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The Lamentable Affair of Easton Grey


While researching the life of the eccentric landlord of the Kings Arms this reference to ‘the lamentable affair of Easton Grey’ came to light.  No reference could be found as to what ‘the affair’ could have been but examination of a number of possibilities resulted in one probable answer.


Asquith was Home Secretary in 1892, Chancellor in 1905 and Prime Minister in 1908 and m
arried his second wife, Margot, in 1894. Her sister was Lucy who was married to Thomas Graham-Smith who had inherited Easton Grey House and Prime Minister Asquith  enjoyed his frequent stays at the house.


Possibilities

Asquith was anti-suffragette and was confronted by protesters on more than one occasion including while playing golf near Easton Grey. They was also a board game, ‘Pank-a-Squith’ produced depicting the difficulties for suffragettes to reach 10 Downing Street!

Asquith ‘liked a drink’ to the extent that he was known as ‘squiffy’. He also had a reputation among women to the extent that some refused to be alone with him.

He formed a very close ‘relationship’ with Venetia Stanley and wrote her 560 letters, many from Downing Street and including comments on state business. Churchill described this as a security liability. 

Two employees/visitors to Easton Grey had Germanic roots and were under suspicion for anti-British activities.

Probability

In 1908 Asquith’s brother-in-law, Thomas Graham-Smith, died of his burn injuries when he fell while carrying a lighted candle (probably drunk) and set his clothes on fire. Asquith attended the inquest at Easton Grey.

Conclusion

Given the date of Harry Jones death (1912) some possibilities can be ruled out, others may not have elicited such a letter from Jones, but the death of his brother-in-law and his attendance at the inquest would seem to fit Harry Jones style.