Romantic Cotswold Garden with a View – One of National Gardens Scheme’s Best



Rambling, romantic Woolstone Mill House Garden, near Faringdon, is a real treat. Close to the hidden village of Woolstone with its pretty pub, The White Horse, it has many delights.
IMG_6523 This garden has just the perfect amount of blowsy charm – trim in the right places and charmingly shaggy in others.
IMG_6521 A stream trickles through it meandering under several rustic bridges and leading the visitor on to one interesting garden feature after another.
IMG_6518 A spectacular circle created by yew hedges whose focal point, two topiary sheep with carved stone heads, is enhanced by a backdrop of real sheep grazing in the meadows beyond.
IMG_6504 The wide swath of lawn in this circle is bordered by mixed herbaceous and shrub plantings and provides a splendid photo opportunity.
IMG_6514 There are medlars and old-fashioned roses, kitchen and bog gardens and numerous topiary in this two acre property.
IMG_6529 Snuggled in among the foliage is every child’s dream of a tree house. It is well worth the climb up as there are terrific views of White Horse Hill with the Uffington White Horse clearly visible.
IMG_6511 Sinfully rich home-made meringues with whipped cream and fresh raspberries were served, along with steaming cups of tea, in a picture perfect summerhouse at the end of the garden.
IMG_6512 A truly gorgeous garden with many quirky surprises.
IMG_6513Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at

Woolstone Mill House, Woolstone, nr. Faringdon, Oxon, SN7 7QL

Click here for NGS 2015 details


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A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

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Cotswolds Gorgeous Garden-Stowell Park- Opened For Colbalt Fundraiser



Stowell Park Garden in SeptemberIMG_6486

For a wonderful afternoon visit magnificent Stowell Park, near Northleach, surely the best private garden in the country. Stowell House crowns a hill commanding matchless views across the unspoiled Gloucestershire countryside. Velvet lawns carpet one elegant terrace after another as they unfold down the hill below the house eventually merging seamlessly into the rolling hills of the Coln Valley.


This open garden event was the Cobalt charity’s grand finale of their open garden programme for 2014 and they wisely appeared to have saved the best for last.


This traditional garden covers eight acres with many charming features including: three peach houses two vineries, three pot-plant greenhouses and a half acre of cut flowers in addition to an acre of fruit and vegetable gardens laid out in two walled gardens. A perfect parade of pleached limes frame the approach to 14th Century Stowell House and give way to a long rose pergola and wide, plant filled borders containing a fine collection of old-fashioned roses.


A woodland walk – a fountain garden with an almost two metre sturgeon swimming happily in the water feature also grace this beautiful garden.


Tea and delicious home-made cakes were served in the ballroom and taken on one of the sunny terraces. The lovely weather showed off the garden at its best.

This open garden event provided a rare opportunity for a visit in September. Lady Vestey and her head gardener, Neil Hewertson have created a wonderful and surprisingly diverse show of colour for this time of the year.

The tranquility created by Stowell Park Garden’s position and beautiful design make this a must-see garden.


Support the Cobalt Charity (Diagnostic Imaging for Life) providing faster, safer and clearer medical scans by giving generously. This charity made the Stowell Park open garden event possible.


Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at

Stowell Park Yanworth, Northleach, Cheltenham GL54 3LE

The Lord & Lady Vestey, 8m NE of Cirencester. Off Fosseyway A429 2m SW of Northleach.
Stowell Park is open under the National Garden Scheme usually for two afternoons in June.

Click here for NGS 2015 details

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Cotswolds Views 5 of the Best!

Gotta love those Cotswold Views!

Here (below) are my favourite five – all are included in the Travel Guide of my book
Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage.

Now available on Amazon in Paperback, Kindle and NEW! Audio Book.


Broadway, Gloucestershire, WR12 7JU

Gorgeous views across the Snowshill Lavender fields and surrounding rolling hills.
This National Trust property houses Charles Wade’s eclectic collection of craftsmanship from all over the world. Charming organic garden.



EDGEMOOR INN, Near Painswick, Gloucestershire, GL6 6ND

Breath-taking views from the terrace as inn overlooks entire Painswick valley and is situated on the Cotswold Way. Great food and beer. Close to Haresfield Beacon.


WARWICK CASTLEWarwick, Warwickshire, CV34 4QU

Worth the climb up to the roof for unmatched views of  the River Avon, the Castle grounds, the Mill Garden and surrounding countryside.
1,000 years of history. Well constructed tableaux. Great Hall. State Rooms. Jousting. Trebuchet. Great day out with the kids. PeacockGarden. Gives Disney a run for its money.



