The Soltau Family

George William Culme (Soltau) Soltau-Symons

Birth: 29 May 1831, in Plympton St Mary, Devon, England

Father: George William Soltau

Mother: Frances Goddard (Culme) Soltau

Education: Winchester and Christ Church Oxford, where he matriculated on May 23rd 1850
Winchester commoners. 1836-1890 p32:
SOLTAU, GEORGE WILLIAM CULME, born 29th May 1831, eldest son of George William Soltau, Esq., Efford, Plymouth, assumed the name of Symons by Royal License 1845
  Christ Church Oxon. 1850; J.P. and D.L. Devon, High Sheriff 1875. m. 1, 1859 Hon. Adle Isabella, second d. 3rd Baron Graves; 2, 1875 Mary Elizabeth Coventry, ne Todd

Married (1st): Hon. Adle Isabella Graves on 15 December 1859, in St Germans district, Cornwall, England. Adle was born on 4 December 1835, in Paris, France, the second daughter of Lord William Thomas, the third Baron Graves. She died on 27 December 1869 in Plympton St Mary district, Devon, aged 34.

Married (2nd): Mary Elizabeth (Todd) Coventry on 12 January 1875 in Blandford district, Dorset, England

Occupation: George was commissioned as First Lieutenant in the Royal Cornwall and Devon Miners Regiment of Militia on 11 January 1854 (London Gazette 13 January 1854 p111), and made Captain in 28 July 1854 (London Gazette 1 August 1854 p2359). He commanded the Devon Company for two years while they were quartered at Pendennis Castle, Falmouth. He was J.P. and appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Devon, succeeding his father, on 14 April 1857 (London Gazette 15 May 1857 p1735). George was first nominated (but not appointed) for Sheriff for Devonshire in 1869 (London Gazette 13 November 1869 p6105), and finally appointed High Sherriff of Devonshire in 1875 (London Gazette 4 February 1875 p449).

George changed his last name to Soltau-Symons by Royal Licence in 1845, and adopted the Symons arms, following the death of his great-uncle, Colonel William Symons, of Chaddlewood, in the parish of Plympton St Mary, with whom he was living.
(London Gazette 2 May 1845 p1324)
          Whitehall, May 1, 1845.
The Queen has been pleased to grant unto George-William Soltau, of Plymouth, in the county of Devon, Esq. on behalf of his eldest son, George-William-Culme Soltau, a minor, Her royal licence and authority, that he and his issue may, in compliance with a request contained in the last will and testament of his maternal great uncle, William Symons, late of Chaddlewood, in the county of Devon, Esq. deceased, as well as from motives of affectionate respect to his memory, henceforth assume and take the surname, of Symons, in addition to and after that of Soltau, and also bear the arms of Symons quarterly, in the first quarter; with those of Soltau; such arms being first duly exemplified according to the laws of arms, and recorded in the Heralds' Office, otherwise the said royal licence and permission to be void and of none effect:
  And also to command, that the said royal concession and declaration be registered in Her Majesty's College of Arms.

Upon leaving Oxford in February 1853, Mr Soltau-Symons, in company with Mr Charles Bere, also of Christ Church, Oxford, entered upon a journey to St Petersburg and Moscow, where they stayed for several weeks before continuing to Warsaw and Vienna to Constantinople.  On May 28th 1853 they left the latter place for Odessa, where they were kept in quarantine for a few days before being escorted to the Customs House for their papers and luggage to be examined.  Unfortunately for Mr Soltau-Symons, the Russians were on the look-out for a Polish gentleman by the name of Soltan.  As the names were so similar and a description of this person had not been circulated, the police at Odessa arrested Mr Soltau-Symons instead.  He was detained, sometimes with a guard and sometimes without, until July 12th, when the pair returned to Constantinople.  They eventually returned to England where they were given a full apology by the Russian Ambassador.

For some fifty years Mr Soltau-Symons took a keen interest in agriculture and politics.  He was a founder member of the Devon and Cornwall Chamber of Agriculture and frequently its president and chairman.  He attended the preliminary meetings of the Devon County Agricultural Association, when it was formed by the amalgamation of the South Devon Agricultural Society, of Totnes, and the Agricultural Association, at Exeter.  The two separate bodies argued over which of them should provide the first secretary and Mr Soltau-Symons satisfactorily arbitrated.  He was also one of the founder members of the West of England Fat Stock Society.

