From India to Wickhamford
On 17th July 1947 George Lees-Milne completed the sale of Wickhamford Manor plus six and a half acres of land for £10,400. The purchases were three siblings: married sisters, Cynthia Muriel Batty (1909-2006) and Joyce Dorothy Sandys-Lumsdaine (1910-2000) and their younger brother, Patrick George Leeson (1915-1997). The trio were children of George William Leeson (1875-1951), who had been an engineer in India and his wife, Bertha (1882-1964).
Joyce Dorothy Leeson was born in Darjeeling in 1910 and had married Colin Clen Sandys-Lumsdaine (1908-1967) in Calcutta in 1934. Cynthia Muriel Leeson had married Walter Henry Batty (1900-1981). The Leeson family members appear on various lists of ship’s passengers between the Wars. For example, Bertha (aged 46), Cynthia (19) and Joyce (17) left Calcutta for England in 1928.
At the time of the 1939 National Register, George and Bertha Leeson were living in King Edward’s Road, Malvern, next to Walter and Cynthia Batty. George is described as a retired Engineer and Merchant; Walter Batty was a Tea Broker.
Walter and Cynthia Batty had two sons, Timothy J. in 1932 and Michael G., born in the Upton area in 1934. Joyce and Colin Sandys-Lumsdaine had a daughter, Edith Leesa (1936-1985), in Bombay in 1936 and a son, Patrick Gillen, in 1938.
Patrick George Leeson does not appear to have lived at Wickhamford Manor but his sisters, their spouses and children shared the property for a number of years. Patrick had been born in India in 1915 and joined the RAF as a Pilot Officer in January 1937. There is record of a Flight Lieutenant Patrick G. Leeson as a Prisoner of War in Germany from 22 May 1940 and this was probably the same man.
The family only appear rarely in local records. Mrs Joyce Sandys-Lumsdaine was amongst the numerous mourners reported at George Lees-Milne’s funeral in Wickhamford in December 1949.
Walter Henry Batty is listed as a member of the Memorial Hall Committee in 1951 and his wife, is mentioned in the Parish Magazine in 1948 as agreeing to the use of the Manor grounds for a Flower Show.
A full report of August 1950 Wickhamford Flower Show appeared in the Tewkesbury Register including prize winners in numerous events. George Sandys-Lumsdaine won first prize in the boy’s handicraft section and he won the 80 yds race for boys aged 10-12. Walter Batty won second prize for his blackberries in the fruit section.
Walter Batty was involved with the Coronation Day celebrations in the village in June 1953 – he donated a pig as a prize in the bowling competition !
Michael G. Batty, a Mercantile Assistant, ‘of Wickhamford Manor’, was aboard a ship for Libya, departing England in January 1955.
Leesa Sandys-Lumsdaine attended the Gloucestershire College of Art and became well-known painter of horses. She died, unmarried, in 1985.
Drainage was a problem in the village at Manor Close as the housing was being developed and Evesham Council were in dispute with Walter Batty during 1954. By March 1955, it was reported in the Birmingham Daily Post that G. F. Banham was due to move into Wickhamford Manor. This was Capt. George Frederick Banham, the next owner of Wickhamford Manor.
Tom Locke: January 2019