Tennant, http://homepage.ntlworld.com/roger.beswick/remembering_sutton_boningto n.htm Sutton Bonnington ST ANNE'S MANOR After Mr William Paget's widow died in 1884 this house was let and eventually Major Charles Richard Tennant J.P. became the occupant. He bought the property and the parkland around it in 1891 for £11,000, making many costly renovations and alterations to the house. Major Tennant was a professional soldier, born of a naval family in Staffordshire, and he served in the 2nd Life Guards in the Egyptian War of 1882. He retired from the army in 1885 and the next year married the Hon. Ruth Adamson Brooks, youngest daughter of the first Lord Crawshaw of Whatton Hall. The couple probably came to live at the Manor soon after this, and resided there for the next fifty years. Major and Mrs Tennant had no children and lived quietly at the Manor, not joining in village life to any great extent. They went to St Anne's church every Sunday and Mrs Berresford recalls Mrs Tennant wearing lovely grey furs and splendid jewellery on these occasions. Major Tennant was Rector's Warden for many years. The Manor gardens were not opened for charity events, even though they were beautifully kept, and fetes for St Anne's church were always held in the Rectory grounds. However the Major contributed generously to the upkeep of the church, and he was also a manager at the National School. The Major was a prominent follower of the hounds and kept hunters in the stables adjoining the house. In keeping with their lifestyle and the size of the house, the Tennants employed several staff. Mr William Shaw, who had been batman to the Major in the army, retired with him and came to Sutton as his butler. He lived with his wife Emma and two young daughters in a cottage near St Anne's church, so that the children did not disturb the 10 peace at the Manor! After Mr Shaw retired, Mr Wright became the butler. Mr Watts was head groom and lived in the Lodge House in Hungary Lane. Jo Patrick and Harry Silvester, the under-grooms, lived in the village. The other servants were a cook/housekeeper, housemaids and a gardener, Mr Holden, who lived in the Old Manor in St Anne's Lane. When motor cars came on the scene Jack Thomas was the chauffeur and Mrs Edna Marshall remembers that he was always sent round the village on polling day to pick up the Conservative voters. She and her friends used to climb on board for a free ride! The big event remembered about the Manor is the night that it caught fire. It was Christmas time in 1908, and most of the villagers were at a social in the Old School near St Michael's church. Word came down that the house was on fire and everyone left and rushed there to assist in any way they could. Percy Haywood recalls people running about shouting "Fire at the Manor!" and virtually the whole village was quickly at the scene helping to carry the furniture out. All those who helped at the fire were given a gold sovereign by Major Tennant afterwards. According to local newspaper reports, the fire was discovered by a maid shortly after midnight, and the alarm given immediately. Mrs Tennant's invalid sister, Mrs Townshend of Nuneaton who was staying with them, was evacuated to a nearby farm whilst helpers brought out much of the valuable antique furniture and priceless works of art: these included a number of Gainsborough pictures. A good quantity was saved from the drawing room and some of the bedrooms, and everything was removed from the dining room on the west side. It was stored in an arbour on the lawn, and in various outbuildings. However the flames spread rapidly, and soon the whole south side of the house was enveloped. The fire and a huge pall of smoke could be seen from many miles away. A motor car was sent to Nottingham to summon the Fire Brigade, but Sutton Bonington was outside their area, so the car had to make its way to Loughborough where the Brigade received the call about 2 o'clock. Foreman Wesley turned out with the light steamer and a complement of men, but their progress was impeded by the icy roads, and they did not arrive until 2.30. The firemen had great problems with the water supply, for the Manor well kept running dry. An attempt to connect the hoses to Sir Ernest Paget's reservoir failed because the pipe became choked with ice due to the intense cold. The freezing weather hampered all the firemen's efforts, icicles formed on their faces as they worked, and to cap it all a blizzard engulfed the scene for some time. Eventually the fire was brought under control, so that by daylight the flames had been put out, although the debris continued to smoulder for hours. The brigade finally left the scene at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Practically the whole of the south-east portion of the main building was gutted, nothing standing but the walls, and much of the contents of the remainder was damaged; the losses ran to many thousands of pounds. The Major took the opportunity to refurbish and extend the house. The family lived at Whatton Hall for a while before moving into the back of the Manor whilst the front part was rebuilt. The fire was thought to have started in a beam over the library fireplace, but this was never resolved satisfactorily. Major Tennant died in 1937 and his widow in 1943. Both are buried in St Anne's churchyard. After their deaths the house passed to Sir Charles Buchanan, a nephew of Major Tennant, who died in 1984. Sir Charles and Lady Buchanan opened the attractive and interesting gardens for fetes and parties, and took a much more active part in village life than their predecessors. Lady Buchanan still lives at the Manor, which has now been in the occupancy of one family for nearly a century.