His first appearance in politics was in the hustings at Plymouth in 1847.  Many years later, in 1868, he was asked to stand as the Liberal candidate for the South Devon Division, to which he agreed.  But a few days later he received a letter from Lord Russell expressing the wish that his son, Lord Amberley, should be the candidate and Mr Soltau-Symons withdrew.  However, he considered that Lord Amberley was a poor candidate and that the Liberal Part had spent so much time and effort on the campaign in Plymouth to the detriment of South Devon and Lord Amberley lost to Sir Massey Lopes, the Conservative candidate.

Mr Soltau-Symons tried once more to enter Parliament, in 1874, when he was invited to become the Liberal candidate for Devonport, but he beaten into fourth place behind his fellow Liberal candidate, Mr J D Lewis.  That was his last attempt to enter politics but served for the rest of his life as an active Liberal and keen supporter of Mr F B Mildmay, of Flete, South Devon.

In September 1903 Mr Soltau-Symons was elected an Alderman on Devon County Council in succession to the Reverend Anson W H Cartwright.

During his lifetime he followed his grandfather and father in his keen interest in and support for the Plymouth Public Free School, which his grandfather helped to found. When the School was transferred to the Plymouth Local Education Authority, Mr Soltau-Symons said: 'We are giving Plymouth a magnificent site and a very valuable one, and, for whatever educational purpose it is appropriated, we may have every confidence it will be for the best interests of the children of the town and its high educational reputation long maintained.'

He was an enthusiastic supporter of many local charities and charitable organisations. He joined the committee of the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital in 1862, ten years after he became a life-governor in return for subscribing 40 guineas (42) to the venture, and served for 46 years before being elected as president. He was a founder and later president of the Plymouth Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society; a trustee of the South Devon and Cornwall Institution for the Instruction and Employment of the Blind; a life-governor of the Devon and Cornwall Female Orphan Asylum; one of the founders and a vice-president of the Mount Edgcumbe Industrial Training Ship for Homeless and Destitute Boys; he was a governor of Hele's Grammar School, at Plympton; he was a trustee of the Maudlin and William Hole Symons charities; and a strong supporter of the Church Army and the Salvation Army, to whom he frequently opened his grounds for fetes. And in addition to all those organisations, he also supported Mr Trelawny's Hounds and was an active gardener and supporter of gardening and flower societies.

