A Night at the Academy Awards

It's Oscar Night in Hollywood. And you'll find a Clutterbuck behind the scenes for one nominee, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Harry Potter and his friends, Ron and Hermione, return for their third year at Hogwarts School, where Harry learns that a dangerous escaped prisoner is searching for him. While terrifying creatures known as Dementors patrol the school, Harry and his fellow students learn to defend themselves under the tutelage of a new professor who has his own dark secret to hide.
Working with Roger Guyett, Tim Burke, John Richardson and Bill George and the Visual Effects team for this film was CGI Supervisor, Simon Clutterbuck of The Moving Picture Company (MPC). Here is Simon's filmography.

Victoria History of Gloucester

There's lots of information of interest to Clutterbuck researchers in the Victoria History of the Counties of England, which is part of the greater British History Online.

A History of the County of Gloucester in volumes V, X, and XI, covering the period from 1100-1900, is probably a good place to start. But a quick search for Clutterbuck in this tome reveals countless references to the name.

Some researchers will enjoy poking around the website, looking for snippets of information about their ancestors and people from bygone days who share their very same name. Here are a couple of excerpts that caught my attention:
Manor and other estates of Leonard Stanley

A small farm-house, later called STANLEY DOWNTON FARM, west of the road at Downton, apparently occupies the site of the house of Richard Clutterbuck of Downton, yeoman (d. 1629), (Footnote 36) and was apparently rebuilt in the 1660s by his third son, John Clutterbuck (d. 1677). (Footnote 37) By 1701 it had probably passed to John's nephew, Richard Clutterbuck of Peckstreet House, King's Stanley, who then had property in Leonard Stanley, (Footnote 38) and in 1830 Richard's descendant, John Clutterbuck of Peckstreet House (d. 1839), owned Stanley Downton Farm with 68 a. (Footnote 39) The house is of coursed rubble with a gable and some stone-mullioned windows on the west; the windows on the east were replaced in the 19th century. In the late 19th century extensive stables in variegated brick were built north of the house.
Manor and other estates of Great Stanmore

The Clutterbucks had held property in the parish at least since 1749, when a messuage was granted to Thomas Clutterbuck, a brewer. (Footnote 4) In 1762 he had acquired the Vine at the top of Stanmore Hill and in 1763, on behalf of his son Thomas, a brewery which stood a few yards farther north on the opposite, western, side of the road. (Footnote 5) Although not large landowners in Great Stanmore, the family had acquired many buildings, including the Crown in 1769, the Black Horse on a lease in 1851, and the Load of Hay in 1868, as well as many wastehold parcels. (Footnote 6) The purchaser of the manor was described as of Great Stanmore in 1844, of Red Hall (Herts.) in 1847, and of Micklefield Hall in 1851. (Footnote 7) The manor passed in 1895 to his son Thomas Meadows Clutterbuck (d. 1919) and to his grandson Captain Rupert Clutterbuck (d. 1933), both of Micklefield Hall. (Footnote 8) Many manorial rights were sold in the 1920s, including those in the common and Stanmore marsh, for which Hendon R.D.C. paid £1,000 in 1929. (Footnote 9) The last rights were extinguished by Captain Clutterbuck's widow and her co-executor, in whom the manor was vested, in 1935-6. (Footnote 10)
In the Victoria History there are also references to the significant estates of Frampton Court and Newark Park, about which we will save much more for another day on the blog.

Clutterbuck Computer Clutter Challenge

Andy was looking on the Internet for pictures of computer desks to see what kinds of environments people compute in. What did he find?
All these people proud of their sleek and stylish workspace. All these modders living their clutter-free G33k lives within their Sheng Fui'd desktops. A tidy mind is a productive mind.
He posted a picture of his own computer desk, and challenged others to come clean with photos of their own. Check out the competition for the most-cluttered computer desk as it enters Rounds 8 & 9.

If anyone should win the Clutterbuck Computer Clutter Challenge Cup, it really ought to be one of us, don't you think? You know who you are!

Blimey, Andrew Clutterbuck in Halifax, Canada, now has his own entry in the Clutterbuck Computer Clutter Challenge.

We Get Letters

It's been nice receiving email from Clutterbucks and friends around the world, commenting kindly about The Clutterbuck Blog and the new group blogs for all the countries in which we discover members of our extended family. These days, email seems to be the preferred method of sending written communications to family and friends concerning matters of mutual interest.

