Milford on Sea Famous Residents

Past & Present:

A brief history of famous people who have lived in Milford on Sea.

Historical faces from Milford on Sea

The manor of Milford Baddesley (which included where Milford House & Newlands Manor now stand) was an estate held in Milford by the Knight Templars. On the suppression of the order of Knights Templars the estate was granted (in around 1312), to the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, to which it continued to belong until the dissolution of the priory in 1540.

Admiral Sir William Cornwallis (B.1744-D.1819) acquired the Newlands estate of 60 acres in Milford by lease in 1800 and later purchased the property. Admiral Cornwallis had a distinguished Naval career and in 1803 was made Commander in Chief of the Channel Fleet. He retired from the Navy in 1806. In 1802 to 1803 Admiral Cornwallis commenced the rebuilding of Newlands Manor following a fire in the original house. He was a life-long bachelor and formed a great friendship with John Whitby who was his Flag Captain and whom he regarded as a son. After the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Lord Nelson, it was naval Captain Whitby who broke the news to Lady Hamilton.

In 1802 Captain Whitby married 19 year old Mary Anna Theresa Simmonds. The young couple then lived with the Admiral at Newlands. Admiral Cornwallis treated the young Whitby’s as the children he would never have. Mrs Whitby supervised the construction of Newlands and its gardens. After the death of his naval colleague Captain Whitby in 1806, Admiral Cornwallis looked after his widow Mary Anna Theresa Whitby (age 22) and her daughter. In turn she looked after Admiral Cornwallis for 15 years into his old age. On Sir William Cornwallis' death in 1819, Mrs Whitby inherited the Cornwallis fortune (which included the Manors of Milford Barnes and Milford Montague) in trust for her daughter Theresa John Cornwallis Whitby. In 1829 Mrs Whitby acquired the Manor of Milford Baddesley bringing the estate to 1900 acres in Milford and 500 in Hordle.

Admiral’s older brother General Lord Cornwallis. of Yorktown fame

Theresa John Cornwallis Whitby (Mary Anna Whitby's daughter), married Frederic West of Ruthin Castle, North Wales in 1827. They lived at Arnewood until Mary Anna Whitby died in 1850 and they then moved into Newlands. The Manor became the place for wild parties with where many famous people were entertained, including and the German Kaiser and the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII. (B.1841-D.1910). They had 3 daughters and 2 sons. Frederick West died in 1862.

Colonel William Cornwallis-West VD JP. ( B.1835-D.1917) inherited Newlands Manor after the death of Mrs Theresa West's in 1886. (His elder brother had died previously.) Under the terms of her will she instructed her son to add the surname Cornwallis and to be known as Cornwallis-West. He was a British politician & Justice of the Peace having been called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1862. He was also an Honorary Colonel in the 4th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. In 1871 the colonel married married Mary ‘Patsy’ (B.1856-D.1920) daughter of Reverend Frederick Fitzpatrick, against his mother's wishes. Patsy Cornwallis-West was known as a great beauty and leading socialite, but had a reputation for scandalous affairs and ambitious schemes to gain husbands for her two daughters. In the late 1880s, William Cornwallis-West planned to create Milford as a seaside resort, attempting to replicate what his friend the Duke of Devonshire was doing at Eastbourne. He started by renaming the village as Milford on Sea. He also developed Hordle Cliff and named new roads after family and friends, e.g. Cornwallis Road, De la Warr Road, Headfort Road, West Road, Whitby Road, Westminster Road and Pless Road. The scheme failed in its major objectives, due to an outbreak of typhoid & lack of funds. Colonel William Cornwallis-West was a descendant of John West, 2nd Earl de la Warr, and died in 1917.

Major George Frederick Myddleton Cornwallis-West (B. 1874-D.1951) was Williams only son. He was a British officer of the Scots Guards. He was the second husband of  Lady Randolph Churchill (Jennie Jerome), mother of Winston Churchill. She was born in Brooklyn, New York (B.1854-D.1921) and was 20 years older. He and Lady Randolph Churchill were married on 28 July 1900. They separated in 1912 and divorced in 1913. In 1914 he married his second wife, Mrs Patrick Campbell, the celebrated actress. His third wife was Mrs Georgette Hirsch. His sister Constance Cornwallis-West became the first wife of Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster, his other sister, Mary Theresa married HSH Hans Heinrich XV, Prince of Pless to become Daisy, Princess of Pless. During his first marriage, George lived extravagantly and went bankrupt in 1913. After Colonel William Cornwallis-West's death in 1917, he sold the Ruthin estate (North Wales) in 1919 and Newlands Manor Estate (Mliford on Sea) in 1920. George Cornwallis-West died In 1951 (after having been afflicted for many years with Parkinson's disease), he died by his own hand, leaving no legitimate children. The House was then sold again in 1948, and converted into private homes. Memorials to the Cornwallis-West family can be found in the local All Saints Church.