Dynevor Road, Richmond

Nick Selwyn: “The Selwyn Family and the development of Richmond”:

“…Dynevor  Road, built on Selwyn land in the late 1870s, may have been named after Baron Dynevor, a friend of the Selwyn family and possibly refers to the auspicious marriage in 1794 of Frances, granddaughter of Albinia Selwyn to George Talbot, 2nd Baron Dynevor…”

The Library Blog of Richmond upon Thames Library Services provides posts relating to two houses in this road:

No. 8:

“Seventh Governor-General of New Zealand (1946 – 52), Victoria Cross recipient (1916), awarded no less than 4 DSOs, a Knight (1942) and ultimately a Baron (1951), Bernard Freyberg achieved numerous accolades and attainments…

He was born in Richmond on 21 March 1889 and was the youngest of 4 brothers at this point living in Richmond: Paul and Cuthbert born in 2 Hermitage Villas, Hermitage Road, Richmond; Claude and Bernard born in 8 Dynevor Road, Richmond.

His father, James Freyberg was a Surveyor and his mother was called Julia (née Hamilton). Julia was a second marriage for James and Bernard was in fact the seventh son for his father. Bernard’s life spanned just over 74 years and he died in Windsor on 4 July 1963 following the rupture of one of his war wounds. He was laid to rest in the churchyard of St Martha’s, Chilworth, near Guildford in Surrey in a beautiful spot overlooking the surrounding countryside.

Bernard was affectionately known as ‘Tiny’ and later also referred to as ‘the Salamander’ by Churchill (due to his love of fire), when in command of the New Zealand forces in Crete during the Second World War. These alternative ‘titles’ give an indication of the physical presence of the man himself and also something of his soldierly skills…

(John W. Osborn Jr. writes on HistoryNet:

“To Winston Churchill, he was “the Salamander of the British Empire,” like the mythical creature that could pass through fire unharmed. To a subordinate, Major General Sir Howard Kippenberger, he was “simple as a child and cunning as a Maori dog.”…”)

The family moved to New Zealand when he was 2 years old (just missing inclusion in the 1891 Census in Richmond). James took up a position in the forestry department in Wellington. Freyberg was educated at Wellington College and it was there that he developed his skill as a strong swimmer which would prove valuable in his military career (he won the New Zealand Junior and Senior swimming titles in 1906 and 1910 respectively). It was here that he also sailed, boxed, rowed and played rugby….”

In November 2016 a blue plaque was unveiled at 8 Dynevor Road (see image), and a VC commemorative paving stone was unveiled to him outside Richmond Station by the Mayor of Richmond and the present Lord Freyberg.

No. 4:

“Born Augustus Montague Summers in Bristol in 1880, Montague Summers was well educated at Clifton college and Trinity College Oxford. He was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England at Lichfield Theological college in 1908. However, his belief in the literal existence of Satan and demonic forces led him to convert to Catholicism in 1909. After this he assumed several extra names and became known as Alphonsus Joseph-Mary Augustus Montague Summers.

He also began to refer to himself as Reverend, and to wear clothing typical of a Catholic priest. It is not known whether Montague Summers was ordained within the Catholic Church; he was certainly not ordained by any English Catholic seminary. It was suggested that he may have been ordained in Rome, possibly by a wayward Church official who would have been technically able to ordain priests – whether or not it was wise for them to do so.

However legitimate his title may have been, Reverend Alphonsus Joseph-Mary Augustus Montague Summers was certainly a very devout man. He believed firmly in the good of the Church and was staunchly opposed to atheism and reliance on rationality. Summers wrote articles on Saints (among other subjects) for Everybody’s Weekly in his later life, and also wrote more than one book on Saints…

Montague Summers spent his last 8 years living in Richmond. Interestingly, he was in Richmond at the same time as Aleister Crowley, and they may have known each other. The few available sources that do suggest a tenuous connection say that the two were not friendly. Given Crowley’s positioning of himself as a warlock and Summers’ hatred of all things occult, it does seem unlikely that they would have been close friends.

What is certain is that Summers was a regular at Richmond Library. Following his death (at home, in August)…1948 the Richmond and Twickenham Times published a column which cited one G. O. Turner, a Borough Librarian. Mr Turner told a reporter that Summers was a regular at the Richmond Library, specifically the reference department.  Montague Summers was reported to have “often … asked for rare books, which [the staff] sometimes had to obtain from other sources.” However Summers was a man who was generous with his own extensive collection of books, and believed that knowledge should be shared. It was reported that he “loaned the library copies of books printed centuries ago which were very difficult to obtain.”…

An article printed in the Richmond and Twickenham Times in the 1980s that asked if Montague Summers was a “man or monster” prompted several letters to the editor. The letters argued over his overlooked scholarly pursuits, his possible relationship with Crowley, his legitimacy in the Catholic Church, and his rumoured presence at Black Masses (almost certainly untrue) and exorcisms. Many obituaries used the word “eccentric” to describe him, and his current entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography gives what may be the most succinct summary of his life in the description of him as a “literary scholar, occultist, and eccentric.”…”

From Wikipedia:

“…An autobiography The Galanty Show was published posthumously in 1980, though much is left unrevealed about his life. His grave in Richmond Cemetery was unmarked until the late 1980s, when Sandy Robertson and Edwin Pouncey organised the Summers Project to garner donations for a gravestone. It bears his favoured phrase “tell me strange things”. Summers’s manservant Hector Stuart-Forbes is buried in the same plot.”

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