It was not always so, of course. Imagine what it must have been like to have to write letters, and wait weeks, sometimes months, for a reply. So it was in the 18th century, when these Clutterbuck Letters were written in archaic words and a formal style that so vividly brings us back to a time and place of our ancestors. (They were handwritten, naturally, and only transcribed and typed in 1993 when discovered at the Northumberland Record Office by Timothy Walker, of Cheshire, when he was researching his Clutterbucks.)

Many thanks to Tim for sending us digital copies of the letters so that Clutterbuck reseachers around the world can share in his discovery. In his email, with these attachments, Tim tells the story of his personal connection to these letters and his ancestors:
You know of the extra-ordinary way I found these. My ancestor is Obadiah Clutterbuck and I found him also in The Clutterbuck Book published on the Web you pointed me to. Dr Henry James Clutterbuck of Llaneffni was a friend of my grandfathers and they corresponded, both losing brothers in South Africa. James Obadiah Clutterbuck married Elizabeth Reece in 1826 and they are both descended from them.
Wonderful research there, Tim. Thanks again for sharing your story.

Clutterbuck Family & Friends Blog

Due to overwhelming demand—okay, just a little prodding from the blokes in New Zealand—we've redesigned The Clutterbuck Blog to facilitate participation by family members around the world.

For starters, we've set up weblog pages for all the countries known to harbour Clutterbucks. Of course, the United Kingdom is a good place to begin, but there's also representation in the colonies. Canada has made a good start, as has New Zealand. We're expecting lots of participation from Australia and the United States, and we know there are Clutterbucks in Ireland, Argentina, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand. We didn't forget Poland, but we haven't put up their page yet. Surely, we'll hear about it if there's a Clutterbuck there, or anywhere else we've overlooked.

Why should anyone get involved with this? There are probably as many reasons to connect with family worldwide as there are Clutterbucks. Everyone has their own good reasons. A few of our reasons have been noted here before. Hopefully, we'll hear from all kinds of Clutterbucks who'd like to get connected and participate in one aspect of this project or another.

Some people are a bit shy and might just want to quietly read along, and that's okay, too. But we'd really like to hear from you, or receive a quick email just to say hello. We're really friendly folk, you know.

Beryl Clutterbuck

One of the most amazing Clutterbucks ever was a woman who, for the tradition of taking a husband's name in marriage, we might not often remember as a Clutterbuck: Beryl Markham. Her life is the stuff of legends, books, and a movie.
Born in Leicester in 1902; died in Nairobi, Kenya, 1986. Beryl Markham, was a pioneer aviator and the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from London to Nova Scotia. She spent most of her life in Kenya, East Africa, where she was well known for her career as a bush pilot and for her success as a breeder and trainer of racehorses.

Beryl Markham (formerly Beryl Clutterbuck) was just three years old when her parents moved to Kenya. In 1923 she married a wealthy young Englishman named Mansfield Markham and moved to England and had a son, but the marriage ended and she returned to Kenya alone. Out there she was taught to fly by a big-game hunter Denys Finch Hatton and became the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's licence and embarked on a career as a bush pilot. She was famous for her record-breaking, though near fatal, solo flight from London to Nova Scotia in 1936. Markham wrote a book about her adventurous life (West with the Night) that became a best-seller and of which Ernest Hemingway said: "She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers."


Markham's father cleared land and started a farm at Njoro, about 70 miles from Nairobi, the new capital of Kenya. After trying to raise various crops, he discovered his true talent as a horse breeder and trainer. Horse racing was a popular sport and social activity among the colonists, and Markham's father began to supply horses for the Nairobi racetracks. Markham spent her childhood on the horse farm, learning to speak several African languages from the families her father employed. She also learned to hunt wild game with a spear, and her father taught her how to ride a horse. In the course of her adventurous childhood, she was attacked by a "pet" lion and once killed a deadly black mamba snake.

As a young woman, Markham started a career of her own as a horse trainer. She was so successful that one of her horses won the most prestigious racing prizes in Kenya when she was only 24. This success helped her to become one of the most socially prominent young women in Nairobi. She met a wealthy young Englishman named Mansfield Markham, whom she married in 1927. The Markhams then moved to England, where Beryl gave birth to a son, but within a short time the marriage ended, and Markham returned to Kenya alone.


Back in the colony Denys Finch Hatton, a well-known big-game hunter, took Markham flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, she decided to learn how to fly a plane herself. Shortly after she began taking lessons, Finch Hatton was killed in a crash, an event that seems to have increased Markham's determination to become an aviator. Within just a few months Markham received her pilot's license, and she then became the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license. Embarking on a career as a bush pilot, she flew alone delivering supplies, passengers, and mail to the remote, or "bush," regions of the country. Since there were no airfields in Kenya, Markham landed her plane in forest clearings or fields.


