Lord & Lady Cave

George Cave, 1st Viscount Cave, GCMG, PC (23 February 1856 – 29 March 1928) was a  barrister and Conservative politician (M.P. for Kingston, Surrey). He became Home Secretary under David Lloyd George from 1916 to 1919, was made a Viscount in 1918 and served as Lord Chancellor from 1922 to 1928.

For many years Lord & Lady Cave’s country home was at St Ann’s, between Burnham & Berrow. Lord Cave was a keen golfer and regularly played on Berrow golf course. He became president of the Burnham War Memorial Hospital.

Cave died in March 1928, aged 72, at his  ‘St Ann’s’,  (probably what is now St Ann’s Villa  holiday home)  and was buried at Berrow. His epitaph says that  he “neither sought not shunned greatness but found it in the path of duty.” According to Hansard tributes he was a gentle and courteous man, and he worked hard even to the day before his death, opening his Red Boxes and reading everything. The last letter he wrote on a Parliamentary matter was written by Lady Cave and signed by him.

On the day of his death his resignation as Lord Chancellor had been accepted and it had been announced that he would be created an earl, and so his widow was created Countess Cave of Richmond.

Lady Cave, born  Ann Estrella Penfold-Matthews either at Wolston Manor, North Cadbury *, or  at Chard**, was a talented artist and writer with great imagination, and allegedly psychic. She was known as a great hostess and made many friends. She was also a keen gardener and had a great interest in the insect world.

In 1928 she published ‘Three Journeys’ based on diaries kept when travelling to East Africa, South Africa, canada and the USA. This was followed a year later by ‘Odds and Ends of My Life’ . 1933 saw the publication of  ‘Ant Antics’ a lavishly illustrated  collection of  poems, stories and thoughts about ants. This book included contributions from her friends Beverly Nicholls, J.M. Barrie and Stanley Baldwin.

For many years in later life the countess was often to be seen walking her Pekingese dog, Mr Wu, by Burnham lighthouse.

As the couple had no children who lived to adulthood, the viscountcy became extinct on Lord Cave’s death, as did the earldom when his widow died in 1938 aged 83. She is buried in St Mary’s churchyard, Berrow.

(Additional information from Article by Victoria Helen Turner in Somerset Magazine May 2001*; also from ‘Exploring the West Country’ by Jennifer Clarke**; and from Pat Nicholls)

15 thoughts on “Lord & Lady Cave”

  1. My family have lived at St Ann’s for 25 years now, it’s wonderful to read some of its history

    1. Glad you enjoyed the page Dusica, thanks for letting us know.You might also like to take a look at item 10 on the ‘Around and About’ page (on the ‘Places’ menu).

  2. George Cave may have been born in the south but his origins were in an ordinary farming family in the Banbury area. Two of his uncles ran a removal company and frequently advertised in local papers.

    1. Thank you Cave Researcher for this interesting fact. If you have more we would love to hear from you again.

    2. I have a Hunting Crop belonging to Thomas Cave MP inscribed wit his name and address 4 Eastern Terrace Brighton. I’m trying to find out more about the family

      1. Hi,
        That’s interesting. We do not have any more information than what appears on the web page. Please do let us know if you find out anything more that may be relevant to his connection with Burnham.

  3. My mother Eva Wharton was a Dr Barbados girl who moved from Richmond to Burnham with the family ,and was a housemaid( I believe)
    .At the time of Lord Caves death she was asked to learn to drive the family car but declined and returned to the home to learn shorthand and typing.(a touch of the Downton Abbies here) I still have the clothes trunk that was used in the moves with a list of that which it should contain.
    I often wonder if records exist of her time there.

    1. Thank you for sharing this fact with us. There is little more we can add to this page as speaking to elderly residents and research of historical documents has proved very limited. Should you find more about your mother’s time in Burnham please feel free to share it with us.
      Thank you again,

  4. My Great Grand Aunt was Anne Estella Sarah Penfold Mathews and she married George Cave in Marylebone on 6 Jan 1885. My Grandfather, who was her nephew (Rodber (Peter) Pemberton Horton) is written about in her book “Odds and Ends of my Life”. The Caves had 4 children who died young or at birth all buried in Richmond or Kensal Green, London. They later lived in St. Annes in Burnham on Sea and when Viscount Cave died on 29 Mar 1928 he was buried near his dear friend and brother in law (William Knox Laurence) in Berrow . Dr. Percival Mathews was Estella’s brother and he moved into a house in Burnham to be near his sister in his later years. Countess Cave (Estella) died 07 Jan 1938 and is buried with George at Berrow. Estella was born in Somerset, but her brother..Sir Lloyd Mathews was born in Funchal, Madeira . He was First Minister to Zanzibar. George Cave’s brother Basil Cave was Consul to Zanzibar.

    1. Thank you very much ,Coral, for this information. Many of Burnham’s residents will have hear about Lord Cave and his home at St Ann’s but I suspect this information , myself included, will be new to most.
      Thank you again,

    2. Coral -Thank you for your information on Anne & George, do you know the names of the 4 children at all and how long they lived for as Anne is my wife’s 4th cousin 4 x removed – regards David Barratt

    3. I found a packing label in an antiques shop addressed to Lady Cave. Looks to be for a brace of pheasants. Do you think it could be your relative? I’d be happy to send you a photograph.

      1. Hello Ester,
        I we would love to put the packing label on here as this topic is very popular.
        I have also replied to you via my email address and should you mail me the photo I will have it listed here.
        Thank you for your posting.

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