A descendant of an ancient Eastcote family travelled across the globe for a reunion at the site of her ancestral home.
Jenny Armour flew from Australia, and on Thursday last week made her first visit to Eastcote House Gardens, the grounds former home of her ancestors The Hawtrey family.
Mrs Armour emigrated to Australia more than 30 years ago, but once worked as a librarian at Ruislip Library.
Despite living in Ickenham and then Ruislip from an early age, she did not learn of her family connection to the house until after she had moved Down Under.
On a trip to England she went to a conference about tracing your past, organised by the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? programme, after she learned she belonged to the Hawtrey family.
But it was not until her distant cousin, Jane Brown, stood up at the conference to ask a question about the Hawtrey family that she realised their connection to Eastcote.
"I heard Jane ask this question and she mentioned their name and I ran over to her and said: 'Did you just say Hawtrey?!'
"It's the most weird coincidence. I couldn't believe that I had lived so close and never knew."
Mrs Armour met again with Mrs Brown and her sister Faith Cartilidge last week.
"My great uncle had often researched our family history and he always used to say: 'There's money in the family'
"I never thought he would be right," Mrs Armour joked.
The Hawtrey family history
The Hawtrey family lived in Eastcote House from 1525 when Ralph Hawtrey married Winifred Walleston and inherited her family cottage, then called Hopkyttes.
Ralph built on the cottage and it became Eastcote House. It was lived in by the Hawtrey family and then their descendants the Deanes, for 400 years. It was demolished in 1964 after it fell into disrepair.
Ralph Hawtrey was the 4th son of Thomas Hawtrey who then owned Chequers, which is now the country retreat of the Prime Minister.
Mary Hawtrey, a grandaughter of Ralph and Winifred, married Sir John Bankes of Corfe Castle and Kingston Lacy and became Lady Bankes, heroine of the English Civil War when she defended Corfe Castle against Cromwell's army for three years whilst her husband was away fighting for King Charles I.
Seven of Lady Bankes' 14 children were born in Eastcote and baptized at St Martin's Church in Eastcote Road, Ruislip, where she is buried. There is a wall mounted memorial in St Martin's Church for Lady Bankes, and Lady Bankes Infant, Nursery and Junior Schools in Dawlish Drive, Ruislip Manor, are named after her.
Great uncle to sisters Jane Brown and Faith Cartilidge, whose maiden name is Hammond, was Sir Charles Hawtrey. Sir Charles was a renowned actor, comedian and theatre director who created the role of Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband and who mentored a young Noel Coward. He also gave the name Hanky Panky to a cocktail at The Savoy.
Article originally appeared in the Uxbridge Gazette