Here is some information about the Ackland-Allen family, former residents of the Manor House. The Ackland-Allens were related to Elizabeth Giles, formerly of Manor Piece.  And there's a connection to the broadcaster, David Dimbleby.

Photo above: Left: Dorothy Florence Ackland Allen, spinster (1887 – June 1963), right: Elgiva Mary Ackland Allen (1890 -1970)
They were the children of Charles and Gertrude Ackland AllenElgiva married FLN Giles and Elizabeth Giles (formerly of Manor Piece) was their daughter

Dorothy Ackland Allen was President of the St Hilary WI (here's the link to the History of St Hilary WI). Below is a photo of her at a Garden Fete in the Manor House grounds.


There seem to have been 3 children; Dorothy, Elgiva and Tommy. Dorothy never married and died at St Hilary Manor house in the 1960s.

There is a plaque inside St Hilary Church commemorating Hugh Thomas ("Tommy")Ackland-Allen who died at Ypres on 23 October 1914 aged 21.

Elgiva Mary Ackland-Allen (1890 – 1970) married Col Frank Lucas Netlam Giles O.B.E (d. 1930) in 1916 in the bride's home parish of St. Hilary in the Vale of Glamorgan. The Ackland-Allen family of St. Hilary Manor and Elgiva's maternal ancestors, the Bearcrofts, are well documented in The Longcrofts: 500 Years of a British Family by James Phillips-Evans (2012).

From the Glamorgan Gazette of 7 July 1916:

Interesting wedding at St. Hilary. Marriage of Miss Elgiva Ackland-Allen and Major F. L. N. Giles. D.S.O., R.E

The beautiful Parish Church of St. Hilary was the scene of an interesting wedding, which took place on Thursday last week, between Major F. L. N. Giles, D.S.O., Royal Engineers, son of Mr. Frank Giles (late T.C.S.) and the late Mrs. Giles, and Elgiva, younger daughter of Captain and Mrs. Ackland-Allen, of St. Hilary Manor, Cowbridge. The route to the church was tastefully decorated by the villagers, who evinced the greatest interest in the proceedings of the day. The ceremony, which took place at 2.30 p.m., was performed by the Ven. Archdeacon Edmondes (late of Llandaff), assisted by the Rev. L. S. Crockett, Rector of the parish. The service, which was fully choral, was beautifully rendered by the Llandaff Parish Choir, under the direction of Mr. Beale, organist of Llandaff Cathedral. The bride, who was given away by her father, looked charming in a gown of white satin, veiled in ninon, in addition to which she wore a magnificent court train chiefly composed of old Limerick lace (lent by the bride's grandmother, Mrs. Thomas Allen). Her veil was of white tulle, over which was worn an empire wreath of green leaves; and her only ornament was a diamond water-lily brooch, the gift of the bridegroom. She was attended by three bridesmaids-Miss Dorothy Ackland-Allen (sister of the bride), Miss Edith Read, and Miss Olive Nicholl-and Master David Lindsay (in full Highland costume), youngest son of Colonel and Mrs. Morgan Lind- say, Ystrad Mynach. The bridegroom was supported by Lt.-Colonel J. Brough, C.M.G. and M.V.O., as best man. The bridesmaids were attired in picturesque dresses of pink and white flowered chine silk, made in Romney style, and wore large black picture hats, with pink streamers. They carried shower bouquets of pink roses, which, with brooches of the Regimental Badge of the Royal Engineers in gold and enamel, were the gifts of the bridegroom. The bride's mother was gowned in white charmeuse, veiled in black lace, and wore a black hat. She carried a bouquet of mauve sweet peas. A small reception was held after the ceremony at St. Hilary Manor, where the numerous and costly presents were on view. Later in the afternoon, the bride and bridegroom left for London, en route for the New Forest, where the honeymoon will be spent. The bride's going away dress was of beige-coloured cloth, faced with pale pink silk, and a small black hat. Amongst those present at the ceremony were: Mr. F. Giles (father of the bridegroom) the Misses Robertson (aunts of bridegroom); Mrs. Thomas Allen (grandmother of bride) Mr. and Mrs. T. Mansel Franklen; Mrs. Morgan Lind- say, Ystrad Mynach; General and Mrs. Tyler, Llantrithyd; Mrs. Arthur Bearcroft, Worcestershire; Miss Vernon, Worcestershire; Mrs. F. J. Wood; Colonel and Mrs. Edwardes-Vaughan; Major and Mrs. Stewart, Carmarthenshire; Mrs. Powell-Rees, Monmouthshire; Colonel and Mrs. Nicholl, Merthyrmawr; Mrs. Williams, Miskin; Colonel and Mrs. Prichard; Mrs. Jenner, Wenvoe; Mr. Peter Powlett, Monmouth- shire; Captain Lionel Lindsay; and many others. A full list of presents will appear next week. [Click here to read about the list of presents]

Colonel Frank Lucas Netlam Giles, DSO 1916; OBE 1925 was born on 25 June 1879, the son of the Hon. Frank Giles ICS. He was educated at Marlborough and at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. In 1916 he married Elgiva, daughter of Captain Ackland-Allen JP. Giles fought in the South African War, was part of the Cameroons Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1917, and was made Lieutenant-Colonel while serving in France in 1917. He was promoted to Colonel on 30 May 1925 and served as military attaché to Belgrade, Athens and Prague from 1925 to 1929. Colonel Giles served on the Yugoslav-Bulgarian International Frontier Commission between 1920 and 1922 and the Yugoslav-Albanian International Frontier Commission (Albanian Frontier Commission) between 1922 and 1925.


