Commander Ralph Neville was one of several English naval officers living in Bay St. George, Newfoundland in the early 1900s. They shared a love of salmon fishing (see Part 1). He bought land at Dump Pool near Black Duck. It adjoined properties on Harry’s Brook owned by Antarctica explorers Captain Victor Campbell and Commander Frank Bickerton.
Ralph had commanded destroyers in World War I. He was promoted to Commander in 1922 and retired soon after. His father was Admiral Sir George Neville and his mother was Fairlie Florence Lloyd-Jones. He was born in 1887 in Somerset, England. In 1936 he died in Newfoundland.
In 1918 Ralph married Lettice Cary, daughter of Lt.-Col. Byron Plantegenet Cary, 12th Viscount Falkland. They had two children, Monica and Richard. After his father’s death in 1923, Ralph became heir to his uncle’s estate. His father’s elder brother Robert Neville-Grenville owned Butleigh Court in Somerset.
Neville of Dump Pool
So a family, and prospects, in England. And time and money to visit friends and go fishing in Newfoundland. In 1932 Ralph went to a dinner party hosted by another English ex-pat living in Barachois Brook, south of Black Duck. There he met the daughter of the hosts, Commander Cornelius Carter RN and wife Ida. Marjorie Carter was 19 years old and had just returned from finishing school in England. Despite the 26 year age gap, and his wife and children in England, they fell in love.
Marjorie moved into Ralph’s house at Dump Pool and they spent four years together there. Their daughter Nadage was born in December 1935. That same year, his wife Lettice in England divorced him. But the fairy-tale, or scandalous, romance at Dump Pool did not last long. The next summer, Ralph caught pneumonia and died in August 1936.
Ralph’s mother and a cousin sailed to Newfoundland for his burial at Corner Brook. Marjorie, with her baby daughter, returned to her parents’ home in Barachois Brook.
In the 1935 census, only one household is recorded in Dump Pool: Ralph, Marjorie and a domestic servant. In 1945, there are two households: those of William Barry and of Richard Barry.
The Nevilles of Dump Pool were no more. Within almost those same years, neither were the Nevilles of Butleigh Court. A month after Ralph’s death, the family was dealing with the estate at Butleigh. Uncle Robert Neville-Grenville died in September 1936 and Butleigh Court passed to Ralph’s 14 year old son Richard. The executors began selling off stock and leasing estate lands. Household goods – furniture, silver, books and paintings – were auctioned off. When Richard came of age, he continued selling goods piecemeal, including a family portrait by Gainsborough, then sold the entire estate in 1947. In 1980, he died. His sister Monica had died in 1969 at the age of 49. (See Ralph Neville 1a2A for details of what was sold.)
Another British officer
Back in Barachois Brook, Marjorie met another British officer. Major George Donald Grant-Suttie was retired from the Royal Highland Regiment, a veteran of the Boer War and World War I. He was recently widowed and had no children. Born in 1877, he was three years older than Marjorie’s father. He had emigrated to Canada after World War II. He was cousin, and heir, of Sir George Grant-Suttie, 7th Baronet of Balgone in Scotland.
Marjorie and Donald married on June 27, 1937. They lived in Newfoundland, presumably in Bay St. George. Their first child was George Philip, born in December 1938. A daughter, Ann, was born in June 1940. Just five months after her birth, Donald Grant-Suttie died at the age of 63. Marjorie, now with three children, was widowed at 27 years old.
A US Army officer
While Marjorie’s marriage to Major Grant-Suttie had been approved or even maybe arranged by her family, her next marriage was not. In 1944 she married Paul “Tom” Underhill, a Lieutenant in the US Army. They left Newfoundland for the mainland, with Marjorie’s two younger children and maybe all three. Over the next few years they had another four children, at least one of whom was born in Montreal.
By the late 1940s, Underhill had left Marjorie, and she and her children somehow came to live in Sussex, New Brunswick.
The Laird from Sussex NB
Philip, son of Marjorie and Donald Grant-Suttie became heir to the Balgone estate in Scotland when his father died in 1940. His father’s cousin Sir James Grant-Suttie, 7th Baronet, died on May 19, 1947. Philip was eight years old. The estate was managed by executors until he came of age. Unlike the executors of the Nevillle-Granville estate, they kept it intact.
Philip remained in Canada, visiting Scotland once in 1954 to see his inheritance. He didn’t tell his friends about his future, but he factored it into his plans. After finishing high school in Sussex, he graduated from agriculture school at McGill University in Montreal.
In 1959, he moved to Balgone in East Lothian. Two elderly aunts were living in the main house. So he moved into a smaller house and worked on rebuilding the estate lands and farms. After the aunts died, he sold Balgone House. His focus remained on the cattle, farming and forestry.
In 1962 he married Elspeth Urquhart. They had one son, now 9th Baronet. They divorced in 1969. Sir Philip enjoyed a good life on his estate, at work and play. He returned to Sussex to visit friends regularly. They also visited him in Scotland, getting a glimpse of a totally different world of dinner parties, shooting weekends and rich-people travel. Philip died after hip surgery on November 7, 1997. He was 58 years old.
Philip’s mother Marjorie died two months later, on January 7, 1998. His younger sister Joyce Underhill Jewett died in 2011 in New Brunswick. Nadage, his elder sister, died in 2014 in Halifax. She was a registered nurse and had been married to Dr. William Howard McConnell, a law professor at the University of Saskatchewan. To my knowledge, his other siblings are living.
Many on-line sources helped me piece together the story of Marjorie Carter, Ralph Neville, Donald Grant-Suttie and their families. Here are some of them.
- Sir Philip Grant-Suttie’s story is told in a February 1998 Saint John Telegraph Journal article. Part 2 tells the story of his mother Marjorie Carter.
- Philip’s life in NB and Scotland is described n Diakiw’s Digest.
- Stravaiging around Scotland has more on the history of Balgone House.
- “A love affair” is a pdf about Marjorie Carter and Ralph Neville. The main site at Butleigh.org has much more history of the Neville family and estate.
- Ralph Neville’s genealogical information (#23322) is on The Peerage website, as is information on Donald Grant-Suttie and Marjorie Carter (#31037).