Having been brought up amid Antiguan sugar mills (Betty’s Hope then Millars) Nicholas found employment in the Yorkshire wool industry becoming managing director of Edwards and Rawson woollen mills at Canal Mills, Sowerby Bridge.
Nicholas married Caroline Adelaide Perry of Roscommon thus reconnecting with his pre-Antiguan Irish ancestry and together they originated the West Yorkshire line of Nugents. As chronicled in earlier pages, the Nugents had migrated from Normandy to Ireland with barely two generations in England between 1066 and the early 12th century, so Nicholas and Caroline putting down roots in West Yorkshire was a significant stage in the family’s history. They had nine children: the boys, Walter Vyvian (b 1880), Hugh Neville (b 1882) and Charles Evelyn (b 1883) came first followed by Margery Constance Ottley (b 1884), Beatrice Mary McNeill (b 1886), Muriel Kathleen Clare (b 1888), Evelyn Dorothy Noel (b 1890), Maud Eileen Kirkpatrick (b 1892) and Lilian Adelaide Norah (b 1893).
Nicholas, known as ‘Old Nick’ in his later years, was a devoted family man, and enjoyed playing tennis. Always well dressed, wearing a hat even at tennis (left) but, like gentlemen of his age, was not familiar with the kitchen sink! He was clearly a figure of stature locally and belonged to an organisation commited to spreading Conservative principles, the Primrose League.
The Nugent grandparents remained in Antigua. We have the reply to a letter seven-year old Walter sent to his grandfather, Sir Oliver Nugent, asking when he would come and visit them in Yorkshire (above right). It was June 1887 and Queen Victoria was celebrating 50 years on the throne. Sir Oliver writes: ‘It is very kind of you to wish me to come to England to see you all, this jubilee year, that you may better remember it, by having me there and the more so, that none of you have ever seen me, not even your mother. I am sorry to say however that I do not see any prospect of my being able to meet your wishes, for I can not well leave my occupations and moreover your climate is so cold and disagreeable that I am afraid, at my time in life, it would not suit me and that I should catch a bad cold, as well as bronchitis, or some such afliction.’
Back in Sowerby the Nugent girls all had new ‘jubilee dresses’ for the royal occasion, doubtless made of wool from their father’s mill.
Nicholas Nugent died at Christmas in 1923 and was laid to rest at St Peter’s, Sowerby, (left) the church where the children had been baptised and some were married.
(Sources: Text and pictures: Simon Lloyd, Eleanor Brushfield, Nicholas Nugent of Bosham, Nugent archives.)