When Markham had been licensed for less than a year, she undertook a daring solo flight to England. She left Nairobi in a single-engine, 120-horsepower airplane that had no radio, no direction-finding equipment, and no speedometer. On the first day she flew northeast to Juba, a town in the Sudan, but was forced down a short distance from the airport by a storm and engine trouble. The next day she flew to Malakal on the Nile River. She tried to reach Khartoum, the capital city of the Sudan, on the following day but made it only halfway before the plane's engine failed. Landing in the desert, she repaired the engine as best she could. Local people helped her push the plane to harder sand, where she took off again and made it to a nearby airfield. The next morning Markham flew on to Khartoum, but the engine died twice along the way. In Khartoum it was discovered that the engine had a cracked piston ring. She was unable to get spare parts there, so she flew on to Atbara, where she replaced the piston.

When the engine continued to malfunction, Markham was forced to land outside Cairo, Egypt, in the middle of a dust storm that was so severe she could not see the ground as she was landing. After the British Royal Air Force repaired the engine for her, she flew on across the Mediterranean Sea, wearing an inner tube around her neck as a lifesaving device. Although bad weather plagued her flight across Europe, she finally landed safely in London. Her flight from Kenya had taken 23 days.


After years of bush flying in Kenya and locating big game by air for safaris, Markham returned to England, where she hoped to win one of the big prizes that were being offered for record-breaking achievements in aviation. She had originally thought of competing in a race to South Africa with a former flying instructor, Tom Campbell Black, but decided instead to try for the prize of flying solo from London to New York. Such a flight had never been accomplished because it meant flying against the prevailing winds. In the Northern Hemisphere the jet stream travels from west to east.

When Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic, he had the wind pushing him on. Other aviators had attempted to make the flight from east to west but had fallen short of the mark. In 1932 Jim Mollison had flown from Ireland to eastern Canada; in 1934 John Grierson had flown the whole distance, but his trip took six weeks because he made four stops along the way.

Markham's aim was to fly nonstop from London to New York in order to show that commercial air service between the two cities was possible. For the trip she borrowed an airplane - a single-engine Vega Gull with a 200-horsepower engine - that could fly up to 163 miles per hour and that was fitted with extra tanks so it could travel 3,800 miles without refueling. The plane had no radio equipment, however, so contact with Markham would be impossible once she took off. Markham left London at 8:00 P.M. on September 4, 1936, facing a strong head wind, low clouds, and blustery weather. She was seen over Ireland at 10:25 P.M. ; at 2:00 the next afternoon she was spotted by a ship in the Atlantic; and at 4:35 P.M. she was reported to be flying over the tip of Newfoundland, the easternmost part of North America. Then she disappeared.


A telephone call from a small town in Nova Scotia finally brought news of the aviator. She had survived her trip, but the plane had crash-landed in a peat bog. With the nose of the plane stuck in the mud, she had climbed out and greeted two fishermen by saying, "I'm Mrs. Markham. I've just flown from England."

Her flight across the Atlantic had almost ended in tragedy when the fuel line to one of the plane's tanks froze, causing the engine to fail and the plane to fall toward the ocean. Just before Markham reached the sea, the line warmed up and the gasoline started to flow again, allowing her to pull the plane up to safety. It was another frozen fuel line that caused her to crash in Nova Scotia.

Disappointed that she had not managed to fly all the way to New York City, Markham was afraid the flight would be considered a failure. In fact, news services carried the report throughout the world, and she was hailed as a heroine. In Nova Scotia a U.S. Coast Guard plane met her, and she co-piloted it to New York, where she met Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and rode in a motorcade through the city. Markham returned to England to find she had become a celebrity. She lived there for the next few years but did not take up flying again. Although she talked about entering another of the great air races, her interest seems to have faded after her friend Campbell Black was killed in the race to South Africa.


In 1939 Markham moved to the United States. For some time there were plans to make a movie about her famous flight across the Atlantic. While the film was never made, she received an offer to write about her experiences. Her book, West with the Night, was published in 1942 and was favorably received. After reading it, the American writer Ernest Hemingway said, "She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers." Appearing on 13 best-seller lists after it was published, West with the Night tells the story of Markham's childhood in Kenya, her unconventional career as a bush pilot, and her pioneering transatlantic flight. Eventually sales began to decline, and the book was forgotten.

For a number of years Markham lived in California, where she remarried and ran an avocado ranch. In 1952 she returned to Kenya and took up the career she had started thirty years before raising and training horses. From 1958 to 1972 she was the most successful trainer in Kenya, winning all of the major racing prizes and becoming a local legend. During Markham's final years she once again become a well-known personality. West with the Night was republished, becoming a best-seller, and she was the subject of a television documentary. She died in Kenya in 1986 at the age of 84.


