Family histories

For completeness' sake Muriel and her two husbands are listed. However it would be somewhat impertinent for me to write Ernest Butcher's family history, so his section consists of some comments and links.

A disclaimer: I have not re-researched anything on this page. It is the truth as I perceive it, but if you find anything on this page which doesn't match the "facts" as you know them, tough shit!

Muriel George

Muriel's father, Robert George, taught singing at the Royal Academy of Music. Her mother was one of his pupils. Muriel herself was brought up to be a singer and made her debut in 1899, at the tender age of 16, at "The Palace" in Shaftesbury Avenue as the newest member of "The Follies". After about a year of touring with the Follies she left The Follies and joined "The Yashmaks", whose Pierrot was Arthur Davenport. Three months later, in 1900, she married Arthur. (It was almost inevitable that she would meet Arthur Davenport, at some point, given the RAM connection). John Davenport, our father, was born in 1908. Muriel divorced Arthur shortly afterwards, and John and Arthur didn't meet until John was 16.

For more, you will have to wait until I have written a (really short) bio for Muriel at her bio page.

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Arthur Davenport

Arthur's branch of the Davenport family (the Bramhall Davenports) stems from the progenitor of all Davenports, Orm Davenport, who pops up in Domesday Book (1086) as a Cheshire landowner. No-one knows exactly what Orm's origins were, but the name is more Norse than Saxon, so he may have been descended from either an Anglo-Danish family or from an Anglo-Irish-Scandinavian family. Or he may have been a Norman. He was aristocratic enough to marry the daughter of the Earl of Chester, my namesake Hugo (the Bold), who was killed by King Magnus Barefoot, in a battle on the Wirral, in 1103. Just to make matters more confusing, Magnus killed another earl called Hugo, Earl Hugo of Shropshire (the Fat) in the same battle.

By the late 19th century Arthur's father, Francis, was living at Salisbury Hall, Shenley, Herts where the family lived from 1884 to 1905. (Salisbury Hall's next tenant was Jenny Churchill, Winston Churchill's American mother). In 1905 they moved to Angmering in Sussex. Francis was a Professor of Harmony at the Royal Academy of Music from 1891 until his death. He wrote a book, "Elements of Music", published under the auspices of the RAM, in 1891; it may be surmised that this was his professorial thesis. Francis' father-in-law was Sir George Alexander Macfarren (b. 2 March 1813, d. October 1887). In 1829, at the age of sixteen, he entered the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied composition under Cipriani Potter, and he became the Principal in 1876. His father, George Macfarren (1788 - 1843) was a playwright, and a friend of Sheridan's.

Because of Natalia Macfarren's German connections Arthur was sent to Heidelburg instead of Cambridge. He hated Heidelburg. Francis hated Heidelburg too, because they demanded proof of 32 quarterings before they would admit Arthur. In a fit of fury he paid the College of Heralds to provide proof of 64 quarterings, and Arthur was duly admitted.

Arthur became a songwriter and met Muriel in 1899, marrying her in 1900. They were divorced in 1908.

In 1914 he enlisted, because he could kill as many Germans as he wanted without being hung for it. He got shot and gassed, but survived to become an author and broadcaster on BBC Radio.

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Ernest Butcher (b. 7 April 1885, d. June 1965 )

I know almost nothing about Ernest Butcher ("Butch") other than that he was born in Burnley, England, UK.

My father detested Ernest Butcher, so I'm somwhat predjudiced against him even though I never met him. However, to show that I'm not a total shit here are some links ...

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