BROADWAY TOWER, Middle Hill, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7LB

View from Broadwat Tower

Completed in 1798 this folly was built for Lady Coventry on a beacon hill. Spectacular views of more than a dozen counties. Over 17 metres high. Open to the public.



HARESFIELD BEACON, 3 miles north west of Stroud (see website for directions)

Haresfield Beacon 2

National Trust site on the Cotswold escarpment with amazing 360 degree views, some reaching as far as Wales. Site of a Roman-British hill fort.


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A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.

Cotswolds Ducks and National Trust Properties in the Cotswolds

   These adorable ducklings and their Mama Duck put on quite a show in the lily-bedecked canals of Westbury Court Gardens,  a National Trust property open to the public. I am having a wonderful time this glorious summer touring the Cotswolds, with my husband, via all the National Trust Properties in the Cotswolds.
I was handed a map of all their properties in this lovely region when I visited Chedworth Roman Villa and found it to be joy to visit them one by one – great way to see this area – taking me to parts of the Cotswolds I had never explored.
Westbury Court Garden near Gloucester and the Severn River on the edges of the Cotswolds was a revelation. It is the only 17th Century restored Dutch water garden in Great Britain.  It was originally laid out between 1696 and 1715 and remained untouched for over 300 years.
Hooray, for the National Trust rescuing it in 1967. An engraving from 1707 helped with the first complete garden restoration undertaken by this terrific organization.
Westbury Court Garden is a delight – it has a wealth of unusual plants, the calming trickle of water from the lily-covered canals, the oldest evergreen oak in England, ready for picking English apples,  plums, peaches and cherries espaliered and, in season, ripening against the old red-brick walls. There are Kingfishers, Heron, Sand Martins and of course those darling little ducklings.
We have almost worked our way through all the Cotswolds National Trust Properties making our membership fee a wonderful bargain and worth every penny.
We fairly quickly equaled the cost of our tickets in entrance fees and now it feels like all future visits and return visits are free.

So far we have visited Dyrham Park, Snowshill Manor and Garden, Newark Park, Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate, Upton House and Gardens, Woodchester Park, Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons, Chedworth Roman Villa, Hidcote and Chasleton House.

More on all these with photos in upcoming blog posts:
Still to visit: Charlecote Park, Coughton Court, Croome Greyfriars’ House and Garden, Hanbury Hall and Gardens, Prior Park Landscape Garden, Stowe and Waddesdon Manor.

Downloadable Nation Trust app:
Tel: 0844 800 1895

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Gorgeous Cotswolds Private Manor House Gardens – How to see them

Rockcliffe Dovecote

I am always trying to peek over the walls of lovely gardens in the Cotswolds, especially those belonging to the large estates. I have only recently realized that I can actually see these fabulous gardens of the Manor House Estates of the Cotswolds by tracking down their open days on the National Garden Scheme.

Click on photos to enlarge

Campden House

Now I am over the moon – it’s raining gorgeous gardens. In the last couple of weeks I have toured Rockcliffe House Garden near Lower Swell, Eyford Garden near Upper Slaughter and Campden House Garden near Chipping Campden.

Rockcliffe Montage

Rockcliffe House and Gardens

The gardens offered glorious treasures such as: a parade of pleached lime trees lining a lovely lily pond, a whimsical Dove topiary climbing a hill to meet the real thing at its summit – a dovecot filled with cooing birds, ancient statuary half hidden in shrubbery, climbing courgettes begun in an impeccably kept greenhouse, a tennis court-sized croquet lawn, a jasmine filled orangery, alliums as big as footballs, and stunningly perfect herbaceous borders  among many other delights.

Eyford Montage 2

Eyford House and Gardens

This is a wonderful way for visitors to explore the Cotswolds and often meet the owners of these estates as my husband and I did at Eyford House. The very charming Charlotte Heber-Percy was selling tickets at the entrance to her estate and we struck up a conversation with her. As we chatted she decided to leave her ticket-selling duties to a helper and proceeded to walk us around her gorgeous garden taking us on a personally conducted tour. We couldn’t believe our luck as we strolled past the fox and hounds topiary listening in delight as she pointed out one spectacular garden feature after another. She also told us the history of her family and the manor house and garden. By the end of the tour it felt like we were old friends.

