Published 21st November 2013
The attics at Castle Hill, Filleigh, Near Barnstaple have been reorganised following the deaths this year of the Dowager Countess of Arran and Lady Margaret Fortescue, prompting The Attic Sale at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's Honiton Saleroom on Tuesday, 10th December 2013 starting at 10:00am.
The items included in the auction have been in the Castle Hill attics for decades and, before highlighting them, it is well worth mentioning the lives of two extraordinary ladies.
The Countess of Arran, who died at the age of 94, was reckoned to be the fastest woman on water when in 1980 she reached 103mph on Lake Windermere in a rocket-like craft called Skean Dhu. Her achievement earned her the Segrave Trophy; the highest accolade in powerboating.
Her enthusiasm for speed was matched on dry land when just before the war she was aboard her husband's supercharged Mercedes car when it achieved 100 mph down Oxford Street! During the war, she was a driver with the Wrens and subsequently tested the newly built M1 motorway. When a policeman stopped her for speeding she replied "Fast? Get in officer and I'll show you what fast is."
Lady Margaret Fortescue excelled as a huntswoman and was known as The Last of the Meltonians on account of her prowess around Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. She was instrumental in modernising the Castle Hill estate after the Second War. Her knowledge of agriculture and forestry was considerable and she had a deep love and understanding of Exmoor. She commissioned the rebuilding of Triumphal Arch in memory of her parents and the construction of the Ebrington Tower in memory of her brother, who was killed at the battle of El Alamein in 1942.
The sale of over 100 lots includes a Chinese porcelain Armorial part dinner service with the arms of Fortescue impaling Dormer, circa 1723, (HO81/21) which is carrying an estimate of £400-£600. A fine Dagoty Paris porcelain cabinet plate painted with a scene from the Italian Campaign of the Napoleonic wars commemorating the taking of the bridge over the Marezal at Karako (HO81/17), which is estimated at between £500 and £700.
There is also a set of six George III mahogany dining chairs in the Chippendale taste (HO81/95) (estimate £800-£1,200), a Victorian silver presentation whistle from Field Marshal Lord Haig (HO81/41) (estimate £150-£200) and three antique oak and iron studded doors (HO81/98) (estimate £300-£500).
For further information, please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks on (01404) 510000.