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Melvill VC and St Winnow
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Given that Melvill's memorial is in this beautiful little church and that his family's graves lie in the churchyard on the very shallow bank of the beautiful River Fowey, one hopes that it has survived this week's floods. Only a mile or so to the north, Lostwithiel has suffered badly and the news pictures of the R. Fowey look pretty nasty. Any Cornish contributors here in the know? I imagine the church's position renders it very vulnerable to the flooded river in times like this.

A quick look on google maps shows the satellite picture on a beautiful summer's day (of course) with the Fowey and Lerryn water levels very low indeed - very reminiscent indeed of the river and its banks where Melvill's other memorial stands, 6,000 miles further south. Incidentally, the family seat can easily be picked out in the fields a few hundred yards west of Lerryn village.

Peter
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Martin Everett


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 761
Location: Brecon
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Peter,

This was an email I received last July - perhaps Colin can give you an update on the situation. I did reply to the email - pointing out he had made a mistake in the date of the AZW anniversary.

Name: Colin Morris
Email: [email protected]
Message: This is only a preliminary enquiry, My name is Colin Morris I am on the PCC of St Winnow Church Lostwithiel we have Teingmouth Melville s parents buried in the churchyard and a plaque and stained glass window to comemorate Teignmouth Melville we get quite a few zulu war visitors coming to the church. In 8 years time it will be the 150th aniversary of his saving of the colours after Islandwana we were wondering what would be involved to get a replica of the colours made and hang them in the church. As i say thsi is at a very early stage but Is there any practical reason why we couldn t do this, or could you suggest any one to contact regarding this matter

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Martin Everett
Brecon, Powys
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Galloglas
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I have never thought of them as a very reliable or authentic depiction, but the Talana Museum still has the two 'replica' Colours made for the Film Zulu Dawn. I cannot recall which battalion they were numbered for.

Were Pam to be willing to photograph the right one then that might provide a simple basis upon which to consider whether proceeding further was after all the right idea.

G
Galloglas
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On further thought, the intent to display a 'replica' Colour would not be consistent with the the dignified customs associated with the laying up and continued display of 'real' Colours, Standards, and Guidons, etc.

Furtermore, had the family thought that more memorials were needed then perhaps they might have put more up by now.

Nor does the enquirer appear to be all that well informed on the historical details, possibly leading to outcomes based upon even further inaccuracies.

Would not a life size cut out of Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid pull 'em in just as well?

Proper history, or none at all (?)

G
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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G

I'd agree with that. It is a parish church, not a museum, nor indeed a shrine to a distinguished soldier. The family graves are there, the stained glass window, the plaque and - when I was last there - plenty of information for the visitor. All very appropriate and certainly moving, and in the most peaceful, beautiful spot one could imagine. If the family had had a private chapel in the church, as some landed families did of course, then I suppose they might well have filled the chapel with associated ephemera - but I doubt it.

The Colour itself is appropriately laid up at Brecon. I don't suppose the regiment would object to an accurate replica being made if requested, but where would it stop? One can, or at least could, buy a DVD of the Melvill/Coghill story in the church itself. There would presumably become a point when it would appear unseemly for the church to "cash in" on the draw of it's most celebrated parishioner. On the other hand, there are already churches which draw visitors' attention to prominent people or events associated with their past, not just cathedrals but smaller churches in parishes closely associated with historical figures. (And, before the Dissolution, Ch'ch Canterbury made millions from three and a half centuries of Becket pilgrims!)

The PCC appear to have approached the idea in the right way, in seeking advice from the regimental association first. With regard to family, I wonder if there is anyone still residing locally, although I'd presume someone somewhere would be aware of the plaque, window and family link.

Peter
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Galloglas
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If they wanted to do something more original (and less costly) they could make and display a wreath of immortless at some appropriate place on an inner wall. It could be put there each 22 January, and left there to endure or disintegrate, until replaced.

That would be a tasteful and unusual thing to do, and is sufficiently 'different' to attract people to see it - I suggest.