Topiary HoundAll photographs are by Randall Montgomery and are available for purchase at

Many of these gardens on these private estates are open only one day a year so it is a good idea to do some advanced planning. We got hold of a National Garden Scheme book that tells of every open garden for the year. It is as thick as a novel but is invaluable to have in the car. But also the info on the gardens is all online too. A trek around a couple of gorgeous estate gardens followed by tea and a bun (sometimes in a room in one of these ancient manor houses) is my idea of a perfect Cotswold day.

National Garden Scheme Website

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WILD about the Cotswolds? 10 WILD Cotswold Ideas to EAT, STAY, ENJOY

  • The WILD Rabbit Country Pub and Rooms
  • WILD Thyme Inn and rooms
  • The WILD Duck Inn
  • WILD Air Bed and Breakfast
  • WILD Garlic Restaurant and Rooms
  • WILD Camping at the Tunnel House Inn
  • WILD Rock Climbing
  • WILD Swimming
  • WILDLife Trust
  • Cotswold WILDLife Park and Gardens
“Where do you recommend we go when we get there?” is a frequent question and this gave me the idea of putting together ‘I’m just WILD about the Cotswolds list of great places to eat, stay and enjoy in this lovely region together with descriptions and contact info.

WILD about the #Cotswolds? 10 WILD Cotswold Ideas to EAT, STAY, ENJOY


The WILD Rabbit near Stow-on-the-Wold in the charming and tranquil village of Kingham

The Cotswold stone building that houses The Wild Rabbit dates from 1750. After a thorough and very tastefully done renovation, The Wild Rabbit opened in September of last year.

Typical Sunday lunch menu includes starters such as potted rabbit, pickled vegetable salad and crab and scallop cannelloni and crab bisque.

Mains might include: roast rump of beef, poached tongue, bone marrow, and all the trimmings or skate wing, braised celery with beurre noisette

All the bedrooms are individually decorated and named after woodland animals. There are twelve in all,  four of which are garden rooms and dog-friendly.

The Wild Rabbit, Church Street, Kingham, Oxfordshire OX7 6YA

01608 658 389

Wild Thyme

WILD Thyme Inn and Rooms in Chipping Norton

Ideal if you want to indulge in the restaurant and simply stagger up to bed, or if you are looking for a base to explore the Cotswolds – three stylish rooms are located within this charming 400 year old, Grade 2 listed building.
The rooms are double bedded and en-suite with all the usual facilities. Breakfast is a substantial continental, served in the restaurant, or in your room.
Nick and Sally own and personally manage Wild Thyme Restaurant with Rooms and there is space for 35 diners. It is possible to hire the whole restaurant for exclusive use, or The Garden Room, which seats up to 14 people, for a smaller celebration.
Many original features have been retained within the Cotswold stone walls and a wonderful window seat blends perfectly with more contemporary elements to create a stylish decor.
A typical starter might include: Oven baked buckwheat blinis, Upton smoked salmon, lemon prawns and hollandaise.
Pan fried filet of Cornish mackerel, parmesan, parsnip puree, sauté girolles and crispy pancetta.
A main course might include: Barrington Estate partridge; roasted breast, ragout ravioli, savoy cabbage, roasted celeriac, girolles, crispy pancetta, Madera cream, game jus or
Pan roasted Cornish brill, Brixham mussels, truffle mash, baby spinach, parsley root and chives

The WILD Thyme Restaurant and Rooms, 10 New Street, Chipping Norton
+44 (0) 1608 645060


The WILD Duck Inn   Ewen near Cirencester

This charming twelve bedroom 16th Century Inn is situated near the River Thames in the tranquil Cotswold village of Ewen near Cirencester.

Featuring old beams and portraits, the warm dining room at The Wild Duck serves a modern European and British menu. The chefs use local, organic produce, including some meats from the Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate. The Post Horn Bar serves traditional ales and wine.

Surrounded by the Cotswold Water Park, The Wild Duck Inn is close to 80 different lakes. Local activities include fishing, jet-skiing and sailing, and Cirencester is just 3 miles away

Some of the individually designed rooms have a stylish 4-poster bed, and all have tea/coffee facilities. The Grouse Room lounge has a cozy fireplace, and there is free Wi-Fi in the public areas. The Wild Duck Inn offers elegant rooms with flat-screen TVs and DVD players. There is a garden terrace for open air dining.

Click here for booking with Trip Advisor


WILD Air Bed and Breakfast

This delightful but affordable high-end Bed and Breakfast, more like a luxurious hotel actually, is close to Minchinhampton and Nailsworth. There is also accommodation available in a separate apartment. There are all the mod cons, fluffy towels and so on and a full English breakfast, locally sourced, is served either in the garden room or on the terrace.