Chaddlewood House gardens
Herbaceous Border at Chaddlewood
The garden at Chaddlewood House was described in The Gardeners' Chronicle of 2 February 1901 pp70-1:
  FEW gardens of the south-west are more replete with interest to the flower lover than that of Chaddlewood, the residence of Mr. G. S. Soltau-Symons, distant about 5 miles from the town of Plymouth. At one side of the house, and standing at a little distance, are some fine Limes, the short sward beneath which is white during the month of May with countless flowers of the double Meadow Saxifrage (S. granulata, fl-pl) that furnish an uncommon and charming picture. The first plants were brought into the garden more than fifty years ago, since when they have multiplied until they can now be reckoned by thousands.
  The estate is well wooded, and contains many fine trees, one symmetrical specimen of Araucaria imbricata, standing in an isolated position, being over 50 feet in height, with a trunk girth of 10 feet 6 inches. This tree was planted forty-eight years ago, and shows no signs of impaired vigour, its lower branches sweeping almost to the ground-level. Rhododendrons are grown in quantity, and some of the largest bushes have attained a height of about 20 feet. The garden contains a good collection of flowering trees, shrubs, and climbers. Abutilon vitifolium grows freely and, not requiring wall protection in the south-west, forms handsome pyramids of lavender or white bloom in the early summer. Andromedas and Ghent Azaleas do well and Benthamia fragifera is smothered in June with its large pale yellow blossoms, which are followed later by the crimson fruits that have earned it the right to share with the Arbutus the title of Strawberry-tree. Carpentaria californica bears its scented white flowers hard by a fine example of Chamrops excelsa, some 15 feet in height. Cistuses are well represented, and Citrus trifoliata grows in the open; while Choisya ternata forms large bushes white with flower in the summer, and often producing a second crop hard on Christmastides. Clerodendron trichotomum makes good growth, and on a high wall Clematis lasuginosa (figured in a recent issue. ED], and Clianthus puniceus display their lavender and crimson blossoms. In the early spring, a large bush of Cytisus pr
cox (ante, fig. 19, p. 41), some 8 ft. in height and as much in diameter, is a sheet of pale sulphur; while later on C. scoparius var. Andreaous and C. alba bloom.
  Daphne Cneorum bears its soft red flower-clusters, and Desfontainea spinosa its tubular-shaped blooms of vermilion and gold. Erica codonodes, springing up freely from self-sown seed, assumes giant proportions, often reaching a height of 12 feet or more; and the Heath-like Fabiana imbricata shows almost equal vigour. The Snowdrop-tree, Halesia tetraptera, bears its white bells; and Hydrangea paniculata its massive flower-trusses, while H. hortensia is represented by a line of stately plants near the lodge that are from 5 to 6 feet in height, and afford a glorious autumnal display. The silvery-leavcd Halimodendron argenteum (Salt-bush), of which there is a good specimen, is perhaps of more value for its foliage than for its purple flowers. Lapagerias succeed on a north wall, and in open winters bear their blossoms untarnished until Christmas; while on the same wall Trep
olum speciosum, a subject somewhat difficult to establish in the south, flower well. Some fine examples of the cut-leaved Japanese Maples (fig. 28) adorn prominent sitei in the rock-garden, one planted about thirty years since having a height of 4 feet and a branch spread of 6 feet. Metrosideros robustus bears a profusion of its scarlet bottle-brushes in the summer; and the little Sand Myrtle, Leinphyllum buxifolium, and the pink New Zealand Broom, Notespartium Carmichael, are also present. Philadelphus Lemoinei and P. microphylla form fragrant bushes when closely set with blossom, and the Syringas, the so-called Lilacs, are represented by the best of the newer varieties; Philesia buxifolia bears its Lapageria-like blooms and Romseya Coulteri its large, scented, white flowers with their crpe-like petals; while the Rose Acacia, Robinia hispida, is also grown. Spiras include many of the beat species, Stuartia grandiflora, Viburnum plicatum (fig. 29, p. 72), and Xanthoceras sorbifolia, add to the list of flowering shrubs; and Vitia Coigneti on a tree-trunk affords a brilliant example of autumnal colouring.
  The herbaceous borders (fig. 30, p. 73) are well filled with ornamental flowering plants, including certain species of Crinums and Gladioli; Homerocallis in variety, among which H. aurantiaca major holds a forward place; Lilies and Irises of the different sections, P
onies, both herbaceous and tree, Pansies, Alstrœmerias, Thermopsis montana, Gerbera Jamesoni, Incarvillea Delavayi and Ostrowskia magnifica, while groups of fine Bamboos and Yuccas occupy conspicuous sites, and Christmas Roses are particularly well grown.
  Ferns succeed admirably, Adiantum pedatum and Lomaria magellanica being especially vigorous.
  A Rose-trellis 120 yards in length forms one of the features of the garden, and in summer is a dream of beauty. Among the many varieties employed in furnishing it are Carmine Pillar, Stella Allister Gray, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, Thalia, Claire Jacquier, and Mme. Abel Carnre. The beds on either side of tbe trellis are devoted to the culture of flowers for indoor decoration, and supply sheaves of blossom for this purpose during the greater part of tbe year.
  Great as are the attractions already touched upon, it is in the rock garden (fig. 33, p. 81) that the interest culminates. This garden, which is situated in a sheltered position at the foot of a steep slope, is the owner's especial hobby, every stone having been placed in position under his immediate supervision, and every occupant having been planted by bis own hands. Some of the rock masses are of fine form, and afford sites to suit the varied requirements of the often fastidious tenants. To enumerate even a small portion of the plants grown on this rockery would be to write a catalogue which would fill more space than the editor could grant.
  Plants other than perennials are introduced at times with good results into the rock garden for the sake of effect, such as Phacelia campanularia, whose deep blue gives valuable colour; and Lotus peliorhyncus, which, when put out in the late spring, produces its scarlet flowers in abundance on its trailing growths. S.W.F.

Fairbairn's Book of crests p516
Soltau-Symons, George William, Esquire, of Little Efford and Chaddlewood, Plymouth: (1) Upon a mount vert. in front a saltire gu., an ermine holding in the mouth a fern0branch ppr. (for Symons). (2) A demi-lion arg., within two branches of roses ppr. Simplex munditas.

Mary Elizabeth Todd memorial plaque
Memorial plaque to St John Coventry, Mary Elizabeth Todd and George Saltau-Symons
Death: 29 October 1916, at Chaddlewood House, Plympton St Mary, Devon, England, aged 85.

Buried: 1 November 1916 at Plympton St Mary Church, Devon, England

Census & Addresses:
1861: Chaddlewood House, Plympton St Mary, Devon
1881: South Cliff Silverton House, Holdenhurst, Hampshire
1901: Plympton St Mary, Devon: George Soltan Symons is aged 69, born in Plympton St Mary, Devon. Occupation J P & D L For Devon Living On Own Means
1911: Plympton St Mary, Devon: G W Culm Soltan Symons is aged 79


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