It could also be done fairly easily next January.

I assume that they already have a displayed photograph of the memorial and grave above the Fugitives Drift.

G
Galloglas
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Delete "immortless" (one not without mort).

Insert "Imortelles".

If not already deciphered.

G
Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 344
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Peter
Have to agree. It's a parish church and not a museum. I visited a couple of years ago and felt slightly uncomfortable with the display and sale of DVD's.

As an aside, when they filmed the "Zulu Dawn" scene of the colours floating in the river, the film crew actually managed to lose them in said river. They were later found and ended up on Kenneth Griffith's staircase wall.

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Mel
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ANDY LEE


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 167
Location: Bournville,West Midlands, UK
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Have to disagree with you chaps Smile

I thought the experience of visiting St Winnow Church Lostwithiel was top class. Thought they had kept a tasteful mix of old rural parish church with a fitting memorial to Teignmouth Melville. The dvd was outstanding, had a long chat with the lady in the next cottage, really helpful and trusting. The whole experience was really good. Have come across a handful of such experiences in my Victoria Cross research and I think St Winnow Church Lostwithiel have done a splendid job keeping the memory of Teignmouth Melville alive with such a fitting memorial.

Andy

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Andy Lee
Four for Valour
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Galloglas
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I don't think anybody is debating or disparaging what has already happened, simply the apparent future intentions regarding the display of a 'Colour'.

G
Melvill VC & St Winnow
liz


Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Hampshire, UK
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As a Lostwithiel local I am pleased to report that St Winnow Church certainly survived the recent flood - fortunately it is high enough above the tidal River Fowey to avoid any problems. I think it is very nice for the Forum to ask about this. The lady you mention, Andy, was Frances Stephens who has worked hard on producing information boards on all sorts of matters relating to the Church and local history, which includes - amongst others - Ethy House (Melville's home), and the War of 1879. Whether Melville is St Winnow's most 'celebrated parishioner' I am not sure - many visitors appear more interested in the grave of Angela Du Maurier (Daphne's sister) and the fact that an episode of Poldark was filmed there!! However, he is, of course, part of the Church's rich history. I am not on the PCC and was not aware of any thoughts about replica colours. However, I have often tended Teignmouth Melville's father's grave over the past 24 years whilst looking out on the most peaceful, beautiful view possible. As a Durnford descendant I have always found this a poignant and special thing to do and a moment of real connection with our shared past.
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Denton Van Zan
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Liz

Fantastic to know that Durnford descendants are still visiting this forum.

C.J.(Coll)
Dewi Evans


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 162
Location: Chwilog, North Wales
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Coll,

Are you aware of this web site http://www.durnfordfamily.com/famous.html

Regards,

Dewi.

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D W Evans
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Denton Van Zan
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Dewi

Thanks for the link.

Yes, I had seen it previously, noting that John Young's Col. D. biography on this site is mentioned.

C.J.
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Liz

Thank you for clarifying the situation on the Fowey - good to learn that the churchyard was unaffected. And how poignant and fitting, as you rightly and modestly say, that a descendant of one officer casualty at Isandlwana tends the grave of the father of another. I have frequently imagined the scene at Ethy House on the arrival of the news, first of Isandlwana, then confirmation of the family's loss. One imagines The Times was the bearer of the tidings in each case, unless a telegraph from London was involved. From examination of passenger lists, I believe his widow spent some time in S Africa in later life, and/or travelled there and back more than once.

I have wandered through the peaceful grounds of Ethy House and spoken to the occupants, and it compares strikingly with the remote but imposing family seat of Lt. Edwards Hopson Dyson, half a dozen or so miles from here at Denne Hill, Womenswold. Again, one can stand in the grounds of the mansion and picture the scene on the day the terrible news arrived.

Peter

P.S. Just revisited the post and noticed the s missing from Edwards, duly corrected!


Last edited by Peter Ewart on Thu May 05, 2011 10:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Melvill VC and St Winnow
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