Brendan and Kay Clements
Wild Air
Church End, Hampton Green, Nr Box, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 9AD
01453 887376
07966 031580

wild garlic

The WILD Garlic Restaurant and Rooms

All the food is made on the premises from fresh pasta and ice cream to the daily baked organic bread. Situated above the restaurant are three Four Star AA awarded spacious rooms available for Bed and Breakfast accommodation.

Wild Garlic Restaurant and Rooms 3 Cossacks Square, Nailsworth, Glos GL6 0DB

Tel: 01453 832 615


WILD Camping in the grounds of Tunnel House Inn

Near Cirencester Gloucestershire

Wild camping available all year round for tents in the stunningly beautiful grounds of the Tunnel House Inn which are on the edge of Hailey Wood.

The unique 17th Century Tunnel House Inn is set in an idyllic rural location nestled between the Cotswold villages of Coates and Tarlton It is close to the River Thames and sits between the Thames and the Severn Canal. The relaxed and welcoming bar has a unique character as it is furnished with a vast collection of memorabilia.

Good food served all day

01285 770280

far peak

WILD Rock Climbing in the Cotswolds


Telephone: 01285 721090

The facility at Far Peak has ample free parking and camping facilities. Great for families. No shop or playground but plenty of free space for ball games and for children to explore.

There is a public house within walking distance across the fields and local amenities are available in the nearby Cotswold town of Northleach.

There are miles of wonderful walks to be enjoyed in the area and lots of villages and lanes to be explored by walkers and cyclists.

Farpeak Climbing Centre (formally Wildrock)

Far Peak, Northleach, Gloucestershire, GL54 3JL


wild swimming

WILD Swimming in the Cotswolds

Discover the best wild swim locations in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, whether a river swim, a lake or even a waterfall.

Find local news and events in your area, water campaigns that might interest you or join a group or a meeting of like-minded people.

Includes Cotswold wild swimming locations in the Windrush River, Near Lechlade etc.,

wildlife trust

Wildlife Trust

Their web site has a ‘Great places to see’ section to plan a wonderful day out in the Cotswolds.

Find out about nature reserves, webcams, local wildlife sites, family Welly walks, nest box making, how to contribute to the preservation of wildlife and lots more.


Cotswold WILDLife Park and Gardens

A great day out with or without kids. A lovely restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating means you can take a break while spending all day with the animals. Scenic, gardens with so much of interest. See their website for all kinds of ideas for adults and kids  – like being a keeper for a day. Information about conservation, education and so much more. There’s a gift shop and a train – the list goes on.

Cotswold Wildlife Park is located 2 miles south of the medieval town of Burford, Oxfordshire, on the A361

SatNav Postcode for Cotswolds Wildlife Park OX18 4JP Look out for Bradwell Grove

by Diz White author of


Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17thCentury Cottage. Cotswolds Memoir Cover-2

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on


Downton Abbey’s Jazz Singer Inspired by Scandal?

Did Scandals with Royalty and Movie Stars about the popular singer Hutch inspire Downton Abbey’s Jazz Singer character?
The actor Gary Carr’s character, Jack Ross the band leader on Downton Abbey was drawn from an amalgam of jazz singers from the nineteen twenties. He joined the cast in the fourth season of this popular series which began airing last month in the U.S.
The black singer Hutch may well have been one of the real life jazz singers who inspired this character. Hutch’s headline-grabbing life is outlined in this article below.
-Diz White

The royal gigolo: Edwina Mountbatten sued over claims of an affair with black singer Paul Robeson. But the truth was even more outrageous…

This was an episode in the London High Court that astonished even experienced members of the Bar.

The Lord Chief Justice’s court opened its doors at the unprecedented hour of 9.30am on that July day in 1932 to enable an earth-shakingly intimate and sensational libel action to be heard  –  in effect, in camera  –  before newspaper reporters even got to hear that it was happening

The plaintiff in the action was Britain’s richest and most publicised heiress, the bisexual Lady Louis Mountbatten, afterwards Countess Mountbatten of Burma and the last Vicereine of India.


Destructive affair: Countess Mountbatten and entertainer Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson

Sitting beside her was her handsome sailor husband, the equally bisexual Lord Louis, uncle of Prince Philip, cousin of the King, great-grandson of Queen Victoria, the future last Viceroy and first Governor General of India, First Sea Lord and finally Chief of the Defence Staff.

Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten  –  whose ten-year-old ‘open marriage’ had been the subject of feverish gossip and barely suppressed scandal ever since it had begun  –  had been summoned urgently home from his latest naval posting in Malta and forced by Buckingham Palace into reluctantly issuing libel proceedings against the gossip columnist of ‘that vulgar socialist Sunday paper, The People’, as Mountbatten called it.

Seven weeks earlier, the paper had alleged ‘a scandal which has shaken society to the very depths. It concerns one of the leading hostesses in the country  –  a woman highly connected and immensely rich.

‘Her association with a coloured man became so marked that they were the talk of the West End. Then one day the couple were caught in compromising circumstances.

‘The sequel is that the society woman has been given hints to clear out of England for a couple of years to let the affair blow over and the hint comes from a quarter which cannot be ignored’.

Mayfair gossips lost no time in identifying the woman in question as Edwina Mountbatten.

When King George V saw the article, he ordered the Mountbattens to return to London immediately, and to sue for libel, in order to clear the Royal Family of the allegation that Edwina had been exiled from Britain on the orders of the Palace, and Edwina from the suggestion that she had a black lover.

Cables from Buckingham Palace rained down upon the Mountbattens. ‘Coded messages galore,’ wrote Edwina, ‘and really nearly going mad (three months’ gossip to the effect that I had been exiled from England for two years as a result of my association with a coloured man whom I have never even met!!!!’)


                                       Scandal: Countess Mountbatten sued The People newspaper over claims she had an affair with singer Paul Robeson

The man widely identified as her lover was the American actor and singer Paul Robeson. ‘It is most incredible,’ wrote Robeson’s wife, Essie, ‘that people should be linking Paul’s name with that of a famous titled Englishwoman, since she is just about the one person in England we don’t know.’

So, if not Robeson, who was it? According to a startling new C4 television documentary, Edwina’s lover was, in fact, the sleek, sophisticated and  –  according to legend  –  sensationally well-endowed West Indian cabaret singer and pianist, Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson.

Among the many amazing claims put forward in the documentary is the suggestion that Edwina commissioned Cartier to design a diamond-encrusted penis sheath for Hutch.

It is further alleged that the ‘compromising circumstances’ referred to in The People article concerned Hutch and Edwina becoming inextricably locked together sexually through a rare medical phenomenon known as vaginismus  –  which led to them being taken in flagrante delicto from the Mountbatten residence, Brook House in Park Lane, to a private hospital where doctors separated them.

Even allowing for Edwina’s lifelong reputation for promiscuity, can such outlandish claims possibly be true?

According to her official biographer, Dr Janet Morgan (in private life, Lady Balfour of Burleigh), the story is ‘piffle’.

But should we believe Dr Morgan? After all, she was recommended as official biographer to Edwina’s daughters (the present Countess Mountbatten and Lady Pamela Hicks) by their father’s official biographer, Philip Ziegler, whose 1985 study of Mountbatten blandly ignores all pointers to its subject’s own wild sexual antics.

Both official biographies  –  of the Countess and Mountbatten himself  –  are Establishment-friendly, and both deliberately omit clear evidence, in Mountbatten’s own handwriting, of his extra-marital interest in the reigning society beauty of the day, Margaret Whigham, afterwards the notorious and sexually licentious Duchess of Argyll.

The TV documentary offers compelling evidence that Edwina’s activities with Hutch became increasingly brazen, and were bitterly resented by her husband.

Yet he sat beside her in court to hear Norman Birkett, one of the greatest advocates of the day, telling the judge: ‘It is not too much to say that it [The People article] is the most monstrous and most atrocious libel of which I have ever heard.’

Both Mountbattens went into the witness box, Edwina to state on oath that she had never in her life met the man referred to in all the gossip (Robeson), and Dickie to swear that his wife was never exiled on the orders of Buckingham Palace  –  the only reason for her presence in Malta was because he was serving there as an officer in the Royal Navy.

The People, which had spent the staggering sum (for those days) of £25,000, trying to find evidence to support its story, failed to come up with a viable defence, leaving its barrister, Sir Patrick Hastings, to make a grovelling apology  –  ‘genuine and deep regrets’  –  on behalf of the newspaper’s owners.


 Screen sirens: Leslie Hutchinson added Tallulah Bankhead (left) and Merle Oberon to his conquests

Edwina, awarded full costs, declined damages. That evening, the Mountbattens gave a celebration party at the Cafe de Paris.

On the following day, in a display of royal solidarity, they were invited to lunch at Buckingham Palace by the King and Queen. A few days later, Edward Prince of Wales, who had been best man at their wedding, gave a party for them at York House.

