Markhams at Stuffynwood/mm.jpg

Previous | Home | Next

The young Mansfield Markham abandoned his job at the Foreign Office and decided to try his hand at horse breeding in East Africa where his friend, Lord Delamere, had settled there some years before. It was at one of Delamere's party's that MM met and initiated a wirlwind romance with Beryl Clutterbuck, the daughter of a retired British Army Captain, who had moved his family there from Rutland, Leicestershire in 1904 when Beryl was just 2 years old. The couple were married in 1927 in Nairobi. Soon after, Beryl became pregnant and both returned to London leaving the rugged African lifestyle behind to adopt a calmer life in Belgravia. However, she soon became disenchanted and sought the company of an old flame she had met before in Africa. The affair shocked high society London, not because she was a young married mother but because the chap involved was Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, Queen Mary's son.

MM threatened to name Henry as corespondent in his divorce decree, so to prevent the embarrassment of having her son named in Mansfield Markham's divorce decree, Queen Mary had her legal representatives arrange a small annuity for life for Beryl, releasing MM from financial obligation to her. Beryl then returned to Kenya to resume her adventurous lifestyle leaving her son, Gervase, to be brought up by Lady Markham.One of Beryl's aquaintances in East Africa was the writer of Out of Africa, Karen Blixen, who based the book's character of Felicity on Beryl Markham. The 7 Academy Awards won by the film in 1985, spurred Hollywood to create a TV mini-series based on Beryl's biography called Shadow on the Sun. Beryl was played by Stephanie Powers and MM by James Fox. She was a remarkable woman - in 1936 she was the first to fly a plane across the Atlantic the hard way - east to west into the head wind! and when she wasn't flying she managed to breed race-winning horses, gaining a worlwide reputation as breeder & trainer. Despite a brief period living in California in 1939 married to an Hollywood writer, she had lived in Africa since the age of 2, dying there at the age of 86.

MM ventured into the movie business, producing and directing 8 films in the early 30's. After the death of his mother, Lady Markham in 1960, he inherited the controling share of Commodore Shipping, which began in 1947 as Commodore Cruises, operating ex-Royal Navy Fairmile 'B' craft on excursions from South East England resorts.


 

 

Here we have Mansfield Markham aged 8 in 1913 laying the foundation stone to the new United Methodist Church on the corner of Bath Street & Nottingham Road, Mansfield.