William Robinson Clarke

‘Wealthy lady of leisure who travelled the world’

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Honoree Mounsey-Grant, née Van Zandt, was 63 when she boarded the Empire Windrush at Bermuda, one of several fantastically rich and well-connected people who travelled on the ship.

Born in San Francisco, California, but a British citizen, her address on the passenger list was the Hyde Park Hotel in London. She had been living in Bermuda but indicated that her home would be in England.

Honoree was the daughter of Ferdinand Suydam Van Zandt of New York, who owned silver mines in the western USA. Her mother, Amy, was a scion of the influential Lubbock family. Her grandfather was John Lubbock, the First Baron Avebury, a former MP, banker and scientist.

He was a friend of Charles Darwin, who lived near the family home in Kent, and he helped establish archaeology as a scientific discipline. After leaving Eton College, John joined the family bank, Lubbock & Co. It later amalgamated with Coutts & Co, of which John became a partner at the tender age of 22.

John also founded what would become the Electoral Reform Society and was influential in having Bank Holidays introduced. They were initially known as St Lubbock Days in his honour. There were other famous Lubbocks. Three of Honoree’s great-uncles played cricket for Kent – Alfred, Neville and Edgar. Edgar and Alfred also played for Old Etonians in the 1875 FA Cup Final.


Honoree, her mother, and sister Dagmar were very much part of high society in London. Both girls were fluent in Italian, German and French and Honoree was a talented musician. In March 1905, she was presented to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

Honoree was age 28 and living with her mother in Wimbledon, London, when she married Eton- educated Major Charles James Grant Mounsey- Grant of The Hill, Carlisle, in October 1913 in Battle, Sussex.

Charles was born in Houghton, Cumberland, in 1867, and was 18 years older than his new wife, Honoree. They spent their honeymoon in Canada before sailing to Port Said to spend the winter in Egypt.

Charles was a magistrate for Cumberland and a captain in the Third Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry, his father’s old regiment. When his father died in 1893, Charles inherited the family seat as his only child.

In May 1925, Honoree and Charles sailed from England to Marseille, a voyage they made regularly. The world was their oyster. In 1938, they entered the USA in Vermont en route to Boston. They had last resided at Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, Canada.

Charles died in Bermuda in December 1944. Honoree died in the Garlands Hospital, Carlisle, on Christmas Day, 1959. She was living at the Crown and Mitre Hotel in Carlisle at the time of her death.

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