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In search of Mary

March 28, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

A snippet for the blog from my ongoing PhD research into Mary and her collection. The more I find, the more fascinating she becomes.

A particular highlight last summer was my trip to Westmill, in Hertfordshire, where Thomas and Mary lived for most of their married life. A beautiful village, much of which is owned and managed by the T&M Greg Trust, on behalf of the Guild of St George.

When Thomas died in 1920, most of the family estate of Coles was sold. The house, sadly, was demolished in the early 1950s and little remains now but the outbuildings. However, he also bequeathed a sizeable amount of land and property to Mary, which she subsequently left to the Guild of St George, to support the promotion of its Ruskin-inspired philanthropic and educational work. Visiting Westmill last August, I was amazed at how visible their presence remains in the village, in the properties they had built or renovated, in the church and in the village hall, converted from an old barn.

St Mary’s Church, Westmill:

Dial Cottage, where Thomas and Mary Greg lived (when they weren’t in London), from 1895 to 1906 when Thomas Greg inherited the Coles estate. I’m not sure why the plaque is dated 1915:

Hope Cottages, built by Thomas Greg in 1911. Hope was Mary’s maiden name.

Other plaques spotted about the village:

And spotted from the car, almost hidden by ivy, as we drove out of the village:

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