The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family by Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2017)
Part 5 – William Noel Lucas-Shadwell – known as Noel Lucas-Shadwell:
In part 1, I introduced you to the four generations of Lucas-Shadwells and showed how they were all related to each other. In part 2, 3 and 4 we looked at the first three William Lucas-Shadwells (See the family tree in part 1).
In this part we will look at William Noel Lucas-Shadwell, the fourth and final of the Lucas-Shadwell line of succession.
Noel was born in Fairlight on the 11th December 1882 and baptised at St. Andrew’s Church on the 28th December. He was to be the only son and the third of four children. His sisters were Beatrice, Violet and Vera. (nb Violet married a Commander Francis Belt, and, using her married name Violet Belt, wrote the first known history of Fairlight in 1921).
The 1891 census shows the family to not be at their home at The Hall but were staying in Bournemouth. The family is again away in 1901 but we cannot locate their whereabouts. T
We know that Noel attended Winchester College, but the next we know of Noel is in 1904 when he is in Paris attending the salon of Lucie Bricard-Bazin. He was clearly happy with the French way of life, away from Fairlight, and for the rest of his life, with some notable interludes, he was to remain in France. Indeed he fell in love with one of the daughters of his teacher and on 27th July 1905, married Therese Bricard-Bazin.
It is understood that the family did not approve of their only son marrying a foreigner, but they were welcomed at The Hall. Life changed somewhat with his family in Fairlight. Firstly the family had converted to Roman Catholicism. Then they began to tire of The Hall. A house was built to the east of The Hall, near the top of Chick Hill in Pett, with commanding views of the their lands to the east, west and south. The house was built by the local firm of Colegate and was called Fairlight Cottage. (The house still stands but is now renamed The Down House). When this was complete, Noel’s father started to let out The Hall.
Noel was working for the Foreign Office, having no pretensions to follow his father into British politics. (William Peter Lucas-Shadwell was MP for Hastings from1895-1900). He was appointed Vice-Consul stationed at Caen. Their first daughter, Yolande was born in Fougerolles in Normandy in September 1906, but shortly afterwards, Noel was sent to Port Said, Egypt as acting Consul. Then he is transferred to Galatz, Rumania where their second daughter, Denise is born. Again the Foreign Office give him another posting, this time to Messina, Sicily at the end of 1908, but he is redirected to Dubrovnik. This proves incredibly lucky for the family as Messina was then devastated by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake which killed between 75 – 200,000 people. In 1909 the family are finally back at Fairlight Cottage where their third daughter, Monica, is born. The family are concerned at having a third daughter as they want a son to carry on the family title.
In 1913, Noel is posted to Emden, Germany, whilst Therese returns to Paris to give birth to their fourth daughter, Gisele. At the outset of war, Lucie took her four granddaughters to Switzerland whilst Noel and Therese return to England. In 1915, Noel becomes a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, part of the Russian Legion- British Armoured Car Division. He spends his war campaign mostly in Russia and receives the Order of St. George and the DSC, but he was wounded twice. When he was first wounded, Therese travelled across Germany, during the hostilities, taking eight days to reach him in Russia. It is understood that she travelled with Violet Belt, Noel’s sister, whose husband, Commander Francis Belt, was a liaison officer with the Russian Army. Violet herself was a nurse at the Scottish Women’s Hospital, London Unit and served in Russia and Rumania.
During this time, on 31st May 1915, Noel’s father died. Noel, being the only son, inherited the full estates of his father. However, as we have seen above, Noel had spent most of his adult years away from England, notably in France, and decided to sell most of the estate. Hence, on 17th November 1917, Noel auctioned off most of the estate in 76 separate lots and that was the moment when Fairlight Cove was born. He kept ownership of The Hall and some adjoining lands for a short while, but this was itself sold off in 1920 to E Festus Kelly of the ‘Kelly’s Directory’ family.
A fifth and final daughter, Mireille, was born in Rome in August 1918. Noel and Therese had produced five daughters and no son to carry on the Lucas-Shadwell name. It is not recorded whether it was disappointment with this situation or as a result of his wounds, but after the family returning to Paris, father, mother and five daughters, Noel walked out and left his wife and family.
Both remarried. Noel married Marguerite Boulenger, a saleswoman in lingerie and much later, Therese married her widowed brother-in-law, Francis Belt. Although Noel saw his daughters on many occasions, they remained with their mother. There are many records of them returned to Fairlight as Noel retained Fairlight Cottage.
In about 1925 Noel purchased the Chateau de Bity in Correze. He remained there with his second wife, Madeleine and his step-daughter, Jacqueline Rivet. After settling here, Noel became interested in archaeology and was involved in many important digs in France. Finally, as WW2 approached, he returned to Fairlight Cottage, where he died on 2nd November 1941. He is buried in the Catholic cemetery at Fairlight, near his parents and his sister Beatrice. Beatrice herself did not marry and lived on at Fairlight Cottage on her own until her death on 23rd September 1948. When she died, the name Lucas-Shadwell in England, died with her.
(It is interesting to note that after the Lucas-Shadwells left Chateau de Bity, the property was acquired by a certain, Jacques Chirac, one time President of France. The chateau still remains in the family).
The name Lucas-Shadwell died out with Noel and his sister Beatrice, but some of his daughters married and produced families and they are today very much alive and well and living, mostly in France but some also in Canada. At the same time, when William Noel Lucas-Shadwell decided he no longer wished to retain the Fairlight Hall Estate. The subsequent sale of Waites, Wakehams and Warren Farms as well as other farms and properties gave rise to Fairlight Cove and the Fairlight Parish that we know today.
By Paul Draper