Sir Francis Head

In 1884, Radlett was but a small part of Aldenham, not even warranting a mention on the maps of the day. It was the vicar, Revd. C M O Parkinson, the schoolmaster, Dickie Forfeit, Charles Part (picture left) and two ‘well-to-do’ gentlemen who agreed to establish a cricket club. They put their persuasive talents to work on a local, somewhat reclusive landowner, Sir Francis Head. Eventually, he allowed them to use a small field in his grounds at Newberries.

Having only 360 residents in the parish to draw from meant that the team saw little early success. It was some 13 years later before fortunes seemed to have improved, when in 1897 they managed to win 12 of their 19 fixtures.

About Sir Francis Head

Following is an excerpt taken from the Internet Archive relating to the “Families of Head and Somerville”.

In 1875 my father sold the house, 24 Manchester Square, and bought 9 Seymour Street. The same year his father, the Right Hon. Sir Francis Bond Head, Bart, K.C.H., P.C, died, and my father succeeded to the title. Although he was christened Frank, and had never been called by any other name, people began to address him as Sir Francis, and as he did not have his cards printed ‘\Sir Frank,” or otherwise assert his true name, he slipped into being called and known as Sir Francis Head, which was a pity, as Sir Frank would have distinguished him from his father. But in those days there were no “Sir Franks,” as there are to- day.

In 1884 he bought Newberries, at Radlett in Hertfordshire, with its fine house and beautiful park of 230 acres, and died there in 1887 at the age of 70.

In those days the Church at Radlett possessed no burial ground, and people used to be buried at Aldenham, some miles away.

My father refused to be buried there, and instructed me to bury him in the park at New- berries. This gave rise to some difficulties, as I could not get a parson to read the burial service. . So I performed the office myself, and then proceeded to get a grant from Sir Walter Phillimore for ground for a cemetery, and my brother Francis and I built the wall round it, opposite Radlett Church — setting: the whole matter settled just in time for my mother’s death, which occurred within three months of that of my father, when I obtained permission from the Home Secretary to remove my father’s body, and one funeral took place for my father and mother in the new cemetery.

My father was director of several companies during his lifetime, beginning with the London and North-Western Railway (where he represented his father-in-law’s large holding) and including the Vale of Neath Railway, the Great Western of Canada, the Millwall Docks, and the Odessa Water Works.

He left me the estate of Newberries, and in 1888 I married Christian Helen Jane, eldest daughter and heiress of Captain Duncan Cameron of Inverailort, Black Watch, D.L for Inverness-shire— and grand-daughter of Major-General Sir Alexander Cameron of Inverailort, a distinguished Peninsula officer, and intimate friend of the Duke of Wellington, and who helped to raise the Highland Company of the Rifle Brigade, and commanded the Rifle Brigade at Waterloo.

Sir Alexander was the lineal descendant of Ewen, XIII Chief of Lochiel, by his second wife, Margery Mackintosh, daughter of Lachlan (” Badenoch ” ) Chief of Mackintosh. Through his maternal grandmother, Christian Cameron of Glendessary, he was a great-grandson of the celebrated Sir Ewen Cameron, XVII Chief of Lochiel ; and through his great-grandmother, Margaret Cameron of Glen- dessary, from Alan, XVI Chief of Lochiel.

Such was the fighting stock from which my wife sprang.

Sir Alexander changed his Cameron crest for a rifleman, and was granted a special military coat- of-arms for his services, which permitted his descendants to use a Rifle Brigade bugle and the Peninsula and Waterloo medals as part of their quarterings.

My wife through her grandmother, Christian Macdonell of Barrisdale, represents a branch of the Chiefs of Glengarry, and bears their arms with the difference due to a cadet. My wife is about the only living descendant of this once powerful family, who owns an estate in the West Highlands.

In 1896 our son and daughter were born, and it is for their information and for that of their descendants, that I have compiled this short memoir of family history, in order that, after I have passed on, they may still have some records of my knowledge of the generations that have gone before them. I have purposely left blank pages, in order that other members of the family may add to this knowledge, or make any comments they think fit.

J. Cameron-Head. (probably July 1917).