Archive for May, 2014

A few months ago Holy Trinity Episcopal Church received an email, A Friendly “Hello” from the U.K. sent from Sue Longridge, the great-granddaughter of Granville and Elizabeth Chetwynd-Stapylton, the parents of Sue’s grandmother, Ella. Sue and her mother Stella visited Holy Trinity in 1986 when the church celebrated its centennial and was in a reminiscing mood . Of course I jumped at the opportunity to correspond with a Chetwynd-Stapylton family member. A quick response indicated that although Sue knew very little about her maternal ancestor she has a picture Elizabeth painted while living in Florida. Here is a copy:

She also wrote that one of Elizabeth’s gowns had been donated to the museum and art gallery in Horsham, West Sussex, where Sue lives. She went to check it out. The museum staff was kind enough to remove the gown from its storage box and place it on a mannequin so that Sue could take pictures. Here’s one of them. Note the tiny waistline.

A two piece gown with a jacket-type top and a very ornate skirt, the sleeves are maroon velvet with silk or satin bits down the center of the sleeves. Sue wrote, “The lace is SO intricate on the sleeves and down the panels of the skirt.” It’s doubtful the gown was as slimming as depicted. Sue guesses that a corset, a chemise-type undergarment, petticoats and and bustles completed the fashion statement. I can’t imagine that Elizabeth wore this gown in Chetwynd but obviously it was a treasured family item.

Meanwhile, Sue is certain that a family member has a picture of Elizabeth and Granville on their wedding day and will share that also. Both wore riding clothes with Elizabeth’s very similar in style as the gown above. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that picture. Watch this space!

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During the first few months of Chetwynd research I collected as much printed information about its history as I could get my hands on. Over time I determined that a significant amount of this information was more in the lore category than historical fact. To make matters worse the lore or misinformation made its way into print publications—the most recent being the May 2014 edition of the Lake and Sumter Style magazine. In it was a brief but well-written article, Fruitland Park the Friendly City, that contains a one paragraph sub-section, Bucket and Dipper Club . Obviously, the author, Mary Ann DeSantis, had not read The Chetwynd Chronicles! Instead she reiterated some of the same inaccurate yet convenient sources that I uncovered five years ago. Here’s a snippet from that paragraph:

In 1863, Londoner R.F.E. Cooke immigrated to Florida with a group of British colonists. In fact, so many Brits came that Fruitland Park had its own English community. Englishman A. P. Bosanquet built a boarding house on Zephyr Lake called Zephyr Hall, where the American, British and Colonial Racing Association was formed. The first organized races were held in 1887, and guests also participated in fox hunts and played golf.

Blog readers know that Londoner Granville Chetwynd-Staplyton arrived in December 1882 and, over time, developed a colony called Chetwynd. Cooke arrived in 1886. Although Bosanquet lived nearby, Stapylton, not Bosanquet, built Zephyr Hall. According to Cooke, horse races, organized by Capt. William Ogilby, were run before the ABC Racing Association formed. While there may have been fox hunts, no golf was played in the Fruitland Park area until after the turn of the last century.

For what it’s worth, a Fruitland Park couple who live near Mirror Lake, once contacted me because they had heard that their home was built not only on the highest piece of local land but also on the site of an old British hunting lodge. That too turned out to be untrue. And so it goes. . .

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