A Little History of Cherington and Stourton, Warwickshire
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Irene Dickins (sister of Margaret) m. Sept 11 1900 at Tardebigg(e) her barrister cousin Thomas Whitmore Harris, who took the name and arms of Whitmore-Jones, with which went the fine Jacobean manor house of Chastleton. He died childless in 1917. Family historians may well identify many of those present here: seated next to the bride and groom are undoubtedly their parents Canon Charles Allan Dickins and his wife, née Frances Whitmore-Jones; and Mrs John Harris, née Jennetta Whitmore-Jones. It also seems safe to say that the clergyman standing on the left is one of Irene's two brothers, Rev. Alan Dickins. Her elder brother, Herbert, does not appear to be in the group, but sisters Margaret, Barbara, Eleanor and Florence surely are.

At the end of her descriptive booklet Chastleton House, Margaret Dickins writes of J.H. Whitmore, kinsman of the Jones family, whose ancestor Walter Jones, variously described as lawyer and Witney wool merchant, had had it built between 1607 and 1612.

"John Henry Whitmore assumed the additional surname and the arms of the Jones on succeeding to Chastleton. He died in 1853 leaving four sons and six daughters. The sons all died unmarried and the eldest daughter Mary Elizabeth Whitmore-Jones held the property by the consent of her sisters (all of whom were married) from the death of her youngest brother in 1874 until 1900 when she resigned it to her nephew Thomas Whitmore Harris, the son of her next sister Mrs John Harris. That year he took the name and arms of Whitmore-Jones and married his first cousin, Irene Dickins, daughter of Canon Dickins, Vicar of Tardebigge and his wife Frances Barbara, third daughter of John Henry Whitmore-Jones."

A Chastleton wedding and an anecdote

Irene and the dignity of upper-crust poverty

This anecdote, told in slightly different ways, is to be found in various sources, including the visitors' guide.

It is said that sometime in the late 1940s, the then owner of Chastleton House, bemoaning the family's impoverishment, would tell visitors, "You see, we lost our money in the war." On one occasion, she was asked, "Do you mean that which has just ended, or the Great War?". Mrs. Irene Whitmore-Jones reputedly retorted, with a note of surprise in her voice, "Oh, neither of those, I was referring to the Civil War." The English Civil War ended when Oliver Cromwell defeated King Charles II at the Battle of Worcester in 1651; her husband’s ancestor, Arthur Jones, had sided with the royalists, and the family never recovered financially after that miscalculation.

Consequently, the family never updated the manor, bought new furniture or added any works of art over the years. So the home, restored by the National Trust, retains its 1630s furnishings. There is a secret room above the entrance porch where Arthur Jones hid from Cromwell's soldiers while his wife plied them with jugs of ale laced with laudanum.