Thurrock historical figures

Colonel JD Sherwood of Stifford Lodge

Following the Second World War, the military authorities, who had used it as a Canadian military hospital, vacated Stifford Lodge. Colonel Sherwood, head of Sherwood Paints - the first such company to incorporate Silicone as a water repellent into its paints - bought it. The Colonel lived there with his friend, companion and secretary Mr Walmsley, a former draper from Lancashire who would inherit most of the Colonel's estate upon his death in 1966.

While in residence at the Lodge, Sherwood adopted the role of village Squire, acting generously towards the villagers both individually and as a larger community. The grounds of the Lodge (known locally as the White House) were frequently used for garden parties, and the people of Stifford played tennis on the Lodge courts. He also gave willingly to a variety of charitable organisations, without publicity.

The Colonel's tastes regarding his furnishings and style of living were those of around fifty years before. This has also been said of Stifford church, where the Colonel was churchwarden and often read the lessons. The Lodge gardens were used in part for growing fruit and vegetables, which were then distributed around the village and sold. Colonel Sherwood was responsible for paying for a new village hall when fund-raising attempts proved unsuccessful, and opened it together with Sir Francis Whitmore, who gave the land.

During the period of Sherwood's ownership of Stifford Lodge, he also spent some time in Barbados, but kept in touch with England on a weekly basis by having all his mail sent to him. He died in Barbados in 1966, and was buried at the Surrey home of his parents; Brookwood. St Mary's Church, Stifford, held a memorial service and he is remembered by an annual gift sent to the parish by the Sherwood Trust, which had been established in 1950. The charity's total annual income is currently (2003) £10,000, and its total funds £320,000.

Colonel Sherwood is accurately described in the 'Stifford Saga' (see Source) as 'Stifford's Last Squire', due to his traditional views and general benevolence towards the villagers. After his death, most of Stifford's larger houses subsequently passed out of individual private ownership.

Bibliography

  • The Stifford Saga by Doreen Dean and Pamela Studd, 1980