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Philip Pearson-Gregory
Last of the Harlaxton Lords of the Manor

Phillip John Sherwin Pearson Gregory was born on 26 March 1888, at Blyth near Worksop in Nottinghamshire. His father, Thomas Sherwin Pearson, was 36 and yet to become Lord of The Manor of Harlaxton, a title he would acquire from the will of Catherine Sherwin Gregory in 1892.


Tragically his mother, Mabel Laura Payne, died the day after Philip's birth, aged just 24 and for the first couple of years of his life Philip lived with his paternal grandparents at Hazell House near Sandy in Bedfordshire.


Philip was to become the last Lord of the Manor of Harlaxton.


Philip Pearson-Gregory was educated at Eton and appeared in the Cricket XI in 1906 when he headed the batting averages. He proceeded to Brasenose College, Oxford after which he joined the Grenadier Guards.


This regiment was no ordinary part of the British Army. The Grenadier Guards is a Regiment whose roll of Officers looks like an extract of Burkes Peerage. It is the most senior infantry regiment of the British Army, being at the top of the Infantry Order of Precedence. Furthermore it has within it “The Sovereign’s Company”, the premier ceremonial unit of the Army, one of the oldest bodies of troops in the Army this Company traditionally provides the pallbearers for all deceased monarchs.


On 17 October 1911, he married Marcia Emma Ridley, in St George Hanover Square, London, England, United Kingdom. The then Lieutenant Philip Pearson Gregory resigned his commission in 1913, no doubt with a view to settling down in the English countryside with his new wife, but with the outbreak of war in 1914 aged 26, he re-joined his regiment.


Posted to the Western Front with the First Battalion Grenadier Guards in 1916, Philip won the second highest award for bravery,  the Military Cross, in the battle of Passchendaele in 1917.


Philip and Marcia were the parents of four children between 1914 and 1920, a son and three daughters (John, Lavender, Matilda (Tilly) and Susan).


But in 1930 tragedy again struck the family as Marcia was killed in a car crash.

When his father died five years later, in 1935, Philip decided not to live at Harlaxton Manor nor to take the title of Lord of the Manor. Subsequently in 1937 the manor house, house contents, village houses, woodlands, and tracts of agricultural lands which were all part of the Harlaxton estate were sold at auction.

Also in January of 1937 Philip had remarried. His new wife was Letice Cary who had previously been married to a Commander Ralph Neville. They however had divorced after a scandal involving him running away to Canada with a woman 26 years his junior. Letice had two children by her previous marriage, Monica and Richard, who were both in their late teens.

Like his father, Philip was a very keen and capable cricketer. At college he played in the Freshman’s match of 1907 and the Seniors match of 1908. He did not, however, become a member of the University XI . He did though make his First-Class debut for Notts v Middlesex at Lord’s on 30 June 1 and 2 July 1910; rain allowed only four hours’ play and he neither batted nor bowled.

His only other First-Class matches were for Notts in 1914, against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge, when he scored 48 and 71, and finally versus Sussex at Hove when once again he did not bat or bowl.

Being a professional soldier restricted his county cricket, but he appeared with success for the Household Brigade, scoring 185 v Eton Ramblers and 178 v Royal Fusiliers, both in 1912. He also played for Eton Ramblers, I Zingari and Lenton CC. A right-hand bat, usually first wicket down, and slip field, he resided at Grundisburgh, Suffolk and it is believed that his qualification for representing Notts was the ownership of property in Lenton and Nottingham.

Philip John Sherwin Pearson-Gregory died on 12 June 1955, following an operation, in St Pancras, London and is buried in Suffolk.

His father,  Thomas Pearson-Gregory was also a keen cricketer having played for Oxford University and Middlesex, appearing in 122 First-Class matches between seasons 1872 and 1891.

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