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)