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Godfrey Elton, first Baron Elton of Headington (1892–1973)

Baron Elton

Godfrey Elton, first Baron Elton of Headington was born at Sherington rectory in Newport Pagnell on 29 March 1892.

He was the eldest child of Edward Fiennes Elton (born in Wheatley) and Violet Hylda Fletcher (the daughter of the Revd Carteret John Halford Fletcher, Rector of Carfax Church, Oxford).

By 1893/4 Elton’s family had moved to Crowthorne in Berkshire, where his siblings Angela and Herbert were born.

The 1901 census shows the family living near Crowthorne Church, with a cook and a nurse. By 1911, his father was a teacher at Wellington College.

Elton obtained a first in classical honour moderations at Balliol College in 1913, and then went on to read History. He never took his finals, however, as in 1914 he was commissioned into the 4th Hampshire regiment and served in Mesopotamia.

In 1919 Elton was elected to a fellowship in Modern History at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

Around this time Elton joined the Labour Party, but failed to get elected as an MP for Thornbury in Gloucestershire.

In 1921 Godfrey Elton married Dedi Hartmann, the daughter of Gustav Hartmann of Oslo, and they had three children:

  • Audrey Hartmann (born in Oxford in 1922)
  • Rosemary Hartmann (born in Oxford in 1925)
  • Rodney Elton (born in Headington on 2 March 1930)

In 1928 the Elton family came to live at Greenways at 40 Osler Road (then called Manor Road).

He was a strong admirer of the prime minister Ramsay MacDonald, and in 1934 he was created Baron Elton of Headington. He moved away from Osler Road in about 1946.

Lord Elton died at the Dower House in Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire on 18 April 1973. His son Rodney succeeded him as the second Baron Elton of Headington.

There is a much fuller entry on Baron Elton in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
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Wikipedia: Godfrey Elton

© Stephanie Jenkins

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