Dudley Glanfield, by Dudley Glanfield, 1920s. (Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery.)
Prior to purchasing Twelve Oaks, Woodlands and Manor Farms in 1946 from Lady Wilson, Dudley Glanfield was an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and a well known portrait photographer of Royalty and the Nobility with a large studio in Knightsbridge, London. 185 photographs taken by him in the 1920s and 1930s are held by the National Portrait Gallery, including one of King George V1. A well educated man, he held a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration and was also qualified in Mechanical Engineering.
Whilst he had a love of the land, he was not an experienced farmer. Neighbouring land owners recall that he did for a period have a herd of cattle but generally the estate which he named ‘the Twelve Oaks Farm Estate’ was not properly farmed and the land returned to its natural state. He did not maintain the farm buildings and as they continued to decay, he resorted to living in a caravan. He had had a love of flying light aircraft from the 1920s and continued this hobby when he moved to Windlesham, flying his aircraft over the surrounding villages and often taking
Dudley Glanfield, by Dudley Glanfield, 1930s. (Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery.)
In a set of historical notes he put together, he states that ‘Twelve Oaks used to be a Hunting Lodge of Queen Elizabeth 1 when she was resident at Windsor circa 1563 to avoid the plague in London’. Whilst she was resident at Windsor to avoid the plague and whilst this area was part of Windsor Great Forest, I have not to date found any documented evidence of a hunting lodge on the site. Mr Glanfield writes that the original ‘twelve oaks, some 400 years old, were compulsorily felled in 1972 for the cutting of the M3 Motorway.’ He elaborates on this with the comment that ‘a mile of motorway bisects the farm estate in half and that access to the farm is now down Scutley Lane Public Bridleway, unsuitable for motor vehicles/trucks delivering fertilisers, cattle food and machinery.’ So presumably in the 1970s there was some farming activity.
His battle against Compulsory Powers on his land started before the motorway however. In the late 1940s a Compulsory Wayleave Notice for electricity pylons across his land was passed. He fought this with much publicity including personal appearances on radio and television and eventually issued a High Court Writ against the Central Electricity Authority delaying the erection of the pylons for 2 years and instrumental in getting the 1957 Electricity Bill through Parliament ‘to avoid such injustices being perpetrated on any landowner again.’ The battle with Compulsory Powers continued in respect of a giant sewer pipeline, new water mains and gas mains across his land. All of which earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the farm most disrupted by compulsory purchase orders’ and the nickname of ‘Dynamite Dudley’.
Dudley Glanfield is buried at St Saviour Church, Valley End and his grave
stone bears this epitaph composed by himself:
Dudley Glanfield of Windlesham
1904 – 1992
A man of Earth who knew
How every inch of an acre
Is alive and what was best
For root and beast and got it
He argued as obstinately
For freedom as the sun does
With the seeds till they submit
Of a man so placed so true
To why we are alive
Following his death in 1992, 400 acres of his land was sold at Public Auction in 16 lots. Manor Farm, Twelve Oaks plus a further 142 acres were sold to Mr Clive Smith the owner of Windlemere and Pine Ridge Golf Centres. However within days after the auction he sold the Twelve Oaks land to Ian and Graham Wooldridge without taking possession himself.
The farmhouse and most of the outbuildings by that time were completely derelict and had to be demolished with the exception of the stables. Dudley Glanfield’s notes refer to a Mr A E Barton’s ownership of the Woodlands Estate from 1911 until the Henderson family bought it and that he used Twelve Oaks as his racing stables. One of his horses, ‘Panther’ won the ‘Two Thousand Guineas’ race in 1919. Twelve Oaks is once again home to horses as the Wooldridge family run it as a Stables where Polo horses are exercised, trained and groomed for the competition season each year.
67,000 bricks from the old buildings have been recycled in the refurbishment of the old stables, the building of a new set of stables and staff accommodation and the grounds have been restored to an immaculate condition.
My thanks to Brian Wooldridge for the information on the auction
and Dudley Glanfield’s notes.
(First published in the Windlesham Magazine, August 2017. Reproduced with many thanks to Sally Clark and the Windlesham Magazine.)