It has always seemed odd to me that a place in Chitterne should bear a name of old danish origin when the Vikings hardly had any influence this far south in the British Isles. ‘Holme’ comes from a common old scandinavian word meaning an island or dry ground in a marsh or a water meadow. There are plenty of ‘holmes’ to be found further north but they are rarer down here. So I was glad when I recently discovered the reason for the name.
Let’s backtrack a bit first. The estate in Chitterne All Saints that was renamed Holmrook Grange in October 1924 consisted of The Grange, Holmrooke House and possibly three paddocks; those behind the church, behind the Village Hall and behind Bow House. I have used the current names of the buildings to hopefully avoid confusion, but some of the buildings had different names back in 1924. For instance, The Grange was already known as The Grange, although when it was owned by the Long family (from 1830 to the early 1900s), it was known as The Lodge. Holmrooke House was not yet a house in 1924, at that time the building housed the stables, coach house and servants quarters for The Grange. In 1924 the school stood on the Village Hall site and Bow House was called Yew Tree Cottage.
The person who bought the estate from Lt. Col. Richard Morse of the RAMC in 1924 and renamed the estate ‘Holmrook Grange’ had a very fancy name himself. He was Ernest Frederick Lowthorpe-Lutwidge, a curious combination of names with yet another old danish connection. ‘Thorpe’ is old scandinavian for an outlying farmstead or hamlet, and again, is more frequently found in the north of England, which, unsurprisingly, is where Ernest Lowthorpe-Lutwidge came from. He was born at Holme Rook Hall, Whitehaven, Cumberland (modern Cumbria). Mystery solved.
Sadly, Ernest L-L died soon after acquiring the estate, perhaps he missed his northern roots too much. He left behind at Holmrook Grange his widow Edith Gertrude (nee Raikes) and their youngest daughter Edith Selma Elizabeth, together with Edith Selma’s fiance William Lionel Foliott Faithful. What wonderful names! But at least Ernest L-L must have seen his daughter married before he died in 1927, as the wedding took place on the 15th February 1926 at Chitterne All Saints with St Marys Church.
The estate was gradually split up in subsequent years. The service quarters were separated from The Grange in 1975, converted to living accomodation and called Long House. This house is nowadays named Holmrooke House, harking back to the old estate of nearly 100 years ago.