Edwina, freed from the threat of social disgrace, and the exposure of the sham that her marriage had become, calmly went back to the black lover The People had failed to identify.

Leslie Arthur Julien Hutchinson was born on March 7, 1900, in Gouyave, a small fishing village on the island of Grenada. His parents saved hard to send him to the best local school and he became something of a child prodigy at the piano.

When he was 14, his father swept him off to a brothel, an experience which his biographer, Charlotte Breese, believes ‘frightened and distressed him: he lost something more important than he gained  –  his childhood innocence’.

At 16, his parents paid to send him to medical school in America, but he ditched his studies and headed straight for Harlem, capital of the jazz scene, where he married a black Anglo-Chinese girl, Ella Byrd, and fathered a daughter, Lesley.

His father cut off his allowance. For a while he was destitute, but not for long. His overpowering good looks impressed one of New York’s first families, the Vanderbilts, who scoured the art world for talent and introduced him to wealthy patrons of the jazz scene, where he soon made his name as a pianist alongside other jazz legends such as Fats Waller and Duke Ellington.

Arriving in Paris in 1924, and already flagrantly bisexual, he found a gay lover and patron in the composer Cole Porter, who wrote a hit song clearly based on Hutch’s character:

I should like you all to know 

I’m a famous gigolo, 

And of lavender my nature’s got just a dash in it…


Hutch found a gay lover and patron in the composer Cole Porter

The handsome West Indian stud now added screen sirens Tallulah Bankhead and Merle Oberon to his conquests. In London, where he arrived in 1927, the West End’s leading male matinee idol, Ivor Novello, also became his lover.

The biggest musical star of the day, Jessie Matthews, after a performance, heard Hutch singing to his own piano-playing in the orchestra pit one night. Transfixed by his melodious, dark velvet voice, she immediately urged him to become a solo cabaret performer.

Within a year, he had won recording contracts and had become a highlypaid headliner at top London nightspots the Cafe de Paris, the Cafe Anglais and Quaglino’s.

He bought a Rolls-Royce, a grand house in Hampstead, patronised London’s best tailors, spoke five or six languages and was on friendly terms with the Prince of Wales.

But he was still a black man in an era of racial discrimination. When he entertained at lavish Mayfair parties, his fee was large, but he was often obliged to go in by the servants’ entrance. This embittered him.

Evelyn Waugh satirised Hutch as the social-climbing upstart, Chokey, in his novel, Decline And Fall. ‘He’s just crazy to meet the aristocracy, aren’t you, my sweet?’

Replies Chokey: ‘I sure am that.’ Says Mrs Clutterbuck: ‘I think it’s an insult bringing a n***** here.’

The first scandal surrounding him came in 1930, when he made the debutante Elizabeth Corbett pregnant. Her father vowed vengeance and pursued Hutch through the courts.

Elizabeth managed to get a Guards officer to marry her. They had a society wedding in Sloane Square but she was already three months pregnant, and it was not until she was in labour that she warned her husband the baby might be black. He was appalled. The child was removed at birth and put up for adoption.


‘Open marriage’: Louis and Edwina Mountbatten

But the enduring scandal of Hutch’s life was his relationship with Edwina Mountbatten. A BBC producer, Bobby Jay, recalled their outrageous behaviour to Hutch’s biographer, Charlotte Breese: ‘I was at a grand party.

‘Edwina interrupted Hutch playing the piano. She kissed his neck and led him by the hand behind the closed doors of the dining-room. There was a shriek, and a few minutes later she returned, straightening her clothes.

‘Hutch seemed elated, and before he returned to the piano, told me that, with one thrust, he had flashed [propelled] her the length of the dining-room table.’

Although both had their liaisons, there can be no doubting the distress the affair caused Mountbatten. The reality was that he was unable to satisfy his sexually voracious wife.

Edwina showered costly keepsakes on Hutch: a jewelled gold cigarette case, a gold ring with her coat of arms engraved on the inside and a gold and diamond watch.

One night, a visibly distressed Mountbatten stumbled into Quaglino’s restaurant and told the bandleader, Van Straten: ‘I am lonely and sad and drunk. That n***** Hutch has a p**** like a tree-trunk, and he’s f****** my wife right now.’

Hutch was to pay a heavy price for the affair. After The People case, Buckingham Palace refused to have him on any Royal Command Performance bill, and Lord Beaverbrook gave orders that Hutch’s name was never to be mentioned again by any of his papers.

During World War II, Hutch was one of the first stars in Britain to volunteer his services to entertain the Forces, but he received no formal recognition for this and his name would never appear in any Honours list.

