GEORGE TREVOR ROPER COOK
Two important principles of this blog are the convictions that every human life is both valuable and interesting and that people are worthy of neither more nor less attention in consequence of their social class. However, my expectations of finding more sources and therefore more stories are raised when I come across upper middle class senior cavalry officers. Lieutenant Colonel George Trevor Roper Cook of the 20th Hussars is just such a case. However, he is a disappointing one because the expected plethora of material has not yet materialised. It must exist, but will only be discovered following further work in less accessible archives and in other secondary sources.
What we do know is that George’s paternal lineage can be traced back to late 17th century Gloucestershire via his grandfather, Charles Cook (1825-1885) who was born in Tetbury, once lived in King’s Gap in Hoylake and died in Newbury in Berkshire. George inherited his middle names from his mother, Clementina Hadow Trevor Roper (1853-1921) of Rock Ferry. This family seems to have had long-standing connections with Hoylake and was connected to the historian Hugh Trevor Roper (1914-2003) whose family haled from Northumberland. (Since this biography was published, Gail Brumfitt has researched the Trevor Roper family tree. Her notes are appended at the end of this post).
George’s father was George Ward Cook (1853-1931), a cotton-broker, who was born in Birkenhead and served as a local councilor in Hoylake. In 1881 the family was living at West Hoyle, number 21, Stanley Road, Hoylake. George was the eldest child and he had two siblings – Florence and Nora. Another sister, Frederica, was born in 1887. They were all born in Hoylake. The family was looked after by three domestic servants – Jane Roberts a housemaid from Neston, Mary Martin a cook from Ireland and Jane Lester a nurse from Liverpool. By 1891, George junior was boarding at Uppingham School in Rutland. The Birkenhead News claimed that he also attended Malvern College.
George was a career soldier. He went to Sandhurst Military Academy and was commissioned into the 3rd Dragoon Guards. He served in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 and married Alice Dorman on 21st October 1902 in Stokesley, Yorkshire. The couple had four children – Elizabeth Anne (1903-1991), Pamela Frances (1905-?), Margaret (1907-1977), Prudence (1910-1982) and Peter (1914-1941).
In 1913 George transferred to the 20th Hussars (from 13th September 1914, part of 5th Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division) which went with the British Expeditionary Force to France in August or September 1914. It was not long before cavalry regiments were deployed as infantry, fighting in the trenches. George was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1915 and was twice Mentioned in Dispatches. He was clearly a very brave and competent officer, but we do not yet have any details about what he actually did.
George died during the St. Quentin phase of Second Battle of the Somme which began on 21st March 1918 with a sudden and apparently unstoppable German attack – part of their Spring Offensive. His commemoration on a panel at the Pozieres Memorial tells us that his body was never identified. George’s cousin, Lieutenant Godfrey Burton Cook, also of the 20th Hussars, died three days earlier on 23rd March. He had been living in Sheringham, Norfolk and is buried at St. Souplet British Cemetery. The London Gazette of 10th October 1918 said that George had been awarded the Croix de Guerre.
Birth: 11th August 1877 in Hoylake
Death: 26th March 1918, aged 40, killed in Action
Addresses: West Hoyle, 21 Stanley Road, Hoylake (81), Dower House, Quatt, Bridgnorth, Shropshire (18)?
Occupation: Cavalry Officer
Unit: 3rd Dragoon Guards to 1913 and then 20th Hussars
Number and Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Medals: DSO, Mentioned in Dsipatches Twice, Croix de Guerre
Commemorated and Buried: GH, H, France: Somme, Pozieres Memorial Panel 6
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, FT, LG, BN, Census: 81, 91
Additional Genealogical Notes by Gail Brumfitt with References to Hugh Trevor Roper
I have not been able to find any specific reason for a link with Hoylake for the Trevor-Ropers nor can I find a mention of them by Charles Roberts, however, I did find a mention of the Cook family in his Contribution 2 of “Recollections of Hoylake 1865-1915”:
“Leaving this scene let us wander down King’s Gap ( a road which is supposed to have obtained its name through King William III having embarked with his troops from there in June 1689 to suppress a rebellion in Ireland. In this road there were only about four houses, near the bottom. One faced the shore at the corner, the other two being those between it and Marine Road. On the opposite side was Mr. Charles Cook’s residence, later Mr. George Cook’s (now Rossett House School) and grounds. Here a fine stud of horses were kept with packs of hounds used for hunting in the surrounding country. At the corner of the Gap and Barton Road stood a small white cottage and yard – once a coal yard with weighing machine, occupied by a Jackie Parr, and later by Bob Blundell. This coal yard was supplied with coal by flats which landed at the foot of the Gap, and from there it was carted up in vehicles of all kinds, even wheelbarrows being used.”
While it is not surprising that the children of George Ward Cook and Clementina Hadow Trevor Roper had ties to Hoylake, some of Clementina’s siblings also married at Holy Trinity Church. Also, an uncle of Hugh Redwald Trevor Roper, Charles Harold (1872-1922), was visiting a ship owner who lived at 12 Marine Parade and is shown there on the 1901 Census.
