Overstrand Parish Council

The Churchill Connection

Winston Churchill’s mother Lady Randolph Churchill was a frequent visitor to North Norfolk and in the summer of 1885 brought her young sons Winston and Jack to spend the months of August and September at Cromer. Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father died in 1895 aged 46.

Lady Churchill later married her second husband George Cornwallis-West who, at 26 was 20 years younger than her and the same age as her son Winston. Lady Churchill became a frequent visitor to Overstrand and for many years prior to the start of the First World War, stayed with either Sir Edgar and Lady Speyer at Sea Marge or with Sir George and Lady Lewis at the Danish Pavilion.

In the summer of 1914 war with Germany was imminent, but Winston Churchill’s wife Clementine was determined the children should have a holiday and that Winston should take a short badly needed break with them from his Admiralty duties. She brought Diana and Randolph to Overstrand, where they were joined by Winston’s brother Jack, his wife and their children John George Churchill and baby Pebin (Henry Winston). The family had rented two cottages. Clementine had chosen Pear Tree Cottage, while the other Churchills were at the opposite end of the lawn in Beckhithe Cottage.

On Sunday 26th July 1914, Churchill spoke on the telephone to Prince Louis of Battenberg (the First Sea Lord) and decided that events demanded his presence. He left Overstrand for the last time and returned to London on the admiralty yacht HMS Enchantress.

A few days later at eleven o’clock on the night of 4th August, Great Britain was at war with Germany. Clementine was ordered back to London by her husband and on October 7th gave birth to her third child Sarah.

The Sea Marge, Overstrand