Jones family history

Colin Jones (1909-1983) (uncle)

Colin, second son, was born on 21 June 1909.   He also went to Jesus College, Cambridge.   He became the National Trust agent for the west of England, initially stationed in Worksop, but he moved the office to the other end of the patch, to be closer to home in Weston under Penyard, Herefordshire.   When his cousin Tommy wanted to move from Langstone, after Louisa Jones had died in 1952, Colin bought the house and five meadows in front of it: “ALL THAT messuage and land known as Langstone Court situate in the Parish of Llangarren in the County of Hereford containing 39.334 acres or thereabouts” etc, by a conveyance dated 30 January 1954, for £5,500.

He moved into Langstone on 2 February 1954 with his mother Helen.   His diary says: “Moved to Langstone – first van.   Snow on the ground and freezing all day as well as at night.   Saving grace was that it was dry over head and so frozen on the ground that dirt was not carried into house”.

A history of The National Trust and its Benefactors says: “If Mrs Heelis's idea of a Land Agent was something of a caricature, several of the Trust's agents seemed determined to conform to the stereotype.   Some rode to hounds regularly, most shot with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and others – the younger sons of landed families – managed their own farms.   Colin Jones, who had an empire stretching from Bristol to Manchester, was often absent from National Trust activities for much of July and August, because he was harvesting.   His area was misleadingly designated the Severn Region.” i   He also kept Herefordshire cattle, which were his pride and joy: also daily hard work.

As indicated on the History and Architecture pages, he did some major work to prevent the collapse of the house.   He sought Government grants to help but didn't have the necessary matching funding.   He was also very averse to allowing public access to the house despite, or perhaps because of, his work for the National Trust.   He wanted to keep Langstone as he found it and wouldn't move furniture or carpets around.

He died on 25 November 1983 and his ashes were buried in his mother's grave at Llangarron.   He left Langstone to my father and through him to me.   His will dated 24 December 1982 says: “AND I EXPRESS THE DESIRE but without imposing any trust or legal obligation that my said brother will not sell my property known as Langstone Court and my farmland adjoining but will retain it in his possession and in due course pass it to his son RICHARD JONES of Eccleston Paddocks aforesaid” etc.   My father sometimes joked that he was my caretaker.

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     i     Waterson, M., A Noble Thing: The National Trust and its Benefactors, Scala Publishers Ltd, London, 2011, page 70  (return to text)