The Albanian Frontier Commission was re-established after a decision made on 9 November 1921 by the Conference of Ambassadors (British Empire, France, Italy and Japan). The Commission was intended to continue the work of the 1913-1914 International North and North-West Albanian Frontier Commission. It was constituted in Paris on 18 January 1922 and consisted of its President Brigadier General Enrico Tellini (Italy), Colonel Giles (Britain) and Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Perret (France). Colonel Giles was succeeded on the Albanian Frontier Commission in 1925 by Lieutenant-Colonel A B Clough. The Commission mapped the border and erected boundary stones and the collection includes the maps and some of the reports it published detailing the boundaries[iii].


Elgiva and Frank Netlam Giles had two children – Elgiva Elizabeth and Frank Thomas Robertson.

Elizabeth never married. She lived at Manor Piece, St Hilary. She died on 11 September 2005 and is buried in St Hilary Churchyard.

Frank Thomas Robertson Giles[iv] (born 31 July 1919) started his career (after attending Oxford University) as an aide-de-camp (ADC) to a newly appointed Colonial Governor. As ADC he had close encounters with the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, and Lord Louis Mountbatten. After service in the War Office he became a temporary member of the Foreign Office. As a small cog in the Foreign Office there were erratic stimulants of being in Ernest Bevan’s entourage and involvement in an odd Moscow affair. He then changed career to become a foreign correspondent for the Times and in the early 60s he moved to the Sunday Times. When Rupert Murdoch took over Times newspapers in 1981 Frank was appointed editor of the Sunday Times. He held the post from 1981 -1983 and stood down in the wake of the Hitler Diaries scandal [v].

In Frank’s autobiography (1986)  gives an account of his early life. He says that ‘he grew up a sickly child. My father, a regular Sapper Officer who died when I was ten, was abroad most of the time mapping out the post-war frontiers of Albania or being Military Attache in various Balkan capitals”

“My mother was the youngest daughter of Anglo Welsh parents living in Glamorganshire. I remember my maternal grandparents and their setting extremely well. Grandfather could hardly be considered a squire, even though his enlarged and beautified ex farm house was called the Manor House; its fields and gardens amounted to no more than 20 acres”. He recalls that his grandfather was not particularly well off and had no profession. Apart from being a magistrate on the local bench he spent most of his time in his study, smoking and reading the newspaper. Despite this life at the Manor House was lavish – with four servants inside and two outside. There were 4 course dinners every evening. A dressing gong sounded half an hour beforehand and a second gong announced the meal itself."

Frank’s father’s early death left his mother extremely hard up and many of his early memories are coloured not by his grandparents luxury but by the austerities of home. In an effort to make ends meet his mother tried taking in paying guests and Frank and his sister Elizabeth would work late at night washing up an unusually large number of dinner plates and dishes.

Frank married Lady Katherine Sackville ('Kitty') on 29 June1946[vi]. They had three children – Sarah, Sebastian and Belinda.  

Belinda Susan Mary Giles was born on 9 June 1958. She married, firstly, Christopher Simon Andrew Sykes, son of Sir Mark Tatton Richard Tatton-Sykes, 7th Bt. and Virginia Gilliat, on 25 September 1982 at Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Withyham, Sussex, EnglandG.1,3 She and Christopher Simon Andrew Sykes were divorced in 1997.4 She married, secondly, David Dimbleby, son of Frederick Richard Dimbleby and Dilys Violet Constance Thomas, in 2000.

Belinda was educated at Girton College, Cambridge University, Cambridge. She is the a granddaughter of Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr [vii]

Lady Katherine was accomplished at playing host to the great and the good. But, although she had been brought up with all the comforts of the privileged elite, she was almost equally at home among the inmates and warders of Brixton Prison, where she was a regular visitor [viii] [ix].

Bench on St Hilary Downs

A bench has recently been uncovered on the path up to St Hilary Downs.


The inscription on the seat reads: “This seat was given by Mrs Thomas Allen of 42 Connaught Square London in commemoration of the coronation of King George V 1911. Mrs Thomas Allen, aka Emily Winifred Ackland, married, September 1849, Thomas Allen of Freestone, co. Pembroke, (Welsh circuit barrister).

Emily Winifred Ackland was the daughter of Robert Innes Ackland of Boulston, Pembroke, (died 1851), by Caroline Tyler (died 1864) 2nd daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Tyler, KCH, (1760-1835) [x].

According to the history we have documented on the St Hilary website Mrs Thomas Allen was the grandmother of Elgiva Ackland Allen.

Ackland Allen and Giles family members are buried in a corner of St Hilary graveyard facing the south porch.

acklandallengrave1     acklandallengrave2

Interesting artefacts

Following an enquiry through the St Hilary website we have obtained photos of an attache case belonging to Elgiva Mary Giles (aka Miss E. M. Ackland-Allen) (1890-1970), and paperwork from the briefcase.
Some of the headed notepaper contains the address 42 Connaught Square which is the same as that mentioned on the bench on St Hilary Downs – see above.


[i] A copy of a diary of Dorothy Florence Ackland Allen (1909) can be found in the history room at the Old Hall, Cowbridge. Monica Dennis also has a copy. It was sent from the Radyr & Morganstown Local History Society. 54 Pentwyn, Radyr, Cardiff, CF15 8RE 029 2084 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Alan Cook)

[ii] (accessed 9 March 2018)

[iii]   UCL Library services (accessed 6 March 2018)



[vi] British Newspaper archive (accessed 6 March 2018)




[x] Rodolph de Salis email communication 9 March 2018

[xi] (accessed 9 March 2018)