I work as Financial Controller for a small company based in an office suite at Wellesbourne House in Warwickshire, England. I was aware that the house was linked in some way to the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. but had not followed up with any research.

Wellesbourne House

As an amateur photographer I’d uploaded a few photos to one of my photo websites of a tree from the grounds of Wellesbourne House that was being chopped down. 

Watch out!
The last bough falls.

The photos were recently spotted by Katherine Knapp Keena, Program Manager at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia. She made contact via my website and gave me a few details about “Daisy” Low and her connection with Wellesbourne House. That has opened up a whole new world of interest to me. 

After discussing this with Tony Hanson, the caretaker of Wellesbourne House, he offered to show me some of the other rooms in the house that contain original features, and in due course I’ll be adding photos of these features to a new website I plan to set up. I also made contact with Stacy Cordery via the links and I’m honoured that she has invited me to make an occasional contribution to her weblog to give some background to the formative years of Daisy’s life in England prior to her return to the U.S.

The Wellesbourne House connection:
Daisy lived at Wellesbourne House in the village of Wellesbourne Mountford in the English midlands for nineteen years from 1886 while she was married to William Low. Wellesbourne Mountford is just a few miles and probably thirty minutes by horse and carriage from several larger towns in the area such as:

* Stratford upon Avon (hometown of William Shakespeare)

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

William Shakespeare’s house


* Warwick (location for one of the finest mediaeval castles in England)  

Queue for the dungeons at Warwick Castle!

The 14th century Lord Leicester Hospital

            Royal Leamington Spa (location of many Georgian terraces, a spa town that retains its Royal Pump Rooms & baths. It also has a claim to fame in that the world’s first Lawn Tennis Club was formed there and the rules of modern tennis were drawn up there in 1874.)

The Parade, Leamington Spa

The Royal Pump Rooms, built 1814

Wellesbourne House:  
Wellesbourne House is a large country house that, at that time, was located a short way across fields from the village centre. It has a stable block and originally had large formal gardens. The house has a main room or “Hall” that was used for entertaining but it must have been very draughty in the winter.

Wellesbourne House–the main hall

Large open coal/wood fires were used for heating in the days before central heating and radiators and servants were kept busy maintaining them. There are several smaller, more cosy and comfortable, rooms leading off the main Hall on the ground floor.  With Tony as my guide I entered one of these rooms.

Another view of the main hall

In the corner was a doorway leading to the cellar. I had no idea that the house even had a cellar. He unlocked the door and switched the lights on and we descended down a dozen or so steps under the house. We walked along a narrow brick-lined corridor until it opened out into a series of alcoves. This was in fact the wine cellar for the house with a capacity I would estimate for many hundreds of bottles. Sadly there was not one left. (Believe me when I say I checked everywhere.)

Another doorway and a further step down led me to what must have been the larder or meat store for the house. I can well imagine the room hung with pheasants, partridge and other game birds maturing after one of the many ‘shoots’ that took place from the house.

Back up the stairs again and adjacent to the cellar door was the largest strongroom safe door I’ve seen outside of a bank. It was clearly a very old installation and must have been there when Daisy and Willy Low lived in the house. Tony opened it for me but disappointingly it was also empty – no discarded tiaras or diamond brooches.

Time was short for me and I had to get back to my office but I hope this provides some insight into Daisy’s earlier life.