First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Hugh Nares DAVENPORT (1886–1918)

Some of this information is repeated under the entry for Hugh’s brother Leonard Davenport, who also died in the war

Hugh Davenport

Hugh Nares Davenport was born in Davenport House at the top of Headington Hill on 18 February 1886, the fourth son of Thomas Marriott Davenport (born in St Peter-in-the East parish, Oxford in 1841) and Emily Jemima Clutterbuck (born in Watford in 1850 and baptised at Long Wittenham near Abingdon on 8 December).

Leonard’s father was a solicitor and Clerk to Oxfordshire County Council and the son of John Marriott Davenport, and his mother was the youngest daughter of James Clutterbuck, the Vicar of Long Wittenham, and his wife Louisa.

On 23 August 1877 at Long Wittenham Church, Hugh's parents Thomas Marriott Davenport (35) and Emily Jemima Clutterbuck (26) were married. They had twelve children:

  • Henry Reginald Davenport (born at 12 Canterbury Road, Oxford in 1878 and baptised at Long Wittenham on 23 August); died aged 20 in 1900 and buried at Headington Cemetery on 13 January
  • Lucy Catherine Davenport (born at 12 Canterbury Road, Oxford on 10 November 1879 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 2 January 1880)
  • Gilbert Capell Davenport (born at 12 Canterbury Road, Oxford on 17 April 1881 and baptised at SS Philip & James Church on 22 May)
  • Robert Clutterbuck Davenport (born at Long Wittenham on 13 April 1882 and baptised there on 7 May)
  • Violet Louisa Davenport (born at Davenport House, Headington on 17 May 1883 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 24 June);
    died aged ten in 1894 and buried at Headington Cemetery on 29 January
  • Norah Emily Davenport (born at Davenport House, Headington on 6 October 1884 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 14 December)
  • Hugh Nares Davenport (born at Davenport House on 18 February 1886 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 11 April)
  • Evelyn Mary Davenport (born at Davenport House on 29 March 1887 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 30 April)
  • Leonard Marriott Davenport (born at Davenport House, Headington on 8 April 1889 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 9 May)
  • James Salter Davenport (born at Davenport House, Headington on 8 July 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 12 August)
  • Cecil Thornhill Davenport (born at Davenport House, Headington on 3 February 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 10 March)
  • Rachel Margaret Davenport (born at Davenport House, Headington on 15 April 1895 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 27 May).

When they were first married, Hugh’s parents lived at 12 Canterbury Road in North Oxford.

Davenport House

In 1881 Hugh’s father Thomas Marriott Davenoport succeeded his own father (John Marriott Davenport) as Clerk of the Peace for Oxford, and in 1882 he moved with his family into Davenport House (right) at the top of Headington Hill, which had been formerly occupied by his brother.

The lands attached to the house stretched eastwards from Pullen's Lane as far as the White Horse pub.

At the time of the 1891 census Hugh’s parents were away from home at the Beach Mansions Hotel, South Parade, Portsea with Gilbert (9) and Robert (8). Five of their younger children, including five-year-old Hugh, were left at Davenport House with the family’s seven servants (a nurse, cook, parlour maid, house maid, kitchen maid, under nurse, and nursery maid); while Louisa (11) was staying at Long Wittenham with her widowed grandmother Louisa Clutterbuck (82).

Hugh's eldest brother Henry Reginald Davenport died of typhoid at the age of 21 at the Acland Home in Oxford and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 13 January 1900.

At the time of the 1901 census Hugh (15) was boarding at Marlborough College. Two of his other siblings were at boarding school: Norah (16) was at Cheltenham Ladies College and Leonard (11) was Lockers Park School in Hemel Hempstead. Two of his brothers were in employment: Robert (18) was a midshipman at sea on the Niobe, and Gilbert (19) was a trainee land agent lodging at South Damerham, Hampshire. Hugh’s parents were still at Davenport House with their other five children and six servants.

Hugh went on from Marlborough to the University of Oxford, matriculating from Oriel College on 21 October 1904. He passed Responsions (the preliminary examinations for entry) in Hilary Term 1904 and compulsory examinations in Latin and Greek in Hilary Term 1905 and Holy Scripture in Michaelmas Term 1905. In the Final Pass School, in Trinity Term 1907 he passed examinations in the following groups: A1 (for which two books, either both Greek, or one Greek and one Latin, were studied); and in Michaelmas Term 1907 B3 (the Elements of Political Economy), and B4 (a branch of Legal Study). He was awarded his B.A. at a degree ceremony on 23 January 1908.

At the time of the 1911 census Hugh Davenport (25) was a law student, living at home with his parents in Davenport House. Also at home were his sisters Lucy (31), Norah (26), and Evelyn (24), and his brother Cecil (19), who was an Oxford undergraduate. His brother Gilbert (29) was a land agent near Salisbury (with a pupil of his own and two servants); Robert (28) was a naval lieutenant on the Blanche; and Leonard (21) and James (20) were probably abroad. His youngest sister Rachel (15) was boarding at St Winifred’s School, Eastbourne. None of the children was yet married.

Hugh Davenport (who was a Freemason: Churchill Lodge No. 478) was admitted as a solicitor in July 1911, and was a member of Davenport & Rose, County Hall, New Road. He was Deputy Clerk of the Peace, Deputy Clerk to the County Council for Oxfordshire, and Under-Sheriff of the County.