According to The Lives of Beryl Markham, a biography by Errol Trzebinski (Norton, 1993), Markham did not write West with the Night. The real author was her third husband, Raoul Schumacher, who was a writer and journalist. Trzebinski interviewed friends of Markham who said that when the book was published they assumed she had not written it. She never showed any interest in writing, they say, and she did not even like to read; in fact, she began writing the book only after she met Schumacher.

Markham's friends recall Schumacher and Markham saying they were writing the book together; much of the manuscript, which Markham kept all her life, was in her husband's handwriting. Further proof is the book itself. It contains literary references that only Schumacher could have made and inaccurate descriptions of flying that Markham would not have put in her narrative.

Why, then, did Markham not tell the truth? Her friends think she may have intended to reveal Schumacher as the actual author, and that might explain why she kept the manuscript. Moreover, she may have been so caught up in the book's success when it was published that she could find no graceful way to say she had not written it. As many people have commented, however, the question of who actually wrote West with the Night may be irrelevant, since the book continues to be a classic account of growing up in Kenya.
This biographical note can be found in the "who's who" of her birthplace in Leicester, England, which takes this research from: Women in World History U·X·L® Biographies, U·X·L, 1996.

John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, briefly tells the romantic tale in an audio clip:
She grew up on a Kenya farm, learned to hunt with African boys, and was once mauled by a lion. Her schooling was minimal. She took up horse training in her late teens and flying in her late 20s. By then the beautiful Markham had married twice, mothered a son (whose father may've been the Duke of Gloucester), and was woven into the decadent, upper-class, expatriate English life of pre-war Africa. She was a friend of Isak Dinesen (played by Meryl Streep in the movie Out of Africa.) But the friendship suffered when Markham took up with the real-life Robert Redford character.
There are several good books about Beryl Markham, including her own West with the Night.

Sir Peter Alexander Clutterbuck

Sir Alexander was educated at Malvern College and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He served with the Coldstream Guards in the First World War, was awarded the Military Cross and mentioned in despatches.

He then entered the Civil Service and served in the Colonial Office from 1922 to 1928, during which time he visited Ceylon.

Sir Alexander then moved to the Dominions Office and was a member of the United Kingdom Delegation to League of Nations Assembly, 1929, 1930 and 1931. He was Secretary to the Newfoundland Royal Commission and visited Canada and Newfoundland in 1933. He paid a further visit to Newfoundland in 1938.

In 1939 Sir Alexander was appointed Deputy High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in the Union of South Africa.

In 1942 he was appointed Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, when he again visited Canada and Newfoundland, with the then Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Atlee. In 1946 he was appointed High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in Canada, and served in that capacity until 1952. He was greatly involved in the diplomatic processes that resulted in Newfoundland joining Canada, as the tenth Province.

On November 25th, 1948, Sir Alexander gave an address to the Empire Club in Toronto, closing with remarks that ring as true today.
One of the things that gives me greatest encouragement at this time is the way in which good comes out of evil. And it is coming out. We are seeing formed before our eyes a great new unity of purpose, a new brotherhood, if you like, which sees itself manifested not only in the Commonwealth--and our relations in the Commonwealth have never been closer than today--but which embraces also that great neighbour to the south of us. It reminds me of the words of Mr. Winston Churchill, in one of his great speeches in the war. You will remember his remarking of the United States how increasingly we were mixed up together in our affairs, "It is a process", he said, "which, like the Mississippi, just keeps rolling on and nothing in this world is going to stop it". I think in that great unity and closer brotherhood lies our greatest safeguard for maintaining peace in the world, and our greatest guarantee we shall together enter that new age to which I have referred.
He received an honourary Doctor of Laws degree in 1951, at convocation of the University of British Columbia, and it was noted:
In a tense and troubled period Sir Alexander has brought to the duties of a most responsible position a sensitive and virile appreciation of those traditions of public service, in peace and in war, which we have inherited from the United Kingdom and which we are proud to share with the British Commonwealth of Nations, with the United States of America and with all nations that cherish freedom. I now present to you, Sir, for the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, a man who as soldier, public servant, and statesman has ordered his life in the spirit of those whose devotion we honour today. Sir Peter Alexander Clutterbuck.
A career diplomat, Sir Alexander went on to serve as the British Ambassador to Ireland from 1955-1959. At that time he was painted by Henry R. Craig in his work titled The Dublin Drawing Room.