He added possibly two members of the Royal Family to the notches on his bed-post. One was the Queen’s aunt, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.

The other, allegedly, was Princess Margaret, with whom Charlotte Breese believes Hutch enjoyed a ‘brief liaison’ in 1955, when she was 25 and he was 55.


Hutch, pictured in 1954

His role in Edwina’s life was now over. During her years as Vicereine of India, she replaced Hutch with another deeply passionate relationship  –  with India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

There are those who suspect that Nehru, like both Mountbattens, had bisexual tendencies, and that Dickie, possibly in a last, despairing attempt to maintain physical contact with his unresponsive wife, may have joined them in a bizarre menage a trois.

During the Sixties, the daughter of a BBC producer regularly watched Mountbatten entering a male brothel by the rear entrance in Grosvenor Mews, Belgravia.

In the late Seventies, before they succeeded in assassinating him, the IRA closely monitored Mountbatten’s involvement with teenage boys.

In 1958, Hutch’s wife, Ella  –  often mistaken by visitors to his Hampstead home as his housekeeper  –  died. He buried her in an unmarked pauper’s grave at a cost of £12. By that time, he had six children by different mothers, and was to father a seventh at the age of 64.

Edwina’s death in 1960 symbolised for Hutch the end of his golden days. The advent of The Beatles and of the disco era closed off most of his avenues of employment, and he was reduced at one point to performing at Butlin’s holiday camps in dates such as Skegness, or in end-of-the-pier shows where he was not top-billed.

In Weymouth, where, in 1944, he had entertained thousands of troops before the D-Day landings, he now played to a handful of people at the local theatre.

Drinking heavily, overweight, his face bloated and heavily made-up, his hair dyed, he was like a gargoyle of the once-beautiful black God who had conquered high society with his looks, his voice and his charm.

With his fortune squandered on gambling, he was forced to sell his house in 1967 for £13,037. Of this, £10,000 went to pay off his debts, leaving him just £3,000 out of the millions he had earned.

He moved into a tiny flat, where he sometimes attempted to cadge money from his teenage son, the singer Chris Hutchinson.

When, on August 18, 1969, now ‘ virtually penniless’, he died at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, from ‘ overwhelming pneumonia’ at the age of 69, he left a mere £1,949 and no will. Only 42 mourners showed up at his funeral.

There was to be a bizarre epilogue. On the day of his burial, the undertakers, J.H. Kenyon, received a call from Lord Mountbatten offering to pay for Hutch’s grave and tombstone in Highgate Cemetery.

Was it a final gesture of revenge on his sexual rival? Or did Mountbatten wish to ensure that the man Edwina had loved, and who had taken her from him, had a suitable final resting place?

This article was written by MICHAEL THORNTON  and appeared inDaily Mail Logo

UPDATED: 15:40 EST, 14 November 2008

About Diz

In addition to writing and acting for theatre, television, radio and film, British-born Diz White is also a book and magazine author.

Her latest book COTSWOLDS MEMOIR – Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage is published in both paperback and ebook (in all formats) and is available in the U.S.A. on and in Great Britain on

Previously, Diz launched two books that were published in the U.K. by The History Press with an extensive book and media tour. Diz also wrote a full-length article about her book which was published in the magazine Cotswold Life.

Diz also wrote HAUNTED COTSWOLDS which is part of the popular ‘Haunted’ series published by The History Press. Following this her second book in this series was published, entitled HAUNTED CHELTENHAM.

Both books are also published in the U.S.A. by Trafalgar Square Publishing (part of the IPG Group). Both books are also available on Amazon.

For a video interview about HAUNTED COTSWOLDS with Diz White go to The HUFFINGTON POST Web Site to see a video etitled: Chic Trek – Ghostly Travels in England.

Diz is also the author of THE COMEDY GROUP BOOK which was published by Smith and Kraus in the U.S.A. This career development book, which also incorporates comedic war stories of Diz’s journey as she created a comedy group, is available on Amazon.

Diz and her husband Randall Montgomery founded a Internet/Mobile Phone and Home Entertainment DVD production company under their corporate banner Larrabee Industries. See web site

Larrabee Industries produced – a home entertainment DVD that is adapted from Diz’s book HAUNTED COTSWOLDS and is entitled GHOSTS OF GREAT BRITAIN COLLECTION– Haunted Cotswolds. (This is the first in the series of seven) It is available on in the U.S.A. and on Quantum Leap in the U.K. Go HERE to see the trailer for her DVD.