From 1914 to 1915 Davenport was Honorary Secretary of the British Workman in Old High Street, and when he went to war, his sister Evelyn took over the job.

By 1915 all six surviving Davenport sons were serving as officers in the First World War. Hugh Davenport’s parents were spared from seeing two of their sons killed, as his father Thomas Davenport died at Davenport House in 1913 and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 1 September, and his mother Emily died at the Acland Home in 1915 and was buried with her husband on 17 August. Hugh was bequeathed all his father’s books, pamphlets, and engravings relating to Oxfordshire.

Hugh’s eldest sister, Lucy Davenport, continued to live in Davenport House until in 1920 she sold it with all its land to Headington School.

Poppy Hugh Nares Davenport volunteered at the earliest opportunity to fight In the First World War, commencing service on 14 September 1914 and serving in France from 1915 to 1918. Despite having no previous military service, he went straight in as a Captain in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and was wounded in mid-1916. He went back to fight and was rapidly promoted: he next served as a Major in the 2nd/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Military Cross.

He was shot through the head in France at the age of 32. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission he died on 24 March 1918; but the Oxford Chronicle on 5 April 1918 reported that the War Office believed that he was a prisoner, and his probate record stated that he died “on or since” 26 March 1918.

In any event, his body was found, and he was buried at the Ham British Cemetery at Muille Villette (I. B. 1). His war grave there has the added words “FOURTH SON OF THOMAS M. DAVENPORT OF HEADINGTON HILL, OXFORD”. (Only 40% of war headstones bear an inscription such as this near their base: the main inscription was free, but families had to pay 3½d per letter for a personal message.)

As well as being remembered on the roll of honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield, Hugh Nares Davenport is remembered on the memorial plaque in County Hall of Oxfordshire County Council:

Davenport on county council war memorial

and here on the war memorial board in Oriel College (with 1904 being his matriculation date):

Hugh Davenport’s name on Oriel College Roll of Honour

Administration was granted in London to his eldest sister, Lucy Catherine Davenport, on 9 May 1919. and he left £6,297 4s. 10d.

The books, pamphlets, and engravings relating to Oxfordshire that Hugh had inherited from his father were given to Oxfordshire County Council. They now form the Davenport Library at the Oxfordshire History Centre in Cowley.

Hugh’s younger brother Leonard Marriott Davenport had also died in the First World War, at the age 27 on 6 September 1916. His other four brothers served and survived: his older brother Gilbert Capell Davenport was with the 7th Hampshire Regiment from 1914 in India; and by 1916 his youngest brother Cecil was a Second Lieutenant in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.


All Saints' board

Hugh’s surviving siblings
  • Lucy Catherine Davenport (born 1879) is the “Miss Davenport” listed at Davenport House in directories from 1916 to 1919; then in 1920 the she sold the whole estate to Headington School. She was living at Milton near Steventon in Berkshire when she applied for Hugh's medals on 16 October 1921. She later became a Justice of the Peace and died in the Abingdon registration district on 23 February 1965 at the age of 85. She was buried in Headington Cemetery with her siblings who had died back in 1894 and 1900. No mention is made on the grave of her two brothers who died in the First World War and were buried overseas.
  • Gilbert Capell Davenport (born 1881) was a Land Agent. On 21st  June 1921 at Damerham near Salisbury he married Mrs Dorothy Fyffe Purcell née Fyffe Souter, widow of Major R.G. Purcell, M.C., R.G.A., and they had two children: Hugh C. Davenport (reg. Fordingbridge third quarter of 1922) and Dorothy M. Davenport (reg. fourth quarter of 1928). He came back to Oxford in the mid-1920s to open the Oxford office of Carter Jonas, and from 1936 he lived in Headington again, at Quarry House in Quarry Road. Gilbert Capell Davenport died at that address on 20 August 1946, and his wife was his executor.
  • Robert Clutterbuck Davenport (born 1882), who joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman at the age of 15, rose to be a Vice-Admiral. He married Mrs Gwladys Mabel Halahan (née Gwatkin-Williams, the widow of Robert Crosby Halahan) on 2 October 1917 at Stebbington, Hampshire, England, and they had just one son, Dudley Leslie Davenport (1919–1990), who became a Rear Admiral. Robert Clutterbuck Davenport died on 15 June 1965. See Who Was Who for both father and son.
  • Nora Emily Davenport (born 1884) became a technical illustrator and lived in London. She died on 23 March 1963 in Abingdon.
  • Evelyn Mary Davenport (born 1887) died at Bognor Regis on 21 February 1971.
  • Hugh Nares Davenport (born 1889) also died in the First World War: see separate page
  • James Salter Davenport (born 1890) was a professional soldier, and rose to be a Brigadier. He died in Wellingborough on 3 April 1954.
  • Cecil Thornhill Davenport (born 1892) became a District Commissioner in Kenya. He married Margaret Scott Pearson in Kenya on 12 July 1938. He died at 97 Barnham Road, Bognor Regis on 2 March 1975.
  • Rachel Margaret Davenport (born 1895) became a professional entomologist. She died in Reading on 10 July 1958.

See also

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website