Harlow Cricket Club 250: The life and times Lt. Col Seymour Frederick Gosling

History / Wed 10th Jul 2024 at 12:16pm

DURING the late 19th and early 20th century Harlow enjoyed many fascinating characters with links to our cricket club

The original Harlow back in the 19th century was a country parish of little importance other than a stopping off point for the Cambridge to London (and back) ‘coach and horses’ route.

Did you know, on the return trip to London, travelling back to London, the route would be along what is now known as ‘Old Road’ , up to Mulberry Green stopping off at the Green Man for a rest. Then though Churchgate Street, out and along Harlow common to pick up the road towards Epping and eventually London.

Whilst this is all going on, up at the Gosling family home, Hassobury in the tiny hamlet of Farnham, north of Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire an arrival of another newborn in 1871. A Gosling child was born.

This one, Seymour Frederick. being one of eight boys and six sisters would stamp his mark upon Harlow both as a WW1 War Hero then a rather extravert gentlemen known by all as ‘The Colonel’.

Seymour was educated at Eton and passed through the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Then to join the Royal Horse Artillery serving in South Africa in 1900 – 02 as a Captain.

When that skirmish was over, our Seymour returns home and buys Hillsborough House in Churchgate Street where he lived for the remainder of his fifty years or so, passing in 1951. But he did pack a lot in those interim years whilst being a well-known resident of Harlow.

A devout bachelor, he had plenty of brothers and sisters to produce nephews and nieces which he seemed to adore but happy to be a bachelor who lived in very comfortable surroundings.

When the Great War broke out, Seymour rejoined his regiment and served with distinction throughout the War and was awarded the DSO by the King on 4th June 1917. He reached the rank of Colonel a title he held and known as for the remainder of his life.

He was an excentric in many ways. A party trick of standing on his head ‘for ages’, popping into neighbour’s houses, unannounced and asks ‘cook’ what is being prepared today .

Next door was a house named Meadham where the Hoare family once lived and their young daughter at the time, Felicity remembers ‘the colonel’ arrive for tea or dinner without notice or invite. He even had a gate put in the boundary wall to allow easier access through the gardens!

The ‘Colonel’ was an all-round sportsman of the time and style. A regular golfer, tennis and cricket. Master of the Essex Hounds taking over from John Swire in 1910 and continued the title until 1927.
From his return in 1902 SFG was constantly active at Harlow Cricket Club. A Vice President for many years and eventually becoming President 1936 and continued until 1951. Serving some 25 years. The

Colonel was a regular spectator for most home games played at Marigolds and his input and local influences being a great help for the club. Although there wasn’t much to do during WW2, his input with other members ensured the survival of Marigolds from becoming a potato field in 1942. That very nearly happened.

What is now known as the ‘Old Town’ or ‘Old Harlow’ this community had a wealth of characters from all levels of society and the original Harlow boasted many within its community. His funeral was as unique as the main player, Seymour. Outside St Mary’s Church, which was just across the road from Hillsborough House, during the service the hounds from the nearby kennels were brought to the outside of the church.

As the congregation came out the hounds remained sitting silently in the sunlight, keeping a tight group, utterly motionless. Not a movement or sound was made during the interment. As the congregation walked past the hounds, they continued to sit quietly and as one reporter stated, “it was an impressive but almost an eerie spectacle”.
An interesting man of his time, If anyone mentioned ‘The Colonel’ they knew exactly who they were referring to!

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