In addition Larrabee Industries produced an Internet/Mobile Phone Entertainment series entitled FILM NOIR FOR DUMMIES that was written, co-produced and narrated by Diz in collaboration with her husband. It has been licensed by Nokia Smart Phones and is in other markets. Check out episode one: Peter Mache and the Case of the Plaster Parrot.

Diz received the New York Critic’s Drama Desk Award for her starring in her play

Diz’s show EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA is currently in production at the Ruskin Theatre in Santa Monica. HBO televised EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA as a comedy special after it was picked up at the Edinburgh Festival and produced Off-Broadway in New York. This show had previously been launched by the comedy group she founded in England under the auspices of an Arts Council Grant and played at the Hampstead Theatre Club, Greenwich Theatre and The Edinburgh Theatre.

After a very successful two year run Off-Broadway run in New York, EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA was produced in many parts of the world after it was published by Samuel French Play scripts. Along with her other plays it has been performed in first run, amateur and stock productions in over twenty six countries.

BULLSHOT , the movie, in which Diz starred, along with Billy Connolly and Mel Smith, and also co-wrote, was released on DVD in the U.K. BULLSHOT the movie was produced by the late ex-Beatle George Harrison’s HandMade Films and was adapted from the play that Diz conceived and co-wrote entitled BULLSHOT CRUMMOND. The movie BULLSHOT was directed by Dick Clement and co-produced by Ian La Frenais.

BULLSHOT the movie has been released as a DVD in the U.S.A. by Image Entertainment and will also be included in a HandMade DVD Box Set that Image is bringing out soon. The DVD of this movie is available on Amazon

The play BULLSHOT CRUMMOND is based on a spoof of the Bulldog Drummond novels and has had successful presentations in London, New York, San Francisco (where it ran for four years) and Los Angeles. Diz conceived of this play when she found a Bulldog Drummond novel in an antique bookstore in the Portobello Road in London. She ‘saw’ that a play could come from this book if it was given a ‘Noir B movie’ treatment on stage, complete with movie-style drama stings of music and thirties-style shadows. BULLSHOT CRUMMOND is published by Samuel French Play Scripts and there have be have been numerous first run, amateur and stock productions of it licensed in dozens of countries around the world.

Subsequently, Showtime Network filmed BULLSHOT CRUMMOND as a comedy special and it was nominated for an Ace Cable Award.

Diz starred in the short movie TOO MUCH OREGANO (Feltham Films) which won for BEST SHORT in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

In her solo acting career Diz guest starred in STAR TREK -The Next Generation, COMEDY BREAK and THE (MIS) ADVENTURES OF FIONA PLUM (a U.S. pilot with British actress Kelly Brook). These shows were among numerous other guest appearances that Diz has made for television.

Diz has also starred in, written and performed voice over work in many other television and movie projects.

In addition to her on-camera acting for television and film Diz has also performed voice over, narration and animation work for numerous television and film productions.

She has performed voice over work for the film HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2011, and for TITANIC which won for best picture at the Oscars, also for SHREK, FROST NIXON, GLADIATOR, 101 and 102 DALMATIANS and BRUCE ALMIGHTY among many other films.

In television she has performed voice over work for ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, FRIENDS, BOSTON LEGAL, and J.A.G., among many other T.V. shows.

Diz is currently developing a new comedy play which has had two workshop productions to date at the Chandler Theatre in Hollywood and is also performing voice work as a regular in the Japanese Anime series HUNTIK.

She is also developing an IPAD App for COTSWOLDS MEMOIR – Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage which will combine the text of her travel tour memoir of the Cotswolds with footage shot by her DVD production company. Diz is starting work soon on an audio/Internet streaming version of COTSWOLDS MEMOIR and is also part way into writing a sequel of this book.

In addition Diz has completed a treatment based on COTSWOLDS MEMOIR and is currently developing it as a film.

Diz divides her time between Hollywood in the U.S.A. and the Cotswolds in England. (Contd. Below)

OTHER T.V. SHOWS AND DVDS that feature Diz White’s work (Partial list).

FOOTLIGHT FRENZY was produced as a play in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The play was adapted as a comedy special for SHOWTIME NETWORK.

Diz co-wrote and starred in both the play and the Showtime Comedy Special. FOOTLIGHT FRENZY is published by Samuel French Playscripts.

THE LOW MOAN SPECTACULAR was produced by ABC Network in the U.S.

Diz co-wrote and starred in this one hour sketch comedy special.


Diz co-wrote and co-produced this half hour children’s home entertainment DVD