Suez Canal- links with Bovey Tracey

The Suez Canal-Links with Bovey Tracey

Malcolm Billinge 2018


Edward Blencowe Gould, born in 1847 had left home by the time Rev. Nutcombe Gould moved with his large family from the rectory at Stokeinteignhead to Knowle House in Lustleigh shortly before the 1871 census. Knowle House and nearby Wreyland, now in Lustleigh were historically within the parish of Bovey Tracey.

Edward had by then begun his consular career in the Kingdom of Siam and in 1883, ‘The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint Edward Blencowe Gould, Esq., to be her Majesty’s vice-consul for the territories of Chiengmai, Likon, and Lampoonchi, to reside at Chiengmai.’[1]

Edward was recorded as staying with his widowed mother and four of his sisters at Knowle House in 1891 and that year he became Consul at Port Said, Egypt.[2] Port Said being the Mediterranean Sea port of the Suez Canal (Figure 1)



Fig.1 Suez Canal

Edward married Alice Elizabeth Gordon at Brighton in 1895 and two years’ later, ‘The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint Edward Blencowe Gould Esq., to be her Majesty’s Consul, with the personal rank of Consul-General, for the City and Port of Alexandria.’ [3]

In 1909 a silver tea and coffee service was presented to Edward I.S.O. (The Imperial Service Order) by friends in Alexandria, ‘as a mark of their high appreciation of his service while Consul-General of the great Egyptian port.’ (Figure 2)[4] Edward returned to the United Kingdom and he built Higher Knowle in Lustleigh where he died in 1916. His funeral and burial took place in Lustleigh.[5]

Fig. 2 Silver Tea Service Presented to Edward Gould 1901


Gould and Fox-Strangways Families Joined by Marriage

Walter Angelo Fox-Strangways, born in India in 1887 was the son of Maurice Fox-Strangways who was employed in the Indian Civil Service. Maurice had a younger sister Mary who, in the 1890s lived with their mother Harriett Fox-Strangways at Front House, East Street, Bovey Tracey. In 1895 Mary Fox-Strangways married Edward Gould’s younger brother, Owen in the parish church at Bovey Tracey.

At the time of the 1891 census four year-old Walter Angelo was living with his grandmother Mrs Harriett Fox-Strangways at Front House, and her two daughters Violet and Mary.

Walter Angelo became the Vice-Consul at Mogador, Morocco and served in the Special Mediterranean Intelligence Bureau during WW1.[6]

By 1916 Walter Angelo was employed in the Levant Consular Service at Port Said when he married Miss Laure Georgine Emilie Mazaraki whose father was the treasurer of the Suez Canal Company.[7]

Walter’s grandmother Harriett Fox-Strangways continued living in Bovey Tracey until her death in 1903. Walter’s aunt and uncle, Owen Gould and Mary née Fox-Strangways retired to ‘The Hut’, near Pottery Pond, Bovey Tracey were Owen died in 1929 and Mary in 1943.[8]  Mary’s funeral took place in Lustleigh.

In 1964 Walter inherited the title of the 8th Earl of Ilchester. He died in Torbay Hospital in 1970.

Edward and Walter, linked by marriage and both with significant connections to Bovey Tracey had found employment in the British consulate in Egypt at a time when the Suez Canal played a vital role in the furtherance of the British Empire.

We would be most interested to hear from anyone connected with Bovey Tracey whose forebears were involved in the British presence in Egypt around the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth centu

[1] Morning Post 15 December 1883, p. 2.

[2] The Scotsman 19 September 1891, p. 6.

[3] Morning Post 19 December, 1895, p. 1, marriage; Ibid., 24 November, 1897, p. 2, appointment.

[4] The Sketch 28 October, 1909, p. 30, picture of the silver service.

[5] Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 24 November, 1916, p.5.

[6] See Fox-Strangways under ‘People’ on this site for references on this family.

[7] Gro Consular Marriages 1849-1965 p.965; Western Gazette 16 June 1916, p. 8.

[8] Western Morning News 28 September, 1929, p. 6; England & Wales deaths 1837-2007.