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Daisy: The Countess of Warwick

Milton Keynes Citizen, August 30, 2012

OOO. I say Matron

Hot on the high heels of Carry on Convict, starring the alleged saucy antics of an inmate and a busty nurse at the local clink, come more rumblings of how’s yer father, this time concerning the lady Mayor.

But of course there’s no suggestion of anything improper. And neither should there be, regarding persons of high office. Which does, however, remind me of the sniggering among us lower minions during my time with the now departed Milton Keynes Development Corporation, when it was alleged that some exalted Herbert in the housing department had been caught intimately surveying his secretary, instead of the properties they were supposed to be investigating.

Still, in the workplace no doubt most of us have witnessed the time honoured scenario of some middle aged, middle manager making overtures to an over ambitious bimbo, who is quite prepared to go wherever the wallet of her fairy sugar daddy takes her.

Until of course the mission is complete, whereupon the vessel of her ‘salvation’ is frequently cast adrift, to sink amid the consequence of marital wreckage.

Personally I’ve no sympathy for such muppets, which in the case in mind of some years ago even involved footing the finance for a love nest, to which – and o’ what a surprise – the bird of paradise never came to roost.

But in the world of newspaper articles the whiff of scandal always makes good ‘copy,’ and is thus the subject of this week’s offering.

Even Newport Pagnell – hardly noted as a hotbed of bodice ripping – became tainted when instead of a bell rope a bell ringer pulled the vicar’s wife. And in even earlier years during the First World War a soldier whose home was at 38, Greenfield Road, found himself completely duped by a woman whom he had met while stationed at Cheltenham.

In the parlance of the time they ‘walked out’ for ten nights and then maintained a correspondence when he left for camp at Catterick. Because she was ‘seeming to want a rest’ he gallantly brought her to his mother’s home at Newport Pagnell and they continued to write after his return to camp. In fact in a letter she said she was going to stay with his mother again but soon afterwards he was contacted by Yorkshire Police, for she had broken into a trunk in his bedroom and stolen his life savings.

Indeed, ‘having done a runner’ she was now canoodling with any army sergeant as man and wife in a boarding house at Stony Stratford although her new flame had also been duped, since he knew her by a completely different name.

In court a warrant for her theft of property from a former employer was revealed and she also admitted a previous conviction of two months’ hard labour for three charges of larceny. Also another for the theft of a brooch, for which she was sentenced to 21 days’ hard labour.

Moreover, in 1907 she had been bound over on a charge of stealing clothing. In fact her husband was an inmate of the Gloucester Lunatic Asylum and she had three children, two of whom were in Dr. Barnado’s Homes with the other in care at Cheltenham.

What fun and frolics and on the subject of frolics it’s perhaps best not to mention the 19th century Fenny Stratford grocer who, in the aftermath of some underhand and under the counter hanky panky with his lady assistant, swiftly fled from the town.

And so to that perennial favourite, Royalty and mistresses, where in days gone by ‘There are three of us in this relationship’ would have seemed a somewhat conservative estimate. At Passenham, the manor had been held for many generations by the Maynard family, whose connection, although they never chose to live at the place, is still recalled by the initial ‘M’ on several examples of estate housing.

Then in 1911 the Maynard association came to an end when the interest was purchased by Francis Evelyn Greville, the Countess of Warwick. As the famous mistress of Edward VII she was popularly known as ‘Daisy’ although to carry on the Carry On innuendo, it wasn’t upon a bicycle made for two that the pair would enjoy many a ride.