. Brooke-Robinson, Doctor, Mrs. and Mr. B. C. Kelton, Miss Molesworth, Dr. and Mrs. Martin Richardson and party, Mrs. Baker, Mr. and Mrs. Rose, Mr. and Mrs. Coape-Arnold, Mr. Clark, Miss Winstanley, Mrs. Butler, Mr. and Mrs. Charters, Mr. and Mrs. Henderson, Capt. and Mrs. Pellier, Mr., Mrs. and Miss Kittermaster, the Rev., Mrs. and Miss Barrows, the Misses Barton, the Rev. S.G. and Mrs. Collier, Colonel Mrs. and Miss Redhead, Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Lole, Mr. and Mrs. Morris, Mr. J. V. Morgan, Mr. and Mrs. Mulliner, Major, Mrs. and Miss M. Pechell, Canon, Mrs. and Miss Sitwell, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Sitwell, Mrs. Trower, Mrs. Henry A. M. Wilcox, the Ven. Archdeacon Meredith, the Rev. W. H. Payne-Smith, Miss Gray, Mr., Mrs. and Miss Rhodes, Sir de Capell Brooke, Lord and Lady and Miss Rosmead, Miss MacDonald, Mrs. and Miss Princep, the Hon. Geoffrey Dundas, and most of the principal tenants of the Wolston Manor Estate.

There was music and tea on the lawn and after four o’clock Mr. and Mrs. Hoffgaard motored to Rugby en route for Scotland, where the honeymoon is being spent.

The presents were very numerous and many were extremely handsome. They included two public presentations – one a silver rose bowl from the tenants on the Wolston Estate, which was made to Miss Wilcox by Mrs. W. S. Lole, Mr. G. Simpson, and Mr. W. S. Lole on Saturday last on behalf of the subscribers: and the others was presented by the scholars of Wolston School, a very nice silver mounted tray which was presented to Miss Wilcox by Miss A. Billingham.


The Wilcox family had been settled in the Brandon and Wolston district since the reign of Henry VII. The lordship of Wolston in Dugdale’s time was owned by Mr. George Warner, but it came into the possession of the Wilcox family about the close of the seventeenth century. Mr. C. W. Wilcox was the head of the sixth generation to be Lord of the Manor. A prominent member of the family was Mr. Robert Wilcox, who flourished in the early years of the seventeenth century. His “seate” in Wolston Church (adjoining those of the Vicar and Sir Peter Wentworth) is shown on a plan, dated 1635, deposited at the Records Office. He was a Commissioner for the County, with the Earl of Denbigh and Sir Peter Wentworth, for raising monies to fight various wars, including one in Ireland.

A grandson of Mr. Robert Wilcox claimed in the year 1682, on behalf of the family, the right to bear arms on the occasion of the third Visitation to Warwickshire of the Heralds. His pedigree and arms were then recorded, with the following note: “Taken from Mr. Wilcox’s seal, but he must make better proofe before he can be permitted the use of them.”

Mr. C. W Wilcox became a widower in 1911, in which year he also lost his eldest sister, who married Mr. John Lancaster, of Bilton Grange


On 25th March 1926, the death at Wolston Manor, at the advanced age of 79 years, of Mr. Charles Walford Wilcox, J.P., Lord of the Manor of Wolston and patron of the living, occurred. Mr. Wilcox had been in failing health, on and off, for a considerable period.

As recently as February 14th he celebrated his 79th birthday. He was the second son of Mr. William Wilcox, who married on April 23rd, 1845, Miss Francis Eliza Harrop, daughter of Mr. Joseph Harrop, of Broughton Hall, Staffordshire. Mr. and Mrs. William Wilcox died within a month of each other in 1853, in which year their youngest daughter, Harriet, was also buried. They left a young family, two sons and two daughters. There were three sons altogether, and the eldest, William, died at the age of two years in 1847, when Charles Walford became his father’s heir.

Mr. C. W. Wilcox received part of his education at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and on May 14th, 1873, received a commission of Lieutenant in the Warwickshire Yeomanry, in which regiment he served until 1884. He had previously been a Cornet in the 2nd Warwickshire Militia. In 1871 he married Miss Catherine Hoole, daughter of Mr. Francis Hoole, of Edgefield, Bradfield, Yorkshire, and of a family of three sons and four daughters only one survived, namely, Mrs. Hoffgaard, wife of Mr. Eric Hoffgaard, barrister-at-law, who unsuccessfully fought several Parliamentary elections at Bethnal Green. Practically the whole of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Wilcox’s family, with one exception, died young. His brother, the Rev. Henry Augustus Mortimer Wilcox, B.A., was Vicar of Wolston from 1876 to 1908, and at Cambridge got his “Blue” for jumping.

Mr. C, W. Wilcox had been a county magistrate for Warwickshire for nearly 51 years. He had been entitled to sit on the Rugby Bench since 1875. He was also the senior J.P. of the Coventry County Petty Sessional Division. He was at one period a member of the North Warwickshire Hunt, and a prominent follower, and his coverts usually held some stout foxes.


The funeral took place on Saturday, in St. Margaret’s Churchyard, the body being buried in a brick grave near the late Mrs. Wilcox. The Reverend S.G. Collier, the Rural Dean of Dunchurch, assisted by the Reverend Johnson Barker, Vicar of Wolston, conducted the first part of the service. The mourners were: Mrs. Hoffgaard (daughter), Captain Eric Hoffgaard (son-in-law), Master Robert Hoffgaard (grandson), Major Mortimer Pechell (cousin), Mr. William Wilcox (nephew), Mr. G. Lowsby Williams, Mr. Leonard Fulton (nephew), Mr. W.S. Lole (agent) and Mrs. Lole, and Dr. E.C. Abraham.

Amongst the tenants on the estate present were: Messrs. Wm. Gray, J. Frame, W. Frame, J. Jones, W. Parratt, H. Brierly, H. Berry, A. Berry, Miss Newcombe, and Misses Brierly.

The principal residents attending were: Messrs. W. Snell, T.P. Coleman, J. Poxon, F. Harris, F.W. Channing (Brandon), Mrs. S. Walton, Mr. and Miss Page, Mrs. Holden, Mr. O. Eales, Mr. W. Eales. The local branch of the British Legion was represented by its Honorary Secretary, Mr. F. Golder.

The service was fully choral. A full choir chanted Psalm 39 and sang the hymn “Abide with me”.” Mr. W.S. Lole ably played organ music. It was requested that no flowers be sent except from the nearest relations, but several friends, who had not heard of the wish, sent beautiful tributes. Amongst the flowers were: In loving memory of Father, from Eric and Hilda; With love to Grandpa from Bobbie, Betty, and Geraldine; Beatrice and Willie; Captain and Mrs. Douglas Beech; In remembrance from Mrs. E.G. Ford; In affectionate remembrance from Dr. and Mrs. Abraham; In remembrance from Nurses Ridley and Blackmore.

The fine oak coffin bore the inscription: Charles Walford Wilcox, died March 25th, 1926, aged 79 years. The bearers were: F. Mumford, Messrs. Wr. Clarke, J. Holt, G. Reader, E. Robbins, and C. Robbins.