George Trevor Roper Cook and Hugh Redwald Trevor Roper were half second cousins once removed. George was a great grandson of Cadwallader Blaney Roper, born 1765 in Clones, Monaghan, Ireland and his second wife, Eliza Agnes Gayton daughter of the Reverend Clerk Gayton. Hugh Redwald Trevor Roper was Cadwallader’s great great grandson, by his first wife, Elizabeth Anne Reveley, daughter of Henry Reveley.
Among the Trevor-Roper family was a plethora of Clergymen, Solicitors, and high ranking Army Officers. The Trevor Roper family home was Plas Teg Mansion in Hope, Flintshire.
Plas Teg was built about 1610 by Sir John Trevor. The house remained in the family’s hands until the end of the 18th century when it was bequeathed to a cousin by marriage. They assumed the surname Trevor-Roper and resided at Plas Teg until it was sold just after the end WWII.
Cadwallader Blaney (or Blayney) was born with the surname Roper, and was the son of the Rev. Hon. Richard Henry Roper, rector of Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland and Mary Tenison, daughter of Captain Thomas Tenison of Finglas, Dublin, Ireland. Richard Henry was the son of Henry Roper, 8th Baron Teynham and Anne Lennard, Baroness Dacre. Cadwallader inherited Plas Teg from Mary Jane, Dowager Lady Dacre.
Cadwallader married his second wife, Eliza Agnes Gayton, in Bromley, Kent in 1817. From there they moved to Neston where all three of their children were born, Agnes, Caroline and George Trevor Roper. Agnes married Henry Boydell, a Merchant, in 1836 in Hope, Flint and they emigrated to the US in about 1850 before moving on to Canada. Caroline remained unmarried and joined her widowed sister in Canada in the 1860’s.
George Trevor Roper MD, Cadwallader and Eliza’s son, married Amelia Macdonald at St Andrew’s Church, Bebington in 1850 and all of their children appear to have been born in either Rock Ferry or Tranmere. Amelia Elizabeth married Philip Arthur Scott in 1877 at New Brighton. Harriette Agnes married James Watson Langlands, a General Produce Broker, in 1875 at Holy Trinity Church, Hoylake. They lived in Hoylake for a while and can be found there on the 1881 Census. Flora also married at Holy Trinity in 1887 to George McDonald, a Colonel in the Royal Engineers, although they do not appear to have lived there. Caroline Frances married Edward Matthew Price, a school master, also at Holy Trinity. They then moved to Bray, Berkshire. Cadwallader Blayney (jun) died aged 21 in 1877. George Dacre was a surgeon in the Royal Navy and died in 1915.
George and Amelia’s daughter, Clementina Hadow married George Ward Cook in 1876 at Cork, Ireland. They were George Trevor Roper Cook’s parents.
Cadwallader Blaney Roper married his first wife, Elizabeth Anne Reveley in 1796 at St James, Piccadilly, London. They moved around a bit – their first daughter Mary Jane was born in London in 1797. She married Honoratus Leigh Rigby, a coal proprietor born in Hawarden, in 1820 at Neston. They seemed to alternate between living in Neston and Hawarden, Flint. Charles Blaney Trevor Roper (heir), was born in Blackheath, Kent in 1799 and married Mary Knight in 1821 in Manchester, they had 11 children and appear to have lived in Germany, Manchester and at Plas Teg. Charles was a Magistrate. Anna Maria Trevor Roper was also born in Kent in 1802. She married James Boydell in Hope, Flintshire in 1827. Richard Trevor Roper, a Solicitor, was born in Kent in 1810 and he married Marian Rigby in 1821 at St Bride’s, Liverpool.
Charles Blaney and Mary Trevor Roper had ten children, the first two Gertrude and George Edward, were born in Germany, Elizabeth Mary was born in Manchester, and the remainder, Anne, Richard Henry, Charles James, Charlotte Blanche, William, Dacre, and Emily Constance, were all born in Wales.
Richard Henry Trevor Roper, son to the above Charles Blaney and Mary Trevor Roper, was born in 1834 in Caernarvonshire. He was a Solicitor and married Grace Carr Messeena in London in 1864. Richard and Grace’s children were all born in Lancashire in Rochdale and Chorlton, apart from their daughter Edith Grace, who was born in Chester. Richard and Grace’s youngest child, Bertie William Trevor Roper was born in Chorlton in 1885. Bertie was a Physician and Surgeon and he married Kathleen Elizabeth Davison in 1910 in Bucklow, Cheshire. Bertie and Kathleen had three children Sheila Grace, Hugh Redwald and Patrick Dacre.
Hugh Redwald Trevor Roper was born on 15 January 1914 in Glanton, Northumberland. He married Alexandra Henrietta Louisa Haig in 1954 in London. Hugh was an English historian of early modern Britain and Nazi Germany. He was made a life peer in 1979 choosing the title Baron Dacre of Glanton. He died on 26th January 2003 in Oxfordshire.